Amy Rinaldo


Amy Rinaldo

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Latin's been far too long. How I've missed you! My dear friend Sonya (we met while both studying abroad in Buenos Aires) lived in Granada, Nicaragua on and off for a couple of years during high school and college. We've been talking of traveling there together since we met (so for the past 5 years)... and it finally happened! It was a whirlwind 1 week trip, but we managed to cram in a ton of activities, parties, and relaxing. Granada is picture perfect, with its vibrantly painted colonial style houses, cobblestone roads, and lake and mountain proximity. Highlights including: Visiting all of Sonya's old friends and their families, sipping juice in their living rooms and talking Sandanista politics Swimming in the balmy water of Apoyo Lagoon with some new Dutch friends Hiking the intense jaguar ... read more
Apoyo Lagoon
Dancing at the Hipica
The bulls are coming!!

North America » United States » California December 10th 2011

I knew last year that after returning from China I would be taking a hiatus from traveling for a while and try and stay put long enough to establish a career and enjoy time with my family. With this in mind I have made a conscious effort to spend more time exploring and enjoying the wonders of my homeland - beautiful California. Isn't it true that we never seem to fully appreciate what we have when it is right next to us? Well I think I've done pretty well in the past year, visiting Sonoma, Tamales Bay, Bolinas, Big Sur, and Pismo Beach all for the first time, and spending a ton more time in old favorites like San Francisco, Monterey and San Diego. I've even been enjoying the anticlimatic San Jose more and more.... Anyway ... read more
near San Diego harbor
Big Sur
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap February 18th 2011

It's now been 6 months since I was actually physically IN Cambodia, but better late than never right? Being back home and near to family and friends is wonderful and all, but the fast, busy and somewhat insane pace of life here in the Silicon Valley at times makes me long for the much different vibes of other places I've been. I occasionally wonder if us Bay Area-ans are too busy to enjoy life like we should...well we are definitely too busy to keep up on our blogs! In addition to the breathtaking temples which you can view for yourself in my pictures, the thing that stood out to me most about Cambodia was in fact the Cambodians. I seem to meet friendly locals no matter what country I am in, but what really struck me ... read more
the faces of Banyon were my favorite!
Banyon temple from afar
a modern Buddhist temple within an ancient Hindu one

Asia » Thailand August 1st 2010

It's hard to believe I've been home for almost 3 weeks. I've purposely been avoiding the computer knowing that I have an immense amount of blogging to catch up on, but looking back on these pictures is bringing nothing but smiles and good memories. I decided to organize my entries by country instead of chronologically as I jumped back and forth between countries a lot. I flew from Hangzhou, China to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but almost immediately headed to Thailand where I spent 5 weeks (minus a few side trips). So, Thailand goes first! Bangkok was my jumping off point for several small trips and I was there for a total of 4 non-consecutive days. It was quite shocking after China; foreigners are everywhere. Everything just seemed so easy, it almost felt like cheating. English is ... read more
outside Bangkok's Art & Culture Center
Nadu and Worlawoot
Malayu and one of the puppies

Asia » Thailand » Western Thailand » Sangkhlaburi July 23rd 2010

10. You no longer smile at or play peek-a-book with babies on the street for fear they will burst into tears at the sight of your strange sunburnt foreign face. 9. You secretly love Korean pop music. 8. You are disappointed (or maybe relieved?) when there is not a jelly or jello balls of some sort in your beverage. 7. You are not embarrassed to use an umbrella to shade yourself from the sun. 6. You stare at other foreigners when you see them and occasionally whisper to your companions about their strange Western ways. 5. Your English has deteriorated, become very s l o w and includes a lot of hand gestures. Even when talking to native English speakers. 4. You occasionally can't think of a word in English. 3. Vegetables are for breakfast and ... read more

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Suzhou June 18th 2010

Before I write anything I feel the need to remind everyone that the following is my (an outsider)'s opinion which I've based on observations and things I've read. This is not a seriously researched thesis or anything, simply some reflections. China's government has a reputation for being corrupt. One factor is that status is everything here, you are very much defined by your title and the amount of money you make, so I think many people are willing to do more to get ahead. While this is true all over the world I have seen it much more intensely here (think of all the recent suicides - all work related). Another factor is guanxi, which I will explain a little later. I have heard and observed that the laws are constantly changing, actual enforcement of those ... read more

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Nanjing June 14th 2010

One of the many things I miss about home is trees. There are plenty in Suzhou, but they are all very landscaped - nothing is natural. I miss seeing tree covered hills and knowing that I can easily drive to foresty hiking areas. Even on the outskirts of town, everything here is factories and buildings and roads for as far as you can see. Nanjing (literally 'southern capital) has many sites of historical significance, but when my friend Luke and I went there we spent most of our time hiking. Many famous buildings are located on a group of beautiful green tree-covered hills, and we wandered on and off the paths for nearly 4 hours. It was serene and a wonderful remedy to the business of city life. We also squeezed in some China things, like ... read more
View of Nanjing
government troops target practice

Asia » China June 5th 2010

Looking back, all of my entries have been centered around trips and things I've done and seen. I have wanted to write more about my day to day observations and experiences, and now that I'm down to a month left in China I figure I should get to work. My year here has been very educational. I now have highly refined chopsticks skills, a basic grasp of Mandarin, and the ability to dodge traffic while listening to my ipod and texting all at the same time. I appreciate a lot more about America - freedom of information, freedom of speech, the rich diversity that I have taken for granted until coming somewhere without it. But I think one of the most important things I've come to realize is the following: in the nature vs. nurture debate, ... read more

Asia » China » Jiangsu » Wuxi May 6th 2010

Last weekend I headed to Wuxi (pronounced 'woo-she') to hang out with some friends. Wuxi is lovely and green, on the banks of Tai Lake, but not too different from Suzhou (it is after all only a 20 minute train ride away). I had planned to just take it easy as time off from work is rare, but ended up convincing my friend Andrew to trek to the "Big Buddha" with me. Great decision, as it was a gorgeous day (the sky was actually blue instead of its normal concrete color) and a lot of fun. Ling Shan, as it is officially called, is a huge complex of Buddhist art, temples, and a giant conference hall. And a really REALLY big buddha statue. The place was huge and it took us 3 hours to see everything. ... read more
posing as toe scum
b.b. from afar
happy buddha

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an April 16th 2010

Cramming Xi'an into a three day weekend was tiring. There's a lot of stuff I didn't see, though I did knock the important ones out of the way (Terracotta Warriors, Great Mosque, Big Goose Pagoda). Getting to the Shanghai airport from Suzhou is a huge hassle so it's much more tempting to take the overnight train whenever possible. However, that involves counting on 1. the train being on time so as not to waste precious hours of your very short vacation time, and 2. there not being 2 extremely loud snorers in your compartment. Unfortunately on this trip both of these assumptions turned out false, so I enjoyed a 17 instead of 13 hour trip there, and a very sleepless night on the way back. All negatives aside, I still had a really great time with ... read more
The Army
more army guys
The Philippines are following us...

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