Friday, March 23, 2007

In the End...

I just got here and already I'm leaving... Things never really go the way you envision it in your head but I know in the end it'll all workout.

These past few days I've spent a great deal of time with my dad. Its the most I've seen him at one time in the past 10 years. Usually I only see him about 10 days at a time but I'm use to it now b/c its been like that since I was only 10 years old. Yet when I see him its like he never left... We have an open and loving relationship. I try to call him at least once a week even if its only for a few mins.

Its hard to leave because we just started getting use to having each other around. This morning my dad said, "I hate the days when you leave." He'd rather see me just leave out of the blue then know I'm leaving soon because the days leading up to my departure seem to drag on forever.

Living in Vietnam the past few weeks I got a chance to see what my dad's life is like. He's accomplished more than I could have ever imagined. I'm feel proud where ever I go because everyone speaks so highly of him. I hope I can become as successful as he is one day.

I know my family isn't the typical family but in the end... I know everything will workout! I'm just happy my dad is happy too! I could continue on but I'll end it by saying... I'm proud of you DAD!

Reality:On site at the future 18 story Olympic Towers...

This is my dad... He's the MAN!
Less than 48 hours left in Vietnam... See you soon San Diego!

Check the New Flickr Gallery: Random - Vietnam Pics

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The 20th

Happy 85th Month Anniversary Bebmyster!
I love you!

<3 Always,
Toe-Knee of the Mysters

MTV: Cribs Vietnam Season 2

Since I've been here I've yet to see my uncle Tuan (my dad's younger brother). My uncle Tuan recently moved out of my dad's house into his own villa on the other side of Ho Tay (West Lake). I've see the house from the outside but I finally went inside today... Damn I must say its amazing!

My dad's house is built more like a hotel... You walk in and take the elevator to your designated floor. On the other hand, my uncle's new house is like a western home. My dad said if he lived like that he would be scared and lonely... Its 4 times bigger than my dad's house. But since my uncle lives w/ him family and several servants its not not as empty. From the outside it looks like its only 3 stories but there's a downstairs floor and an attic upstairs (5 stories).
Here's the 2nd floor garage... My uncle owns a Mercedes E Class and a BMW 7 SeriesHere's the kitchen and living room on the 4th floor.
There's a beautiful view of Ho Tay (West Lake)
I was only there for 20mins so I didn't get a chance to take that many pictures. Hopefully I'll get another chance to take more pictures soon. When I stopped by but my uncle wasn't home yet but I did get a chance to see my newborn cousin. He's only 4 months old but he has the chubbiest cheeks. I tried take a picture w/ him but my aunt said its bad luck to take a picture of a newborn baby.

View the rest of the pictures here: MTV: Cribs Vietnam

I'm Coming Home!

So its official now... I'm returning home on Sunday, March 25th. I'm still on stand by from LAX to SD but I think Myster is gonna pick me up and we're going on a date in LA. Where? I don't even know but its gonna be fun!

My GMAT test is scheduled for Wednesday, April 4th which gives me over a week to prepare. After that I still have to write my personal statement, resume, and get a few letters of reference to hand in before April 15th.

After thats all done I'm going back on vacation... I'm most likely going to China or Japan for a few weeks but I'm still looking into different spots. I want to visit Vince in Osaka b/c that means free housing! HAHA I'm planning to go to Las Vegas at the end of April w/ UrbanFX and hopefully the rest of the Wildboyz... Then to Hawaii in July for Raelynn's birthday. Lots of traveling this year! YIPPY!

By the way, Althea and I are planning to get bikes (bicycles) and start a biker gang! Who's down? I think the Lagunas are going to do the same too... But they're planning to get their bikes at Target. EWW... Its all about Walmart bikes! HAHA I like the 26" Men's Mongoose XR-75 All-Terrain Bike. Best part is its only $99.96!
Anyways... I visited Hao Lo Prison earlier today. Hao Lo Prison is ironically nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by US POWs during the Vietnam War. Originally inteded to house abournd 450 inmates, records indicate that by the 1930s there were close to 2000 prisoners inside.

The Entrace
The prisoners were chained up by their anklesDeath Row... There were two people in each cell locked up by the ankles.Vietnam's Suge Knight of Death Row Records '96View the rest of the pictures in my Flickr Gallery.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Road Trip

I just got back last night from an adventurous all day road trip to Huong Tich Mountain (Mountain of the Fragrant Traces), which is located about 60km (38 miles) outside of Hanoi. Quang, one of the company employees, invited me to join him and a group of his friends for an all day pilgrimage to this beautiful Buddhist cave temple located high in the mountains.

According to Lonely Planet: Vietnam, "Great numbers of Buddhist pilgrims come here during a festival that begins in the middle of the second lunar month and last until the last week of the third lunar month (usually corresponding to March and April)." So it was packed!!!

Quang came by and picked me up at 6am to head to the meet up spot. There I meet the rest of the crew. There was a total of 8 of us on 4 motorcycles. It was a bit awkward because it was basically 3 couples (1 married, 1 engaged, and one bfgf) and then me and this other chick.

When I first told my dad I was going to be traveling my motorcycle he was skeptical b/c he thought it was too dangerous... He offered to have one of our drivers take us all but I told him I wanted to experience the journey on motorcycle like a real Vietnamese person... If they could do it I could do it too!

The ride up took us about 2 hours. We did manage to make a pit stop and rest for a few mins. Damn... My ass was hurtin' (NO HOMO) from sitting on the bike the entire time. On top of that, it was drizzling the entire way up. My shoes & jeans were soaked even with my rain coat on.
Pho for BreakfastQuang & I on his motorcycle crusin' in the rain!Making a quick pit stop!
Willy's Workshop... So Nice!!!
60km (38 miles) later we reached our destination... Chua Huong (Perfume Pagoda). There we would have to travel another hour by boat to two separate locations. The first was a pagoda located on a nearby island. There were thousands of boats there!
At the first pagoda... Wildboyz4Life! You can see people in the back making their way up the river to the next stop.
Like the new hats?Welcome to Jurassic Park!!!
We were surrounded by beautiful lush green hills... and Vietnamese people!
How thats a lot of FOBs in one boat... It seriously looked like we're going to Jurassic Park!
45mins later we reached the bottom of the mountain.
Once we made it here we ate a few Vietnamese style hot dogs and made our way up to the next pagoda, Giai Oan Chu (Purgatorial Pagoda). The way up the mountain was crazy b/c it was a bunch of rocks that were thrown together that made the trail... They totally didn't try to smooth it out or anything.
Notice the smooth and even concrete trail... NOT!

The couples...
Me and my date?
The sacrifice
Thank you for modern technology... The sky lift brought us straight to the top!
The Girls

The line to go to Zion! You'll see what I mean... FYI: I'm the tallest person here... By FAR!
The Entrance to Zion: The last human city on the planet Earth and existed deep underground for both concealment from its enemies as well as warmth (From the Matrix Trilogies).

Huong Tich Chu (Pagoda of the Perfumed Vestige) aka Zion...
It was a magnificent sight to see this massive cave located on the side of a mountain. I couldn't believe how many people where there. It seriously remind me of Zion from the Matrix movies.
A few hundred feet into the cave their was a monument were people came and prayed.
It was truly worth the entire journey there...
Other Friends
This is the married couple who was party of the crew. They both work at a travel agency that puts together tours throughout Vietnam. They said they could hook it up too!
Instead of taking the sky lift back down we decided it would be fun to hike down instead. It took us about 45 mins but we eventually made it down. Some of the trails were crazy steep, slippery, rocky, and dangerous... but even 80 year old grandmas were making it look easy.
We made a stop on the way down to have a few drinks and I saw this little boy... He was all upset so...

I gave him a Willy's Workshop sticker and he started to cheer up! He's a cute little mountain boy... Thanks Willy!

Look at my shoes... Someone please send help! HAHA
Finally we all made it back down the mountain. We meet up w/ our captain of boat 167 and began the journey home.

Look how many boats there were at the end of the day...
We ended up having roast duck for dinner at a restaurant nearby.Check out the cool rain coat...
Making our way back to Hanoi...
The way home was crazy b/c the roads were so dark at night. There were long stretches between small towns were it was pitch black and all we had was this dinky motorcycle light. It was pretty dangerous but exciting! A great experience though!!! On top of that, it started pouring! Huge rain drops were hitting me in the face as we were speeding through the countryside and they hurt!

Finally after we made it back to Hanoi I thought it was was a perfect opportunity to get a massage! Just a massage! Since one of my dad's close friends owned his own hotel and resort all we had to do was make a call and we got hooked up! HAHA

It was a long day but I finally made it home around 10:30PM... Definitely an adventure to remember! Thanks for reading... Sorry that was such a long post!

If you want to see all the rest of my pictures from the road trip... Check out my photos on Flickr!