Beautiful Dalles combined with Tax Free Shopping Makes a Perfect week

My travels in the US are usually to rural industrial areas, far from the bustling city life or scenic landscapes but there is always an exception. That would be Dalles, Oregon. ūüôā  The hourlong drive for Portland airport to Dalles is one of the most scenic drives that I had to do for work.  It includes mountains, waterfalls, river..beautiful overall!   I was driving so didn’t have any pictures of the drive but a full rainbow suprised us on one of the days in beautiful! 

Off to collect the pot of gold..

And now to taxfree shopping in Portland!  A much needed retail therapy..(although my retail therapy seems to be constant in the US with the unlimited online options..but taxfree seems to bring that extra little excitement! :P) My only question would be..Why can’t it be tax free shopping everywhere!? It’s so awesome to pay as per price tag. I bought a hat and scarf in a small shopping area in Nob Hill, not being prepared for the colder weather, and thought there was a surprise sale..only to realize that they charged me as per the price tag but no tax. Lol. Life is good when shopping is good. ūüėČ

*Sigh* Only if I had unlimited luggage space…

Posted in North America, Shopping, United States | Leave a comment

I’m in the South..

Debating flying vs driving, I decided to drive the four hours from Atlanta to Charleston. The way to Charleston was in darkness so I didn’t see much but when driving back to Atlanta.. OMG I saw the most beautiful fields and fields of cotton. So pretty!! I had to stop and take some photos.. There was no one else, just the occasional car passing by.. And long single road leading to somewhere.. a bit too similar to a scary scene in a horror movie…A man in a expressionless mask come and chase away the clueless asian girl snapping away in the field of I may be watching too much Netflix..another original series idea? Asian girl’s adventure in the South and the mystery man with no face..

Anyways, I rushed taking a bunch of photos with my phone and drove away before it got too dark and scary. I got some pretty pics and a nice memory of pretty fields and fields of cotton. ūüôā


Posted in North America, United States | Leave a comment

In-N-Out Burger

I finally stopped by an In-N-Out burger by San Francisco airport on Washington street. The hype seems to be real with drive through line curving around to the second street.  I attempted to park by circling the lot twice then gave up quickly..1. There was no parking spot 2. It was raining.  3. I felt gross after 5 hours of flying in my grungy airport gear.  Long drive-through line up it is.


img_20161016_145528It took 20mins for me to be greeted by a young cashier on the drive through line with a iPad menu with plastic laminated paper menu hanging from her iPad (Oh! ¬†They have a special process to accommodate the long line up..intercom seems too close to the food pick-up. Bonus points!) ¬†Then, there was the menu. ¬†There was 3 choices..double burger, cheese burger and regular burger w/ assortment of fries, smoothies and drinks. ¬†“Is this all that is on the menu? It’s my first time here.”, I asked. “Yep”, an answer came back..Ok..a cheeseburger, it is. ¬†My high expectation of a spectacular burger reduced a bit. ¬†Still hopeful after 30mins of waiting at this point, I continued along the queue.

img_20161016_155800Ok, so here is my verdict. ¬†It’s a burger. ¬†Nothing spectacular or awesome about it. ¬†I prefer the Shake Shack, Five Guys, Burger Priest over In and Out and the small burger place (El Hamburguer) in Puerto Rico still holds my top place for a burger. ¬†I guess it’s special because It’s¬†only in California and not everyone has¬†access to it(?) ¬†Like many other reviews, the fries are terrible. ¬†I prefer McDonald’s strawberry smoothies.. For burger fanatics, it’s worth a try..just so that you could say you’ve had it but for everyone else, you are not missing much.

p.s. Yes, I’m back! ¬†After 3 years of hiatus from blogging, it’s good to be back writing again. And, looking forward to my new assignment that promises more traveling! ūüôā

Posted in Food, North America, United States | 3 Comments

Inbetween Job Anxiety

I was asked to do another panel interview for my new job that I had already interviewed, got an offer and quit my job for.¬† I was appalled. I complained to the recruiter that why wasn’t I told about this before and why are we doing this after an offer was done, signed and sealed.¬† He said it was a part of the process..

What choice did I have?¬† I went into the room.¬† There were 5 new interviewers, sitting around the room.¬† One person asked the questions while the others wrote notes during my answers.¬† Then, each one went around announcing their rating right away.¬† First interviewers gave me 1/5, fail.¬† Second one gave me 3/5, barely pass.¬† Third one, 4/5, pass.¬† Fourth one, 4/5.¬† Fifth one gave total sum of all the possible rating of 10.34567 and my grade of 2.1256.¬† What!? you want me to do math to figure out if I passed?¬† I needed 4 of 5 interviewers to pass me to move forward with my position.¬†¬† I couldn’t think, let along do calculations in my head.¬† I just said, I passed.¬† Then, the hiring manager looked at¬†the score¬†and said I failed.¬† They can no longer take me.

What!?!?¬† I was furious.¬† I had 2 weeks until my start date.¬† I had already quit my job at my previous company.¬† My mind was going in 100miles per hour.¬† What should I do?¬† I can’t go without a job for another month. I have bills to pay.¬†¬†Should I go back to my old company? How am I going to do that? How embarrassing?¬† I started complaining, sobbing..this is not fair.¬† I already had an offer.¬† The hiring manager seemed sympathetic and said she was sorry but couldn’t do anything.

I looked over the interviewers’ notes.¬† ‘very task driving’ ‘not creative’ 1/5 – it was the first interviewer’s note.¬† I couldn’t believe what was happening.¬† I kept telling myself that this is not happening..this is a dream.

I woke up.¬† Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to take a whole month off between jobs..eeesssh.

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Catacombs of Paris

1-Entrance CatacombsOne of the most fascinating places that I‚Äôve visited! Stacks of bones and skulls..displayed in a ‚Äėromantic‚Äô way. Well, that was one way the audio guide explained it.

We made it in on the 2nd¬†day attempt. (There is always a long line-up so make sure you give yourself extra 30mins¬†to a 1hr for lining up.) Once you make it through the entrance (‚ā¨8), it is a self-guided tour with or without an audio guide(‚ā¨4). We opted for an audio guide and appreciated the explanation. Sometimes, there are 2-Lineup Catacombsdescriptions on the wall but in the 19m deep into the darkness, I recommend the audio guide. It is worth the 4euros. Self-guided also meant there is a plenty of time to take pictures and walk through at your own pace. The display of skulls and bones are in multiple quarries so don‚Äôt get queued up on first quarry that you see..there are a lot more to see!

The Catacombs contain the remainders of approximately six million Parisian! Opened in the late 18th century, the underground cemetery became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis from 1874.

4-Sculpture Catacombs  3-path to Catacombs

10-quarry catacomb  9-hall catacombs

11-teeth skull catacombs5-well catacombsSince Roman times, Paris has buried its dead on the outskirts of the city, but habits changed with the rise of Christianity and its practice of burying its faithful in the consecrated ground under and around its churches, no matter their location. By the 10th century, many of Paris’s parish cemeteries were well

8-skulls lineup catacombswithin city limits, and eventually some, because of their central location in dense urban growth, were unable to expand and became overcrowded. An attempt to remedy this situation came in the early 12th century with the opening of a central mass burial ground for those not wealthy enough to pay for a church burial. Once an excavation in one section of the cemetery was full, it would be covered over and another opened. Residues resulting from the decaying of organic matter, a process often chemically accelerated with the use of lime, entered directly into the earth, creating a situation unacceptable for a city whose then-principal source of water was wells.7-heart skulls catacombs

The government had been searching¬†for and consolidating long abandoned stone quarries in and around the capital since 1777, and it was the Police Lieutenant General overseeing the renovations, Alexandre Lenoir, who first had the idea to use empty underground tunnels on the outskirts of the capital to this end. His successor, Thiroux¬†de Crosne, chose a place to the south of Paris’s “porte d’Enfer” city gate 12-closeup skull catacomb(the place Denfert-Rochereau today), and the exhumation and transfer of all Paris’s dead to the underground sepulture began in 1786, taking until 1788 to complete.

The catacombs in their first years were mainly a bone repository but in 1810, Louis-√Čtienne¬†H√©ricart¬†de Thury, oversaw the renovations that would transform the underground caverns into a real and visitable¬†sepulture on par with any mausoleum. In addition to directing the arrangement of 6-skulls catacombsskulls and femurs into the configuration seen in the catacombs today, he used those tombstones and cemetery decorations he could find (many had disappeared after the 1789 Revolution) to complement the walls of bones. ‚Äď Wiki

One of those must-see places if you are in Paris! ūüôā ÔĀä

Posted in Europe, France | 6 Comments

The Peace Palace

The Peace PalaceTo be honest, I did not know a place called, the Peace Palace existed.¬† Even if I heard of it in the past, I guess it did not fully register in my head.¬† So, for me, it was a learning and insightful visit.¬† The free tour walked us through the different stages of how the Peace The Peace PalacePalace came to existence after the World War I and even¬†to how Carnegie, a name I only heard as a famous concert hall in New York, had been involved¬†with the build.¬† The examples of the¬†international cases that the Palace handles to ensure conflict resolutions between countries and people of different nationalities were also fascinating.¬† Had I known about this place, would I have been more interested in law and international issues in school? Probably not.¬† I had always been a math/science nerd but it was great for me to open eyes into a different area.¬† ūüôā

The Peace Palace  The Peace Palace

Well, here are some interesting facts about the Peace Palace:

  • The Palace officially opened on August 28, 1913.
  • Andrew Carnegie provided 1.5 Million dollars to build the Palace with a condition that there will be a library.
  • To build, the foundation called for an international competition and the winner was The Peace PalaceLouis Cordonnier, a French architect with his Neo-Renaissance design.
  • The scene in Skyfall¬†where M is being questioned is a courtroom in the Palace.
  • Inside is filled with many gifts from different countries and guided tours are available only on weekends.
  • The visitor center opens dailys until October and provides great information and short films about the Palace.




Posted in Europe, Netherlands | Leave a comment

“Dogging” in UK

Interesting discussion topic after two days of all day meetings and a few drinks with co-workers..the phenomenon(?) of dogging in UK.

Direct quote from wiki:

Dogging is a British English euphemism for engaging in sexual acts in a public or semi-public place or watching others doing so. There may be more than two participants; both group sex and gang banging can be included. As observation is encouraged, voyeurism and exhibitionism are closely associated with dogging. The two sets of people involved often meet either randomly or (increasingly) arrange to meet up beforehand over the Internet.

Dogging started in the later part of the 20th century, in the UK, with locations mainly being public car parks and lay-bys (usually on quiet country roads) with activity normally taking place after dark. Doggers would usually leave their interior lights on in their cars so that other doggers would know that they too were doggers. Some would flash their headlights at other cars or flick the interior light on-and-off briefly. These are the most common signs to show that one is a dogger, and are also the signs used by gay men who use lay-bys as cruising grounds for sexual activity. Many dogging locations are used by both straight doggers and gay men.

Did you know this?? It was news to me. Why we started talking about his topic..Apparently, there was a documentary recently done on British channel 4?(YouTube-if you are curious) Popular in parking lots…Anyways, I must have been traveling for awhile..these topics neither surprises or embarrasses me anymore. Chalking it up to one of ‘those’ interesting moments. ;P

Posted in England, Europe | 3 Comments