Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Wild Parrots of North Beach

One of the great things about living in San Francisco is all the deverse neighborhoods we have here. I happen to live in 'Little Italy' also known as North Beach. Not only do we have great eateries, pubs and nightlife but we have a great variety of residents. From Lebonese to Chinese, Italian and Russian we have it all. But a resident that goes un-noticed to many is the the "Wild Parrots" of North Beach who live in the trees of San Francisco's Telegraph Hill. They have been delighting residents and visitors since they were first spotted flying around back in the early 90's. So famous are these birds that a movie has been make about them. Most of the birds in the flock are the same species, a parrot known variously as the cherry-headed conure, the red-masked conure, the red-masked parakeet, and the red-headed conure. Its scientific name is Aratinga erythrogenys. I have a great view from my apartment and lately the parrots have been hanging around my balcony and the neighbors building just next door. Here are a few photos of them from yesterday.

Friday, December 01, 2006

World AIDS Day

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day which is recognized around the world and is the 25th annual event. According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 39.5 million people living with HIV, including 2.3 million children, and during 2006 some 4.3 million people became newly infected with the virus. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35. Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world. Started in 1988, World AIDS Day is not just about raising money, but also about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done. I went to the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. At this lovely living memorial is a place called the "Circle Of Friends" where the names of those who have been affected by AIDS are engraved in stone. It was there that I witnessed some tender moments as people came to remember their lost loved ones. Please check out a small soundslide show I did here.David Diaz of San Francisco looks for his friend Charlie Haberman at the "Circle of Friends," a ring of names engraved in stone.
David Diaz (L) and Vivian Voyles look at the "Circle of Friends," a ring of names engraved in stone to honor those who have been affected by AIDSA man puts some flowers down at the "circle of friends".
People look at the "Circle of Friends," a ring of names engraved in stone to honor those who have been affected by AIDS.
A yellow rose sits next to the name of Charlie Haberman at the "circle of friends" memorial.
People look for names at the "circle of friends" at the AIDS memorial grove in Golden Gate Park.David Diaz of San Francisco touches the name of Charlie Haberman at the "Circle of Friends".
David Diaz of San Francisco wipes away a tear at the "Circle of Friends" memorial.