Taipei is the perfect layover city en route to LAX, but I would have preferred to stay a couple days as opposed to…8 hours.
A couple days after I booked our return flight to Los Angeles from Bangkok, I had a crazy idea: what if we went to Angkor Wat for a day from Bangkok? Continue Reading
Less than three hours away from Bangkok, we arrived in three large white vans to the lovely Anantasila Villa.
When my aunt told me that she’d be celebrating her 75th birthday in her home city of Bangkok, I was ecstatic. The last time I was in Bangkok I was 7 years old visiting her with my Mother and Grandmother, and I just couldn’t wait to reignite my love for this chaotic and stimulating city.
I wish I had stayed longer in Tokyo.
I’m sure everyone who’s ever dreamed of going there says that after their first trip. No matter what there will always be something to discover and explore. I didn’t hit half the things on my to-do list!
Stayed in Akasaka at the lovely Hotel M Innsomnia. I chose this hotel since the rooms were bigger than usual, it was central to most of our excursions, and it had a lovely cafe in the lobby where guests got free coffee!
At the top of my list was the Ghibli Museum. I found a tour on Viator that provided the hard to get tickets into the museum as well as transportation there. We spent most of the afternoon there, we even went through all the exhibitions twice! There was just so much detail and much to see. No photos inside though, but I bought a guide book that had great photos and explanations. We even had a late lunch in their lovely restaurant.
The food was amazing there, I never had a bad meal. We ate tonkatsu, sushi near the Tsukiji market, soba noodles, mochi and tempura, among other things.
And dessert in between shopping and wandering the city…
I can’t wait for my next trip there, hopefully in the fall or wintertime. Summer was just way too humid for me! I’ll do some more Tokyo posts when I can :))))
One of my favorite things in school was the yearly field trip. I looked forward to it all year, we’d go as close as the nearest park where fossils were being uncovered and as far as the San Juan Capistrano mission (I went to a Catholic school). So I was all kinds of excited when I made reservations to see the shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center in Exposition Park as part of my “home school”. I’ve been here before on a field trip to see an Imax film (which I can’t recall) ages ago, so it was nice to finally come back as an adult.
Parking was $15, which is a small price to pay for free admission into the center. My reservation was at 10AM, so the lot was pretty empty by the time I got there at 9:45AM. The exhibit had the tires from one of Endeavor’s missions (you can touch them!), and even the personal items of astronaut Garrett Reisman (one of my favorite parts of the exhibit!). And then I saw the shuttle.
It’s so cool!! There were loads of plaques to read as well as a timeline of space missions with photos and names of the crew. I got a bit teary-eyed at the plaques for Challenger and Columbia.
Getting close to something that went to space was such a humbling experience. I wandered around the rest of the center, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the collaborative effort of women and men who made this possible. I think Scully said it best in the X-Files episode “Max” when she remarks about the Apollo 11 keychain Mulder gave her for her birthday.
I actually was thinking about, uh, this gift that you gave me for my birthday. You never got to tell me why you gave it to me or what it means, but I think I know. I think that you appreciate that there are extraordinary men and women and extraordinary moments when history leaps forward on the backs of these individuals, that what can be imagined can be achieved, that you must dare to dream, but that there’s no substitute for perseverance and hard work and teamwork because no one gets there alone; and that, while we commemorate the greatness of these events and the individuals who achieve them, we cannot forget the sacrifice of those who make these achievements and leaps possible.
We slept in a bit. And this time I got to drive both ways, in and out of the park! Simple pleasures. My parents and I enjoyed walking through parts of the park, enjoying the scenery and the silence. The best part about going somewhere on an off season is that you can have a place all to yourself.
Love these Sorel boots! I later bought dark red laces for them.
I really treasured this time with my parents, all of us are getting older, and I’m getting to that age when they met each other and started to fall in love. I wonder sometimes, if the people they were at my age would be friends with who I am now. I’d like to think that they would.
It was still dark when I woke before my alarm could go off. I turned on the TV and watched “I Love Lucy” as I got my small hiking backpack together. I had already put my clothes together last night. Mom and Dad weren’t awake yet so I had time to take over the bathroom with a quick shower.
Mom made a filling breakfast of eggs, pan fried sliced ham, and rice. We left around 7AM and passed the south gate entrance without having to pay. It must’ve been too early for the guards. The drive was beautiful. When we got to the flat roads around Wawona, we turned off the road to take it all in.
I’ve never been so cold in my life, but it didn’t matter because I had never seen anything see like this before. It was so quiet and so beautiful, I thought that if I could live here for the rest of my life I would be happy.
We stopped at tunnel view, another stellar place to take a photo. You could see El Capitan at your left and Half Dome in the horizon.
We stopped at other turnouts and took photos. But because none of us had snow shoes or spikes, we couldn’t walk very far.We then went to the Hotel Ahwahnee for lunch. It was a gorgeous hotel and not too crowded, which was nice.
It poured all day.
So we got cozy. There was a gas fireplace and a TV with basic cable. Wifi was available but we happily went without it. We brought books and magazines, Mom occasionally checked Facebook.
When we got a little stir crazy before lunch we decided to take a drive around Bass Lake. We drove a windy two lane road through pine trees and passed large lakeside homes until we hit the marina. Most of the shops were closed, this was the off-season after all, but we found the restaurant that the lady at check-in mentioned, Ducey’s on the Lake. We decided to try it for dinner that night.
We had the restaurant to ourselves mostly, only one other couple came and they sat at the far end of the restaurant. We had a view of the docks and the lake when the rain let up just a little and the fog rolled in among the pines. The meal was tasty, I had pork chops, Mom had salmon, and Dad had the filet mignon.
We settled in by the fire once we got home. Dad had the Weather Channel on for most of the time, checking out what our week was going to be like. I started reading The Revenant (I had already seen the film).
We all turned in early. Tomorrow was going to be a clear day and our first trek to Yosemite.
Mom had planned this for months. She knew she wanted to use her timeshare somewhere for a week in January. Someplace new, but not too far. Someplace in nature.
Well, not Yosemite exactly. Our timeshare put us in Bass Lake, 16 miles from Yosemite’s south gate entrance.
We lost a day, my fault. I caught a super cold the Friday before vacation: sore throat, coughing, congestion, and headaches. My parents decided we should depart on Monday instead of Sunday as planned. I was gutted but thankful.
They picked me up early Monday morning, Dad’s SUV packed to the gills. In addition to their suitcases was Dad’s fishing gear, snow chains, crates of food, and a cooler. I might have brought too much: a suitcase, small hiking backpack, purse for those non-nature days, and a pillow.
The drive was lovely. We hit rain in Central California, but we got there in under six hours. We grabbed lunch in Oakhurst, the town just before Bass Lake before checking in.
The timeshare’s townhomes had trail access to the lake but the water’s levels were very low, especially where we were. Staff was very accommodating, helping us familiarize ourselves with the area and suggested restaurants and fishing sites for Dad.
After unloading, I was itching to see the trails. Mom and Dad stayed close to the trailhead while I explored a little further. I saw Canadian geese and a nice area for picnicking. I turned back so that they wouldn’t have to wait for me so long in the cold.
Dad made a large pot of pork and chicken adobo which was a godsend for our first cold night. Mom made some steam rice to go with. A lovely dinner for our new home for the week.