Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Monday, July 31, 2006


This series highlights great things to do in the San Francisco Bay Area, that cost little or no money.

The Berkeley Kite Festival. What a great way to spend a sunny summer afternoon down at Cesar Chavez park in the Berkeley Marina. And it is absolutely free!. This is the 20th annual festival, but the first one that I've known about. You can see in the picture how extravagant most of the kites are. And read more ... These guys are giant octopus', but there were equally interesting ones in the from of geckos, ghosts, trilobytes, and of course the old fashined geometric shapes, like the one Jonathan bought recently.

The highlight of the day was the "kite ballet," whereby six master kite flyers did a real choreography of kites, with music, rhythm, and all the elemets of a real ballet. Unbelievable. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 29, 2006


This series features great things to do in the Bay Area that cost little or no money.

One of the wonderful things about the Bay Area is our park and trail network that weaves its way through cities, along the coast, and out onto the EBMUD lands in the Bay Area hinterlands. Most trails and parks are well maintained, used but not crowded and the park staff even try to establish trailheads near public transportation.

The trail system that has intrigued me for the longest time is the San Francisco Bay Trail, a 400 mile trail which connects the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay and goes through 47 Bay Area cities. I've dreamed of walking this entire trail, bit by bit, and soaking up the wonder of this great body of water, also bit by bit.

Today was the first dayin fulfilling that dream. My good friend Vivian and I have decided to hike these 400 miles together, to walk and talk, spend more time together, and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Today was the first leg of the trip, and we chose the Oyster Bay Trail (so marked on the map), an 8.5 mile walk along the bay shore from San Leandro to the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center off highway 92.

This shoreline was originally home to Ohlone Indians. Later, much later (1950s) it served as a landing for local commercial boats ferrying people and market goods from across the bay. In 1854 salt harvetsing began when the entrepreneur John Johnson leveed natural salt pools and created a salt empire which was purchased by Leslie Salt in the 1930s. This last acquisition comes into my personal memory, since my grandfather was friendly with one of the head hanchos of Leslie Salt (this was in the 50s!), and he enjoyed so much driving us around the red/pink/rose salt beds that were testimony to his friend's success.

And so it goes. But today I didn't want to think about history, cultural conflicts, environmental disasters. I just wanted to enjoy the sea breeze, the conversation with my friend, and to feel my body come alive with some serious activity.

I'm pooped right now, but in that wonderful knowing-you'll sleep-like-a-log-and-wake-up-refreshed way, and am headed for bed. But I'm all ready for the next leg of the trip. We need to get out maps out very soon!

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Sunday, July 16, 2006


This series highlights wonderful things to see and do in the San Francisco Bay Area that don't make it into the guidebooks and don't cost much money.

My friend Mary Sano is a dance and performance artist with a stunning studio space in the heart of San Francisco. Mary is made of style -- in the way she moves, the way dresses, the way she responds to her surroundings. But her work and her life are also serious study and a passionate call for universal peace and understanding. As it should be, since Mary straddles Pacific Rim between her native Japan and her adopted city of San Francisco, both in her life and in her art.

This week she is hosting a Noh Seminar Series, featuring master artists from Japan. I went to one of the performances on Friday night, a Noh interpretation of an ancient Japanese legend. As all Mary's performance, which happen three or four times a year, she converted her studio into a salon-like performance space, so the audience and the performers are very close.

I rarely miss an event, because I can be sure to be surprised and moved by whatever creative work Mary is up to at the moment. I also love to watch the audience -- and international mix of interesting faces. .... whom I can get acquainted with at the wine reception after every performance.

Mary is pictured here (center) with two of her collaborators: Moira Roth and Shonosuke Okura.

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Monday, July 03, 2006


Christiaan and Nancy

Austin was great, but now I'm home, back in the groove, with no time to reflect and write about my trip. Ahh, such is life.

This is a picture of Christiaan and me taken from his new computer, which is also a webcam. (!!)Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Call me old fashioned, but I’m still awestruck by the wonders of air travel. To be able to wake up in Oakland and fly to Salt Lake City for breakfast or to New York for an evening concert. Or as was the case yesterday, work half a day, have a leisurely lunch in Oakland, and be in Austin TX by bedtime. Almost 2000 miles in less than five hours.

Yesterday I was at the library, enveloped by fog and cold, attending to all the minutiae of working, homeowning, calendars ,and entanglements. Today I’m sitting on the deck of my sons' house, aclimating to the sweltering Austin summer, and catching up with family members I haven't seen for many months. The warm breeze stirs up unfamiliar aromas and the catches the sound of the freeway, the birds and the train in the distance. All similar to the sounds of home and, yet, different. Christiaan and I sit on the deck compare gardening in Texas and California.

I have made this Oakland-Austin trip many times by plane, and two times by car. The wonders of air travel are just that, wonderful, and most of those trips I could not make unless I travelled by air. But given the choice I'd take ground travel any time. I love the freedom of taking to the road, with or without a map and traveling my own route, in my own time. I love to sense the changes in landscape, in temperature, in humidity, in the quality of light. I love stop along the way at gas stations or fast food joints (aren't they all these days?), and size up the local culture, whatever I can from this small sample.

All the culture that is at all interesting anymore is between between airports, right down there next to the earth.