Category Archives: The Americas

Daily Prompt: Vice

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vice

I’m guilty. I eat McDonalds… but only to experience them in other countries, like this one, pictured in Sao Paolo, Brazil. I stopped eating McDonald’s in the US for some time, but then started again when I landed in Dubai. Now, it’s only consumed on occasions of late night after-drinking face-stuffing and layovers when I want to save my cash for more important things. I know it’s shameful of me, as a food lover (and a human being in general) but I have to say, trying the varieties is interesting and seeing the regional specials (like the UAE’s McArabia) is fun to see.

My Favorites Photos of 2013

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It’s that time of the year! The time of reflection and celebration of the good times over the past 12 months. Here are my favorite snaps from 2013.

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Mauritius – we encountered these guys when we had hired a boat to take us out and about. They ate up the bread we gave them and they politely posed for my photo!

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Santa Monica Pier, California, USA – There’s not much I really like about California, actually.. ok, that’s a lie, but because I used to live to close to it its appeal has lost on me. Alan had to remind me that he’d never set foot in California so we took him to all the typical tourist spots. But one thing I do love is street art and public works. This one is beautiful. For more pictures from this trip, click here.

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Castellorizo, Greece – This tiny little island boasted delicious fresh fish at the many restaurants that lined the marina. For more photos from this trip, click here.

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Warsaw, Poland – Loved this shot I caught at just the right moment of a peacock chasing off some pigeons stealing its spotlight. More photos from this trip coming soon.

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Absinthe, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA – Our first Las Vegas show was amazing – Alan wanted David Copperfield but I wanted Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace. The sexy show was like a mix of burlesque under the big top with amazing acts like these Russian acrobats. Loved it!

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Casablanca, Morocco – The famous Hassan II Grande Mosque. More photos from this trip coming soon.

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Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA – I hadn’t visited this wonder of the world that sat in my backyard for almost my whole life since I was about 5 years old, so I figured it was a good time to revisit when I showed Alan around my home. It is truly a breathtaking and unbelievable sight. See more photos from this trip here!

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Barasti Beach, Dubai, UAE – One of my usual spots in Dubai is Barasti Beach, a little beach bar that provides a chill layout during the day and dance party and DJs at night.

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Nuri’s Beach, Turkey – Nuri’s Beach was my favorite little spot on our Turkish sailing holiday with Alan’s parents. It was laidback, and not very crowded like a typical beach bar. I love this shot of Alan against the little bay of Nuri’s beach, with our boat in the background of the small marina.

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Legoland, California, USA/Tatooine – Say whaaaaat? Mixing two great universal loves into one – Lego and Star Wars. Check out this awesome lego model of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

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Venice, Italy – My first time in Venice this year. I was completely amazed at how water taxis and use of the canals basically keeps the city alive.

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Mauritius – I hadn’t planned on going parasailing (which I’d never done before) when we hired a boat for a tour, but everyone was so hyped to try it. Here’s a picture of some of my colleagues while they parasailed against the beautiful surroundings of Mauritius.

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Mekong River, Vietnam – The communities all along the Mekong River rely on it for their daily lives. These boats were used for the tour, but they resemble the boats locals use in everyday life. See more photos from beautiful Vietnam here.

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Kalekoy, Turkey – Kalekoy is a tiny town only accessible by boat.

Thanks for taking a look at some of my favorite shots from the past year! For me it’s not always the best shot, but sometimes it evokes an emotion or a memory. I live my life through photos and love sharing and seeing other peoples’ photos!

The Quick Update Photo Dump

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Sooo I’m trying this whole being productive with my blog thing. You know, like, updating it regularly and stuff. But since so much has happened since my last post (before the Turkish holiday one) I feel like I need to update everyone with the currents of my life before I can properly continue (I know, I have issues). So in quick succession, here are some of the major events that have happened outside of work life.

The main update of this post consists of Alan’s first trip to my hometown in Phoenix, AZ. This Brit has traveled to the US before – San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago – but I took him to new destinations (old ones for me) in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix. It was the big “meet my fam” moment as well as my loads of friends, and also “get to liking Phoenix because London is too cold to settle in.” Off we go!

Los Angeles

Disneyland

Read the rest of this entry

Two Weeks in the American Southwest

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Okay, so California isn’t actually considered the Southwest as it’s known as the West Coast, but we’ll just pretend. The title is long as it is already. My company offered unpaid leave for the month of July, and since I had used most of my vacation days due to my family emergency and wanted to save the rest to visit in Thanksgiving, I jumped at the chance for another trip home. My brother informed me his family was making a few vacations in Southern California, so I planned my days to go back home!

I used to attend the San Diego Comic-con International often – I’ve attended in total 8 years, with the last 3 years before moving being consecutive visits, with my last visit being just one week before leaving the country. I was mortally saddened when I couldn’t attend last year; seeing all my geek friends dressing up and having all that geeky fun was tough to watch from halfway around the world. So when my brother mentioned he and his family were going to attend this year, I managed to snag some last minute time off AND a 4-day pass and joined them.

Oh Em Gee Lego Darth Maul!

Introducing my niece and nephew to Pinkberry, just where I discovered it the first time.

As I mentioned in my previous post about the Middle East Film and Comic-con, conventions were a staple for me back when I was a video game reviewer and geek blogger. Not only did this mean going back to my geeky roots a bit, but also meeting up with the friends I made while working in the video game industry who live all over the US, but always come together for a convention. I used to plan big costumes for these events, but due to the last minute planning and lack of resources in Dubai, I donned my Transformers pinup dress, and then later threw together a last minute costume from one of my favorite video games, Left 4 Dead, to join my brother’s family in a little impromptu costuming.

My brother and his kids, all of us dressed as the 4 survivors in the video game, Left 4 Dead

It ended up working nicely, a group of my friends put together a costuming group consisting of female versions of male video game characters, so I was able to join in the fun:

L-R: Meg Turney as Beserker from Borderlands, Raychul Moore as Nathan Drake from Uncharted 2, and myself as Louis from Left 4 Dead. Photo by Chanh Tang.

I also happened, by chance, to stumbled across an offsite signing for one of my favorite characters from The Walking Dead, Steven Yuen, who plays Glenn. I’d been carrying around a poster (yes, I really AM a huge nerd) each day in the hopes I would find one. For anyone who hasn’t been to SDCC, you have no idea how difficult it is to score autographs or check out really popular panels. They usually involve waiting in line before the sun comes up and throw in about 6 more hours before you actually get into the panel. Offsite signings and meet and greets are so hush hush you literally have to crawl everywhere to find them. I just happened to be walking in the downtown Gaslamp district (just across from the convention center, a hub for offsite events, dining, shops and evening socials) and passed a gameshop with a signing. The great part is, the wait in line was only about 30 mints (once he arrived) and there were so few people he actually spent a few minutes chatting briefly to every fan!

Awww, look, I made him laugh!

He didn’t even question the huge fake gun…

The best costumes the whole con. Found them while waiting in line for Steven. The dude mentioned he’d spent time in Dubai…

Check out this super cute mini Edward Scissor (knife?) hands!

On a different day of the convention, many of my industry friends put together a huge cosplay group – one that started last year and has grown this year. It’s the Superhero Disney Princess group – organized by my dear friend, Ashley Hay, costumes inspired by a popular fanart of what the princesses would look like as superheros, found here. Unfortunately, I couldn’t join the group due to short notice, but I may be joining next year in place of Jasmine (my friend Janessa) who may not be able to make it next year.

They made me an honorary princess!

Instead, that day I wore my Transformers pin-up dress – a retro style dress made out of old bedsheets I’d made with my mom for a group for SDCC  2010.

Photos by Eurobeat Kasumi

HelLOOOO Captain America!

AHHH Shaun of the Dead!

A massive cosplay group shot hosted by Deviantart.com

Awesome Chewbacca, posing with my friend Raychul Moore as Snow White

My coworkers from my blogger days at gen-online.com, L-R Candace, Becky, Ashley, Raychul Moore and Chrissy

In addition to meeting up with old friends from my gaming days, we spent evenings hanging out with our family in San Diego…

Niece Marilyn, Nephew Sebastian, and their cutie little cousin Miles

We headed back home to Phoenix, Arizona, after our 4 exhausting days of trekking the con. I only had a few days back in the valley before heading back out to Southern California again with my brother’s family for a round of amusement parks.

I squeezed in as much social time as I could – one of the best ways to do this is usually hosting a dinner party! (not by me though, by my dear friends 🙂

Mexican lasagna!

Kevin, who spent 2 years in the Ukraine for the Peace Corps ended up home the same I was, and Robert, on my right, DJ/photographer/cook and party host extraordinaire

Amy and Linda

Back en route to SoCal, the family had plans to hit up the various amusement parks in the area. Because I was short on time and wanted to see more friends in Phoenix, I tagged along for on day at Disneyland (because you can never have enough Disneyland!) and then took a quick flight back to Phoenix before heading back out to the middle east. Since I used to have a season pass the Disneyland when I lived in Phoenix, and have even been back twice more after moving, not many pics were taken…

The elusive Donald Duck!

Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters!

Back in Phoenix, we scheduled a long-awaited (at least for me!) trip down the Salt River. It’s a popular destination during the summer; high temperatures and chilly mountain water, throw in a few rapids and cold beers and it makes for a pretty great lazy day.

Andrea (and her well positioned waterproof camera cover), and Robert

And on my last day at home, I spent it with my sister and adorable baby niece Camille shopping and eating sushi…

We eat the sushi, she just eats the creampuffs….

Pooped after a long day of shopping!

All in all, it was a great trip back, and I managed to meet up with all my friends from all over the country, and catch up with my friends and family in Phoenix as well. It only made me excited to try and make it back to SDCC 2013 and future trips back home!

Also, check out all my talented friends’ pages:

DJ Robert Michael/Robert Garcia Photography

Ashley Hay – awesome graphic artist and costumer

Raychul Moore – Girl gamer extraordinaire

Meg Turney Cosplay

SuperHero Disney Princess Cosplay Group

Eurobeat Kasumi Cosplay Photography

Chanh Tang Photography

James Gilstrap Photography