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Archives for May 2012

Maui, HI: Happy Valley




I spent 1.5 days in Maui earlier this May. We had a layover in San Francisco for a few hours, so we got a little tour of the United Maintenance Base courtesy of my dad’s former coworker. This was really neat especially seeing all the different parts of the plane right in the backyard of the United offices.

maintenance_base_united_day_with_kaye

The reason we were flying to Maui was to visit my grandpa. We took him out for dinner at one of my favorite sushi restaurants in Kahului since I was a little kid: Ichiban. I had the combo plate of steak teriyaki and shrimp tempura. I had that along with some spicy tuna sushi and unagi. It was just enough to satisfy my cravings.

ichiban_tempura_maui_day_with_kaye ichiban_sushi_maui_day_with_kaye ichiban_unagi_sushi_day_with_kaye

We spent the evening at Maui Beach Hotel. Nothing beats waking up to the cool breeze of the mountains and seeing the sunrise up from the ocean at 5AM… and of course, taking pictures because your body can’t accommodate to the 5 hour time change >_<

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And yes that did include a jumping shot.

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In his 90s and still going! Kudos to do you Grandpa =) He just looks so cheerful and pleasant doesn’t he? This just brightens up my day.

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Cherish your family. Happy travels friends!

Puerto Rico: Carribean Pace




Our accommodations were lovely. We stayed at the Caribe Hilton. This patio furniture was a simple source to relaxation. You don’t always need to be on the go to enjoy the place you’re visiting. Disconnecting myself from my phone, the internet and taking in all the Puerto Rico goodness was truly calming.

caribe_hilton_balcony_day_with_kaye

When we did decide to go out and explore, there was always blue skies and the ocean was never far away. They had breakers set up on all the beaches we went to and passed by, so the waves weren’t too powerful and crashing on the shore.

puerto_rico_beach2_day_with_kaye

As the “mystery” to why my tagline is “jumping around the world”. It’s because of this:

puerto_rico_jumping_day_with_kaye

One of the attractions we visited was Castillo San Cristobal, a fort used during the Spanish American War and World War II.

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By no means can I call myself a history buff, but going through sites like this fort, it’s just remarkable of the events that took place at the exact location.

castillo_san_cristobal_fort_old_san_juan_puerto_rico_day_with_kaye

Saw a little bit of the old, experience the new, all while enjoying it with Puerto Rican/Carribean pace. Happy travels friends!

Puerto Rico: Carribean Cuisine

Traveling would not be complete without trying local cuisine. When asking around, we were able to find some Puerto Rican food.

The restaurant that the bus driver of our kayaking trip suggested Café del Angel, which is in front of La Concha Resort in Condado (the middle “island” in the picture).

condado_puerto_rico_day_with_kaye

The restaurant was divided into 2 sections. The front was an open storefront with ceiling fans overhead. The back part was separated by a glass wall and door for the air conditioning.

Wherever you travel to a new place, asking the locals what restaurants they enjoy the local cuisine. It’s a bonus when different people point you towards the same restaurant. You will really be in for a treat.

I ordered Tostones Rellenos de Carne (Plantains stuffed with ground beef). The dish came with lettuce, tomato and onion. While the dish wasn’t visually appealing, in terms of flavor, I had one word: yum! Also, that was washed down with some delicious sangria, which was perfect with the Caribbean weather =D

cafe_del_angel_puerto_rican_food_day_with_kaye

Our next Puerto Rican food adventure was during our afternoon visit to Old San Juan. The concierge has us check out Café Puerto Rico, and so we hit up the restaurant before walking around Castillo San Cristobal. More on that place later. There was indoor and outdoor seating.

café_puerto_rico_day_with_kaye

We had the Bistec Encebollado (beefsteak with onions) and Arroz con Pollo (chicken with rice). We also had our mojitos. I am not particularly a big fan of mojitos because the mint taste has never agreed with me from the times I have tried it. The mojito at this restaurant was really refreshing and not overpowering with mint. For that, this restaurant gets my vote.

bistec_encebollado_day_with_kaye

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With what little room we had left in our tummy for dessert, we shared Guava Flan. Wow, that was something special! It wasn’t even that big of a piece either, but the flavor and the consistency was jut enough sweetness to finish off the meal.

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Expand your horizons. Happy travels friends!

Puerto Rico: Bioluminescent Bay Adventure

My maid of honor at my upcoming wedding planned a cousin-and-bride-maid-of-honor trip since she won’t be able to go to my bachelorette party in my hometown. The lucky destination? Puerto Rico!

She had done her research and found out that kayaking at Bio Bay was the one of the top activities. So without knowing much else, she booked a tour for us here:

http://www.kayakingpuertorico.com/

bioluminescent_bay_kayaking_puerto_rico_day_with_kaye

A bus picked us up from our hotel. It does take a while to get to Fajardo, the town where Bio Bay is located. So if you plan on going here, remember that.

I had never kayaked before. No worries though, they teach you. It isn’t too difficult to maneuver especially since we were in calm water. Our main guide Anthony was really cool. I love it when people love what they do. All the guides have that same passion and energy. That pumped us up to see the Bioluminescent Bay.

bioluminescent_bay_puerto_rico_day_day_with_kaye

Bio Bay “lights up” when you put your paddle or hand in the water. Basically, anything that “agitates” the tiny microorganisms to glow. If you splashed or trickled the water on your arm or leg, it’s sparkly o_O Sadly, our camera couldn’t capture the glow. It’s a shame though we can’t swim in it anymore. The oils from our skin damage them, which is definitely not good.

It was a 2-hour tour that started during sunset through a mangrove where the tree branches came over you.

bioluminescent_bay_puerto_rico_night_day_with_kaye

It was reminiscent of the scene in The Little Mermaid during the “Kiss the Girl” song. And yes, we sang bits and pieces of it while we were kayaking *Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la…go on and kiss the girl*

Anthony was telling us that part of the profits of Bacardi rum (there’s a factory in San Juan) is used to the preservation of Bio Bay. So, if we drink mojitos, we’re helping the environment… whether there’s actual truth to that or not *cheers!*

mojito_puerto_rico_day_with_kaye

On our way back through the mangrove, it was dark out already. It was the few weeks out of the entire year that we could see it light up in the mangrove. We could see the fish swimming through the water, and they were glowing too. A little freaky to see what could have been radioactive fish, but it still amazing.

Upon returning and having to actually stand up again, I realized it was the adrenaline that kept me going and I was exhausted to the point of headaches. Yikes!

They had snacks at their tent and that helped it subside a little, but my body just needed to sleep and I passed out nearly the whole ride back to the hotel and I could barely function when we got back to the hotel. Good thing we ordered for room service that night. I was falling asleep while eating my dinner (Ridiculous, I know).

bioluminescent_bay_puerto_rico_kayaking_night_day_with_kaye

I have to say this was definitely THE highlight of the trip =D

So all of you who have lists of places to go and see, I would definitely add this to that list! Happy travels friends!