Yesterday (and the day before, thanks International Date Line) we flew from Denver to Hanoi. Our flights took us:

  • Denver –> Dallas Forth Worth
  • DFW –> Narita Airport (Tokyo)
  • Narita –> Noi Bai International (Hanoi)

Because we flew to Dallas first, we had to backtrack over Colorado to get to Tokyo. This means that about six hours after leaving my parents’ house in Louisville, Colorado….

We flew directly overhead! I couldn’t get a photo of Louisville because it was literally right under the plane.

Here’s a view of DIA from the 787, just a couple hours after we flew out of there.


And here’s the I-25/Northwest Parkway interchange that we drove through at about 3:30 AM Mountain Time that morning.


Here’s Boulder Reservoir and Longmont in the distance. I could also see Greeley, where my brother lives.¬†IMG_1859



Me at the Reservoir, three days earlier

And here’s Long’s Peak.


Here’s the view of Rocky Mountain National Park that I made the panorama of just a couple days ago. Impressive even from above!


The light brown patch in the upper right corner is where I took the panorama


It was super-cool to see that the planes flying over Boulder really are going all around the world in some cases. What a great finale to our Colorado holiday!

EDIT: Here are the photos that my Dad took of our plane, flying right over them! They were tracking us on FlightAware and saw that we were going right over them. EDIT EDIT: Actually, these were taken by my mom. The close one is through the sunroo on the car, as they drove down the highway.

Photo Feb 18 11 59 35 AMPhoto Feb 18 12 01 45 PM

Coffee Taste Test – Four Preparations

I am not a coffee afficionada, because my brain only has so much space (and it’s been taken up with beer knowledge). I do love coffee, though. I like it when travelling, and have found ways to make it differ greatly on this little blue planet.


Vietnamese –> Drip –> French Press

In Italy, the moka and the cafeterria reign supreme. In Boulder, the french press is popular. In South America, instant is the way to go. In Korea, one can use a drip coffee maker if you are common enough to want to make your coffee at home. In Vietnam, they use a special silver filter.

Which one is best? Or at least, which is best for me?

Time for a side-by-side taste test. All these coffee types were made with the same coffee (Peet’s Robust Roast, or as my Mama calls it, ‘Crack’). That excludes the instant espresso, which is Medaglia D’Oro brand from the Latino foods section. Where’s the Moka? I can’t find it. Maybe it’s in Korea somewhere.



Boom, done! 10 seconds to fresh espresso. Just add hot water. It’s so convenient, and I know why I normally keep one of these on my desk if I happen to be working an office job. At $4 for 2oz., it’s also the most cost efficient. It’s grassy and burnt in taste, but it has a great little foam if you pour the hot water hard.

Korean-Style Drip


This brought back memories of Busan mornings. The drawback: you have to buy filters. The good part: it makes the biggest cup. The result is a lighter, smooth coffee with a certain amount of slickness in the mouth. This process seemed to bring out a cinnamon aroma in this coffee, too.

French Press


Hard to believe that this was once my favourite coffee maker. It’s light, and burnt on the first sip. The second sip is milder, but I just cannot get over the debris left in the coffee. I wrote, “SANDY” in my tasting notes. No longer a favourite.



This is my new obsession. Vietnamese coffee is wonderful and thick. There is nothing better than a coffee next to the busy street on a hot Hanoi afternoon. I am not yet an expert at making it, but this attempt was concentrated and thick. There is remarkably less aroma compared to the other preparations, and it’s earthy. My favourite.


Even though I’m back freelancing and need energy to sit in front of the laptop for eight hours a day, I don’t need four cups of coffee. I poured some into cups to put outside with incense, in true Vietnamese fashion. Thank you, gods of coffee, for such abundance.