Friday, August 30, 2013
I love how these floral crowns are making a huge comeback as of recently, sneaking in cameo appearances in music festivals and bridal showers and tea parties and what not. I don't know what it is about them. Perhaps nostalgia (reminds me of me and my sissy's own teeny weeny floral crowns as little Chus'). Maybe part whimsy, cuz ya know, who doesn't like a good make-believe fairytale when daydreaming at that 9 to 5? Well, whatever it is, I'm bringing them back, baby. Here's to unleashing my inner flower child and kicking off the birthday weekend with an uber easy (and cheap!) DIY floral crown. Should make for interesting shots for the upcoming birthday shoot!
Materials // Various plastic flower stems and garland, scissors, floral tape and/or clear tape.
How to // 1. Measure garland by wrapping it around head. Secure garland circle with floral/clear tape and trim off excess garland. // 2. Cut various flowers off plastic stems and add them to the garland, securing them with floral/clear tape. // 3. Work in one direction until done. Or until desired effect.
Note: Not sure if you'll have the same problem as me, but my floral tape kinda sucks. Like, really, really sucky. You know you got bad quality tape (or maybe all floral tapes are like this??) when it starts unraveling halfway through the DIY. Anyways, switching over to clear tape is a quick and inexpensive replacement. Mucho mejor!
Thursday, August 29, 2013
For those of you not in the know, that lil red dragon is my traveling gnome. Given as a Christmas present back in 2000 (2001??) by my Thai bestie, Mr. Ricky, so it's only fitting that I'd bring the lil guy along to Thailand. And may I add, Thailand is insanely dragon-friendly ... nothing but first-class treatment for Mushu! Lil dude was popular in the land of Thai!
Anyways, I would have to keep this post on the short side due to birthday planning and photog deadlines. I don't want to undermine the mystical and adventurous spirit of Bangkok by not giving it the full testament it deserves ... but I am. Time is of the essence and I know I'm definitely not giving Bangkok justice with the little synopsis I'm about to give. Oi. Conundrum. But here goes anyways. The gastronomy adventure here is insanely ah-mazing (Street-side crickets, anyone? Didn't try, but still so curious!), the Buddha-inspired visual scenes with tons of color pops are simply breathtaking, and THE down n' dirty backpacker's trekking dreams with the constant foot/boat/tuktuk travel through Bangkok's chaotic and mirky roads. Like Cambodia, there are virtually temples at every corner of the city so getting lost is inevitable. One thing that Ricky and my other good Thai friend, Joy (also a traveling kindred spirit who've I met through a mutual friend in an airport ages ago), had constantly brought up: Beware of scammers. They're everywhere! Left. Right. Up. Down. And these aren't your typical scammers you'd see, like in the street markets of Marrakesh or Peru. No, these are world-class, smooth-talking scammers. They will quickly identify and relate with you, know your story, follow you, give you 'evidence' of why their story is 'true'. In the end, your trust is easily gained (maybe), but not us thanks to V's exhaustive travel research! (I don't research, V does research. It's a match-made in heaven relationship, I tell ya!) We found that 95% of the people offering to 'help' us had an ulterior motive for money! Many of them textbook scenarios as mentioned in Trip Advisor.
So heads up. Mother of all ultimate scammers - Thailand for sure.
Ok, this is quickly becoming quite contradictory to 'keeping it short'. Obviously I have a lot to say about Thailand but that's for another day, another time, another travel story yet to be told.
besos ... jin.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
This was one of those spur-of-the-moment day trips where we walked into a Buquebus travel agency in Buenos Aires (I know! Walking. What internet? So old school!), booked a catamaran ferry, hung out at the port, hopped on a ferry, and an hour later found ourselves in Colonia, Uruguay. Uruguay! Why Colonia and not Montevideo, you ask? Out of convenience, really. Montevideo is definitely not a day trip from BA. And what the heck is in Uruguay, you also ask? Well, let me tell ya.
Colonia is everything you'd dream of from a quaint Spanish port city constantly plundered by pirates back in the day, filled with romantic cobbled streets and aging colonial buildings. You know, the kind of picturesque place where lovers rendezvous and curious travelers stroll mindlessly, while Zorro kicks ass and takes names. With a rented golf cart on hand, me, V and Jack spent most of our time zipping around this small city, taking in the insanely serene backdrop and relishing the laid-back aura. And man, did our little golf cart take us places! We circled a defunct bull ring and drove miles and miles down a road with incredible ocean views, stopping once in awhile to relax at a beach and tour a pirate museum and explore old forts with it's rusty canons and drawbridges. One of the highlights of the trip was picnicking on top of giant rocks nestled between the fine line of land and water, the Atlantic Ocean lapping at the edges, fishies swimming in the crevices, the sea breeze in your face, the vast expanse of blue sky above. Yeah, Colonia isn't a bad place at all! I see why all these pirates made a big fuss. It's nice here in a slow life kinda way, when you're not too busy trying to dig up treasures.
Would we come back to Uruguay? Most def! Kinda curious what else this country has to offer now that we got a lil taste of the land. Til next time, Uruguay!
besos ... jin.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Sooo just to get it out there, just in case you haven't noticed (you have), and state the obvious (here goes): it's been awhile since my last real bloggy blog. (My last blog, oddly enough, about attending the TXSC Blog Conference.) And I'm fairly certain I broke the #1 cardinal rule about blogging. By not blogging. Yes, I, Jin, have not blogged anything (aside from the usual weekly travel fluff) for the past 2 weeks! How did I manage to not blog anything since attending a blog conference?? Epic blogging fail! *hangs head low* But but but ... life, man, life happened. I got busy. It's the harsh reality and honest truth I gave a friend whom I was suppose to coordinate with on a long-term photo project last week. (Sorry Mince ... again!) Kinda makes me wonder how in the world I had beaucoup of time to blog like crazy back in college!
Anyways, that TXSC Blog Conference earlier this month is quite the interesting experience I wish to delve into in a future blog post. I don't know when this is actually gonna happen, but it'll happen eventually. Coupled with summer photoshoot #3, sequentially editing that photoshoot, and sending Zaid off to his new home in San Fran with a proper week-long Austin farewell, followed with Liz, Kim and Kim's 3 toddler boys visiting lil ol' me from Houston ... throw in the usual volunteering bit on Sundays and yoga on Tuesdays and beating Getty Images deadlines and catching the last Little Shop of Horrors outdoor show of the summer ... suddenly it's the 2nd half of August! Yah, life really happened! Which also meant regretfully sacrificing a lot of social events (baby showers, birthday parties, etc.) to fit others in. Grr, I hate missing out on things! And now I'm prepping up for this evening's summer photoshoot #4. Which I gotta jet off to pretty soon. Like in 30. Wait, hold up. 30 minutes! I better go! This madness never ends!
besos ... jin.
(Photo taken in March 2012 by Jin Chu-Ferrer.)
Thursday, August 15, 2013
The view, the atmosphere, the people - it all seemed a bit drab as we made the lengthy trek from the train station to the castle. Remnants of Communism peppered everywhere we turned. The city unusually quiet, the streets unusually bare. Where were the locals? Everything seemed so ... off. Perhaps it was late September and all the tourists were gone. The overcast day didn't help things either.
As it turned out, Bratislava Castle was one monumental disappointment. Times infinity. It was bad enough having to walk another 15-20 minutes uphill once we've entered the Bratislava Castle grounds (which is just as visually drab as the rest of the city), but once inside the castle, we found that most of it was under renovations. However, all the artifacts were conveniently displayed on the first floor in the meantime, so we took a gander. Aaaand, to be quite honest, it was a bit pathetic. Rocks and bricks and nails all laid out, with a lil synopsis of where they used to live in the castle. Hmm. Oookaaay. But it just wasn't us who thought the mini museum was an epic fail. A couple of tourists echoed our sentiments, stormed over to the cashier, and demanded their money back, 'This museum is SO boring!'
Yah, I'm with you fellow tourists.
But fear not, there is one good thing about the castle. Yes! The vantage point from the outside patios. They hold incredible panoramic views of the city and Danube River. Needless to say, we've spent most of our time up there until we got the munchies. Only then was it time to move on. Get some food. So where the heck is this Old Bratislava? The 2 guys we've asked didn't know much English, though one of them goes into a bus and out comes the entire bus of teenagers! Soon we were surrounded by teenagers who also didn't speak English. But bless their hearts, they helped us the best they could. And somehow, we've found Old Bratislava with it's medieval architectures and darling cobblestone walkways, eerily dead like a ghost town. Wow. This totally does not look like the Eurotrip movie at all. We did manage to find an open restaurant among the sea of closed shops where we've waited forever for just okay goulash. Despite being their only customers. Heh. At this point we thought it was time to hop on that train to Vienna.
I'm sure a lil sun would have made a world of difference in Bratislava. But thank God it was only a day trip. Bratislava, you are officially the most boring trip I have ever taken. Ever. On to Vienna!
besos ... jin.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Who knew Preăh Réachéanachâk Kâmpŭchéa (Quick translation: Kingdom of Cambodia. Mind-boggling, am I right??) is insufferably humid in April?? As is the case in all the other countries we've visited on this tour of South East Asia 2009. Cambodia being the 4th leg of 6. I've only been in Asia during the monsoon season prior to this epic tour, having spent a handful of summers in The Philippines and Hong Kong as a child. Those were some humid, humid times, man. And I hated it. So, yeah, I wasn't expecting it to be so hot so early in the year. Even Texas doesn't get this hot in April!
I know, I know. Suck it up. (April! It's just not right.) But really, as much as this Texan complains about humidity, it's all a minor inconvenience. Really. When you're zipping through the countryside in a tuk-tuk for a few days, the wind delightfully tousling your hair, occasional out-stretched arm beyond the tuk-tuk perimeters pretending to fly as ancient ruins and countless temples blur past you - it really, really, really doesn't matter. A backpack of essentials, camera for visual evidence, front row seats to a grand view - life is pretty good. Often times you forget just how hot it is when there's so much adventure around you. Trekking through Angkor Wat and playing amongst the Banyan trees and seeking refuge in a leaky temple from a sudden torrential downpour and chasing off hungry monkeys and searching for the source of mystical music when on a hike and following the many orange-robed monks just because you're amused that they are taking pictures with their cellphones. All once in a lifetime memories made possible by me and V's tuk-tuk driver! Like, what humidity?
Last picture. That's Sukoon. The awesomest driver in all of Cambodia. Look him up. He'll take care of you! Tell him Jin and Vince sent ya. =)
besos ... jin.