My Travel Map

My Travel Map

07 December 2006

Rocky Mountain National Park


This is just a really quick update. I am really behind on updating this site and I'm really sorry! School is keeping me way too busy, but we are still getting out and about and taking lots of pics of beautiful Colorado. These pics were taken in October at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP)


From left to right, Dongwon, Missy, me, Laura, and Maciej below the sign...we are at 2.3 miles (3.7 km) above sea level here.


Demonstrating the wonders of Dongwon's camera (used to take these pics)...yes that is indeed the sun DIRECTLY BEHIND ME!


Tristan and Maciej chillin...literally


Just another view in Rocky Mountain National Park


From right to left: Maciej, Tristan, Laura, Missy and me


Longs Peak on the far left (yea I climbed that...) and some other large peaks in the Front Range seen from the West in RMNP


I love Colorado...

23 September 2006

Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods


Pikes Peak in all its glory seen from Crystal Reservior on the way up the Pikes Peak highway.
The highway is a road that allows people to drive all the way to the top...14,110 ft. As a 14er (14,000 ft+ peak), Pikes is one of the highest mountains in the United States.


As can also be seen in the first picture, the Aspen trees have started changing colors...and are they ever beautiful. The bright yellow contrasts so well with the evergreens and bright blue sky.


View down on one of the reservoirs from the road up to the peak.


View looking Southeast from the peak. Colorado Springs is the city seen at middle left.


Missy and I at the top of Pike's Peak.


A cabin on the way up. This is right around the tree line and now houses a gift shop. It is an older building though and was used by early climbers as a shelter. They have some interesting factoids about people who have summited before too. For instance, one man once pushed an egg all the way to the top using his nose. It took him something like 23 days...why anybody would ever want to do this? I cannot say. He has been immortalized though on one of the information placards...but would you really want to be remembered for this of all things?


Another view on the way up. Parts of the road are paved, and some parts are just dirt. There are very few guard rails and when you get up above the tree line, you become very, very aware of this. Its an amazing drive and its tough being the driver. The whole time you just want to be looking all around, but with thousands of feet of air just over the shoulder, its pretty important to keep your eyes on the road!


Another view showing the beautiful colors and scenery we were lucky enough to be surrounded by.


Garden of the Gods, a park along the road between Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak. There are some amazing rock formations here with some awesome hiking and climbing oportunities. The best part is that it is 100% free to visit!


You really cannot get a sense of how high these rocks are unless you are actually there gazing up at them. The colors of the rocks really remind me of Uluru and Kata Tjuta in Australia's Red Centre. These are nearly as large as those, but grand and beautiful nonetheless.


Fortunately, all of the wildflowers are still alive and kicking here in the middle of September.


I nice big crevace. I just loved that tree in the middle in the background. The crevace can be followed all the way up to it too...so neat.


More lovely scenery.


An example of some of the rock colors at Garden of the Gods...that bright white rock and the rusty orange of the others.


Here is the white rock from the last picture. The tree kind of gives you a sense of how large these things are.

31 August 2006

Boulder, Colorado


Ahh...the Flatirons and Chautauqua Park
It's so good to be back here.



Just another beautiful forest scene on comes across hiking out here


The city of Boulder seen from the mountains


The remains of a rockslide on the way up to the first Flatiron


Sunset as seen over the mountains from my new apartment's balcony....oh yes, I get to see that every night and it never gets old!


Hot air balloons seen from my apartment in the morning. Those guys are out there almost every morning! My favorite balloon has to be the green one with a massive white shamrock.


Another shot of the first and second Flatirons
As with mostly everything else, it is impossible to fully grasp the beauty and shear size of these rocks and peaks.


Sunflowers run all along the sides of many of the lower elevation trails in Chautauqua park.


A great view of the Front Range looking North from Chautauqua


Tempted to follow it? This is just a little teaser. I'll keep the pictures coming as I explore more and more around here. I love it out here so much. The mountains are beautiful. The town of Boulder has so much to do whether it be relaxing on campus, playing in the parks, or shopping and socializing downtown. And the icing on the cake are the people. The people here are very friendly and active. Anyway, more to come!

05 August 2006

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston City Freedom Walk tour guide...gets you in the mood for a revolution!

Old City Hall, America's "Old Glory" and a statue of Benjamin Franklin

One of the various historic buildings and plazas along the Freedom Trail: a little red brick path that leads followers to Boston's various (and many) historical sites.

Awesome clocktower/almost skyscraper in downtown Boston

Massachusetts Capitol on Beacon Hill

Cool headstone at one of the nation's oldest graveyards.
Gotta love the various angelic and skeletal images!
The grave of Samuel Adams, one of the heroes of the American Revolution. He also was the son of the owner of a malt factory and a lover of good beer. For this reason, Jim Koch, the brewer of Samuel Adams beer, named his award winning beer after him. We took a tour of the Boston Brewing Company (Jim Koch's Samuel Adams brewery). It was AWESOME! A definite recommendation to anyone that goes to visit Boston. Also notice the dress of the guy standing by the grave...Boston tour guides dress up like 18th century figures...really cool stuff, but they must roast in those wool clothes and the 90 degree heat!

The Charles River and downton Boston from the Boston University Bridge.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the world's most prestigious universities. It also has some incredible examples of extreme architecture all over campus.

MIT Hall

The main building on the MIT campus. It is a gorgeous structure with names of the greatest minds from our history inscribed all over its various wings and halls.

Another awesome building on the MIT campus

The Holocaust Remembrance Walkway...these six pillars are etched with the identification numbers from all of the prisoners of the various Nazi concentration camps. This was a very somber but powerful memorial. It was erected so that we never forget the attrocities of Nazi Germany, so that we are vigilant in order to never let such horrors happen again.
Etching from one of the pillars:
"Nothing belongs to us anymore.
They have taken away our clothes,
our shoes, even our hair.
If we speak, they will not listen to us.
And if they listen, they will not understand.
They have even taken away our names.
My number is 174547, I will carry the tattoo
on my left arm until I die."

I'm Still Alive

Hey everybody, by this point, most of you have probably stopped checking to see if I have posted anything new...and for those of you that haven't heard from me, you might be wondering if I met an untimely end in India. This is not the case, thank goodness!
After Malaysia, I did go to India. I flew into Mumbai, but for several important reasons, I was unable to stay more than a week in that incredible place known as India.
I promise that I will get an India post up here sometime soon...the little bit of the country I got to see was overwhelming to the point that even now, two months after I left India, I still haven't fully recovered from the flood of emotions and experiences I had there. I promise that when I feel ready to even try to scratch the surface of my experience there, and do so in a way that is fair to both myself and India, I will pour it out on here. I also promise that it should be very interesting to most of you... India still haunts me in so many ways and that should make for some good reading.
Anyway, after India, I had a short (18 hour) stop in London. I decided that it was about time I got back. I was running low on money and time, and I dreadfully missed my girlfriend, friends, and family. I figured that instead of trying to rush as much of Europe as I could into three weeks of always on the go travel, I would instead wait to do Europe for another 2 or 3 years. A three month trip through Europe is now being planned as another present to myself for when I graduate with my masters degree.
So I returned home. I first spent 3 weeks in Daytona Beach, Florida. These were some pretty strange times. For the first 5 days after my hurried homecoming, I woke up disoriented in the morning, not knowing where I was or whether or not I was in a dream... I don't know if anyone can relate to this...but it is terrifying. It also took some time for my body to come down off of the travel. I don't know if others have experienced this after a long time of this sort of trip, especially not having been in one place for longer than 10 days, but when combined with the fact that I was essentially moved out of my old place in Florida and I had a very large and drawn out move to Colorado coming up...I was pretty stressed and out of it down there.
So I returned to Pittsburgh. The day after my arrival, I was informed that my only first cousin on my father's side, Erin, had died after giving birth to a perfect angel of a baby. Kaytlinn, the perfect angel, is fine and being taken care of by my cousin's incredible husband and parents, my aunt and uncle. Anyway, I spent a week in Toronto and Niagara, Canada visiting family after this terrible twist of fate. If I can recommend anything at this point it would be this, if you love somebody, no matter who it is.. family.. friend.. lover...anything, then take whatever time out you can to see them or just talk to them because they (or even you) just might not be there tomorrow.
I returned once again to Pittsburgh and spent the next week hanging out with high school friends and my parents and sister. It was an awesome week!
The past two weeks I have been in Boston, Massachusetts for the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling annual summer school. My new advisor from Colorado wanted me to attend, and I'm sure glad I did. Boston was a blast and the other students were an awesome group! It was a great two weeks!
So now I get to move out to Colorado...but I'll keep this blog going for whoever is still going to check. It will still be based on travels. I'll update for my recent trips to Canada, Pittsburgh, Boston and (maybe) Daytona too. And India will definitely get in there when I feel that I'm ready to tackle that. As for future posts, I plan on doing a good deal of travel within Colorado while I'm there as well as some good, long road trips throughout the Western USA and Canada. So I should have plenty of new pictures to keep you all checking in for.
For those that actually read all of this, thank you! I hope you thouroughly enjoy this blog. I hope even more that it sparks some interest in just getting out there to see this amazing world we live on...it's a beautiful place in so many ways! Enjoy!

03 June 2006

Malaysia


Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur.
The caves are used (and have been used for hundreds of years) as a Hindu holy place.

So while I was in KL, I stayed with this amazingly friendly and generous family, the Chins. I mention them throughout this post since they were my guides for this part of my trip. They showed me around KL, gave me a nice and safe place to stay, fed me (food was great too, even the pork bone soup and rice for breakfast, which is a Malay dish), and helped with all my travel arrangements to get about the country. I was so lucky to have met them (Mr. and Mrs. Chin were on my bus from Singapore) and I cannot thank them enough for all they did for me!

I just had to put that in....being in the massive cavern, it was easy to understand how early people could have taken it to be such a holy place

Inside the main cave...there were also lots of statues and little shrines to all the various Hindu gods

The stairs were really really steep

There are a bunch of wild monkeys that roam around on the stairs...one of the more adventurous little fellows even stole some food out of one woman's grocery bag....pretty cool. Mrs. Chin said it was normal to see monkey's all over the city...normal for them, totally fun and exciting for me!

That statue is huge


Pulau Redang, off the north eastern coast of Malaysia.

My resort on Pulau Redang....Mr. and Mrs. Chin had recommended this one too me, and it was perfect! My room rate included all my meals, ferry to and from the island, and snorkeling and a jungle trek....all that plus being able to lounge in tropical paradise....it was awesome.

Thank you so much again Mr. and Mrs. Chin!!!

One of the resorts on Pulau Redang

Is the water clear enough for you??? Definitely was for me!

I love the color of that water and the sand...plus all the other islands of the archipelago...perfect

Kuala Lumpur's central rail station...gorgeous old building.

The next pics are all from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital city.

Fountains in front of the National Mosque (see below)

The National Mosque. More than 60% of Malaysians (almost all of the native Malays; the Chinese and Indian Malaysians are mostly non-Muslim) are Muslim. This being my first Muslim nation, it was incredible being woken up at 5 AM to the sound of prayers from the Quran being blasted over a loudspeaker. The Quran is always read in song form...so it was quite beautiful to hear.

I still don't know exactly what this building is...but Mr. Chin said they used to call it the White Elephant...but the name (and the skyline) is now taken by the Twin Towers (see below)

Kuala Lumpur's central market...lots of souvenirs and some tasty food stalls too.


Petaling Street in KL's Chinatown. This is home to the famous night market, where shoppers can go and find the best imatations of designer name gear. Everything is available, from Rolex watches to Adidas shoes to Gucci and Prada handbags and even surfer gear...all for rock bottom prices even without the good exchange rates (1 US dollar equals ~3.6 Malaysian ringgit) . I always thought of designer stuff as just a way to show one's status, but Asia has shown me that people that spend $700 on a purse seem to be just throwing money around for the hell of it.

Just thought that was an interesting pic...Hollywood hits everywhere.
Funny thing is, in KL its possible to buy pirated copies of the newest movies (all available at the night market too of course). On my bus ride back to Singapore, the movie they showed was X-Men 3, which only came out a week ago.


The Petronus Twin Towers...the highest buildings in the world until just recently. They are supposed to symbolize Malaysia's future as a first world nation. They dominate the Kuala Lumpur skyline and are visible from all over the city. The outsides are covered in stainless steel and glass which makes the buildings just gleam in the sunlight.

Petronus Towers again...they really are quite beautiful buildings. The Sky Bridge connects the two towers. It is free for visitors to take a trip up to see the city from above (the bridge itself is taller than almost any other building in the city with the exception of KL's sky needle), but you have to show up early in the morning to wait in line...they only allow a few hundred people up each day. Fortunately, Mr. Chin woke me up early and I got to go up...definately worth an early morning...and you can't beat that price!