These are more snippets of my life, a continuation of this post. All photos were taken on the Fujifilm X100 with minimal processing.
2013 Columbians / Mecha Bananas Holiday Party
The end of December not only marked the end of the holiday season and the beginning of a new year, but also marked an exciting event, the annual holiday party thrown by us Columbia alums and friends!
Like usual, it was potluck style and there was plenty of food and drink to go around.
Some of it was even made fresh right before dinner! Here’s Julia making guacamole.
The party brings together people from Norcal, Socal, New York and DC and gives the East Coasters a chance to escape the cold weather and do a bit of sightseeing.
Unfortunately, Phil and Lynn couldn’t make it back to the Bay Area in time for the party, but Google Hangouts came to the rescue! They remotely participated in our White Elephant exchange, shipping gifts beforehand and picking their gifts via webcam.
It’s the little things like our annual get together that remind me how much I love my friends. Here’s to many more years of holiday parties!
Santa Cruz With Family
The day after the party, I woke up bright and early and drove over to my uncle Sekar’s house. My cousin Ananth and his wife Kirthika were in town from Atlanta and we took a trip south of the bay to Santa Cruz and Carmel.
We started out with an attraction that I first visited as a child, the Mystery Spot. If you spend any time in the Bay Area, I guarantee that you will see cars adorned with bright yellow Mystery Spot bumper stickers. You might also occasionally spot similar orange Mercer Caverns bumper stickers, but the Mystery Spot ones are far more common.
What is the Mystery Spot? It’s a gravity hill, a place where physics and gravity supposedly don’t apply.
Initially, it might seem like a tourist trap, and if you take it at face value, it is. However, if you consider its history, the humorous high school students that lead tours, the paltry $6 admission fee and the free bumper stickers you receive at the end, it’s actually not too bad.
As long as you’re not allergic to thinly veiled pseudoscience, go visit sometime. At the very least you will find out how all those minivan drivers on Highway 101 all ended up with the same ugly bumper sticker.
An added plus is the forest surrounding the Mystery Spot. It’s dense, yet airy and catches the sunlight so beautifully. There is even a hiking trail the runs through it, but given the limited amount of time we had, we didn’t venture too far.
Afterwards, we had lunch at Ambrosia India Bistro in Monterey. We obviously also had to make a visit to the beach.
Some of us even took an unplanned dip in the water and had to dry ourselves off. ^^
Later, we walked through Carmel-by-the-Sea, visited yet another beach and had dinner at Aachi Aappakadai. As often happens, I got so absorbed in conversation with my family that I forgot to take photos. So, you will just have to image them.