Yosemite Trip

Discovery ViewI am overdue for posting anything about our Yosemite trip, especially so because we have just returned a month later from our trip to Disneyland. It was good to do two back-to-back vacations this year. I feel we’re getting back into the swing of having fun. Which reminds me: I can’t wait to finish my degree next June so that I can have my life back.

We went to Yosemite during the week of Thanksgiving. Going to Yosemite during the late autumn season has its pros and cons. The cons are not such a big deal though – Yosemite Falls is basically dry, and it gets really cold–especially at night. But the crowds are far smaller, and there are some fun seasonal things to do–especially in the Thanksgiving-season dining department. We were lucky in that the upper roads up to Glacier Point were still open.

Yosemite Valley & HalfdomeOn Day 1 we drove right in to Yosemite Valley and had lunch at the Yosemite Lodge. We had some fresh trout that was absolutely the best, and then went for a walk along the trails along the Merced River. We were staying at the Tenaya Lodge, which was kind of a trek from Yosemite Valley, so we set out a bit early towards the hotel.

Tenaya Lodge was very nice. Just outside the south entrance of the park, this hotel had a couple of nice restaurants both of which catered well to my gluten-free needs. All their pastas were gluten-free, not just something you request! That was cool, although of course I had to order a steak.

The next day was fun: We first did breakfast at the hotel, checked out the trickle that was Bridalveil Falls, then drove in for a hike up along the north side of Yosemite Valley. We had lunch along the riverbank and took pictures everywhere. We caught the afternoon bus tour and got a good description of the history and landmarks of Yosemite Valley. That night they had ice skating at our hotel and s’mores.

IMG_0227.JPGThe final day started with an early morning ranger wildlife discussion for the kids at the Ahwahnee Hotel – a posh old-tyme establishment in a beautiful spot in Yosemite Valley, while I caught myself breakfast in their swank restaurant. Biggest ham and cheese omelette I ever saw – must have been like 14 eggs in there. We then drove up the still-open road to Glacier Point to get the amazing views from the top of the cliffs above Yosemite Valley. Amazing view up there. We drove back towards the south end of the park and had lunch at the Wawona Hotel – not much of a gluten-free selection but at least the waiter and chef were quite knowledgeable and made sure I had a decent and untainted meal. We wrapped it up at the Mariposa Grove and toured the giant redwood trees there before heading back to our hotel and crashing. We headed home first thing the next morning. Great trip – hadn’t been back there since I was a kid, and it was lots of fun this time around.

Some more photos:

Giant Sequoia Little Yosemite Valley IMG_0191.JPG El Capitan

Rice Has Sharp Words

Where the word “sharp” means being a purely hypocritical tool:

Rice Has Sharp Words for Taiwan, as Gates Does for China

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued an unusually sharp rebuke to Taiwan, pointedly calling its planned referendum on United Nations membership “provocative.”

So a referendum on calling Taiwan what it is and requesting due recognition from the world community is provocative – hmmm… So then what do you call the hundreds of missiles in China pointed at Taiwan? Can we call that provocative too? How about threatening? Unnecessary? Intimidating?

During a State Department news conference, Ms. Rice said: “We think that Taiwan’s referendum to apply to the United Nations under the name ‘Taiwan’ is a provocative policy. It unnecessarily raises tensions in the Taiwan Strait and it promises no real benefits for the people of Taiwan on the international stage.”

Where being recognized diplomatically as a country is seen as a bad thing, rather than languishing in limbo due to the ludicrous machinations by the gigantic political entities that your island is subject to and having to deal with the difficulties resulting thereof, such as indirect travel issues, WHO membership, participating in the Olympics, oh and that ever-persistent threat of aggression from China. I’m sure some British monarchs were saying the same thing about us back in 1776: “They don’t need that silly democracy! Independence? That is for fools!” Is it not ironic that a nation so supposedly devoted to the ideals of freedom and democracy has completely lost all trace of its foundations when it comes to this issue?

I’m sorry- I’m re-reading that last quote and can’t help but laugh: “We think that Taiwan’s referendum to apply to the United Nations under the name ‘Taiwan’ is a provocative policy.” Does that not just bleed irony? Calling Taiwan “Taiwan” is now considered harmful. Rolling. On. The. Floor. Laughing.