Archive for the 'travel' Category

My new haircut that I got in NYC

Courtesy of Lizy.

My hair is actually washed and brushed, tho!


Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 30 Apr 09, 1.26AM PDT.

Check out this bad ass bike

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 27 Apr 09, 11.47AM PDT.

Bye bye hair!

Bye bye hair!, originally uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!!.

At Lizy’s for a haircut!

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 27 Apr 09, 10.35AM PDT.

Until next time, Times Square!

Leaving Times Square; heading to the Upper East Side.

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 27 Apr 09, 10.11AM PDT.

Buttermilk pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon at Dunhill Cafe

Thanks Lily!

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 27 Apr 09, 9.53AM PDT.

Rock of Ages!

Rock of Ages!, originally uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!!.

It’s like I’m in NY and LA at the same time!

Got my Rock of Ages (fake) lighter!

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 26 Apr 09, 4.02PM PDT.

Taiwanese in America. Ellis Island Diversity Map Exhibit

Other people who have searched while I was waiting: Russian, Dutch,
Finnish, Italian, African, Asian Indian

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 26 Apr 09, 8.49AM PDT.

Time to be a tourist!

On the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 26 Apr 09, 6.14AM PDT.

Thinking of my Daddy

Chinese fan at the Brooklyn Museum.

Brooklyn, NY

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 25 Apr 09, 12.20PM PDT.

Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum, originally uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!!.


Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 25 Apr 09, 11.57AM PDT.

Brunch at RoseWater Cafe

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 25 Apr 09, 9.54AM PDT.

Dinner at Cafe Espanol with some of the 8Asians

Brian, Katherine, Lily and me!

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 24 Apr 09, 5.15PM PDT.

Sweet Dreams!

Sweet Dreams!, originally uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!!.

Nap time!

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 24 Apr 09, 2.05PM PDT.

Look what you’re missing!

Carrotcake cheesecake at Junior’s


Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 24 Apr 09, 11.05AM PDT.

Roast beef on a roll + house salad at Junior’s

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 24 Apr 09, 11.00AM PDT.

‘Twas nice ogling you FDNY!

There they go!

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 24 Apr 09, 9.54AM PDT.

One of the hot firemen in the elevator with me

This guy was huge. I think he was at least 6’5″

Pecked out on my iPhone. Sorry for any typos.

Uploaded by !!! :: jozjozjoz :: !!! on 24 Apr 09, 9.37AM PDT.

Yay we’re home!

Since Yoshi is (still) sick, I not only drove the whole way up north earlier in the week, but I also drove the whole way home.

There is one part of the drive I don’t like to drive, but Yoshi wasn’t feeling well, so I just did it all.

I was really, really strung out during the drive down the 5, though. It was pretty crowded as there was traffic throughout and people drive like asshats.

Save for the spontaneous trip to Wal-Mart in Gilroy to get Yoshi some meds, our trip was pretty uneventful until after we got up and over the Grapevine. I’d been driving for 5 hours and we were only about 35 minutes away from home.

I was in the fast lane, but for some retarded reason, the two cars ahead of me kept hitting their brakes, slowing down to 20 mph on the freeway as the other lanes of traffic kept passing us by.

I wanted to change lanes and because I was getting stressed out and wasn’t sure if I was seeing traffic clearly in the dark, I asked Yoshi, “Can I change lanes?”

Yoshi said, “Yes,” but then I saw a car barreling down the lane I was about to change into, so I didn’t go.

What I couldn’t tell was that the car had seen me signaling and slowed down to let me in.

But I was still hesitant since the two idiots in the fast lane were still driving really slow.

“GOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” Yoshi yelled at me.

I was startled but then I decided that Yoshi wouldn’t tell me to go unless the coast was clear and I changed lanes.

“I couldn’t see!” I cried out. “I’m sorry! Your head was in the way and that car was barreling down and I couldn’t see the car around your head!”

And then I burst into tears.

“Don’t be mean! Don’t yell at me while I’m driving! I’m tired! I don’t want to drive anymore! I hate this! This sucks! Waaaaaaaaaah!!!”

And then the tears started streaming down my face because I was tired and I was being such a freakin’ girl for crying because Yoshi wasn’t really being mean, but just the usual cranky Yoshi… except a just little more cranky than usual because Yoshi is sick.

Yoshi was like, “Oh no! Don’t cry! I’m sorry I was mean! Do you want me to drive now?”

And I was like “No, we’re almost home. I can make it home.”

So then Yoshi left me alone and I cried while driving for another five minutes and then was better when one of my favorite Erasure songs came up on the iPod.

Sheesh. Sometimes I am such a girl. At least I’m allowed to blame it on hormones, right?!

PS – Do you like how I refrained from naming this post “How Yoshi made me cry while I was driving?”

PPS – At least the weather was nice and we did not have a repeat of the “black ice disagreement”. (Here was Yoshi’s take on the same drive home.)

Happy 2009!

I take an annual Happy New Year photo to post on my blog mostly out of laziness because we’re usually too busy on New Years for me to actually write anything. It’s also a good way for me to document the little lines and wrinkles that are rapidly accumulating on my face. Bleh!

Happy New Year!  It's 2009!  (Pretty much)

This picture was actually taken on December 31, 2008 at Half Moon Bay. We were there to pick up fresh crab from a boat. (Yoshi says it sounds less dirty if I say “crab” instead of “crabs.”)

You can see how I looked every New Years for the past four years as well:

New Years Eve in San Jose

We’re hanging out at Yoshi’s parents place right now. Yoshi is playing around online while watching sports in the living room. Yoshi’s dad just finished cooking crabs. Yoshi’s mom is making all kinds of foods for tomorrow’s shogatsu/osechi. (Yes, I’m going to go help in a bit!) I’m working right now to make up some hours from when I went to have a long lunch in Half Moon Bay.

Earlier today, we drove out to Half Moon Bay to go pick up thirteen fresh crabs off a boat! (Last year we went and there were no crabs to be found. We ended up having to settle for store-bought crabs.) While we were there, we had lunch at Ketch Joanne Restaurant and Harbor Bar (now a New Years Eve tradition for us).

Last year, we spent New Year’s Eve in SF with friends, which was wonderful. We stayed at the Kabuki Hotel in J-town, so they were piping in NHK on the TV. I’m totally disappointed right now because we searched the DirecTV listings here in SJ, and there is no Kohaku to watch! Wah!

Anyway, since I had to work today, we drove up to San Jose last night and planned to hang out at Yoshi’s parents place so I could work in their office. I’ve been pretty good for most of the day, except for the times where I have been distracted by food. Once by our trip to Half Moon Bay. Then later on in the early evening when we all got hungry again and Yoshi and I went to Super Taqueria (on our friend TM’s urging) to bring some snacks home. [Side story: Late last night, I was IMing TM and told him we were in San Jose and he would not stop bugging me about how I had to go to Super Taqueria at some point in my trip. Then he told me I had to join the I LOVE SUPER TAQUERIA!!!!! Facebook group, which I did. And then he made me an Officer of the group, even though I hadn’t been there yet. Anyway, I am happy to report that I am no longer a Super Taqueria virgin as we had the carne asada Super Taco, carnitas Super Burrito, and chicken quesadilla on flour tortilla. All we were yummy!]

Here’s a picture of me with our take-out Super Taqueria food.
Joz holds the take-out Super Taqueria food.

Here’s a picture of me being a freak with our take-out Super Taqueria food.
Joz holds the take-out Super Taqueria food while being a freak

Oh, and since I can’t watch Kohaku on TV, Yoshi was nice enough to search YouTube for a clip. Here’s Jero (African-American Enka singer!) on Kohaku:

Hogar dulce casero (Home sweet home, I think)

See? I learned some Spanish on this trip.

Ok, I lied. I didn’t really pick up any Spanish on this trip. I cheated and consulted babelfish for a translation of Home Sweet Home.

The point is: WE’RE HOME!

Vacation Day 5: San Miguel de Allende

What the heck happened to Vacation Days 3 and 4? Sheesh! This vacation is flying by!

I’m exhausted and don’t have the energy to blog too much right now, so just a quick check-in to say that I’m still chugging along and having a great time on my Mexico trip.

Today a few of us skipped the walking tour in the morning to rest a bit and I’m glad we did. The rest of the day was jam-packed.

We’ll have a little more time in San Miguel tomorrow morning, so I’ll catch up on all the sightseeing I missed, but I’m happy to report that after five days of not being able to find reasonably priced postcards anywhere we went, I found some today for 5 pesos each (50 cents each). Now, that’s more than I usually like to pay for postcards, but I could afford it since I’m doing a lot fewer this time around (sorry, peeps who are getting left off this time). I’m almost done with them and tomorrow I must find a post office and hopefully they’ll get to people in a reasonable amount of time.

Everyday is a busy day and I’m not going to waste my vacation blogging (too much), so I’m off to get some shuteye for another big day tomorrow!

Vacation Day 2: Mexico City, Teotihuacan

After staying up way too late, we got up early and had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. In retrospect, this might have been the meal that did me in (I started feeling sick before lunch, and despite what people think, I SWEAR I didn’t drink the water here!). But at the time, the breakfast was quite lovely.

Day 2 was incredibly jam packed!

After breakfast, we met up in our hotel lobbyat 8:45am to climb aboard a bus for a day of sightseeing.

As we drove through Mexico City, our tourguide Maria pointed out various historical buildings along our route. Our first stop was Plaza de las Tres Culturas (“Square of the Three Cultures”) which is in the Tlatelolco neighborhood of Mexico City. We got out of the bus and took pictures and walked around the entire square, viewing the remains of Aztec temples, entering into the Catholic church of Santiago Tlatelolco, and walking by a massive housing complex built in 1964. This space also has a memorial called “Memorial 68” to remember the 1968 Mexican student demonstrations and the Tlatelolco Massacre victims and survivors. The name “Three Cultures” is in recognition of the three periods of Mexican history reflected by those buildings: pre-Columbian, Spanish colonial, and the independent “mestizo” nation.

Our next stop was Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (“Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe”). There are actually two churches (the old Basilica and the modern Basilica right next to it) built on top of Tepeyac hill, north of Mexico City. The site is nearby the place where it is said Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in front of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. The new Basilica is arguably the most important religious building in Mexico. It houses the original tilma (or apron) of Juan Diego that shows the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Officially known as the “Templo Expiatorio a Cristo Rey,” the construction of the old basilica began in 1531 and was not finished until 1709. When we went inside, there was a considerable amount of restoration being done; scaffolding seemed to be up in every direction! The old basilica has been sinking since the city was built on a former lake.

Since the old basilica needed renovation, the new, (much) more spacious, basilica was built between 1974 and 1976 by the Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vásquez. It is a massive circular building constructed in such a way as to allow maximum visibility for the image to those inside. Up to 40,000 people can take part in Mass in this space!

But the most impressive thing about this place? They were displaying the tilma (kind of an apron) of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. Here is the story (from Wikipedia) about his apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe and why this was the chosen location of the basilica:

As a widower, Juan Diego was prone to long periods of silence. He walked every Saturday and Sunday to church, and on cold mornings, like other members of his Indian tribe, wore a woven cloth called a tilma, or ayate made with coarse fibers from the maguey cactus for cotton was only used by the upper class Aztec.

On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he reported the following: As he was walking to church, he heard the sound of birds singing on Tepeyac hill and someone calling his name. He ran up the hill, and there saw a Lady, about fourteen years of age, resembling an Aztec princess in appearance, and surrounded by light. The Lady spoke to him in Nahuatl, his native tongue. She called him “Xocoyte,” her little son. He responded by calling her “Xocoyata,” his littlest daughter. The Lady asked Juan Diego to tell the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumárraga, that she wanted a “teocalli,” a sacred little house (church), to be built on the spot where she stood, in her honor, where:

“I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me , of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.”

Recognizing the Lady as the Virgin Mary, Juan Diego went to the bishop as instructed, but the Spanish bishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga was doubtful and told Juan Diego he needed a sign. Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac hill and explained to the Lady that the bishop did not believe him. He implored the Lady to use another messenger, insisting he was not worthy. The Lady however insisted that it was of the upmost importance that it be Diego speaking to the bishop on her behalf. On Sunday, Juan Diego did as the Lady directed, but again the bishop asked for a sign. Later that day, the Lady promised Juan Diego she would give him a sign the following day.

According to Juan Diego, he returned home that night to his uncle Juan Bernardino’s house, and discovered him seriously ill. The next morning December 12, Juan Diego decided not to meet with the Lady, but to find a priest who could administer the last rites to his dying uncle. When he tried to skirt around Tepeyac hill, the Lady intercepted him, assured him his uncle would not die, and asked him to climb the hill and gather the flowers he found there. It was December, when normally nothing blooms in the cold. There he found roses from the region of Castille in Spain, former home of bishop Zumárraga. The Lady re-arranged the roses carefully inside the folded tilma that Juan Diego wore and told him not to open it before anyone but the bishop. When Juan Diego unfolded his tilma before the Bishop roses cascaded from his tilma, and an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously impressed on the cloth, bringing the bishop to his knees.

The bishop acknowledged the miracle and within two weeks, ordered a shrine to be built where the Virgin Mary had appeared. The bishop then entrusted the image to Juan Diego, who chose to live, until his death at the age of 74 — on May 30, 1548 — in a small hermitage near the spot where the Virgin Mary had appeared. There he cared for the chapel and the first pilgrims who came to pray there, propagating the account of the apparitions in Mexico.

Can you believe Juan Diego’s original tilma is still being displayed to the public here?! It’s amazing!

After this, we headed out of Mexico City toward Teotihuacan, an amazing archeological site. Between 100 and 500 A.D, an ancient people built a flourishing metropolis called Teotihuacan on a plateau about 25 miles from present-day Mexico City. With its accurately aligned avenues and a huge plaza surrounded by 15 monumental pyramids, Teotihuacan was bigger than any city in Europe at that time. It covered over nearly 8 square miles and 200,000 people lived there. Teotihuacan was built 700 years before the Aztecs began constructing their capital city of Tenochtitlan.

We had lunch at a nearby restaurant at La Posada del Jaguar Restaurante before an afternoon full of walking and CLIMBING! (I was already sick by this point, so I had a Fresca to drink and chowed down on plain bread for lunch and a little bit of someone else’s carne asada.)

Despite not feeling so great, I couldn’t fathom sitting on a the bus and missing out on the pyramids. We walked past the Pyramid of the Moon and down the Avenue of the Dead, leading us to the base of the Pyramid of the Sun. I climbed the steep steps of the Pyramid of the Sun and made it to the top! Whoo me! Even more amazing is that I made it DOWN! I made it to the base just as the rain clouds opened up and we made it to the bus before it started pouring. With this, our bus headed back to Mexico City, braving the crazy Friday afternoon traffic (which is only slightly more chaotic than traffic on a Friday in L.A.) before dropping us off at our hotel.

A bunch of us got together and walked a few blocks away for dinner at a place called Cafe du Taguba. We think the guy at our hotel must get a kickback for referring people here because by the end of the evening, we saw half our of group there! I had a yummy cheese and pepper tamale (only 23 pesos… $2.30!) and some more plain bread, but by this time, a headache had started descending upon me. The loud mariachi band that insisted on serenading our table didn’t help. My head started to feel worse and worse until I was ready to cry because I wanted to go back to the hotel and no one would let me leave and walk back by myself.

When our group was ready to leave, we stepped outside to find it POURING rain! And no one had an umbrella. I was beyond grumpy. We were going to cab it back, but after a few minutes, the rain stopped and we decided to walk back to the hotel.

Grateful to be back in my hotel room, I promptly lost my dinner and decided I was done for the night, as if it wasn’t totally obvious by that point (there was some discussion about going clubbing, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to be part of THAT!). By now, I realized that I had been nursing a baby migraine all night at dinner and now it was a full-blown migraine, hence the tossing of my cookies tamale. Our friends C & J went to the 7-11 across the street and bought me a couple of giant bottles of water as well as some drugs for my headache. I showered, drank about a liter of water, covered my eyes and promptly passed out.

Hmm. Maybe I overdid it??? Oh well, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to come back here, so I’m going to enjoy every minute I have here!

Vacation Day 1: Los Angeles to Mexico City

Stayed up almost all night packing. Went to bed at 2:30and got up at 3:30 to get ready to go out the door. Picked up a fellow traveler at 4am; headed toward the airport and arrived around 5am. Our tour group arrives en masse at LAX Tom Bradley Terminal to the Air Mexicana check-in area.

Breakfast at McD’s (wow! surprisingly few food choices at LAX at 5am!) and go through security. Flight from LAX to Mexico City is 3 hours. 10 minutes: they fed us breakfast! (A burrito or scrambled eggs; I opted for the burrito, but if I’d known they were going to feed us on the plane, I would have skipped the McD’s.) We arrived at Mexico City and cleared customs, but others didn’t make it through so easily. (When you are going through customes, you have to push the red button for your fate! If you push it and the panel turns green, you can go through. But if the panel turns red, they search through all your stuff. Several of our group members got searched.)

Bus ride to our hotel: The NH Centro Historico, just 1 block away from the Zocalo. After checking in, I went wandering the city with AC, but since we didn’t know what there was to see,we ended up walking through the Zocalo and then in circles until we got tired and went back to the hotel. I bought a hat for 40 pesos… or 4 bucks… score!

Our group had dinner together at the restaurant in the hotel where we had tilapia covered in some sort of strange pink sauce. It wasn’t bad, but it was definitely weird.

After dinner, a bunch of us wanted to have some coffee and since the door to the Starbucks connected to our hotel was locked, I declared, “Starbucks is closed!”

So a bunch of us started walking, looking for a cafe to sit down at. After turning down a couple of bars, we happened upon Café El Popular, which was perfect. We had desserts and pastries with our coffee and tea. (I had a Manzanita Sol: apple soda!!! Dammit! Why isn’t there apple soda in the States?!)

After our lovely dinner and coffee, we walked back to our hotel and we unpacked and got ready for Day 2.

Oh, and as it turns out, the Starbucks WASN’T actually closed. But I’m so glad we didn’t go there.

Ca de l’Ãœga Dulza is online / è in rete / est en ligne!

Our friends Kate and Nico, who live in a gorgeous home overlooking Lake Como, just launched a website of their new inn! Check out the beautiful photos!

Ca de l’Ãœga Dulza means “House of the Sweet Grape” in the local dialect of Lezzeno, where we are located. While the name reflects our love of wine, l’Ãœga Dulza is also an expression used to convey “the sweet life”—generally involving copious amounts of good food and drink, plenty of good company and a great deal of lazing about.

And I asked because I didn’t know how to pronounce it either:
“It’s CAH deh LEUWgah DOOLzah.” The local dialect “u” basically takes the French pronunciation.”

The best part of our trip to Italy in 2006 was our stay at Lake Como… we can’t wait to return so we can stay at the new digs! (Maybe this time we’ll get a Clooney sighting… *swoon!*)

Check out the message I got from Kate about it…

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kate Manning
Date: Fri, May 30, 2008 at 7:43 AM
Subject: Ca de l’Ãœga Dulza is online / è in rete / est en ligne!

Greetings to all and sundry! Ciao a tutti! Salut tout le monde!

Just a note to let you know that our Lake Como inn / rental / bed-and-no-breakfast finally has an active Web site at Please come by and take a look around! If you have any questions that the site doesn’t cover, I would be more than happy to answer them. If you know anyone planning an Italian vacation, feel more than free to forward the link. I look forward to possibly hosting or hearing from you soon!

Solo un paio di righe per dirvi che il sito della nostra affittacamere a Lezzeno, sul Lago di Como è finalmente finito — Vi prego di dare un occhiata in giro! Se avete qualche domande dopo, mandatemela pure. Mille grazie a tutti voi che ci avete aiutato realizzare il progetto!

J’annonce avec plaisir que le site Web de nos chambres d’hôte est finalement en ligne — (sera disponible aussi en français bientôt). Si vous avez une quelconque question n’hésitez pas à me l’adresser. À la prochaine!

Best wishes to everyone, cari saluti, et bien amicalement,

Kate Manning
Affittacamere Ca de l’Ãœga Dulza
“La Dolce Vita sul Lago di Como”
Località Cendraro Monte, 76/c
22025 Lezzeno (CO)
+39 338 549 30 16

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