Back from the road trip

Happy new year! I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I sure did, as these photos will testify. There were so many friends and family but not enough time. Oh well, there’s always next time. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy some of what my eyes have witnessed along the way. If anything, I really enjoyed being a shutterbug for two weeks straight! Click the pictures to see more.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Arizona/New Mexico Stateline

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Hittin’ the road

In a few hours, I will be embarking on a road trip that’ll take me all around the rocky mountains. It should last me a good couple of weeks to do this, especially being the Sunday driver that I am. But it’ll be fun and I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends in Phoenix, as well as the Grand Canyon. Yes, it’s been 9 years since my last visit to this incredible “must see before you die” place. There’s a lot to see out there and I really don’t have any hard plans. I’ll just drive and drive and see where I end up. I think that’s part of the excitement, not knowing what’s ahead but looking forward to the adventure and fun of it all. And what a way to spend Christmas! I haven’t done a major road trip in a long time and it’s about time I got out of the house and did it.

Worry not as I will be bringing a camera to document my trip. Expect to see them sometime next month, most probably on my Flickr page. Speaking of which… Yes!!! I sucked it up and went Pro! So, I should have plenty of space for the photographs.

If I don’t get to blog during my trip (I’ll try), I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Be safe as I plan to be. Love, peace and green cheese! I will see you on the other side…

Now, where was I? Oh yeah… packing!

So far so good

Greetings everyone. First of all, belated Merry Christmas. And if I’m not able to respond again soon, Happy New Year as well.

Obviously, I have not been able to follow up on my blog lately as my schedule and current location does not allow me to. But you can be rest assured that my first trip back home in twenty years is going absolutely fantastic. One thing I can tell you though, is that I am very well fed, to say the least!

I can’t tell you enough how wonderful (though bitterwseet) it is to actually set foot in the land of my youth and speak face to face with the people I grew up with once again. Some things have stayed the same but for the most part, everything seems to be new and unrecognizable. I really thought I’d spend most of my time here shedding tears, but to my surprise, everyday seems to be a celebration to simply savor and smile about.

I wish I had time every night to post a blog as every hour (since my plane took off from Denver) seems to bring an eventful surpirse worth sharing in great detail. Unfortunately though, not only am I fully booked, Internet access is extremely limited as well. So bear with me as I wait a while to share with you my experiences. It probably won’t happen until I come back home to the States next month. But trust me, it’s worth waiting for!

Meanwhile, if you’ll excuse me… I have to get back to my “all you can eat” desert binge-fest!

This is it

Well, here it is. The time has come for me to fly back home. I have been so anxious since this morning, it’s crazy! I can’t believe that I was even able to sleep well last night. Which is good, I think. Who knows if I’d be able to sleep a wink in this 24 hour flight I’m about to embark on in about 7 hours from now? But I’m so excited I can’t get myself to do any work at all. I might as well have skipped it today.

This blog isn’t gonna be much since my mind is anywhere but here. But I did want to at least write down something so you know where I’m at, so to speak. It’s almost Christmas and I’m not sure if I’d be able to post another blog till next year. But I really want to chronicle my days as much as possible. If there’s anything worth journaling on, this trip would be it, don’t you think?

Anyhow, like I said, I’ll try my best to find a way to sneak in back here and post something. But if I’m not able to, know that I’m with you in spirit… and that I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

So, cheers and be good.

Seven days and counting

Time could be both slow and fast at the same time, if you know what I mean. I’m just home watching TV and passing time, then I realized… wow, in exactly one week from now, I’ll be home! Same place I was 20 years ago, in fact. Same place I went to school in. Same place where I made life-long childhood friends in. Same place that made me the person I am today.. for sure!

What a trip! I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to come out of the plane. You know, coming out and feeling the ol’ familiar warm and muggy air, seeing my family for the first time again in that long. And then driving out of the airport and looking through the car window to see how the city had changed throughout the years. Oh yeah, I couldn’t even remember the way back to my old house. I have a dream-like idea of how my old neighborhood looked like back then, but that’s about it.

So indeed, I am very excited. I still don’t know what to expect, though I hope and pray that this trip, if anything, really makes a difference more to others than just myself. This trip is for my family. They’ve waited long enough. And I can’t wait either, so God speed the day.

Seven days and counting…

Two and a half months and counting

SpamJamIt’s October already? Dang, that was quick! It just came to me a few minutes ago while viewing some photos on flickr. I came across a picture of a restaurant in Manila that an American tourist took. It was a Spam restaurant! Fantastic… only in the Philippines, I thought! But more importantly, it made me realize how long it has been since I was last home. I mean, they didn’t have this joint when I was there. Talk about having made some progress! But it definitely made me count the days left till December 15. Yes, it’s the day I go back home for the first time in 20 years.

Uhh no, that wasn’t a typo! Crazy, yes! I don’t know what happened but I’m just so happy that I’m now coming home for the first time since my college days. I have been missing my family, and just plain being home. And to those of you wondering… yes, it is home and will always be, no matter where I am.

Anyhow, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on a new CD since spring and I’m still only halfway through. But I have this song I just finished and it talks about my being away from home this long. It’s called “Twenty Years To life.” How appropriate! He he 🙂

Before I sign off, I want to leave you with a link to this song so you can listen to it and, hopefully, feel how I feel. It’s gonna be bittersweet for sure. It already feels that way, in fact.

So… two and a half months and counting? You bet!

New York, New York

WTC HoleAs the 5th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I couldn’t help but remember the trip I made to NYC in mid 2002. Barely nine months after the tragedy, being there generated a mixture of different emotions. The trip was for a friend’s wedding but I knew I also was looking forward to seeing ground zero. I wanted to stand right
by the hole and feel it. And I did. It was surreal. It was almost too quiet. Quite a contrast to what I was imagining. But I felt the strength of the community nonetheless. I’m really grateful for having experienced it. This photo, by the way, was taken on the rooftop of a friend’s condo building. I was also told amazing stories. Can you imagine living a couple of blocks away from where this incident happened? That must’ve been quite a thing to go through…

The friends I was hanging out with really made my trip worthwhile. It was my first visit and I haven’t gone back since. In fact, I miss it. Even though I’m now comfortable living in the country, I know I’m still a big city boy at heart. For some odd reason, I’m just naturally drawn to the hustle and bustle of a large metropolis. I drove down to Denver last week and was amazed at how everything is just right in front of you. You seem to forget a lot when you live out in the sticks. Though in a good way. It kinda clears your mind of a lot of junk!

Anyhow, I just wanted to mention how awesome that trip was. A friend of mine, Ryan, and I drove from Atlanta. Yep, awesome drive as well… except for the toll gate every couple of miles. That sucked big time! Oh well…

But I fell in love with the city. I mean, talk about diversity. I lived in L.A. for 14 years and I thought L.A. was diverse. It is, but NYC was way more. Probably because it is smaller and more condensed. But I just love that in a place. You have access to the whole world in your neighborhood. The culture, the character… it’s everywhere. Coffee beans by the pound, loose tea leaves, ethnic cuisine, delis, bohemian shops, bookstores, record stores, Soho, East village, Broadway, Letterman… I could go on and on, but… it’s bedtime. 🙂

Okay, so maybe I should share some more pictures from the trip before I sign off. Check it out.

Night night…