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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Electric Bikes - Bagan Day Two

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There are various ways to get between the temples in Bagan, it's a little far to walk but there are plenty of other options; bicycle, horse cart, taxi or electric bikes. Lots of people over at the Fodors forum favor the horse carts, and have their favorite drivers, but we decided to skip that option and given the dust I was glad that we did.
The electric bikes are a death trap disguised as fun and we had a blast. They come with no instructions, no gears and no helmet. Either you are sitting still, going full throttle or you've been thrown off the damn thing, I did that quite a bit!  D. did much better at maintaining his dignity, though he looked pretty dorky on the damn things as you can see above. However, he didn't look nearly  foolish as I did right after I'd run into (and knocked over) a brick bollard - see me still in shock below.  I managed to completely disable the bike (and luckily not myself) and cover myself in a delightful film of dust. 
We were in what looked like the middle of nowhere but a bunch of French tourists came by and their guide kindly offered to call the electric bike guy. About half an hour later he came by with another bike and after a small cash payment (!) we were back on our way. It was madness to trust me with another of these things! But I had learnt my lesson, stay away from the deadly combination of deep sand and concrete or brick blocks!

The joy of Bagan is there's so much to see, both inside and outside the temples. In addition to the historical sites  you'll see villages and people working out in the fields.
 The temples just go on and on, we could easily have spent more than three days.
We used the Approach Guide to Bagan to find temples with interesting interior painting. We were particularly struck by these images which clearly show a Chinese influence. 
The joy of Bagan is the sheer variety of the architectural and interior decorations. Yes, you are looking at yet another temple, stupa and Budhha but they take different forms based on when they were built. Some smaller and angular, others pyramidic, some the classic Stupa form that is so familiar. 
Here you can see some of the varieties of form and design. The Approach Guide breaks down the various architectural aspects of the temples  (including detailed terminology) and explains the historical development of temple forms at Bagan. It was all fascinating in the moment but I must admit now I'm just inclined to let the images wash over me!