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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Tag Archives: museums

I seriously LOVE living in the Bay Area – there’s just so much to do here no matter what you’re into! Here I’ll be sharing some of the fun stuff we did last fall and winter.

Treasure Island Flea Market

A fun place to check out local artisans and grab some food at food trucks! It’s held on the last weekend of every month and entry is $3.

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Cat Town Cafe

A cat cafe in America?! I knew I had to go when I first found out this place was opening in Oakland. The place is pretty small and we needed reservations when we went last year. There’s a cafe area where you can buy drinks and snacks, and a separate play room with the kitties. A must visit for cat lovers!

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Twitter Holiday Party at the Exploratorium

We had been to the old Exploratorium back when it was still at the Palace of Fine Arts, but last year’s Twitter holiday party was held at their new location at Pier 15, so it was the perfect chance to go check it out!

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All the exhibits were open but we didn’t have time to hit up everything with so many people there. Plus, there were delicious food to be had and drinks to be drunk, even ones made by the robot bartender:

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Will have to revisit some day soon!

Sonoma Coast State Park

I am absolutely in love with the California coast, and there’s no better place to see it in all its glory than this gorgeous park! Plenty of trails and beaches along a long stretch of the coast line.

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Devil’s Slide

Another place to admire the beautiful Cali coastline! This one is very close to SF and is an urban “hike” along a stretch of highway that’s no longer in use. Pretty cool place to check out!

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There’s also this cool abandoned bunker at the south end of the trail:

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Calistoga

We went on a relaxing weekend trip to Calistoga last winter. We stayed at the Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort, which had several indoor and outdoor hot springs. We also paid for a couple’s mud bath that was very interesting! A fun way to rejuvenate.

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We also visited a couple of wine tasting rooms, my favorite of which is the tasting room for Romeo Vineyards. The lovely garden setting filled with lights made for a very cozy and romantic evening!

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We also went hiking at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park on this trip. There are some really nice trails and we hiked for 6 miles!

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On the drive home, we couldn’t help it but stop and enjoy these gorgeous yellow flowers all along the road! Napa Valley is such a dreamy place.

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Cartoon Art Museum

A fun little museum in SF! We had a Groupon or some other voucher for it so we went to check it out. I had actually been there once when I was visiting SF back in 2011, but they have different exhibits all the time so it was a whole new experience.

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Sausalito

We went to Sausalito for brunch one morning and took a stroll to see the houseboats! Very quaint and charming.

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I feel like I still haven’t really explored Sausalito very much (seems like we only ever stop there for food haha) so I would like to come back and explore the city some more some day!

Grizzly Peak

Gosh, this is such a magical place. Located in the Berkeley Hills, it offers a beautiful view of the Bay Area. It was cloudy in SF when we went, but you could see the tops of the buildings just peaking out from under the cloud covers, which made it look like the city was floating. I would absolutely love to go back when it’s clear, or to watch the sunset!

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Hopefully this gives you some ideas for things to do in the wonderful Bay Area! There will be more posts like this coming soon because like I said, there’s no shortage of fun here!

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Days 1&2 – Reykjavik
Days 3&4 – West Iceland

We spent most of the morning driving to Akureyri, a large-ish town in northern Iceland. It’s quite a charming place and we spent some time just walking around town.

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There was a nice little botanical garden and we took a walk through it. We were really surprised to see so much green plants and flowers in the garden in Iceland in September, but the climate is actually really mild in Akureyri for being so far up north.

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Around sunset, we drove out to the nearby Goðafoss, Waterfall of the Gods. It was one of the most majestic waterfalls I’ve ever seen. Add the golden glow of the setting sun to the mix and you get this amazing view:

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For dinner, we went to Rub23, a seafood/sushi restaurant in Akureyri. We ordered a salad, a sushi platter, and dessert. Who would have thought that one of the best sushi we would have would be in Iceland?

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The next morning, we got up early and drove to Husavik for a whale watching tour.

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I had never had to put on so many layers in my life! The huge overall they gave us on the boat were so thick that it was hard to even move around. Here we are all bundled up over the near-arctic waters:

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Unfortunately, we didn’t see any whales that day, one of the very few disappointments of this trip. (New goal in life: see a whale in the wild.) But we still got a nice boat ride out of it, and we visited the whale museum in town afterwards.

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We left Husavik and drove on to Hverfjall, a ring volcano.

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We hiked up to the rim of the crater! It was so windy up there.

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After that, we drove to Lake Mývatn and took a short hike around the area.

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Then we went to Grjótagjá, a lava cave near Mývatn with a thermal spring inside. It used to be a popular bathing site until a couple of eruptions made the water too hot. We still dipped our feet in the water for a bit though.

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We left the area and drove on eastward to Seyðisfjörður, a quaint little town on a fjord.

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It was starting to get dark by this point, so we left and drove to our resting point for the night, Fljótsdalshérað. We stayed at the coolest Airbnb ever – a tiny little cottage on a horse farm. It was super cute and cozy!

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We hadn’t come across anywhere to eat that night, but have no fear – we brought cup noodles! Our fancy dinner that night:

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Here’s a better picture of our cottage taken the next morning. Is it not the most charming thing?

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Days 7&8 – South Iceland

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So I’ve been putting off blogging about our epic Iceland trip for a while now. This is due to a couple of reasons. First, I just haven’t had the time, Second, I’ve been reluctant to do it because I feel like writing about the trip and sharing it with the world would somehow cheapen the amazing experience that it was. But I’ve since decided that that was a stupid idea and that I would love the chance to re-live this journey through blogging.

It was hands-down the best trip I’ve ever been on and I don’t know if anything will ever top it. We basically spent 8 days driving almost 1700 miles around the whole island. We saw waterfalls, glaciers, craters, geysers, hot springs, the northern lights. An abandoned ship, an abandoned plane, an abandoned natural hot water pool. Sand of black and ice of blue. And lots and lots of sheep. And miles and miles of desolate, unspoiled beauty. Some days we ate like kings, while others we had to resort to nothing but granola bars and cup noodles for meals. Everyday we had to stop ourselves from stopping the car every 5 minutes because there is such breathtaking views at every turn. Everything about the trip just felt so authentic, like this was what traveling should be about. It was truly the trip of a lifetime.

So let me start recapping it with our first 2 days, which we spent in the capital city of Reykjavik.

We took a redeye flight from SF, with a layover in Boston, and we arrived in the morning in Reykjavik. We had to wait in the airport for a couple of hours to take a bus to our first destination – Blue Lagoon. Our first photo in Iceland!

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I was so glad we decided to stop by Blue Lagoon right after our flight. It was on the way to the city and it was the perfect way to relax after a long flight. The color of the water was the most unreal opaque light blue.

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We were there when it just opened so it wasn’t too crowded yet.

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After relaxing for a couple of hours and grabbing a quick lunch at the cafe, we were on our way to Reykjavik! We stayed at an Airbnb and it was in a pretty accessible location. We bought 2 Reykjavik Welcome Cards at the visitor center, which gave us bus access for 2 days and some discounts at museums and restaurants. It was a really good deal and we actually ended up using the bus quite a lot for the 2 days. After settling down a bit at our Airbnb, we headed out to check out some art museums. Unfortunately the first one we went to didn’t have any exhibits at the time, so we went to the next one on our list, the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum. It was a small museum but had some really interesting stuff in it, and a nice sculpture garden outside.

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After that we took a bus to The Pearl, a mall with a dome and a 360-degree observation deck at the top.

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It offered some great views of the city and surrounding areas. We also sat in a cafe and enjoyed some hot chocolate. The glass dome looked pretty cool from the inside!

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Afterwards, we headed downtown for our dinner reservation at Grillmarket. We knew that we might not eat too well for the rest of the trip so we splurged on our 2 dinners in Reykjavik. We got bread with the fluffiest butter and smoked salt, a couple of appetizers, and for entrees Yufei got the Meat Gourmet, which was a trio of 3 different meats with sides, and I got the Fish Gourmet, with 3 different types of fish and sides.

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AND we had ice creams and sorbets for dessert. It was such a good meal. After a well-deserved good night sleep, we got up the next morning and went to Hallgrímskirkja, a really cool-looking church not too far from our Airbnb.

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We paid to go up to the tower, which had some nice views of the city. I love all these colorful houses!

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We then went to the National Museum of Iceland, which we got free admission to with our Welcome Cards. It had some really interesting exhibits on the history of Iceland. Then we grabbed a quick lunch at Bæjarins beztu pylsur, a famous hotdog stand. I love the crispy onions that’s in all the hotdogs in Iceland.

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Then we went to the Kolaportið Flea Market. There were lots of vendors selling food, vintage clothing, books, antiques, and other knickknacks.

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We also bought a slice of meringue cake that I was seeing everywhere. It was light and delicious and now I kind of regret not having more of it when we were in Iceland!

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Our next stop was the Reykjavik Art Museum – Hafnarhus. It was another small museum but I quite enjoyed the sculptures, paintings, and interactive art there.

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Next up, we took a bus to the unique Icelandic Phallological Museum.

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I’m a fan of all kinds of weird museums and being someone in the medical field, I was quite intrigued when I found out about this place. It was again pretty small (I think you’re starting to see the trend here…), but there were preserved specimens of phalluses from all different animals as well as humorous poems, newspaper clippings, and art throughout the museum. A pretty interesting place to spend half an hour.

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After that, we took another bus to Harpa, a concert hall and conference center with a cool design along the water. There were lots of couches and chairs around for us to relax and admire the honeycomb-like walls and ceilings of the building.

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Finally, it was time for dinner! This time we decided to eat at Fish Company, where we got a 10% discount with the Welcome Card. We both chose the 4-course Around Iceland menu, with each course featuring ingredients found in different regions of Iceland. This was the lamb course.

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Everything was delicious and beautifully presented. Thus ended our stay in Reykjavik. The next day we start our epic journey around the island!

Days 3&4 – West Iceland
Days 5&6 – North Iceland
Days 7&8 – South Iceland

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I fail at blogging. I thought about just giving up because there’s just TOO MANY THINGS I need to catch up on, but they’re all such good things that I just must share. So here’s to me trying my best to post the events from the past 4 months, starting with our LA trip over Labor Day weekend.

Started at Getty Villa on our first day. Due to the draught they drained all the fountains, so what you see in the background is just an empty fountain painted blue.

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Dinner at The Sunset Restaurant in Malibu. Delicious flatbread appetizer. There was a wedding happening at the beach/restaurant at the same time so we got some live entertainment out the window as we ate!

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Afterwards we walked on the beach and watched the sunset.

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Santa Monica Pier.

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LACMA the next morning! Holy crap this place was huge!

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Lunch at Bottega Louie. Their portobello fries are delicious!

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And of course I had to buy some macarons there as well.

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Another sunset on the beach.

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Dinner at Tsujita. Had tsukemen ramen for the first time ever and it was amazing. The broth was sooo rich and delectable.

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Part 2

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Even though spring quarter of D1 year was tough academically, I still had plenty of time to have fun outside of school to explore different places in SF and beyond. Here are some of the things I did!

The Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio. It’s a really cool museum and you learn so much about Walt Disney’s life and legacy. They also have special exhibits with art from different Disney artists. Highly recommended for any Disney fan!

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My dad, Yufei, and I went hiking in Tennessee Valley in Marin over Memorial Day weekend. We hiked all the way from the Tennessee Valley trailhead to Muir Beach – a hike that turned out to be much more physically demanding than we expected. There were so many ups and downs. But the views along the coast was incredible.

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We had lunch at Pelican Inn once we got to Muir Beach.

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After lunch, we took a much less scenic but much flatter and faster route back!

After we returned to SF from the hike, Yufei and I stopped by Baker Beach. It was our first time there and it was a gorgeous day for the beach.

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The view of the Golden Gate Bridge is great!

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Another weekend, another hike. This time we went to San Pedro Valley County Park. It got increasingly cold and foggy as we went higher and higher, so we eventually gave up and hiked back down before we reached the peak. The mountains did look very mystical in the fog though.

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Then the sun came out unexpectedly near the end of our hike!

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Day 1
Day 2

We got up pretty early on day 3 and took the train to our alma mater – Columbia! We started the day by having breakfast at Tom’s Restaurant, which looked exactly the same as we remember it. Even our server lady was the same!

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Then we walked around the beautiful campus. It was a gorgeous day but very cold.

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For lunch, we went to Mill Korean Restaurant, one of our favorite spots from our college days. We got our usual orders: bento box for me and kimchi fried rice for Yufei.

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After lunch, we took an uptown train to the Cloisters. It was one of those places I had always wanted to visit during college but never got around to.

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Art Hum flash back! We totally studied this painting in that class.

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We spent most of the afternoon there, then took a bus back to campus. We sat on the Low steps for a while, watching the sun go down like we used to. Then we headed to Deluxe for dinner. This is another place we used to frequent back in the day. They used to have $5 burger Mondays, and the night before I was curious to see if they still had it. I went on their website and found out that they did!! We were so excited. But when we got there, there was a sign on their window saying that starting that day, $5 burger Mondays had become $7 burger Mondays. This was a little disappointing, but it didn’t stop Yufei from getting the burger anyway.

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We had tickets to see Avenue Q that night, so we headed there after a delicious dinner.

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It was such a fun show and the perfect way to end a lovely New York day!

Days 4 & 5

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Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

We spent the morning of our last full day in Chicago at the Oak Street beach only a short walk from our hotel. We grabbed some food for breakfast and ate it at the beach.

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It was actually a beautiful beach with really nice blue water and soft sand. There was also a place where you could rent chairs and umbrellas but we were cheap and just sat on Jin’s jacket. The weather was gorgeous and we really wished we could have spent all day lying on the sand! But we still had quite a few destinations to make to that day so we begrudgingly left the beach mid-morning.

Hot Doug’s was our lunch place of choice. The line was around the corner when we got there, but apparently it is often much worse.

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We each picked one of their special hotdogs and shared them. Jin chose the Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel. I got the Hot Doug’s Cassoulet with Saucisse de Toulouse with Fresh Herb Mustard, Great Northern Beans and Duck Confit. We also shared a small order of cheese fries (which were, not surprisingly, not small at all).

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They were both pretty good but again very heavy and salty. After lunch, we took the bus back to the downtown area for the last 2 attractions on our CityPass. First we went to the Field Museum.

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We got to see a 3D movie and all the special exhibits (quickly, since we were short on time once again) and take a photo with Sue the T-Rex.

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Then we walked over to the Shedd Aquarium which was right next to the Field Museum. We saw the jellyfish exhibit first. It was kind of crowded but there were some pretty cool jellies.

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The CityPass also included a 4D movie experience and an aquatic show.

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The aquarium overall was okay but I feel like I’ve been to too many aquariums already and am starting to experience aquarium overload and fatigue, haha.

For our last meal together in Chicago, we decided to go to Girl and the Goat. We tried to make a reservation earlier in the week but to no avail. So we just showed up and put our name down on the list. Then a couple of seats freed up at the bar and we just decided to eat at the bar too. We got a bunch of different plates to share. Grilled baby octopus with guanciale, favas, radish pods, pistachios, and lemon vinaigrette:

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This dish was just okay. It tasted fine but it was probably our least favorite out of everything we ordered, just because everything else was so good.

Sauteed green beans with fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews:

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Simple but very solid dish. The vinaigrette and the cashews accompanied the beans really well. And it’s so good to eat veggies!

Wood oven roasted pig face with sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine-maple, and potato stix:

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Oh my god I still think about this. It was so delicious. The meat was so well seasoned and tender. The egg and potatoes and the sauces were perfect with the meat. Best savory dish for sure.

For dessert, we got the miso-butterscotch budino with bacon toffee, glazed pineapple, and candied cashews:

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It was probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. I’m really glad we decided to get it even though we were already pretty full. Not pictured: bread with butter and sweet garlic oil, and a glass of wine each. The total bill came out to be about $100 for the 2 of us, which was totally reasonable and worth it given the amount and the quality of food we got. A similar meal would easily have cost twice as much in NYC or SF. So a huge success for our last dinner!

That night we tried to go to bed early since we wanted to go see the sunrise the next morning (“We saw the moonrise, might as well see the sunrise” – Jin). So we got up at 5 in the morning and walked over to Oak Street beach again. This time we were smart and brought towels from the hotel to sit on. It was a little bit cloudy that morning but it was still a beautiful sunrise.

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It was really cool how half the lake was lit up by the sun but the other half was still dark.

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Afterwards we went back to the hotel to catch some more sleep before I had to get up and leave for my flight back to SF. It was a really awesome trip and I had a lot of fun exploring a new city. Thanks to Jin for sharing this adventure with me!

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