Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Mexico city has been an adventure


Mexico City has been an adventure. I'm writing this on my phone in the back of the rental car. Yesterday we went to the pyramids, which was a spectacular sight. I will include a related video once I make it.

There were vendors selling all sorts of souvenirs. Someone even tried to sell me an obsidian dagger. I don't think airport security would have liked that. We also saw some ocarinas for sale, mostly 5 hole pendants which I'm not a huge fan of. Those are mostly just a toy.

Driving back from the pyramids was a nightmare. It took over 3 hours. Google maps said it would take 1 hour and 20 minutes. The last 2 miles took 2 hours. There were police and road closures everywhere. It was the worst traffic I've ever been in. And I have lived in the Bay Area and driven in Los Angeles quite a bit, etc. Mexico City takes the cake.

On the way to the pyramids, we were stopped by the Mexican police. They wanted 6,000 pesos for some nonsense laws they made up on the spot. Brooke and I didn't have any pesos, so my friend and his brother paid 2,000 pesos of the fine and we got out ok. Still, it was pretty upsetting. We had to find a bank to get more pesos.

The place we are staying also lacks some of the comforts of the states. The hot water may or may not work. So far, I have taken one cold shower and one lukewarm shower.

The windows in the building have no screens, so you could just open up the window and jump or fall out if you were so inclined. The apartment is on the 4th floor and there is no elevator, which is the highest I've been without one. Some of the stairways are quite tight and require me to duck. It certainly is an interesting place.




Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Twin falls


It looks like my posts are a little backlogged. Here is a post about our vacation this summer.

On our way to vacation in Idaho, we stayed in a hotel in Twin Falls. It is a very interesting town, lots of shopping, then banks, cars, small businesses, and stuff. I don't know what people do for work outside of retail.

We went to a McAlister’s at about 8 pm, an hour before close. They were out of almost everything! I got a salad with spinach instead of lettuce. It had Bleu cheese and a shallot sherry dressing. It was pretty good. Pretty French haha. I had a reuben as well. The employee gave us some cookies to make up for all the missing items.


We went into the small town of Shoshone which was so small and quaint, I loved it. We looked through an antiques store. Brooke and I finished and sat on a bench by Ace Hardware. Suddenly, a cat appeared. I told Brooke and she was startled, the cat was already under the bench when she noticed. Brooke being startled startled the cat too. It wanted me to pet it, so I did. Its slightly mangled fur indicated it was a street cat. It was quite sweet though. Like a big Maple, just a lot more quiet (Maple was the name of our cat friend on the ranch). It went into the Ace Hardware. I followed. Inside the store, the cat kept looking back at me, expectantly. Eventually it proceeded through a side door where there was water and cat food.
Brooke and I walked across the street to the gas station to wash our hands. The gas station was super cute. It had little booths to sit, and a milkshake machine thing!
We also explored a little more, seeing a Mexican shop run out of an old school bus. I took a picture. The lady who owned it saw me, so I said hi.
We continued down and saw some active shops, but many were closed. We saw an apartment above a store for sale, imagine living in a town like that. Across the street, we saw a creepy mansion. Look at these pictures and see how big it is. It is kind of wild.




Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Yosemite

At the end of July, my mom, sister, and brother were in our neck of the woods. My sister had a friend's wedding in Oakland/reception in Sonora to attend. My mom drove Brittany and her friends here for the wedding (and for some sightseeing). Brian flew in just for the weekend. We all stayed in Sonora at a cute little hotel there. The day after the big wedding day, Brittany and her friends went to a fun little lake in Sonora for the day, while Brian, my mom, Ricky, and I went to Yosemite for the day. I had heard from a lot of people that Yosemite was awesome, but I didn't know what it would be like or what to expect. I was happy with what we fit into our one full day there. We saw many of the waterfalls. They were so pretty! We first saw Bridal Veil Falls. It was pretty and not much of a hike to get to it. Then we hiked lower Yosemite Falls. It was so nice to sit at the bottom and feel a little mist from it! Lastly, we hiked Vernal Falls. Vernal Falls was definitely the big hike of the day for us. It was so uphill and so hot! Then, we made it partway and saw this little view of the falls still so far away. It was kind of a disappointment after all that. But we could luckily fill up our water there and then continue onward. I'm so glad we did. We walked right up by the waterfall with the mist from the falls just soaking us! It really cooled us down and gave us the energy to keep going! Then, we got to the very top of the waterfall! It was so amazing to have made it to the top of it! We relaxed and ate some snacks before heading back down. It was a full and amazing Yosemite day! Here are a few pictures:

Right when we arrived in Yosemite, Ricky spotted a bear! We pulled over to see it. It was enjoying a snack from this tree.

so pretty!
On our way up Vernal Falls - you can see how soaked we got!
A happy squirrel relaxing at the top of Vernal Falls

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Berkeley and Oakland

Oh wow, I think we are a little behind on our posts. Well, we just went to Oakland recently, but I realized I didn’t even post about our last Oakland trip! Ooopsy. This most recent trip was quite short, we just went to the temple. Due to working a lot and getting free food often at work, my pants have not fit me very well. So I decided to get a new pair. Brooke ordered me some off Amazon, but they were not quite the right size. Additionally, the fabric was quite thin, not what I would expect from $50 plants. Fortunately, I think returning them will be easy since Brooke used Amazon wardrobe. I had to hide the tags though when I wore them in the temple, which was probably a little humorous to watch. After going to the temple, we went to the smallest taco bell I have ever been to. It had 3 or 4 little 4-person tables. It had a sign “15 minutes only,” as in “you can’t linger here.” I finally tried a quesarito, which I was a little disappointed by. The mini chicken quesadilla is pretty good though. And of course the beefy fritos burrito with 440 calories for 1 dollar is the best value. I think this is turning into a fruglife post though! Anyways, the last trip to Oakland was very different, as you will read!

So we went to the Hotel Claremont in Berkeley where my friend works. It was a gorgeous hotel and he showed us around. We watched a guy saber a champagne bottle in the hallway. We chatted and reminisced about old times.

I don't often give 10/10 for a dish, but I found a 10/10 dish here. The Chicken Bao Buns are amazing. The chicken was perfectly crispy, the bun soft and amazing, the kimchi added punch and the cucumber added a fresh element to the dish. A perfectly crafted and executed dish.

After visiting Berkeley, we went a few miles to Oakland to visit the temple. Brooke needed to use the restroom, so we walked into the visitor center. I sat on a bench while I waited for her. While there, a senior missionary approached me and asked if I was there for the performance. I said I wasn’t, and he replied “you should be” and handed me a program. I asked when it started and he said 7 pm, in just 10 minutes. I told Brooke what had happened, so we decided to stay and listen. I’m glad we did. The artist was a piano duo called happy dog duo. They played 4-hand piano pieces. They were quite skilled. It has been a while since I went to a musical performance. At times the music was so soothly, I felt like drifting away into sleep. They played a piece called “fairy garden”. In my mind, I really did travel to a green and lush garden, with happy gnomes and fairies. Other music was thought provoking and deep. During the music, I realized that I had been stressing about some aspects of life and the music made me feel almost weightless at times. It was a very nice performance.

Apparently there are lots of performances at the temple visitor center. Brooke and I wish we knew about them earlier.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

June San Diego Trip


So in June I took a trip to San Diego to see my sisters’ high school graduation.

The drive was pretty long, but not uneventful. In Gilroy, I saw some smoke in the distance, and as I got closer, I saw two cars pulled to the side of the little two lane highway. As I got closer still, I saw a fire, probably 30 yards in diameter or so, and then in the middle of it, I saw a white pickup truck engulfed in flames. It was a crazy sight. As soon as I saw this, I heard sirens behind me, so I pulled over to the dirt on the side of the highway. After the police passed me, I started to drive again, but stopped as the officer made a 3 point turn in front of me. As soon as the path was clear, I took off and got out of there. A small line of cars started forming on the other side of the highway. I didn’t capture any pictures of the event (hopefully for obvious reasons), but it was quite a sight. After I got on I-5, the drive was pretty normal, not much happened.

When I got home, I was pleased to see the family cat Sia. She had run away from home some time ago and I was glad to see her safe at the house.

The Monday after I got there was not very eventful, it seems most people have work on a Monday in the middle of the day. I wasn’t an exception either, as I did a few tasks on my work laptop. I still managed to meet up with some of my friends in the afternoon and got some Mexican food. Mexican food in San Diego is the best (Well ok, sure my times actually in Mexico were a little better haha). Anyways, I also got to play Overcooked 2, which was a total blast haha! I would highly recommend it. The premise is simple, you and a small team have to cook food in this game. It takes intense levels of coordination, otherwise everyone is just running all over the place. We started to really get the hang of it. Before long it was 1 am haha.

Tuesday was the day of the actual graduation. There was a nice breeze and the ceremony was nice. We went out to a ramen place after. I had sushi as it was still summer and I wanted something cool.

Then my brother and I spent 3 hours washing, waxing and cleaning my car. It looks great now. I think this is the first time I have waxed my car.

Well, shortly after I got there, it was time to go home. The ride home was pretty uneventful except for my stop to get gas in LA. I had to go to 3 gas stations to use a bathroom. And then I hit 20-30 minutes of traffic just to get back on the freeway. So that part was a nightmare. I don’t know how anyone lives in LA! haha, just kidding. Lots of people say that about California in general.






Sunday, July 7, 2019

A day in Fresno

Before the Oakland temple was dedicated, Ricky and I made a trip to Fresno to go to the temple there. The drive there is unique and pretty, but also pretty long. We drove past fields of crops in Gilroy (tons of garlic - it smelled so strong!), stands of fresh produce, and then through the mountains and past a beautiful lake. I think the drive was about 2 hours 20 minutes.





Finally, we made it to the temple. It was the smallest temple either of us had ever been in! It was tiny! Everything was on one floor! It was beautiful though, and the grounds were really pretty.




After the temple, we went to Dog House Grill to eat. It was very popular, and for good reason! Ricky got the tri-tip sandwich, which was alright. I got the pork rib meal, which was amazing! We both loved the ribs, and there was a generous portion of them! The meal came with a salad and garlic bread. We were both stuffed!




We ended the day going to Woodward Park to play some disc golf. The park is huge, and it took us awhile to actually find the disc golf course. It was a huge course, definitely too advanced for me, but still fun.