Posts Tagged With: family

Mamas Fish House – Paia, Hawaii

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Happy 10 year anniversary

There’s not much to say here except that this is by far one of my favorite places to have dinner when visiting Maui. I have only been to the island three times, but my wife has always made it a point to make sure we have one meal here. It’s right on the beach and although a very large restaurant, it’s broken up into many smaller dining rooms, so you never really feel like you’re in a crowded place even though it probably seats 200+. Being that it’s so iconic it’s THE place to visit on a special occasion, like ours.

As usual the food was amazing and the service was excellent. We also felt welcome bringing our kid, we didn’t see too many there during our visit, but there were a few. Always a plus when you’re not the only parent that gets to bring your kid out to dinner on a very very special occasion and knowing others have too. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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The entrance to the parking lot

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Categories: Family, Food, Hawaii, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Making Cofffeeee

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Kona Coffee on my in-laws farm is truly a labor of love. Except for the husking and roasting the rest of the process is 100% manual. When we were visiting last week we had a chance to help harvest some of the trees. They have a small stand of some 50 or so, and can produce a fair share of real Kona Coffee right here on the Kona Coast each year. It’s a pretty cool process to watch and participate in (although I really only watched), my wife and daughter did all the harvesting. Continue reading

Categories: Family, Food, Hawaii, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveling with kids | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Persistence, the name of the game

 

Introduction

Cashing in my last 300,000 United miles

American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco

Flying First Class on Lufthansa Seattle-Frankfurt

Rubber Ducks, Cured Meats and VOSS – Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt

Flying First Class on Thai Airways also on the a380

Thai Airways Domestic Business Class -Bangkok to Koh Samui

Conrad Koh Samui Amazing Hotel, Less Then Amazing Service

The Cutest Airport in the world – Koh Samui

Asiana Regional Business Class- Bangkok to Seoul

Asiana a380 Seoul to Los Angeles

Visiting Thailand and the island of Koh Samui
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Yes, booking an airline award reservation is a game. There are so many hoops to have to jump through, but I find that if I stick with it, have all my ducks in a row and do all the research up front, I’m usually successful.

In this particular case I was booking a very special trip, aren’t they all special? No really this one was and is. Later this year it’ll be my 10th wedding anniversary, and I wanted to plan something unique for the two of us. We’ve been very very lucky over the years to have done some amazing things, and I’m very thankful for that, but since our child was born three years ago, going on vacation without her has not happened. In fact I think only twice have we both been away from home together without our little munchkin. Now don’t get me wrong, we love love love traveling with her, and as she gets older it keeps getting better and better. Plus as a tiny world traveler she’s already seen more and been to more places than some will in a lifetime. If nothing else, I want to make sure that our daughter gets the amazing opportunities my wife and I had as children to travel the world with our parents. I firmly believe that those experiences made us who we are today. But I digress, I’ll save that for another post. This trip was about the two of us having an extended amount of alone time. Continue reading

Categories: Around the world, Family, Travel, Travel Blog, United Airlines | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Loving Life

I love to travel, but I also love to spend time with my family too whether it’s at home or out of town. Frankly it doesn’t matter where we are it just matters that we are together. So to have a stretch of eight weeks where I’m only out of town three times for work is just great. In fact in my world it’s almost unheard of especially in the summer. Most of the time I’m gone part of the week for six of eight weeks of even under extreme circumstances 10 straight weeks.

Getting time at home lets me settle into a routine I don’t get this often. I get to see my daughter in the morning when she wakes up, say goodbye when she goes to daycare, and then walk or drive to daycare to pick her up at the end of the day. Plus I get to make or source dinner (in other words get take-out) water the vegetables with the kiddo and even pick them together too. Not bad for a day’s work. It’s the little things like this that you miss when you’re not at home every day or night. Plus I get to participate in the bedtime routine which at times is stressful, but still as a parent I relish getting to participate.

The other great part of being home is spending time with my better half.  Again getting to spend anytime let alone quality time together is just precious. Sometimes unfortunately I’ve taken for granted that we’ve been together for almost 15 years. And getting extended time at home reminds me how important it is to be here, whether that mean physically here or mentally here when gone.

All I can say is I’m loving life and loving being with the family. We’ve had a good summer so far. A week Disney World, a weekend at the lake, a cup of coffee in Hawaii and a camping trip this weekend.

Categories: Family, Life, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Ice Cream you Scream we all Scream for Ice Cream

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My not so black and tan and my better halfs single scoop sundae

Fenton’s Creamery in Oakland California is an institution. If you haven’t been here you haven’t had ice cream before. This parlor has been around since 1894, yes it’s over 120 years old. I have been coming here since junior high, and have loved it ever since. It has that old time feel, because it is that old, and it’s just a great place to celebrate any special occasion, or in our case have desert on date night.

I have never been here when it’s not busy, except when I came here for a party and we were there a half hour after they opened (I’m going to say like 10:30 AM). But otherwise expect to wait anywhere from 5-20 minutes for a table and maybe 5 minutes for a to go order. Yes it’s just that busy all time. Continue reading

Categories: Americana, Food, Travel Blog | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Magic is Here

My band

My band

We received our package in the mail this week, and I’m proud to say that I am the owner of a Magic Band. In a few weeks we’ll be heading to Wald Disney World, for a weeklong vacation with another family and to prepare for our trip we got a chance to order Magic Bands. If you’re not familiar with them, they are the new replacement to the vaunted paper Fast Pass, first introduced in 1999 for Mission to Mars at WDW, I’m not 100% sure but I believe the first ride in California with Fast Pass was The Indian Jones Adventure. Fast Pass was and is the reservation system for getting a ticket to an attraction with a specific return time. The idea was to cut down the sometimes hours long wait to enjoy one of the spectacular rides and attractions. Over the years the process has morphed from unlimited distribution of them via a AAA ticket purchase to getting one ever few hours based on some Disney formula to now only being able to redeem them during the specific hour long return time.

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Categories: Disney, Review, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tools, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

My Favorite Italian Restaurant 54 Mint

Last weekend my wife and I had a date and went to our favorite Italian restaurant in the east bay 54 Mint. It’s  located in a nondescript strip mall in Concord that also houses a Trader Joes and several other small shops and restaurants.  From the outside the restaurant may be non-descript but once you walk in you feel like you’re at home in this very simple but elegant place. Concord is not a bastion for foodies, but in this case it has lucked itself into a little gem that can stand up to the big boys. Continue reading

Categories: Family, Food, Photography, Review, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Turning 40 is not so bad

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Sadly all good things must come to an end and for me the Year of Rahul is about over. Wow what a year my 39th was. Without trying to brag, I’m going to take a moment and relive an incredibly fun and amazing year I had. But before I do that I must thank my beautiful and AMAZING wife, which if it wasn’t for her none of this would have been possible. Granted no matter how enthusiastic she was about the YOR, she probably regrets, even suggesting it. Needless to say w/out her encouragement and blessing I never would have had the opportunity to as many really cool things as I did.

So I’m going to start with something that falls just out of the range of my 39th year, but by only three small days. The family went to the Maldives for the second time, and we had an amazing time. It was as magical as the first and exceeded any and all previous expectations. We again got to fly Singapore Airlines First Class, and it too was even better than the last time. Wow, I just can’t get enough of that carrier and relish another opportunity to try them again. I’ll have to wait till they release a massive lot of award tickets by mistake like they did this time. I also got to swim with Whale Sharks, and got probably within 20 feet of one. They are incredibly majestic and to this day I think about the good fortune I had in seeing two of them.

There was no official kick off per se, but March was really when the festivities really got going. That month I had a trip to Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand for work that would span an open weekend. Besides getting an opportunity to visit to really amazing cities again, I had the opportunity to visit Fiji on the free weekend. Yet another place on my lifelong bucket list. As usual for me, part of the fun is the journey there and in this case there was no exception. I had an incredibly circuitous journey to the Southern Hemisphere and back. I flew to Auckland via Narita Japan, then direct to Fiji and on the return I flew via Bangkok,, Beijing and Japan. Nothing like a diversion right. On the return I used my miles to get a pretty comfortable ride on Thai Airways first class, and that was truly a treat.

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What other water should they serve

What other water should they serve

The Pool

The Pool

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That month I also had the luck of going to Spring Training in Scottsdale Arizona, with my buddies to root on the San Francisco Giants 2010 and 2012 World Series Champions. This was our fourth trip down here and boy was it fun. Sadly for us the team was not as good as either year’s winners, but hey there’s always next year, and if they keep this new string up it’s their year again.

Later this year I took advantage of a screaming Business Class deal on American Airlines and flew to Santiago Chile via New York and Miami, and had a great time. All be it, only 12 hours, but for me although a very cool city and one that I must take the family back too and spend more time in, was about going to South America. I’ve always wanted to go to all seven continents and know some day I will, but with all the travel I had booked this year thought I might be able to visit all of them except Antarctica on 2013. Alas, I didn’t make it to Africa, although I tired, but ran out of time, I did make it to five this year and even visited a new one, South America. Santiago was beautiful and had that old world charm of Europe, but with a Spanish feel. It was really really great. If you’re looking for someplace to go, this is somewhere everyone must visit.

The Plaza

The Plaza

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Additionally I was able to “travel” with the team to Colorado and Cincinnati to root on the Giants. My buddy “T” and I have done this three years in a row and although we have a great time, the team sucks when were on the road with them. After this year’s 0-4 stretch we’re now 2-10. Yes that’s right two wins in three years of road trips!!! And the kicker, this year we saw the Giants get no hit (my first time at one of these), and the one game we missed on this road trip, cause we had to travel to Cincinnati, they won. How is that for irony.

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There were three other great trips I had this year, one to Oktoberfest in Munich Germany, Thanksgiving in New York so my wife could march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and the other was a real family trip across the Atlantic on a cruise. All of these have been written about here, here and here. So I won’t drivel on and on about them, but I just must say that I am blessed. I have an incredible wife that lets me travel a lot. Not only for my work obligations, but in this year and many past ones the ability to experience some pretty cool things along the way.

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My 39th year on this planet was pretty spectacular and I had many many gifts along the way. If you’re going to crass that magical threshold into the 40’s you might as give the 30’s a pretty good send off and that what I think I did.

One final note, I wrote this whole post a week ago, and the weekend before my 40th birthday, my wife surprised me with the MOST AMAZING surprise party, she’s been planning since March. She gathered up my closest friends and surprised me with a really great dinner. Not only did I get to see all of my friends, but she celebrated my year by making the most amazing world map display of all the places I went to this year. Besides that the place cards were airline tickets. For the airline junkie like me, this was a super cool treat, and I just needed to make sure I took this opportunity to thank her for all that she does for me and our little family.

Categories: Cruising, Family, Oktoberfest, Review, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

To Parade or not Parade that is the Question

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Who got to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? This guy. About six weeks before Turkey Day, my wife was offered an incredible opportunity to participate in the parade, and immediately said “yes”. How could she resist, sure we were planning on having our families over and even had two relatives flying from out of town for the holidays. But hey opportunities like this don’t come around that often and so she had to jump at the chance. Thankfully our families were incredibly understanding and made other arrangements and the out of towners just came with us.

My wife was lucky enough to be asked to help hold Buzz Lightyear in his final appearance in the Parade, after five years he’s retiring and that meant a trip to NYC for the three of us. She even had the opportunity to have a guest participate, and that meant our out of town guests to come with us and have our aunt help keep Buzz from flying away. Unfortunately, I could not participate since someone had to watch the munchkin since she didn’t meet the weight requirement. But hey that’s ok, we got grandstand seats between 72nd and 76th street on Central Park West, so we’d be set.

Oh yeah there was one other wildcard, because of the possibility of very very high winds, there was a chance that the balloons would be shelved for the first time in over 40 years. Up until Thanksgiving morning, we had no idea if Buzz would fly or not. We were lucky though the wind although very present, didn’t keep the balloons form flying, but they were cinched up super low to the ground. But at least they flew, can you imagine we moved heaven and earth to be here and now balloons, that would just have been too funny.

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Hi mommy, how’s it hanging
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It was a very early day for us we had to be at the seats by 8 am and were about 1 ½ miles away, it was way too cold to walk and we couldn’t bring a stroller, so a 6 AM wakeup call was in order and a hotel exit by 6:45. Mental note for next time, give yourself twice as much time as you think you’ll need to get a kid bundled up for the cold weather. I thought 45 minutes was enough, but man all the protesting to put on thermals, pants three layers of shirts and a jacket was incredibly tough. But hey were in NYC for the ultimate parade, and we get to see mommy walking in it holding Buzz. How cool is that. Besides little “S” was jazzed to go the parade even though she really had no idea what one was. I made sure to bring enough entertainment, food and distractions or so I thought. Unfortunately with temps in the high 20’s we were all miserable, but we were here and very excited to see mom in action soon. Being Bay Area natives, we just were not prepared for the cold, even though we had layers we just didn’t have enough stuff to keep us warm. Thankfully our hotel suggested we take blankets otherwise we would have been even colder then we already were. How do you explain to a 2 ½ year old why it’s so cold, and that you MUST keep your hand and gloves on. If you have any suggestions please tell me, cause I tried every trick in the book, and was just not that successful.

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In any even the parade was a really really great time, if there ever is a next time, I will take even more layer and more blankets. This was an amazing one in a lifetime experience and I’m so happy my wife got to knock off one of her bucket list items, I’ve had my chances this year to knock off so many, it was nice to see her get a chance too.

Categories: Americana, Disney, Family, Photography, Travel Blog, Traveling with kids | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The Atlantic Adventure Begins

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Vacation is finally here!!! Well really we’ve all been back for a week crying that it’s over. But I finally have time to write up a few posts on our amazing 13 night Transatlantic cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas.

We are heading to London England for about five hours to catch a cruise and get our kid on another continent, this is number four, only one less then me. So crazy, she’s only two and I’m almost 40.

Anyhow why such a short time in the land of Royals, Burberry and Tanquaray. Well we have a ship to catch and we didn’t have enough extra time to get in a proper day at Harrods or Piccadilly Circus so we just decided to fly in the day of and then head to the cruise port in South Hampton, England.

Now it’s time for the adventure to really begin. Stay tuned for further installments on the adventures of mom, dad, s and baba (grandma).

Catching some shut eye

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Categories: Airlines, Airport, American Airlines, Cruising, Family, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveling with kids, Trip Report | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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