Thursday, June 22, 2006

AH!! Summer is here!!

FINALLY I got into my blog....forgot the password AND my ID! Guess bookmarking a site doesn't help one's mind (esp. this one!).

First of all, I need to say THANK YOU to my CKU-A friend from Japan (Naoko) for the BEAUTIFUL gift she sent!! Unfortunately, things were going CRAZY in this house and I have something I want to send to you!!! I have a witness that can tell you that I was working on it! Right, Miho?! Please back me up!! LOL!!!

We just got back from a glorious 5-day tour covering Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devils Tower, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Jackson Hole and Salt Lake City...a few stops in between! Here's the was all in Japanese! We took a JTB (Japan Travel Bureau) DH finally could enjoy (& understand more) and the boys had a blast....well, mom also had fun as a refresher course in her Japanese skills!

The tour was perfect! The hiking was tough esp. for those who depend on cars to get everywhere...US! LOL!! The rest of the tour were full of Japanese who flew from Japan to join the tour and mostly retirees...they could handle the hiking without any difficulties! Because in Japan, people WALK EVERYWHERE!!! Most of the days, we were up @ 6:30am and on the bus by 7:40am. We hiked a majority of the five days for about a total of 3-4 hours...the last day in Yellowstone was a killer! The longest we hiked was 1.5 hours (about 8 miles) in one trip and we've been walking around before that! OY! Great sites to see, tho!

Our ending was not all that great! On the last leg of the trip, we were heading towards Salt Lake City and the bus pooped out on us so we had to meet another bus to take us to the hotel. Utah Transportation was great...the bus was waiting for us and not the other way around! Then we went to a Japanese restaurant that we were told was open so we looked forward to our first real Japanese food (SUSHI) in five days! Well, it looked closed and as we got closer....we were right! So we headed to BENIHANA and they ran out of SUSHI?! How can that be?! UGH! The excuse was it was Father's Day and there were lack of staff & food? So we settled for TEPPANYAKI upstairs. OK...that was in one day!

We get to Salt Lake City Airport after visiting the Temple Square (Morman visitor's center) and just when we're checking in, there's a bomb threat! Well, we had to go outside and stood out there for an hour or two because they advised us to check our bags curbside (UA charges extra for this service - UGH!). Once we got our bags checked and with boarding passes, they let us in....but the whole airport was now cleared to go back to business! But that was OK. Now that our bags were checked, everyone else had to go back to the counter and finish checking in so the security lines were EMPTY! A very good $6 investment! LOL!

OK...home safe and sound - you would think!! But NO! At O'Hare Airport, we waited for our bags to come out in a short 1 1/2 hours! What was that all about?! After an hour, DH asked what was going on to an UA employee and they said the standard "wait 10 mins" but he also added "or leave!" HUH?! Made DH furious! Now I can write we made it home safe & sound! LOL!!!

Isn't this BEAUTIFUL?! Looks like someone painted the background but that's in Yellowstone National Park at a place called Lower Falls (you would think they would have picked a better name for this place!!). Notice the yellow minerals or stone that gave the park its name. Just happy to had the chance to go!

One of my favorite picture of "Davey Crocket"...isn't he a cutie?! My little guy had the best time, hanging out with the elders in the tour! LOL!!

Here's my other big boy! Can't believe he'll be starting middle school in a couple of months! Love this picture too!