elenachang

Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's 12:27pm according to the Mac's clock. Saturday December 8th, 2007.
I am effing depressed. The weather in L.A. has sucked since my return from Europe Thursday. I still feel like I am in Munchen, rainy and damp and no sun whatsoever. There is no happy feeling about coming home. And my husband is far away in his own world...

I'd like to rehash my memory of this trip before things are forgotten, but with my current foul mood, I don't want to do it. The entire household is depressed and depressing... Even though nobody reads my blod-I know that as a fact-I am not going to divulge anything about other person(s) here. It's not ethical, yes, it's unethical. I don't believe in "anything goes" attitude.

I'll be back.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Okay. Finally, I have found sometime to do my blog!
It's 8:55pm Sunday November 25th in Milan, Italy or Milano, Italia at a business hotel called ADI Hotel Poliziano Fiera. And its night shift front desk guy is kind of sleazy. The Italian computer keyboard is quite different from that of English and I couldn't figure out how to get "@" because it is the third symbol on a same key. He showed me that it is Ctrl+Alt+@, but then, he tapped my back as if I was his buddy or something. It wasn't particularly sexual, so I will not sue him for molestation or some such. Nonetheless, it was inappropriate in my humble opinion.

That is enough for a dark, ambitious-he dreams to be a manager someday, though his sense of service is very poor; my husband got mad because of his hotel-first-guest-second attitude-and improperly friendly Italian hotel man.

This is our 2nd and last night in Milano. We arrived from Cadenabbia, Lago di Como yesterday afternoon. We checked out and took a 11:58am bus to Como in front of our hotel Grand Hotel Cadenabbia. The bus actually arrived around 12:03pm. The road along the west shore of Lake Como is hair-raisingly narrow and winding in many sections. When a bus passes, cars, though they are usually small and narrow Italian and European vehicles-I'd love to have a new Fiat500, though it is not going to be imported to the U.S. I figure it is because the road was built for horse carriages centuries ago.

Nonetheless, the ride is pretty scenic and it takes only an hour to Como from Cadenabbia. The fare is €2.70 per person one way, whereas the ferry fare is €3.40 per ride between Varenna, Bellagio, Menaggio, and Cadenabbia.

We arrived at Como bus terminal at 1:02pm and proceeded to grab 13:16 train to Milano Nord (Cardona) station from Como Nord station at €3.50/person. The train departed about five minute later than schedule-not too bad for an Italian train (From Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore, my train arrived 10 minutes later than schedule last Monday). It was a local train filled with loud high school kids who come and go at every station. I remember giggling like that when I was of that age. Oh, well, I am no longer that young, but as Scott says, maybe more experienced...

The train arrived at Domodossola station-one before the terminus Cardona station-at 14:16 and we got off there. The hotel was supposedly 50 meters away; of course, it turned out that it was more like 200 meters away!

We checked in and was assigned to Room 326 and Jon's room was 331. Not too big, but comfortable enough room with 2 single beds put together to make them a double bed-by the way, that is obviously how they do in Europe. And it is a better way to ensure a good night sleep for a couple because one person's thrashing around would't awake the other person. Bathroom came with a nice shower with a real door instead of a flimsy shower curtain in Cinque Terre and Cadenabbia. There was also the mandatory bidet-I am sort of afraid that I might be too used to the luxury of having a bidet...

Scott and I had late lunch/early supper with GS supermarket bought Toscana Zuppa with beans and grain, which bursted at the Como station due to my careless drop of my food bag. The soup was still edible though it didn't get warmed as was recommended. I'd been craving for spicy food as I always do under stress, so had some chili pepper added pesto from the same GS supermarket.

After lunch, the full stomach induced 3 hour sleep. Later I forced myself to get up and took a shower, watched some BBC World and finally went to bed right before midnight.

This morning I woke up around 6am and went to have breakfast at 7:30am. I like eating, so it is always a pleasure to find out what is served on breakfast. I wasn't disappointed; scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, cheese, even salad with tomatoes, all kinds of bread including my favorite croissants-though not baked on-site-cereal, canned fruits, OJ, grapefruit juice, tea, coffee, and fresh fruits.

As usual I stuffed myself, justifying that I will burn all by walking around. Scott joined me later-he has been suffering from a series of pain caused by badly sprained and possibly broken toe, 2nd degree burn on the same left foot, hip-sciatic pinched nerve due to the funny gait caused by the two aforementioned injuries, and now screwed up lumbar verterbrae-trying to control excruciating pain...

After the meal, the three of us decided to go on a Milano tour. First, we headed to Milano Centrale FS to make a reservation for tomorrow's journey; we are going to Venezia and Jon will be on his way to Monaco. It took quite a while to get to the station. We left about 10am. First, we could not buy a 24-hour pass for mass tranportation ride. The tabacco shop next door was closed because it was Sunday. The nearby newsstand only sold single ride tickets. We thought we could find some place near the tram No.1 stop, but there was nothing. So, I volunteered to back to the newsstand to buy 3 €1 single tickets. Then, I had to go back to my room to retrieve our Eurail pass, which is necessary to make a reservation! Finally, we got on a tram but it was a wrong one. Not 1 but 3. So, we had to got off and wait for another that would take us to Duomo where we will take a metro to Milano Centrale.

When we got to the station, there was much confusion as to where to go to make reservation. We probably wasted at least 20 minutes. Eventually, I got to a right window and it cost me €16 to make 2 reservations for Scott and me between Milano, Verona and Venezia... I love traveling almost as much as acting, but it takes a lot of money...

Finally, we went to back to the Duomo station and joined other tourists. First, we checked this bookstore inside the Galleria. It had an extensive collection on broad ranges and I found Don Camillo and Peppone series by Giovannino Guareschi! Oh, my, how much I loved that series as a young adult! I'd love to recollect all of them. I lost my books in Korean due to the flood of Gimmyoung Publishing Company's warehouse where I had my books stored... And it is another long story... Then, we went to Museo La Scala and saw the special exhibition of Maria Callas. It was really worth €9(=€4 for me as a student and €5 for Scott). I rediscovered Maria Callas and now I want to find her album and listen to her voice. The museum's regular items were quite impressive as well. Busts of Toscanini, Verdi, Puccini and even Eleonora Duse took me back in time and rekindled my passion for art. I must continue to pursue my love, acting, since I know how much it means to me.

After La Scala tour, we went to the Duomo and climed to the top. another €4 per person to climb by the stairway. Again, it was worth the money. We walked around and stayed until we got kicked out around the sunset. It was a dinner time now. We decided to try this appetizer buffet place listed in Rick Steves' Italy 2008. Following the map, we got to Bar Brera around 18:00. It's happy hour buffet was already in full service. We each ordered some drink and dived into the smorgasbord of Italian antipasti; all kinds of grilled vegetables, chicken, cheese, ham, salami, bread, green beans with potatoes, pasta, mozzarella with sliced tomatoes, grilled bell peppers, among many others. Once again, I stuffed myself... Ah, food and I are inseparable... I need to work on this too much intimacy...

A little before 19:00, we left the bar and headed northwest along Via Brera to go back to the hotel. I am usually pretty good with maps, so with little confusion we all got to the hotel around 20:00. Only Scott was too tired due to his pain from his injury...

I gave him some back push, which seemed to help...

Now, it is 21:58 and Scott's here to use the computer. Before he forgets what he want to do with the Internet, ha ha ha.

I'll sign off now. Good night, folks.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

It is 5:43pm and I am in a Tourist Information in Lucca. Jon and I have been walking around this medieval town of Lucca for some hours and my poor baby Scott is at the Sogni d'Oro B&B (without breakfast^^)at the moment. A young nice lady at the TI made a dinner reservation for all three of us at the restaurant called Antica Drogheria near Porta Elisa at 7:15pm.

This morning we left Diana and Nerio's house in Santa Maria Villiana at 9:30am and made the 10am train from Riola to Porretta Terme to catch up 10:21 train to Pistoia. We barely made it. Diana grabbed the train for us(almost literally!)and we saw Jon aboard! At Porretta Terme we waited for 2 minutes and got on the train to Pistoia. No sweat. There were about 40 tunnels between Porretta Terme and Pistoia: it was a leisurely scenic ride. At Pistoia, we had a terrifying moment. The next train to Lucca seems to be one leaving at 14:21pm! We arrived at Pistoia at 11:30am! How would we kill three hours in this small unknown town? After a short while, we decide to inquire with a ticket officer and thank goodness, the next train to Lucca was 12:47pm whose final destination was Viareggio which was 3 stops from Lucca. We were so ignorant about all these small Italian cities...

So, we decide to have a lunch in Pistoia. After walking around a bit, we settled at a pizzeria right by the train station and had some hot sandwiches with drink.

The train to Lucca was brand new, maybe six-month old! And it was also a double decker! We sat on the upper level, marveling at its newness. However, my affection toward Italians turned sour when we almost missed Lucca station. There was no station sign or announcement what the next station will be! Scott saw "Lucca" sign on the railway, which was not for passengers but for the conductor or any other railmen.

Oh well, we got off and started walking toward Sogni d'Oro, which was about 10minutes away with a normal pace. However, for Scott's injured foot, it was too much. So, he had to rest when we arrived at the hotel about 2:30pm. Jon and I got out and walked on the famous rampart-2.5 miles in the full circle-from Porta Elisa to Porta Elisa from 3:30pm to 4:19pm, while taking picture of beautifully impressive building and the wall of Lucca.

The main street Via Fillungo was very crowded with window shoppers. Yes, it is Sunday with the antique market, but the crowd was just too much. Side streets were okay, though.

Now, it's time to go back to the b&b and get Scott to dinner. I'll get back to the blog whenever I can. The internet access was hard to find...

Ciao, my imaginary readers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's 2:24pm. I am at StarAlliance Biz Lounge in LAX. Thanks to Jon, he and I were able to join Scott in the lounge. It's comfy with a lot of food! How one can fly coach class? Money talks! I must, must make money somehow for the future!

Anyhow, this morning was really frantic or frenetic as Americans like to put.
I woke up at 6am; I had gone to bed at 2am but couldn't sleep. My feet and nose were cold as usual and my mind was busy with things that I must do or not forget before the departure. I forced myself to sleep... Scott didn't want to pack or was rather too exhausted to do so. So, I had sent him to bed around 11pm and promised to wake him up as I would.

Scott finally woke up around 7:30am, grunting; he is not a morning person at all and neither am I. I was up only because I was all excited^^

I made coffee, finished my packing, and kept checking my final to-do list before the departure. Initially I had planned to go hiking this morning, but just didn't have enough time. Instead I had to help Scott packing. He had a 2-page packing list; he looked for things on the first page and I put together stuff on the second page so
that he could pack them all together... Lots of things missing: we couldn't find gators, polyprofelene tops, hiking socks, baby power, vaseline, etc. It was crazy!

In the meantime, Scott spray pesticide around the house to prevent bug invasion during our absence-bugs seem to know that's the best time to visit en masse-and later, set the timers for light and radio-yes, we do our best to stop potential burglars-while I pour bleach into our toilets!

Finally, we finished packing and Scott turned off water-not gas because the valve was stuck, but the house won't blow up, I believe^^-and I disposed the garbage one last time.

We met Narayan at 11am-10minutes later than the original schedule-in front of his house. We put our gear into his Saturn and he drove us to the Flyaway Bus Terminal at 11:07am. We had a nice conversation-with a startling piece of information about him by the way, which I can't divulge here because of a certain privacy issue-and he got us to the terminal by 11:26am so that we were able to make 11:30am bus!

No traffic, breeze down on ever-crowded 405 to LAX took only 35 minutes. At 12:07pm, Scott and I were walking inside the Tom Bradley Terminal toward the Lufthansa check-in counter. Scott checked in right away and I waited for Jon another 10 minutes and then, we checked in together. We didn't get exit row seats as we had hoped, but 45H and 45K in a Airbus400 shouldn't be too bad. We'll see...

TSA process was not bad. 'Took off my shoes and showed my quart size bag full of liquid in all less-than-3oz. plastic bottles separated from my backpacks. No trouble.

We got to the StarAlliance Lounge on the 5th floor finally. At first, I thought we wouldn't get in because a receptionist made a fuss over Jon's new temporary memebership status of Red Carpet Club of UA. I was about to blow up when they suddenly and somehow allowed us to go in! I couldn't understand all that charade!
I have a long, long way to go in my English department.

Finally, all three of us are reunited here in the lounge, enjoying all kinds of delicacy, sort of. There are Korean instant ramyon noodle soup, Japanese style rice porridge, minestrone soup, pan-fried gyoza dumpling, little sushi collection, quiche, sandwiches(turkey is good), pastries, cookies, cheese, olives, all kinds of coffee, tea, water, soft drink, and serious roster of booze! Oh, well, once again my conclusion is that everybody should be rich! If anyone has ideas about how to get rich-no scam please-contact me. Let's all become rich together.

I have about an hour and 10 minutes to enjoy this ravish lounge, sort of. Then, I'll fly LH453 scheduled to depart at 4:30pm.

Tomorrow, I'll let you know about my flight; how many crying babies were there, how Jon and I suffered leg cramps, how unfriendly flight attendants were, etc. I am thrilled to find out about German hospitality! Actually, the ticket counter lady at Lufthansa wasn't bad at all. She was all smile and cheery, but she didn't get us the exit row seat, saying that there were only 4 exit row seats in Airbus 400 and that they had been all taken. I am still undecided about German hospitality so far...

Ciao!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Today is November 12th. It is the night before my 3 weeks trip to Italy, Austria and southern Germany with my man.
This time I will post my daily activities in this blog so anybody interested can follow my journey.
I still have to finish my packing, but it's getting very, very exciting^^

Will be leaving the house at 10:30am and trying to arrive at LAX by 12:30pm via Flyaway Bus from Van Nuys.
Narayan will give us a ride to the bus terminal; we are very thankful.

As Scott says, once we go through all the TSA hassle at LAX and the plane takes off, then we can truly relax trying to enjoy German hospitality (now, there's an oxymoron!) of Lufthansa. At least, Scott will be alright since he's going to fly in business class thanks to his mileage with UA. Jon-our friend who will accompany us for about half of the itinerary-and I will toil in the coach class, but I am shorter than Scott... Jon's taller than Scott, oh, man!

I should go back to packing!
'Will be back soon!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's 12:28am Thursday, March 1st, 2007, the year of pig, which is supposedly bad for me, because I am a snake; a pig will eat a snake according to a conventional wisdom. Hence, my year started badly; my chronic depression took me over since the second half of 2006 and I dealt with it by binging and ballooning up, thus further depressing myself.

But, but, I am back. I have started my new diet/exercise regimen as of Monday, three days ago. There's nothing drastic about my diet. I am not doing any fad diet because it's not gonna work in the long term. I limit my calorie intake and exercise everyday. Stopped eating carbohydrate excessively and drink a lot more water. I feel a little hungry, but not too bad. It's either I stuff myself until I feel like throwing up or feel much better about myself and look forward the future.

I'll record my progress with ups and downs from now on. You can call me vain, but hey admit the reality. Everybody loves and envies thin people. Being fat or overweight is no fun. I have struggle with the weight issue since I was a little girl. I was never obese, but always plump since about 10 years old. Some nasty boys at my grade school gave me a nickname of "gorilla," which is still scarring. Nobody will call me that, ever, period.

Sugar and carb in general are not worth my life.

I'll get a good night sleep now, so that I will have energy to continue my journey.
Whomever's on a simliar track with mine, I commend you for doing so, and let's support one another.

Love to all of you who never give up.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

It's Feb. 3rd early Saturday morning. I am supposed to get up in less than 6 hours to go hiking in Trabuco Canyon off of Ortega Hwy near Lake Elsinore, which is almost 2 hour driving from where I live if there is no traffic! I hope my husband can go too since he's been very, very short of sleep and now is having a headache. Oh, I'll sign off now so that he can get some sleep...
I was going to talk about my eating disorder as usual, but some other time...
Good night, my phantom readers!