Shanghai is one of those cities. It is beautiful in so many different ways that everyone who visits falls in love with a little part of it. As one of the quickest growing cities in Asia, the city is youthful and lively, not to mention fashion-forward. The city flaunts its concrete jungle and neon lights, showing off how modernized and globalized it is. At the same time, the skyscrapers stand side by side with the old-school brick buildings left from the 90’s. History has not been left behind.



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The only time I’ve been to WuZhen before was when I was little. I don’t remember much of it other than the traditional Chinese architecture and the rain. The constant, soft drizzle. Not much has changed.


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San Diego has my heart. No questions. It is incredibly lively and energetic, yet somehow tranquil at the same time. It gets your blood pumping while shushes your mouth. It makes you want to scream of excitement, but only silently. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

First stop: Balboa park.


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Now I’m not a huge amusement park person. I don’t like rides, and I don’t like lines. I even considered passing up both Universal Studios and Disney Land. In the end, I  decided to give Universal Studios a go solely to avoid the awkward post-holiday questions of what I even did in LA.

It was amazing. I only went for the Despicable Me and Shrek rides but both were adorable, although the minions came on top hands down. The tram tour and the shows were equally impressive. What really won my over, I have to say, were the under-appreciated actors. Spongebob, the Gru sisters, Donkey from Shrek, everyone was lively, enthusiastic, and crazy talented.


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I wasn’t a big fan of Santa Barbara, to be honest. The Spanish houses were nothing but charming and the sand underneath my toes were even warmer and softer than usual, but it was just not one of those cities that stirred me on the inside. One night is hardly enough to judge a city but from the first impression, it seemed a little aloof, a little full of itself. Maybe it’s just me.


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We arrived in San Simeon just in time for sunset. If there was any trace of the city air in Monterey, all that was gone as a massive herd of elephant seals welcomed us to the city. There was no sunset like this, no. The rhythmic puffs of noises, which I presumed to be the seals burping,  were really not serene sounds by any means that you might expect to go with this view in front of you, this mesmerizing, almost surreal view. At the same time, nothing seemed off-putting, either. Not at all. It was one of those moments that made you inhale to the very bottom of your lungs–despite how much the seals stunk, while silently wishing that your memory could perfectly preserve, in this second, everything.


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The drive from San Francisco to Monterey was magnificent. ROAD TRIIIIIIIIIIIP! We paid Stanford University a little visit and albeit beautiful, I suspect that much of its charm left with its usual buzzing student crowd on vacation.

We spent pretty much the entire Christmas day cruising through the 17-mile Drive. It was truly a whole, different sight around every corner. The sun was having a hard time deciding whether or not to show its face so the view changed second-by-second.


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I tried to be an unconventional tourist in SF. I really did. I had it in my vision to hop onto whichever bus came my way and hop off at whichever neighborhood that vibed with me and just explore. It all seemed perfect, how I love walking and everything, all except for two things.

  1. I hate being spontaneous.
  2. It rained for two days straight.


Let me be honest, the incessant downpour and gloom made it really hard to fall in love with this city. As hard as I tried to convince myself that the mist gave the Golden Gate Bridge a mysterious look (which it did), I really did not enjoy the forty-eight hours of dirty glasses and wet socks. So I had to go back for it on my third day when the sky finally cleared. Can I get a wow?


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