Rendezvous With A Famed Lady

I’ve got to see her.

She probably has the most recognizable face. I am not her secret lover nor am I looking for an affair. I’m not even a devoted fan, but I just got to meet her to discover for myself what is this madness about her.

It was a cold and cloudy morning with intermittent drizzle, but that did not deter me from meeting her on our appointed date. The subway transit, known as the Metro was not running due to the labor force strike, but that did not stop me either. I could walk, or I could use Uber.

So I went to the palace where she resides. They even have these aesthetic glass pyramids in the inner court (photo above).

When I entered her royal residence, I passed through some naked guard statues. I thought to myself, if our medical mission is here, some of these guards could avail of our “operation tuli.” But I get it, circumcision was not in vogue in that era.

Some of the sculptures were really huge.

And so were the paintings.

The palace was enormous with more than 60,600 square meters to roam around. You could get lost here. I climbed up some majestic stairways and passed through several long hallways in search of my lady.

Finally, I entered the room where she was (photo above). For some reason, there was not much crowd around her that day. I think I was fortunate, I don’t have to navigate through a long line. Or perhaps I was favored, and she set aside a time for me to meet her.

In the end, I was face to face with her, my lady, Mona Lisa.

I was a little disappointed though. Maybe I was expecting more. Maybe I was thinking that it was something more grand, and not a tiny 30 x 21 inches affair. Or maybe I was just hoping that she would break into a full smile when I meet her. Maybe.

Now I cannot forget her enigmatic smile. And just like the sentiments in the song “Mona Lisa” by Nat King Cole, I felt the same:

Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep.
They just lie there and they die there.

Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?

(*My wife took these pictures, and this rendezvous had no intention of being disloyal to my real lady. Photos taken at Louvre Museum)

Lost in Art

Art they say is created by someone who is considered to be an artist. But what really is art is debatable. At least for me.

The other day, my wife and I had a lunch date in our art center cafe. Even though my wife and kids have been to the Des Moines Art Center a few times, and my wife have even taken some of our visitors from out of state to this place, yet it was my first time to enter this center.

I would admit, many times I don’t understand art. Maybe I am artistically challenged.

Here’s a sculpture at the center’s courtyard.


A man and a horse flying sideways. What is this suppose to mean?  A jockey falling off Pegasus?

How about this?


A circle of stones and scattered glass bubbles. I don’t get it.

And lastly this. Is this art?


It looks like a squatter’s shack or a barong-barong to me!

I rest my case.


(*photos taken at Des Moines Art Center)

Getting Around Getty

On our last California trip we visited the Getty Center. It is perched on top of a hill of the Santa Monica mountains in Los Angeles. This is one of the two campuses of the J. Paul Getty Museum. The other campus is called the Getty Villa.

Getty Center is a $1.3 billion project that opened to the public in 1997. Admission to the museum is free, though you have to pay for parking. It is like the dinner is free, but you have to pay for the fork and knife.

We parked at the designated parking area which is on the foot of the hill. Then we took a 1-mile tram ride up the hill to the museum. You can also walk from the parking area to the center, but it is a rather steep climb. IMG_5041 The building itself is a work of art. It was designed by architect Richard Meier. IMG_5048 IMG_5047 Below is the central garden of the Getty Center. IMG_5072 The museum houses priceless treasures of art. This includes European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculptures, and decorative art. It also have 19th and 20th-century American and European photographs. IMG_5052 IMG_5051 Below is my favorite subject for paintings. IMG_5050 Nudes? No.The cornucopia of fruits! Silly. IMG_9496_2 The works are from famous artists. From Rembrandt’s portraits… IMG_5054 To Picasso’s abstracts… IMG_9537 To Monet’s impressions…. IMG_9535 And van Gogh’s paintings. IMG_9538 Even if you are not really into arts, you can still enjoy the museum just by looking outside the window, for there is more to see than paintings. IMG_5049 The view from the center is picturesque. From the bustling downtown LA…. IMG_5044 Up to the rugged Santa Monica mountains…. IMG_5042 And to the serene Pacific ocean. IMG_5057 It is also a beautiful location for a photo shoot. IMG_5065 I enjoyed our visit to the Getty Center. And to cap the experience, we skip the tram ride and instead briskly walked down the scenic path back to the parking area. It was breath-taking. Literally.IMG_5061

A Day with the Sculptures

During our last trip to the East Coast, we took a train ride from Philadelphia to Trenton, New Jersey. Our plan is to meet our friend there, who will tour us inside the campus of Princeton University. But our friend brought us also to a nice detour on a nearby park, the “Grounds for Sculpture.”


This park is located at Hamilton, New Jersey, and was opened to the public in 1992. Since its inception they have collected more than 240 works of art, including sculptures of renowned artists. It is kind of unique that sculptures blend with the landscapes, and visitors are free to “interact and touch” the art.


The sculptures are scattered all over in the 42-acre lot. Some are in spacious lawn…..IMG_1514

Others are up on a hill…..


On water…..IMG_2431

On slabs of concrete…..


And even up the wall.


Some of the art pieces are abstracts…..IMG_1525

Some not so abstract, but still captivating…..IMG_1340

And some so captivating, I felt like ogling. (For your curiosity, that is a sculpture and not real.)


Besides the art pieces, the terrain and the passageways are also interesting and varied. Below is a road in the open…..


This one in the midst of bamboos…..


Here’s a narrow path walled by trees…..


And below is a walkway among the hedges.


With all the walking we did, we got hungry. We came to this place inside the park where we had our lunch. The name of the restaurant is “Rat’s.” My son was disappointed when he learned that they don’t serve rats!


The restaurant is beside a man-made pond and has this French garden ambiance. If you feel like you are inside impressionist Claude Monet’s painting, it is because that is exactly what they are imitating. Below is a view from our table.


But the best part of the visit to this park is interacting with the arts. We tried to poke (or pickpocket?) them…….


And whisper sweet something to them……..


Do mathematical equation with them (supposed to be pie x radius, get it?)…..


Imitate them……..


Imitate and outdo them…..


Or be a part of them.


We really enjoyed our visit to this park and I hope you caught a glimpse of this beautiful and fascinating place through these pictures.

Here’s looking through the arts…….