We did this shot in the old town. It’s not as though you can see how hot we had become. It was about a minute later that we made a break for the car and the A/C. You really can’t walk around in the late afternoon. It’s why I believe everyone is out and about at late night.
Even though I have been in Jeddah for nine months, I have barely gotten around due to transportation limitations. Here is a ‘find.’ I had passed this place many times but it is a bit too far to walk. We stopped in and checked the menu. Julia loved it so much we ate there twice. The dish you see is cherries covering kabob meatballs and crisp flatbread chips. The other is phyllo wrapped meatballs that will be covered by yogurt. The pictures don’t do justice to the fun that we had. And it is cherry juice that we drank. No alcohol, it was very good indeed.
We wandered the old city. In the sun it was hot as in hot and sweaty. We were melted in pretty short order. Julia was pretty hot but remained a good sport. She even wore the scarf out of deference. Men don’t have to wear any covering except the pants are to cover the knees. I was hot but not nearly like what it must be to wear a black abaya. I have to say that I have Julia video of what shall be called ‘the abaya dance.’
A macaroon in New York is associated with Passover and is a heavy coconut cookie. In French (Paul restaurant) it is a light meringue cookie sandwiching some fresh raspberries. I had an éclair. Julia didn’t want a taste of mine and before I could turn around she had finished her macaroon. Why? She didn’t want to share hers. Hmm… I didn’t really want pink food anyway.
Having run Julia around in a jam-packed schedule and with jet lag ever present, she was too exhausted to go for dinner. Being the ever insistent father, I dragged her out of the villa kicking and screaming all the way. I ordered up a lemonade with mint (hence the green color). “Taste it.” And then I had to order another one for myself. She had the classic croque monsieur. It’s classic because it was a specialty of her Grandmother Lila when the kids would go to her house for lunch. Dinner woke her up but Julia was still too full for dessert. So we took it home.
I never played basketball with Julia. I wasn’t even aware she had game. Here she is, abaya and all, dribbling and putting in a lay-up. It was pretty hot and she did this just once just to show me a thing about her skill. Neat!
I took Julia on a tour of the hospital. Ordinarily, it’s not a big deal to show your daughter where you work. I did a lot of ‘take your daughter to work’ days with her. But the architecture is pretty stunning. So once again I got this fortuitous shot of her LCD as she lined up her shot. One thing that they do a lot is to make elaborate displays for new babies. The balloons are draped around the doorframes. Here’s what you see before it’s installed.
I can’t quite describe this confection. It’s a glazed roll, but more like a cream puff. The center is laden with melted butter at its bottom. The glaze bakes on and provides a sweet crisp topping. I found them quite delightful. Julia found them heavy and too much for an afternoon snack. All I can say is they are really the best right out of the oven. I’ll see if David enjoys this when he visits. It’s not something that I have come across in New York.
This is the term used to describe looking at your camera LCD to judge the last photo you took. This shot was purely fortuitous. I happened to get the LCD screen as Julia was lining up her shot. If you tried to do this you would miss nine out of ten times. Hey, I got lucky. Underwater, you don’t really get to use the viewfinder, and the LCD at best is just an estimate. You really let the camera do the hard stuff, focus and exposure.
Julia and I were taken by Capt Omar (instructor) to his secret dive spot. It’s less than one hundred yards from the dock, but it’s not at all obvious. His co-instructor, Shamia, has yet to find it. So much for sharing… It was spectacular, but I’m still trying to get a great shot. We were there every time we dove and Julia even missed it as we swam through because it’s not so obvious. What it amounts to is a tunnel in the reef coral, that is beautiful to swim through. From one direction (as in these shots) it’s great and from the other side it’s nothing special. So that’s why Shamia is mad at Omar.For once, even Julia didn’t realize we were swimming through the tunnel when we approached from the wrong end.
We, Julia and I, were on our own, having passed the confidence test of the instructor, Shamia, and were swimming along, when a professional photographer beckoned and pointed out the presence of the larger stonefish (above). It’s not easy to notice because it blends in so well. I called Julia’s attention and we had a ball taking photos. The professional had completed his shoot. He had a serious DSLR and housing with high-end flash (big bucks). Julia to her credit was aware of everything around and motioned to me to look at another rock. It was another smaller stonefish. I wanted to ask someone if it was male and female, but underwater, questions are hard to put. Hey! I don’t see one (stonefish) before and then we see two in one dive.
Julia was visiting a few weeks ago. She actually learned to dive before I did. I’ve had more dives. She’s better. When I say this, I mean she’s got better buoyancy control and she’s a better dive photographer. She didn’t start off with an underwater camera, so she says that she had a lot of practice just floating and maintaining dive control. The kid can hover like no one’s business.I got her an underwater housing for Christmas and she used it once before she arrived. No water leakage, that’s the first test. Ah! What fathers can do to make their kids embarrassed. She’s used to it though. So as a good sport and knowing that I was taking her diving in the Red Sea, she consented to let me shoot pictures. Me, I’m still all over the map with buoyancy. So I adjusted weights and by the second day could drop like a stone and with a little help from my BCD could hover, somewhat. It’s still a work in progress.
Julia visited recently. When I first came to Jeddah in December 2011, I passed a series of roadside vendors selling camel milk. Herds of a dozen or more camels were stretched out along the roadside. It’s said that camel milk is healthy for you. Then they told me it’s unpasteurized and can lead to interesting infectious disease. That quenched my desire to give it a try. Julia and I made three unsuccessful road trips to the area that I remembered. I even [and I never do] asked for directions. No! No luck. the best we could do is see some poor decrepit camels behind a cinder block wall. It was OK with Julia, she’s ridden a camel in Africa. Me, I’ll look again when David visits.
Oh, the camel? It’s a silly Photoshop trick the kids taught me. Actually, they hold their hand up and pretend that the camel in the background is in the palm of their hand [perspective, not Photoshop]. I just took a camel on the other side of the wall and cloned it on her palm. After all her pose was all set up for me [except for the camel].
I put together this landscape. It’s interesting enough to me because the main element is my family in lower right. We had stopped by this pond/lake and there were hippos in the water. It was a non-event. The hippos were just noses barely poking out from the surface. You don’t go close to hippos. They will kill you. They have skulls in which there are teeth that look like they were derived from a saber-toothed tiger. I didn’t know they were so dangerous. But they never let us get near.
We arrived in Zanzibar and my daughter flopped onto the bed to read the guidebook and plot our next move. We were in Stone Town in a neighborhood where we had to abandon our vehicle and walk in among narrow alleys to reach our hotel. It made her a little nervous. Ok, so I was too. But as I have often said, window lighting is like a soft box. You can really get some nice images.
We moved to Elkins, West Virginia when I was six and left when I was about fourteen. I haven’t returned and all connections to my childhood there were severed when we moved away. I can google the place and look at google earth now. What I saw was that the neighborhood expanded and is now all developed with new/old homes for as far as the eye can see. My mother eventually had this custom house built on a brand new block. It was two years after we arrived. Custom designed by her, it was a three bedroom brick house with one car garage and a hip roof. In retrospect it should have had a two car garage. Otherwise it was in a new development area with all new families that had young kids. It was a pretty good place to grow up. And it wasn’t. I fondly remember a girl who lived next door named Anne. She ‘doesn’t do reunions.’ So, when I finally was able to track her down in the internet/google age, she emailed me once and went silent everafter. Here are the three boys, Victor, John, Eric, about 10, 5, and 1.
I tend to do things in enthusiastic excess. For a while I was really consumed with container gardening. I suppose it was good for my blood pressure. There’s a certain zen state that you enter as you water the plants every day. I could have gotten an automatic watering system but that wouldn’t have been as much fun. Lately it’s mostly weeds that take up in the containers. Maybe I’ll get back to it one day.
Another cousin shot, it seems when Bryant moved to California the group shots got much more rare now. We get one now and again, but they are few and far between. Who knew when I took this shot, how infrequent the gatherings would become?
I don’t know how Steven ended up in this dress. But he seemed to be having a great time. Me, I’m just the shooter. I haven’t seen him in a dress since this picture. He just made Eagle Scout. Congratulations, Stevie.
From this shot I understand how they make models from young girls. Julia could look way more sophisticated. Someone once tried to convince us to get the kids into modeling. But in the end the kids had a much more normal life and we stayed away from chasing a more risky lifestyle. They did do an ad campaign for my cousin Amy as adults. That was fun.
Boogie boards and big smiles go together. David and his buddy Josh remain close friends to this day. It’s nice to look back and see the origins of this fast friendship. All in all I have to say that they had a great childhood. It’s everything that you want for your kids as a Dad.
My wife is camera shy so I don’t include her too much in this blog. But she really did like hugging the kids for as long as they let her. Once in a while I got a shot that should not be a problem here. Just because there aren’t too many shots doesn’t mean there wasn’t a whole lot of hugging going on.
I looked at these shots and wondered at how casual we were at the time. Put them in a life jacket and off you go into the pool. I guess it helped that the kids and my brothers were all swimmers. No one ever fell in and obviously no one drowned. But it seems that it was a dumb Dad thing to stack rafts three high and throw a kid in a life vest on top.
As it turned out my two brothers had sons which left my daughter as the only girl on my family’s side. She never seemed to mind. But then she was the oldest of the cousins on this side. On the other side, she was the youngest of the three girl cousins. Well there were more cousins but I’m just counting the immediate ones that we saw about twice a year. I’m still trying to get a few once removed.