Camping @ Sequoia National Park

This weekend we packed up the car to meet our friends at Sequoia National Park. They’re traveling through the United States on a road trip, and we were happy to meet them. The drive to the park is gorgeous, lots of beautiful hills and greenery.

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As we approached the park we drove through the fog. It made the forest look ethereal.

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We got to our campsite and realized we were missing one backpack with all our gear (sleeping bags, tent, sleeping pads + pillows). GASP.  So here we are walking through the campground to find our friends!

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Forgetting our backpack was something to laugh about. Instead we slept inside our car. Thankfully our friends had two extra sleeping bags, and I had three blankets so we worked with it, and survived!

Monday morning we woke up to a winter wonderland. Andrew started a fire and we cooked breakfast.

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Always have to have bacon. Also: mason jars are great for just about everything.

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The day included walking to see General Grant, one of the biggest and oldest sequoias.

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General Grant is 267 feet tall and 1,650 years old!

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We took a walk through a fallen sequoia, which is apparently the only way they die. They are indestructible otherwise, surviving rot, insects, and fire.

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Afterwards we took a drive to see a waterfall. The drive up there was gorgeous as well. It was beautiful, and the rivers running alongside the mountains were a sight to see. So much water!

 

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Unplugged for a couple days, hanging out alongside a campfire (cause it was so cold), and being with friends make for a great trip. Aren’t our friends the cutest?

My favorite part of the trip was watching the kids and Uncle Andrew have an intense snowball fight.

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The last two times the Warriors won the Finals we were camping the night of their championship game. Coincidence or a sign of good luck? ūüėČ

Good tips:
– Get gas one more time before getting into the park. That way you have enough gas to visit other parts as it’s really big.
– If you’re headed back to the South Bay visit Cutija Taco Shop in Los Banos. One word: CARNE-ASADA-FRIES!

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A Quick trip to Cambodia

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 We had a three days in Cambodia over Thanksgiving weekend. We like to travel smarter, not harder, and maximize our time wherever we are. This  means avoiding crowds, when possible, and being prepared so we can swiftly get through the airport and into the city! Here are some tips that helped us on our visit.

  1. E-Visa 
    Since our trip to Cambodia wasn’t decided until we got into Thailand, we didn’t get a visa from the U.S., instead we applied for a visa online. This included taking a photo with our camera and uploading it with our application. It takes up to 3 days to approve.
    Total cost $40
    If you don’t get a Visa online, you can apply for it as soon as you land. So you wait in line for your Visa, then another line for customs. When we arrived at the airport, we only had to wait through one line since we had our E-Visa’s.
  2. Ankor Wat Sunrise
    The building to purchase an admission pass to Angkor Wat is 10 minutes away from the temple itself. To go straight from your hotel to the temple in the morning, its best to purchase your admission ticket the afternoon before your sunrise. We were picked up at 4:40am, and arrived to get Angkor to witness the sunrise. 
    $20/ 1 day pass
    $40/ 3 day pass
    $60 / week
    Rates might increase significantly by February 2017
  3. Bring Cash USD
    The currency for most tourist places, like Siem Reap, is the US dollar. Have smaller bills to carry for tips. We use our Charles Schwab debit card when abroad because we get reimbursed for the ATM transaction fees.
  4. Transportation.
    The driver we got from the airport was very nice, and offered to be our driver for the rest of our trip. We agreed, and he had good tips on certain sights. He had an SUV with A/C. If you don’t mind not having A/C, and want a more Khmer experience, tuk tuk drivers are also available for hire.Always, always ask how much a tour or ride is going to cost before agreeing to get into a vehicle or go on a tour guide, unless its a metered car.
    For more clarification, ask how long a trip take. Efficiency is not common in developing countries, and communication with a language barrier can be a problem.Speak simply, listen well, and enjoy your time!

Loi Kathrong // Yi Peng

 We had the pleasure of being in Thailand during Loi Kathrong & Yi Peng so that means floating lanterns!!

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This was our second experience with sky lanterns. The first time was two NYE’s ago. We walked around the street markets and purchased one from a vendor. (30 baht / a little less than a dollar). Then we walked inside a temple gate, set a flame to it, and asked a nice looking, trust worthy stranger to take our photo. People are doing the same thing all over, and lanterns are released sporadically.

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This time we got referred to a tour company via our AirBnB. We paid for tickets to this event, and traveled from the city to a village by bus. This was different than the last time because this time there were 500 of us gathered together, and the idea was to release the lanterns at the same time.

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We were told to wait until the speaker told us to let go, because there’s a certain “wow” factor when the lanterns go up simultaneously.

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It’s happening, semi-simultaneously. ūüėČ

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 I released my lantern, and looked up to see the most beautiful sight.

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Hundreds of illuminated lanterns against the dark sky.

The closer ones pulsating a yellow flame, and others gently gliding in the background.

All moving together in perfect rhythym.

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They looked like jelly fish swimming in the sky.

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Then I had this moment of ”¬†I can’t believe I am witnessing this with my own two eyes!

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A gentle reminder that little moments like these are worth the exploration, and enough beauty to make your jaw drop and put butterflies in your stomach.

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#thatglowtho

Tickets $50/each
includes
round trip bus ride (30 minutes each way)
1 sky lantern + 1 lathrong (not pictured because we didn’t participate)
1 souvenir (small lantern ornament and coin purse)

Dinner from local vendors $3
 fried banana
noodles
a bag of chicharron (so random, I know!)
1 bottle of water

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I highly recommend experiencing this!
The date is different every year, because its based on the full moon on the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, on a Western calendar it falls somewhere in November.

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Photography: Andrew Brown
Shout out: to Mary, my generous co-worker & dear friend for gifting us this experience.
for more information on our AirBnB & the tour company
email: kalaniandandrew@gmail.com