Beginning of Las Fallas Festival in Valencia

I love the name Valencia; it’s an incredibly lovely, classy and eloquent name.  The name suggests of modern, sleek, and futuristic, but the city has a combination of both.  You’d be impressed by Valencia’s Old Town and at the same time its modern City of Arts and Sciences.

When we arrived at Valencia, I guess it was the start of the month for the Las Fallas Festival.  The Las Fallas Festival is held to commemorate Saint Joseph in Valencia and burns monuments to celebrate.  For a five day event, street parties are held everywhere celebrating the historic, the religious, and the comedic.  Anyway, we didn’t arrive exactly on Las Fallas Festival (it is ending today, the date I started first writing this post, March 19, 2018) but we were already there when they started the beginnings of the festival – meaning the explosions and firecrackers.

It was a terrible experience as a tourist not knowing what’s going on… the firecrackers and explosions that were literally everywhere in Old Town sounded like we were at war rather than a celebration.  If you want, contact me for a video of the sounds that were going on and you would think planes were dropping bombs!

Continue reading Beginning of Las Fallas Festival in Valencia

Spanish Coastal Gems – Tarragona, Peniscola, Sitges

Tarragona, Peniscola, and Sitges.  Three cities that we stopped by on our driving route from Barcelona to Valencia and back.  Three cities within maximum 2.5 hours of each other, yet each of these cities carry unique characteristics about them.

Normally, I would suggest people to take the train from Barcelona directly to Valencia, that is, if you’re going only to Valencia.  Instead, what we did was we rented a car.  The cost is slightly higher for renting a car, but factoring in gas, insurance, and toll fees, and the costs make it less attractive considering the sights you see on a train are supposedly similar to the ones you see while driving.  That said, we ended up renting a car because we wanted to stop by other coastal cities as well. Continue reading Spanish Coastal Gems – Tarragona, Peniscola, Sitges

Getting Fat and Getting Smart in Barcelona

I was back again at one of my favorite cities in the world, Barcelona!  Nom.

This time, much unfortunately and for whatever reason, the weather was much colder than last year’s.  In fact, at one of the days during Mobile World Congress (MWC), it was actually snowing!  Gone were the pinkish and blue skies this time.  Nevertheless, I still enjoyed my time in Barcelona, it’s just a beautiful place to be.

I’ll dive right in since I’ve made some posts about Barcelona already – Barcelona, the City of Gastronomy, Barcelona Architectural Design and More, and Mobile World Congress 2017 – The Next Element.

Continue reading Getting Fat and Getting Smart in Barcelona

Good Morning London!

On my flight to Barcelona, I had a layover at London (see my previous post at Celebrating the New Year in London).  Not only was it about 10 hours of layover, I had to change from Heathrow airport to Gatwick.  Best of all, we landed at Heathrow at 4:30am, which was the time that Heathrow was actually open (thought most major airports were opened 24/7) and so our flight was hovering for 5 mins since we got there early.

No sweat; at least I got to ride on British Airways business class.

British Airways

Continue reading Good Morning London!

The Shilla Seoul in Winter

I’ve been to Seoul a few more times since I first posted about it and mentioned that Seoul was a Shopping Heaven.  As such, I would like to share more information about this city to give you an even more in depth experience of what it’s like to perhaps live in Seoul.

The ShillaA beautiful sky

Surprisingly I didn’t mention about this in the previous post, but one common food item in Korean BBQ restaurants was beef organs.  I remember going to a BBQ restaurant with my friends and asked them, through body language since they didn’t understand English, if the restaurant only served beef organs, and there were no “normal” beef meat, responding that they only do have organs.  We immediately left.

Then of course Koreans also love to eat spicy food, so you cannot get away with not eating spicy food in any Korean restaurants, especially if you want to eat the delicious dishes.

Continue reading The Shilla Seoul in Winter

Xin Chao Da Nang

Xin Chao Da Nang!

I’ve been ‘xin chaoed’ endlessly by the courteous and well trained staff at Angsana Lang Co.  The resort was a sister company of the famous Banyan Tree resort chain, and we’ve been told that Angsana was not that different from Banyan Tree, except for the cheaper price and that Banyan tree Lang Co seems to have more privacy as each accommodation was its own villa, while we would have two other floors in the same building.  But still, ours was very private already, there were no intersections between us and the tenants at the other floors.

Anyway, just like a lot of South East Asian countries, hotel staff members tend to be very friendly, courteous, and in a way subservient.  We tested their politeness by working out this theory, and it worked!  Whenever you make eye contact with a staff member, they must make eye contact with you and give you a smile, and then also say Xin Chao (which means hello in Vietnamese). Continue reading Xin Chao Da Nang

Vintage Photography

Once again, we have another photographer on board for our interviews, but with a different style and a different perspective towards this medium.  Paul Tan has always been passionate about all things vintage, and has used this style to define his own photography works.  In this interview, Paul shares his perspective on where vintage photography is going, where he thinks is the best place to shoot street photography, and tips on how to improve our photography skills.

Tell us about your life story.

I’m from Singapore, currently in my early 30’s, and working in finance, specifically forex trading, in Hong Kong.  I love football and also grew up learning music so I naturally have a creative inclination and like to do creative things.  Since my current job requires a different skillset rather than creativity, photography provides me an outlet for this, and Hong Kong is a great city for photography. Continue reading Vintage Photography

Portland, the Quirky City of Roses

Tattoos, nose rings, murals, trees, food carts.  These are all characteristics that make Portland so quirky and fun at the same time.

I knew nothing about Portland before arriving here, except the fact that this was where Nike was born.  From my blog post in Athens, we learn that the name Nike belongs to the Greek goddess, the goddess of Victory.

Prior to travelling here, I researched more about this city – about what to do, what to eat, where things are located, and more.  One key interesting fact is that Portland is one of the more ‘active’ cities in United States – currently for those who commute, the current percentage of people who bicycle to work is 7%.  The state’s target is to aim as high as 21%, and that means making infrastructure so that it becomes more cyclists’ friendly.  A second fact is that it tends to rain a lot… lucky for me though, I experienced only an afternoon of light rain and that was it. Continue reading Portland, the Quirky City of Roses

Sunrise at Grand Canyon

I may be one of the luckiest persons on earth.

Last year in the summer of 2016, I was in Nice during the Bastille Attack.  This year, I was in Las Vegas during the Route 91 Festival Shooting.  Both times, I/we almost decided to have dinner or participate in night activities near both of these shocking events.  And both times, my fatigue decided to not pursue such activities.  Laziness does help you sometimes.  By the way, my heart goes out to all those affected.

That said, I was attending a wedding in Vegas but not on the strip, but on Henderson at a beautiful location.  The day after the Route 91 Festival Shooting, I did end up having to go to the Strip, specifically Flamingo Hotel, because that was where I rented my car to go to Grand Canyon (and for the next few days in Los Angeles).  While ubering to Flamingo, I managed to get a glimpse of the Mandalay Bay… not the two windows that were both exposed, but definitely seeing the cops barricading the whole area around it.

I am also one of the luckiest persons on earth because I get to witness the magnificence of breathtaking Grand Canyon.  During my uber ride, my amazing driver did tell me that pictures cannot define Grand Canyon, and I simply cannot agree more.  Grand Canyon is quite astonishing, and its massive size and grandness just isn’t something that can be captured even by the most professional Leica camera. Continue reading Sunrise at Grand Canyon

I Didn’t Leave My Heart in San Francisco

Tony Bennett’s song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”, isn’t a good impression of San Francisco.  He makes the song so silky, smooth, deep, vibrant and charming, but my impression of San Francisco didn’t give me that.

After my PCH trip, I started driving up to San Francisco and of course, I had to be greeted by the severe traffic that doubled the time for me to get to downtown San Francisco.

San FranciscoFrom my car window, you can see a pile of cars waiting behind me.

San FranciscoWhile driving there, you get to see some cool train tracks.  Not the best weather that day btw. Continue reading I Didn’t Leave My Heart in San Francisco