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To celebrate completing my book, I spent the day on my bicycle. Rode it about 25 miles to and from the ocean, and I was stoked the sun finally came out…even in Santa Monica (which seems to always be overcast, foggy, and cold compared to West Hollywood). While I was in Santa Monica, I stopped at the beach by the pier, where there’s an adult playground with ropes to climb, balance beams, parallel bars, and a row of rings to swing on.

Since I’m a monkey (Chinese year of the Monkey) I was drawn to the rings. It looked hard, but it really doesn’t take strength, but rather, finesse. You just have to get enough momentum, rocking back and forth, to swing and grab the next ring. That said, my hands were killing me, and I was on the kiddie set of rings! The adult set are really high up, and scary. But, perhaps I’ll give them a try next time I visit the coast.

Whenever I find myself West of the 405, which is a rarity, I make sure to stop into see Juliano at Planet Raw for his kick-ass chocolate shake….that revs up  my cycle back home. Yesterday, I enjoyed a burrito at Better Life Cuisine, and spent a couple hours catching up with Dr. Z, who owns that building.

Back in WEHO, I stopped at Beverly Juice Club for my favorite green juice shake blended with frozen banana and sunflower seeds (no added sweetener). Had hoped to get to my favorite Koreatown Sauna, but ran out of time. Instead, met my friend and his puppy at the park with Kanga, and they had a great doggie play date together. Then, met up with my brother, Max, for dinner later in the evening.

A great day it was celebrating life, love, health, sunshine, and ….with good friends and family. I’m blessed.

My family loves to take our holiday in mid to late January in honor of Mom’s birthday, and after the holiday crowds have dispersed. This year, we found our way to the beautiful island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

When the water reaches out to the horizon with over 180 degree views, it’s super calming and breathtaking.

The palm trees are over 5 stories tall, and full of green coconuts that I can’t reach. It’s torture, especially since there’s a bunch right off my balcony. It took me several days before locating a coconut to drink. (Though, I think I like Thai coconuts better. They have a sweeter and fuller flavor.) I was surprised at how little fresh produce or raw foods were available on St Thomas. They were serving pineapple juice out of giant cans and were making smoothies using strawberry puree from a box! Thank goodness I packed most of my suitcase with fruits, sea vegetables, nuts, seeds, blue green algaes, and superfoods.

I met a lot of iguanas, they are so cute, and very mellow. Folks seem afraid of them, but they’re harmless.

All I want to do on holiday is play play play. One of my favorite pastimes is swimming in the warm ocean (the ocean in LA is much too cold for me). I’ve been enjoying the sun, lifting heavy weights, and running up mountains. I don’t recommend running here because the roads are very narrow, there’s no shoulder, no sidewalk, and people drive crazy. I don’t think you can ride a bike here either, and I haven’t seen one yet.

Forgive me for being a cheeze ball here, but I want to show off my ab muscles. I don’t remember seeing abs on myself since I was in middle or high school. I’m happy I upgraded my workouts from long, slow, distance to explosive, heavy, and intense workouts. I believe training with sprints and intense spikes in cardio is how we exist in nature since we have to quickly and suddenly run away from predators.

Since St Thomas is 4 hours ahead of LA, I haven’t seen a sunrise yet. But, the sunsets are gorgeous! Sitting on the beach under the stars and moon at night is such a treat. Thank you to my friends in Florida for telling me to avoid night swimming because that’s when sharks feed. As a raw fooder, you know I would have been out in the ocean swimming naked every night! Ha haaa.

The weekend before Halloween, Tami Erin and I went to Monster Massive in downtown LA. It’s a huge 40,000 person rave. I think it was probably the hugest party I’ve attended, and it was packed. I won’t bother posting up photos of the crowd, just imagine a sea of people dancing up a storm inside a huge sports arena.

You won’t normally find me at such a high energy event, but since Moby personally invited me, I wasn’t about to miss it. I have to admit, I had a great time. I love dancing, it’s one of my favorite pastimes, great exercise, and Moby rocked the house. I’ve never seen a DJ jump up onto the speakers to dance while spinning records. He had so much energy, a testament to his healthy vegan, whole food, and heavily raw food diet. Moby had the crowd going nuts, they loved him, as we all do.

kevin boyland, ani, and joe connelly

kevin boylan, ani, and joe connelly

The Veggie Grill is taking SoCal by storm with their delicious vegan foods. I love the fact they use soy-free cheese made from cassava root. (I’m in fact Asian, but allergic to soy products). And, they have a great marinated raw kale salad that’s yummmms.

Joseph Connelly, publisher of the best vegan lifestyle magazine VegNews, was in town on his way to Expo West in Anaheim tomorrow. So, we met up with Veggie Grill owner Kevin Boylan for dinner in West Hollywood. It was so good! I gave Joe an early copy of Ani’s Raw Food Essentials to check out.

We also met 3 fitness buffs. They were ripped with huge muscles on a vegan, plant based diet. All train in Jujitsu, and looked like they could be body builders. I asked the lady in the group about her protein intake, and she said she doesn’t worry about it. To build muscle, she told me to pump heavy iron at high reps of 20, 4 sets. I’m going to try that later today at the gym.

I’m all about building up my muscle mass lately. I feel that as I’m growing older, my metabolism is naturally slowing down. One way to boost it up is by building more muscle mass. I’ve noticed after years of detoxing and fasting that my body cannibalized my muscle. So now it’s time to rebuild more.

I’m amazed, but at the same time feel like it’s about time, that we can shoot photos on our cell phones. Now, to be able to keep my Pandora playing in the canyons with no reception is another story. Here’s some photos I took on our hike today.

trail and ocean view

trail and ocean view

It’s been so clear the past week, you could see the tall buildings of downtown LA in the distance.

downtown LA

downtown LA

When Kanga’s passed out on the floor, it means we’ve had a good workout session. The better Kanga looks, the more muscles she has, the stronger she is, it’s a reflection of my health. That’s because the dog runs me everyday.

a worn out Kanga

a worn out Kanga

resort owner Mom Tri and I

resort owner Mom Tri and I

Mom Tri, owner of the resort, totally gets it. His spa uses edible coconut oil, he has an organic farm in Chang Mai with a cooking school, and looks super fit and healthy.

the salt water pool over looking the lagoon

the salt water pool over looking the lagoon

This is one of 3 pools at Mom Tri’s, and salt water too.

lotus pond

lotus pond

Each morning I’d find a newly bloomed lotus flower. They’re beautiful!

deck for dining

one of many decks for dining and drinking

This is just one of several decks overlooking the ocean for dining and drinking. What a view!

the beach

the beach

This is the beach at Mom Tri’s….turquoise water and white sands. I did get a minor jelly fish sting. I was with a doctor, luckily, who kept me calm, and though it left welts on my arm, it was really not a big deal. I tried to swim a mile a day in the ocean. It was bath water warm and such a treat.

thailand from airplane

view of Phuket from the airplane

One way I like to entertain myself is with my camera, especially during long international flights.

sunrise

a sunrise on the plane ride back to LA from Asia

The sunrise during my very long flight back to the USA from Tokyo was beautiful. Most people were sleeping and missed this amazing view.

I don’t sleep well on planes, and you’ll usually find me doing wall push-ups and stretching in the open area by the staff. Maybe that’s why one flight attendant remembered me from my flight to Asia 6 weeks prior.

Kintamani Volcano with Carol

Kintamani Volcano with Carol

We did the tourist route and visited Kintamani Volcano. We were lucky to enjoy this beautiful view because it rained a couple hours later and was socked in with fog.

mountain batur hike ani carol

Batur Mountain on a hike with Carol in the pouring rain

Next, we drove to the bottom of Mt. Batur to hike up the volcano. As soon as we started our hike, it began dumping rain. And I mean torrential downpour! It was no use trying to stay dry, so we chose to keep climbing. Huge blessing that the rain stopped and the sky cleared as we approached the top so we could take in the views. And once we got back down to the bottom, we went and soaked in a mineral hot spring to warm up.

jeep

our jeep

I had to put a photo of the back of our jeep in here. Our rain soaked clothes are hung up to dry, and we’re stocked up with 2 huge Montong durians. Our jeep smelled of durian from the outside. Good thing Carol and our driver both love durian as much as I do.

bug

a pretty bug

Check out this pretty bug. Does anyone know what type of insect this is?

grocery in Bali

grocery in Bali

It’s rainy season in Bali, so it downpours buckets of rain for 20 minutes to a couple hours almost every day. It’s warm, so I don’t mind it. On my first rainy day, I decided to visit a local grocery store, where I found a new fruit called salak. It grows on palm trees.

selak

salak fruit

This is salak. It has a brown snakeskin that’s really thin. You peel it away to find what looks like garlic cloves inside. These pods of fruit contain a small seed, and taste sweet and tart at the same time.

selak peeled

peeled salak fruit

The meat of the salak fruit is not juicy, but rather dry and firm. It has a texture similar to a pear, but not as firm and crisp, smoother in texture, and dry. Interesting texture and delicious flavor.

rambutan

rambutan fruit

This brightly colored, hairy fruit is a rambutan. I love lychees, and the rambutan is very similar in texture and flavor. Rambutan is very cheap in Bali. I  bought a big bag for about 50 cents. The rambutan, even at the grocery store, is always covered in crawling ants. I guess this means there’s no pesticides on the fruit, a good thing.

Here in hot, muggy Bali, I live off fresh tropical fruits (durian, salak, rambutan, mango, papaya, pineapple, and banana), and enjoy only occasional greens when I find them. Back home in the States, I had been cutting back on my sugar intake over the past several months. I was concerned about eating so much fruit. But, my body is thriving on this raw food fruit diet. Combined with swims in the warm ocean, walking everywhere, and the sunshine, all this fruit is making my body leaner. I like this effect.

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