Archive for ‘Asia’

December 31, 2019

My year 2019!!! thank you all!!!!!!

So here we are , another year went by today is December 31 2019 in most parts of the world. I like to first tell you thank you for all your likes and comments during this year, it is appreciated. I write about my travels, likes and fun things to keep a history of my life for my future generations and hopefully encourage others to do the same and do travel.

Let me say a few words on the New Year’s Eve and New Year Day.

In the Gregorian calendar , New Year’s Eve (also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day in many countries), the last day of the year, is on 31 December. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink, and watch or light fireworks. Some Christians attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year’s Day  January 1.

We do have a late night meal with friends after drinking all day (we just began with Porto red lol!) and do see out the fireworks to await the New Year in my current country of France.

New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar’s year count increments by one. Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner and the 1st day of January is often marked as a National Holiday. In the Gregorian calendar,  the most widely used calendar system today, New Year occurs on January 1 as New Year’s Day. This was also the first day of the year in the original Julian calendar and of the Roman calendar after 153 BC.

During the Middle Ages in western Europe, while the Julian calendar was still in use, authorities moved New Year’s Day, depending upon locale, to one of several other days, including March 1, March 25, Easter, September 1, and December 25. Beginning in 1582, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar has meant that many national or local dates in the Western World and beyond have changed to using one fixed date for New Year’s Day, January 1. During the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire years beginning on the date on which each consul first entered the office. This was probably May 1 before 222 BC, March 15 from 222 BC to 154 BC, and January 1 from 153 BC.

Other cultures observe their traditional or religious New Year’s Day according to their own customs, sometimes in addition to a (Gregorian) civil calendar. Chinese New Year, Islamic New Year, traditional Japanese New Year, and the Jewish New Year are the more well-known examples. India and other countries continue to celebrate New Year on different dates. The official dates in some countries were Holy Roman Empire (Germany) 1544 .Spain, Portugal,   Poland 1556. France (edit of Roussillon) 1564. Great Britain (Ireland, British empire) 1752, Scotland 1600.

In my current adopted country of France, New Year’s Eve (la Saint-Sylvestre) is usually celebrated with a feast, le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. This feast customarily includes special dishes including foie gras, seafood such as oysters, and Champagne (plenty of it!). The celebration can be a simple, intimate dinner with friends and family or, une soirée dansante, (dancing night away)  a much fancier ball. On New Year’s Day friends and family exchange  New Year’s resolutions, kisses, and wishes.  We are all alone out west so will have my Dad and 3 sons and our dog borador Rex. Some people eat ice cream, actually we do eat logs or Bûches of different flavors. The holiday period ends on 6 January with the celebration of Epiphany (the 3 wise kings brings gift to the child Jesus and we get our gifts on this day).  A traditional type of flat pastry cake, la galette des rois, made of two sheets of puff pastry, filled with frangipane (almond paste) is eaten; nowdays we have in chocolate, raspberries flavors too . The cake contains a fève, a small china doll (can be of different characters) ; whomever finds it becomes king or queen and gets to wear a gold paper crown and choose his or her partner. This tradition starts nowdays practically right after Christmas on December 25 and go on to January 6.

More info on it here by Local news journal in English: The Local news journal on New Year’s Day to do things

In my other dear country of mine in Europe, also citizen as Spain. New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja  or old night) celebrations usually begin with a family dinner, traditionally including shrimp or prawns, and lamb or capon. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of the Royal House of the Post Office in Puerta del Sol square in Madrid (many years waiting for it here!) . It is traditional to eat  twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock (and we in my family had a 13 the last one we threw away making a wish for the new year) . Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonymous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine such as cava,Champagne or cider. Earlier in the evening at around 20h, there is a 10k run called the San Silvestre Vallecana, which starts on Paseo de la Castellana next to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (Real Madrid!), and ends at the Vallecas stadius (Rayo Vallecano). Professional runners come to Madrid for this 10k. After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend cotillones de nochevieja parties (named for the Spanish word cotillón, which refers to party supplies like confetti, party blowers, and party hats) at pubs, clubs, and similar places. Parties usually last until the next morning and range from small, personal celebrations at local bars to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms. Early the next morning, party attendees usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of hot chocolate and fried pastry (chocolate con churros). Yes indeed i have to say a more vibrant celebration than in France.

More info from the Local news journal in English: The Local news journal on New Year’s things to do

Now to follow the groupies, some of the towns I have been in 2019 (and can remember lol!!) have been in no chronological order

Pays de la Loire: Nantes, Clisson, Le Mans, Angers, Guérande, Piriac sur Mer, Brissac-Quincé, Montreuil-Bellay,

Bretagne: Josselin, Guidel, Larmor-Plage, Baden, Gourin, Vannes, Auray, Concarneau, Quimper, Saint Armel, Guidel plage, Quiberon, Carnac, Sainte Anne d’Auray, Saint Nolff, Questembert, Rochefort en Terre, Locronan, Châteauneuf-du-Faou, Sarzeau,

ïle de France: Paris, Versailles, Saint Denis

Hauts de France: Chantilly

Normandie: Alençon

Spain: Madrid

Just doing this count realise, not much foreign visits in 2019 due to a reduce family and lack of envy, will see if 2020 can improve on it. Again thanks for following me in my travels, and always hoping you enjoy it as much as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!! As well as Happy New Year 2020, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo and Feliz Ano Novo!!!

 

 

 

November 29, 2019

The foodie in me, best restaurants! World and France!!!!!

Ok so this is fun for me and love to eat good haa that is maybe one good reason I am in France lol! Written pieces on food and wine before, and will try once in a while to post interesting foodies reports here. I just saw one that caught my attention and translated a bit of it from Les Echos business journal on their weekend edition.

First, credit where credit is due, this is the Les Echos webpage on the whole article in French: Les Echos on the best restaurants in the world from La Liste!

And here are some excerpts in English

What are the best restaurants in the world? The question may seem inept, or terribly complicated … Better for what and for whom? Five years ago, Philippe Faure decided to take the issue seriously, and even to respond methodically. The former diplomat, who also owned the Gault & Millau guide and President of Atout France (the national tourism development agency), founded La Liste, an app that lists the best restaurants in 180 countries for travelers. A “metaclassement”, a bit like that of ATP for tennis or that of Shanghai for universities, which provides both a practical tool (the app La Liste) and a very original track record. By its methodology, it puts forward addresses often different from the three Michelin stars, or the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world established by the British The World’s 50 Best thanks to the votes of regional juries.

In exclusivity, Les Echos Week-End reveal the main results of The 2020 List, which will be formalized on Monday, December 2, during a ceremony at the Quai d’Orsay

Starting with the laureates, who are four this year. Two new names appear, and both are in Tokyo: Nihonryori Ryugin and Sugalabo. The first, an institution run by Seiji Yamamoto, offers elegant traditional cuisine (kaiseki). The second, only 20 seats, was created five years ago by Yosuke Suga, a chef with a more international and even French inspiration, since he worked for Joël Robuchon for a long time. The two other 2020 winners are more familiar to the list, since they were already big winners last year: Le Bernardin in New York, a Manhattan restaurant whose chef, Eric Ripert, is French, and Guy Savoy at the Monnaie,Paris.

Of the 1,000 best restaurants on the planet that we have distinguished, Japan is the first country in terms of number of establishments this year. It is being followed by China, which is gaining momentum. Then come France, then the United States. However, France is still doing well. We have made the accounts: with 120 restaurants ranked in the Top 1 000 for 67 million inhabitants, France has a ratio of 1.8 per million inhabitants. It is better than Japan and its 148 tables among the best 1,000 (1.16), and much better than the United States (0.28) or China (0.1). We are reassured!!!!!

Find the list of the first nine restaurants in the ranking, whose score is 99 or above.

Guy Savoy Monnaie de Paris / France (Paris) / Chef : Guy Savoy / Score : 99.5

Le Bernardin / Etats-Unis (New York) / Chef : Eric Ripert / Score : 99.5

Nihonryori Ryugin / Japon (Tokyo) / Chef : Seiji Yamamoto /  Score : 99.5

Sugalabo /Japon (Tokyo) / Chef : Yosuke Suga / Score : 99.5

 Kitcho Arashiyama / Japon (Kyoto) / Chef : Kunio Tokuoka / Score : 99

 L’Arpège / France (Paris) / Chef : Alain Passard / Score : 99

 Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse / Monaco / Chef : Alain Ducasse / Score : 99

 Martín Berasategui / Espagne (Lasarte-Oria) / Chef : Martin Berasategui / Score : 99

 Sushi Saito / Japon (Minato-ku) / Chef : Takashi Saito / Score : 99

For business travelers or inveterate foodies, here are the best restaurants according to The 2020 List, in 20 capitals or major cities on the planet.

Amsterdam : Ciel Bleu / Chefs : Onno Kokmeijer et Arjan Speelman

Barcelona : Lasarte / Chef : Martin Berasategui

Berlin : Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer / Chef : Hendrik Otto

Brussels : Sea Gril / Chef : Yves Mattagne *

Doha : Idam (Alain Ducasse) / Chef : Damien Leroux

London : Gordon Ramsay / Chef : Gordon Ramsay

Lyon : La Mère Brazier / Chef : Mathieu Viannay

Madrid : Coque / Chef : Mario Sandoval

Marseille : Le Petit Nice / Chef : Gérald Passedat

Montréal : Le Mousso / Chef : Antonin Mousseau-Rivard

Moscow : Twins Garden / Chef : Ivan et Sergey Berezutskiy

New York : Le Bernardin / Chef : Eric Ripert

Paris : Guy Savoy Monnaie de Paris / Chef : Guy Savoy

Pékin : The Beijing Hongkong Jockey Club / Chef : Johnson Meng

Rome : La Pergola / Chef : Heinz Beck

San Francisco : Atelier Crenn / Chef : Dominique Crenn

Shanghai : Ultraviolet / Chef : Paul Pairet

Singapore : Odette / Chef : Julien Royer

Tel Aviv : Lumina / Chef : Meir Adoni

Tokyo : Sugalabo** / Chef : Yosuke Suga

Tokyo : Ryugin** / Chef : Seiji Yamamoto

* Déménage en mai 2020 à la Villa Lorraine.

** Ex aequo.

The authors of La Liste (the List), also list good bistros around the world. Here are their ten favorites in the Hexagone (France).

Au Vieux Comptoir ; obsolete, genre The Traversée de Paris. The charcuterie (Jura, Basque Country, pâté de l’Ardèche) is carefully selected, such as scallops, fish or veal kidneys from Corrèze. Regressive desserts, like this drunk baba of rum. 17, rue des Lavandières Sainte-Opportune, 75001 Paris. Tél. : 01 45 08 53 08. Budget menu à la carte from  40- 55 €.

Le Grand Pan :  Benoît Gauthier has earned a loyal following with his no-frills appetizers (creamy cold white bean soup) and left the choice between a saddle of golden lamb with saltire or a braised pork cheek with red wine. In the evening, soup of office, and choice between a pork chop (Ibaïona), beef (blonde of Aquitaine), veal (of Mauléon) or a Breton lobster. 20, rue Rosenwald, 75015 Paris. Tel. : 01 42 50 02 50. Count from 35 to 55 €.

Café de la Fontaine :Bruno Cirino is a huge chef whose talent can be put to the test both at the Café de la Fontaine and the Hostellerie Jérôme, the big table in the hinterland. Depending on the season, the market or the auction, the menu will feature a brandade of sweet pepper cod or Mediterranean fillet of red mullet with wild fennel. 4, avenue du General de Gaulle, 06320 La Turbie. tel. : 04 93 28 52 79. Menu 33 €.

Café Brunet :  Installed in 1875 in a building of the fourteenth century, this bistro is resistance. Here, no trendy dishes or interchangeable menus. The canaille menu announces the color: féra, apples in oil, candied pork cheek or grilled sausage, French toast … found. 18, place Gabriel Fauré, 74940 Annecy. tel : 04 50 27 65 65. From 26 € to 33 €.

Mets Môts : The old printing press has kept some traces of its past, but the delicate and tasty cuisine does not invite nostalgia. The pie, tart red cabbage, like the blood pigeon, fondue caramelized or pumpkin pie recall that the chef is a former Gagnaire. 98, rue Fondaudège, 33000 Bordeaux. tel : 05 57 83 38 24. Menus lunch 22 €, evening 33 € and 58 €.

Le Goût des Choses : It is said that Marseille is the capital of a continent named Mediterranean. Precisely, Olivier Rathery went on a stroll before settling there, about ten years ago. The slightly aniseed cod moss evokes Florida, the Chimichurri sauce applied to Simmental beef fillet, Argentina. 4, Place Notre-Dame-du-Mont, 13000 Marseille. tel : 04 91 48 70 62. Menus 24 € (debit), 32 and 41 €.

Daniel et Denise : Created in 1968 by Daniel Léron (MOF), taken over by Joseph Viola in 2004 (also MOF), this corkscrew institution is a sanctuary of the sapper apron, fat double (in the cap), passed the beaten egg, breaded, seared served crispy with a gribiche sauce or a snail butter. 156, rue de Créqui, 69003 Lyon. tel : 04 78 60 66 53. Formula (dej.) 21 €, seasonal menu 33 €.

Le Bistrot d’Antoine :A stone’s throw from Place Saint-Etienne, in the heart of Strasbourg, Antoine Kuster proudly composes his menu with the products and traditions of Alsace. Frog legs, schniederspaetle (stuffed ravioli), wild boar stew, roasting cock, hand-molded pudding. A paradise for gourmets. 3, rue de la Courtine, 67000 Strasbourg. tel: 03 90 24 93 25. Menu 33 €, carte 45 €.

Terre-Mer : (yes this is in my area !!! good one)This is the good address of Auray, in the Gulf of Morbihan, where Anthony Jehanno and his wife remind us of the immemorial links that the Bretons have woven with the sea. The “pot-au-feu” of  gamberoni and marrow , followed by a monkfish tail, boudin, hock and langoustine bisque illustrate a creative and respectful approach to the products.20, rue Louis Billet, 56400 Auray. tel. : 02 97 56 63 60. Formula 28 €, menus 34 and 55 €.

Le Patio :   Although it promises to be self-taught, the young chef has a job: for example, scallops, cream of endives, confit pork belly, potatoes, or small cabbages (chocolate and passion cream). /blood orange). No map, but a slate and a reasonable addition. 5, rue Christine, 50100 Cherbourg. tel : 02 33 52 49 10. Menus 22 € (lunch) and 30 €.

And there you go folks, we keep on ticking the world with the best culinary skills and tastes even in far away places , they are either French inspired or French expatriates doing the work of heavens on earth. Bon appétit!!

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

 

November 10, 2019

My early life in my blog!

So on the Armistice weekend (celebrated Monday November 11) in Europe (the end of the Great War or WWI)  and Veteran’s Day in the USA (for all combine) ,I come to end my nice weekend with the family in my Pluvigner, Morbihan , Bretagne and head back to the CDG Paris area to continue my job mission. These will be many weekends back and forth until May 2020 at the latest.

Just the re start of my finance consultant life into retirement and thereafter. Life on the road is nice but sometimes missed the boys back home even if we also celebrated early this weekend my twin boys 26 yrs old birthday. We went to eat out at favorite family restaurant Tablapizza , then shopping in the Armand Thiery store and others , doing the groceries at Carrefour with them and next day like today went to the cinema Cineville to see the Maléfique : Le Pouvoir du Mal or Maleficent: Mistress of Evil   movie and then more gifts to them and eat out at the old Burger King lol! they love it.

Now reminicent in a sentimental way of my life travels and efforts starting with my dear late mother Gladys and continue with my dear late wife Martine , still going strong out of faith with my 3 boys and Dad. I have to tell you a bit of my early post when I started this blog out of inspiration of many in the famous travel forums and friend in Madrid. Most if not all these early posts have no pictures as used elsewhere but they tell my early steps in life in a chronological manner. Hope you enjoy reading it as I did/do.

So these were my entry into my first blog posts ever!!! It all started back in November 2010!!! wow already 9 years time flies when having fun. Thank you all!!

Well I am finally into a blog after many years posting elsewhere. Hopefully this will allow me to share with my friends and family my travels and favorites pastimes over the years,and to hear back from folks similar stories. It will grow with us,looking forward to it. Posted: November 26 2010

Havana/La Habana it was once the Paris of the Americas, the Pearl of the Antilles, the most chic city of Latin America until the revolution destroyed everything;streets names were changed, city names were change, people left in hordes, and more poverty than ever sets in all under the glorious revolution still there.  Posted: November 28 2010

Madrid .I arrived from Havana, Cuba on December 30th 1971 in a lonely long flight of 16 hours aboard a Britannia four propellers aircraft with a fueling stop in Santa Maria, Azores islands of Portugal. After much political pressure and the help of the Spanish government as Spanish citizens to leave the island dictatorship. I end up in another one Lol! Posted: November 28 2010

Where it all began for me and my family finally arriving in freedom at Perth Amboy , New Jersey ,USA on may 10, 1974. From Madrid ,Spain. After successful avoiding two dictatorships of the left and right, freedom sets in. Posted: November 28 2010

Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach /North Miami/ Hialeah/ Miramar. My first contact with the State of Florida took place in 1973 when I went from New Jersey to visit my Aunt in Miami Lakes; it didnt seem that great, I guess I was already used to the cold weather from Spain and New Jersey. Then in August of 1977 I went to pursue my university studies there, and settled at Daytona Beach. It was instant love, the city was warm, sunny but also cool in winter, nice folks and the beach and the girls was awesome. Posted:  November 29 2010

Versailles. Coming around my life, as a family we decided way back that one day we might end up in France. Being married to a French woman, and all French citizens, the time was just any minute. Life in South Florida has been great, and we were visiting France every year since 1990 together,even sometimes with my parents. The decision was made to come to live in France permanently in August 2003. Posted: November 30 2010

Auray/Brech . Well here I am back and with new photos to share the wonderful world of  France. Today, I will talk a bit about my new area the Pays ‘Auray. Its a agglomaration of several towns into a metropolitan system of cities. The capital and main city is Auray or An Alre in Breton language.  I arrived here in May 30 2011. Posted: June 26 2011

Pluvigner. The town we are now is call Pluvigner, same department of Morbihan 56, in fact only about 11 kms from where we were, but a much bigger home. 255 sq meters of home and 1000 m2 of land!!! The house is great, we will do some adjustment to our convenience but no major works needed. I arrived here on July 2013. Posted: September 8 2013.

Now you know a bit more of me for those new to my blog in a nutshell!!! Again thank you very much for keeping with me these last few years (9) and hopefully many more to come on our roads of our world.

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

 

 

 

July 17, 2019

Restaurant: Indonesia!

So going into exotic lands for me was a thrill back in 2012 when started visiting Asia, and Indonesia. Over the years since, I had my share of good cheers with friendly locals and many good souvenirs, now I like to tell you about a couple of great places of different tunes.

Let me tell you a bit more on Mad Dog Jakarta and Taman Pringsewu Yogyakarta.

I had a blast off my culinary exits in Jakarta with Mad Dogs, well this one came twice ::) Great place and a hanging out of the expats community here; friendly place, with good, affordable food, pool table, beer garden and sports on TV.  A good place to meet expat since it is a very popular hangout place, especially for American, Australian and British older expats .  Here, I had fish and chip and steaks with Bintang beers of course.

jakarta

South Jakarta sports bar and restaurant Mad Dogs is located in the Cilandak Commercial Estate which is a popular area for bars in south Jakarta. Opened from 2004. It has lots of flat screen TVs scattered around the walls, makes Mad Dogs the perfect place and great bar to watch live sports showing all types of sports including soccer, AFL, NRL, international cricket, F1, golf, and tennis on its large screens. Drinking beers and watching favorite matches in an exciting atmosphere are what people love to do at Mad Dogs. Good prices for food and drinks, delicious food and strong cocktails with fast and friendly service.  The restaurant is full at lunch time. Great ambience during lunch time when good ambient music picks up the mood.  The VIP room is non smoking while everywhere else is open.  Great food, cool atmosphere and friendly service.

More info here: Zomato reviews on Mad Dog Jakarta

jakarta

Restaurant Taman Pringsewu Km. 9 Mulungan Jln. Magelang, Yogyakarta.   The restaurant is a pride of the family every time there is an event that definitely has to eat its food here. The tastes never disappoint and the variants are very much so you can choose, the price is worth it, the place is clean and the service is fast  Friendly children. Super menu.  Super nice,very affordable price & the dining experience is extremely relax with nice ambience. Definitely will come again. The food and service is awesome. First time there and can come back again hopefully.

yogyakarta

I had lunch at the restaurant Taman Pringsewu (T. pre wedding garden ) in a magnificent setting with all exotic local foods some are even hard to remember or spell ! The grill fish is to kill for it thus. A wonderful coconut and orange drink as well.

More info here: Taman Pringsewu restaurant in Indonesian

And they do have a Facebook page for more info here: Facebook page of Taman Pringsewu restaurant

yogyakarta

And there you go , a couple of distinct choices and places both very good memories of my trips to Indonesia. Already looking forward to be back! Enjoy Mad Dog and Pringsewu!

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

June 8, 2019

The Municipal Opera of Ho Chi Minh City!

SO now lets move east again. I have come to Asia quite recently in my life actually from 2012 and it has been very educational. For an amateur lover of history and architecture this is a must for a different look than Europe. However, history tells us that there are ramification of the world mobility all over for one reason or another vestiges of Europe and France are in Vietnam.

Let me tell you about a place not been in it, but did walk by and was inspired by something familiar! The Municipal Opera of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam looks like the the Petit Palais of Paris!

ho chi minh city

I started here and finish here in Ho Chi Minh City , the old Saigon. After going around the country up to close to Hanoi. Another wonderful experience of a vibrant, cosmopolitan city on the move, plenty of moves always busy and exciting day or night.

The theater of Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon Opera House was nice and another French inspired building.  Inspired by the architecture of Petit Palais de Paris, it was built in 1898-1900. During the Vietnam War, this theater was the seat of the parliament of the Republic of South Vietnam. Located on the main axis of the city center, the building is a cultural landmark of Lam Son Square and Dong Khoi Street or the former Catinat Street, between the famous Caravelle and Continental hotels. Exactly at No. 7, Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe, District 1.  With its white columns and elegant arcades, the Ho Chi Minh City City Theater makes one imagine for a moment that one is in a small romantic Paris, away from the busy downtown.

ho chi minh city

Saigon’s Opera House has its specific characteristics. Its architectural style is influenced by the flamboyant style of the Third French Republic. The facade is inspired by the Petit Palais built the same year in Paris. The interior is well equipped, with perfect acoustics and lighting. The building includes a parterre and two balconies, capable of offering up to 800 seats but the oval auditorium has 468 seats.

However, the facade decor has suffered some criticism. Following the Gothic style, the facade of the building was decorated with inscriptions and reliefs , which was worth describing as complicated. In 1943, some of this decoration was removed. In 1998, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Saigon, the city government reconstructed part of the decoration of the facade.

The Saigon Opera House is a must-see place to go for a high-end show that must satisfy contemporary and traditional art lovers; in addition to concerts and ballets, it offers a whole range of activities promoting the local culture by adopting innovative and original approaches.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Ho Chi Minh City on things to see

Tourist office of Vietnam on the opera house

Lune Production site on info and ticketing for the Opera House

There you go another architecture and historical landmark in old Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City. For the opera/theater lovers is a must to see inside. For me well just happy to see it and admire its French architecture in new Vietnam! Hope you enjoy the post on the Opera House of Ho Chi Minh City.

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

 

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April 12, 2019

Wines of the world!

So in continuing with the good news on the wine world, my world maybe your world too, let me tell you some numbers. Even with the pressure to reduce comsumption the trend is up because wine is an integral part of our cultures and cannot be eliminated. It is like taken down Notre Dame Cathedral ,etc etc. En vino veritas!

According to the International Vine and Wine Organization (OIV). Italy confirms its rank as the first producer in front of France. World production reached a record level of 292.3 million hectoliters, up 14.5% !!, according to the OIV . It needs to  go back fifteen years to regain a comparable volume. This situation is all the more remarkable as the vineyard has not ceased to decline since 2004. It stabilized last year.

Some numbers: A world vineyard area of 7.4 million hectares in 2018. A strong increase in production, with 292.3 million hectoliters, representing a growth of 42.5 Million hectoliters compared to 2017. A quasi-stabilized consumption of 246 million hectoliters.  World trade in wine rising with 108 million hectoliters and an increase in value of 1.2% to reach the 31.3 billion Euros!!! Thank you world!!!

In Europe, the area would grow most in Italy between 2017 and 2018, of about 5000 hectares to reach 706 millions ha, unlike other European countries that show a stabilization of the vineyard areas. Nevertheless, Spain remains in the lead in the world ranking with 969 million ha. In Asia, after more than 10 years of strong progression, the growth of the Chinese vineyard  with 875 million ha slows, while that of Turkey 448 mil ha  sees its size stabilize in 2018 after a steady decline since 2003. In the American continent, the vineyard is increasing in Mexico, which is 34 mil ha. The vineyard of South Africa continues to shrink slowly since 2012, to reach 125 mil ha in 2018. In Oceania, the Australian vineyard of 145 mil ha) would see its recent decline slow, while the New Zealand vineyard remains almost stable, with an area around 39 mil ha.

Italy confirm its place of the premier global producer with 54.8 Mil hl, followed by France with 49.1 Mil hl and Spain which registers 44.4 Mil hl. On the other hand, weather conditions have been less favorable for some European countries. In Portugal  6.1 Mil hl, attacks of mildew and powdery mildew have had an impact on the production in 2017, which remains even all with a higher production than the average of the last years.

The United States would record in 2018, with 23.9 Mil hl, a production of wines excluding juice and musts greater than + 0.5 Mil hl compared to 2017. Argentina, with 14.5 Mil hl, grew by + 2.7 Mil hl. Chile recorded a strong progression: + 3.4 Mil hl, with 12.9 Mil hl, opposite Brazil, whose production declined with 3.1 Mil hl in 2018. South Africa sees a drop of-1.4 Mil hl per compared to 2017, explained the impact of drought and reached 9.5 Mil hl. In Oceania,  Australian production with 12, 9 Mil hl  in 2018 remains stable. The New Zealand production is 3.0 Mil hl, registering + 0.2 Mil hl increase compared to 2017

In 2018, World wine consumption, estimated at 246 million hectoliters, would seem to pause in its progression, mainly influenced by a decline in consumption in China and the United Kingdom.  The United States is still the world’s largest consumer since 2011 and reached  33. Mil hl, a slight increase from the previous year  + 1.1%. In South America, there is a slight setback, except in Brazil where consumption 2018 remained almost unchanged from 2017 and amounted to 3.6 Mil hl. In Europe , wine consumption stabilizes in the majority of countries, with the exception of Spain,  increase for the third consecutive year with 10.7 Mil hl in 2018, Portugal , 5.5 Mil hl in 2018, Romania 4, 5 Mil hl, and Hungary  2.4 Mil hl.  In China, the consumption by  in 2018 would drop by 6.6% compared to 2017, and would reached  18 Mil hl.  South Africa also registers a slight setback to reach 4.3 Mil hl. In Oceania, however, Australia increased by 6.1% compared to 2017 and reached 6.3 Mil hl. New Zealand remains almost stable at 0.9 Mil hl.

Spain continues to be the largest exporter in volume with 20.9 Mil hl, representing 19.4% of the the world market. France is still the world’s largest exporter in value with 9.3 billion Euros exported in 2018. Exports of  wines are still largely dominated by Spain, Italy and France, which account the three, more than 50% of the world market volume in 2018, or 54.8 Mil hl the first five importing countries are Germany, United Kingdom, USA, France and China-represent more than half of total imports.

First 2019 harvest estimates in the southern hemisphere  the harvest show a decline in most of the southern hemisphere countries (notably Argentina, Brazil and Chile).  In light of  high temperatures recorded were reportedly impacted by the harvest and South Africa would still be severely affected by drought. The only country that will harvest upwards from the previous year is New Zealand.

OIV entire article on World Wine Production here in English

The next OIV Congress will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, July 15-19 2019. This will be the  42nd World Congress of Vine and Wine. Who is the OIV well a brief description follows.

The International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) is an intergovernmental organization established in 1924. It works in the scientific and technical fields of the whole wine sector. The organization is comprised of 46 States that account for 85% of world wine production and almost 80% of world consumption.  In addition, ten international non-governmental organizations also participate as observers.  The International Organization of Vine and Wine was created on April 3, 2001. It replaces the international vine and wine office of 1958, replacing it with the international wine board of 29 November 1924.

There you go , wine is nice, good health, and helps provide millions of jobs for families of traditional values all over the World. Enjoy it wisely, consume smart, and share it. And remember, happy travels, (to vineyards is awesome) ,good health, (wine is an anti oxydant good for you), and many cheers to all (with wine the cheering will be better) !!!

 

March 17, 2019

Ben Thanh Market at Ho Chi Minh City!

So here I am taking you back east all the way to Vietnam. I have visited the country several times in the last few years and always impressive with its recovery after the wars. My main city was Ho Chi Minh City or old Saigon; even if some locals still call it Saigon!

On the several posts done on the country , I like to tell you about one particular spot that I got in by surprise walking from my hotel once, and then on another occassion came back to see it fully inside. This is the Ben Thanh Market, a must to visit.

The Ben Thanh market or Ho Chi Minh Market,  or Saigon market , whose Vietnamese name is Cho Ben Thanh is the best tourist shopping destination in Ho Chi Minh City. This tourist spot is located in the heart of the city, in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, more precisely the Ben Thanh market  is located at the end of a commercial street call Le Loi, and at the beginning of the Le Lai street.

Ho Chi minh city

This building, which covers an area of more than 13 000 m 2, is made of cream-painted concrete with red roofs. Rectangular in shape, has 4 entrance doors or access inside the building, each door is equipped with an animal as a symbol of this entry, for example at the door of the animal is a cow. The highlight of the main façade is the huge clock housed in the middle of the front door turret.

ho chi minh city

Cho Ben Thanh Market was built in 1914 by the French in Ho Chi Minh. Although the building is relatively modern market, the inhabitants of the city and traded near the river since the 17C.

On the market you can find clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry, equipment, pet shops, crafts, flowers, spices, nuts, food and restaurants . If you can’t find what you want inside the Ben Thanh market, you won’t be able to find it in Ho Chi Minh city!,so is the claim.

ho chi minh city

As a rule, prices are not fixed and will need to be haggle, or as traders say, apply a discount (except for restaurants). During the day, traders and stands  inside the market building, but in the evening , after 18h, the market closes to make room for the so-called Ben Thanh Night Market. A part of the traders mounted their stalls and shelves outside the Ben Thanh Market and all the restaurants and food stalls, without exception, continue its activity at the gates of Cho Ben Thanh Market.

The market opens its doors in the early hours of the morning and closes in the evening at 18h.  It is open every day of the week ,Monday to Sunday, whether it is a holiday, only during the Lunar New Year (Tết) and holidays, some stores can be closed. From 18h until midnight, outside the market, it continues the night market as above mentioned.

ho chi minh city

Hope you enjoy the tour, and see some webpages to help you plan your trip here

Official Ben Thanh Market HCMC

Vietnam Guide hotels.com on Ben Thanh Market

A nice Youtube video on Ben Thank Market:

There you go always busy but so many wonders inside to bring home as souvenirs from Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon. Enjoy Ben Thanh Market!

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

 

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March 7, 2019

Real Madrid, the greatest club in football/soccer history!

I will be talking about something personal, it is my club since many years, and never updated since my first entry in 2011! until now in my blog. I think at this moment it would be very opportune to re tell you about it. I lived in Madrid for four years between 1970 to 1974, and played for the Real Madrid in baseball,volleyball ,and football/soccer in the alavin division. Once a Madridista, always a Madridista to the grave. There is no other team club alike in the history of the game of football/soccer. Hala Madrid!!!!

Madrid santiago bernabeu sta 07avr10

Madrid

A bit of my life’s story goes like this:  I was just a young kid that was introduced to the organisation by a baseball umpire to play for their junior baseball team (sponsored by the Real Madrid in league of 8 teams which included the old US air base at Torrejon de Ardoz) at the parque de la Elipa, from my home at Calle Alcala, Quintana neighborhood or barrio (district Ciudad Lineal) it was just a bus P13 to it (now EMT bus 113). While there, friends used to go to see the team different sports  played, Ciudad Deportiva (the old one by the paseo de la Castellana now has four skyrises call towers as torre Espacio, torre Repsol, torre de la Mutua and torre Sacyr).

While going to these games, some kids who were already on the different sports organisations and had played football with me in parks like parque Calero and Retiro ,asked me to come to the Ciudad Deportiva installations for a tryout that was open. With the help of my baseball contacts that included member “socios” of the Real Madrid football team I got my first tryouts. Before long, I too, was wearing the white shirt of the football team, and move up from benjamin to alavin status. Those were wonderful memories even if just what is left is memories. Never forget that day in 1972 when I first enter the Real Madrid CF .

Madrid

From then on it has been a love affair whenever I may be living, trying for all means to obtain news of the team, and enjoying every second of my visits to the city from 1977 on to today. I am active in several forums that talks about the team, and go to the stadium often in season to see football and basketball games from Vistalegre to Caja Magica ,Ciudad Deportiva, WiZink Center, Valdebebas to Santiago Bernabeu.

The team , a bit of history. The team was born out of educators who sat around and found a club in 1897 around the Vallecas barrio or neighborhood. Quickly it became more organised by several of the members of the team in 1901 and eventually  Julian Palacios as first President officially  registered the club in 1902 as the Madrid Foot-Ball Club in 1902. By 1920 the king Alfonso XIII give it the royal rank of Real or royal as he was a follower too ::) ,and honorary member =socio. From June 1920 it became the Real Madrid CF that we know today. The team participated in the first Spanish league organised in 1929 finishing in second place.  The first league came on this period in the 1931-32 season, the first title !

The greatest period came after the war when on September 15 , 1943 when ex player and ex coach ,Santiago Bernabeu was named President of the club. After organising an international tournament in Colombia in 1952, they saw what was in 1953 their greatest signing that of Alfredo Di Stefano( Argentina) , considered by many the world’s greatest player , as well as the Spanish Francisco “paco” Gento from Santander and the league championship came back to the Real Madrid in the 1953-54 season.  Also, little refugee Ferenc Puskas of Hungary having left his country after the Soviet invation and took refuge in Spain where he signed for the club. They were the start of an amazing run of Five European Cups in a row (record) .  With player like Amancio and Velazquez the club again wins the European Cup in 1966 while continuing to pile up Ligas and Cups at home, these were the Ye-Ye years . The sad news came in June 2nd 1978 with the passing of Don Santiago Bernabeu, the greatest president ever, and today the stadium bears his name as well as the metro stop to it on line 10.

The team follow with the 80’s “la Quinta del Buitre” nickname given to Emilio Butragueño as well as Mexican Hugo Sanchez (Hugol), and many more Ligas however no European Cup. The team from the farm system delighed many and remains one of the most popular periods in the club history even without winning an European championship.  The team continue to wins Ligas in the 90’s with the incorporation of perennial and crowd favorite Raul Gonzalez Blanco, probably the best player ever from the farm system. Finally in 1998  the team came back to win again its trophy , the European Cup now call Champions league. In 1999 the great coach and former player Vicente del Bosque arrive promoting to the first team the legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas ,and with it winning again the Champions league in 2000.

With the election of 2000, a new president came into being the entrepreneur Florentino Perez, (those who follow me know he is not of my liking possibly guilty of the lack of titles of the club in the last few years) ;this was the so call Galactic era, where millionaires dotting shorts and representing the Real Madrid razzle dazzle the world without any title in Europe but huge paychecks from uncle Florentino. Ligas were won but not sufficient due to the expenditures made and another Champions league was won in 2002 with player like Figo, Zidane,Ronaldo, and Beckham. The chosen succesor made it look like an election was Ramon Calderon who created many administrative problems for the club,and was made to resigned in 2009. Ironically , it was Florentino Perez who replaced him single handily without opposition due to no changes in the club by laws where the rich wins, and the second Galactic era began with signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, the signing from England of Spaniard Xabi Alonso and from France Karim Benzema all very expensive contracts and no titles as I write. Me think, time for president Florentino Perez to open elections and retire, too many years there is beginning to look like a dictatorship!

The story continues with the coming of Cristiano Ronaldo already the club all time goal scorer with 451 goals. Also, the signing of former player Zinedine Zidane was awesome. The French coach and the Portuguese player team up to bring us the amazing record of 3 Champions league in a row, never before seen or done!!!  And we are en route to name again the Greatest Club of the 21C having won more league and champions title than any, regardless of the crybabies out there; we won FIFA Best Club of the 20C and the IFHHS European Best club of the 20C as well!!!

Nevertheless, the club is the most winning club in the history of the sport in Spain and abroad regardless of the so call media frenzy of popular teams with a lot less history due to ever increasing publicity and media manipulation.  The Santiago Bernabeu stadium was built in 1947, with a capacity of  80 354 spectators today. The new sport city or  Ciudad Deportiva is today at Valdebebas just outside Madrid and the basketball arena  is now at the WiZink Center in Madrid.

The club has participated in all seasons of Spanish first division football, and has won 33 Ligas, by far the most. The player who has obtained the most titles with the club are Francisco Gento and Manuel Sanchis with 21 titles, and the player with most games is Raul Gonzalez Blanco with 741 games.

Madrid

These are the domestic club titles:

Spanish Liga (33): 1931/32, 1932/33, 1953/54, 1954/55,1956/57, 1957/58, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1962/63, 1963/64, 1964/65, 1966/67, 1967/68, 1968/69, 1971/72, 1974/75, 1975/76, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1994/95, 1996/97, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2011-2012, and 2016-2017.

Copa del Rey or Kings Cup  (19): 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1917, 1934, 1936, 1946, 1947, 1962, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1989, 1993, 2010-2011, and 2013-2014

Super Cup of Spain (10): 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2017. League Cup (1): 1985. Eva Duarte Cup (1):1947. Regional Championships and Community trophies (28) 1904/05, 1905/06, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1909/10, 1912/13, 1915/16, 1916/17, 1917/18, 1919/20, 1921/22,1922/23,1923/24, 1926/26, 1927/28 ,1929/30,1930/31, 1932/33, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36, and 1943. vice Champion of the Liga  (23): 1928/29, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36, 1941/42, 1944/45, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1965/66, 1980/81, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1998/99, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2012-2013, 2014-2015, 2015-2016.  vice Champions of the Kings Cup (20): 1903, 1916, 1918, 1924, 1929,1930,1933,1940,1943,1958, 1959/60, 1960/61,1967/68,1978/79 ,1982/83,1989/90, 1991/92,2001/02,2003/04.2012/13. vice Champion Super Cup of Spain (3): 1982, 1995, 2007. vice Champion League Cup  (1): 1983

International done just the same as good thank you;

Champions League  (13): 1955-56, 1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1965-66, 1997-98, 1999-00, 2001-02. 2013-2014, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-18.

madrid

UEFA Cup (2): 1984/85, 1985/86.

Super Cup of Europe (4): 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017.

Intercontinental Cup , later World Club Cup (7): 1960,1998,2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018.

Ibero American Cup  (1): 1994. Latin Cup(2): 1955, 1957. Club Small World Cup  (2): 1952, 1956.  vice Champion Champions league UEFA  (3): 1961-62, 1963-64, 1980-81. vice Champion European Cup of Cups  (2): 1971,1983. vice Champion Intercontinental Cup  (2): 1966,2000. vice Champion Super Cup of Europe  (2): 1998, 2000.

Madrid

The team has an inmense farm system or Cantera, that allows to maintain teams in many divisions and with excellent championship records as well such as Real Madrid-Castilla, and Real Madrid C team. It ,also has an excellent basketball section with 9 times champions of Europe.

some links of interest below:

The official club webpage  Real Madrid CF

if you want to be part of the family, then become a Madridista here  : Real Madrid fan Club Madridistas

if you want to shop online or find the store in Madrid webpage :  Real Madrid boutiques , for on site stores there is the stadium store on avenida Concha Espina puerta or door 55 or the calle Carmen 3 near Sol in city center,metro sol.

Madrid

if you want to buy ticket onlines ahead of games and pick up yours at the stadium, very easy then see this  : Ticketmaster

madrid

if you want to discuss in Spanish the latest trends in Spanish football and especially the Real Madrid join me in this forum Foro Real Madrid at webpage: Foro del Real Madrid fans forum

For the best sport journal ,in Spain in my opinion, and extensive coverage of football see AS at  Sport journal AS in English with various language and country version , I have it in English.

As the song says, nobody does it better!! Of course, we are human we lose too but overall we are simply the best! We will be back!! Always do always will. Just stay tune! Real Madrid CF forever Hala Madrid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Madrid

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

March 2, 2019

The War Remnants Museum , HCMC, Vietnam!

So lets come back to Asia shall we! I have come to Vietnam several times in the last few years, and always a nice welcome. The impressive country knowing of all the wars there is amazing the recuperation of its landscapes.

I have touch briefly on it but believe need to expand a bit more on this museum in Ho Chi Minh City, the the War Remnants Museum .

I visited the War Remnants Museum , this is a must to understand the war from French colonial and especially from the American intervention, with portraits, maps, weapons ,and real remnants of airplanes, helicopters, tanks, machine guns like the 107 mm huge; tracing the history of cooperation and support for the Vietnam liberation.  You take it as you know it. It is well worth the visit. 

ho chi minh city

The War Remnants Museum ,first opened to the public in 1975. Once known as the Museum of American War Crimes, it’s a shocking reminder of the long and brutal Vietnam War.  Graphic photographs and American military equipment are on display. There’s a helicopter with rocket launchers, a tank, a fighter plane, a single-seater attack aircraft. You can also see a conventional bomb that weighs at 6,800kg. American troops had used these weapons against the Vietnamese between 1945 and 1975.

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

Operated by the Vietnamese government, an earlier version of this museum opened on September 4, 1975, as the Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes. It was located in the former United States Information Agency building. In 1990, the name was changed to Exhibition House for Crimes of War and Aggression, dropping both U.S. and Puppet. In 1995, following the normalization of diplomatic relations with the United States and end of the US embargo a year before (the war dead were forgotten), the references to war crimes and aggression were dropped from the museum’s title as well, and it became the War Remnants Museum as of today.

ho chi minh city

The most talked-about exhibits at the War Remnants Museum are the tiger cages. The South Vietnamese government kept their political prisoners in these confinements.  Locals believe the cages imprisoned up to 14 people at a time. The museum also has a guillotine brought in by the French government. Both the French and South Vietnamese used it to execute their prisoners until 1960. The museum comprises a series of themed rooms in several buildings, with period military equipment placed within a walled yard.  Other exhibits include graphic photography, accompanied by a short text in English, Vietnamese and Japanese, covering the effects of Agent Orange and other chemical defoliant sprays, the use of napalm and phosphorus bombs, and war atrocities such as the My Lai massacre.

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

The War Remnants Museum is currently one of the most popular museums in Vietnam. The War Remnants Museum is a war museum at 28 Vo Van Tan, corner with Le Quy Don Streets, in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (old Saigon).

The official webpage of the museum is here: Official War Remnants Museum in English

Official Vietnam Tourism on Ho Chi Minh City and museum

There you something that needs to be told and visit and you make your own conclusion. Its part of the historically politically correct traveler. The War Remnants Museum is all that and more.

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

 

March 2, 2019

Museum Purna Bhakti Pertiwi , Jakarta!

Ok so let me take you along my ways all the way east to the exotic wonderful Jakarta in Indonesia. I have been lucky to visit the country about 8 times in the last 8 years and the experiences and friends have been wonderful. I have written several posts on Indonesia in my blog.

However, have written about another important group of museums in TMII but left the very first one I went to without credit and it is a pity not to mention it, the area and museum are very nice indeed. Therefore, here is my credit to the Museum Purna Bhakti Pertiwi in Jakarta, Indonesia.

jakarta

My historical cultural knowledge was by going briefly to this museum right outside my hotel Santika in Jakarta, Museum Purna Bhakti Pertiwi , the  museum specialized on the life of Suharto, former second president of Indonesia andn a powerful political figure in modern Indonesia.  The museum houses and displays the large amount of Suharto’s collections; mostly valuable objects, artworks and souvenirs, received from various world leaders and Indonesian people, accumulated during the 32 years of his administration in Indonesia. The museum is a modern building with design took shape of tumpeng , a traditional Javanes cone-shaped rice, symbolized gratitude. The museum webpage is in Indonesian but can be translated with google or other language tools.

Museum of Purna Bhakti Pertiwi, Jakarta

jakarta

A bit more on it from my best creative writings lol!

Purna Bhakti Pertiwi Museum was built on the initiative of Madame Tien Suharto, as an expression of gratitude to God Almighty and high appreciation in honor of Indonesian and international community for their attention and support for President Suharto.It was built by Purna Bhakti Pertiwi Foundation for 5 years between 1987—1992 on an area of 19.73 ha. On August 23, 1993 the museum was inaugurated by President Suharto.

The complex of Purna Bhakti Pertiwi Museum consists of main building, supporting buildings, landscape, and house of painting. The main room stores various souvenirs given by the Soeharto’s state visitors, friends and acquaintances. The gifts collections also presented by Indonesian bureaucrats, political figures and businessman. The special hall stores the military decorations and medal of honors once granted to Suharto. The Asthabrata hall displays the philosophy of the leadership of Suharto. It is chronologically visualized in form of wayang. The hall also displays the story of Wahyu Makutha Rama, as well as literatures from different disciplines.

jakarta

The cone-shaped form of the main building is derived from the shape of the tumpeng, a traditional Javanese cone-shaped rice particularly important during slametan or syukuran thanks-giving ceremony, symbolized gratitude to God. The conical shape also symbolized the kalpataru three of life, other symbolic patterns such as Jayakusuma flower, Cakra Manggilingan batik pattern, reflected in the museum design. What can I say different and translated from the museum site.

While finding this jewel in Jakarta was very easy. I was put in the Santika Taman Mini Hotel just walking across the street! Trying to be curious as always and walking the beat came upon it right away. The hotel is super and will put the webpage here for future reference and convenience to visitors.

Hotel Santika Taman Mini Jakarta

Jakarta

Hope you enjoy the cultural tour of exotic Jakarta ,Indonesia and really should make time to see this museum of Purna Bhakti Pertiwi! 

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

 

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