Archive for October 6th, 2020

October 6, 2020

This is Qingdao in China!!

Ok so with lots of travel ,hard to come up with posts and I like to have them all here as a depository of my life’s travel and a nice history for my family. I am lucky in a way to have work in companies with an international outlook and able to travel very often. Recently, they have been a slow down but things will be back slowly.

For now, let me tell you about my experience in Qingdao, Shandong province in China! And of course, let me tell you a bit on the history I like first.

Qingdao is also the name of a common beer, Tsingtao, brewed in this city, and exported around the world. The city is a coastal town located in the Jiaodong Peninsula.

Qingdao was colonized by Germany, under the name of Tsingtau, and retains some buildings of Bavarian architecture. The land was ceded to Germany by the Manchus for 99 years, in March 6, 1898, after the arrival of Vice-Admiral von Diederichs’ squadron in response to the murder of two German missionaries in 1897; in the region, it became the home port of the German Far Eastern squadron. It was in 1903 that Germany finished building the Qingdao brewery. So there was a brewery, but also a train station, a Lutheran church, the governor’s residence, a European quarter, a Chinatown, several barracks, an ammunition depot and two ports.

The Empire of Japan took power there in 1914, after a two-month siege. China recovers it on December 10, 1922. The Catholic Saint Michel Cathedral was built in 1932-1934 by a German architect in Romanesque-Rhine style. The city was again occupied by the Japanese from 1938 to 1945. The Americans used the port as a base for their navy, after 1945 (Port-Arthur having become a Soviet base) until the city was taken by the communist power in 1949.

One interesting anecdote I found out later but is one if not my favorite Japanese actor was actually born here!  Toshirō Mifune was born in Qingdao, then Japanese possession following the Paris Peace Conference and died on December 24, 1997 in Mitaka, near Tokyo. He was a Japanese actor and film producer. He is also the director of a unique film, Legacy of the 500,000. He has been one of the most famous Japanese actors at the international level, notably thanks to his successful collaboration with director Akira Kurosawa and his career in the United States. I always love his samurai movies as a kid lol! A 50 years career and 131 films!!! with a great association of master producer Akira Kurosawa .  Toshiro Mifune  very often plays the role of a samurai or Ronin, that is, a penniless and idle samurai, selling the services of his sword to the highest bidder. Such memorable films such as the Seven Samurai in 1954; The Hidden Fortress; Yojimbo in 1961, Mostra ; Sanjuro , and trilogy dedicated to the character of Miyamoto Musashi signed by Hiroshi Inagaki; or, later, The Saber of Evil in 1966 and Rebellion 1967. These are my favorite films of his best years.

So let me tell you about the trip or trips. Asia was great and instructive. My trip took me to Indonesia, and Qingdao in China passing by several places. I will leave the Indonesia part as already several posts on it , and will update next.

First,left from Nantes airport to Paris CDG to Singapore Chiangi airport,and finally arrive in Surabaya Indonesia. In the meantime, I flew with Air France most of the way, but I also, try again Garuda Airlines in indonesia from Surabaya to Jakarta, In Singapore, I went to Surabaya in China air then, took China Southern to Guangzhou, there took China Eastern to Qingdao and back to Pekin and to Paris CDG.

In China, I entered first by Guangzhou, and then to Qingdao. The airports are

Guangzhou airporthttps://www.guangzhouairportonline.com/

Qingdao airporthttps://www.qingdao-airport.com/

This was the Qingdao-Liuting International Airport, located 31 km from downtown Qingdao. There is another newer airport that is in the works to be done since 2013 and then 2019, but do not see it yet. The name will be Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport . And in a hurry for connections often my case pictures are far from showing up sorry::)

In Qingdao , I stayed at the wonderful , friendly and superb service Holiday Inn Parkview. Where I ate very well and another anecdote. While here I was met by the Director of a company who was from Belgium but did not spoked Chinese. He wanted to take me to a nice restaurant but the Chinese driver could not find it!!! and by GPS phone he and I could converse with the driver to take us back to the Holiday Inn Parkview where we settled for dinner there! I think it was hilarious!!! The HI webpage here: https://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/gb/en/qingdao/daopv/hoteldetail

Qingdao Holiday Inn front oct13

Then, I had drinks and food at the KR Korean fine dining in the Holiday Inn Parkview, 2fl very nice beef dishes with vegetables in a traditional setting. Refined, authentic Korean cuisine is served in a rustic, yet elegant atmosphere. Exciting table top hot plate cooking is offered in semi private rooms overlooking the lush greenery of the park. As the story above unveiled! And as time has it and good to update the restaurant is no longer a feature dining site in the hotel.

I went elsewhere to eat, this time with my Chinese driver lol! I ate at Anomtoula (not sure on the name maybe mispronouced), and it was a traditional Chinese place. But I got a picture , the lamp was impressive lol!

Qingdao Anomtoula resto lamps oct13 I left Qingdao, for the connection in Pekin, where I spent several hours in the airport having dinner at the Lei Cafe across from the customs entrance to hallways B where I took m plane to Paris CDG.  The Pekin airport site is here but cannot find the name of the restaurant again oh well,things change if away for a couple years lol!But I got the picture!! The airport webpage:  http://en.bcia.com.cn/

Beijing lei cafe in customs area across airport gates oct13

Once at Paris, had my breakfast at the EKKI lounge by gates T2F 29 afterward taken my flight back home to Nantes Atlantique airport, and driving home in my car!!! Another air warrior trip of yours truly ! Hope you enjoy the experience in Qingdao as I did!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 6, 2020

The Philippines a country of islands!

I need to refresh , revise the text on this one. Sometimes, they hide amongst my over 3300 posts and really a pity, need to tell you all about it again. The text is revised, the photos are from January 2016. And this is on the Philippines and some of the spots I wrote later in more details. Hope you enjoy it reading as I do.

Well ,I thought about my wonderful stays in the Philippines. Really excited of been there and taken photos in Manila, General Santos City and Cebu.

The Philippines tourist board is here: https://itsmorefuninthephilippines.co.uk/destinations/

My flight was long, leaving by TER Bretagne train from nearby me in Auray to the train station south in Nantes, there taking the navette Express Airport bus for the airport of Nantes while staying for one night at the Escale Océania hotel in the airport just 300 meters from  it. For reference, the hotel webpage is here as used it several times in my trips. https://www.oceaniahotels.com/en/hotel/hotel-escale-oceania-aix-en-provence

Finally, the next morning walking to the airport and take my AF flight to Paris CDG and then China Southern Airlines to Guangzhou China , changing again on China Southern to Manila inter airport.

Upon arrival headed straight to my hotel and main base there the  City Garden Grand Hotel in the Makati business district of Manila. A very nice and central hotel that took walking to several places mentioned in previous posts. More here; http://www.citygardengrandhotel.com/

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I stayed mostly in Makati district and was able to go the wonderful Ayala Malls and especifically in the Greenbelt malls 1 thru 5.  This is really a shopper’s paradise with about five malls all interconnected with stores, restos ,cinema, chapel and others all wonderfully modern and clean; a place to spent a whole day and night. I was there having a few beers at my old hangout TGIFriday’s and great chat with bartenders Grace and Manny! I know the TGIF’s and always fun to seek them anywhere.  The main webpage for Ayala is here! https://www.ayalamalls.com/explore/ayala-greenbelt

manila-greenbelt-chapel-entrance-jan16

Pinpointing TGIFridays at Greenbelt Mall by Legazpi street upper level: https://www.ayalamalls.com/explore/ayala-greenbelt/view-all/dine/AYALA-GREENBELT-1138846

I was join by friends for lunch at Mesa a nouvelle Filipino cuisine restaurant right in Greenbelt 5; It  was special having lunch with good company. This the restaurant main page Ayala circuit makati was the branch I ate: https://www.foodeeglobal.ph/Brands/Mesa

manila-mesa-resto-inside-greenbelt-5-jan15

In here , there is a great Ayala museum with great exhibits and cultural awareness.More info here: https://www.ayalamuseum.org/

manila-ayala-museum-aide-exhibit-jan16

And spent some time in the wonderful ,Ayala Triangle park, nice walks in the gardens, and nice eateries here too.  More here: http://www.ayalatriangle.com/GARDENS

manila-ayala-park-ent-jan16

Such as Banaapple in the Ayala Triangle Park; more here: https://www.banapplekitchen.com/menu

Even the Ayala Triangle Park has more on its restaurants and Banaapple here: http://www.ayalatriangle.com/gardens/restaurants/banapple

manila-bananapple-resto-makati-jan16

Also, came back for Simple Lang and the famous Lechon or pork dish, in the wonderful park. Unfortunately, it will have to be for the memories as it has closed down. Nevertheless, Ayala Triangle Park is a wonderful place to spent your time in Manila.

I did went for lunch to Apartment IB, I had passed it by and thought it was an apartment building ,actually its a restaurant with gourment new cuisine tastes and it was fabuleuse, fish and chips with San Miguel beers. Their webpage is here: https://apartment1b.com/

manila-apartement-1b-dining-room-makati-jan16

Having spent couple of days here and visiting the museums ,I set up for General Santos City on Cebu Pacific Airlines.  More on them here:https://www.cebupacificair.com/

As written in other post, just let you know that visited the Tuna capital of the Philippines or General Santos City or GenSan.  You need to read for security reasons if coming here but the beaches are very nice. Here ,I had local driver and stay at the Microtel by Wynham hotel. Their webpage here:https://www.microtel-gensan.com/

gen santos city microtel hotel arriving jan16

While at GenSan , I ate at Big Ben Restaurant, where the tuna steak was great as the city is famous for it ,tuna that is. More in their  Facebook page  here: https://www.facebook.com/bigbensteaks/

gen santos city big ben resto night jan16

I went for dinner at Gillian’s where the tuna feast continue, and great San Miguel beers, the resto is a chain and this one was Inside the Veranza mall a nice shopping place too.  More on the resto here: http://giligansrestaurant.com/branches.html

gen santos city gillians resto mall veranza inside jan16

So , if want to browse for some bargain shopping, its the best one two combination in town, here is the KCC Mall and Veranza Mall webpage:https://kccmalls.com/mall-branches/kcc-mall-of-gensan/misc-pages/veranza/

gen santos city veranza mall entr jan16

I came back to Makati ,Manila area and then went out to Cebu, a beautiful area. One, that I later came back the most! This time thus, flew on Philippines Airlines, and it was a same day roundtrip.

There in Cebu had lunch at the Pancake House, nice friendly place in a shopping center, you can  see more of it here, and I had ham omelet with sprite here for a change lol!!! More here: https://www.pancakehouse.com.ph/MENU1

cebu-pancake-house-arriving-jan16

Going out I took Philippines airline to reach Jakarta Indonesia , and then transfer on Garuda airline to Surabaya Indonesia , my next stop on this trip; which ,also will take me back to Jakarta and onwards home to Nantes on Air France!!!.  It will remain a wonderful experience and good memories of the welcome everywhere.  Enjoy the Philippines experience!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 6, 2020

At Belize ,life is beautiful!!

Here I am back in my roots area of the Americas! Always glorious to be back and see the clear seas again.

The trips now are long and tiring but once there, life comes alive and the beautiful views and tranquil folks makes it all worth while. I have written before on Belize but this is an updated text and photos. Hope you enjoy it as I did.

Yes way down over across Belize life is beautiful. I heard a lot about it as diving and fishing and retirement place for years. I have the chance to visited it for a week, and I agree. However, it is catchy and sublime, one begin to think about why not a retirement there…. Belize.

I had a different approach than most; coming from Chetumal ,Mexico, by road warrior ! car crossing the border with my French passport, glorious trip. We started at the top of the country on the road from Corozal, on the Corozal-Progresso road downward bypassing Belize City, then on the western road to Belmopan (the official Capital city), continuing to Dandriga, then Independance/Mango Creek, to Placencia. On the way back we did passed by Belize City.

We stopped by for the great WiFi at Rose’s bar restaurant in Placencia, and did some groceries at Ming Supermarket  near the post office in Placencia. The best area was by Barefoot bar and we stop at the funky Tupsy Tuna bar in Placencia by the beach, great ambiance. We stayed at the Alan’s Paradise Resort ,wonderful accommodation, great hosts, funny people,and super views of the ocean not to mention the drinks at the bar and the Karaoke. Webpage here: http://www.belize123.com/

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On the way back to Mexico, we entered Belize City, a bit more of  a little town with a nice beachwall along the ocean.  We overnighted at the Ramada Princess hotel Calypso restaurant right on the bay. This is a great complex with hotel casino, and restaurants just near city center and the craftmarket, we ate here at the Calypso Beach Restaurant. wonderful fried fish whole from the catch of the day, and the local beer Belikin. Now part of the Wyndham group here is more info: https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/ramada/belize-city-belize/ramada-belize-city-princess/overview

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We continue north on the Western road towards Chetumal Mexico to take our plane to Mexico City. Belize will be remember ,and will keep an eye for that retirement spot…

The tourist board for Belize : https://www.travelbelize.org/

The tourist office for Placencia: http://placencia.com/

And I thought a great place for full retirement here at Mango Creek: http://www.sanpedroscoop.com/2014/01/independence-mango-creek-hokey-pokey-ferry-big-creek-port-cardies.html

belize-mango-creek-water-taxi-jul14

So now you have a piece of Belize and some thoughts as I did. A peaceful place of great seashores and scuba diving par excellence, need to come to the Caribbean folks. Hope you enjoy the post.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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