Road Trip!

N and I decided yesterday that it would be fun to take a day trip to Goblin Valley this weekend.

Goblin Valley is filled with these strange rock formations that have been shaped by erosion into looking like, uh, goblins. Right now we’re planning on driving there Saturday morning, poking around for a couple hours and then driving back that night. It’s almost a four-hour drive, so we’re crossing our fingers that E will handle the trip well.

I’m planning on taking my Holga in addition to my normal camera so hopefully I’ll bring back some good pictures–unless we chicken out and spend the weekend lazing around/doing chores instead which is always a distinct possibility.

How I Met Your Mother

N. found this photo from the study abroad trip to Korea we went on back in the summer of 1999. It cracks me up: I like the sassy thumbs-up N’s flashing but I’m not sure why I’m making that weird smirk.

It’s funny; it wasn’t until the last night of the trip that we even really talked to each other. We had even been in the same Korean classes the year before the trip but we still barely knew each other. For most of the trip I was pining after one guy and spending all of my free time hanging out with another, neither of whom was N. (Yeah, I was just a touch boy-crazy at the time.) N seemed cool but was kind of intimidating at the time.

Details of how we got together will have to wait for another time; today I don’t really feel like typing a long post. For right now let’s just say that things managed to work out in the end.

Pike Place Market

I know it’s a major tourist trap, but I still like going to Pike Place Market when I’m in Seattle. I enjoy checking out the produce/flowers and admiring the hand painted market signs. (I’m a total sucker for nice signage.)

And with that, I promise I’m finally finished milking my Seattle trip for posts. After today, it’s back to our regularly schedule programing…whatever that is.

Oh Paldo World, you’re so dreamy!

There’s a great Koreatown about 40 minutes from my parents’ house. Along South Tacoma Way there are blocks and blocks of Korean restaurants, businesses, stores, and churches. It’s pretty awesome, especially since there are only a few Korean stores and restaurants here in the Salt Lake area.

My mom took us to the new Paldo World grocery store when we were there. It was a lot of fun.

They had a huge selection of items including fresh-made dduk and dumplings (Yum!) I loved looking at the aisle signs; some of them cracked me up.

A whole aisle devoted to rice and all kind of ramen boxes!

No trip to the store is complete without Europeans food!

This was the best aisle in the whole place. Yay for junk food!

I was charmed by the Nagelesque illustration on this tea.

Grocery shopping was fun, but I have to say that my favorite part of the store was the food court. It SO good. It had three separate restaurants. There was so much tasty food: ddukbokki, jajangmyeon, tonkatsu, soups, etc… And everything was very affordable. So we went a little, um, overboard.

One of the restaurants, Chicky Pub, specialized in spicy fried chicken. I loved their Engrish slogan and signage.

At first I was mystified by this sign…

I couldn’t figure out why they put an old-timey western cathouse on the sign.
I mean, check out the women’s expressions! And why are there children with balloons at this cathouse? But then I realized that it was only an illustration of an old-timey western pub where townfolk gathered to enjoy delicious cajun-style fried chicken.

You know, just like they used to have in the old days.

Family Snaps

It was really great to be able to spend time with family when E. and I were in Washington. Before we went on the trip E. was displaying some signs of stranger anxiety and so I was a little concerned that he would be fussy for people. But E. was very charming and liked hanging out with everyone.

E. with his cousin D. This is one of my favorite photos.

E. with Mindy and Ken (N’s brother) and their daughter C. at the Fremont troll. I think it’s funny how much E. looks like Mindy in this shot.

C. sitting on the troll’s hand.

E. with my mom. He loved spending time with her. The feeling was definitely mutual.

My dad and E. with his cousins J. and A.

My brother Steven in front of the state capital.

On the Town

Well, we’re finally home! Luckily, E. was a trooper on the flight home. He didn’t throw up, or even cry. Yay!

When we were in Washington my sister and I took her boys and my brother up to Seattle to see the sites. (My mom watched E. at home). It was a lot of fun to play tourist. My nephews wanted to go on the ‘duck bus’ tour, so we did.

A tour company bought a bunch of WWII amphibious vehicles and turned them into tourist buses. First you drive around downtown and the guide points out attractions like the Space Needle, Safeco Field, the piers, the Olympic Sculpture Park, etc… and then you drive to (and into Lake Union). The bus drives down the boat launch and into the water and then you cruise (pretty slowly) around Lake Union looking at houseboats and bridges and whatnot. The entire time the guide keeps up a steady pratter of facts and bad jokes and plays fairly obnoxious music.

The tour is an hour and a half long, but is still shockingly pricey: $25 for adults and $15 for kids. But it’s a great deal if your sister pays for your ticket like mine did (thanks, Jan!) The kids really enjoyed it and once I surrendered to the corniness I thought it was pretty fun too. I was surprised at how friendly the Seattlites were. Tons of people smiled and waved when they saw/heard the bus. Maybe they were touched by the gleeful smiles on the children’s faces, or maybe they were just happy to be reminded of the millions of dollars tourist pump into their economy. Who knows?

Here are some photos from the tour:

Lake Union and Gasworks Park.

Gasworks park up close.

One of my favorite signs downtown. I remember it from field trips to Seattle as a kid.

The E.M.P. museum designed by Frank Gehry.

After the tour, Jan and I took everyone up to the top of the Space Needle.

I’m still going through the photos I took and will post some of E. with family later this week.

Wish Us Luck

It has been really fun visiting family and friends here in Washington this last week. But yesterday, E. seemed to come down with a bug. He threw up twice: once at Mindy’s house and once at the lovely Mediterranean restaurant Ken and Mindy had taken us for dinner (good times!).

So yeah, I am pretty nervous about the flight home this afternoon, short as it is. My sister Jan flew home on Sunday, so I’m going to flying by myself with E., a first.

I’m trying to tell myself that it’s not a big deal. It’s only two hours, right? All the same, I am definitely packing some extra changes of clothes for both E. and me. Wish us luck.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

When we were in Oregon with N.’s family we went to a couple of lighthouses. One of them, Heceta Head, is dear to N.’s family because they would visit it during their summer vacations in Oregon when N. was growing up.

The view is pretty amazing. The lighthouse is perched on a bluff that’s edged by forest. To get there you walk through the woods up a winding trail and then BAM! – there’s a lighthouse.

Back in 2001 the lighthouse lens had to be dissembled, repaired, and reassembled, which was a huge undertaking.

But now everything’s working again. You can take a tour and climb up to the lens. It was pretty neat to see the ridges in the glass that focus the light. Apparently on a clear night the light can be seen for 21 miles.

While we were waiting for our tour, N.’s sister Miranda noticed an interesting plaque on the bench she was sitting on.

Wow. Can you imagine being at that wedding? It would have been crazy! The lighthouse is pretty remote and so it would have taken an ambulance a long time to get there. I like to think that Grandma Manja just sat down on the bench and peacefully slipped away before anyone else knew what was happening. There are definitely worse ways to go.

Cousins Galore!

This vacation was the first time that all of the kids were under one roof. It was fun to see them all together.

E. takes a break to munch on his toes.

Little cousin E. basks in the elusive Oregon sunshine.

Big cousin E. enjoys ice cream.

C. eating her dinner.

D. examining starfish at the aquarium.

L. exploring the taste of sand.

E. really enjoyed watching his cousins bounce around; they really cracked him up. It’ll be fun to watch him interact with them more once he gets a little bit older.

Oregon Coast Vacation

N.’s family wanted to get together for a family vacation before their parents go to Korea this summer. And so last week we rented at a beach house in Yachats, on the Oregon coast. The weather was even lousier than average for the coast (brrrrr!), but the trip was a lot of fun.

Vacationing with a baby is a lot different than vacationing without one, but E. was a real trooper. We drove there and back and E. was great in the car even though we were driving for about 15 hours each way. He mostly played on his own with his toys and napped. He got fussy a couple of times but didn’t start screaming or crying even once. He was pretty awesome.

I’m still sorting through the photos I took while we were there, but here are some that I like in particular. I’ll be posting more this week.