The Best of U.S.

I may be having the worst jet lag ever but I keep telling myself the sleeplessness is worth it because I've experienced the best of US during my 10-day visit. I have been waking up at 2am since Wednesday, still relishing those many beautiful moments I spent with my aunt in LA, and my two good friends in SanFo. Before I forget what I did, ate and saw, I busied myself with jotting down notes and VSCO-editing some photos to keep myself awake and combat jet lag.

Manila-Los Angeles
My flight was supposed to be Taipei-Manila-Los Angeles on February 4, but PAL cancelled the Manila-Los Angeles leg and re-scheduled it the next day. I had to stay overnight in Manila (I should be compensated for this, right?), but for convenience's sake I opted to check-in at the nearby Remington Hotel with my brother to get ready for the early morning flight the next day.

The flight to LA left on time but five hours into the flight the FAs announced that we're having a medical emergency and asked if there were any medical practitioners on board to help a passenger. After a few hours, we were told that we are landing in Honolulu to bring the passenger to a hospital. The passenger's condition must be really critical because I saw an IV drip hanging from the cabin and a small oxygen tank.

During the whole commotion, my 17-year old seatmate started chatting with me after I helped her fill out her customs form. She said it was her first time to travel alone, and is meeting her mom for the first time in 12 years. Her mom left when she was 5. I felt sorry but I told her she is so brave to fly alone and to put her studies on hold to meet her mom. She then asked some questions and our conversation went like this:

Girl: Ate, ilang taon na po kayo?
Me: 27 na ako, ikaw?
Girl: 17 po. May family na po kayo?
Me: Family? As in asawa, anak? (girl nods) Wala pa eh.
Girl: Eh may boyfriend ka ate? (I smiled) 
Girl: Ay NBSB? Ok lang po yan ate, ibibigay din ni God yan.
Ay wow. Ang harsh, NBSB talaga eh noh. 

I wanted to laugh so hard but I controlled myself. I felt like I was taking care of a younger sibling because she was throwing up almost the entire flight. Sige, sabihan mo pa akong NBSB hahaha. I barely slept and almost finished Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (funny read, by the way). So we stayed for around 2 hours in Honolulu then finally reached LA at 11:00 am on February 5. My aunt did not receive my text about the flight's late arrival so my cousin and her had to wait at the airport for 3 hours. Oh PAL.

After kissing and hugging my family members tight, we headed straight for lunch and went home to unpack and take a nap. My aunt had a little surprise for me- I was told we are driving to Vegas the following day to watch Mariah Carey's concert at Caesar's Palace. My aunt is the sweetest!!! It was my second time to visit her in the US but it will only be my first time to see Las Vegas (and San Francisco!)

Las Vegas
It was a 4-hour drive from LA to Vegas, mostly spent catching up with them cousins and taking some naps in between. We stopped by an In N Out to have my fill of their burger and fries. We reached Vegas about 5pm, checked-in at Excalibur Hotel then left for Caesar's Palace to watch Mariah at 8pm.  (Photo below is the view from our hotel room.)

My aunt woke up early to try her luck at the casino, while my cousins and I slept in. We then had a city tour and went to Bellagio to watch the water show. Lunch was at a Thai restaurant called Archi's which served really good food. They showed me Venetian Hotel (its size is 5x that of Macau's Venetian!) and did some shopping. We left Vegas early Monday morning and stopped over at the Original Pancake House for breakfast. We rested the whole afternoon when we got back to LA, then I unpacked and left for San Francisco early the next day. 

San Francisco
The San Francisco leg of my trip was mainly to visit my grade school classmate Apple and my college friend Ate Abi (and of course to see the Golden Gate up close, in person!). Apple picked me up from the airport and I stayed with her on my first night. then with Ate Abi the second night. It's nice to see how different their lives are abroad as compared back home. We shared the same experiences in moving and transitioning from home to a place completely unfamiliar, and later making that place our second home. We talked about the hardships, the many lessons, on how all these made us brave and independent.

I'm so happy to see Apple and Ate Abi even for just a short while. I would have wanted to stay longer in SF but when I told my aunt about my schedule, she said my stay with her is too short. Because my top priority was to really spend time with my dearest aunt, I changed my flight booking and decided to stay longer in LA before flying back to Taipei. No regrets because I love her so much. We talked about so many things (yes even some things I don't dare tell my mom) and it really goes to show how wisdom comes with age (look at her ready to attack my favorite cake!). Till my next blog post about this trip! :)