Sunday, April 29, 2012

Last Leg: South Cali :)

After that Vegas trip, we went back to my friend's home and tried to see as much as we can of South California.  My friend took a leave from work so she could tour me around.  So after attending her class in the morning, she drives for me so I could see the place and our other college friend who lives about an hour away from here.  We also drove to Macy's and a couple of other stores for more pasalubong-shopping.  

On the first day of my stay in my friend's house, we went to Palm Springs, rode the tram and rose to hundreds of feet above sea level!  It was so windy and lovely at the top. :)  Then, we went home and ate some buffet dinner, courtesy of my friend's dad!  How's that for hospitality and generosity?  Too bad I wasn't able to take a photo of our dinner.  Maybe I got so busy eating tempura!  Haha!

On the second day, we drove to Laguna Niguel to see our other orgmate!  She then led us to Dana Point, this Yacht Club where we had the most surreal time of walking by the bay and watching the sunset.  If we had boys with us, that would be the most romantic thing.  Haha!  My friend's mom hosted dinner.  Afterwards, we drove to Anaheim to meet my friend's other friends and and for some Hookah experience, hehe.  It was my first time and I enjoyed it!  We drove home too late that night, and you wouldn't believe that my friend had to be in school so early after that.  She only slept for a couple of hours, I think.  That is if she had slept at all! 

My third day was my last day in the USA.  My friend's dad accompanied us and drove us to LAX.  But before that, we hit Hollywood Boulevard for some photo ops and souvenirs.  A photo by Michael Jackson's star is a can't-be-missed, non-negotiable item on my trip!  And was I glad that I had a chance to sit by it! Then off we went to the airport.  It was bittersweet.  :) :(

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

Oh, Vegas... You are something!  Or how my friend would put it, you are bomb!  Wow, there's so much lively energy going on around Vegas.  And it's so contagious!

I was so lucky that my friend was so much up to have a Vegas trip.  It wasn't even in my original planned itinerary.  I mean, I have no relative there, and I didn't know that my friend could drive the distance.  Anyway, I am so, so very happy that I was able to experience Sin City!  (Not that I sinned, alright? :p )  Like what my friend said, my US trip would not be complete without it.  And yes, it's true!!

We got there Friday evening.  We just settled our stuff, changed clothes, and off we went to explore.  Now, our plan was to just go sight-seeing and hotel and casino-hopping.  We were reserving the partying 'til the next day.  BUT!  When we got to Luxor, this pyramid-shaped casino, we were greeted by some people who gave us free tickets to get in their club!  This was about nine o'clock in the evening, I think.  We were delighted by the invitation so we went in the club. With free drinks!  My friend and I planned to just "dropped by" and leave after a while.  But NO!  We spent the night dancing and dancing and dancing, until our legs could dance no more!  Hahaha!  It was such a FUN night!  For a home buddy and a morning person like me, nothing beats a night out in breaking the routine.  We were dancing in our heels, so needless to say, our feet died.  While walking back to our hotel, we had to remove our shoes and walk barefoot!  Hindi na kinaya!  And hey, apparently, girls do that in Vegas!

We woke up late the next day, of course.  We went around again, and I noticed how Vegas looks so different in the morning.  It looks more behaved, hehe!  The sights were so lovely!  And we took lots of pictures!  Oh, we ate at Jollibee Vegas, too!  How's that?!  Haha!

Night 2, now, we're more prepared to hit a club.  But first we drove to Fremont, the old Vegas.  After that, it's party all night!  Haha!  We loved dancing!!  And the cute European guys around, too!  Haha!

The next day, we drove to the outlet stores and did some shopping.  And had more of Jollibee Chicken Joy.  Hehe!

Vegas was such a crazy adventure with my friend!  So many things happened!  There was even this one time when her car wouldn't start, and we didn't know what to do!  Grabe, that Vegas trip was one-of-a-kind!  I'll always have so many stories to tell about Vegas.  But as that infamous line goes, what happened in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

And stay it will! :p

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Family Time at Bakersfield

After the overstimulating NY trip, the relaxing and chilling time I had with my cousin and her family in Bakersfield was so much appreciated!

My cousin, along with her super nice husband and kids, picked me up at LAX.  Then, we headed straight to a Filipino town in LA (I think) and ate some Filipino food!  It was so good to be here, seeing that many Filipinos again in one place!  Haha!  And if I remember correctly, Wowowee was on!  Haha!

Afterwards, we dropped by the Universal Studios City Walk.  My eyes were fed again!  We also ate some crepe for snacks.  Oooh, crepe...  And hey, they were playing Charice's song, Pyramid, in the park!  Sosyal!

Day 2 was just spent in the house.  My cousin had visitors, and we all spent the afternoon playing cards and board games, which I love to death!

Day 3 was spent going around town.  The best part was my cousin let me drive their van!!   Hahaha!  Yey!  I was so cautious 'cause I had four kids, all under five, on board!  We also went to Michael's, that craft store any crafter would like to live in!  I could have died in that place!  I just got myself a set of stamps and some notepads for pasalubong.  We also went to the outlet stores, an hour away, and that's when I shopped 'til my dollars were no more!  Hehe!  I loved shopping there, it's so, so much cheaper!!!

The real best part of this trip is spending time with my cousin.  She's been in the US for more than five years now.  Before, when she was still here, we'd often go out and watch a movie, along with our other cousins.  Now, times have changed.  She and most of my older cousins now have families, so there's less bonding time for us.  We're not the emotional, touchy-feely type of family, so I never knew how much I've missed her.

Now, the second real best part (haha, ang daming best part!) was spending time with and taking care of my nieces and nephews!  Kids are so much fun to be around with!!  I LOVED THEM.  I'd give anything so I could spend another day with them.  I hope they won't forget the time when Tita Maimai (said in a very cute, slang way) visited.

Thing 3 missing!

This is happiness. :)

I miss you, guys... *sniff*
It was perfect that I spent my days here because my energy for my whole trip was finally recharged.  Oh, I needed the whole recharging alright.  'cause Vegas was next!!  That's right!  Vegas, baby!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

N to the Y!

During my US trip and semi-State-hopping, it's in New York where I stayed the longest.  I sorely miss it. :(

When I was in NY, I could not appreciate the cold spring weather.  But!  I'd kill to have a New York weather right now...

Washington Square, Serendipity, Times Square, Friends' "house, Grand Central, Flat Iron Building

Liberty Belles! :D
I'd also kill for a park similar to this to be right smack in the middle of Manila!  Wow, New York has made me so hostile.  Haha!
"MoWdelling" around Central Park
Looking at my NY photos makes me want to sing Empire State of Mind over and over and over!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's DC ;)

From Reno, we flew to Arizona, then to Boston, then finally, to DC. :)

I LOVED D.C.!  Such a clean place, with efficient transportation system and lots of museums!  Haha!  The four (almost five) days we spent there was clearly not enough to explore what D.C. has to offer.

First and Second Days:
Boston touchdown; WWII Memorial; Tulips around the bend;
Mother Teresa; Cherry Blossoms;
The Mallari Family et moi by the Washington Memorial

Third and Fourth Days:
US Capitol; Library of Congress; White House; Dinner with my Virginia-based friend

I don't remember getting tired walking around D.C.  :)

On our fifth day in this lovely town, we were getting ready for our bus ride to New York.  New York!!

Saturday, April 07, 2012


And it's not the liver spread!  Hahaha, ang baduy!

The Reno weather was a bit too cold for me.  But my family there made it warm enough.   I wasn't so much of a tourist here, and I liked it.  I experienced grocery shopping, bringing my nephews and nieces to school and picking them up, going to the local libraries, washing the dishes, going to the bank, malling, etc.  It's like I was given a very short preview of my life there.  And I loved it. :)

My aunt and cousin picked me up from the train station.  My ride from Salinas, CA to Reno, NV took about 9 hours.  I slept almost the whole time through, except for when the next stop, this huge, tattooed guy with an eye-patch (Who wears an eye-patch?!?) took the vacant seat beside me.  From then on, I was only like 20% asleep and 80% nervous.  Hahaha!  But the guy didn't do me any harm at all, he was actually kind of nice.  But again, who the heck wears an eye-patch?!?

We got to Reno a bit earlier than scheduled, so the station was still closed, and my fetchers were nowhere.  It didn't help that the bus driver did not lend me his phone (as opposed to the uber nice driver back in Salinas who volunteered his so that I could call my friend).  I texted my cousin but by this time, I wasn't sure yet if my international roaming was already activated.  When the station opened, I used the payphone and called my cousin.  What a relief to hear a familiar voice again!  And after a couple of minutes, my aunt has arrived.  She told me that she spotted me immediately because I was the only one looking "kawawa".  Hahaha!  She was already staring at me for a second or two before I recognized her.  And I realized, later on, that it's because I was so used to seeing strangers that seeing familiar faces seemed sort of strange!

As soon as I arrived, we just ate breakfast then we went on turbo tourist mode!

Photos on the left taken at the local church and at Lake Tahoe
On the right: My aunt, my nephews and niece, and me, in front of the Reno landmark :)

I only spent a couple of days in Reno, and was kind of regretful about that 'cause I still wanted to spend some time with my aunt.  Anyhoo, after three days in Reno, I, with the invitation from my cousin and her family, flew to the East Coast to see Washington, D.C. and New York!  That's next. :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Bay Area :)

My first stop was Monterey Bay where my college friend and her husband live.  It was such a nice and relaxing place... The drive around is very scenic and breath-taking, especially for a Manila-dweller like me.  I bet people there don't get stressed as often as we do!

My friend was so generous and hospitable to tour me around the sights nearby.  You know, I can still see the sunshine and feel the cool breeze.  I really, truly loved it there.  It's bittersweet.

Ahh... The Pacific Ocean!
The photos on the right: my friend, the picture of perfection.
And me, of utter failure.
Here at the Sta. Cruz Beach Boardwalk
I didn't really have to get in the rides.
Really, all the visual stimuli are more than enough.

Before going to the States, I was at the height of what you can call a laser tag addiction.  So, I really intended to play abroad, but I didn't think that I'd find an arena.  Anyhoo, we were able to play!  Oh, I did make a post about this already, haha!  Ugh, addiction it is...

And then, Day 3 is San Francisco Day!!!  It's such a bustling city full of tourists and the appropriate amount of noise!  Haha!  And it's so funny that I coincidentally wore my orange-ish long sleeves, which I didn't know was the semi-official color of San Francisco.  Hehe!  

Union Square; Lunch at a Sports Bar; By the Sea Lions at Pier 39; The Golden Gate :)

Fisherman's Wharf; In front of a random flower bed;
with the Alcatraz in sight; enjoying the Golden Gate

I was very lucky that the sky was so clear when we got to San Francisco.  My aunt, who's been to the city twice, has not seen the towers of the gate yet because of the clouds.  Still many kilometers away, I already saw the two 'towers' standing proudly.  Such a sight!

I do say an awful lot of stuff, but believe me when I say that it was so beautiful there.  I should make it a serious plan to go back.  Let's go!

The night of April 4 last year, I was en route to Reno, Nevada.  That's next!