Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vegas, Hawaiian-Style

I have to say, Maui was a bit quiet. We went hiking, explored tidepools, and saw a lot of nature.

I'm not the hugest fan of nature, though most of Hawaii's nature is quite lovely.

There was the time we had to cross a stream to get to this little bay... That's a story for another time, with accompanying photos (on my dslr).

We are out of the sleepy island of Maui now and on Oahu, in the Vegas of Hawaii, Waikiki. It's a bit like Vegas- lots of hotels, lots of shows, lots of drinking- but the huge difference? Hawaii closes early!

We enjoyed our first night by walking about four or five miles, though it felt like more.

There are penguins! In our hotel! They share their space with turtles and koi-

The koi are GIANT. There are even bigger ones, but they don't turn out well in photos because they're greenish blackish gray.

There are also macaws, flamingos, all kinds of ducks (including ducks that look EXACTLY like the ornate wooden ducks Koreans get when they're married), and tons of ponds, streams, and waterfalls. There's even a lagoon, complete with island. Crazy hotel village.

More later, off in hunt of some pineapple juice!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paradise, Hawaiian Style

(The post title refers to the Elvis movie of the same name- a preposterous film, but I love Hawaiian Elvis movies!)

The view from the beach just outside the condo- there are little fish and anemones in the small pools at low tide, when all these volcanic rocks emerge.

Several macadamia nuts, pineapples, and drinks have been consumed, with more to come.

We're off to Oahu Friday morning, so tonight and tomorrow are all we have left in the wonderful condo. Sad to go, but excited for Waikiki and adventures in East Maui once we return!


Sunday, March 21, 2010


Horribly sporadic posting, I know. I apologize and have a good excuse- I landed in Hawaii tonight (technically, last night, the 20th)!

I'm in Maui for the next six days, then Oahu for four days, then back to Maui for three days before I head back home.

I'll try posting updates from here- the condo is literally right on Napili Bay; we can hear the waves crashing on the shore as we are lying in bed. I'm willing sleep to come, but it ain't working. So I'm reading tour guides instead.

It's past midnight and still in the sixties. Windows are open, the stars are insanely bright, and the ocean is lovely. A far cry from the frigidity of Korea!

More soon- and if anyone's been to Maui or Oahu, I welcome all advice!


Monday, March 15, 2010

San Francisco, Part 2

Well, I have no excuses.

All I've got is time, but I haven't been blogging. It's somehow much easier to blog when I'm busy, when I'm always rushing around. Once I'm a sloth ... it's like I can't stop myself from just lazing about.

The good news is, I've finally watched a ton of the shows on my DVR and it is blissfully emptying out (though I still have more than 50 hours left).

The bad news is, I am so slothy that I can barely manage to force myself to check my e-mail every day- and if I didn't get my e-mail on my phone, I wouldn't even do that. Ugh.

I managed to hack my way through some more San Francisco photos, so here they are!

Still on the Bay Bridge, looking towards San Francisco. I love this city. It's got an energy that is so different than LA- not that one's better or worse, they're just different. And differences are good.
A view of the bridge that we had just traversed, from the city. I think we're about to turn onto the Embarcadero to get to our hotel. The sky, the water, the lighting- it was like San Francisco wanted me to be there.
 Fisherman's Wharf was half a block from our hotel, so we took a stroll at night to take a look. The pace in SF is not like the pace in LA. I don't even know how to describe the difference. There are definitely a lot more people on the streets in SF.
I love lights- perhaps this is why I love Vegas?? I'm a city girl, through and through, and nothing warms my heart like lots of bustle and a million miles of neon.
The sign! I forgot to take my flash with me, so all these nighttime photos have a weird quality to them- a flashless quality. I love this sign, even though I don't eat crabs (though I do eat krab).
Speaking of crabs- I think they're really interesting looking creatures, and I like to draw them, to take photos of them, and to look at them. I just don't like the taste of them. I can't help it. We were in the Fisherman's Wharf and I was trying to take surreptitious pictures with my giant camera.
Don't eat these, either. But they're so pretty! All curled up and pinkish and cute. I know I'm weird, and I think this extended vacation time's making me weirder. Wheeee!
The next morning. This is the building right across the street from the front door of our hotel. I like brick buildings, though they are completely terrifying in earthquakes. I kind of wanted to go to this restaurant, but we didn't have much time in the city and we had a lot of places to go.
Strange pod-like public bathroom. These were dotted all around the city. I hate public bathrooms, so I couldn't bring myself to go into one, even if just to check it out. What a place to put bathrooms, in the middle of the sidewalk!
Can't leave out the trolleys! They're really cute and fun, but rather uncomfortable and loud and bumpy in reality. I still think they're great- I think I've been on one every time I go to SF, even if it's just once, for a short amount of time.
It's another crab! This giant specimen was at the Boudin Bakery, where they sell all kinds of creatures made out of delicious sourdough. He had raisin eyes and was sitting with a bunch of other animals-
Lobsters (not as cute as the crab)-
And alligators (admittedly, very cute).

I love Boudin, their bread is incredible. The giant bakery stood a block away from our hotel, and every time you walk past the place, the smell of bread is magnetic. I consumed more bread in the couple days I was in SF than I did the entire month previous, while in LA. It's really that good- something about the old starter that they use and the air and water in SF.

That was our first day in SF, a short day, to be sure, since we had been in the car for over eight hours. We saw a lot more stuff the next day, I promise.

Now for more lazing about- I haven't met my quota today. Back to "House" I go...


Monday, March 08, 2010

San Francisco, Part 1

I haven't yet figured out how many parts I'll need in order to cover my recent travels, starting with my quick visit to San Francisco.

As soon as I wrapped up on "Alice in Wonderland" (which won the box office this weekend, yay!), I took the weekend off. I picked up my cousin (younger brother of this cousin and youngest son of this uncle) from the airport on Monday night, then he, my mother, and I left for San Francisco on Tuesday morning. (On Monday night, we had dinner at Lucille's. The poor cousin- got off a long plane ride that included a layover in Taipei and we drag him to a restaurant before he even gets to go rest!)

We had to take off right away because I had plans. First of all, it was my best friend Julie's birthday on Monday, so I wanted to see her ASAP. I drove, because I am a control freak that needs to always be the driver.

The next few posts, though I don't know how many or how long they'll be, will definitely be heavy on the photos, so beware!

My Hello Kitty air freshener (with a working propeller!) kept me company when my family members started to doze. The trip up took about eight hours- we stopped a few times, took pictures, ate, had coffee, and made it a leisurely trek rather than a fast drive.
Leaving LA. We're in the mountains just on the outskirts of the Los Angeles basin, which means that up ahead, there are clearer skies with less smog. Putting a giant metropolis inside a basin was not the wisest idea anyone ever had.
Just a short while later, the sky had cleared up, other than those ominously gray clouds up ahead. It was a really nice drive, not too intensly sunny, with a crisp clarity to the air. I think it had rained not too long before we went on this roadtrip, and LA is always so nice after rain.
I love these trees. The sky is clearing up even more, and getting a bit brighter. Did I mention that we took off early in the morning? My mother is a morning person. She wanted to leave at 5:00 a.m., which I vetoed immediately. I think we ended up leaving around 6:30 or 7:00, which is still pretty dang early, in my book.
Definitely not in LA anymore! I should also mention that most of these photos were taken from inside the car by my mother. We switched off on using my camera- she wasn't going to let me snap photos while driving, of course, so she took all of these car POV pictures.
I really like the juxtaposition of telephone wires against nature- or anything else man-made against something obviously natural- but my mother really dislikes how people have spoiled nature. I think it's intriguing how we live among nature, and how nature manages to live among us, but I guess that's just me.
The sky started getting a little bit gloomy around Bakersfield, or maybe just before Bakersfield (a.k.a. the land of nothing but farms). I love rain clouds!
Bakersfield meant rain for us. I don't even know how to describe it, but the rain was very loud. The raindrops were these huge, fat globs of water that smacked against the car with a lot of force, making it hard to hear anything over it. The car took a beating, but it was pretty fast- cleared up in probably fifteen minutes or so.
It was strange how quickly the rain disappeared- it didn't even dissipate, it was just raining really hard one second and then gone the next. The stillness and the quiet after that rain was lovely. You know, other than that semi driving past.
Just a few miles later, it was like the rain had never even happened. Beautiful skies, soft-looking green grass- desert though California may be, it is deceptively green here in the winter.
Last few gray clouds in a pretty sky. This photo reminds me of England, when we went to the countryside. All that's missing are puffy white sheep.
Aaaand just like that, the clouds are back! My mom was thrilled to see that the small yellow wildflowers had begun to bloom already. She loves flowers, and they really were a sight, strewn out over the grass.
There were a ton of birds all through our drive up. They were funny, chattering merrily away, and disappearing into nooks and crannies as soon as the rain started up.
Birds can be unbelievably loud. The handful in this tree were squawking away. They're so funny and cute that I almost didn't mind- plus, birds in a tree are funny to see.
We saw small birds, hawks, crows, all kinds of winged creatures, and most of them were perched on the highest branch that they could find. They always, always did this- little specks in the sky? Birds on high branches.
The sky, acting as though it hadn't just dumped a billion gallons of water on us. I don't think I'd ever want to live in the country, but it is nice to see blue skies.
The aqueduct, snaking its way through farm country. Yup, sky decided to be menacing again.
Pastoral bliss?
Moo. I love cows, but only from afar. They're way too big in real life.
I feel the same way about electric windmills- pretty from afar, but too big in real life.
More pastoral bliss.
Seagulls! We must be near salt water...
Definitely getting close to San Francisco now.

If you can believe it, I actually edited the photos down. There were at least four times as many as this! I know I don't edit enough, and I need to pare them down even further .... but I can't.

So bear with me through my several photo-laden posts, because after the San Francisco series comes the Korea series. : )


Saturday, March 06, 2010


After one cold, two stops in the Narita airport, umpteenth miles of walking, being a spectator after Korea University's graduation and then their new student orientation a few days later, and eating more Korean food than I can shake a stick at, I'm back!

I've been back for a few days, but rather under the weather. I got on the plane with a cold, and the cabin pressure just about killed me. I've been recovering slowly, jet lag's been brutal, and it's currently raining (!) here in not-so-sunny LA.

But I'm back, armed with about a thousand photos, which I am trying (unsuccessfully) to edit down to a manageable handful.

More blogging soon!