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THE SOPHOMORE SLUMP RECOMMENDS:

Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – Packed with bits of  sentiments and details both in words and in visuals, this novel earns one of the best child narrators I’ve ever read.
In Rainbow by Radiohead – Music that takes you in a trance and lyrics that will rip your hearts apart. Seriously, Radiohead albums should have a forewarning: Do not listen when depressed… or driving on the road at night.
Almost Famous – Very interesting that this, well, very interesting life journey is loosely based on the director’s (Cameron Crowe) teenage years. One of the top music-related movies to date.

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I was tagged by Rommel of The Sophomore Slump  to list the 5 places I’d like to go back to. I am listing just that. Not exactly the best destinations, but 5 places that I’ve been to and wish to go back to. To wander once more. To explore more and hit the areas I wish I knew then. Places I wish I had more time to be in. Trips where I wish I used my times there better. Places I’ve been dreaming about of returning. 5 places I wouldn’t at all mind going for seconds.

SEVILLA, SPAIN

The Alcazar alone is enough reason to go back Seville. The Cathedral, La Giralda, the palace, the watchtower “Torre de Oro”, the bullring, all in walking distance are icing on the cake. I will never forget the time when I just walked in the neighborhood by myself very early in the morning. For no apparent reason other than just wandering around and soaking in the moment.

CAPRI, ITALY

Not that I didn’t have a great experience on our trip here per se. I did. It was adventurous actually. We explore a secret excursion that not many tourists know about. I just wish I knew how awesome the grotto really is. When I was here, I was with two friends who didn’t want to spend money to go on the boat that takes people to the Blue Grotto. Not only that, our time was not on our side either. I wish I was more pushy. :D I wish to go back here for the Blue Grotto. Then have more to see its pristine water, the picturesque houses, the boats, and the overlooking view once again.

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OKINAWA, JAPAN

I was excited to go to Japan for its unique culture. Although separated from the mainland, I’d still definitely go back to Okinawa, Japan to immerse once more of the culture, visit the amazing places, witness the awesome events and meet the people again and again. I wouldn’t even mind having the same experiences all over. ;) Okinawa provided me so many “first” travel experiences.

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BOHOL, PHILIPPINES

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There is just so much things to see and do in Bohol. So many of it so define the culture and beauty of the Philippines. I highly suggest the water tours which include dolphin watching, snorkelling, and the most beautiful spots ever, Virgin Island.

PARIS, FRANCE

It is loved by many for good reasons. I got lost here from wandering around too much. :) Paris is Paris. I blame it solely on Paris.

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FEATURED BLOGS

Holistic Wayfarer: A Holistic JourneyConfessions: Mismatching Socks and My Deepest Longing – Just one of the most honest, eloquent, best written blog pieces I’ve ever read.

 

Memory Monday: Crowd

 

How well are you with crowds? When it comes to just going to travel destinations, I don’t like crowds. During holidays, I try to usually go hiking or just stay away from popular sites. But when it comes to events, I can deal with crowds.

I like capturing crowds. Seeing my pictures results, it’s nice to examine and identify each facial expressions and what each person is doing.

crowd

– Sea World [San Diego, California] –

Some of crowd pics have that one or two distinctive, noticeable person/s that stick out.

Running of the Bull [Jerez, Spain] –
This is where I almost lost my family jewel from getting rammed by the bull!

Perhaps the biggest crowd I’ve ever been with was during the Tug of War in Okinawa, Japan. It has a crazy excessive total of 270,000 participants!

1394781_10151990279933578_1552751741_n277,000! people participated in pulling this giant rope that weighs over 40 tons and extends over 650 feet –

And the crowd goes wild …

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– Tug of War [ Naha in Okinawa, Japan] –

Can you deal with the sweat-swapping? :D :P

This crowd is looking up at something.

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– It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s, it’s, it’s …. –

– Prague, Czech Republic –

Click here to see what they look up at for – Prague Orloj.

And what about concert crowds. I hate some of them! I don’t like those who are blazing up doobies. :D :(

Can you wrestler with the crowd and all the elbowing going on? :)

I like a quieter, more manageable crowd, of course.

– Bull fight Arena [Andalusia, Spain] –

Do you follow a crowd clogged up in a street to see what the fuss is all about?

Venice Beach Crowd

– Street Performance [Venice Beach, California] –

I know you do. Don’t even lie. :P :D

I don’t blame you. When you want to find something interesting, it’s a good meter, and sign!, to follow a crowd. ;)

Birch Aquarium

I like taking pictures of crowd in front of an aquarium. But not when a bunch of cellphones are glowing bright…

– Churaumi Aquarium [Okinawa, Japan] –

This group of performers is the missing picture on my Reflection II post. Just look how happy each and every one is!

Live While You're Woung

– Koza Atrium [Okinawa, Japan] –
Children dancing to the tune of “Live While You’re Young”. Their energy and smiles were infectious, I carried that spirit throughout my stay in there

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Sometimes, you just can’t avoid the crowd. Well … If you can’t beat them, join them.

I think I surround myself with the right crowd…

Spanish Footsteps

– Spanish Footsteps at night [Rome, Italy] –

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FEATURED BLOG

Well let’s go Italy….

Find out what makes Timeless Italy of Italy: From St. Peter to Caravaggio a category award candidate of Italy Magazine Blogger Award.

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Go ahead and crowd this post with comments. :D

Revisiting Rome

Thousand sophisticated words can fall right in front of me but Rome is simply…

For this Flashback Friday, I’m revisiting Rome. No, I didn’t fly there again. I just thought that it is only rightful to re-post, for the first time, Rome and the Vatican. It is the city I still deem to be the best in the world. During my 2 years assignment in Italy, I usually take the train and visit Rome again and again. Thousand words can fall right in front of me but Rome is simply…


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…Beautiful.

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Rome? Italy?

FEATURED BLOG

What about learning how to cook in Italy? That girl whit and the lover of the rad and fab took an Italian exploration in Rome, Sorrento and Florence. Her clear and crispy, stylishly-presented pictures all look like they are ripped off from magazines. She is a jaunty, free-spirited blogger. Just read her journalistic stories and look at her lovely images and you’ll see what I mean. Everyone knows how amazing food exploration in Italy is. She took that journey to another level, she learned her culinary skills while in Florence. My favorite post – How I became an Italian chef in a day: Florence Food & Wine Academy.

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Last Call…

MY Favorite Italian Music

Some of you may expect something obscure, an acquired taste, serious or substantial musicians. With emphasis, these are MY favorite Italian music.

An Italian co-worker sang over and over something of a significant to Neapolitan culture. He even explained to me what was the song all about. Back then, I didn’t pay “that” much attention. Months later, the song was remixed and was all over the radio, not just in Europe but all around the world. I was talking about a Renato Carosone original, “Tu Vuo Fa L’Americano”.

The remix from Yolanda Be Cool was not the only one. Christina Aguilera and Lou Bega have different version of the song as well. Sophia Lauren, a Napoli native, danced to the tune of it in a movie. It was also performed by Matt Damon and Jude Law in the movie, The Talented Mr. Ripley. The song tis reflected when American military’s stay in Naples that booms the economy of Italy years ago. The song is roughly translated to “You wanna be an American”. It’s definitely not the same anymore.

When it comes to Italian music, there are, of course, sound names such as Andrea Bocelli and Pavarotti. I’m just not an opera listener.
I happened to like pop music in Italy. This is my most favorite video I’ve seen throughout my 2-year stay there.

Don’t we all do this…???

I really enjoy watching the video. I especially like the last part. The song is from Zero Assoluto.

My favorite females are the most recognizable ones as well, Elisa and Laura Pausini. These two are actually internationally acclaimed. They both sing in English and Spanish. Laura Pausini actually has a single with James Blunt. Elisa’s song “Dancing” had been used three times in the TV contest, “So You Think You Can Dance”. Both of them are part of the artist line-up of the song “Domani” together with other new and old famous Italian musicians.

Yes, this is sort of like their “We Are The World” song. A Mauro Pagani’s original, the song is called “Domani” or “Tomorrow“. In May 21, 2009, an Italian artist ensemble got together to compose a charity single to benefit the victims of L’Aquila Earthquake.

This brings me to my MOST favorite Italian artist, the ever-poetic, Jovanotti. He’s the man behind that project. I actually bought one of his 2007 album, L’Albero, just for this awesome song …

I love this song to death. I can sing this feel-good song over and over and over again. “Bella” is indeed a very “Beautiful” song where Lorenzo Jovanotti compares a woman to all things beautiful. I love the bridge part when it paused to make room for the flute solo.

Last Call…

This song is not in Italian nor Italian-based but from an English rock band, Skunk Anansie. It just so happened to be a constant-airplay single in Italy when I was there. You may have heard about Skunk Anansie from an internationally-acclaimed song, “Because of you”.  They may be a “clit-rock” group, but my most favorite is this vocal-heavy song called “Squander”.

There goes my favorites. I encourage everyone to embrace the culture of the country you are in or travel to, not just tourism-wise, or food, but other areas like music, perhaps clothing, language and traditions as well.

They also have versions of familiar songs like “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You“, which my Italian co-worker is also fond of singing aloud. During my time there, “Weirdero” was also a hit, which is a remake of Radiohead’s “I’m a Creep“. I always sing “Io Canto Sotto La Pioggia” every time it rains. The song is the Italian version of “I’m Singing in the Rain“.

This post is part of Flashback Friday. I made it in time. YEY!
Category: Italy

Near and Far: Europe and California

VENICE – Tops: California, Bottoms: Italy

I badly wish to go back to Europe. But I can’t complain as much. Not only that I’ve been very blessed to have gone there, the place I’m currently in ain’t too shabby for my travel fix. Plus, it really isn’t hard to cross-culture here in California.

Villas – Design of Getty Villa {Bottom) is inspired by The Villa of Papyri in Herculaneum (Top).

I really enjoyed the neat idea I came up with when I Merge: Herculanem and Getty Villa. And so, I tweak it a bit for my entry of Near and Far. The images in this post are places in California where you can imagine or reminisce different locations in Europe. Not what the challenge is looking for, but I’ve been known as a notorious  WPC rule-breaker.

Spanish Footsteps – Top Right: Rodeo Drive, California, Top Left and Bottom: Rome, Italy. Related post: Journey

I like to know. Anything around your area, or places you’ve been to, that resembles, comparable to, or is based from another location or site from a different country?

Alcazar Garden – Left: Sevilla, Spain, Right: Balboa Park

The next one is with the help of sister, Analyn. She’s quite a globetrotter as well.

Danish – Tops: Solvang, Bottom: Copenhagen, Denmark (picture courtesy of my sister)

This post is part of Flashback Friday. *sticks tongue out*

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FEATURED BLOG

Here is Loni. Check out her Yosemite posts. Check out her Venice post. Check out her Mud Run post. Check out the one where she got on TV. Check out her Anniversary post and the different places her and her husband have gone to. Check out her Academy post. Check out food, places of mainly California, and her wide-eye impressive photographs. My favorite however is  her 100th post where she showed her “Loni Exhibit”, These are some of my favorite things. Go ahead and Check out how Loni Found Herself.

Flashback Friday: Columbus Day Weekend in San Marino, Verona, Venice and Pisa

On my very first Flashback Friday, I annotated that my next one was supposed to be this post. I decided to put it on hold and wait for the Columbus Day Weekend as this trip happened on the same occasion three years ago.

These are my very first Italy destinations so imagine my excitement. Not only that, I went with a family that I’ve known for 8 years. I’ve been with them in Mississippi, Italy, and now, here in California. They welcome me to their lovely abode every time I go to San Diego. Being an independent individual for so long, having a family friend that I cling myself to is a wonderful blessing. Yes, a blessing, because we all know how difficult it is to find genuine relationships. We visited San Marino, Verona, Venice and Pisa during a 3-day Columbus Day Weekend three years ago.

SAN MARINO:

Entering in an incline and through small alleys ways, San Marino greets you with inviting souvenir shops and restaurants of different cuisines. I bought me a miniature wine barrel and a bottle of Limoncello during our gander there. Shopping is not the only thing that greets you here. Being perched on a mountain top, getting to the top will give you a bird’s eye view of the city. I took the sky lift to experience it better. At the heart of it stood the Pianello or Piazza della Liberta (not to be confused with the one in Florence). San Martino is the world’s oldest republic and Europe’s third smallest state. As a matter of fact, it has open borders as long as you don’t stay for more than 20 days.

– Piazza della Liberta (Liberty Square) –

VENICE:

I already have two previous blog posts of Venice so I wouldn’t bore you again. *BIG GRIN*
Riding Gondola in Venice, or Making The Best of your Travel
CARNEVALE

– I haven’t share a picture from my first Venice trip so here goes it. –

Coming back from San Marino and Venice, we took two quick side trips to see The Leaning Tower of Pisa and to Verona for La Casa di Julietta.

VERONA:

No one can really put a dot on whether the greatest lovers we recognize existed or not. Being it a quick stop, we became one of the curious tourists who still opted to visit The House of Juliet in Verona.

– Juliet’s Balcony –

There is also a market and shopping place further down the street. I don’t know what it is, but I love this fountain, and it’s very memorable. Perhaps, it’s from the mere fact that it’s my first Italian trip. Or maybe, though crooked, I just flattered myself with how I got the shot. *Big Grin*

The Leaning Tower of Pisa:

I don’t mean to argue to those who thinks otherwise, but to be completely honest, I just think The Leaning Tower of Pisa is too much glamorized than what it is. However, above it all, being it my very first Italian tour, The Leaning Tower of Pisa sure sparked that magnificent feeling of being very blessed. To physically be there and see it was quite an accomplishment.

By the way, there is also a market place in Florence that we always go to buy cheap tapestry. *wink* I had purchased a good number myself.

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Traveling to Italy

FEATURED BLOG:

Let Amy take you there. An impressive list of travel destinations and a pleasing personality she has, this blog completely lives up to its title and web address, The World is a Book … shareandconnect.wordpress.com. Athens, Canada (to inlcude the ever-magnificent Niagara Falls), Prague, Colorado, Germany, Greece, and of course, an ample amount of Italian posts are some of the many places under her belt. An all-around and all-over-the-place blogger, Amy participates in many challenges to include Weekly Photo Challenge, Sunday Post, Story Challenge, and of course, Travel Theme Challenge. My favorite post is this sad but lovely post about Change – …but the old is better. You better read this post or I will smack you in the head. Get over there and flip the blog post pages full of awesome images of wonderful locations.

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Last Call…

I think I owe them an apology for not mentioning them much on my posts. Narrating is just not my strongest suit. It’s about time that I mention them since I was with them almost all my travel destinations. I introduce, the Katimbang Family…

MERGE: Herculaneum and Getty Villa

My concept for the challenge: I merged two locations in different countries. This is also the first time that I merge my Flashback Friday with the Weekly Photo Challenge.

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, the Roman seaside towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as the surrounding area were engulfed by volcanic material. Since that time up until the 18th century, Herculaneum was buried under a layer of volcanic material more than 15 meters (50 feet) thick at the base of Vesuvius.
The remains of the buried city were first discovered in 1709 and explored mainly by tunnels during the 18th and 19th centuries. The site’s many richly decorated public buildings, houses and theater have yielded fine marble and bronze sculptures, wood elements, and paintings. Of particular significance, an extensive library of charred papyrus rolls was found at the Villa of the Papyri (a lavish residence that served as the inspiration for the design of the Getty Villa in Malibu, California).

Three short periods of open-air excavation at the site were conducted in the 19th century. Systematic open-air excavation began in 1927 and continued until 1961. Since 1961 excavations within the archaeological site have proceeded intermittently. It is estimated that only one third of the ancient town has been uncovered, with the remainder lying under the modern town of Ercolano.

Source: Getty Website

Having an odd admiration to Mt. Vesuvius, I decided to hike the heart of it. Little did I know that the tour I signed up for also consisted of revisiting the past of what it was like before the volcanic eruption. The ruins showed how the Romans were very established and civilized then. They had stores, bakeshop, pizza place, markets, gardens, parks, or pretty much everything you find in a regular community. Given the periods, it proved that it goes way back tthen that Romans were already decorating their quarters with paintings and sculptures of colors and of variety of designs, placing intricate marble tiles, constructing multiple-level buildings, and were very well aware and knowledgeable with different systems that are necessary to build shelters, cook food, and survive like irrigation, equipments, transportations, etc. I was certainly exploded with compounding fascination, interest and wonder.

Turn the hands of time to present is Getty Villa which I visited last month. Getty Villa location design is based from Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. The rusted and ancient look of the pillars, walls, ceilings, pathways and materials in Herculaneum can be observed at the Getty Villa in pearly whites, smooth textures and refined designs and more elaborate patterns.

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This is such a beautiful feeling. I get to visit these two inter-related locations. I wasn’t aware of such connections. I only discovered it when I sat for two hours on the audio-video station in Getty Center. Imagine my added excitement. These merging images of my waking tours of Ercolano in Italy and Getty Villa in California makes me realized even more how truly blessed I am. Pardon the greediness and over-ambitious desire, but if I could time travel back to 79 CE to Herculaneum before Mt. Vesuvius got mad, that would be exponentially awesome. I’d promise to take pictures to share to all of you. *big grin*

The pillars on both locations are my favorites.

I’ll be posting more of Getty Villa so for now, here’s more of Herculaneum …

Paintings, tiles, and colors

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Getty?

FEATURED BLOG

I know this relative newly created blog since it started. Her first post was a simple, yet very illustrative picture of a portion of Getty architechture. Do check that out? Since then, she’s been “focusing” on building designs, flowers, and abstracts with keen eye, obscurity and pleasant randomness. See how she approached the Disney Hall, and see how Rona has such a good eye for often neglected areas and parts.

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LAST CALL … I think it doesn’t do justice when I shrink my pictures putting them as part of collage. It’s quite a struggle when you want to share more but didn’t want to crowd the page, esp. With these large images. Well…

The artifacts and sculptures you see in the Getty Villa can also be seen in Naples Archeological Museum.

Related Posts:
Mt. Vesuvius
The Getty Center

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