Archive for ‘Asia’

March 27, 2020

Shopping in the Philippines!

So have been here done that, not an expert in shopping but it seems that every time I go to a country, the locals take you shopping lol! weird but true oh well. This time was making trips to the Philippines and its cities and did went to some shopping centers. Therefore, here is my take on them, sit back and do some virtual shopping in the Philippines or rather better go there!!

Let me start you off with Ayala in Makati, Manila. 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.

A bit on the shopping mall complex.

Greenbelt is a shopping mall located at the Ayala Center, Makati, metro Manila, It opened in the 1988 and the mall offers a mix of high-end retail shops, restaurants, amenities, leisure and entertainment. Currently, the mall has five sections: two enclosed areas, two buildings with open-air shopping areas.  Built around a 250,000-square-meters (2,700,000 sq ft) retail complex, the mall, which merged the previous small arcades and shops, was first opened to the public in 1990. It was renovated in 2001, and as the complex grew, Greenbelt 2 and 3 were opened in 2002, with 4 and 5 opening in 2004 and 2007.

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Greenbelt 1 features Automatic Centre as the anchor appliance store, along with other lifestyle, food, and supply stores. Greenbelt 3 features a mix of international brands.  Greenbelt 4 features high-end boutiques.  Greenbelt 5 has boutiques of Filipino designers, high-end department store Adora and boutiques. Restaurants can be found in Greenbelt 1, 2, 3, and 5, with Greenbelt 1 being concentrated more on fast-food, while Greenbelt 2, 3, and 5 feature sit-down restaurants. There is even the Santo Niño de Paz Chapel a Catholic place of worship in the park.

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manila

The official webpage for Ayala Malls and specific on the Greenbelt complex is here in English: Official Ayala Malls Greenbelt Makati

Next,  I have been to Bacolod and of course tried their shopping mall too. The nice shopping mall SM City really nice modern and many nice stores, we had our coffees here at Starbucks inside the mall. The stores were all very clean, nice displays and many popular names notice.   A bit on the shopping malls SM city.

bacolod

SM Supermalls, is a chain of shopping malls in the Philippines that is growing and last had 74 malls located across the country . SM Supermalls has become one of the biggest mall operators in Southeast Asia.  The company that operates the malls was started in 1958 as Shoemart, with a store in Manila. In the 1960s, Shoemart expanded its shoe store chain. By the 1970s, Shoemart was a full-line department store, shifting its name from Shoemart to SM. In the 1980s, the company diversified and ventured into the supermarket and home appliance store business. It opened the first Supermall store in 1985 in Quezon City.

My experience was in the  SM City Bacolod  located along Rizal Street, Reclamation Area, Bacolod City , region of Negros Occidental, an island,  It opened on March 1, 2007 and currently has a total floor area of 133,894 square metres (1,441,220 sq ft). The SM City Bacolod was composed of two one story wings; North and South.

bacolod

The North Wing section of SM City Bacolod includes restaurants and cafes, such as Krispy Kreme, Breadtalk, and Giligan’s, for customers to dine in. The second floor of the North Wing includes many clothing and technology companies. The third floor is mostly fashion salons and stores. There are some cafes and small restaurants scattered throughout as well. The South Wing has more restaurants found on the outer section of the wing , like Jollibee, KFC, and many more. Many home goods are bought in this wing due to stores such as Ace Hardware and The SM Appliance Store.

The SM Cinemas movie theatre is located on the South Wing. The SM Supermarket  entrance is found in the south sector of the wing. There are two indoor bridges that allow for customers to explore the North and South Wings without being affected by weather conditions.

The webpage for SM City Bacolod is here in English: SM Supermalls on Bacolod

I flew to Cebu, really my center base there and of course did went into the shopping malls including the other SM City there. The SM city mall  in Cebu, great shopping and food here too; here had a great pizza pepperoni with San Miguel beer call Veneto Pizzeria Ristorante.

cebu

The SM City Cebu shopping mall is the 7th largest shopping mall in the Philippines. It has a land area of 11.8 hectares and a gross floor area of 268,611 m2 (2,891,300 sq ft). The mall opened in November 1993. SM City Cebu is a seven-level complex namely lower ground floor, upper ground floor, second floor, third floor, fourth floor, fifth floor, and roof deck featuring a total of eight cinemas with seven regular cinemas and one IMAX theater with a total seating capacity of 5,812, a food court, a fully computerized bowling center, 8,000-square meter amusement center, and a 2,000-square meter trade hall. This is one huge one stop mall folks!

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The SM City Cebu webpage is here in English: SM Supermalls on Cebu

Another one was briefly the Parkmall, one of the newest ones there. The Parkmall opened its doors in 2008, located in the heart of Mandaue City, a next door city to Cebu. The parkmall has a two-level mall at its centerpiece a sprawling property of lush, landscaped parks.  Along the facade of the mall is the longest stretch of outdoor dining in Cebu. Parkmall’s wide variety of cuisines from around the world nestled right beside the gardens makes it Cebu’s al fresco dining destination.

The Parkmall webpage is here: Parkmall Cebu

And yet another one in Cebu. It was the J Centre ,also in town great malls too easy town shopping and eating. The newest mall there and tried by yours truly first! It is located at 165 A.S. Fortuna Street, Bakilid, Mandaue City, Cebu. One of the few malls in the area that has a movie theater and sm supetmarket. Not as big as sm cebu or ayala but its ok for the area. It opened on November 11, 2011, along with several of its anchor stores.

Cebu

It has over 200 boutique stores and restaurants that provide ample options for the avid shopper and meticulous diner. One of its anchor stores is SM Hypermart, which is a business entity operating under the SM Group of Companies brand as seeing above.  A pleasant experience indeed plenty of choices.

The official webpage for JCentre mall Cebu in English; JCentre Cebu

There you go plenty of shopping choices, plus great cinemas, and plenty of food choices as well. It seems this is a prime time thing to do there as most major activities happened in these malls. Hope you enjoy the brief shopping ride to the Philippines!

The official tourist office of the Philippines here: Tourist office of the Philippines

Enjoy it as I did , great company too; and remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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March 26, 2020

Union Square shopping HCMC!

So not a great shopper myself but the locals encouraged me to come here as was close to my hotel and walking is the magic word for me once in town. So I let my legs walk a bit and saw beautiful French style architecture on the main square near city hall and then the shopping mall!

I have several posts on Vietnam but let me bring to focus the grand shopping at Union Square Shopping Mall at Ho Chi Minh City or HCMC!

hcmc

Union Square was originally a new part of Vincom Center A, the shopping mall across the street, but was later sold and is now an independent shopping mall in a prime location. The mall is home to a wide range of foreign luxury brands as well as a mix of everyday brands from Vietnam and beyond. Right on the corner diagonally from the city hall you have the shopping center. There was construction of a new metro line 1 that begun in 2012 to be completed by 2021 as told.

hcmc

Union Square Shopping Mall houses a wide range of designer brands, both local and international alike. Set within District 1, this upmarket shopping mall occupies a massive French colonial building and is fitted with luxurious interiors, broad halls, marble tiles, and European-style décor.

This is a good youtube video showing you Union Square shopping Mall


Attracting a steady mix of affluent travellers, locals, and expats, luxury brands available here include Dior, Hermes, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Lauren, Versace and Dior, some of which offer relatively attractive promotions from time to time. However, don’t expect real bargains as it’s one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most high-end shopping venues.

Open daily, Union Square Shopping Mall is within a five-minute walk from the Saigon Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the People’s Committee Building. It’s also flanked by the famous shopping street of Dong Khoi and the popular Nguyen Hue walking promenade, making it a popular spot for dining and shopping after a day of sightseeing in Ho Chi Minh City. The exact location is at 171 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, HCMC.

The Vietnam Guide has further info on the Union Square Shopping Mall: Vietnam Guide on Union Square

And a interesting webpage call Scooter Saigon Tour has a nice layout on Union Square Shopping Mall here: Scooter Saigon Tour on Union Square

And there you, who say the French have left! Lots of nice architecture features on the building, and beautiful stores inside as they said if specials days you can find some nice brand names here. Hope you enjoy a bit off the beaten path thing to do in Ho Chi Minh City!

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

 

 

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March 20, 2020

Some news from France, CCXCXIII

And lets get back to some news from France. The world is on the move and we cannot stay away from it, even travel lovers who are most direct concern. We have covid19 or whatever you call it, and it is bad, hurting people all over. No need to give ranking who is more or less , and who is close or not, WE are all concern sooner or later. So lets get inside our homes, minimize outings , wash your hands often, do tele work like me and keep busy. I did my pressure cleaning outside my house and the garden bricks for example.

And lets help whenever we can volunteering in my town has started for the elderly and needy with a support team we are participating as on call basis. We can do it together, I know in France and Europe we had gone thru worse times and we overcame, we will this time too. Vive la France!!! Long live  a united Europe!! and as I am a believer, may God Bless you all!

Now the news from various sources in my belle France!

The French Senate gives green light to bill on state of health emergency. The Senate with a right-wing majority adopted on the night of Thursday to this Friday at first reading the bill allowing the establishment of a state of health emergency.  The text, voted by 252 votes in favor, 2 against and 90 abstentions, also authorizes the government to take measures to support businesses by ordinance and records the postponement of the second round of municipal elections “at the latest in June”.

In California USA finally placed in containment. The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, decides to place the entire state and its 40 million inhabitants in containment to strengthen the fight against the pandemic. The directive is one of the most stringent measures announced in the United States since the start of the health crisis.  Los Angeles residents placed in confinement. The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, ordered Thursday confinement of all the inhabitants of this metropolis of 4 million inhabitants, asking them to refrain from any unnecessary movement to stem the coronavirus pandemic. Good for California!!

The cases are increasing in the NBA. Two Los Angeles Lakers players infected with the new coronavirus on Thursday, three of the Philadelphia Sixers, one of the Boston Celtics and a member of the Denver Nuggets: cases are multiplying in the NBA, stopped for more than a week due to the pandemic. NBA in case you are visiting earth, is the National Basketball Association in the USA.

Visas suspended in the United States. The United States has suspended the issuance of all regular visas to all countries of the world, the US State Department announced. “As far as possible, embassies and consulates will continue to issue emergency visas,” they  said.

No containment for the whole of the United States. Donald Trump says he does not envisage confinement for the whole of the United States. Playing with fire as deaths mount.  Closure of the United States / Mexico border. US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo announces the closure of the US border with Mexico for “non-essential travel”. ah yes…

Reinforced measures in New York State. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has decreed a halt to all non-essential activities and a ban on all gatherings. NY NY!

Why mobile links sometimes leave something to be desired. From a technical point of view, telephone operators have “two points of vigilance”, the interconnection of networks and the traffic on submarine cables to the United States. Operators are strengthening interconnection capacities, which allow a subscriber of one network to reach the subscriber of another network. This explains the difficulties that some have encountered in recent days. This was running in some newspapers in the USA.

NASA suspends its lunar work. The American space agency announces to put a stop to the works of construction and test of the rocket and the ship of its manned mission Artemis on the Moon. This is due to the increasing number of people affected in its teams.

Half of Air Canada’s technically unemployed workforce. Air Canada will lay off more than 5,100 flight attendants, half of its workforce, according to a union source. The measure will affect approximately 3,600 flight attendants of the first Canadian airline and 1,549 members of its low-cost subsidiary Air Canada rouge, at least until April 30, specifies the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in a communication news.

 The prohibition of any movement and gathering on the roads on the banks of the Seine, the lawns of the Esplanade des invalides and the Champ-de-Mars, from Friday and for the weekend. This is in Paris.

The Paris Stock Exchange opens on a 5.48% jump to 4,066.79 points. The Paris Bourse attacks the session of conquering mood (+ 5.48%) this Friday morning, partly reassured by the massive monetary measures adopted by several governments and central banks, in particular the European Central Bank, to face the impact of the coronavirus epidemic. Same trend in Frankfurt, London and Hong Kong. And it keeps going up in Paris but you know this is an up and down game!

SNCF traffic increasingly reduced. Only 15% of mainline trains this Friday, 25% TER and almost more connections abroad, indicates the SNCF. Traffic is 35% on the Transilien network of the Paris suburbs, according to the company. Abroad, the service was suspended to Germany, Italy and Spain. There are still 20% of Eurostar trains to London, 20% of Thalys trains to the Benelux, and, to Switzerland, a Paris-Geneva return trip and a Paris-Basel return trip. The offer is likely to be further reduced in the coming days.

Free transport for carers in the Grand Est. Caregivers will be able to borrow free from Saturday TER and intercity buses in the Grand Est region, announced the community, which wishes to facilitate their travel while Alsace pays a heavy price in the coronavirus epidemic

Orange awaits masks with great impatience. Orange, which had supplied stocks of masks to comply with the requisitions for healthcare staff is waiting with “great impatience” to receive new masks for these teams responsible for maintaining the networks, this Friday explains its CEO Stéphane Richard.

Call for volunteers in Ile-de-France hospitals. The regional health agency in Ile-de-France is launching an appeal to active or retired health workers to help healthcare establishments. This is going on all over France now!

Humane Society worries about many abandonments when shelters are already overcrowded. , OMG don’t be a monster, these loving animals need our help too, and they will be right with you, they do not get the virus so keep them in with you please. I have a loving dog Rex and he is part of my family no way he will be treated lesser.

The soldiers prepare the field hospital in Mulhouse. Preparations for the deployment of the military field hospital in Mulhouse are well under way. This morning, soldiers in lattice are on site to prepare the installation of 30 beds. The future hospital will be set up a few meters from the heliport, right next to the Emile-Muller hospital. Yes the Armed Forces are people too, great! The hospital has begun to be deploy and some patients are been transported to Toulon where there are more hospital military installations.

There are still 130,000 French people are stranded abroad. France must organize the return of some 130,000 nationals stranded abroad by the Covid-19 pandemic, said this Friday the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. They will need to find transport back to France, not an easy thing to do. French abroad have been exceptionally authorized to enter the Air France crisis center.

Already 18,000 reports since the start of confinement. According to a police source cited by BFMTV, since the start of the confinement on Tuesday noon, the police have carried out 225,000 checks for 18 reports. This is the control for people not to go out, some idiots do not understand still they need to stay home and go out as needed with a attestation de déplacement dérogatoire which can be obtain blue for individuals and red for professionals/entrprises from the Ministry of Interior webpage: Min Interior of France

The agents of the City of Paris will be able to issue fines. The law on the state of health emergency (under examination) should give the agents of the security service of the City the same powers as those of a “real” municipal police. Now now this is a bit hysterical.

President Macron of the French Republic: “The State is holding up”. Emmanuel Macron says a few words in front of the cameras before the defense council. “We have taken exceptional measures to absorb this first wave,” said the President of the Republic. The crisis is mobilizing all aspects of the life of the Nation ”. “The State is keen, we will be there in the long term,” he says, thanking his ministers for being there “morning, noon and night and overnight.”

Pension reform abandoned? During his speech last Thursday, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron announced a break from all the reforms undertaken. Interruption or total stop, the question arises at the top? I believe it will be an interruption while the virus crisis is on.

Social benefits paid automatically. Social benefits requiring regular declarations of resources to qualify for them, such as the RSA, the disabled adult allowance (AAH) or housing benefits, will be paid automatically to beneficiaries “incapacitated”, the government announced. This is in France, no need for forms if you were on these programs benefits will continue; Vive la France!

And are we will be getting mail? Six unions of La Poste claim in a letter to the Minister of Economy and CEO Philippe Wahl a “discussion about the missions that the La Poste group should carry out as a priority” during the coronavirus crisis, according to a press release.  The unions (CGT, CFDT, SUD, CFE-CGC, CFTC and Unsa) are alerting to the health and social situation within the La Poste group, where “security conditions are far from being maximum”, and note that ” the essential missions that La Poste and its subsidiaries must fulfill are very broad in concept ”.

The meetings of the Defense counsel starts. A Defense Council starts at the Ministry of the Interior, chaired by Emmanuel Macron, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and the main ministers concerned. This is sort of a control center to monitored the needs and actions needed as we advance.

In Nice, the mayor Christian Estrosi announces the closure of the Promenade des Anglais and all the city’s markets. Good measure too many people there anyway! And it gets tougher. A curfew at 20h (8 p.m.) in Nice. Christian Estrosi, the mayor (LR) of Nice, issued an order to impose a curfew in his city from this Friday evening.

No national curfew in France. “It is not a question of establishing a national curfew on the whole territory but of supporting local initiatives, such as that of the mayor of Nice” who has implemented a curfew in his city at 20 hours every evening, starting today, specifies Christophe Castaner, Interior Minister.

In Cannes, the Palais des Festivals opened to accommodate the homeless. This announcement is made on France Info the mayor of the city, David Lisnard. This decision is made “both to protect them, but also to protect any population from the spread of the virus,” he said. Good deal Cannoises!

An emergency fund for companies in Lyon. The metropolitan area of ​​Lyon has created an emergency fund of 100 million euros for companies affected by the containment measures, allowing in particular the payment of aid of 1,000 euros per month for certain self-employed. This is just a regional effort, nationwide it is 1500 euros per month.

After Mulhouse, the army in Ajaccio to evacuate patients. For the second time in a few days, the French army will be involved in the fight against the new coronavirus: after the evacuation by military aircraft of patients from Mulhouse, the navy will transfer this weekend patients from Corsica to the Riviera. The amphibious helicopter carrier (PHA) Tonnerre of the French Navy will go to Ajaccio this weekend for “the medical evacuation of patients with Covid-19” to establishments in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, announces the prefecture of Corsica.

Creation of a buffer zone at the Saint-Etienne teaching hospital. The CHU of Saint-Etienne is preparing for a ramp-up of its capacity to receive patients with symptoms of coronavirus and has set up a “sorting center” near the emergency department.  This advanced medical center, in the form of a long canvas tunnel 18 meters long by 6 wide built from scratch within the grounds of the Hôpital Nord site in Saint-Priest-en-Jarez (Loire), has been fully disinfected. “It will be active in the coming days, depending on changing needs,” says the direction of the CHU.

The beaches of the Somme dept 80 Hauts de France are prohibited. The Somme prefecture has announced that it will prohibit access to the department’s beaches until March 31.

Several protective measures for public transport adopted in France. Public transport companies must disinfect their vehicles at least once a day, the climb from the front of buses is prohibited in principle and travelers must stand a meter from each other, according to a decree published in the Official Journal on Friday . Reinforced controls will be implemented this Friday and this weekend in Parisian stations. The Paris prefecture of police reminds in a press release that departures on holidays and weekends are not part of the cases covered by the certificate of derogatory travel.

New Caledonia closes its airport. All international flights to and from New Caledonia are suspended from midnight on Friday, the local government announced. Initially, the traffic was to stop gradually by Tuesday but the executive decided Friday late in the day to shorten the delay.

Back in America,we have the first three coronavirus deaths in Peru. The government reports a considerable increase in the number of cases for a total of 234 infected people across the country.

Rio de Janeiro ,Brazil closes its beaches and restaurants. The state of Rio de Janeiro announces that it will close its beaches, bars and restaurants for Saturday, for at least two weeks, in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. The decree published by Governor Wilson Witzel also provides for suspension of land, sea and air links with any other Brazilian state with at least one confirmed case of coronavirus, but the measure must be validated by the federal authorities.

Brazil prohibits entry to Europeans and Asians. These restrictions, valid for one month, apply to passengers on flights from the European Economic Area (European Union, United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and of Malaysia, who do not have residence in Brazil or a professional or family justification to return to the country, specifies a ministerial decree.

Argentina decrees the containment of the population. Argentine President Alberto Fernandez decrees “preventive and compulsory” containment of the population from this Friday until March 31 to fight against the coronavirus.  Argentina has 128 cases of coronavirus and three deaths.

In Europe,  Youtube suspends HD. With European networks suffering from slowdowns, YouTube is stopping playback of HD videos to relieve European networks. In the wake of Netflix, the platform reduces its impact on the Internet by passing its content to Standard version. No problems still see them  fine.

No lifting of confinement before April 13 in Austria. Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz announces that the week-long containment measures in the country, where travel is drastically limited, will be extended until April 13.

Cases are exploding in Belgium. The number of deaths jumped from 21 to 37, announce the Belgian authorities. The country records Friday 2,257 confirmed cases, against 1,795 identified the day before.

Oh my poor and resistant Spain passes the 1,000 dead mark. Spain is approaching 20,000 cases, announced this Friday the director of the health alert center Fernando Simon. The country has “1,002 deaths” and “nationally we have 19,980 cases, with an increase of 2,833 cases compared to yesterday (Thursday), an increase of 16.5%,” said Fernando Simon. The death toll has increased tenfold in seven days. It is second only to Italy in confronting this awful virus.

Arrival in the Czech Republic of a plane from China with a million masks. This plane landed this Friday in Prague. “The plane contains 1.1 million FFP2 masks that will be immediately distributed to hospitals and other places,” said Interior Minister Jan Hamacek at a televised press conference at Prague Airport . Prague acquired the equipment for around $ 3 million, he added. To be fully reported, China has done the same for Italy, Spain and France so far as well.

New restrictive measures expected in Italy. The Italian government is considering new restrictive measures which could be adopted quickly. “In the next 24 to 48 hours, new restrictions are possible,” announced Minister for Regional Affairs Francesco Boccia, citing, among other things, the possibility of suspending outdoor activities. The governors of the northern regions, the richest in Italy and the most affected by the epidemic with around 3,000 dead, are calling for even more closures and the deployment of the army to enforce these measures.

The most affected nation today, Italy .It is still the Milan region, Lombardy, where hospitals are overwhelmed, which pays the heaviest price, with 381 additional deaths (2,549 in total). In the country, nearly 6,000 additional cases have been detected, again a figure never reached before. Forza Italia!!!

Bavaria , Germany, is the first regional state to order containment. “We are going to reduce the whole of public life to almost nothing,” announces the head of the Bavarian government, Markus Söder, the measure having to enter into force at 11 pm (midnight) and initially to last two weeks.

Reinforced measures in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom orders the closure of pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theaters. It’s about time ….!

EasyJet will maintain the majority of its fleet on the ground. The British airline EasyJet has announced that most of its fleet will remain on the ground from 24 March. The carrier will only maintain a few connections to certain destinations, mainly from the United Kingdom or to the country.

Reinforced measures in Switzerland. Switzerland has tightened its measures, banning gatherings of more than 5 people, but has ruled out any confinement – a measure adopted by other European countries – believing that it was “spectacle politics”. The government has also released an additional 32 billion Swiss francs (30.4 billion euros) to support the economy. An envelope of 10 billion Swiss francs had already been announced a week ago. Hard to tell the Swiss lol!

Back on the source:  Second day with zero new local cases in China. For the second consecutive day, China reports no new local coronavirus contamination this Friday, even though the number of imported cases, 39, reached a record.

And be careful Africa.  Gabon announces its first death. A first patient died in Gabon of the new coronavirus, the second in sub-Saharan Africa after Burkina Faso, said this Friday the spokesman of the cell for monitoring the epidemic in this country which has counted so far only three cases . The 50-year-old patient “died at 8:05 am as a result of complications from his diabetes and an acute respiratory distress syndrome,” said spokesman Dr. Guy Patrick Obiang Ndong.

More than 200 cases already in South Africa, authorities worry. A total of 202 people are infected in the country by Covid-19, against 150 the day before, said the Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize to the press in Bloomfontein (center). The authorities estimate that the disease could infect up to 60% of the country’s population of 56 million.

General confinement in Tunisia. Tunisian President Kais Saied has announced a general containment of the country, without specifying its date of entry into force or its duration, after having recorded an increase in the number of patients with coronavirus.

Jordan will impose a curfew from Saturday morning until further notice, the government spokesman said. The latter explained that this decision had been taken after “citizens’ failure to comply with the directives” asking them to leave their homes only in the event of an extreme emergency.

More than 10,000 deaths worldwide. At least 10,316 deaths worldwide are now totaled, according to a report established by AFP on Friday. More than 5000 of these deaths are in Europe. Since the count made the previous day at 19h (7:00 p.m.), there have been 490 new deaths. If you like to keep count, there is Worldometer/coronavirus site that maintains tallies worldwide here: Worldometers information on Coronavirus

The Euro carried over to 2021 will be called … again Euro-2020. The Euro football initially planned for next summer but postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic will officially keep its name of Euro-2020, announced UEFA.

Of course, these news will change and expand in the coming days, weeks, and I promise not to give count of the virus, enough to have it recorded. Let’s keep the spirits up . Best wishes for everybody!!

And remember, happy travels, YES, good health, we will pray together, and best wishes to all!! indeed as always by yours truly.

 

 

March 20, 2020

General Santos City!

And let be back to Asia, and take  you to an unique city way down under and off the beaten path of the Philippines! I was here to tell you even if the area was not visited extensively. It is an area to go with caution.

Anyway, let me tell you a bit more on the General Santos City!

General Santos City or GenSan was previously known as Dadiangás, and is the southernmost large city in the Philippines. It is geographically located in the province of Cotabato del Sur, but is administered independently of it.

The first inhabitants of General Santos were the nomads B’laan. Within the framework of a colonization movement organized by the Philippine State, General Santos Paulino led the installation of 62 Christians from the Island of Luzon on the shores of Sarangani Bay. The first settlers came aboard the steamer “Basilan” of the Compañia Maritima on February 27, 1939. gradually leading the B’laans to move to the mountains and lose their traditional livelihoods. During WWII, the Municipal District of Buayan where General Santos is located today was occupied by Japan. Remains from this era can still be seen at the Guadalupe site. Six years later, in June 1954, the city was renamed General Santos in tribute to the pioneer general. The city of General Santos is the largest producer of tuna in the Philippines. GenSan is the second largest fishing port in the country.

And I had to take a loong air trip to get there!!! I had to go the night before on a hotel at Nantes airport and 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. Finally, set for General Santos City on Cebu Pacific Airlines. 

General Santos International Airport is approximately 14 km away from the central business district of the city. A concrete 6 km Philippine-American Friendship Road and the 30 km General Santos Diversion Road connects the airport to the Pan Philippines Highway leading to the city proper as well as to the nearby provinces. General Santos city is located at the head of Sarangani Bay of the Celebes Sea along the southern shore of Mindanao.

gen santos city

I headed to my hotel upon arriving late a night: I had local driver and stay at the Microtel by Wynham hotel  which was nice and friendly, the place to be in town me think. And yes photo turn out blurry but only one I have ! Webpage: Microtel Hotel at GenSan

gen santos city

I ate at Big Ben Restaurant, where the tuna steak was great as the city is famous for it ,tuna that is. more on their Facebook page here: Facebook page of Big Ben Steaks & Grill

gen santos city

I took my time upon my first full day in town, and did a lot of walking ,the city is base around lots of malls or shopping centers where the locals and nearby areas come in for shopping and night out.  And of course, tried one of these buggy transport idea!

gen santos city

I went for dinner at Giligan’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, go to Mindanao and then Veranza Mall for more at Giligans’ webpage here: Giligans restaurant at Veranza mall

gen santos city

As said, General Santos City is the shopping capital of the Soccksargen region.(formerly central Mindanao) These malls are home to both national and international brands of retail merchandises as well as restaurants and cafes. So , if want to browse for some bargain shopping, its the best one two combination in town, here is the Veranza mall webpage: KCC Malls on the Veranza mall

gen santos city

The overall tourist office for General Santos city is here: Official tourist office of General Santos City

And there you go another spot in my globettroter globe and nice experiences, good friends still in touch, and always looking forward for a repeat visit. Hope you have enjoy the tour of General Santos City in the Philippines!

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

 

 

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February 27, 2020

Another look at the world of wines!

Let me give you some news from the world of wines, my world. If you have read my blog you know that once in a while I need to tell you about wines. It is part of our family tradition for generations and of course it is tradition not alcohol. We drink respectfully.

As the lead country, France, wine is always on the table and my table. There are some rumblings out there and would like to keep you abreast and a notch for me too. Here are the latest tidbits of the wine world from France.

The cru bourgeois are making their revolution with new colorful banner (brand identity), new coat of arms (logo) and new motto (baseline): “Quality with the eyes closed”. But in substance, they return to the old regime, distinguishing “crus bourgeois exceptionnels”, “crus bourgeois supérieurs” and “crus bourgeois“. The selection was unveiled in Bordeaux this past Thursday, February 20 (hot off the press!!) . It is the fruit of nine years of work intended to extinguish the smoldering sling. Because, in this immense and very diverse family of XXS or XXL vineyards, family properties, belonging to private or institutional investors, or even active in large groups, which represents 31% of the production of the Médoc with 28 million bottles, the chateaux enjoying a brand as strong as the label threatened to secede.

Owners and traders deplored the volatile nature of the annual classification: how to explain to the markets which abhor the uncertainty that a same vintage is bourgeois in this year and loses this quality the following year. Consumers, themselves, wondered about a price range varying from simple to triple depending on the prestige of the appellation and the reputation of the chateau with prices generally pulled down. The L’Alliance des crus bourgeois du Médoc,( Médoc Crus Bourgeois Alliance) has therefore clarified its offer. The new protocol, validated by the public authorities, introduces a return to prioritisation with constraints and independent controls specific to each category. And stabilizes the offer with a classification valid for five years, enough to sustain trade relations. They need to adapt to an ultra-competitive global market, while the quality level has generally gone up. This revised classification sounds a new start for the cru bourgeois wines.

Two hundred and forty-nine chateaux have therefore been selected from seven Médoc appellations. Fourteen are distinguished “crus bourgeois exceptionnels” wines, fifty-six are recognized as “crus bourgeois supérieurs” , 179 are “crus bourgeois “. The first level of qualification was for all a blind tasting, by the verification body set up by the association, of five vintages chosen between 2008 and 2016. For candidates for an additional mention, the second level of qualification included the tasting of five other vintages. It was then a question of appreciating the regularity of the quality, as well as the evaluation of the cultural and environmental practices, the management of the exploitation, the promotion of the vintage, the quality of reception, and the wine tourism offer.

Three categories but a collective promotion. Among the crus bourgeois exceptionnels winners are some of my favorites (in black) and others, these are Agassac, Arnaud, Belle-Vue, Cambon La Pelouse, Charmail, Malescasse, Malleret, Taillan (in AOC Haut-Médoc), Arsac and Paveil de Luze (Margaux), Le Boscq, Le Crock and Lilian Ladouys ( Saint-Estèphe), Château Lestage (Listrac-Médoc).

All these new “exceptional” were once “superior”. A good progression therefore. And among the new “superiors” of today, 24 ordinary citizens of yesterday are promoted while 18 regain their former title. It included nine “exceptional” (including Chasse-Spleen, Haut-Marbuzet or Phélan-Ségur) which, since, have prospered and 87 superior. Those who today would be unhappy with their fate still have the opportunity to appeal. As for the coexistence of these three categories, on the need for collective promotion, mention or not in titles. To be seen now the public reaction and welcome of these labels and properties. There are in general a very good price quality ratio to had.

More info in English at the official webpage of the Alliance: https://www.crus-bourgeois.com/en/

One of the best wine salons fairs in France is at Mâcon; Saône et Loire dept 71 in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. Knowing a growing success, the Salon des Vins de Mâcon or Mâcon Wine Fair is renewed for the year 2020 on April 17, 18 and 19.

The show offers a tour of France of the wine regions. It will take place at the Mâcon Exhibition Center. You can discover and taste wines from all over the country and build a quality cellar at various prices. This event, open to the general public, promotes discussion between producers and consumers in a warm and friendly meeting place. The Concours des Grands Vins de France or the Great Wines of France Competition is also organized among all the exhibitors and will reward the best wine. The latter will take place on Saturday 18 April 2020.

Brief info the event will be held at the “Le Spot” Parc des Expositions, avenue Pierre Bérégovoy, 71000 Mâcon. The schedule hours are Friday April 17 from 14h to 21h, Saturday April 18 from 10h to 21h, and Sunday April 19 from 10h to 19h. Price admission is 5€ adult or free for children under 12 . The admission includes free tasting, and a free vintage tasting glass. More info here: https://www.concours-salons-vins-macon.com/

A misled issue out of trade barriers which we all talk of bringing down but still active. This one does not make sense as we cannot compare planes with wines! Apparently America thinks they are the same. The long meeting on Saturday with the President of the French Republic; Emmanuel Macron at the Salon de l’Agriculture or Agricultural Fair did not calm fears of the wine industry. Affected since October by a 25% surcharge on still wines exported to the United States, French wine-growers insist on the “urgency” of a response to an unprecedented crisis situation, which should cost them 300 to 400 million euros of turnover this year, out of 1.2 billion realized per year in the country of Uncle Sam.

A retaliatory measure linked to a judgment by the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Airbus, accused of receiving public subsidies that distort competition with Boeing. The WTO therefore authorized the United States to tax $ 7.5 billion in products imported from Europe per year. The Trump administration immediately imposed an import tax of 10% on commercial aircraft and 25% on wine (Airbus produced in the state of Alabama which explains the low tariffs applied to aeronautics so a biased system indeed). The EU is still evaluating their counterattack nbut it seems do not want or need further escalations on trade barriers. In the meantime, the French winemakers suffer and the public over the pond pays higher prices.

And be ready as from March 1 to 31, 2020, Duclot La Vinicole, distributor of Bordeaux Grands Crus, presents its ninth edition of “Carte sur Table” (menu on the table) . Fifteen very fine Bordeaux wines will be on the menu of prestigious establishments at cellar prices so that amateurs can indulge themselves from 60€ Château Branaire-Ducru 2012 to a 690€ Château Cheval Blanc 2006. The selection is made up of wines that have reached perfect maturity or are highlighted in younger vintages, ready to drink even if we can still keep them waiting. These fifteen vintages will be available in a dozen of mainly Parisian restaurants such as Le Gabriel, La Scène, Origines, Gaya, etc ; but also in Versailles in the Trianon Palace to which are added Flocons de Sel in Megève. Among the bottles not to be missed, let me tell you to note a Château Pavie-Macquin 2014, 1er grand cru Classé of juicy Saint-Emilion, powerful, mineral, with chalky tannins 75€, a Château Giscours 2006, 3rd classified growth of Margaux en magnum , supple and silky, with melted tannins 150€. In the Saint-Estèphe appellation, connoisseurs will appreciate the Château Cos d´Estournel 2008, 2nd growth classified complex and generous 160€ or the Château Lafon-Rochet 2001, 4th growth classified 75€. Without forgetting a Château Lafite Rothschild 2004, Premier Cru Classé of Pauillac 690€ as well as a Château l’Évangile 2012, a magnificent Pomerol 160€. Superb opportunity at good prices, more info here: https://www.cartesurtable.com/

And one big news if lately the country has scare a few…. We do not seems to stop going ,investing, and enjoying China. La Fondation pour la culture et les civilisations du vin or in English the Foundation for Wine Culture and Civilizations, which manages the Cité du Vin de Bordeaux, brings its expertise to a pharaonic Chinese project: musée universel du vin or the universal wine museum. The opening is scheduled for the end of 2021. A cultural center dedicated to wine will be created in Fangshan, 40 km from Beijing, just over five years after the inauguration of the Cité du Vin de Bordeaux. The two institutions work in cooperation, but it is neither a copy nor a trademark license.

Its initiator has been speaking French since the age of 12 and knows the hexagonal culture (French) and its wine well, he planted a 60 ha vineyard in 1999, south-west of Beijing, and vinifies his Château Bolongbao organically (“ Bo ”for Bordeaux,“ long ”for the duration and“ bao ”which means castle, very French), in Bordeaux style, and finally, the City/Town Hall of Beijing is participating in this museum project as well, of course…

The new 18,000 m² space, located next to the Bolongbao estate, will include a 6,700 m² permanent tour with temporary exhibitions, an auditorium, multi-sensory events, a cellar, a gourmet restaurant and a wine school. The neighboring commercial area with hotels will obviously include wine sales spaces for individuals. There will also be a breeding ground for Chinese and international businesses. Designed in partnership with the French agency Architecture Studio, based in Paris, Shanghai and Venice, the project is presented as a stone village backed by vines, inspired by Saint-Emilion. The Scarabée agency, which had already focused 10 years ago on the founding fund for what would become the Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, is also associated with the Chinese project.

The 5 themes presented will be: What is wine; wine in the world with 12 major countries, 6 from the New World, 6 from the old, including France and China; the history of wine in China, rich in its latest archaeological discoveries; wine and the senses will present the categories of wine (red, rosé, white, sparkling …) and their sensory effect, with whenever possible, a passage to practice and advice on the art of living. The unmissable tasting stage will be staged like in a Parisian bistro.

The cooperation project of the Cité du Vin de Bordeaux is the 4th French museum project in China. It was announced after, the opening of the annex to the Pompidou Center in Shanghai in November 2019, as part of a brand license agreement, sale of expertise, loan of works and organization of exhibitions. the association of the Musée Picasso Paris and the Giacometti Foundation with the opening of a new art center in Beijing in June 2020, in district 798, as part of a contract for the sale of expertise, loan of works and organization of exhibitions; the project to create a Rodin museum in Shenzhen, the fruit of a partnership between the Rodin Paris museum, the city of Shenzhen and a Chinese collector, within the framework of a contract for the sale of expertise, loan and purchases of works and organization of exhibitions. And a 5th project should be announced soon by another French scientific museum.

SOURCES: avis-vin.lefigaro.fr, lejournaldesentreprises.com, vitisphere.com, and winespectator.com

Hope you have enjoyed this special post on the wines from France. And do drink it awesome tradition with good food , good cheers, and good family reunions. En Nino Veritas.

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

 

 

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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