Friday, February 26, 2010

Scott and Stefanie: The Update!

I'm sure many of you wonder what in the world we are doing these days...
Well, our FIRST priority has been getting jobs! Scott has already had 3 interviews and we both have more scheduled for next week! We are excited about our prospects, either in California or Utah, and we are looking to find the right match for both of us!

But in the meantime, we've kept busy! We...

Went to the beach!!! Gotta love 85 degrees in February!

We had Manhattan clam chowder and shrimp cocktail at the Crab Cooker!
We waxed our nostrils and eyebrows, that was an experience...

We hiked Mt. Rubideaux with SueAnn and Laurie :) So fun!

We rode bikes at Newport and Balboa- SueAnn was on the "Smoking Loon!"

Picked TONS of lemons and made fresh lemonade, lemon cupcakes, and other lemon treats!
I made Valentine's Day tags and Scott made cookies, and then delivered them to get in the Valentine's Day spirit. (That is my new Thai apron!)

Thanks to all of you who have helped us with job leads so far- we appreciate you!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We love to watch the

All I have to say is that women's downhill skiing is INSANE. Those poor girls, each follows the next tumbling down the mountain :(

We thought Sean White (half pipe guy) was getting too much attention, and then we saw him snowboard. Wow, if you missed it, it's worth YouTubing!

The creativity, strength, energy, flexibility and synergy of pairs figure skating will always make it my favorite event.

Let's be honest, the Vancouver Olympics do not have the best conditions in the history of winter olympics, but hey, those athletes have some serious talent. I can't wait until we can watch
jump rope
in the Olympics!!!

What is your favorite event?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More pictures than you can handle!

You can take a look at the Asia 1 album or the Asia 2 album on Facebook. Even if you do not have a facebook account, you can click on the links above to see the photos. Feel free to skip most of them, there are TONS! But believe it or not, that is only about 1/10th of the photos I've been sorting through these past few days... Enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

On American Soil :)

So I took a few moments this morning to redesign the blog. I'm not totally sure about it yet, but I like it for now. I uploaded a few pictures from the trip on the sidebar, but stay tuned for a Facebook link to the best 60 from our trip. Also, Scott and I will both post here, but Scott will write "By Scott" or something of the like before he posts so that you know who you're reading :) We are sorting through gifts and running errands like crazy these past few days. Both our phones are located and working now, so that is a plus! I love running my toothbrush under the clean faucet water, and I love my hair not smelling Asian anymore. It was fun to drive the other day- just go where we wanted, when we wanted! We are really appreciating these little beauties of life!


If any of you have good job leads for us, we are very flexible and welcome all ideas!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Back on the Grid

We made it home! We are SO HAPPY to be here and enjoy the comforts of everyday American living. I don't think we've been back 12 hours yet, but here are some things I'm already loving:

-Not only hot water, but a big, thick, comfy towel when I get out of the shower!
-Being able to wake up in the night and see a digital clock, displaying the time on a 12 hour schedule instead of 24 hour clock on a mini watch and having to groggily convert.
-I am using my MAC! Not only do I love my computer, but it's nice to use a keyboard not infected and grimy, and I love using my tabs and favorites features. And being automatically logged into my accounts, that's nice too!

Sorry Heather, Bryan and Noelle, I will call as soon as I can, but my phone charger is currently somewhere in the chaos of all my stuff, wedding presents, and who knows what else that is filling Scott's room. We have lots of organization ahead!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our final Goodbye!

Well, Hanoi has been good to us. All of Vietnam really! All of Southeast Asia really! We leave for the airport in about 2 hours, to embark on our 30+ hour journey to LAX. Here's what we've been up to the last few days:

Halong Bay!

Whoever chose the 7 world wonders obviously missed Halong Bay. It is the most picturesque, beautiful gorgeous stretch of land ever! I've decided to create my own list of world wonders, and Halong Bay definitely makes the top 7!!! It really reminded me of the Li river in China, except instead of being a river, the sea was FULL of limestone rock shooting up every few meters. Wait until you see the pictures!

We took a 2 day/1 night cruise with about 8 others who we made really good friends with. One of our highlights was playing spoons with an Australian mom, 2 french backpackers, and our Vietnamese boat captain (why he wasn't driving our boat, i don't know...) There was also an older Belgian couple on board who were very willing and good at taking our picture!

The cabins were musty and the food pretty gross, but the beauty made up for it. We explored the biggest cave I've ever seen, and took a kayak out exploring.

We arrived back in Hanoi last night and went out to see the famous water puppet theater. It was really cool to see all the acts/mini-shows all done by puppeteers underwater! SO impressive! The seats in the theater were clearly built for people 5 feet tall... We had some good laughs about that with the Aussie we sat beside. We picked up a little fresh fruit on our way home, and have spent the morning packing for our flight home while watching the Amazing Race :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Amazing Vietnam!

Vietnam is AWESOME. We have loved every single city so far! Maybe that is because it is Chinese New Year so everywhere we go there is a party, but I think that's only part of it. Saigon (Ho Chi Mihn) was FANTASTIC, we can't wait to get back. They actually USE the parks for what they are for. Jazzercize class at dusk was my total favorite :) We got cheap perfume (hope they're legit!) and some DVD's we're excited about. We've heard most of them work, and even if they don't it was way cheaper than renting them anyway! Scott is most excited about Invictus :)

So, basically Ho Chi Mihn was a total highlight! Our hostel had the SWEETEST guy who did everything possible to help us. The Pho soup was delish, in fact we had it for both meals we ate in Siagon (same as Ho Chi Mihn, Siagon is the ancient name which the people prefer) We saw the most amazing hackysacking going on- the boys would do handstands and kick the sack over their heads backwards!

The sleeper buses were pretty nice. Better than sitting buses for sure, but still very cramped. We've done sleepers 2 nights in a row now and we're pretty sick of it. I didn't sleep a wink last night, and Scott didn't really ever fall asleep the night before that. Obnoxious.

Our next city was Nah Trang. That is a gorgeous beach town! Rivals Thailand for sure! We paid about $1 each for a matted beach chair for teh whole day and just read and played cards and relaxed. Some local kids came to play, so Scott had them splashing around in the South China Sea and we learned some Vietnamese hand games from them. They ended up collecting seaweed/flowers for me and presenting them to me at the end of the day. So great :)

We had streetfood for lunch and dinner there. Dinner was $1 total (Vietnam is significantly cheaper than the rest of SE asia) and we tried all these great flavored rices and chicken with no bones! That was a first! Our laundry never dried from the night before, so we went back to the bus station roof where we'd hung them in the morning and collected all our clothes. Then, we showered at the public bus station. That was probably an all time low. It stunk. It was dirty. People everywhere... I mean the shower stall was private, but everyone was moving everywhere and the ground was muddy and the shower... cold. So we boarded the bus again for our 12 hopur bus ride to Hoi An.

Hoi An is the world's hub for tailor shops. And yes, we are waiting for a coat, and fitted dress shirt to be finished :) We'll taxi into Datrang tonight and we have a FLIGHT to Hanoi tonight. Luckily our hotel there is already arranged so we won't have to wander the streets at midnight when our flight arrives. We are excited to spend our next and final 2 days of our trip at Halong Bay! We've spent some time job searching online today and we are both very excited to get jobs and begin our real lives!!! But until that time comes, Vietnam is the BEST!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Vietnam was worth the wait!!!

Remember last time I posted about going to meet our German friends for dinner in ten minutes? Well, while we were on the internet, Scott got it in his head that we must leave Siem Reap immediately. So instead of dinner, we got on a bus for southern Cambodia to get our visas. No entry to Vietnam upon arrival. It ended up being a 30+ hour bus trip. Shinoukville was a pretty sketch place, but we took motorcycle taxis to the "embassy" which was somebody's backyard. Then back to Phenom Phen, the capital. Our bus arrived there at 1:31 and the bus to Vietnam departed at 1:30. Luckily they were running late and we were able to get the last 2 seats on the bus to Vietnam in the nick of time. Then we rode for hours, watching/listening to Vietnamese karaoke the entire time. Scott was going out of control. He started asking the people around us if they even liked the karaoke, he wanted to petition to turn it off... anyway, we talked with some other travelers and exchanged funny stories to help pass the time. The border took FOREVER, we still don't know what the hold up was, but it was obnoxious. We hadn't eaten for over 20 hours, so I bought some corn on the street. It was pretty gross, but better than nothing.

We arrived in District 1 of Hoh Chi Mihn City at about 10pm last night. With a reccomendation from some Danish travelers we found ourselves with the absolute friendliest hostel where we get free internet and even free laundry!! And the best part of last night, I finally ate something that didnt taste fishy! Scott knew "pho" from his mission, so we had that last night and loved it! Then we went to the flower market and night market which were both fantastic! Mom, these are the trees you have always wanted in front of the house- they totally have them here! But, we forgot the camera last night, danget. Anyway, this morning I had a steamed bun for breakfast (love that! And it was included in the hotel) and we just finished making arrangements for the rest of our travel. We will be on 2 night buses for the next 2 nights, and go to 2 towns on the way up to Hanoi. Then we are doing a 1 night cruise on Halong bay which is supposed to be fantastic! So far we love Vietnam and really wish we had more time! The people here have been the friendliest we've met. They are so helpful and all really go out of their way to help us. Even kids bow to us on the street, and restaurants make sure we get exactly what we want. Saw some phenomenal hackysack last night, they were doing handstands to kick the sack with their feet or calves. Wow!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Angkor Wat

I have almost no time today... we have a dinner appointment with a German couple in about 10 minutes! BUT, let me just say...


We got up at 5am to see the sunrise over angkor wat, and then spent the day with our entorage (tuk-tuk driver and tour guide) seeing the sites and learning the stories. We have never gotten a tour guide before, but considering that we will never come back to Cambodia, and considering that we would have NO IDEA what we're looking at without a guide, we went for it. Tiran and Dom were awesome.

btw, my mosquito bites are doing a lot better, and I have a good feeling that with only 8 days left of our trip, Scott and I will escape malaria free :)

and p.s. We may or may not be getting addicted to massages. We got an even cheaper one tonight- after a long day at the ruins, and anticipating a 10 hour bus ride to Vietnam tomorrow.

(Mom and SueAnn: Getting through the Cambodian border wasn't as bad as we'd heard, but once through the crossing it got pretty bad. More stories later... But thanks to a Polish couple we were able to share a taxi and arrive in Siem Reap 2 hours later. Angkor Wat is basically all Cambodia has to offer us, so we are off to Vietnam tomorrow. We're going into Sihanoukville to get Vietnamese visas and then on to the Mekong Delta region hopefully tomorrow. We have 1 week to do a flyby of Vietnam. It's too bad because many fellow travelers have spent a month there and say it was their favorite! Do you think we should extend the trip? :)

love stef

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happy Anniversary to us :)

Yesterday was our one month anniversary :) Cute, huh? Well, when I woke up in Ayhuudeah, Thailand on Feb 2, I had no idea that the day would hold:

Getting a shoe repair for Scott- for less than 1 dollar he got both tennies fixed up :)

Doing a self-requested (and CHEAP) Thai cooking course! I cant wait to make my own Tom Kah, Pad Thai and Green Curry :) That was a TOTAL highlight

Going for a leisurely 3 mile bike ride through town

Spending 3-4 hours exploring ancient ruins (wats) that are truly phenomenal!

Get a couples massage which was maybe the highlight of my life!!! $6 for 1 hour or stretches, deep tissue massage and some feel good/very healthy massage. I wore special robes, listened to soothing music and walked on rocks. It was FANTASTIC :)

Staying the night in a nice hotel in the financial district of Bangkok. (though we got separate beds again, so obnoxious.)

Meeting a new friend on the train who got me SUPER excited for Vietnam!

Being married to Scott is amazing :) I can't believe it's already been a month, it feels like our wedding was just yesterday!


Well, at long last, I think it is time for me to post again.

We have had an amazing time in are the highlights in a little travel timeline!!!!
  • After a whole lot of bus travel from Malaysia, we arrived in Had Yai which is a very non-touristy Thai city. NO ONE spoke English! With a lot of pointing and crazy attempts at Thai we made it onto a bus and were about 70% sure it was going to our destination in TRANG. Some monk sitting behind us on the bus must have seen how desperate we looked and tried to help, but he spoke less English than we did Thai so it was a mess. The funny thing was he just kept speaking to us in Thai as if we would suddenly understand. Oh well.
  • The bus ride to TRANG was only supposed to take 2 hours, but it took 3.5. Naturally, I thought we missed the stop so I started frantically trying to communicate with passengers. Good times. Some ladies knew we needed help and motioned for us to follow them. In 5 minutes we went on a crazy Tuk Tuk ride, got Thai baat, found the bus stop, bought tickets, and basically got push into a mini bus to the boat dock. THANK YOU Thai women, it would have taken us about 1.5 hours to do that on our own.
  • Our first stop was KO(Island) HAI (Bradford, thank thank thank you for the recommendation). The Andaman Sea was gorgeous! Wow! Picture a little ferry boat sliding through the bright turquoise water, past dramatic limestone islands rising out of the sea, and sailing over beautiful coral to a perfect white sand beach. It was heaven. Great food, beautiful sights, and the greatest snorkeling I've ever done.
  • Next, boat to KO MUK. Equally beautiful island, Emeral Sea cave, and a fantastic resort. Complete with a bamboo hut.
Anyway, this is getting a little long...we loved the islands and are having a great time on our trip. Love you all and see you soon!