You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘travel’ tag.

Ok, before I tell you about my epic trip to London, let me tell you this story first. Let me start by reminding you of my previous blog post, the one where I talked about how I’ve always dreamed of going to London & spotting a celebrity. I think I’m having a lucky streak meting famous people overseas. I once met Gwyneth Paltrow in Tokyo while she was on vacation with her daughter Apple. Then, I shook hands with my favorite Japanese rap artist VERBAL (from the famous JPop duo m-flo) in Shanghai.

This time…I spotted another celebrity on the street. Have you ever heard of the TV show The Royals (shown on the E! Network here in the U.S.)? Do you know of the newly famous actor Tom Austen, who plays a royal bodyguard to the princess on that TV show? Well, in case you don’t know who he is, here’s a photo for your reference. If you do know of him, here’s a reminder of what he looks like.


Ok, ok. So I didn’t actually meet this actor in person, but I did spot him randomly on the street, & I think that should count as a celebrity sighting. I was walking with Jian in the South Kensington neighborhood looking for a place to grab some lunch. We walked by a French restaurant with a large window wall facing the street. This actor, Tom Austen, was sitting directly in front of the window at a corner table with a mystery woman whom I assume is a private friend of his. He just happened to look up from his plate at the exact time Jian & I walked past the window, & we made brief eye contact. Of course, Tom had a puzzled expression on his face. I tried to look nonchalant & like I wasn’t deliberately looking into the restaurant window.

Jian & I kept walking, but I had to stop him to explain to him all about my excited behavior. Jian at first didn’t believe that this guy we walked past was a real celebrity, so I had to convince him to walk back to the restaurant so we could get another glimpse, & I could prove to him I was right. I made up some lame story to pretend to be interested in the restaurant’s menu, like we might eat there for lunch. Of course the actor knew we had circled back to where he was eating with his friend, & he had another puzzled expression on his face as he noticed us walking by his area again. Then again, this actor always has a puzzled look on his face. In every photo I’ve seen of him on the internet, he always looks puzzled.

Walking back to the restaurant & getting my second glance only bolstered my confirmation that I indeed spotted actor Tom Austen in public…in a high-end, well-to-do neighborhood…having lunch with a semi-attractive brunette woman. In order to truly convince Jian that it really was the actor that we saw, I had to show him Tom’s IMDB profile. Jian’s still not fully convinced, but I’m sticking to my story, & that’s that. Well, I’m off to start on my London vacation blog… Until then, cheers mates!!

Today’s song of the day:

“From Now On” by Magnus Carlson


I’m finally at the airport after waiting for so long. The time has finally come, & I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I still can’t believe I’m actually going to London. It’s going to be a wild ride. Will catch up on the other side of the time zone. Until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

“A Certain Romance” by Arctic Monkeys


First, let me start off by recapping my SAVE FERRIS concert experience. The concert itself was great. I was kind of surprised that the band chose to play most of their older music instead of playing songs off of their newly released album “Checkered Past”. Being able to sing & dance my heart out to all of the SAVE FERRIS “oldies-but-goodies” really had me reminiscing about the good ol’ days when I first saw them in concert 20 years ago at my very first live music experience in my life. I was so pumped up to hear most of my all-time favorite songs from the band, & some songs I had forgotten that I once loved. I was also glad that I was able to open Jian’s ears & introduce him to a genre of music he’s not very familiar with, & I only hope that I’ve turned him on to this type of music so we can enjoy it together. Not very many people in my life, almost no one, knows about my past life as a Pubk-Rock groupie & “Rude Girl” (a.k.a. female Ska fanatic). Going to see one of my favorite bands after all these years really brought all the fond high school memories back. Standing at the front row of the stage, grooving along with the band. 


Oh, & did I mention that I made direct eye contact with the lead singer Monique Powell a few times throughout the concert? Yeah, it was super awesome that Monique fan-serviced my section of the audience a ton. I mean, she sang in front of my section of the stage for most of the night. It was so incredible, except for one glaringly odious thorn in the beautiful black & white checkered rose that was the SAVE FERRIS concert. IT WAS THE EXTREMELY OBNOXIOUS FANS (& there were many of them, mostly standing in my section of the stage as well). 

There were some fans who couldn’t stop trying to grab the band’s attention by screaming out immature comments in between songs. Others were trying to one-up each other in some sort of musical listing contest by flaunting their vintage SAVE FERRIS concert tees from way back when. There were some fans who were trying to look clever by leaving cans of Spam by the front of the stage as prop gifts for the band, meant to be a cute nod to the band’s popular song just-so-titled “SPAM”, & yes the song is all about that salty canned meat. Unfortunately two things happened after the cans of meat were left on the stage (unnoticed by the band): 1. the band didn’t even perform their song “SPAM” that night, & 2. two rude female fans saw the cans, which were meant to be gifts for the band, & openly pocketed the items for themselves without even asking. I got roughly knocked around by many fans, some who were being overly rowdy & moshing, & some who were trying to push their way to the very front of the stage. One woman was so incredibly rude with her pushing, grabbing at other’s clothes & flailing dancing that several other fans had asked her to leave. She had brought her teenage daughter who could only look on in embarrassment & had acted rather annoyingly herself.

I was so appalled by the behavior of my fellow SAVE FERRIS fans that night. It made me feel embarrassed to be lumped in with them. I get it. We’re at a concert where there’s booze & relaxed pot smoking rules. Concerts are a time & place for people to get amped up & let loose, but that doesn’t mean shoving others around, stepping on their feet, & spilling beer all over their shirtsleeves. The stage was small. It’s easy & tempting to throw your hands up, hoping the singer would give you a high-five or shake your hand, but that doesn’t give you the right to become handsy & grab-happy. Stop flailing your hands in front of the singer’s face. She’s not going o kiss your hand or grab you to come up on stage. Give her some space & some respect, man. Anyway, other than the embarrassing & obnoxious fans, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, & I think Jian did too. He had his sufficient quota of alcohol consumption & got to groove to some amazing music. It was sort of bittersweet to see that a lot of the original band members had left, & we were intoduced to some new members. I remember back in the day when my cousin got me a personally autographed message for my birthday from Bill Uechi the former bassist of SAVE FERRIS. I had the message framed, & it sat on my bedroom nightstand for many years before I retired it to my storage closet. The new band members of SAVE FERRIS are cool, but I still wish I had seen some more familiar faces besides the lead singer & lead guitarist.

Ok, on to some other less rant-y news. I’m almost ready for my trip to London. I just ordered my British Pounds today at the bank. I’ve got my traveler Oyster card loaded up & ready to be used, & I got my pre-paid SIM card for my smartphone. All I have left to do is pack my suitcase, which I’m kind of dreading because I never know what types of clothes I should pack. I want to look somewhat stylish, but I also want to dress appropriately for the weather. I know that the weather will be cool when I get there. It’ll practically be like San Francisco’s autumn weather, but I also have a feeling that a lot of shops & restaurants will have their heat cranked up high. I once packed tons of cold weather clothes for a November trip to Tokyo. The weather forecasts kept saying it would be super cold in Tokyo at that time, but I ended up not using any of my cold weather clothes at all when I was there. I was pretty bummed out, disappointed that I had packed the wrong clothes. I don’t want that to happen this time around. I don’t want to pack unnecessary clothes that I won’t use because I’m trying to pack light & efficiently, but I also don’t want to forget anything.

See, this is just me over thinking things as usual. I know that whatever I pack will be fine. I just can’t believe how fast time is flying by, & before I know it, it’ll be time for me to board that plane. I’m so super excited about this upcoming trip. I guess I can say that I am genuinely chuffed to bits! I can’t wait to share pics! Until then, cheers mate!

Today’s song of the day:

“Catching Fireflies” by The Revivalists


View of Big Ben_WP

I can’t believe my luck! After all these years of living on this great big planet, I’m finally able to check off one of my ultimate dream destinations on my bucket list. Yup, you’ve probably guessed correctly based on my blog header graphic.

I’M GOING TO LONDON!

I could not be happier that I finally get to visit London after dreaming about it for so many years. I mean, I’ve been dreaming about visiting this magical city ever since I was a little kid reading children’s books about Paddington Bear (while holding my very own stuffed Paddington toy…that I still keep in my storage bin in the closet). As I grew older, & music became a huge part of my life, I wanted to visit London to pop into one of the many local vinyl record shops, or pop into one of the many quaint cafés with live music. Then, I went through puberty, & all I wanted to do was visit London to flirt with the cute, tall boys with the attractive accents. Later on, that turned into wanting to visit London to try & spot my favorite celebrities (especially the male ones). After watching the movie Pirate Radio (a.k.a. The Boat That Rocked) starring Bill Nighy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris O’Dowd (of Bridesmaids fame), January Jones, & more… that just bolstered my efforts to visit London once & for all.

So Jian proclaimed one day earlier this year that he was itching to go on a vacation with me. Ever since Jian’s best friend got back from a lengthy family vacation to Japan, Jian had been feeling slightly envious. He’s been wanting to go back to Japan for a long time, but it saddens me to say that I’m a little over Japan at the moment. I just visited Japan briefly last year, & that also had made Jian a little disappointed that he hadn’t gone with our group. At this point in our vacation planning, I kept repeating to Jian that I wanted to visit a place we’ve both never been to. Jian kept going on & on about how he really wanted to visit some new city in Japan (someplace other than Tokyo or Yokohama). I pretty much wore him down, & convinced him that we should visit London. A lot of our family members had been telling us to visit Paris (which is another dream destination on my bucket list), but after repeatedly hearing the same stories about Paris & other parts of France from my mother, it kind of turned me off to visiting Paris for a while. Plus, I’ve been thinking that since this will be my very first visit to Europe, I thought I should start with something easy, easy as in some place where English is a common/main language, just to get my feet wet first. After I’ve learned the proper European etiquette & culture, then perhaps some day in the future I’ll visit more European countries. (*I’m still lumping England into the European continent based on its geography. I’m well aware that England itself is no longer a part of the European Union.)

Well, that’s pretty much it. All I can say now is that I’m feeling so grateful, appreciative, & blessed in my life. I absolutely NEVER want to take anything for granted, ever! I understand the privilidged life that I live, & I appreciate every moment (small & large) with every fiber of my being. I could not be more grateful for this exciting & powerful opportunity in my life. I am soaking up all of the gratitude in the universe & projecting it out into the world through my hard work, love, & appreciation. Life is beautiful. That is my send off. Until then, Cheers mate!

Today’s song of the day:

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles

Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been somewhat of a “hoarder”. Not quite the packed-from-floor-to-ceiling, almost-buried-alive kind of hoarder, but more like one of those sentimental fools who can’t bear to get rid of anything…a “clutter bug”. I’m always keeping little things here & there from my childhood, calling them “collections” & whatnot, but what those things really are, are sentimental mementos eventually collecting dust as junk. This new “collection” of mine is slowly building, but at least they serve a function. I can actually use them around the house. They are drink coasters. I’ve got a tiny collection going, & I’m kind of proud of them. They not only serve a purpose, but they also show the places I’ve been to & the things I’ve done. Let’s take a look.

coaster2

Brew Dog beer is one of my all-time favorite brands of beer (originating from Scotland). I was very surprised to find one of their taprooms during my trip to Hong Kong earlier this year. I had a great time eating Shepherd’s Pie & drinking pints of their Hardcore IPA. I “borrowed” these 2 coasters as a souvenir to mark my 1st experience at a real Brew Dog Brewery taproom.

coaster1

Belga is an incredibly delicious Belgian-ish style restaurant in San Francisco. Every time I’ve eaten there (which is three times), I’m always blown away by the interior decor. The first time I sat at the bar counter, I fell in love with this drink coaster. First of all, I’d like to note that I am a big fan of typography & graphic fonts. The text on this coaster is so cool & perfectly matches the decor & taste of the restaurant. Secondly, I love the background. It reminds me of antique tiles, yet it’s still able to look simple & clean.

coaster6

I can’t, for the life of me, remember where I picked up this drink coaster. It was probably from one of the many bars I’ve frequented in or around the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m not too sure why I had chosen this drink coaster other than the fact that I’m an avid whisk(e)y/bourbon drinker & I like Tullamore Irish whiskey.

coaster4

Earlier this year, my family & I took a small weekend trip to San Diego. On our way home, Jian & I stopped by the Stone Brewing Co. taproom at the San Diego International Airport. Jian is a huuuge fan & avid drinker of craft beer, so he was over the moon when he saw that Stone Brewing Co. had their own bar at the airport. Since San Diego is California’s epicenter for amazing craft beers, I grabbed one of these drink coasters as a sunny souvenir.

coaster10

This is another one of those drink coasters where I have no clue where I got it from. Yet again, it must be from one of the countless bars Jian & I have visited in or around the San Francisco  Bay Area. This was one of the first drink coasters I’ve ever kept from a bar. Way back in the day, Jian used to like drinking Lagunitas Brewery IPA, so I saved this coaster for him. He doesn’t drink this beer anymore, but I still kept the drink coaster.

coaster5

Coedo Brewery is one of my favorite Japanese craft beer brands. While we were visiting Hong Kong, I happened to stumble upon the Coedo taproom while searching for restaurant listings on Yelp. (Yes, Yelp works just as well as Open Rice in Hong Kong.) After a long day of subway rides & walking in the hot humid weather, we enjoyed a few glasses of ice cold beer & Japanese izakaya snacks. I kept this drink coaster as another souvenir from my trip to Hong Kong. I love how the coaster says “Beer Beautiful”, & I love the font & simplicity of the design. That’s Japanese artistry for ya!

coaster7

Mortar & Pestle is one of the few cool, hip bars in my city. The mixologists who work there are always friendly & the cocktails are pretty tasty. I feel like I’m getting a slice of the San Francisco’s craft cocktail experience right in the downtown of my bland & quiet hometown. I saved this drink coaster because it had a recipe to one of the bar’s signature drinks on the back, & was hoping that Jian would be able to spin his mixology magic & recreate that drink.

coaster9

Last year, I attended the 150th Scottish Highland Gathering & Games in the Bay Area hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco. It was an amazing & overwhelming Scottish (& partly Irish) cultural festival. I had so much fun sampling Minced Meat Pies & Scotch Eggs, & watching bagpipe teams perform. I also got to sample loads of scrumptious whiskies from all over Scotland. Two of my friends that went to the festival with me got to sample some Crabbie’s ginger beer, & they saved me this coaster. I don’t like ginger beer, but I saved this coaster anyway as a memento of the special Scottish & Highland festival.

coaster8

Gitane is a very special restaurant that will always hold a special place in the hearts of Jian & myself. This is the first restaurant in San Francisco that we frequented so often that we became “regulars”, & practically everyone knew us there. The Iberian food & the cocktails were so good at this restaurant, it kept us coming back for more. Not only that, but we built solid friendships with a lot of the mixologists & the general manager of the restaurant. Eventually, a lot of the staff that we became friends with moved on to other restaurants or open their own bars, & we followed them as friends & loyal customers. This drink coaster symbolizes our “golden time” spent at this restaurant, making lasting friendships.

One of mine & Jian’s favorite bars in the San Francisco Bay Area is ABV (aptly named after the phrase “Alcohol By Volume”). At one time, this bar had a city theme on their drink coasters. These 4 coasters were the only cities we were able to find &/or collect during the last time we visited the place. I was pretty excited about these coasters because all of the cities represented places I want to visit at least once in my life, & so far I’ve already been to Tokyo, Hong Kong, & New York City. I would seriously love to visit Ireland at least once & do a whiskey crawl. That would be epic. The best part about these drink coasters are the different ways to say “Thank You” in each region’s native language. Although, I don’t understand why they would use the Mandarin language for Hong Kong when their native language is Cantonese (& sometimes we get a little butt-sore over people mixing up our dialects). I find it utterly hilarious that NYC’s saying is “Fuck Off”.

Well, that’s pretty much it. This is the end of my blog post. I am seriously going to try & cut back on my collecting of random things next year. Really. I’m getting sick & tired of myself having to cram little knick knacks & tchotchkes into every drawer & buying more storage boxes. I want to simplify my belongings & really de-clutter my life, but until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

“Always Something There to Remind Me” by Naked Eyes

always-something-there

Calendar

April 2017
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Enter your email address to follow this blog & receive notifications.

Join 413 other followers

Twitter Feed

Instagram Feed

There was an error retrieving images from Instagram. An attempt will be remade in a few minutes.

%d bloggers like this: