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Post Thanksgiving reflections….

So I am sitting here in the Tokyo airport lounge thinking about my recent travels and I really want to record everything that I did on this trip in my blog, however, history has shown that I have failed on that many times.  (e.g. China trip last year,  Yosemite Trip, Iceland trip, and etc…)  So I will try to do something different this time.  My goal for this trip is not to post date my posts, but to talk about a day on my trip as I have time. Maybe this way I can actually get some of our  (Vicky and Min’s) travel on paper.

So let’s begin,  So as I stated earlier, I am currently at the end of this in Tokyo.  The trip started from Seattle, to Beijing, then to Tokyo.  In Tokyo, we stayed mostly inside the city however, we did travel outside to Endoshima and Kamakura area for a short day trip.

The food for the last few days has been amazing.  Especially, the sushi and sashimi, just amazing.  We were very fortunate to have  few sunny days and few museum days (rainy).    Today of course, our departing day is rainy.  We statyed in Shinjuku and travelled around by walking, trains, and subways.  So I will go more into that in my next post.

2011 the year of traveling

So it seems like in the last month I’ve spent alot of time in the airport, on an airplane, and just travelling all over the world. So for example, two weeks ago, I was in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This past Thursday, I was in Princeton, New Jersey having a great time for work. Remember, I am working on Doctor House’s Hospital. Late Friday Night, I returned to Seattle, and Today (Sunday), I am currently in SFO waiting for my flight to Beijing. Yep… very very busy some business and some pleasure. The number of travel is really starting to catch up. So I know I still have alot of Mexico posts, that I have not updated yet, but I assure you they are coming. So let’s talk about my day today so far? My day started off super early.  I took a cab from home to SeaTac airport, once checked in, I was able to spend some time at the United lounge.  I thought the Delta lounge was bad, well, the united lounge was not any better, everything is very very basic.  After an hour or so of waiting, I boarding my flight and headed toward SFO; The view in the morning right after take off was just amazing!!!

Once I’ve got to SFO, everything seems to be pretty routine, I went to check out the United Lounge in SFO as well, did you know there is a business class lounge and a first class lounge? I did not know that until I walked in to the wrong one. I wonder what is in the first class lounge. There was also this nice TV exhibit in the terminal in SFO. Very Interesting.

So this is the first time that I’ve ever take an international business class on a 747. I remember see the stairs going to the second floor of a 747 but I have never been there. This is my first experience of that.

My ticket, 14 is on the 2nd floor of the 747!!!!

Special entrance hall for business class passengers.

The steps up to 747 second floor.  It is interesting, that first class is actually in the very tip of the plane on the first floor. I would have thought it would been isolated on 2nd floor, but it is not.

My seat.  The video display is huge and the seat actually lay flat, which is pretty nice, but it is like sleeping on a hardwood bench for 6 hours, it is nice and flat but still not very comfortable.

However, once I borded my flight, we were quickly informed that there is a mechanical error and there will be some delay.  After one hour, they kicked everyone off the flight, because they needed to “Reboot” the plane.  I hope our flight wasn’t running Windows 95 or something similar.

After 2 and half hours later, and some terminal japanese food and another round at the lounge, we finally started to board the flight again.  My flight to Beijing was 2.5 hours late.

Once on board, what’s interesting is that UA actually have the flight control communications linked up to their passenger entertainment system, so during take off and landing I was able to listen to the flight control provide directions to our flight. Flight UA 889.  The Entertainment system is pretty nice, big screen, lot of movies.  Very enjoyable.

This is our in-flight meal.  Not too shabby, better than the Delta’s hot TV dinner but not as good as EVA air’s lamb ribs. humm…

So after a long day of flying and 2 movies later, I finally arrived in Beijing.  Beijing air is as dirty as ever, I am sure it will take some time to get use to this.

Ready for our big adventure to Mexico

Getting ready for my first trip to MX.

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My Thanksgiving Adventure

So after a eventful day of travel and activities, I am finally in Auburn and resting in my room and on my bed. Ah~~~ it is good to be home!!! So let’s recap.

My day started at 2:30 when I woke up trying to get book on an earlier flight of 6:10 am to ATL by using the same day standby. After calling in 10 minutes early and then recall them 20 minutes late, I finally got my 6:10 flight confirmed. The road to the airport parking was not as bad as I thought. I was able to get to the parking deck pretty quickly. Once I checked in, it look me a while to get through airport security. But with my disappointment, I did not get close and personal with a TSA agent. Pretty much all the SeaTac Airport advance imagining machines were off. When I got to the gate, my upgraded ticket was already waiting for me. (oh I love airline status).

The flight was very uneventful at first, the free gogo onboard internet was nice. Thanks Google Chrome!!! When we finally got to ATL, we started to land and just before landing the airplane pulled up and started to increase power and pulling away. The captain then came on over the speaker stating that there was an alarm on one of the landing gears and we are going to circle around and try again. Ok, I was a bit nervous, but not really that nervous. Then just before the second approach and landing the captain says that the landing gears are down, but the door did not come back up because of the hydraulics so we maybe seeing sparks when we land. But he added, everything should be ok. Now I was a bit nervous. However, we landed successfully and immediately pull to a taxi land and stopped. We are waiting for the ground crew to verify that the landing gears are secure before moving the plane to the gate, this will prevent the airplane from collapsing on a bad landing gear.

After picking up my rental car, (and yes Hertz Gold is super awesome, no waiting and just pickup and go!!! Best of all no harassment from sells people like at Enterprise) I was on a hunt for some lunch, in particular Chick-fil-a. After 3 exits of finding all fast food restaurants are closed, I realized that yes, today is Thanksgiving. Doh!

After 3 hours of driving, I made it to Montgomery, Alabama and enjoyed my wonderful Thanksgiving lunch and then Dinner hotpot.

More adventures to come tomorrow with the Auburn vs Alabama Game!!!! WAR EAGLE!!!

Snow day in Seattle

So a major snow storm hit Seattle this week, it is not as bad as the one in 2008, but still shut down most of the city. So today is actually pretty amazing. The sun is out it’s beautiful out, but below freezing the entire day. After working most of the morning in my office. I decided to take a break and walk around the neighborhood and take some pictures. The walk reminded me so much of my time in Ephrata, WA. The crusty frozen ground, the cool air, the patches of slippery ground. Gosh, I really miss Ephrata.

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Trip across the boarder to Zhu Hai and Zhong Shan

Today was my last day in Macau, it is also my first day entering into China.
The day started off with some nice breakfast at the Hard Rock Hotel in Macau.

It was pretty interesting.  Even though Macau is technically China, I still need to go through customs and immigration to go into China.  Actually I had to do that when I entered Macau from HK.  HK is technically China as well.  I guess it is because of the SAR status.  As soon as I cross the boarder, everything seems different.  Simplified chinese verse traditional chinese.


Street of Zhu Hai.

The first thing we did after crossing the boarder is to go toward the seafood market.  YUM!!!

No … I did not eat any of that sea worm.  Yikes!!!







Yep my little sister is also in China to meet us :)

My little cousins.

Aunt and Uncle.

Mom and Dad

Now starts the cooked food section.  So this is how it works, you go and pick out the sea food market, and take the sea food to the many restaurants near by and they will cook the sea food for you for a fee.

Yum!!!













After lunch, we visited Zhu Hai and went on toward Zhong Shan.



Zhong Shan was the home of the Founding Father of the Republic of China. Dr. Sun Yet-Sen (Zhong Shan).



It has nothing to do with the site, but I thought the trash can looked cool.





Sun Yet-Sun’s Guava… the founding father guava ;)





Surprising to find the ROC flag in PRC.

The 3 Principle of the People.  It is inspired by Abe Lincoln’s “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Macau Day 2

Today is Day 2 in Macau, the day started off with a very normal breakfast with my father’s PhD advisor at the local Starbucks.  Yeah, pretty funny huh… coming from Seattle, and I am in Macau having breakfast at Starbucks.  But one thing they have that they don’t have in Seattle.  Fresh Guava juice!!!

My morning sunrise from my hotel room.



The Macau Venetian!!!… just few weeks ago I was in the Las Vegas Venetian.. ;)

My Macau Starbuck breakfast, with fresh Starbuck guava juice!!!

After a full day of technical conference, we went to downtown Macau in the evening for a huge casino buffet. Afterward we went for some blackjack. The casino here in Macau is really interesting, first they can use 2 currency on the same table, HKD and Macau currency. The dealers were fast and sharp. Second, you can have side bets on the Blackjack table. I mean, you can watch a table and bet with someone else that is playing on the table. If he or she wins, then you win. Unfortunately, Today is not my day. I lost :(

There sure are alot of Pawn shops around the casino in downtown Macau.

The big casino buffet


Macaroons






Hello Hong Kong!!!

After a long day on the plane, I’ve finally arrived in Hong Kong. Met up with Dad, so I am staying at the Airport Hilton, very nice hotel, anyways, I need to get ready for tomorrow morning?s trip to Macau. Exciting!!!

My super short stop in Japan.

After a 10 or so hour flight, I get few hours lay over in Japan. Nothing really special though. I did however found an open AP and start messing around with my iPhone and chatting with friends back home.



As you can see, I’ve got to have some of this nice Japanese layered cakes. YUM

I wish I have more time. I will definitely spend more time in Japan.

The start of my big summer trip to China!!!

Today I started off my grand trip to Asia. 2010 has been an interesting year. Europe, New York, Las Vegas, and now Asia. My Asia trip starts with a conference in Macau. This is my first conference for a short paper of mine. The trip will start from Seattle with a brief stop in Japan then to Hong Kong. I will be in Hong Kong late tomorrow night. After that onward to Macau in the morning.

Pictures from the plane

Pictures from the air!!! Mt. St. Hellen And Columbia River!!!

Final Day around New York City

4/4/2010
Our final day in NYC was pretty easy and relaxed. Vicky and I spend most of the time in central park and just relaxing and really enjoying the city. It makes me think that I maybe able to live here one day? oh maybe.. maybe not.

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Fourth Full Day in New York City

04/03/2010
Today was another interesting day in New York.

The day started off with breakfast/brunch in a near by diner. Then the day of walking begins. So we first started walking toward time square. We thought about watching a show but in the end decided against it, that’s when we came across the M&M store. It was pretty amazing!!! we found these m&m golf ball and we’ve got this idea to take a series of pictures for the apartment. From there we walked toward the apple store to check out the iPad!!! Since today is the first day, it was amazing that I got a chance to touch one of them. And yes there are still available. My comment on the iPad? big iPhone! and it does not support traditional Chinese!!! What gives? yeah.. I would have probably purchased one for my folks if it supported traditional Chinese, but it doesn’t it only supported simplified Chinese.

We then walked toward united nations, we did stopped by a French dessert shop. Oh, it was really nice… it does remind me a bit of France.

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Third Full Day in NYC

Yesterday was my third full day in NYC.  It was also the first day that I don’t have to work in NYC.  And on top of that it was Good Friday.  The day started pretty late after sleeping in.  Since we were staying near Madison Park in The MAve Hotel, which btw reminds me of the hotel in Paris France.  Why?  Because of it’s small size in the hotel room and the modern hotel room design.  It even use a similar RFID door opening system. Cool huh?

So in the morning (more or less Noon time), after the complimentary  non-existing hotel breakfast,  we went back for a to Madison Park for a walk also to take some pictures more pictures of the flat iron building.  Afterward, we stopped by the Museum of Sex.  Yes it sounds really bad/good.  But in reality, it was a big waste of money.  Yes… the 5 minute gallery of history of condom is interesting, however, after that it was all pretty boring and could probably got most of the gallery items from a store like Lovers.

After the walk around the Madison Park area, we grabbed our stuff and move to our new location.  For this weekend, we are staying in a studio apartment 2 blocks from Central Park.  It is very nice even with a small balcony on the top floor of this old building.  The place is very small but it does have a kitchen.  And the price was good relative to the hotel in the near by area.

For lunch, Whole Foods.  Got some salad from Whole Food and ate on the bench of Central park while we people and dog watched.  Yep, since it was Good Friday, we saw so many people.

Around 5 we went to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), since it is Friday after 4 it is free to enter. Oh my, the line was super long, however, it went through pretty quick and we were able to go in.  We saw almost everything except for the Tim Burton exhibit.

After MoMA,  we met up with some friends of Vicky and had a interesting Bday dinner at a cheap Thai place.  The food was crappy, but the company was great.  They even said that I don’t sound like I am from Seattle.  They said that they thought I was a New Yorker…  I guess that is a good thing right?

So after dinner around 10:45pm we decide to catch the last elevator up the Rockefeller Center Tower.  We ran few blocks from the restaurant near MoMA to Rockefeller center and we thought we were late, but we were not the last.  we got our tickets and got to the top.  At the check in, the attendant told us, we just help break their entry record.  Yes… with our help we broke their attendance record of 150,000 people in a day.  Wow…

And with the beautiful view of New York… that concluded another wonderful day in NYC.  Enjoy the pictures.
http://picasaweb.google.com/minhsao/NYCDay3#

CTIA Day 1 Recap

Well, it is day 2 of CTIA in Las Vegas, let me recap my experiences from yesterday. The day started with meeting up with Xavier for breakfast.  We had a simple breakfast at MacD’s, but I have to say this McDonald has the look and feel of a coffee shop.  It was really interesting.  We then walked to the convention center to get my ID and head toward the Keynote.

As we were headed toward the keynote, we ran into couple of Google Androids.

CTIA DAY 1: Good morning

Good Morning, Today is CTIA day one.  It is pretty exciting.  I am staying at a pretty nice hotel in Vegas.  Even though it doesn’t have a casino in the hotel, which is a bit strange for vegas, but it is a suite, with a living room kitchen and even a hot tub.  All that room for myself.  So  getting ready now, then breakfast and then head over to the keynote speaker presentation.

At the airport… Going to CTIA

An interesting thing happened while I was going through security. While I was waiting for my bag, he person next to me was getting his bag checked by TSA. He said, “it’s phones in there, can you check them without taking them out, our cover them up while you check. They are confidental!!!”

Oh really? What does that mean? Does he mean that he is taking a brand new secret phone to CTIA?? Exciting !!!!

Enjoy the picture!!!

Back Fill my European blog posting

Well.. for the next few days.. I am going to try to back fill my blog post with events from my France trip. After the blog is complete I will post the pictures on my blog and on Facebook. Stay tuned!!!

Ideas for a book…

With my school done and just work left… during my travel I came up with two new ideas…

1) A book…. a travel guide for photographers, maybe for Paris or even just for Seattle.

2) an invention for making the bed.

hummm.. I wonder if I can accomplish part of this before 2011.

A day at the Museums

Today was a Museum day. It is our second day with the museum pass and our second to last day in Paris and France.
The day started off with a visit to Orsay – The line outside is around one hour long .. However, we have a museum pass and no wait.

Inside Orsay it was pretty awesome, I was amazed to see the real version of a painting that my parents have at their place. I have to say Orsay was an interesting art museum. After a few hours it was time to move on.

We Walk across the pedestrian bridge and on to Louvre park. Along the way, I took some very good black and white stair pictures of the pedestrian bridge. I’ve also took some more pictures of the tower.

From there we walked along Champs Elysees toward the Arc De Triomphe. We stopped by a small side street greek food restaurant and hand lunch. The owner was interesting, when we told him that we were from Washington state in the US, he says oh… I have a relative in Washington DC. I guess, that is a common mistake. DC and Washington state are not the same :).

Afterward, Vicky spent some time shopping on Champs Elysees while I just people watched and got some interesting street photo.

From there we marched on toward Arc De Triomphe. It was pretty funny, we could not find the tunnel to get across to the arc, but when we finally do get there, there was a 30-40 minutes line… however no waiting with museum pass .. yeah!!! The steps going up to the top of the arc was long but worth it. The view on top was great!!!
After the tower, we decided to head back to Notre Dame to take pictures of the gargoyles, but unfortunately when we arrived, they close the line already. We were not able to get up to the tower… This is something for the next trip, i guess. Note to self, Notre Dame line closes at 4:00 pm. Since, we can not make it up to the top of Notre Dame, we got some ice cream on the island and headed toward the Louvre.

The Louvre also had a long line, but with the museum pass… no line!!! yeah!!! Once again, people every where especially all the famous paintings and exhibits.

After the Louvre, it was time for dinner. We bought some things at the super marche next to the hotel, however, I thought it was a good idea to get some cheap French Chinese food. Well, it was not cheap and the food was not good at all… another learning experience.

So Tomorrow.. is new years eve… and my last day in Paris.