Thursday, January 22, 2015

Basketball in Santa Cruz

Being a huge basketball fanatic, it was sweet to see that the NBA's Development League was having it's showcase in Santa Cruz.  A four day tournament with an all day ticket costing just $20.  What a deal, with four games each day, allowing for tons of basketball options with the up and comers for the NBA, players who were big in college, coming from overseas and just balling out. 

An all day pass gets you any seat in the building.  Any seat.  So I naturally went and sat courtside:

Pretty sweet getting so close to the action, with the ref standing just a couple feet away and me having to move my knees when a player would inbound the ball from the sideline.  Like the NBA All-Star game, there wasn't the best defense, so there were plenty of dunks going around and players trying to show each other up.  You do good, you could go to the NBA.  One player was called up to Sacramento the day after I saw him play, getting his dream to play in the pros.

Some of the highlights were seeing former NCAA tournament standouts such as Arizona's Nick Johnson and Louisville's Peyton Siva.  Also present was Steph Curry's brother (the player on the team in white in the above photo) and Thanasis Anteokounmpo, brother of Giannis who is rocking the Milwaukee Buckes right now.  Then there were the other players who had great games on the day I was there.  Pretty damn sweet to be so close to the action and talk with some NBA guys about the league and the players.  Here's a video and a couple more photos from the day:


Monday, January 12, 2015

Biking around town

Soaking up the beach vibes on a Monday morning bike ride.  Always a good view nearby the beach!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Recap

Watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean was the perfect end to 2014, a year full of adventures, travels, fun in the sun and good times spent with family and friends.  The year went by pretty damn quick, even with having two summers and keeping the days as bright and long as possible.  I crossed the equator twice to maximize the warmth of summer, going from Europe down to Australia for 6 months and then back up to the US for baseball games, Mexican food and frisbee in the summertime.

I started 2014 in Portugal with my family who had flown over for Christmas.  I'd been living in Istanbul and with the family in Boston, Portugal seemed a perfect place to meet up, celebrate and explore a new country all together.  From there, it was down through Sevilla into Morocco, a country full of amazing food and wonderful people.  I explored the Sahara by camel for 3 days, visited the mountain villages in the north and wandered around the mazes of the Medinas in Fes and Marrakesh.  Feasting up tangerines for $.25/kilogram, couchsurfing, hiking, eating and taking local transport made for an epic visit over 3.5 weeks in the country.

Using frequent flier miles (stock up people!  It's free travel!), I flew through 3 countries all the way down to Australia.  Carrying two Moroccan rugs.  That's right, my career as an international rug dealer had begun.  Landing in Melbourne, I was reunited with friends from Wellington, New Zealand and settled in to a very fun, laid back city, that always has something going on.  Melbourne is one of the best cities to live in, and if you don't believe me, read any top 10 list and it will be there.  Spending a summer there is amazing, from time at the beach, to exploring the town and enjoying all that is on offer.  I worked as a tour guide, was the night auditor of a hostel and cooked part time.  Quite a variety of work and fun down under. Riding a single speed bike around the flat town was a breeze, and staying caffeinated was both a pleasure and a statement of fact in the coffee loving city.

Once autumn starting turning to winter, I flew back across the equator to the US for 3 months of travels, bouncing around the country, visiting friends and family.  Quite fun to see loads of people again, attend baseball games at 4 stadiums, swim in 3 of the Great Lakes and laugh it up with good people in my home country.  From the West Coast, to the Midwest, to the Northeast, down to the South, American hospitality was on full display and I loved it.  Great times and then back to California to start a new chapter of the life.  I'm living in Santa Cruz, just a few minutes walk from the beach and working at an organic community market and having fun.  Great vibes in this here town, where the redwood trees meet the palm trees.  The life is good and 2015 is going to rock!