J: I’m doing a joint blog with my sister on my trip to Vegas and the California Bay Area. My comments will be in blue, and hers will be in pink. (BTW, there are 111 pictures, so the page might take time to load.)
L: Oh, how totally sexist. Sure, go ahead and make the boy blue and the girl pink.
J: Fine. What do you want to be — green? yellow? BROWN?
L: Green hurts the eyes, yellow‘s too hard to read, and brown is plain ugly.
L: Um, OK, so I guess pink is fine…
The first leg of the flight — from Bangkok to Tokyo — was OK. We watched Miss Congeniality 2, which was cool since it takes place in Las Vegas and we were going to, well, Vegas.
J: See those two girls? They were too busy staring at a farang guy at the bar (right-hand corner) to notice that they were going in the wrong direction. They started shrieking and giggling, all because of this farang guy.
L: How do you know they weren’t shrieking and giggling at the display in the front window of the bar? Maybe there was a big display of Guinness or something. Why must you automatically assume a shrieking girl’s cries must be directed towards those of the opposite sex?
J: Well, I’ve spent sixteen years growing up with a girl. I think I know how to distinguish shrieking over a guy over shrieking over a pint of beer.
L: Jeez, no need to get all snarky. Believe me, all this information you’ve acquired over the years will be mighty useful one day. You’ll thank me when your future girlfriend/wife/partner showers you with praise over how finely attuned you are into the ways of women.
J: After a two-hour layover, we finally boarded the plane to the US. We had another quick layover at San Francisco, before heading to Las Vegas. Anyway, from Tokyo to San Francisco, we watched Madagascar and Monster-In-Law. I liked the lemur in Madagascar, especially since it reminded me of someone.
At McCarran Airport in Las Vegas
Total duration of flight from BKK to LV + transit = 25 hours!!!!
Guess what we saw the second we stepped off the plane?
Actually, we heard them before we saw them.
The aiport was really commercialized. It looked more like a mall than an airport.
When we finally got to our hotel — the Cannery — guess what we saw before anything else?
Yeah, you guessed it.
The Las Vegas Strip looked like it did in all the Hollywood movies.
Since we’d just seen Miss Congeniality 2 on the flight over from Tokyo, it was kinda cool to see Treasure Island after we’d just watched it on the plane.
Later, we stopped by The Fashion Show, this huge mall along the Strip.
L: SAKS! FIFTH! AVENUE!
J: You see? I can tell here that it’s not a guy you’re shrieking over, but retail.
L: SAKS! GAH!
J: After the sun set, we walked along the Strip, which was really cool to see at night with all the glittering lights and signs. Oh yeah, there were a lot of strip show signs, too (including one for LIVE NUDE PUPPETS). -_-’
L: Which is nothing compared to what we’ve got here in BKK. HELLO — we have Soi Cowboy and Patpong. Pray tell, how can they possibly beat that?
J: Hey, this is a PG site.
L: Oh, sorry. Sometimes I forget myself. But don’t go around pointing fingers — after all, you were the one who brought up the whole strip show thing first.
J: I was just noting an observation.
L: Well, so was I.
J: The second night we moved from the Cannery to Circus Circus, which is located right along the Strip.
L: Mom and Dad took us to Circus Circus in Reno once when we were kids.
L: Yeah. You almost got lost there.
J: I did?
L: Yeah, I was supposed to be looking after you, but when I turned my head for, like, two milliseconds to look at the acrobats, you literally disappeared. I never knew something so small could move so fast.
J: Gee, remind me to never hire you as a babysitter.
L: In my defense, I was only 8-years-old.
J: Yeah, yeah. So what happened?
L: I found you later with this old couple from Florida. You were talking to them in gibberish and they wouldn’t stop raving about how cute and adorable you were. They were obviously SEVERELY VISUALLY IMPAIRED.
J: When we walked under that, we could literally feel the heat from the hundreds of light bulbs. -_-’
L: Electricity conservation is obviously the last thing on their minds.
It was pretty impossible to get bored at the hotel, since (besides the hundreds of SLOT MACHINES) there was also lots of entertainment.
L: How come Bart has a larger head than Homer?
J: Because Bart’s obviously smarter than Homer.
L: The size of one’s head does not denote brilliance, Einstein. Anyway, did you notice that Bart’s head is seriously disproportionate to the rest of his body? I mean — HELLO — his head is the same size as HIS ENTIRE TORSO.
J: Well, Homer’s head would be the same size as his torso, too, if his gut weren’t so big from all the donuts he likes to eat.
L: Oh, good point.
We saw Vladimir the Contortionist from AXN there, too!
J: And even MORE slot machines. I don’t think I’ll ever get that ringing noise out of my head.
L: I thought you always have a ringing noise in your head
J: No, that’s usually remnants of whatever shriek-fest you were having a few minutes ago.
J: The next day, we stopped by Barnes & Noble to buy about ten thousand books, especially since someone had a list longer than your average roll of toilet paper.
L: Stop exagerrating. There were only fourteen items on that list. Hardly a roll of toilet paper.
J: Anyways. Can you guys see Eldest? I read Eragon last year (GREAT book, by the way), and was really excited to see that Eldest was finally out!
J: We had to stop by the mall again because my mom wanted to stock up on cosmetics for herself and someone. You will not believe this, but my mom spent over $1000 on make-up alone. $1000. I couldn’t even believe it. And she complains whenever I buy CDs.
L: Listen here, grasshopper. Since the early days of Cleopatra, we women have always had a very close and intrinsic relationship with the Art of Cosmetics. Did you know that ol’ Cleo used to use cockroach blood as lipstick????
J: Well, then do you think that maybe you could substitute cockroach blood for lipstick, that way next time I won’t have to wait ten million hours in the cosmetics section of Saks Fifth Avenue as the makeup lady goes down your list?
L: Jeez. What’s got your boxers in a bunch?
I was really bored, so I just took pics of random stuff.
L: YOU’RE FIRED.
J: You can’t fire me. This is my blog.
L: Sure I can fire you. In fact, I just hijacked this blog.
J: You can’t hijack it.
L: Yes I can.
J: Not if I hold your new Clinique Berry Freeze lipstick and Estee Lauder Pleasures perfume over the toilet, you can’t.
L: OK, OK, OK! Cool your jets, bud — let’s not do anything rash here. I WAS JUST KIDDING.
J: Muahaha. I thought so.
The next day we left for San Francisco.
J: We stayed with the Coelhos, who are really old friends of the family. Anabelle (far left) was best friends with Lynn when they were in kindergarten or something, right?
L: Yeah, me and Anabelle go way back. We’ve known each other since Mrs. Hawes’ kindergarten class. (Oh wow, she’s still there!) Aw, will you look at Laura? She’s soo pretty now! I remember playing with her when she was just a little baby. Man, I feel really old now.
J: That’s because you ARE old.
L: Say, you know that one baby photo of yours? The one where you’re running around naked with your–
J: OKAY. 22 is remarkably young.
L: Much better. ;)
The next day, we met up with my mom’s old college friend, Toni, and drove from the Coelhos’ house in Castro Valley to San Francisco.
J: I got kind of bored along the way, so I fooled around with the new camera and experimented with the functions and stuff.
L: Trying to be artsy-fartsy with the camera there, huh?
J: You’re just envious you don’t thave a steady hand and suck at self-photography.
L: Au contraire, Niffles, I have a vair steady hand indeed. All I’m saying is that this photo is very dreamy and pensive-looking…kind of like a Celine Dion album cover.
J: Berry Freeze and Pleasures hanging precariously over toilet ledge. Going ovvvvverrrr….
L: OKAY. More like a U2 album cover. Happy?
L: Ah, this pic makes me feel so nostalgic, you have no idea…
J: Nostalgic, huh? How about…
J: ….this photo?
L: Um, it’s kind of hard to work up any feelings of nostalgia when there’s a huge ass bird blocking the view. You’d think it could’ve flapped its wings a smidgen faster so as to get its big booty out of the shot. Jeez.
J: Still, it’s a nice shot, right?
L: Yeah. It is (minus the huge ass avian).
L: The City on the Hill! Whenever I see pics of San Francisco/the Golden Gate Bridge/a cable car, I can’t help but think of that one song by Tony Bennett.
J: Which song? I Left My Heart in San Francisco?
L: That’s the one. The one that Mom likes to sing all the time…
J: Yeah, someone needs to tell her she sings it off-key, though.
L: Well, ignorance is bliss, you know.
L: Aww, obligatory tourist shot.
J: Well, you can’t go to San Francisco and not take a photo with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
L: Yeah, kind of like how tourists who flock to Bangkok can’t leave without taking at least one picture with a poor, unsuspecting elephant. I cannot stand those tourists!
J: How come?
L: Well, besides the whole animal rights thing (but don’t get me started on that), they don’t realize they’re holding up pedestrian traffic as they take ten gazillion hours to snap their damn pachyderm photos since they ALWAYS end up shrieking and flinching whenever the elephant so much as innocently lifts its trunk to scratch, like, its ear or butt.
J: I don’t think an elephant’s trunk is long enough to reach its butt.
L: It’s long enough to reach the shrieking tourist’s butt, though. Too bad said tourist usually misinterprets this as hostility and runs away shrieking, thus bringing us back to square one.
J: Um, yeah. OKAY — can we get back to San Francisco?
L: Oh. Oh yeah. Sure.
L: The Palace of Fine Arts! I love this place. It’s right next to the Exploratorium, which is where I almost got lost once during a fourth grade field trip.
J: Jeez, what is it with our family and getting lost?
L: I don’t know. A dysfunctional gene, maybe? An obsession with Lost’s bad boy, Sawyer?
J: There’s a whole lot more wrong with you than just a dysfunctional gene.
L: Eldest. Hanging over toilet. Raging whirlpool swirling down below. Mist from bacterial infested waters coming within millimeters of Christopher Paolini’s latest–
J: OKAY. You are unbelievably normal. Totally, completely, 100% genetically intact.
L: Vair good. Thou art too kind.
L: This place always makes me feel like I’ve been transplanted to Rome or Athens… I love all the gorgeous Greco-Roman architecture.
L: Oooh. Looking very nice, Niffles. Artsy-fartsy to the core.
L: I love this shot. What a great candid. In fact, what a great place to take wedding photos. I bet their pics are going to turn out great.
J: Wait a minute. OK, two compliments in less than a minute — what is it you want?
L: Oh, so I have to WANT something in order to pay my brother a compliment? Jeez! Look at the kind of abuse that gets dished out at me on a daily basis, people! I do not deserve this kind of treatment.
L: Wow, check out the angle on their necks. Think they got a really bad crick in their neck afterward?
J: Even if they did, they could just crack their neck to get rid of any lingering stiffness.
L: EW. Please do not do that nasty neck-cracking thing. It is OBSCENELY DISGUSTING.
J: What neck-cracking thing? You mean this neck-cracking thin–
J: You can’t go to San Francisco and not take a picture of a cable car. Too bad we didn’t have time to hop on to one.
L: Never fear, my dear. You and the cable car are well-acquainted. After all, you were lost on one once.
L: Yeah. We accidentally misplaced you and had to stop all the cable cars in the city so we could search for you. It was pretty cool. Traffic was stopped all over the city so that we could search all over–
J: This is a joke, right?
L: Yes. Yes, it is. ;)
J: Yeah, well, you know your joke?
J: Not funny.
Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world.
Looking out at the City
Later, we headed to Fisherman’s Wharf for some seafood dinner and AWESOME clam chowder
Pier 39, this cool outdoor marketplace by the marina
The next day Tess took us to raid the supermarket
We are such junk food junkies. :P
That evening we went to have dinner with the Dengs, who are also really good friends with my parents. Their daughter, Tricia, and I used to go to the same day care.
L: Awww! Such cuteness! XD
J: Kohn mun na rak yoo laew. Mun chuay mai dai.
L: Hello, who said anything about YOU? Any references to cuteness was not intended for you; I was obviously talking about TRICIA.
J: The next day we went to Stanford Mall, which is located in Palo Alto.
L: Lots of memories at Stanford Mall. We used to go there all the time since we lived about 15 minutes away in Los Altos.
J: No wonder the place looked kind of familiar.
L: It should. You almost got lost there once.
J: WHAT? You’re kidding again, right?
L: Sorry, bud. I kid you not. You really did get lost there once. You see, I was, um, supposed to be watching you, but got distracted for two milliseconds — no longer, I swear — when your sneaky, daring, adventure-seeking self went running off on your stubby little legs. By the time I’d whirled my head around, you were gone. Poof. Just like that.
J: Sure, sure, blame it on the kid. So how’d you find me?
L: Fortunately this lady returned you to us a few minutes later…after I got yelled at for, uh, losing my brother (hey, I was nine, okay?).
J: So how’d she find you? Stanford Mall’s pretty huge.
L: Well, I guess it helped that we were the only Asian family shopping at Neiman Marcus that day. That and the fact that Mom and Dad looked pretty damn frantic.
J: Oh. Oh yeah. That must’ve helped a lot.
L: For memory’s sake — it’s the scene of the crime. You can see Neiman Marcus in the distance.
L: Here’s why you got lost. In those two milliseconds when I’d turned my head, you ran off to hang with these guys. You loved them so much, you demanded we take a picture of you with them.
J: Oh, you mean THIS PICTURE?
L: That’s it. The very one. You loved this fountain. Every time we went to Stanford Mall, you would go splash around with the frogs and sometimes even fish out a few quarters from the watery depths of the fountain, you sneaky little delinquent-to-be.
L: It’s amazing how some things just never change…
J: What’s that supposed to mean?
L: Uh. Nothing.
L: I’ve always loved the shaded breezeways, gardens, and sculptures at Stanford Mall. I remember how Mom used to buy stuff from the European-style outdoor market on the weekends, and how I was always put in charge of looking after you, the deranged, Tazmanian terror devil. You loved running behind the stalls and hiding. Fun for you, very embarrassing for me.
J: Well, boys will be boys.
L: Yeah, whatever.
J: Later, we met up with Don, one of my Dad’s oldest and closest friends.
L: Don’s daughters — Adrienne and Natasha — were the cutest kids ever! I remember wishing that I’d been blessed with sisters like them instead of the freak brother the stork had dropped at our house despite all my fervent prayers and pleas that God please please PLEASE give me a baby sister.
J: Muahahaha. I was especially sent to earth to terrorize you.
L: Gee, no kidding.
L: GAAAH! You are evil evil evil for taking this photo with the full knowledge that I get serious palpitations whenever crossed with freaky eight-legged arachnids! (!!!!!)
J: Hey, consider it vengeance for all those times you “almost, sort of, accidentally” lost me.
L: Sigh, fair’s fair, I guess.
L: You know, FYI, taking a picture with a piece of art does not constitute as an artsy-fartsy photo.
J: Oh yeah? Well how about this one?
L: Oooh. Now, THIS is vair vair nice.
(Nice nostrils, too!)
J: Later, we stopped by Stanford University because Anabelle was moving into her dorm that day. (She’s continuing her masters there.)
L: Anabelle is sooo smart! She’s always had a really good head on her shoulders. I first learned about her infinite wisdom when we were 7.
J: Yeah? What happened?
L: The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, that’s what. We were jumping on Kyla’s brand new bunk bed — probably watching either Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, Beetlejuice, or The Little Mermaid — when the bed started to rock. I naturally thought Kyla’s bed was some sort of stellar battery-operated trampoline of some sort, but Anabelle yelled and told us that DUH, the reason the bed was shaking was because of the QUAKING PLATE TECTONICS OF THE KILLER SAN ANDREAS FAULT BENEATH US. You know, an earthquake, basically. I guess Anabelle paid really close attention during the earthquake drills they used to make us do in school instead of doing what I did, which was stare at the cut-out picture of Jesus and wonder why they’d drawn him wearing a dress.
L: Yeah. She’s one smart cookie, she is. Anyway, is that a bird I see?
J: Huh? Where?
L: There. Over by the famous Stanford bell tower.
J: Ai hia! You’re right. Gee, you’ve GOT to be kidding me.
L: You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the same bird that ruined your San Francisco photo…
Later, we stopped by the place where my Mom used to work so she could meet up with old friends and colleagues.
I got kinda bored, so I just took some pics and stuff.
Later, we drove to Los Altos, which is where we used to live. It’s right next to Palo Alto and only 10-15 minutes away. Anyway, this is our old street, Casita Way.
And this is our old house. My mom’s French friend lives there now, but unfortunately she and her family weren’t in, so we couldn’t stop by and chat. There’s a cottage, huge (HUGE) avocado tree and tree swing at the back, which would have been cool to see again. Oh well.
Back at the SF Airport again, on our way back home to BKK.
Adios San Francisco
Heading back to Tokyo
(L: Hee! Artsy-fartsy Celine Dion photo alert! Waiting for Niffles to launch into song: My heart will go–)
J: [*IGNORE THE FLOBBERWORM*] Anyway, our trip to Vegas and the California Bay Area was awesome. It was great getting to meet the Coelhos again (especially since I couldn’t really remember them as the last time I saw them was when I was like 4), and Anabelle and Laura were really nice and cool to hang out with. I can’t wait to go back again!
Currently Reading: Biology AS by Mike Bailey and Keith Hirst, and Physics AS by Frank Ciccotti and Dave Kelly (So sad.) -_-’
Currently Playing: Take me Out by Franz Ferdinand