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all regional travel notes by: Chia


- San Francisco, 2011/12/22
Subject: Bring Cash or Your ATM Card
Was just in San Francisco for a few days, eating at many vegan and vegetarian restaurants listed on HappyCow... found out that some of the places enforces a "Cash only" policy! So bring cash, or your atm card just to be sure. Now you know.


- San Francisco, 2011/12/22
Subject: Vegan Baked Goods at all SF Whole Foods Markets
I was so impressed and delighted to find vegan donuts, vegan muffins, and vegan scones in the fresh bakery section of Whole Foods (Franklin). Then I was told that ALL the Whole Foods in San Francisco offer fresh vegan donuts! Seems like a local supplier is making them for Whole Foods daily (maybe Pepples Donuts). Awesome.


- San Luis Obispo, 2011/12/22
Subject: Good Stop Between San Francisco and Los Angeles
Visited San Luis Obispo for the first time in December 2011, as a resting point between roadtrip San Francisco-Los Angeles. The main part of downtown is where most restaurants & shops are located. Well-kept and nice. You can walk around and find all the vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants listed on HappyCow. In general, it's a pretty easy going town. Lots of hills, residential space, and farms outside of downtown. You will need a car.


- Santa Monica, 2011/05/30
Subject: Santa Monica restaurants non-veg but has options
Not really my first choice but if you are with non-veg eaters who insist on going to a non-veg restaurant, you could try: PF Chang's on Wilshire and 4th St (3rd St Promenade Area) - Some vegetarian websites list "PF Chang's" chain of American-Chinese restaurants as being vegetarian-friendly, but having tried it for myself twice, I consider it NOT super veg-friendly enough for this area! The menu is extensive, but most items contain meat. There is a small section of "vegetarian and sides". I would only eat there again as a last resort (if there's nothing else around). Really, every Chinese restaurant I know offers at least a few vegetable dishes.


- Portland, 2009/10/02
Subject: My Portland Visit, Sept 09
My friend who resides in Portland tells me that the City is all about the 3 B's: Brew, Books, Bikes. Well, maybe for some. For others, especially vegetarians and vegans, Portland is known as the vegan bubble or the vegan mecca of U.S.A.. From what I experienced on my first trip here, the veg food scene in Portland is pretty impressive.

There are so many fully vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Portland. The prices are totally affordable (cheap compared to big cities like Los Angeles). While most of the restaurants are casual and run by young people, there were a couple that stood out. Namely the Blossoming Lotus Cafe as well as the Restaurant. I highly recommend eating at both of them when in Portland.

One of the interesting discoveries for me in Portland is the food cart scene. They are everywhere! and legal as long has they have permits. I got to check out several vegetarian food carts. Another wonderful discovery is edible gardens. Front lawns sprouting all sorts of greens and edibles.

Overall, the vibe here is easy, laid back, progressive, and green conscious. People are mostly relaxed and just living their lives.


- Rowland Heights, 2009/03/23
Subject: Rowland Heights
Rowland Heights is like little Asia, but big. A large majority of its population come from Taiwan and China in addition to other Asian countries like Korea and Japan. Many of the shops are Chinese and Korean own and operated. You can come here for to buy Asian food ingredients.


- Venice, 2009/03/23
Subject: Venice Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk & Abbot Kinney
Venice Beach is a fun place to be. It was and still is the cool place to hang out. While there are lots of vagrants and bums mixed in with tourists, you can see lots of bizarre and strange as well as fun and interesting. Drum circles on the beach every Sunday late afternoon.

For many years, the pink Krishna temple that occupies the corner of Rose and and 2nd Ave operated an all-you-can-eat buffet style kitchen but that was shut down for a few years now... but I heard that they may be trying to get their lease back and open a restaurant again (info March 09). The all vegan burger joint, Good Karma, on the Boardwalk came and went - it lasted less than one year. Fortunately, there's the Fruit Gallery on the boardwalk, Seed on Pacific Ave & Windward, J's Kitchen on Abbot Kinney Blvd. Abbot Kinney is a neat little street to go walking on and check out the shops.


- Odense, 2007/09/20
Subject: Odense, Denmark
Odense is the 3rd largest city in Denmark, but it's not very big. It is the birthplace of the story writer, Hans Christensen Anderson, and home to the museum dedicated to the writer.

The main city centre (shopping, banks, restaurants) is just steps across the street from the train station. There are very few choices for vegetarian travelers in the major pedestrian walking & shopping area, but you can find usually 1 or 2 vegetarian items on a restaurant menu. Note that dairy is often used.

If you don't mind eating bread only, you can find a bakery in the train station. There is also a fast food sandwich chain restaurant. Otherwise, be more adventurous and check out the listings that are on HappyCow's up-to-date Odense page.

If you have more than 1 day to spend in Odense, you might venture further out away from the city centre. Walk around the small windy roads and you might find something interesting. Good luck.


- Culver City, 2007/06/04
Subject: Culver City
Culver City is located on the westside of Los Angeles, near West LA, Marina Del Rey, and Venice Beach. There a lively downtown area where there is a Trader Joe's Market, some (non-veg) bars and restaurants, movie theatre, live performance theatre. There are a few vegetarian restaurants, as listed on HappyCow, but they are not located in the downtown area, and you need a car to get around. We tried a non-vegetarian restaurant called Tender Greens in Culver City where the menu choices include a vegan salad and a raw salad, each at around $10.


- Malta, 2007/04/10
Subject: Official name is Republic of Malta
Malta is a small and densely populated island nation comprising an archipelago of seven islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Sicily, east of Tunisia, and north of Libya. The official languages are Maltese and English. Malta is the smallest member state of the European Union (EU). The narrow cobblestone streets of its towns are crowded with Renaissance cathedrals and baroque palaces.


- Seattle, 2007/03/30
Subject: Clean Air, Lovely Views, Good for Walking
My husband and I first visited Seattle in Marh 2007, and for the most part, we liked what we saw and experienced. The city is great for walking around the different districts, seeing many beautiful views of lakes, distant snow-capped mountains, and interesting skyscrappers and buildings. Overall good and relaxed vibes. Fair bus routes to most places. The people seemed to be mostly young (20s and 30s), creative, and somewhat progressive (there are people of other ages as well). As for the vegetarian food, well, it's just okay... could be better. There are many vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Seattle, and we visited many of them. However, the most restaurant kitchen seemed rather small and dark or messy (I peeked in when I had the chance), and majority of the restaurants we visited were on the small and causal side, a couple even grungy. I personally had hoped for more. But that's Seattle. Overall, we both enjoyed our trip and would love to return in the summertime when it's sunny!


- Seattle, 2007/03/30
Subject: When Visiting Pike Market
Here is a place called "Cinnamon Bakery" that offers a few vegan items - cinnamon roll, muffin, and maybe a vegan cookie. The prices range from $2.20-$3 a piece. It's take-away only. Coffee is also available (not organic).


- Mumbai, 2007/03/18
Subject: Mumbai is Bombay
Mumbai is formerly known as Bombay. It is the capital of the western state of Maharashtra and is the most populous city in India. Mumbai is the entertainment capital of India, home to Hindi film and television industry known as Bollywood. Mumbai is also the commercial captial of India housing corporate headquarters, banks and large financial institutions.


- Los Angeles, 2006/12/26
Subject: So many Thai style vegan restaurants in LA County
In the past few years several new vegetarian Thai restaurants sprouting up around town, giving LA diners easier access to vegetarian food. The menus at these Thai restaurants are similar, consisting of Thai cusine and American fast food. Basically chefs and cooks from an original restaurant went out and opened their own shops. Each place has its own flavor and character. I have personally tried most of them (as of Dec 2006). So, if you are feeling adventurous, go try them and see which ones you like! They are listed on HappyCow's southern California city pages (Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Hollywood, etc...). PS. On a separate note, it's unfortunte that west side Los Angeles has NO pure vegetarian Chinese restaurants... Someone I had told me about "Golden China" on Venice Blvd (at Robertson), so I checked it out today. Although I was impressed with their separate vegetarian menu (many veggies and mockmeats options), it was a typical conventional meat & fish restaurant, and the food was heavily drenched in sauces that contained MSG... FYI. Better to stick with the pure vegetarian restaurants!


- Hawaii, 2006/11/25
Subject: Maui 2006
Was here in November 2006, and I must say that the major parts of Maui is becoming a traffic nightmare! So many cars everywhere... eek. BUT the beaches and mountains are still amazing and gorgeous. A dining tip for vegetarians: when hungry, if there is no vegetarian restaurant nearby, try one of the health food stores. Health food stores often have a salad & hot foods bar where you can choose what you like and pay by weight (maybe around $6.50-$7.00) per pound. It's a good way to get something vegetarian, yummy, and cheap.


- Haiku, 2006/11/25
Subject: Haiku
Friends of ours live in Haiku, and we were fortunate to have had the chance to visit them. It's a totally laid back kind of place with lots of trees and greens, horses and pet/farm animals grazin on lawns, small windy roads with great forest views, some ocean view, and mellow living -- without all the business of main areas of Maui.


- Artesia, 2006/10/31
Subject: Artesia and Little India
Artesia is a city that another Southern Los Angeles suburb consisting of busy big streets next to residential areas. However, the population is diverse, and you can see that from driving on the major road, Pioneer Boulevard. For instance, driving south on Pioneer Blvd from the 14000s to the 16000s you will pass businesses with Spanish signs, then Korean signs, then Chinese signs. Then as you drive from the 17000s section to the 19000s, you will have driven by dozens of Indian restaurants and shops. This area is also known as "Little India." Here you will find a string of pure vegetarian Indian restaurants and grocery markets.


- San Francisco, 2006/10/03
Subject: I love San Francisco
I love the feeling of San Francisco. It's so hip, diverse, interesting, and one can get anywhere by bus-subway and walking. There are so many great vegetarian restaurants (also vegan, raw, and veg-friendly) and bohemian coffee shops. Definitely read the reviews for the restaurants listed on HappyCow, then go check them out for yourself! San Francisco is a real treat for the city lover -- not too big but diverse enough to dazzle the senses. The Union Square area has lots of hotels and is convenient for shopping, dining, theatre, and taking the subway to explore parts of the city. While walking in the Mission-Castro neighborhood, I stumbled upon a unique tea shop called "Samovar" located a 498 Sanchez Street that I would recommend. You can order from a long list of loose leaf teas including Chinese oolong green teas as well as herbal teas. The tea is served in a pot for sharing with friends. This tea lounge also serves light meals including a few vegan-friendly items that feature tofu.


- Berlin, 2006/09/28
Subject: Food Cooperatives in Berlin and Germany
Food cooperatives are the cheaper alternative to the the more expensive health food stores. People get together to order organic food at wholesalers or local farmers in larger quantities and distribute the tasks and costs of doing so among themselves. The larger so-called "foodcoops" usually have a small shop/stock where the goods are delivered, stored and bought. Since they are usually members-only, it is unfortunately an option only available to those who stay in Berlin for a prolonged time. Foodcoops are always organic and very veggie-friendly if not 100% vegetarian. A list of foodcoops and more information can be found in the fooodcoopedia, see
website: http://foodcoopedia.de.vu


- Germany, 2006/09/28
Subject: Food Cooperatives in Berlin and Germany
Food cooperatives are the cheaper alternative to the the more expensive health food stores. People get together to order organic food at wholesalers or local farmers in larger quantities and distribute the tasks and costs of doing so among themselves. The larger so-called "foodcoops" usually have a small shop/stock where the goods are delivered, stored and bought. Since they are usually members-only, it is unfortunately an option only available to those who stay in Berlin for a prolonged time. Foodcoops are always organic and very veggie-friendly if not 100% vegetarian. A list of foodcoops and more information can be found in the fooodcoopedia, see
website: http://foodcoopedia.de.vu


- Moorea, 2006/09/19
Subject: Lunch and Dinner at Sheraton Resort in Moorea
The Sheraton Resort is located off the main road in Pihaena in the northern coast. It is not 100% Vegetarian. For lunch, the outdoor cafe and bar is on a sandy beach by the water. Menu features seafood dishes but also offers 1 grilled vegetables sandwich and 2 lacto-veg salads all of which can be made vegan upon request. Mini baquette rolls are served with meal. Fresh juices and fruit sorbet available. Accept credit cards. Open daily. Dinners are available at the restaurant inside the resort where the menu consists of 2 vegetarian options though special requests may be accommodated - just ask.
Beach overlooks magnificent brilliant and twinkling blue waters. Snorkeling here is safe and you can see a variety of fish. The quality of the food is good and so is the kitchen standard. Note: special requests can be made, so ask!


- Tahiti, 2006/09/16
Subject: No one eats vegetarian here?!
Locals, the French, and tourists... seems like there is no demand for vegetarian food as almost all restaurants DO NOT offer any with the exception of a salad or two and maybe plain pasta with a tomato based sauce or a plain pizza using some canned toppings... eek. Recommend to bring your own dried foods or eat lots of locally grown fresh fruits - which are abundant and delicious. If you don't mind eating fish, the catch here is always fresh.


- French Polynesia, 2006/09/16
Subject: French Speaking but Not Vegetarian Friendly
Was just in Tahiti and Moorea islands September 2006 and was disappointed to find ZERO vegetarian restaurant or health food stores. Most restaurants serve only seafood and meat dishes and very littel or no vegetable dishes except a ovo-lacto salad or two. Best advice is to bring your own foods!


- Malibu, 2006/05/29
Subject: More about Malibu
While stuck in a bumper-to-bumper traffice jam on the main road, the Pacific Coast Hwy 1 (NOTE: avoid this area on summer weekends and traffic hours whenever possible), my hubby and I decided to pull into a shopping plaza and get a bite to eat. We stopped at a placed called , "Thai Dishes," a restaurant with other locations in the Los Angeles area. It is not 100% vegetarian (far from it), but we saw on their menu that they could make some dishes using vegetables and tofu instead of meats -- for instance, you can get a curry with veg or tofu, a stir fry with veg and/or tofu, and pad thai noodles without meat (has eggs, but can ask to make without). They also serve brown rice. Overall the food was flavorful, but it was on th saucy, spicy, and sweet side... more than my liking but maybe okay for others.


- Malibu, 2006/05/25
Subject: Beaches & Hiking Trails
If you visit Malibu, get a guidebook on the many hiking trails and beach hang-outs. The hiking is great in the Santa Monica/Malibu mountains. Some hikes will lead to you wild flowers, ocean views, and even waterfalls. Try Kanan Dune, Pointe Dume, Solstice Canyon State Park, and Topanga State Park. The beaches are lovely, and the water is much cleaner than beaches to the South (LA). Check out Zuma Beach. There is a restaurant called Taverna Tony (not listed in HappyCow's Malibu restaurant listings) that serves a couple Mediterranean vegetarian options (expensive), but they also serve a lot of flesh meat dishes. Better to go to PC Greens or the other places.


- Redondo Beach, 2006/05/24
Subject: Checking out Redondo Beach
For my first visit to Redondo Beach, I was expecting a typical southern california beach town of upscale shops and tourists, but walking on South Catalina Street (off the Pacific Coast Hwy) was so nice! Unlike Los Angeles where people are usually high-strung and self-absorbed, the people here were very friendly, and the vibe was very mellow. South Catalina Street is a great place for a nice sunny day stoll. Definitely go to The Green Temple restaurant for vegetarian food, it's one only one around... and the food is delicious.


- Beverly Hills, 2006/05/17
Subject: Upscale, Trendy, International
It's a very upscale and trendy place to been seen and to watch people, especially on the world-renowned Rodeo Boulevard strip. Lots of tourists and fancy cars. For eats, one can find juice bars, coffee bars offering soymilk, and veg-friendly foods in some cafes. Did I mention international tourists?


- Yap, 2006/05/23
Subject: An Interesting and Different Kind of People
Yap Proper is made of four small nearby islands built on reefs, with 3 connected by bridges, all surrounded by mangroves (plants). It is famous for Manta Rays sightings in the channels out to the deep waters of the sea. A paradise for divers but not much of a place for snorkelers (unless you go out with a boat beyond the mangrove). Yap Proper is blessed with much natural beauty and incredible views of the ocean. The locals are a funny bunch. They don't go out of their way to greet you, but if you ask someone for assistance or a car ride, they will happily oblige, and even take you further. Yap has been colonized by foreign countries, and so the people speak some English and deals in American dollars (whereas their ancestors used stone money, which you can see placed around the islands). The locals like to chew betel nuts constantly, and their mouths are stained with betel nut red juices. In terms of food, probably there are NO local vegetarians (maybe outsiders who come and live here) nor vegetarian restaurants. However, you can still find a couple menu items at the restaurants that are veg. Or you can politely explain your diet and ask for special accommodation. The markets stock canned and processed foods as well as some imported vegetables and locally produced foods like bananas, papayas, taros, potatoes, yams, and some greens.


- Rota, 2006/03/30
Subject: Beatiful and Serene
Rota has many pretty beaches and few tourists which makes it a quite relaxing and low-key place to visit. The locals are very friendly and will say HELLO and give you a ride when asked! It's a fairly small island where you can rent a car and drive around it in half a day. Lots of incredible scenery, and the water is amazingly clear and blue (a range of greens, aquamarine, blues, and purples). The snorkeling is great on calm days. Dive shops offer boat trips and diving excursions (expensive). The one big upset about this place is the food situation. The markets here stock mostly all imported American canned and processed foods that are loaded with bad ingredients, salt, and MSG. Even the few imported vegetables are the conventional and over-sized kind. The locals grow some fruits and vegetables of their own like pumpkins, bananas, radishes, and others, but the canned and processed foods take up 90% of the market shelves. Even restaurants use some canned food ingredients for cooking... But Rota is still a gem.


- Guam, 2006/03/30
Subject: Guam and Vegetarian?
Pure vegetarian food in Guam is scarce. As of March 2006, there is one recorded all vegetarian restaurant. However, you will be able to order vegetarian options (vegan upon request) in many non-veg restaurants. The Guam Airport has a food court with booths that serves mostly conventional meats foods. You can find lacto-veg pastries, coffee, and maybe one kind of seaweed rice ball that is vegan. There is a noodle booth wehere you can ask for vegetarian without meat (or egg).


- Rishikesh, 2006/03/30
Subject: Vegetarian Food Rishikesh Town
In the central market area of Rishikesh, there are a few lacto-vegetarian restaurants and sweets shops that are visible by signs on their doors, and they may even have menus in English. Authentic Indian tastes and cheap prices, but note that the sanitation and kitchen are run by local standards.


- Taoyuan, 2006/03/30
Subject: CKS International Airport Eats
In the new terminal (2) there are a few cafes/restaurants but they serve mostly meat items. Yu will be able to find only a couple vegetarian options that you can ask to make vegan. There is an "Au Bon Pain" cafe where you can get a Lacto-veg sandwich and coffee. There is a noodle bar near Gate C where you can get a vegan noodle soup, baked tofu, and steam buns. Prices are double what the food would be outside of the airport.


- Sun Moon Lake, 2006/03/10
Subject: About Sun Moon Lake
A large beautiful body of water in the west central Taiwan high mountain that is compared to the dragon because of its long curvy shape. Popular tourist destination for the Taiwanese.


- Shueili, 2006/03/10
Subject: Shueili Whereabouts
Small town located in Nantou County in the mountains, west central Taiwan. It is a gateway to the DongPu hot springs as well as Sun Moon Lake.


- New Delhi, 2006/03/09
Subject: A little about New Delhi
New Delhi is a spraw of about 80 kilometers with different districts. Contrary to popular belief, not all Indians are mostly vegetarians. You will see mutton burgers featured in restaurant flyers! One tourist part of town is called "Connaught Place" where there are lots of souvenirs, clothes, and things to buy -- plus coffee shops and restaurants, including a few vegetarian ones. You will be able to read the signs as they are in English and indicate if vegetarian. If you go to the Karol Baugh district, which is known for wedding shopping (printers and lots of jewlery shops), you will also be able to find a handful of all veg places that are modern.


- Yuanlin, 2006/03/04
Subject: About Yuanlin
Located on the central region on the west coast of the island in ChangHua County, Yuanlin is a small/moderate size town with shopping
and food stalls where one can get noodles and quick meals. No problem for vegetarians.


- Yilan, 2006/03/04
Subject: About Yilan
A moderate-sized city in the northwest of the island, Yilan is located by the ocean and surrounded on sides by green mountains.
Yilan offers a causal town feel with lots of natural beauty and fresh air. From Taipei by train or car the 2 hours ride is scenic as you
ride through mountains and coast along the ocean.


- Rishikesh, 2006/03/04
Subject: Ram Jhula - neighbor to Rishikesh
Ram Jhula (Ramjhula) is a small village similar to Laxman Jhula where ashrams (temples), cows, merchants & tourist shops dominate the landscape on 2 sides of the Ganges River. The vilage is connected by the bridge (Jhula). Ramjhula is known for it yoga teaching centers. There is also a large Lord Shiva statue on the bank of the River. An all-vegetarian village.


- Rishikesh, 2006/03/04
Subject: Laxman Jhula - village north of Rishikesh
Laxman Jhula (Laxmanjhula), a small vegetarian-only village just north of Rishikesh, is dominated by the presence of ashrams (temples), spiritual-seeking pilgrams both Indians and foreigners, merchants & shops, and the famous bridge (Jhula). Monkeys, cows, dogs, and donkeys are common animals seen in the streets. Chants, horns, and sounds of the river are heard throughout the day. The village sits along the Ganges river.


- India, 2006/03/04
Subject: About India
Even in shops that sell meat dishes, they will likely offer several lacto-vegetarian (with dairy) and a couple vegan dishes. It is very common for Indians to be vegetarians, especially in certain regions of the country where an entire city may be designated as vegetarian.
At non-vegetarian restaurant, you can get naan & chapati breads (with or without ghee/butter). You can also order "Dosa," a thin crepe filled with spiced potato. At all vegetarian places, vegans should ask about ghee (butter) and milk as both are used often in many Indian dishes. About sanitation: Standards in India not unlike the more developed countries in Asia. Almost all travelers will get a bad stomach at least once during their stay in India from being exposed to parasites due to food preparation conditions. That is just part of being in India. Our advice to you is to bring as much of your own snacks and foods as possible, bring medicine for the stomach (grapefruit seed extract is highly recommended, as it will kill parasites). It is better to eat at a restaurant with running water in the kitchen then at a food stall without running water. But whenever possible, have a look at the kitchen to decide if it would be "safe" to eat there.


- Rishikesh, 2006/03/04
Subject: About Rishikesh
Rishikesh is a moderate-sized city spread in northern India in the province of Uttaranchal. The Ganges River runs through it. From Delhi, it is about a 7 hour taxi ride. To the north of Rishikesh (just outside) are Ramjhula and Laxmanjhula, 2 villages along the Ganges River that are popular with pilgrams and tourists.


- Taiwan, 2006/02/11
Subject: Learn the Word VEGETARIAN
Have someone write the character for vegetarian in Chinese ('SU' with a forceful sound). Once you learn to recognize the character, you will be able to spot it out as all vegetarian food stalls & restaurants will have a sign with that character ('SU'). Vegans don't worry -- Taiwanese vegetarian is mostly vegan!


- Japan, 2006/02/11
Subject: Japanese snacks
Here is what I tried on my trip: Vegan - roasted chestnuts & baked rice cakes. Vegetarian (with dairy or eggs or white sugar) - assorted baked sweet cookies, cookies with peanuts, cakes, and red bean paste jelly. All very tasty.


- Narita, 2006/02/10
Subject: Narita City
Narita is the international airport where most all flights to/through Japan lands. Although known to travelers as a "transit" city, Narita has a long rich history of buddhism and temples. The famed Naritasan-Shinshoji Temple is a historical temple ground that receives 13 million visitors each year. The park on which the temples are built is very spacious and nature-filled.... For vegetarians, Narita is big challenge due to the fact that all restaurants serve meats, and even the soup stocks they use are meat flavored. There is NO known exsiting pure vegetarian restaurant at the time of this writing (February 2006). However, you can ask politely for alterations... like a udon noodle soup with veggies only and no meat stock. Mostly locals do not speak English, so you have to ask around for someone to help you! But don't worry, people are very polite and are friendly.... HappyCow lists a few places that will cater to vegetarians upon request. Although the selections are few, at least one won't starve!


- Monterey Park, 2006/02/03
Subject: What's Here?
Monterey Park... a suburb of Los Angeles about a 20-minute drive from downtown LA. Basically an Asian majority populatio with lots of Asian businesses: Chinese restaurants, supermarkets, local businesses. There are a few all vegetarian Chinese restaurants that are good and cheap. You can buy lots of Asian grocery and Chinese herbs for very good prices, too.


- Solana Beach, 2005/12/26
Subject: Solana Beach
Solana Beach is a quiet beach town off the freeway between Los Angeles and San Diego, closer to San Diego. There are some cute shops and chic restaurants here, but the prices are on the expensive end.


- Kihei, 2005/10/30
Subject: South Maui
Although Kihei is known for its sunny days and sandy beaches, it's also quite developed with lots of houses, condos, and resorts. Looks like suburban US town. Better to go further south for less crowd and more nature, around McKenna beach area.


- Hana, 2005/10/30
Subject: Lovely
Though the drive to get there can be tiresome, Hana is an unforgettable destination - it is simply full of beauty! The air is calm, the mood mellow, and there is so much nature & coastline. You can find honor fruit stands selling giant avocados, starfruits, papayas, passion fruits & bananas as well as incredible beaches like the Red Sand beach.


- Kahului, 2005/10/27
Subject: Kahului is looking strangely...
Kahului is looking strangely too much like suburbia mainland USA! There is a Kmart here, along with HomeDepot, Starbucks, and all the corporate chain stores. Ugh.


- Paia, 2005/10/27
Subject: Lovely town
Paia is a great place when compared with the rest of Maui (in my opinion). It has a small town feel without the rush of Central Maui or the fancy houses along the West and South areas. Also, Paia has an excellent veg restaurant (Fresh Mint) and a great health food market (Mana). The only draw back is that there is not nice sandy calm beach here, otherwise it's very nice!


- Lahaina, 2005/10/27
Subject: What's in West Maui
Lahaina is consider "West Maui," and there are lots of nice beaches along the coast good for swimming, sun bathing, and snorkeling. It's about a 25 minute drive from Central Maui.


- Hawaii, 2005/10/27
Subject: Maui
There's lots of beaches & places to explore on Maui, but you have to have drive or be driven everywhere (which is a bummer). The pace is generally much faster than I had expected. If you don't mind the long drive, take the road to Hana (or stay there) - it's lovely decorated with flowers & fruit trees, waterfalls, and magnificent views of the coast. Recommend the red sand beach in Hana. Veggie food-wise, the restaurants and stores listed on HappyCow is comprehensive. Definitely try Fresh Mint (Paia) and Curry-In-A-Hurry (Lahaina).


- Mexico City, 2005/10/18
Subject: Bienvenido
Mexico City is a vibrant place with lots of buildings, cars, and people - locals & Mexicans from other areas & some foreigner. Prices for accommodation & food in the main districts (such as Centro Historical & Zona Rosa) are nearly comparable to US prices (not cheap for budget travelers). The most interesting part of Mexico city for us was Centro Historical (downtown "zocalo") - lots of people, historical buildings, and shops. FOOD: Restaurants and cafes serve mostly Mexican & international such as Cuban and Argentinian, and Vegetarian choices are few. There are some vegetarian restaurants throughout the main parts of the city and are listed on the HappyCow site. But generally, the vegetarian fare is not cheap & the taste is average. Street foods are a mix of meats & veggies with cheese. Try the roasted or steam corn on the cob! ACCOMODATION: A private room in a youth hostel costs around usd$25-35 and in a mid-range hotel around usd$45-100. Recommend the Hotel Isabel or the Hostel Amigo (about usd$18-30) and the Holiday Inn (about usd$100-150). SIDE TRIP: Majestic Teotihucan pyramids just 1 hour north of the city is a site worth a visit.


- Half Moon Bay, 2005/10/04
Subject: Beautiful!
What a place! Driving through Half Moon Bay on Highway 1 was a very unique and breathtaking experience. Lots of fog, but the ocean looked spectacular!


- West Los Angeles, 2005/09/30
Subject: It's all right here
The westside has lots of nice things... veg-friendly eats & natural markets. Though you need some good transportation. The Westwood village by UCLA has some cute shops, old movie theatres, coffee shops, and the best vegan food (Native Foods).


- Arizona, 2005/09/30
Subject: Tranquil Desert
Arizona has some very special places... the weather is nice in autumn for visiting the Native American ruins, the canyons, small towns, and outdoor parks. It is a nice get-away from the more heavily populated states.


- Kapaa, 2005/09/29
Subject: Main Town
Kapaa town on the eastern mid-section of the island is a main small towns with lots of shops & eateries. It's home to the Blossoming Lotus and the Lotus Root Bakery -- both are must visits!


- Hanalei, 2005/09/29
Subject: Just Lovely!
Hanalei is at the northern point of the island - beautiful ocean, nice beaches, and rice patties! The farmers market is a fun time. From here you can also drive further west to the very end of the main road. There is a great beach there where lots of sea turtles like to play. Also a great hiking trail starts at the end of the road.


- Hanapepe, 2005/09/29
Subject: South West
Hanapepe is a gateway town to the west side of the island where you can take a boat trip up the Napali coast. We took a boat that was powered by vegetable oil! This town is also situated at the foot of an entrance to the Waimea Canyon (the grand canyon of the pacific).


- Kilauea, 2005/09/29
Subject: Nice Beaches
Kilauea is situated at the north eastern point of the island, and the beaches are very beautiful. There is also a lighthouse that you can visit.


- Sedona, 2005/09/29
Subject: The books are right
The books are right about Sedona. It's a very special place with lots of red rocks, handsome mountains, and a mellow spirit. A very beautiful drive to get here, too.


- Tucson, 2005/09/29
Subject: Beautiful Desert
If you visit Tucson, you're in for a treat! You can go on a guide horseback riding trip through a part of the Sonoran Desert and see cacti, jack rabbits, birds, and all kinds neat creatures that live here. The sunset in the desert is just gorgeous. The town is low key yet hip and full of live. A good stop if you're on a road trip!


- Flagstaff, 2005/09/29
Subject: Great Place
Flagstaff is just outside of the Grand Canyon, and usually travelers stop here. The Hostelling Internation is a great place to stay. The rooms are clean & affordable. The town is really mellow and enjoyable for walking around.


- San Jose, 2005/09/29
Subject: What's here?
I only drove through San Jose, but it felt like another suburban sprawl with lots of strip malls, roads, and cars.


- Santa Cruz, 2005/09/29
Subject: Finally, I visited Santa Cruz
I finally got the chance to visit Santa Cruz... I had anticipated so much, but it turned out to be a pretty low-key and mellow place. There are only a handful of vegetarian restaurants and some health food stores. One neat thing about Santa Cruz is that there are still lots of one-of-a-kind small, local businesses. It hasn't been taken over by corporate America yet.


- Oakland, 2005/09/29
Subject: Take a Walk
Some cool places to visit while in Oakland is the Lake, where you can take a long relaxing stroll. Also take a ride over to the downtown/old town. Lots of Chinese foods, including veg-friendly.


- Berkeley, 2005/09/29
Subject: Hip College Town
Come to Berkeley for the intellectual buzz. Lots of college students, professors, and scholars. Also a good handful of veg-friendly eats & stores.


- Hacienda Heights, 2005/09/21
Subject: What's here
Besides the Tsi Lai Temple off the 60FWY which is a worthwhile sight like no other in southern California, this area is inhabited by many Asian immigrants. There are lots of good vegetarian foods for very affordable prices. Go 1 city over (east) to Rowland Heights, and you will find Asian shops and markets (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese). Coming out here makes for a good day trip & good eats.


- Los Angeles, 2005/09/21
Subject: Getting Around LA
For starter, you need to have access to a car if you want to get around LA. It's a huge sprawl with many districts/neighborhoods. You have to drive to get to restaurants, unless you live near town centers. There are lots of veggies eats, but they are spread out in different parts of LA!!


- Hue, 2005/09/18
Subject: Forbidden City
If you travel through Vietnam, stop here for 1 day and visit the forbidden city/citadel. It is the home to past emperors and is a site unlike anything else in Vietnam. Kinda like the China's forbidden city but smaller, more rustic, and less tourists.


- Ho Chi Minh City, 2005/09/18
Subject: A big city
You can visit all the monuments and sites for in a week, but it's a big city with lots of cars, traffic, noise. If possible, go visit the nearby towns and sites (see your guidebooks)! PS. Internet cafe rates are cheap!


- Hoi An, 2005/09/18
Subject: Historical Buildings
If traveling in Vietnam, this is a nice stop. The buildings are very old and very culturally-rich, unique, and beautiful. It's like you're walking on a movie set or in a postcard!


- Hoi An, 2005/09/18
Subject: Tailored for Fitting
Here you can get all styles of clothes, shoes, and bags customed made for you in 1-2 days for an affordable price. Vegans will need to avoid the many silk fabrics. Otherwise, you will have fun with it. I had a couple of clothing pieces customed made for myself!


- Hawaii, 2005/09/18
Subject: Kauai
Lovely lush tropical island with blue waters. There are only a few (and wonderful) pure vegetarian restaurants, while many non-vegetarian places do offer a couple vegetarian options. The local farmer's markets are great bets for fresh island grown produce and fruits - there are 1 or 2 each day, check local guide books.
PS. Swim with sea turtles at the beaches up north!


- Las Vegas, 2005/09/18
Subject: About Vegas
You will need transportation to get away from the Strip to get to the vegetarian restaurants and health foods stores; otherwise, choices are very limited, especially for vegans!


- Vietnam, 2005/09/16
Subject: Traveling in Vietnam
We started our 3 week trip (2004) from Hanoi in the north and took buses down to Ho Chi Minh city down south, stopping in major cities along the way, and the all sights were very beautiful -- better than any American history books can portray about Vietnam. Most people are very civil, especially in HCMC. Definitely recommend the boat trip in Ha Long Bay to Cat Ba island - it was breathtaking & incredible. The forbidden city in Hue is a very old fortress and very interesting. Hue was pretty & very unique, but it was commercial. Aside from HCMC where prices are mostly standardized, foreigners must expect to pay at least 2-4 times the local rates. Advice: practice your bargaining skills!


- Taiwan, 2005/02/20
Subject: Eating Veg "Chur Su"
"Chur Su" in Taiwan is really easy as many people are buddhists. Most vegetarian restaurants are offer mostly vegan buffet-style/food-by-weight, and the choices are incredible and delicious!


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