Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Flickr

I've not been able to blog because marriage, parenthood, and work have gotten the best of me. However, that's not to say that I haven't been out exploring. I now simply upload my photos to my Flickr account. I'll write more travel blog entries when I get a break. Until then, enjoy life!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Central California & Chased by Bull - Christmas 2014

I had been wanting to do the drive on the famous California Highway 1 from Monterey for a very, very long time. Over Christmas break, my wish came true when my husband and I took a road trip to Monterey.

It's been 10 years since I've been to Monterey, which is my favorite place to visit in California. It's breathtakingly beautiful with rich history. We started driving Christmas morning and got there early afternoon. After settled in our hotel, we went to the Fisherman's Wharf to get some food.

By the Wharf, there's the oldest government building in California, the Custom House. From 1822 to 1846, Monterey was the capital and main port of entry for Alta California. This was named the State Historic Landmark #1 on June 1, 1932.


For our Christmas dinner, we went to the famous Old Fisherman's Grotto on the Wharf. We had some excellent clam chowder and I had this lobster. We also had some pumpkin cheesecake for dessert which was out of this world. After dinner, they gave me a pretty yellow rose...that made my evening!


Saturday, September 20, 2014

First Wedding Anniversary - O'ahu, Hawaii, September 2014

We made it through our first year of marriage! It's been a tough year with lots of ups and downs because we are two imperfect people living together day in and day out, but thank God He helped us getting through it all and strengthening us.

This past year, we made weekend road trips to Solvang, Cambria/Hearst Castle, and San Diego, but life has gotten the best of me as I dove into my role as a wife and stepmother of two beautiful girls, so I had not posted any blog entries.

For our first wedding anniversary, we decided to go to Hawaii. My husband was in the Navy and was stationed in O'ahu before, but he never visited it as a civilian. The last time I was in Hawaii was in 2006 (see blog here), so it was time for me to go back. Because other islands were out of our budget during this time, we settled on visiting O'ahu.

Our trip got interesting the moment we arrived at the airport. We saw bunch of paparazzi with big cameras waiting at the gate. As we were going up to the gate, this woman came right in front of me and flashes were going crazy on her. My husband asked who that was, and it turned out to be actress Kate Beckinsale (who played lead female role in the movie "Pearl Harbor." How fitting for our trip). I checked online later and saw that we had made it to the UK Daily Mail's tabloid video! You can watch it here and see us in the background. Once we got into the terminal, I ran into Kate again at the restaurant where we were grabbing a bite before our flight. She turned, smiled at me, and said hi, and I smiled and said hi to her in return. That was a cool star sighting moment.


When we arrived in Waikiki, we were tired because Hawaii is 3 hours behind Pacific Time. While it was only 7pm there, it was really 10pm for our bodies. We decided to go to Gyu-Kaku, a popular Japanese BBQ chain restaurant, for our anniversary dinner. It was a delicious meal making us even more sleepy!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - September 15-20, 2013

I got married to a wonderful man on September 14, 2013. After our wedding, we wasted no time jumping on the plane jetting off to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for our honeymoon the next day. This was my second time in Cabo. This little town has grown so much since I first visited in 2007 (see that blog entry here). When I was single, I did a more adventurous trip in Cabo. I went parasailing and ziplined for the first time in my life. This time around, we decided to just chill, relax, and enjoy each other's company since this was the very first trip we took together as a couple ever. Plus, Cabo was affected a bit by Hurricane Manuel so we had couple of days with gusty winds where the condition was not ideal for parasailing (which I really wanted to do again).

Upon arrival, here's our view from the hotel. We stayed right on the Marina which is the heart of downtown Cabo.


After settling in, we walked around the Marina enjoying the beautiful sunset.


Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas 2012

This Christmas, I decided to explore my own city a little more. On Christmas Eve, I went to the California Science Center where space shuttle Endeavour is on display, along with a special Cleopatra exhibition. I have always been fascinated by Egyptian arts and history. After seeing the King Tut exhibit in San Francisco in 2010, I was not going to miss this one.

There is a peaceful rose garden serving as a courtyard to the California Science Center, the Natural History Museum, and the African American Museum.


Cool fighter jets soaring inside California Science Center.


Friday, December 28, 2012

San Jose, CA. October 2012

I visited my good friend Rasheed and his wife Andrea in San Jose in October. I have not been to San Jose in 10 years so I was curious how the area has changed.

I was wondering what one would do when you visit Silicon Valley not for business, but for leisure? Well, you go visit all the famous tech companies that are so intimately embedded in our daily lives, that's what you do.

First up, Google campus. The Android building has some fun "sculptures" right outside.


While walking around the Google campus, we noticed these colorful "Google bikes" parked everywhere. This makes going from one building to another around the campus super easy and fun.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Madrid, Spain. August 2012

This year for my big yearly vacation, I thought about going to Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, I got a last minute airfare discount deal that altered my destination. I ended up going to Madrid, Spain, and it did not disappoint. Having visited Barcelona in 2006, I was a little worried that I was not going to be able to deal with the later dining hours. As it turned out, I adopted to Spaniard's schedule with no trouble at all. The weather was interesting in Madrid: it was cold before 12 noon (55 degrees F), but between 1pm-9pm, it would warm up well into the 90's. I got lucky though, that the weather started to cool off 3 days after I was there and it was perfect. I slept in each morning, grabbed a light lunch, headed out to museums and sites in the afternoon when it was hot, walked for 4-5 hours, went back to the hotel for a nap between 6pm-8pm, got up, headed out to dinner at 9pm when the sky finally gets dark, then hung around until 12 midnight. I must say that I loved that schedule!

*** WARNING: LOTS OF PICTURES AHEAD! ***

Day 1

I arrived in the afternoon after a long flight. I showered, took a power nap, and headed out to the center of Madrid, Puerta del Sol. This is Madrid's Time Square where they ring in the New Year. Hello Madrid, I'm here!


I signed up for a tapas bar hopping tour that evening so I didn't want to eat too much. I passed by this place called the "Museum of Ham" (Museo del Jamón) and ventured in there. It turned out that this is not a museum, but a deli/restaurant.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sedona, AZ. Memorial Day Weekend 2012

I had been wanting to visit Sedona, AZ for several years. I had been extremely busy at work this year and desperately needed a break, so I booked this trip in the last minute. I am very glad that I did! It felt so good not staring at a computer monitor for 10+ hours a day. This was a relaxing and active (sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?) 4-day weekend for me.

This was my first view of Sedona as I descended into Oak Creek Canyon. It was such a beautiful drive turning onto Highway 89A from I-17 by Flagstaff. I had to stop on the side and take in the view.


This is the view from my hotel room!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ventura, California. April 2012

My church had a women's retreat two weeks ago at the Marriott hotel in Ventura. It was a great weekend getaway trip to refresh my soul, my spirit, and my mind. I learned much about Ventura and discovered interesting places along the way.

Since our hotel was right on the beach, after checking into the hotel, my Bible study group leader, her friends, and I went to the marina to have some seafood for dinner. This restaurant had a mini museum in the waiting area displaying old photographs and a map of Ventura. It was pretty neat to see.




Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tour of El Pueblo de Los Angeles / Olvera Street and Being a Tourist in My Own City Part 3

I went on a free tour of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument and Olvera Street this weekend. I had heard about Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, but I never visited. I was pleasantly surprised by this vibrant area full of history.

Our tour started in the Old Plaza. The tour office itself is a historic building known as the "Old Chinese Store" built in 1900.


Next to the tour office is the Old Fire House. This Fire House has been here since 1884. It says "Fire House No. 1" on the building.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mission Inn and the Festival of Lights. Riverside, CA. December 10, 2011

I had heard about the Mission Inn in Riverside and wanted to visit for some time. I found out they have this Festival of Lights each year during the holiday season, so my friends and I went on a road trip this weekend to check them out.

The Mission Inn is a National Historic Landmark. We went on a tour of the hotel first. Unfortunately, they didn't allow us to take pictures on the tour so I missed out on lots of great photo ops. However, we learned a lot about early settlements in Riverside in the late 1800's, about Frank Miller's plans for the Mission Inn, and the history of the hotel. Some of the venues we visited inside the hotel included the Music Room which houses a 100-year old Kimball Organ, the Spanish Gallery, and the Ho-O-Kan Room that houses Miller's art collections from China and Japan. Because we visited on a Saturday, we only got a quick glimpse of the hotel's stunning chapel as there was a wedding taking place. I'd like to return and visit the chapel in the future.

After the tour, we went back into the hotel. Here's the beautiful hallway from a side entrance.




Tuesday, December 6, 2011

(REPOST) Rome, Italy. July 2008

My good friend Rasheed and his wife Andrea (married in Vancouver, Canada this July) are going on their honeymoon to Paris and Rome. After talking to Rasheed with my own travel tips for both destinations, it brought back fond memories for me. I'm reposting pictures taken from my 2008 Europe trip, starting with Rome.

I worked in Rome for a week. It was my second visit to this magnificent city. Although I didn't have much time to tour around due to my work schedule, I did get a chance to explore a few more places. I met this beautiful Italian woman and her son on our trip from Los Angeles to Rome. It took us almost 24 hours to get to Rome. Our first leg was canceled due to aircraft issue from LAX to Chicago. We then barely made it to our Chicago - London transfer, before moving on to Rome from London. They lost my luggage for a day when I got to Rome...what a travel nightmare!

This woman owns a clothing boutique in Rome and was visiting friends with her son. Here's us at the British Airways lounge at London Heathrow Airport before moving on to Rome.


I stayed at the then Hilton Cavalieri (now a Waldorf Astoria hotel). This hotel is situated atop of one of the seven hills in Rome. This is the view from my room!


(REPOST) London, U.K. for 23 Hours. July 2008

After working in Rome, I had a 23-hour layover in London before going to Amsterdam. As much as I love Europe, this was my first time in London. Although it was a quick visit, I'm glad I was able to return to London in July 2010 and spent a little more time exploring.

Here I come!


I took the Tube to Victoria, where I was spending a night. After I came out of the station, I was greeted by this Wicked production at the Apollo. I was so excited because I had just watched Wicked here in Los Angeles a few months prior. You can't see it in the photo, but I was actually hauling my luggage!


(REPOST) Amsterdam, The Netherlands. July 2008

I met this wonderful woman Vicky living in Amsterdam on MySpace several years ago. She and I became "cyber" pen pals. When I learned that I was going to be working in Rome in 2008, I decided to visit her in Amsterdam afterward.

I got in at 10pm and the sky wasn't completely dark yet.


The next day, I went out to explore and noticed the beautiful Westerkerk church. Dutch style is something completely new to me, and it's equally intriguing.


(REPOST) Brussels, Belgium. July 2008

I decided to visit Brussels on this trip because it was fairly close to Amsterdam. I arrived by train which took about 3 hours. I got to check out beautiful European countryside along the way.

While on my way to the hotel, I passed by the stunning St. Michel Cathedral and had to come see it right away.


In contrast to churches in Rome, churches in Brussels are in Gothic style.