Memorial Day

Monday, May 31, 2010
Today is Memorial Day, a day to say thank you to all the military personnel who protect our wonderful country.  The Palm Springs Air Museum, with it's fantastic collection of WWII airplanes, always has a special remembrance.  After all the dignitaries give their platitudes, a B-17 does a low flyover and drops thousands of carnations in remembrance of our military.  A neat sight to see.

"Memorial Day"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

French Wildflowers

Sunday, May 30, 2010
Nothing brightens breakfast in the morning than a freshly picked bouquet of wildflowers.  So simple yet elegant they bring a smile and start the day with a happy spirit.

"French Wildflowers"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Polo Rose

Saturday, May 29, 2010
The polo season is over, the weather's getting warmer and the ponies have moved to cooler pastures.  But the bar and restaurant at the Empire Polo Grounds is still open.  After lunch today we discovered the acres of beautifully tended roses.  In a nicely manicured garden with statues and fountains,  these roses were a breath of fresh air in an otherwise very warm desert. 

"Polo Rose"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

French Cherries

Friday, May 28, 2010
Cherries picked fresh off the tree are the sweetest.  In mid-May they start turning red in the Dordogne region of Southwest France.  A typical French breakfast of cheese, ham, yogurt and a croissant is made even better with fresh picked cherries.

"French Cherries"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Monet's Azaleas

Thursday, May 27, 2010
Springtime in Monet's garden is indeed a beautiful sight.  There are azaleas of all colors planted throughout the entire garden.  I've never seen orange or yellow azelas before but there they were, scattered amongst the other lovely plants.  These dark magenta flowers were on the edge of Monet's famous waterlily pond.

"Monet's Azaleas"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

The Gladiator's House

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
If this row of Italian Cypress trees looks familiar you've probably seen the movie "The Gladiator".  When Russell Crowe comes home to find his family murdered, this was the road he was running up, I just couldn't get past the gates to shoot the proper angle.  You'll just have to imagine it.

"The Gladiator's House"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Kolej Cendana Intec UiTM, Shah Alam- A Nostalgia...

I can still remember the very first day I stepped into Kolej Cendana. Before receiving my offer letter, I had no idea where on earth Kolej Cendana is... I surfed the net numerous times and found out some useful informations and photos. I bet those fresh juniors of year 2010 would be doing the same thing by now...

28th June 2010>>> the day I stepped into Kolej Cendana... At first, I was nervous... My blood froze and my heart beat was at a speed of 500mph... (hyperbole I guess)... I was unsure what Cendana has to offer me... I met lots of fresh faces the first day I registered... I was placed in the same room 5 other guys: Haneef (we call him bird or just anep), Jeeva(the huge guy), Navin(the good listener), Lim Yi Fei(the funny Guy) and Amni(the serious ‘at times’ guy)... I was hoping that my roommates would be good friends of mine.. And yes!! They did... A year has passed and the bond between us is still there... Hopefully, it will always be there... Of course we had ups and downs... minor arguments and so on... Anyway, that’s life... It’s better to look at the brighter part of it...

Anyway, Cendana has always been a meaningful hostel for me as it is where I started a new of phase of my life called as ‘Hostel Life’... Back then in high school... I used to go back home every day with a broad smile on my face... My school is kinda semi-boarding school... It’s optional for one to stay there or outside... Obviously, I wasn’t a hostel resident... When I stepped into Cendana... things were really different and most importantly... tough... Yes... I had to adapt to a new environment (Trust me, it took quite some time for me to succeed in it), being away from parents... missing my family, feeling bored (most of my roommates go back every weekend- I am left alone with aneep in d room) , had 2 do all tasks by my own and so on...

However, I learnt things slowly... I always made sure that things were in place... Jeeva used to call me ‘Mr Ordnung’... Ordnung means ‘in order’ in the German language... I gained lots of new experience that I can proudly reflect back... haha... However, to be honest... I admit that I complained a lot when I first entered Cendana... We even made jokes when the staff told us that we have to be proud that we are in Cendana as that’s an elite place... I was wondering what the word ‘elite’ really meant.. haha.. We compared Cendana with other hostels and so on... Finally, when we had to leave, we realised Cendana is not that bad as what we first thought...

Now, let’s cut the crap... I’ll take you on a brief journey around Cendana... Ready?? Move it people!!!

The front gate...


The guard house...


A tranquil park opposite Cendana...


The Dobi Room (you’ll have to pay RM2.50 per wash)


The UiTM bus...


The courts in Cendana...


Study room in Cendana...


Staircase in Cendana...


My room in Cendana...




My block...


Back view of my block...


Dawood Restraunt (only restraunt here besides Mc Don-not mc donald)


A burger stall...


The police quarters opposite Cendana...


Night view of Cendana...


Housing area next to Cendana...


The other day... I was walking with my friend Saadoun(i call him Don)... We were reflecting back those good times we had in Cendana when all of a sudden, without a warning... Don asked me, ‘Hey Vinod, do you know the difference between hotel and hostel?? I took a rough guess by pointing out the most obvious difference that I noticed- the word ‘S’. He said, ‘Yes you are right. Do you know what the word ‘S’ represent??’ I said No... Then, he continued... ‘S’ stands for SHARE... Hostel is where you share lots of things... Experiences, lame stories, happiness, sadness, certain stuffs that you can share... I was dumbstruck for a moment thinking how creative my friend was... However, that impression just lasted just for a while... He continued by saying, ‘My teacher told me this”... Hahaha.. Anyway, a big round of applause for don for sharing a useful piece of message!!! That’s all for now dear blogy... Sorry for not being in action for a long period of time... I had my finals... Couldn’t log in... For all those fresh juniors out there, I hope that you will appreciate your stay at Cendana!!!

Peace out ppl

Welcome - Italian Style

Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Beautiful ceramics and colorful flowers create a warm welcome to the local Trattoria in Sorrento, Italy. 

"Welcome - Italian Style"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Indian Blanket Flower

Monday, May 24, 2010
This colorful flower is aptly named.  The tips of the petals resemble the fringe on a blanket and the deep rich colors are commonly found in Indian Blankets.  It's a great plant for adding vibrant colors in desert gardens.

"Indian Blanket Flower"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Cream Cup

Sunday, May 23, 2010
This delicate wildflower is found in the Mojave Desert and is quite common in the Stoddard Valley and forms displays along with the California Poppy in the Antelope Valley of California.  It is a member of the poppy family and grows on a long, hairy, leafless stem.  When the sun hits it right, the shadows cast by the long stamens adds a nice dramatic effect.

"Cream Cup"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

The Green Door

Saturday, May 22, 2010
Italian door knockers are an elaborate and decorative presentation to those arriving at a home.  I'm not sure if there's a correlation to the the knocker and what's behind the door.  I guess my next adventure will require me to use them to find out.  An interesting concept.

"The Green Door"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Bright White

Thursday, May 20, 2010
Irises are considered "regal" flowers.  It's the underlying design for the Fleur de Lis.  My favorite is the bearded iris with it's large, ruffled petals and fluffy beard on the lower petals.  They have been hybridized into many color combinations, some of which seem impossible.  But the all white ones are very stately and elegant.

"Bright White"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Tug Boat in the Rain

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Traversing the Panama Canal means getting up close and personal with tug boats.  They nudge and push to position the large ships for transiting the lock system.  Sometimes it's early in the morning and they're right at your porthole.  Yep, 4:30 in the morning and I get these bright lights.  But since it's raining, the lights take on an ethereal look.

"Tug Boat in the Rain"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

The Pieta

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
If you've been to the Vatican you've probably seen Michelangelo's sculpture "The Pieta".  Beautifully executed in white Carrera marble, it depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after he was taken down from the cross.  This is a mosiac replica of her face.  Mosaic "paintings" are  big ticket items in the stores around the Vatican.  Small pieces of colored Italian glass in a myriad of colors take the place of paint. And they're all meticulously done.

"The Pieta"    © Kathy Dunham 2010


Monday, May 17, 2010
Ever take the time to look at the tiny blue violet flowers on a rosemary bush?  Most people don't.  They're delicate and a little bit hairy but delightful. 

"Rosemary"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Clock Tower and Chimneys

Friday, May 14, 2010
The old town of Pienza in Tuscany, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This special designation is given to areas or places that UNESCO believes need to be preserved for future generations.  The town was originally wiped out during the plague and Pope Pius II paid for the complete renovation in the 1400s.  But one of the great features of this charming hilltop town is the pecorino.  This fantastic sheep's milk cheese beats parmasean far as I'm concerned.

"Clock Tower and Chimneys"   © Kathy Dunham 2010

Santa Fe Hollyhocks

Thursday, May 13, 2010
Two things I love, hollyhocks and Santa Fe, make a great combo.   If you're ever in Santa Fe in the summer you'll find plenty of these Eastern Mediterranean natives. 

"Santa Fe Hollyhocks"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Yellow Splash

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Summer's on it's way and this bright yellow dahlia serves as a reminder of the colors to come.  That's the best part of summer, all the flowers and fragrances.

"Yellow Splash"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Wall Decoration

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California is maturing nicely. Completed two years ago, according to strict Chinese design, it is a peaceful and elegant area to relax and enjoy the beauty of a well arranged landscape. These cut outs in the outer wall take on a dramatic look when the light hits it.

"Wall Decoration"    © Kathy Dunham 2010


Monday, May 10, 2010
My favorite store in Times Square is the M&M store.  Floor after floor of delicious candy covered chocolate in every color imaginable.  Plus anything else they could design in the image of our favorite candy.

"Yummmm"     © Kathy Dunham 2010


Sunday, May 9, 2010
He was real proud of his "new" set of wheels.  He drove as slow as possible around the parking lot before heading out.  But I'm not sure which is more polished, his car or his head. 

"Baldy"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

French Deserts

Saturday, May 8, 2010
My sweet tooth was acting up today and I sure wish I could have either one of these right now.  The fresh cherry crumble and the decadant chocolate whatever with all that rich cream sauce makes my mouth water.  Yes, it was cherry season in France when we stopped in the town of Bergerac.  And nothing beats fresh cherries.  Yummm!! 

"French Deserts"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

National Train Day

Friday, May 7, 2010
May 8th is National Train Day.  I know this isn't your idea of a great train picture, even the wheels are missing, but I love the statement painted on the side.  Being an artist, I found it quite profound.

"National Train Day"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

View of the Louvre

Thursday, May 6, 2010
If you like art then you've gotta love Paris.  Museums, museums, museums.  And they house some of the most famous and spectacular art in the world.  This is a view of the Louvre from the roof of the Musee D'Orsay, separated by the River Seine.

"View of the Louvre"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Missing - One Dome

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Mission San Zavier just south of Tucson, Arizona never had both domes.  And they decided to leave it that way.  Built between 1783-97, this Franciscan mission is called the "White Dove of the Desert" and is an impressive example of Spanish mission architecture which distinighuishes it from other missions.

"Missing - One Dome"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Shingles and Stone

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The old town area of Sarlat, France is very typical medieval from the 100 year war era.  Note the English wattle and daub style on the turret on the left of the house.  In this part of France you'll see this combination of architectural styles since the English and French fought over this territory for so long.  Guess they figured if they combined styles they'd please both.

"Shingles and Stone"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Trees of Gold

Monday, May 3, 2010
This time of year the desert is alive with trees of gold. The Palo Verde trees are all in bloom and we have a lot of them.  The flowers are small, about 1/2" in diameter, but can completey cover a tree when in bloom.  The rest of the year they are green.  Green leaves and green bark.  And in real dry conditions they lose their leaves and can photosynthesize through the green bark to stay alive.  It's an amazing tree.

"Trees of Gold"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Bagno Vignone

Sunday, May 2, 2010
These thermal baths were a popular stop on the road to Rome in centuries past.  They're still in use today with small boutique hotels for tourists.  What a great way to relax.

"Bagno Vignone"    © Kathy Dunham 2010


Saturday, May 1, 2010
Nothing says Spring like the smell of lilacs.  And for some reason, every time I look at this picture I can smell them.  Talk about the power of suggestion!! 

"Lilacs"    © Kathy Dunham 2010