The next few days: Colca Canyon, Cusco

Doggies coming along for the trek

All and any good feelings towards this vacation have been erased now that I have fucking lost my Ray Bans. UGH. I lost them RIGHT before going on the trek too, which is the reason I brought them. So I wouldn’t have fucking sun in my eyes! Now I know that whenever there is sun in my eyes I am going to feel a little pissy and think how the fuck did I lose my beloved Ray Bans.

Well that’s my general mood right now. Actually, I also lost my wallet but thankfully the tour company found it on the bus. So that a stroke of good luck. As far as I could tell, they hadn’t taken anything and I should check to make sure they didn’t use my credit card for anything but I don’t think they did.

I guess my last post left off in the middle of Arequipa. After I posted that, we went out to look for dinner for Tanya’s bday. She had read about a good Italian place but we couldn’t find it so we looked up and down the restaurant and settled for another Italian restaurant. Arequipa is surprisingly cool for such a shady looking town. Whatever street we were on had some really cool looking restaurants. They looked pretty fancy inside and several of them had private courtyards. Our Italian place was really nice and the waiter was hilariously attentive. He would stand near our table and when we were looking at the beverage menu I was like I think if we look up he’ll come over so we all raised our heads and he practically ran over to us. At some point Caroline dropped her knife and he just ran over and handed her a new one. We ordered a caprese salad, sangria (pear and … peach I think?) and pizza. Not the most Peruvian food but the pizza had sweeter dough than American pizza so we claim it was Peruvian pizza. When the waiter delivered the caprese salad I was like … uh … and pointed at a live bug crawling around. I personally wouldn’t have really cared but the waiter let out this HUGE GASPPP and immediately rushed it away from us. In return we got free coca teas and free garlic bread! Totally worth it. So far I think that was my favorite restaurant experience.

Freaking awesome sangria with peach and pear

We booked a Colca Canyon trip. Despite knowing the tour started at 8am and that it takes 4 hours to get from Arequipa to Colca Canyon, I don’t think it registered for any of us that we would be waking up at 3am. The tour description also made it sound like we would just be driving around from site to site. The main thing to see here is condors. I was like ummm this doesnt sound like we’ll be doing very much walking … but we were like eh whatevers. TOTALLY FUCKING WRONG OMG. NONE of us were prepared at all for what we were about to embark on.

No lie. We would spend the next fiveish hours climbing to the bottom.

Well our bus came to pick us up at 3am. So I had woken up around 2 40 after a pretty terrible night of sleep. The bus then went around Arequipa from hostel to hostel to pick up the rest of our tour group. It was actually pretty awesome to drive around Arequipa at the dead of night because there were no other cars and most of Arequipas streets are cobbled so the night lights give it a nice effect. I think we finally picked up everyone around 3:45 and then we were off. The tour gave us blankets and sleep pillows which I thought was pretty luxurious. And I WOULD have gone to sleep in the car but … that night was the beginning of my upset stomach. And by upset stomach I mean diarrhea! UGH. I thought I would have a strong stomach but I believe this Peru trip has only taught me how weak I am.

I wish I had taken pics of Colca Canyon in the dawn but I was half asleep and the windows were fogged up and I just did not want to move. Still sad though because it was really gorgeous. We got breakfast which was essentially … well future Irish friend said it best as cracker bread. I think that’s what all Peruvians eat for breakfast. Just bread. We continued onto condor view point. If you know me, I don’t really care about wildlife so I just stood around going OH LOOK. THERE. THERE. THERE probably several seconds too late for anyone to take a decent picture.

Then we got dropped off with our tour guide. Caroline, Tanya and me were put together with a group of three Irish girls. Really sad but the only person’s name I don’t know is the one person I actually specifically asked and asked how to spell it. I was completely unprepared for her Irish accented alphabet so it was a fail. The other two girls were Rebecca and Trina. I will make up the third name as Thanix. It’s supposed to be some French name, so I threw in a X.

Now that we are FB friend, I realize I have no idea what I heard. Their names were Rebecca, Therese and Triona.

At this point of the blog writing, I only have faintly fond memories of the Colca Canyon trek but I have very clearly written in my journal in the middle of the trip “this is my personal idea of hell” so clearly I did not love it for some part of the trip. Colca Canyon is a lot like Grand Canyon. Hot dusty and lots of cacti. These are essentially the three main things I hate in all of the universe.

So brown. So dusty. SMH.

So the trek is, first day: about six hours total of walking up and down and around this giant fucking canyon. I think there was a total of three ups and downs. One thing I also hate – senseless waste of effort. Why not just have ONE down. and then ONE up. They would have us go down … to get to a bridge … then back up … then back down for the bridge …. then back up. Good fucking god. Also, our tour guide seemed to think we were in a huge rush so I never had time to take pictuers. I only ever do things for the intent of taking pictures so to me all this walking was even more of a waste because there is barely any photographic evidence of my accomplishment! Another thing: we were staying over night in a hostel at the bottom of the canyon so we all had backpacks. So we were doing this hike with big backpacks and I have never hiked with so much weight before.

Once again, we went from top to bottom. And the next day, bottom to top.

Ok. Well. An hour into the hike I had to whip out my ipod to sort of calm myself from continuously cursing myself and my situation of having paid 180 soles (about $70) just to put myself through a perfect mix of everything I could possibly hate in life. At the end of the day we reached the bottom of the canyon where our hostel was.

Our electricity-less, bottom-of-a-canyon hostel
Despite the spare amenities, it had a very oasis-like feeling
I think it was the planted flowers

I actually didn’t mind our hostel much and I think it actually made me enjoy the experience more but … our hostel had no electricity or hot water. Which is to be expected because it’s at the bottom of this huge fucking canyon in the middle of Peru. One thing I wish they had informed us is that they would not provide us toilet paper. Well, we got to our place around 530 pm and I was fucking dusty and disgusting and you don’t even want to know how bad my socks smell. The water is basically heated by the sun, so I immediately went to shower because the water would only get colder. The showers had practically see through walls because they were made of bamboo sticks which had been kind of crappily placed together. Maybe they were going for a more authentic hut feeling. The water was freezing cold but I bit the bullet and just stuck my head in the water and after a while it actually felt bearable. The hostel itself actually does look like a little oasis. There’s a beautiful blue swimming pool surrounded by the canyon walls. So, pretty nice! It was already getting cold so I just went back to our room … which b y the way, was basically a stone hut with bamboo roof and windows.

A not so private shower

Our dinner was served at 7pm by our guide, Lucia. Now during most of the hike, I had harbored a lot of builtup resentment towards Lucia. Particularly after the first few hours of our hellish downhill hike, when we were like “are we going fast enough?” obviously as a way to elicit some praise like “yes! you guys are doing so well!” Instead Lucia went “uh … ok.” and we were like WHAT. Not fast enough?! And she was like “um, maybe” and I had to clarify just to make sure “wait … you want us to go faster?!” and she said “yes, faster would be good” and we were all like OMFG IS THIS WOMAN CRAZY. But I guess when I am living in a hostel without any electricity and sitting in the dining hut with only a little burning candle for light, when a little Peruvian woman hands me a big bowl of soup and plate of rice and curry, I have nothing but fond feelings for her.

Our awesome trek group. LOVE these three Irish girls!

So we finished dinner around 730 and then we went back to our hut to wash up and sleep at … 8pm HAHA We were sooo exhausted I pretty much knocked out immediately. Before sleeping we looked up at the sky and there were SOOO many stars. As would be expected, as we were at the bottom of a canyon with no other light sources and far from much developed civilization. It was freezing cold though, so I did not continue to look at the sky for too long.

Well the next morning we woke up at 4:45am to begin our 5am hike. Basically for the next 3 hours we would be doing a completely uphill climb from the bottom of the canyon to the top. At first I thought we were doing wonderfully but I had mistakenly thought the flag was the endpoint, so when we passed the endpoint and I realized we had about another hour of uphill to go, my spirit was broken. The first 20ish minutes of our climb was in complete darkness so we had little flashlights on our heads to guide us. I actually enjoyed climbing so early because it felt pretty relaxing. At the end of the hike I thought I was going to die. To anyone who thinks I am fit, let me tell you, I was the least fit in this group of six. So that’s depressing. Well at least I made it. Our guide told us that we had climbed 1200meters (so about 3,900 feet) in 3 hours. I think the last hike I did with Janie and Laura had an elevation gain of 300 feet.

Another side of the canyon where our hot springs were

So I can appropriately call that a trek because hiking sticks were involved. Now THAT was a strenous hike. Considering I thought my heart might implode at several points of the trip.

Ok. people are waiting to use the computer at this hostel. We are in Cusco right now. THe hostel is the largest one we’ve been at yet, and I don’t really like it. It reminds me of a Berkeley coop. I think it’s better to just go to a more private hostel because there are way too many people waiting to use the same resources at this large one. Uh well ok what else…

Now I only have a general fond memory of Colca Canyon but I will make a note to never step foot in anything with the word Canyon in its name again. The three Irish girls were hilarious and probably the main highlight of that trip. There was also this Brazilian couple, the girl got sick and looked pretty terrible for the rest of the time but her bf was a trooper. We finished the second day’s hike at 8am and the tour took us to several more sites including breakfast, lunch, a hot springs, and some other view points. Then we got back to Arequipa, where we thankfully got to get a shower in our hostel. I then discovered that I had lost my wallet but then the bus company found it thank god.

Then we took the night bus to Cusco. I think this is when I lost my Ray Bans. I am also missing my eyedrops which leads me to believe that no one stole my sunglasses, but by complete stupidity it probably fell out of my backpack along with my eyedrops. SIGH SIGH SIGH. The movie on the bus was surprisingly good. Don’t know the title but it had Forest Whitaker, America Ferrrera and Regina King. I don’t have time to imdb it. I sat next to this old Peruvian woman named Norma. I am not sure if I understood her Spanish very well, but it appears that she runs an orphanage and was traveling to Cusco for work but generally lives in Trujillo. We carried on a conversation for much longer than anyone with my level of Spanish would be expected to.

The bus ride was a pretty crappy sleep. It vaciliated between freezing cold and sweatingly hot. No idea how. Arrived in Cusco, went to our hostel, explored the city a little bit. I think that’s enough writing for today

BEMOAN MY RAY BANSSSSS

The last time I was pictured with my Ray Bans. Look at that smile. It's because I was wearing Ray Bans.

Day 2: Arequipa

Ok this keyboard is slightly funkier than the last and Im writing in a very dark room right now so some interpretations will need to be made. It is  6 50 pm right now and we are at our hostel, Flying Dog. It is a pretty nice hostel and the hosts can speak english, so score. We ended up not having enough time to explore Miraflores yesterday because we had to take a 630 pm bus. Instead, we just super explored Central Lima. We ended up getting to the Plaza de Armas in the middle of some huge religious celebration that we didnt know would happen. It was pretty interesting to watch and there were tons of men in some sort of purple getup and lots of flowers on the street and singing.

On the bus. All buses have someone standing to collect money and greet people coming on

We were all extremely hungry but were sort of set upon finding this sandwich place listed in the tourbooks. It is the oldest bar in Lima and SO glad we took the time to find it because it had suchhhh good sandwiches. Plus right when we got there, two old ladies who spoke English, bless them, were like THESE ARE THE BEST SANDWICHES IN LIMA so that was quite a sound recommendation. They helped me figure out what to order, heart. I also ordered a drink called chicha which appeared to be made of corn and syrup and was purple and CRAZY good. Like, I want to find a giant bottle of it and take it home. What else … the rest of Central Lima seems like a blur.

One of many streets leading to the Plaza de Armas

We went back to our hostel and had dinner at the place I had gotten my rice pudding the night before. There was a ton of confusion about what we had ordered, to the point that the mother of the place grabbed me by the arm and we went outside so I could point out what we wanted. I got another rice pudding, and I wish I had gotten two more! DAMN those are good. We also got some kind of noodle plate with chicken and potatoes and it was SOOO good but we had to catch our bus so no time. When we left there were a ton of people outside and I am pretty sure we had stumbled upon a local favorite. The restaurant has no name, it is just a house, but I will probably dream of that restaurant again in the future.

Insanely delicious sandwich at Bar Cordano
Closeup. My mom says "you take a lot of pictures of food"

We took a night bus with Cruz del Sur which is one of the most reputable buses in Lima. It was pretty nice but I would say the plane seats are more comfy. We opted for cheaper tickets, which means we were on the second floor. I thought the food was pretty good for a bus service. They showed a Tyler Perry movie TWICE (the same one) and I have never seen a Tyler Perry movie before. Mindy Kaling has tweeted, every Tyler Perry movie is essentially the same, and if thats true, his movies are about crazy, hysterical women and their calm husbands. It was kind of annoying to watch but at the same time, a good way to pass the time. They also passed out Bingo cards and I was like GOD DAMN this is unfair I cant understand numbers above 50!!!

What I woke up to on the bus. Peruvian Big Sur.

Not sure when I ended up being able to fall asleep but I imagine it was around midnight and I woke up around 6am. I woke up and our bus was driving along what looked to be Perus version of Big Sur. It was GORGEOUS and overcast and I think I spent the next two hours just staring out the window listening to my ipod, which is sort of my dream vacation. I managed to climb over Caroline to use the restroom without waking her up, but I guess she had woken up slightly right after I landed on the floor. I felt pretty catlike doing it. The first time I went to the restroom I could not push open the door at all and thought Id be trapped in it forever. Luckily the nice bus serviceman heard my knocking and released me from my prison.

Another view from the bus, passing a city

We arrived in Arequipa around 1030 and checked in then spent a while just organizing our next few days, which will be a tour of Colca Canyon which appears to be Perus version of Grand Canyon. We had all wanted to do Lake Titicaca but logistically it was kind of impossible plus there are apparently riots going on there so our safety was questionable. The center of Arequipa is really pretty at night and we walked around this shopping street that I really liked. I really like Peruvian clothing style, which appear to be nice peacoat-like jackets and plaid shirts, all in darker colors and especially a nice shade of purple. Good thing I dont have too much luggage space otherwise Id be tempted to buy.

Rooftop view from the Catedral of the volcanoes
View of the Plaza in the day

As it stands no one has sent me their address and I will probably be buying postcards in the next three days so if I dont get anything, you dont get anything!

Lying down now. I dont think Ill ever be able to post pics with my posts until I return to US but hopefully my words are interesting enough.

More pictures from Cusco

Really large H&M-like clothing store that I REALLY liked
Unexpectedly ran into a large ceremony
Lots of flowers. Lots of men in purple.
BEST. Rice Puddnig I will ever hope to have. Ate two in total
Going to really miss this restaurant. Basically a house that sold food.

More pictures from Arequipa

Exploring a huge outdoor market that unfortunately closed fairly early
Fruits galore!
Made a crazy delicious juice for Caroline
Plaza at night
I always expected a car to just run me over
Shopping street with catedral in the background

Day 1; Lima

Listening to Francois and the Atlas – Royan

I cannot find a semicolon on this keyboard and I have stared  at it for a long time.

OMG I’m back to blogging about individual DAYS as opposed to when I had to compile every remotely interesting event into a weekly blog!

I’m in Lima, Peru right now staying at the Barranco Backpackers Inn. It is in Barranco, which is a more southern neighborhood of Lima that is more known for nightlife. While it looks as though it should be 11pm, it is in fact only 7:45. OMG WAS THAT A SEMICOLON? I wonder how I created it. Anyway. The sun sets a lot sooner here, obviously, since we are closer to the equator. Caroline and Tanya are napping in the room. I am on the second floor using this free internet. All it takes is a computer to make me feel at home. awesomenes!!! I tried to make friends with some American people but their taxi came so I didnt get to bond for very long. Oh well. I think I am the one most pushing to go walk around the bars and restaurants. So when I am the one pushing for nightlife, that must not be a good sign. HAHA

Lets see … I flew from SJ to LAX starting at 930 last night. My flight was more than half empty. I just spread my body out on the entire row which was awesome.  I love seeing LA from a plane at night. There are sooo many cars on the highway and it looks like a weird organism. And all the streets are so gridlike and orderly, it’s very hypnotizing to just see all the streets pass by. I got to LAX and got kind of confused about where to go. I completely did not realize that I’d have to recheck in my bags AND I forgot that LAX is HUGE and I may have difficulty getting to my TACA terminal. Luckily TACA was right next to Southwest, otherwise I’m not sure how one goes from one section of LAX  to the other.

LA from a plane

I thought I had arrived early but after waiting in line for maybe 40 minutes to check in my bag, Caroline called me and was like I just got through security! I was like WTF. Luckily I ended  up finishing check in at the same time as Tanya. A lot of restaurants in LAX were closed though. Which is ridiculous! There are so many people in the terminal at that time! The flights boarding around us included one to Beijing. I was like, if you didnt know me at all, which flight do you think Id be on? Turns out that there was actually a large group of Asians also heading to Peru for a medical thing. Seemed like they were all Korean

Our flight had the wonderful movie selection of Twilight Eclipse. And some Jack Black movie. I was really surprised to wake up and see Kristen Stewart’s face on a screen in front of me. She was talking to someone who I thought was LeeLee Sobieski, who I do not recall being in Twilight, so at first I thought it was a non Twilight movie. Then Robert Pattinson came on screen. Instead of thinking the obvious OHH it IS Twilight! I thought to myself, were they in another movie together but with Lee Lee Sobieski? How have I never heard about this movie?!

There was a transfer at San Salvador and then we continued on. The customs for Limas airport appeared to be us … pressing a green button. And that was it. Very odd. We got someone from our hostel to pick us up. The ride was much longer than I expected but the second half took us down a really pretty street running along the coast. The beaches here appear to be dirt instead of sand. I imagine its prettier from farther away.

We checked in and then ate at the first restaurant we saw. Which was probably a mistake because I know there is a LOT of good food here. I … thought the food was ok but I do always hope to eat a local favorite. Hopefully tomorrow we will pick better restaurants instead of succumbing to hunger! I probably liked the food the most out of all of us though.

A bridge walkway in Barranco
Restaurants built into the cliffs of Barranco

We explored Barranco a little bit, walking around the neighborhoods. It’s a little ghetto but much prettier at night. There are some very pretty houses interspersed with uglier ones. There is dog poo EVERYWHERE! And lots of cute looking dogs. I liked going into their grocery store, it just feels comfortable and reminds me of America. The houses closest to the ocean cliffs all had really nice looking garage doors that reminded me of SoCal Malibu homes. We went into a random bar that overlooked the ocean … I got a pisco sour which seemed like a much sweeter margarita. You can’t flush toilet paper here and instead, throw it into a bin. I am kind of puzzled about what I will do when I get my period. But I MOST hope that I will not get my period during the trek because that might be the most disgusting thing I will ever experience. I almost wish I had put myself on birth control pills before leaving so that I could control my period.

Sooo many couples in Peru. Are they just more affectionate or is it easier to find love in Peru?
Pisco sour and beers

Me  (talking to my senior manager before the trip) wait … how did you shower during the hike?
Eunice; we didnt
Me; oh … so you just didnt sweat at all? it wasnt hot?
Eunice, no, we sweat. it was just fucking disgusting

IN THOSE WORDS I love that my short cute korean senior manager said to me, it was fucking disgusting. HAHA

First hostel, Barranco Backpackers Inn

Right now Caroline and Tanya are sleeping, I think. I want to go explore the streets at night. I talked to some other hostel stayers here (apparently theyd been in Peru for a month and were all in the same anthropology program) and they said theres good nightlife ¨down the  stairs to the beach and turn left´´ so hoping to check that out. Unfortuantely I forgot my USB cable for my camera so I cant update pics DAMN. Well we said we’d go out at 830 pm and its 8 now so I am going to … WATCH SKINS HEHEHEHE

One of my favorite clips

Night Edit ok this part may have even worse punctuation marks because im writing it without any light. We got back from exploring the Barranco nightlife. It turns out most nightlife starts at 2am here, which I had read in the tourbooks. We left the hostel at 830. totally dead HAHA there were two areas, one of restaurants near the beach  and one of bars near the main park. in both areas, people are constantly yelling at you to come on in. it is very reminiscent of new orleans and austin, only this time in Spanish. We walked around each place twice, because they were relatively small and it would have been too pathetic to return to the hostel after only 20 min. we ended up sitting at a restaurant for a little bit that overlooked the beach area and then I passed this restaurant thats right by our hostel and I stopped for rice pudding .SOOOO GOOD. So now i can call day 1 a successful food venture. I want to go back tomorrow when Im hungrier and try their meat plates. There is one meat skewer tht I am not too certain what the meat is. I assume it is guinea pig. Well tomorrow we are off to Arequipa after exploring Central Lima and Miraflores in the day.  We  have a night bus at 6pm. Unfortunately the 9pm one sold out 😦 … omfg that one smiley took 15 different tries… otherwise it would have been awesome to see Miraflores at night. Selfishly, I will be back there when I go back to Lima for my return flight so I can see it then. I realized today my mom  is not aware that I will be flying back alone and will be spending one day alone. This is one of those things I laughingly tell her after the fact.  Ok GOOD NIGHT! Its only 11 30 here which means 9 30 in CA. It also means its 2.5 hours before the bars pick up. I dont understand the lifestyle here. WHEN DO THEY SLEEP?!?!?

The same bridge pictured earlier, only at night

Bye guys!

I’m going on vacation for two weeks! In two hours I’ll be in LAX and then three hours after that I’ll be on a plane for ten hours. I am going to a place where I will be listening to this song (although I’d probably skip it pretty quickly and play this one instead). I am not sure how often I will have internet access but I will try to update my blog as many times as I can, not just after a week. That way, Caroline’s mom can be assured that I, and probably more importantly, her daughter, are still alive.

On Wednesday I finally drove myself to Caffe Del Doge and read my tourbook for a good three hours. Three hours. That’s all it took to complete a task I have stressed about every single morning since February. Let that be a lesson to me: STOP procrastinating on life things!!!

I am most concerned about the idea of being out in the world for two weeks with possibly no computer access and therefore, no way to recharge my ipod. I only have six hours of music for TWO weeks! As someone who needs to listen to music while brushing my teeth, walking from my room to my car in the morning, and at every minute of work, I am not sure how I will survive. I plan to use my ipod only in the mornings for two-five songs, as I think it’s the best way to ensure waking up in a good mood. I debated going out and buying more ipod shuffles. I could have bought one of each color and just stuffed them full of songs. MAN. The new shuffles have 15 hours of life. That’s … 75 hours … so 5 hours of music per day!

Black: Dance
Blue: Pop
Pink: Indie/Folk/Alternative (A-F)
Orange: Indie/Folk/Alternative (F-L)
Green: Indie/Folk/Alternative (M-R)
Original:Indie/Folk/Alternative (S-Z)

I also do not know how I will fare without my daily dose of Skins episodes and interviews when I wake up and before I go to bed.

Even though I am staring at my passport right now and can clearly see that it is not expired, I am still irrationally concerned that I will be denied boarding. There is also a faint concern of catching typhoid or hepatitis A.

Lately my mom has always ended each phone conversation with “I guess my ten minutes are up” as a way of saying that she can pretty much only talk to me for ten minutes before I get really annoyed and start speaking in a very sharp tone. On Wednesday she spent five minutes telling me about an email she had received about crazy travel stories like people getting kidnapped while going to the restroom and having their organs sold. I was walking around downtown Palo Alto at the time, so I just let her ramble on without much comment. She ended her story and asked if I believed it and I said no in an annoyed tone and she said “OK I can tell my ten minutes are up SIGH I can’t even talk ten minutes to you!” and I responded “well next time you shouldn’t spend half of your ten minutes telling me such stupid stories.”

When I come back, it will be July and half of 2011 will have passed. I find that really terrifying. I want to be able to say that I really like where my life is by my birthday. So I have three months to begin living an awesome life. Hopefully this vacation will be a good turning point for me.

I was supposed to pack on Thursday night … and I ended up going to a poker night with my coworkers. I loved going but now I have a huge headache, I think from staying out past 9 (GOD this is sad) and I JUST threw my clothes into the wash and I JUST printed out my Southwest boarding pass. Um. I keep thinking of this comment I read on ONTD “Look at your life. Look at the choices you have made.” I am doing so right now and asking myself, WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

If you would like a postcard, email/facebook message me your address. I honestly know only four addresses: Kim’s, Jonathan’s, Laura’s, and my home address.

And finally, I will leave you with … A SKINS INTERVIEW!!! Favorite starts at 2:33.

Also, a song. Thank you Skins, for providing me with a soundtrack for the last three weeks. Sometimes I seriously contemplate dancing to this song as I walk to work under the 87 underpass.

Listening to: Crystal Fighters – Xtatic Truth (Last Japan remix)

Weekend 24: Driving up and down

Amy, my senior: You don’t know what creamed corn is? See, that’s why I’m half white and you’re not
Me: wtf is creamed corn?
Amy: It’s corn but with cream
Me: That sounds disgusting. Why can’t you just eat regular corn without cream?
Amy: Because cream is delicious!
Me: See, that’s why you’re half white and I’m not

I get along really well with my senior right now. Probably because we were already friends before we started working. The other A1 working with us said “how long have you two been working together?!” and we were like “uh … I guess this is the third day. Three and a half days?” I think I give her a sarcastic bitch look at least five times a day and she does the same to me and we just laugh hysterically afterwards. She also makes me spend a lot of money. I have ended up eating out every day this week and I have told them both that I cannot spend money on food when I need to save for my future home. They do not listen to me.

It was unbearably hot on Monday. Our audit room happens to be the warmest room on the floor. We also didn’t think of pulling down the blinds so the heat just kept building up throughout the day. Then around 6:30 the building’s AC shut off and we all got increasingly warmer and more agitated. We ended up moving our laptops to the kitchen to work, which was fun. Until 7pm when I started to think “why am I still at work?” HA.

The other A1, who is really an admin person transitioning into audit, is very peppy and cheerful and sounds like someone who’d be on a Bravo show. My favorite liner from her was

Kathy: Do you like Vampire Weekend?
Me: Vampire Weekend? Yeah they’re good
Kathy: I LOVEEEEEE Vampire Weekend! What bands do you like?
Me: Uh … I guess right now I really like European bands so like, The Strokes, The Wombats, The Vaccines…
Kathy: Oh wow. Ok so you really know your music
Me: Well, Vampire Weekend is good too!
Kathy: You’re probably one of those people who think “oh god, Kathy likes Vampire Weekend? I have to find a new band now”
Me: HAHAHA

I laughed sooo hard for so long because that was actually exactly what my pretentious self was thinking

Last weekend I drove down to socal! Looking back I do not know why I chose this weekend to go home. Mainly just to switch cars, so now I am back to driving my Corolla. I realize now how shitty my car is. It feels like I’m driving a car someone built in high school auto shop. I only like that the AC is very powerful in that car. And I felt like the Camry had some very odd blindspots.

Saturday was mainly “family day” so I won’t write about that. Sunday I ended up scheduling a 9am breakfast with Connie Y HAHA I really wanted to go shopping in Camarillo so that’s why our day started early. We picked up Jackie for shopping and off we went. I got a skirt, a cardigan, and a dress. I need MORE SKIRTS because it is SOOOO HOT and I don’t have that many combinations of skirts. There was a pair of flats I really liked but it was too narrow at the top to be comfortable 😦

I would like to think that that was the last time I ever drive down to socal and after that I will always take a plane. I am getting so sick of that drive up and down the state. It gets longer every time.

Damn it my brain has stopped working.

I haven’t gone to the gym in 1.5 weeks and I don’t think I will be able to go for another three weeks! Sadness. That’s $70 down the drain. Oddly my hands feel even rougher despite the climbing hiatus! Why is this.

NEWWWW interviews!

Favorite: 0:52 and 1:09

Favorite: 1:59 when the interviewer asks if there are any off-screen relationships and Luke immediately draws his arms away from Kaya and 2:28 when Ollie does a magic trick and Lily is completely amazed

Weekend 23: Big Basin

Damn it, another day where my plans were FOILED by youtube videos of interviews!!!

I love (4:16 when Megan talks about most embarrassing moment and Lily and Kathryn both laugh hysterically when they suddenly remember the story) and (21:44 when they imitate each other)

I was seriously about to just knock out all the little things I have wanted to do – it was only 9:30 on a Sunday night and I felt like if I just committed myself to about two hours of concentration, I could go to sleep feeling accomplished. But my downfall every night for the past two weeks has been my thinking “hmmm I just want to watch that oneeeeee Skins trailer and THEN I’ll start doing things!” But I inevitably start clicking on interviews and somehow find new videos I hadn’t seen before and then suddenly two hours have passed but instead of accomplishing anything, I’ve only become more obsessed with my latest tv celebrity craze – in this case, the Skins Generation 2 cast.

The trailer that screws me over EVERY TIME. I really love the song they use:  The Foals – Spanish Sahara

I have seriously tried to watch Season 1 of Skins with an unbiased eye but it’s just … not as good as Season 3 and 4! I was reading a facebook discussion about which generation was better. It sounded like the main reason people chose generation 1 over 2 was because they thought generation 1 was more realistic. I don’t think comparisons of realism should even be brought into the debate because NEITHER are realistic at all. It would be like saying … a hybrid show of Gossip Girl and the OC were realistic. Generation 2 beats generation 1 in so many ways: the number of likable characters, the integration of characters into episodes other than their self-titled one, more intriguing storylines, shippable relationships …

So the main thing I did this weekend was hike Big Basin’s Sky to Sealine Trail with Janie and Laura on Saturday. This is a 10.5 mile hike in a Santa Cruz redwood forest with waterfalls. I have absolutely no idea what weather in the rest of the Bay Area was like because all we saw that day was an overcast sky. On the drive there, it was incredibly foggy, which made me more excited to hike. I felt like I was in a scene of Twilight.

In front of a waterfall! As opposed to a tv

I enjoy hiking in foresty areas with friends because I don’t think I’d be able to put up with it if I were hiking alone. I don’t mind hiking coastal trails alone, and maybe even prefer it, assuming I have an ipod loaded with new music. Before we had left, Laura seemed very worried about whether there would be restrooms and what food to bring and whether she would make it to the end. We brought giant Safeway sandwiches, 3 peanut butter & honey sandwiches (recipe courtesy of Caroline!), 3 bananas, 2 bags of blueberries, an apple, and 4 bottles of liquids. I don’t think we ate half of our food. I think we actually only completely consumed the lightest items: the PB&H sandwiches and the blueberries.

Yum yum time

At this point, I’m afraid I don’t remember the majority of funny stories or best moments of the hike. I asked Laura to jog my memory and the only one that really sticks is when Janie, exhausted and delirious from hiking, just randomly waved at a tree. Also when I spotted a banana slug and shouted “A BANANA SLUG!” and Laura said “really? I think that’s a pepper” and a group of other hikers walked by and someone said “no – that’s a banana slug!” My only other memory was when Laura said to me “how many hours do you think it would have taken you talk walk this alone? Sorry we slowed you down” and I unconsciously said “no! You guys are excellent … walkers!” in what I thought was an encouraging voice. Laura replied “you HESITATED and said WALKERS instead of HIKERS. You were trying to decide what word to use and you decided this only qualified as WALKING.”

After that we went back to Laura’s and consumed a ton of guacamole (her sister makes realllllyyyy good guac) and had margaritas. It was supposed to be Margarita Saturdays but I guess Jessica didn’t like her mix so we each only had one glass. I never understood why salt goes on margarita glasses. I imagine sugar would go better. We sent Janie back, then Laura and I randomly just drove down El Camino Real for miles and miles, ending up in Milpitas before we turned around. I am always down for being a passenger, so I liked it.

So my workweek last week was actually pretty awesome. I ended up getting scheduled for an IO … on Friday … starting at 3am. HAHA So to make up for those wacky hours, I was allowed to leave work on Thursday at 12pm (supposedly to go to sleep, but I just went home and watched Skins and then went to Laura’s to watch Greek), and then I could leave Friday whenever my IO finished (ended at 10:30am!)

I was supppperrr excited because I thought I could FINALLY schedule a doctor’s appointment. Let’s just say, Thursday was a life lesson about being late. Which is, don’t be fucking late. So Thursday was supposed to be my adult life turning point where I finally got my shit together, but that blew up in my face, so I spent the rest of the day watching Skins and Greek to numb out my mind. Woke up for my IO, drove to Burlingame at 2am which was actually quite fun … my IO was in a bakery and a restaurant so I got to eat some delicious pastries. I thought the restaurant IO would be mainly counting foods, but the majority of my time was sitting at the bar, watching the manager and another worker do inventory for the alcohol. It was by far the easiest IO I have ever and will ever do – sitting on my ass, I didn’t even have to write down any numbers or touch anything. They just went one by one, lifting up each bottle and shouting out how full each bottle was. I think I only knew 5% of the alcohols and wines they had in stock.

I’ll admit that at certain points during that workday I thought I might actually faint from exhaustion and lack of foods … but I made it! I have yet to write the memo or write the count sheet for it though … which I REALLY need to do soon. I hope the senior isn’t already judging me. I ended up going to rock climbing in Belmont afterwards since it was close by. I was there from 11-12:30 which was SOOOO awesome because it was COMPLETELY empty. Yay for doing whatever I want on a weekday!!!

This week has been pretty awesome as well. I started at a new client … I feel as though I don’t have very much to do but I hope my modules don’t morph into some monstrous thing that takes me longer than I anticipated. Today I got to leave early to go to a baseball game with some coworkers HEHE! I tried to back out at first but then it really just takes two tries to get me to say “ok fine I’ll go.” Glad I did because I ended up having a lot of fun … although I regret buying a grilled cheese sandwich and garlic fries because now I feel really fat. I’m glad I didn’t get the meatloaf sandwich though, because I might have died.

SLEEP. I want to go to the office insanely early tomorrow because my favorite time of the day is doing work with no one around me.

Stopping this right now

I cannot stop watching Skins related youtube videos. On top of rewatching episodes I watched less than a week ago, I’ve found all of these awesome interviews and behind the scenes youtube videos and I’m SO ADDICTED OMG. I haven’t even watched generation 1 yet! GAH I desperately wish I could turn back time, move to the UK, and watch this show as it was going on live. Also, now I’m like OMG I HAVE TO DL ALL THE SONGS USED and going through new music eats up sooo much time which I have very little of right now!

One of my favorite behind the scenes videos is this one (start at 1:00)

And the related scene in the episode is here

Casts I wish I could have been a part of, supposing I actually had the ability, looks and luck to be an actress:

– Glee
– Skins
– Cougar Town

And with that, I’m going to forbid myself from youtubing another Skins video for the night. I’m going to stream XFM so I don’t get distracted and start looking for more Skins music to DL. And then I’m going to get my life shit together and FINALLY not wake up at 6am in a panic.

Weekend 21/22: SLO, SB, Skins

For walking: Gloria Cycles – Bag (I completely fell in love with this song after watching Skins 4×4 and now need to find 76 minutes of other songs to warrant a new mix CD. I almost never pay attention to lyrics and this may be the first time I’ve ever said “I really love the lyrics to this song”)

For running: The Vaccines – Post-Break Up Sex (I ALWAYS want to sing along to this song at work but for obvious lyrical reasons I cannot)

I sort of lost my interest in blogging the past two weeks which is why I haven’t posted a real post but I feel obligated to now for some reason. Actually, I feel like the real reason I’m blogging is just so I can gush over Skins. My memories of the weekends are already fading but my sudden love for Skins is very much in the moment!

Based on this trailer, I’m assuming all UK tv show trailers are AWESOME. I just watched a bunch of Skins season trailers and it’s all DRUGS! CLUBBING! SEX! ALCOHOL! so I guess it’s not just America that sullies human culture. As this and The Office are the only UK shows I’ve ever really heard anything about/watched, I have no concept of how popular this show is in the UK. Wikipedia says about 900,000 viewers, which is like CW numbers! I find that surprisingly low for a show I’ve heard so much about.

Favorite characters: Emily, Katie, JJ, Naomi, Pandora. Thomas is good to support other people’s storylines but I have no interest in his actual story. He’s just there to impart wisdom. Of course I expected the writers to make me heart Cook in the end (bad boy with a heart!). I have no interest in Freddie, and while Effy is pretty in a strung out drug addict sort of way, I can’t relate to drug issues and the filming style for her episodes are always too trippy.

Usually when I like a show, I’ll end up calling characters by their real names because I’ll have watched/read enough interviews that I start thinking of actors as their real selves. But since these actors aren’t famous at all in America, I have no knowledge of them whatsoever. It’s a very odd feeling. Is this what it’s like to be a guy watching a show and knowing nothing about the actors’ personal lives and other gossipy tidbits?

Ok. My weekend. Well this weekend, I watched X-Men! It was decent and I have never seen an entire X-Men movie. I used to watch the cartoon tv show, but have a very foggy memory of that. Most of my weekend was watching Skins Season 4. I watched 4×1 on Saturday morning … then after I got home from Laura’s around 12:30am, watched more episodes until 3am. Then I woke up at 8:30 today and just sat in my bed until 11:30 (which is ridiculously late for me) and watched the rest of season 4 with my breakfast (1/6 of a watermelon). Now Skins is over and I am depressed.

It was actually very emotionally draining to marathon all those Skins episodes. For one thing, Season 4 is way more depressing than Season 3. One of the couples goes through … wait. All of the couples, actually, go through a lot of shit in Season 4 and for the Naomily couple I’m pretty certain that in every episode, at least one person of the couple would cry. And not like, Sydney Bristow crying, but really good crying that makes me feel pretty mopey several hours after the episode is over.

Since I had spent four hours just lying in bed in my pjs streaming videos, I then drove to Stanford to run. I made the effort of driving out 20 minutes just to go running on a track so I told myself I’d run 4 miles. I did, even though I thought I might die after 1 1/4 miles. Somehow I made it and I look forward to feeling like my legs are dead tomorrow morning. I then decided it would be a great idea to go rock climbing. While I managed to do a good number of courses, I really thought I was going to pass out at the gym because at that point it was 5:30 and I had only eaten 1/6 of a watermelon, 1/3 of a naked juice bottle (OMG WHICH IS AT LAURA’S HOUSE DAMNIT), and 2 bites of a pastry, and I had just forced myself to run 4 miles.

Ok the weekend before THAT was more eventful. For one thing, I drank a LOT. A lot for me, that is. I think that weekend will be the closest I ever come to to drinking “all weekend long.” Friday … was dinner in Mountain View with Janie, Laura, Kat and Soo Jin. First off, I believe that any time I hang out with Janie, I suddenly become much classier and feel like I am actually an adult. We got a bottle of wine with our dinner, which never happens in other settings. A white wine reisling! I have discovered that I like white wines more than reds because reds leave bad breath.

SauCelito Canyon Winery

Saturday, we (Laura, Madhuri, Kat, Janie and me) drove down to SLO where we had rented a little cottage. It was quite literally a cottage. I liked where we were – it wasn’t near the beach but the weather was quite windy that weekend so I don’t think we would have done much beaching anyway. After settling in, we went to a winery, which was SUPER cheap. I think it was like $6 for a tasting of five wines. Then we went to lie around a beach, then went to get dinner at this Mexican/Greek place. We settled on that restaurant after what felt like an hour of walking around a relatively small commercial area, HAHA. I was dubious at first but that restaurant was CRAZY good.

Swings on the beach!

Then we drove to Safeway, inspired by our winery outing, and got the makings for a delicious white wine sangria. Seriously, soooo good THANKS JANIE! I believe I drank to my heart’s content

Soooo delicious and healthy!
Sangria may be my favorite drink!

Sunday, woke up and we were supposed to have mimosas for breakfast but I guess we had too much sangria the night before. Drove to Solvang and walked around there a bit. I’d like to believe that that is the last time I ever have to go to Solvang again. HAHA Well I guess I had some good Danish pancakes. It’s always depressing to realize how easily I confuse Dutch and Danish. Confuse isn’t the right word – if someone had said “Dutch and Danish are the same thing” I would have said “hm ok. Sounds plausible.”

Danish deliciousness

We continued our drive to SB … what did we do here?! Ah yes, we went to a beach near a Four Seasons hotel. I know this because we later walked all over this hotel trying to find a restroom to use. It was unfortunately REALLY windy so lying out on the beach was a little miserable. Laura and Kat ended up walking around while I read a book, Janie ate a sandwich, and Madhuri stared out into the ocean. Later when we were telling Jessica about our day, Laura said “one just read a book, one ate a sandwich, and one was staring out into the ocean.” Jessica said to me “you were the one eating the sandwich huh?” and I replied very indignantly “NO! Which one do you think I was? I bet ‘reading a book’ would be your last choice” and she was like “yeah it would be.” WELL. I do read. HAHA

Going to a courthouse is not typically on a vacation to do list

We then went to some sort of courthouse for sight seeing then walked around some street that had a lot of shops on it. At this point I was starving and ended up in a McDonalds scarfing down a McChicken. A few steps after we left, I then decided to turn back to get apple pies. HAHA We left for dinner at a place Jackie recommended to me (THANKS) which is essentially huge, ridiculously monstrous portions of Mexican food catered for drunk kids. It was right near frat row so I assume this place has great business. I wasn’t sure if everyone else was in the mood for heavy food but I underestimated how hungry everyone was. Plus, Laura was like “I LOVE eating at popular places near colleges because then you know it’s really good food” which is true. My horchata was delicious and my quesadilla had so much stuff in it, it was more like a flat burrito with extra cheese.

MMM I want a burrito like right now at 12:27am

We then planned to find a bar in SB. Ok. UCSB. Reputation as a party school. You would expect it to be lined with bars right? We yelped it but found almost nothing open on a late Sunday night! We found one open bar and drove to it and there were NO CARS in the parking lot. We all went UHHHHHHHHHHHH Let’s go home… and drove home and just made mimosas. But I am completely confused. Are there really no bars near UCSB or did we just miss something?

Mimosas make everything better

Well mimosas were delicious and they were had along with several episodes of Glee. Then sleep, then drove back to the Bay Area (ON A MONDAYYY woot first holiday of the calendar year!) and then … back to normal work life.

Breakfast of champions. A HUGE plate of fruit, leftover quesadillas, a biscuit, and champagne

I am exhausted. Sleeping now. After rewatching some Skins scenes…

Perfection

Songs that were perfectly played in Skins Season 3 episodes:

3×4 Pandora: Lily Allen – The Fear,  Cat Power – Fool

3×5 Freddie: Carla Bruni – Le Ciel Dans Une Chambre

3×7 JJ: A ton of DeBussy songs

3×8 Effy: Bon Iver – Woods, Florence and the Machine – Dog Days are Over

3×9 Katie and Emily: Lady Gaga – Brown Eyes, Glasvegas – It’s My Own Heart That Makes Me Cry

I can’t decide if I love hearing European bands played on the show more or American artists. They seem to mainly play American songs for scenes of heavy partying which always makes me laugh. When I hear someone who started in Europe on the show, I feel like it just seems so much more well-fit. My “goal” for the week was to watch season 3 from start to finish. There are only ten episodes to this season so it’s not hard. I am kind of amazed at how addicting this show is. I had heard it was good, but I feel like I could just inhale these episodes. I love the format: the cast gets switched out every two years (the duration of  “college”) and each episode is centered on a single character. At first I thought this meant I wouldn’t care at all about certain episodes, but they actually do a very good job of mixing in the entire cast into a single episode while still concentrating on one character. Between watching Skins, streaming XFM, and listening to The Wombats – Techno Fan (I love the lyric “I didn’t queue for an hour to leave straight away” mainly just for the use of the word “queue”), I now really want to live in London. I would love to just sit and watch British TV for a few weeks.

I have one more episode left which I think I will save for tomorrow morning. I still have to blog about my previous weekend – hopefully I can get it done before the coming weekend begins!