A surreal opportunity

Friday, June 19, 2015

So I had to do some serious updating to my "All Around the World" project (can be found on my sidebar).

Because very recently, I traveled to the USA with the initial purpose to attend a friend's wedding. But since I'm making the effort to go half way across the world and have that golden window of opportunity, why not go all out?

Our close to 1-month travel itinerary consisted of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas (only for half a day), Waco, Houston, Greenville and New York City. It sounds like we're stretching things a little bit, but we did it! We got to see a majority of what we planned to see and of course, ate what we planned to eat.

I was a little disappointed of some of the things we ate because they were widely regarded as must eats and being very delicious *cough*Artichoke Basille Pizza & In-n-Out*cough*. But that was compensated as I was also impressed by certain foods I thought were going to be mediocre. A few of them that probably deserve honourable mentions are Chipotle's rice bowls, Luke Lobsters' lobster rolls and Eddie Huang's Baohaus creations. I wasn't expecting to be craving for them, but I am! Even Panda Express wasn't too bad. A bit disappointed with the fast food as well, but hey, how good can fast food get anyways? Argh, too bad I didn't get a picture of the Chipotle rice bowl!

Yummy buns from Baohaus
Better-than-most-fast-food Shake Shack
Surprisingly delicious Japanese curry chicken rice
Koja Kitchen - Korean fusion food. So good too.
I was floored by the variety of choices and availability of everything over there. I also underestimated the weather and didn't come fully prepared. Though it's quite sunny, it's also very windy in Los Angeles/San Francisco. I loved the weather (except where sometimes it threatened to freeze me to death).

Golden Gate Bridge in (almost) its full glory
I also had a lot of firsts in this trip! First authentic American wedding, picked cherries for the first time, tried my first deep dish pizza, the first time I saw a sarcophagus...

The bride and groom

Speaking of the wedding, it was interesting to say the least. I'm not going to divulge details about some embarrassing moments that happened to me on the internet here, but all in all it was such a lovely, filled with the most friendly and accommodating people. I could not ask for more. The wedding was located at a very scenic 'farm' and it was simplicity at its best. Of course, in any American wedding, dancing was one of the most significant highlights of the night. Let's just say at least I didn't fall or step on any toes while dancing lol.

And not to mention, I have very photogenic friends to take pictures of during the trip. Like, seriously guys they make a simple photo look like they were in a photoshoot.... unacceptable.

I also visited Korea for a little while. I have always wanted to go to Korea. And don't be mistaken, it's definitely not because of the K-pop craze, because if you knew me well you wouldn't be asking that question anyways. It's because of the KOREAN FOOD!!! I get so excited about Korean food, especially Korean bbq. It was too bad we didn't get to try much because Ivy was full and only I wanted to try it, but most of the bbq restaurants require you to order a minimum of 2 portions. Was pretty disappointed about not getting to try actual Korean bbq in Korea. But hey, I'm definitely going back next time when I have the chance. Also, since I was there I had to get those cute Korean-made socks.

The first time we were in Seoul for our first layover, we joined a 5-hour airport transit tour which brought us to Gyongbukgung Palace, Jogyesa temple and Incheon street. We probably only had only 20-30 minutes to roam around each place. I love that the airport thinks of the transit travelers and provides us with activities to do.

The second layover we had in Seoul, we had to venture out ourselves because our timing didn't fit the transit tours unfortunately. It was underwhelming - we reached Myeongdong by bus at 7am, only to find that everything wasn't open yet. Not even any small street stalls! We thought maybe the ajummas (Korean aunties) might be early risers and open their food stalls to feed people for breakfast... but NOPE. Our only salvation was McDonalds. Only like 3 hours later, shops were opened. Oh well, at least we got to see a little of Myeongdong.

This trip did little to quench my thirst for adventure, but only served to spark my wanderlust even more. And I think that's how it's suppose to be - having this perpetual desire to explore every crevice of this planet, to absorb and experience its variety of cultures and to not be afraid to take chances when it comes to making new memories. This is just a stepping stone. A huge one though!

But of course, I am so very grateful for the experiences I had and the opportunity to travel. Thanks mom and dad!!! This trip has been in the making since last year - a lot of major changes to our plan, discussions about how to go about things, doubts on where we are going to stay etc... but the fruits of our labour were sweet, almost everything went pretty much according to plan. After I broke my ankle I thought I'd never be able to hop on a plane and go half way across the world anytime soon. But by God's grace, my ankle was healing well and thus here I am telling you my stories.

Here's to more adventures!

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