Saturday, February 27, 2010

Urban Destruction from Earthquakes

In the wake of today's news that a magnitude 8.8 earthquake hit Chile, I found this image, published on Feb. 25th in The New York Times, even more interesting than the first time I analyzed it. Many of you may know that I am slightly obsessed with earthquakes and earthquake preparedness, especially now that we live in a seismic zone here in Casa Cali.

In the map above (created before the disastrous quake that hit Haiti last month), you can see the cities predicted to suffer major damage in an earthquake due to shoddy construction. There is, not surprisingly, a strong correlation with poverty and a lack of enforced building codes (the latter a sign of functional, organized government).

Port-au-Prince made it on the map, but in my opinion the prediction was conservative given what we now know as the utter devastation that occurred in that city. Obviously earthquake prediction isn't an exact science, so all the circles should be taken with a grain of salt.

That said, I find it extremely interesting that none of the Chilean cities made it to the map. Chile is a very seismic country, having registered the largest earthquake in registered history (magnitude 9.5 in 1960) as well as now the 7th-largest as well (tied with a 1906 quake off the coast of Ecuador). I know that Santiago's modern buildings are all constructed according to strict earthquake retrofitting guidelines, but the older buildings are not. Hopefully the map's predictions will ring true in this instance and Chile will be spared the massive loss of human life that one might expect with an 8.8 quake.

I also find it intriguing that other prime urban areas prone to big quakes aren't on the map, namely Mexico City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. An oversight, or a bit of encouragement??

Friday, February 26, 2010


To match the pounding rain and angry waves I see through my home-office window...

"Beehive" accomodations at Phophonyane Lodge - Swaziland

Because how else would you transport 6 goats across Mozambique?

Gray skies at Bosque del Apache - New Mexico

Snow geese at Bosque del Apache - New Mexico

Really? You wanted to pass? - Kruger Park, South Africa

Basilica at Aquileia - Italy

Steps leading to the Emperor's mausoleum at the Imperial City - Hue, Vietnam

Dragon decoration - Hue, Vietnam

São Paulo Anglican Church, where Rico and I got married - Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Family procession - Chobe, Botswana

Thursday, February 25, 2010


It was hard not to fill this post exclusively of photos of the Casa Rosa and our wedding. Apparently I am a big fan of pink in all its shades for the things close to my heart. :)

Beach chic at La Perla guest house - Bilene, Mozambique
Other-worldly sunset as seen from the upper deck - Casa Cali

Casa Rosa on our wedding night - Rio de Janeiro

Verandah waiting to be filled with wedding guests - Casa Rosa

Vanilla cake with apricot and brigadeiro branco filling - Heaven, Sublime
Dragon fruit on the Mekong Delta - Vietnam

My custom-made sun dress, appropriately worn on a tour of a brick factory - Can Tho, Vietnam

Floating luxury accomodations - Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Temple detail - Bat Tran, Vietnam

Love on the streets of Santa - Rio de Janeiro

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

At This Moment...

Listening to Kings of Leon on the radio, via our Sonos sound system. I'm so grateful that Rico is into technology, otherwise I'd have never discovered this great music solution.

Drinking a nice red Zinfandel, the perfect companion to the cool temperatures and the rain pounding outside. I thought the sun was here definitively for the summer, but apparently that was wishful thinking. :)

Smelling piñon incense, my absolute favorite New Mexico scent.

Wondering why it always seems to rain on the days I have drawing class (and therefore have to lug around a giant easel full of paper while riding BART and walking the 8 blocks to school).

Wishing it were already spring break. I am starting to feel a bit burned out...but in a good way.

Avoiding working on my latest translation job for the World Bank. I've told myself that I will blog, then get to work.

Feeling the soreness in my hips and lower back from my workout yesterday. I am doing one personal training session per week, and my trainer Lisa totally kicks my ass...again, in a good way.

Dreaming about sunshine, cocktails on the beach, getting tan. Good thing we are going to Brazil in August for our cousin's wedding - I've already been told by several people that summer in the Bay may not meet my seasonal expectations given that I've been living the tropical, humid life for the last 8 years or so.


Sunday, February 21, 2010


A favorite color of mine as of late, especially the lilac-y, amethyst hues...and yet funny because I have almost no photos that feature purple. I'm tempted to paint my home-office walls a brownish purple but haven't found the exact shade I want quite yet. Perhaps that will be my spring break project, along with learning how to use QuickBooks Premier Edition. The former obviously more fun than the latter.

On the beach along the Garden Route - South Africa

Jacarandas in bloom (taken through the car window) - near Chipinge, Zimbabwe

Street art in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Tara modeling my jewelry in the midst of lavender in our garden - Casa Cali

Passion flower - one of my favorites from the street vendors in Maputo

Antique French wall sconce against light orchid bathroom wall - Casa Rosa, Rio de Janeiro

Giant beached jellyfish - near Cape Town, South Africa

Recycle-chic placemats at a guesthouse in Bilene, Mozambique

Carpet of asters - Pacifica, California

Making paper-thin rice flour wrappers for spring rolls - Can Tho, Vietnam

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Getting the creative juices flowing on this beautiful but foggy Saturday morning. Spring has already sprung here in the Bay Area, which makes me want to whoop with joy. I am currently looking out the window at a flowering plum full of pink blossoms, a tulip magnolia tree, and the neighbor's delightful red camelia bush. And the Bay itself, of course, which provides creative inspiration to last a lifetime.

Catholic church in Nampula Province, Mozambique

Enclosed patio at Z and K's house - Ilha de Moçambique

Winter sun and snow - Bernalillo, New Mexico

Global Nomad table setting at Christmas Eve - Casa Cali

Azul, my beautiful girl cat who lives with my mom

Going away party on the lake - Austin, TX

Porcelain cups at Bat Trang, Vietnam

Announcing summer rain - Kruger Park, South Africa

Marina at Sistiana as seen from the Rilke Trail - Italy

Mural on the malecón - Havana, Cuba

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I'm from New Mexico, so obviously turquoise deserves its own place in the color countdown.

At our rehearsal dinner with Gaby, one of my bridesmaids - Rio de Janeiro

Montoya's General Store - Lincoln, New Mexico

Government palace (frozen in time in the 60's) - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Floating "shops" on Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Clear Caribbean near the Bay of Pigs - Cuba
Makeshift gallery - Trinidad, Cuba
Inhaca Island - Mozambique
Fabulous turquoise floor at our friends Z and K's house - Ilha de Moçambique
Lone turquoise in a sea of Havaianas - Bilene, Mozambique
On the way to Tofo, the Indian Ocean will take your breath away - Mozambique

Nighttime spinning on a beach in Miami in my early 20's