Friday, May 18, 2018

2017 Highlights and Recap

What can I say?  2017 has been hectic (in a good way).  Traveled to places beyond expectation for sure.  Keeping the post short for the sake of both of us.  Just some highlights.  For more photos, you can check out my Google Album or follow me on my Instagram. :)

Bedouin Camp @ Wadi Rum, Jordan

2017-12 Shanxxi/Henan, China

I FINALLY get to see the Terracotta army in Xian!!!  It's been on my bucket list since I first learned about Emperor Qin.  I also felt intimately connected with that Dynasty.  Yet, I didn't feel anything when I was actually at the site.  Oh well, I blame it on the power of Meng Po's soup.  XD

Terracotta Army @ Xian, China
In fact, I was really impressed with Mount Hua (the fact that I managed to hike the entire day).  The stretch between the Northern ropeway to 金鎖關 will be something I will forever talk about.

Mount Hua @ Xian, China
Food-wise, really loved the original Chinese hamburger and the lamb skewers.  On the other hand, the Luoyang "banquet" (洛陽水席) was overrated but still glad I tried it!
2017-11 Taipei, Taiwan

Mainly went for a friend's wedding.  Was lovely to be a part of such an important day in their lives.  It's my first time to attend a Taiwanese wedding :)

2017-10 Lancaster/Baltimore, USA

Work trip.  Lancaster was lovelier than I expected.  Went on a scooter tour in the Amish countryside as a spur of the moment decision.  Took a side trip to Baltimore on the weekend and re-visited some of my favorite restaurants.  Sad to find out Woodberry no longer makes my favorite cocktails.

Scooter tour in Amish countryside @ Lancaster, PA, USA
2017-10 Vermont, USA
Another one checked off from my bucket list.  Only Connecticut and Rhode Island left on my East Coast map. 

Waterbury Center State Park @ Waterbury, VT, USA
2017-09 NYC, USA
Work trip.  Always good to be in NYC.  Sometimes, I missed working in the States.  The quality and professionalism are so much better here compared to Hong Kong / Macau (SORRY! It's the ugly truth!)  Tried a bunch of new restaurants and visited a few museums.  Life is good.

Brooklyn Bridge Park @ Brooklyn, NYC, USA
2017-08 Israel
Work trip that felt more like a vacation to be honest.  THANK YOU BOSS.  Beach everyday after work.  Ce la vie.  And of course, the opportunity to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem was priceless.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre @ Jerusalem, Israel
And just as I was thinking back in April, when will I ever get to float on the Dead Sea again.  Well, August was the answer.  Life likes to play pranks on you, just like that.  I don't mind it one single bit.
2017-07 & 2017-05 Seoul, Korea
Work, work.  Well... Koreans businessmen are a difficult bunch.  Even though my current celebrity crush is Korean and I loved the food, I would still say I don't like this country on a pure business level.  Regardless, still thankful for the opportunity for an extended visit.  Saw a lot and ate a lot.  I can predict there will be more trips here in the future unless Corporate decides to shut the whole office down.

Tea House @ Seoul, Korea
2017-04 Greece & Jordan
An extension of my work trip.  Perks of flying Emirates.  Santorini is lovely, even for a tourist town.  Perhaps it was because I went there on the shoulder season?  A rental car is a must.  Food was the best in Mykonos.

Acropolis @ Athens, Greece

Jordan was a dream.  If I must pick a favorite of 2017, it will be Wadi Rum.  So raw, so peaceful.  Once in a lifetime experience. 

Wadi Rum @ Jordan
2017-03 Kuwait
Work trip!  If Jordan was a dream, Kuwait was beyond my wildest dream.  (I keep on replaying that look on the guy's face checking me in at the ferry terminal. Hahaha!) Wilder yet, I have friends in Kuwait that I got to spend a full week with while I was there.  Food was better than I have expected.  Having friends there definitely made a difference.  I honestly don't think I would have agreed if I didn't know anybody in the first place. 

Date shop owner @ Kuwait
Kuwait is actually very safe.  I walked to work one morning from my hotel (~15 minutes walk) in my suit.  The road was not the best and was quite empty.  But, other than sweating like crazy and get a few occasional looks from the taxi drivers (only trying to see if I needed a cab), I had no issues.  My friends said I was brave but I just need to do what I gotta do. 
2017-03 Dubai/Abu Dhabi, UAE  
Work trip!  After bugging my boss saying my job was getting a little boring and I want new challenges, Middle East was the answer.  I am telling you, I probably used up all my luck with my bosses.   

Returning from work on the company van @ Dubai, UAE
 Even though the project was a beast, I LOVED it!  Learning from different management styles and culture is truly amazing.  I remember many years ago, a friend asked me what would my ideal career be and I said - something that would allow me to work in different cities?  At the time, I was only thinking of the US but look where fate has taken me.
2017-01 Chicago, USA & Montreal, Canada
Part work, part vacation.  Still didn't visit Quebec City yet.  Will try to do so the next time I go to Montreal.  Ended up spending CNY in Chicago with my friend and her family.  Her son is too cute! 

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