Thailand Memories

Three years have passed and I can’t clearly remember anymore all the details to this trip. But even as it’s in the past now, I would still like to share with you all that I can remember and the pictures that I have kept safely in my Drive D.

I was still a culinary student then. Towards the end of our school year, an opportunity to attend a wine seminar came up. At that time I was very eager to see a lot of places and countries and I thought that this was a chance for me to go to Thailand. It’s my first overseas travel not accompanied by family members and I was truly excited. My parents happily agreed for me to go as it was after all a once in a lifetime experience.

The expenses for the school trip costs quite a little bit. Some of my closest friends decided not to come anymore but I was happy that two of them still decided to join. And the three of us promised ourselves that we will have fun and enjoy the whole trip.

                                                     My classmates and I while waiting for our flight

As soon as we arrived, we’ve noticed Bangkok’s similarity to Manila. Traffic isn’t that much different. Cars are everywhere. Although at that time there were some political unrest in their country and was deemed dangerous and was oversensationalized by media (that almost got our trip cancelled), we were thankful that we’ve never witnessed anything like that.

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Bangkok at night

We stayed for a little while in Bangkok and left most of our things in the hotel we were billeted. We were in Thailand after all for the Wine Harvest Festival in Khao Yai. We’re told to relax the first night in the capital since we were to travel the next day to our main destination. All the shopping and sight seeing that we intend to do in Bangkok had to wait for when we go back to the city.

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During the Night Harvest Festival

                                                  Wine Grapes Picking at Village Farm Winery

Every year Khao Yai celebrates Wine Harvest Festival. The year we were there, we’ve visited all the wineries in the area. We visited PB Valley, Village Farm Winery, and Chateau Des Brumes. And for every winery, there is some wine tasting.

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After the trip to Khao Yai ended, we returned to Bangkok and went to the touristy stuff most foreigners do. We savored and explored the city, bought some souvenirs for ourselves as well as for our friends and family. But this trip, of course, wouldn’t be complete without trying the street food and local dishes they serve. As culinarians, we should be well exposed to different tastes and our palettes should have sampled cuisines all over the world.

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The ten days I’ve spent in Thailand went by too fast. I guess it’s always like that when you’re having so much fun, you never notice how quickly time goes by. It’s been three years now since I’ve been there, I’m wondering when I’ll be able to visit again.

Till then Thailand! 🙂

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Going Grand (Canyon)

One of the happiest feelings in the world is to breathe and just wallow in God’s creations. It invokes a peaceful feeling that allows you to fully appreciate and marvel in the beauty of what’s in front of you. Many times in the past, I have experienced this overwhelming emotion that rendered me completely in awe of the nature. A perfect example was my stint in the Loboc River. It was short and yet so sweet. And every time I recall the cruise, it brings about the same feeling I had while I was sitting there on the boat too grateful.I could not think of anything else as I let the wind brush against my face except dolce vita. It was very magical and a wonderful experience. It’s the kind of feeling that’s devoid of stress, of any drama just pure joy. Two years later, that sort of feeling resurfaced once more as I witnessed the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

2014 was the year that allowed me to travel and go to a lot of places that I used to only dream of seeing. I remember when I was 21, I’ve only thought of maybe one day traveling and stepping foot on the US soil. Maybe, the universe heard of it that somehow an opportunity presented its way to me and not only did I get to go for a vacation but I even had the chance to live and work there. Truth be told, even though I secretly wished for it to happen, I never thought that it would happen so soon.

When I arrived in the US then, I had my wishlist of where I wanted to go. They were mostly cliche tourist destinations but who cares, right?haha! All I wanted then was simply to explore. On top of my list was New York and then LA and Vegas. I must really be very lucky at that time because all the places I’ve wished to see, I was able to really see. Of course, on that list, the Grand canyon was included since I was already living in Arizona. And the very lucky me had finally the chance to go see it three months into my internship.

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The Grand Canyon

Around December of the same year, two of my roommates and I had all the same day off. Out of nowhere, we planned to go for a road trip. We decided it would be nice to see the Grand Canyon and to stop by Sedona along the way. To make it all possible though, we decided to rent a car to avoid any road mishap.  Jean, another friend of ours, came up with this idea and since my roommates were scared to drive on the freeway, Jean and I were the designated drivers. Jenlee, another close friend, also tagged along on a last minute notice. The plan was that I’d drive from Tucson to Phoenix and then Jean, from Phoenix to Sedona and then my turn again but somehow it ended up the other way around.HAHA! Talk about spontaneity.

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Quick stop on our way to Red Rock State Park

We left Tucson at 4:30 am so we’d be able to reach Grand Canyon around 9 am. But with all the restroom breaks along the way and the quick stop to get some drinks, the drive was stretched to until 11 am. When we arrived, we found out that it snowed the day before thus, most areas were still covered by snow. And may I just say that it was very very cold. I was too relieved that  the smart me brought the thermal jacket and wore two layers of clothes under.I thought with the elevation and the winter season, it will definitely make the state park very very cold. And who would want want to freeze to death?!  Not me.HAHA

Kidding aside, Grand Canyon turned out to be just as I expected. It looked like a live painting. It was picturesque and for which there’s no doubt of how breathtaking it was. I loved that I could stare at it and just be left captivated. The feeling actually can never be compared to anything. To witness and see it in person was sheer bliss. Back then, I thought, how nice it would have been if my sisters and brothers can see it too. As I stood there in awe of everything I was seeing, I could feel that life was really good. I could feel how lucky I was for what I have and what was given to me. I remember the feeling just too well. I still know of how overwhelmed and happy I was.

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Two years later, here I am still able to remember the feeling of happiness it brought upon me. The Lord has been very good to me during those times. I must say I was very very lucky. They say that when it rains, it really pours. I was very blessed indeed at that time and I couldn’t have asked for more. And you know, it was sort of weird because the more I felt blessed, the more blessings appeared. I can never put into words how good God was to me. And I was just really really beyond thankful.

I know two years have passed, but with all the things that have happened to me, I lost all the drive to write about the wonderful things. I was blinded and sidetracked. It’s only now that the drive to finish this entry emerged but what the heck, better late than never, right? HAHA

Thank you universe for allowing events to happen the way they did. I was given the wonderful opportunity to breathe and wallow in the beauty of nature. Thank you Lord for the endless opportunities that you have showered me to explore the world. Only You can do it that way. Only You can invoke such wonderful feeling of happiness.

Uncle Sam

Two months have already passed, another is about to pass by and I never really noticed. Time, indeed, is really fleeting. It only seems like yesterday when I arrived here in the Sonoran desert. I cant believe that my stay here in Uncle Sam’s is now three months shorter.

Few more months to count, I will be back to reality– to my homeland. I will say goodbye to this place eventually. Thus, I’ve decided that I will make the most out of my stay here. My only wish before my visa expires is to go and see places like LA and New York as well as popular tourist attractions (though cliche) such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Central Park and whatnot.

I wont be here for a long time. I am very much aware of that. I don’t even know when I will be able to step foot on US soil again when my internship is over. And if ever I want to come back, Id probably have to save a lot of money (we all know how expensive airfare is, right?). So while I am still here,  I’d like to savor this experience and learn so much from it. And in that note, Id like to say that I’ve made progress in that part.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly, I’ve made progress. And Its no longer just wishful thinking.HAHA! Two weeks ago, I was already able to see firsthand how breathtaking and picturesque the Grand Canyon is. No words, in fact would suffice to describe the scenery. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures. I will write about my Grand Canyon stint in my next blog entry (Please do anticipate.haha!).

Next year I am looking forward to more travel and road trip. On February I will have my first escapade of the year. I’ll be going to Vegas with my fellow J1s. I’m excited with what it has in store for us. Party every night, I guess? HAHA! Maybe. Maybe not. But rest assured, I will have fun.

Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.

Therefore, while I have the chance to travel, I should go for it,right? So definitely, I will.  Nine months may seem short but it won’t matter to the wanderlust in me. A toast to 2015!