Meeting People Through One Common Interest

Gotta catch ’em all! Yes, you got it right. I am talking about a hit mobile game. Through the game, Pokémon Go, I am meeting a lot of people and I’ve been traveling quite a distance. I used to travel for one common purpose and that is to explore what the destination has to offer. But recently, I got a new reason to travel. That reason is to meeting people through one common interest, to get stronger in the game, Pokémon Go.

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photo cr: Pokémon Go

I started to get hooked in the game when it was launched and made available to all mobile users. I downloaded it last July 7th when I was still in Los Angeles, CA. My cousin’s son who is also a Pokémon follower told me about the game being online. We downloaded the game and went out to the streets to find and catch the Pokémons. Sad to say since it was just recently launched, the server kept on crashing that we have to close and re-open the app for quite a lot of times. Even though it closes several times, we got to catch some Pokémons. We were overwhelmed of the game and almost got into an accident. So, it is better to follow what the game says when you run it. That is to always look on your surroundings.img_4692A couple days after it was launched in L.A, we got to Long Beach to try to catch some water pokémons but to our surprise, we only caught Pidgeys and mostly flying Pokémons. We also went to Manhattan Beach but still failed to catch rare monsters. Even though we didn’t get what we were expecting, I still got the added benefit of playing the game. I got to see Queen Mary in Long Beach and enjoyed watching people playing beach volleyball in Manhattan Beach. Yet, I haven’t met people since the game was just released. I went back to Cleveland and drove all the way to Caldwell, my hometown. To this moment, I am still playing the game and through this game, I get acquainted to some of my neighbors who are also playing the game. I’ve talked to players online and met another trainer in Fairlawn after telling me that the cemetery is a Pokéstop heaven.

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Fairlawn’s Pokéstop Heaven

I have visited the mall in Zanesville due to a Pikachu sighting and I did capture one.

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The Most Famous Pokémon character, Pikachu

I also have gone to Athens that along the riverside in the OU school campus, you can capture most water pokémons and I did capture goldeens, squirtle and more. I’ve traveled to Marietta to see what monsters they have and got to explore the city.

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The streets of Marietta

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Marietta Park

I even went to Vienna/ Parkersburg in WV just to catch ’em all and I did wander in Julia-Ann Square Historical District.

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Julia-Ann Square Historical District

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Old Homes

img_4688I’ve gone far to St Marys, WV due to sightings of rare pokémons and checked the Middle Island.

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St. Marys, WV

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Middle Island in St. Marys, WV

img_4622All those places I have gone to, I met a lot of pokémon players. They were battling the gym, capturing some wild monsters but even though we were just looking on our mobile, we still got time to say hello and give information and advices on how to get stronger. I don’t socialise to people most of the time but through this game, I got to talk and meet these cool people.

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My current Pokémons

There maybe a lot of negative rumors about the game but it totally depends on how the person look at it. I find it advantageous for my case since I travel a lot and I got to do my daily walking or jogging exercise because of the game for me to hatch my poké eggs. I got to see the benefits of the game and I hope others will find it too. Yes, it is addictive but a gamer needs also to have self control.

PS: Poké trainers I met don’t want their faces showed for personal and safety reasons.

The Child in Me Unleashed

I am used to traveling to see what the place has to offer and not to go to theme or amusement parks. But this time, I went out of my routine travel itinerary and have decided to try to go in one of the happiest places in Los Angeles and that is in Universal Studios. Letting the child in me unleashed.

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Universal Studios Hollywood

It was 10 in the morning on a cloudy day when I got to Universal Studios. The park was filled with a lot of guests wandering here and there. There were plenty of rides to choose from but the first ride I took was the Studio Tour since the waiting time is not that long.IMG_3726
Studio Tour is good for an hour. The guests usually ride in a shuttle and will have a tour in studios where most films, sitcoms, or TV shows were shot. We were toured in a New York City setup, studios of movies such as Jaws, Ted, and films that we thought were shot in Texas and part of Mexico but were actually filmed in Universal Studios. The whole journey in the studio was fun added with some 3Ds from King Kong and Fast and Furious and it was also full of information on how they use technology with the aid of the blue or green screen.

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Queue for the Studio Tour

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Shuttle for the tour

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New York City facade

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Ted

After the studio tour, I headed to the newly opened attraction which is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The queue at the back was a little bit long. As I mentioned, I am an avid fan of the movie series. So, without further ado, I didn’t care how many minutes it’ll take me waiting to get inside the famous world of wizards.

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Welcome to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Have some butterbeer.

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Whomping Willow

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It took about 15 minutes to get inside the castle passing thru the Whomping Willow. For the rides such as the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff, it may take a little more longer.

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Going to Forbidden Journey

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Hippogriff

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Flight of the Hippogriff

I also went to Hogsmeade and checked Ollivanders and more wizard stores. They were selling memorabilias from magic wands, robes, stuffed animals to even sorting hats. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter surely has captured most of the scenarios of the movie and somehow made us, fanatic, reminisced the days when we first saw it on big screen.

I went out of the Wizarding World and took time to grab some munchies and went to other amusement rides. The next ride was the Transformers.

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Military base under Evac in Transformer amusement ride in Universal Studio Hollywood

The setup before getting into ride was like a bunk or a military base for an evacuation. The story is to deliver and keep the AllSpark safe. It was an awesome 3D ride, full of action and death defying scene.

Next attraction was Jurassic Park. I rode the river raft adventure. The ride was one of those exhilarating rides yet nerve-wracking when I didn’t expect that 84-foot drop. It was full of fun though and wanted to get to ride that again if only I have all the time in the world.

Waterworld was next. It is the number 1 show in Universal Studios Hollywood and every guests shouldn’t miss it. The plot of the show is the characters were looking for dry land. Fighting to get to dry land first made it full of action and adventure added with some pyro works. The show ran for 30 mins with specific time schedule so, always be in tune with time.

After that burning and getting wet show, I went to lovable characters ride. It was the the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. The ride started by transforming the riders into minions and were trained by the kids. It was hilarious.

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Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

I also watched the Special Effects show on how special effects were done and lastly, I rode my last amusement ride in Shrek 4D.

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Shrek 4D

When I got out from Shrek 4D, I was walking around the park glancing to keep memories of it since it will be a long wait for me to come back.

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The whole day in the Entertainment Capital of L.A. was indeed memorable. I had so much fun that I forgot taking pictures of the park. I did enjoy and deep inside me, the feeling of being a child again was unleashed. If you want to know more about the rides and attractions in Universal Studios Hollywood, visit their site by clicking here.

The Sunny State

Every state in the United States has a nickname. It so happened that I’m in the Buckeye State, Ohio, and the weather changes like changing clothes. In the morning, it will be sunny but at noon, it’ll rain or even snow in the middle of spring season. Since I have missed a lot of sunshine in my whole year here in the Land of the Brave, so, I have decided to catch the sun myself and headed to the sunny state, California.

California Flag

California is located at the west coast of the country with the capital, Sacramento. It has a couple of names such as El Dorado and Golden State. It is also a famous destination since it houses Hollywood, the rich and popular people of showbiz and etc, amusement parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios, the iconic Golden Gate bridge and more. But the main reason of why I’m visiting this state is due to my mum coming over this country and her port of entry is in LAX, Tom Bradley International Airport, in Los Angeles.

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LAX sign cr. wikipedia

I flew all the way from Cleveland to Los Angeles and arrived in LA at night time and welcomed my mother in the U.S. The next day, the tour schedule was packed for the whole day. Our hosts were actually my cousin and his family who live in LA for more than 5 years which is a plus. First on our visit list was the Hollywood sign.

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Hollywood sign

This sign is an American icon in Los Angeles. The same as the Eiffel Tower in Paris. So, it is a must to take photos with this sign whenever a traveler or tourist is in the City of Angels.  It is situated on Mount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains. The sign overlooks Hollywood, Los Angeles.

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View of downtown LA near the Hollywood sign

Few miles from the Hollywood sign is the Griffith Observatory.

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Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory is a facility built on Mount Hollywood. It is a popular tourist attraction with an amazing view of the Hollywood sign and it also has an extensive array of space and science-related displays. Admission is free of charge except some planetary shows with some small added charge.

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View of LA in Griffith Observatory

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View inside Griffith Observatory

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After seeing the displays and attractions in the observatory, we went to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

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Harry Potter fanatic here!

The Hollywood  Walk of Fame is a sidewalk embedded with brass stars with names of mix of actors, musicians, directors, fictional characters, musical and theatrical groups, and more. It is also a popular tourist attraction.

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Buildings in Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Buildings in Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Hollywood street

We went back home after walking miles in the Walk of Fame. On the second day, we just stayed at home but the best thing is we were staying in Hermosa Beach. Thus, I walked into the beach and went to the pier.

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Hermosa Beach Pier

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Tim Kelly statue

Looking on the surfers, beach volleyball players, beach tennis players, men fishing, runners, or just plain people like me lounging on the heat of the sun gave me a greatest feeling of R&R.

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House near the beach

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Surfers

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The wave

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Hermosa Beach

Next day, we were toured in a famous movie location in Santa Monica Pier.

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Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier is a famous movie location which movies such as Hancock, Cellular and Forrest Gump were filmed. It has been considered as a landmark that has been over 100 years. The pier contains a lot of attractions. It has  Pacific Park, a family amusement park with its one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art, solar paneled Ferris wheel, a carousel hippodrome, shops, pubs, restaurants, entertainers and more.

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Santa Monica Beach

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Santa Monica beach

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Pacific Park Ferris wheel

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Tourists

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People flocking to see entertainer performing.

We have to leave before rush hour because traffic in Los Angeles is unforgiving. It was a little bit hot, walking and wandering around Santa Monica but I am thankful enough that the weather was perfect.

The fourth and last day in California was spent in one of the happiest places on Earth and that is on an amusement park in Universal City. Yes, we went to Universal Studios Hollywood. Ticket price varies on where you purchase it. If the ticket was purchased online, an individual can save up to US$10-30. Without having second thoughts, we bought our ticket online and save US$10 instead of buying it in the studio. For my story about the trip in Universal Studio, I will write a separate blog article and will publish it in a few weeks.

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Studio Map

The whole experience in the Sunny State of California was joyous. There were no dull and boring moments. It was awesome and definitely will be going back soon. California is indeed a great place to live with everything you need and want you can find. I have only explored Los Angeles and there are still more iconic places in the Golden State to see such as the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, the capital city of Sacramento and more.

To see the places I’ve visited in California in just 4 mins, check my vlog at my YouTube channel below:

Welcome to Stars and Stripes!

Every person has a special someone in his life. It may be his siblings, his partner, his parents, or all of them. That person becomes his strength, weakness, motivation, inspiration, center of his life and even offer his life just to make them happy. That special person in my life so happen to be my mother. She singlehandedly brought, fed, educated, and influenced me and my older brother. Now, that I am almost independent and on my way to settling down here in the United States, it has been my greatest goal to bring her in the Land of the Free. Then, I was given an opportunity for that goal to come into reality.

My mum and I in Ayutthaya, Thailand


The month of May has been very meaningful to me and my family. It is my mother’s birth month, Mother’s day also happens to fall on this month, my home province feast month, and lastly, it is the month in which I get to see my mum take her first step in the United States. It is an incredible feeling yelling to her, Welcome to the Stars and Stripes!


The journey for her to get here was exhausting yet rewarding and I can still remember the months which we have to communicate online for hours to just finish all the requirements for U.S Visa Application but we reaped what we sow. And finally, almost a year has passed after I left my home country, I will meet my mum here.

I drove all the way from Caldwell to Cleveland just to get her and have a decent vacation in the sunny state, California. I even took the time to make a vlog of my travel. Check out my YouTube channel for my travel to California, by clicking here.I left Caldwell at exactly 1017H, left my car in a friend’s house and traveled to CLE-Hopkins International Airport and arrived in the airport at 1330H which is too early for my flight. It just showed that I was so excited to see her.Boarding time was at 1655H and departure time at 1740H via Spirit Airlines. At exact time, the plane took off with a 4-hour flight going to LAX. I took some photos midair and I captured this which is in Missouri’s fly zone at 1930H.
We also fly thru Illinois, Nebraska, and then we got into Colorado with these amazing views of the mountains.

Few hours, air view from the plane changed to what appears to me as a desert. GPS was telling the location that it was in Golden Valley, AZ.

Couple of hours, the plane landed in Tom Bradley International Airport in Los Angeles at exactly 1935H PST in Terminal 3. After I got out of the plane, I rushed directly to the international gate to welcome my mum but to my surprise, she was out already looking for me. It was an emotional scene when I saw her. I hugged her too tight and she was still in awe that she was able to get to the U.S.The whole welcoming my mum trip was amazing! It was my first time to travel to California and it was awesome. Now, my mother is here. I can spend more time with her traveling and exploring the United States.