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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

watch-children-play-more-fun-in-the-philippines

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

In Rota

I remember it. The first time when I sat foot in European land, I remember it so well. It wasn’t in Rome, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona or any place grand.

It was in Rota. Still, I was overwhelmingly elated. How could I not be? Given it my first time, and that it pretty much has everything atypical to European territories. In my childlike mind- I was skipping, when I walked through those narrow alleys. I was gazing at castles, when I was seeing well-designed neighborhood houses. I ate like a king, when I chowed down a plate of paella and guzzled a glass of sangria. I explored it as if it’s the greatest place in the world, when I went to the beach, parks and the streets of decorative city lamps, statues in round-abouts,  the cobblestone roads, the balconies and the windows, the small businesses,  the cleanliness and overall richness posing in simplistic shape and form.

As I write this, I remember my experiences like it was only yesterday. I remember witnessing their catholic practices during the Holy Week the first week I got there all the way to watching a bullfight just days before I left Rota. There’s a military base there and that Americans are not so hard to find. I mean, incident with them and the locals are unavoidable. They’re always hanging out in bars. I remember my glorious drinking days. I remember the night when my friends and I slept outside, by the dock, waiting for the next morning’s ferry. I also, in turn, remember my equally golden lax days there. I remember riding the ferry with the morning sun glaring at the water. I remember witnessing Flamenco dance during the fair. I remember running 3 miles on a sandy nude beach. I remember the smudge looks and friendly smiles of the locals. I remember the first time I sipped on one of those small coffee cups.

Of all my travel destinations, it remains to be the most relaxed place I’ve been to. There’s nothing over-the-top about Rota but I remember so much about it. It’s actually those little things that are precious memories to me. It was Rota, Spain that first introduced me to European culture, I remember it very well.

This is part of Flash Friday.

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FEATURED BLOG

Victor has traveled all over Europe. He’s “well-fitted” for the kind of adventurous travels he embarks. Whilst most of his destinations are mainly European such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, etc, the other countries across oceans are not to be missed. His most recent itinerary is Cambodia. My favorite, To Visit Arizona for Miracle – The Wave at Coyote Buttes. Be prepared as he shows “sizable” impressive images in Victor Travel Blog.

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Last Call…

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.

Weekly Photo Challenges: Close Friends

Long overdue entry to two Weekly Photo Challenges. I love the challenge because it urges bloggers to show photos of themselves to their entries. So I just collected all my tagged Facebook group pictures…

Ramstein Germany – We had an itsy bitsy fun sliding down slight slopes of snow.

Naples, Italy – One of us was retiring but he didn’t get a proper farewell dinner from his company. And so we gave him one. We even gave him a plague with collage pictures of his stay in Italy. I think it’s much much better to have it with friends than co-workers.

Venice, Italy – The perfect time to go to Venice is during the Carnivale celebration. To ride a gondola is a MUST for every visitors. You might as well take advantage of it when you are just visiting it.

Amsterdam – Bikes are not the only hype in Amsterdam, baby strollers of visitors as well. *grin*

St. Francis Basilica in Asissi – Traveling with big group can still make small trips memorable.

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy -After Venice, we headed to Maranello for some Ferrrari zeal and adrenaline rush.

This is coming back from our trip to Idelweiss in Germany. (A separate trip from Ramsteinn)

White Elephant at a Christmas Party.

Last Calls…

Rota, Spain – I was chugging a Jungle Juice. *grin*

Italy – My 2010 birthday.

Cheers to a happy life with family, friends and love ones!

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Traveling? Meeting and making friends?

FEATURED BLOG

Brazil, South Africa, Asia, Europe, England, Japan, Mozambique, Bolivia, Rwanda, and a whole lot more. 3rdCultureChildren is not just a travel blog, it is full of heart, generosity, and kindness. My favorite is this unnoticed post with highly impressive travel images and heartwarming messages, “The World We Live In” has called: places we’ve discovered… Enjoy the sights, follow their experiences and meet their acquaintances.

Journey: Spanish Footstepsss +1

I couldn’t really think of what my entry be. So I’m just gonna go with this one. I think this sums up my journeys. I got Italy, California and then, Spain for the rest of Europe.

Spanish Footstep #1: Rome, Italy

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Spanish Footsteps: Rodeo Dr. in California (Built to resemble the above)

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Spanish Footsteps: Random footstep in Spain

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Wait, I can not just ignore Philippines…

Lemme dig through my picture archives…

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Good enough. Vigan, Philippines was a key city when it comes to Spanish colonisation, which is still evident til today.

Bullfight (Andalusia, Spain)

Here’s another Spain event that deals a lot of cheering. Ole! No, not just that. They are actually giving sonorous accolades to the matador when he does a good job. But if the torero makes a mistake or takes a while to accomplish what he’s supposed to, the crowd will surely notice and immediately yell out a series of boo’s. The crowd also waves out their handkerchief in the air. If I had known that, I would’ve brought my own.

I’m always been that way. I don’t like watching movie previews. I don’t really read full sypnosis of anything. I hate spoilers. I like surprises, spontaneity and the unknown. I really enjoyed watching this event because I didn’t know squat what was happening. Now, I don’t want to give too much of anything as not to give away the farm.

These guys are on the side. They get ready in case the bull gets rowdy. They will wave that pink capes to make a divert the bull’s attention from the matador’s red cape. These guys are not just for support. They are actually training as future toreros. Actually, one of them starts the show with the bull.

A real bullfight aficionado will perusely look at the matador’s forms, his detailed executions and his sways. They would argue that bullfighting is not a sport rather is a form of art.

There’s also this part where they bring out the horse. The bull would rammed its head to the horse’s body. The horse wears a protective covering.

Now the bulls are going to get killed. My friend might had just wanted to console me saying they handpick the sick, old or dying ones for the show. I believe it. That would be a great show with an ailing bull running around, chasing the red cape innocently, unbeknownst its 11th hour is about to come, with his ticket to slaughterhouse… I don’t really know exactly how they pick which bulls.

The bull is not just ill but is now killed. Ole! to the torero. It’s all for the show. Personally, I can look at it as part of their tradition that has been going on for years.

And I did really enjoy it. I love the crowd. I was gathering information as I watch. I was trying eagerly to relate with the crowd and their reactions, trying to spot what I should cheer for but I just sat there with a blank face while they whoa-ed and woed.

You can ask them what the handerkerchief is for.

What fascinates me the most is the risk of mastering bullfighting and how a person would consider doing this kind of thing. Makes me wonder.

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FEATURED BLOG

Check out Andrew Petcher’s blog  Have Bag, Will Travel. Click on his itinerinaries and see if you share the same locations. He’s currently been blogging about Greece and displaying his favorite Greek pictures.

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