Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Second Stop, Waikiki

Posted by Greg on October 7th, 2010 with tags: , , , , , ,

After our activity filled trip to London, we had two days back at home and back to work before heading off on our vacation to Waikiki on Oahu.

Our trip was broken up into two phases:

  1. the first day when we were on our own with Hazel
  2. the rest of the trip when we were joined by two of Yenari’s friends from Korea – Eulji (who visited us in California the month Hazel was born and who we saw many times when we were last in Korea) and her friend Gohwoon

We arrived early on our first day and walked the couple blocks to Fort Derussy Beach where Hazel had her first fun playing in the ocean and on the beach. Even though we live in California Hazel had only seen the ocean, she hadn’t been in yet. Here she is, enjoying her time in her bikini on the beach:

Playing at the beach

Playing at the beach

Over the course of the 6 days we were in Hawaii Hazel played a lot on the beach and managed to get sand just about anywhere possible…her favorite routine was face planting into the sand right after having her sun block applied and her daily attempt at eating sand. She was initially scared being in the ocean…particularly whenever the slightest drop of water touched her face, but over the week she started really enjoying it and having fun with us.

Around lunch time on our second day Yenari’s friends showed up at the hotel. We had a big suite and all stayed together as a big, happy, Hazel-watching family. Hazel almost immediately became best buddies with Eulji and Gohwoon – I think by the end of the trip she was convinced that they were HER friends who were there for her entertainment. Here are the girls (minus Hazel who was passed out in her stroller) sampling Mai Tais on the beach:

Cocktails on the beach

The next day we went out for our first non-eating, non-beach activity – a trip on the Outrigger Catamaran to go snorkeling. Here are some photos of the day:

Snorkeling catamaran trip

Snorkeling catamaran trip

Snorkeling catamaran trip

Snorkeling catamaran trip

Most of the time on the little excursion was spent snorkeling – it was fun, but not nearly as good as the snorkeling we did on our honeymoon in the Cook Islands. After the snorkeling they let out the sails and started cruising…Hazel got totally nailed by a big wave that crashed aboard the boat and was not a big fan of the bumpy and windy ride. Here she is hiding from all the excitement:

Snorkeling catamaran trip

We had many great meals on this vacation – many driven by Yenari’s desire to eat any and all ramen in Waikiki…a place that has a lot of ramen joints – I think we ate at four ramen places in our 6 days. We also ate some other great meals…the winner was definitely Morio’s Sushi which had raving reviews on Yelp. We called early in the afternoon to try to reserve a table for dinner and they asked us to call back at 8:30pm…maybe they’d have room. We ate a late lunch to prepare for a potentially late dinner and called them at the requested hour….when they said they’d call back by 9pm if they had a table…which they finally did. By the time we made it there Hazel was passed out:


Morio’s is a BYOB kind of place (SWEEEEET) and it seems that all of the diners take advantage of that and bring booze not just for themselves, but for Morio and the two others working there. It is a tiny place, but the booze still adds up. We were at the sushi bar talking with chef/owner Morio, and since the night was almost over, he had quite a few free drinks already…enough that he started giving away all his extras to us – in addition to the bottle of wine we brought we drank another 4 bottles of sake from Morio. The sushi was incredible (including all of the leftover toro at the end of the night) and it was probably the most entertaining sushi dinner I’ve had…primarily filled with Morio hitting on Yenari and her friends. We stumbled back to the hotel a little more intoxicated than we had planned, but took these photos first:



The rest of our trip was filled with a lot more food and a lot more beach time. Hazel had so much fun with both the beach and with her friends. Eulji and Gohwoon were both so great with her and kept her entertained everyday until she passed out:

Hazel and Eulji take a nap

Thanks to both of them for choosing to spend their vacation with us and for putting up with all of Hazel’s inquisitiveness and all of her requests to play. We had a great trip and we all planning where the next trip will be. Here are some more photos from our trip to finish it off…

Waikiki beach

Waikiki beach

Sunset from Waikiki beach

In the hotel

Fort Derussy Beach


On the way to the beach


First Stop, London

Posted by Greg on September 27th, 2010 with tags: , , , , , ,

We had a busy couple of weeks in the middle of September. A couple months ago we made plans for a vacation to Hawaii…and then a few weeks prior to the trip I got word that I needed to go to London for a few days for work. Yenari was luckily able to rearrange some of her work days so that she and Hazel could come along too. The only problem was that these two trips were separated by just two days…leading to lots of travel with a little toddler/baby combined with an 11 hour time difference!

London was the first on our list. We got into London on a Wednesday afternoon and I had a couple of busy days in our European headquarters right on the Thames. Yenari and Hazel spent most of the mornings and afternoons sleeping, making both of them slightly nocturnal. Yenari did manage to crawl out of bed on day and visit the replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern museum:

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Tate Modern

To celebrate the end of my work week in London we took the tube to the London Eye, the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, for a nighttime ride. Hazel was passed out for the beginning of the half hour ride but soon woke up and started walking around the massive cabin and checking out the view.

On the London Eye

On the London Eye

On the London Eye

Our flight back was on Monday morning, so we had the whole weekend to be tourists. Saturday was our Museum day where we went to the British Museum to check out the Greek exhibits of the Parthenon, the mummies, and all of the other items items plundered/discovered/recovered/bought from the British empire over the past several hundred years.

British Museum

British Museum

British Museum

Hazel slept during most of our museum visits, but she did find some time to check out the exhibits:

British Museum

Speaking of sleeping Hazel….here she is passed out at the museum followed by another one of her passed out with Yenari at Trafalgar Square, following our visit to the National Gallery the same day. She was a sleepy baby.

British Museum

Trafalgar Square

After the museums we spent the rest of our afternoon at the Tower of London. Hazel slept through the tour of the Crown Jewels and the Royal Armory to enjoy the nice afternoon whether and check out the Tower Bridge:

Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower Bridge

After all the museums and the Tower of London we were tired! We made our way through the city all day on the Tube…which is just one of the key examples of London as a stroller unfriendly city. Most of the tube stations and even many of the museums have only stairs which meant carrying a stroller with a sleeping baby inside up and down many many flights of stairs…a fairly awkward and not so fun thing to do…over and over again in London. It would have been a lot easier if Hazel had been awake, but hey, we were in London, so I’m not complaining (too much).

After crashing for a while we took the tube down to the Thames where they were throwing the Thames Festival…a weekend festival of food, shopping, and entertainment on the Thames. Yenari tracked down a chocolate truck and thoroughly enjoyed the hot chocolate and brownies while I ate a Indian-spiced lamb burger.

Yenari's favorite hot chocolate at the Thames Festival

For our last day in London we started it off with the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. It was packed so we didn’t get anywhere near the gates and Hazel wasn’t able to attempt my sister Liza’s (HI LIZA!) feat of getting her head stuck between the fence surrounding the palace. That would have been made for a good picture, but alas these are from afar:

Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace

Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace
(doesn’t Hazel look like she has a really long leg in this picture?)

Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace

After the changing of the guards we hopped on a bus tour so that we could see a little bit more of the city. Hazel had fun on the bus, repeatedly yelling ‘whoa’ right in the the ears of the guy sitting in front of us.

London bus tour

When we got nearby the Thames we hopped off the bus and went back to the Thames festival for an encore cup of hot chocolate and to checkout the tent and events that KOCCA (the Korean government agency that Yenari’s father works for) was hosting. Hazel was (of course) asleep and missed out seeing a huge cut out of her favorite cartoon character, Pororo.

Yenari's father's company at the Thames Festival

Hazel sleeping next to her obsession, Pororo

From there we head across the river and took a roundtrip boat tour of the Thames, where Hazel woke up for a few minutes to enjoy the ride:

Thames boat tour

We rounded out our tour of the city by hopping back on the bus tour and making our way to the beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Paul's Cathedral

It was a fairly hectic five days, but we had a great time in London. Hazel will surely have fond memories of sleeping in hour stroller in all of the beautiful museums, sleeping while we ate our meals, and sleeping on our tours around the city.

We had a leisurely 11 hour flight back, followed by 2 days at work for both of us, followed by a vacation in Hawaii…covered in the next episode…


Monterey Aquarium and Disneyland!

Posted by Greg on August 10th, 2010 with tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m already 11 days late for a 14 month update, so I’m not even going to try…instead here’s an update on two of our recent adventures: a day trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a weekend trip to Disneyland.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Two weekends ago we made a trip to the aquarium in Monterey – we weren’t sure whether Hazel would love it, not pay attention at all, or hate it. Almost immediately she started copying us and others around pointing at the fish and saying ‘whoaaaaaaa, whoaaaaa’ in a reminiscent of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. She had a great time…here are some photos:

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium


This past weekend we made a trip with Yenari’s aunt and uncle to LA first (where we ate a bunch of Korean food) and then to our primary destination, Disneyland. This was another one where we weren’t sure whether she’d like it or not…she ended up kind of ambivalent about it, having fun sometimes but being bored others – but she didn’t meltdown and we had fun at least :). Here we are, just arriving at the park:

Arrived at Disneyland

Luckily there are enough tame rides at Disneyland that Hazel was able to join in on the fun. While waiting on the line for the Dumbo ride Hazel pulled out the oooooing and awwwwwing that she learned at the Aquarium as all the Dumbos flew by. One we got on she seemed fairly entertained, continuing her oooooing and awwwing soundtrack. Here she is:

Dumbo the flying elephant

Dumbo the flying elephant

One of her favorite rides was It’s a Small World where you ride on a meandering boat while little dolls from around the world sing “It’s a small world afterall” over and over and over. Hazel was dancing away to the music and having fun – she’s a big dancer these days, she starts bopping up and down, side to side, whenever music comes on – from children’s music to Nirvana or Alice in Chains. She was so comfortable on the ride that she transitioned quickly from dancing having a great time to being totally passed out.

It's a small world

It's a small world

It's a small world

It's a small, sleepy world

We also went Mickey’s House so that we could get a photo of Hazel with Mickey Mouse. On the way there Hazel and Yenari were thrown in jail, but luckily Hazel pulled the bars apart and they were able to escape:

Breaking out of jail

Once in Mickey’s house we ended up on a massive line waiting for the photo…quite deceiving since his house looked tiny. After waiting for at least a half hour or maybe even an hour we made it to Mickey…Hazel was in a good mood, but that changed the second she was standing next to Mickey…when the waterworks began. Apparently stranger anxiety is just as applicable to stranger mice as it is to stranger people. Here she is with Mickey:

Crying with scary Mickey Mouse

Crying with scary Mickey Mouse

After a long weekend driving, in LA, and at Disneyland we headed home. Hazel wasn’t nearly as cooperative as she had been on the way down to LA so we had to use our magic weapon in silencing her cries and wiping away here tears: showing her Pororo videos on YouTube on our phones…repeatedly until we got home. It was a fun trip – thanks to Yenari’s aunt and uncle for sharing the fun with us!

Emo halmoni

Emo harabaji

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Korea Trip Part III: Jeju Island

Posted by Greg on April 10th, 2010 with tags: , , , , , , ,

After our first week in Korea it was time for a vacation within a vacation – a four day weekend trip to Jeju Island – Jeju is a volcanic island off the southern coast of Korea that is a popular travel spot for Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese…it’s kind of like the Hawaii of Korea. We headed to Jeju with Yenari’s parents and grandmother on a short 50 minute flight from Seoul.

We got our rental car, a three row mini-van, and Yenari’s father assumed the role of tour guide for the duration of our trip. On the way out of the main town we stopped at a supermarket to pickup some food, and then at the public market – a crazy place – to pick up some abalone. Check out the massive scallops next to the abalone:

Jeju public market

On the way to our hotel on a drive through the center of the island we stopped at big volcanic crater to take a look. Yenari’s parents and grandmother watched Hazel (which they did at countless spots in the trip) while we made our way to look around. The area was covered with magma everything – from the rocks lining the stairs up to the crater to the roofs of the surrounding buildings:

Magma rock roof

We continued onto Royalville – our hotel that was a modern condo-like setting right on the ocean with 3 bedrooms, and living room, and kitchen:

Our hotel/apartment at Royalville in Jeju Island

That night Yenari’s father prepared the abalone three ways: sashimi, pan-fried, and as a part of a rice porridge – all were excellent. This trip was the first extended period of time that Hazel had with her great grandmother…and they became great friends. Here’s Hazel sitting between her great grandmother and her grandfather at breakfast the next morning:

Breakfast buffet!

The next day we spent primarily driving around the island and checkout out the shoreline and the waterfalls pouring local streams and rivers into the ocean:

At the waterfalls of Jeju Island

At the end of the day we headed to the Jeju airport to pickup Yenari’s friend Eulji who joined us for just over 24 hours – but an action-packed 24 hours – on Jeju. In those 24 hours we did a lot of eating, climbing, fishing, swimming, and sight seeing. A couple photos:

Yenari and Eulji at the Shineville pool

Yenari and Eulji catching fish at the same time

Great grandmother caught one!

View of Jeju from Seongsan Ilchulbang after climbing up 30 minutes

Swimming in the Shineville pool with the fam and Eulji

Swimming in the Shineville pool with Eulji

We made a number of trips to that swimming pool at our hotel and Hazel started to enjoy it quite a bit at the end. She was a bit scared in the beginning and definitely didn’t like any water getting on her face, but she had fun with everyone carrying her around the pool, splashing water, and playing in an inner-tube:

Swimming in the Shineville pool

It was a great trip – so many beautiful things to see, great things to eat, but more importantly we had such a good time with Yenari’s parents, grandmother, and Eulji. Hazel formed a real bond with both her great grandmother and her grandfather and everyone took their turns in playing with her. She was so excited and pumped that she wouldn’t nap or sleep well…so she just partied until she crashed:


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Hazel is 293 days old

Posted by Greg on March 21st, 2010 with tags: , , , , ,

For those not able to quickly divide by 30, that would be about 9 months and 20 days – way too late for a 9 month update and not quite ready for the 10 monther. Hazel has definitely transformed quite a bit since the 8 month update – she’s moving around more (not quite fully crawling though), pulling herself up into a sitting position, clapping her hands, making lots of noise, and generally being a lot more active. Holding her is a lot more difficult than it used to be – now she just crawls all over us and doesn’t seem to want to sit still. She’s up to 4 teeth – two on the top and two on the bottom, and she’s eating a wider variety of food, including Cheerios and other ones that she needs gum away on before she can swallow them.

At her 9 month checkup a couple weeks ago she measured up well – she was ‘off the chart’ on height, coming in a just over the highest line on the growth chart at around 30 inches. She weighed in at just under 20 pounds (70th percentile) and her head circumference was around the 75th percentile.

One of her biggest changes in behavior has been her stranger anxiety. While she is cautious around just about anyone she doesn’t see on a regular basis she is much more weary of men…and the scariest of them all seems to be my dad! Last week he came for dinner and Hazel burst into tears before he even stepped in the house – the mere sight of him did it. After a while she (mostly) lets down her guard – here she is after a couple hours:

with Papa

One of the big things we did was to go on a short road trip down to LA with the sole purpose of satisfying Yenari’s craving for Korean food. The Bay Area definitely has much better Korean food than most other areas of the country, but it is still no match for LA. This was a very similar trip to the one we took about a year earlier except this time we had little Hazel to keep us busy. She did great on the drive down to LA and was fairly well behaved in most of the restaurants we went to. Here’s the Korean food connoisseur and Hazel taking in the end of a crab feast at OnDal:

crab feast!

And a quick stop for ho dduk – a sugar-filled Korean dessert pancake. This was the first of many visits to this place and was inspiring enough to Yenari that she was talking about wanting to open up a ho dduk stand of her own!

ho dduk!

Hazel had a blast in our hotel playing on the big king size bed:

Playing on the bed in LA

Playing on the bed in LA

On the way out of town after three days of gorging on Korean food and watching the Korean Olympic speed skaters kick some serious butt, we stopped by the house that my great grandfather build – the house where my grandmother grew up, my mom lived for many years, and the first house I lived in in the weeks after birth. Hazel didn’t seem very excited about any of this and slept through the visit:

in front of my mom's old house

On the way back home from LA we took a detour to Delano to see Carol, Yenari’s buddy from nursing school:

with Carol

This trip to Korea town in LA was just practice for the real thing – this coming Thursday we’re flying to Korea for a two and a half week vacation. This will be the first time Hazel meets her grandfather, great grandmother, uncle, many other relatives, and Yenari’s friends. While we’re not looking forward too much to the 10 and 12 hour flights, we are excited about having the chance to take a long vacation and spend some time with Yenari’s family in Korea.

And now…more pictures:

Cow Shirt!

Pink Overalls!

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