Friday, June 24, 2005


Looking back at my posts, it's ironic to see me rant and rave about portion sizes and nutrition in America, and then have my next post be on cupcakes. Anyways, tying up some loose ends here.

In Honolulu, I stayed at the Waikiki Sand Villa hotel. Definitely a good value. For less than US$100 a night, my brother and I got comfortable beds, a nice view of the Ala Wai canal and golf course, air conditioning, good water pressure in the shower, and most importantly, free high speed internet access. While deciding which hotel to book in Honolulu, I was overwhelmed by the choices and distance from the beach. Well, Honolulu is not that big. Eminently walkable. So for the record, the hotel is about three blocks from the beach. The U.S. is a big price shock if you're used to traveling in Southeast Asia, but I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Around the Pacific and back

These past three weeks have been busy, indeed. After L.A. my brother and I went to Hawai'i to attend my friends' wedding. The day we arrived, we went surfing on the North Shore and then admired the Hawai'ian Green turtles lolling about near shore. The following three days, my brother got his PADI SCUBA Open Water certification while I went for my advanced certification. The diving is amazing: I was thrilled to see more sea turtles with nearly every dive, a few eagle rays, and a pillow starfish. Saturday morning, Galen and I got up at 5:30 for a swim with dolphins—out in the wild.

Later that afternoon, we went to the wedding at the Mandarin Oriental. The wedding was beautiful, of course, the warmth of the bride and groom extending to the guests.

Galen came back with me to Taiwan, where we had a whirlwind week catching up with relatives. In the midst of this was Bonnie, Ray, and baby Michael's farewell dinner. Sunday morning I was finally able to treat my brother to a traditional Taiwanese breakfast, complete with fan tuan (rice ball).

This past weekend a few of us celebrated Abi's birthday with another dive at Longdong (??). Diving in Taiwan is definitely not as pampering, but I did get to see some electric blue fish. Sunday started a major cleaning and organization day, which continues...