Sunday, December 12, 2010

Buenos Aires

As a finance lawyer you usually don't have many exciting trips. The usual trips are to contract negotiations in a big city, and you see only the four walls of your hotel room, the four walls of a meeting room, and if you're lucky, some of the space in between your hotel room and the meeting room (if you're really lucky this would entail more than just ducking your head into a taxi).

Two weeks ago I got to go somewhere really exciting: Buenos Aires! It was my first time in South America, and oddly enough, despite the work, I enjoyed it. I was there for nine days, and I had enough time to wander away from the hotel room and the meeting room. 

I was in Microcentro, the business district, and it didn't feel like any other financial center. There was a pervasive sort of pleasantness. There were these ubiquitous, very pretty, purple trees:





On the weekend, my nice colleagues took me to see a tango-ballet show, where I was enthralled, impressed, mesmerized. It was to the music of  Astor Piazolla, in an impressive theater unsurprisingly called De Colloseo. I would be very happy if I ever had the chance to see a tango-ballet show again.


I was also able to visit the neighborhood of San Telmo, alternating between walking around, escaping the heat in a cafe, watching the Tango performers and grinning.



On a Sunday afternoon a client invited me and my colleagues to watch a Polo match. It was my first time to see a Polo game played live, and I was quite amazed at how often the players have to change horses (every four minutes!).


Of course my Argentine trip would not have been complete without a trip to a Parilla - steak, Malbec, steak, Malbec, steak, Malbec - and we went almost every single night. And why wouldn't you?


I unfortunately wasn't able to take a lot of pictures, but I told L we should go back soon, and hopefully without work getting in the way!

Venice, Here we are again!


After my parents returned from their cruise, Auntie E decided to join all of us for a four day trip to Venice. My father remarked he had never been there before, and so of course, "Why not go to Venice?"

You've seen the pictures I posted about two years ago, and I apologize if I didn't pull my camera out enough on this trip. With photography, you sometimes  miss what you see as you angle for the perfect shot. This time I wanted to look. And now, though without pictures, I remember Venice well, beautiful yet so fragile, eerie and magnificent. L says it is his favorite place, and it is one of mine.

The Regatta on the Grand Canal

On the Rialto


Venetian rooftops

The quirky island of Burano, with the best risotto ever


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Provence

My parents were in Europe at the height of the summer for a cruise around the Baltic, and we were fortunate enough to synchronize our schedules for mini-trips together both before and after their cruise. It was the first time in around 10 years that I actually travelled around with them (as opposed to them just visiting me in the different places I've lived since I left home),  and it was fun! I think we have to do this more often, Papa and Mom!

Two days after they arrived from Manila we flew to Marseilles, and from there, travelled around Provence. First stop was the elegant Aix-en Provence, with its tree-lined streets and yellow buildings.




From Aix, we took a bus to the ancient city of Arles, my favorite Provencal town. Not only was it pretty, but it was teeming with history.




We watched an actual bullfight in the Colosseum (Arles is one of the few places outside Spain where bull fights are still held - and allowed), and contrary to the "bloodless bull fights" trumpeted by the guide books, I SAW FOUR INNOCENT BULLS KILLED. It was primitive,  ghastly, but you can't stop watching.



We went on to Avignon, the grand city, dominated by the Palais des Papes, the world's largest Gothic palace. As you can tell from the name, the Pope stayed in Avignon sometime in the 1300s when he had to flee Rome.


Our last stop was sunny (very sunny) Marseilles, where we went to the Vieux Port and the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde



We ate well, of course, and L found out where I got my appetite.




Haute Provence


In July this year, L and I were invited by the Ds to their lovely hilltop summer home in Seillans. It was a very good weekend, experiencing how (some) French families spend their long summers. 

Before meeting with Mr. D early in the afternoon on a Saturday, L and I took a short trip from the Nice airport to the medieval town of Eze, with picture perfect, "Wow!" inducing views of the Cote d'Azur.




An hour from Nice was the D summer home. We had this view from the guest house, and olive trees and cicadas abounded.



The town of Seillans was charming as well. 



After two very restful days, L and I had to fly back via Nice. We took some time walking around there too.



Barcelona


(A card reader has been purchased, and I am back in business.)

Some photos from our trip to Barcelona in July of this year. L was there to speak at a conference, and I flew in for a long weekend. We were joined there by wonderful T and D, who shared many, bounteous, glorious meals with us.

La Rambla. Tricksters, Tourists and Tweeting Birds.


La Boqueria. Made me hungry, and probably one of the most fascinating markets I've ever seen.


La Sagrada Familia. An outside shot of the oldest part of the building.


Here's a shot of the inside. Gaudi wanted to recreate nature, and hence the tree-like columns. Hopefully I'll be able to see this when it's all done.


Park Guell. Gaudi's answer to the English garden.


We were there during the weekend of the World Cup Finals. On the Saturday before the match between Spain and Netherlands (yes, by coincidence, we had to be away from the Netherlands when it was playing the finals, and against Spain no less) there was a huge pro-Catalan, anti-Spain rally going on all over Barcelona:


and when Spain won the next day, the Catalans were all out on the streets again (because players from FC Barcelona won the game, as the people took pains to emphasize)


L and I being, naturally, L and myself, you can predict we were there primarily for the food. And yes, Spain is definitely becoming a rival to Italy over my (European) food heart.





Sunday, October 10, 2010

Q4 drop in

Hello.

So I haven't really delivered on my last post's promise. I'm missing around 9 months of memory preservation, and I really, really, have to start blogging again. Apologies to all my devoted readers (all three of you), hopefully I'll be a little more diligent.

So what have I been up to?

- In May we were in London town, where it was nice to understand everything that was said and to be in a city where everything was open until reasonably late.
- In June we went to Barcelona, which is now way up my personal pantheon of wining and dining destinations.
-In July we went to Seillans in Haute Provence, to stay with the wonderful Professor D and Mrs. D at their lovely summer home. L and I want to be like them when we grow up!
-Also in July, we moved apartments! We now live in a slightly more quiet district called the Zeeheldenkwartier, very near the Peace Palace. It's about a 20 minute cycle ride to and from work for me.
-In August, a string of houseguests, CT and BS from Manila, RR from New York and Auntie T.
-My parents were here in August as well! We started out by traveling to Provence (Aix-en Provence, Arles, Avignon and Marseilles). They took a tour of the Baltic with their friends, and after two weeks, we all travelled to wonderful Venice together with Auntie E. It was fantastic.
-Also in August - RT and SW got married in Brussels in the City Hall right on the Grand Place, a church right next to it, and a fabulous dinner in a Michelin starred restaurant in the outskirts of Brussels.

Our very busy summer has turned into a busy autumn, and its been nothing but work for me lately.

Will blog again soon.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm Back!

I was blog-silent these past three months. Here are my reasons:

- I couldn't download my pictures (no more memory, but all fixed now);
- I started a new job (it's great, will save that story for later);
- I re-injured my ACL at the gym (couldn't blog while I was busy feeling sorry for myself);
- I'm learning Dutch;
-I'm currently enrolled in a certificate course that involves studying a lot of regulations; and
- I was addicted to several TV series: "The Shield", "Secret Diary of a Call Girl", "In Treatment", "Friday Night Lights" and "Big Love".

I'll need to continue those posts about India. I'll probably start again tomorrow, given the long Easter Weekend.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

India Day 5: Last Day in Delhi

This was our last day in Delhi, and L and I were sad to go. Delhi is an amazing city; it is aggressive and lively, yet there are pockets of calm. Delhi is also full of amazing history, with so many tales to tell.

December 30, 2009

11:00 a.m. Khan Market. MS knew how to make us happy - he brought me and L to a market with fantastic bookstores and textile shops, and we had to buy extra luggage as a result. The bookstores are quite impressive; they're tiny but has almost every title you could think of. Plus they're super duper cheap (the cheapest books ever - half the price of books in Manila!)




2:00 p.m. Kebabs for lunch. Lunch was at a stall at the Khan Market, with awesome kebabs. It was really good.




4:00 p.m. Lodi Gardens. We met us with RD, L's classmate from grad school, who took us to nearby Lodi Gardens. These gardens have several tombs of previous Sayyid and Lodi rulers, and dates back to the 1400s. Its a pleasant walk around, and there are many people jogging or practicing yoga.









6:00 p.m. India Gate. Right in the center of the city is India Gate, India's national monument. It's beautiful at night.




7:30 p.m. Punjabi by Nature. And what better way to end our Delhi trip than by eating Punjabi food! And check out how much there is. Good thing MS and AM, teaming up with L, did me proud (well, er, I helped out too).