Barcelona, the City of Gastronomy

The reputation for Spain and its marvellous food is undoubtedly some of the best and most creative food I’ve ever tasted.  The struggle to find a fitting title that Barcelona deserves gave me hesitation; it deserved its respects.  The City of Food wasn’t even thought of and would have been outright rejected.  The City of Taste was too simple and too surface.  The City of Flavor was a bit better as it brings out the meaning of tasting in depth that is all too important in Barcelona restaurants.

What about Gastronomy?  A simple definition look up indicates that gastronomy is “the art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food” (Merriam-Webster).  Perfect, this exact word was what I was looking for.  The good restaurants in Barcelona contained all the requirements of good food – flavorful, creative, generous and ideal portions, unique combinations of flavors, fresh ingredients, and the ability to ‘wow’ you when it touches your tongue.  Other bonus factors, while not necessary, include atmosphere, service, and presentation of food, and all the good restaurants excel in those criteria as well.  Go to a Barcelona restaurant’s website and you can just tell that they take their food seriously. Continue reading Barcelona, the City of Gastronomy

Mobile World Congress 2017 – The Next Element

I had the extreme privilege to attend Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year.  Mobile World Congress (MWC), the largest annual mobile and telecom show, is hosted by the organization GSMA.  This year, there were over 108,000 attendees and 2,200 exhibitors attending the show.

Just before I continue, I have to make a disclaimer – I currently work for GSMA, and that is why I was able to go to MWC.  But this post is in no way affiliated with GSMA or represents the opinions of GSMA, it is just my own personal experiences and opinions (as with all my other posts) going to the event . Continue reading Mobile World Congress 2017 – The Next Element

Hipstering in Wonderfruit

Wonderfruit is supposed to be the Asia “Burning Man”, or at least it was somewhat influenced by it.  Created by a bunch of rich Thai kids, Wonderfruit is a wonderful event for you to explore, dance, create, and experience.  And doing all that in hipster clothes and style.

The discovery of this event was during a tipsy moment when we were talking about my Visvim friend’s chair in his apartment.  He bought the chair in the music festival, and soon enough, the hype about the event led to my impulsive purchase for an early bird ticket of the event later in the night.  I bought my ticket extremely early, in July, to show commitment that I am definitely going to the event and that other people will follow suit since I’ve committed.  The worst is when a group of friends talk about doing an event, and no one follows through, and ends up no one goes to the event.  Once one person does it, other people will want to join. Continue reading Hipstering in Wonderfruit

Travel Bucket List

Decided to add a travel bucket list in case anybody was interested in doing a trip in one of the following locations below.  The list does not include the places where I have already been to; these are all places where I’ve never been.  Also while the list is quite compact at the moment, expect for me to add on more places and more description whenever I feel like it.  But just contact me if you want to travel together.

 

*Updated May 31, 2017: Instead of just listing the countries that I want to go, I also want to provide a couple of website links that I come across time to time that prove good travel resources or are interesting articles etc.

Continue reading Travel Bucket List

Roaming In Athens

Unlike the city of Dubai, Athens is a city to walk around in.  In fact, I would say Athens is a city where you’re supposed to roam around in.  Pretty much everything around here is centered around the Acropolis.

If you’ve never been to Greece before, you may feel a bit nervous or worried; after all, it’s a city that’s been in the news for it’s near bankruptcy, for its austerity measures, for always needing bailout money, and for its high unemployment rates.  I remembered back when I was still working in a brokerage department, markets were falling because of the potential for Greece to default, because of the future that if Greece left the Eurozone, a lot of countries would follow suit, and because of the fear that it would create a domino effect of defaults in Eurozone.  This was back in 2011. Continue reading Roaming In Athens

Tokyo Is Like A Bento Box

You read that right, Tokyo is like a bento box.  A perfect metaphor as I sat watching my friend struggle to think of a way to eat his bento box… without a spoon.  You’d expect a bento box bought in Family Mart to come with a spoon somewhere in the packaging, but actually you would need to get the spoon individually.  I guess he didn’t double check as we were rushing to take the train to Shinjuku from the airport… trains in Japan are never early, never late, always punctual, and so we wanted to be at least 2 minutes early to the platform. Continue reading Tokyo Is Like A Bento Box

Offseason In Santorini

Don’t go during the very offseason in Santorini.

A lot of amazing accommodations are not opened.  A lot of amazing restaurants are not opened.  The weather can be terrible – frosty and cold while raining, making the cobbled pathways slippery and uncomfortable to walk in.  Sometimes, it hails at night.  It’s pitch black during the night.  A lot of shops aren’t opened.

Yet again, perhaps due to these reasons we had cheaper accommodations and flights.  Perhaps that’s why Santorini seemed like it belonged to us, as there were no other tourists to fight with. Continue reading Offseason In Santorini

Dubai Is Not A Walking City, But A Dining City

I once read a blog saying that there were many cities where you’re supposed to walk and take in the experience of the new travel destination, but Dubai was not one of them.

I concur.

Our final destination was supposed to be Athens, Greece.  However, there were no direct flights available when we went just before Christmas from Hong Kong; there had to be a stopover.  After looking at multiple choices, we settled on Dubai.  Why?  Well, the feedback we’ve gotten from Dubai was that it was a city where you can spend two to three days there and it was enough.  My own opinion on that later.

So, we arrived quite early at 5:35am to the Dubai International Airport.  Contrary to all the lauding and praise of the airport, I was not amused.  Nothing suggested modern, forward, or unique.  Sure it was in light desert colors, giving it of Middle Eastern theme, and sure there were restaurants and shops that were open at 2am when we were on our flights back to Hong Kong, suggesting they were probably opened 24/7, and sure it’s gigantic, but it didn’t stand out.  I mean, I would take the HK Airport or Singapore Changi Airport over Dubai Int’l Airport.

The feel of Dubai was a simple, laid back city.  The restaurant service, the walking pace, everything felt very leisure, in a non-rushed pace, which was quite an annoyance at first just coming from Hong Kong and trying to get out of the airport asap.  Even the metro felt it was driving at a “colloquial” pace.  Not saying it’s casual or unprofessional, just saying it’s the way of life here. Continue reading Dubai Is Not A Walking City, But A Dining City

Okinawa aka All You Can Eat Agu Pork

Just like you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a travel destination by its pictures.  I’ve been to places where the photos are prettier than the location, but Okinawa is the opposite – just when you think the island is just about the beaches and the sea (like Kenting), Okinawa provides a lot more than water activities and tanning.

Even though American military (navy) is based on this island, don’t think that you can speak English anywhere.  In fact, treat it as if you were at anywhere else in Japan – they couldn’t speak English most of the time!  Body and hand signals are vital if you don’t know how to speak Japanese! Continue reading Okinawa aka All You Can Eat Agu Pork

Cote D’Azur with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Yachts, and Bastille Attack

You see all these pictures of the French Riviera and think this area cannot be that nice right?  Right?  When I arrived in Nice, it was everything I expected and more.

I was based mainly in Nice for the week I was at Cote D’Azur… Nice is ideal if you’re traveling to places like Monaco, Antibes, Eze, and Saint Tropez.  Actually, I would recommend staying one night at Saint Tropez as there is no public transportation to go there (well very inconvenient), so usually people either take the boat or drive there themselves.  Besides Saint Tropez (spent a night there), all of my other trips were day trips.  I didn’t go to Marseille, but from what I’ve looked at you will probably need more than a day there plus it is a bit farther.  However, you can definitely go there by public transportation, ideally the SNCF train. Continue reading Cote D’Azur with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Yachts, and Bastille Attack