Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Dec 16, 2013


On November 20, Kundan and I flew to Orange County, California for a family visit.

But our hopes for enjoying sunny and warm climate of Southern California were dashed, as the cold and rainy weather of Oregon followed us even there. According a news report it was the first in a series of storm systems that had moved into Southern California on November 20.

Weather was really bad on Nov 21, as my brother-in-law, Rohit and his wife, Rita, drove us, about 85 miles on I-10 East to Palm Springs. It was steady rain most of the way. The rain-storm dumped up to six inches of water causing extensive flooding. Some San Bernardino streets turned into raging streams. Next day the same storm dumped up to 11 inches of snow in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, before moving further east. Watch a live November 21 video report about the weather at

Rain stopped as we approached Palm Springs city limits, about two-hours later (but only to resume, on our way back later that afternoon).

Situated in the shadow of Mount San Jacinto, Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County of California. Starting in the early 1900's, its hot dry, sunny weather attracted health tourists and Hollywood personalities. Now home to about 46,000 residents, city's many attractions continues to draw tourists year around.

  Image: Rita, Rohit and Kundan outside the Mexican restaurant in downtown Palm Springs

After lunch at a Mexican restaurant, we drove around downtown taking pictures, including sculptures of two Indian women laborers at an intersection, a Cahuilla Indian maiden at a resort casino, etc.
Images: (Above) Two female Cahuilla Indian Laborers; (Bottom) A Cahuilla Indian Maiden


But the most impressive sight was that of the 126-ft tall "Forever Marilyn" sculpture of Marilyn Monroe by Seward Johnson. Made of bronze and stainless steel, this 34,300-pound iconic sculpture stands 26 Feet tall, in the heart of downtown Palm Springs.
Image: "Forever Marilyn"
The we headed for Crestline, a small town of about 11,000, near Lake Arrowhead, to spend night in my brother-in-law's cabin. The cabin is located in the hillside woods of the San Bernardino Mountains.
While there we entertained ourselves with good food prepared for us by Rita, and playing Rummikub, a game played with numbered tiles, just like the card game called, Open Rummy.
It rained all night. But in the morning, we woke up to a white blanket of snow that had covered everything around the cabin. Here are a couple of pictures for you.

Next I will write about our visit to the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Dec 15, 2013


On November 29, we visited J. Paul Getty Museum. We wanted to see the special exhibit, "The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New beginning." On loan from the British Museum the exhibition highlights the artistic, cultural and historical achievements the Achaemenid Empire of Iran, especially those related to Cyrus the Great, who ruled the extensive Iranian empire from 559 through 530 B.C.
I was particularly interested in seeing the Cyrus Cylinder. Found at Babylon in 1879, the Cylinder, which in cuneiform script records the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C. Most importantly, it documents how he allowed  Jews, who had been earlier been exiled from the city, to return and restoration by him of their religious traditions.

Image: Cyrus Cylinder (Source Getty Museum Publicity Material)

Unfortunately, I was not able to see it, since to my shock, I discovered that this exhibition had been housed in a different Getty building miles away from where I was. Therefore, I decided to view other special exhibits on display there.

"Gods and Heroes" was the first exhibit I saw. It consisted of drawings, from the 1400's to the 1800s, of the mythological stories and characters that have been central to Western culture. I particularly likes two drawings.

The first drawing I liked waas by the Italian pastel painter, Rosabella Carriera (1657-1757). Entitled "Muse" it presented a rosy-cheeked young woman, decked with a wreathe made of leaves. Rosabella Carriera is believed to be the first person to use pastels exclusively.

The other drawing was by the French artist Anne-Louise Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (!767-1824). It depicted a Greek myth about Phaedra, wife Thesus. She is shown as rejecting the embraces of her husband, since she had fallen in love with his son, Hippolytus.

Then I wandered into another special exhibit "Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister." It showcased two rare masterpieces of English medieval art, stained glass from Canterbury Cathedral and pages from the St. Albans Psalter, an illuminated book of psalms.

Image: Stained glass windows from an exhibit poster

These richly ornamented windows from the Canterbury Cathedral display the art of glass painting after the 11th century conquest of England by William the Conqueror. They depict ancestors of Christ.

The most outstanding display in this exhibit was of three wall-sized pictures of different parts of the Cathedral. They were so realistic, that they me feel as if one was right there inside the Cathedral.

To my disappointment, photography was not allowed inside this exhibit. And I had to be contented with pictures of posters outside.

Located on the top of a hill, in the Brentwood neighborhood, the J. Paul Getty Museum overlooks Los Angeles.
Image: Los Angeles from the terrace of J. Paul Getty Museum
The Museum sits in the middle of large gardens.


Image: A view of the gardens of the J. Paul Getty Museum
A tram whisks away visitors from the 7-storeys deep underground parking garage to the Arrival Plaza. 

Image: Arrival Plaza of the J. Paul Getty Museum
From the Arrival Plaza, a set of stairs leads visitors to the main entrance of the exhibit galleries.

Image: Stairs to the Exhibit Galleries of J. Paul Getty Museum
As we were about to leave the Museum, sunset illuminated its buildings and birds-of-paradise flowers.
Image: Buildings and Birds of Paradise flowers at sunset
Next I will write to you our overnight visit south of the international border to Rosarito and Tijuana, in Baja California, Mexico.

Dec 10, 2013


My other brother-in-law Sudhir, and his wife Susmita, invited his siblings and their spouses for an overnight visit to their vacation condominium, near Rosarito, in Baja California, Mexico, on Sunday, December 1, 2013.
Around 9:30 a.m., loaded in two cars, all nine of us, left Orange County, California, by Interstate 5 South, on the about 120-mile long trip.
Just before crossing the International Border, we stopped by to buy liability insurance for car travel in Mexico. Even though we were going to be in Mexico just for a night, Mexican car insurance is a must for North Americans, since an auto accident in Mexico is a criminal and civil offence. Without Mexican insurance, the driver can go to jail, and the car can be impounded.
Anyway, we used the opportunity for a visit the restroom also. And soon we were ready to cross the border, which was a cinch.
Sudhir's 3-bedroom condominium is located on the 16th floor of Las Olas Resort & Spa, at  


 Image: Las Olas Resort & Spa (Front)

      Image: Las Olas Resort & Spa (Back Side)

Playas de Rosarito, about 45- minute drive from San Diego. It is just a few of miles south of seaside city of Tijuana and...   
Image: Another resort, and in the distance Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

...a couple of miles north of another sea-side town of Rosarito.  

Image: Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

 Las Olas Resort & Spa is a 194-unit luxury hotel complete with restaurant, exercise room, swimming pools, spa, Jacuzzis and fire-pits overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Image: Thatched -roofed Exercise Room


 Image: Swimming Pool

Images: Jacuzzis

We spent our time there chit-chatting, and enjoying the good food provided by Susmita...

Image: At Breakfast Table

...and some played card games.
Image: Playing card games

We enjoyed watching the sun set, while...
Image: Sunset

some of us went out for a walk on the beach.

Image: Beach-walk

Before leaving the resort next day, we posed for a group photo in front of the Resort Hotel.
Image: Group photo

On the way back, at Tijuana, we separated, as like many other Americans, some of us planned to do some business here.

A part of the international San-Diego (USA)-Tijuana (Mexico) metropolitan area, Tijuana is the largest city on the Baja California Peninsula. Because of closeness to US state of California, and low costs, it has become a dominant manufacturing center of North America. Many Americans come here to vacation, and for bargain shopping for various products and services. About 300,000 people cross the international border here daily.

           Images: Tijuana City, Baja California, Mexico

While some of us had to get their pictures framed. Sudhir wanted to get some dental work done. Therefore, with Sudhir and Susmia, Kundan and I went to the Washington Dental Clinic.
The bilingual dentists at its three clinics provide comprehensive and good quality dental care, without a prior appointment. They claim that their prices are 50 to 70 percent less than those in the United States and that more than 90 percent of their patients come from the north of the border. Additionally they provide free taxi service to and from the clinics, and free refreshments (cookies, coffee, soft drinks, and water) to the patients and people accompanying them in their air-conditioned waiting areas. Finally they provide free medical passes, which authorize patients to go to a special line dedicated for medical visitors returning to the United States, without having to wait in long lines for others.
Sudhir's dental work required three hours of work. Therefore, it was about 5:30 p.m. as we reached the border. About two hours later we were back at home.