Final Post

Wally

All in all I’ve got to say that this year has been crazy. No one else can say they’ve seen or done what we did in their first year of marriage. We constantly joke that there is no topping this and from here on out it’s down hill, but in actuality I like to think that we’re just getting started. There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored and Syd and I intend on seeing every bit of it.

This experience has made me appreciate what we have here in America and that it is the best damn country to grow up in. For example being able to safely drink the water out of the sink, knowing that people won’t be shitting the streets or that I won’t be constantly ripped off over simple purchases. I’ve also gained valuable insight as to who I am and what my parents had to struggle with when they first arrived here. I know I’ve covered my identity in previous blog entries, but it’s still worth noting. Ethnically I may be Chinese, but culturally I’m Taiwanese, but most importantly I’m American through and through. As for my parents their struggle was real, my dad came to this country with two suitcases and $600 in his pockets, he didn’t speak any English and got a job within the first week of being in the country. Now he owns his own business, is fluent in English and owns his own home. Living the American dream. I’ve gotten a whole new appreciation for what they’ve been able to accomplish while living here in America. I cannot image doing what they’ve done in China even though I have a leg up on them with the language.

So to answer some of the commonly asked questions

Q: What was your favorite country?
A: Have to say Greece and I loved Santorini. The food, people and sights have just won me over completely. Visiting all the Greek islands is now on my bucket list.

Q: What was your least favorite country?
A: Vietnam, I like to tell people that we just bombed the shit out of the place and they’re still recovering from it. We’ve traveled throughout China and parts of S.E.A and I never witness poverty like I did in Vietnam. Other than the food, for me anyways, I don’t feel that there’s much else to offer.

Q: What’s it like being back?
A: It’s just nice being back home in a country where I know how to do shit. I know where I need to go if I’m ever in need of something oddly specific, like a sealant for a leaky shower. Also  just being able to jump in my car and go places and not have to map it out in advance.

Q: Is there anything you miss about China?
A: I’d have to say some of the local street food is missed and just the energy of living in a city, but for the most part China can go fuck itself.

Syd

What a crazy fucking year we have had. I cannot believe that it is over. Del Taco yesterday was amazing and I did cry because it is the greatest food! Don’t judge me! It was nice having my dad pick me up since it was full circle, he dropped Wally and I off at LAX 9 1/2 months ago and now he is picking us up in Orange County. Crazy how things change yet stay the same. I am proud to be an American and a born and bred Cali girl! No place in the world is better then Cali. There is not a lot I can say about this journey that we have not said a thousand times. I cannot believe this is how we spent the first year of our marriage and now we are coming up to our one year anniversary. The world is our oyster and Wally and I are just getting started. I hope you all have enjoyed the blogs. Wally and I have had fun writing and telling our stories. Thanks for being on this journey with us and sharing our ups and downs. No matter what happens Wally and I have each other and know we can survive anything together. I am so glad to be home. I can’t wait to go back and hit up the cheap markets. I could really use a haggling high right about now. When we do finally go back to the city it’ll be nice because we know the city inside and out. Get some Chinese breakfast burritos and DAN DAN MIEN! As this is being written Wally is shaking his head. I love Shanghai, I don’t like the people, but I’ll never forget Dunkin Dates with my love. This blog will always be a great memory and reminder of a fun and adventurous chapter of our lives.

Advertisements

Day 282 – 288: Arizona 7/12/2016 – 7/18/2016

Tuesday 7/12/2016

Wally

Just got to say that it’s good to be back in the states again, it is a bit weird to be back We’ve just been living in other cities, cultures and experiences for so long now that being back to familiarity is off. There are things that stand out now that is distinctly American that I took for granted before.

  • Like strolling through a well-stocked grocery store
    • Throughout China all we had were smaller grocery stores that carried JUST what you needed. If you wanted to get western goods you have to go out of your way to go to those stores. Also grocery stores here are HUGE, that’s not to say that there aren’t big ones in China either, but our stores are consistently big. Syd and I went to Target and Safeway here and we were kind of in awe at just how big the stores were. Granted it’s not like we’ve never seen these stores before, but it’s just being in the presence of it again.
  • Being connected at all times
    • While living and China and traveling abroad our phones were just mini computers that only worked while we were logged into WiFi. Thank god we live in a day and age where we can download just about any app and still call and text people. But the biggest hassle of not being connected is that when you’re out and about you can’t reach anyone unless you’re on WiFi! There were so many times where Syd and I could not separate from each other in fear that we won’t be able to find one another, or if I’m coming home from work and I wasn’t able to text het to let her know how far out I was. I was able to text her that I was on my way home from Starbucks and should be home within the next 10 min or so. Also, along the lines of being connected it’s nice to be able to use social media on the go and not just in the little hot spots I had available to me at certain points in the day.
  • Knowing what you’re doing
    • I know how to navigate the roads here and can drive confidently knowing that I won’t have someone on my ass or cutting me off every second. Or being able to go to a grocery store and know what I’m buying and how to navigate the store itself. Everything just makes sense that way.
  • Being able to cook.
    • Syd and I had not cooked a single meal while we were living abroad. We had a very college diet of ramen and oatmeal and when we did eat real meals it was us eating out. There is something therapeutic when you’re cooking, you’re definitely just living in the moment and following the directions to the recipe or just trying to be a few steps ahead of it. It’s moments like that when you’re just in the zone and it feels nice.

Syd

Wow it feels so good to sleep in that bed again. I woke up about 5:45 am. I only had about 5 hours of sleep but I was out like a light!! When I woke up I spoke with my dad and mom for a little and wished my sisters a fun and safe trip in Maui. I cannot wait to see everyone next week.  I called American Airlines this morning to see where our luggage was and was told that it will be here around 1:30pm. Ok, that’s not bad! Wally and I lounged around with my aunt and uncle. We cleaned up our bags and reorganized all of our stuff and started laundry. Also, there was a SVU marathon USA, hells yes!!! It was so nice to watch normal tv and relax. Wally and I ate some cereal, yum!!

Well 1:30 rolled around and nothing! I called back and she said now that there is no time. GREAT!!! Finally they called around 4:30 to say that it will be between 5-9pm. Well ok then. Wally and I were wearing Uncle Neal’s clothes so we headed to Target to get some clothes since American Airlines will reimburse us. We took the Audi and headed to the store, Wally and I joked that look we own an Audi but I don’t own a bra hahah. WOW, Target is beautiful! I missed it. We picked up some clothes and groceries. We went to pay with the Target red card and they said that it won’t work since we did not have the new card. We explained that we have been out of the country and do not have the new card, she was nice enough to still give us our discount and we left. We stopped by the Starbucks to pick up our cups, one Arizona and one Phoenix. We made our way to the grocery store and man to see fresh fruits and veggies and know that they are safe to eat made me tear up. I LOVE AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We finished up and headed back. I love the new Audi. It is such a smooth ride, Wally and sang and danced and chilled in the car. When I got home Bianca called and we Skyped for a while. SO excited to see her when we get home. It was fun to Skype and actually be in the same time zone.

Tonight I am cooking baked mostaccioli  and garlic cheese bread. It turned out amazing and it was the perfect meal to cook. I am so happy to be back in a working, normal and amazing kitchen.  Tomorrow I am going to make chocolate chip cookies and samoas pie. We all relaxed the rest of the night and hung out. Perfect first day back in the states. Good night!

Wednesday 7/13/16

Wally

Syd had gotten up early and started doing some chores around the place. We just have bags upon bags upon bags of dirty clothes and NEEEED to get washed. That’s not to say we didn’t wash clothes along the way, but there’s only so much we could do by hand or by their shitty washing machines in a foreign language. So, we’re taking full advantage of the fact that we got a couple of good machines to do our washing and drying for us.

While Syd was toiling away I ended up sleeping in. I did my best to help her out from time to time throughout the day, but she really shouldered the majority of the work. I was just the extra pair of hands for her to use.

I did help Neal with a quick errand of picking up a bolt for a metal rod that go to the pool filter. Off we went to the hardware store. Again the novelty of knowing where to go for such an oddly specific item is great. When we were in China I needed paint because I accidently peeled some paint off the walls, I had no idea where to begin looking for it. Something as simple as that completely eluded me.

For dinner we went to Panda Express!!! Now I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but old Wally would have told you that Panda Express is not real Chinese food, but Wally now will tell you it is. Now hear me out, there Chinese food isn’t an all-encompassing category, in fact there are lots of different regions in China that cook the food completely differently than others.  Shanghainese food is greasy and heavy, Taiwanese food is light and slightly sweet and Sichuan food is SPICY. Panda Express is the epitome of American Chinese food. When we were in China it was so difficult to get anything like Panda. Not because it isn’t Chinese food, but because no one knew how to cook the American style. There was one restaurant that was called Fortune Cookie, but we only have the pleasure of dining there once. Either way my point is…. Take for example someone asks what you had for dinner and you say Italian food. They then ask you were at and you respond the Olive Garden. Now if that person were to tell you that’s not real Italian food because real Italians wouldn’t eat that kind of stuff,  that mother fucker would sound pretentious as shit! So… I’ve come around to the idea now that Panda is indeed real Chinese food.

Syd

I finished washing all of our clothes and we are now repacking all of our clothes. It is crazy to think this is the last time we are packing up these suitcases and trying to weigh them out and go from there. We chilled and watched SVU and packed up.

We had Panda for dinner and it was delicious! I am in heaven. We came home and watched Rick and Morty and ate dinner. It was so much fun to hang out with everyone and relax. I love being here in AZ. My aunt and uncle are awesome and it is so relaxing at their house.

Thursday 7/14/2016

Wally

Didn’t really sleep all that well the night before, so I was up by 3 and just stayed up. But I made myself useful and took care of some laundry and fully packed a suitcase for us. I also applied to some more jobs. Still no word on an actual teaching position, so it looks like I might be subbing for the year… I’m not exactly looking forward to it, but there’s no other way for me to get my foot in the door. Whatever it’s all good gotta do what you gotta do.

We just kind of lounged around for most of the day. Syd got a few job interviews lined up already, she’s amazing over the phone with these people and I can tell that they’re already sold on her.

We went to the movies to watch Independence Day. It’s nice being back again in a normal movie theater. I never noticed this before, but everything here in the states is sooooo much bigger than everything else around the world. I remember going into the theater and just thinking damn…. It’s huge! And we were in one of the smaller theaters too!

Syd

Woke up and got ready for the day. Wally was already downstairs working on stuff for me which was so sweet. We ate some breakfast and I made a samoas pie. It was nice to bake again. I hope the pie turns out well. I am a little nervous. Wally and I took care of some business this morning. I applied to a lot of jobs and even have an interview next Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed. We also set up appointments to cancel our Chinese bank accounts, meet up with some people and get all of our stuff back. It was so great to clear things off my check list.

Wally and I decided to take a break and chill at the pool for a couple of hours. The weather was perfect and the pool was so refreshing. We listened to music and relaxed for a few hours. We came in and went with my aunt and uncle to the pool store to get a few things. We all came home and decided to take some naps before we went to the movies. The room we stay in is like a black hole. Once you lay in the bed you never want to wake up, it is so comfy and the curtains will black everything out. I love sleeping in that room. We go from a 30 minute nap to an hour and a half. Such a great nap and now I feel so much better. We had some dinner then all headed to the movies. Wow, American movie theaters are great! I had the best popcorn with so much salt and butter and a tasty cherry coke. We watched Independence Day 2. It was not as good as the first one but still fun to watch. I love the movies. After the movie ended we headed to Yogurtland for a late night snack. We all chatted and hung out for a while. We came home and relaxed then headed to bed. Another perfect day in AZ.

Friday 7/15/2016

Wally

Chilled poolside for most of the day and had some leftovers for dinner. Nothing all that special.

Sydney

Lounging by the pool was so nice. Completely relaxed and ready to take on the world. We ate and chilled all day. Leftovers for dinner and watched some tv.

Saturday 7/16/2016

Wally

Finally able to kick it by the pool all day today, however the only problem is the freaking AZ sun it’s brutal… If you’re not under some shade it feels like your skin is burning. We lathered ourselves up nice and good with sunscreen and just enjoyed an entire day of lounging about. Gotta get a respectable tan on otherwise we’ll be scrutinized back in CA.

For dinner we grilled up some chicken breasts and corn. I can honestly say I’ve never had to grill chicken breasts before and I don’t really like cooking chicken too much because I’m always paranoid that I’ll undercook it or it’ll come out dry. So I looked up how to brine chicken breasts and went ahead with it. The chicken turned out super juicy and moist. I’m just tooting my own horn here, but I’m rather proud of myself for that one.

Sydney

Laying by the pool was so nice again today. I have a ways to go before I get tan but I am working on it. Watched some tv and Wally grilled some BBQ chicken for dinner. Everything was delicious and Wally was the BBQ master. I am so proud. I hate cooking chicken because I am constantly terrified it is undercooked but luckily it was perfect.

Sunday 7/17/2016

Wally

A day out at the pool was cut short because it had gotten so windy and cloudy that it just wasn’t really all that practical. We did, however finish up Arranged and kind started on watching season 1. It’s a really interesting show about couples in arranged marriages and how they cope with not only being in a new relationship, but being newlyweds and honestly for the first time learning about each other and how to live with one another. It’s a rough adjustment period for anyone, but couple that with a marriage the pressure seems to be a bit too much for some couples.

For dinner we went to a local pizza place. The food was delicious, but I can’t help but judge Americans anymore we ordered medium drinks and what came out was absolutely colossal! It definetly wasn’t a medium sized cup instead it was a large and their small was a medium. It’s just crazy our portion sizes here in the states compared to everywhere else.

Back at home we watched Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Tina Fey stars in it as a war reporter and it just follows her time in Afghanistan. It honestly isn’t a bad watch.

Syd

It sucks that it got cloudy and rainy today but whatever we have had a few good days. We came inside finished some packing and did some laundry. Only one more day then we are back on a flight to CA. CRAZY!!! We relaxed and I gave my aunt a mani and pedi. We all chatted and enjoyed the company.

Dinner we headed to a pizza place and it was very good! Refills on drinks, AMAZEBALLS! Yes, the medium was unnecessary. We only ate about half the pizza and took it home. We all enjoyed some of my aunts cake and extra frosting and watched the movie. It was ok, I don’t think I would watch it again but good for one time. I also learned a lot about flights and  airplanes from Uncle Neal. We got on a conversation then he should us charts of flight patterns over SOCal. It was really interesting and I learned a lot. My dad teaches me cars and my uncle teaches me planes. Another wonderful day.

Monday 7/18/2016

Wally and Syd

We lounged around for the majority of the day waiting for the Rattlers game to start. Syd finally talked me into watching San Andreas with her and I hate to admit it, but it actually wasn’t all that bad. Good stupid action movie.

Unfortunately, Neal and Dianne couldn’t make it out to the game with us, so we went on our own. When we got there it was crazy to see just how many people were there to watch a Monday night AFL game. Those of you that are unfamiliar with Arena Football, which I’m assuming is all of you cause why would you be, the Rattlers are like the Patriots or the Lakers of the AFL. Their fan base is also pretty damn intense. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd this big for an AFL game, especially on a Monday night! Either way it’s really cool to see another teams game in another arena, but we just couldn’t get too into it because it just wasn’t our guys down there. We ended up leaving at the half.

Now we’re home packing up and getting ready to get back into California tomorrow. Can’t wait.

Tuesday 7/19/2016

We got dropped off at the airport and said our goodbyes. Once we got on the plane it all started to sink in that our world adventure was all over. I can’t believe just how many places we’ve been to and seen and now we’re coming home. I’m excited to not be living out of a suitcase anymore and to be able to properly do laundry.

Well Clint was nice enough to come and pick us up at the airport, but he forgot where he parked his car. I ended up standing guard of our shit while Syd and Clint went hunting for the car. After about an hour of looking around Clint remembers that he actually parked it in another garage….

Syd needed to get her Del Taco on, so that was the first meal we had back in California. She literally started to cry when we took her first bite into her burrito.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 281: Journey Home 7/11/2016

Wally

What a day… All in all Syd and I traveled for over 23 hr and 4 time zones…

London

Woke up at 6:00 in order to take part in the hotel’s breakfast. We then gather our shit to get ready for our journey home. We decided to try and leave early and beat the morning rush hour. Well since we ran out of cash we ended up walking about a mile with our shit down to the train station and then we took off on our 1.5 hr commute to Heathrow.

Heathrow

Sat around and read some books/magazines until our flight was announced.

Flight 1/3 London to Reykjavik

This flight wasn’t that bad, we had a row to ourselves and able to get comfy, buuuuuuut we were also right next to the restrooms…

Rekjavik International Airport

Snapchat-3891373676252418630.jpg

We get off and book it to our gate and actually end up a bit early. I guarded our shit while Syd went to hunt down some food for us. And she came back with some shitty pizzas because that’s all they had… When we were about halfway through our meal Syd says,” FUCK wegotchangedtoanotherflightanditleavesin20minutes! “ So…….. we booked it to the other side of the airport just as they were calling people into the plane.

We gather all our stuff and make our way into a line, buuuuuut they seated the plane by sections and ours was the last to get called… Oh and we find out that because we got pushed onto another flight we now have separate seats… So we wait….. and wait….. and wait…. The entire flight was full of people looking to do connections in Denver. Anyways back to the seating arrangements. I’m sure you’re thinking oH Wally don’t worry I’m sure it’s ok, maybe you’ll be able to trade with someone by explaining your situation right???? Well?

NOOPE!

First of all I was seated in the middle seat on the right side of the plane… I fucking hate the middle seat…. If you got the window seat sure, you’re crammed in there, but you get a nice view here and there and you have something to lean on when you want to rest. When you have the aisle you can kind of pivot your hips a bit and stick out your leg in the aisle for that precious leg room. Buuuuut when you’re in the middle you get jack shit! You won’t be able to rest both elbows on the dividers, there’s nothing to lean against other that the seat directly in front of you and it’s just SHIT to be stuck in the middle between two strangers.

So keep in mind I have all those negatives already going for me and double it because LOOK AT MY LUCK! The person who sits next to me is a morbidly obese woman that had the faintest bit of BO. You know the kind! Like it’s about that time to reapply your deodorant so that you don’t offend anyone else with your odor? Or you know like a faint wafting of BO. I think that’s the best way I can describe this smell. Anyways if you’ve gone too hot humid basement filled with nerds polishing off a 30hr LAN party than you’ve gone too far on the body odor scale. ANYWAYS she plops down next to me and without skipping a beat asks for a belt extender… her arms and thighs oozed over the arms rests and set up camp on about 1/8 of my chair. Oh and she is RADIATING heat onto me because of her climb up the stairs to get into the plane. So yeah… No one wanted to switch with me.

Flight 2/3 Reykjavik to Denver

Kill me… There IS NO COMFORTABLE POSITION! I ended up watching some movies I had downloaded onto my phone. The Man From U.N.C.L.E, not a bad film at all I actually really enjoyed it and I watched Goodfellas again, I love that movie.

During the flight though I had to piss really bad, buuuuut Jabba sitting next to me had fallen asleep and seeing as how it’s such a laborious act for this woman to stand up I just waited patiently till she went herself…

The woman next to me kept shriveling up into the corner because I, through no fault of my own, invaded her space a bit, but she kept squirming and moving and setting up a pillow between us…. I’m not that close to you lady and believe I don’t want to be either.

Denver International

The instant we land, Syd and I are gathering our shit and running out the plane because we had to go through customs, get our bags, check our bags again, go through security and run to the other side of the airport in under 30 min…

It was freaking stressful, but we managed to do it.

Flight 3/3 Denver to Phoenix

It was so good to be on the plane that will ultimately take us to our final destination. Once you’re on you know that your job is done. We sat down and got situated and the day just finally caught up to me. I’m in and out of sleep on our final flight home, so it went rather smoothly.

One negative about this flight was that when we were running onto the plane they said I could only have 1 personal and 1 carryon. I had 2 personals; a fanny pack and a side bag. Both of these items are small and both of them fit easily underneath the seat in front of me. I’ve flown over15 flights and never had to worry about it, but on our last flight home they stop me… I look them in the eyes and use the clips on the side of my backpack and clip them to it. Similar thing happened to Syd to! She had to jam a painting into her little purse because it counted as an additional item. So she’s walking down towards the plane with painting that’s too big to even fit into her purse. Now miraculously we’re ok! C’mon people! I understand rules are rules, but use your own freaking judgement every once in a while!

Arizona

It’s good to be back in the US, kind of a weird feeling actually. We made our way to baggage claim and Neal and Dianne were already there waiting for us. It was so awesome seeing them in person! We hugged and caught up for a bit while we waited for our luggage, buuuuuuuut turns out American Airlines lost our shit….

Whatever, Syd talks to their baggage claim people and when they find it they’ll deliver it to us.

The Village Inn

Syd and I just wanted to eat a nice white meal, so we went to the Village Inn, similar to Denny’s or IHOP. The waitress that took our order is actually planning a big trip herself next year to Europe and was elated to hear about our travels. She’s only 18, but already has the know it all to want to travel and see the world. I wish her the best of luck in all of her future adventures.

OMG WHITE PEOPLE FOOD AGAIN! So happy…

Home

We just unloaded our shit, did a couple of things and went upstairs to shower and KTFO.

Side note

We’re finally connected on our phones again! You don’t know what it’s like to be disconnected for vast periods of time. I mean sure we’ve gotten use to it, but now we can have a trivial argument about some C list actor and be able to look it up on the go now! Or just being able to make and receive phone calls from someone has such a surreal feeling to it.

U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

Syd

IMG_6670

It is crazy to think that this is our last morning eating a shitty hotel breakfast. We eat and get cleaned up. London has been amazing but now it is time to go home.

IMG_6672

July 11th, 2016 7:12 AM Holiday Inn Greenwich, our journey begins.

We make our way to the metro and it is about a mile walk. It was cold and windy but we made it. We get all loaded up and head to the airport. The metro ride was not bad but the transfer to one line did suck a little. We got to the airport and got checked in. We found out that we got to check another bag for free so we were able to check my Superdry bag and that is one less thing we have to worry about carrying around. Security was very light and we were able to get through no problem. We found some seats, got some magazines, and relaxed before the first leg of our trip. We had a couple of hour before getting on the plane.

The called our gate and we loaded up on the plane. It was so nice having the row to ourselves but it did suck being right next to both bathrooms. Whatever, we slept and watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I love HP. The flight itself was fine and the stewardess gave us some Icelandic Chocolate flavored with toffee and sea salt. It was so tasty.

IMG_6679

We got off the plane and found a spot next to our next flight to rest until it was time to board. I went to get us some food and log into WIFI. My phone started to go off with all these emails and I find out that we have been moved to a different flight. We race with the food and all of our shit to the other side of the airport. I talk to the ticket one and she says I have to go to the service desk. I leave Wally with all of our stuff and head to services. The woman is asking if I requested to change flights. WTF?! How could I have requested to change flights?? I was flying and landed and got an email that told me I was on a new flight. She said ok took our tickets and printed new boarding passes and retagged our bags into Denver then Phoenix. Well I did not look but she put Wally and I in different rows. We now have a 7 ½ hour flight not together. They bussed us over to the plane and I gave the stewardess her chocolate and said my normal thing and she said I never deal with assholes and I do not know why you would give these to me but thanks I guess. SERIOUSLY! Fuck you!! Yes, I do it with the hope I will get something in return but no need to be a dick. Not a huge fan of Icelandair btw. Also, Iceland airport is awful! There are no water fountains, you can only buy water, and the bathrooms are 15 minute walk from where all the transfer flights are and only 2 people working the info desk. We sat in the plane for over an hour waiting for people to get from connecting flights. It was so boring but Wally and I made the most of it. When everyone did show up we got situated and started our flight into the good ole U.S of A! AMERICA FUCK YA! I finished HP, watched the end of Dances with Wolves, some movie with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley, Deadpool, Friends, and Frozen. The woman sitting next to me was not as bad as the one sitting next to Wally but she was still pretty awful. She would constantly lift the window shade up and down and we were on the side with the sun so it got really hot and really bright. She was bumping me and was complaining that they would not use her miles to buy food. Granted mine was not nearly as bad as Wally’s. I love him and feel so bad.  I watched as our plane crossed the border from Canada into the U.S and started tearing up a little. I cannot believe we are home. Well close enough. We are in our own country!!! SWEET JESUS!! It seems like forever ago yet not that long ago at the same time. That last hour into Denver was killer!! It seemed to drag on.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When we finally landed we had less than 40 minutes to clear customs, go to the American Airlines desk, rescan and check our bags into the flight, go back through security and race to the other side of the airport to get to our gate. I have never had to do that on a connecting flight back into the states ever! Denver is the worst international airport in the states I have ever been too, it takes the cake from Jersey tenfold! The people are unhelpful, the customs dude was a dick, and it does not make any sense to have to do all of that to go to a connecting flight, especially since we were delayed coming in and now have to go to another section of the airport.

The customs agent takes the passport and our card, I explain that is for me and my husband then he asks Wally is this your wife. Wally, “yes, she just said I am her husband.” They ask where we were since leaving the USA and we explain the situation, then he starts grilling us on if we have household items, coconuts, or monkey skulls. WTF, no sir I do not have a monkey skull. It was really weird and frustrating. We head to the American Airlines ticket counter (oh, when we had the flight into Boston we were going to be flying Jetblue into Phoenix but our flights changed and we went into Denver they put us on American, which I do not like and never fly for multiple reasons. After everything that happened Wally sees why we will never fly them.) The woman at the counter has us re-weigh our bags and tells us that it is 3 lbs over but she will let it slide since she does not want us to miss our flight. Thank you so kindly for letting that slide!! Seriously, I have been on 2 flights already and the bag was fine how it that it is overweight now is?? It wasn’t when we left and I have not put anything in it! She was very incompetent and could not even pick our bags up Wally and to move them to the conveyer belt for her.  We raced through everything and ran to security. Well now for the first time in 8 weeks I have to take my shoes off at security. So we stripped down and run through. Well Denver has multiple terminals and you have to ride the metro to the right terminal, we caught it and jumped off at our terminal and sprinted through to the very last gate to get in line for our flight. We did it! OMG!!! The lady scans our boarding pass (mind you everything is still out from security, so we have a lot of loose items) we start to walk onto the jet way to the plane and she stops us and says can you come back here. You are carrying too much you will need to put everything away since we are only allowed one carry-on item. I explain everything fits we just were racing to get here and she still pulls us off to the side. I stuff my camera into the rolling carry-on and only have my normal size purse, the painting, and the roller, she tells me I have to put the painting in my purse because it counts as a carry on even though it is the size of my lap!!! I will let Wally explain his predicament with all his shit. I gently put the painting in the purse until we round the corner onto the plane and take it out. YOU DUMB BITCH, it fits under the fucking seat if I want to but I will carry it on my lap since it takes up no room at all!!

IMG_6695 (1)

UGH, American is the worst. This whole time I have an awful feeling that our bags are not going to make it all the way. Even though we scanned them and they are at least in Denver as of now. We get on the plane and Wally put something on the seat next to him while he got situated and when the guy came he said hey threw up his hands and said move it. Sorry bro, you could ask nicely we did not see you and we are getting situated ourselves. The stewards were rude from the get go so they did not get their flight chocolates from Wally and I. We will save it for the flight home from Phoenix to Cali. Wally and I slept a little on the flight and then we landed.

Hello Arizona!! We made our way to the baggage claim and found my aunt and uncle!! We gave them the painting and they loved it! It was so great hugging them and not having to rush to another flight or anything. We were stationary for a while. We waited for our bags but they never came. We went to the American Airlines ticket desk and they said that the bags never got on the plane. We filed a claim and will worry about it tomorrow. 9 months, 15 or so cities, 9 countries and not too many problems with flights and no luggage problems, we get back home and have the worst flights of our whole journey and they lose our luggage. Welcome back! Also, my step dad texted me a pic that I have a jury summons waiting for me. FML!!! Whatever at least we are home to deal with the problem, it is just so frustrating since we had all the bags in our hands in Denver and they just were not put on the very last flight.

We loaded up the car and made our way to the Village Inn, basically a Coco’s/Denny type restaurant. I had refills of ice water, pancakes and extra crispy hash browns! Hells to the yes! It was amazing and everything I could have hoped for. I am so happy to be here with my aunt and uncle! I am sad we did not get to travel with them but at least we get to end our journey with them.  We made our way back home, gave them their gifts (which they loved), got our phones working again and headed to bed. Only 1 more week of writing the blog and then our crazy adventure will be over and we will be on to the next chapter of our lives.

 

Day 280: Last Day 7/10/2016

Wally

We originally had planned to do a few museums in the city, but in order to save time, money and sanity we decided not to and just stay around Greenwich.

Greenwich University

Turns out the second Thor movie was filmed here. The climax where the alien ship comes crashing through the portal onto earth was filmed in the massive courtyard that’s there. So, it’s cool to say that we saw it for ourselves, but unfortunately there was some sort of event going on and the courtyard was filled with chairs and a massive stage.

Snapchat-4840635806909251265.jpg

Royal Observatory

It’s here where you can stand on the prime meridian. So we paid 20 pounds to get in and stand on a physical line that represents the imaginary line of the eastern and western hemisphere. So that’s kind of cool.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lunch

We walked around for a bit and saw a place with a lot of locals in it. We went in and I ordered a Meat Pie and Mash. It’s a traditional British meal and honestly it’s not all that great, but just had to try it. Afterwards we went to another restaurant and got some fish and chips along with a PITCHER of a cocktail! Gooooooood times!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hotel

We chatted with some friends and caught up a bit and did some last minute packing.

It was nice just having a relaxed day before a crazy day of traveling tomorrow.

Sydney

This is it. The last day out of the country. Come on London let’s make today the best. We went for a walk to the Royal Academy and the Meridian Line. The walk up to the museum of the Meridian Line was intense. It was about 3 miles but fun. The weather is weird today. It was cloudy and rainy then hot when we were walking home. Standing on the line was so funny and Wally and I were just laughing and joking the whole time. This was so much fun and I am very glad we did it. We took some pics and saw where they filmed Thor 2.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once we finished up we made our way to a restaurant with meat pies and it was so cute to see Wally so happy. The food was not the best but this restaurant was very British and fun to eat at.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We walked down to the Thames and ate some fish n chips at another restaurant and had a pitcher of cocktails. It was called Purple Rain and it was the best thing ever!!!! We walked home and chilled the rest of the night. I Skyped my mom and Bianca and I talked for a minute but she was heading to breakfast so we will talk another time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We packed and watched some tv. A relaxing last day in London.

Day 279: The Spoils 7/9/2016

Wally 

Big Ben

It’s a really big clock and it rings on the top of every hour.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

West End

We went to watch The Spoils which stars Jessie Eisenberg and Kanal Nayyar. Eisenberg plays a privileged rich kid that feels like his life is going nowhere and brings down others so he can feel better about himself. He’s manipulative, self absorbed and all around just an egotistical asshole. There’s nothing redeeming about his character and you can’t sympathize with him at all. It’s overacted and at times feels like I’m watching a cartoon because of how Eisenberg presents his character. I honestly didn’t enjoy the play, but I can now say I’ve seen an original play with the original cast on West End. The review below conveys exactly how I feel about the play just in the most eloquent way possible.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/jun/03/the-spoils-review-jesse-eisenberg-trafalgar-studios

Snapchat-4326858916170097655

Afterward

Syd had an old coworker in town as well and we decided to meet up with him and his friend. We chatted about their wordly adventures, they gossiped about people that came and went from work and all in all we just had a great time chatting.

Tomorrow’s our last day of our world tour…

Sydney

SO excited for today because we are seeing a play on the West End!!!! We got up and had breakfast at the hotel and got all dressed up. We made our way to Big Ben, today is so warm and windy! We heard it go bong bong bong at 11 and took so pics. It is so crowded today but then we realized its Saturday so that makes sense. The line for Westminster Abby was way to long so we chatted and looked around at the outside. We had a few hours until the play started which was great so we could get a little snack.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wally saw a cute little cafe that had afternoon tea so we popped in for a snack. We had some cappuccinos, tea, scones, clotted cream, sandwiches, and cute pastries. Finally, I got my British Afternoon Tea. We sat for awhile and enjoyed the time we spent together just talking and chatting. We met some really nice people from Northern Ireland and chatted with them for awhile until we were ready to head out.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We walked around Traflagar Square, while walking around we found out that it was the end of Ramadan and this was the British Celebration for the 3 days of eating, drinking, etc. It’s a super cool thing that we were in the middle east during Ramadan but then we saw the festivals that they have in the end. Fun times!! We headed back to the theater and went to the bar.

I got a daiquiri and chilled. We had a little bit of time and I messaged my old coworker, Calvin, that we were in the bar. He is also in London. We decided to meet up at intermission.

The play, The Spoils, was not great. There is a reason I stick to musicals. The silver lining is that we saw an original cast of a West End production, which is super cool. I have never seen a play before so that was a fun experience. The theater was small so there was not a bad seat in the house. It was so hot in there though. OMG we were sweating so much! I will let Wally go off on the play a little bit. The only thing I have to say is Kunal Nayyar’s character was the exact same as Raj, it was just a different name. I joked that it was like watching a live taping of Big Bang with just Raj haha.

After the play we went to St. James Park with Calvin and Jeff and enjoyed some drinks and good conversation. It was so nice catching up with Calvin and hanging out outside of work. We finished at the park and made our way to St Ermin’s Bar. I had a delicious drink called the June Bug. It was amazing. We all chatted and hung out for awhile. Poor Wally got a bloody nose. I felt so bad for him, his allergies have been awful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When we finished we said bye and made our way home. We also passed the new Scotland Yard and the beautiful building it has. The metro ride back home was super quick and efficient. As soon as we got on the train I had to pee and it was the longest train ride for me but I made it!!! We came back to the hotel and I talked to my dad for a few. Tomorrow is our last day and I am a little scared, excited so many emotions.

Day 278: Harry Potter 7/8/2016

Wally

Harry Potter Studio Tour

It took us nearly 2 hours to get to it… It’s on the other freaking side of London!

Now prior to getting with Sydney Harry Potter had left a bad taste in my mouth because an ex of mine who was OBSESSED with it. But since Syd and I have been together I’ve welcomed it back into my life. I’ve watched all the movies and at one point started rereading the books. I’ve slowly started becoming a fanboy again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Either way it’s super cool being able to see the actual sets and props used in the film itself. It really is something seeing these things in person, the films only capture so much detail, but when you’re able to take the time and see for yourself a whole other world is opened up to you. Another thing that I found interesting was that the films were really a labor of love and everyone involved genuinely wanted to do their best, not only for their own pride, but for everyone else as well. The best example is the scaled down model of the Hogwarts Castle. Now calling it scaled down is a bit of an understatement because it’s still pretty damn massive! They used this model in order to take the panning aerial shots of the school grounds and they would just digitally add in the characters later on. Because it was used in the movies it is EXTREMELY detailed and looks absolutely amazing.

Brew Dog

I was able to enjoy a pint of beer at a pub and enjoy some tots. Check that off the list! It really reminded me of the Brewery back home and it was a welcome feeling. The beer was awesome, I only wish I was able to drink more and spend more time there.

*sorry no picture of the beer drank it too fast. =P

Movies

Syd wanted to watch “Absolutely Fabulous” it’s based off an old BBC show. The two main characters are Joan Rivers types that like to drink and party hard. These two got into all sorts of shenanigans and that was half the fun. For me personally, the film wasn’t all that great, I missed out on a lot of running jokes as well as the random celebrity cameos. But I didn’t hate it either.

Sidenote

The fucking metro here is balls expensive! It cost us 30 pounds to reach the other side of London today, but back in Shanghai literally less than 1 USD! So….. On our way back we kind of lied our way in and out of the metro. We simply tried to enter with our used ticket and told one of the attendants that it wasn’t working and just got waved through. Keep going till someone stops you right? But I didn’t want to push our luck after that because I saw a sign that it would be an 80 pound fine for those who do that and we don’t have that kind of money to fuck with.

Movie theaters here are freaking legit! They have a deal for 17.99 pounds a month you can watch unlimited movies! Or they have another deal for 30 pounds a family of 4 can watch a movie and have snacks to go along with it! Seriously I hope this catches on back in the states.

Sydney

It was such a journey to get out there. When we finally got there it was amazing! This year marked the 15th Anniversary of the Philosophers Stone and they had extra memorabilia out and collectors items. I am in love with this place and I cannot wait to get to the one in LA.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am glad that we got to come back and see the studios again. Wally was able to appreciate and see what I love so much. He did compare it to the one we saw in Shanghai but this is on steroids haha. We walked around and had some butterbeer and butterbeer ice cream. I really enjoyed seeing everything again and picking up a few more trinkets. I will get more from the one in LA. We got a chocolate frog and a new wizard card in the box! YAY.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When Wally would ask questions it was fun to see him really interested in what I had to say and he really started to like HP more. We also saw the bar The World’s End, which was cool!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Side note – To add to Wally’s side note the metros are so expensive! We spend more on the travel then we do on anything else. Paris metros were cheaper than London. It is so crazy!!!! Not having to buy extra train tickets was also awesome and saved us money. Also, the movie deal for 17 pounds. HELL YES I would do that if they had it back home!!! I would see all the movies I want and not feel guilty. All you have to do is see 2 movies a month and it is paid for.

When we finished HP we made our way to Brew Dog. It was just like the Brewary back home. Beer and tots for an afternoon snack and then heading back to the hotel.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I had been wanting to see Absolutely Fabulous and what better place than where it was created. We came back to the hotel and changed then walked to the theater next to our hotel. It is an IMAX and it is huge and awesome! They had salty popcorn, not quite American movie popcorn but at least it is not kettle corn. I really enjoyed the movie and am glad we got to have a movie date. It has been forever.

Day 277: Windsor, Stonehenge and Oxford 7/7/2016

Wally

Yay another bus tour!!!

I use to make fun of these things. Well mostly because I only saw the old Asians being shuttled around from one place to another, but now I see the benefits of doing a bus tour. You see a lot in a little period of time and you don’t have to think. Just show up and go.

Windsor

This is 1/3 residences the royal family holds up in. Walking through the castle I’m reminded a lot of the Palace of Versailles, but not AS grandiose. Instead of massive paintings they had large tapestries on the walls. The ceilings were still painted and they had a lot of armor and statues lining the hallways. It’s still something to marvel at, but it didn’t have the same effect on me as Versailles. At Windsor we also saw the St. George’s Cathedral and there Charles I and King Henry VIII are buried there. We didn’t actually get to go down into the area in which they were buried, but I stood on top of a massive slab of granite that marked where they were buried. I stood on a Kings grave!

Funny thing about Windsor Castle is that it’s located rather close to an airport and because of that there is a considerable amount a noise pollution due to the planes coming and going. It’s a funny thought to have to think that the Queen of England has to deal with that just like the rest of the peasants.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stonehenge

It’s pretty amazing that 3,000 years ago people figured out a way to move 40 ton slabs of rock from across the UK to get it set up and stacked up in a purposeful way in the middle of a freaking field. The level of coordination that must have took without the access of modern communication tools must have been daunting. That’s not even taking into consideration how they even managed to lift the 40 ton slabs and stack them on top of each other!

BUUUUUUUUUUUUT

It’s just a pile of rocks in the middle of butt fuck nowhere.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oxford

Beautiful college town, it’s interesting though Oxford doesn’t have a set campus. It’s ALL over town, literally all over. This house can be for history or philosophy the next building over can be for mathematics so on and so forth. So when you’re visiting the town of Oxford you’re pretty much walking through the campus. The architecture is gorgeous and because of the history and the people that have graduated from here it was an honor just to be walking the same grounds. I felt smarter just breathing in the Oxford air.

All in all this tour did its job. It got us from point A to point B and allowed us to take a decent look at the places we went to. We literally just scratched the surface of all these places and would like to go back at some point in the future and dive deeper.

Anyways Harry Potter tomorrow, I can’t wait to see Syd geek out at everything and to be perfectly honest I’m excited myself. Guess you can say I’ve become a bit of a Pothead thanks to Syd.

Sydney

Good Morning again London! Off on a tour today. We got up early because we had to head into the city to catch our tour. We ate and made our way to Victoria Coach Station. We are doing a different tour than the one I took last time. We went to the Evans counter and headed to the bus. We are going to Windsor, Stonehenge and Oxford today.

IMG_6337

Our tour guide, Dan, was cool and gave a lot of information. Our first stop was Windsor. We walked around the State Apartments, you cannot take pictures but I managed to sneak a few. They were beautiful but not as ornate as Versailles. It is crazy to think that this is still in use today. I must say that the grounds of the palace are amazing and just like the gardens of Versailles; you could spend a lot of time there. We hurried through the State Apartments in order to have time to walk in St. George’s Cathedral. We walked on top of the crypt of King Henry VIII. AWESOME!!!! The details in the church are beautiful. We finished up and got some food and enjoyed our lunch in the park before we had to go back to the bus for our next stop.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We drove to Stonehenge next and they have actually redone the road and the visitor’s center since last time. It was very nice and much bigger than the other one. We walked around and took some pics. It is so much warmer than last time and I feel as though I appreciated it so much more instead of freezing my balls off! So that was nice! It was great to see again and fun seeing it with Wally. I picked up a little model, the exact one that B got last time that I regretted not getting. HAHA. We made our way back to the bus and we were off to Oxford.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We passed where they have their horse races every year and saw the statue in the distance of King George. The English countryside is so beautiful and I would love to explore more of it on another trip. We both fell asleep for a little since it was an hour and a half to Oxford. When we got there the clouds started to roll in but we were still very lucky that it did not rain and was a really refreshing day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had a walking tour around Oxford and saw parts of where they filmed Harry Potter. We grabbed a quick bite for our dinner and strolled through the town. All in all the tour was ok but we have definitely been on better. I would not recommend this tour company. We made our way back to the hotel and relaxed the rest of night. The tour was interesting and I would love to spend more time in Windsor if we were to come back.

Day 276: Exploring London!! 7/6/2016

Wally

Breakfast

Staying at a Holiday Inn is alright. The rooms are always adequate and at least the breakfast is included. However, the breakfast here is shit… The scrambled eggs are watered down, the baked beans are bland and the sausages have a funny texture to it… I guess I’ll just be having cereal and toast while we’re here. First world problems right?

Heading Out

Because this is the last leg of our journey our funds are TAPPED, so we’re staying out in the boonies of London and it takes us a 20 min walk to get to the metro and another 20-30 min to get into the city. It’s a bit of a journey, but gotta do what ya gotta do.

Tower Bridge

I’ve seen this damn thing on so many TV shows and movies, so it’s cool to see it in person. It’s rather impressive, but in the end it’s a bridge that  people walk/drive over it every day to get to and from where they need to without giving it a second thought.

London Tower

  • The Crown Jewels
    • Unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap pics of it, but Syd snuck some. They’re GORGEOUS it almost looks fake with how many diamonds, gems and gold is on it. They put you on a slow moving conveyor belt, which is pretty smart if you ask me stops people from lollygagging, and you gaze upon it. As you are moved along you watch light reflect off each diamond and it’s mesmerizing.
  • Bloody Tower
    • The tower is the sight of a tragic event. Some guy was to be king, but was too far down the line to get it. So he snatched up the two ahead of him both of which were young boys under the age of ten and had them locked up in the tower. No one is sure what exactly happened to them, but there they died. It wasn’t until centuries later that when renovations were taking place at the tower and they came across a box with the bones of the children. This event has been romanticized and dramatized by authors over the centuries.
  • Torture Tower
    • Here they housed some of the more gruesome torture devices that were used back in the day. Of course they had the Rack, in which you’d have your limbs tied and stretched out until they tear off. Or it’s opposite the Scavenger’s Daughter, this mechanism has you compressed with your knees to your chest and they turn a lever in till the point you’d be folded up.
  • Ravens
    • Nothing special there just some birds

Lunch

You know most of us have had beer battered fish and all of us have had fries. I thought getting some fish and chips wouldn’t be a big deal, but you know what they’re better than anticipated. Sure it tastes like something you’ve had a million times, but they make it just a little better. The fish was light and flaky and their fries complimented it well.

Snapchat-7549727249486910993.jpg

Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

Nothing too special here, just wanted to see the outside of it. There was a tour available, but I’m just not a big enough Shakespeare fan to take part in it. Although it isn’t the real Globe Theater, destroyed in a fire, it is an accurate recreation over the land in which it once stood. It’s just cool being in the presence of the land and building that once housed some of the greatest pieces of works known to man.

Snapchat-4423939434460228807.jpg

The Clink

This was just a random side attraction that we happened to come across while on the way to Piccadilly Circus. I’ve always been fascinated by medieval torture because of how barbaric it was and this little museum had it. It was cool being able to get hands on with some of the devices and feel the weight of them. It helps put into perspective just what some people had to go through. The museum also had fun stories and anecdotes from people that were locked up there. Some of them definitely deserved it while others were just debtors and got screwed. The conditions were absolutely horrid as people would be wading around in sewage whenever the river would flood. Corruption ran rampant as guards took bribes for themselves and made the prisoners lives a bit easier. All in all it was a shitty “roadside” attraction, but it was a fun thing to stumble upon.

getimg.jpg

 

 

Piccadilly Circus

It’s like their Times Square, though not as impressive. We found a Cinnabon place nearby and indulged our sweet tooth as we sat in the center of the roundabout and watched cars wiz by us.

Buckingham Palace

On our way to the palace the street was shut down for a bit and we saw a motorcade come through. We think it was the Queen herself and if not at least someone important enough to get shuttled around in the royal brigade. It ain’t the palace of Versailles, but it’s still pretty cool just to be in the presence of it. We snapped some picks and started our journey home.

Snapchat-7152701769823952701.jpg

Side note

Metro stops here are far apart man… We spent a lot of time just walking around from place to place or looking for the god damn tube! Once you’re in there though it’s really efficient and you get to where you need to go, but you just gotta walk a lot.

Also, it’s expensive here. Even with BREXIT their money is still pretty strong compared to ours. Today we bought to sweaters and it came out to 35 pounds and you’re thinking to yourself man that’s not bad… That is until you do the conversion and that’s close to 50 USD!!! Asia has ruined me…

Sydney

Our first day in London has been so busy! We ate some breakfast and it was not the best but did the job. We wanted to head out early because there was a lot we wanted to see. We got to the metro and there were announcements that the trains were delayed because of a person on the track earlier. WTF?! Ok, well I guess we can be delayed a little. WHile we walked to the metro we saw the O2 arena. Before I die I would like to see a concert there. Bucket List Goal!

IMG_6035

We finally got going and we made our way to the Tower Bridge and Tower of London. It was fun to watch Wally get so excited about everything and see it all for the first time. I have to say seeing the crown jewels again was super fun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The weather was amazing today and I am glad it is warm in London. The weather is just beautiful. When we finished the Tower we got some fish and chips and a nice break. It was tasty and the perfect afternoon snack. We sat and enjoyed the afternoon before continuing on. Also, we were able to pick up all our Starbucks cups! I am so excited when we actually have  a home to display them the way I want to under the cupboards.

IMG_6067

We saw Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and London Bridge. We also were able to pick up a few gifts. The Clink was actually really interesting and I am glad that we did this little side museum. It gave more information about the torture of the day and “The Clink Prison;” which was actually a working prison back in the day. It was pretty gross to learn that the place used to flood when the Thames would raise and all the prisoners would be in sewage and dead rats. Very interesting stuff!!! It was so cute watching Wally get so excited about seeing everything.We walked along the Waterloo Bridge and saw parts of Big Ben and the London Eye. We will be going over to Big Ben on another day. We also walked along a beautiful little park on the side of the river and saw the HMS Belfast.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the museum we made our way to Piccadilly Circus. THe hustle and bustle was awesome. We got a Cinnabon and enjoyed the life passing us by. Once we finished up we made our way to St. James Park and walked inside and headed towards Buckingham Palace. I found out that we did see the Queen as she was coming back to the palace to go to Wimbledon tomorrow. SO COOL!!!!!!! I would love to do the tour of Buckingham Palace but both times I have been here the tours have not been going on. It was getting late and we were both so tired. We walked into Hyde Park to look around then headed home.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We did stay outside the city to save money and I cannot wait to come back and stay in the city and be close to everything, it will be much easier.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today was so much fun and I am glad the weather was nice for Wally. I am really enjoying being back in London and I am excited to see what tomorrow holds.

Dad – Paris Recap 

Day 275: Off to Foggy London Town 7/5/2016

Syd and Wally

Morning

Woke up and packed up some last minute things. This whole trip in Paris really went by way too fast. Seriously where did all the time go, it seemed just like yesterday we met up with Clint. We struggled for a bit trying to book a cab/uber. I, Wally, shopped around and tried to find the cheapest way to the airport. Every van I looked at was $150 to take us 13 miles!!! WTF!!! I found a sight there it was 60 Euros and tried to book it, but it said it would confirm pick up by calling me… Great now that’s out the window, we went down stairs and just hoped we get a van cab to take us to the airport. But luckily for us me booking the one service online worked! We all squeezed into a sedan with all our shit and got real cozy.

We chatted with the driver on the way to the airport. Every year he vacations to New York and Thailand. We made small talk over how great Phuket was and he gave us some tips for whenever we decide to go back. Cool dude, but when he asked us where we were going, London, he immediately responded with I hate that city, British accents are disgusting and their food is horribly heavy and greasy. Didn’t ask for your opinion, but alright!

Dropping off Clint

It was an emotional goodbye for Syd, but hey at least this time it won’t be another 9 months before we see him again. Only a few more weeks.

Flight

It was a smooth flight, but we were really bummed that our chocolate trick didn’t get us shit on our flight. Bitches….

Getting to our hotel

I looked online and it would have cost us $130 by cab to take us all the way to the other side of London… F that! We took their metro and it was relatively painless and it only cost us $15.

Side note

It’s nice being back in a country where we can look at the billboards and know what they say. Where we can talk to people and be understood.  It’s funny to think that it’s a novelty to be understood and understand what’s going on in our surroundings.

I, Sydney really do not have much to add today that is why we have a joint post. This trip went by way to fast and I cannot believe Paris is already over. I had a great time with my dad and I am glad I could experience this with Wally and dad. We had great conversations, funny pictures, and an amazing trip.

I have a lot of emotions about being in London and this being our last city but I am going to soak up every minute before we get home and are back to reality.

 

Day 274: Last Day in Paris 7/4/2016

Wally

Last day in Paris…

Cemetery

Walked around and took in the sights while trying to track down the more notable occupants of the place. It’s really interesting how people treat death and just how ornate and huge some of their mausoleums are. It really is a peaceful place just to take a stroll. We tracked down Jim Morrison’s grave relatively easily. You know you’d almost expect to see something a bit grander for a rock star, but it was relatively in descript. The only reason why you knew it was his was that it was surrounded by people and a fence. Oscar Wilde’s grave was interesting. It was completely surrounded by glass to keep people from messing with it. I had no idea it was a tradition for people to kiss his grave, but apparently it’s now frowned upon since it’s now blocked off. But if you really want to kiss the damn thing all you need to do is crawl up on someone else’s grave right next to his.

Arc De Triomphe

The first time around we had only walked by it and took some pictures, but this time we actually went into it. Once we got in we were greeted with another spiral staircase… Seriously everywhere we go… We huffed and puffed our way up the stairs and found a museum before the roof of the Arc. We walked around for a bit and read some stuff then headed up. Initially I didn’t really care to go up to the top, but I’m glad we did. Taking a look at the view from the top was definitely unique. It’s a great spot to watch life pass you by, cars zooming around the arc itself and people gathering around random street shows. Also knowing that you’re in one of the major centers of Paris was just a cool feeling.

Dinner

We headed home and got ready. There’s no better feeling than getting dressed to the nines and feeling like a million bucks. We ate a nice ass place that Clint looked up and my god was it fancy! The whole time we were there I felt like I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and at any given moment the waiter will come by and say you’re not classy enough for this. We had some amazing food, I’d never had French style duck and it was like nothing I ever had before. The flavor and texture was just amazing I almost didn’t believe it was duck I thought I was eating a nice piece of fillet mignon.

Sidenote

I can now say that I’ve vacationed with both my in-laws and we had a great time together in both countries. Being in Paris with Clint has been a treat. It was great walking around with him and chatting away about the history of the places we’ve been visiting. It was nice listening to his perspective of the places we saw and just seeing how he reacted to seeing things for the first time. We can definitely travel more together in the future. Hey Clint! China has some beautiful national parks that are worth checking out. Let’s take you out of your comfort zone sometime in the near future and hike through a Chinese forest.

Syd

I cannot believe today is our last day in Paris!! Where has the time gone? We all got up and got ready to explore the city one last time before our big dinner today and flight tomorrow. We headed to the cemetery to find the grave of Jim Morrison. The cemetery was creepy but cool. It took us a while to find it but we did and took some pics. It is hidden behind other graves. I am not really a doors fan but still cool Next stop was the grace of Isadora Duncan. Her grave was not as impressive since it was just a plaque and not a whole mausoleum. The final stop was Oscar Wilde. His grave was massive and so impressive. The cemetery was fun and interesting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We made our way over to the Arc and went to the very top. The top was incredible and fun to see. The stairs going up were a bitch but we persevered. The weather cleaned up and we had a beautiful view. After the Arc we came home, packed, took a walk around the park and then got ready for dinner.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We went for a walk around the park near us and it was very beautiful and peaceful. Poor Wally and his allergies though, they were acting up! He was so stuffy and sneezy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We all look good all cleaned up. We grabbed a taxi and headed to dinner. The restaurant was beautiful and better then we could have ever imagined. I got the tasting menu (froi gras, duck, sea bass, lobster, soufflé, cappuccino, mojito and wine.) FUCKING AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No words describe dinner. The ambiance, company, convo, food, and drinks were on point. We all looked great and had a great night.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After dinner we walked to the river and watched the Eiffel Tower light up! It was great and a perfect way to end our last night. We came home, cleaned up and headed to bed. I am sad to say bye to dad but I will see him soon. Good Night Paris, you have been fantastic!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dad

Started our day w/me searching the area for cafe’. Found local bar w/take away cups. Again, why can’t you fill the damn cup! Good stuff, real  strong. Got ready & headed to the cemetery w/notable occupants such as, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde are buried. Amazing crypts, mausoleums & headstones. Some have not been cared for in 50-100 yrs. Halloween in the graveyard anyone?

Metro over to the Arc de Triomphe. Hell of a view from top. Total chaos in the round about that circles the Arc. Napoleon’s promise to his troops turned out pretty well. It’s the center of a wagon wheel w/streets radiating out to the rest of France. Cool to see where we have been in the last week.

Took a little stroll thru the park next to the apt. It is an au pair hangout. Hundreds of kids, only handful of moms.

Well, last night in Paris. Planned for a fancy dinner, so we all got spiffed up. Wally in his new custom made suit & Sydney w/another classic dinner dress. Me, well I always look good in a suit! Got to the restaurant, La Fermette Marbeuf, early but no problems. We got a perfect seat to watch the dinner crowd arrive. Service was first class, as expected. Enjoyed some tasty local wine & other adult beverages. Most tasty food. Beef was top drawer. Syd noted earlier that their order was superb. The restaurant is 120 yrs old & has stained glass ceiling panels rescued from a sister diner from the neighborhood. Just made you feel good about eating & spending a ridiculous amount of cash. Walked out to the river, steps away from the Princess Dianna crash site. Took some amazing photos of Eiffel lit up. @ top of each hour, the sparkling lights are turned on for 5 minutes. Very cool.

As I’m typing this blog, realizing that I’m back home tomorrow, I feel very lucky to have shared this time/place with Sydney & Wally. First time experiences for all of us & some replays for Syd but from a different place in her life.

Viva la Paris’!

Hope all had a great/safe Independence Day celebration! Not much 4th of July celebration here. Ungrateful bastards! LOL.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.