Friday, 29 February 2008

A small reunion


Yes, it was remarkable that I managed to see TWO (not just one) of my high school friends during my stay in states. The food was good and the drink (they have DURIAN smoothie) was even better. Anyway, Mulyadi and Hengky, thanks for sparing your precious time to meet me and my family! (I know you guys rather be in office doing work :-P)

Change

Recently there has been quite a bit of change around here. Straight away back from states, I had to go to my new office on Monday. The people there are really nice, and because the office is quite small I had not smell any office policits yet, fantastic! Right, so finally I am back touching real embedded work. On my second day I was given JTAG, TV set up box and a digital tv. And my first build was ready to be downloaded... hurray!!
The most interesting thing is, on the day I started, the boss asked me whether I wanted to join their German class (FTV is bought by big germany company). I am quite surprised. But yet, I joined them, try desperately to catch up (equipped with my long forgotten vocab) because this is their 5th lesson. Anyway, it was quite fun!
Josiah was with the new childminder on tuesday. I didn't expect him to be quite tearful, but he cried all day long with nothing or no one able to console him. But his tears in not for me. He was so sleepy due to jetlag. Today he seems to be far better.
Yusdi is heading for another conference next month, so this couple of weeks will be busy time for him.
Now that my new job is much closer to home, I am able to live a normal live, wake up and sleep at reasonable hour. Praise the Lord.
I missed Pastor Tooley and our church family quite a bit. Even though all the church in states were big, have nice building, loads of ministry, friendly people... but nothing compare to my own church family.
Anyway, I am off soon... today is FRIDAY!!! And the most important thing is... it is a payday!!!!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

A secret place


I called it a secret place. Secluded mountain setting nicely developed native stone soaking pools next to creek. This is a beautifully picturesque hot springs with a colorful history and is one of the most pleasant rural settings in Colorado.
The place had no electricity... and limited number of bathroom... BUT, it's our best memories of visiting USA. I give it a nickname the gem of Rocky Mountains. (You might need a wheel chain or 4x4 to get here... we are so fortunate to survived the scary icy road with only 2 wheel drive). It rated one of the best in USA. And indeed it's true.

This cute looking red indian's style tent acted as changing room.

Just right before the sunset (take a look closely, the pool actually quite crowded at night).


And this is the rustic log cabin where we stayed. It's quite a good price, somewhat like 65 USD per night and this can fit up to 4 person. The price include the admission fee to the pool. There is only light and fireplace in the cabin, no electricity, television, even the toilet is shared with other cabin and we actually need to walk OUTSIDE to get there.
The temperature reaching -11 centigrade at night, so forget about going to the loo outside. I rather stop drinking.

The following 4 pictures were taken from our cabin's window.

The ice melting on our rooftop. Sometimes some of it fell to the ground. It would be quite dangerous if you happen to be down there.

And take a closer look, it's so beautiful! Look at those twinkling light that sparkle through the ice. Yusdi said, that what differ human made things and God creation. If we take closer look on human creation, we found FLAWS. On the other hand, we found a lot of beautiful and amazing things when we take a closer look on HIS creation.

Never mind there is no electricity as long as I can enjoy this view all through the day. (This is the view from cabin's second floor, which is actually our bedroom).

The view in DAY....

and NIGHT....

Yusdi and Josiah ready to swim!
The path towards the pool is quite slippery, I actually fell off once.

And we make the plunge!! The water was quite hot, probably around 50-60 centigrade. They have several pool with different heat, you can even have a private pool with the same charge. If you can spot it, Yusdi was holding Josiah in the pool on this picture.


And this is AFTER the bath. Josiah fell asleep almost instantly. Now, you see... even though this place LOOKS pretty cold, after half an hour of hot soak you can stand with swimsuit outside the pool for about 15 minutes without feeling cold. Believe me, it feels SOOO....GOOOOOD!!!

Both of us feel refreshed after the long journey.


And the best of all... of course, the moonrise! I might be pretty good with GIMP/Photoshop, but this is not edited. You see what you get :-)

So what are you waiting for? All other info and pictures can be found at http://www.strawberryhotsprings.com/2005/gallery.php
Unfortunately, this place doesn't looks as pretty in summer, check out the gallery if you want to know.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The best sunset photo

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Rev 4:11

This is taken from the bedroom window in San Jose belonging to Jessica's uncle, not from canyon or national park or some glorious beaches. Sometime great thing can be found in unexpected places.

Welcome to Alcatraz


Alcatraz Island (sometimes informally referred to as simply Alcatraz or by its pop-culture name, The Rock) is a smaller island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California, United States. It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963. It became a national recreation area in 1972 and received landmarking designations in 1976 and 1986. Today, the island is a historic site operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours.

The island had little vegetation and was a seabird habitat when it was explored in 1775 by Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala, who named it Isla de los Alcatraces ("Isle of the Pelicans").

Because of its natural isolation in the middle of a bay, surrounded by cold water and strong sea currents, Alcatraz was soon considered by the U.S. Army as an ideal location for holding captives. The maximum number of inmates was 302. In 1906, following the San Francisco earthquake (which destroyed much of the city), hundreds of civilian prisoners were transferred to the island for safety reasons. By 1912 a large cell house had been constructed on the island’s central crest, and by the late 1920’s, the three-story structure was nearly at full capacity.








Not such a pleasant place to stay huh....



Fortunately for us we can always take the ferry back to San Francisco :)

The GREAT Sand Dunes

It surprising to see a desert surrounded by snowy peaks. But that's what makes Great Sand Dunes such as special place.


Click the image to see FULL SIZE DUNES !!

The dunes and surrounding area were designated a National Monument in 1932. On November 22, 2000, United States President Bill Clinton signed the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000, aiming at ultimate national park status. With the help of the Nature Conservancy, the federal government purchased 97,000 acres (390 km²) of the Baca Ranch, which in effect tripled the size of the park. The purchase includes those sections of the ranch which previously bordered the park on the north and west sides and also included 14,165 feet (4,317 m) Kit Carson Mountain and 14,080 feet (4,292 m) subpeak Challenger Point, and the water drainages to the south. The land purchased was split into three sections. Part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains would be transferred to the Rio Grande National Forest, another section to the west would be set aside as a wildlife area and would host a wild bison herd and the last section to the east would be transferred from the Rio Grande National Forest and would be open to some hunting.

The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America, rising about 750 feet (230 m) from the floor of the San Luis Valley on the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Range, covering about 19,000 acres (77 km²).

The dunes were formed from sand deposits of the Rio Grande and its tributaries, flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over the ages, westerly winds picked up sand particles from the river flood plain. As the wind lost power before crossing the Sangre de Cristo Range, the sand was deposited on the east edge of the valley. This process continues, and the dunes are slowly growing. The wind changes the shape of the dunes daily.

There are several streams flowing on the perimeter of the dunes. The streams erode the edge of the dune field, and sand is carried downstream. The water disappears into the ground, depositing sand on the surface. Winds pick up the deposits of sand, and blow them up onto the dune field once again.

Digging a few inches into the dunes even at their peaks reveals wet sand. If the streams were to dry up, the dunes would disappear; in fact part of the motivation of turning the Monument into a National Park was the extra protection of the water, which Colorado's cities and agriculture covet.

It is very easy to experience the dune-building process. This is a very windy region, as hikers on the Sand Dunes will attest, as on many days they will be pelted by sand and even small rocks when hiking on the dunes. The wind carries sand and rocks from many miles away.

The dunes contain areas of black sand which are deposits of magnetite, a crystalline black oxide of iron.

Josiah doesn't seem too keen to climb the dunes.



Okay, can anyone tell me what is this??


We only make a stop here for about 3 hours, so apologise for such a lousy picture. Tomorrow, I'll post the best picture we had so far, the gem of Rocky Mountain, where heat meets cold.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Bathtime - warning: might contain nudity!!

Josias was enjoying his bath time in the hotel's bathtub.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Red Canyon



UT 12 approaches Bryce Canyon National Park from the west via Red Canyon, a shallow valley in the side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau surrounded by much exposed, orange red sandstone. The rocks are eroded into the familiar pinnacles, spires, columns and hoodoos also found in the national park a few miles to the east, here on a smaller scale and with less color variation, and although the main road is quite busy, most visitors hurry on to Bryce without stopping, and the areas away from the highway are usually quiet and empty. The formations line UT 12 for about 4 miles, starting quite abruptly at the edge of the plateau (a long escarpment known as the Sunset Cliffs) then fading away as the road reaches the flat grasslands on top, and extend several miles north, including two other large valleys of Losee Canyon and Casto Canyon - all within land of the Dixie National Forest.

Hiking: The highway through Red Canyon runs alongside a usually dry wash, far side of which has a newly resurfaced cycle track. Besides cycling, the canyon is also good for hiking, and there are several short, easy trails, including:
Tunnel Trail - starting near one of two short tunnels along the road, this climbs 200 feet to a viewpoint over the valley and the surrounding wooded hills (see QTVR).


Pink Ledges Trail - beginning next to the Red Canyon visitor center, this winds around hoodoos and pine trees close to the road, surroundings which are pretty enough though the rocks are not especially pink.


Photo Trail - a longer path across a short side valley and around slopes on the far side, passing various named formations. Rather better scenery is reached by climbing up from the official path, since the views are more wide ranging, and the formations seem more impressive when seen from above.
Casto Canyon: One extended hiking/biking/horse riding path (5.5 miles) leads from Red Canyon across a ridge into the upper end of Casto Canyon, following it to the far edge of the hills, where the streamway opens out into Sevier Valley. The lower end can also be reached by road, along a track that leaves UT 12 to the north, later meeting US 89 near Panguitch. This valley is more spectacular than Red Canyon, and the trail passes an ever changing variety of pink, red and orange eroded rocks, through ponderosa and bristlecone pine trees, and is especially peaceful, apart from the occasional noise of ATV traffic.

Hotels: The nearest place with hotels close to Red Canyon is Bryce Canyon.

This is the scenery just right before entering the red canyon.


Goes as the name "Red canyon" yes, it is truly RED indeed!!


Josiah first snow encounter (well, he'd seen snow before, but had not got a chance to touch it)