Monday Oct 05, 2009

At the Mount Whitney Summit

A friend and I hiked to the Mount Whitney summit on September 28, 2009. Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States and is located near Death Valley, California. It took 9 hours to hike up and 8.5 hours to hike down. We rested for an evening at a campsite below the tree-line. The whole adventure took 27 hours. Driving back and forth, from the Bay Area, took about 6.5 hours each way.

At the Mount Whitney Summit, Sept. 2009


Friday Feb 08, 2008

Proud of my better half

Working for non-profit organizations requires a special kind of dedication and personality. 

So, I'm really proud of my wife, Liana, for all her work at the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) and for having played a key role in putting together NCCLF's 25th anniversary annual report.

If you have money you want to invest in local non-profits, including community art centers and low-income housing, NCCLF can be an excellent venue to look into.


Friday Nov 24, 2006

Thanksgiving in Tehran

Since I have been traveling to Europe to attend a work-related meeting the week after Thanksgiving, I decided to see if I could take an extra day off to pay a visit to family and friends in Tehran during the Thanksgiving holidays. I was fortunate because the circumstances came together and made this possible. So, the moment I arrived in Frankfurt earlier this week, I went to a ticketing agent and purchased a ticket to Tehran. Only 370 Euros from Frankfurt to Tehran on a flight that takes only 4.5 hours. (I paid about that much in the summer of 2004 for a train trip from Frankfurt to London and back.)

In contrast to its hot summers, Tehran is quite cool in November. I arrived at midnight and took a taxi from the airport to my parents, a very smooth ride on the freeways that connect the different parts of the city. My parents were waiting, and after a short nap, I went out to buy sangak bread freshly made in the neighborhood. There had been snow in higher elevations in the city, and as I walked back to have breakfast with my parents, I could see the magnificent mountains to the north covered in a white blanket.

Unfortunately, I was only there for a few days and had no time for mountaineering, an activity everyone who visits Tehran should accommodate in their travel schedule. Instead, I spent most of my time visiting family and friends, includling my good friend and prominent painter Bobak Etminani, who also took me to a birthday party where I met a group of Berkeley (California) friends after more than a decade. We had lots of lively conversations at the party and afterwards, and I had a good chance to touch base with Bobak about the recent turn in his work.

Please stay tuned. I will try to include some images of Bobakäs recent paintings in a blog entry after I return to the States. I will also post some photos on my flickr album.

I should probably end this short diversion by saying that I don't make it a habit to leave my wife and children behind in the U.S. during Thanksgiving holidays. Really, my absence this year was not that bad. Back in California, my family have had very good visiting campany, including many friends and a grand-mother, and they were invited to a very large, extended-family Thanksgiving dinner at my wife's uncle.

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