Happy Hibiscus Hues

Variegated Peach and Coral

I don’t think I had seen a hibiscus until I moved to Egypt.  Our villa garden was gloriously full of the original red hibiscus.  Since living in the States I have discovered so many other shades but never as many as I spotted in San Diego at Balboa Park.

Pale pink

Aren’t the colorful stamens pretty?  Such perfection in a flower.

Deep orange

Lemon

I love the matching lemon stamens.

Look at those stamens!

I would love dresses in all of these colors, especially this clear red above.

Pale yellow

This was the first time I had seen clustered blossoms of hibiscus.

Deep pink

Cream and crimson

Mauve

Sometimes it is the small aspects of life that make us happy.  These hibiscus were a distance from the Botanical Garden in Balbao Park and outside the zoo.  Only I seemed to be fixated with the variations of color and taking photographs.  Perhaps they are more common in San Diego?  Ironically, my camera had lost battery power, so all these are taken with my Samsung phone.  My beloved Nikon camera is getting old and slow, so Teddy and I bought me my first proper camera at the weekend.  It is a Sony with a Zeiss lens but most importantly it is really light for my neuropathic fingers to manipulate.

Lush flowers in our garden in Cairo

This is a shot of our beautiful garden in Cairo.  Can you see Toffee hiding in the flowers?  Look for the tail in the path…  Click here if you would like to know more about our adventures in Cairo – Letters from Cairo

 

 

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Birthday Dress

Bargain Birthday Dress!

It has been a while since I did a fashion post.  This bargain buy was a treat after a very long work week.  I found it in Nordstrom’s Rack for $17.  It is a Maggy London dress so they normally retail at around $120.  I have paired them with my favorite BOC lime flower sandals and the foxes’ mermaid.  We have a video of the puppies carrying the mermaid in their mouths.

I wore it for a pre-birthday dinner with Teddy and my friend.  On my actual birthday it was over 100 degrees so it was too hot to wear it.  Teddy and I also celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary, the day before my birthday.  We didn’t know each other very well when we married in haste, so I thought if we married the day before my birthday he would never forget my birthday.  Teddy never forgets anything but Bunny does…

Our 36th wedding anniversary

We spent our anniversary in a historic little town just north of us.  Teddy loves antiquing so I just follow him around…he also loves ballet.  Who knew?  As far as I know, he is out of the closet.

Birthday girl at Lake Conroe

On my birthday we tried a new restaurant on Lake Conroe.  There is a real haze in the air from Saharan dust which some weird weather has brought to Texas.  We managed to stay outside despite the blistering heat.  Then we went home to collapse in the air conditioning!.

San Diego Mugshots

…and to another brilliant segue by Kerry – from Folsom to San Diego. There is a lovely little seaside community in San Diego called Seaport. As I was walking about I noticed this fancy schmancy shopping and dining center, The Headquarters at Seaport. Even more intriguing was that this was the original San Diego Police Headquarters built in 1939. What a place to work with magnificent views of the water! As the city increased in size they outgrew the original headquarters and here we are today. Amazingly they kept the original 8 block cell intact with some of the mugshots of the prisoners. This is a link to the history and architecture of The Headquarters.

Since I went to San Diego to research my ancestors, I looked with cautious trepidation at the mugshots. Was one my relative – not to my knowledge? What an interesting bunch they were. Such a mix of ethnicities and most of the crimes seemed relatively minor.

Block of 8 jail cells


The cell blocks themselves looked better than most youth hostels I frequented in my youth. You had a bed, toilet and sink all to yourself – wow! I bet there was even hot water…


As fascinating as it was, I was left with a feeling of sadness that so many of them were drug addicts. How little life changes over the generations. At least they had reasonably sized jail cells with the smell of the ocean just outside the door.

Texas Trains

Look at that! A Texas sky and an old railroad with no barriers. Us Texans are brave…

I recently had the good fortune to travel to Brenham in the Texas hill country for work.  It is a small country town, German in origin, north west of Houston.  The last time I traveled for work was in the UK, to grim industrial towns in England.  This trip was much better with perfect spring weather in Texas (hot summer weather in UK).

I used to be terribly frightened of railroad crossings but since moving here, I have had to get used to them.  Most of them around me have no barriers so the train uses the horn for miles – a sound I love.  Sometimes on a quiet night I can hear them at night about 4 miles in the distance.  Now I just stop briefly at the railroad and check there are no trains (not everyone stops…)  The crossing above was right in the middle of the old section of town.

Santa Fe Depot

These train company names immediately bring nostalgic memories of old American movies and I dream of jumping on a wagon to travel across country.

Abandoned train line

Or at least I think it is abandoned – it is sometimes hard to tell out in the countryside.  As I child I would have constantly been on these train lines imagining the destinations.

Yellow train

This is just one part of a very long train that had dozens of wagons.  They sometimes are so long that it takes 20 minutes for one to pass.

Wildflowers beside the Walmart

As I was leaving the Super Walmart I noticed this field of bluebonnets, followed by red wildflowers and finally yellow.  The sky was very overcast and it gave a surreal feel to the field.  I attempted a photo watercolor below.

Watercolor created by using Photoscape

I am sleeping with a senior citizen…

Celebrating Teddy’s 60th birthday at a rooftop hotel in Mobile, Alabama

…and he snores too. Teddy and I rarely travel together because of our elderly cat but made a special effort to go to a new place for his 60th birthday.  When we married he was 24 years old and I can’t figure out how all this time has passed.  Teddy went ahead of me and I arrived at Mobile Regional Airport on his birthday.  He picked me up in a rental car and we went straight across the fabulous Mobile Bay causeway .  Sometimes water that close to a roadway scares me but this was just sublime.  We started looking for brown historical sites signs and starting learning the fascinating history of Mobile.

View from the original settlement of Blakely near Mobile. The city of Mobile is in the far distance.

This whole city, named Blakely, was abandoned after an epidemic of yellow fever in the 1800s and everyone moved to the new settlement of Mobile on the other side of the vast bay.  Five rivers create a delta into the bay.  From our busy metropolis, this was absolute bliss – very few people and polite drivers.  We went to lunch at an Oyster place with a great view across the delta.  After two glasses of wine I decided ‘we’ would drive to just over the border of Alabama into Florida.  It was wonderful.  Teddy and Bunny decided that there was no reason to change the habits of a lifetime and had a spat about which direction we should be going in…  There was no cell phone service deep in the country and the GPS stopped working.  By the time we had dinner in the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, all was bliss in Teddy and Bunny land. 🐻 🐰

Many more posts of a place less traveled and some funny stories.

Celestún Beach, Mexico

Entry to beach

Perfect Playa

Doesn’t this look like paradise?  Where are the people? Celestún is famous for the breeding grounds of flamingos and the area is a bio preserve.  This means that Celestún hasn’t developed as much as other places in Yucatan such as Cancun.  It was warm but very breezy as you can see from the waves.

After I walked along the beach, I investigated some of the streets close by.  First I saw a group of elderly ladies in various stages of ill health that had been to the local clinic.  I doubt their medical care was as extensive as mine but they were happily chattering as they walked home.  They had probably known each other from childhood and I looked at them in quiet envy.

Celestun village street

La Palapa Restaurant

There were a few restaurants and one was right on the beach.  I really needed a clean restroom but ordered a local beer and admired the view.  The restrooms were like most in the area – spotlessly clean, smelling of bleach with that fantastic foot pedal to flush the toilet.  There was also a clean wastebasket to put your toilet paper in.  The pipes are too narrow and the paper pollutes the pristine environment.  I thanked my hosts kindly and walked out.

Only in Mexico do you get a crucifix in the bar…

As I rounded the corner, reality struck me in the face.  An old sick dog was seizing in the road.  Her eyes were sunken and she was just hours or days from death.  I immediately went into triage mode.  How could I euthanize this dog, likely a stray?  I had left my tranquillizers at the hotel which I could have crushed into some tuna.  As I stopped and stared, I knew I could do nothing.  My rabies vaccinations are long since out of date.  The dog was not mine and it might not be culturally acceptable for me to be the angel of death.  In Cairo most people disapproved of animal euthanasia as it was God’s decision when we die.

I walked on with the knowledge that as much as I would like to, I couldn’t live in a poor rural country.  In Belize I snuck food out of the hotel to feed the starving dogs because there were no shops.  When I got back to the car, Angel, my driver, asked me what I thought of the village.  I told him truthfully that it was exquisite and charming.  Then I told him about the dog in halting Spanish – to my astonishment he seemed to truly understand my dilemma.  Ah, the yin and yang of life.

Cat Mural Celestun