Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bicycle Ride in Japan

First of all I apologize for slacking on my blog posts but we have been readjusting to our so-called Japanese life. My Japanese teacher says I forgot my Japanese in the two weeks that we where gone. I told her that I was till switching back from Spanish to English, let alone remember Japanese!!! The way I see it, since I don't know much I should be able to remember it soon!!!

On 5/19/07 Orlando and I joined a group of bicycle riding adventurers. The group headed east of Hiroshima to ride around a few small islands in the Seto inland sea. Since I have no idea what the islands are called I will refer to them as "Mystery Islands". Here is a map of our route:

In order to get to the islands we took a cute little boat ride as you can see:

Check out the view from the boat below. Japan or La Parguera in Puerto Rico? I guess it really is true when people say: "different island, same thing" (once again this is a family friendly blog), even if it is half way around the world.

I thought it was going to be a leisurely bike ride around the small islands, but it turned out to be a 25 mile bicycling route!!! The worst part was that in order to go from one island to the other you had to cross super high suspension bridges!!! HAAAAA the Horror!!!! Here are some of the bridges we took:
The picture above shows the Hakata Oshima bridge.
Here we are with our bikes (you could rent them there, my actual bike is only for carrying groceries) in the Tatara Ohashi Bridge.
Here is the Kurushima Kaikyo bridge which is the longest suspension bridge in the world. This was the last bridge in our route. At this point I could not feel any part of my lower body and my legs felt like jello!!! We stopped at a fresh fish BBQ restaurant right next to the bridge for some lunch. The interesting thing about this place is that they would literally kill the fish, sell it and place it on top of a small BBQ grill until it was cooked. The fish was sooooooooooo fresh that it was still moving!!! Yes the octopus tentacles where still moving in the plate!!! I took video of it to prove it:

For the record I did not eat this!!! It was in my friend's plate!!! The worst pat is that the tentacle was still moving on top of the BBQ!!! AHHHHHHHHHH This is one of the reasons I will always remember this day. The other reason is that I could not sit correctly for the next 3 days!!! So the moral of the story is: "Find out what your getting yourself into before signing up!!!".

Ponce, Puerto Rico

We spend our last few days in Puerto Rico in Ponce (1 hour south of the San Juan) in the Reyes' Family vacation home. Orlando's mom (pictured above) flew in from California to hang out with us for the week. We where able to play a little golf while we where there as you can see below:

Yes the 18th hole overlooks the Caribbean Sea (http://www.costacaribe-resort.com/). You could literally jump into the water (if your crazy enough) after finishing a round of golf.
My family came to stay with us for the weekend. Here I am with mom, dad and my little sister Vicky, oh yeah and that guy who does not leave me alone (I think he is a stalker, the problem is how do you say that in Japanese?).

We invited some of our good old friends to visit on Saturday. Here we are with Javier, Ydalmi, Valerie and Ydalmi's sister. Valerie was simply huge!!! Last time I saw her when was only 2 weeks old, now she is crawling around grabbing everything within reach!!!

We also had a chance to hang out with our super friends Jey,Liz, Melody and Ludwig. Jey was actually the best man and Melody was our flower girl at our wedding 3.5 years ago (see picture below).

I love this picture of the kids rolling around in the grass. Luckily we found our Valerie is not allergic to grass the old fashion way trying it out.
We had an absolutely great time with everyone and we really appreciate everyone efforts to come and see us!!!!I hope to see everyone again soon, probably in Christmas time.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I finally arrived in my home town of Mayaguez (a 2 hour drive from the capital city of San Juan) on Monday!!! Here is a nice picture of my parent's normal cement house in the suburbs of the city.

For those of you who are wondering, yes that is my old Toyota 4Runner in the right corner of the picture. My little sister, Vicky still uses that car to go to collage, that car is 12 years old!!! I was just surprised to see it moving!!!

The next day Orlando and I went to our old stomping ground UPR-Mayaguez better know as "El Colegio". We did not find much had changed. People still hanged out in the same spots, no one eat at the cafeteria and there are still zero parking spots available. Here is the library.

To all the people who sent there, please feel free to begin reminiscing, you can thank me later.

Once I get home my little sister Vicky showed me her new hairdo.
The streak in her hair looks black in but it's actually a mixture between blue and purple...ok, apparently I did not get the memo stating that this is normal. I was actually too distracted her pink bowed skulled earrings to notice the color. So I asked what's up with the hair and she said it's all part of the "Emo" look. Beuler? What? As a result I researched what Emo is and found out that it is a genre of rock music that emphasises the emotions of people. I soon realized that I'm old, but hey if I thought flannel shirts and army boots where cool back in the 90's I guess some hair color is not going to kill anyone. These crazy kids!!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Puerto Rican Food

Puerto Rico

After not sleeping on Saturday night we proceeded to go home to our beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Luckily since we have earned a trigillion miles going back and forth from Japan we got a free upgrade to first class, all right!!!!!
Our first stop was Orlando's grandmother's house where a good bunch of the Reyes Family members where waiting for us. Here they are holding up their best Japanese pose.
One very interesting thing happened while we where there, it turns out that one of Orlando's cousins is dating a girl names Iria. Isn't that weird? My mom's name is Ilia and off course I'm Iddya and now I met Iria so I came to the conclusion that you can form a name just by following this formula:
I + random consonant + ia = unique name which no one will ever be able to pronounce

Here is Orlando with his grandma who looks good after raising 8 kids!!!
The next day we went to Villalba to hang out with the Ortiz Family (Orlando's mom's side). As you can see we really know the meaning of extended family. Most of them are actually neighbors so all I had to do was walk outside and imitate Bob Barker from The Price is Right by asking them to "Come on down" for a picture.

Once we where there we answered all the typical "Oh my Gosh you live in Japan" questions and showed them an album I made (hey it's not a fancy scrapbook but it go the point across) to illustrate our adventures. Everyone was really glad to see us and vice versa.


We are back from going half way around the world in 1.5 weeks (yes we know we are crazy)!!! Our first stop was good old Detroit. On Thursday we got off the plane at 12:30 pm, went to my friends house to change and proceeded to fight our jet lag by going to Bailey's. I was very happy and touched that so many people showed up!!

Here are I am with my friends from work (from left to right) Deanna, Kristin and Lauren. Kristian and Lauren where literally one of the first people I met when I moved to Michigan. They basically showed me the Michigan ropes when I had no idea where I was going or knew the rules in football and had to deal with snow for the first time and 5 years later they are still hanging around!!! Thanks guys!!!
I also spread the Japanese love showing everyone the typical V sign pose.
Orlando's complete softball team showed up. Seriously first base, second base, third base, the outfield and even the catcher came to say hi. Every week in the summer we could always count on going to a softball game and hanging out around Dearborn afterwards, truly good times...good times.

On Friday (4/27/07) my sister Vanessa flew in from Wisconsin to spend the weekend with us. Here we are looking good as always.
Here is Orlando with 10-month old Jose David, who was a complete delight the whole time.
Later that night we met up with our friends in Ann Arbor to celebrate Cristine's MBA graduation. CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Luckily Tina held off the birth of her baby boy (born on May 7) to hang out with us.

On Saturday we had the best Party E-V-E-R at Miriam and Hector's house. We had all the key ingredients to a most excellentPuerto Rican party:

1. Hot chicks

2. Reggaeton (a.k.a booty shaking music)

3. Random Salsa dancing in the living room

4. Dominoes (for the record The Matos team lost but we had not played since I left almost a year ago so we will be back to our old ways next time)
5. RUM (the bottle is empty off course)
6. As a result of all of the above - Lots of kids

On behave of the Reyes-Matos family I would like to thank everyone for making our short stay in Detroit a very lively one. It was really good to see familiar faces with whom you could reminisce with. Detroit is trully our second home. THANKS EVERYONE.