Thursday, December 14, 2017

Indian Wells, California --- the Wedding, part one

Miramonte Resort and Spa, Indian Wells, CA

Roger here...  Other than the birth of our daughters and granddaughter, Dianne and I have just experienced the most joyous days of our marriage.  The next few posts will only give you a taste of the joy.  

For Dianne and me, these posts are similar to a diary.  They are important to us.  We attended numerous events over the four days of this destination wedding.

Wednesday --- Packing...   Let's start at the beginning.  We had been staying at the Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert, California with our dogs.  On Wednesday night we packed everything we intended to take to the Miramonte Resort in nearby Indian Wells.  

Don't you think we need to take our own coffee maker?  Ok, throw it on the pile.

Thursday morning --- The Move...  We took the dogs to the Barkingham Pet Hotel and Spa in the morning.  At 11:00 a.m. we picked up our daughter, Amanda, and our granddaughter, Kaia, at the Palm Springs Airport, ate lunch at a crowded In and Out Burger (a California tradition) and checked into our villa at the Miramonte Resort.  We left the girls at the villa to take showers while Dianne and I  drove back to the motorhome to load the pile of luggage into the car. We  arrived back at our villa just in time for Dianne and the girls to meet the bridesmaids and received Mehindi henna tattoos.

Thursday afternoon --- Mehindi

At 2:00 p.m. the bridesmaids (including Amanda), Kaia and Dianne went to Robyn's room for sessions with a Mehindi artist.  

Robyn's Ankle
Mehindi is an ancient Indian process in which an artist uses a henna paste to paint designs on ladies' hands, lower arms, and ankles.  The initial designs are black. The black paste hardens then after a few hours falls off.  A reddish-brown tattoo remains for up to two weeks.  All my girls, including Dianne, loved this.

Dianne's Hands and Arms

Amanda's Hand and Wrist

Kaia's Hands and Wrists

Robyn's Hand and Arm
While my three roommates were receiving their henna tattoos, I began to unpack and immediately discovered that I did not have much prep space in the bathroom for myself :-).  Oh well, a small price to pay.

Dianne, Amanda, and Kaia's space
This was my space.  I should be thankful that I had toothbrush and toothpaste space.  (Actually, they all used my toothpaste, so it really was not all mine.)

The resort was luxurious, as was our villa (despite my allotted bathroom space).  We had separate bedrooms, one with a living area.

We made good use of our private patio area during our four-night stay.  It was fun greeting our friends and Atul and Robyn's family and friends as they passed by.

Swimming Pool Cabanas in the Background

Thursday Evening --- Rehearsal Dinner...  The Rehearsal Dinner took place on a second floor terrace overlooking the pool and mountains.  

We had already met many of Atul's family as well as members of the wedding party.  The picture below is special to me --- to my right, Atul's father (Dr. Singh); on the far right, the father of Atul's brother-in-law, Clarence (a treasured member of the family who will be a life-long friend).

This is a photo of one of Atul's two sisters (Mimi) and Atul's beautiful niece (Simron).  They are both delightful people. 

I deeply regret that we did not get photos of several important people.  Atul's younger sister, (Rashmi), Rashmi's fiancĂ© (Finn), Simron's brother (Inesh),  Mimi's husband (Scott).  I guess we were too busy enjoying our new family.

This is a photo of maid-of-honor (Linda), groomsman (Vikas), Atul and Robyn.  Drat!  We did not get pictures of best man (Ken) or groomsman (Lee).  Nor, did we get pictures of bridesmaids Abby or Amanda (our other daughter).  Later.  

We cannot end this post without a picture of the bride and groom.

The next post will cover the Friday-night Mehindi (Welcome) Party for all the guests, and the morning preparations for the two wedding ceremonies.

Pet Picture of the Day... 

Northern View (from the entrance gate)
It is nice that most RV parks now have enclosed dog parks for the canine guests.  Some are OK.  Some are nice.  Some are outstanding.

The dog park at the Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert, California sets a new standard (at least for us).  Lots of green grass for Bandido and Tequila and me to chase balls and each other and sniff (not me) the scents of previous visitors.  Outstanding.

Southern View

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Malibu, part 6 --- Malibu Beach RV, Magic Castle, on to Palm Springs

The view through the front window of our motor home

Roger here...  We have alluded to the Malibu Beach RV Park in recent posts.  It is time to show some of its assets.  The views are absolutely jaw-dropping.  The opening photo shows our view from inside the motor home.  The pictures below show the view from our campsite sitting area in the back.

When walking around the park, this view of the mountains dominated the mountain landscape on the opposite side of the ocean.

We have talked about the best dog walk ever by the sea several times, but looking in different directions brought other interesting views.

The long-distance view in the photo below shows Cher's ocean home.

Looking up the hill, we see visions of RVs hugging the bluff --- especially Airstreams (which seem to be everywhere we look).

This sunset picture was taken from our site on our last night in the park.  

Is that another Airstream?

On our final evening dog walk, we encountered an amazing full moon.  The next day we discovered that it was a rare super moon.  At times like these I wish I had a better camera (operated by a better photographer).

The Magic Castle...

We cannot finish our posts about our stay in Malibu without talking about our fascinating evening at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

Only magicians who are members of The Academy of Magical Arts and their guests are allowed to attend the multiple magic shows in this iconic spot.  Atul has a friend who is a member who was able to get us in.  

All attendees were required to dress up --- jackets and ties mandatory. All attendees were required to eat a delicious dinner at the castle (reservations required).  It was an expensive venture, but so very much worth it.  

Pictures were not allowed inside, but suffice it to say that the multiple magic shows in both large and intimate settings were fascinating.  

Our favorite was a duo The Clairvoyants (who have appeared on America's Got Talent).  It was mind-boggling.  How did they know those things?  At one point they called Robyn to the stage.  The blindfolded female psychic (Amilie?) identified a make-up pouch in her purse with a cat on the front.  There was a cat on the front!  There was no way she could have known that!  Wow.  

We are embarrassed that we did not know this place existed.  We were truly amazed by the atmosphere and by the performances that we experienced.  I cannot say enough good things about the Magic Castle.

After the show, the valet who retrieved Atul's car took our picture.  We spent the night at their house and said goodbye, knowing that we would see them soon at their wedding.

Our last day in Malibu was a quiet one.  We found a tony grocery to buy food for our next journey.  We stopped at a Starbucks for mocha frappuccinos to celebrate our unforgettable time here.

A Sunday morning drive on the I-10 through Los Angeles brought us to the Palm Springs area the next day.  (I planned the drive through L.A. on a Sunday in advance.  Good move Roger!)  The drive in the motor home was really not that bad. 

 The wedding is on the horizon.

One more sunset picture from Malibu...

Pet Picture of the Day...

Tequila and Bandido chillin' at the Emerald Desert RV Resort, our new location in Palm Desert, on a perfect day.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Malibu, part 5 --- Beach Time

Hmmm, I wonder if we could dart across the Pacific Coast Hwy for a walk on the beach?

Roger here... Believe it or not, Dianne and I did have time without Robyn and Atul during our visit to Malibu.  One of those times, we decided to hit the beach.

Dan Blocker State Beach...

The view from our RV park led us to believe that the main obstacle to getting to the beach was crossing the Pacific Coast Highway without getting crushed.  As it turned out the real challenge was getting to the sand after darting across the highway.

I lost my balance on the way down thrusting a hand into some of the brittle scrub (that had tiny thorns).  I picked about 20 of them out of my hand as I walked down the beach.  Ouch.

Unfortunately for Dianne, I had the camera ready during her trip down the trail that was really a cliffside.

Doesn't she look graceful?

After the butt slide, Dianne spent some time contemplating the bright blue ocean while I took pictures.

We walked the entire length of Dan Blocker State Beach two times (4 miles). No sitting in the sun for us anymore, but that does not preclude walks along the wet sand.

Below are a couple of pictures of the surf breaking on a rocky portion of the shore.

Peeling our eyes away from the water, we could see the Malibu Beach RV Park sitting on a bluff.  It was so nice to be able to walk on the beach without the travel and parking hassles.

The seagulls paid little attention to us as we plodded through the sand.

At one end of the beach door-to-door beach houses were perched on stilts that sat directly over the sand.  Houses such as these were the models for the set of the tv show, Two and a Half Men.

These homes, directly on the water, were prevalent  all along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.  The highway view of the houses consisted of a garage door and door that opened directly on the highway.  Scary for timid drivers; however,  imagine waking up every morning with the views these lucky people must have.

It looks as if Dianne, rock collector extraordinaire, has found an addition to our travel collection.

A Late Lunch/Early Supper on the Beach....

On a different day we opted to dine on the beach.  The seafood shack in the photo below was a 750 foot walk from the entrance of our RV park.  Now that we knew that walking along the Pacific Coast Highway was doable (maybe not safe), we decided to endure the amazingly noisy walk to the restaurant.  

The Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market and Patio turned out to be a casual culinary adventure.  We placed our orders at a window, and then...

... carried our food to a three-tiered, umbrella-covered patio (no inside seating).

Was the fish good?  Let me just say that our favorite fish 'n chips place to date (Bowfingers in Astoria, Oregon) has some serious competition.

The trip back to the RV park was also an experience.  Keeping with the butt-sliding-to-the- beach theme, we decided to see what it would be like to climb up the bluff on a steep trail that led back to the park.  We bypassed the deafening Pacific Coast Highway.  Dianne did not like the exertion.  I did.

Doesn't look that steep to me!

Stay tuned for at least one more post from the Los Angeles area.

Pet Picture of the Day...