Saturday, July 09, 2005

VIDEO - Paris & the French Open

video

Click above to view videoblog (8-minute video, WMV format, designed for Widows Media Player).

I'm happy to announce the first in a series of "Ameripean Sojourn" videos, each covering one of the European nations I visited on this trip. The videos feature special music (often popular music acts from and other music native to and/or specifically about the subject country); video footage; photo highlights; and text/voice-over commentary. Videos range in length from approximately 3 to 15 minutes each. (Note: In the video above, I must apologize to my Parisian host Marianne for spelling her name wrong in the video. Her name is Marianne, not Marrianne.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Home at Last


I returned home to San Diego from my Ameripean Sojourn on Wednesday night, June 22, three and a half weeks after beginning my journey to six fascinating European lands. When I showed up at work the following morning, my co-workers had a special treat waiting for me on my desk. They had followed the Ameripean Sojourn blog and were impressed by the pictures of various European foods I took. They decided to surprise me with this delectable assortment of AMERICAN deserts, appropriately adorned with a U.S. flag. It was a fitting and heartwarming welcome home.

Returning to work after a long vacation isn't so bad when you have treats like these -- and awesome coworkers -- to welcome you back.

London Town


Big Ben. London was the last stop on my "Ameripean Sojourn." I last visited London in 1986 as a mere teenager. Twenty years later, the city seemed spiffier and more exciting than ever to me. Enjoy.

The simple act of crossing the street in London can be a confusing thing for foreigners. They try everything to remind people to look the right way for oncoming traffic.

London park.

Where the Queen of England lives, Buckingham Palace. Junior's mom requested photos of this palace. Edna, this is for you.

In London, it's easy for Americans to get run over since traffic drives on the opposite side of the road. Signs like these try to remind us which way to look for oncoming traffic.

Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace guard.

Londons glitzy new ferris wheel.

This is London's famous "Speaker's Corner" in Hyde Park, established by parliament in the 1800's as a place for public oratory. I guess no one had anything to say on this day. I recited a poem of mine ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell") aloud, but no one was there to hear it.

London tube station.

This poster for a new book was prominent in the London tube stations.

"Gents Toilet"? -- okay, this ain't America.

I found my home in London (just kidding).

Opening day of Wimbledon 2005


The line to get in Wimbledon on the first day. It was quite long, with my British friend Jon Grayson and I getting through the gates in about 75-minutes.

Here we're about 3/4 of the way to the front gates, after about an hour in line.

Doing their duty.

It was amazing how close one can get to the courts at Wimbledon.

Thai hero Paradorn...I got his autograph (after he lost to Marat Safin)!

Formality and order rule at Wimbledon.

Meet the last Brit to win a Wimbledon title.

Two women enjoy the traditional Wimbledon treat of strawberries & cream with "pims" fruit champagne.

Enjoying the tradition Wimbledon treat of strawberries & cream and "pims," a fruity champagne.

Service!

Spanish heart-throb Feliciano Lopez takes a break.

A Swedish fan bears his colors for countryman Joachim Johansson.

That famous Dementieva serve.

One of my favorites, Russia's beautiful Elena Dementieva.

Players' Balcony, from where the players can watch some of the action on courts below.

Ah, the green, green grass courts of Wimbledon.

Ballgirls & ballboys cover a court for the night.

Center Court at Wimbledon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Goodbye Holland + Eurogames tennis results


HIGH OVER HOLLAND...Flying over the Dutch countryside on my way to a final stop in London, I say goodbye to a place equal parts charming, libertine, liberating and hedonistic.

AMSTERDAM'S SCHIPHOL AIRPORT...

WINNERS...Eastern Europeans like these gold-medal winners from Bulgaria and the Czech Republic did well in the Eurogames.

A WISH COMES TRUE...see the wishing well? Players could place any wish they wanted in it prior to the start of the tournament, and a lucky few were drawn at the closing ceremonies and granted -- keeping with the 2005 Eurogames theme of 'Where Your Fairytale Comes True.' Well guess what? MY wish was the last wish picked! Above, tournament coordinator Jan-Hein reads it aloud to the crowd. So what, you ask, was my Eurogames wish? That Junior could play in a big annual tennis tournament in Europe next year, since he was unable to make it for the Eurogames this year or to Sydney two years ago. And they granted it, giving Junior a free entry into the annual Amsterdam tennis tournament next June, or any European tournament of his choice! No medal for me in these games, but I have to say that this surprise was just about as nice.

MEN'S OPEN WINNERS...the one in red (gold medalist) is from Russia; the one in white (silver medalist) is from Holland.

TWO DUTCH WINNERS...

BRONZE MEDAL...for my friend John Grayson from England for winning the A men's double consolation division with his Dutch doubles partner. Go John!

VANQUISHED...This Dutch/South African team defeated me and Peter in the finals of the men's B doubles consolation division. Earlier in the day Peter and I had a dashing 8-2 victory in the semifinals against another (like us) Dutch/American team - but we were stopped just one match and a few games short of a finals victory by these fellows. Hats off to them. You'll note that one of them is the South African Dave who also defeated me in the B singles. I guess he's got the upper hand against me...for now.

This is Dave, a crafty counterpunching Englishman from South Africa who knocked me out of the B singles consolation round with a pro-set score of 8-6. He was the number one seed in B's. The day before, I lost in the first round of the main B singles draw with a devastating 0-6, 1-6 loss to an Italian from Switzerland. Hey, at least I didn' get DOUBLE-bageled.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Amazing Amsterdam


Here's Amsterdam!

Eurogames tennis gets under way, canal-side. In all-white is a British friend John Grayson with his Dutch doubles partner.

I wonder if this movie poster will be seen on the streets of San Diego.

Even Copenhagen didn't have bike lanes as nice as these in Holland.

Amazing Amsterdam.

Dutch grafiti.

In Amsterdam, pornography is sold right on the street!

MLK is honored in a Dutch city.