Monday, January 28, 2008

Launch of the 2008 Mazda 6 in Japan

After 2 years, countless overtime hours and 1 move half way around the world, Orlando finally gets to see his blood, sweat and tears pay off in the showrooms of Japan. Say Konichiwa to the all new Mazda 6:
You can also check the official press release:

Check out the pictures of the car in it's Australian website:

The reason I'm including these links on the blog is because if I have to hear about this car every day so do you!!! Welcome to my world...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Island of Bali in Indonesia

Orlando and I had the opportunity of visiting Bali Island from 1/17/08 to 1/21/08 with some of our fellow ISE (International Assignment Employees) friends from Mexico (orange and red shirts) and Brazil (white shirt and blue dress).
We did not even plan on going to Bali until we realized that it was one of the only countries in Asia where anyone of our group (6 people from 3 different countries) did not need a visa to visit. You could actually obtain a visa on arrival (a first for me) by simply paying 10 USD at the airport and in an instant one of the immigration officers would print out a 15 day visitors visa and stick it in your passport, just like that. Caution: At the end of your trip you also have to pay 15 USD to be able to go out of the country and they only accept the money in their currency, Indonesia Rupiahs.
I really did not have high expectations fro Bali. I thought "Since I come from a tropical island why am going to one for vacation?". Boy was I wrong!!! In reality Bali had allot to offer in terms of its rich cultural, natural beauty, tourist facilities and activities.
One of the highlights of the whole trip was being able to ride an elephant for the first time.
The second "must do" activity in Bali is watching one of their tradition dances. This is called the barong (the dragon you see below) Dance.

I actually found the exact same complete dance on youtube if you want to check it out go to:
The third must do activity while in Bali is to visit one of their many Hindu temples.

I was really impressed by all the rock carvings inside the temple. This was a completely new experience for us because in Japan you can either go to Buddhist temples or Shinto shrine. It is definitely worth seeing for yourself.
The fourth activity I highly recommend is the absolute bargain shopping. As you all may already know where there are tourist there is allot of shopping!!!
You could practically buy any high end, medium end, no end brand for a few dollars thanks to the incredible conversion between the Indonesia Rupiahs and the US dollar (1 USD = 9,336 Indonesia Rupiahs). Every time I bought something I always felt like I made a killing. If you really think about it since the average person in Bali only makes around 200 USD a month if you bought something for 20 USD then they have already made 10% of their monthly salary in a few minutes!!! So at the end of the day; who really made the killing?
The last activity I would recommend is just relaxing by the pool or on the beach. To be honest I was not very impressed (neither where my friends who have experienced the Acapulco and Sao Pablo beaches) by the beach at all. I consider the beaches of Puerto Rico to be the best world wide!!!
On the other hand considering that it is actually snowing in Hiroshima while I'm writing this I would gladly "sacrifice" and go to the inferior beach right about now.

I was very surprised to see the amount of people who asked me about Bali once I got back to Hiroshima. Many of them already had booked flight and hotel reservations to Bali during their kid's February break from school. Once again I had underestimated Bali's tourist appeal. I can only hope after reading this you (the reader) don't make the same mistake.

Happy New Year - 2008

Happy 2008 Everybody!!!!

I apologize for not writing much in a while but I have not spend enough time in one place during the month of January to actually sit down and write. Now that I have settled back into our Hiroshima routine I can finally sit back and tell you about our recent adventures.
We went to our small corner of the world (after a 2 day journey from Japan-> Detroit 1 night -> PR) , Puerto Rico (, for the holidays this year and in hindsight it was the best decision we made the whole year!!! This year we got the opportunity to reconnect with lots of our old friends in our 10 year High school reunion. It was really nice seeing everybody again and conforting knowing that you did not have to explain to them your life story because they where actually there with you half the time, while it was happening. Most of the people in my class don't live in Mayaguez (my home town of about 100, 000 people) anymore but we still have good memories of our town which for the most part, include each other. I realized how well my old friends knew me when one of them asked me if I was starving in Japan because of my extreme pickyness with food. A person would know that after having countless meals with me and watching me pick out the food I did not like!!! I was very pleased to tell her that now I basically eat anything, but I only changed my ways when I moved to Japan a little over a year ago. Maybe that is why I used to be soooo skinny?!?!? See for yourself in our prom picture from 1997:

And now in 2007:
I realized that It's really good to remember the people and placed that in some shape or form influenzed the way you are, no matter where you are in the world.