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Just Can't Get Enough
No, Rick just can't get enough of Japan - which is great - I'm all for the incredible culture, awesome scenery, and not to mention the excellent cuisine!

Since we've allocated about ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Kanto region, Japan – September 30, 2006

A Second Home
Have been back in Shanghai for about two weeks now. Was planning to venture up north, but somehow the days have passed by quickly. Ran around a lot in terms of getting some stuff done before heading h... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Shanghai, China – September 14, 2006

Days to Remember
Spent the last few days in Greece on the big island of Peloponnese, specifically in the Venetian-influenced town of Nafplio. Have never been to Italy's Naples, but heard that Napflio is quite sim... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Peloponnese, Greece – August 30, 2006

Island Hopping, Quickly
Originally was planning to go down to the Peloponnese first to visit some more ruins before spending the last few days on a couple of Greek islands. But the plan got switched around. The bus from Lito... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Saronic Gulf Islands, Greece – August 27, 2006

Home of the Gods
Landed at the base of Mt. Olympus in the little town of Litohoro. People come here to trek this 2917m (9570 feet) mountain. Just came for the view. Looking at the Home of the Gods was breathtaking eno... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Mount Olympus, Greece – August 25, 2006

Greek Food Galore
Thessaloniki, one word: delicious.

Of all the places I've been in Greece so far, I'd have to say that Thessaloniki serves up the best Greek cuisine. The second largest city in Greece is k... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Thessaloniki, Greece – August 24, 2006

A Bit of Wishful Thinking is Granted
Ended up back in the Greek Alps in the serene little mountain village of Metsovo. If you want to see another side of Greece, this is definitely a place to stop at - a great place for some R&R and ... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Metsovo, Greece – August 23, 2006

Crowded Cross-cultural Corfu
Made it to Corfu, Odysseus' last stop of his long voyage before he went home. Most of Corfu Town turned out to be really modern until you get to the Old Town part. Cheap accommodation was very ha... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Corfu, Greece – August 22, 2006

A Morning's (mis-)adventures Leading to Ioannina
Planned to go to the island of Corfu today. But, missed the morning bus to Ioannina (and also the transfer to Igoumenitsa from Ioannina) due to Rick's directions (proves the theory again about gu... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Meteora And Ioannina, Greece – August 21, 2006

Sunday Travel Greek Time
Sundays are not the best time to travel from the smaller towns of Greece (possibly Fridays too, since they seem to have the same schedule as Sundays). Many of the buses are discontinued or reduced. Bu... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Meteora, Greece – August 20, 2006

L'esprit de Delphi
Since the taxi drivers in Athens have a notorious reputation, Rick and I decided to try out the public bus system. Took Bus No. 24 to Terminal Bus B from the bus stop sandwiched between the front of t... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Delphi, Greece – August 19, 2006

A Rejuvenation
After getting off a too long of an overnight ferry ride (docked three hours later after the presumed arrival time – an almost 15 hours journey from Samos Island to Athens), Rick and I metroed ... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Athens, Greece – August 18, 2006

A Day Trip on a Greek Island
Early morning, said my goodbyes to Turkey and headed off on a fast ferry to the Greek island of Samos, where Zeus's wife, goddess Hera was born. Samos is known for being a beautiful green island,... more
Posted by SUEP in Europe – Samos, Greece – August 16, 2006

Crazy Naked Man
We meandered over to another seaside town called Kusadasi from Selcuk. Quite touristy but still quite quaint, we decided to stay here a couple of days before departing for Greece. Because Rick wanted ... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Kusadasi, Turkey – August 15, 2006

The Granddaddy Of Ruins And One Of The Seven Ancient Wonders Of The World
We bussed into Selcuk in order to visit the nearby ancient ruins of Ephesus. You'd think I'd be ruin-ed out by now, but I'm actually not! I just find them fascinating (probably has to d... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Selcuk And Surrounds, Turkey – August 14, 2006

Naturally Calcified
Since Rick and I have made an attempt to visit every country's hot springs (if they have them of course), we decided to head to Pamukkale. Pamukkale, the land of Turkish therapeutic waters, also ... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Pamukkale, Turkey – August 13, 2006

A Bit More Relaxin' In A Small Seaside Town
Ancient ruins, great food at a decent price, not overly touristy, a laid-back feel, and by the sea describes the seaside town of Fethiye. Who could ask for anything more? Kicked back here for a few da... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Fethiye, Turkey – August 11, 2006

Cruising On The Turkish Mediterranean
What do you get when you put a bunch of people who can't really communicate with each other on one gulet? An amusingly surreal ride.

Since Rick and I discovered that July and August are the ab... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Turkish Mediterranean Coast, Turkey – August 9, 2006

Staying In A Hippie Commune
After a half-day bus ride, we got dropped off at a random roadside restaurant on top of a mountain. We then took a shuttle down the mountain into what looked like a small commune nested within a fores... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Olympos, Turkey – August 5, 2006

An Underground City And A Hometown-reminding Hike
The next day, we took a trip to see the Underground City. Housing underground proved to be much cooler than the temperature outside, which we welcomed as it was just too hot. The temperature nicely st... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Cappadocia And Surrounds, Turkey – August 4, 2006

Shroomed and Smurfed
Cappadocia, which is pretty much in the center of Turkey, is not just one city like I previously thought. It’s a collection of towns with quirky landscapes. Landed in the town of Goreme from a... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Cappadocia And Surrounds, Turkey – August 3, 2006

Istanbul, Constantinople
The next morning, started off on a full day of exploring Istanbul. The city surrounds what looks like two bodies of water – the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorous Strait. Many sections of the t... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Istanbul, Turkey – August 1, 2006

Ready To Go Explorin'
After three tries (twice in the morning, the last time after lunch), and because the third time is always the charm, we got overnight bus tickets to Cappadocia. After the ticket ordeal, we made our la... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Istanbul, Turkey – August 1, 2006

Hightailing It Out And The Interrogation
After a fitful night of sleep, the four of us hightailed it to the Tel Aviv airport. We all changed our flights. Andrea, Rick, and I were able to get a flight out to Istanbul that afternoon, while Jon... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Jerusalem, Israel – July 31, 2006

Turkish Hospitality
After landing in Istanbul, felt a huge sigh of relief from the past few days of commotion. Rick and I got our Turkish visas and backpacks and then set off for good ol' public transportation, the ... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Istanbul, Turkey – July 31, 2006

What a Turn of Events
On the fourth day in Israel, specifically, Old Jerusalem, journeyed into Bethlehem mainly to see the town and the birthplace of Christ. Plus, who wouldn't want to say he/she has been to Bethlehem... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – West Bank, Palestinian Territories – July 30, 2006

Holy Refuge
Flew into Tel Aviv airport not knowing what to expect from this country either. Again, have been warned many times about avoiding travel in Israel, especially at the time when we’re going. But... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Jerusalem, Israel – July 29, 2006

An Ancient City and a Modern One
After a short overnight rest in Wadi Musa, got up bright and early to see Petra. Petra is an amazing rose-pink-colored city that was built by Arab traders, the Nabataeans. The city is hidden from view... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Petra And Surrounds, Jordan – July 26, 2006

Crossing Jordan
Had no idea what to expect from the country Jordan after flying into the Amman airport from Cairo. The main thing I had heard about this country was how dangerous it is (synonymous to Syria and the re... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Madaba And Surrounds, Jordan – July 25, 2006

A Hot Desert Trek
More heat! We went on a desert trek with a Bedouin family in the Sinai Desert. The first day's destination was to the Bedouin family's oasis home. We passed gorgeous and varied desert landsc... more
Posted by SUEP in Africa – Sinai Desert, Egypt – July 23, 2006

A Powerful Message at the Top
Been feeling rather dull lately in the spiritual department. Was hoping to get spiritual, especially since the area I'm traveling in is considered as part of the Holy Land. Though day by day I&ac... more
Posted by SUEP in Africa – Mount Sinai, Egypt – July 21, 2006

Dahab, a Desert Town by a Beautiful Living Sea
Luckily, the ferry from Hurghada made it over to Sharm El-Sheikh without turning around from choppy waters (a very high percentage for not making it over exists). Got on a bus headed for Dahab after t... more
Posted by SUEP in Africa – Dahab, Egypt – July 20, 2006

Hurghada, A Gateway To The Red Sea
We overnighted in the seaside town of Hurghada, before taking the ferry over to Sharm El-Sheikh. Then we bussed to Dahab the next morning. Nothing much to do here – heard that a lot of the cor... more
Posted by SUEP in Africa – Hurghada, Egypt – July 18, 2006

Luxor, A Town Of Many Many Many Ancient Sites
Luxor turned out to be quite an interesting town dotted with ancient archaelogical sites. On the East Bank lies the touristy section, where it's pretty modernized. On the West Bank is where the l... more
Posted by SUEP in Africa – Luxor, Egypt – July 17, 2006

Felucca-ing Up the Nile
Rick was dreading this part of the trip (he didn't actually know what a felucca was at the time when we signed up), but I’m glad he actually went on the felucca with me. Of course, he had... more
Posted by SUEP in Africa – The Nile, Egypt – July 15, 2006

Aswan, In Nubian Country
We overnight-trained into the predominantly Nubian town of Aswan. Had my first physical contact with the famous Nile River that I've been reading about since I was a child. A bit tired from the f... more
Posted by SUEP in Africa – Aswan, Egypt – July 13, 2006

Cairo: In Africa And The Middle East At The Same Time
My good friend Andrea has landed in Egypt to join us for this part of the trip. Woot-woot!

I got accustomed to the different change of scenery of the Middle East via Dubai. Immersing myself into th... more
Posted by SUEP in Africa – Cairo, Egypt – July 10, 2006

Welcome to the Middle East!
Ahh, Dubai. The picture in my mind of the city is exactly not what I had imagined. To put it shortly, Dubai seems to be a city full of tall, expensive shiny buildings in the middle of a too hot and to... more
Posted by SUEP in Middle East – Dubai, United Arab Emirates – July 8, 2006

A Sweet Reminder
Taxied into the seaside town of Mt. Lavinia from the Colombo airport near midnight. The fresh salty sea air blowing onshore towards the guesthouse gave me a sweet reminder. Never knew how much I misse... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka – July 7, 2006

A Few Closing Notes On Traveling In Rajasthan, India
So far, it seems like many of the "backpacker" types of things we'd do in most countries, we have not done here in India. Hiring a driver is one prime example. Another is eating at a ho... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – General Tips, India – July 4, 2006

In Agra To See The Marble Wonder
At this point of the trip, both Rick and I were exhausted in terms of seeing any more forts, palaces, and monuments. The entrance fees for foreigners are quite high for the many forts, palaces, and mo... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Agra, India – July 3, 2006

Fatehpur Sikri, A Ghost Fort And Palace
I enjoyed greatly the palace-fort at Fatehpur Sikri. Designed by Persian emperor, Akbar the Great, he believed in the harmony of all religions, cultures, and peoples. He had representative symbols and... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Fatehpur Sikri, India – July 2, 2006

Entering The Golden Triangle Via Jaipur, The Pink City
Known as the Pink City and fortified by pink walls, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan. The maharajah of Jaipur had the town painted pink (though it's actually more of a terracotta color) to welc... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Jaipur, India – July 1, 2006

Udaipur, City Of Lakes
Udaipur is considered as the most romantic town in Rajasthan. Known as the City of Lakes, the town seems to be a very touristed area, even though I hardly saw any tourists around. Quite a few Internet... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Udaipur, India – June 28, 2006

Pushkar, A Hindu Pilgrimage Town
We passed through the Muslim pilgrimage town of Ajmer on the way to the Hindu pilgrimage town of Pushkar. The Brahma Temple is located here, where many Hindus come to visit. Pushkar is also known for ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Pushkar, India – June 28, 2006

Jodhpur, The Blue City
Okay, now it's melting/dying hot. Close to 50 degrees Celsius in the desert town, Jodhpur is known as the Blue City. Originally the Brahmins (upper caste) painted their houses blue, a holy color.... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Jodhpur, India – June 26, 2006

Ranakpur, A Change Of Scenery
On the way to Ranakpur, where the famous Jain temples are located, the scenery changed from desert landscape to forest. Definitely a breather away from the highest temperatures I've ever experien... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Ranakpur, India – June 26, 2006

The Golden City
Reached, I think, one of the hottest places on earth. Jaisalmer was 47 degrees Celsius (close to 117 degrees Farenheit!!) when we drove in. A pure and true desert town and also on the caravan trade ro... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Jaisalmer, India – June 25, 2006

Getting Hot Over Here In Bikaner
The next town, Bikaner, turned out to be much bigger and chaotic. Being closer to the Thar Desert makes it a whole lot hotter and drier (40+ degrees Celsius) than Delhi and Mandawa. Bikaner is the hom... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Bikaner, India – June 23, 2006

A Bit Of Culture Shock
Okay, I must admit that I'm glad to have gone the driver route. Especially since this is the hottest time of the year and also the lowest season for tourism. The heat can dehydrate one really fas... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Delhi, India – June 22, 2006

Mandawa, A City Of Havelis (Living Art Quarters)
We entered the small desert town of Mandawa to see intricately detailed and designed havelis. Havelis are old homes that are pretty much living art museums. A guide showed us some of the open havelis ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Mandawa, India – June 22, 2006

Gosh, preparing for a trip to India took a bit of research and planning (seriously, it seems like every other page in LP India has some text on warnings and how to avoid certain scams). After talking ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Delhi, India – June 21, 2006

Soaking in Thai Mineral Waters
From Krabi, took a 7-hour local bus ride to Ranong, the hot springs center and rainiest area in Thailand. Foreigners come here mainly to do a visa run over to Kawthoung in Myanmar, in order to extend ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Ranong, Thailand – June 20, 2006

A Day in Southern Myanmar
Longtailed-boated into Kawthoung (aka, Victoria Point) for a day to get a taste of Myanmar. Rick met a local kid named Ali who showed us around. Quite a few markets and shops dot the streets in the li... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Kawthoung, Myanmar – June 20, 2006

Along the Andaman and Gulf of Thailand Coasts
Originally wanted to overland it all the way down to Indonesia from Bangkok. But that didn't happen. Rick wanted to rest after Tibet and before heading over to India. Also both of us somehow cont... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Coasts of Thailand, Thailand – June 19, 2006

Boom Boom Bangkok
Bangkok is one city that always seems to have a big celebration going on. The first time here, it was during Songkran or the Thai New Year. Songkran was marked by water (sometimes mixed in with talc) ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Bangkok, Thailand – June 3, 2006

City of Hot Peppers, Teahouses, and Pandas
Back in muggy China again after a pretty scary, bumpy plane ride from Lhasa over some pretty high mountains (doesn't help either if you've got the plane crash scenes from the television seri... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Chengdu, China – June 1, 2006

A Route To Finding Tibet
After talking to quite a few travel agencies (the ones by the budget hotels, hostels, and hotels where most foreigners stay at, and even some Chinese ones) and travelers, we decided to forego the trad... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Lhasa, China – May 28, 2006

On the Way to the Great Canyon of Yarlung Tsampo
A lot of the places and towns we drove through, actually all, were not listed in the Tibet section of LP China (which in turn is teaching me to rely on that book less). Didn't have LP Tibet with ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Eastern Tibet, China – May 28, 2006

Holy Sites
Ornately detailed and haunting...

Jokhang Temple

Posted by SUEP in Asia – Lhasa, China – May 25, 2006

Lhasa, A City Of New And Old
Been wanting to go to Tibet for a very long time. I've heard from quite a few travelers, friends, and even my brother, that I may be disappointed due to much Chinese-influence and modernization t... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Lhasa, China – May 24, 2006

Enjoyed the scenic ride to Zhongdian, also known as Shangri-la (the town was renamed). Passed by quite a few minority villages, gorgeous nature scenery, and even the entrance to Tiger Leaping Gorge (a... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Zhongdian, China – May 22, 2006

Loud Lijiang
At first, hardly saw any tourists and locals while walking from the bus station to Lijiang Old Town. Though once inside the old town, weaving through the hordes of massive tour groups to look for a gu... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Lijiang, China – May 20, 2006

Been traveling for more than half a year now and I'm apprehending the fact that I may have to go back and start looking for a job. I'm not even sure if I want to go back to the same line of ... more
Posted by SUEP in North America – SF Bay Area, United States – May 20, 2006

Dali Removed
Set off to Dali the next morning. Dali used to be a country within a country, called the Nanzhao Kingdom. The Bai minority people ruled the four-walled city with four main gates before the Hans took o... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Dali, China – May 16, 2006

Kunming, An Oxymoron Almost
To my surprise, Kunming is a pretty laid-back Chinese city, which is an oxymoron almost. Walking out of the airport, we expected the hustle bustle of a modernized city, a plethora of people, and of co... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Kunming, China – May 15, 2006

Floating Village On Lake Tonle Sap
Like the floating villages of Uros on Lake Titicaca in Peru, Cambodia also has their own version on Lake Tonle Sap. The difference is that the village consists of houses and buildings made of wood and... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Lake Tonle Sap, Cambodia – May 12, 2006

Angkor Wat
Flew into and overnighted in Siem Reap for a few days to visit the breathtaking Angkor Wat. Why would anyone want to destroy this architectural masterpiece (which the Khmer Rouge tried to do)???

&l... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Siem Reap, Cambodia – May 11, 2006

Black and White: Color
Phnom Penh can have a mindful effect on you. I feel that it’s a privilege to be able to travel around Cambodia nowadays. Just a little over 30 years ago, Cambodia was in a tragic state of terr... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Phnom Penh, Cambodia – May 8, 2006

Crossing Into Cambodia And Changing Currency
If you plan to change all your dong currency into American dollars or Cambodian riels (as Cambodia uses both types of currencies) at the border, make sure you count it all. If you're in a rush, c... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Vietnam-Cambodia Border Crossing, Cambodia – May 7, 2006

Ho Chih Minh City (aka Saigon)
Ho Chih Minh City is quite a contrast to Hanoi. Being a much bigger city with a much bigger population (6 million registered, but really around 11-12 million – which is almost the population s... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Ho Chih Minh City, Vietnam – May 6, 2006

Taking A Breather In Hoi An
Hoi An offers a much slower pace of life in Viet Nam. Less traffic and noise, not too much city, close to beaches, basically, a more peaceful setting. Am Unesco World Heritage site, Hoi An is also ver... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Hoi An, Vietnam – May 5, 2006

The more I travel in Viet Nam, the more it feels like I'm seeing China for the fifth time. There's an incredible amount of Chinese influence in the country, from the architecture to art to c... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Hue, Vietnam – May 1, 2006

Annoying Hanoi
Landed in a city that's almost completely opposite of the towns we've just passed through. LP SE Asia was right on about Viet Nam (in general) being a shock to one's senses (though not ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Hanoi, Vietnam – April 29, 2006

Dreamy Halong Bay
Ahh, Halong Bay. One of the places I've been wanting to visit in Viet Nam after watching Anthony Bourdain's episode on Vietnamese cuisine.

The next morning, we got on a boat for a relaxin... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Halong Bay, Vietnam – April 27, 2006

Good Morning Viet Nam!
Said goodbyes to the Lao Loum village and bussed across the border into Viet Nam. Started in the mountains on the Ho Chih Minh trail, which changed to little towns and rice paddy fields and farmland. ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Laos-Vietnam Border Crossing, Vietnam – April 26, 2006

Nutty Ninh Binh
Overnighted in Ninh Binh before an excursion to Halong Bay. On the way, noticed the scenery changing from endless fields of green rice paddies to more endless fields of green rice paddies but with sli... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Ninh Binh, Vietnam – April 26, 2006

Happy Homestay
Passed through the Annamite Mountains to get close for border crossing into Viet Nam the next day. The limestone mountains are quite picturesque and somewhat surreal. Made me wonder if they look simil... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Hinboun Prefecture, Laos – April 25, 2006

Capital Vientane
The slow-paced lifestyle experienced since the Mekong cruise to Luang Prabang made it feel like I was there for a good month or so, even though it had only been around five days. So, it felt like bein... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Vientane, Laos – April 24, 2006

Lazing About in Luang Prabang
Reached the sleepy and peaceful riverside town of Luang Prabang in the afternoon of the second day of the Mekong river long-tailed boat cruise. Luang Prabang is quite a laid-back city without the big ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Luang Prabang, Laos – April 23, 2006

Border Crossing Across the Mekong River
From Chiang Khong, we crossed the Mekong River into the Laos town of Huay Xai. It was an interesting experience changing baht into kip - you get lots of it. After all the border crossing procedures, w... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Thailand-Laos Border Crossing, Laos – April 21, 2006

Took a long minivan ride to Chiang Khong, a little town which borders Lao People's Democratic Republic. The town is quite small and surrounded by lush greenery and lots of mosquitoes. Chiang Khon... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Chiang Khong, Thailand – April 19, 2006

An Elephant Ride Thru Hilltribe Territory
Chiang Mai is a town especially known for Thailand's ethnic minority groups. Most of these ethnic groups originated from Tibet awhile back.

Before I got there, I imagined Chiang Mai to be som... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Chiang Mai, Thailand – April 18, 2006

Bustling Bangkok
If you've seen the opening scene from the movie, The Beach, then you've probabl... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Bangkok, Thailand – April 14, 2006

Shanghai Spring
After coming from a warm and sunny place (Rio de Janeiro in the midst of summer), to a month of nonstop, cold rainy weather in northern California, it was nice to finally reach a part of the world tha... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Shanghai, China – April 7, 2006

A Few Tips In Traveling South America
- Internet cafes exist in every city/town I've been to in South America and are relatively cheap. This was a change, coming from the Far East/East Asia, where I found that they were hard to find.... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – General Tips, Brazil – March 1, 2006

Rio De Janeiro, A Beautiful, Diverse City
One thing I love about Brazil, and you can really see it in Rio de Janeiro, is the diversity of the people. You see people of all colors, ethnicities, and backgrounds here, and they all seem to get al... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – February 27, 2006

Winging It In Rio De Janeiro During Carnaval
Rick and I had one more day in Rio de Janeiro without any reservations of any kind before heading back home to take care of our taxes (yay). The main reason for staying a day later is that I wanted to... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – February 27, 2006

Getting Away From It All
If you really want to get away from it all, namely the big cities, then Ilha Grande is the place to go. Ilha Grande, an island off the southeastern coast of Brazil, is an hour and a half ferry ride pl... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Ilha Grande, Brazil – February 24, 2006

Parati in two words: LOVE IT.

I would love to stay here for a very long while. Can't get enough of this beach paradise. But Rick and I are planning to head to Rio de Janeiro for Carnaval in a ... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Parati, Brazil – February 20, 2006

Sao Paulo
I've always wanted to see what Saõ Paulo was like. I'm glad I got to stop by and walk around the city center for a bit before continuing onto Parati.

Rick and I came into S... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Sao Paulo, Brazil – February 19, 2006

Foz Do Iguacu, Beautiful Falls But Too Many Tourist Traps Here
Crossed into Brazil from Salto, Uruguay and landed into the town of Foz do Iguaçu. Mainly here to see Iguassu Falls from both the Argentinean side and the Brazilian side.

Entering the... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Foz Do Iguacu, Brazil – February 18, 2006

Too Hot For Hot Springs
Stopped into the town of Salto from Montevideo for an overnight, on the way to Iguassu Falls. There are thermal baths nearby, but Rick and I didn't go to any of them. Too damn hot here!

Posted by SUEP in South America – Salto, Uruguay – February 15, 2006

I´m too sure on what to say about the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo. We arrived on a Sunday and mostly everything (like mostly everywhere else in South America) was closed. Sadly, saw a ... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Montevideo, Uruguay – February 14, 2006

A Quiet Stay
Took the ferry from Buenos Aires over to a Portuguese-influenced little port town called Colonia del Sacramento in the country of Uruguay. Not much to do around here besides riding a moped around the ... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay – February 11, 2006

Full of Life
Buenos Aires is one awesome city! Situated next to a mouth of a muddy-brown river that opens to the ocean, B.A. not only has a fabulous nightlife but is a shopper's paradise. Where else can you b... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Buenos Aires, Argentina – February 10, 2006

Bariloche, A Touristy Mountain-Lake Town
Arrived in Bariloche, expecting it to be even better than San Martin de Los Andes. Bariloche, another Swiss-like mountain and lake resort town, was nice but I really didn't feel that it was bette... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Bariloche, Argentina – February 5, 2006

Feels Like Home
Crossed the border from Chile into another small mountain lake resort area in upper Patagonia, Argentina. San Martin de Los Andes is a bit bigger than Pucon, and felt a whole lot more like home. The t... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – San Martin de Los Andes, Argentina – February 2, 2006

A Mountain Retreat
Felt much more relaxed when entering Pucon from the bigger busy cities. Pucon, a little mountain lake resort area in upper Patagonia in Chile, is basically a town for outdoors enthusiasts. You can hik... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Pucon, Chile – January 31, 2006

Santiago, Vina Del Mar, & Valparaiso
Santiago looks pretty similar to some of the cities in the United States. One unique observation is that they have ice cream stores everywhere (ice cream is a weakness I have)!

<... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Santiago And Surrounds, Chile – January 29, 2006

La Serena, A Chilean Coastal Town
La Serena reminded me of some of the coastal towns in northern California. Cool and misty, overcast in the morning, then clear and sunny in the afternoon. I enjoyed sauntering around slowly in La Sere... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – La Serena, Chile – January 25, 2006

San Pedro De Atacama, A Hot And Sunny Place (finally!)
San Pedro de Atacama is a little border town in Chile. Lots and lots of backpackers here. I loved the weather in San Pedro - dry, hot, sunny with blue skies - just like California in the heart of summ... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – San Pedro De Atacama, Chile – January 23, 2006

Crossing the Salt Flats
Uyuni, a little town right close to the salt flats of Bolivia, was quite warm and quaint. I enjoyed this little town even though I caught a cough-cold (I think it was a mild case of bronchitis, not su... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Salar de Uyuni and Surrounds, Bolivia – January 21, 2006

Potosi, A Silver Mining Town
Potosi, a little silver mining town in Bolivia, is also the highest city of its size in the world in terms of elevation. I found Potosi somewhat depressing. Maybe it was because of the coldness, being... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Potosi, Bolivia – January 16, 2006

Sucre And A Visit To Tarabuco Market
We ended up staying in Sucre for quite a few days. Sucre, the capital of Bolivia, is quite quaint and clean in comparison to La Paz. Quite touristy too. After seeing so many museums and colonial build... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Sucre, Bolivia – January 15, 2006

Border Crossing & La Paz
Border crossing into Bolivia was a lot easier and safer than it was from Ecuador into Peru. We took the bus, which dropped us off first at the Peru migration office and a money exchange place. I chang... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – La Paz, Bolivia – January 9, 2006

Floating Villages
Puno is Puno - a little lakeside town by Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. There's nothing much to do in Puno except wander around, and try a few snacks here and there. The ... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Puno and Lake Titicaca, Peru – January 7, 2006

Mission Accomplished, Really
Unbelievable terrain.

Unbelievable spiritual path.

In the mist, upon finishing the long trek, an astounding view of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu (the tall peak behind Machu ... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Machu Picchu, Peru – January 5, 2006

The Journey
The next morning, after a deep and soundful sleep, I was the first of my group to wake up at dawn. I think it must have been af... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Inca Trail, Peru – January 4, 2006

Begin A Journey
To our group of six including me, our guide prepped us for the Inca Trail at a hostal we were all staying at in Cusco. He kept on re-emphasizing that this would be a s... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Inca Trail, Peru – January 3, 2006

If you're ever in Ollantaytambo, I highly recommend visiting the ruins there - even if you're going on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. If you are under 25 years and have a student ID card, y... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Ollantaytambo, Peru – December 30, 2005

My First Taste of Cuy
The towns just keep on getting more beautiful and more historic, the more Rick and I travel in Peru. Despite the touristiness of the city, Cusco is stunning. (Travelers come to Cusco solely as a jump ... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Cusco, Peru – December 29, 2005

A Not So Very Peaceful Monastery
Back in Arequipa, Rick and I had a full day to rest before heading off to Cusco. We welcomed the rest. After we were both done resting, as you can only rest so much, decided to go visit the LP South A... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Arequipa, Peru – December 27, 2005

Unbelievable Sites at Unbelievable Altitudes
Spent Christmas Eve in Arequipa, a beautiful colonial town close to the famed deepest canyon in the world, Colca Canyon. I enjoyed Arequipa even more than Lima. The city has got some of a long ago and... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Colca Canyon and Surrounds, Peru – December 26, 2005

Poor Man's Galapagos, Pisco Sour, Sandboarding, The Nasca Lines, And Pre-Incan Mummies
From Lima, for several days before Christmas Eve, we traveled through the cities of Pisco, Ica, Huacachina, and Nasca.

In Pisco, we took a boat trip in the morning to Isla Ballestas, otherwise know... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Pisco And Surroundings, Peru – December 23, 2005

I really enjoyed Lima. Before coming here, I heard all sorts of stories, such as how dangerous it is and that you can't walk anywhere without getting mugged, and that there will be street childre... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Lima, Peru – December 20, 2005

By The Sea In Mancora
We landed at a Peruvian beach resort town named Mancora as our first stop in Peru. Mancora is a laid-back, cute little seaside town, littered with surfers. The town consist... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Mancora, Peru – December 18, 2005

Border Crossing From Ecuador Into Peru
Crossing the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border was an interesting experience. Rick and I went with a guide and several other foreigners to do this. After being dropped off at the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border b... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Ecuador-Peru Border Crossing, Peru – December 14, 2005

Ecuadorian Baths & Colonial Towns
We took the three hours bus ride from Quito to Banos. Banos, meaning "Baths" in Spanish, is a quaint little town right smack in a valley surrounded by both dry, bro... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Banos, Ecuador – December 13, 2005

Outside Quito, Into The Country
We visited a few spots today outside Quito. Felt very much like the countryside and farmlands, as these small towns seem to be more peaceful and laid-back. Fresher air too - Quito buses bust out lots ... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Quito Surrounds, Ecuador – December 9, 2005

jp = japanese, sp = spanish, ch = chinese, fr = french

Ariga..gracias = Than(jp)..Thank you(sp)

Si, duo sao?..cuanto cuesta? = Yes(sp), how much(ch)?..How much?(sp)

El lago, namae? = The lake... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Quito, Ecuador – December 9, 2005

More Quito Highlights
Taking the cable car up Telerifiqo, around 13,177 feet or so, you can get a view of all of Quito from north to south (you won't need to walk around a hill to see sections of Quito, like you do on... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Quito, Ecuador – December 8, 2005

Colorful Quito
Quito turned out to be a town sitting on top of a plateau/mountain, and then sprawling into valleys. Buildings are quite colorful and some of them reminded me of parts of Los Angeles and San Miguel to... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Quito, Ecuador – December 7, 2005

Made It To Quito, Somewhat
So Rick and I made it to Quito via a red-eye flight on American Airlines (from the west coast with a stopover in Miami). Our backpacks didn't - guess we will really be minimalist backpacking now,... more
Posted by SUEP in South America – Quito, Ecuador – December 5, 2005

Colonial Architecture In Macau
Macau, once a colony of Portugal, still retains much Portuguese influence. A day trip can be made to this interesting city by the water via ferries from Hong Kong.

Posted by SUEP in Asia – Macau, Macau – November 14, 2005

Hong Kong: A City Literally By The Sea
Some parts of Hong Kong reminded me of the Chinatowns in the US. I think it was because Cantonese is widely spoken here. Restaurants, dried seafood and traditional herbal shops line the streets as wel... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Hong Kong, Hong Kong – November 13, 2005

A Few Tips For Traveling Taipei And Surrounding Areas
- Take the Air Bus from the airport (100 NT or $3 USD). Taxis can cost from 1600 NT (around $50 USD) and up to get to Taipei central.
- The Taipei Mass Rapid Transit is very easy to take and very con... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – General Tips, Taiwan – November 12, 2005

Getting To Ninefen
Rick: I'm feeling a little better, let's go to Jiufen today.

Me: Okay, sounds good.

Posted by SUEP in Asia – Jiufen, Taiwan – November 11, 2005

Lost In Yamingshan
One day, Rick and I went to look for this public bathhouse (Matsu Village), recommended by LP Taiwan, in Yamingshan. Yamingshan is just up the mountain from Beitou. So we took the bus up this windy ro... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Yamingshan, Taiwan – November 10, 2005

Recuperating In Beitou
Rick's immune system blew a fuse after coming from China and he ended up recuperating for most of the time in Beitou, a therapeutic hot springs area near Taipei. I found it quite a funny thing to... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Beitou, Taiwan – November 9, 2005

Taipei Night Markets - Bring Your Tastebuds
Taipei is inundated with night markets - they are everywhere! The night markets are an excellent place to try the hundreds of different types of Taiwanese street food. Various street snacks range from... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Taipei, Taiwan – November 8, 2005

A Few Tips For Traveling China
I found traveling in China to be quite rough, so my advice is best to be prepared. A lot of it was due to traveling in an environment that is bombarded with pollution (smog, smokers, other colorful ch... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – General Tips, China – November 7, 2005

Taiwan: A Warm Island
Flying into Taipei from Shanghai with a stopover in Hong Kong, I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know if it was going to be a mini-China, a mini-Japan, like Hong Kong, or a combination. Turn... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Taipei, Taiwan – November 7, 2005

A Day Out Of A Possible Movie Scene
Decided to head to Shanghai for a flight to somewhere warmer. By this time, Rick was not getting any better from his bronchial bug(s). So we headed off in a rush to the Suzhou train station after view... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Suzhou, China – November 5, 2005

Suzhou: Garden Central
Took the 2 1/2 hour soft seat train from Nanjing to Suzhou. Suzhou is known for its many beautiful classical stone gardens as well as other types, quality silk, tasty food, and beautiful women.

Ar... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Suzhou, China – November 4, 2005

Ladybugs At Sun Yat-sen Memorial In Nanjing
In Nanjing, we visited the Sun Yat-sen Memorial. An unbelievable number of steps to climb to the very top, but the view was breathtaking and worth it. While I was taking a picture in front of the main... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Nanjing, China – November 3, 2005

A Cancelled Flight Situation
Made it to the Xian airport in time for the flight at 1pm. Unfortunately, the flight got cancelled and the next one was scheduled at 6:50pm. A big angry mob of locals ensued quite quickly in front of ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Xian, China – October 29, 2005

A Breath of Air
So, I arrived sick as a dog by the overnight train from Beijing to Xian. I'm sure by now I've picked up all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and not to mention some funky chemical pollutants from... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Xian, China – October 27, 2005

Xian As A City
Xian is known for its intact city walls and drum and bell towers. The city is also home to a few ethnic minorities, like the Hui. A majority of the Hui are Chinese-Muslim and live in the Moslem Quarte... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Xian, China – October 27, 2005

Taking A Local Tour Geared Towards Foreigners
Before going to China, I was strongly advised to go on a tour geared towards foreigners, so I can escape the pains of organizing everything on my own. So, I took one. All I can say is one is enough to... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Beijing, China – October 23, 2005

Beijing: Under Construction
Visited many of the main sites in Beijing and found that quite a few are under construction for the Olympics in 2008.

Posted by SUEP in Asia – Beijing, China – October 22, 2005

Beijing: Not All Under Construction
Although many of the sites are being renovated for the Bejing Olympics in 2008, many of the sections of these sites are still open for viewing.

Posted by SUEP in Asia – Beijing, China – October 22, 2005

Zhujiajiao: An Ancient Water Canal Town
Less than a couple of hours by bus away from Shanghai, I visited a preserved water canal town called Zhujiajiao. Many of the Shanghainese consider this place as the countryside, which I found pretty f... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Zhujiajiao, China – October 19, 2005

Old Shanghai
Decided to wander around the "old" parts of Shanghai today. Well, I guess the Bund would be considered old too, and I did that the other day... Anyway, headed off to this renovated part of t... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Shanghai, China – October 17, 2005

Have You Been Shanghai-ed Lately?

tasting shiao long bao (crab and pork dumplings filled with soup, you have... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Shanghai, China – October 15, 2005

Akihabara Police
For the last day in Japan and Tokyo, I was hoping we would be able to explore more of Tokyo. First we walked to the Imperial Palace (note that it's mostly closed, but the gardens are open everyda... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Tokyo, Japan – October 14, 2005

A Few Tips For Traveling Japan
- Japan Guide is very, very useful in terms of planning your trip. I also used the Let's Go Japan guide an... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – General Tips, Japan – October 14, 2005

Going For A Ride In Shanghai
Flew into Shanghai from Tokyo and took the crazy No. 2 bus from the airport to Jinan Temple. Too bad I couldn't get any good shots of the ride. I was sitting in the front, right behind the bus dr... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Shanghai, China – October 14, 2005

Kakunodate: Samurai District
We went to Kakunodate to explore the preserved samurai district. Stopping by the day before on the way down from Tazawako would have been a better idea, as it is only 15 minutes from there. The samura... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Kakunodate, Japan – October 13, 2005

Ginza Nightlife
We checked in at Tokyu-Stay Higashi-Ginza again. This time I booked a bigger room, which was well worth it (only $5 more, should've done it for the first night too). The room was much more like a... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Tokyo, Japan – October 13, 2005

Tazawako: Kogen Bus Stop
We left Yamanoyado Bekkan pretty late at around 11:15 am due to missing the courtesy bus at 9:30am to the Kogen bus stop (taxi to the Tazawako JR Station is $60!). We finally got to the Kogen bus stop... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Tazawako, Japan – October 12, 2005

Back In City-Suburb
We kicked back for the rest of the day. Ended up wandering around the shopping area which had a mini-Harajuku (young people dressed up in anime/goth/etc. costumes). We then had a nice Japanese-version... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Sendai, Japan – October 12, 2005

A Sleepy Fishing Town
Had some extra time before heading off to our first onsen and ryokan experience in Tazawako. So we decided to make a mini-excursion to Matsushima Bay, noted by Japan as one of the three most scenic sp... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Matsushima Bay, Japan – October 11, 2005

Tazawako: Traditional Ryokan And Onsen
After sleepy Matsushima Bay, we headed back to Sendai, grabbed the backpacks and got on a bullet train heading for Tazawako – this time reserved! Tazawako is known for its deepest lake in Japa... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Tazawako, Japan – October 11, 2005

Kyoto: Do Not Book In A Crap Location
The morning of the second day in Kyoto was a bit messed up in terms of timing. Being so used to the fast and on-time bullet trains, taking the bus towards the next Kyoto accommodation was not so much ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Kyoto, Japan – October 10, 2005

Himeji Town & Castle
The town of Himeji seemed to be a bit gray and dreary. Himeji town was very much a suburban sprawl with a main street of shops and a couple of malls leading to the castle. On the way to the Unesco her... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Himeji, Japan – October 10, 2005

Sendai, City Suburb
Arrived in Sendai during rush hour with no reserved seats, which meant standing or sitting in between the trains the whole way. Sendai Station was quite huge as well, but not as dazzling as Kyoto Stat... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Sendai, Japan – October 10, 2005

Takayama Autumn Festival
After another filling breakfast, we headed for the Takayama Autumn Festival held at Yatakaikan Temple.

Posted by SUEP in Asia – Hida Takayama, Japan – October 9, 2005

Kyoto, A City Of Contrasts
Kyoto Station turned out to be one huge mall as well – the crowds were unbelievable. Walking forth from the station, I found Kyoto to be a city of contrasts. In my mind, I was expecting Kyoto ... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Kyoto, Japan – October 9, 2005

Viewing Shirakawa-go Ogimachi From The Lookout Point
After breakfast, we took a small hike up to the lookout point in some light rain. You can see the whole village from there – serenely gorgeous in the morning mist.

Posted by SUEP in Asia – Shirakawa-go Ogimachi, Japan – October 8, 2005

Hida Takayama
Left around 10am and took the two-hour bus ride back to Takayama. After checking into another minshuku (not gassho-zukuri style), more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Hida Takayama, Japan – October 8, 2005

Tsujiki Fish Market
After a great night... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Tokyo, Japan – October 7, 2005

Shirakawa-go Ogimachi, A Unesco World Heritage Site
After the four-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo to Takayama, we took a two hours bus ride through th... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Shirakawa-go Ogimachi, Japan – October 7, 2005

Tokyo Ni Ikimasu!
Finally arrived in Tokyo around four in the afternoon after a ten-hour flight via Japan Airlines. Very surprised by the service – excellent – JAL made sure you were well-hydrated as we... more
Posted by SUEP in Asia – Tokyo, Japan – October 6, 2005

Under The Cozumelian Sea
The first time I dove in Cozumel, I wasn't too impressed. The reefs were small and everything was in different shades of blue (in contrast, in addition to big reef formations, walls, kelp forest,... more
Posted by SUEP in North America – Cozumel, Mexico – July 17, 2005

Staying In Cozumel
Posted by SUEP in North America – Cozumel, Mexico – July 12, 2005

How To Avoid A Ride From Hell
Even though it's been only my second time going, traveling to Cozumel so far has been an adventure every time. And I'm referring to just getting to the island off the eastern/Mayan Riviera c... more
Posted by SUEP in North America – Mayan Riviera, Mexico – July 11, 2005

Paradisus Playa Conchal And Costa Rica
When we decided to go to Costa Rica, we didn't know what to expect. In addition, some of my friends and relatives went to Costa Rica and said it was so-so. So my personal expectations were kind o... more
Posted by SUEP in North America – Guanacaste Region, Costa Rica – August 6, 2003

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