grand canyon- a name well earned

Two things that are true about my mom are: she gets her way, and she knows best.

After I did some actual research about driving from LA to the Grand Canyon, I realized it was a good 8 hour drive. I originally just thought it would be like 4 hours from LA. Nope, a good 8 hour drive (485 miles). I tried to persuade my mom that maybe the best use of our time would be to go somewhere closer to LA. We were only in LA for a week. However, she then started to Korean mom guilt trip me. “But, I’ve never been the Grand Canyon. I may never ever have a chance to go back again since I’m getting older,” she lamented.

First of all, she’s not that old. And second, since my brother and wife moved out to L.A., I had a feeling it wouldn’t be the last time on the west coast. Well, like the obedient daughter I am, I agreed to her long time wish of seeing these grand canyons and booked hotels a week before the trip.

So 8+ hours later, in our trusty Hyundai Sonata rental car, listening to hours of Descendants of the Sun soundtrack (thanks to Spotify), driving in the hot Arizona skies, we made it to the promise land. Our entire 3 day roadtrip trip looked like this: LA-Vegas (1 night)-Hoover Dam- Grand Canyon Sky Walk- Grand Canyon National Park(1 night)- Antelope Canyon-Horseshoe bend-Utah-LA.

It was utterly amazing. I’ve never seen anything in my life like this before. It definitely lived up to it’s name. You can’t help but feel in continual awe as you go from one view place to another. From people hiking in the trails, to wildlife along the trails, and just stopping to take incredible photos from all angles. We only had 2 days there, but I can’t wait to go back. I would love to hike some of the trails in the canyons and camp overnight the next time I come back.

DSC_0801DSC_0866DSC_0878DSC_0926DSC_0951DSC_0956DSC_0958DSC_0968DSC_0972DSC_0974DSC_0977DSC_0978DSC_0986DSC_0988DSC_0997DSC_1008

exploring singapore’s coney island

One of the things on my to do list for my vacation was to visit the newly opened Coney Island Park here in Singapore.  Unsurprisingly, this Coney Island bears very little resemblance to the famous Coney Island amusement park and beach in Brooklyn, New York. It was actually the original intent of this island when bought by an Indian businessman in the 1950s to be an amusement park like the one in NY(according to this blog post).

I quickly found out that Coney Island park is an oasis located in the far north eastern part of Singapore, where most don’t travel to unless they live there.  I admit it was my first time in punggol! Getting there wasn’t too difficult, as we took the purple line to punggol and then bus 84 to Punggol point/Punggol settlement. It was much closer than I imagined. The island has a few paths, but the whole length of the main walk of Coney Island is about 2.4km from one end to the other. Luckily we went during a weekday morning, so it was quiet, peaceful, and serene, which was much needed.  Despite not finding the cow (there’s one cow that lives on Coney Island, which you shouldn’t disturb if you encounter), we enjoyed the peaceful nature walk and took a lot of photos along the way. There are bikes available to rent in Punggol if you prefer to explore the island that way.

Coney Island park is definitely worth visiting at least once, and it can only take up a few hours to explore most of the island.  Make sure to catch the Punggol waterways at the end of the trip, which connects easily to Coney Island. Here are some of the photos from our explorations. I like the  few shots of me taking photos and what I was taking a photo of! Thanks to James for those unexpected candid photos! coneyisland-0907coneyisland-091012378104_10153743148403895_830121547605935895_o10259174_10153743146573895_5572487902331253054_oconeyisland-09211933356_10153743147663895_758122576763176798_oconeyisland-0933coneyisland-0923coneyisland-0926coneyisland-0925 coneyisland-0942coneyisland-0938coneyisland-0936

Running Through MacRitchie Reservoir

Another thing on my to do list in Singapore was to go on the tree top walk at MacRitchie Reservoir Park. This past Sunday, I finally made the trip, which I realized was not too far from my apartment. I was reminded that I live in one of the most amazing places in the world. The fact that I have access to amazing nature reserves less than 30 minutes from my apartment is pretty unbelievable. On the trail I did see some monkeys and luckily no snakes. I was really blown away by the beauty and peace here. I felt like I stepped into the jungle and most of the time on the trails I was the only person.

It was my first time there and I knew there was a 10km loop that I could make around the whole reservoir. After about 6 km, I finally reached the tree top walk! However, getting back to the starting point was not an easy task. I couldn’t really leave the trail anywhere on the path. I had to walk to certain exit points. I didn’t want to risk going on a trail that led me somewhere else from the starting point. I didn’t know if there would be a bus or taxis that would be easily accessible, so I decided to go all the way back to my starting point and complete the loop. However, I got a bit lost on my way.  A few hours later I made it back and according to my nike run app, I ran and walked a total of 15.5 km!! Next time, I’m going to figure out how to get on the right trail…

Of course I took some pictures on my iphone while I was running.photo (83)photo (89) photo (88) photo (87) photo (86) photo (85) photo (84) photo (90)photo (91)

I’m also participating in a race tomorrow, which will cross off #6 on my list. Being the goal-centered person that I am,  I’m currently working on coming up with a list of cafes/dessert places to check out in Singapore. Let me know if you have any good suggestions or just want to join me for good desserts. 🙂

SOLC#28:A Magical Place

In the middle of our work time in writing workshop today, I walked over to the rug area, where two of my students were sitting by the window. We have windows that go almost to the floor on our walls. They were the two lucky students who were allowed to sit next to the window and make observations through the window.

During the mini-lesson, I was discussing with them where we could find ideas for poetry topics. One of the suggestions a student had was to look at nature and the world around us. So I had two students sitting by the window recording observations and collecting ideas for possible poems.

“How’s it going? Did you collect a lot of ideas?” I asked.

“This is a magical place. ” She replied.

“What did you say?” I thought I had misheard her.

“It’s a magical place. I’ve collected so many ideas. I saw cars, trees, the playground.  I think I might write a poem about global warming.” She confidently told me.