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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

France, 6/19/2010 – 6/25/2010

My journey continues eastward. The 7-hour flight across the Atlantic from Newark to London isn’t that bad. Then, after spending a night at a relative's house, I take the EuroStar from London to Paris across the Chunnel. I am a bit disappointed for spending $130 one-way to take the train but at least I can say I've taken the train across the Chunnel from London to Paris. The journey takes about 2 hours and a half but I can't really feel we're moving that fast.


Lunch break

Paris is a beautiful city but very crowded with tourists, especially in the summer. The architectures are magnificent. The French seem to be carefree, ignoring tourists, and enjoy their good food and wine. Highlights of the trip are Château de Versailles, The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, La Défense, Notre Dame, Champs-Élysées...And watching the World Cup at the Eiffel Tower with the crazy crowd is something to remember.


NYC, 6/14/2010 – 6/18/2010

My around-the-world trip starts in New York city. I’ve been to NYC before but the longest time I spent there was 2 days. These 4-day stays give me a different perspective of the Big Apple. The crowded city is moving at much faster pace than Seattle’s. Everyone seems to rush, especially at the subway stations -- no time to stop and smell the roses. I sort of felt dizzy when navigating through the crowd at the Grand Central station for the first time. And the watchful-stern-looking armed guards also make me a little nervous, though their job is to make NYC safe.


However, as I get used to the city vibe, I begin to like the fast-moving city. There are many places to go and things to do. Foods are cheap and available with almost every ethnic flavor. People are diverse. The subway system, though not very clean, is very efficient to get around the big city. Taking a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must for first-time visitors. And when you need to unwind or get away from the city crowd, Central Park is a good place be. It is also the time of the World Cup so I occasionally enjoy drinking beers and watching the games with my buddy at the bars.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

My father's Book Review

My father's book received review from The Cambodia Daily newspaper

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Star trails

Cape Lookout campground, Oregon

Star Trail, Cape Lookout campground

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oregon Coast Road Trip and Car Camping

Oregon coast roadtrip

As I survived another quarter at school, I wanted a getaway during school break to reward myself. So I decided to go on a road trip and car camping along the oregon coast. It was indeed a refreshing experience. The weather was sunny most of the time which revealed the true coastal beauties from the north to the south of Oregon.

5-star hotel is overrated :)

The weather was still around 40-60F in March but I got my camping gears ready to keep me warm though there were times when it rained and the wind blew my tent so hard I thought it would be torn apart :). There were many campgrounds along the coast. It was a different experience getting out of civilization for a bit and sleeping under trees or open sky. The smell of fresh air, the singing birds in the morning and the sound of crickets at night were sort of soundtracks :). I expected the inconveniences and discomforts but they didn't seem to bother much when you have appreciation for nature. In fact, comparing to previous road trips, I enjoyed camping more than hotels. Now I suppose I understand why many others like to go camping.

View from Ecola State Park

It seems like there were a lot of things to see on each turn and curve of the coast. Some of the highlights were huge rock formations, lighthouses, surging waves against the rocks and sea lions. It also happened to be grey whale migration season (from south to north) which I was able to spot a few white spouts of grey whales from the coast on clear days. Even though it was hard to see them without binoculars, it was still exciting to know they're there by watching their spouts. It was also thrilling to hike up a steep cliff at Cape Lookout and sand dune in Florence.

The watch that survived the Khmer Rouge

My dad's Rolex, mentioned in Chapter 2, 5 and 17, is still working great after 40 years. A piece of machine and history.


Monday, February 01, 2010

My Father's book, 2nd edition

My Father's Book, 2nd Edition

“The Life of a Physician Under The Khmer Rouge Regime” tells the odyssey of a Cambodian doctor in Cambodia's northwestern province, Battambang, during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979) which wiped out nearly 2 million Cambodians.

The author is one of the Khmer Rouge survivors who lives to tell what he has witnessed during the three years and eight months under the ruthless Khmer Rouge regime and a number of events that occurred after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge.

Available now in Phnom Penh book stores.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy 2010!

Rainy, cloudy and windy new year, the Seattle way!