High Above the Clouds

Before embarking on my next journey above the clouds, I wanted to share this photo I took en route to Costa Rica. To look up to the sky and see the clouds is one thing, but to be amongst the clouds and eventually high above them is an even greater feeling. From the window seat, I was able to look out to see the right wing of the plane and look below to see the bed of fluffy white clouds.

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it."

Anyway, in a couple hours I will be headed to the airport to go on my next adventure! I will be flying to London and exploring the UK and beyond... We'll figure out plans day by day! I'll try to update daily, but I'm not sure how easy it will be. Until then, ta-ta!

Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades, California, USA

Along the Pacific Coast Highway, hugging the Pacific Ocean Coast, is the Getty Villa. It is an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and culture of the ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. Walking through the grounds of the Villa is a mixture of outdoor architecture and indoor arts. This photo was of the main courtyard surrounding a crystal clear blue pool with statues in it. It was built as a secondary location to the Getty Museum in Brentwood.

Rainbow over Iguazu Falls, Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

It was wintertime in Argentina, but it sure didn't feel like it. At Puerto Iguazu in the northeast corner of Argentina, are one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. The 275 falls stretch along the Iguazu river, surrounded by a lush, green environment. The falls border three different countries: Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Even as rain drops came down and our boat got so close to the waterfall that the power of the falls splashed water directly at us, we were still lucky enough to witness the sun shining. As the sun came out and we got off the boat, dripping wet, we were able to see a beautiful rainbow just over the water. It was an amazing sight!

Puppy, Nemo, Union City, California, USA

When my mom first got our puppy, Nemo, last year, this is one of the first photos I got of him in our front yard. He's a white Bichon Frise with light brown spots. Naming him was a joint brainstorming effort between my brother and I. He is now a lot bigger (comparatively), and still just as playful as ever!

Birds Flying High, Carlsbad, California, USA

Flying high above the ocean, I was able to get a photo of this bird with its wings spread gracefully against the blue sky. Around this stop on the the way to the Carlsbad Flower Fields, there were plenty of birds circling around and landing on the ground, exploring the area.

Waves coming to Shore, Laguna Beach, California, USA

Along the Laguna Beach coastline, rocks are scattered along the sand and each wave brings water crashing onto the rocks. It was an overcast day, but the area was still great for relaxing and enjoying the view!

Georgetown Fountain, Washington, D.C., USA

Unlike so many other fountains I've seen during wintertime, the Georgetown Fountain is actually on and flowing magnificently. The water even shoots up through frozen areas of the fountain and makes it that more interesting to look at. On a detour on the way to the movies, we ended up at this plaza, with shops and restaurants surrounding a multi-tiered fountain overlooking the Potomac River. Freezing temperatures weren't going to stop this fountain from going strong! Loved it!

Making S'Mores over an Open Fire (Coals), Dockweiler Beach, California, USA

There were no more available pits at the beach so what else were we to use?! The coals for the grill were warm and glowing and provided the necessary heat to toast our marshmallows. Add some chocolate pieces and sandwich it between two graham crackers and there you go! S'mores :)

Tomatoes, Santa Monica Farmer's Market, Santa Monica, California, USA

Even though I don't like eating vegetables, it doesn't mean I can't enjoy photographing them! Early on a Saturday morning at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market on the Third Street Promenade, each booth had its own collection of fresh produce and flowers, along with other items like cheeses, pistachios, seafood and bread. These were some colorful little tomatoes we passed by. They almost look good enough for me to want to eat them. Almost.

[Update] Yes, I'm well aware that tomatoes are scientifically called fruits. You get the idea!

"The Choices in your Hands", Cool Globes Exhibition, Los Angeles, California, USA

The choice is in your hands to fight global warming. This is the message being portrayed by artist, Paula Clayton, on the spherical canvas she had to work with. The Cool Globes Exhibition travels throughout the US in order to spread the word about ways to make a change. In LA, there are over 50 colorful globes, each with a meaning and message of its own, but the underlying purpose is similar - fight global warming and save the environment. This globe was painted and adorned with a rich mixture of colors and hands were painted on it to portray what small change one individual can do to make a difference. This unique art project is both educational and exciting to look at!

"Its not about everyone doing everything. Its about everyone doing something." -Environmental Activist Laurie David

Interior Design at Anthropologie, Santa Monica, California, USA

Usually when you step into the Anthropologie store on 3rd Street Promenade, the goal is to look for the perfect dress or blouse or cute accessory. Sure, I did that too, but after not finding anything (surprisingly), I started realizing my surroundings and discovered the beauty and true creativity of the interior design of the store. I meandered through the racks of clothing and found many interesting things to photograph. On the first floor, this huge clock was on the wall with a colorful striped wallpaper over the red brick wall that was under it. The timing wasn't exactly accurate (actually hours off), but who is using it to keep time anyways???

Wahkeenah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Visible from the highway, the name of this waterfall comes from a Pacific Northwest Native American word for "most beautiful". As we drove by, we were captivated by its beauty and pulled over into the parking lot. From high up, the water came flowing down over the rocks towards the bottom of it. As we photographed the waterfall, several raindrops came down, but still a great view!
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Reflections of the Palm Trees, San Pedro, California, USA

On our quest to find the perfect spot to photograph the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, we stumbled upon this area along the water just overlooking the bridge. There was a pool of water that wonderfully captured reflections of the lights and the palm trees along the water. Along with the water show just preceding this shot, it was a great place to go see at night!
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Riding along the Beach, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

As we lie on the sand, soaking in the sun, this man pushed his cart by us, asking if we wanted any of the products he was selling. We politely said no, and he continued on his way along the beach. His umbrella was colorful and his backdrop of the beautiful beach went together nicely. The clouds were visible against the blue sky and the turquoise waters were warm and perfect for swimming. Lovely day at the beach!

Lock, Monteverde, Costa Rica

At our hostel in Monteverde, the common area's entrance was a wooden door with this lock on it. Monteverde was a beautiful area, filled with greenery and blue skies, and our hostel was overlooking all of it. Through these doors, we were able to see the views of the mountains, especially when it was pouring rain outside one night.

Balloon Group Portrait, Graduation Party, Fremont, California, USA

A self (group)-portrait of sorts, our excitement clearly showed in the reflection on the balloon we had. This was a fun picture and after many takes, we got a variety of different poses and angles. Surrounded by all the other colored, solid balloons, this mylar balloon certainly stood out. Good times!

Food at the Graduation Party, Fremont, California, USA

A family graduation party would not be complete without food, food and more food! Trays of mostly Vietnamese/Chinese food like fried shrimp balls, shrimp and tofu stir fry, pork slices, egg rolls and rice paper wrapped ground pork, among many more items filled the tables we set up for food. Guests (including myself) came back for seconds and thirds as the night went by. Delicious!!

Leis and Diploma, James Logan High School Graduation, Union City, California, USA

Years later, and I was returning to the school where I received my high school diploma. As I strolled through the campus, memories came faintly back to me of my days at James Logan High School. With colorful leis around her neck and diploma in hand, my cousin, Tiffany, certainly had everything she needed to prove that she made it through the 4 years with flying colors.

Congratulations to the Class of 2009!

James Logan High School Graduation, Union City, California, USA

One by one, 790 names were called as each student, dressed in red or black gowns, walked up the stage to accept their diploma, a reward for 4 years of work, and more than anything, a symbol of the future that these students were about to embark on. Both my brother, Andrew, and cousin, Tiffany, were accepting their diplomas and were ready to move on with the next step of their lives.

This photo was taken as the graduation concluded, and graduates walked from their seats and off the field with a whole world of possibilities ahead of them. Congratulations!

Photos to come...

I am behind 3 photos on my blog!! :( I really try my best to do one every day, but I got caught up with being home in the Bay Area! Monday...I'll have 4 photos and I'll try not to let this happen again. :) Take care, good night!

Union Station through the Metal Eye, Portland, Oregon

Totally forgot to do a photo yesterday, so two for today! Congratulations to Eric and Julie on their graduation from junior high!

Located near the west shore of the Willamette River, Portland's Union Station is the hub for transportation for Amtrak, local buses, as well as the Greyhound bus. It was a day with light rain, and as we walked around, we saw a wedding photos shoot going on as well. This metal structure is designed in the form of the eye, so on the side I was on, its as if I'm looking through the metal eye towards the Union Station and its iconic Romanesque clock tower rising far above the rest of the building.
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Yellow Flower, Zarcero, Costa Rica

In the quaint town of Zarcero in the Central Highlands of Costa Rica is a church surrounded by a peaceful garden. It looked like it was just about to rain, so skies were hazy and the mountains surrounding us seemed to be in the clouds. There was a bed of these yellow flowers to the side of the garden along the street. People were strolling around the garden and enjoying the fresh air, untainted by city smog.

"Despacio" Sign, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

It was a nice sunny day and as we were ready to cross the street to go to the beach, we saw this curious sign. Must slow for people, dogs, some unknown third animal (any ideas?), and monkeys! Apparently, monkeys come out at night, but unfortunately we didn't get to see one. Loved this area of Costa Rica!

Day 5: San Jose, Costa Rica to Los Angeles, California

This post was meant to be posted yesterday, but much of the day was spent traveling home (finally back in Los Angeles).

This photo was of one of our cat friends at the hostel we stayed at the first and last night in San Jose. There were 3 cats that we saw roaming around and one of them even snuck into our room the first night we were there. The people at the hostel were really friendly and very helpful! On our last day, got my last few glimpses of San Jose as we sped through the city on our way to the airport.

I highly recommend Costa Rica - there's so much to do and so much to see and we clearly didn't have enough time (as expected for such a short time) but I thoroughly enjoyed myself! :)

Another post to come later on tonight... I'm tired!

Day 4: Manuel Antonio to San Jose & Central Highlands Area, Costa Rica

Early morning rise and shine! Our 6AM bus back to San Jose was one of our few options left as availabilities permitted. As soon as we got on the bus, I closed my eyes and went to sleep because buses are the worse for my motion sickness. We arrived in San Jose and returned to our hostel from the first night in Costa Rica. Shortly after, we met our guide for the day - Paolo, born and raised in San Jose.

I was able to see a lot more of what Costa Rica is all about. We drove through the countryside, up and down green mountains and around curved roads where we passed by homes, businesses, eventually arriving at the Poas Volcano. Visibility wasn't the greatest, but at one point, the clouds cleared just enough to give us a quick glance at the active volcano crater. We then had a Costa Rican meal and continued the drive through windy roads, through the Central Highlands area where we visited a garden, coffee bean trees, and local attractions.

Today's photo is of small replica ox carts that are a Costa Rican national symbol. Each one is hand painted and each one is unique - there are no two ox carts that are the same. We were able to see the artists' studio and the progression of the development of the wheels to what it is today. I learned a lot about the country today, including more about the people, the educational system, the political system (their party primary was going on today), the healthcare system and the culture! Pura Vida (Costa Rica's motto)!

Day 3: Monteverde to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Hola from Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica! Today we arrived in Manuel Antonio and I opened my bag to discover a stowaway - a black beetle the size of my thumb. Who knows how long it had been there or how it even got in, although I imagine it probably wasn't difficult.

Today we left Monteverde the day after the storm and the skies were glorious and the views were amazing. As we went through the curvy roads and out of the mountains, all directions had sights of the rolling green mountains that the area is so famous for. As we got to the Pacific coast, there were miles and miles of beautiful white sand beaches and other attractions along the way. We had a stop where we even walked towards the river and saw a crocodile!

As we reached the Manuel Antonio National Park area, we were welcomed by a stretch of white sand beach with large rocks and caves, with green trees just next to it. The waters were warm and perfect for swimming and jumping with the waves. Throughout the day, the clouds were a mixture of pure white clouds and grey ones looming. There was a short spurt of rain, but after that, the sun set and the beach was even more amazing. Wet areas of the sand became reflection pools and the sky beyond the clouds were a glowing yellow. This photo was taken at the beach during that time, and people became silhouettes against the sky!

Back to San Jose tomorrow morning! Adios!

Day 2: San Jose to Monteverde, Costa Rica

Hola! No internet yesterday, so I'm posting yesterday's adventures. Today's adventures to come soon!

As I sped over the trees of the Cloud Forest, raindrops came crashing down to earth and from top to bottom, I eventually became drenched in rainwater. Ziplining through the Selvatura Adenture Park's cloud forest was an amazing experience. Through over 15 different ziplines that eventually returned us to our starting location, I was able to go through and far above the trees. Clouds were hovering over, creating a misty atmosphere over the towering green trees. In addition to traditional ziplining, we also did a bungee jump type of activity that they called the Tarzan Swing - basically we were pushed off a ledge and swang back and forth! I really did feel like Tarzan, speeding from tree to tree, and swinging as I jumped from a tree.

Monteverde means "green mountain" in Spanish and I had no doubt of this as we rode to and from the area, always surrounded by mountains full of life. This photo was taken right outside our hostel (located in Santa Elena, right outside of the Monteverde area) - the clouds were descending upon us and we could feel that they were getting heavy and ready to drop water down to us. That night, it rained heavily for hours, something which the hostel owner said happened over 300 times a year. Quite fitting for an area with such green trees and so much wildlife dependent on it!

Day 1: San Jose, Costa Rica


We arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica today around noon. After leaving after midnight and having a stopover in Atlanta, it was a relief to finally arrive! Despite weather reports that there was expected to be scattered thunderstorms, our first day was mostly rain free except for a few drops here and there. Its actually quite hot and humid here. On our first day, we walked around downtown San Jose, stopping at various key buildings and parks in the area. We even went to an area that was an outside ampitheater that was a gathering of young Costa Ricans, ready to listen to the live music.

This photo was taken as we walked back to our hostel. In San Jose, streets (calle) run from north to south and avenues (avenida) run from east to west. Tomorrow morning (early, early morning), we're headed to Monteverde! I'm excited to see what else Costa Rica has to offer!


Flower, Laguna Beach, California, USA

Right outside of a gazebo overlooking the coast, there was an area with all types of flowers and plants. This flower caught my eye because of its vibrant colors and lush greenery around it. :)

I'm heading to Costa Rica tomorrow, so hopefully if I have internet, I'll post a photo a day...from Costa Rica! Adios amigos! Necesito practicar mi espanol...

Oregon Coast from Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA

Driving through the winding, dark roads of Ecolo State Park to an opening, especially when darkness was quickly approaching and the park was close to closing was an adrenaline rush. After what seemed like a while (short as it was), we were able to get to the clearing along the coast to be able to see views of the beautiful Oregon coastline. This photo was taking from above a hill with walkways where we were able to see the multiple levels of waves and appreciate the expansive coast far beyond typical beach views. The clouds were grey and rain was on its way as strong gusts of winds seemed to want to blow us away...

Ranunculus Flower, Carlsbad, California, USA

This vibrant pink Ranunculus flower is just one of the flowers of the 50 acre Carlsbad Flower Fields. Surrounding it are orange ones that are also rising up towards the sky, but the pink one certainly stands out, strong and proud.