La Familia!

Without question, the highlight of our recent visit to Peru was seeing members of my family I have not seen for just about 11 years. Sure, we communicate here and there over the internet or an occasional phone call, but nothing beats seeing them in person! Below I am posting a few of the pictures I took of times with some members of the family. For more pictures click HERE.

Sin lugar a dudas, el más destacado de nuestra reciente visita a Perú estaba viendo a los miembros de mi familia que no he visto por sólo unos 11 años. Sin duda nos comunicamos aquí y allá a través de Internet o una llamada telefónica ocasional, pero nada como verlos en persona. A continuación estoy publicando algunas de las fotos que tomé con algún miembro de la familia. Para obtener más haga clic AQUÍ

My cousin Toya (center) invited us for dinner at her home. We had a great time with her and my cousins Lalo and Natty (couple on left). Of course, the fact that the main dish was Lomo Saltado…you will see pictures of that succulent dish later, was a thrilling point for my wife.

Mi prima Toya ( centro) nos invitó a almorzar en su casa. Tuvimos un gran tiempo con ella y mis primos Lalo y Natty (pareja en la izquierda). Por supuesto, el hecho que el plato principal era lomo saltado … se va a fotos de ese suculento plato más tarde, fue una gran sorpresa para mi esposa – es su plato favorito.

My nephew’s daughter Mia trying out her brand new roller blades!

La hija de mi sobrino Lalo Jr.,  Mia,  probando sus patines nuevos.

One of the favorite things you do in Peru is eat; it is almost the national pastime. The food is simply amazing. We ate a lot of homemade foods in my cousin Lalo’s home, but we also went out to some amazing restaurants. Here we are at Isolina’s, a great restaurant for traditional Peruvian food.

Una de las cosas favoritas que haces en el Perú es comer; es casi el pasatiempo nacional. La comida es simplemente increíble y bien variada. Comimos muy buenas comidas hechas en la casa de mi primo Lalo, pero también fuimos a varios restaurantes increíbles . Aquí estamos en Isolina, un gran lugar para comida tradicional peruana.

My nephew Lalo Jr. and his kids – Mia and Dennis, having a good time while they wait for their favorite food.

Acc tenemos a mi sobrino Lalo Jr. con su hija Mia e hijo Dennis pasando un buen rato mientras que esperan sus platos favoritos.

Peruvian breakfast is great. However, we decided to treat our hosts with some traditional American breakfast. It went very well…especially the bacon…surprised?

El desayuno Peruano es muy bueno. Sin embargo, un día decidimos cocinar  para nuestros anfitriones desayuno tradicional Americano. Fue un Hit!!! … especialmente el tocino … sorprendido?

Mia voicing her approval!

Mia diciéndonos que estaba muy rico!

So what do you do when the temps get to the high 80’s? Enough said.

Por lo tanto, ¿qué hacer cuando las temperaturas llegan a la alta de los 80? La foto te lo dice todo.

Lalo Jr. with Mia and Dennis.

Spent my birthday at my cousin Lalo’s home. We had a little party with my cousin Lourdes, husband Pepe, friends Walter (we have the same birthday) and his wife Carmen.  Thank you Natty and Lalo for a wonderful birthday lunch and games till late evening. We really had a blast.

Pasé mi cumpleaños en casa de mi primo Lalo. Tuvimos una pequeña fiesta con mi prima Lourdes, su marido Pepe, amigo Walter (somos de la misma fecha de nacimiento) y su esposa Carmen. Gracias usted Natty y Lalo para un almuerzo de cumpleaños maravilloso y juegos hasta la noche . Nos lo pasamos de maravilla.

Great friends are family in my book. Here I am with Claudio, we have known each other and have kept in touch for over 50 years. Great seeing you Leviatan. Hope you come and visit us soon.

Grandes amigos son como familia para mi. Aquí estoy con Claudio, nos conocemos y nos hemos mantenido en contacto durante más de 50 años. Muy bueno verte Leviathan; espero que nos visites pronto.

IMG_3030

I have not seen my friend Rafael for 40 years. It was great to see him again and meet his lovely wife Giannina. Hope we will not wait too long to see each other agian Rafael!

Rafael y yo no nos veíamos por 40 años. Tuvimos una reunion muy linda y por fin conocimos a su linda señora Giannina. Ojalá que no pase tanto tiempo para volver a juntarnos Rafael!

For sure my super highlight was to visit with my Uncle Eduardo and his wife, my Aunt Cucha. He is the last uncle from my mother side actually, he is the last uncle I have left. I have so many good memories of things we did together when I was a kid. He is the last of 16 brothers and sisters…wow. He was really happy to see us and we had a nice time remembering old times together. God bless you and your family dear Uncle Eduardo and Cucha.

Una de las mas grandes alegrías de este viaje fue el visitar a mi tío Eduardo y su esposa , mi tía Cucha. Él es el último tío de parte de mi madre, en realidad él es el último tío que me queda. Tengo tantos buenos recuerdos de cosas que hicimos juntos cuando yo era un niño . Él es el último de 16 hermanos y hermanas … wow . Él estaba muy contento de vernos y nos lo pasamos muy bien recordando viejos tiempos juntos. Dios usted y su querida familia tío Eduardo y Cucha bendiga.

Picture with my uncle, his wife, daughter Milagros and cousin Lalo, Natty and us.

 

While the US winter was in full swing we were enjoying summer temps in Lima. My cousin Lourdes and her husband Pepe took us to a club they belong to – El Regatas. Beautiful place with amazing facilities and options for every kind of relaxation and fun. Took this picture of them with Lalo, Lourdes, Pepe and my wife at the pier.

Mientras que era invierno en Estados Unidos, nosotros estábamos disfrutando de temperaturas de verano en Lima. Mis primos Lourdes y su marido Pepe nos llevaron a un club al que ellos pertenecen – El Regatas. Hermoso lugar con impresionantes instalaciones y opciones para cada tipo de relajación y diversión. Tomè esta foto de ellos con Lalo , Lourdes, Pepe y mi esposa en el muelle del club.

Wifey and I in front of the pool at The Regatas.

Bethe y yo con la piscina del Regatas detrás de nosotros.

I really like this picture of Mia and I. Miss you Mia!

A mi me gusta esta foto de Mia y yo mucho; te extraño Mia!

Mrs Isolina (Natty’s mom) and I enjoying a cold beer. Mrs. Isolina and I had our daily beer and had great laughs together around different topics. We really miss her laugh and fantastic disposition on every topic we spoke about. She was a very close friend with my mother; still misses her a lot and shared many fun times they had together. Hope to see you again soon Mrs. Isolina.

La señora Isolina (mamá de Natty) disfrutando de una cerveza fría. La señora Isolina y yo nos tomábamos una cerveza todos los días y teníamos grandes risas juntos en torno a diferentes temas. Realmente extrañamos su risa y disposición fantástica al rededor de los temas que hablamos. Ella era una gran amiga de mi madre; todavía la extraña mucho y compartió muchos momentos de diversión que ellas tenían juntas. Esperamos verle de nuevo pronto la señora Isolina.

Getting together with family is such a fantastic feeling. Here we are at my cousin’s Perli and Hugo’s beautiful home. We had a great dinner with so much reminiscing and sharing of what is going on on each of our lives. Miss having them all as physically close as they are to each other.

Reunirse con la familia es una sensación fantástica. Aquí estamos en la casa de mi primita Perli y de Hugo. Nos dieron una gran cena con tanto recordar del pasado y el intercambio de lo que está pasando en cada una de nuestras vidas. 

Of course, there was amazing food again. My cousin Perli cooks great and had a couple of Peruvian dishes I never tasted before we are now fan of them. Thank you Perlita y Hugo!

Prosupesto, si la familia se reúne, tiene que haber comida rica. Fue super delicioso todo. Gracias Perlita y Hugo por tan agradable y memorable noche.

You had to be there, but we had such a great time. Looks like I am only taking pictures when we are having a good time; well, we had a good time throughout the evening.

Era muy difícil tomar fotos cuando alguien no estaba en plena carqueajada. Acs mi primo Hernan casi remiendos la panza de risa.

Saying goodbye after a great evening!

Despidiéndonos después de una grande noche.

Picture before we go into Panchitañ one of the best Peruvian restaurants in Lima.

Visitando a Panchita, uno de los restaurantes mas famosos de Lima ‘ super bueno!

A month went by very fast. It was time to return home, but not without having one last homemade luncheon. The food was so good it was really difficult not to over eat – gained 8 1/2 pounds in a month. Back to the bicycle for me as soon as I land. Thank you Natty and Lalo for your wonderful hospitality; you made each day very special to us.

Un mes paso muy rápido. Era el momento de volver a casa, pero no sin tener una última comida casera juntos. La comida era tan buena que era muy difícil no comer más de lo normal- gané 8 1/2 libras en un mes. Volveré a la bicicleta tan pronto como llegamos a la casa. Gracias Natty y Lalo por su maravillosa hospitalidad; usted hicieron cada día muy especial para nosotros.

Mendoza, Asado Master Class

Since we were going to Lima, Peru, to visit family after an 11 year gap, we decided to add Argentina (Mendoza & Buenos Aires).  While in Mendoza we came across a tour titled Asado Master Class. It was basically a class where one learns how regular Argentinians cook their weekend BBQ’s – something I am told is a sacred rite for most. What follows are a few pictures of this informative and fun class.

Ya que íbamos a Lima, Perú, para visitar a la familia después de 11 años, decidimos añadir Argentina (Mendoza y Buenos Aires). Mientras en Mendoza nos encontramos con una gira titulada Asado Master Class. Esta era básicamente una clase donde se aprende cómo los Argentinos cocinan su famoso BBQ de fin de semana – algo que me dicen es un rito sagrado para la mayoría. Lo que sigue son algunas fotos de esta clase informativo y divertido .

DSCF1692

Our first stop was a small family own Olive oil store. The family has had their olive grove for many years and they sell their oil at a very competitive price out of their own neighborhood store.

Nuestra primera parada fue en una pequeña tienda de aceite de oliva propia de familia. La familia ha tenido el olivar durante muchos años y que vender su delicioso aceite a un precio muy competitivo fuera de su propia tienda de barrio.

 

The young man attending us is the son of the owner. He gave us a good breakdown of their process, types of olives the family grove has and his desire to someday own the whole thing. His English was very good and the pride of what he was telling me evident.

El joven que nos asistió era el hijo del dueño. Él nos dio buenos detalles de su proceso, tipos de aceitunas de la arboleda de la familia y su deseo de poseer algún día todo el negocio . Su Inglés era muy bueno y el orgullo de lo que me estaba diciendo fue evidente.

Part of the tour was to taste five different oils and select two as our favorites. They all tasted very nice. The first four were made from different types of olives and the fifth was from a blend- the flavors were quite different. Quite enjoyable plus we took two half liter bottles of high quality oil with us.

Parte de la visita era para gustar cinco aceites diferentes y seleccionar dos como nuestros favoritos. Todos tenían un sabor muy bueno, pero como los primeros cuatro que probamos fueron hechos de diferentes tipos de aceitunas y el ultimo de una mezcla de dos aceitunas los sabores eran diferentes. Bastante agradable y además nos llevamos dos botellas de medio litro de aceite de alta calidad con nosotros.

Next stop was the neighborhood bakery. A very small bakery that had the wonderful aroma of fresh baked breads. I did recognize some bread shapes that are also popular in Lima. The shelves did not look because we arrived just after breakfast and a few hours before lunch. For the most part, people buy their bread for that day or particular meal in the day.

La próxima parada fue a la panadería de barrio. Una muy pequeña panadería que tenía el maravilloso aroma de pan reciéntemente horneado. Yo reconocí algunas formas de pan que también son populares en Lima. Los estantes no parecían tan completa ya que era después del desayuno y un par de horas antes de la almuerzo. En la mayor parte, la gente compra su pan para ese día o comida en particular en el día para asegurar pan fresco cada comida.

We love bread, but are eating a lot less than usual. We did make an exception as it really was fresh and tasty. One thing we noticed is that they do not sell it by the unit, but by weight. That is different.

Nos encanta pan, pero estamos comiendo mucho menos de lo habitual por ya bastante tiempo. Tuvimos hacer una excepción, ya que realmente estaba fresco y sabroso. Una cosa que notamos es que no lo venden por la unidad , pero por peso . Eso es diferente.

Vegetables, fresh at the corner stand where they seem to pick it locally. Angelo is sharing with my wife some of the options unfamiliar to her. This reminded me of when I was a kid and my mother would shop for groceries each day. Very little was saved for the next day.

Hortalizas frescas en el stand de esquina donde parecen que lo cosechan a nivel local. En esta foto, Angelo está compartiendo con mi esposa algunas de las opciones que ella no esta familiarizada. Este kiosquito me recordó cuando yo era un niño y mi madre hacer compras solo para lo que se iba a cocinar ese dia . Muy poco se guardaba para el día siguiente.

It does not get much fresher than this!  Clearly these vegetables did not see much pesticides as they were not as perfect looking as some we see in the US, but tasted great. These stands are common around some of the neighborhoods we drove by in Mendoza.

Realmente no hay nada más fresco que esto. Es evidente que a estos vegetales no les ponen pesticidas, ya que no eran tan perfectos como algunos que vemos en los EE.UU. , pero estaban buenísimo. Estos kioscos son comunes en muchos de los barrios que pasamos en Mendoza.

Our last stop before going to Angelo´s place was the Don Santo butcher. Argentinian beef is regarded as one of the very best in the world. I am convinced the great distinctive taste it has is because most of the herd is grass fed. I say most of it because unfortunately corn is starting to be used as it is cheaper.

Nuestra ultima parada, antes de ir a la casa de Angelo, fue la carnicería Don Santo.  Carne Argentina es considerada como una de los mejores en el mundo. Estoy convencido de que el gran sabor distintivo que tiene es porque la mayoría de la manada se alimenta de grass. Yo digo la mayor parte de ella porque, por desgracia, el maíz está comenzando a ser utilizado ya que es más barato.

In this great looking place, they make their own sausages, chorizos, blood sausages, Jamon Serrano (similar to Prosciutto). Here we see one of the butchers moving around some of the Jamon Serrano legs…yum.

En este gran lugar hacen sus propias salchichas, chorizos, morcillas , jamón serrano ( similar al Prosciutto Italiano ). Aquí vemos uno de los carniceros moviendo unas piernas de jamón serrano … que rico!

I used to eat a lot of Argentinian salami when I was a kid. One of my cousins used to be a flight attendant and frequently brought many home. I remember the taste still. Hoping once we eat some later on it is just as good as I remember.

Solía ​​comer una gran cantidad de salami Argentino cuando yo era un niño. Uno de mis primas solía ser un auxiliar de vuelo y con frecuencia llevaba muchos a casa; recuerdo el sabor todavía. Espero que tengan tan rico sabor como el que tengo en mis recuerdos…ya veremos.

A view of the store from the street.

Una vista del portal de la tienda.

 

We arrived at Angelo’s home. Of course, if there are pets, they all come to say hello to my wife. She is a pet magnet. Angelo’s backyard was setup very nicely for his class. Comfortable and surrounded by plants, a nice brick grill, and the weather? Sunny and warm, but not too muggy.

Llegamos a la casa de Angelo. Como de costumbre, si hay animales domésticos en cualquier casa que visitamos, todos ellos vienen a saludar a mi esposa. Ella es un imán para mascotas. configuración del patio trasero de Angelo muy bien para su clase. Cómodo y rodeado de plantas , una buena parrilla de ladrillo, y el clima ? Soleado y cálido , pero no demasiado húmedo.

 

We start the class with some appetizers. From left to right…cheese, two types of a sweet & tart fruit that has been prepared with a soft but firm consistency, green olives from the olive oil store we visited, a different type of cheese and salami from the butcher shop.

Empezamos la clase con algunos aperitivos. De izquierda a derecha … queso, dos tipos de una fruta dulce (una era dulce de membrillo)  y agrio que se ha preparado con una consistencia suave pero firme, aceitunas verdes de la tienda de aceite de oliva que visitamos , un tipo diferente de quesos y salami de la carnicería.

A view of Angelo’s yard from the grill. Like I said, perfect spot to do this.

Una vista del patio de Angelo desde la parrilla. Como dije, lugar perfecto y muy acogedor para hacer esto.

Getting the fire started…Angelo mentioned that he knows of many ways of doing this, and usually, once you find one that you like you stick with it. Contest between Bethe and Angelo as to who will get a nice fire going first. Here we see two approaches. Angelo on the left issuing the square/flat model, while my wife Bethe is using the “tent” approach.

Empezamos por hacer un fuego para cocinar la carne … Angelo mencionó que él sabe de muchas maneras de hacer esto, y por lo general, una vez que encuentre uno que le guste que se quede con ella. Contienda entre Bethe y Angelo de quién va a obtener un buen fuego encendido primero.  Aquí vemos dos técnicas.. . Angelo usando una técnica chata, mientras que mi esposa Bethe está utilizando técnica de ” tienda de campaña “.

While we get the fire going, we start making empanadas. The dough was bought as it is super easy and good. Angelo told us that we could find it in Publix or Mexican markets in the US…we did.

Mientras le damos tiempo al fuego, comenzamos a hacer empanadas. La masa se compró, ya que es muy fácil y buena. Angelo nos dijo que podíamos encontrar en Publix o mercados Mejicanos en los EE.UU. … si lo conseguimos.

Angelo shared the meat filling recipe as it is best to make it the night before. Filling and folding the empanadas can be tricky, but we got the tricks down pat.

Angelo compartió la receta relleno de carne, ya que es mejor hacerla la noche anterior para que este bien fría cuando de rellene la empanada. Llenando y doblando las empanadas puede ser complicado, pero Angelo nos dio unos trucos muy buenos.

Our master pieces!

Nuestras obras de arte!

 

Baked and ready to eat.

Horneadas y listas para comer.

 

Thumbs up for the empanadas! Hot, juicy, tasty and the crust very nice.

Empanadas salieron esquisitas! Calientitas, jugosas, sabrosas y la masa perfecta.

 

Being in Mendoza, having a very nice Malbec is a must. We enjoy red wine and every Malbec we had while in Mendoza was very good. Being locally produced and having a very favorable exchange rate, prices for very good quality were a steal.

Mendoza es la capital del gran vino Malbec. Malbec es una tipo de uva que crece muy bien en Mendoza. Estar en Mendoza sin tomarse unas cositas de Malbec seria un crimen. Que bueno que el cambio de dollar es muy positivo, pues tuvimos unos grandes vinos a precios de ganga.

DSCF1761

Chimichurri – the must have Argentinian salsa with any meats. We are fans of chimichurri, but never made it. Having Angelo teach us how to make a very tasty one was a great deal for us. Here we have the main ingredients, heavy on the parsley.

Chimichirri es una salsa tipica de Argentina usada en toda clase de carnes. Chimichurri le da un sabor ecepcional a las carnes. Acá tenemos todos los ingredientes menos el aceite de oliva.

 

Parsley, oregano, red roasted peppers, fresh garlic, chopped onion, olive oil, wine vinegar, lime juice, kosher slat and red hot pepper flakes. Wallah!

Perejil, orégano, pimientos rojos asados, ajo fresco, cebolla picada, aceite de oliva, vinagre de vino, jugo de limón, sal kosher y picadillo de ají rojo seco. Wallah !

Angelo told us about the many cuts that are popular, taste great when grilled and will not break the bank. Here we have a nice piece of Flank Steak. A very nice piece of meat that comes out great on the grill. Simple condiments…. fresh lime juice and salt.

Angelo nos explico de los cortes populares que tienen un gran sabor a la parrilla y no rompen el banco. Aquí tenemos un buen trozo de vacío. Un muy buen trozo de carne que sale muy bien en la parrilla los condimentos simples …. jugo de lima dulce y salada .

 

Here we have the blood sausage, chorizo, and the three different cuts of meat we grilled. Note that the grilling is done with ambers that have been broken into very small pieces. On the side, Angelo kept larger pieces red hot for when the heat needed to be ramped up. It is a slow carefully choreographed dance of flame, meat and asador (grill master).

Aquí tenemos la morcilla, chorizo, y  los tres diferentes cortes de carne que fueron parrilladas. Tenga en cuenta que el fuego debajo de la carne se hace con trozos de ámbar que se han roto en pedazos muy pequeños. Al costado de la parrilla  Angelo mantuvo piezas de madera dure más grandes para cuando se necesitaba aumentar la temperatura. Es un proceso lento con linda coreografía entre la danza de la llama, la carne y el señor asador.

 

Here we have all of the meats served with chimichurri and a simple and super fresh salad. Simply delicious. We had quite a large amount left.

Acc tenemos la muestra de nuestro plato. Las carnes servidas con un poco de chimichurri and una ensalada super fresca y rica. Disfrutamos cada bocado.

 

What to do after a very nice meal? Well, if you are in Argentina you drink mate. A tea made from leaf of Yerba Mate. It is a caffeine rich hot drink. Yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba.

¿Qué hacer después de una comida muy agradable? Bueno, si usted está en Argentina tienes que tomar mate (the national drink in Argentina). Mate es un té hecho de hojas de yerba mate. Es una bebida caliente rica en cafeína. Hojas de yerba mate se secan y después son picadas, y se muele en una mezcla en polvo llamada yerba. 

The preparation of mate is a very simple process which consists of filling the gourd with yerba, pouring hot but not boiling water over the leaves, and drinking with a straw, the bombilla, which acts as a filter so as to draw only the liquid and not the yerba leaves.

La preparación de mate es un proceso muy simple que consiste en llenar la calabaza con yerba, echar agua caliente, pero no agua hirviendo sobre las hojas, y beber con una cañita o bombilla, que actúa como un filtro a fin de extraer sólo el líquido y no la yerba.

So it ended a great time filled with new learnings and flavors, drinks and awesome conversation. Thank you Angelo for a very memorable class. We will be grilling a lot differently from now on. You can bet we will think of you every time we build a fire. Thanks to your lovely wife for her hospitality. If you visit Mendoza we highly recommend a class with Angelo or one of his “Close Doors‘ experiences. We are clearly not the only ones that enjoyed Angelo’s offerings, see more on TripAdvisor.

For more pictures of this class please click HERE

Asi acabamos nuestra clase de asador. muchas gracias a Angelo por su atención y tantos detalles que hizo esta clase muy memorable. También, muchas gracias a su linda señora por la acogida tan simpatice que nos dio. Angelo, asegurase que cada vez que perdiéramos un fuego, nos vamos a acordar de ti y esperamos seguir tus reglas para tener un super fuego rápidamente. Si visitan Mendoza les recomendamos una clase con Angelo o una de sus comidas de Puertas Cerradas.

Para mas fotos de esta clase hagan click ACA

Looks like…

…I am into a quarterly updates with this blog. Finding less time to take pictures and the motivation to sit down, process pictures and write a post. My wife says that I am all about my bicycle and photography has taken a back seat. Well, there is some truth to that, but photography is still important to me. Hey, just going through a cycling phase and having a lot of fun with the people I ride with. Finding there is a sort of addictive element to climbing the same hill or mountain faster than the last time you rode it. Some will find this crazy, but I know some others will understand and even relate to it.

So, we have been busy with several guests and happy to say, more to come in October. Not much around trips lately, but we have several planned for the last quarter the year and first half of next year. For now, here is as brief summary of the past three months.

Salvation Red2

My wife volunteers with the Salvation Army and was very busy helping with the Paint the Town Red Auction event that provides most of the monies to fund the Salvation Army’s Women’s Auxiliary Greenville Chapter. Many ladies put in a lot of work making this event a success. Happy to report that they raised more than last years event. The place was packed by the time the auction started; picture above was taken before it was open to bidders so it does look sparse. Way to go ladies!

 

Another activity the Women’s Auxiliary helps with is a monthly dinner to those in the shelter. The theme this time was Mexican and great it was. Here we see some of the volunteers cooking and getting ready for the crowds soon to come.

 

Some of the volunteers and …????

 

Our daughter Sarah and her boyfriend Jeffrey visited us in May. Of course we had a great time with them, even though it was a very brief visit.

 

Sarah and Jeffrey

 

Whenever in Chicago, a must stop for us is Smoque BBQ Restaurant. We think they have the best brisket we have ever had. We were attending a wedding close by so we were very happy to be able to visit Smoque’s once again. You can see the address right on the awning.

 

No bread for us…all meat, coleslaw (nice vinegar version) and beans. Bread fills you up unnecessarily, prefer eating more brisket instead. Take a look, moist and very tender…yum. Highly recommended!

 

Corey and Brooke’s wedding was such a beautiful event. We have known Corey since he was eight months old. We have seen him grow into a wonderful and caring young man. We felt very privileged to attend their wedding ceremony.

 

Corey … you may now kiss your beautiful bride…and so he did!

 

the happy newlyweds!

 

Tula, Charlie and Maci hamming it up for the hired photographer. Attention getters extraordinary lol.

 

Us right after the wedding.

 

Ok, so sometimes I take pictures for what may appear to be crazy reasons…this maybe one of those times…, but maybe not.

 

Barry and Cathy, good friends we met in China visited us in June. They really liked Greenville and we had a chance to catch up after the last time we saw each other in Suzhou.

 

We had to show Barry and Cathy out mini Fenway Park; home of the Greenville Drive, the Red Sox’s Single A baseball team. Notice the mini Green Monstah!

 

We also had Alison and Devyn visit. We were thrilled to see Devyn’s little bump; she is expecting her first baby…YEAH! She looks a lot bigger now – well, that is in Devyn’s proportions.

 

We were finally able to take a picture of the very elusive white squirrels we have around our neighborhood. Many just did not believed us, now we have proof. No, the squirrel’s color has not been Photoshopped.

 

July 4th! My sister and her two granddaughters spent July 4th with us.  We had several days together and we enjoyed their visit; Valentina and Victoria had fun. In this picture, we see Valentina posing for her picture. In the past, Valentina hated her picture taken, so I figured I would have a tough time taking her picture, but not this time. As soon as I pointed the camera at her, she would say…”wait” then strike a pose and say…”non”. we all laugh and laugh at her complete unexpected behavior. What happened, we wondered that changed her attitude toward pictures? Regardless, we all had many good laughs about he new-found modeling poses.

 

We took the girls to the Greenville Children’s Museum; they had fun, but I think I enjoyed the place at least as much as they did (if not more)…they have a very cool construction sections where you can use an electronic driven crane to move building blocks – fun.

 

My sister with her two beautiful and very active granddaughters.

 

Billy Graham Library – Charlotte, NC

We finally made it to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. What a place, if you plan on visiting you need to set aside at least two hours, three to four would be best as the place is really full of great information about Mr. Graham. The house you see on the left is were Mr. Graham was raised. This is not the original place, as the house has been moved twice (brick by brick, and board by board). On the right you see the barn like structure where Mr. Graham’s library is housed.

 

Billy Graham as I will always remember him. I remember seeing one of his tele- evangelistic meetings in Peru. His message was translated into Spanish and it was very powerful; as most all other that I saw after that.

 

 

A few years ago I read one of Mr. Graham’s autobiographies -“Just as I am” – highly recommended. His life was filled with purpose, but he was very aware that he was truly no different than any other human being. In view of this, he took several precautions and assembled a group of men he was accountable to at all times. I truly admire Mr. Graham and thank God for sending men like him to share His message around the world.

 

 

 

A very unusual picture of Mr. Graham. Just a regular guy like you are I.

 

The most striking thing for us, was the library was all about the gospel – not only about his life. Yes, it had Mr. Graham memorabilia, but the central message for anyone going through it was to get a comprehensive explanation of what the Gospel is and what it will accomplish to those who accept it.

 

 

In one small exhibit there were several letters addressed to Mr. Graham by children. All of them had unique ways used by the sender to address them. One said ” Sent to Billy Graham. Do not know his address. Make sure it is sent at once” the hand writing clearly indicated that the sender was a small child. This one was my favorite… notice on the right…”In case of Rapture (never mind this letter)”

 

At the Home Front

Phase three is finally under way next to our home. We enjoyed thick woods for over a year right next to our house, but now the woods are gone and the work is underway to start building the roads for phase three.

 

It took almost three months to get everything in place before the black top (base cover) was added. We will be next to a construction site for quite a while…bummer, but we knew it was coming so we will live with it.

 

Jocelyn and her (at the time) boyfriend Kyle visited us in July. They got engaged in August and are in the thick of planning their wedding. We are happy for the both of them as they make a very nice couple in many ways.

 

One of the things we really like about our neighborhood is the activities the Social Committee has throughout the year. In July,  we had a food truck over -“Thorough Fare” – the best one I have had so far…anywhere. The quality of the ingredients and the taste was way above average. I had amazing fish tacos, my wife had a very tasty empanada; the pulled pork sandwiches looks also very good.

 

We also had a guest musical group “The Trapfire Brothers” that provided really nice entertainment for us all.

 

Our very good friends, Linda and Joel visited us in August; we took them to many fun places and they enjoyed the area a great deal. Here they are looking at potential purchases at The Pickens Flea Market – the largest one I have ever attended.

 

Pickens is an old South Carolina town named after Andrew Pickens (1739–1817), an American revolutionary soldier and US Congressman for South Carolina. Population – about 3,120 in 2010. Here we have a gentlemen that may represent some of the locals in the area.

 

On the right, meet Robert Perry the Mountain Man, playing the bucket base. Mr. Perry holds a weekly pickin’ meet at his home nearby. At his right, we have a lady signing some gospel songs while an appreciative onlooker enjoys them both.

 

Have you ever wonder what would Elvis might have looked like by now? Well, as soon as I saw this gentleman I wondered if Elvis would have looked just like this (minus sideburns). Hey, you never know, maybe the king is still alive and well at Pickens Flea Market!

 

Joel and Linda calling the Thompson grandchildren to Skype.

We took Linda and Joel on a hike at Table Rock State Park. The really enjoyed the chosen trail and we saw many interesting looking mushrooms on the way. I really like hiking, especially the many beautiful sightings found in the micro world like this mushroom cluster; abut 3 inches in total width.

 

We are still active in the Miata Foothills Club. We went on club ride to Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi. Our Miata is the second on the right. We have a lot of fun riding with other like minded Miata enthusiasts.

That is it for now. Hope you all had a great summer and are getting ready for autumn. Thanks for visiting!

 

Way Too Long…

…without a post on this blog. Yes, many think retirement is all about getting up late every day and just sit around, watch some TV and wait for the next day to come to do the same all over again. Fortunately, actual experience is way, way different for me and several other retirees I have befriended in Greenville. The most important advice I can give anyone considering retirement is to assure you have other interests/hobbies outside of work.

Must admit that over the past few months I have been obsessed with improving my cycling endurance, particularly climbing the many mountains around the area, and being more comfortable when riding with some seasoned riders in the area. Noticeable improvement has been achieved, but more will be necessary. Photography has been relegated to the background lately, but need to change that. While I have not taken as many pictures as usual, below I am using some to summarize the last few months.

My niece Nati and her family came for a brief visit in March. While walking around downtown, I saw Lucia walking pass this pink bike and looked like she wanted her picture taken. Isn’t Lucia super cute? She is really a very sweet little girl.

 

Greenville downtown is home to a very nice train museum. Since Luca, Lucia’s twin brother, loves trains, we had to go into it and see what they had. The place did not disappoint us at all. Here you see a detail of the massive model that include mountains, towns, factories, etc. Really nice.

 

Luca watching the trains, seems like he just cannot believe what he is seeing…the biggest train collection ever! He did not want to talk to anyone; just look, watch, study it all.

 

Detail of the industrial section. There were three gentlemen manning the exhibition and they were having a blast. I spoke to one of them and it just sounded like this whole museum is their personal playing ground that happens to make some money to keep it going. Good to hear that they will be moving to a bigger building as they have plans to expand beyond the current walls.

 

The attention to details is truly remarkable.

 

Closeup view of Main Street… really awesome!

 

Different angle of Main Street.

 

Last view. We will keep our eye on this place and look forward to visiting again after they move later on this year.

 

Lucia having some fun at the childrens park next to the Greenville Zoo.

 

Whatever Lucia does, Luca must follow…and try to do better. Sound familiar?

 

Francesca, Lucia and Luca’s older sister spent sometime with Bethe making some cookies. They came out really good. Very few things are as good as a just baked chocolate chip cookie!

 

The kids are ready for bed, but must check the giant puzzle one more time.

 

We have continued to hike this year. Not as much as we would like, but we will keep at it as it is really great exercise and provides with some beautiful views of the surrounding area. This image shows a very unusual stream that seems to come out from the bottom of the tree. Never seen anything like it so had to take a picture of it. Have you seen such before? Nature has so many surprises.

 

While in Amelia Island in Florida, we stopped at the beach to relax for a while. Well, it did not take long to be surrounded by hungry seagulls. My wife could not resist and shared some of her cookies with them. As you can see, they seemed to form a queue.

 

While in Amelia Island we stopped at Pi Infinite Pizza (located in Fernandina Beach). Wow did they have some great and different pizza. Here you see a breakfast pizza with Canadian bacon and a couple of fried eggs on top. Really good!

 

In late March we visited Massachusetts to spend sometime with our youngest daughter Jocelyn and visit some friends and family. We heard of a Peruvian restaurant in Providence, RI. so we had to check out. We took a couple of friends with us that had never had Peruvian food, so it was a real gamble as we never had been there. WOW, were we thrilled with this place!  The name is Los Andes – located in 903 Chalkstone Ave, Providence. A MUST visit – even if you never had Peruvian food before. The service was exceptional and the food; simply the best Peruvian food I have had in this country. A nice sample of what we had can be seen in this image (Ribeye perfectly grilled with some savvy sauce on top, Jalea, Causa, Anticuchos, Lomo Saltado and ceviche. Yum, yum and yum.  For a look at their menu click HERE

 

 

Just a table at a restaurant in Plymouth, MA waiting for customers.

 

Massasoit ( leader of the Wampanoag tribe) who saved  Plymouth colony from  almost certain starvation that the Pilgrims endured during their first winter in the new land. The statue overlooks Plymouth harbor. On the lower left you can see a portion of the building that houses Plymouth Rock – must say the structure is a lot more impressive than the rock. Check it out and you will know what I mean.

 

We spent a couple of days in Boston; a great city to walk and explore the new and the old.

 

Maria, had some eye surgery and we assisted her with transportation. The surgery went very well and the latest news is that complete healing is well under way. They truly do not come sweeter than Maria.

 

While in Cambridge, MA we had to have lunch at S&S. A really good restaurant that opened in 1919 and still delights all their patrons. We are fans and visit whenever there. The picture frame in this image shows how the restaurant/street looked in the 40’s.

 

We visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Art Museum in Boston; always wanted to go there and finally made it. You may remember this museum where 25 years ago it was the setting for one of the largest property thefts in US history. Two robbers wearing Boston police uniforms gained access to the museum and stole 13 pieces of well know artist worth $500 million. So far, not one piece has been recovered. Amongst the stolen painting there were Rembrandt, Manet, Degas, Flinck and Vermeer. We could only take pictures while inside the museums courtyard for security reasons. Their courtyard is very nice; it made us feel like we were back in Venice.

 

A popular restaurant in Quincy Market is called Dick’s Last Resort. Looks like a tourist trap, but maybe not. Patrons are given rolled up paper hats with names or sayings written on then, which are then placed on customers. Looks silly and reviews are not to complementary, but they seems to be busy.

 

Quincy Market is a very nice place to visit while in Boston. We had a crisp sunny day- perfect for a walk and watching some of the popular street performers that always draw a good crowd.

 

While in Boston, we decided to go to the North End for dinner. The North End is very well know for amazing Italian food and several bakeries with wonderful desserts and espresso. As we walked towards our chosen restaurant we saw the Connah Store…now this is Boston.

 

We chose a new restaurant for us called Comodoro. We were very happy we made reservations as the place was very small. I mean, at most they could sit 30 people. After a brief wait we were seated and had one of the best Italian dinners in recent memory. When I said the place was small, we could see the cook from our table as he seems to check the patrons reaction to his dishes. If he saw us he could clearly see we were enjoying every bite. The dishes were prepared to order. My grilled cod with a delectable marinara sauce was simple, but so good. My wife got a mushroom risotto, Jocelyn got a Chicken Marsala and Kyle got a linguini with a white sauce. Everyone was a very happy with their choice.

Dessert came and went before I could take a picture of it. Jocelyn and Kyle wondering how it went so quick.

 

As we walked back to our car, I came across this very Italian bike setup; how do I know it is Italian?

Tombstone, Arizona

On our way back from California, as we crossed into Arizona, we saw a sign for the old historic town of Tombstone. As soon as we saw that sign my wife said…”we must stop and check it out”. You need to know that my wife’s favorite western movie is Tombstone with Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp, Sam Elliot as Virgil Earp, Bill Paxton as Morgan Earp and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday. Many other good actors also appeared in this film, but the movie centered around these four as they were the principal historical figures of the famous gun fight at the OK Corral. If you have not seen this film it is highly recommended.

Promotional picture of Kurt Russell’s Tombstone movie. Can you tell who is who in this picture based on the names listed above? One of my favorite quotes in this movie was spoke by Russell…”tell them I am coming and hell is coming with me!”

 

The town of Tombstone was founded in 1879 by Ed Schieffelin in Arizona territory. Tombstone has the distinction of being the last wide-open frontier boomtown in the old American West. Mining was the source of wealth in Tombstone, the town boomed from 1877 to 1890. Here you see my wife at the west entrance of Tombstone. Yes, in the background you can see the famous OK Corral, more on that later.

 

No doubt that the Tombstone movie gave this old town a good boost. Tombstone survives today due to its many visitors attracted by the history, OK Corral gunfight reenactments and museums showcasing the towns short but rich history. In this museum, amongst many other items we found the saddle Kurt Russell rode in the movie Tombstone. Ok, not that historic, but hey.

 

The site of the famous OK Corral gunfight where the Earp’s and Doc Holliday killed Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury and Bill Clanton. The gunfight was the result of a personal, family and political feud. This display is actually very well done. Press a button and you get the whole story over loudspeakers. The props move according to the gunfight sequence. Unfortunately we were 20 minutes late to the live re-enactment of the gunfight; hope you get there on time when you visit.

 

In one of the many small museums we found a good size collection of old photographs documenting every day life in Tombstone. I liked this one in particular; the 1904 Tombstone football team after they beat the University of Arizona team. That must have been something to celebrate then. Check the protective equipment; wonder if they were better off without so much protection as I would think you would need to factor it will also hurt you when you hit your opponent.

 

Doc Holliday’s girlfriend; Big Nose Kate. Well, Hollywood does not always pick actors that look like the individuals they play. Big Nose Kate was a lot better looking in the movie than in this period photo. Oh well, the past is always romanticized a great deal isn’t it? Brief account of Kate’s role in this plaque.

 

So what is one option when you retire after practicing dentistry for several decades? Join the Tombstone period re-enactment players is one option. That is exactly what this gentleman did; we spoke to this gentleman briefly and told us that he was a dentist for many years and after retiring decided to join the re-enactment group in Tombstone. He loves it and wished he did it sooner.

 

DSCF6986

Tombstone Sherriff outside Big Nose Kates Saloon. Not sure if he liked his picture taken, could not see his right hand and wonder if it was on his gun ready to shoot me at the same time I did…hmmm

 

Inside Big Nose Kate Saloon. According to the last US census, Tombstone has about 1,504 residents and 419 families residing in the city. While the main source of income for Tombstone is tourism (about 450 thousand visitors per year) many of those in the bars were local. Many of them looked like they belong in the town’s heyday. Having a beer in this historic place was fun.

 

East Allen Street, pretty much like it must have look like in its heyday. Unfortunately, Tombstone saw many fires throughout its history and many of the original buildings (were rebuilt; some more than twice). Regardless, the feel of the town is like going back to a time romanticized by Hollywood. This street is closed to vehicles and is the main tourist attraction in the town. There are many gift shops, eateries and saloons along its three blocks.

 

Inside the Crystal Palace; originally known as the Golden Eagle Brewing Co. it was one of the early Tombstone saloons. During the massive 1881 fire, this building was partially damaged. After quick repairs, the saloon changed its name the The Crystal Palace. It quickly became the premier saloon with fine dining in addition to serving the choicest brands of wines, liquors and cigars. Gambling and live music were also part of the action every night of the week. Remember, Tombstone was a very prosperous mining town and money was abundant.

 

The actual roulettes that were in use during the Earp’s stay in Tombstone.

 

A wider view of the Crystal Palace Saloon. The bar is a beautiful mahogany art work. Unfortunately, after prohibition the bar closed and for many years it was vacant. During prohibition it was used as a Greyhound station, a warehouse and a movie theater. Soon after prohibition was lifted it reopened as a saloon again. By then the mahogany bar was no longer there and could not be found. Fortunately, in 1963, the Historic Tombstone Adventures, an organization formed to preserve and restore many of the town’s landmarks purchased the property. The found drawings of the original bar design and reproduced it to it finest details.

 

This is a picture of the original bar. As you can see when comparing the two; they look identical. Cheers to successful restoration efforts!

Two streets from East Allen Street you find the entrance to one of the many mines in Tombstone. Silver was the primary precious metal mined in this area. By 1981, cumulative silver production in this area totaled 490 million troy ounces (15 million Kg. or 33 million lb.). That is a lot of silver. We were told that mining has not stopped and tourism is the main source of income in town.

 

The famous Oriental Saloon. This is the saloon that Wyatt Earp and his brothers took over and made a good deal of money overseeing gambling operations. Like to take a peek inside? Click HERE for a brief video I found in the web.

 

Drinking and gambling were not all of the activities miners and visitors had available.

 

Some things never change!

 

We hope you enjoy this brief tour of Tombstone. We wished we arrived earlier as many of the stores were closed by the time we arrived. However, we really enjoyed our visit and highly recommend you stop by if in the area.