Sunday, December 31, 2017

Looking back on 2017

Photo by Patrick Jones. Shepard Fairey's Damaged exhibition in LA, 6 Dec 2017.
This is my annual blog recap on the year. Like last year's post, and previous years, I write this to reflect back on things that stick out and places I traveled. Now that I have done this for five years, looking at prior posts brings back memories for me and hopefully for my kids at some point. 2017 has been a mixed year, one of many adventures and new places, great professional and personal growth. It has also been a stressful, difficult year for many, and I can only hope 2018 brings some positive change and a shift back to a more respectful, positive time.

In January I started the year in LA, followed by Istanbul. In February I returned to Istanbul and spoke at an event in Dubai. In March I went to Copenhagen, Denmark and had a wonderful birthday weekend in Amsterdam. I have posted photos from these trips (I am currently typing this on my phone, so linking will need to wait).

April was Spring Break for the kids, and we stayed at home, catching early baseball and starting off the Spring season for our little guy. May took us to Madrid and Ribera del Duero. We have great memories from that trip, driving through wine country and sampling Spanish culinary delights. June took me to Johannesburg, South Africa. On my way back I stopped in Dubai and Milan, where I was able to catch the closing of eL Seed’s art exhibition.

In July, I went to Tanzania to speak at an African Internet event. After I spent 24 hours on Mafia Island, a small, sparsely populated place a short flight from Dar es Salaam. This is one of my favorite experiences of the year, along with my birthday in Amsterdam and my November trip to the Pacific. Tanzania is a cool place, one that I hope to see again in the future.

August took me to New York, and meetings at the United Nations. I was able to go to the Met Museum and Guggenheim, and also see amazing street art in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, walking by land previously owned by my ancestor Philippe du Trieux. September took me on a one day stopover in Iceland and then to Brussels. In Iceland I drove along the southern coast to Vík, saw sheep and the Icewear wool factory, and picked up Christmas presents.

November took me to Fiji and Tonga in the South Pacific vis Los Angeles. This was my first visit to the Pacific Islands. It was a relaxing couple of days before supporting a training event in Tonga. It was an eye opening trip, reinforcing the value of travel. We also closed a chapter in our personal history, selling our condo in Santa Monica at the end of November.

2017 took me to new places, some old favorites and reunions with great friends and colleagues around the world. I have some new places lined up for early 2018 and look forward to new experiences next year. We look forward to saying goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Shepard Fairey's Damaged exhibition in LA.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Shepard Fairey's Damaged exhibition in LA.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Shepard Fairey's Damaged exhibition.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Denarau Island, Fiji

Photo by Patrick Jones. Fiji, 29 Nov 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Denarau Island Marina, 29 Nov 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Fiji, 30 Nov 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Fiji, 30 Nov 2017.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Paintings at the Temple

Photo by Patrick Jones. Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, Nadi, Fiji. 30 Nov 2017.
While in Fiji, I was able to visit the colorful Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple in Nadi. The exterior of the temple is currently under renovation in preparation for next year's festivities. Photos are not allowed inside the temple, so all of my photos were taken from the outside looking in at the wonderful ceiling paintings.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Outside the temple looking in.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, Nadi.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Hindu paintings.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 30 Nov 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Close up on the paintings at the temple.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Scenes from Tonga

Photo by Patrick Jones. Tonga, 5 Dec 2017.
Earlier in the month I was in the Kingdom of Tonga for technical conference and discussions with community participants. The photos on this post were from that trip. Above is a sand and rock pier that juts out into the ocean in front of the hotel where we were staying. Families and children used this as a swimming point at high tide, even though nearby signs said "danger, no swimming."
Photo by Patrick Jones. On the International Dateline. 4 Dec 2017.

Photo by Patrick Jones. Map of Tonga. 3 Dec 2017.
Tonga sits to the east of Fiji, in the South Pacific, straddling the International Dateline. The main island in the group, Tongatapu, is fairly flat and has about 100,000 people. Our conference was in the capital, Nuku'alofa.

Photo by Patrick Jones. Ha'amonga 'a Maui monument.
The stones above were constructed in 1200 CE by the 11th King of Tonga. The stones weigh about 30-40 tons each. Surveyors have determined that the stones match up with the rising sun on the longest and shortest days of the year.
Photo by Patrick Jones. A rare 3-headed palm tree.

Monday, December 11, 2017

In action

Photo by Patrick Jones. Georgetown Basketball, 9 Dec 2017.
On Saturday we had great seats at the Georgetown v North Carolina A&T college basketball game, sitting a few rows up from the baseline behind the basket. I was able to get a cool action shot of star player Jesse Govan shooting a free throw (with ball in mid-air, and he made the shot). The photo also captures new Coach Patrick Ewing on the sideline.

Georgetown is now 8-0 to start the season. They also have not yet faced a challenging foe, but next week's game against rival Syracuse will provide that test. This was our 3rd game of the season to see live, and we'll probably catch another over winter break. The games are fun, and tickets are cheap compared to other sporting events in DC. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Not a movie, very real and dangerous

Original via Twitter, 405 on 6 Dec 2017.
Continuing from my earlier post on LA, the photo above captures the horrific drive along the 405 from Wednesday, showing the Skirball Fire as it spread. The LA Times has a current view of the fires in Southern California. My thoughts go out to all those impacted in the area, and I hope for a quick end to these fires. The United Way of Southern California has a Southern California Wildfire Fund, and Ready Ventura County has set up a process to collect donations for people impacted by the Thomas Fire.
Source: LA Times on Twitter. 8 Dec 2017.

Turning a chapter

Photo by Patrick Jones. Sunset at Santa Monica, 6 December 2017.
On Wednesday I arrived back in Los Angeles after flying across the International Dateline from Tonga and Fiji. I landed to the scenes of multiple brushfires in the hills surrounding LA, with some of the worst air quality I can remember in the city. It was a sad sight. Photos of the fires in the Sepulveda Pass near the Getty Museum & along the 405 looked to be straight out of a movie. Earlier in the week I had planned on visiting the Getty after my arrival, but those plans were changed and the museum was closed, along with other mandatory evacuations in the area. The smoke and haze can be seen in my photo below from Wednesday.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Smoke & haze from the Thomas Fire.
Prior to my trip to the Pacific, we had closed on the sale of our condo in Santa Monica. This meant the end of a chapter in our life as property owners in California. We had needed to sell the place for years, but with good tenants living there we held onto the condo. While this development is mostly a very good thing, it is still a little sad to see our immediate ties to the state end. California has become an adopted home, my West Coast home. The sale of the condo does not end these feelings, and I will continue to travel back to LA for work on a regular basis.

In many ways, this change is not much different from others in my family history who have lived in California temporarily, from my 5th-great-grandfather Francisco Suastegui in 1835 to my parents in the late 1960s. California will always feel like home.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Above LA, 7 Dec 2017.
Now that I am back, I will catch up on blog posts missed during travels in November.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

In the South Pacific

I am currently in the Kingdom of Tonga, speaking at a technical conference starting on Monday. The country effectively shuts down on Sunday so we arrived Saturday afternoon from Fiji. Below is a photo taken from the schooner Whales Tale on Thursday, sailing to a small island in the Mamanucas off Fiji's western coast.
Photo by Patrick L. Jones. Sailing to a small island off Fiji. 30 Nov 2017.
Blogging has been really slow in November and so far in December. Between work and the sale of our place in LA, this outlet has taken a backseat lately. Things move much slower here in the islands but it has been an excellent experience so far. The people in Fiji are wonderful and I can't recommend the country enough. I'll be enjoying Tongan culture today.

I plan to catch up on the blogging and family history research once I'm back in the US. It looks like winter will be greeting my return, so I will enjoy the Pacific while I am here.