Sometimes it seems that this blog is entirely composed of hellos and goodbyes, but what can we do? The three inch piles of homework and those hour-long commutes take us away from our dream world and into the real world. So those glorious days of Doing Nothing, haphazardly scattered throughout the year, are treasures to hoard close to our hearts.
Oh, hello hello, sembreak.
I've spent the last few days lolling about my house in pyjamas, baking red velvet cupcakes with friends, putting the finishing touches on my Halloween costume, marathoning episodes of Community and Modern Family, beginning on that bloggers' favourite, the retro Pan Am, and, of course, reading all your blog posts.
B and I are planning to show you a little more of Manila in time for Christmas (teaser: Juan Luna's Spolarium, playing Ferris Bueller at the Ayala Museum, and maybe a bit of Chinatown/old Binondo) but until we get those photographs processed, I want to link to some bloggers whose hometowns I always enjoy reading about. The beauty of armchair travel is that it's free. ;P
Viva La Manika—retro gothic, lo-fi goodness, an artistic eye and a truly nationalist sensibility—Afianne Cope on her hometown:
I live in a small young city mostly occupied by residential and industrial establishments. It’s nothing luxe and is far from being the best place I could live in. It is in fact a very simple life down here. No frills and fancy thrills, no sir. Not even a town perya or many intricately designed buildings and daringly dressed people to take pictures of.
I used to frown upon all these because I’m one to look for boldness in almost everything. This place seemed boring and it did not have much to offer. But as I grew older, I catched on. Yes, it lacked furbelows and artistry and all that but there’s one thing I’ve grown sure of - its homeliness was irreplaceable. At the end of the day, there will be nothing like the vendor’s holler waking you up in the morning, the bumpy jeepney rides, the simultaneous karaoke singing in the neighborhood you hear at night, the quiet parks and, I admit, the malls where almost half of the town’s population head to on weekends and season sale and so much more. It’s all a classic case of hometown glory.
1. The Parish of the Five Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ, a city cathedral with a rather interesting modern structure designed by our very own Arch. Joseph AdG Javier basing the concept on a nautilus, a marine organism with claims to the perfect natural proportions, the golden mean.
2. BF Paranaque. There are innumerable eating (and drinking) places in this area. Whether you like a cozy night -out with your loved ones or a frisky one with your friends, you will surely find a rightful spot.
3. The Phil-Am Village Private Park. I know it’s a bit funny but yes, I come clean about going to parks at this age. I get a lot of that feeling of wanting to flee from daily hustle-bustle and just appreciate serenity through the sight of trees and old-fashioned lovers. Guess I’m just an old person trapped in a 20-something body. :D
Green Tea Fields—Southeast Asia up close, film experiments, looking at home from that belle-laide angle—Michelle Kuek on Singapore:
This may sound weird but I really like that my neighbourhood is a remote, little backwater in Singapore, almost unchanged for the last 20 years that I have lived here. Well, there are political reasons for it but let's not get into that! My neighbourhood is lit slightly dimmer than most neighbourhoods but lesser lights mean that I can actually go star-gazing, something almost unheard of in a city! Many a nights, I walk home with my head tilted up to skies, trying to figure out which constellation is up. :)
I would have to say Tiong Bahru. Tiong Bahru is a neighbourhood situated slightly outside of Singapore's city centre. This neighbourhood is quirky mix of the old and the new. Make your way through the quiet, leafy estate of apartments built in the 1920s and 1930s, and then choose between having a quiet cuppa at a cafe, visiting art galleries or having local food at the local market!
A Fine Day for Sailing—vintage classics comfortably and freshly styled, biking down streets on sunny days, and the friendliest smile ever—Isla Bell on San Francisco:
The best part? The people! San Francisco is full of such inspirational characters young and old. Everyone is so open and friendly. It did not take long for me to feel right at home here. There are so many amazing places in California it's hard to pick one. The Pinnacles national park is pretty magical, the hike there takes you through caves and up mountain sides, it's so majestic.
Olive, My Love—lots of love for historic sites (kindred spirits!), hanging out with friends (ditto), and a little link to our homeland via vintage emporium Dalaga—Liz on New York City:
My favorite thing about Brooklyn and my neighborhood (Bushwick) in general is the sense of community you feel when you live here. It's like everyone is banded together in this burrough and because of that there is always something going on. Farmers markets, free art opening and movies playing in parks, river front concerts and parades in Coney Island... All of these things are at your finger tips and you just have to go out and take advantage of it. It's so hard to pick just one place to visit while you're here (there's so much to do and see!) but some of my favorite places are naturally ones that take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
1. The Museum of Natural History: I could spend a full week walking through the halls and exploring all the exhibits. Artifacts, fossils and taxidermy, oh my! This place is great because you can walk across the street afterwards and have a picnic in Central Park!
2. Ft. Tryon Park at the Cloisters: This park and medieval art museum are waaay up north in Manhattan. It's a serious trek (at least and hour on the train), but it's 100% worth it. It's like a sanctuary up there. I didn't even go into the museum when I went because walking around the surrounding park and gardens was enough for me. Bring a snack, a blanket and a book and you're set for a relaxing afternoon.
3. Greenpoint: When I first moved to Brooklyn, I lived in Greenpoint and I still miss it to this day. Luckily I work there, so I still get to reap all it's benefits! Besides, what's a trip to NYC without a little bit of shopping and exploring?
If you are looking for an afternoon of walking around, window shopping and delicious food without the insane crowds of Manhattan, then Greenpoint is the spot for you. Franklin St. is littered with adorable shops (including Dalaga!) and yummy places to grab a bite.
I love Cookie Road for coffee and macarons, Paulie Gee's for the best pizza in town and The Pencil Factory for a drink after work. Alter is a quintessential Brooklyn store and they have both men's and women's locations on Franklin. In God We Trust has fantastic hand made clothing and jewelry, which is all created in their work space behind the store in Greenpoint! Kill Devil Hill is like a modern day general store and the owner is so sweet. If you're shopped out you can walk two blocks to the waterfront and take a ferry ride across the East River to Manhtattan via the India Street Pier!Odd Socks & Pretty Frocks—Georgette Heyer novel reader, wonderfully Wonderlandian shoe collection, and a shared taste in coats, old suitcases, and National Trust houses—Alex on Liverpool:
My favourite thing about Liverpool can't be narrowed down to one place or thing. The city as a whole is utterly unique and wonderful. It's an amazing mix of modern attitudes and very tangible history. We've got two cathedrals, more Georgian buildings than Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage waterfront, loads of museums, galleries and such a great sporting and musical heritage, all in one fairly small city! If I'm being biased then I would say come and visit the place I work in, because it's beautiful and has survived amazingly over the centuries. In terms of Liverpool generally then I think just an hour's stroll around the city centre and the back streets is the one thing that all visitors should definitely do. You don't get the real feel for a place until you've walked round and discovered all the quirky little things about it.On Dressing Up—seaside walks and cherry blossom trees, pastel and pattern, superb prose, and that feeling of quiet happiness—Ana B. on Wellington:
It's got the buzz, activities and energy of a city, but the warmth and heart of a small village. You can't walk down the street without bumping into someone you know; and everywhere, strangers smile at you. I've never tasted coffee as good as it is here. Even gas stations have barista service. It's a land of milk and honey and rolling green hills and crazy street parties with people spilling onto balconies in the heat of summer nights. I love to travel but more than that, I love to come home.
Local Favourites Cafe-hopping, people-watching, thrifting and seeing gigs along Cuba Street; the street where I live in the centre of the city.
Dream Destination Iceland! To see the fire and the ice, the Northern Lights, and maybe an Icelandic elf or two. A friend told me of being in Iceland during Christmas. As the sun went down, one by one, people lit oil lamps and put them outside houses and shops, dimming the electric lights. She said the street was like a giant string of fairy lights.I seriously need to read more blogs from South America and Africa! Can anyone suggest a great lifestyle blogger from those continents? :)