Wednesday, February 1, 2017

HONG KONG: Tin Hau Temple and Kowloon Island

Hong Kong. City of mixed cultures of Brits and Chinese.
Dont expect a typical city of China. Definitely not London too.
Many skyscrapers and temples to see. Dont forget the food! Most importantly Dim Sum!!
March is a good month to visit Hong Kong. Not so cold not so hot, just a perfect weather for tourists! Still watch out for the light rain.

Kowloon Island

Best place to view Hong Kong Island is Kowloon Island. Both in day light and night time.
Kowloon island is also best for shopping. We stayed on Kowloon Island. So it was easy to reach shopping malls and get back to hotel without the traffic jam.
A beautiful park is located in the middle of the island. You may take your food and have a little picnic over there. There are also some interesting animals -especially the birds-  I have not seen before. Many old people meet at this park for doing yoga or other exercises.

Tin Hau Temple, Hong Kong Island

Temple basically has been made of mosaics.  Some interesting belief you may encounter in this temple. One is if you touch the belly of one of the statues,  it will bring you luck. Honestly I may admit, it actually does that!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

HONG KONG: Tin Hau Temple and Kowloon Island

Hong Kong. City of mixed cultures of Brits and Chinese.

Dont expect a typical city of China. Definitely not London too.

Many skyscrapers and temples to see. Dont forget the food! Most importantly Dim Sum!!
March is a good month to visit Hong Kong. Not so cold not so hot, just a perfect weather for tourists! Still watch out for the light rain.

Kowloon Island

Best place to view Hong Kong Island is Kowloon Island. Both in day light and night time.
Kowloon island is also best for shopping. We stayed on Kowloon Island. So it was easy to reach shopping malls and get back to hotel without the traffic jam.

A beautiful park is located in the middle of the island. You may take your food and have a little picnic over there. There are also some interesting animals -especially the birds-  I have not seen before. Many old people meet at this park for doing yoga or other exercises.

Tin Hau Temple, Hong Kong Island

Temple basically has been made of mosaics.  Some interesting belief you may encounter in this temple. One is if you touch the belly of one of the statues,  it will bring you luck. Honestly I may admit, it actually does that!!

PHILADELPHIA - FIRST CAPITAL CITY OF THE USA

Imagine a room, once it was the place where Founding Fathers of the USA came together and signed the Decleration of Independence. You may visit this very room in Philadelphia, first capital city of the United States.

Another symbol of American Independence located close to the Congress is Liberty Bell that was used for the summon the legislators. Today, this cracked bell visited by many famous politicians/legislators around the World just because what it symbolizes, Independence.

Food- Philadelphia Pretzels & Cheese Steaks

You cannot leave the Philadelphia without tasting the delicious Philly Cheese Steak. My favorite place for it is Jake's Sandwich Board.

You do not have to eat the cheese steaks every single day. There are many things to discover. So many restaurants, bars.. I found the potato chips hided as noodle perfect! Also check out the Franklin Fountain to taste the ice cream in a historical decor.

Phildelphia claimed to be the home of the American Pretzels. You can tell you ate a pretzel, if you haven't had tried it in here!

WASHINGTON DC - The White House Virtual Tour


If you see someone who actually born in Washington DC,  hug him. S/he is so rare to find.

District of Columbia is not a state as you may predict from its name. It is like an artificial city. Everyone (you may call them Washingtonians or Dcist) in the district is there for a reason. They are either working for the government, World Bank, NGO,  etc or has a meeting with one of them.

White House

If you are one of the lucky ones who had a chance to visit the White House many years ago,  you know how the second floor looks like!!

Today they do not allow visitors to second floor where the President and his family live.
I cannot say much anything interesting going on the first floor but the best season to visit is Christmas. White House looks awesome with the ornaments.

However, you may always take the virtual tour! Check the link and please share what you think about this amazing project. It saves money, effort and time. Otherwise you need to submit request to your Member of Congress, wait in the line, etc. Thank you Google for doing this!!! I had visited the White House, but who can say no to another look!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Brighton, UK: Storms, Sun and Impromptu Picnics



A friend once said "We live like teletubbies here in Brighton." Coming from a big city where daily life is a struggle, I believe that is an accurate statement for Brighton where no one feels like a foreigner; being eco-friendly, vegetarian and retro are glorified, and "marginal" groups are never marginalised.

Brighton (and Hove) is a small city with a population around 270.000 people, just in the south of London, can be reached with a 50 minute train ride from the Victoria Station. Though it is not worth a visit during the storms,  when you cannot even reach the seaside because of the crazy ocean winds, it is heaven when it's sunny, and everyone is trying to reach the beaches from the hills of the city, like newborn caretta carettas.

As the saying goes for all Britain, Brighton as well, "does not have a climate, it has weather, and if you don't like it just wait for a few minutes."  Thus, you have to be prepared, and educated, to be able to have impromptu seaside picnics when the sun shines and you have to be able to be in the beach with a proper picnic in a few minutes, as you don't know how long the sun will last.

Although the locals swim like there is no tomorrow when the whether is good, actually there is no tomorrow, because tomorrow there might be a storm, as a Mediterranean, I could never swim in Brighton, the  sea never gets as warm as I am used to. Instead, I am a person of professional picnics, but if you are not, you can always buy snacks in the seaside.

Due to its location, fish and chips is the local dish of the city, though there are more sophisticated seafood options if you are interested. A decent seafood platter for two begins from 25 pounds and goes up to around 45 pounds in more fine dining places.
You wouldn't see Brighton as a "must-see" in a trip to UK, unless there is a special event like the Pride Parade in the first week of the August or the Guy Fawkes Day celebrations in a nearby village called Lewes. However, I believe it should be a "must see" during a week long vacation in London for escaping from the loud of the city, to have seaside picnics, great seafood and breathe an air of "soft" values, especially if the sun is shining.

La Grande Bellezza: The great beauty is Rome itself, or I got the film terribly wrong

When watching this film, I ended up asking where did they find these beautiful places to film, they are not in any guide and I spent a lot of time in Rome. And I got the answer, they probably went two blocks away from the city centre. Indeed, Rome is an unending great beauty, but what about the film?

Frankly, what about the film is none of my business. I should say I really enjoyed the film, the acting, the scenario, it is a great example of Italian cinema, but I am not here with the identity of a film critic. I am writing as an admirer of Rome and linen suits. I believe, before filming, the director, Paolo Sorrentino and the cinematographer, Luca Bigazzi, elaborately searched Rome, and found these beautiful places, the rooftops facing the Coliseum,  gardens located under aqueducts, beautiful churches, monasteries and mansions.  But further credit shall be given to the costume and wardrobe department that tailored those beautiful linen suits for Jef Gambardella, for completing the beautiful scenery of Rome.

At the end that is what Rome is about, it is a grand beauty, whose beauty is only complete with the addition of middle aged men in colorful linen suits, searching for a meaning.

Neolokal, Istanbul: Good Intentions / Result: So So

After reading many comments and reviews, I have decided to give a chance to this popular restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey.  Since it is super popular and in demand by the COOL people, I kept my expectance very low. So please read this post while keeping this in mind.
Let's start with the reservation. We want to reserve a table by the window to have a good view of the Bosphorus. Their response was very nice - they do not take reservations specific for a table but they were gonna do a favor for that time-, we were sooooo happy. But wait.. The view is not fantastic at all. Actually nothing special because it is very limited. So, do not care to be seated in any area, you will not lose anything..
You will be overdressed whatever you wear.
Neolokal located in an modern art gallery, Salt. Just ask where it is exactly located when you enter Salt. Otherwise, you can take the stairs, assuming Neolokal in the top floor with a view. No, it is not. We checked. It is not there. But at least we took the elevator to return back. Ok, I am lazy, I know. But still, you have to take another set of stairs. But I will not give more details the spoil the fun. Oh btw restrooms are so cool.
Anyways, as I mentioned a second ago, it is in a modern art gallery so you will be overdressed whatever you wear.  Be casual as much as you can. Just wear your loosey sweater that you wear when you're depressed. You will be good to go.

Neolokal: Local food with a cool look

I must admit they have actually tried so hard: waiters describing the food, sommelier(I have still doubts whether the guy was a proper educated sommelier)is helping you out (honestly I am sure he was not), food presentation... But - a big BUT- food was not extra ordinary as many people described. It was just ordinary food with a good look.
Almost forgot to mention about the prices. it is expensive. Honestly, it is so expensive depending what you get in return.