Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pyramids Restaurant - Honolulu, Hawaii

For my 101 in 1001 list, I accomplished half of my goal, which is to try at least two Middle Eastern restaurants.  I have one more restaurant to go before I can cross this item off my list.  Of course, I would like to eat at more Middle Eastern restaurants, but two is a good goal to meet since there aren't many of these restaurants in Hawaii. 

I had such a great time eating at Pyramids, a restaurant located at 758 Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu, which offers a variety Middle Eastern food.  Although there is lunch buffet, I had dinner at Pyramids.  I hear there are Belly dancers during the evening too, but I did not see any when I went there, most likely because we arrived far too early for dinner. 

The restaurant may also appear to be a small, hole in the wall when looking in from the outside.  However, upon entering Pyramids, one may notice how spacious and unique the restaurant is inside.  There are interesting pieces of art on the walls and a good amount of space inside too.  It is clean inside and the servers are more than gracious, especially for those unfamiliar with Middle Eastern food.

For those of you intimidated by ethnic foods, you really should explore foods from around the world.  You may find incredible dishes that you never considered and you'll also learn to appreciate foods from other cultures too.

I found a favorite at Pyramids.  Baklava Walnut.  I also had a chance to try a number of other Middle Eastern appetizers and entrees, all which I would gladly indulge in again.  Here are some of the dishes available at Pyramids...

Most people can easily enjoy Middle Eastern food.  The hard part is figuring out what you are eating, which I wish I could explain to you in more detail.  For now, however, I hope these photos will suffice. 

After you are done eating, your bill is placed into a beautiful box.

For the most part, I enjoyed the food, especially the dessert.  I felt the restaurant was an interesting place to eat at and I look forward to trying my next Middle Eastern restaurant in the near future.

I hope you all have a chance to also try a restaurant outside of your comfort zone.  We sometimes grow familiar with what we are used to eating, but why not give a new restaurant a try?

101 in 1001 List - Updated

As the new year approaches, I am still trying to tackle my 101 goals, which will end February 14, 2013.  I have accomplished quite a bit, although I have tons more to go since beginning this challenge not too long ago.  Of course, I wish to change some things on the list, but for now I will keep them the same and "go for it" for the experience.

The Day Zero website is down now, so I wanted to ensure I still had a copy of my 101 in 1001 day list, just in case it never returns.  For now, here is what I have and have not accomplished.  I have more than enough energy to continue working towards these things and will write about them too.

1. Snorkel Molokini Island
2. Learn how to sew
3. Bake an Amazing Cake
4. Obtain a Master's degree - anticipated Spring 2012
5. Visit Napa Valley
6. Visit Indonesia
7. Feed the Homeless
8. Hike 10 Unique Trails
    (1) Makapu'u (Completed 2010)
    (2) Koko Head (Completed 2010)
    (3) Manoa Falls (Completed 2011)
9.  Visit my Grandpa in Iowa
10. Go Mountain biking
11. Get a facial  (Completed in Bali 2010)
12. Learn to surf
13. Go to a Tea Party
14. Enter a Cooking Contest
15. Learn French
16. Visit the Contemporary Museum - Honolulu, Hawaii
17. Create a special dessert
18. Travel to Japan
19. Stay at an Eco Friendly Hotel
20. Go on a Zip line Tour  (Completed in Salatiga, Indonesia in 2010)
21. Go on a Tubing Adventure
22. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
23. Ride a Becak  (Completed in Salatiga and Yogyakarta, Indonesia 2010)
24. Participate in the Pineapple Run  (Completed 2011)
25. Sign up for the Great Aloha Run  (Completed Feb 2011)
26. Visit Yellow Stone National Park
27. Go on a Lava Tour
28. Ride a Motorcycle (Bali &  Hawaii 2010 - Passenger).  Not yet self completed.
29. Paddle Board
30. Kayak (KBay 2010)
31. Snow Board
32. Do Yoga for 3 Months
33. Visit Las Vegas
34. Eat at a French Restaurant  (Completed Spring 2010 @ Le Guignol)
35. Eat at 2 Unique Middle Eastern Restaurants
     (1) Pyramids - Honolulu, Hawaii (May 2010)
     (1) TBD
36. Tour Gettysburg
37. Send a News Photo
38. Be an Extra
39. Take an Acting Class for Fun
40. Watch a Broadway Show
41. Eat a Philly Cheese Steak at Pat's and Gino's  (Completed September 2010)
42. Visit Gilligan's Island  (Completed 2010 with Kayaking Event)
43. Make a soufflé
44. Avoid Shopping for 3 Months
45. Take a family portrait
46. Avoid Fast Food for 3 Months (Completed in Indonesia, Summer 2010)
47. Do Something Nice for an Elderly Person  (Completed May 2010)
48. Relax at a Spa  (Sep 2010)
49. Take a dance class
50. Go on a cruise
51. Pierce my ears
52. Ice Skate
53. Make ice cream from scratch
54. Make my own clothes
55. Make a Memorable Slide Show
56. Do something special for my sister
57. Treat my parents to a nice restaurant
58. Take a Swimming Class
59. Learn to drive a stick shift
60. Sign up for Tennis Lessons
61. Host a party (Completed 2010 @ my house)
62. Visit Green Sand Beach - Hilo, Hawaii
63. Write an article (Completed 2010, Fall Semester for Jet Stream)
64. Join a pottery class
65. Go horseback riding  (Completed 2010, Spring 2010)
66. Launch my business
67. Visit a world wonder  (Completed in Indonesia, Summer 2010 @ Borobodur)
68. Visit the lavender fields in Maui
69. Watch a play
70. Go on a bike tour
71. Visit Elvis' Summer Home
72. Take a Martial Arts or Self Defense Class
73. Rent a Beach Cabin
74. Finish my 10 Toast Master's Speeches - I've only finished 2 so far ...
75. Join a school club/group
76. Parasail
77. See an acupuncturist
78. Perm my hair
79. Volunteer abroad - anticipated Spring 2012
80. Take an Art Class
81. Study Japanese
82. Get into Shape - (Completed Fall 2010 @ UH Manoa)
83. Host a Beach BBQ
84. Watch a Sunrise & Sunset (Sunrise completed at Mt. Bromo, Indonesia, Summer 2010)
85. Learn how to knit
86. Visit a Museum  - (Completed Summer 2010 in Indonesia, September 2010 in Cali)
87. Play chess
88. Read 10 new books (non-school books)
     (1) Strength in What Remains (Dec 2010)

89. Watch a ballet
      (1)  Ramayana Ballet (Completed summer 2010 in Indonesia)
      (2) The Nut Cracker (December 2010 with K in Hawaii)
90. Film a cooking or travel video
91. Ride a Sail Boat
92. Go on a Picnic
93. Try a Spin Class
94. Make a custom book
95. Visit Akaka Falls
96. Night Snorkel
97. Throw a Graduation Party
98. Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef
99. Do Something Special for someone - (Completed 2010. Helped coordinate a canned food drive for homeless & more)
100. Surprise family with an amazing event
101. Visit all 7 Hawaiian Islands
        (1) Big Island (Completed May 2010)
        (2) Kauai - (Completed)
        (3) Maui - (Completed)
        (4) Oahu - (Completed)
        (5) Molokai
        (6) Niihau
        (7) Lanai

Monday, December 27, 2010

Flying Fox Adventure - Salatiga Indonesia

I'm scared of heights. I wasn't always scared of heights, but the older I get, it seems the more fearful I become.  However, I didn't let it stop me this summer when I went on a flying fox adventure on my last day of class in Indonesia.

What's flying fox? In the US, we call it "zip line."  Although I'm scared of heights, I didn't let it stop me from participating.  In fact, I enjoyed the obstacle course a lot, but after two courses, it was enough for me!  It wasn't only a zip line adventure, but an obstacle course with nets, tunnels, and more.  It was tough and after completing the second course, I definitely did not want to continue on the more difficult courses: red and black.  I was already tired, bruised, and I hit my head.  It's a rough course, but a lot of fun. I was exhausted.

Although professionals help you put on the harness, the rest is all up to you.  You are taught how to hook yourself up to a cable cord safely, then you are expected to begin zipping away. 

I thought it was interesting that we had to pray before beginning the course! 

The course itself was within a wooded area.  When "flying" through the woods, I felt I would nearly hit a tree or two because of how close our cable line was to our surroundings.  If I had been larger, I am sure I would have hit a tree!  The twists and turns of the course, however, made it even more exciting.

I even had to crawl in a tunnel high up in the air and use a net to get to the other side of an obstacle, which felt almost impossible as I looked down below.  I was stuck in the air and it took me nearly 15 minutes to get across with the help of a friend, telling me how to move step-by-step, until I made it safely to the next tree platform.

I was completely ready to take a break but there was no way of getting down. I could not get down, but had to zip across two more cable lines before I was finished with the course.  The first time, I made it across the cable line safely.  The second time, however, I ended up hitting my head, as my foot slipped when I was trying to stop myself from hitting a tree.  At that point, I was more than ready to take a break.

I wish I had more photos, but this is the only one I have at the moment.  It is a blurry photo of me, zip lining down from a tree to the other side. 

Santa Monica Pier, CA

When thinking of California, the Santa Monica Pier is an image that comes to mind.  It is a beautiful pier with a stunning view of the beach.  Although it was too cold to enter the water, it was nice to watch the waves crash along the shore, as birds flew overhead in the most lovely way.

After visiting the Santa Monica Pier, I did learn a few things.  For one, the Pier's wood creeks and you can easily step onto a bolt and trip.  It almost happened to me.  Second, the water in September is extremely cold.  I did not see a single swimmer in the ocean.  Third, there is an amusement park there.

I would love to return to the beach during the summer.  However, the 20 minutes I spent at the Santa Monica Pier during the freezing month of September was enough to satisfy my curiosity, at least for now.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fairmont Park's Kelly Drive, Philadelphia PA - A Runner's Heaven

It was only a few months ago when I visited Philadelphia for a couple of days to attend a wedding.  I knew I had to squeeze a run in though, so I headed to Fairmont Park. 

If you've ever seen the movie Rocky, he runs up the stairs of a musuem, as he works out.  The musuem featured in Rocky is the same area where Kelly Drive is located.  Behind the musuem, there is an area to run, bike, rollerblade, and more.  It's just a beautiful park with a lot to do.  It's nestled near a lakeside and has old homes alongside the river that attract many outdoors to view its sights or to relax in the park.

There are pieces of art work scattered throughout the park and if one was to run around the entire park's loop, it would equal approximately 8 miles.  I only ran 4 because I was completely out of breathe and tired.  It's horrible I know, but I was really out of shape up until September!  I truly had to force myself to run. 

I couldn't believe how many people were running outside!  I can understand why though because the beauty of the park made me want to return for a run! There are also bathrooms scattered throughout the park, making it conveninent for runners.   As I was running, I also saw many amazing looking statues and pieces of art work.  I ran alongside the river and saw a train pass by, while I was there too.

After finishing the run, I saw the most incredible view of the boathouses from a far.  There is a nice restaurant that is also on the edge of the water.  I have not been there yet, but I would love to try it sometime in the future!

I was more than grateful to have finished the run finally.  It sure was a work out!  Before my 4 mile run, I had barely run for several months.

The more I visit Philadelphia, the more I enjoy returning to the city.  I love the center of the city so much that I would not mind living there.  It's a college-town area rich in art, culture, and history. I can't wait to run at Fairmont Park's Kelly Drive again.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fogo De Chao - Beverly Hills, CA

While in California, we headed towards Beverly Hills to eat at Fogo De Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse with 16 types of prepared meats. 

The restaurant is quite unique.  First, you go to the salad bar.  It's not your typical salad bar either, where you can find romaine lettuce.  There were a lot of foods that were unfamiliar to me, such as the many cheeses available.  I ate a lot of first time foods, but it was interesting to try something different.  Have you ever heard of "palms?"  I thought I was eating artichoke, but it was some other vegetable I've never even heard of.  It must be fancy food!  The food at the salad bar was incredible.

I'm just an average girl, so all the fancy food at Fogo De Chao sure was interesting.  After eating at the salad bar, it was time to indulge in meat though.  I'm not much of a meat eater, but while there I ate my money's worth.  After all, it was $60.00 per person buffet, so there's no way I was holding back.

Just getting started here ...

Before you eat, you are given a card.  One side is red, the other green. When you are ready to eat meat, you flip your card to the green side.  Out of the woodworks, men carrying meat come out of nowhere, asking you if you want to try a particular type.  They ask you if you prefer medium, medium rare, etc.  Then, you take your mini tongs and grab the piece they cut for you.  Add it to your plate and enjoy!  It can be overwhelming at first when you are swarmed, but it was hillarious.  I started to wonder if people had speaker phones on them because as soon as we flipped the card, the reaction to serve us was quick as can be.  The service was truly top-notch.
It was my birthday that night and I got a free dessert!  It was great!  I really love flan.

When I return to California, I definitely want to take my dad there.  I know he would enjoy it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My First Semester of Graduate School

For the last several months, I've been missing in action.  I've been a hermit at home, studying religiously, as I try to balance graduate school with another program I am enrolled in.  In the begining of the semester, I would study nearly 5 hours a day (yes, really!).   I would sleep only 4 hours a night.  Now, I sleep a little more and I have had a little bit of time to read a good book, but other than that I have been completely consumed in my school work, especially right now as finals week approaches.  I need a 4.0 G.P.A. if I want to survive and now, i'm fighting to maintain my G.P.A!

All I can say about my first semester back in school is that it has been one of the most incredible experiences ever!  I am grateful to have moved on in my life, so that I could chase after my dreams.  It's been an adventure and well worth the risk!  And all because of one little decision to take a single step forward.  I couldn't be more happy.  It's the best deicision I've ever made.

Unfortunately, whenever I get busy, I end up missing in action and can be hard to find. But I am still around!

Today, I needed a small writing break.  I have some posts ready to be published, but I did not download the photos for my blog yet.  But as soon as I get my next break, I will!

For now, I have to get back to studying.  I have a paper due tonight and a 15 minute presentation tomorrow on a difficult topic. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wax Museum - Hollywood, California

While in Hollywood, I wanted to visit Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, but I had a three museum pass to go to another one instead.  There's always next time, I guess! 

At the wax museum, I wondered how similar each figure would look, but all I can say is the best one there was joker.  It gave me the creeps, for sure.  In fact, it looked so real that I thought it was someone dressed up as joker, pretending to be a wax figure.  I didn't want to get too close.

I had a good time at the museum, but I won't lie.  Not all the figures resembled celebrities.  There were some wax figures that were close, but others were definitely way off.  Megan Fox and Brad Pitt didn't look anything like their wax figures.  What do you think?

When I first entered the wax museum, there was a section that  made me nervous.  It felt like someone might pop out and scare me.  There were wax figures of some of Hollywoods most darkest characters, such as Hannibal. Is this not creepy? I walked down a dark hallway with many of these wax figures.

Another tourist caught on to my fear as I cautiously walked through the area, so he thought it would be a lot of fun to scare me.   Yes, I did scream.  The tourist and his wife laughed at me afterward.  I thought it was pretty funny too.

Aftward, I saw a ton of other wax figures from differet movie sets.  Within 10 to 15 minutes, it was over though and we headed to our next destination.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hollywood, California

It's been a while since I've written anything.  My blog has been taking a beating since I've become a graduate student, as I've had less personal time.  However, I still have many things to write about and to share with all of you.  I first started my blog to practice my writing and it has helped me tremendously.  Thank you for your support.

Recently, I flew to Los Angeles to visit my sister.  While she was at work, I visited the L.A. area with D and L.  One of the places we visited was Hollywood.  I've always seen images of Hollywood on TV, but I wanted to see the place for myself. 

I always heard Hollywood wasn't clean and that there were a ton of bums roaming around.  However, it wasn't as bad as I had imagined.  In fact, I actually had a great time in Hollywood and things weren't as expensive as I thought they would be either.  In fact, we found $2.00 parking with validation. 

I didn't know what to expect in Hollywood, but I had a chance to see a number of interesting things.  My favorite would be the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, although it was a bit creepy. 

Here are some images from Hollywood during my visit:

I would like to return to L.A. to one day see a live show among many other things.  L.A. has a lot of things to offer and I can't wait to return for another visit. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I've Finally Returned!

I've finally returned to Hawaii after spending a little over two months in Indonesia.  It's been a couple of weeks since I've been back.  The weather here in Hawaii truly is perfect.  I now appreciate the weather more than I have before and steady, warm showers.  I'm also excited to begin my new life as a student.  I moved on from my job to follow my dreams.  Now, i'm more than ready to begin working towards my goals. I can't wait for my new life to begin. 

Last week, I attended my first week of school and I absolutely love it!  I have a strong feeling that I'll make great friends that i'll keep for a lifetime at school.  Afterall, we are forced to hang out.  But I think of it as a positive thing.  I'll also get into a ton of shape this year, so I can't wait.  I honestly haven't exercised in the last 3 months since it's not common in Indonesia, but I'll try my best to keep up. 

Although I've returned, I still have a ton of writing material from Indonesia!  Until then, I hope you enjoy my Indonesian posts.  Soon, I'll continue writing on Hawaii again.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ramayana Ballet - Yogyakarta, Indonesia

After visiting Borobodur and Prambanan in the morning, a couple friends and I watched the Ramayana Ballet at Purawisata in Yogyakarta.  We were told that the show at Purawisata was much better than anywhere else.  It was the perfect night to watch the show too.  The Ramayana Ballet is only shown during a full moon.  We happened to choose the right night to visit Yogyakarta!

We didn't want to eat dinner at Purawisata to save money, so instead we only watched the show which cost approximmately $14.00 ...  Then, we sat on stone benches and watched a mesmerizing performance.

While we were watching the show, I thought it was incredible, although I wish I had read a little more about the storyline.  Now, I know a little more, but for me to explain it would be a bad idea, so here's the tale for yourself: 

Ramayana Ballet

They say that the Ramayana Ballet is Asia's version of Romeo Juliet.  It is a story from India's ancient Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana.

In the begining, a man came out to bless the area before ballet began.  I would soon find out why. 

As we were watching the show, there was a scene with little kids in it.  One of them kept on messing up, which was too funny.  But afterward, one of the kids dressed as a monkey jumped onto a wall and climbed the roof, running.  He almost fell off the roof and a tourist tried running towards him, opening his arms to catch him.  An older child immediately followed to grab the little kid.  My friend sitting next to me seemed completely freaked out.  I assumed it was a part of the show that the child run onto the roof, so I was amazed by the performance.  However, i'm not so sure anymore.

We were all completely confused about the scene and later decided that maybe it was a mistake?  You tell me.  I'm still confused because some of our other friends who've watched the show said that it's a part of the scene, but others who watched it a couple weeks after us said they don't remember watching a kid run onto a roof and almost fall.  The next time I watch the show, i'll know for sure I guess! 

There was also a dramatic fire scene.  I'm glad nothing too crazy happened then.

The way everyone in the Ramayana Ballet performed was astonishing.  I can only imagine the number of years it must take to become a performer.  While the performance is happening, Gamelan music is being played in the background, adding to the performance in the most hypnotic way.

Although the performance was rather long, I felt that I was only sitting there momentarily.  I was completely immersed into the show that by the time it was over, I couldn't believe it.  It went too fast, but I was able to walk away from the Ramayana Ballet completely satisfied.

I fulfilled another 101 in 1001 goals by watching the ballet too.  I've seen the nut cracker before, but now I've seen the Ramayana Ballet.  One day, i'll return to watch another performance, but for now i'll enjoy the memories I  have of the incredible time spent amongst friends in the beautiful city of Yogyakarta.

After the performance, you can take pictures with the characters.  It's a lot of fun!  I thought the people infront of us were too funny when they took their picture. 

Prambanan Temple - Yogyakarta, Indonesia

While in Yogyakarta, I visited Prambanan Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest Hindu temples in South East Asia.  Located in central Java in the city of Yogyakarta (my favorite city), Prambanan is a complex of temples that will take your breath away.

Personally, Prambanan is one of my favorite temples.  I never saw anything more beautiful!  It's hard to believe the temple was constructed by humans.

Several years ago, due to a massive earthquake in Yogyakarta, several areas of the temple have been closed off for restoration.  However, tourists can walk through the complex, entering some of the temple areas.   I was shocked to learn that the massive earthquake in Yogyakarta was the same one that generated the powerful tsunamis throughout South East Asia in 2006.  It's effects were devastating to the region.

For the areas of the temple than you can enter, be careful climbing the stairs!  They are steep and it's dark inside the temple too.  I wore a skirt and it wasn't easy climbing the stairs, while holding onto my skirt & camera.  But it was completely worth it to enter the temple.  I took a photo with a statue inside.  I couldn't believe I was inside a temple constructed centuries ago.  It was an amazing feeling.

While tourists can enter some of the temples, unfortunately the Shiva temple was closed off.  Many want to enter the Shiva temple because there's a statue inside that you can touch for good luck!  Regardless, however, the entire complex is amazing and worth the visit. 


While at Prambanan, take your time to enjoy the moment.  There's a lot to see and to take photos of while at the temple. 

For those of you interested in more information, here's some background information on the temple from Wikipedia:

Prambanan Temple

If you get a chance to visit Yogyakarta, I would recommend visiting Prambanan.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Few Fond Memories of Indonesia

While in Indonesia, I had a chance to see many interesting things.  I was able to capture some of these memories on my camera.

In Indonesia, motorcycles are everywhere.  The first time I landed in Indonesia, I took a taxi to my hotel.  On my way to the hotel, I was shocked at what I saw outside as we drove by.  My mouth dropped as I saw families including babies on motorcycles! I also saw a father riding his motorcycle with his daughter on his shoulders.  I'll never forget it. 

There are motorcycle taxis in Indonesia too.  While I never thought I'd get on the back of a motorcycle overseas, I have to admit that I did several times and I had a blast.  For sure, I'll have to ride again!

At times, you may even see people on motorcycles carrying either the most unusual items (i.e. a chicken) or an enormous load of stuff on the back of their bikes such as baskets or hay.  I found this to be interesting, while walking through the market ...

For sure, you'll see someone transporting enormous amounts of stuff from place to place ...

Another thing I love about Indonesia is that food is available everywhere you turn and it's sold in the most interesting way ... There are many of these push carts on the side of the street and sometimes, they are mobile and move from place to place.  After living in Indonesia, you'll be able to quickly identify when bread, meat balls, and corn are being sold outside of your house because there's a sound for each.

After being in Indonesia, I learned that people sure do love photos! While walking with my camera in Indonesia, I would sometimes encounter people who waved or gestured, "take my picture."  I would snap a photo and sometimes they would pose for the camera with a big smile like the young man below.  Many people were happy to be in my photos and on occassion would ask me to be in their photos too.

I hope you enjoy these photos ...


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