Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hello 2015!

2015 is just around the corner. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done for 2014. For enduring all the hurdles of 2014 and for sharing happiness to other people.
This 2015 we are all another year wiser and it's time to let go of people who know nothing but give us stress and bad vibes. It's not worth keeping them around. It's time to stand up for yourself and say, enough is enough!

You deserve better friends. You deserve to be surrounded with better people. I know it's easier just to be nice and to try to get along with the sandpapers of your life but life is too short and precious to spend it around people who are pain in the butt. You deserve to be treated right, you deserve to be stress-free. LET THEM GO!

For those who had a bad 2014, it gets better, it really does. So throw away those negative thoughts and let's face the new year with optimism. After all, mind over matter is true. It's a matter of perspective. Only the happy people win so let's all strive to be one.

For those who had a very good 2014 there are more good things to come!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

quotable quotes from friends/loved ones

i want to remember these forever!

here are just some of the things that my friends told me that either entertained me to no end or have helped me in one way or the other....

in no chronological order & some may not be verbatim..

"rule 1 sa pag-aaral mag-drive. matuto kang magmura. maraming gago sa kalye magandang outlet yun para wag kang mabaliw"  - luther laya 1998 (notes: he said this while he was teaching me & 2 other friends how to drive)

"you won't know if you don't try" - chona kiguchi 1998 (notes: this was forever etched on my brain because i like what she said. side note: she told me this while walking towards Provident building during our COBOL scholarship training)

"ang sasakyan parang girlfriend yan, kelangan may funds ka rin. kaya ako may separate bank account na nilalagyan ko ng pera para pambayad sa maintenance" - carl vincent 2002 (notes: i do have a separate bank acct for my car. i put money there every payday & it really helped me a lot on unexpected car repairs)

"yung mga gumawa ng masama sa yo, hayaan mo na sila...isipin mo na lang ngayon masaya ka na" - kuya jerry agonoy 2011 (RIP) (notes: i try to remember this whenever i remember those people who had done me harm)

"people spend their money differently. so don't be surprised if they have money for expensive travels but not for a simple dinner" - hubs 2011 (notes: this gave me a different perspective on money & spending)

"i have spent money on travelling. in fact, i wish i have spent more" - bill n. (father-in-law)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

on runner's high

so why do i run?

the first time i attempted to run was when i started going to the gym (year 2003) but it wasnt a hard core not saying i'm a hard core runner now because im not, but let me finish..... i only run for about 2 (or 3 when im feeling inspired) times around a parking lot near the gym where i go to.... that's probably around .6 miles total.... yep, not even a mile...that's how pathetic i was.... the other running that i do is around the tennis court once or twice for warm-up before i play tennis.... and then i stopped running altogether.... its not that i hate it, it's just that i'm too lazy.... 

i have picked up running again when i moved here in the US in 2007..... it was my de-stresser when i was feeling depressed about my situation..... that was during the first 3 months of my arrival here in the US...... 

my nikeplus profile
been tracking my run thru nikeplus since 2011, so the numbers here a kinda pathetic, lol..
but hey, better than being a couch potato right?
it started when

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I wanna be a Swiss Miss... in Switzerland that is

note: all bold texts are clickable.

This is long over due and I finally got the inspiration to write about our Switzerland trip after rummaging through old digital photos.

Day 1.

Actually, we got there early evening but technically, it's still day 1.

I was in Switzerland with the hubby (then boyfriend) on December 2010. It is part of the itinerary of the group tour we booked from Cosmos. We were expecting Switzerland to be really cold (colder than the previous European countries we've visited that week) since it is December but we were surprised that it was actually a bit warmer which was really odd. The hubby was even making a joke about it that we were frozen cold in London but we thawed in Switzerland (it should be the other way around).

i'm in the land of toblerones!
can i take this home, please?!

We arrived in Lucerne around early evening and our first stop over was a store that sells Swiss watches and Swiss army knives. Ofcourse I have to get one, well ok, three, of those Swiss Army Knives, I'm a huge fan! I had one before,  that I bought during my first trip in the U.S. but I lost it. What better way to buy your Swiss knife than from the source! The hubby bought me a Swiss watch,  which I still wear til now on special occasions or if my wardrobe warrants that style of watch.

view from the restaurant

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Arizona and Utah Trip : Part 2

The other day I blogged about the first half of our Arizon/Utah trip, now, we continue.

White Pocket (9 hours hike).

Our plan was that if we didn't win the walk-in lottery permit for The Wave on the first try we are going to do our back-up tour which is White Pocket, but before we left for that tour we again went back to BLM to try our luck for the second time.

Again. we didn't win :(

The Wave walk-in permit lottery drawing, day 2...

After getting the 2nd bad news, we went back to our hotel to prepare our hiking gears (hiking sticks, some water, gatorade, power bars, & trail mix) and waited for Dreamland Safari Tours to pick us up. Our call time was 10 AM.

at white pocket.....
the one with a hat was our tour guide

According to Dreamland Safari's website, the White Pocket hike is 9 hours total and that it's a great alternative for The Wave and they weren't kidding. I saw some pictures online but I wasn't really prepared on how beautiful this place is until I saw it with my own eyes. Be aware though that there were rumors that they would start asking visitors to apply for permit to this place to soon like what they did with The Wave so if you get the chance, go and see White Pocket.

I'll just let the photos do the talking (but believe me, it's way way better if you're actually there.

i like that little puddle of water 

it almost looks like The Wave
..and yep! that's me

nope, i didn't tilt my  camera, the peak is really slanted...

It was relatively an easy hike. It was marked as 3 for hiking difficulty but we did scramble a little bit on some steep stones but it's still a very enjoyable hike with lots of laughters. We were joined by two other couple from Nevada. Below is a short video on one part of the White Pocket.

When we got back to our hotel after the hike, we just freshened up a little bit and off we went to have dinner and that's how we discovered Rocking V, our favorite restaurant in Kanab, Utah!  Unfortunately I lost my notes so I couldn't tell you what we ordered but I normally order chicken, so I might have ordered their Chicken and Mushroom Alfredo.

Grand Staircase Mini Dream tour (5 hours hike).

When we decided to take our chances into applying for the walk-in permit lottery for The Wave, we accounted for bad news, for two bad news, actually, which means we have two back-up hiking tours. The second hiking tour was the Grand Staircase Mini Dream tour.

But let's back track a little bit. The night before Day 4, we were discussing whether or not we should try applying for The Wave walk-in permit lottery for the third time. It's not part of our itinerary to stay at Kanab for Day 5 and we're supposed to leave on Day 5 so it's really no use applying again but we were feeling lucky so we decided we should try again on Day 4.  So come morning of Day 4, we went to BLM again but this time I stayed in the car.

one of these forms would be the lucky winner of The Wave Permit...
unfortunately, it wasn't us....

I can be very superstitious sometimes and I had a feeling that I'm the one jinxing our Wave permit but after an hour and a half they brought me the bad news that we didn't win, for the 3rd time. So that's 3 loses on online permit lottery and 3 loses on the walk-in permit lottery.


But we are not losing hope! We planned to apply for the online lottery for The Wave permit every month starting July and we won't stop until we win. There's something about losing 6 times that make all of us wanted to win that permit more than ever! LOL

Anyway, so back to the hotel we went to wait for our guide to pick us up for our last hiking tour - the Grand Staircase. We left at 10 AM.

The first hour of that tour wasn't as exciting for me, but we did see some Petroglyphs and Pictographs and we love how our tour guide took us up a steep mountain to have our lunch. Eating with nature, nothing can beat that!

this is why it's called the Grand  Staircase, because it does looks like a very huge staircase

partial view of the grand staircase escalante...
i'm sure this looks more incredible when on a helicopter, when you can
see the whole thing from above..

The last location we went to was for me the highlight of out Grand Staircase hiking tour and that's the hike to the Toadstools Hoodoos. It's a 1.5 miles hike roundtrip to get to the Toadstools Hoodoos but it's a fairly easy hike.

posing at the Toadstools Hoodoos

Here's a good guide to get to that place if you're not hiring a tour guide:

Below is a short video of the Toadstools Hoodoos

After that hike we had dinner and went to star gazing which we booked on a whim, but I wouldn't elaborate on this because it was very disappointing. I was expecting to see the milky way but all I saw were passing space shuttles and some star clusters that I really felt like they're just inventing.

More surprise eye candies.

It's bye-bye Kanab time but first we stopped by at Nedras too for lunch. That was yet another good find. They offer Mexican food and it's delicious! I read somewhere that you should try the white sauce and I believe I ordered Chicken Chimichanga with White Sauce. Yum.

After we had our lunch it was with a heavy heart that we bid goodbye to Kanab but we promised we shall return. Ka-career-in namin ang pag-apply ng Wave permit!!! LOL

On our way back we decided to see what the Coral Pink Sand Dunes is about. So we went there to take a peek. As soon as I got out on the sand my throat started constricting. It's probably because it was windy and I was starting to inhale some of the sand. I decided to just stay in the car while the hubby and two of my friends explored the area.
look how tiny those people are...
it's not yet pink when we got there...i'm guessing sunset would be
the best time to see this

After that one quickie stop, off we go. Now, it's really bye-bye Kanab.

Our guide told us to take Route 89A on our way back to Scottsdale for a scenic route and boy are we glad we listened to him! Below are some of the sceneries we saw.
the Navajo Bridge 

along Route 89A we passed by the Navajo Bridge and chanced upon another wonderful view!

From Kanab back to Scottsdale is 5 1/2 hours and I volunteered to drive for the first couple hours again, to which I regretted because there were so many amazing views and I was itching to get my camera out. 2 hours later I passed the steering wheel to the hubby to drive and the last couple of hours was done by RK.

hard to concentrate with that good view

just look at that!

Since it was April, it wasn't that hot and wasn't that cold either, it's just perfect and it was so much fun! We will most certainly come back with maybe some side trip to Wyoming!

In summary here are the places we went to:

Day 1:
1. Upper Antelope (my 1st time)
2. Lower Antelope (2nd time here).
3. Horseshoe Bend (first time)
4. Lake Powell Dam (2nd time here)

Day 2:
5. Bryce Canyon (first time)

Day 3:
6. White Pocket (because we didn't win the Wave permit lottery for day 3)

Day 4:
7. Grand Staircase (because we didn't win the Wave permit lottery for day 4)

Day 5:
Coral Pink Sand Dunes
Scenic Route 89A
Navajo Bridge

Again, if  you want to see our itinerary and logistics you can click me. Make sure to check all the tabs on the excel sheet.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Arizona and Utah Trip : Part 1

I've always wanted to go back to Lower Antelope because I fell in love with that place and I wanted to show that to the hubby and last April 2014, I got the chance to do just that.

The hubby and I met with our dear friends at Scottsdale, AZ on April 4, 2014. We had dinner and off we went to our hotel. We were so anxious to get some sleep because we had to leave at 5:00 am the next day for Page. Plus, of course it didn't help that our body clock is on EST, and as far as our body clock is concerned, it's way past our bed time.


Call time was 5:00 AM. First stop was Upper Antelope.

you need to book a tour for Upper Antelope because you need a 4 by 4 truck
to get there... this photo was taken near the entrance of the upper antelope canyon

We took turns driving and I volunteered to drive the first couple of hours. Scottsdale to Page is 4 hours and 38 minutes, plus bladder & gasoline breaks. While we drove, we made sure we don't miss our exit. There was a lanslide on Route 89 on February 2013 and they're still struggling to fix it and we were advised to take 89T and to pay attention to the road signs because if we miss it, we won't get it in time for our Upper Antelope Photography Tour reservation.

It was my first time to see the Upper Antelope. Above is a short video of our very bumpy ride.

Upper Antelope has it's own charm and  it's wider and easier to walk through but I still prefer the Lower Antelope better. It's prettier and more mysterious, in my opinion.

and that's me, all smiles 


one of the many stairs to enter lower antelope...
this used to be the exit part
Next stop was Lower Antelope. I was so very excited to show this off to my company. Like I mentioned earlier, this is my second time here and the first thing I noticed was that they changed the entrance to the Lower Antelope. Back in November of 2010, the entrance was the one closest to the parking lot. The exit part (which is now the entrance) involves climbing up some steep sets of stairs and when you're already very tired from all the walking, you wouldn't want to climb those steps. So them switching that to be the entrance instead of an exit is a brilliant idea because of the fact that climbing down the stairs is much easier than going up.

this used to be the entrance, now it's the exit

I didn't take photos (the hubby did), but I have my Lower Antelope photos from 2010 here.


I didn't know about Horseshoe Bend until I saw a photo from a friend of mine. The walk from the parking lot to the Horseshoe Bend rim is about 3/4 mile walk. Going to the rim is an easy walk because it's downhill. Walking back to the parking lot is another story but don't worry, you're huffing and puffing will be very well worth it once you see your Horseshoe Bend pictures.

isn't that just amazing!?


Next stop was Lake Powell. Nothing much to see there but we went there anyway to marvel at the huge dam. I've been here before (in 2010) but I wanted to show my travel companions this before we drive to Kanab, Utah.

lake powell dam


We had dinner first before we left Page and we ate at Dam Grill which is not a bad place to eat. Their black and blue cheese burger (lunch menu) and coco-loco steak fingers are verygood!

Page to Kanab is a good 1 hour and 28 minutes, without stops. When we got to our hotel, we just went straight to bed, because one, we're tired and two, we need to be at BLM early next day.


Now we're on day 2.

Before we head out to Bryce Canyon we stopped by at BLM first to apply for The Wave walk-in permit. Now, I already tried applying online, three times (!) but didn't get lucky so this time we were taking our chances to apply for the walk-in lottery permit. What BLM does is they have 10 available slots online and 10 slots for walk-ins. Either way they do a drawing. What is this permit for? See photo below.

that's one of Microsoft Window's desktop background  photos..
that is called The Wave and is internationally sought after specially by photographers...
but you have to win a permit first to be able to see this place...they only give 20 in a day..
10 for online lottery and 10 for walk-in lottery....

We didn't get lucky on our first try, which means we need to try again tomorrow. So we left BLM with a sad heart but excited to see Bryce Canyon. Kanab to Bryce is 1 hour and 32 minutes without stops.

at Bryce Point look out

still at Bryce Point

One word of advise. Go to Grand Canyon first before coming here. You might not be able to appreciate Grand Canyon if you come to see this first.  Now, don't get me wrong, Grand Canyon is amazing but for me, Bryce kinda overshadows the Grand Canyon.

There are a lot of look out points and I think we went to all of the famous ones. We went to Bryce, Inspiration, Sunset, Sunrise and Natural Bridge. I like the Bryce look out point the best.

at Sunrise lookout 

After we feasted our eyes with such awesome views, it was time to feed our tummies next and we went to Ruby's Inn's The Cowboy's Buffet and Steak Room for our early dinner. We drove back to Kanab, Utah and the next day we went back to BLM to apply for the walk-in permit lottery for the second time. be continued...

Click me for Part 2...

If  you want to see our itinerary and logistics you can click me. Make sure to check all the tabs on the excel sheet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

mahilig ako sa "S"

....a repost from my old Xanga blog (march 2009)

oo. mahilig ako sa “S”. normal lang naman yun e di ba? explain ko.
simulan natin sa tanong na. sino si sweet_sentiments.

sabi nila kamukha ko raw si martina hingis pero mas feel ko na sabihin nyo na kamukha ko sa maria sharapova. bakit parang nasusuka ka. hindi? hindi ko kamukha? yaah! hiyah! hiyah! o di ba, sound-alike naman kami? pede na yun. pumayag ka na! naman. kala ko ba prenship tayo. hmpf.

so bakit sweet_sentiments. ewan ko nga ba. basta ang alam ko nung college ako transition acid ang handle ko sa mga chat rooms. e biglang nalimutan ko password ko sa yahoo account ko so kelangan ko mag-isip ulit ng bago. basta gusto ko kasi two words. tapos habang nagmu-muni-muni ako ng magandang handle sumisipsip ata ako ng stork na candy nun. e di ba matamis yun. pangit naman kung sweet_maanghang di ba. kaya kelangan ko mag-isip ng iba. e nung time na yun nage-emote ata ako. kaya sentiments naisip ko.



inulit-ulit ko yan sa utak ko habang nakatitig ako sa batok ng babae sa harap ko. then finally.

hmm, pwede! !

oops. lumingon ung batok. tumingin na lang ako sa kisame. at nagpanggap na nanghuhuli ng langaw. nung nde na nakatingin si batok. punta na ako sa yahoo dot com.

“do you want to sign up for a new account?”
hell yeah!
and sweet_sentiments was born.

punta naman tayo sa hobbies. para masaya. at alam ko curious ka na sa S na sinasabi ko.
mahilig akong magmasid ng magagandang tanawin. like fwet ng tao. lalake o babae. di pede mukha. rude to stare. achaka. mahiyain ako di ba. LOL. anyway, speaking of fwet. nung 1st time ko nakarating ng america nde ako na-culture shock. na-fwet shock ako. dito ka makakakita ng fwet na singlaki ng balloon. balloon na gamit sa hot air balloon festival sa pampanga ha. at pramis. mame-mesmerize ka. habang naglalakad ang may-ari ng ga-gargantuan na fwet na ganun parang nihi-hypnotize ka nya. parang sinasabi nya sa yo. tumingin ka. tumingin ka. tumingin ka. tip lang. try not to think of the song “drop it like it’s hot”. bakit? subukan mo. ewan kung makakain ka. tapos kwento mo sa kin ha. para pagtawanan kita.

teka. balik tayo sa hobbies.

so ano pa ba. mahilig akong makipag-socialize. masarap sumagap ng chismis e. kung sino na boyfriend ni ganito. ni ganyan. ano kamo? sino na “lab layf” ni ayeen? teka ako nagkukwento. bawal kayo magtanong.

mahilig ako kumain kaya forever on a diet ako. filipino. indian. jamaican. italian. american. mexican. chinese. vietnamese. tabi-tabi-nese. turo-turo-nese. tusok-tusok-nese. basta edible. kinakain ko. anytime. any day. anywhere. mas expose sa alikabok the better kasi mas masarap yun. aba. case in point. na-try mo na ba magluto ng fishball sa bahay nyo? di ba mas masarap pa rin ang fish ball sa ayala? at mas masarap kumain ng fishball habang tumatakbo ka kasama ang fishball vendor dahil hinahabol sya ng mga tanod ng makati (kasi nga manong bawal daw magtinda jan. dapat dun sa kabilang block. tago ka sa puno).

oh! at ang pinaka importante. mahilig ako sa …
ano yung s? .
“s” as in–
singing, gaga!
ewan ko sa yo.
matulog ka na nga.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

i hate being a woman....

Sometimes I wish I wasn't born with an XX chromosome. That I was born with the XY instead.

Life is good until you get in your 30s. Or maybe earlier than that if you have become a mother at a young age but for the sake of this post I'll just talk about my experience as a female.

Like I said, my life is pretty much fine and dandy until that dreaded three-oh. When I was a teen-ager, I considered that age as very old  but when I reached that age I really didn't feel old but it does came with a lot of maintenance.

Let me count the ways.

Exhibit one. The  Papanicolaou test.
Abbreviated as Pap test or more commonly called as Pap Smear, is one of the things you have to start doing as part of  "maintenance".

I have to start visiting an OB-/GYN every year for this. One because my age says so and two, because my mother's side has a history of cancer of the uterus and myoma of the uterus (all her female siblings, including my mom had undergone a uterus operation).

For the un-initiated, this involves stripping down from neck to foot, wearing a robe that opens in front, lying on a bed and...well...see the photo below.

It doesn't stop there. The doctor would then put a speculum inside your female reproductive organ to open it so they could "swipe" to collect cells from the outer opening of the cervix of the uterus and the endocervix.

After swiping, the doctor would pull that instrument out and she (I always get a female OB/GYN) would put lubricant on her gloves and then she'll start feeling the inside for any lumps or abnormalities.

Then  the doctor would remind you to do your monthly personal breast exam (i always forget to do mine) and she'll proceed to doing your physical breast exam.

The whole thing can be very uncomfortable for some women.

Exhibit two. Colposcopy.
If everything is fine and normal then you're good until the next year or 3 years, depending on your OB/GYN's instructions but if your Pap Smear result came out abnormal then that's another story. You have to come back for colposcopy so they could do further "investigation".

For this procedure, again,  you have to do the same thing you do for Pap Smear. They have to put the speculum again to open you up, then they will use a special instrument to better see what's there. But first, the  doctor would spray some vinegar to make the abnormal cells to appear (it would appear white) so the doctor will know where to do the cervical biopsy (a.k.a punch). It would just take 5 seconds. Next the doctor would scrape some tissue from your "inside" for more cell samples. The procedure doesn't hurt but you may bleed for 2-3 days. By the way, the doctor would ask you to take 2 ibuprofen an hour before the procedure because you will have some cramping after the procedure.

( I was scheduled to undergo this procedure late June and I had the whole cancer-scare. It was a very very stressful time. But the results of the colposcopy came out fine. Whew!)

Exhibit three. Mammogram.
I really, really really wish someone would come up with a better "plan" to detect breast cancer. There's actually 2 other ways but based on what I have read, Mammogram is still the best way to go.

Now, you really don't need to undergo this until you reach a certain age. Like 35 and up. In my case I ignored my OB/GNE for 2 years until finally I gave in.

So, I made an appointment and went to have that procedure done one Wednesday afternoon after work. I was told not to wear perfume, deodorant or powder on the day of the appointment. Follow this instruction, because believe me, you wouldn't want to come back for a "redo".

When I came to the hospital, I was asked to stripped from neck to waist and wore a robe. Then, I was ushered to the torture chamber.

sorry for the image,
i come to inform, not to scare

I did my homework and I took 2 advils one hour before my appointment but nothing can take the pain away during the procedure.

Imagine an iron cast frying pan (flat side) and a flat plastic fiber glass flattening your breast as if flatting a dough. It doesn't help when the radiologist had to linger a bit more while your breast is being squashed because your neck and your one arm is in the incorrect position before finally hitting that x-ray button. I never thought a breast could be flatten like that *cries*.

And! There's more. They have to squeeze your breast flat 4 times. Twice for each one. Horizontal, then oblique, then repeat on the other breast. I almost screamed in pain but I tried to be strong for "my girls", lol.  

I'm so glad it's over. I'm so proud of myself that I didn't cry in front of the radiologist that to reward myself I went to a sushi buffet! After all I went through, I deserve some carbo loading! LOL. Unfortunately, I have to undergo that procedure again next year. Argh.

Exhibit four. Wax on, wax off.
At one point or the other, if you're a female you may have endured this. Even if it just involves plucking your eyebrows to get that perfect shape.

Yeah, yeah. Nobody tells us to do this but we do it anyway because we want to look pleasing to ourself and our significant other and yeah, for the other female human race.

So we wax our legs, our down there (haven't really tried this yet), our moustache, our armpit (I actually had mine laser removed, so that's one pain gone, yey!) and if you ask any man if they have tried waxing, they would say no. Even if they did, they would tell you how painful it is but for us women, we'll even go back after 4 weeks but that's just the way it is.

Exhibit five. Giving birth.
This is really not maintenance but it goes to the realm of the pain women have to go through in their lifetime

This, for me takes the cake. This, in my opinion is the mother of all painful things that women have to endure.

Giving birth.

I already feel like I'm dying when I have a very bad diarrhea and my tummy hurts like sh*t, what more with birth contractions *shudders*.

Of course, there's also those 9 months that a woman have to carry the baby in her womb and may potentially break her back or hips in the process. I am not an expert so I'll just stop there but I'm sure you get my drift.

In conclusion.

I lied. I love being one of the daughters of Eve. Our species might not be strong physically but we are strong emotionally and we have higher pain tolerance level. So hurrah to all women and specially to mothers and mothers-to-be.

images from google images

Friday, June 6, 2014

Quickie in London

note: texts in bold are clickable

Get your mind out of the gutter! That's not what I meant :P.

I have mentioned here   that we went to London to watch Miss Saigon. Miss Saigon had been gone for a while but now they're back but they're only shown in London and I really want to see that show.

I have always wanted to try taking the Eurostar (or any European train) to see the countryside and just to experience it. It doesn't matter where it would take me, I just want to try it (i love trains). The hubby, on the other hand, had always wanted to try the French trains (they make good and fast trains) and he wants to experience taking a train into the English Channel Tunnel, so there you go, a perfect excuse.

the eurostar

The hubby booked the Standard Premier. it's between Economy and Business Class. I'm OK with just Standard (Economy) because it will just be a short ride anyway, but the hubby wants the comfy seat and better  food and better service.

not the eurostar but the inside of one of paris' metro trains

So on our 3rd day in Paris we took the Metro to Gare Du Nord  and took the 11:43 AM Eurostar train from Paris Nord to London St-Pancras.

Gare Du Nord International Train Station
The hubby was reading about it and based on what he have read so far, the Eurostar runs 186 miles per hour, but slows down to 100 miles per hour when going through the English Channel Tunnel. It's almost 300 miles from Paris to London which is almost the same distance from Philadelphia to Boston (or almost the same distance from Manila to Ilocos Norte). Which means, if you drive, it would take you at least 5 hours but in the case of Eurostar, it only took 2 hours and 15 minutes! Isn't that impressive?!

a video while inside the eurostar

When we got to the Gare Du Nord station, the first thing we did is look for our train, then we checked-in and went through immigration. Yes, it's pretty much like at the airport. When we got inside the train the first thing I noticed is racks of magazine, I did grab a couple to take to my seat.

inside the eurostar & ignoring my nook because the sceneries outside is better

The hubby chose the seat. Like on planes, you can also choose your seats on Eurostar. The hubby chose the 2 seats facing each other so there won't be anyone else sitting right next to us.

i got the cheese platter and a small bottle of rosé and the hubby had
some sort of couscous and small bottle of red wine...
It was a very enjoyable trip coming to London and back in Paris. I want to do this European train thing again, maybe  somewhere farther, and maybe book a bunk bed, mmm, dream, dream...

Anyway, back to the London trip story. This was our second time in London, the first one was back in December 2010. We stayed there for 3 days prior our 16 days first European tour. It was raining in London when we got there but our hotel is just walking distance from the train station (Picadilly)  so it wasn't that bad. We stayed at the theatre district, very close to where Miss Saigon is showing (Prince Edward Theatre, about 3-5 minutes walk). When we got to our hotel, it was almost 2 PM already and we got lucky and got upgraded. They gave us their most deluxe room. Too bad we're only staying for a night so we only got to enjoy the room for 2 days and 1 night but we're still thankful.

After we checked in we hopped on a tube to go to the London Tower. We weren't able to see it the first time we were there plus I really want to have a picture of me at the London Tower bridge.

The rain was still on and off but we were indoors anyway so it really didn't bother us a lot. We went to different rooms/buildings inside the Tower of London but the highlight for me is the "Crown Jewels". If you are in a hurry and you're in Tower of London. I suggest you at least see the Crown Jewels, it's very mesmerizing specially if you're a girly girl like me. Be warned though that the line could get very long but it moves fast.

getting in line for the "Crown Jewels" at the Tower of London
i laughed at these signs on street crossings...but
it's very helpful though... i remember  how I almost always
got run over at Macau because I was looking
at the wrong side when crossing, lol

We also went to see the Big Ben again because I don't remember having my photo taken next to it (or infront of it) during our first trip in London. It was still raining though, so the pictures I have aren't worth sharing.

The Miss Saigon starts at 7:30 PM so we made sure we get back to our hotel in time to change and to find the place. It was  pouring when we got out of our hotel and we got lost but thanks to the Waze app we found the Prince Edward Theatre but we got there a mere 5 minutes before it starts.

The show is fantastic! I cried a few times while watching it. It was a sad story but it was very good and I am so proud of the Filipino actors on stage (ie: The Engineer, Kim, Gigi). If they show this in New York, I will watch this again.

the casts

my travel gnome and the playbill

The next day we checked-out early because I wanted to go to Harrods to find the luggage that is only sold in the UK. Unfortunately, I didn't find the luggage but we did have enough time to go to King's Cross so I could line up for my Platform 9 3/4 photo. Yes, Harry Potter fans, it's true, they have it at King's Cross. Being the Harry Potter fan that I am, of course I won't skip that opportunity.

It's nice that they actually embraced this Harry Potter scene in London and made a tourist (and harry potter fans) spot out of it. I would love to see 221B Baker Street  (fictional detective Sherlock Holmes address) next when we get the chance to visit London again .

i'm late for my hogwarts train!
(they make you choose the scarf  for the photo...
i chose gryffindor's, the hubby has slytherin's)

After the photo opp, we went to see the Harry Potter store right next to it. It was nothing spectacular. If you've been to "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" in Orlando, Florida, you wouldn't appreciate this store. So after that very quick tour of the very tiny Harry Potter store (appropriately named, platform 9 3/4), we back tracked our steps to the St. Pancras station (it's under the same roof) to catch our 13:31 PM London to Paris train. We got back in Paris around 17:00 PM. Please note that London time is 1 hour behind Paris time.

We hope to visit London again soon and watch the Wimbledon (crosses fingers, toes, eyes!).