Archive for ‘Asia’

November 22, 2020

Another dandy in the East,Manila!!!

And need to revise this older post on the nice city of Manila, capital of the Philippines. It was my first trip ever to the Philippines and Manila! Thereafter, many more trips and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to be back when possible.

Another surprise visit to a far away land, business many times provides unexpected visits to some exotic far away lands, and I am lucky to be part of the business travel loop. I came here and repeat several times and the experiences have been gratifying indeed. I am talking now of the capital, Manila ,in the Philippines.

The city of Manila is one of the 16 cities of the metropolitan area of Manila, one of the most populous in the world. The latter, located on the west coast of Luzon Island, is the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila), and is not part of any province in the country. It is located on the east bank of Manila Bay.  The city is divided into six legislative districts and sixteen geographic districts: Binondo , Ermita, Intramuros, Malate , Paco, Pandacan , Manila Port, Quiapo , Sampaloc , San Andres, San Miguel, San Nicolas , Santa Ana, Santa Cruz , Santa Mesa , and Mowo.

Some of the key dates in history I like are

1571, founding of the city by Miguel López de Legazpi. The Spaniards settled there, and occupied the premises until 1898. 1762-1764: British occupation of Manila and Cavite during the war of seven years. In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, American troops destroyed Spain’s fleet (Battle of Manila Bay), and took over the Philippines.

On December 26, 1941, following the bombardment of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into  WWII, the Americans abandoned the city and withdrew all their military facilities. The Japanese Air force bombarded Manila, before the Imperial Army entered the city on January 2, 1942. In February 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy refused to evacuate the perimeter, the Allies continue the advance to the city, at the cost of intense fighting that destroyed the town and resulted in the death of many civilians. Manila was one of the most devastated cities during  WWII. In 1948, Quezon City became the new capital of the Republic of the Philippines. Manila becomes the capital of the country on May 29th, 1976.

Some of the interesting areas to visit are on the south bank of the Pasig River where the ancient colonial district of Intramuros, founded in 1571 by the Spaniards, which in a peaceful atmosphere has preserved surprising examples of 17C architecture, and Rizal Park, Manila’s Central Park . Further south, the districts of Ermita and Malate, around its Baroque church, host many bars and restaurants. This is also where you can watch the sunset over Manila Bay.  On the North of the Pasig River, the district of Quiapo is famous for its steel church, the Basilica of San Sebastian, its market and its Basilica of the Black Nazarene, where the procession of the Black Nazarene is held every 9th January and brings together millions of devotees. A little further away the Binondo district is home to the city’s very authentic Chinatown. A fascinating Chinese cemetery is located in the north of the city.

Other popular sites include the Spanish colonial buildings in Intramuros, the World Heritage Site of San Agustin Church, and a few Art Deco and Revival style buildings like Manila Metropolitan Theater and the National Museum of Fine Arts. There are also modern attractions such as the Manila Ocean Park, the integrated resort complex of resorts World Manila, and the City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila in Entertainment City.

Tourist attractions located inside the Intramuros old town include Fort Santiago, a Spanish citadel located at the mouth of the Pasig River, Manila Cathedral, a 19C ecclesiastical Cathedral which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, San Agustin Church. At the Rizal park the Rizal Monument, located in the center of the park, is the memorial to the Philippine national hero, José Rizal. Museums within Manila include the National Museum of Fine Arts, formerly the National Art Gallery, the National Museum of Anthropology, an anthropology and archaeology museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, a premier museum of modern and contemporary visual arts.

The Manila Ocean Park is an oceanarium with a marine-themed mall and hotel, it is located behind Quirino Grandstand, which fronts Rizal Park. Malate, the tourism center of Manila, is famous for the Baywalk and the Remedios nightlife district. Manila Zoo, the oldest zoo and botanical garden in the Philippines, is also located in that district. Binondo, an old district of Manila that is home to Manila’s Chinatown, is established since 1521. Its main attractions are Binondo Church, Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch, Seng Guan Buddhist temple and Chinese restaurants. Quiapo is the location of Plaza Miranda and Quiapo Church, which is home to the Black Nazarene. The San Sebastian Church, which is also located in Quiapo, is the only all-steel Gothic basilica in Asia.

I was briefly on a ride of the above places but was base in the business district of Makati CBD, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest financial hubs, and noted for its cosmopolitan cultural and entertainment ambiance around the huge complex of the Ayala Center, and  the Ayala Triangle Gardens.

manila-greenbelt-garden-bridge-jan16

Moving about I was with a local driver because the streets of Manila suffers from a lot of chronic traffic jams. The jeepneys are the main public transport. These are old American army jeeps, left behind after WWII, which were turned into very colorful but also very polluting mini buses, and was told can be dangerous for visitors. Manila has an aerial light rail network, the LRT, which often follows the main axes of the city. It is one of the first urban railway collective transport systems in Southeast Asia. About 29 km Long it has 29 stations, on two lines: the LRT-1 (Yellow Line), and the LRT-2 (Violet line). The city also has a predominantly aerial metro line, the MRT-3 (Blue Line), and a ferry service on the Pasig River, which has 17 stations. The city comprises 10 bridges over the Pasig river of whirch, 2 railway bridges and 8 road bridges (The bridges of Roxas, Jones, McArthur, Quezon, Ayala, Mabini, Padre Zamora and Lambingan).  I always arrived by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport located 8 km southeast of the city center. Official Manila airport authority on the airport: https://www.miaa.gov.ph/miaa/

manila-jitney-bus-greenbelt-mall-area-jan16

Manila airport gates check in nov18

The Philippines tourist board on Manilahttp://www.experiencephilippines.org/tourism/destinations-tourism/manila-environs-department-of-tourism/

A private webpage Yatra good info on Manilahttps://www.yatra.com/international-tourism/manila-travel-guide

The guide to the Philippines private webpage on Makati district: https://guidetothephilippines.ph/articles/ultimate-guides/makati-travel-guide

Hope it helps your planning for a nice visit to Manila and you can enjoy the exotic East and the islands of Philippines. Thereafter, my travels there took me to other islands and less of Manila. It will remain always a memorable visit. Hope you enjoy this brief introduction to the city

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

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November 21, 2020

Roundtrip Vannes to Cebu, Philippines!!!

Ok so this is one of those posts I like to update and revise the text just for my memories and hopefully others gone thru these airport changes. It was a souvenir of my travels alright, later on I begin to be more picky on the connections so if job require many I would refuse, gladly had that opportunity. Hope you enjoy the post. And Thanks for reading me! Merci beaucoup!!

I just came back from my third trip to the Philippines and been a rush business trip of only four days gave me no time to see much.  The other two times, I did some out traveling but could not be possible this time. So will tell you mostly of my travel ordeals on a long voyage.

I started from home on Saturday January 13 2018 going to the train station in Vannes with free parking behind it, and getting a train to Redon, changing train to Nantes train station. There took the express airport bus to the Nantes Atlantique Airport. From arrival headed to my one night hotel the Escale Oceania Hotel across from the airport. This is the usual hotel I stayed when coming and going thru my closest decent flights airport. Hotel webpage: https://www.oceaniahotels.com/en/hotel/hotel-escale-oceania-nantes-airport

nantes-escale-oceania-hotel-airport-jan18

Once out to the airport the next morning Sunday January 14, took my regular flight with Air France to Roissy CDG airport arriving in Terminal F and changing for my connection to Terminal A.

Once at my departure gate in Terminal A I flew with Cathay Pacific for the first time; and it was a nice ride indeed. This is the airline of Hong Kong , and I was going to the airport there for connection to final destination.

The Hong Kong airport was my first time too, but as connections were made tight, really had no time to see much of it.

The flight arrive late into the day and still needed a connection on the same Cathay Pacific airlines from Hong Kong to Cebu in the Philippines. I finally arrived in Cebu by 19h or 7 pm Monday January 15, and taking the hotel shuttle headed straight to my usual hotel the Best Western Plus Lex, Cebu. This was the rest I needed to begin work the next day.

cebu-mactan-apt-control-tower-jan18

The hotel is very nice and central to all. I spent four nights here at BW Plus Lex Cebu a repeat visit to the hotel. webpage: http://best-western-plus-lex-cebu.hotels-cebu-ph.com/en/

On my way back left on Friday January 19 2018 by 20h or 8 pm on Cathay Pacific same routing back after been deposited at the airport by a company driver. From Cebu airport going back to Hong Kong, needing a bit of running to catch the flight until to find out it was been delayed 20 minutes! This is a smallist nice airport full of shops and restos nice to come early and enjoy the shopping.

Again at Hong Kong taking Cathay Pacific again by 23h35 local time or 11:35 pm to reach Roissy CDG Terminal A Paris.  Finally on Saturday January 20 from CDG T2A transfer to TF2 using the same blue bus line again. Here I departed by 10h10 on Air France back to Nantes Atlantique airport. Again taking the Airport Express bus to the Nantes train station.

paris-cdg-t2a-to-t2f-elevators-jan18

Here I had my lunch on my popular Café des Plantes just out of the Nantes Nord train station section and next to the jardin des plantes. Great friendly service always, and fast. The menu of the day is always good and great quality/price value. I had  my veal pipettes with fries in a mustard sauce, leffe Belgian beers, and expresso coffee all for 15€. It became my rest spot and eating out place in and out of the of the train station. The webpage is not working but with this virus thing who knows if it has closed, it was/is an institution in Nantes! They have a Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/cafedesplantes

From the Nantes train station took a TER train to Rennes train station, and here change to another TER to Vannes. Finally picking up my car to drive home arriving on Saturday by 19h! And I told you I do take public transports lol!!!

There you go another exhausting trip not to brag about it, just another opportunity to see by now friends and a nice welcome by the locals as usual.  It will stay as one of my memorable moments in Cebu Philippines! Hope you enjoy the ride or see the constraints of public transport.

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

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November 21, 2020

Cebu, Philippines again!

Well I did said that my updates would be over but but really some of these old posts deserves more viewing. I guess they were done when had not many followers and I feel these were wonderful travel memories. So therefore, a lot more picky but will showcase some of these older travels again in my blog. Hope you enjoy them as I do!

This time will tell you about Cebu city and surrounding Lapu Lapu, and Mandaue towns. The trip was very busy with work so little time to see anything, anyway ,it was a great opportunity to revisit Cebu, especially.

The Central Visayas region VII, consisting of a main island and 167 surrounding islands and islets. The Capital city is Cebu City, the oldest city and first capital of the Philippines. Cebu city forms part of the metropolitan area with Danao city, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay cities. Mactan Cebu international airport is in Mactan island the second busiest in the Philippines!

And as usual on these trips to Asia , it was another long flight. I left home by car at 4h or 4 am on my way to Nantes airport to catch AF to Paris CDG, there took the Emirates airline to Dubai International airport,and then hop again on Emirates to Cebu airport!!! And of course the return was even slower as leaving Cebu the plane waited an hour at Clark Manila before taken off again for Dubai. I do not think will do this again, this route and airlines  Emirates read they were good but boy did they screw up not knowing the allow luggage weight the slowness of it all and the poor meals on the plane. I thing try them once more and that is it, Air France is mine!

For references passing places Dubai international airport: https://www.dubaiairports.ae/home-page

And Clark International airport: https://clarkinternationalairport.com/

Once landed the rest was easy and friendly with the locals, some I knew already in addition to new found friends. The ride to my hotel was nice and not too much traffic as normally the case.  I did not needed any visas but did pay 750 PHP pesos leaving the airport as an airport tax. I believe this has been eliminated for stays shorter than 21 days. More info here: http://www.tourism.gov.ph/immigration_custom.aspx#

My hotel for the entire stayed was the wonderful Best Western Lex Cebu right in town. Centrally located for shopping and eating in town. The KAI restaurant for breakfast lunch and dinner is nice, friendly and well done with glass walls to see the hustle of the city main artery before you. Lex Cebu webpage: http://best-western-plus-lex-cebu.hotels-cebu-ph.com/en/

And a bit more on the KAI restohttps://www.zomato.com/it/cebu/kai-restaurant-capitol-site-cebu-city

cebu-bw-lex-hotel-breakfast-resto-to-street-jan17

I had fun crossing the bridges from the airport site to the main island and back, sometimes easy traffic but the worse was coming home going to the airport so not much determining factor. The rains were announced but only one day was a bit heavy at times the rest was easy nothing to bothered me, and the temps well from 24 to 30 C is just what the doctor ordered knowing that my family was telling me home was -7C lol!!!

Shopping galore on good prices compare to home and malls that reminds me of those in the USA big ,huge even,and plenty of choices for shopping and eating nice and safe.

One of them was the Ayala Terraces Mall with the great Huskad Philippines cuisine overlooking the great seaside port. webpage: https://www.ayalamalls.com/explore/ayala-center-cebu/view-all/dine

Another one was briefly in was the Parkmall, one of the newest ones there; right in town. webpage: https://parkmallcebu.com/

And even more was the J Centre ,also in town great malls too easy town shopping and eating. The newest mall there and tried by yours truly ::) webpage: http://jcentrecebu.com/

And one more at SM city mall just in Cebu city, great shopping and food here too; I had a great pizza pepperoni with San Miguel beer call Veneto Pizzeria Ristorante! nice!  Somehow problems with their webpage but have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/smcitycebuofficial/

And the resto is showing in Zomato reviews site very good: https://www.zomato.com/it/cebu/a-veneto-pizzeria-north-reclamation-area-cebu-city

However, the best action in town and one I made my home central on many nights was the Howlings Dogs , superbe. One can stay there forever!! webapge: https://howlingdogssportsbar.com/

cebu-howling-dogs-bar-entrance-jan17

The tourist office of the Philippines on Cebu: https://itsmorefuninthephilippines.co.uk/cebu-bohol/

The province of Cebu on tourism: https://discover.cebu.gov.ph/tours/

There you go a wonderful spot and I just touch the surface, there is a lot more along the coast. Something to think about and come back, one day time permitting and the travel lines open again. For now hope you enjoy the post on Cebu.

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

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November 21, 2020

Tripping to Indonesia, and new places visited!!!

Again updating my international travels over the last few years ,and it has been a fun drive reviving nice memories. Rememberance of good friends and beautiful spots, this is the case of visiting Indonesia!

I did a long trip, first I rented a car to get to Nantes from Auray  on Avis, drop off was easy and quick. Got on the plane HOP to Amsterdam Schiphol airport to get the connection to Jakarta on Garuda airline of Indonesia.

The return two weeks later was on KLM from Jakarta making an in and out stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,continue on to Amsterdam Schiphol , there changing to HOP low cost to Nantes. At the airport took the express bus for 8,50€ to the train station in Nantes where a TER regional train will take me to Auray where my father pick me up to get home. Long way but made it home !!!

Interesting first time there the airport of Kuala Lumpur: http://www.klia.com.my/

The Jakarta airport many times there: https://soekarnohatta-airport.co.id/

And the Amsterdam airport , many times by there: https://www.schiphol.nl/en/

Both in and out enjoy the lounge 52 at Schiphol Amsterdam airport,  nice food and facilities for frequent flyers members; more here: https://www.klm.com/travel/fr_en/prepare_for_travel/at_the_airport/lounges/worldwide_locations.htm

While in Indonesia I needed to fly as usual visits there from Jakarta to Surabaya and back, so this is from Juanda airport on Garuda airlines. Surabaya Juanda airport many times there: https://www.juanda-airport.com/id

While in the country , I need to visit the town of Yogyakarta my first visit here and again the airport call Adisutjipto is here: https://adisutjipto-airport.co.id/en

Well it seems last few years the airports have been my third home away from home and hopefully will continue in 2021 after the virus!

All very nice and some exotic foods along the way. While going to Yogyakarta , I had lunch at the restaurant Pringsewu 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 here: https://www.pringsewuresto.co.id/

yogyakarta-restaurant-lunch-nov16

We did some walking in Yogyakarta around the airport as it is right in town; and we did drove to Sidoarjo where I went by  city center passing by.  The city has important temples to visit if time allowed, I did not have, the site can be translate here: https://www.jogjakota.go.id/

To Yogyakarta I flew on Wings airline going, part of the Lion Air Group. and came back on Sriwijaya airline. Both first time taken, nice ride.

Back in the big cities of Jakarta and Surabaya as well as the trip to Yogyakarta I use alocal driver. So fun driving as was driven but nice feeling to see the wonderful traffic jams lol!!

And I came back to Surabaya and Ngoro areas even going to Sidorarjo I had my first soaking wet trip under heavy rain that can get flooding very quickly here all very nice and quick and some exotic foods along the way.

Finally at Surabaya I stayed in my old reliable Somerset Hotel and Residences (now Verwood) . Very centrally located and restaurant lane just a few blocks on foot from it. It is well located off the main highway for in and out quick which helps in traffic flooded Indonesia. The other towns were in and out deal so no hotels needed. webpage: http://www.verwoodhotel.com/

surabaya-somerset-to-front-entrance-below-nov16

surabaya-somerset-dining-room-resto-nov16

Therefore, here is the end of this wild trip with several airports and changing quickly to meet business needs. Of course, would not do this run on a personal trip. I really enjoy seeing new places, even if mostly were airports and town roads I can always said , I was there!

The tourist board of Indonesiahttps://www.indonesia.travel/gb/en/home

Enjoy the post as I did reminicense of these memorable moments; anyway this is part of travel, memories forever and good friends still in touch thanks to the magic of technology! Hopefully, one day I will be back to Indonesia!

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

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November 11, 2020

WordPress, you and me!!!

So taking a small time to thank you all for your loyal following these last 10 years. It has been a wonderful trip which I have enjoyed very much, hoping you too.

I started on WordPress after advice from an American  friend living in Madrid for about 25 years who told me it was easy to work for the non technical guy in me and it has been so. It was November 26th 2010 so holy cow already 10 years !!!!!

And ,I have decided to look at my numbers with the help of wandering a bit into WordPress. Even with humble numbers compare to some of you, it has been a wonderful ride and fully satisfy. Again thank you so much. Merci beaucoup, muchas gracias, muito obrigado.

After already not counting this one 3 113 posts in my blog, come to realize my best viewing day is Sunday and the best time is 9h or 9am!! The best day viewed was December 10, 2012! with 972 views!!!

My best view pages or posts have been: The Somport Tunnel and Peak !!!, Lagos, Nigeria an Adventure, and A look back at history, the Palais des Tuileries.

The most commented post has been Versailles and it’s historical Churches with 172!!!! wow and we do have a palace there lol!

I have 1061 other blogs following mine an honor! ,thank you all. Never in my wildest dreams would I thought to have these many reading my blog wow! There are about 18 steady commentators and the top 10 are well known you know who you are , and my wish is to have more comments, constructive comments that is.

The countries that have most folks viewing my blog are in order: USA,   France, UK, Germany, UK, India, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Spain, Finland, and Australia! Thanks!!! In actuality, it covers the world with many many countries even in those where internet is little or controled.

The year of great activity with most views was 2012 with 120 701, and the one with the most visitors was 2013 with 27 140. However, it seems that 2020 even if not over year will break all records. So far I have 40 371 views, 21 294 visitors, 16 816 likes!!! and 668 comments!!!. So it seems I will beat all time records in Likes and Comments for sure. Thank you!!!

There are a total of 7 pages on front page, 15 categories of posts and 15 tags with 11 links in the blogroll bottom of page. There are over 40000 photos already here wow!!!

I am sure WordPress will have better numbers to tell beginning of 2021 for 2020. In the meantime, thanks for reading mine and sharing yours, and happy healthy travels to all. Enjoy your week, and end of year. I will have a short one,due to the virus; and finally Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s.

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

November 8, 2020

Exotic Indonesia, Asia here I come !!

In my continuing saga on the black and white syndrome to update my older posts with new text leaving the photos for the individual entries already done in my blog; I take you to Indonesia!

Well Asia, it was so far,and my only attempt there was to Taipei back in 2002 to see some engineering project on computers parts. Now having the opportunity to go back to Asia this time Indonesia.

Even if briefs stays of one week , and couple times two weeks, it allowed me to see another part of the world that I am not familiar with sort of like beginning to travel again. And that’s always interesting indeed.

My  trip  was in Indonesia, visiting the cities of Surabaya and Jakarta for a grand total of one week back in 2013. I went from Nantes Atlantique airport connecting at Roissy CDG , flight with a stop at Chiangi airport Singapore and continuing  to Surabaya and then a domestic fly to Jakarta. Back from Jakarta to Singapore, CDG and Nantes again. My car was left for a week at the outdoor airport parking and it took me three tries to get it started!!!, I thought the cold and humidity had it done, but my Ford came back to life and it’s fine now.  Thereafter, parked in the covered parking ok….

I always like to read and become acquainted with the places I visit to did a bit of homework on Indonesia. Briefly here

Indonesia it is said to have 17 000 island with the most famous been that of Bali. The name of Indonesia comes from the Latin and Greek Indus and the Greek Nesos meaning island. The country has 34 provinces, of which I visited Java and East Java, whre the majority are. It has 240 million people of which there are over 300 ethnic people and about 742 languages and dialects. The official language that unites the country is Bahasa an standarized Malay language, and on business it is very much controlled by Chinese ethnic groups. It is a Republic with open religious beliefs ,however, sharia laws are common and Islam is predominantly even if not officially a islamic state and recognise these religions Islam, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

Surabaya is the first port harbor of the country, and an important commercial center. It was founded in 1293 and Surabaya comes from suro, « shark » and buaya, « crocodile ». The leyend has it that these two animals fought for control of the region and are represented in the coat of arms emblem of the city shown at the monument Tugu Pahlawan. Its airport is call Juanda, second in the country behind Jakarta.  Smallish but nice way around fun to be by there first.

The offiicial Juanda airport site here in English: https://www.juanda-airport.com/en

The official Surabaya tourist office in English: http://www.surabayatourism.com/

Jakarta, is of course the Capital of the country since its independance from Holland. Founded by the Dutch as Batavia in 1619.  The airport is name Soekarno-Hatta, opened in  1985, and named after Soekarno the first President of Indonesia and Hatta the first VP. They were the ones who gain independance from Holland in 1945. It is a huge metropolis with lots of traffic that I enjoyed been ridden around…

The official Jakarta airport in English: https://soekarnohatta-airport.co.id/

The tourist office of Jakarta in English: http://jakarta-tourism.go.id/visit/

I stayed at two really nice hotels that I can only recommend to all, the one in Surabaya is a bit off the center but on the main road to airport.  It has become part of another group with a new name, it used to be Somerset  Hotel and Residences and now is the Verwood Hotel and serviced residences, always stayed at the same hotel. webpage here: http://www.verwoodhotel.com/

I had all our meals in the hotel of Surabaya, as the service, food, and convenience was great. I did venture out to eat at BonCafe, Jalan Gubeng Raya 44-46. It is a great place for families and nice prices in buffet style or order from the menu. The fish dish was great ,good service, nice ambiance,and great prices. However, I am told it has closed, here just for the memories and update.

The one in Jakarta was the first ever hotel stayed there thereafter it has been several others , (see posts). This one was off the center to avoid the heavy traffic there. The amenities and food was excellent, not to mention the personal service. The budget is good for all. Hotel Santika webpage: https://www.mysantika.com/indonesia/jakarta/hotel-santika-taman-mini-indonesia-indah/

My historical cultural knowledge was by going briefly to this museum right outside my Hotel Santika, Museum Purna Bhakti Pertiwi (see post) , 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 Purna Bhakti Pertiwi site in basara language: http://www.tamanmini.com/pesona_indonesia/

In all a very brief instroduction to Indonesia ,but a very well received visit, from very nice friendly people. One more spot on the globe map for me, and one more place in the world to look forward to come back. And I did 7 times!!!  Enjoy Indonesia!!!

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

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October 18, 2020

Bacolod ,in the Philippines!

And here I am taking you back to Asia and wonderful Philippines. I was lucky to visit the country and some of its islands on several trips over the last few years and it has memorable stories and good friends. I like to tell you a bit more on Bacolod.

Ok so I did had a little time on my last trip to the Philippines. There was not much time to do sightseeing but did get into a whole new area of the Philippines. I flew from Cebu to Bacolod on Philippines Airlines.

Arriving at Bacolod city airport by 7h where another driver was picking me up and gave a brief introduction to Bacolod. It is actually located in nearby city of Silay, 15 km from Bacolod. This is about 1 hour by air from Manila and 30 minutes from Cebu by air. More on the airport at Airportia: https://www.airportia.com/philippines/bacolod-city-domestic-airport/

bacolod airport arriving jan18

bacolod aiport bombardier Q400 to cebu jan18

Bacolod has two main roads, Lacson Street to the north and Araneta Street to the south. The streets in the downtown area are one way, making Bacolod free from traffic congestion. However, its beginning to be filled recently.

bacolod street driving in city jan18

We ,then set out to eat at the favorite place of the locals, Bob’s Restaurant. Here we had blue marlin fish dish just fried as it is, and rice, and delicious fruit punch drink, wonderful. I would come back just for the fish! More on them at their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BobsRestoBCD/

I like to tell a bit about Bacolod for the memories, for my blog and for those readers who dare go to the off the beaten paths in countries afar.

The City of Bacolod  is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental where it is geographically situated but governed administratively independent from it. Sitting in the region VI of Western Visayas. It is notable for its MassKara Festival held during the third week of October and is known for being a relatively friendly city, as it bears the nickname “The City of Smiles”.

The historical church accounts provide a glimpse of the early years of Bacolod as a mere small settlement by the riverbank known as Magsungay (“horn-shaped” in English). When the neighboring settlement of Bago was elevated into the status of a small town in 1575, the early missionaries placed the village under the care and protection of Saint Sebastian sometime in the middle of the 18C. Bacolod was not established as a town until 1755 or 1756, after the inhabitants of the coastal settlement of San Sebastián de Magsung̃ay, were attacked by forces under Datu Bantílan of Sulu on July 14, 1755 and the villagers transferred from the coast to a hilly area called Bacólod . In 1889, Bacolod became the capital of  Negros Occidental when the Province of Negros was politically divided into the separate provinces of Occidental Negros and Oriental Negros.

The success of the uprising in Bacolod and environs was attributed to the low morale of the local Spanish detachment, due to its defeat in Panay and Luzon and to the psychological warfare waged . For a brief moment, the provinces of Occidental Negros and Oriental Negros were reunited under the cantonal government of the Negrense Revolucionaries, from 6 November 1898 to the end of February 1899, making Bacolod the capital. In March 1899, the American forces led by Colonel James G. Smith occupied Bacolod, the revolutionary capital of República Cantonal de Negros. The Cantonal Republic of Negros became a U.S. territory on April 30, 1901. This separated Negros Island once again, reverting Bacolod to its status as the capital of Occidental Negros.  Bacolod was formally inaugurated as a chartered city on October 19, 1938. In WWII, Bacolod was occupied by the Japanese forces on May 21, 1942. The city was liberated by joint Philippine and American forces on May 29, 1945.

The city of Bacolod on its history: http://www.bacolodcity.gov.ph/about-bacolod/history

Some things to see here even if it is not a tourist destination, rather an off the beaten path area I love to come and lively city life.

The world-renowned MassKara Festival is an annual festival with highlights held every fourth Sunday of October in Bacolod. The  Panaad sa Negros Festival , also called simply as the Panaad Festival is a festival held annually during the month of April in Bacolod. The festival is a form of thanksgiving to Divine Providence and commemoration of a vow in exchange for a good life. The celebration is held at the Panaad Park, which also houses the Panaad Stadium, and is participated in by the 13 cities and 19 towns of the province. For this reason, the province dubs it the “mother” of all its festivals.

Even if no MassKara Festival this year due to covid19 here is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/masskaralive/

The Panaad sa Negros Festival on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PanaadSaNegrosFestival/

A nice area for walks is the Public Plaza one of the notable landmarks in Bacolod, which is found right in the heart of downtown/city center area, very near to the city/town hall and right across the San Sebastian Cathedral. There is a nice Negros Museum a privately owned provincial museum situated in the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol Complex. The structure was built in 1925 as the Provincial Agriculture Building. The Negros Museum Cafe serves the needs of museum goers and walk-in guests, situated in the West Annex of the museum.

The tourist office of the Philippines on Bacolodhttp://www.experiencephilippines.org/tourism/featured-destinations-tourism/featured-destination-tourism-6/

A private webpage with plenty of information on the Philippines and this time Bacolodhttps://guidetothephilippines.ph/articles/things-to-do/bacolod-tourist-spots

And there you, an exotic place glad to be there and nice friends found, some still in touch. Bacolod is a far away place of nice memories and happy to have in my blog for the memories and the friendship. Hope you enjoy the post as I did.

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

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October 7, 2020

An exotic stop, Singapore! Redone!

Ok so this is part of the slow down in travel lately even if it is coming along fine within the region of Bretagne. I did this post on a nice little anecdote escapade whatever a while back and rather than re blog , I am redoing the whole post. Bear with me and hope  you enjoy it. Again thanks for reading my blog.

Ok so here I go into the exotic connecting trip. Well there is a story to me been here, and was hidden in small bits of previous posts. This is the time to tell all.  I was going to final destination Indonesia, and on my way there I needed to transfer at Chiangi Airport in Singapore. Never been here, had never any idea of been here, and just by chance I landed here. Always a nice experience checking out a new place.

Singapore overpass on thomson road nov12

Upon landing at Chiangi airport for my connection, I realised that my passport (French) was almost expiring lol!! Never occurred to me in my years of travel, which are many, to have to worry about expiration dates on a passport. Well ,there is always a first.  The bottom line , was not allowed to continue my travel to Indonesia. So what to do? Well change plans go to another country ,as I did. I needed to do something or waste the travel money. I in my old world brain, thought that the embassy can put a page on my passport and I could go on. Well not so fast old traveler.

I went out of Chiangi, so was practically in Singapore! I needed first to get me a hotel. Well the Ibis Novena was fine I figure, French chain Accor no problems ;only to found out ,it was super expensive here (as find out most is) , the charge for the night was 162 euros!!! for an Ibis , you know. Ok so I pay.

Next day, ask for a taxi to take me to the French embassy/consulat to fix my passport. The first taxi driver the Ibis hotel call, was not sure of where the French consulat was and look at a paper map guide lol! I say no way lets get out of it, went back to the hotel and ask for another taxi. This time he knew where the French consulat was!! Well, the French rigueur told me that the reception was pretty cold, not even allowed in the building!!! I was interviewed by a security guy (not French) who relay my message inside, and came back saying no changes possible in passport as it was biometric!!. Oh well ,whatever happened to the good old days where you can just add a page to the passport!

Singapore corner of Baliester rd and thomson rd nov12

Singapore on way to airport nov12

My Ibis Hotel:  https://all.accor.com/hotel/7451/index.en.shtml#origin=ibis

I happenned not to worry about dates on passports at least at that time; did not require my passport to be 6 months before expiration but they needed a Visa! Call my office in Vietnam and they send me the visa right away to my mobile telephone. I flashed the visa to the airline staff ,first yes, then no needed a paper copy! ok so from a phone lol! The staff told me there is a Crown Plaza hotel at the Chiangi airport, rush to business center and it was closed!  Ask the reception is an emergency needed to open the business center! how can this be close! She hurried up and opened it for me. Got to email my visa to her desktop computer to print the Visa and rush back to the Vietnam Airline to get on the plane and finally landed in Vietnam. End of story, the rest was easy.

While at the aiport I needed to try one of my old favorites from the States ,the Quiznos sandwich shop, and it was as usual very good. Its right in T3.

The Crown Plaza Hotelhttps://www.ihg.com/crowneplaza/hotels/fr/fr/singapore/sincp/hoteldetail

The Chiangi airporthttps://www.changiairport.com/

singapore-lobby-t3-changi-airpt-feb13

singapore Chiangi airport T3 terminal mar15

An experience, to tell the grandchildren , eventually. First and only one so far, but can imagine the hesitation and stress of it all. No thanks. Need to check those darn dates on the passport. Of course, this was so far the only time it happened, not bad on 40 years of traveling but a nice old story nevertheless.  So, this is my experience of Singapore, two days ,one night and thank you. The island nation has a lot to offer but it is very small , and expensive. Unfortunately with all this hectic episode photos are rare and few.

A bit about the country some I pick up there and some from the web.   Singapore is officially the Republic of Singapore, a city State and island country at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia’s Riau islands to the south, and peninsular Malaysia  to the north. Singapore’s territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets on 130 sq km or 50 sq miles!. The main island is call Pulau Ujong. There are two man-made connections to Johor, Malaysia;  the Johor-Singapore Causeway  in the north and the Tuas Second Link  in the west.

Singaporean residents pay high prices for their cars and there is a lot of public transport on bus, Taxis, Train (MRT and LRT) with the networks of SBS transit and SMRT Corporation.  There are six at least taxi companies, who together put out over 28,000 taxis on the road. Taxis are a popular form of public transport as the fares are relatively cheap compared to many other developed countries. The Chiangi International Airport is wonderful and a treat just to stay there ! It has been rated one of the best international airports by international travel magazines.  Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil. However, English is the common language, and is the language of business, government, and the medium of instruction in schools.

A brief history I like to get to know the place you go better

Stamfort Raffles founded colonial Singapore in 1819 as a trading post of the British East India Company. After the company’s collapse in 1858, the islands were ceded to the British Raj as a crown colony.  It gained independence from the UK in 1963 by federating with other former British territories to form Malaysia, but separated two years later over ideological differences , becoming a sovereign nation in 1965.

The Singapore tourist officehttps://www.visitsingapore.com/en/

An interesting place indeed, exotic as far as Asia and maybe worth a longer stay to see more. I just have a dot in my world map as been here in Singapore.

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

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October 6, 2020

This is Qingdao in China!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guangzhou airporthttps://www.guangzhouairportonline.com/

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

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

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

Qingdao Holiday Inn front oct13

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

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

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

Beijing lei cafe in customs area across airport gates oct13

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

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

October 6, 2020

The Philippines a country of islands!

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

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

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

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

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

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

manila-city-garden-hotel-night-more-jan16

manila-city-garden-hotel-fr-street-jan16

manila-city-garden-grand-firefly-bar-32nd-fl-jan16

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

manila-greenbelt-chapel-entrance-jan16

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

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

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

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

manila-ayala-museum-aide-exhibit-jan16

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

manila-ayala-park-ent-jan16

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

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

manila-bananapple-resto-makati-jan16

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

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

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

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

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

gen santos city microtel hotel arriving jan16

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

gen santos city big ben resto night jan16

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

gen santos city gillians resto mall veranza inside jan16

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

gen santos city veranza mall entr jan16

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

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

cebu-pancake-house-arriving-jan16

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

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

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