Category Archives: Travel

Vacation to the West Coast

More photos from my vacation are available here.

Seattle

We took an early flight on April 22 to Seattle. The original plan was to fly into Portland but airfare was $500 more! We were worried about how Natalie would act on her first plane ride but she was just perfect the whole way. We stayed at the Seattle Center Holiday Inn which, wasn’t quite at the heart of downtown but was right next to the Space Needle. In order to get to Pike Place Market, we took the monorail. I was trying to find out which stop we would need to get off on when the conductor told everyone that there is only one stop. Two minutes later, we were at our destination after taking what I think must be the shortest monorail ride ever.

Highlights from our two days in Seattle are visiting Snoqualmie Falls, taking a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island and a Malasyian dinner with my mom’s friend Jade. On Thursday we were treated to backstage tours of the Children’sand Intiman theater by my uncle Carey who is their set designer. My back was hurting a bit after the 15 miles we had walked, all the while carrying Natalie in a Baby Bjorn.

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Portland

We took Amtrak business class to Portland and had business people sitting all around us. Again, Natalie did just great so we didn’t have anything to worry about. Grandpa picked us up at the station and took us to his laundry to show off the baby to his employees and to wash our dirty clothes. For lunch, he brought us out to dim sum which I always love. I even tried a chicken’s foot at the insistence of my grandpa. That night, we had some drinks with Annie, a friend of Tally’s and her boyfriend at a nearby brew pub. By this time, Natalie was so over-stimulated from travelling that she was fast asleep at the restaurant despite the noise.

The next day, Tally and I left Natalie with my mom and grandparents and took a day trip out to the coast. We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory, my granparent’s cabin at Rockaway Beach, and stopped at Oceanside for lunch. After we got back to Portland, we took it easy and watched a movie after eating a yummy dinner of razor clams my grandparents had cooked up. The next morning, we visited the downtown market, Powell’s Bookstore, and the rose garden for a few hours while we waited for the train. It was sad to leave so soon but Tally and I promised to visit again soon.

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San Francisco

If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

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Sioux Falls

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Last Friday, Tally and I left Natalie with my parents and spent the day in Sioux Falls, SD. While we were there, I snapped some shots of the SculptureWalk on Phillips Ave and the mildly frightening squirrels at Falls Park.

The photos were taken with my new Canon 50mm F/1.8 II lens. Every manufacturer seems to be trying to shove zoom lenses down consumers’ throats but I like the simplicity and small size of this prime lens. It also takes some very sharp photos.

Philly

I was in Philadelphia last week for training. Class ended at 5 every day and the training center was about 30 minutes away from downtown so it was difficult to find time to explore the city. We did make it there a couple times however. On Tuesday night we explored South Street, home to many eclectic shops, bars, and places to eat. The people there were just as varied so it seems like a fun place to people watch. Tony (my coworker) and I spent some time at a hole-in-the-wall there called Copabanana where the patrons were just as colorful as the decor. We even met one of the restaurant owners. We also made a stop at Jim’s Steaks across the street to grab a philly cheese steak.

On Wednesday, our instructor was kind enough to offer free tickets to the 76ers game to anyone who wanted them. That night, we carpooled to the Wachovia Center in the little Yaris we were renting and found our way to the company’s box seats. I’m not a huge sports fan but I had a great time. The free food, desserts and drinks might have had something to do with it too.

I was expecting to miss out on visiting some of the historical attractions since most of the tours end by 6pm but we got out of class early on Friday. Tony and I packed as much as we could in the few hours we had before we had to make it to the airport. I was able to take a look at the Liberty Bell and take a tour of Independence Hall. We then hopped over to Pat’s and Geno’s for some more cheese steaks. Pat’s is the progenitor of the philly cheese steak but from what I understand Geno’s, right across the street is the more famous of the two. I was shivering while eating them (there is no indoor seating at either) but they were tasty. Writing about it is making me want one now.

All in all Philly was a lot of fun. I heard some things about the bad traffic and crime I could expect there but whether it’s luck or exaggeration both, I didn’t experience either. I hope to make it back some day with Tally and Natalie.

Atlanta

I’m in Atlanta all this week learning the ABAP programming language for work. So far, so good. Yesterday was the first day of class and was mostly review but I’m sure I will be learning a lot starting today. Last night Tony and I ate at Taco Mac where they have 100 beers on tap. I asked for a local brew and ended up with Sweetwater Blue which smells and tastes like blueberries! Everyone give a shout out to Tally, I know she’s pretty stressed having to take care of Natalie on her own for a week.

A Weekend on the North Shore

Friday

I took off workon Friday so that we wouldn’t be rushed on our drive up north. Our destination was a bed and breakfast on the Gunflint Trail, 30 miles past Grand Marais. Tally and I were excited for a last get-away before the baby came. I heard that it was peak colors up there so I was excited for some quiet hiking, canoeing, and stargazing under the changing leaves.

The owners of the B&B are an elderly couple named Barbara and Ted. When I told Barbara over the phone that Tally was nine months pregnant, she was concerned that she would have trouble on the guided canoe trip we had signed up for–there would be uneven ground, a fair amount of walking, and getting into and out of canoes. I told her that, while yes she was quite pregnant, she was still mobile and could walk just fine but at Barbara’s insistance we got a note from the midwife saying that she was good to go. The only restriction was that she couldn’t walk more than a mile at a time.

Borrowing my parents’ TT, we left home in the late morning and made it up to Grand Marais around 5pm. We had an hour or two to kill so we explored the main street there. We ended up eating some of the “world’s greatest donuts,” bought some homemade fudge (chocoloate-walnut and chocolate-caramel), and ate some much-needed dinner at the Gun Flint Tavern. We then made our way down the beautiful Gunflint, overshot our destination by about 10 miles, made our way back and finally arrived at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse.

Saturday

Sunday