Found DUMBO Instead

I have written in my past blog post that it took me twice an attempt to locate the entry point and be awestruck by the awesomeness of Brooklyn Bridge.  Yeah, I was too obtuse and confused on my first attempt that I ended up in a different place and direction.

But I have been a firm believer of the powerful thought which says “Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures”.  This made me discover a New York spot that was not in my travel goal line but was really super worth of being off course.

I found and stumbled into Dumbo’s Washington Street!

it pays to be lost sometimes…

i would usually see this photo in grayscale… loved mine though…

It was the very spot where bearers of long-angled lenses, selfie snappers and hordes of photo takers would gravitate so as to take photos of the iconic look of Manhattan Bridge in between terracotta walled buildings.  And having been there was really a surprise making me in some way felt glad that I was having difficulty locating the Brooklyn Bridge’s promenade entrance.  If not for my being lost, I would definitely not see, smell and experience the vibe of this New York hotspot.

It then dawned in me that sometimes getting lost leads to unexpected rewards and that “it really feels good to be lost in the right direction”.

feeling lucky 🙂

Swerte, swerte lang din paminsan-minsan...

Washington Monument: Highlighting The Unusual

Visiting Washington D.C. would be incomplete without your having to take a photo of the 555 feet obelisk known as the Washington Monument.  I in particular had numerous photos and selfies of it on my phone.

To further submerge a traveler’s visit, it seems a must to learn further about this monument dedicated to the first president of the most powerful country on the planet.  One fact I learned is that no structure is allowed to be built around Washington D.C. that shall be higher than this monument.  Another is that it made of marble, granite and sandstone.  Like numerous number of photos I took, there are also numerous facts and interesting anecdotes about this monument.

But while trying to think of what to write/post about this magnificent monument, I come to realize how come I am so excited and appreciative of such a structure when back home in the Philippines there is also a similar and equally important monument that I have not written about.  And that I actually do not even own a single photo of such monument known as the Rizal Monument built in honor of my country’s National Hero, Jose Rizal.

Is it because the former is stateside which is hard and difficult to reach while the latter is so local that I can have a photo with anytime I want?  Is it because Washington Monument is so grand, upscale and massive that it is so awe-inspiring as compared to the smaller in size Rizal Monument?  Does my writing subtly signify my wanting to project that I am like the cool guy who travels a lot?  Or is it because I am so freaking “mayabang” (airhead and conceited) that I’d rather feature a monument far far away that entails a lot to reach than that of the easily accessible structure? And why am I allowing this somewhat dishonor to my country?

Well I guess the answer to all these lies on the fact that it is just but human not to highlight the acknowledgement and appreciation of something usual and easily accessible or of an experience that usually occurs.  Admit it!  Rare and unusual circumstances are usually more memorable and are highlighted in our lives.  You, I guess would not highlight featuring the a nearby rub-down park you grew up playing at on your Facebook or Instagram account but once you spent an overnight stay at a luxury hotel which seldom occurs, such experience is posted and highlighted right away on your social media account.

Moments like seeing and experiencing the Washington Monument is not an everyday occurrence for an ordinary folk like me.  Besides it takes a lot to see it personally if you are coming from the other side of the world.  It takes money, time, effort, courage and even a lot of luck to see and get there.

I’m pretty sure Washington D.C. locals would feel ordinary and usual toward their big centerpiece of obelisk.  And I am sure that they are craving and would look forward to a memorable powdery white sand tropical beach experience in the Philippines and will take all opportunity and luck on checking out the Rizal Monument in Manila.

But if you my dear reader think I’m simply bragging, well, you are also half correct!  Hahaha!  You can say whatever you want.  And yeah I am bragging and yes I am the dude who wants to look sooo cool! Hahaha!  The only thing that I can say then is “I hope you enjoy reading my post as well as that of seeing my photos”.

Ang Yabang! Gusto ko ngang iuwi ang monumentong ‘yan! Haler…

Shimmering Soumaya Museum

Modern and present earthlings’ visit and holiday to Mexico City would now no longer be complete without visiting the Soumaya Museum.  Hailed as a new landmark, this weird looking building in the city is a private museum owned by the richest living earthling Carlos Slim. 

Named after the wife of the owner who passed away in 1999, Soumaya Museum building is one of the weirdest-looking modern architecture that I have ever seen!  It is so weird that I could not actually ascertain its geometrical shape.  Add to its weirdness is its being windowless and that the whole building glimmers and sparkles when hit by the rays of the sunshine!

And since the owner is filthy rich, admission inside the museum is free. Only the blind would miss the bronze cast of Rodin’s The Thinker upon entering the open airy lobby.  There’s also a colorful mural (considered to be one of the last works) done by Diego Rivera pointing toward the restrooms.

the lobby!

 

la puerta del infierno (the gates of hell) Ang taray ng title!

look at how tiny the people are at the bottom of this photo

Art collections found inside Soumaya Museum are all so grand and ostentatious.  It is dominated by the great works European artists, including El Greco, Van Gogh, Degas, Matisse and Picasso.  There are also a spectacular section of religious art which includes the Mexican portrait of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Spanish painting of the Virgin of Toledo and surprisingly intricate ivory sculptures of Jesus hanged on the Cross done by Filipino artisans.

And like in any other museum, it has been my tradition of choosing a collection that I am most impressed with.  Soumaya Museum had three amazing collections that enticed, engrossed and charmed my wits.

El Pansador (The Thinker by Auguste Rodin). I need to have a photo with this masterpiece

Joven de Bou-saada (Young Girl of Bou-saada). It looks so real, it scares me!

If art feeds the soul, Soumaya Museum would definitely have you so full! This was indeed a very enriching adventure! 

Hugis ano?

Castillo De Chapultepec

A castle is the last thing I am expecting to find when I decided to tour and visit Mexico City.  But expect the unexpected because I found Chapultepec Castle or Castillo De Chapultepec which is also unexpectedly located in the middle of a very huge park, the Chapultepec Park.  This park is so big, it is even bigger than the famous Central Park of New York City.    

The funny thing is, while roaming around the castle area, I am reminded by a number of things and I am telling myself that I have seen such place in the past.  And then I realized that this was the place where some scenes were shot in the 1996 movie Romeo & Juliet starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes.  It was the set of the Capulet Mansion in that movie! 

The castle has been home for different purposes throughout its long history.  It has been a military academy, a presidential home, of course the royal residence, as well as an observatory.  Now it houses Mexico’s National Museum of History.      

It is the only castle in North America ever actually used as a royal home.  It was the residence of Emperor Maximilian I and his wife Empress Carlota.  And during such time, it was still considered to be in the outskirts of Mexico City.  This emperor then wanted to connect his castle to the main city.  He then ordered the construction of a road so as to link it to the energetic city.  That road now is known as the bustling and affluent Paseo Dela Reforma. 

paseo dela reforma

 The construction of the castle started in 1775 and in 1806 it was purchased by Mexico City’s municipal government.  It was mostly abandoned during the Mexican War of Independence.  But it rose to prominence again with the story that is probably the most famous event that has taken place in that castle, the Niños Heroes (or Hero Children). 

Niños Heroes are six Mexican boys who defended the castle against the U.S. soldiers invasion of the castles in September 13, 1847 during the bloody Mexican-American War.  These boys are now permanently honored throughout the grounds of the castle through massive sculptures, artifact exhibits and a commemorative mural painting.  

Besides the beauty of the castle itself, there are lovely gardens and grounds.  You also got fantastic view of the city and the park’s surroundings.  And since it is now the National Museum of History, there are also historical artifacts, exhibits and furnishings that I really enjoyed seeing.

Chapultepec Castle caught me in such a big surprise, that it is one site that I would recommend seeing when in Mexico City.  It was one lovely and surprisingly enriching visit.

Mapapa-biba Meksiko ka sa ganda!

Impressions of Mexico City

I planned of going to Mexico City more than 6 months ago.  I purchased my airfare and booked my hotels about the same time.  Problems arose along the way especially regarding the online travel agent I got who cancelled and refunded my 6-month old plane ticket 10 days prior to the actual flight and have yet to inform me the reasons for such cancellation.  Two days after such cancellation, I still decided to still push through with the adventure by courageously buying a Turkish Airline ticket bound for Mexico City.

Prior to me leaving for Mexico City, lots of friends and colleagues are questioning me why I chose to do a solo travel in such a dingy and dangerous place.  They relayed that they have read and heard a lot about Mexico City being precarious, unsafe and pick-pocket infested.  But since it is one country that welcomes me without having to apply for a tourist visa (since I am a US and Japan multiple entry visa holder), I did not listen to friends and relatives and still push through with my journey.   

Now, I am here in remarkable Mexico City, spending almost two weeks already – not that I am asking – yet I have yet to feel and experience the worry and uneasiness that my friends and colleagues has informed me.  I must admit that I was a bit worried at first, but all these anxiety and fear were totally erased once I walked the busy streets of the city.  This was fully reinforced when I survived a train ride during a rush hour!  Besides, I grew up in a similarly perilous and dodgy City of Pasay in Manila, thus, I can actually use my innate and fully developed skill in dealing with the crooks, the felonious and the delinquents.

Similar to Metro Manila, Mexico City is vast and humongous!  But I personally prefer the weather of this city as compared to the Manila weather.  Mexico got 4 seasons, Manila got 2.  You can never let me wear a jacket outdoors in Manila, because it is either hot or very hot!

I hate to compare but the architecture in Mexico is a bit better as compared to the structures found in Manila.  Metro train system in Mexico City is of course more intricate and more reliable as compared to the rundown, often-busted and politically-exploited metro train in Manila.  And though Philippines and Mexico similarly experienced more than 300 years of Spanish rule, Mexico seem to have maintained its Spanish roots because they seem to possess more European looking buildings.     

The similarity between Manila and Mexico City I guess would be regarding cleanliness and the people.  There are lots of people everywhere and both cities needs to improve a lot concerning cleanliness! Another similarity would be the traffic.  Though Mexico has intricate and more developed metro train, its traffic is as bad as that of Manila.  Both cities are traffic-infested!

Mexico City love art!  One noticeable person printed on their money (500 Mexican peso denomination) is an art goddess, Frida Khalo.  Also, I was actually surprised to find out that this city got the most number of museums.  And even on the street, people tend to express themselves through art.  Humongous mural arts, lots of colorful graffiti and numerous art performances can be seen on the streets of the city.      But I guess the one thing that Manila is better as compared to Mexico would be the smile.  Though Mexicans tend to be more passionate and expressive – there’s lots of sensual kissing inside the train, amatory hugging on the streets and even lgbt members freely holding hands while walking – we in Manila smile more, we seem kindlier and seem gentler as compared to the fierce and audacious people of Mexico City.

If you would ask me if I will go back and revisit Mexico City.  I would definitely will!

Di naman nakaka-shokot… Biba Meksiko!

My Uchisar Journey and Still Solo on Spooky February

February for me is more eerie and scary as compared to the Halloween month of November.  For me, it is more disturbing and unnerving as compared to the Chinese ghost month of August.  Reason being? It’s the sinister month when Valentines is celebrated!

With much resilience and fortitude, I was able passed through more than four and a half decades of scary Valentines celebrations.  And though my chance of finally celebrating it with a partner may have started to further dwindle, I would like to stay positive.  I am staying positive because I believe that everybody deserves a great love story.

And while I STILL wait for the most spectacular Valentine’s Day ever, let me just post my photos from my previous SOLO travel in Uchisar, the highest point in Cappadocia, Turkey.

       

And I hope that my upcoming love life shall be as spectacular, historic and as stunning as that of the Uchisar Castle of Turkey!

Balang araw! Hu yu kayo sa kin pag nagkataon! Hahaha!

Solo In Pamukkale

Prior to doing an out-of-the-country solo journey, solo travel for me is tantamount to fear, isolation, risky, worry and boredom.

Though these concepts were at the back of my mind, my journey in Turkey was actually my third solo travel abroad.  And one highlight of this Turkish adventure was my visit to the Turkish cotton cloud known as Pamukkale.

It has been a month yet I could still recall the exhilaration, joy and awe by the beauty and magnificence of Pamukkale. This huge and weird looking and shimmering show-white limestones along the mountain slopes are  are such a view to behold.  

And while I explore the rugged terrain on what Turkish believed to be solidified cotton and dip my feet to the warm calcium-rich spring water that drips slowly to the mountainside, I could hardly believe I was able to get there.  This made me realize that solo travel for me now is synonymous to independence, freedom, inventiveness, self-determination, creativity, self-indulgence and boldness!

 

Kung ganyan kaganda, okay lang mag-isa. Pramis!