Old San Juan Puerto Rico aka “Cat City”

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This cat was unwilling to cooperate for my picture

You’re probably wondering why I am calling San Juan “Cat City”, if you have ever been to El Morro in Old San Juan you would know exactly what I mean! There is a really nice path to walk by the main fortress wall of the Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Before you get to the wall there is el Paseo de la Princesa which is European-style “Raíces” fountain and walkway through shady trees after passing through that part you make it around to el paseo del morro (path or walkway by the wall).

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Before we made it to the Raíces fountain we saw nearly 20 cats. We own 2 cats so I approached some of them and tried to give them food but they were all very skittish.

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As we walked along both paseos we were surrounded by cats, I had never seen anything like it! I wish we had taken more pictures but there were probably hundreds of cats on both sides of the walkway hidden in nooks and below whatever they could find. The nice thing is that someone brings big bins of food and water for all the cats there.

We sat at one of the benches and played with some of the cats for a little bit. After they saw that we were nice, more and more cats wanted attention.

We enjoyed walking around Old San Juan and the random surprises that we found.

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Peru! Lima, Not A Place For the Faint of Heart

 

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El Gringo In Machupicchu November 2015

 

Where do I start? Peru has it’s pretty parts as well as it’s not so pretty parts. Most people are familiar with Machupicchu and recognize it as one of the 7 Wonders of the World. 2 Novembers ago I went to Uruguay, Peru and Chile and was able to go to Machupicchu and see other pretty things in South America but recently my wife and I spent 3 nights in Lima and it was completely different.

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Torres Family, who let us stay with them at their house

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the interior (not city part of Peru) but Lima was mind blowing for me! I lived in Montevideo Uruguay and Vancouver Canada for almost a year and neither are similar to how crazy Lima is.

 

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Mika with our tiny Kia Picanto

 

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First of all NEVER I MEAN NEVER rent a car in Lima! It was insane driving there in Lima. We almost were ran into more than 50 times in less than 2 days. Everyone there is extremely aggressive when driving and never follow any of the so called “rules”. The police hardly do anything to help. Public transit drivers are the craziest, bus and taxi drivers will do anything to steal your lane. My wife was freaking out most of the time becasue she was scared we were going to get hit. I was trying to stay calm and not show that I was nervous as well. I used the car horn like I was going to be in an accident pretty much the whole time I was there and it felt like it could happen at any moment.

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We rented a car the second day were there and met up with some friends of Mikaelas brother and then we went to the city center (Centro), and parked in a playa (which are parking places around Lima). We walked all over the city center and saw many cool buildings and old architecture. After being in Centro for a while we were hungry and went back to Callao where we were staying with some friends. Mika and I got my favorite dish Lomo Saltado and we decided to pay for their lunch as well and in total it ended up only being $17 which I found ridiculously cheap for 4 people to eat.

Later on, we drove to El Barranco (the cliff) and walked around that neighborhood which is more lively at night. It was fun seeing all the interesting people walking around and some crazies dancing humorously.

The second day we wanted to take it easier and wanted to go surfing at the beach Miraflores. The drive from Callao to Miraflores is different because it is right on the coast and has a lot of trash and rubble everywhere. Even though they are close to a pretty coastline it isn’t very well kept. The highway down to Miraflores is nice and they don’t drive as crazily over there. As we were driving from Callao to Miraflores the scenery gets progressively nicer, they are working on cleaning up the coastline and making it look more touristy I think. The surf there was pretty decent on the day we went and we decided to rent boards. We walked to many vendors and we asked them prices for a board for the day. Most of them are 20 Soles which is about 6 dollars but their selections are pretty limited and not very nice. We finally got one to lend us 2 boards for 30 Soles. We surfed for 2 or 3 hours and had a great time in the water.

 

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La Chilena enjoying the beach at Miraflores

 

On the way back to the airport before we returned the car there were 4 legal lanes of traffic which was then funneled into 5 by local traffic. We were bumper to bumper for about 15 minutes and I was very liberal with the horn when taxis or buses tried to steal my spot.

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Post Graduation, What Do I Do NOW?

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Finally Graduated from BYU-Hawaii

As I am sitting here contemplating the last week or so time has gone by too quickly! I know I have been terrible about being consistent in my posts, but in my defense we are in between moving and I just graduated from 4 years of school at a University! Let me have a little break!

 

These last 2 weeks have been great, my parents came out to Hawaii for my graduation and we were able to stay in Honolulu for a week near the Honolulu Zoo. My wife and I feel that we have gained about 10 lbs from the excessive food consumption my parents were forcing us to eat.

Mika likes to call my mom superwoman because whenever she travels she goes HARD! She doesn’t sleep until she has seen everything possible in one day. My dad on the other hand likes to be more relax on vacations while my mom forces him to go out and adventure.

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Sunset Pillbox Hike with my parents on the North Shore of Oahu

My parents flew in earlier than expected (flying standby) because it was easier for them to get to Hawaii on those dates. We picked them up from the airport on a Wednesday night and showed them around Laie. Then on Thursday morning I took my last final and we went up to the North Shore to show them some of our favorite places there. We drove up to Ehukai Beach Park (most people know it as Banzaii Pipeline) and my friend and I went surfing at the Ehukai Sandbar. After surfing we  got food and pies from Ted’s Bakery. Then we went on our first hike all together. The Sunset Pillbox Hike is a short 30-45 minute hike (depending on pace) that I have done several times and enjoy the views of the seven mile miracle and many famous surf breaks from up above.

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La Chilena enjoying the rain in Honolulu

 

Valentines Day, The Day After

My wife and I had a pretty laid back Valentines Day this year. I personally believe that it is a huge sales/marketing ploy but that is beside the point. We spent time together and I organized/cleaned the house and washed the laundry when my wife was at the gym. I also surprised her with some Plumeria flowers that I climbed in some trees to get (yes there are flowers in trees). It wasn’t the biggest deal but it’s the thought and the gesture that she likes. Funny thing was that neighbors saw me climbing in the trees and were wondering what I was up to. I even had a broom and was trying to hit them out of the tree which made me look like a complete idiot but I was motivated.

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This was on the way down, as you can see its a bit of a drop! 

I digress from the real story, today I had the day off from school so we decided to go on some adventures. We went to the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout and met up with some people that we had recently met that are visiting from Spain and wanted to go on some hikes. We climbed up to the Pali Puka (Puka means hole in Hawaiian) even though it was kind of dangerous because it was raining and there are parts with cliffs on one side. I personally don’t like heights (except for when I am jumping into water) so I was hugging the side of the trail and going slowly. At some parts on the hike it is about a foot or two wide and is very nerve racking. We finally made it to the Puka and then we went down slowly.

 

After the Pali Lookout and the Pali Puka we went on a waterfall hike nearby. It was a short hike that takes you trough some pretty scenery and arrive at a really nice waterfall. We took plenty of photos and played in the falls while it was raining most of the time. By this time every article of clothing was drenched and were starting to get cold. We hiked back down and decided to go get some plate lunches from a good local restaurant in Waimanalo.

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We then drove and stopped at some scenic points on our way to one of my favorite places Spitting Caves. Took more photos as per usual and then went to China Walls which is really close to Spitting Caves.

China Walls is a popular local hangout spot for Hawaii Kai residents. Explaining it with words doesn’t do it much justice but we jumped into the ocean from a small 10 foot cliff and were able to watch a beautiful sunset with our new friends from Spain. Overall it was a great day!