Friday, February 29, 2008

The Final Countdown

So who wants to come with me when this opens? Let's make a date!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Back-to-Work Blues

I've got the back-to-work blues
Even in my Jimmy Choos
Doesn't matter that my job is great
Because there's simply no debate
That traveling is far more fun
Than filing stuff under the gun

Tomorrow is Friday.
Tomorrow is Friday.
Tomorrow is Friday.

I will be done with the week.
I will regain sanity.

The funny part about this? Tonight I stayed "late" -- 7 p.m. That was the earliest I ever left the firm. I used to rejoice at 7 p.m.


I'm a "normal" person now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Still Missing

North Face Jacket
Patagonia Fleece Vest
Ashworth Penn State Windbreaker
Ben Sherman Button-Down Shirt
Banana Republic Sweater
Banana Republic Zip Sweater
Levi's Jeans
Polo Khaki Pants
Teva Sandals
Banana Republic Flip-Flops
Vasque Hiking Boots
Wool Tuk Hat
Puma Beanie
Speedo Brand Swim Trunks
Waterproof Pants Size L
Waterproof Pants Size M
Windstopper Gloves
Fleece Socks
Six Pairs Adidas Socks
Banana Republic Boxers
Long Underwear Bottoms
Patagonia Long Underwear Set
Smith Sliders Sunglasses
Paul Frank Sunglasses
Meade Binoculars
Swiss Army Knife
Lowe Alpine Fanny Pack
Calvin Klein Toiletry Kit
Toiletry Bag With Toiletries
Hair Gel
REI First Aid Kit
Multiple Insect Repellants
Multiple Purell Bottles
Multiple Dramamine Bottles
Nikon D40 Battery Charger
Nikon Coolpix S9 Battery Charger

New idea:
Ask Grandma to help me replace many of these things for Mr. Monkey via a trip to REI and surprise Mr. Monkey after shopping trip with only loot for him.

I do like rpstegman's suggestion of new lenses for my camera, too.

Maybe there is an REI close to a camera place....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Lightning Strikes Twice

Grandma Monkey recently passed her U.S. citizenship test. Woohoo! To celebrate, she wants to go shopping again before she goes back to Taiwan. To refresh your memory, here are the fruits of our last trip.

Yes, to celebrate her success, she wants to buy stuff for other people. Gotta love it!

So I pose to you these questions:
(1) Where should we go?
(2) What should we buy?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wishing Winnie Well

Our dear Winnie shall be moving across the country soon to my old law school stomping grounds. So sad for us! It is, however, a wonderful thing for Winnie, as she and her hubby will finally be in the same city together. Let us all rejoice for that!

Nanette hosted a farewell party featuring food from Versailles. I loved my lechon asado and famoso pollo versailles combination with black beans, rice, and fried sweet plantains.

Nanette made chocolate-covered red velvet bites.

Wan made peanut marshmallow rice krispie treats. Please note the chocolate W on each treat in honor of Winnie!

[Mr. Monkey thanks you both for these tasty treats.]

A farewell party for Winnie wouldn't be complete without her latest fave game, Rock Band!

I discovered I am terrible at faux guitar, but I'm a pretty good singer (at least according to the game) and a decent faux drummer.

Amber tore up Dance Dance Revolution.

Look at those feet go!

Wan's li'l one is rather adorable and a total angel. She had on some fun ruffle-butt underthings.

Of course, we did the obligatory smiling group shot.

But this is what we're really like.

Good times! Best wishes for a stress-free move, and good luck to Winnie!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Day 15: Falls, Fauna, and Fun

Iguazú Falls continues to impress. Our morning view from the room was a pink sherbet delight.

This morning we crossed the border into Brazil to see the other side of Iguazú Falls.

The Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls is even more impressive, at least in my opinion. The park is also less crowded. If you ever make it down here, the short trip to Brazil is well worth it. Plus, most people on the border speak Spanish, so don't worry about not understanding Portuguese.

We started off with what seemed to be a calm little jeep ride and hike through the rainforest. This sign welcomed us. Well, duh.

Then we happened upon these signs. We turned right.

We boarded a zodiac and were told to put our cameras and valuables in the provided plastic bags. We drifted a bit on the calm water. The calmness didn't last long. We were soon navigating up and down, side to side, and everywhere else in roaring rapids! My prissy self was disappointed to get a little wet.

Then the water got calm again, and we were able to get an awesome view of Iguazú Falls close up.

Our zodiac guide turned out to be a decent photographer.

I thought this was it. We'd gotten pretty damn close to the falls. But then our zodiac guide told us to put everything away in the plastic bags again and to make sure everything was totally sealed. The zodiac kept chugging along, closer and closer to the cascading water.

Then we went under the falls.

Under. The. Falls.

I was screaming and ducking and closing my eyes, trying not to swallow buckets of water, but Mr. Monkey was happily whooping and hollering with his hands in the air the whole time.

How do we know this?

The zodiac guide was filming all of this with an underwater camcorder! We watched the DVD afterward -- drenched -- and laughed so hard. I can't believe I was worried about getting a *little* wet. We ended up looking like we'd gone swimming in our clothes!

After braving the downpour, we were given the opportunity to unsheath our cameras to capture the falls that had just rained on us.

Just awesome. I can't believe we went under that!

Sopping wet, we explored the Brazilian park further and saw more beautiful views of Iguazú Falls. Brazil had more spectacular panoramic vantage points than Argentina.

We found a really cool butterfly. As I was taking pictures, another butterfly flew right into my shot.

We spotted a gigantic spider, too. It was the size of my hand.

As we waited for our driver to pick us up to take us to our next destination, we found a dove and her babies nesting underneath an awning.

The dove was only a precursor to all the avian life we were about to see.

As many of you know, I don't like birds (with the glaring exception of penguins), but this park was really something. We really enjoyed it.

My second favorite bird was this toucan.

My favorite was this toucan. He was so sweet, and I loved his orange and blue.

Back at the hotel, we saw a wild toucan not far from our room!

Our hotel was surrounded by wildlife, including small capybara-like rodents called agouti. In layman's terms, they are wild guinea pigs.

Really early the next morning, Mr. Monkey took my camera and went for one last look at the falls on the lower trail while I slept.

Mr. Monkey ran into a bunch of coati, which are raccoon-like creatures that travel in bands of 20 or so. We had seen some coati yesterday, but they ran off before we could take any photos. I was so jealous when I clicked through Mr. Monkey's pictures! He said he followed them around for about 15 minutes and then sat with them as they foraged in one area for another half hour.

Later in the morning, we met at the spa for my facial and his massage before we went to the airport. We were both really glad to squeeze in a little pampering before our 11-hour flight.

This concludes our 2008 vacation pictorial!

When we got back to LAX, Mr. Monkey's luggage was nowhere to be found. It liked South America so much that it decided to stay there. We still haven't heard from it yet. We are sad about this. We wish it would come home.
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