Travel Log Update: Friends From Past Travels

From Left First Row: Thong (tongue), Catherine Olea, Sis Litha, Bro Randy, Angelica, Karen Angeles, Mark, Levie From Left Second Row Front: Charmaine, Julia, Anthony

From Left First Row: Thong (tongue), Catherine Olea, Sis Litha, Bro Randy, Angelica, Karen Angeles, Mark, Levie.
From Left Second Row Front: Charmaine, Julia, Anthony.

While traveling you meet a lot of people. Some of them you form a strong bond with. Some of them you remember very vivid stories they told you about before. And sometimes, just sometimes, you get to meet up with them at a later time. This was the case with Bro. Randy. I met him in a previous travel down to Grand Junction, CO. You can actually read the travel log I made about the time I first met him in the link below.

https://leviegalapon.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/village-evangelical-mission-grand-junction/

From the last time I met bro Randy it was about nine months and I could still remember all his stories and the plans he was making at the time. When I first met bro Randy he told me his plans about marrying sis Litha and his eventual moving to Sacramento, CA. With this in mind, it was very heartwarming to see these plans go through in person. I remember it well, it was last Friday (05/15/15) when bro Randy’s scheduled wedding with sis Litha happened down here in Colorado Springs, CO. The wedding itself, was held at the chapel and it was a wonderful wedding. There were flowers and a lot of visitors from California. I remember the day before the wedding I spent an hour or two cleaning up the chapel.

From 12:00 Clockwise: Mark, Angelica, Julia, Anthony, Karen, CJ, Charmaine, Levie, Thong (tongue), Catherine.

From 12:00 Clockwise: Mark, Angelica, Julia, Anthony, Karen, CJ, Charmaine, Levie, Thong (tongue), Catherine.

After the wedding there was a reception at the Marriott Hotel. The reception itself was amazing. A lot of food, singing, and entertainment. To make matters short, it was just incredible to be a part of the occasion. I remember being able to speak to bro Randy during the reception. I remember asking him if he was going to do any more trucking down in California. Bro Randy made a joke about it. He said that if he ever wanted to do trucking again he would go to his friend who has trucks and a gun. Bro Randy, told his friend that if he would ever go back to wanting to do trucking, his friend should shoot him lol! Bro Randy told me that after a few days after the wedding they will go back to Grand Junction and clean up his house and move out to Sacramento, CA.

All in all, it was amazing to see a friend I met during a travel and see his plans go through. Whenever you travel make sure you meet as much people as you can. You never know the kinds of bonds you will make with them. You will also be surprised when you meet your friends somewhere down the road. I sure was. Who knows, maybe someday again I will meet up with bro Randy in Sacramento!

#ranlee2015

Travel Log: Sunnyvale, CA to San Francisco, CA (04/20/2015)

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The day started in Sunnyvale where I was staying at my Aunt’s place. I woke up probably at 5:30 A.M and quickly got ready to go to San Francisco to take my test. Around 5:40 A.M I noticed my aunt actually made breakfast. It consisted of coffee, scrambled eggs and vienna sausage. I think I ended up eating about half the eggs and sausages lol I then got my things ready and by 6:00 A.M my brother let me know that he was there. When I got ready to head out I bid farewell to my grandparents and then left. My aunt help escort me out to the front where my brother and ate Erna was. It must have been a reunion of sorts with my brother also since he did not meet Auntie Maliz for a very long time. It was also the first time ate Erna meet my aunt as well. We all promptly said our goodbyes. When we left we headed first to a gas station. I remember there was Hawaiian music playing in my brothers car. Specifically I remember hearing Drop Baby Drop by the Manoa Company lol Around this time at the gas station it was around 6:15 A.M. We then got on our way to San Francisco. Thankfully there wasn’t too much traffic on the way to Frisco and got there within an hour. Traffic really did not start until we got inside San Francisco and traffic moved fairly quickly. It must have been about 7:15-7:30 A.M when we got there. Our first destination was to try to find the testing center I was to take my job competency exam with the city of San Francisco. I actually was the one who put the address into my brother’s GPS which is interesting since I swear I put in the right address. Instead the GPS led us to the middle of the suburbs lol It was interesting in any case of the drive to this area. The exit we took going here was a bit confusing since it led to a busy intersection and instead of having to turn left or right you have to proceed straight away and through a small curve to get to where you needed. Also on the way to this residential suburb I noticed an abandoned looking bus station area with lots of graffiti. I think it was to be used as a flea market on certain days. Also, in this area I noticed that the roads are narrow and where on these hills that had very aggressive inclines (near 90 lol). You need to make sure that you have good breaks if you want to drive around here. Little did I know but these high incline hills are a characteristic to the most of San Francisco. When we got to the place that was suggested on the GPS we noticed that it does not look like where the testing place should be. So we double checked the address and noticed that the GPS had the wrong address. I swear I put it in correctly but oh well. We quickly put in the correct address and thankfully we were not too far from the testing center. I think we were around five or so miles away. It did not take too long to get to the testing area. When we got there it was about 7:40 A.M. We noticed that there wasn’t any actual parking besides this area on the side where you could park toward the wall for an hour. The registration did not start until 8:30 A.M so I did not bother to go in line since it would not be open anyways. When we parked my brother and I went to the little stores right next to the testing area and keep in mind they were all a part of this bigger building. While walking around this area we talked to a custodian to ask for a public bathroom. This is because we noticed some of the stores having “no public restroom” signs out front. The custodian pointed out this deli/cafe/diner hybrid place. To be honest it look real interesting and felt like a kind of place I would find on Fort St. Mall back in Hawaii. The owners of this place were nice and let us use the bathroom out back. They even let us walk behind their kitchen area to get to the bathroom. Before we saw the bathroom, we went out back up the stairs since we didn’t know exactly where it was. We quickly realized it was not up the stairs but just out back from the kitchen area. We used the bathroom before we headed out. I actually wanted to buy something since the people were so nice but we had to get going. Afterwards, we headed back to the car and then I got ready to subsequently go in line. When I went to the line I think my brother and ate Erna went to another store nearby, I think Walgreens. When I got to the line I was actually surprised on how much people there was. It was about 8:15 A.M at this moment but the line stretched for quite a bit. At this point there must have been fifty or so people already. When I got to the back of the line at the time I stood behind some interesting people. Kind of easy to talk to, specifically this one guy in a blue hoodie and sandals. I never did get his name but he was cool. More people quickly started to arrive and thankfully more talkative people stood behind me. One was David who I would get his name later on. He had a 49’ers beanie and a black track jacket. Another was this asian girl who was pretty as well. I never got her name but she had a pink jacket and white t-shirt I believe. I think David did well on the test and at that moment I was sure he would. David used to work as a librarian for one of the public schools so i’m sure he did well. Sure enough the exam results came out recently (05/07/2015) and he was near the top! The asian girl looked younger than she probably was. I asked her if she was going to school or anything but she says that she was just working at the time. She was very nice and she seemed well prepared in terms of what she was able to study. I’m sure she did great as well! Interestingly she told me that she took a similar test before for another job with the city. She said she didn’t do that well on the test so I hope this time she gets through. When registration started around 8:35 A.M we saw this asian girl up front giving instructions. David and myself made fun of it since we could not hear it and most likely only the first twenty people probably heard her instructions. We also figured that it was the HR director Stefanie Lim. She was actually real pretty and different from the stereotyped image of an elder HR lady with a cane and thick glasses lol Afterwards, the line started moving and it moved quick. When we got to the door is when I learned of David’s name. We then had to put our cell phones and things inside the lockers provided. Mine did not fit and thankfully they had boxes where we could store our bigger stuff. Eventually David, blue hoodie guy, the asian girl in the pink sweater, and I had to go on our own way as we got registered and went to our respective places. When inside we were all given assigned seats. It’s funny because at this point it was about 9:20 A.M when our test started. It shows that from registration to the actual test, it takes about an hour lol They gave us an hour and a half to complete the test. The actual test itself is interesting and we had to sign a form stating that we could not discuss any of the test questions…or else. So that I will not discuss. I finished the test at about 10:40 A.M so I used most of the time. As I was leaving I got to speak to Stefanie Lim and she was pleasant to talk to. I told her that I was the Colorado guy and she thanked me for flying out there to take the test. Afterwards, I subsequently left and let my brother know that I was done. When he picked me up, is when all the sightseeing of San Francisco began.

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When we left the testing center our first stop was Lombard St. Also known as the world’s crookedest street due to how much switchbacks at uneven lengths the street is consisted of. On the way to Lombard we got to see a lot of the inner suburbs of the city. Its incredibly colorful in terms of how much character is in the city. It’s also so full of life since its so crowded and because of how much houses, buildings, and stores are close together. When we got to Lombard St. there was already a lot of people taking pictures of the street. We luckily got convenient parking up at the bottom of the street. We got to take some pictures from the bottom before we proceeded up the stairs. Its interesting because the stairs are very short in height so climbing up the stairs was not too difficult. It must be interesting for people living in the area with all the tourists always walking by taking pictures all the time. The climb up the stairs was not too difficult and it was interesting looking at the street from the view of the staircase. At the top was a lot more people taking pictures of the scenery and such. At one particular instance I remember I was standing near a post with a lady on it. When she got off the post she accidently knocked me on the side. It was fine with me but it evidently shook up the lady. It was cool and we went on our way. At some point also a trolley came in and it was interesting. I wasn’t too sure how it worked since it looked like people would just jump on and jump off. I couldn’t see a conductor on the trolley but according to my brother you still have to pay to use it. It was cool seeing the trolley in action, it was probably around for about five or so minutes before it went on its way. Some time after we headed down the stairs. On the down side from the right facing outwards there exists a sign that has information about the street. From what I get out of it, it was built before the early 1900s earthquake and went through renovations since. I guess that’s what accounts for the crookedness. The sign says that there are signs of animals around the buildings and it shows the favorite animals of the house owners. When we got down we subsequently left.

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Our next stop was to the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf. We got parking in a parking garage near an In-N-Out. The garage itself seemed pretty nice but I was surprised that you pay about $3 per fifteen minutes! At least according to the sign, it probably had some other stipulations involved. I think at this moment it was probably 11:40 A.M-12:00 P.M. When we used the elevator of the parking garage it was noisy in terms of odd scratching sounds from the top of the elevator. I remember saying “that doesn’t sound good” and the other guy on the elevator said it was due to construction. Afterwards, we got to use the bathroom of the plaza. The bathrooms needed codes typed into the door knob to enter. Luckily people nearby knew the code. I didn’t really need to use it so I waited outside for my brother and Ate Erna. I also remember next to the bathroom was this rent-a-bike place. In the rent-a-bike place they were training a new worker. The bikes themselves had this pouch in front of them that look like little fanny packs. I’m guessing there’s a timer or pedometer in them which is used to charge renters. Afterwards, we headed down the mainstreet. The fisherman’s wharf area here in San Francisco actually really reminded me of Myrtle Beach, SC! The look and feel of the beach house style stores and the smell in the air all reminded me of Myrtle Beach. The main difference is that it was freezing cold here while it was warm in Myrtle Beach. The first place we stopped by was this California memorabilia store, in other words a tourist trap, but a good one at that. What caught my eye was their on sale sign that advertised three shirts for $12! Crazy huh? Thankfully they had those iconic “I Love SF” shirts! I also got some other souvenirs like those cheap key chains. Overall, this store was pretty cool with its oddball awesome deals. Afterwards we then went on our way to the wharf area. I remember being able to get a picture with my brother and ate near the wharf. We then headed over to this area with a bunch of food carts selling fried calamari and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls. My brother got three of the bread bowls, two waters, and two fried calamari bowls. The calamari bowl things were loaded with fried calamari. In the end I couldn’t eat all of the calamari but I did eat the bread bowl! I’m getting a head of myself lol After we got our food we looked for a place to eat and thankfully Musee Mecanique was right there and there were benches out front. We ate on one of these benches. While we were eating I noticed a bunch of those seagulls in the area and they were quite aggressive in flying close to people and looking for scattered food. At one point these two Asian girls walked on by looking for a place to eat. They had the same things as we did, fried calamari and bread bowls. It was sad because when a seagull flew close to the girl holding the calamari she got scared and threw her bowl of calamari in the air. In a split second a whole flock of the seagulls came by to clean up the thrown calamari. Some of the seagulls were so fast that while they were swooping in they ate some of the calamari in the air! All of the calamari was gone in less than five seconds I swear lol Afterwards, I got to finish up my food and it was awesome. The place we got food from was this food cart owned by Asian people and the menu was also written in Chinese. Since I still had a bit of calamari left I threw some of it at the seagulls. I’m pretty sure the seagulls in the area are the unhealthiest seagulls in the world with high cholesterol lol!

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Afterwards we went inside the Musee Mecanique and it was real interesting inside. Before I got to play anything I first looked for someone to get change from. Thankfully, there’s a door with a ringer where you can get change from a worker inside. When I got some change I looked around. The main thing I was looking for was the arm wrestling machine. I remember that about ten years ago I tried it and could not even beat it at the lowest setting. This time I could beat it at the first two levels! The third level was just a bit too difficult for me. My brother also tried it and he could beat the third level. Afterwards, we tried this other strength machine that consisted of two pulleys where you push them close together and then pull them apart. It sounds simple but in actuality it was real difficult. At most I think me and my brother did two sets of pushing and pulling them together before it became near impossible to do more sets. When you’re done doing these sets you push a button to drop a hammer. My brother and I barely moved the thing that shows how much points you scored relative to the sets you make with the machine. After this we went out back of the Musee. In the back area is a small alley and there are two World War II boats on the wharf. The first was a submarine and the second was a merchant marine boat. If you think about it, it must have been horrid to be on the merchant marine boat during World War II. You’d be defenseless and be prey to the enemy submarines. Once a torpedo struck you would be out of luck! Anyways, the interesting thing about the merchant marine boat was that the interior boiler room was the room used in the movie Titanic for the boiler room scene near the time of the Titanic hitting the glacier. When we were done looking at the boats I believe we were on our way out. When we got back to the area with shopping places we made a stop at another tourist trap. This time I was looking for postcards. Thankfully this tourist trap had a cool deal with five post cards for a buck! Sweet! I got my postcards and we were on our way. When we got back to the parking garage we looked for a bathroom since the original one from earlier was closed for cleaning. We went around the parking garage and found one on the back end of In-N-Out near the entrance near the cannery. The code for the bathroom was different so we asked around. I remember going to another rent-a-bike place and the guy gave us the code. The funny thing about this story was that when we were looking for the code we grouped up with these dudes who looked like they came from East Germany or something due to their accent and dated looking clothes. When we got the code we all subsequently used the bathroom and went on our way. When we got inside the parking garage we paid for the parking and it was about $14 for the time we stayed there. When we got in the elevator we got in with two other girls. I forgot what we all talked about but when we left the elevator one of the girls said “take care” and I almost didn’t notice it because I just wasn’t expecting it and I quickly replied as well. We then subsequently left the wharf area headed towards Japan Town!

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In Japan Town we were lucky to get street side parking since I heard the garage parking was fairly expensive. It was interesting to be back in Japan Town since I have not been here for ten or so years. I remember specifically being here back during my freshmen year in High School! We used to go here for Japan Club trips back when I went to Salinas High School. For the most part it still looks exactly the same how it did from before. It felt as if I stepped back in time, seriously! The first place we went to was this interesting stationary store full of kawaii things like kawaii tote bags, stationary, etc. It was an interesting store with lots of eye candy. Afterwards, I remember checking out this big model of a castle from Japan. When we were done checking out the model castle we went into this manga store. It looked like I walked inside some Otaku’s room. If I was younger back in High School I would have freaked out seeing this store. We then headed out and went to the upstairs area. Upstairs, some of the stores were closed and one of them was a crepe store, which was unfortunate. I remembered from before that there was a crepe store that we went to back in High School. At that point I thought that was it. But I looked at a map and saw that there was one more crepe store still open. Thankfully, this crepe store was still open! I am pretty sure that this was the crepe store we went to back in High School. It was crazy to see it again after such a long time. The girls working the store were all cute and had the most kawaii beanies in the world with little cat ears on them. I remember ordering a crepe with strawberry ice cream, corn flakes, and strawberries I believe. I forgot the kind of crepe my ate and brother got. But I remember that I ordered green tea crepes for both of them. While waiting for the crepes I noticed the big ol’ Pikachu statue in the store right across the crepe store. Its funny because I remember this Pikachu statue from before. The funny part about it is that it means that no one bought the statue since then lol! It didn’t take too long before our crepes were ready. The way they presented the crepes was super kawaii, they made faces on the tops of the ice cream scoops. I remember since I had strawberry ice cream the girl made it into a pig face lol We then ate our crepes and my brother and ate really enjoyed it as well. We then headed out the building. When we got outside the building we saw the peace plaza pagoda. It looks exactly the same and I almost expected my friends to be playing with their kendo sticks out in front of the pagoda. After looking at the pagoda we headed into the next building. In the next building we checked out Daiso Japan, which is a $1.50 unless marked otherwise. Inside the store was a motley bunch of things from Japan. I wished we had one of these stores here in Colorado. I remember picking up these animal shaped erasers for my little sister. There was a lot of different stationary. I even got to pick up a real nice fountain pen with cartridge refills! In the stationary area I also remember getting calligraphy set for my sister too. Looking around the store there were a lot of Asian girls shopping for themselves. To be honest I wanted to talk to them but hey, I was only in the area at the moment and was headed back to Colorado as well. I then looked around the candy and snack section. I really wanted to get more candy and snacks than I did but I had to keep in mind my luggage size so I had to limit the things I got to a degree. I did end up getting a few bags of candy. One was cola flavored, another was strawberry flavored, and another was this “traditional” cone shaped candy made of pure sugar. I think that wraps up almost all the things I got. When I was at the front of the counter they also had multi-knives. You know those things that are like Swiss Army knives but aren’t Swiss Army knives? I ended up getting one since it looked like it could be useful, plus at a $1.50 I couldn’t pass it up. Afterwards, we headed out and I remember my brother saying that he needed to use the bathroom and check on the car. I then headed out across the street and checked out Soko Hardware. The funny thing about this store is that back in the past, this was the store where my friends got their kendo sticks. I asked one of the girls downstairs if they still sold those kendo sticks. She showed me and we got to talk a little bit about the kendo sticks. After looking at them I took a look around the store and it had a lot of random household goods. From disinfectant, to roach kill, to light bulbs, etc. Soko has it all. I said thanks to the girl who helped me earlier and I was on my way out. Outside, I headed towards the back of this particular plaza area and noticed a bookstore and a stationary store. I then headed out back and I saw a Japanese cultural center. After this I went to look for my brother and ate. I found them at front of this area and they let me know there was about thirty minutes left on the timer. We walked around a bit and I remember we got to see the Chinese (PRC) embassy. It was ridiculous since it was just a block outside of Japan Town. It was also interesting since the embassy had barbed wire on the top. What are they afraid of or getting ready for lol? Afterwards we circled the block before we headed out. After leaving Japan Town we headed towards the Golden Gate bridge. During this particular drive we got to see a lot of San Francisco. I swear San Francisco is just full of things to look at and do.

From the lower area

From the lower area

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From the higher area

From the higher area

We saw the Golden Gate bridge from two areas. The first area was on this lower area where a lot of people were taking pictures. We got to take some pictures and I helped a couple take pictures as well. In this area it was freezing cold and I swear it was just as cold there as it was in Colorado lol! It was super windy too. The view from the bridge over here was nice and even though it was foggy we could still see the bridge very well. We then left this lower area and checked out the second area on higher ground. This area was fairly far from the bridge, but the drive was amazing and it reminded me of the drive through the Rocky Mountain Park back near Estes Park, CO. When we got to the top it was super foggy and believe it or not, it was not as cold as the lower area. The view from here to the bridge was a bit covered due to the fog. But the pictures we got still ended up being really nice. After taking some initial pictures we walked around the area. It was really interesting, I felt like I was in a mini hike. The area looks like it used to be a part of a military radar installation. There were bunkers built into the mountain and it was just full of graffiti amongst other things. Out back of one of the tunnel is a nice view of the ocean. We took some pictures of the area and we walked around. I then remember seeing a small sign on the ground that said this area was a Nike Radar Site. The mini-hike we made in this area was real close to any hike found in Colorado. When we got around to the next tunnel I noticed that there was a man-made crater like place. Kind of looks like a missile site. I’m not too sure what it is, perhaps this is where the Nike Radar was placed before. We then went into the tunnel and out back to the car. When we got back to the car the fog cleared up a bit and I was able to take better pictures of the bridge. We then left the Golden Gate bridge and drove down a one way through the back side of the mountain. This area also looked like a drive through the Rocky Mountain Park. I remember at one part there were these abandoned looking 1950s style hospital buildings. They really added character to the surrounding. Down this path we also made a stop near the lighthouse. Over here we took a bathroom break and I also got to explore the area a bit. Unfortunately the trail to the lighthouse was closed due to construction and the subsequent closing of the tunnel leading to the lighthouse. I then got to use the bathroom and it looked just like the bathrooms at the Rocky Mountain Park and also the bathrooms in Lake George near Woodland Park, CO. After using the bathroom we headed out. On the way out I also noticed a bunch of those 1950s style buildings on the far side of the mountain. Did people really live there? It seemed a bit isolated but kind of cool due to the atmosphere. Kind of reminded me of a mix between Silent Hill and the Twilight Zone. Also, while driving out we saw some old military housing and it looks like people actually still live in them too. We eventually got to the highway and headed back to the inner suburbs of Frisco.

Full House!

Full House!

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Our next stop was the “Full House” house! On the way there we got to see more of the suburbs and had to go through a lot of those sharp inclines that are all over San Francisco. Apparently, the Full House house was near a park called Alamo Square. We had to circle the square twice before we found parking. I was also surprised on how packed this particular area of San Francisco was. It must be a nightmare for local residents due to all the tourists coming by making traffic to see the Full House house lol When we first got to Alamo Square I remember asking these two girls where the Full House house could have been and they told me that they were looking for it too. We speculated on where it was before we went on our way. Afterwards, my brother, ate, and I went up a hill in the park to look for the Full House house. Eventually, we saw the Full House house and it looks pretty much just like it did in the opening of Full House. I could almost hear the opening theme lol Actually, my brother played the opening while we were there and it blew my mind on several levels. I also noticed a lot of people just chilling in the area facing the Full House house. It was really a nice place and we got to chill there as well for a bit. We then got to use the bathrooms there. It was a bit dirty looking but hey, all public bathrooms in the park usually are. We then took a final look around before heading out.

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The next stop we made was to the Church of Christ chapel in San Francisco. It was in a more ethnic and blue collar looking area as opposed to the rest we saw. It was still crowded and the streets narrow too. When we got to the chapel I got to take a few pictures of the area before we headed out. At this point we were really tired. We then headed out to China Town. China Town itself was super huge and actually more crowded and lively than the rest of Frisco, believe it or not. There were people crowding the different market places and I think at this point it must have been around 5:30 P.M. I also remember seeing a girl singing karaoke in front of one of the stores by herself lol! It was kind of dirty though. I remember seeing trash just about everywhere. I thought to myself “if I’m going to see a cockroach, its going to be here.” Besides from that, China Town was just full of character and life. I even remember seeing an event going on in the local park with people filming it. Also in China Town I was surprised to see the Taiwanese embassy there. I would have thought that the PRC embassy would kick them out of there lol Afterwards, it was interesting when we left China Town because right next to China Town was the downtown area of San Francisco and it was incredibly modern and metropolitan as compared to the rest of Frisco. It was also night and day since China Town and the downtown area is just a block apart and the difference is near astronomical. While we were going through the downtown area, the traffic was the worst I have ever seen since Hawaii. It was bumper to bumper and went at a snails pace. It took almost fifteen to thirty minutes just to get a mile or two across the downtown area. It was kind of nice too since I got to look at all the stores in the area and I swear I felt like it could have been in New York lol! I also remember seeing a Ghirardelli store but I don’t think it was the original store at Ghirardelli square. Just outside the downtown area were the suburbs again. I remember seeing a huge convention center and it looked like there was an event inside. There were a lot of business people around the convention area. Afterwards, I also remember seeing the biggest and nicest looking Target ever at the Metreon. After this we eventually got on our way out of San Francisco back towards San Jose.

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Greatest bubble tea names ever

Greatest bubble tea names ever

Greatest Spanish bread ever!

Greatest Spanish bread ever!

When we got out of San Francisco the traffic was not bad at all. We actually got to Daly City fairly quick. At Daly City we got to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. It was nice and clean inside. The weird thing about it is that our waiter always tried to make us buy more than we wanted. Such as when we ordered water he seemed disappointed and asked if we wanted tea or soda instead. In another moment when we ordered our food he asked if we wanted appetizers and he was disappointed when we didn’t. I remember my brother and ate got rice plates while I got the pho special. The pho itself was pretty good but they didn’t give a lot and I swear I asked for a large too. Overall, I don’t know if I could recommend this place since its just alright. After eating we went to the Walgreens just across the Pho place. It amazed me on how modern and different from the regular Walgreens back in Colorado. It just looked modern as compared to the Walgreens back in Colorado. After this we headed to a local Asian bakery/café called Ling Nam. Inside I see that their specialty was Spanish bread. I also noticed that their bubble teas had interesting names. I remember one specifically called “Hella Tea” which was the funniest thing I ever heard. I think they had the greatest names for their tea ever lol! I think my brother got a pack of 20-30 of those Spanish breads. The Spanish breads were incredibly good. They were soft on the outside and had a sugary sweet caramelized inside. The contrast between the soft outside and hardened inside was amazing and added to the flavor/enjoyment. I wished I could get some of those over here in Colorado lol! After this stop it was the long drive back to San Jose. We took a different highway as opposed to the highway we took in the morning. On this highway it was much more scenic with more nature like views. I also remember passing by Half Moon Bay on our way back. We got back it was pretty late and were all dead tired. I just got ready to sleep since I had to get up early to catch the Red Eye out.

Travel Log: Colorado Springs, CO to Roseville, CA (04/17/15)

The travel from Colorado Springs, CO to Roseville, CA was a long one. Its unfortunate that I did not get much pictures out of it.

I woke up early at 1:30 A.M! I actually don’t think I slept too much from the night before. After I woke up I got ready and we left the house at around 2:10 A.M. During this time in Colorado it was snowing fairly heavily so we had to drive slow. Normally it would take just about an hour to get to Denver. However, at our speed it took us an hour and a half to get there. During the drive it was dark and foggy. The fog produced from the snow flurry made the road seem claustrophobic. It also made the surrounding area look like something from Silent Hill. It was a quiet drive with not much people on the road besides from snow plows and cars that got into accidents previously. When we got to Denver it took an additional half hour to get to the airport. Its odd on how far the airport was from the rest of the city. The airport itself had a huge piece of land to itself with only a few other commercial buildings in the immediate area. Also, when driving to the Denver airport there are two terminals to look out for. There is the East and West terminals that have different airlines assigned to each. American Airlines was in the East terminal, which thankfully we turned to. When at the terminal I went inside and checked in at the kiosk. When I did, it didn’t print out my boarding pass like it was supposed to. The lady at the desk was helpful and was able to print my boarding pass and give me directions to where I should go. I then went towards my gate and on the way was the TSA security check area. Interestingly, they said that the TSA area was closed until 4:30 A.M. I was surprised as well as the other people who came by. I thought that the TSA was a 24/7 operation. Oh well, I waited until 4:40 A.M when the TSA security check was operational. The line went fairly fast and thankfully I was near the front because the line for the security check became immensely long. While I was at the security check it was interesting when they wiped my palms with a small piece of cloth. I wonder what that was for? Oh well, afterwards I headed to my gate. The terminal itself was huge and had a small food court. Most of the stores were closed except for the McDonald’s. When I went to my gate I sat down and read a bit before I went inside. Once inside the plane I got a window seat near the back. Initially my row was full until the lady in the middle moved to the other aisle. Before the plane flew out we had to do a De-Icing thing because ice was building up on the wings. The De-Icing process consisted of two trucks hosing down the wings of the plane with some sort of liquid. After this process we went on our way. It was initially very turbulent which was actually kinda scary. But it leveled out eventually and was a fairly straight flight to Phoenix, AZ.

Phoenix itself reminded me a bit of Albuquerque, NM due to how flat and dusty it looked. It was also surrounded by a desert looking area with some small mountains around the area too. Sky Harbor airport was packed when we got there. Also, when we landed I had less than an hour before I had to board my connecting  flight. Because of this I had to rush over since I noticed that my gate was far from my landing gate. When I got inside I walked towards my gate. On the way I got distracted by a gift shop since I wanted to get some postcards. I believe I ended up with four postcards of Phoenix, AZ. I then got to my gate. I noticed that the gate was not open and I was hungry so I decided to get something to eat. Right across was a local pizza joint that sold two cheese pizza slices for one price. They also had these interesting breakfast pizzas made of eggs and sausage for toppings. I ended up getting the two cheese pizza slices. The pizzas were real good and it was unfortunate that I had to eat the pizzas real fast to get to my gate. When I finished eating I went to my gate and it was still closed. So I rechecked the information and I was looking at the wrong gate. Thankfully the real gate was still boarding and I got in on time. I still had the window seat and I sat next to a guy who sorta looked like Ali G. The flight itself was fairly good and we got to San Francisco in an hour and a half from Phoenix. The guy who looked like Ali G is from Albuquerque actually. He said it was his first time and San Francisco and was excited to check it out. I feel bad for never getting his name.

Afterwards, I headed inside SFO and went into a gift shop. Inside I got four postcards. I then went towards the baggage claim and saw a small bookstore that sold similar postcards. I still got another postcard since I was the only customer inside and I asked about them. Afterwards I got to the baggage claim and got my baggage. On the way to the baggage claim I let my Aunt Maliz know that I was already there in SFO. She let me know that they were on their way and almost there. I then eventually got my bag. It wasn’t too long of a wait. When I got my bag I let my aunt know where I was which was near the Frontier baggage claim. During the interim not much happened except for a cute girl asking me what time it was. When my aunt got to the airport she parked at the Delta baggage claim which was a small walk from where I was. It was amazing to see my auntie Maliz after such a long time. It must have been about ten or so years! I also got to see my grandparents as well! Grandma Alice and Grandpa Donald! It was a blast and we quickly caught up on old times. It was unfortunate we did not have a lot of time to look around at this point since I had to go to Roseville right away. We headed out to Sunnyvale, CA from SFO. The drive was nice and it was crazy to see California all over again! I remember going through Redwood and Milipitas on the way to Sunnyvale. When we got to Sunnyvale my aunt got me an original chicken sandwich from Burger King which was awesome! Thanks! After that we headed to my aunt’s apartment place where I met bro Chris who would drop me off to Roseville. Bro Chris was a real cool guy and we quickly got along really well. I remember we made a quick stop to this plaza in Milpitas where I used to go to the dentist. We made a stop here so Bro Chris could set up his GPS in his car. It was interesting to see the dental clinic after such a long time. I remember back in highschool I got out of band practice early just to go to this dental clinic. So much memories you could associate with a place you’ve been to before! After this quick stop we were on our way to Roseville. Before we hit the first exit to enter the highway bro Chris mentioned that he lived near the mini-golf park. It was interesting. I remember during the entire ride bro Chris and I were just talking about different things. I can’t seem to remember much besides that on the road some parts of it looked straight out of Texas. Especially when it became just open plains with random truck stops. The places I remember most distinctly was Sacramento and Roseville itself. Sacramento is known as the “City of Trees”. It definitely had more trees than the previous plains area but I couldn’t really grasp why it was called the City of Trees. The downtown area of Sacramento had a lot of skyscrapers and for some reason reminded me of the downtown area of El Paso due to the similar highway that runs close to the central business district. Afterwards, we quickly made progress to our destination which was the chapel of Roseville. When we got there we parked near the pastoral house and then parked closer to the rest of the scan crew and the chapel. It was here when I met my brother after such a long time! It must have been ten years or so just like my aunt when I last saw him. We quickly caught up on old times and he introduced me to the rest of the scan crew. I also saw my Ate Erna as well which was cool since I didn’t see her for probably five or so years! I remember meeting bro Ronnie, sis Raquel and their daughter Rose. For the life of me I can’t remember the other scan bros I met at the time. Once here I got to eat with them. I remember eating a tortilla with this bean mixture with rice in it. It was particularly filling and I remember also drinking a lot of water as well. After eating and meeting some of the brethren I got my camera from bro Chris’ car and started doing some shoots. At this time I met bro Dan from Iowa! I originally met him in Wisconsin some fifeteen years ago! It was a blast to see him again and get caught up! Afterwards I hit the tent and met some of the incmedia brethren. It was interesting but I felt bad since I could not remember any of their names except for AJ. Actually at one point I told AJ the names of those I did met and I got the names all wrong. Oh well, you remember some and forget some. Afterwards I went around the chapel area.

The first area I checked was the basement area where I got to meet some more of the scan members. I distinctly remember meeting Nikki and a few others. I was actually surprised since they had a few sister scan members. I got to take a few shots of them before I headed to the upstairs area from the outside. Once here I met brother Reese who was a young scan member and cool too. I then got to take a few shots of the brethren in the area. Around this point some of the bem students started rolling in. When they did the first I met was Edmund from Wisconsin! It was nuts seeing him again since it was also fifteen years since I seen him last! We quickly caught up on old times and it was crazy to see him again! Later on Larry, DJ, and Francis came by. It felt like I was in Milwaukee, Guam, and Monterrey at the same time! During this time I also got to meet a lot of the BEM students including AJ, Journeyel, Matt, etc. We all got to chat it out before they had to go inside for their practice. Afterwards, I remember going back down to the food area out back where I first met my brother and the other scan members. When I got here I got some water and met a scan officer from Roseville named bro Ed. He was a nice guy and I got to help him carry a big vat of hot soup to the inside of the chapel. Actually at one point I burned my hand on the side of the vat. I actually wasn’t expecting it to be that hot but it was. When I helped him bring the vat inside I headed back towards the front of the chapel. When I got here I actually specifically remember seeing Francis and another brother outside so I got to take a few shots of them. I also remember meeting another scan brother named Edzel. He was a cool guy too. At this point I headed inside the sanctuary since I remembered that I should attend the officer’s prayer as well. When I got inside I noticed that they were about to pray so I prayed with them. This was actually the opening prayer and they were about to start the practice with the choir march. I got to see the march and the first sister I remember seeing during the march was sister Catherine of Roseville. At least I think it was her lol I stuck around inside for most of the practice but left to give room for more of the brethren. I stayed in the lobby area until the closing prayer of the officer’s practice. Afterwards, everyone headed towards the tent for another set of practice.

While everyone was headed towards the tent I got to take good shots. Around this time I also met Bro Louie who said he knew my dad. I think bro Louie was actually a minister so I greeted him and said farewell with as much respect as I could. Afterwards I headed inside the tent to see what shots I could take. When inside I took as much shots as I could and I remember seeing Jason’s dad there! I said hi and gave my regards to Jason’s dad. Afterwards, I headed outside and I remember seeing bro Rahmfeld from Corpus Christi! It was cool seeing him again and we got to catch up on old times. I asked him when the meeting is and he let me know it was as soon as the rest of the crew got there. A few moments later I got to meet bro IJ! It was cool and he introduced me to the rest of the crew. We all got acquainted quickly, at this point I remember meeting Macy, JP, bro Joseph, Leiel, and another sister and brother who for the life of me I cannot remember. Afterwards, we headed inside for our meeting with the STF crew. Before the meeting started we got to chat it out for a bit and I learned that a lot of the inctv crew were married. It was interesting since I thought they were all particularly young somewhere around the early to mid 20s. But eventually the STF crew got there and we started promptly. The meeting was similar to how it was back in Corpus Christi but with a different set of people and a different set of answers to the questions. After the meeting it was fairly late. When I got outside I saw that the food area was full of bem students. I remember my brother told me to get something to eat since we would be there a bit longer. And so I did. When I got to the food tent the first brother I met was Raul who was from Lubbock. We both knew sis Alyssa from the Lubbock so it was cool. We then parted ways so I could go get some food. At the start of the line I noticed that there were no plates so I told some of the bem students that we might as well use the cups. Around this time I met bro Saaj from Miami. He was a cool guy and had an interesting story. He was an accountant and was influenced to join the ministry after seeing a dedication/pastoral visit. It was cool, we eventually had to go on our way when he had to go. I then hit the food line with my cup. I remember filling it with rice, sinigang, and some chinese stir fry. I then got my water and I was able to sit with Francis and the other bem students. I remember meeting a bem student from Kawaii and I can’t remember his name. He was a cool guy though. I also met bro Israel from Atlanta. He was a cool guy too and was also the guy standing with Francis from earlier! We all got to chat it out. I remember a specific joke Francis made. He calls watermelon as “water-meh-lone”. I thought it was the funniest thing ever. Eventually all the bem students had to leave.

At this point I remember going back to the food line to get something else to eat. I noticed that the salad platter was still full. So I tried it out. The salad was interesting it had a sweet dressing but there was some vegetable inside it that was incredibly sour. I also got some more sinigang to counterbalance the salad taste. I also got to make small talk with sis Madelyn of Roseville. She is very pretty and pleasant to talk to. I also got to help her dad bro Jesse get rid of the garbage. We all got along well before I headed out. I took a bottle of water with me. When I headed out I went to look for my brother to find out when we are going. I didn’t find him right away. But in the interim I sat in the front of the chapel since I was burned out. On the way to the front of the chapel I remember meeting Jaynard and his sister too. They are both from Roseville too! I then got to the front of the chapel and sat down for a while. Eventually I saw my brother and he said that there was still things to do at the chapel so he got me the keys to bro Ronnie’s car. I decided to head in to see if I could get some shut eye for a bit. i then had to use the bathroom and used it in the big portable bathroom. It smelled bad even though I don’t think much people used. Afterwards I headed back to the car and tried to get more shut eye before we headed out. When we headed out we got to the hotel where I changed and took a shower before I did my homework. I did my homework in the business center of the hotel. While I was doing my homework an elder lady came in to check her email. I had to help her a bit and it was cool with me to do so. Afterwards I headed back to the room to get some shut eye for the long day ahead.

Travel Log: San Jose, CA (04/19/2015)

My brother and I at the San Jose chapel

My brother and I at the San Jose chapel

Little Saigon!

Little Saigon!

Franko and I at the San Jose chapel

Franko and I at the San Jose chapel

Today I woke up around 8:30 A.M to get ready for church. I quickly got changed and left with Kuya Ronnie, Sis Raquel and Rose around 9:10 A.M. Our first stop was at a 7/11 near “Little Saigon”. At 7/11 Kuya Ronnie got me a coffee and two taquitos! Thanks! Afterwards, we headed to the San Jose chapel where we parked next to my brother’s car near the scan guard house. We got to chat for a bit and ear our breakfasts. I remember after eating I had to use the bathroom. When I got back I remember around this time I saw Franko! It was awesome and I got to wave hello. I then took my time to walk around the compound of the chapel. On my way towards the CWS building I met one of the CWS officers named Jizelle. She was really friendly and pretty too. I remember asking if she was the teacher for the day lol! Afterwards, I went back to my brother and Kuya Ronnie, where we chilled up in front of the chapel and got to take a few pictures. Around this time we met sis Robyn and she was interesting to say the least. Afterwards I got to take a few more pictures before I headed inside. The worship service went very well and the minister was real interesting. Afterwards, I wanted to meet a few people but it looked like everyone was leaving on a hurry. One of the sisters I did meet was sis Louise. She was pretty and seemed nice. Sometime after I remember texting Franko where I was and we eventually met up in front of the chapel. It was legit! I haven’t seen him for about two or three years since HI! We quickly caught up on old times and he introduced me to his friend China who was super chill and cool. At this point Franko went to his car to get his camera. In the interim I got to chat with China and she’s real interesting! She even got to introduce me to a few sisters who I can’t seem to remember their names. When Franko got back we got to take photos together and eventually we all had to go on our way. Until next time I suppose! Afterwards, I met up with Kuya Ronnie, Ate Raquel, Ate Erna, and Rose. We then all headed out to a restaurant called Kalesa.

Inside Honeybear

Inside Honeybear

Rotibun with cream cheese!

Rotibun with cream cheese!

Ate Erna, Ate Raquel, Rose, and I

Ate Erna, Ate Raquel, Rose, and I

Kuya Ronnie and I

Kuya Ronnie and I

Outside Kalesa

Outside Kalesa

Kalesa itself was in Milpitas. It looked super popular since there was a very long line. I think our wait time ended up being around thirty or so minutes. In the interim we went to a cafe called Honeybear, which I heard had real good Rotibuns. We got some Rotibuns and I remember getting a cream cheese filled one. I also remember getting a coffee as well. They say they roast their own coffee so I guess I’ll have to take their word for it. The coffee itself tasted around a light or medium blend and was fairly good for a $2.00 large. The Rotibun was awesome. It had an interestingly crunchy and sweet outer layer with a soft middle with cream cheese. I kinda wish we had a Honeybear here in CO! After eating a bit we went back to Kalesa to make sure our reservation went through. We chatted for a bit before we got called in. Inside it reminded me of Max’s of Manila back in Waipahu, HI! It was very filipino inspired with the waitresses in female barong. I remember my Ate Erna telling me that the Halo Halo was awesome. So we ordered that along with crispy pata, kare kare, pork adobe, and a mountain of rice. When I mean a mountain of rice I mean it must have been like a 5-10 lb bowl full of rice. Or at least that’s how it seemed like to me. The food was very very good and I sort of wish I could go back and eat it all over again lol! After eating we headed out. Kuya Ronnie told me he could drop me off to my Auntie’s house as well. We first went back to the chapel so Ate Erna could pick up my brother’s car. I remember after leaving the parking lot, around the next intersection, someone from the opposite end treated the red light like a stop light and almost caused an accident. We all joked about it since the recycling place was in that direction lol! Then we got to Kuya Ronnie’s place and then I quickly got my stuff before heading to Auntie Maliz’s apartment. When we got there my Aunt got to meet Kuya Ronnie, Ate Raquel, and Rose. Afterwards we parted ways and I headed with my Aunt inside. Once inside I greeted my grandparents and then checked my email for any important updates. I then learned from my Aunt that we were going to my Uncle Larry’s place and the flea market. I haven’t seen Uncle Larry for ten or so years as well! I quickly changed my pants to jeans and we headed out.

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Luchador Masks!

Luchador Masks!

We first went to the San Jose flea market, which is known as the biggest flea market in San Jose! It was super interesting, but around this time at 5:00 P.M it wasn’t too crowded. However, thankfully a lot of the little shops were still open. I got to explore it a bit and its odd because I remember going here when I was younger and a lot of it looks the same. Particularly the main food stands run by the flea market. The first store I remember going to was this snack stand. When I got there I looked at all their wares looking for this particular Mexican chocolate bar. I then talked to the girl working the stand and tried describing the chocolate bar. I remember saying that it was like a snickers and a De La Rosa product. We looked around a bit and she eventually she asked her manager and surprisingly he was the one who knew what i was looking for. I was looking for Nugs! When he said it I was like “Yes that’s what i’m looking for!” lol! I totally couldn’t remember the name before that moment. Unfortunately they ran out a while back ago and didn’t have anymore. Since they girl was so nice I ended up buying five of these candied peanut packs. I hadn’t had these peanut packs since my last trip down to Juarez, Mexico. After I left I walked around the farmer’s market part of the Flea Market and there was a bunch of interesting things. I eventually looked around the rest of the Flea Market as well. There was a lot of random things and sometimes I wondered how the people ended up with some of their wares. For example I saw a small tent with boxes and boxes of socks, underwear, and Head and Shoulders. Did a box of those things just fall on their yard or something? Other interesting places where shops selling random California inspired shirts. Most of them had bad designs unfortunately. They were interesting though. Overall there was a bunch of interesting things and lots of eye candy too in terms of stuff to look at in people’s stores. I remember around 6:30 P.M my aunt called me to let me know we were headed out. At this time I was looking for shirts for my little siblings so I was running around looking for the exit and a place to buy shirts. I eventually found a place selling fairly nice California shirts for kids. I got two of them for I believe $10 or $15. I thought it was a good price either way. I then headed out to meet with my Aunt and Grandparents. Our next stop was to the Great Mall to get some pasalubong from Red Ribbon. By now it must have been about 6:45-7:00 P.M and it was still fairly bright and the Red Ribbon was crowded. My aunt got a lot of things from Red Ribbon, I mean a lot, for me to bring back to Colorado. It’s also interesting since I haven’t been to Great Mall for ten or so years as well and it looks exactly the same. At least from the exterior it looked exactly the same. When we left we then headed towards my Uncle Larry’s place.

Family Reunion!

Family Reunion!

It was odd going back there since I only had a faint memory of how it looked before. What made me remember it most was when I went to the back patio and saw my Uncle Larry! It was nuts since all the memories started coming back. We got to eat some bbq, chat, and watch the game playing on the TV. It was awesome getting time to spend with family. For me its a rare opportunity to do so since here in Colorado, Hawaii, and Guam we did not have much family nearby. After we were done eating and it became late we were able to take a group picture before we all had to go on our way. My aunt, grandparents, and I then went back to the apartment. At the apartment I got to study until around 1:00 A.M-2:00 A.M for the library test I came to California for in the first place. I then got some rest before I had to wake up soon after.

Church of Christ Chapel Dedication: Roseville, CA (04/18/2015)

Today was a long and exciting day down in Roseville, CA. I remember waking up around 2:00 A.M to get ready to go to the chapel. I got dressed and got my camera ready. After my brother Randy and everyone else got ready we headed down towards the chapel. I believe we left the hotel around 2:45 A.M and got to the chapel at about 3:00 A.M. When we got there it was still pitch black, but the scan officers were already there and even some brethren too! It was nice to see a great amount of people come early with us as well. My brother and bro Ronnie were helping coordinate the scan officers. I was taking pictures of whatever I could. It was so dark, however, that it was difficult to get any decent shots. I wanted to get shots of people going in and the scan officers doing their thing. During this early morning session from 3:00 A.M to about 5:30 A.M it was fairly easy going. I met one of the scan officers named Angel from Fresno. He seemed like a nice kid trying to do his best to help the rest of the scan efforts. Not much else really happened during this time. There were even some parts during this time where I found myself pacing the area waiting for something interesting to photograph.

When it was about 5:00 A.M things started to pick up. I remember seeing brother Seraphim come around this time; it’s always nice to see fellow HI brethren around. Also around this time a lot of the other choir members came but they could not go inside until later. This gave me a chance to take shots of them standing near the front of the chapel. At about 5:30 A.M the other inctv members started coming in. I remember meeting a sister from Mountain View named Francesca. She was pretty and also an inctv officer. We also met up with Macy, JP, and that one other sister. We all waited a bit for IJ and the rest of the crew since it was difficult to get inside. But eventually one of the nicer scan members helped us get inside. But for some reason, the scan guy who gave us a hard time still gave me a hard time to get inside. Oh well, eventually we all got inside and we met up inside the meet up room down one of the halls. Inside I saw an old friend from Monterrey. It blew my mind to see Jumay after ten or so years! We quickly caught up before our meeting began. For my meeting I met up with the other photographers (Jeff, Noel, Nelson, bro Joseph, and the other bro) and sis Joanne. During our quick meeting sis Joanne gave us instructions on how to set our cameras while also helping me set up my camera. We also got our assignments during this short meeting. I was to be assigned the basement area during the sermon and anywhere beforehand. After this short meeting, the bigger meeting started and we got final instructions before we prayed. After the prayer all of us photographers went outside and started. Jeff coordinated with me to make sure that we got a good idea on how we will cover the basement. We went to the basement and Jeff gave the laydown on how the basement would be covered. Afterwards, we went on our separate ways to get shots of the brethren and surrounding. By now it must have been 6:00 A.M with the officers prayer around 7:30 A.M. I believe my first few shots were candid shots of brethren. It was also around this time when I met bro Aldrin of Sacramento/Guam! He’s the brother of bro Harold which was very interesting. He was also working at the translator booth. I let Jeff know that the translators were outside since we thought that the translators would be inside. I then went back to the translator booth and Aldrin helped get me a translator. Afterwards I headed inside the tent. At this time the tent was full of the bem students and a few others. I got to say hi to a few of them, particularly Edmund and AJ. It was legit seeing them since I would have a hard time later saying hi after the event. The shots I got inside the tent were of the rows that I found full. I remember at one particular occasion I took a shot of a full row and a sister says “oh that’s a good shot”. I replied “yeah it is! are you inctv too?” I asked because she noticed the kind of shot I was getting was lining up the row of brethren. The sister said no but I’m sure she knows a thing or two about church photography. Afterwards, when I left the tent area I headed up towards the chapel since I noticed it packed full of brethren already. I got a shot of the brothers side that was full. Around this time I got to talk to bro IJ for a bit about inctv in both the Colorado region and California region. Afterwards we went on our way. I think I went down by the parking area to see if I could get some interesting shots of the brethren coming in. I remember actually going up to a van with brethren coming out and I recognized one of the sisters as sis Dimple. It was interesting and also I noticed a drone floating about. It was interesting but why would you need a drone flying about? It was then around this time where we had to go to our spots since it was almost he officer’s prayer. Jeff and I met inside the basement and he took his position up near the front of the sister’s side while I got up near the front on the brother’s side. We both got a few shots of the brethren.

By 7:30 A.M everyone was anxious for the prayer to start. It was not until around 7:45-8:00 A.M when they announced that there would be a thirty-minute break. In the interim I took the opportunity to get some shots outside of the scan trying to put up a banner. During this time I also saw bro Rod ad Ferdie! It was very cool to see them again and I almost thought that we were all back in HI 2011-2013. Afterwards, I also went to the portable bathroom area since I actually needed to use the bathroom. It was kind of funny because the lines for those bathrooms were incredibly long. I mean they were Disney Land long, at least for the brother’s side. The sister’s side not too much. I took shots of the lines since I thought they would be interesting and could be used to show a lot of brethren lining up for the chapel dedication. The brother’s were kind of laughing when I took the pictures. The sister’s line actually got into a group when I took a picture. It almost astonished me that they did so. Afterwards, I went back inside to the basement where we waited the thirty minutes. During this thirty-minute wait I got to talk to Jeff about photography and how he got into it. It was a very interesting story and my favorite part was when he showed me the different camera lenses and settings. It astonished what a difference lenses could make! The higher end lenses were weighty and had a greater depth than the stock lenses I used. The full-manual lenses also freaked me out. Especially since my camera did not have the screen viewfinder. Because of this, with the full-manual lenses, when I adjust the focus on the lenses I could not see the difference it made in my regular viewfinder! After this talk about photography they announced that there was going to be another 10-15 minute break. I believe around this time Jeff went outside to get more shots. Before he went at this point he offered to me some of his lenses. It was incredibly appreciable but I don’t think I’m ready to handle expensive equipment. Eventually, Jeff came by and let me know what I should take shots before the prayer and head out to the tent since the tent needed more people to cover it. And so we did. But before I went to the tent we still had a bit of time to wait before the prayer began. At one interesting occasion a bunch of scan started gathering outside to block our windows from looking out. Presumably it’s so that we could not see our executive minister walk inside. Ok, at this moment I was sitting on a small ledge right next to the windows. Out of nowhere when the brethren noticed the scan lining up they all ganged up on the windows. This effectively blocked me to the window area which was awkward since I was facing the crowd that was inches away from me while the crowd was facing the window. At one point one of the older brothers knocked on the window to get the attention of the scan to move. It was incredibly awkward with tensions higher then they should be. Eventually, the scan moved indoors to move the crowd out of the way. This also meant that I had to move as well. I got out of my spot and stood at the end of the line of the scan. At this point the brother who knocked on the window also stood right in front of the line of the scan. Oh well, can’t keep everyone’s curiosity at bay. At this point the officer’s prayer began promptly. It must have been 8:45-9:00 A.M when it did begin. When it did, I got my shots of every row singing the hymnals. I then joined in on the prayer. Afterwards, I left for the tent. Inside the tent I decided to wait until the sermon began. It was odd since my fellow colleagues were getting shots all over the place inside the tent. As far as I know we were to get the first five minutes of the sermon. I waited until the right time and got my shots in of different angles of the crowd and the TV with our executive minister on it. After the five minutes were over I listened to the sermon from the brother’s side of the tent near the side opening of the tent. By this point I was tremendously tired and so tempted to just side down and “close my eyes”. But I decided to stand and listen. It was kind of funny cause I actually still dozed off while standing. But since I was standing I immediately woke up since I felt like I was falling over every time I dozed off standing. I think the lesson ended sometime around 11:30 A.M.

Afterwards was the presentations. I got a chair and slept as much as I could before the first performance. All the bem students did the first performance. I distinctly remember seeing Edmund, AJ, Larry, Saaj, and DJ sing. I felt bad for not seeing Francis sing since he was at the other end. The performance was very good and sounded, as it should for essentially a hundred-man choir. The next performance was the gospel choir, which sang an interesting song. I felt bad for the first girl who sang since the mic didn’t work well at first. But after the first mishap the rest of the performance went well. The next performance was by the youth of Roseville I believe. They performance went well as well also. After all the performances was the meet and greet rush. I actually wanted to get out beforehand to get some shots. However, the exit was jam-packed and I was unable to get out. It was funny since the only time I saw our executive minister was through the screen of someone’s smartphone lol! Oh well, afterwards I was able to get out and take some shots. I then headed up to the front of the chapel where I met up with Jeff and a few of the others and we discussed what we should do next. We then remembered we got twenty minutes to take candid and organized group shots of the brethren. And so we did. I tried organizing a few group shots and they went well. Most of the group shots I took were candid. Basically, I waited for a group picture to form and then I would take a sneak shot at the group. I got these types of shots both inside and outside of the chapel. I remember also going inside the sanctuary to get these types of shots. After the sanctuary shots I went back outside to get more shots. While outside I heard that the scan officers were meeting for a final prayer. Hearing this I jumped on the opportunity to follow them to get those shots. When I entered the chapel I bumped into sis Salve and her mom from Guam! It was amazing since I did not expect to see them there! I then had to go downstairs for the scan prayer and meeting. I got some good shots in and after the prayer I was able to get the group shot of the scan. After this I then headed upstairs to get more shots before heading to the tent again. Inside the tent I saw that they were doing the performances again. This time I got to see Francis sing along with the rest of the bem students. After their performance I went on over to see whom I could say hi to since I knew I was going to leave soon. I saw Larry and sat next to him and we quickly caught up on old times. DJ then joined us also and for a second I thought we were all in Guam. Then my brother came by and also Edmund too. My brother let me know that we were leaving soon. We got some group pictures in thankfully so they exist somewhere out there. I then had to part ways with my bros. I headed back to the sanctuary to give my card to sis Joanne. We got to catch up again since we last met a few weeks previous at Corpus Christi. Also, while sis Joanne got the pictures from my card I said by to Jumay. We joked about how we would meet again in another ten years lol! Hopefully it won’t be that long until we meet again. We were also able to take a picture as well. Afterwards, I got my card back from sis Joanne and said my farewell to Noel and Nelson as well.

With Aaron and Jason!

With Aaron and Jason!

When I left the sanctuary and saw Aaron Cunanan! When I saw him it freaken me out since I did not see him since HI! We quickly caught up on old times and he let me know that Jason was nearby. He gave Jason a call and we found out that Jason was just outside. I think it must have been about ten years as well before I saw Jason previously. We caught up on old times right away before I had to head out. Overall, the experience helping out INCTV and seeing the dedication in Roseville was amazing. I can’t wait for the next dedication!

Travel Log: Post, TX (03/28/15)

Post, TX

Post, TX

As mentioned in the earlier Travel Log from Corpus Christi, TX to Colorado Springs, CO there was an interesting stop I made at Post, TX. It left me cautious, bewildered, and curious about the small town of Post.

To be fair we arrived at Post around 9-10 P.M so it was fairly late. When we got there I remembered the last time I was there and that I wanted to take more pictures of the town. I always thought the town had this unique small town charm to it that was very pleasant. With this in mind I went around town taking pictures in the downtown area of Post. During this time, I knew our stay was not going to be long in Post so I decided to run around the town to take the pictures.

Post Theatre

Post Theatre

I remember the above picture being the first I took since it was a curiosity to me. It reminded me of that one theatre in Clayton, NM. This is because its relatively small and doesn’t seem to show a lot of movies. As far as I know, it looks abandoned. I was standing in a curbside spot near the middle of the road. This curbside spot was like a mini park since it had park benches on it. As you could see there is a small building to the right of the theatre. Noticing this I ran across the street near the curb of that small building.

Post Public Library

Post Public Library

At this point it started to get kind of weird and nerve wracking. While I was taking this above picture a car honked at me. At first I thought it was because I was standing on a parking spot. So I went closer to the curb and all of a sudden a second car comes honking. In my head I knew it was no coincidence for the two honks. And that it had nothing to do with me standing near the parking space. At this point I actually thought it was some sort of small town gang trying to signal something. I also thought it was another kind of signal between townsfolk alerting one another of something suspicious. It shook my nerves a bit thinking about the possibilities of the honks. But I ignored it and went on getting more pictures.

Some stores in Post including what it seems a fitness center

Some stores in Post including what it seems to be a fitness center.

The next picture I took is the one shown here. As you can see there is only one of the buildings open and it looks like a fitness center. I waved hello at the person walking out as a sign of good will but she ignored it, got in the car, and drove off quickly relative to the small town. It was odd, I expected some small town warm greeting I usually get in other small towns in Texas.

Some store in Post

Some store in Post

This above picture and the first picture in this post is the last pictures I got while in Post. After these pictures I went down the street because I saw one more building with its lights on. It looked like a big store and I thought it was still open. I actually wanted to and felt like I needed to talk to someone in town. But, at this point a local Sheriff car pulls slowly near me and in my head a few things pop up. It immediately verified that the honks from earlier were a sort of alert developed by the townsfolk. It also showed that they got the Sheriff to investigate my picture taking of the town. Finally, when I was done investigating the big store and head back to McDonald’s its going to alert the Sheriff. I still shrugged all of these concerns off and headed towards the big store. Once I got to the big store I noticed it was a fashion store that was actually closed. It just had its front lights on. In my head I knew I had to head back to McDonald’s since it was almost time to leave. In my head I also knew that if the Sheriff saw me do this he would turn his car around and halt me. And so I turned tail and ran towards McDonald’s inspite of these concerns. Doing so, confirmed my analysis that the Sheriff would pull a quick u-turn and halt me. I was so close to McDonald’s I almost wanted to outrun the Sheriff to get inside McDonald’s. But at this point the Sheriff already had stopped me. What surprised me was that he was relatively young and not as angry as I thought Texan Sheriffs would be. He first questioned what I was doing and when I explained myself he sorta had a laugh about it. He explained that, when he saw me go towards the big store and turned tail and ran back to McDonald’s, he saw it as a suspicious activity. And that corroborated my earlier assessment as well. He told me his name but for the life of me I cannot remember. I remember he said he was a Lieutenant though.

Don’t get me wrong, the Sheriff seemed like a nice guy, but the whole predicament of my stay in Post has got me thinking about the town more than I should be. Are the townsfolk afraid of strangers? When leaving McDonald’s I notice one of the workers looking at me with suspicion. Or is it because I really do look suspicious taking pictures? But overall, the predicament left me still thinking about whether the experience was positive or negative. Its positive since it showed me that small towns, such as Post, are close knit and look out for one another. However, it was negative since it showed the hostilities the townsfolk in Post towards outsiders. If you ever go to Post, TX let me know if you have any similar experiences.

What If Rand Paul is Elected President?

Image from Politico

Ideological Candidate

It was recently announced that Rand Paul will be running for the Republican nomination and subsequent 2016 presidential campaign. Up until now Rand Paul has been known as a fairly principled libertarian and senator from Kentucky. With this in mind, its probably too early to predict whether or not he will win the nomination or campaign. However, what would happen if Rand Paul is actually elected as president? It’s an interesting question worth looking into since, if elected, Paul would probably be the most ideological president since Woodrow Wilson. How would this translate into the modern age?

On Rand Paul’s Current Platform

Rand Paul’s current platform is consistent with his approach to limited government and limited US presence in the international system. Paul’s domestic policies are rightfully economic and based on limiting any form of government interventions in the market. Also, it seems that Paul is restraining immigration. In terms of foreign policy, Paul believes that the US should have a lighter presence abroad. To what extent is unknown. It is interesting to note that, in regards to international problems, Paul identifies radical Islam, ISIS, and Iran. For radical Islam, Paul states that he would “do whatever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind”. This interesting since it is purposely ambiguous. As for ISIS, Paul states that congressional approval should be sought after for the use of force. As for Iran, Paul takes the fairly uniform opinion that Iran should not come into possession of nuclear weapons and that the process of “trust and verify” should be continued. Paul stresses that his foreign policy is the policy of peace. We could see how Paul is blending his libertarian ideals with an interesting foreign policy that tries to empower Congress, but has ambiguous tones that are neo-conservative at heart.

What If Rand Paul is Elected?

However, what would happen if Paul is elected? Usually, people mention that politicians say one thing and do another. It is arguable that Paul’s domestic policies are probably not going to change when he is elected. Once elected, Paul would want his domestic priorities on the top of his agenda by pursuing political and economic reforms to achieve his libertarian ideals. All domestic policies under a Paul administration would be ideologically based.

In terms of foreign policy is a bit harder to discern. To apply libertarian ideals to foreign policy is to become an isolationist. However, Paul is not intent on being an isolationist. What will bane Paul and his administration is on how to deal with the very problems he pointed out. Paul will find that his best option against these radical terrorists in the middle east is one of three options. Do nothing or deploy a larger amount of US ground troops in the region to conduct counter-insurgency or finally use the hated “drone strikes” that he placed upon the Obama administration. He could go for the first option and do nothing. This could mean the withdrawal of troops from the middle east which could lead to the destabilization of the region by emboldening more radicalism to spread to regions of strategic interests. Or doing nothing means doing the same and continuing US foreign policy in the region. The second option to deploy more troops would be seen as political suicide for Paul since it runs against his ideas of limiting US presence abroad. The third option is not that much better, to continue the use of drone strikes as calculated/surgical strikes upon various targets to end or roll-back ISIS and radical Islam. If Paul chooses this third option it would be a moment of irony. Arguably, Paul’s platform calls for doing nothing in the sense that he would not withdraw troops and keep the current troop strength in the middle east. Possibly Paul would implement a limited form of troop withdrawal. However, it is arguable that once elected if Paul decides to implement any form of troop withdrawal, Paul would increase the use of drone strikes in the region. This is due to Paul’s dual intent on dealing with the “haters of mankind” and limiting US presence abroad. The only way to do so is to rely on technology as a substitute for manpower and firepower in the region. In terms of Paul’s Iranian foreign policy, he would probably pursue more diplomatic talks with Iran in pursuit of Paul’s peace policy and “trust and verify”. Rand Paul still has to comment on other regions of the world such as Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Paul’s most noticeable concern once elected is deciding whether to pursue Obama’s “pivot to Asia” or pursue his own policy in regards to China. Will Paul be tough or soft on China? Once elected, Paul’s stance on China would most likely be ambiguous and stress economic cooperation between the US and China as a peace dividend. However, when it comes to the Taiwan issue, Paul’s ambivalence on the issue and preference to seek congressional approval may become a destabilizing factor in a cross-strait crisis. It is arguable that mainland China will invade and force a reunification with Taiwan if it could do so for two reasons. First, if China believes that Paul is not pursuing the pivot to Asia policy, committed to limiting US presence abroad, and shows low interest in protecting Taiwan. Secondly, China may invade Taiwan if mainland China believes it could do so and force a reunification before Paul could get a congressional approval to use force. This is one area where Paul’s peace policy is going to be put to the test.

On Foreign Policy

Overall, in terms of foreign policy, Paul’s libertarian tendencies are more muted and in its place are neo-conservative values. This is due to trying to pursue peace while at the same time trying to tame radical Islam. If elected, Rand Paul should not overemphasize his peace policy or else make the US weaker in the international system. Even more consequentially, Paul’s peace policy may embolden the use of force where it has been up until now deterred by US presence and commitment abroad.