Monday, November 10, 2014

California Dreamin'

     CALIFORNIA... What can I say about this state? Everywhere I go, people are in "awww" of where I am from. I have always had an appreciation for this beautiful place, but I also felt that Hollywood distorted what California really is. It is not always sunny here, we don't all live on beaches, and we don't all surf... I learned how to surf for the first time in my life in Australia last year.  Oh yes, it also snows in some areas! Let me tell you about some magical places here on the west coast that Hollywood may have not shown to the world.

     I have traveled all over this globe and have had amazing friends show me around their cities.  Now it was my turn to show some of them where I am from.  This was so much fun for me!  What I love most about California is it has amazing nature.  The first place my family lived was in South Lake Tahoe after moving from Thailand.  I would spend a lot of my childhood swimming, kayaking, and hiking the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

    My friend Raphael from Switzerland was on a 3 months west coast trip.  He went everywhere from Vancouver down to Tijuana as well as going to Kaui.  He surfed at all the best places we have to offer.  I was able to take him to South Lake Tahoe, into the northern desert, and last but certainly not least, the magic that is Yosemite.  He loved it and we had such a nice couple of weekends enjoying all the nature.

 Fallen Leaf Lake

After a great kayak

 Overlooking Mono Lake

 Yosemite National Park

Half Dome

Sunset on our drive out of Yosemite

 Night out with some close friends

     A few weeks later, my friend Michael from Australia came to the States for a 2 month holiday.  I had the pleasure of seeing him towards the beginning of his trip and was able to help him plan out the rest of his time in the States.  In 2 months, Michael has seen more of this country than I have.  I'll have to get some tips from him as I make the effort to see more of the USA.  Michael stayed at mine for 5 days, and in the short amount of time, we covered quite a bit.  We went to San Francisco, downtown Sacramento, and headed up to Lake Tahoe as well.  It was quite the adventure, lots of great memories.  Can't wait until we meet up again in a different location mate!

 Downtown Sacramento

 Lake Tahoe

Huge fire on our drive home in Pollock Pines

     One of my best friends Lindsey, absolutely loves Halloween, so this year we made a trip to the Winchester Mansion in San Jose.  Pretty freaky experience being in a creepy old house in the dark, but fun none the less.  We stayed in Santa Cruz where my brother goes to school.  It is such a beautiful small beach town and I recommend it to everyone on their trips to California.  Truly a gem to our state.

Pacific Ocean

Natural Bridges State Park

Now I leave you with my favorite California song and the title of this post.

"There are not many places in the world where you can get to the beach in an hour, the desert in two hours and snowboarding or skiing in three hours. You can do all that in California". -Alex Pettyfer

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hello from Uruguay! Montevideo

     Delali and I arrived in Montevideo on July 23rd after taking a boat from Buenos Aires.  We immediately noticed the weather change.  It was absolutely freezing in Montevideo and I did not have the proper clothes at all.  It was refreshing to have cold weather, but this was almost unbearable.  Mauricio picked us up from the dock and we headed home.

     Mauricio, Diego, and Pablo were wonderful hosts.  They all had to work, but when they were home, we all hung out together.  Delali and I definitely spent a lot of our time just relaxing and keeping warm.  Montevideo is quite small and we felt that we had plenty of time to rest and to also be tourists.

     On July 26th, the boys were off work and took us to see the highlights of the capital city.  We went to see where the first World Cup match was played in 1930 and where the final was played between Uruguay and Argentina.  It is crazy to think how many years ago that was now.  84 years!!!  It was such an amazing experience to be at these 2 stadiums... so much history.  Where it all began!  

Uruguay beat Argentina to win the first World Cup 4-2 at this stadium.

First World Cup match was played here.

Diego's favorite team!

     The following day, the boys took us to the center of town to shop and have a wander.  Montevideo certainly has some European touches to it as well.  I really enjoyed walking around and also eating more empanadas.  Seriously, the best food in South America.  I need to make some soon!

     We ended our night together with me preparing some fajitas.  What can I say?  We eat a lot of Mexican food in California and that is what I like to cook.  Lovely time in Montevideo with some great guys.  Thanks for everything boys, was really a pleasure!

     7 weeks in South America came to an end.  6 continents down and 1 more to go (Antarctica).  I love this continent and I can't wait to come back and see so much more of it!  Adios for now!

"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home". -Matsuo Basho

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hello from Argentina! Buenos Aires

     What can I say about Argentina?  It is absolutely amazing!  It was my favorite country on this trip and the one I can't wait to get back to.  My only thoughts prior to leaving on this 2 month journey was that the beef was going to be insanely good and that Buenos Aires was very European.  After experiencing the Argentine energy in Brazil for the World Cup and spending time with my new Argentine friends Rodrigo and Angie, I had very high expectations for more, and Argentina did not disappoint.

     Right when we arrived in Buenos Aires on July 17, 2014 and took a cab from the airport to the hotel, I was in love.  I admit that Europe has my heart.  I've been to 6 continents now, and Europe will always hold that special place.  Buenos Aires is the Europe of South America.  The architecture is spot on to Paris.  The clothing that Argentines wear and the way that they look physically is very similar to Europeans.  Most people are of European heritage because their ancestors immigrated over.  Argentina is the perfect combination of true South American culture with European flare and I found the country to be lovely.  Also... BEST LOOKING MEN IN THE WORLD LADIES!

Empanadas are basically the most delicious food ever!


     On July 18, we met up with a new friend Leo, who was kind enough to show us around Buenos Aires.  He has a car which made it much easier to see the city.  We really saw a lot through his guidance and I can't say thank you enough!  At night, he took us to a gazebo where older people meet to dance tango.  The dancers were very sweet and willing to show us how to dance.  I am horrible by the way...  HAHA, but I am glad I got taught tango where it originated by some experts.

 Argentine steak is amazing!


     One of the best parts of traveling is to see what the locals do and Leo gave us an opportunity to do just that.  Since we were in South America, I would have never guessed that rugby would be big, but it was.  We spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon surrounded by 100 men playing rugby.  Quite the experience.  This is where it was solidified that Argentines are quite handsome. ;-)  Go St. Brendan's Rugby Club!

     After all the rugby, Leo picked me up at night to attend a party.  A friend of his was celebrating their birthday.  Following the party, we left to go to a club at 4 AM.  I have never entered a club at 4 AM ever in my life.  South Americans party in a way I have never partied.  We finally left at 6:30 AM and I was dying.  I bet the rest of the guys could have carried on partying!

Leo and I

     The following day was Friendship Day, an Argentine holiday where all friends get together to hang out.  Delali has a friend from college living in Buenos Aires and Kyle took us to a BBQ.  It was really lovely to meet everyone and we had one of the best BBQs of our entire trip.  I am dreaming about eating this food again as we speak!

Truly obsessed with empanadas!



 La Recoleta Cemetery

     On July 21, I met up with Christian in the evening.  We went to have dinner, and who would have known that pizza in Argentina would be so delicious!  It was nice to see the weather changing from the heat in Brazil.  On this night, there was the most amazing rainstorm with thunder and lightening in the sky.  It was a truly beautiful night in Buenos Aires.

Tango show on the 22nd, our last night in the city.

     On July 23, we had a ferry ticket to go from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, Uruguay.  It was hard to leave Argentina because I just didn't feel like I got to see enough.  This trip was all about the World Cup and so these 2 capitals were just a little taste into the other countries.  I can't wait to go back to this amazing country and explore more.  Before leaving, we rushed across town to see our wonderful host of the city one more time, Leo.  Until next time Argentina!  Don't cry for me ;-).

Sailing from one country to the next.

"Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile". -Franklin P. Jones