Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pittsburgh Day 2 - Mt Washington and National Aviary

On Saturday, we toured around Pittsburgh with Mike and Amanda. Here they are at one of the scenic overlooks on Mt Washington. That is the Monongahela River in the background.

View from Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh

Here is a better view including a few of the many bridges in Pittsburgh.

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This is looking the other direction. The point area behind the bridge is the start of the Ohio River.

That is Heinz Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, just beyond the bridge.
The Monongahela Inclined Plane at Mt Washington in Pittburgh

This the Monongahela Inclined Plane. It was built in 1870 so that people didn't have to walk up and down a zillion steps each way.

Here are Margot and me.
Inca Tern at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh

I had no idea that the National Aviary existed. It is home to all sorts of birds from around the world.

This is an Inca Tern from South America.

This is some sort of burrowing owl.
Snowy Egret at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh

I didn't pay that much attention to the bird names. They had picture boards to identify the birds but I didn't take a picture of all of them.

The next few pictures were all in a small room. You can walk right through and get very close to the birds.

This one was just a few feet away.

Click for a larger view.

This one is checking me out.
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh

There were several Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.

I'm not sure if the mouse was there on purpose or not. Anyway he had a huge food source with all the spilled bird seed.
Cut-throat Finches at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh

The are Cut-throat Finches.

I don't know. If you do drop me a note and I'll update the blog with the correct names.

This is a Fruit Loops bird.

This a close up of the foot of what I think is a Steller's Sea Eagle.
Steller's Sea Eagle at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh

Here is the entire bird.

The Bald Eagles were both rescue birds. One was missing part of his wing. They were unable to fly.

There was a Penguin pool.

These are African Penguins.

They were pretty active.

The Cape Shelducks seemed to be having a turf battle with the African Penguins.

The Cape Shelducks are from South Africa as are the African Penguins.

Not sure what this is.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh

This is a Victoria Crowned Pigeon.

This is a Rhinoceros Hornbill which is native to Southeast Asia.

No idea.

Again, no idea.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pittsburgh Day 1 - Baseball

Primanti Brothers restaurant in Pittsburgh.

Our visit to Pittsburgh to visit with Michael and Amanda started with dinner at this Pittsburgh classic - the Primanti Bros.

Here they serve the french fries on burger - between the meat and the bun.

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Pittsburgh skyline from PNC Park in PIttsburgh

On game days this bridge becomes  pedestrians only. This shot is looking back across the Allegheny River from the stadium toward downtown.

We bought our tickets a few minutes before the game started. It was a very nice evening and there was a pretty good sized crowd so we ended up in the upper deck well down the third base line.

This guy  was safe by a mile.

This guy was out by two miles.

This was maybe the most exciting play of the game.

As you can see he beat the ball handily. However, if you click on the picture you can see that he might have missed home plate on his slide.

He was called safe.

Here is Johnny Cueto, the Cincinnati pitcher. I thought I should include a picture of him since he pitched a one hitter through 8 innings.
Pittsburgh skyline from the upper deck in PNC Park

Here is another shot of downtown from the upper deck.

The game was kind of disappointing from the Pirates fan point of view. These characters tried to keep the crowd entertained between innings.

Here the ground crew cleans up. I guess the guy changed out second base with a clean one.

Here is the night time view. Notice the river boat passing by.

This is the stadium after we walked back over the bridge to get to the parking garage.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

More Pictures of the Grandkids

Mike and Lauren brought the kids over to the hotel one morning. This was the first time they had been swimming in a big pool.

Everyone was having a good time.

Here is one of the most elusive photographs in the history of man. Yes, that is Margot in a bathing suit.

Ben decided the inflatable was pretty fun after his big sister tried it out.

Emily made a couple of jumps into the pool. She decided to stop after she came up a little short on one of the jumps and landed on the edge of the pool.

Honest, this isn't child abuse despite the look on Mike and Ben's face.

Ben was having fun emulating his big sister.

Yuanmingyuan - Old Summer Palace

Ruins at Yuanmingyuan or the Old Summer Palace in Beijing

I am way behind on posting pictures. I have several sets from our trip to the U.S. in May yet to go but thought I'd post this pictures first.

Last Wednesday was Duanwu Jie or Dragon Boat Festival holiday in China. Margot and I visited Yuanmingyuan or the Old Summer Palace.

The Old Summer Palace dates back to the early 1700's. It was a series of gardens and palaces and used architecture styles of both China and Europe.

The place was destroyed in 1860 by Anglo-French forces during the 2nd Opium War.

There were a lot of people there but it is a big place so it didn't seem so crowded.

I'm pretty sure my picture of this young woman is nicer than her friend's picture.

We took a boat ride from the front of the palace to the back on a boat like this. There are a number of lakes, large and small, through out the grounds.

The bridges are pretty but can be pretty steep when walking over them.

Boat on lake at Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace in Beijing

There were several boating options. This one is strictly paddle power.

This little pavilion is in the center of a maze. It is a lot easier to find your way in when there is a steady stream of people leaving the pavilion.

Chou mei girl at Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace

It isn't that uncommon to see tourists dressed in a similar manner. I showed this to a colleague at work an her reaction was chòu měi. It means showing off shamelessly. I don't think those shoes are very practical for walking around the ruins.

Click to enlarge.

Notice all the umbrellas.

The maze isn't a gimme. Some people decided climbing up onto the wall and walking along it was more efficient.

You can get up close and personal with the ruins.

This fountain was the location of the twelve bronze zodiac animal heads looted in 1860. This was actually a water clock with each head spotting in sequence to note the time. Two of the heads were recently returned. Animal heads

More ruins.

Here are replicas of the bronze heads.

Here is the current status: Zodiac Heads
Black swan at Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace in Beijing

There were a pair of black swans nesting on one of the lakes.

I was amazed at how flexible their necks are.

This a Blue or Azure Magpie.

This is a Morning Glory, I think. Known as qianniuhua in Chinese.

As we were leaving we noticed this crowd looking at something. In a sure sign of our integration into Chinese culture we joined the curious mob.

Anything of interest will draw a crowd - from a traffic accident to a heated argument between husband and wife in the shopping mall.

Turns out they were looking at this fish.  No idea what it was but it wasn't going to fit in that guys little net.

As we were watching, this big ball of hundreds of baby fish came out of the grass. Not sure if it is mother and children or what. I didn't see any being eaten by the larger fish.