Saturday, August 11, 2012

detour to radiator springs

Just got back from California at 2 am this morning, Maryland time! I spent awhile having a reunion with my cat, Violet. I think she missed me because I'm the only one who pets her daily.

We left for California on the Thursday before last to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins, Allison and Adam. Maryland seems to be plagued by badly timed thunderstorms this season. First, the derecho during the heat wave, and then a thunderstorm right before our flight! It was supposed to leave around 8 pm, but was delayed until after midnight! Luckily, we were able to switch flights and leave an hour earlier, which got us into California at around 2 am.

On Friday, we rested up and went to the beach with my cousins! We played in the water, which was ice cold, and then laid on the warm sand. We found a bunch of sand crabs, including two gigantic ones that were really frightening. Then, we played some volleyball. I was much better than I remembered being in middle school, but it still left a bunch of small marks on my forearms for a few days.

On Saturday, we went to the local farmer's market to buy groceries and eat lunch. It's one of my favorite places in California! Fruit is my favorite food, aside from desserts of course, and they have so much fresh fruit that you can't find in Maryland. One stand had 15 types of nectarines, plums, and pluots, and you could try samples of each one!

In the afternoon, we went to Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park, for the first time. It was so much fun! I hadn't realized how tiring one hour of trampoline jumping could be! It was definitely a workout.

There were a bunch of trampoline pads, even on the walls (which I am bouncing off of in this first picture)...

 And a foam pit! It took me a while, but I mustered up the courage to do a flip!

On Sunday, we had a huge Chinese lunch with my extended family in San Gabriel, and then we all went to my great grandmother's house to hang out. At the end, we had a family photo shoot. 

Later that day, we went to a complex with some Japanese stores. First, we decided to check out a Japanese $1.50 store called Daiso Japan. Cute Japanese things for only $1.50!? It doesn't get much better than that. It was way cooler than any dollar store I've been to! They sell almost everything you could ever want and things you never knew you needed. I had to try really hard to control myself.

I got some bento boxes and grapefruit lip balm. Ella got bento boxes, silicon cupcake molds shaped like hearts and stars, origami paper, and many erasers (including food shaped erasers and an electric eraser, which I didn't even know existed). Now my mom's worried that we're expecting adorable bento lunches, like the ones below. I can't believe that moms put so much time and effort into lunches! I would feel bad eating it...

Totoro... (

... pandas... (

... and piggies! (

We also went to a Japanese grocery store next-door to Daiso, called Mitsuwa. My mom spotted this delicious looking drink... Yummy. Who wouldn't buy that? Maybe something's lost in the translation.

There were also some very large beer bottles and Pocky boxes in the drink section...

We spent all of Monday at Disney's California Adventure! I saw the new Cars Land for the first time. They had cool rock structures that you probably recognize from the Cars movie, or the southwest.

In Cars Land, we went on Luigi's Flying Tires, which was like bumper cars steered with your body! There were huge beach balls to throw around, so after we threw our first one, we spent most of the ride chasing them down and unsuccessfully trying to reach them...

We also went on the Radiator Springs Racers. It's one of my favorite rides in California Adventure now! It starts with a nice, peaceful drive around the plateaus, and then you enter a mechanics shop where the other cars prepare you for a race. The best part is the end, where you race another car to the finish! Sadly, we lost the race. But, we were still going really fast, as you can see from my flying hair in the picture below.

My other favorite ride in California Adventure is Soarin'! We waited a little longer so we could sit smack front and center. That way, we didn't see other people's feet dangling above us. I love the pine smell when you're flying over the forest. It reminds me of Christmas time. :) 

We also went on California Screamin' for the first time. I used to be too scared to ride it, because of the loop, but both Ella and I were brave enough to try it. They launch you from 0 to 60 mph! Allison and I determined that they have very loud prerecorded screaming during the launch...

This is me, Allison, and Ella on the Ferris wheel. Allison and Ella wanted to go on the swinging gondola, so I tried it... It was much scarier than California Screamin'! The gondola swings almost completely horizontal, and it feels like you're about to fly off and plummet to the ground! Afterwards I felt pretty sick to my stomach.

You can see Ella holding a cute Dumbo stuffed animal. I won it for her at the water shooting carnival game! Yes, I was actually playing against other people. It doesn't matter that they were all younger than me... Anyways, I somehow managed to aim it perfectly from the very beginning. I was so excited! Nothing like the thrill of victory in carnival games.

We went to dinner at Flo's V8 Cafe. It looked so cool, just like the old style diner from the Cars movie! Ella was disappointed that the waiters weren't in roller-skates.


Tuesday was our tour of Caltech, which you can read about here!

On Wednesday, after a day to rest our feet, we went to Disneyland! It was a very productive day. We went on all of the rides we wanted to! I love them all... especially Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Indiana Jones, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain (three "Mountains" in a row)! I was also happily surprised by Star Tours. I remember riding it a really long time ago with my dad and feeling really sick, but this time it was great!

Dumbo the Flying Elephant! It's always the first ride of the day. There's Allison and Ella in the first Dumbo and my mom and me in the second.

Here we are entering the mouth of a whale at Storybook Land! All the mini plants and houses are so cute.

 Here's me and Ella looking focused and determined on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.

 In Toontown, Ella and Allison took a nap on Minnie's rock-hard bed. How does she sleep on that?

 Also in Toontown, we took a ride on the Jolly Trolley!

As always, our trip to California included some excellent restaurants and snacks. Shout outs for Souplantation (aka Sweet Tomatoes in the south because maybe plantations conjure up some unpleasant memories) which I absolutely love! Musha which is a cool Japanese fusion restaurant with dishes like cheesy brown rice in a big slab of parmesan. And the always special Yogurtland!

Our trip to California was magical as always!

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