Yes I am Moving Back to Cali but Not the Bay

Okay so quick post here since I ended up breaking this news on FB via a reply to a comment LOL Yes, I have been really bad about keeping in touch and also sharing news as well as receiving news. I’m already horrible at calling people back when I’m in the same time zone and now that I am a whole 12 hours ahead of EST and 15 hours of PST it is even worse with me actually talking to people or communicating.

Any who…the hubby and I will be moving to good ol’ Bakersfield, CA in April for my job. Same company, similar role but different department and different location. I’m excited about the new role as I’ll be working in a part of the business that I’ve been wanting to work in for some time. I’m also looking forward to the move. Not the actual MOVING part but, being in a new place. It will be sad to leave my friends here in Manila as well as my friends in the bay area too. Luckily I can always drive to the bay as it is very close and I can make trips back to the Philippines as well in the future (funds permitting).

So new things to come for the hubby and I. Can’t wait to see my family and friends that I haven’t seen, some in over a year, others about six moths. I am super excited to be able to see my dog again.

Anyway, more to come in the future. For now I say goodbye as I’m off to Singapore since I’m trying to squeeze in my last bit of travel before I leave.

~Today’s Thoughts…

Watch Out Ocean Critters! Newly Certified PADI Open Water Diver Here!

Please, please you can stop clapping. Just kidding. The hubby and I got our Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Open Water Dive certification the first weekend in February in Anilao, Batangas, Philippines after:

  • Reading a 250 page manual and remember how not to get myself killed in the ocean
  • A few hours of classroom lecture
  • Four quizzes (10 questions on each quiz)
  • Final test (50 questions)
  • Float and/or tread water for 1o minutes
  • 30 laps in the pool
  • Four Confined water dives in the pool at Dive Buddies in Makati (consists of skills tests)
  • Four Ocean dives in Anilao (consists of skills tests)

So after all of the above what does obtaining a PADI Open Water Dive Certification mean? Well it basically means we are certified to go scuba diving without an instructor up to 60 feet deep. The certification is recognized globally and is good for life.

I never realized how AMAZING diving would be. It is literally like swimming in an aquarium. The beautiful fishes, coral, clams, ocean floor, etc. It’s hard to explain. You just have to experience it yourself. Check out some of the photos for a glimpse into how our experience was.

The Manual and Dive Log

The Manual and Dive Log

PADI

PADI

Before our confined water dive

Before our confined water dive

The pool at Dive Buddies in Makati

The pool at Dive Buddies in Makati

I think the barb wire is used to keep people from jumping over the fence and using the pool in the middle of the night. I hope :)

I think the barb wire is used to keep people from jumping over the fence and using the pool in the middle of the night. I hope 🙂

Our gear

Our gear

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Just got on the boat that will take us to Dive & Trek

Just got on the boat that will take us to Dive & Trek

On the way to Dive & Trek

On the way to Dive & Trek

Dive & Trek - Anilao, Batangas, Philippines (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

Dive & Trek – Anilao, Batangas, Philippines (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

Dive & Trek - Anilao, Batangas, Philippines (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

Dive & Trek – Anilao, Batangas, Philippines (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

Dive & Trek - Anilao, Batangas, Philippines (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

Dive & Trek – Anilao, Batangas, Philippines (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

Dive & Trek - Anilao, Batangas, Philippines (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

Dive & Trek – Anilao, Batangas, Philippines (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

Preparing for the ocean dive at Dive & Trek in Batangas, Philippines. (Photo Credi - Mich Calma)

Preparing for the ocean dive at Dive & Trek in Batangas, Philippines. (Photo Credi – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

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(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

Exhaling so I won't float to the top (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

Exhaling so I won’t float to the top (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

Me and the hubby (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

Me and the hubby (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

The hubby and I diving together (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

The hubby and I diving together (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

(Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

Parrot Fish Photo Bomb! (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

Parrot Fish Photo Bomb! (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

60 Feet Dive (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

60 Feet Dive (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

The hubbies ghetto wet suit with the hole (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

The hubbies ghetto wet suit with the hole (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

After the final dive on the way back to Dive & Trek (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

After the final dive on the way back to Dive & Trek (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

Me getting my temporary (it takes a few weeks to get the real one in the mail)  PADI Certification from my instructor Sean Calma (Photo Credit - Mich Calma)

Me getting my temporary (it takes a few weeks to get the real one in the mail) PADI Certification from my instructor Sean Calma (Photo Credit – Mich Calma)

The graduates!(Photo Credit: Mich Calma)

The graduates!
(Photo Credit: Mich Calma)

Thanks to Sean Calma, our instructor, and his wife Mich Calma, the photographer. Check them out if you are either in the Philippines or will be at either their website http://divers.ph or Facebook page or their https://www.facebook.com/divers.ph Sean is really good at responding quickly if you have questions.

To learn more about PADI and the different certifications you can visit their website:

http://www.padi.com/scuba/

~Today’s Thoughts…

Discovering Tikoy – Happy Chinese New Year!

Niángāo, Year cake, or Tikoy as it is called here in the Philippines is a glutinous rice that is normally consumed during Chinese New Year. I’m not going to go into all that history smishtory stuff, but in general eating this sticky rice cake is supposed to bring me good luck. Hey I’m always down for some more luck.

This Tikoy was given to me by my co-worker. I wasn’t sure what it was and my other co-worker had to teach me how to cook it. For all my friends and family out there they know I don’t cook. But this was simple just like cooking eggs, which is one thing that I can cook oh and is one of my favorite foods by the way. Just in case you wanted to know 🙂

The cake is very sweet but super yummy. Soon as it hits your tongue it reminds me of french toast but when you take a bite it is anything but. Definitely will be eating this again!

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HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

~Today’s Thoughts…

Vietnam Part 5 – Mekong Delta (Part 2 of 2)

Our second part of our tour was the boat ride on the Mekong Delta.  It was crazy to go through the delta with these long stalks of bamboo surrounding you. I couldn’t even imagine how it was back in the Vietnam war. I loved the fact that the woman driving, rowing, sticking (whatever you call it) our boat had no shoes on. She just rowed silently through the stalks. Amazing to experience.

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After our boat ride we went to a coconut factory. They showed us how the coconut was ground up and made into candy and other food products including coconut wine. I was waiting for our coconut wine tasting, but that never happened 😦 When they were making the coconut candy there were tons of flies landing on the candy and they would just wrap it up. Kinda gross, but I’m sure I’ve eaten worse before.

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After the coconut factory we took a horse and buggy ride in the pouring rain to lunch that was also on the Mekong. Our tour came with a meal, but if you wanted to you could purchase other fine entrees like snake, rabbit or squirrel. Um no thank you.

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After lunch we had the option of taking a bike ride by ourselves in the local village. So we hopped on the rickety bikes and rode off. Of course the hubby tries to pop a wheelie on these old rusted bikes and his chain comes off. He put it back on, but it came off again, and again, and again, until it finally wouldn’t go on anymore. He basically busted the bike and got his hands all greasy from trying to fix it. He had to carry his bike all the way back to the restaurant. My hubby has the worst luck. Ah, but it was pretty hilarious I have to say 🙂

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Our bike ride was the end of our tour and then we high tailed it back the 2 1/2 hours back to our hotel after some quick shopping at the port.

~Today’s Thoughts…

Vietnam Part 4 – Mekong Delta Tour (Part 1 of 2)

On our second day in Vietnam we booked a tour to the Mekong Delta through our hotel. It was in an air-conditioned van and included lunch for about $15 USD. We rode the van for about two 1/2 hours to our destination. We came across the normal sights of Vietnam traffic with tons of motorcycles! Our first stop was at the bee farm and then we were entertained by some local musicians and singers while we enjoyed our fruit.

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Dean smiling for once.

Dean smiling for once.

Breakfast Vietnamese style. Sitting on the street in mini stools eating Pho and drinking Vietnamese coffee.

Breakfast Vietnamese style. Sitting on the street in mini stools eating Pho and drinking Vietnamese coffee.

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Some trainees I assume running holding guns. I hope they aren’t loaded.

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Motorcycle Mayhem!

More Motorcycles

More Motorcycles

Banh Mi cart. I didn't eat at this one, but my mouth was watering.

Banh Mi cart. I didn’t eat at this one, but my mouth was watering.

A market on the way to the Mekong

A market on the way to the Mekong

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Our boat to the bee farmOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mekong!

Mekong!

Can Tho Bridge

Can Tho Bridge

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The Mekong Delta

The Bees

The Bees

The unhappy beek keeper holding the bees

The unhappy bee keeper holding the bees

The Unhappy Bee Keeper
The Unhappy Bee Keeper. Oh see those green rope things hanging on the fence in the back of the Unhappy Bee Keeper. Those are hammocks. They are all over Vietnam. At little coffee shops and restaurants on the side of the road there are tons of hammocks. we bought one for our house back in Cali 🙂

Tea and Honey

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Vietnamese Painter

Our Fruit Snack

Our Fruit Snack

~Today’s Thoughts…

Vietnam Part 3 – War Remnants Museum, Coconut Guy and Some Random Park

I know I know this part 3 is coming really late after Part 2. I figured I needed to catch up and not try to write such long posts where I write part, save it, then write more. I end up having really long posts that take me forever to post. So decided to make shorter posts for you guys since I can’t type much anyways.

War Remnants Museum

Our first day in Vietnam we walked to the War Remnants Museum (Bảo tàng chứng tích chiến tranh) in District 3. This museum is a must see if you go to Ho Chi Minh. It is focused on the Vietnam War and has great air craft, weapons (there is even a guillotine), pictures and just written history. Of course the history is one-sided and is pretty anti-American, but it was interesting to see it from the Vietnamese perspective. Seeing the effects of the agent orange is just heart wrenching. You will see some people while walking in Vietnam of those affected by agent orange and people who have had limbs blown off by the landmines that are still present in the country. Definitely take a trip there and spend a couple of hours learning about an important part in Vietnam history

*Travel Tip – If you choose to go to the museum make sure you don’t go during lunch time as they close.

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Coconut Guy

When we were in Vietnam we walked everywhere except for when we went on our tour to the Mekong Delta. We stayed in District 1 and used our little black and white map to find the tourist attractions. One of the good things about walking is that you come about things that you might not come across if you were in a car. While walking from the museum we came across a guy carrying this heavy load. He let us see how heavy it is and boy it was freakin’ heavy! My shoulder was killing me the whole day.

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See the little guy on the right. He carries this thing around all day!

See the little guy on the right? He carries this thing around all day!

Random Park

We came across this park on our walk. It was nice. Just thought I would post a few pics.

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~Today’s Thoughts…

Bali Pictures

Uploading the Bali Pics as promised taken with my camera that I got from the hubby for Christmas. Had a great time relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, eating good food (except for the sushi I got sick off of), spa treatments and turtle island!

Click on the first pic to see it enlarged then scroll through the photos. Enjoy!

~Today’s Thoughts