Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cali trip in 2008

So, I wrote about my Californian trip 2 years ago, in 2010 and I felt like it wasn't really done properly. So I'm rewriting about it! But it's mainly just some dot points. Cause we went to quite a few places.

Went with my family and my aunty, uncle and cousins, Aunty M, Uncle D, S and Z! It was so much fun to travel with them. I specifically remember playing endless hours of the card game, Bridge with my sisters and cousins since the road trip was really long!

Flight to San Francisco- We took United airlines which I also call the 'worst airline ever'. So wait what, we were on that airline in 08 and they didn't even have personalised TV screens? THEY HAD THE BACK-IN-THE-OLD-DAYS PROJECTOR WITH ONE MOVIE PLAYING. 13 hours of boredom, especially at that time when I was just an 11 year old kid, what do you expect?
Playing bridge!

I got sick of McDs. For once. As a child, I was always lured into those scheming happy meal toys, so I loved McDs. I ate too much fast food on that trip.

San Fran: 

I love San Fran. I could live there perhaps. It's really nice there, I love the feeling when you're in the city, I mean it's not over crowded, and there are trams every where and all kinds of good eateries and the scenery there is beautiful! Although I noticed the grass's colour. Very dry,  like country side Australia; yellowy and dry.

. We attended my cousin's (my dad's eldest sister's daughter) wedding - Her wedding was absolutely stunning, the venue, the ceremony, she looked gorgeous! It was held at the Stanford (The campus is extremely pretty.) memorial church then at a golf course, so really nice venues. We met her husband and his parents! The wedding was really fun, the food was pretty good, especially the cake!I had my first tea ceremony. I presented tea. The cake was really nice, there was chocolate, green tea and vanilla!

. My cousins' were really nice and took us around (Ku Zhang's sons & daughter) San Francisco. My eldest cousin's wife took us to all of the cool outlets which are the best. One of them was Gilroy. We actually had to drive from one point to another, and it was so rush because my dad and my two uncles were going to the golf course so he was yelling at us when my mum was trying to get me a pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses (They looked very kiddy, blue ones LOL) because they'd be late, oh and we had In and out. It was so good that I actually had a dream about it in the car when we were travelling to some place. I've got cravings for that.. I wish clothing were as cheap as American outlets  in Australia.... As of 2012, Melbourne is ranked at the 8th most expensive city in the world. I love you Melbourne, but why? A movie ticket costs $13.50. What is this nonsensical rubbish?

. Best clam chowder at Boudin! The delicious clam chowder inside a sour dough bowl. Can that get any better? Oh yes it actually can, I had my first taste of Ben and Jerry's and ever since I've had an obsession for that ice cream brand. And also Haagen Dazs.

Clam chowder.

Of course we went to the Golden gate bridge.
 We also had a family dinner. And on another night, we went to a restaurant for Ku Zhang's birthday , which I ate some pretty good steak!

. Went to Monterey. To be honest there actually isn't that much there, we didn't do much? I remember going to some famous golf course and seeing some what appeared to be cute from far, but then when you take another look, ugly fat seals.
Monterey + San Fran in the slide show


. Had huge ice cream. We all got kiddy scoop and I think that's equivalent to a regular or medium scoop? Crazy! Portions are huge.

. Very pretty place.


. The drive up there was rather scary! Very steep and I mean, you're going up this mountain, you look down, there's all these trees and all.

. Most beautiful (Well I'm not sure whether Plitvice in Croatia is more beautiful or not.) national park I've ever been to. The over night stay however wasn't exactly pleasant because there were a lot of bugs and we stayed in one of those tents with beds. There are actually bears so you have to put your food inside some kind of locker thing. And I didn't take a shower.

. Drove up to a point to see the sunset, saw a waterfall in the morning. Sigh. If only I had my Samsung camera back then, I would've taken some really nice pictures in Yosemite! Perfect setting.

Las Vegas

. Las Vegas is so darn hot in summer. Even at night, it was like 40 degrees.

. Our hotel, the Luxor was very interesting! It's a pyramid hehehe

. Explored at the Vegas strip! Went to Caesar's palace, ate at the Cheesecake factory and the cheesecake there is amazing. Saw the dancing fountain outside the very posh Bellagio hotel. HAHA some of my friends saw the Eiffel tower in Vegas picture and they get all excited and are like "YOU WENT TO PARIS?!!?".
Godiva cheesecake

I'm actually really disappointed that we didn't go to see the Grand canyon! We were planning to go on a helicopter but it was really expensive, might as well buy another Coach bag or something.
On the way to Los Angeles, we stopped at Desert hills which is huge.. If only I had bought more stuff! My mum as usual was VERY slow, we didn't even get to finish one section =.= She spent so much time at a Salvatore ferragamo shoe store debating whether or not to get a pair of shoes that I went with my dad to the food court to get Haagen dazs and when we came back, she was still there.

. DISNEYLAND. The happiest place for an 11 year old kid to go to. Really, Disneyland never gets old for me. Everyone went except for my parents and YV, and it was so much fun going on the rides with my cousins and aunty and uncle. Uncle D loves all these rollercoasters and stuff, and normally I wouldn't have ridden so many rollercoasters and scary rides but they (YM included) somehow persuaded me. My favourite ride would have to be Splash mountain! Z was begging to go out when it was like 2 minutes before we were going down a few stories. Uncle D and I got DRENCHED.

. Chinese theatre! Walk of fame, Kodak theatre. To be honest, I think those places are over-rated, I didn't find anything spectacular about those attractions in Hollywood.

. Sea world in San Diego! So much fun seeing all these whales and dolphins perform. I also went on probably the scariest roller coaster.

That trip was 4 years ago, in 08 , my second trip to the States. First time, I was a toddler so I can't remember anything from that trip except eating McDonalds with my dad at Disneyworld and experiencing the cold at Niagara falls. So, the second time, obviously I was more aware of things and I enjoyed it a lot more! I love the U.Svery very much, I am so eager to return back! But I'd like to go to New York the next time. Cali trip was so much fun! #bestroadtrip 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Neuschwanstein castle!

Turned 15 on Saturday! I never thought turning 15 would come so soon. Quite strange. Celebrated with friends and family!

Pancake parlour with a few friends

My mum bakes the best oreo cheesecake!

LAURENT CAKE. Yes,I had two cakes. Ohh divine.
I went to South-eastern Europe in late 2010, so it's been a while. I'm just posting bits and pieces. I went with my parents and my two aunties, Yi Ma and Yi yi, my mum's older and younger sister. It was a surprise to me that my parents wanted to take me to Europe, but they said I had been starting to take up really good habits, getting good grades etc. I'm really glad they took me, I really appreciate how they allow me to see and experience the world, I just love travelling!

Germany is a really nice place. But can I just first start off by saying how blue the water is in Europe? It's crystal blue, or emerald green. If you look at the Yarra river, here in Melbourne, IT'S BROWN.

Clear water in Europe.
We went in September, so it was autumn. Germany and Austria were a little bit cold, but Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia were quite warm. We went with Reliance, a Malaysian tour group. Our tour leader was pretty good, I forgot his name but he's really funny! We had local tourist guides in each country.

So in Germany, we went to Munich and Fussen.

BMW headquarters! Pretty cool.
Yi yi on the left, Yi Ma on the right.
 We went to Marienplatz, which is a square with a load of shops and all kinds of foods.

Ate some of possibly the worst Chinese food I've ever eaten... It wasn't even at a Chinese restaurant, it was at some restaurant called Roxy. So much added salt, horrible Chinese food.

We visited Neuschwanstein; it's the inspiration for Disneyland's sleeping beauty castle.... It's so beautiful, so big and the architecture is simply magnificent and there's a lot of charm to the castle!King Ludwigg II designed it. It's on a hill, and it's near Fussen which is a town in  Bavaria, Germany.

The water looks like a painting.
There's also the Hohenschwangau (I had to search up the spelling of that castle... Neuschwanstein took me a while to spell it correctly!) which was where King Ludwig II spent his childhood at. We didn't visit that castle though.

 Food was delish! Sausages, mash, sauerkraut. My parents had pork knuckles.
German sausage!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The grand bazaar!

I think this was on the way from Ankara to Istanbul, we were driving and there were so many trees covered with snow, it looked like a winter wonderland!

 And on the way, we were somewhere near around the epicentre (I think that's what the tourist guide said?) of the earthquake that occurred in Istanbul quite a while ago. Everyone was like "What the?!?!" and my dad was like "Looks like we won't be coming back to Turkey for a long time!!!"

We arrived at Istanbul quite late, around afternoon-evening! We went to the famous Grand bazaar which is huge. When I mean huge, I mean 66 streets with over 3,000 shops.

As tourists, Asian tourists, we were being haggled by sellers every corner we turned. I'm not even joking. Some sellers learnt how to say "I love you" or "Hello beautiful girl" in Mandarin which was hilarious but creepy at the same time.

 I didn't buy much, but two magnets and key chains. We spent a lot of our time in the leather shop, where my mum bought a leather jacket. She bought hers a lot cheaper than the leather shop we visited in Ephesus which was very, very expensive. At first, the prices were like the leather shop, but my dad learnt some bargaining tricks from Uncle Dom in Beijing and my mum, well, she's just a natural bargainer and got it at a pretty good price. After we bought the leather jacket, THEY TRIED TO LURE US IN THEIR CARPET SHOP. But we ain't interested in Turkish carpets. Sorry.

Dinner was pretty average, afterwards  we went to Taxim square which has a lot of lights, it's really pretty, the only thing is that it's just so crowded.I went to a Mango shop and bought jeans and a scarf. I would've gotten more. It was quite cheap, and has THREE LEVELS.

"Oh la la" as my French teacher would say ( She has one of the strongest French accents.) although she says "Oh la la" particularly when she's mad. But also when she's surprised. Delightfully. 
Next morning, we rode on a ferry, very very very windy. I kinda felt seasick. Even though it was only like what, an hour?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ankara and tooth aches

This week has rather been uh painful. Getting more tests, homework for school,but it's manageable. That is, if you are organised.Yesterday was probably one of the worst days I've had in months. I got my teeth pulled out.  Two of my teeth extracted ,from my left side of the mouth. Why? I'M GETTING BRACES. The orthodontist said I had to get four teeth pulled out so I'm getting two more extracted next week. The procedure of pulling my teeth out actually wasn't that bad, it just felt strange and uncomfortable and tugging. What hurt was the injection. I didn't really feel them pulling out my teeth you know? AFTERWARDS, that's the worst part. My mouth kept on bleeding (I do not know why I am writing about blood on a travel blog) and my mouth was numb and I couldn't talk for the whole day. I had to eat ever so slowly, I was pretty much depressed (Cause I love eating.). My dad was all like "Well  that's the price you pay for wanting to become beautiful!". Uh okay, I just want straighter teeth that's all lol. #dads

The after experience was very, very, very unpleasant. Painful. I am not looking forward to next week. I'm getting my braces after my birthday I think, I want to eat all the cake!

Anyway, after a day, I feel much better but it's still hard to eat and my mouth just feels so strange.

So after Cappadocia, we went off to Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Ankara is just a big city, nothing really impressive.

We visited this museum, Anıtkabir. It's the memorial place of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,who was the leader of 'Turkish war of independence'. There's this huge, huge memorial tomb with high ceilings.

Then inside, there was paintings, Ataturk's writings, statues and all sorts of history stuff, my dad was VERY interested so he was left behind so my mum and I went further ahead. He likes to read every single detail. I like to just skim through.

Ooh my first time seeing one of these guards people (Look at slideshow). I don't understand how they can stand so still for so long. And it's like they never blink. Well, for a really long period. Pretty cool.

According to Bill, Ankara is the safest city in Turkey? There's quite a lot of security, first when we went to the the museum, well ahead before we went inside, we had to go through this scanner thing. So we had to hop off our bus, get scanned, then go back in. Then, in our hotel, we have to use our hotel cards when we're in the elevator.

We also got dropped off at some shopping mall. I think that was just to kill time. My parents and I ended up drinking coffee at Starbucks. I had a java chip frappucino. But now I am aware of how much sugar and syrup they put into their drinks (My oldest sister used to work there and I asked her what do they put in the drinks cause I wanted the recipe)so now I will probably never drink Starbucks or Gloria Jeans in a very very long time. But it's nice, once in a while.