Asia Trip – Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai

Singapore

Day 1 – Got in at midnight, got a driver to take us to the hotel which was very tall and has a great view of the city! Went to bed at 1:30 AM and slept all the way through the night until my alarm at 8 AM. 

Day 2 – Had breakfast in the hotel (Cafe Swiss) which was delicious! They had a huge selection of traditional american, Indian, and Chinese foods. I had several dumplings and vegetable korma. They both were very tasty. They also had fresh juice so I got carrot juice.

Around 10 AM, we walked across the bay to the Gardens by the Bay. We paid for the tram and went to both the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. Both were really beautiful and unique. Next, we walked to Chinatown and ate the Hainanese chicken and rice and bok choy at Tian Tian in a food market. It was delicious with the spicy sauce and soy sauces. Sheetal and Janet both got a whole coconut for the juice and Kelli (my manager) and I got frozen mango drinks.

We walked back to the hotel to regroup. Margo and I went for a swim in the hotel’s pool. It gets dark here relatively early (around 6 PM). We met in the lobby to go to dinner and the “Sky Bar” at the Sands.

Day 3 – I went to the Arts and Science museum which had some altered reality exhibits, though it was mostly for younger children. We went to a restaurant with all kinds of odd Asian foods for lunch called Xiang Special. It was actually pretty good. It turns out also that there are a TON of malls here in Singapore. When I asked what they do for fun here, it was either night life or go shopping at the malls. It is very safe here and very clean as the punishments are really strict. Chewing gum is against the law as well.

We went to meet our colleagues in Singapore from FedEx and TNT, the company we acquired. We also visited a couple of customers as well.

 

Kong Kong

This is where work pretty much takes all of my time. Hong Kong was relatively small in area so they built their buildings up very high. I did have some time when we first got to Hong Kong to go to Sam’s Tailor to get a charcoal grey, custom, woolen cashmere suit made along with two shirts. I don’t have a picture in the suit yet. We also were able to go to the ladies’ market where they sold everything you can think of from belts to purses to figurines, fans, and wigs. Another interesting thing about the city was that all of their scaffolding was made of bamboo. It really makes since because it grows so fast and is so renewable.

During the weekend prior to going to our last stop, Shanghai, we took a tour and rode a cable car up a couple of mountains to see the giant Buddha and monastery. We also visited what used to be an old fishing village. They have since converted the fishing boats to boats to give tours in. They also mentioned they have over-fished the area for quite some time. The waterfront was beautiful, especially at night.

We had more meetings with different colleagues from FedEx and TNT as well as with customers.

 

Shanghai

The waterfront in Shanghai was also beautiful at night. Shanghai was different than Hong Kong in that they had plenty of land so it was kind of like a concrete jungle with vast expanses of buildings. It took forever to get anywhere. They have a population of about 24 million.

We visited an old temple and the old market in the old part of the city which was much nicer than the rest of it in my opinion. Another cool thing was the Oriental Pearl tower in Shanghai.

 

The pictures are here

New Music

OK so it’s been a while since I’ve posted new music. I’ve got 4 for you!

Coast Modern – Hollow Life

This one is a chill song that reminds me of the beach. Additionally their gas can literally never runs out of gas. Amazing. 

 

 

Chelsea Cutler – Snow in October

Now this one reminds me a little of Alaska by Maggie Rogers plus a hint of Slow Down by EMBRZ

 

 

BØRNS – Sweet Dreams

I’ve really enjoyed the other BØRNS’ songs such as 10,000 Emerald Pools, Electric Love, and Past Lives. This one is no exception. I’m looking forward to their new album.  

 

Julietta – Runaway (Yeasayer Remix)

This one is low key and easygoing.  

Moments

Beaufort, SC 2017 – Elek to Camp Kanuga

This year Elek and I are planning minimal vacations due to the amount we spent last year and also the number of expenses I have for my house, getting a newer car, etc. Therefore this year we came down to visit my dad again in Beaufort, SC days before Elek’s first overnight camp at Camp Kanuga. He’s excited, and probably a little bit nervous, though he knows a couple of people that will be at camp. I’ve packed the car to the gills because of all the stuff required for camp. We drove down to Beaufort in one day Fri. June 2nd, which is a pretty long drive, 10 hours total.

We have seen more wildlife than usual down here. We saw a bunch of dolphins (some pretty close!), many large sea turtles which were breath taking, horseshoe crabs, regular crabs, sting rays, and a toad fish. Elek and my dad caught a good sized redfish Sat. June 3rd which my dad cleaned and we ate for lunch. It was very fresh and tasty! We ate dinner at a small seafood place called Sea Eagle Market, which was pretty good.

For some unknown reason I have started running down here, which I hate. I even ran in the rain Wed. morning. It’s been nice getting more exercise.

Sunday we took a long boat ride to a beach and played on the beach for a couple hours. For dinner, we went to Papaya, which has very decent Thai food and sushi. My dad got the Pad Thai which was on point and Elek and I split 4 sushi rolls: (Maki Combo for 1) Salmon roll, California roll, and spicy tuna roll plus the Spider roll which was delicious!

Tues. we took an early boat ride around a golf course that is close to here and Elek and my dad fished a little. Elek caught a small trout which we threw back. Next, we went to the YMCA so my dad could go to his exercise class and Elek and I swam for about an hour. It was fun and Elek and I bonded while racing in the pool. We originally planned to go to a baseball game in Charleston this night, but rain prevented that so we stayed in, ate a flounder Elek and my dad caught the day before, and watched Spaceballs which my dad and Kay had not seen before.

Wed. is the day before we drive to Camp Kanuga! After running in the rain, it held off long enough for us to eat some great pizza at The Upper Crust and walk around downtown Beaufort to pick out a present for Elek’s mom’s birthday. This was critical since he would have zero time at camp to do so. We thought about going to see a movie, but decided against it and played basketball for a while. Today we’re taking it very easy in preparation for the drive tomorrow. I, personally, am dreading driving about 9.5 hours in one day (then 3 hours the following day), but hopefully I’ll be able to stay and catch up with Wayne in Nashville. Wed. night we went to The Foolish Frog for dinner. Elek ordered the crawfish, I ordered a Greek salad and oysters bienville. My dad got a half rack of ribs and all of it was delicious. So nice to have so much seafood.

My dad gave me Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which I read throughout the trip. It was obviously a pretty crazy book! I have seen the movie but never read the book. It also reminded me of the nod in the movie Rango, which Elek and I recently watched.

Thurs. we took our time getting ready for the 4.5 hour trek to Camp Kanuga. We said our goodbyes and left around 10:45 AM. The drive was really pretty on the North Carolina side with all of the mountains as I’m not used to driving in that type of terrain. We arrived at camp excited, but also nervous at about 3:15 where we waited in line about 20 minutes. We unloaded and I walked Elek to his cabin. John and Henry (two kids from Memphis that Elek knows) were already settled in. Elek got to choose his bunk. Saying goodbye was bittersweet and filled with emotion. Elek’s eyes teared up and so did mine. I love that kid. I truly hope he has a blast. We’ve gotten two pictures thus far from the camp which makes me feel a little better.

I left teary eyed in the rain at 4, which seemed so appropriate at the time. I drove 5 hours to Nashville where I stayed with Wayne, my high school friend, at his house. We stayed up to watch the disappointing total destruction of the Nashville Predators in game 5 of the Stanley Cup. (6-0) In the morning we went to Monell’s which was absolutely delicious and absolutely too much food. I said my goodbyes there and headed the 3 hours to Memphis. I was so relieved to be home! Now I have to deal with all the repairs with my house (roof, chimney, dormers), redoing the kitchen floor, and trying to find a 2016 Prius Two.

San Diego and San Francisco, California – 2016

San Diego

Elek and I arrived at the airport and went to baggage claim where we met Jim, Elaine, and Allison. This is the first time I have met Allison, my biological half-sister. She seems very put together and is very sweet. Elek and I went by Jim’s mom’s house and I met Jim’s brother, Craig. We spent a little time with Craig and Jim’s mom, Ruth and I took a tour of Jim’s childhood home, which reminded me of my Grandmother’s home. Elek and I were exhausted so we went to bed pretty soon.

The next morning we started packing for Campland. Check in was at 1 PM. We got one jet ski working, however, the other one was pretty much dead. Once we got to Campland Elek and I almost immediately took the jet ski out which was one of Elek’s favorite parts! Later we set up camp and the sleeping arrangements were a little tight but definitely doable. Elek and I shared a tent with Allison’s boyfriend, Chris. One really cool thing we saw each night was the fireworks from Sea World across the bay.

By the third night we were ready to go, though we got to do a lot of cool things there like rent a boat for half a day, ride our bikes around the place, eat some good food, etc. We played a lot of frisbee, football, and badminton.

After we left we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and my other sister Emily spent some quality time with us. What was really cool is that my sisters had a DVD of Dr. Horrible’s Sing A-Long Blog and we watched it the last night we were there. I’m a big fan of that.

It made me feel good that my sisters referred to me as their brother even though I’m their biological half brother.

Jim dropped Elek and me off at the airport where we took Virgin Airlines to San Francisco.

San Francisco

Monday Elek and I arrived in San Francisco and Nick picked us, Ben, and Luz up from the airport. We went back to Nick’s place and ordered Indian food which was delicious as usual. Elek is a fan.

Tuesday we walked through China Town and the Cable Car museum, which was awesome as it showed exactly how the cable cars work. We managed to go up to the 31st floor of the Westin in Union Square. A new Apple store was near by so we stopped in to take a look. We walked through Embarcadero, stopped in the Ferry building, and walked by the AT&T park. We took an Uber home and rested. That night we went to an awesome Thai restaurant called Hawker Fare which was very flavorful and spicy. We ate some ice cream afterward to counteract the spice.

Wednesday we ate breakfast and headed to an Afghan restaurant called Kamdesh to meet a highschool friend Mahendra. The food was spicy and very tasty. It’s the first time I’ve eaten that type of food. Next, we went to the Pacific Pinball Museum which was amazing! We spent an hour in there but could have easily spent 3 or more. We were planning on going to tour Berkeley but we were so tired we went back to Nick’s place and took a nap. Wed. night we went over to Jeremy Brown’s place in Castro, ate pizza, Elek played Portal 2, and we had some drinks.

Thursday morning we took the car to Twin Peaks which had a phenomenal view of the city! Afterward we found a parking place in Haight-Ashbury and wandered the streets where we got some good Cuban food at Cha Cha Cha. Next, we took a short walk through Golden Gate Park where normal park activities were occurring. We then drove down the twisty Lombard Street, which was cool to see again, another great view of the city!

Thursday night was a 21+ night. Luz was kind enough to watch Elek that night. We started out at Trick Dog who had a menu of presidential related drinks. Their drinks were pretty good. We met Chantelle there and then headed to dinner at El Techo. There was a wait so we went to a cash only bar, Doc’s Clock, across the street which reminded me of the P&H in Memphis. It also had a Ghostbuster’s pinball game. I think it was rigged and ate balls so fast. At El Techo we got a little bit of everything, but the carnitas were amazing! The restaurant is actually on the roof of a 4 story building so the view was really cool, especially at sunset. Once we finished dinner, we headed to another cash only bar called Make Out Room which had a pretty good DJ there. People were dancing and it seemed like it had a neat atmosphere. Chantelle had to get up for work in the morning so she left in an Uber and we made one last stop on the way home at Mission Bar. There are so many unique spots in San Francisco all within walking distance of each other! This was just one small part of the city.

Friday Nick took us to the airport where Elek and I barely made it on our plane because it was overbooked by 40 people. We finally made it home at about 11:30 PM Fri night and crashed. Overall it was a great trip!

New Music Worth Remembering

I find it difficult to keep track of songs I really enjoy so that’s why I post them on my blog. Here are a few I hope others than just me will enjoy.

Paul Thomas Zito – Cosmonaut (feat. Phil Jacoby)

Social Norms – Next to You

Milo Greene – 1957

Else – Mirage (Chill)

CLANS – ALIBI