Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Getting My Act Together

Yes, I will. 

Will finish all the blog entries from a year (possibly 2!) ago.  All the entries are under draft.  Been behind.  So behind.

Colin and the girls kept asking me if I had written about this or that particular trip.  Yes, but not finished.  I will.  I promise I told them. 

So I finished the Angkor Wat story.  Didn't write much since it was sooo long ago.  But it's up.  (Pat on the back).  But so many more to go.  (Hand smack on forhead).

So behind.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Ancient Angkor December 2010

Angkor Wat. We didn't know what to expect but we had an adventure that we never bargained. Absolutely enthralling and captivating. Staying at Hotel de la Paix, we explored the ruins and after a day of walking in humidity, we indulged in some foot reflexology.

We watched Angkor Wat bathe in sunrise.
We were awed by Bayon with its 216 enormous faces. Utterly unbelievable.
And we did our best to recreate some scenes from Tomb Raider when we visited Ta Prohm.
We saw how this ruin was literally being swallowed by the jungle. Breathtaking. ..

Saturday, November 13, 2010

VOMO - Fiji

Bula! We wanted to stay but we had to leave. We arrived in Fiji after a 10-hour overnight flight that ran out of alcoholic beverages. It was a rough night alright. We landed in sunlight and was greeted by the hotel rep. We were ushered to a van for a 2 minute drive to the helipad. Emma was very surprised indeed.

The heli ride was the way to go. After 10-15 minute, we circled Vomo and landed in Vomo Island Airport. Basically an oversize X on a cleared patch. We were transported in a van to the other side of the island where we were greeted with a welcome song. Lovely start.

Lauren and I were tuckered out and feel asleep by the beach and woke up in time for lunch. Lunch was 4-course gourmet meal. Very civilized and yummy to boot. This is vacationing! After lunch, another nap, a little swim and then dinner. Dinner was again a tasty 4-course meal. Can it get any better?

The next few days were sublime and followed a routine: breakfast, beach, feed fish, snorkel, kayak, lunch, nap, beach time, sundowner then dinner. We snorkeled right in front of our villa (#1) and the girls kayaked nearby. During a fish feeding session, Emma and I saw a small shark swimming in the shallows. The best thing about Vomo was that it was not crowded. We were lucky to time our vacation during the quiet months. One of the highlights was Colin and Lauren's fishing expedition. They caught a huge Spanish Mackerel.

We were all very sad to leave and I felt a lump in my throat as the staff sang the goodbye song. Don't know when we will come again but will do our best to find our way back.

Arrival at Vomo

Emma and Lauren


Kava Ceremony. Our first time to taste kava!

Everyday they made our beds with flowers.

Emma not a happy camper on last day.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Summer Summary 2010

We flew back to Boston in mid-June but did not stay long - just enough to drop off extra luggage at the house before flying off to Chicago. We flew to Chicago for Grandma Dorothy's memorial. It was bittersweet to meet new members of the family (Inara and Haley) while saying goodbye to a remarkble woman. It was very evident that weekend that she was very much loved by all of us.


The girls and I accompanied Colin to New York for a brief business trip. While he was working, we explored the Museum of Modern Arts. The girls were a bit underwhelmed until the multimedia installation. Next day Colin had a rare free time and we visited the Met. This is more the girls style.

Emma at the Met

We flew back to Boston in time to see Lady Gaga perform. Our friends Sabra and Cady partied with us. Back in Lincoln, it was nice to come back to the house. A bit dusty but still standing. Colin's garden was going crazy and the raspberries were taking over. For Fourth of July, we watched the parade in Lincoln, caught a Red Sox game and had a picnic at Codman Field to await the fireworks. Not a bad day overall!

In mid-July, we flew westward to Hawaii. We joined up with my mom and my siblings in Oahu. Had a chance to visit with relatives living in Honolulu and just plain kickin back. The kids had a ball with their cousins. But I do think we ate too many malasadas from Leonard's.

After a week or so in Oahu, we hopped over to Big Island to spend some time with Colin's parents. We also had a chance to visit properties that we bought recently. The condo in Kolea is in Waikoloa Beach Resort and has great access to Anaeho’omalu Bay. It's a 2 bedroom condo with a bit of view of the ocean. The beach house in Puako is across the street from the beach (mauka side). We have a view of Mauna Kea from the backyard. Both properties are vacation rentals.

We also had a chance to snorkel at Hapuna Beach. Intending to boogie board, we arrived during low tide and no surf. But the snorkeling by the left side of the beach (facing the beach) was one of the best I ever experienced. For our last night, we had dinner at Daniel Thiebaut in Waimea. Excellent food and we run into Chef Thiebaut himself. He told us some ghost stories, encounters he had in the restaurants, that scared us. Would we go back again to his place? You bet!

More pictures from our summer:

Inara and Lauren, Chicago


Picnic with friends



Kolea condo




Saturday, April 24, 2010

New Zealand: North Island

For February break, we decided on New Zealand as our next adventure. We landed in Auckland and drove south to Waitomo. We stayed at Waitomo Hotel which promptly reminded me of scenes from The Shining. The next day we did black water rafting. Zipped up in wet suits, wearing hard hats and clutching an inner tube, we floated, splashed through a dark cave and marveled at glow worms. It was a cold ride but so much fun. Afterwards, we had lunch at Hulu Hulu, Emma devoured a steak with gusto. We liked it so much we came back for dinner!

The next day we explored more caves around the area and saw more glowworms. It was so cool to be in a dark cave and looking up to see "stars".

Our next stop was Rotorua. Rotorua is known for its thermal activity and Maori culture. But to get us into swing of things, we headed to Mount Ngongotaha for Skyline Skyrides. The view was spectacular up there. And, of course, the luge was fantastic. We went on countless times.

We also visited the White Island, New Zealand's most active volcano. All visitors must wear a hard hat and gas mask.

After a few days in Rotorua, we headed to Hobbiton. We partied under the Party Tree and visited the hobbit homes. Lauren and Emma were delighted to explore the hobbit holes.

Here are some pictures from the trip.

Hiking in Waitomo

Luging in Rotorua

Going for another run

Boating around Lake Rotorua

White Island

Horseback riding in Rotorua

Peering out of Bilbo's house

View of the Party Tree

Feeding baby lambs


Quick Trip: Shanghai & Mom's Visit in HK

After the trip to Manila, I flew to Shanghai with Colin and we stayed in the Pudong Area by the Bund. We had a great view of the Bund and Oriental Pearl Tower. Shanghai was preparing for World Expo so there was lot of repair work going all around the city. We did ride the Bund Tourist Tunnel that goes under the Huangpu River. It was, to describe it in one word, psychedelic.

Oriental Pearl Tower

View of the famous Bund with its grand buildings from Pudong side. Unfortunately the riverside walk was under construction. The men in the foreground were cleaning the river during low-tide.

Back in Hong Kong, we celebrated Mom's birthday. We treated her to a Peking Duck dinner. The girls were more impressed with the china.

Hong Kong getting ready for Lunar New Year.

Good dinner!

One of the designs on the plates.


Quick Trip: Philippines

In January, I flew to Manila to meet up with my mom. As soon as I landed we drove to Pangasinan to visit Papa's grave. We spent overnight at my aunt's house before driving back to Manila.

Colin flew in days later for a business meeting. We had a chance to visit Intramuros with my cousin Philip and his kids.

Some pictures from our trip:

Lunch cooking on make-shift stoves. It was pretty tasty.

Mom at a local market.

At Intramuros

Mom making her own halo-halo.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Lauren at 13


Lauren is now 13.

She (We) entered a new phase. Yet, not much have changed. Maybe we need to be into it for a few more months to see the change.

Yes, she taller (by 2 inches).
Yes, her hair is much longer.

But those are more physical.

She still loves to read.
She still prefers white birthday cake with vanilla frosting.
She still spikes her food with hot sauce.
She still likes the color blue.
She still is very loyal to her friends and sister.

She is still beautiful, sweet and kind.

Yup, not much changed.

She requested cupcakes for her party. Vanilla cupcakes with blue swirled frosting. Yeah, she was VERY specific.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Phuket: Indigo Cool

On Boxing Day, we flew to Phuket. We decided to stay away from the major tourist area (Patong and Kata) and stayed in Indigo Pearl - a blessed 10 minute car ride from the airport. The hotel's decor is based on the tin mining concept so there were elements of metal and tools. We had a room with its own plunge pool that came in handy when cooling off from the heat of the day.

One time while we were lounging at the main pool, ladies from the spa offered me a free neck and should massage. Of course, I said yes, thank you! Lauren and Emma were also offered this service and with lots of shy yeses from the girls, they also were massaged. They enjoyed it immensely that they had a full body Thai massage later that week.

We also did white water rafting (Category III-IV) and elephant trekking in the forest. We also got a smooch or two and a quick and gentle massage from a baby elephant.

We squeezed in a quick snorkeling trip near the hotel.