Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Star Of India Sleepover

Celeste's class was fortunate to be able to participate in a sleepover on the San Diego Maritime Museum's Star Of India a few weeks back. This ship, launched in 1863 as the Euterpe, is the second oldest still-sailing ship in the world and is the centerpiece of the Maritime Museum of San Diego's collection.
We've been to the museum and ship twice before (previously covered here and here), but never had the "living history" experience that Celeste's class did. It was definitely tough on the kids. The staff, costumed and acting as if they were 1870s sailors, taught them history of the ship and era and had them working together to handle some difficult tasks such as moving barrels using tackle and blocks, cooking for each other, hoisting one another up in the botswain's chair, going on overnight "watches" on deck (Celeste's was from 1-2:30 AM) and, of course, swabbing the deck.
No comforts were afforded them when sleeping either. Just a sleeping bag on a hard wood floor. Pillows and pajamas were forbidden. As a "safety officer", I was able to roll out a small sleeping pad. Still I slept no more than a couple of hours.
Definitely a tough yet rewarding experience for both the grrrl and myself.

Celeste is in the blue bag

bon voyage


Back from a whirlwind trip to Hamburg...
...hoping to find a few minutes sometime this week to post pix from the recent adventures.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Down On The Street - Hamburg Edition

Another odd VW in Hamburg, this time one that I had previously never known about.

It's not your first guess - a Toyota, but rather a VW Taro. Manufactured from 1989-97 in both Japan and the VW truck factory in Hanover Germany. At least according to the Wikipedia entry.
A true case in badge engineering, from what I can tell, about the only true VW bits on this small truck are the emblems.
The owner did not like me taking pics - at first at least. He thought I was going to send them to the cops due to his illegal parking job. After I explained that I was just curious about the truck, he went so far as to pop the hood and show me the Toyota 2.4l diesel sitting between the fenders.
He was pretty proud of his truck, however I wasn't able to glean much information from his broken English (which is far better than my horrible German - "glockenspiel! verboten! ausfahrt!"). An interesting vehicle from the a Japanese/German collaboration.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Down On The Street - Hamburg Edition

Sitting right outside my boutique Hamburg hotel was this nice Notchback.
Air-cooled VWs are seemingly rare here in northern Germany. Not sure if rust or strict emissions rules and safety inspections knocked them off the roads. In fact, the only other air-cooled VW I've seen here was this Käfer, spotted on my last trip here.
Like the Käfer, this 'Dub is definitely owned by an enthusiast. Clean, straight and debadged. I wonder what it's packing for an engine.
I really wouldn't care if it was a mild 1600cc dual port or some 2000+cc screamer. I still want it and wouldn't change a thing if it was mine. Although I do prefer the smaller taillight clusters that are on the other Notchback I spotted in Vista.
Well, I might add some auxiliary lighting to the relatively-blank snout.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Down On The Street

Another cool import found in San Diego County - this time an English Ford.
A sharp little Cortina Mark I. Definitely one of my favorite Fords of the sixties, and quite uncommon on this side of the pond, especially the Lotus Cortina models. I've seen a ratty Mark II Lotus Cortina buzzing around Carlsbad a couple of times, but haven't been able to grab any photos yet.
The cool and distinctive round taillights predate the similar BMW 2002s by a few years.
And, assuming the plate is correct, this one is from the last year of the Mark I version of the model.
Needs a nice, thin Momo Prototipo wheel and, likely, some fresh vinyl on the seats.
Incidentally, the Cortina was found in the same lot as this white 60s Jaguar sedan. I'd happily add both to the fleet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


A few quick pix from a recent quick trip to China's most populous city, Shanghai. Here on the banks of the Yangtze River live some 23 million people. Thankfully I had a bit more time to get out (and to actually see the city) compared to my first visit back in December '10.

It's also home of the world's fastest train, the Shanghai Maglev Train:
Longyang Road Station
we saw it hit 431 km/h (267 MPH), but the picture was even worse than this

daytime skyline, complete with Gobi Desert dust storm fallout:
Shanghai's iconic Oriental Pearl Tower (2004) on the left:
the much smaller Gutzlaff Signal Tower (1907):
and via the cliché Hipstamatic:
the Bund:
being there feels as if you're in an older European city...
...'cept for the various Chinese signs:
red flags fly over most buildings:
tourist-trap flea market:
boobies, Jesus, Mao and Big Ben lenticulars:
piles and piles of watches, I was offered plenty of "Rolex", "Bell & Ross" and other models - most hidden behind false walls:
also available: iPhone 4s (even the elusive white versions) and knockoff handbags from just about every luxury brand.

prototype bike, as built by a garage tinkerer:
trade show Engrish:
hotel lobby chandelier:
cabbing it back to the Bund, in traffic:
skyline looks better at night, even if the phone's camera took noisy pix:
Hipstamatic hides such sins:
from a bar:

and back to the hotel, via a tunnel: