Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Snowboarding at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort, WA

This was my fourth time snowboarding and I still had a lot to learn. The trip was organized by a group of snow-loving co-workers. We started out early in the morning, driving to Crystal Mountain Ski resort near Mount Rainier, which is about 2 hours from Seattle. It was a sunny Saturday at the mountain, packed with skiers and snowboarders from all ages. The surrounding was overly snow white mixed with green pine trees. Far away, the white slopes were filled with tiny skiers and snowboarders; it looked like salt and pepper.

It was still at freezing temperature on the mountain but after a couple of runs and with the sunlight it felt warm, in fact it was too warm that I had to take one layer of my clothes out because I sweated too much. I still had difficulty turning and riding on my toes which were more challenging than riding on my hills. Because I only knew how to ride on one side of the board and didn't know how to switch sides, I used only one part of my leg muscles which wore me out easily and really burned my thighs when going down the slopes. I had to take a lot of breaks. I asked my friends who are snowboarding veterans about how long it took them to learn how to snowboard. They said it took them about 10 rides before they can snowboard comfortably. So I felt not too bad for my fourth ride. I hope to get better next time and look forward to the day I can master snowboarding skill.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cambodia 7/23/2010 - 9/12/2010

It's been a while since I've updated this blog. I guess school, job hunting, facebook...,for the past 6 months, have kept me away from blogging. Perhaps I should get back to blog more like I used to.


Anyway, after Singapore, my final destination is Cambodia where I spend the most time and have the most fun with my folks. This time I get to do more road trips and have the opportunity to visit a few more other provinces that I've never been to before such as Kratie, Steung Treng, Mondol Kiri, Rattanakiri and Pailin. The road infrastructure has been improved for the past 2 years since my last visit, making it possible to travel to more places inside the country. It's good to see the country progressing although, as a result, Phnom Penh gets more crowded and will need to be expanded.

However, despite the changes, I always feel I'm at home whenever I come back. I realize I never leave Cambodia and Cambodia never leaves me. I enjoy the simpler and slower-pace of life, the friendly people, the convenience of cheap eats at every corner, and, most importantly, I enjoy being surrounded by friends and family. Time does fly when you have fun. 6 weeks don't seem to be enough. Before I know it, I have to catch the flight back to Seattle.

More pictures are here.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Singapore, 7/21/10 - 7/23/10

I'm on the boat

Flight from London to Singapore took about 15 hours with a stopover at Bombay airport. It is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a diverse population made up mainly of Indians, Chineses and Malays.

The Merlion

The tiny island is a well-developed economic-booming country. High-rise buildings blend with colonial ones. Public transportation, especially the subway, is very efficient to get around Singapore. The city is full of entertainments, shopping centers and plenty of cheap eats on the streets.

Food, food and food

Sunday, October 10, 2010

England, 7/03/2010 – 7/19/2010

From Budapest, I return to the land of Her Majesty. There are so many places to see in England as well as there are so many histories behind them. Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, Charles Darwin...they all used to live here. Highlights of the trip are downtown London, Oxford, Stonehenge, Greenwich Mean Time, Richmond Park and Tate Modern.

Tower Bridge

London underground provides an efficient means for transportation and is always crowded. I enjoy riding the tube and the local pubs. I also like the tradition that represent England's unique identity such as the uniforms of the police and palace guards, and those fancy taxies and buses.

Nice old pub near Victoria station

Living in England is not cheap however. Fortunately, I get free accommodation from my relatives during my 2-week stay :)


Next, I'm off to Singapore...

Czech Republic, 6/30/2010 – 7/01/2010

I've heard a lot of good things about Czech Republic. Since it's not that far from Hungary, I take the train to Prague and return back to Budapest by bus the next morning, which takes about 8 hour each way. Prague is indeed a vibrant city, and touristic too. The foods are cheap, however. The city has good public transportation. Especially, the subway is very efficient to get around the city.



The architecture, from bridges to cathedrals, is very gothic which I find very intriguing. And Czech beers do taste good, standing for their reputation.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hungary, 6/26-7/03/2010

After Paris, I hop over to Budapest with Swiss Air. The landscape is different from Western Europe but beautiful in its own way. Budapest is a uniquely charming city. Divided by the Danube river, Buda sits on the hill while Pest occupies on the flat land. Many classical buildings, such as the parliament and the palace, stand tall and proud boasting their significance and power they once had.

View of the palace on Buda side
The palace on Buda side

The parliament on Pest side

Local commuters start going to work as early as 5 in the morning with trams and buses. Hungary has just joined the EU and the country is looking for opportunities to boost its economy. The scars of World War II and communism are still evident on some of the building walls but the people are moving on.

VOLT concert