Thursday, March 31, 2011

thailand part I

so i went on an amazing trip to Thailand for a couple of weeks. i just got back a few days ago and am still jet lagged. it doesn't help that work scheduled me for the graveyard shift for three consecutive days. it's been keeping me awake late night and wasting my daytime away. i've been sleeping at 9am and waking up anywhere from noon to 3pm and it's ridiculous. the weather has been perfect in the Bay Area and i've been sleeping the good hours away!!! nonetheless, i'm awake enough to begin writing my experiences. i am warning you now, there are going to be quite a few lengthy posts about my trip. i'm writing on a day to day basis and i was there for ten days or so. but i'll be sure to include lots of photos to help entertain!

Day 1 & 2
these days were travel days. these days were forgettable in that they consisted of uncomfortable airplane seats and airplane food, which is never a good thing. our schedule for these days looked like this.

8am- flight from SF to LA (1hr plane ride)
930am- find an ihop and eat not delicious food
11am-3pm- sit/meander around the airport
3pm- flight from LA to Taipei (15hr plane ride)
9pm (Taipei time)- flight from Taipei to Bangkok (5hr plane ride)
2am (Bangkok time)- bus to the hotel (45min)

sooo that's an accumulated 21 hrs on a plane, about 6hrs airport time, and 45min driving time. can i just say that that was really exhausting! by the time you get off the plane your feet are swollen from sitting in an upright position for so long. no joke- my shoes barely fit when got to Bangkok. i felt like i was walking on stumps.

the airplane food wasn't as horrible as i say it was. we were on China Air, so it was all Chinese food, of course. just to give you an example, one of the meals was rice porridge ("jook" to us Chinapeople) with a salted egg and dried pork. lucky for me i've eaten this many times in my life but for anybody who hasn't, i'm sure it was effing weird for them.

we got in to Bangkok really early in the a.m. so we met the people we'd be spending our trip with and headed straight to the Eastin Hotel and slept until the next days activities. our hotel was a lot more nice and modern than i anticipated. during the whole trip we had king sized beds which was awesome. i like to sprawl out as much as possible and that's pretty impossible with two people in a queen sized bed at home. if i could have it my way i'd sleep diagonal on the bed. don't ask me why. i have no idea, i just like doing that.

Day 3
every morning a buffet breakfast was included as part of our package deal. the breakfast at the Eastin was probably the best free-ish hotel breakfast i've ever had. it had a make your own rice porridge station, an omelette station, cereal, american breakfast foods, asian foods, fruit, and a variety of juices including guava. and all of it tasted good too. this was no Holiday Inn free continental breakfast bullshh...

porridge or "jook."

mini chinese donuts that you dip in hot sweet soy milk. one of my favorite chinese foods.

we started our morning roaming around the streets around our hotel. at 10am the hustle and bustle of Bangkok is alive and kicking. cars, motorbikes and tuktuks came speeding from every direction with no caution towards pedestrians. street food carts were lined up along every street and alley way. we saw things from coconut pancakes and soup noodles, to grilled fish and things i couldn't even guess what they were. in Thailand they have dogs like we have stray cats. every single one of them is mangy and affected by some kind of skin disease. it's really upsetting but by Buddhist beliefs, you don't kill animals if you don't have to. there are electric wires lining the streets in massive amounts. you see pictures of their King everywhere. he and the Buddha, are inescapable.

street vendors EVERYWHERE

stray dogs were everywhere. they are often not cared for. it's really sad. look at this one's leg. poor thing.

our group headed to the river to take a boat ride through the canals. hanging out on the streets of Bangkok you wouldn't notice that a lot of the city is made up of water ways in which the locals live along. 60% of Bangkok is made up of the poor and those are the people living along the canals. many of their homes look runned down and dirty. clothes hang outside to dry while kids play in the brown river water. random dogs also inhabit their open homes. canoe type boats flow along the river selling random things and many tour boats speed through the canals. just from the boat we saw our first five or so temples (the first of about a million we'd see throughout the trip). we stopped at a Royal Barge Museum where they were refurbishing old royal boats of some sort. they were really intricate and each one told their own story.

we then headed to a temple where they keep the famous 5 ton solid gold buddha. apparently it was covered in cement until someone chipped away at it in the middle of the 20th century. the buddha had a real nonchalant look to him. for some reason it was sort of comical to me. we also climbed up an incredibly steep couple flights of stairs to get to the top of a temple. it was kinda crazy actually. i'm not really scared of heights but i was nervous to descend the stairs. i had to turn around and treat them like they were a ladder. yeah, that steep. next we went to yet another temple where they had the largest reclining buddha.this thing was massive. i'm talking like i am the size if two of it's toes.

one of many buddhas

the 5 ton gold buddha

the reclining buddha

on trips that you take through a tour company they always take you to places where you can buy things. more often than not the things are marked up and overpriced and they assume tourists will buy in to whatever they say is real or quality. this day they brought us to a tailor. practically every street in Bangkok has at least three tailors offering "custom 3 suits, 3 shirts, 3 ties for $99," which seems like a steal. but what they don't tell you is that what you get for $99 is probably going to be a baby blue polyester suit that might just fall apart on you the second you try putting it on before an important meeting. sometimes the stuff is legit and sometimes it isn't. when tours bring me to places like this i pay little to no attention to what they are trying to sell me and wait patiently until our next activity.

for dinner we were brought to Silom Village where we had individual dinners. the dinner consisted of soup, chicken wrapped in a banana leaf, curry chicken, vegetables, glass noodle eggrolls and rice. dinner was pretty mediocre. through the trip we came to find that the food set up for us through the tour was usually pretty lackluster (except for the hotel buffet breakfasts) because they produce to serve the masses. dessert was pineapple and watermelon. the first of many many encounters with those two fruits. they offer those fruits after every meal all over Thailand. after dinner there was a show. it showcased different traditional Thai dances and their beautifully colored costumes. we saw our first transgenders for the trip in the show too!!

we were left to fend for ourselves until the morning. at 1am, too excited to sleep our first real night in a different country, we roamed the street in search of street food. by this time many of the vendors had left for the night. what was left was what looked like grilled skewers of chicken. i was so excited to eat my first bbq skewer. it looked and smelled delicious. i asked for two and noticed wide eyed glances from the locals. we walked away and took a bite. hmmm.....cartilage, fat and skin....oh and a tiny speck of meat. this must be the throw away part of the chicken. the sauce tastes good but the texture is bizarre. i look down at the other skewer and noticed three little ribs sticking out of a piece. small ribs. like three thin fork prongs. i think to myself "that can't be chicken. chickens don't have ribs that small. wait! do chickens even have ribs? when i cut a breast off the chicken i don't ever notice ribs. crap. chickens have ribs, right? please? if chickens have ribs then little birds have ribs. if little birds have ribs then i could potentially be eating a little bird, right? there's no way i just ate a rat is there?" i didn't finish any more of the skewer. i tossed that thing out. so i looked it up and birds have ribs so i could possibly have eaten a tiny bird. but quite honestly i don't think i did. whether it was a rat or not, who the hell knows. needless to say, i didn't eat any more random skewers off the street after that. all i know is i'm alive. on the way in to the hotel we bought some deep fried grasshoppers from a vendor. we had zero intention of eating them. we just figured it'd be a good picture.
see the ribs poking out from the middle one on the bottom? so gross. please don't be rat.

fearful eating

and i leave you with this!!! grasshoppa!!

to be continued......

gotta shape up for the next half marathon!

for the past four years or so it has been pretty habitual for me to do some form of workout between 4-6 times a week. my "lazy" weeks are usually never less than four. when i was doing P90x or Insanity, it wasn't enough to just do the hour dvd. i typically ran, cycled, or hopped on the elliptical for at least half an hour as well.  my body craves the cardio and i feel all sorts of anxious and overly energetic if i don't get in at least four workouts a week. i pride myself on being heart healthy and was ecstatic when i reached the point that i could run 13.1 miles nonstop without wanting to die afterward. getting to that point took a lot of work and consistency.

for the past two weeks i've been in Thailand and vowed not to workout during my vacation time. my mind was in gear to not work out for those two weeks. i told myself, "take your vacation time and enjoy it. don't worry about it, you'll just bounce right back when you get home." but somehow once that thought was in my head i put that plan in to action two weeks prior to vacation also. i still worked out three times for those two weeks prior, but that's a big decline from my normal routine.

i went to Thailand and had an amazing time. didn't think once about working out. in fact my boyfriend ran and swam once while i lounged by the pool and took a nap. i didn't feel bad. i was on vacation.

now let's talk about today and the past two days. of course coming back from vacation i knew i had to get back on track. and i know my body pretty well. i was certain that just a couple of weeks of nearly no physical activity would make my normal workouts that much harder. the first day i did an hour on the elliptical, which is normal for me but i felt more winded than normal. the second day i did half an hour on the elliptical and half an hour walking at a steep incline on the treadmill. same deal. winded. today it was gorgeous and i had every intention of running many a mile. on bright sunny days all i want to do is run or cycle outside, and that i did. however my intention to run six miles turned in to four, with a small break between miles 3 and 4. i neeeeeever walk or take breaks when i run. for some reason i feel defeated when i do that. so today i felt defeated. it makes me feel out of shape. and i know it's a result of my lack of activity for the past two/fourish weeks.

and it's not that i think i'm going to be stuck and not gain momentum up again. it's just that it sucks to have to do that. it feels like starting all over again, which i very well know it's not. muscle memory is a fantastic thing. so back to the grind. i'll be signing up for the Giants Plate to Plate Half Marathon in August for some motivation and a goal to look forward to. last year i ran it at a pretty steady 10:03min/mile pace. this year i think i'm going to aim for 9min/mile. wish me luck!! if anybody wants to join me, please do!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

why i like Nicki Minaj

wanna know why i like Nicki Minaj?

it's not because of the way she dresses, cause it's pretty outrageous and silly.
it's not because of her voice, because sometimes she sounds nasally.
it's not because she's the only notable female mc doing her thing these days.

it's because she's talented.
it's because her flow/characters are unique.
it's because she went to a performing arts school for acting yet raps and sings as well.
it's because she is no bullshit.
it's because her energy is amazing.
it's because she is confident yet doesn't deny vulnerability.
it's because she's driven and won't settle for just okay. she goes hard.
but most of all it's because of lyrics like this.....

all the girls will applaud
all the girls will commend
as long as they understand
that i'm fighting for the girls that never thought that they could win
cause before they could begin you told 'em it was the end
but i am here to reverse the curse that they live in
-I'm The Best- Nicki Minaj

it's because she's all about female empowerment. she gives respect to those that inspired her and she wishes to inspire other girls/women to become whatever they want while living in a male dominated world. i'll just let the lyrics do the work.

have you seen the documentary on her from MTV? it's good. watch it. if you don't like her it might change your mind. she's awesome. you can watch it here.

meet my late gung-gung

day 66: this mural is painted on an apartment building found on Stockton St. in Chinatown. it's been up on the building for years now and every time i see it a little sense of pride fills my heart. the man you see in this photo resembles my late grandpa to a t. now i don't know whether the subject in this picture is actually him or not. my guess is someone took random pictures of people around town and chose to put them in their mural. for all i know it's based on a random guy that just so happens to look like my grandpa. but as long as it's up there, i'm going to pretend it's my grandpa immortalized on a wall. every time i walk/drive by i think "that's MY grandpa! he's watching over us from above and there's our reminder." 

my gung-gung wasn't much of a talker. in fact when he did speak it was usually due to his short temper. i recall him being really stubborn and demanding. this man taught himself to read and write english by slowly figuring out each days newspaper but he didn't speak a lick of it. isn't that amazing??? i think it's insanely awesome. he was really in to wrestling, specifically the WWF. Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant were a big part of my childhood because of him. i also remember him microwaving or boiling hotdogs at random times of the day for my brother and i for a snack. i always viewed that as his way of showing us he cared or was thinking about us without ever having to use words. odd, i know, but it makes complete sense to me. oh, and once he let me wear my favorite tutu for three days in a row after i begged and pleaded. what was i doing with a tutu? i've never attended a second of ballet class in my life. maybe it was more like a leotard but i can say the same for gymnastics. so where exactly did i get these bizarre clothing options? i digress. he and my poh-poh baby sat us a lot when we were younger. we'd sleep over and catch mice in their house. sounds gross now, but when i was younger, it was a lot of fun finding them on those sticky pads. haha!! anyway, my grandpa is no longer with us. i never got to say a proper goodbye. by the time i got to the hospital, he had already passed. that's why every time i drive through Chinatown i purposely drive down Stockton St so that i am awesomely reminded of him. 

catching up with 365

day 62: Muni

day 63: i have been all over this album for a while now. a lot of people don't like her but i think she's talented and intriguing. plus, she's the only real female mc that's come out in a LONG time. more on her later.

day 64: meet the Lady Of The Weekend. our second night in vegas Steph was dressed as a bride while we were all made to look like her groomswomen. 

day 65: the ties we wore day day prior

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

the best baby shower present ever made

remember this post where i said i'd explain more later? so this is what's up. a few years ago my friend, Meiche, moved to Hawaii for what was meant to be a two year stay for work. well shortly after arriving she ended up finding love, got engaged and decided to stay for life. we miss her here but she's starting a new life elsewhere. she's already engaged, bought a house, and got a pup. what's next? she is now pregnant and nearing her third trimester. because little Bryli (the baby's potential name) will be our first baby, we intend on spoiling it from a distance. oh, and by "our," i mean the group of friends i associate with and consider my family. we are excited for Meiche, however we are worried that due to distance, Bryli won't know her loving aunts and uncles. so i came up with the idea of getting a mobile and putting pictures of each one of us on it so that the baby will see us every night and hopefully recognize our faces. with the help of Kim and Kris, we made that happen. the theme of the baby's room is safari so we bought some  cutouts of lions, monkeys and elephants to color and glue ourselves to. personally, i think it's the greatest baby shower gift one could ever receive and i know Meiche loved it. sadly, we somehow forgot to include Leslie. sorry!!!!

collage made by Kris

Meiche, loving the gift!

Trina, Kim, Me, Jax, Meiche, Kris, Steph. these chicks are awesome. loves of my life!

Jenny, Pat, Meiche, Jessica and B


this weekend was one of the most memorable i've ever had. the debauchery that went on was something reminiscent of the Hangover. so much so that the ever so popular phrase "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" need be applied. fortunately i have a lot of pictures but i'll just post a few to give you a glimpse into the weekend.

Steph's bachelorette party was in full swing nearly 20 minutes after arriving at the airport. we all went to the bathroom and put on shirts that Kris made and came out to surprise the Lady of the Weekend.
front: "buy her a shot"
back: "she's tying the knot"

this is Meiche, our preggers bachelorette party attendee/Bryli who is currently in her tummy and is our first baby. and by "our" i mean the group of lady friends i've had who i consider family. 

first drink of the trip. i forgot what it's called but it tasted like cherry cough syrup. so gross.

the plane ride was mostly 7 girls falling asleep. but the last 15 minutes included a shout out from the stewardess, a few drinks bought for the bachelorette, and a lengthy and incredibly hilarious convo between me and Ron Burgundy via the seat-to-seat chat function. 

all ready for the night. between now and the next picture was a hilARIOUS (inside joke) ride in a hummer. the driver made this ride from Planet Hollywood to the Wynn awesome with her loud and often interrupted music, her butchy foreign accent, and the fact that we were paying her to fit seven of us in a hummer only to have two people scrunched in the back on top of folded down chairs. 

looks like it's going to be a fun night! we had dinner at Botero, which was delicious. then we drank more at a bar in the Wynn. then when it came time we headed to XS, where we got hooked up. free entrance and 2 drink tickets/person. this is where two older chicks wanted to get in with us cause they couldn't on their own. sooo we glady let them join however we kept the 4 extra drink tickets because they didn't say thanks or anything. ungrateful! debauchery ensued. i'll just leave it up to your imagination, but this night was ridic. i could not have imagined a better time. we could have ended the trip at 6am that next morning and felt like the bachelorette party lived up to everything it could have been, but there was yet another night to fill.

night two. theme: bride and groomswomen. this got a LOT of attention. it's a cute idea, right? much better than just a veil with peni (can that be used as the plural for man junk?), which lots of other much more lame bachelorette parties had going on. 

Steph and i on our respective better sides.

this is at Queue Bar. we were getting free drinkage before heading out to eat in quickest buffet experience i've ever encountered. we were in and out of there in something like 35 minutes so we could make it over to the Excalibur to see Aussies do their thing. i'll just say that was some cheesy fun. maybe a little too much estrogen in one room.

gotta love your bride! 

next stop: Marquee. more fun came out of this night but it was nothing like the night prior. it was a good way to have fun and bring the weekend to a close. 

Kris, Kim, me and Kimmie
Kim showed up around 830pm that night and left around 4am to head back home. what a trooper! 

"this bitch!" who is she? she kept coming around telling us that she "looooooves us" and bought us a round of shots. 

later in the night she asked us where the birthday girl was. "uhhh you mean the girl dressed like a BRIDE???"

we all trickled in to the hotel room at different hours of the day. about an hour before we left for the airport i woke up and stormed in to the other room proclaiming "we have to find kris! i don't know where she is and we have to leave in an hour," only to hear "wait? what? wasn't she sleeping right next to you?" why yes, she was. oops! 

we left for the airport around 7:30am Sunday morning. after approx. 36 hrs in Vegas, we were sooo done. but our flight was delayed, which prompted Kris to sleep on the floor in Michael Jackson form. 

see! just add his Smooth Criminal hat and you have Kris! 

the weekend didn't end there!! remember preggers from the beginning of the post? her family was throwing her a baby shower the same day. so we went over to help set up. then we tried our best to be functional for the rest of the party.