Archive for the Travel Category

My Arabian Dream… coming soon! :-)

Posted in All About Dubai, Travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2009 by ketchupplease

Ok let’s face it… hubby and I are here in Dubai for work purposes and not really for leisure…

Bored with our dull routine, I looked up places where we can explore and find out more about Middle Eastern culture. One time, I dragged my hubby to explore the Dubai Museum (which turned out not to be the main museum, but a government office/gallery, oops… ) Excitedly took pictures and all… then hubby laughed at me and said as if we’re tourists… I looked back at him and smiled.. “hell, yeah we ARE tourists!!! We pay so much to see and explore other countries, and it’s ironic that we’ve been here for quite a while already (2 years for him), and yet we haven’t seen the really interesting places… For me, being a “tourist or traveller” is more of a state of mind… This is actually a good opportunity for us to experience the immensely rich Arabian culture! 

Dubai is a very modern city, filled with too many new malls and structures, but it doesn’t quench my thirst for mid-eastern culture.. I don’t really appreciate modern stuff as much as old culture-y stuff. I looked up possible weekend getaways, but it wasn’t very easy coz I had one major restriction — a big NO-NO to modern hotels/resorts! — and  Dubai, as we all know, is such a new city, some even call it an “artificial city”.. *sob* 

I thirst for old Arabian architecture, decor, Moroccan lamps (ohhh how I love them!), local cuisine, ambiance… the works! 

After days of googling and checking with our friends, I finally found the perfect place for a weekend getaway at Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert and Resort Spa! (right smack in the desert, baby! *wink*) A bit overbudget, so we’ll just wait for our First Wedding Anniversary in a few weeks so we can celebrate at the same time… Nevertheless, we already booked last night, and specifically requested a room overlooking the desert! ohhh… sounds like the perfect Arabian paradise! 

 I AM SOOOOO EXCITED!!!! 🙂 This experience will definitely go to our Memories of a Lifetime Bank”… 

My advice to fellow Pinoys in UAE —  do stretch a bit and treat yourself to some wonderful Arabian experience.. Make sure to bring home beautiful memories with you before you leave this desert city. Money’s as good as nothing if you can’t enjoy it once in a while, right?… 

bab1 bab4 bab6 bab10bab12 bab13 bab16

 

The Dusty Side of Dubai…

Posted in All About Dubai, Personal, Travel with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2009 by ketchupplease

broom

*Yawn* It’s been over a week since I last posted.. I’ve been too lazy to post here, plus the fact that I’ve been kinda busy dusting and mopping… (very domestic “UN-goddessyou know..) The dust here is driving me crazy… Lately I’ve been driven up the wall by some sort of dust storm… (hello, desert!)

It was cold when I went back here early Feb, but for some reason, summer’s creeping earlier than usual…  Last week, hubby looked out the window and was actually happy to see the fog outside.. and typically, I replied in jest, “What fog? That’s all dust, hello?” and I was surprised when a friend told us that there was a sandstorm and it wasn’t fog indeed, but DUST. And since that day, dust has bothered my life.. 

So, how’s it like living in a dusty city? Let me just make it clear that Dubai is a beautiful and extremely wealthy place.. but just for now, let me focus on the “dust” part, which I’m sure, other desert cities experience too…

  • When you park your car outside, it will be covered in dust as if you left it for months (or some cases, years)… so I wonder how people can still drive around the city in their expensive top-down sportscars.. In worst cases, I heard you even have to use the wiper…
  • Before sleeping last night (arnd 1am), I placed my book on the table, and when I woke up at 8:30am it’s already dusty!
  • I can feel the dust on my rubber slippers
  • My computer mouse is dusty, and I just used it yesterday
  • Our clotheslines get dusty too, so I have to check it before hanging our clothes to dry, coz otherwise, it will stain our clothes
  • We can’t leave our clothes out to dry for more than a day coz it’s gonna get dusty
  • Lately, morning greets me with the smell of dust that I have to breathe under the cover. ugh… (what I cannot understand is, hubby couldn’t smell it!)
  • Lately, I worry if living here would somehow affect our lungs… knock on wood..

I wonder when it will go back to normal… normal, meaning still dusty but not the type that I’d wake up smelling dust in the air.. hmm..

 

*image from http://boinc.berkeley.edu/wiki/Image:Broom_icon.svg

Kinglake Bushfire

Posted in Personal, Travel with tags , , , on February 17, 2009 by ketchupplease

We’d like to express our deepest sympathy to the bushfire victims in Kinglake, Victoria, Australia. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

We had the opportunity to visit Kinglake last November, and it was such a charming, peaceful town. It’s just so sad that the two places we went to were both burned down by the bushfire.

Farewell to Tito Turry & Ninang Cecil’s beautiful country house 😦

kinglake-house

and to our favorite Meat Pie shop 😦 (best meat pies I ever tasted!)

kinglake-meatpie1

kinglake-meatpie-store

The Most Beautiful Sight in Australia

Posted in Travel with tags , , on December 1, 2008 by ketchupplease

I’d seen so many beautiful views in Sydney and Melbourne, but this one was awesome! 

These “Mother and Child” koala pics were taken by my hubby at the Featherdale Wildlife Zoo in Sydney. Awwww…. 🙂

 

koala2

koala1

Busy Enjoying Oz! :)

Posted in Travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 28, 2008 by ketchupplease

Shucks, I feel bad not being able to update my blog lately…  I’m done with my Sydney trip, and am currently in Melbourne. 🙂

Australia is really a beautiful place! My in-laws are extremely nice and warm people, and they’ve been showing us soooo many places (that I actually forgot some of the names… I need to sit down and review the details of the past 2 weeks). My parents and I are really grateful for their awesome hospitality. My uncle-in-law drove us to everywhere… Poor Tito drove for  as much as 6 hours in a day just to show us different sites and we do appreciate it very much! Thank God, his sisters visited from the US too, otherwise we’d be too embarassed to give him such hassle. Hubby and I are super enjoying the company of our crazy bunch of cousins and I’m sure I’m gonna miss them when I leave. Even the super adorable puppy, Raphie, who reminds me so much of my dog Milo. Raffy though, is a “designer dog” (specially bred to be hypo-allergenic) which is black poodle-Cavalier St. Charles something -which costs 850 Australian Dollars, whereas my dog cost only 500 Pesos or about 16 Australian Dollars hehe!

We just went go-karting today at LeMans Go-Kart.. Didn’t get any prize, but it’s ok, we all enjoyed it! Tomorrow my parents and dad-in-law are leaving for Manila… I have one more week left here in Melbourne with my mom-in-law. Hubby’s leaving for Dubai on Monday. 😦 

I’ll update my blog again with pictures when I have the time. As of now, it’s all rush-rush everyday…

Take care, everyone! Hope everything’s well… We’ve been totally cut off from Philippine News since we got here… and no time to go online since we’re usually dead tired at night.

Till my next blog… 🙂

Gold Fever in Dubai

Posted in All About Dubai, Travel, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 20, 2008 by ketchupplease

 Dubai is damn rich and overflowing with gold… 😉

 24K PURE GOLD VEST                

 – 70,000 pcs of 24k gold links

–  5,064 grams

–  304 pcs of flowers and butterflies made with 21.6  karat gold with diamonds

 – 53.42 carats diamonds

 – 35 people involved in design and manufacturing

–  6 months creation time 

  (Being sold at PRIMA Gold, Mall    of Emirates… like duh? hehe)

Surrounded by so much gold and diamonds at the Gold Souk!

(The reason why I’m  thinking of looking for  work here in Dubai – so I  can shop at the Gold Souk!  haha!)

Dubai is a super wonderful place… The constructions are unbelievable… seems like they just wanna be the BEST in everything! I just haven’t taken a lot of pics yet. Will post more pics next time… 

But let me share with you this interesting piece of info:

A full tank of gas here (for a 2007 Honda Civic) costs about 600 pesos (US $12.50)…  For a 2006 2.7 Toyota Fortuner, its about 900 pesos ($18.75).  Ain’t that neat? 😉

Bonjour! Au Revoir!

Posted in Travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 8, 2008 by ketchupplease

Two weeks ago, I was still in Paris, happily exploring its lovely streets and monuments, enjoying the Parisian life… but alas… all good things must come to an end… 

NOT! 

Hehe  Well yeah, I’m back in Dubai (with tons of laundry that I’m just too lazy to do yet coz I’m still on vacation mode.. yup vacation from being a housewife lol).. but I refuse to say goodbye to Paris, because I know I’m going back there again someday.  Anyway, I just had my ultimate dream come true and of course I’m going to share it with you (including an unhappy incident — actually an accident in Louvre).

But first, these are the things I realized about Paris:

-A lot of Parisians are dog lovers

-They have an X-rated TV channel (we wonder how parents can monitor their kids shows)

-Surprisingly, it’s cheaper in Paris than Helsinki… (meals on the average are at least 2 Euros cheaper. You can even have a frenchbread footlong sandwich for lunch for less than 5 Euros! )

-Buy drinking water in the grocery.  A 1.5L bottle of Crystalline costs just 80 cents I think. Outside, it costs at least 5x higher.

-The lights in Eiffel Tower are blue, not yellow as I expected… hmm…

-I don’t know how Frenchpeople can eat frenchbread everyday… it hurts my teeth *lol*… but I so love croissants.

-I LOVE Paris for its lifestyle, museums, parks, and monuments, but Rome’s sculptures are still more amazing (especially my beloved Fontana Di Trevi)…

– There are a lot of truly talented artists who perform on the streets and sell their stuff. We bought a CD from an acoustic group, and wow, they are AMAZING! 

– I love Eiffel Tower because it’s THE Eiffel… but Sacre Coeur… aaahh.. BREATHTAKING! 


EIFFEL TOWER – We stayed in Etoile Trocadero, which is about 15 mins. walk to Eiffel Tower… and yes you guessed it right, it was our first destination! You know how it feels when your ultimate dream is about to come true in a few minutes… your heart beats faster, and you’re very, very excited that when the moment comes you’re so sure you’re gonna cry? So we were walking towards the Eiffel Tower, and I was like, oh my gosh it’s the Eiffel! Wow! Wow Eiffel!.. and as we approached it, I realized, wow this was the dream that I have long been waiting for… uhmm no tears? No butterflies in my stomach? Hey Eiffel wasn’t as huge as I expected it to be… hmm… I kinda expected the base to be about 3x bigger… Hahahahaha! Anyway, it was GORGEOUS still! We went up to the top and enjoyed the birds eye view of Paris… We met up with hubby’s officemate, Andrew, who traveled with us. It was really a good thing that there were 3 of us that time coz at least we can take pictures for each other (not to mention that Andrew is a camera nut and has, I mean HAD a neat SLR). We waited for the sunset and admired Eiffel in a different perspective… this time a glowing blue Eiffel that blinks every hour for 10 minutes… woohoooo! It’s just so… so damn beautiful! 

   

 

L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE – After that, we went to L’Arc de Triomphe, a grand monument to the victories of France’s greatest military battles. It was majestic… I didn’t expect that inside, it was also very beautiful. The lights highlighted the sculptures and intricate details… and we had another round of pictorials with our friend.


arc de triomphe (by andrew)

arc de triomphe (by andrew)

 

LOUVRE MUSEUM – The following morning, hubby and I took a train to Louvre to meet up with Andrew so we could go to the Louvre Museum together. I was thrilled to see the glass pyramid and wanted to kick myself for forgetting to jot down the locations mentioned in Da Vinci Code… We caught up with Andrew just outside the Louvre entrance and sat by the fountain to take more pictures before going in… He and hubby chatted a bit while I was busy peering through my Fisheye cam, trying to look for new subjects and angles… and I figured, it would be cool to take a picture of our shadows by the Louvre pyramid! I was so excited.. I asked Andrew to take our picture and directed my hubby to pose with me, and have a kissing shadow pose too on the next shot. I wasn’t very satisfied with my pose, so I moved back a bit.. and then Plop! I had unknowingly shoved his Nikon D80 camera with 18-200 VR lens down to the Louvre fountain… At first I was on denial, a camera so expensive must have some sort of extra protection against water or accidents like that… but I was wrong. In a span of 3-5 seconds, the water had entered the camera and lens… OH… MY… GOD!  Andrew was calm and said that it was ok (of course, we had to replace it).. and that we shouldn’t let it ruin our whole trip, although I could see in his face how heartbroken he was. Somehow I wished it had happened after Louvre Museum, or later… not on our second day in Paris!

After this accident, entering the Louvre Museum was torture to me and Andrew. Andrew, because he couldn’t take any pictures, and me, because I was bothered by my conscience and guilt, and whenever I would see something amazing (or symmetry as what he usually looks out for), I would feel bad again that he won’t be able to take a picture of it… I actually felt guilty each time I took a picture of anything at all!


  

what the..??

 

NOTRE-DAME – After Louvre Museum, we walked to Notre-Dame… another torturously wonderful sight with its old gargoyles… I, myself, would have wanted to take close up shots of the gargoyles and gothic ceilings with Andrew’s SLR… oh well…

 

ST. SEVERIN CHURCH – We crossed a short bridge and checked out St. Severin Church, one of the Left Bank’s oldest and loveliest churches… It’s famous for its flamboyant Gothic columns… (We wanted to see Ste. Chapelle too, but unfortunately it was already closed that time.) At this point, hubby’s digicam ran out of battery and I ran out of film for the Fisheye cam. Normally, I would freak out as we still have some places to see that day. But instead, I was relieved that all 3 of us have no cameras anymore so Andrew wouldn’t feel worse. 

a column in St. Severin (pic from Wikepedia)

a column in St. Severin (pic from Wikepedia)

 

CHAMPS-ELYSEES – We walked back through the Champs Elysees Avenue and enjoyed the views at night. Paris is called the “City of Light” – and rightfully so!

Champs-Elysees (pic from Andrew)

 

MONTMARTE – SACRE COEUR (Buy your souvenirs here! Souvenirs are at least 3x cheaper in this area, as compared to the other places we went to.) The following day, hubby and I headed to Montmarte to see the Sacre Coeur. Years back, I loved the movie “Amelie from Montmarte” so I wanted to see the area. We took a train to Montmarte and walked to Sacre Coeur. I loved the little stalls along the sidewalks selling paintings, old books, pictures, and personal artworks. We were overwhelmed with the Sacre Coeur. Hubby and I agreed that this church was definitely much more solemn than Notre-Dame. We climbed 300 steps in the narrow winding staircase and enjoyed the stunning vista of the city. BEAUTIFUULLL!!!

       

 

PIGALLE / MOULIN ROUGE / MUSEE DE L’EROTISME – Pigalle, the red district of Paris, is in the south of Montmarte. It’s home to the Moulin Rouge, lively bars, and erotic shops. We had a bit of a hard time before we found Moulin Rouge coz the map that we had lead us to a different location. We passed a museum called Musee de l’Erotisme, showing the history of erotica and porn, hahaha! It displays ancient fertility symbols, chastity belts, modern artworks, and antique pictures from brothels whose clientele included royalty. My guess is, this can only be found in Paris! So we just had to go in. Haha!

  


CIMETIERE DE MONTMARTE – Yup, we went to the cemetery. No, we don’t have any French relatives… we just wanted to check out the French tombstones. J According to our guidebook, it’s actually a popular tourist destination. It’s also the final resting place of many artists who lived in the area. The tombstone of a beautiful woman named Dalida stood out among the rest… We were so curious as to who she was coz she looked Vavavoom! J (We later on found out who she was… read on…

 

MUSEE DE MONTMARTE – This white villa was home to Renoir, Raoul Dufy, Suzanne Valadon and her son, Utrillo. After paying the entrance fee, we were directed to the garden but there were no further signs so we just followed the sounds of voices, entered a small gate and walked into a happy crowd of French people. There were some cocktails on a table, so I thought.. “Whoah! This must be a cool museum!” and wondered if we were welcome to get some  too. We were met with friendly smiles… and then a big French man in a suit came to get us. That’s when we realized that we just walked into a private party. OOPS… Pardon Monsieur! Anyway, this is just a small museum with a lot of artworks and 1800’s posters… Downside is, everything was in French so we couldn’t understand what we were looking at.

 

 

DALIDA HOUSE – We were already tired from walking on the hilly streets of Montmarte. I was posing here and there coz I loved the area. This side of the city seems to be more cozy and private – and probably more luxurious. As fate would have it, we got lost a few times and couldn’t figure out the way to the train station. We found ourselves at Place Dalida where this Vavavoom Dalida lived! Turns out, she was a very famous diva. That’s so cool!