#182 Tropical Drinks
01 July 2014 // Iloilo City, Philippines
We’re on a tropical island, so we might as well enjoy some drinks in the pool. To be honest, these drinks weren’t exactly the best, but they were fun to sip on while having a day to chat and relax in the water.
#183 Lola’s 96th
02 July 2014 // Iloilo City, Philippines
My grandma turns 96 this summer. She’s well past the age where people start saying ‘wow!’ when they hear it. For a 96 year old, she’s still got a lot of energy and a great smile, and she isn’t too old to hide most of her birthday cake and tell everybody that it’s gone. She really liked that cake.
03 July 2014 // Tigbauan, Philippines
This was my mom’s high school mascot! Not really, but the carabao is the only animal I ever hear her talk about from her childhood in the Philippines. They’re great far animals, big, slow, and hungry.
#185 I Am Iloilo
04 July 2014 // Iloilo City, Philippines
My cousins Jun and Starry took Dee and I out for a nice evening walk along the Iloilo River Esplanade. It was fun getting to learn more about the city and to spend time with cousins I don’t see very often. On a side note, I hope to break this streak of being out of the USA on the Fourth of July next year!
#186 Mampukal Falls
05 July 2014 // Bacolod, Philippines
This was one of the most fun days of our time in the Philippines. Bacolod was beautiful, and we did a hike up to seven waterfalls (although we only saw four.) There were bats we could watch, sulfur pools we could dip in, and cliffs we could dive off. We did all of the above.
#187 Philippine Fishing Boats
06 July 2014 // Iloilo, Philippines
Lamar and Auntie Florenda took us to some more scenic spots around Iloilo since the weather was too stormy for actual beach activities. We did get to go walking on the Iloilo coast across from Guimaras, though. That made for a nice walk. Afterwards, we were treated to a highly unusual zoo tour.
#188 Rainy Season in Iloilo
07 July 2014 // Iloilo, Philippines
It looks like we left Iloilo just in time. On our last day and on the day we left, storms were hitting the island pretty hard, flooding some parts. Luckily no flights were cancelled and we were all able to make it to Manila on time for our connecting flight.
#189 Tokyo Arrival
08 July 2014 // Tokyo, Japan
After spending the night in Manila, followed by a day in transit, we were excited to finally arrive at the Narita airport. We met up with Jeremy and Karlye from the US, as well as our Japanese friend Riho who we hadn’t seen in about a year.
#190 Shibuya Crossing
09 July 2014 // Tokyo, Japan
Spent the day with our two Japanese friends, Riho and Chika, being shown around to Harajuku, Shibuya, and other parts of Tokyo. After the two of them had to leave, we went back with Jeremy and Karlye to Shibuya Crossing, the world’s busiest intersection. We found a Starbucks in a tower that offered a seating area with a view of the whole scene. It was a rainy night, so the umbrellas added to the vibe.
#191 Tokyo Skyline
10 July 2014 // Tokyo, Japan
The Asahi Building, the Skytree, and other decorative skyscrapers decorated the Tokyo skyline, which we got a great view of while walking towards the Skytree. Taking this walk with Deanna was my favorite part of the day. When we got to the Skytree, the former tallest building in the world, we found that we couldn’t go up due to a typhoon. We got conveyor belt sushi afterwards, though, so it was all good.
#192 Journey to Taipei
11 July 2014 // Shanghai, China
After the stay in Japan, it took another day of travel to get me to my next destination, and my final country of my Asia 2014 Tour, Taiwan. Flying through China was an experience, and unfortunately, the sudden thickness of smog when landing in Shanghai wasn’t the best first impression. I do still think it’d be culturally significant to see someday– but even it’s airport was intimidating. Perhaps another part of the country would be more appealing.
#193 Haji Haji Square
12 July 2014 // Taipei, Taiwan
On my first day in Taiwan, I had planned to venture, walk, and explore. Unfortunately, the crazy humidity made that very difficult to accomplish. I still managed to enjoy myself at a public market, though. Taiwan is the public market capital of the world, in my opinion. Just outside the hostel where I’m staying sits a delicious night market.
#194 Pavilion of Dreams
13 July 2014 // Taipei, Taiwan
Did some more exploring of the Datong neighborhood of Taiwan, and discovered beautiful parks that only led towards more beautiful parks. It was amazing. When it comes to the planning out of public spaces, I don’t think anyone does it quite as artfully as Taipei.
#195 Taipei 101
14 July 2014 // Taipei, Taiwan
Spent some of my day going up Taiwan’s tallest skyscraper, and what I think is the fifth largest in the world, or something like that. Unlike the other skyscrapers, which compete mostly for height, I think this one is the coolest because of it’s design. It was inspired by the visual of a bamboo stick, and every New Years, the ridges launch the most incredible fireworks display.
#196 Yangmingshan National Park
15 July 2014 // Taipei, Taiwan
Went on one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever been on. The challenge this hike wasn’t so much the distance or the altitude. The heat, humidity, and never ending staircase is what made this one a tough one. Close to the top, we found a park with a gorgeous lookout over the mountain, across Northern Taiwan.
#197 Shinlin Night Market
16 July 2014 // Taipei, Taiwan
My flight back to the US was cancelled, but the bright side to that means I got another day to spend at the Shinlin Night Market. Spent the evening walking around enjoying one last taste of some of my favorite Taiwanese foods.
#198 Baoan Temple
17 July 2014 // Taipei, Taiwan
I left Taiwan, fortunately later in the day, which gave me the morning to take it easy at the hostel and enjoy the surroundings for one more moment. Went on a short walk to the Baoan temple early in the morning. Of all the places to have come to explore on my own, Taipei was a good choice.
#199 Laundry Day
18 July 2014 // Carson, California
Got back to the US, unpacked, and took things really easy at my Auntie Ella and Auntie Fely’s place. It’s an easy place to do so. That also included a lot of laundry, which after five and a half weeks on the road was very welcome.
#200 Nathalie Has Returned
19 July 2014 // Culver City, California
Technically, I’m the one who returned more recently, but I got to hang out with Nathalie for the first time in a year… and for the first time since she’s moved back from Morocco. We just wanted a simple café in Culver City, and it took us forever to find this Starbucks. But, it was a fun time.
#201 Tahoe Condo
20 July 2014 // Lake Tahoe, California
It took a seven hour drive, but I made it up to Lake Tahoe to spend a few days with Deanna and her family on vacation. I’ve been teased before about taking a vacation right after a vacation, but it’s kind of true. The drive up was actually pretty nice, free of traffic, occasionally scenic, and I got to catch up with a few friends.
#202 Lake Tahoe
21 July 2014 // Lake Tahoe, California
The lake is absolutely gorgeous. It’s one of those dream California destinations that I would always hear about from the experiences with others without going myself, but now I can attest that it does indeed live up to the hype. The clarity of the water, the gorgeous surrounding pines, the mountains and lumps, and the interesting clouds. It’s all great.
#203 Luke at the Lake
22 July 2014 // Lake Tahoe, California
For Shelly’s birthday, we celebrated at King’s Beach on the lake. It was a beautiful day out, and we had a lot of fun with Luke and Simon playing around in the sand. Also, Luke’s hat is pretty awesome. Go North-Face-for-kids.
#204 Old Town Sac
23 July 2014 // Sacramento, California
On the drive back down from Lake Tahoe, we stopped for lunch in Sacramento. We also decided to have a little look around and took a walk through Old Town Sacramento. Didn’t stay too long but it was a good way to mix up the drive.
#205 Bakersfield Records
24 July 2014 // Bakersfield, California
Spent my morning in Bakersfield after the drive down. Deanna and I had breakfast, and then discovered the new location of an old Bakersfield favorite, “World Records.” The music shop sold vinyl and CD’s, but more significantly, they were raising money to fund the development of the rest of their space, meant to be turned into a concert venue and café. Afterwards, we went to hang out with her grandma, who treated us with a great conversation.
#206 Good Weather
25 July 2014 // Carson, California
I had a bunch of work to get done, but thankfully, my aunts’ wifi reaches out into the backyard, where I could continue to work while enjoying a good day’s awesome weather. This has been a fun place to set up camp for a while.
#207 Torrance Farmers Market
26 July 2014 // Torrance, California
Auntie Ella and Auntie Fely took me on an outing to the Torrance Farmer’s Market in the morning. Samples galore, just about everywhere. It’s been a long time since I’d been to this particular farmers market, and it brought back some good memories of my LiNK days and getting lunch here.
27 July 2014 // La Jolla, California
Took a visit to La Jolla to have a walk around and spent some time in one of their best stores, Warwick’s, the independent bookstore and gift shop. I spent a little while browsing through several titles and also had the chance to look at different knick knacks they had on display. Good day for exploring!
#209 Hess Brewing Co.
28 July 2014 // San Diego, California
As a belated birthday treat, I took Alex out to Hess Brewing Co. in North Park. This place has some pretty good beer and a great indoor seating area for hanging out. We got a sampler flight so we could discover his taste in beer, and the early verdict is that the pale stuff is better.
#210 Gauchito Grill
29 July 2014 // San Marcos, California
Got to have a blast catching up with Ivy over some Argentine food. We talked World Cup, family happenings, and recent travels. Most excitingly, I got to find out right away that she had gotten an internship that’ll take her to Hawaii towards the end of the year.
#211 Capetown Deli
30 July 2014 // San Diego, California
I miss South Africa a good amount, and it’s expensive to go back. While I hope to eventually, I find myself going back to San Diego more frequently, and thankfully, I now know of a pretty good South African restaurant off Miramar Rd. Got lunch with my mom and had some pap and wors for old times sake. She got a biltong salad, and that was amazing.
#212 Guest Rooming
31 July 2014 // Carson, California
Took another pit stop at Auntie Ella and Auntie Fely’s place in Carson, where their guest room is becoming a more and more familiar abode. It’s quite comfy and stays at their place are always great, so there’s no complaint.