Exploring The Huntington’s Gardens

With granddaughter #3 visiting from Florida for an early start to Christmas, Kongo’s tribe set out for The Huntington in Pasadena. The Huntington is a world class research library, collection of art, and a vast array of fantastic gardens. Kongo had not been here before. With so much to see the monkey had to prioritize his explorations and decided to check out the Chinese and Japanese gardens and then see what else there was time for. Chinese gardens are very different from most Japanese gardens. Although the Japanese started out copying the Chinese, eventually they evolved their own garden philosophy….

Fair Monkey

Kongo loves county fairs. There’s something about hot, sultry August afternoons, the smell of cotton candy, the carnival barkers, and the crowds that makes the monkey feel right at home. The Ventura County fair is like that. It’s not nearly as big or as sophisticated as the Los Angeles County Fair or the Del Mar Fair in San Diego. Now those are real fairs. Ventura County is kind of like your neighborhood 4th of July Parade with kids on bikes and dogs decked out in red, white, and blue. It was just right. Kongo was actually forced out of the…

A Walk in LA

Los Angeles isn’t really known as a walking city.  Sure, you CAN walk there but this is the land of Freeways and Uber so why would you?  Well, lots of reasons actually and that’s exactly what the Kongo’s did last evening.  Meeting some fellow Morocco survivor friends from Santa Monica, Kongo and his bride were in downtown LA to do a walking tour of City Hall. Since traffic in this city is always a question mark, Kongo planned for contingencies and left home well ahead of the scheduled meeting time. Without SigAlerts or some other disaster, it was going to…

Exploring California’s Central Coast

After a two-day business trip in Silicon Valley recently, Kongo decided to take his time driving back to LA.  So after the meeting the monkey spent the night in a great little Victorian Inn on Cannery Row in Monterey then got up early and took the scenic 17-mile drive around Monterey Bay before heading south on California Highway 1 as far as he could go.  It’s been awhile (like several decades) since Kongo has been to this part of California and he was keen to see it again. For several months Highway 1 has been closed south of Big Sur…

Where the Sun Sets: Morocco Travel

Kongo recently finished a 10-day visit to Morocco. If this country is on your bucket list it might be worthwhile to read on.  Kongo will clue you in on his latest advice for visiting this magical country. Morocco is known as the place where the sun sets.  It’s the west.  In ancient times Morocco was literally the end of the world.  The Romans called it Mauretania and they had a thriving colony here until the middle of the second century.  Before that were the Berber tribes and they’re still here.  Portuguese and Spanish left their influence in the Age of Exploration…

Sir Richard Branson and a Berber Market: Morocco Travel

On our last full day in Morocco, we left Marrakech and drove north over the High Atlas Mountains toward the coastal plain that would take us back to Casablanca, the airport, and a very, very early flight to Paris the next morning. On the way, about halfway to the mountain pass, we stopped at a weekly Berber market in the village of Ansi. As a village, Ansi pretty much looks like dozens of other villages we passed through: a scattering of adobe homes, a few satellite dishes, hole in the wall shops, and streets filled with donkey carts and scooters….

“Come with me to ze Kasbah …” – Morocco Travel

Traveling along the “Road of a Thousand Kasbahs” in Morocco gives you an opportunity to see a LOT of Kasbahs.  Like there really are thousands of them.  After looking at so many you finally have to visit one so we spent an hour or so exploring the UNESCO preserved Glaoui palace at the Taourirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate. Kasbahs were basically citadels built along caravan routes to protect the flow of trade across the Sahara to the seacoast cities of Casablanca and Rabat. Made of adobe, these structures offer exotic architectural detail and a window into a history pretty much unknown to those…