Monday, July 25, 2016

first trip of the summer

You may remember that my aunt Jill brought two of her students over from China about two and a half years ago. This summer, another four of her students came to visit from overseas, namely Mark, Danny and twins John and Wen.

To let them see what the U.S. was like, my family took the boys to Reno and Tahoe over the weekend. Jill herself unfortunately couldn't come as she recently suffered a stroke and was told by her doctor to avoid going far places. The other issue is that the weather was extremely hot as it's the middle of the summer right now. However, neither of those things made the trip any less fun. Traveling with other people is always exciting - even though kids can be hard to deal with at times. :-)

Day 1: starting out late

As we would be taking four other people along, there was lots of stuff that needed to be done. I took the opportunity to give the boys a tour of my old high school while my parents packed up. Mom also took the boys to buy some ice cream and other snacks. It was almost 1 p.m. when we left our house!

Seeing that it was well past noon, the first stop was a dumpling place in Milpitas for lunch. The food was pretty greasy but wasn't too bad otherwise. The rest of the drive wasn't too eventful, although we got to Reno pretty late due to the amount of traffic along the way. All of us then had dinner at P. F. Chang's China Bistro. While the service was great, the food kind of sucked. Blah.

There was also a little mishap: I noticed I had brought the wrong adapter for my laptop after we checked into the hotel. This wasn't a huge issue, but it did mean missing out on lots of RuneScape XP. Good god, I'm such an idiot.

Day 2: a step back in time

The day began with a visit to Virginia City in the morning. The nice thing is that the weather was cooler than expected, not to mention that most of the shops were open this time. Mom even bought us some ice cream at one of them. The atmosphere was simply wonderful.

We then decided to check out Carson City as well. One memorable sight was a group of people who were protesting against Hillary Clinton. Politics aside, this was our first time seeing a protest up close and so was a neat experience. Our group then stopped at Firehouse Subs for lunch. I suggested eating here because their subs looked really good and that they put in a great deal of effort in supporting firefighters. This wasn't a bad choice because the sandwiches were absolutely delicious.

Lake Tahoe awaited us in the afternoon. The temperatures were much higher here, but there was luckily lots of shade at one of the beaches. The plan was to go on a sightseeing cruise so the boys could get a better view of the lake, but the tickets were all sold out. Though there was another cruise available, the boat was having technical problems. In the end, we just relaxed in the shade for a while.

Up next was a vista point overlooking Emerald Bay. The views were amazing, and even the weather was pretty cool here. It made for a wonderful experience.

The final stop of the day was Circus Circus. All of us were pretty hungry when we arrived and so had dinner at a pho restaurant first. The reason for coming to Circus Circus is that we figured the kids might want to try the carnival games. It turned out none of them were really interested, so we headed back to our hotel.

Day 3: the heart of the Golden State

The highlight of the day was Sacramento. As the field trip there last summer was lots of fun, Mom thought this would be a great place to take the boys. Our party had a nice seafood lunch before visiting some of the nearby shops. The weather was really hot, but there was fortunately some cheap ice cream available. :-)

The penultimate stop was the California State Capitol. This was pretty relaxing as the building had some nice air conditioning. The place was so nice that we didn't leave until late in the afternoon. The trip ended with a quick dinner at In-N-Out Burger. I had no idea the Double-Double and animal-style fries could be so delicious!

Conclusions

As mentioned earlier, the main purpose of the trip was to let my aunt's students get a glimpse of Western culture. Even though we didn't really visit any new places, traveling with other people always makes vacations exciting. It's hard to say which was the best part of the trip, although I'd probably pick Virginia City if I had to choose.

The nice thing is that we'll be taking the boys on another trip to the Southwest U.S. later this summer. That will be our first time going to the Southwest in over four years. We're also taking them on a field trip with Henry's film club right after getting home. I'm super excited!

Last but not least, here's to hoping Jill will get well soon so we could go on more trips together!

In other news...

Happy second anniversary to my cousin Connie and Luc!

Currently listening to: "Team" by Lorde

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