Sunday, June 26, 2011

Santa Barbara, hiking, aphrodisiacs, back to Miami and more festivities

So it's been over a month since I blogged. Time sure flies when you're busy. And everytime I think of updating, it just seems like too much to fit in one post. Unfortunately, the less frequent I'm updating, the more things keep happening and then I get too busy to even update. Anyhow, so I'm going to attempt to condense what has happened the past few weeks. 

Last I left off, I was in Los Angeles on vacation and on the evening of May 21st, I met up with a few friends from undergrad for dinner at a restaurant called Don Cuco in Glendale. Surprisingly, that was my first time there even though I've grew up in LA. I got there late because I managed to get lost. Just goes to show how much of Southern California I remember after two years in Miami. Streets and cities aren't the only things I'm forgetting. I get to Don Cuco at 8:30 even though meeting time was an hour before. At least I wasn't the last to arrive. It was good catching up with friends I hadn't seen in over a year. The following day I at some lunch with family, and in the afternoon just relaxed. 

On that Tuesday, I went out to eat dinner with a few other friends at a Vietnamese restaurant. On Wednesday, met up with another friend for some Vietnamese sandwiches and played some chess for the first time in ages. I won, to my surprise; guess I still got it. That evening, went out for In-N-Out (which has become so unbelievably crowded that they need to open more stores, like way more than McDonald's) and then played some Magic. We stayed up quite late but I still got home before 2 AM. The following morning, went to Santa Barbara for the first time ever with a friend from high school. We ate lunch at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, which was quite good. Quite a bit of shellfish that day, or rather, aphrodisiacs. More on aphrodisiacs later, but we walk a bit around the wharf and downtown SB. I also experienced The Habit Burger Grill restaurant the first time, which is like their version of In-N-Out. At about 3 pm, we start heading back but of course hit traffic. On the way back, we discuss watching a movie that evening, possibly Hangover 2. However, that kinda fell through so we go watch Insidious instead, which turned out to be pretty good, even though scary moves aren't really scary to me anymore. I recommend it though, if you're into horror films.

On the 28th, I went hiking at Griffith Park with the same friend from the Santa Barbara trip. We met up with one of his friends from work and trekked up part of the park, encountering some nice views along the way. Of course, I slipped and nearly got killed due to my clumsiness. Then again, I really need to get some hiking shoes. After, we stopped by Griffth Observatory, which I haven't visited since high school. Lot has changed there. Next time I'll have to bring a date there. For lunch, we went to Chin-Ma-Ya for Ramen. 

The following day, ate dinner with some friends from grade school and junior high on at Tasty Garden inside Atlantic Times Square. Once again, had some shellfish in form of clams. On the 30th, hung out with friends and had oyster pancakes so again, ate some more shellfish. See the pattern haha? Man, sure got quite a bit of shellfish in that week. 

Next day, played some tennis and met up with a couple friends from high school who were on the tennis team for lunch at Savoy. In the evening I met up with a few ladies from the ACS Relay for Life committee for dinner at Phoenix Inn. Afterwards, I got home and started packing for flight in the morning. 

I flew back to Miami on the 1st of June. What a horrible flight experience that was, from beginning to end. First off, before I even get on the place, security had to open and examine my bag. That's the second time in 4 trips I've had my bag opened. Does it say terrorist on my forehead or something? At least I wasn't frisked. Guess I was a little worried because my driver's license was expired and my new one's in LA. So after that, I go to the terminal for boarding. However, my flight ends up being delayed for nearly an hour because the connecting plane arrives 30 minutes late to the terminal, and for some reason the staff go on board to check something. When we finally do start boarding, they start calling all the groups practically seconds apart, which was ridiculous. You can imagine how jumbled the line got. Took us another 30 minutes to board, and while boarding, some guy was holding too many carry-ons so the staff was trying to run him down and make sure he would check the bag in. Later on, when we finally boarded, it we got delayed another 20 to 30 minutes before finally taking off. The only bright spot of the flight was meeting this cute photographer sitting next to me, or rather, two seats from me because there was no one sitting between us. We chatted for most of the flight. Not that I would have done anything since she has a boyfriend (which has been my luck these days) but she was really cool. So I landed really late past midnight. Fortunately, my friend was willing to pick me up. 

The following morning, on the 2nd, I could already feel the jetlag. I finally get my car back in the afternoon, after waiting a month, though those bastards took all my spare change in the car. Granted it was less than a dollar but still. Those vultures. I also witnessed a car accident right in front of the auto shop, head on collision. That's Miami for ya. That evening I went to Miami Heat game versus the Mavs, game 2 of the NBA Finals. Forked out an arm and a leg but it was good game and I got access to the Dewar's Clubhouse level, which would have cost hundreds to enter. Saw Flo Rida (who got arrested for DUI later that week haha) at courtside. 

On the night of the 3rd, I find out that a friend of mine from undergrad committed suicide recently. That makes 2 suicides in 5 years. Even though I didn't know this one as well it still brought back memories from 5 years ago, including the wake and funeral. Just that horrible feeling that I could've done something about it. The following evening, I went to watch Hangover 2 to get my mind off of it. Not as good as the first, but still pretty funny even though it's crude humor. Warning: many scenes NSFW. 

The following day I went to Dolphin mall again, but this time to watch game 3 of the NBA finals between the Mavs and Heat. Buffalo Wild Wings was completely packed to the point where we couldn't get a table. Good thing the Miami Heat won that game or I would've feared for my life with so many angry fans.

On the 8th, my new cell phone finally arrived in the mail after I changed over to AT&T. Took me hours to try and activate the phone, without success. Finally activated it the next day, which took another couple hours. 

On the 11th, went to watch X-Men: First Class, which was quite good. That's 3 movies in less than 3 weeks haha. In the evening, went to celebrate a friend's surprise birthday dinner. Actually, his wife had contacted a bunch of people a week before about it. I got there a little late due to the movie but that was supposed to be a diversion. In end, was all good because he had no idea. 

The 12th was graduation for the 3rd year residents at Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The hotel is amazing, though some say it's haunted. Afterwards, I had planned an after party at Dave & Buster's but none of the residents showed up. Fortunately, a couple students I invited did. Nonetheless, still pretty lame that more students than residents showed up. In the evening, I met up with a few residents at Gordon Biersch for game 6 of the NBA Finals (think I've watched nearly every game of the finals either live or at some bar/restaurant). The game was really good, like nearly every one of the series, though down the stretch Dallas basically took control. You could hear the moans and groans from the customers. Some guy was swearing left and right. We left a little before the final minute of the game just in case that guy got went really berzerk. 

Saturday the 17th was the last call of my residency, hopefully, since third years just have home call. The following day, I met up with a friend from medical school, who was in town for a wedding. Met up with her and her husband for brunch at Talavera Mexican Restaurant in Coral Gables, near the Hyatt where they were staying at. Afterwards, I took them to the airport in Fort Lauderdale.
That's enough for now. I'll have to cut it short. Whatever happened this past week will have to go in my next posting haha.