Friday, June 30, 2006

Kauai Life

Anyone who has visited the island of Kauai knows about the wild chickens. They roam the beaches, resorts, streets, parking lots, and mountains. We found them in the highest reaches of Waimea Canyon. This brood below is living the high life, enjoying the resort on a daily basis for free.

The view from my room. Look closely and you can see a rainbow in the courtyard.

A cruise ship docks in the distance.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Helicopter Tour of Kauai

I had the opportunity to do something I've never done before: take a helicopter ride. The icing on the cake was that it was over the island of Kauai.

The copter:

Our native pilot and I had something in common--we both prefer driving with bare feet.

After takeoff, we flew over the resort's golf course which overlooks the ocean. Being in a helicopter is the closest thing I've ever experienced to flying. I'm sure hang gliding is a little closer.

Mountains like this abound around the island.

Later on my trip Chris and I hiked to the edge of this waterfall in Waimea Canyon. This is the overhead view.

Check out this amazing coast.

Waterfalls are everywhere.

Plenty more pictures to come, when I get a chance to upload them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Kauai Trip

I was in Kauai all last week and have been catching up at home and work ever since. Guess it's time I updated my blog.

I was in Kauai for "work", however we had a bit of downtime. Our event was held at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, which is where I stayed as well. It's a really gorgeous place, with a pool backing up to the beach, and spacious gardens that are meticulously maintained.

Heading to the nearby ABC store for a few things.

Palm trees overhead.

The central feature of the resort is a beautiful series of pools and waterfalls within a tropical garden. Swans float above hundreds of mature koi.

The garden.

More shots of the pond.

These were taken the first few days. I'll be back with more soon... I hope.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Chicago Day 3

We were so tired from walking the first two days, that we decided to go see X-Men III downtown. Went straight to the wedding at the Magnificent Mile Marriott Hotel after. Both Amy and I were excited to experience a traditional Indian wedding.

This is Amy and I shortly after arriving.

This is my friend Ram with his sister Shoba.

Ram led a procession of guests around the room and up the escalator to the ballroom foyer.

The wedding was held inside the ballroom, which was gorgeously decorated.

Amy posed beneath the arch.

The wedding program. The entire ceremony takes place in Sanskrit, which nobody except the Hindu priest understands.

The canopy, where all the action took place.

The flower girl.

The bride enters for the first time.

Flower leis are exchanged as part of the ceremony.

The ceremony is long and includes many offerings to the gods. Here is the aftermath.

Flowers were everywhere. These arrangements lined the walkway.

Instead of rice, guests throw flower petals at the bride and groom as they leave the wedding.

You'd think I could have got a better shot of the happy couple, but you'd be wrong.

A very simple cake, which I don't think is historically a big part of Indian weddings.

The ballroom was reset for dinner. I decided not to draw unnecessary attention to myself by photographing the many wonderful Indian dishes. The food was delicious.

The night ended with a dance party. Amy and I both had a great time. We wish Ram and Vani all the best.

I have two video clips which I will try and post this week.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Chicago Day 2

On Saturday we rode the metro out to Lincoln Park Zoo to see the animals. We really liked these camels.

After we walked along North Avenue Beach on Lake Michigan. It looks and feels exactly like any beach on the west coast. Tons of people out in the sand.

I didn't take anymore photos from Day 2, but we went to a pre-wedding dinner at Ben Pao, a Chinese Restaurant downtown. Met my friend Ram's fiance for the first time and enjoyed the food.