Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

From The Daily Post.

I dug this up in the very deep photo archives.

I really need to put my photos in an external hard drive.

Anyways this is from hotel window from Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan from 2007. It’s been years since I’ve been there. Thinking about coming back just to enjoy a little more (I only had BARELY two days there :-/). I remembered when I first got to Tokyo, I remember how it was clean, not because there was almost no trash on the floor, but also how the shapes in the urban planing was clean.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

From Daily Post

April 2012

The first picture I took when I was going to South East Asia. First stop, a long layover at Hong Kong.

It’s the picture of the sunrise from the plane and we were about to land within an hour. I remembered that initial feeling of excitment and adventure mixed with refreshing and free — something I haven’t felt in a long time. I remembered the “rules” people told me…

Person A: don’t talk to anyone you don’t know.
Boyfriend’s sister-in-law: (snickers) she’ll have no one to talk to!
Me: you don’t know what you’re talking about!

Why are people who have never traveled before (or even left town for the weekend) giving me advice? When I was in the plane heading for Hong Kong, I thought “thank god I don’t have to listen to their rules being thousands of miles away.”

May 2012, Anza Borrego Part II

The following day, I woke up because it got so hot. Had breakfast and went to the mud caves. Yes, it’s literally made out of mud — not stalagmites or stalactites. Just mud. It reminds me of my many attemps in making sand castles but it was really just a bucket of wet sand with random holes I poked with sticks. Never made an awesome sandcastle like this:


(source: Wikipedia)
More like:

(source)

Unfortunately we were only there for two hours because it got too hot.

A couple week before our camping trip, on the news, there was a UCSD student missing and they found his body in the mud caves. When we were there exploring, there were markers all over the place from the search-and-rescue team indicating they were here. Losing your group and having them not find you is actually my biggest fears. I rememered the days coming towards the camping trip, I thought I would fall into a hole and get stuck for so many hours waiting…waiting…waiting. It would be the worst possible situation since it’s 100+ degrees outside. Anyways, moral of the story: always stick with the group.

I believe it’s very easy to lose people or break away from the group in the mud caves. When we were on top of the caves, there were all these holes and if you trip, you might fall into one of the holes. These holes may look small but they might have a crazy deep drop. I’m not sure how one would get out? By digging themselves out or rope — but you don’t know how far you’ve gone. Plus there was ABSOLUTELY not cell phone reception.

When my boyfriend went out to scout around and told us to stay behind for a bit and he comes back asking if we heard him and we said we didn’t. He said he yelled for us several times but then decided to go back and fetch us. So you see, it’s very easy to lose yourself in Anza Borrego.

Here is Part I.

May 2012, Anza Borrego Part I

A few weeks after the South East Asian trip, our friend planned this rather random camping trip in the middle of the desert. She wanted to go check out the mud caves.

When you think of San Diego, you think of beaches and sunny weather with a cool breeze.

That weekend, it made me think “wow, this is still San Diego County?” Anyways, I enjoyed my weekend at the less conventional San Diego.



We found our campground and we learned that we were on the second to last weekend before they close the campground over the summer because it gets so hot. It’s August 10th today and according to the Weather Channel Website, it’s a 109 degrees. When we were there at May, it was around 100 degrees. In the summertime, it gets so hot that no one wants to drive all the way to camp in the desert.

I would love to come back to Anza Borrego — maybe in January or February.

When we arrived, we went hiking near the campground.





Cool!



Having dinner and attempting to tell some scary stories. Actually my favorite activity in camping is grilling hot dogs over an open fire.

The best park about camping here is the stars in the sky and no light pollution. Stay tune for Part II — Off to the Mud Caves. This was the reason why we drove so many hours to the desert.

Check out for more pictures in my photo bucket!

Compiling my South East Asia entries

It took me a while to get around making entries for every single city I visited but I DID IT!

So to make it more organized here it goes :-)

1) Hong Kong

I

II

III

IV

I wasn’t too crazy about Hong Kong. Wanted to leave early and head to Bangkok–which I did!

2. Bangkok

Ia, Ib

IIa, IIb

III

This city was so much fun! Wish I stayed longer! Didn’t get a chance to go to the floating markets though, a princess died the week of my arrival. Until next time Bangkok (and maybe explore a couple other cities in Thailand too!)

3. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Day one

Angkor Wat: A, B

Day two

Check out photobucket for more pictures!

4) Phnom Penh


I

II

We arrived here on Khmer New Year. Significantly less locals because they all went back to their hometown this time of year.
And this was how I learned avocados don’t grow abundantly in South East Asia.

More Phnom Penh Pics.

5) Sihanoukville


More at photobucket.

6) Chau Doc

Photobucket album

7) Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Photobucket Album

So here is the condensed list folks! Enjoy!

Think I got bitten by the travel bug–ouch!

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam — ONLY LESS THAN 24 HOURS FOLKS!

This is the last of the South East Asia series. Coming up is the weekend trip at Anza Borrego.

If you ever been to Paris, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a little reminiscent of Paris. We arrived at 13:00 and I left the following morning at 7:30 because my flight was at 11. Would like to stick around HCMC longer but my boyfriend has never been to Vietnam and I didn’t want to spoil it for him.

Road to Saigon.


Crossing the Delta.


View from my hotel


City Hall


Opera House


Post Office


Interior of Notre Dame


Interior of the Ben Thanh Market.


My last night. In fact, everyone was going separate ways. Some were going back to their home country, some decided to explore Vietnam on their own. Some stuck with the group all the way through Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.


The following morning on the way to the airport. Thought this motorbike picture was funny. You’ll see plenty of motorbikes with families and their dogs like it’s us American families (plus dog) in our mini-van!

For more pictures check-out my photobucket!

ONLY 48 HOURS IN VIETNAM!!

Here I go again still posting pictures from Southeast Asia even though it’s been 3 months. That’s crazy how time went by so fast. I promise I’ll compile a more organized list of the places I went in Southeast Asia.

Even though it’s been 3 months since my SEA trip, I’ll think of posting these as reliving my moments.

I still keep in touch with the people I traveled with on Facebook and I remember one mentioned they were going to the Bahamas with family over the summer before the new school year starts and the other one was going to be in Australia after spendin 3 months volunteering in South Africa.

I was so excited to leave Sihanoukville and we took a van to Chau Doc, Vietnam. If you’re from Vietnam, you probably have heard of Chau Doc — it’s a small town by the delta and it’s a good overnight stop leaving from Cambodia going to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) City. This is my second to last city before heading back home.

We took a van all the way to the Cambodia-Vietnam border and walked across the border. I think it’s an awesome feeling WALKING from one country to another. Sounds dorky, I mean there is no line or a big flashy sign saying “Welcome to (name of country)” but just the idea of WALKING to a country feels adventurous already. Something brag-worthy to tell your friends. So far in my trip, I have walked the Thailand-Cambodia border and the Cambodia-Vietnam border.

Also when crossing the Cambodia-Vietnam border, the scenery just changes. Vietnam was more greener — maybe because it is a coastal country.



On the way

Crossing the Cambodia-Vietnam Border

Town of Chau Doc


The fish market

1 dollar pho (1 dollar = 20,000 dong)

We rented a motorcycle and rode to the top of the mountain and admire the sunset

For more pictures check out my photobucket!

It was just a simple day of relaxing and just slow traveling. The night ended with karaoke :-).

Sihanoukville

It’s been a while since I posted from my Cambodia trip. I’m pretty backlogged. Still got two more cities to cover!

I thought Sihanoukville was very touristy. Thank god, we rented a boat to go island hopping, snorkeling, and feeding the fishes the following day.

The water was like being in a bathtub on a winter day — very hot. I got sunburned after my time in Sihanoukville.

Even though the pictures look like paradise, I didn’t like the people at the hotel and the lady who booked our boat rental — they take your money to the point you feel guilty.

I guess I enjoyed island hopping to get away from people LIKE THEM!

I remembered on our first day in Sihanoukville when my group and I reserved a boat rental, we were told it was going to be 20 dollars per head. So I gave the lady 20 dollars. The next day when we were meeting up to get the boat, the lady said “I think I mis-charged people. I told people it was going to be 15 dollars per head but it was really 20 dollars per head, so I need 5 extra dollars from each of you.” She comes up to me telling me that I only gave her 15 dollars instead of 20 — I told her, I gave her 20 dollars and I got no change.” I did not want to waste my time arguing or making her remember, so I gave her five dollars.

Another moment was the day when we left Sihanoukville. I was in the lobby waiting for the rest of my group and I ordered a cup of coffee which was one dollar. I gave her 20 dollars and she gave me back 19 dollars in change. A few moments later, she comes up to me and tells me that I never paid for my coffee and I told her I did because I gave her a 20 and she gave me change. She told me to go through my wallet because she bets I had a 20 in my wallet. I opened my wallet and counted my change and she still didn’t believe me. Her other coworker was giving me a hard time about it too and said that she got me on video camera. One of the people in my group told the ladies to go and check the video camera and they left and they never came back. I guess they felt silly coming back asking for another dollar. Before I left the hotel, the manager stopped me telling me he was sorry that his employees were giving me a hard time and that I did pay for the coffee.

But sorry Mr. Hotel Manager, but I prefer hearing sorry from your employees personally. They left me a very bad taste in Sihanoukville. They were fuming and giving me dirty looks as I was sitting the lobby waiting for my folks.

A really invaluable advice is when it comes to handling money and you know you already paid them, stand your ground that you did pay. If you’re not sure, then pay. I know it was silly to not pay the girl another dollar but I was pretty fed up with people bullying and guilting me into giving them another dollar.

Anyways, I’m definitely NOT coming back to Sihanoukville. I’ve never disliked a city so much.

Any cities or countries you despise and NEVER want to go back??