Been away for awhile on a cruise to Alaska! Check out some of the sights so far. There’s all sorts of awesomeness, with more pics to come. 🙂
Posts Tagged ‘ocean’
I spent a week out in Hawaii while doing everything to make it seem like I wasn’t even gone work-wise. It was a last-minute thing: when I realized Veteran’s Day was the following week, I had asked Panda what our plans were (anticipating taking Monday off to enjoy a 4-day weekend). Instead of the type of answer I was expecting, I discovered that would be the week he was slated to go to Hawaii for work. I was so disappointed because I was really wanted to enjoy the weekend with him, but work travel meant he’d be leaving me Sunday morning. In other words, what I thought would be a long weekend would actually only consist of Saturday. For the first time, I was actually serious about joining him on a work trip. I really didn’t want to lose out on making it a holiday weekend worth my time.
So, once it was confirmed that he was going, I decided to make a decision and book tickets too. I’ve never planned a trip like this on such short notice, but it was one of those things I knew I’d regret for ages if I didn’t go for it. I figured I could still get all my work done at the normal EST hours I work and then I’d have the afternoon to enjoy the surroundings in Hawaii. Just like that, we found tickets for times I felt were reasonable and least interfered with work. By Sunday, we were off on our journey to spend a week out at the North Shore.
I woke up daily (except Veteran’s Day and the weekend) at 4:30 HST to start work. I joined meetings remotely, answered emails, and worked on projects. Before I knew it, the sun would be rising and people were going off to lunch. I’d usually have a late “lunch” break and go enjoy the breakfast buffet downstairs. I savored the meals and watched the waves coming in as the heat began to build outside. Then it was back to the room for more work, which flew by pretty quickly. I found myself to be more productive (or at least it felt so) working from the hotel. This was probably because I had very few distractions. I hardly even got up for a drink or restroom break whereas usually at work I’m up at least once or twice an hour.
I tried to finish my day around 1, but it usually went past that, though for the most part I was able to stop working by 2. At that point I had the choice of beaches to play at. One day I went the less traveled route and happily caught dozens of hermit crabs, snails, and even fish. Another day I found other crabs lurking by the rocks and swam around in the bay following a variety of fish around coral reefs. Yet another day I caught more critters and had a staring contest with some ghost crabs. I kept meaning to go to the banyan tree everyone checks out, but there were so many distractions along the way that I never quite made it there. I did have fun filming storks taking off in slo-mo, getting super close-ups of the creatures I caught, and generally basking in the sun.
As the sun went down, we’d search for dinner and my night would wind down. I’d shower off the sand from the day and spend some time online before calling it a night. I tried to sleep around 8, but oftentimes it was closer to 10 when I got to bed. And then the day would start anew just past 4 as my alarms began to ring. It was much easier to wake up at that time than I thought it might be. I was quickly alert and ready to go! On our days off, we’d sleep in until 9 or so and then grab breakfast before embarking out on some adventure. Panda didn’t get the weekend, but luckily was free on Veteran’s Day and had some opportunities to leave work for a few hours. We went to Waikiki twice, hiked Diamond Head, visited Pearl Harbor, and even swung by the Dole Plantation. Not bad for a working vacation!
I’ve been playing with a variety of crabs of late and it’s fascinating. They’re rather smart creatures and I can almost swear they understand me. I’ve definitely stared into the eyes of some and felt like they could communicate with me. Maybe that’s just how their eyes look, but if you’ve ever tried to stare down a crab you might know what I mean. Sometimes their cunning is shocking. I’ve had them figure out how to climb up and out of cups, planning their escape. I’ve had them (somewhat) calmly crawl on me and learn that I’ll keep picking them up every time they try to leave. I’ve even had them working in teams to try to reach higher out of their temporary home in my cup.
It all started with some hermit crabs. It was the first day I got to go to the beach by the hotel (Turtle Bay Resort). I went wandering and eventually found a way to get to the beach I’d seen from the breakfast table. At first it was just tons and tons of snails on the rocks. I picked a bunch and was just enjoying the day playing around in the water with them when I noticed much faster movement. It was a hermit crab scuttling by! Once I knew what to look for, it was game over. I spotted so many that I had caught at least 30-something and there was no room in my cup. So I started to take pictures and release them. After all, what I really want are some close-up images of these cool creatures.
The next day, I went to the other side of the resort to check out what else I could find. It turned out to be a gold mine for other crabs. The land ones move far too fast to ever be caught, but the water ones have a tendency to hide and blend with the rocks. Since these rock formations have plenty of pools, it provided an easy microcosm to focus on. I was determined to get a “normal” crab (the kind that walks side to side). I succeeded with that eventually and got a crab that was almost too big for my cup! Now my goal is to get one of those burrowing crabs, which are a lot harder since they’ve got plenty of open beach to run across and even more sand they can dig below to escape.
So, how to train a crab:
1. Figure out where they hang out and go sit/squat nearby.
2. Stay still and watch for a bit. Look for an area they’re hiding where it’s enclosed enough for you to chase it.
3. Choose one that isn’t too large (no bigger than your pinky is probably best) and use a clear cup to get close to it. If we’re talking hermit crabs then just pick them up.
4. It takes a bit of back and forth to trick them into running into the cup area or falling into it as they scurry around. Just be careful and use one hand to guide them towards the cup.
5. Once caught, make sure you provide a decently comfortable environment, whether it’s just having enough sea water and not making it too warm or you need some rocks so the crab can sit out of the water too.
6. Keep it in the cup for awhile. Let it calm down and get used to this strange new environment.
7. After the crab is no longer desperately attempting to crawl out of the cup, you can stick your hand in and see if it’ll let you brush it. Move your finger around to guide it where you want to (that’s how I taught a crab that it actually could climb up the cup – of course then it wouldn’t stop climbing up the wall after that).
8. Before you know it, the crab will be totally fine with you touching it and might even crawl around on you! Beware, it’s definitely trying to escape though. If you’re good you’ll get some moments of peace where you can actually stare into its eyes, make that eye contact, and ponder its thoughts.
On day 7 of our grand UK adventure, Panda and I explored the streets of Edinburgh and found a bunch of museums. The morning started off with a silly moment, when Panda got my ring stuck on his finger… and we thought he might have to wear it around all day for me. 😛 I got a delicious treat at a cute bakehouse, we swung by the cafe where Harry Potter was written, and of course went to check out the castle (getting a few items in the gift shop but not actually going in). Along the way, we came across two Chinese ladies asking for directions and I regretted not helping. We wanted to also check out this place called The Mound, but I think they were closed so we skipped it. For dinner, we got Pizza Express and I discovered my new favorite pizza. Later at night we got hungry again so we went out to a Chinese place where they were very interested in chatting us up. I guess Chinese-Americans don’t come around that often.
Every year as a child, my dad and I would watch the Sound of Music on TV together around the holiday season. It’s one of those things that reminds me it’s that time of year and I plan on watching the live version that Carrie Underwood’s doing in a few days. My dad won’t be able to watch with me, but it’s still a nice memory. I’m reminded of that because yesterday I got to enjoy some of my favorite things! Panda and I really took advantage of what LA has to offer and went around making the most of this chance to do many things I love. So here are a few of my favorite things (along with random tidbits from the day)!
My first major encounter with sailing was at Leadership Academy, which was a JROTC boot camp I attended in Newport, Rhode Island. One of the skills we were taught was sailing a tiny little sailboat operated by 4 people. The exact roles escape me now, but the sense of camaraderie and teamwork it took to successfully operate that sailboat have stayed with me over a decade later. We learned the techniques used to catch the breeze and got quite good! Many years later, I visited a friend and we got to enjoy sailing the Irish coast on his family’s yacht. Most recently, Panda and I soaked in the Hawaiian sun on a lovely excursion sailing with dolphins. Each of these times, I loved the sense of freedom you got from being out in the ocean and being so close to it. When you’re on a ship, the water is a distant thing; when you’re on a sailboat, you can just lean over the side to enjoy. I love connecting with the water that way. It’s such a great feeling!
What tremendous creatures these rays are. They glide through the ocean and blend in with the sea floor, usually not causing a ruckus. They don’t really attract attention to themselves – they’re not bright or scary, but they are quietly beautiful in their own way. I never appreciated them until I got to pet some while visiting the Underwater World at Sentosa. I was shocked at how soft they are! Their skin is unlike anything else I’ve touched before. They were super friendly too, swimming right up to the glass wall and even coming out of the water so I’d pet them. It was such an amazing experience to be able to interact with them like that and I think everyone should go give it a try. They might just become your new favorite pet species. I’d absolutely love it if I could raise pet rays, but of course that’s not happening, so I’ll just continue admiring them whenever I can. I’m so glad I got to touch them; what a great experience.
Ever since I moved to the greater Los Angeles area, I have been meaning to try surfing. Of course, this kept getting pushed off because I didn’t go to the beach that often and when I did, I didn’t want to spend money to learn. I just wanted to chill with my friends! Then last year, Panda and I went on a trip to Hawaii and I knew this was my chance. I tried to get him to learn with me, but hey you can’t always get what you want. At least I got to learn though! It was fun and definitely felt different from anything else I’ve experienced. I don’t know if my skateboarding helped with my balance, but I’d like to think so. This was shot on my first try, when I was still grasping what this strange feeling of being pushed by a wave is like. You can read more about my surfing experience and also watch some videos of my surfing lesson. Good times! I think everyone should give it a try; the feeling is just indescribable (and of course, GREAT!).
The Getty sits perched atop a hill, overlooking a gorgeous landscape. If you know what you’re, looking for, you can see everything from downtown LA and UCLA in one direction to the ocean in the other direction. But its beauty lies not only in its view – the museum and grounds are marvelous too. The Getty is LEED certified and beautifully designed. Skylights, white stones, water fountains, and cool wood paneling all add to the serene and bright atmosphere. You get to enjoy picturesque scenes inside and outside, no matter where you wander. There are rotating exhibits that change every few months, so each visit can be a fresh look at things. The garden and lawn area is an excellent place to hang out, relax, and soak in the sunny days. Whether you’re into art, history, architecture, gardening, views, or nature, there’s something there for you. It’s worth a visit no matter what your interests! A place that caters to such a range of tastes is pretty unique and very great.
Who doesn’t enjoy looking out from a mountain or across a valley or over the ocean or even from a penthouse and checking out a beautiful view? It could be a wide expanse of fields, a mountain range, the great big ocean (or a giant lake), maybe even a downtown skyline. When you look out at a landscape, it’s hard not to marvel at its beauty. I’m sure everyone’s idea of the best view varies, but we can all appreciate “seeing the big picture” in that way. I personally love sunsets behind mountains or over the ocean, as well as a glittering body of water as far as the eye can see. I love a connection with nature! Meanwhile, my mom enjoys more man-made views like that of a dense sprinkling of lights at night, whether from street lights or buildings. To her, they sparkle like stars for a bright nightscape. Whatever your preferences, a wonderful view is great.