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Deborah didn’t live in my dorm my freshman year, but that didn’t stop us from becoming the most dynamic Asian and Mexican duo ever. After our first hilarious meeting (which involved her pretending to be pregnant and me thinking she was on heroin) she never thought I would actually call her for lunch. Well I did, and three bajillion bubble teas later, we are still closer than ever.

So when she asked me if I could take her engagement pictures with Justin (who falls into my super nice and funny category) I agreed in an instant. I COULD write about how they both met and fell in love and blah blah blah, but who wants to read that? Well, I am sure a lot of you do, but I am still not going to write it. These two just click; not only are they perhaps the most animated couple I know, but they make each other laugh a lot and are just a blast to hang around with. One of my funnest nights in my life was a night with these two in Hong Kong (from what I remember anyway).

Again, as with most of my closest friends, I have had the amazing opportunity to travel with them, share stories with them and see their relationship blossom into something special (even if it takes a little kung-fu).

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for these two (a rarity in gloomy Seattle).

I can’t wait for their wedding and the cute little half asian babies they will have in the future.

Congrats Deborah and Justin!!!!!

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  • When we are in a cab and they hear us speak English, they automatically think they can screw us. I can’t tell you how many times we have gone to one place only to find out that when we come back its 10 pesos cheaper. This lets us know that the cab driver who drove us there earlier took the nice LONG way there. Wretched.
  • Although I love it when I catch them. They start to go one way and I ask “Where are you going? Shouldn’t you just take Avenida De Mayo?” Then the cab driver finds out we fully understand Spanish and now he knows that I know he was trying to screw us. Its extremely uncomfortable for him and its a moment I treasure. (This never happened in a cab in Peru since I would just close my eyes and hope that I would survive).
  • Music in cabs is always an adventure. When I am in a new city or town, and riding in a cab, they usually have some local music on. It’s awesome driving around in a new country listening to something that the locals themselves enjoy. What’s not awesome is when they find out you are a foreigner and completely change the music thinking you want to hear it. We spent an good two hours one day in Peru listening to Bob Marley. I never want to hear No Woman No Cry ever again.
  • We rode in a hired cab one day. The car was full and after about three hours we found out there was a teenage girl in the back of the car sitting in a tiny corner next to the luggage. We found out she was the cab drivers daughter and she was forced to sit back there for that long since he wanted his “shuttle” to get full with as many fares as he could get.
  • I think ever cab driver in South America has tried to kill us (or scare us to death) for funsies.
  • In a shuttle to Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica, our new friend Beth (a future medical student at Columbia) was so hungover and car sick from the death defying hairpin cliff turns in Costa Rica that she began to vomit in the shuttle into a trash can. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I hear and see someone vomiting, that also elicits a bad response from me. I was not the only one. When we pulled over almost everyone in the shuttle said that they couldn’t see her vomit or they themselves would vomit. She was forced to sit up front after that. Bad times.
  • Getting in a cab in Lima, Peru is SERIOUSLY a bad decision on your personal safety. I can’t stress this enough. I would gladly go into a Tuk Tuk with a drunk driver in Bangkok then ever take a cab in Lima again.
  • I love that Argentina has metered taxis, which doesn’t require 3 hours of me trying to haggle a fair price to go anywhere.

Anywho, I know this is random post, but It is our last day in Argentina and it is raining and freezing outside so I am bored to death. Cynthia is underneath the blankets in our room refusing to move.

Even if it does rain, I hope Rio is warmer.

On our way back from Aguascalientes on the train, our boxcar had a wiring problem so our lights went out. Some people found it annoying since they couldn’t read or see anything, but I did not mind. The other cars illuminated the river next to us with just enough light that it looked amazing.

While listening to The Killers on my iPod, I looked up through the windows and could not believe just how bright the stars were. The only other time I had seen the stars so bright was when I went camping with the Faith family in South Africa.

And with uncanny timing, Brandon Flowers whispered into my earphones;

“The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds, cut out from the sun…”

So many people dream their whole lives of being able to take that train ride back from Machu Picchu; and, I was able to do it with every star in the sky shining bright for me.

Humbled and Grateful.

Lima, Peru. What can I say about this city? Well, first of all, spend as little time here as you possibly can. After our long flight from Costa Rica, we landed in Lima and had our personal driver hold a sign with our names on them to take us to our hostel. We felt like celebrities, even though countless of other people had similar signs. Its the small things.

Our celebrity like status shortly disappeared though as soon as we arrived at our Hostel. It seemed OK at first, but we were Oh So Wrong.

After checking in, Cynthia and I decided to get some of our food on. Now, the city of Lima is like a punch to the face. It is loud, dirty and has the most horrible rush hour traffic I have seen outside of LA. Actually I would rather be stuck in LA rush hour 100 fold than ever be driving in Lima. Even crossing the streets here instilled fear a fear in me that I hadn’t felt since dangerous intersections in China or attempting to cross the streets in Phnom Penh or Ho Chi Minh City in Southeast Asia.

Cynthia refused to speak English, thinking that we would stand out too much and someone would kidnap her. They weren’t really staring at her though, they were staring at me, since I was the one that stood out. It could be the five o-clock shadow and lighter skin, or the fact that I am one foot taller than most males here.

We found a mall a couple of blocks down that was really nice actually. Cynthia insisted we stay there since it was where she felt the “safest”. I agreed to stay only because she is a 17 year old poor traveling newbie. We had a wonderful meal there though. Chicken and fries, which I feel will be a staple food here in Peru.

Now, the hostel. When we got back we realized that the beds were harder than rocks. Seriously, I think we could have slept on the floor and been more comfortable. The only reason we didn’t is because the pillows they gave us could be used as weapons during war. Cynthia and I also took the coldest showers in our life. I have heard that cold showers in Peru is very normal, but it seems like the hostal owners put an extra set of ice in the water before we showered.

Cynthia and I stayed up watching Cold Case and The Mentalist (which she now considers the greatest show ever) to soothe our pain. Also, the hostel was loud, in an unsafe part of town, and we also had to wake up at 3 in the morning to catch or flight to Cusco.

Needless to say, when we arrived to the gateway of the Sacred Valley, we collapsed almost the whole day.

Next up, our two day trek to Macchu Picchu.

Oh god, so excited.

First Pisco Sour (well, in Peru). Its like a more refreshing Margarita. Like times 100.

Getting my buzz on.

Before I start, some great zingers from Cynthia.

Cynthia: I got excited because I thought all these things had my initials C.R. on them, but then I realized it means Costa Rica.
Me: (smacks head)

(on four hour shuttle to Manuel Antonio)
Jake: Look at those insane clouds. Must be crazy rain.
Cynthia: Oh, I thought it was snowing.
(whole shuttle turns to face Cynthia)
Byron: You thought it was snowing? in Costa Rica?!
Krissie: Oh don’t mind Cynthia, she is one of those that talks before she thinks, but we still love her!

La Fortuna was definitely a place that surprised us, but I quickly realized that we couldn’t come to Costa Rica without visiting at least ONE beach town. I considered a lot of the popular choices, such as Jaco or Playa Hermosa, but the Hostel manager recommended I check out Manuel Antonio and I am definitely glad I took his advice.

Turns out the people we hung out with the most in La Fortuna had also decided to join us on our trip to the National Park and beach. Kristina, Jake, Jeff, Byron and second Jeff. We also ran into Elena and Nate, another two that had left La Fortuna a couple days earlier. One thing about backpacking is that you meet people that you would never have the opportunity to meet in other circumstances. So you create a bond with these people that is hard to explain. Each and every person had a story, an open heart & adventurous soul that fostered and make the experience so much more fulfilling.


Our hostel, Vista Serena, had one of the most amazing views of the beach and jungle.

Yes the pictures above me show me being a badass on a hammock trying to make you jealous of my life. And the second pictures shows me falling out of said hammock.

The first night in Manuel Antonio we quickly were reminded of the fact that we were in a rainforest. It rained; A lot. All night and early on the next morning. Luckily we were too lazy to wake up and go to the park that early so it worked in our favor.

We quickly made new friends.

No wonder movies are filmed here.

Im sure you people that have been to Costa Rica know that it is hucking fot and humid.

In case you get lost in the Jungle. Im sure Indiana Jones used these all the time….

Kick ass picture my sister snapped of me.

Duh…because I have to now.

Cynthia: It’s crazy to me that I am standing in front of a volcano that is erupting…..

I know Costa Rica has most people coming to enjoy the beautiful beaches, and they are really really beautiful. But, almost every backpacker I talked to has told me that La Fortuna and the surrounding area has been their favorite or at least the funnest spot.

I completely agree.

Hikes, Jungle Tours, Canopy tours, Hot Springs, White-Water Rafting and so many more activities that you can do in that town. I loved it.

Speaking of walking the Jungle, yesterday I was walking in a national park with my sister and this weird branch rubbed up against me. Well, it seems like this branch BURNED my skin. It kinda looked like I was handling something too hot and it fell on my arm. When I went into the ocean, it stung like 10 bees were fighting over one little area on my skin. Lots of cussing occurred.

Jungles are funny…..and scary.


Our view from the hostel.

Getting to Costa Rica was definitely a bitch and a half. Here is how it went. We drove three hours to Phoenix and got there early, so we had to wait two hours at the airport before we left to Los Angeles. Once we got to Los Angeles we had to go through the hell and lines that is LAX to get to the international terminal. The layover wait there was about three hours. Our flight finally left to Costa Rica at 1:30 in the morning, but not before stopping in Guatemala first.

When we finally got to San Jose, we learned that our shuttle driver was in a car accident, so his friend and fellow shuttle driver was awesome enough to offer to take us to La Fortuna. Which was three hours away, but this guy got there in two.

If you have ever been on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, that is EXACTLY how this car ride felt.

Even though we were exhausted and near collapse, we signed up for a Jungle hike, Volcano tour and hot spring visit.

It was incredible. You can actually see lava come down.

Also, our hostel is incredibly nice except for the fact that I am sharing an 8-bedroom dorm with 7 girls.

Girls are dirty.

Ew.