Friday, June 30, 2006

Bölkstoff and Flens

Living in Manila gives you very limited access to the world of beers. Here everything is somehow owned by the San Miguel Corporation. Their beers are ok but you certainly miss the variety of different sorts of beers. Often I even have the feeling that San Miguel adds sugar into their prime brand the famous Pale Pilsen which you get in almost all bars in the Philippines. Please, proof me wrong that they don’t do it!!!

In the Philippines they add sugar into everything. Even McDonalds lost against the local competitor Jolibee because the latter was able to produce sweeter hamburgers to match the local taste.

Coming now to the good news: Yesterday I received a mail from Stoppel who will come for a visit to Manila to bring Bölkstoff and Flens (German Pilsen from Flensburg). Besides the great taste which leads to the ‘bölk’, the beer comes with a famous swing-top which makes the unmatchable 'plop' if you open the bottle.

Getting thirsty by writing….

Stoppel Picture (June 2006).

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Manila's biggest bathtub

After the shower in Manila which was presented yesterday we are now turning to a bigger bathtub of one of the residential suites in Manila.

Can you imagine such a pool with almost nobody in? There is not even a spoiled kid in the jacuzzi (the little pool within the big one).

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Shower in Manila

The rainy season (June to September) had started in the northern parts of the Philippines.

You can now get your shower almost everywhere.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

No food in Italian supermarkets!

Will go back to present more pictures soon but need to share a nice observation first:

The weekend edition of the International Herald Tribune (June 24-25, 2006) had a nice quote from an American woman who found grocery stores in Italy very strange. “They have no food here,” she said. “Only things to make food from.”


Monday, June 26, 2006

Wine tasting: 125 bottles of Yquem in one week

Sorry for having no own picture for today. But I need to share a few lines on what happened yesterday. While packing our stuff (will move for the third time within Manila), I came across a newspaper article from October 1998 which contrasts so well with the previous post on 'table manners'.

The article is about Hardy Rodenstock , who has been collecting wines from Château d’Yquem in Sauternes, France, for 20 years. In September 1998, he invited friends and wine aficionados to a Munich hotel to share the pleasure of tasting his 125 bottles of Château d’Yquem in seven days.

The oldest Yquem that was tasted was from 1784 (a few years before the French Revolution), the youngest from 1991 (just a year after the fall of the Berlin wall). Drinking through two centuries of history must have been a feast for the senses. Every bottle had its own story; every wine, its own particularities.

It is difficult to estimate the value of Hardy Rodenstock’s collection but one thing is clear: Such a wine tasting will never happen again. The collection included all Château d’Yquem from the 20th century and all bottles of the 19th century which were rated at least as ‘good’ (see the 19th century wine bible of Cocks-Féret). From the 18th century, the lucky connoisseurs tasted the first documented great wines from Yquem.

Some of these bottles cost well over $50,000 (the 1784 Thomas Jefferson Yquem bottle can easily fetch $150,000) but in its comprehensiveness, the collection was priceless.

After one week, it was gone ….. forever.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

China: 5000 years of culture

China is home to one of the world's oldest and most complex civilizations. China boasts a history rich in over 5,000 years of artistic, philosophical, and political advancement. Especially artistic is China’s cuisine, one of the richest and most diverse in the world.

Etiquette the code which governs the expectations of social behavior (i.e. the conventional norm) seems also to be more complex than anywhere else.

Photo of Chinese table manners (Shanghai, China, 1986). Only recall that it was a restaurant on Nanjing Lu and quite an expensive one.

Quite interesting are the observations of two Chinese providing guidance on table manners in America: ‘At a Chinese restaurant, it’s perfectly okay to shout, burp, and slurp’.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Not only birds can fly

Probably the most elegant flyer is a turtle.

Photo from Tubbattaha, Philippines, 2005.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Batman in Afghanistan

I am sure the others are getting their T-Shirts soon.

Photofrom Kabul, June 2006.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Burqa on King's Palace in Kabul?

Christo wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin. Why not put a burka over the King's palace in Kabul?

Photo from June 2006.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Withstands Rocket Attacks: Deutscher Hof Kabul

If you happen to be in Kabul, Afghanistan during the Football World Cup you might want to join the fellows in the Deutscher Hof Kabul (see picture 'waiting for the first goal').

The other real attraction of the Deutscher Hof is its safety. The bar in the basement even
withstands rocket attacks.

Finally, the utmost attraction is that you get Germany’s most famous Schwarzbier (black beer) Köstritzer on tap. One of the most famous drinkers of Köstritzer Schwarzbier was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Am sure he would be in Kabul if still alive.

Photo from June 2006.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Shopping half blind in Kabul

You either need help or have to stay extremely focused while shopping wearing a burqa.

I bought a burqa for roughly $17. Trying it on changes your view of the world - literally. You also buy less...

Photo from June 2006.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Super Afghan Gym

The beards are gone.
Flesh and muscles arrived in Kabul.

Photo from June 2006.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

No Cents in Afghanistan

Besides the fact that Afghanistan has its own currency, the afghani, you will find a number of restaurants accepting US Dollars only.

Interestingly, cents were never introduced in the country. Every item which usually costs $2.10 will be automatically $3. Quite a substantial tip even for Americans.

Photo from The Grill Restaurant in Kabul (June 2006).

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Kabul in 2006: Need a house to rent?

At least you will have a balcony with a view to the next fortress.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Injured Muscle in New Dehli

Why did they place this ad next to the street?

Are only New Dehli muscle men affected?

Can somebody translate it?

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

For your eyes only

Sure, you expected another picture, but this one from New Dehli’s Sheraton I really enjoyed. It is showing a modern lobby hall with many paintings of daily life in the city. No idea who made it but it is such a beautiful eye catcher.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

No oxygen in airport smoking rooms?

Am traveling for the next few days….

As a non smoker I am always fascinated by the smoking cages in airports. The one pictured is from Bangkok airport and was packed with 19 addicts. It seems that the smoke eats up all oxygen. Be sure you book the therapy (as advertised on the left of the picture) before.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Voodoo in the Philippines: The island of Siquijor

It is amazing to note that Siquijor, one of the most beautiful islands of the Philippines, is not the place to go. Some foreigners do, mainly because of the superb diving spots (it has one of the best coral gardens I have seen in the Philippines and I am diving a lot!). However, problematic to some Philippino travelers is the abundance of witchcraft on the island.

To me it is always interesting to find places where the catholic church is not the main healer of the country.

On Siquijor you will find arbularios and on the extreme, the mangkukulam, practitioners of the black art. The arbularios are herbal doctors who keep the knowledge of herbal treatment from one generation to the other. The other, the mankukulam are black witches which might recite a spell and pierces the part of a doll (which might be you) where he or she wants it to suffer.

If you experience some pain then remember that this is the work of a mankukulam. All you have to do is to travel to Siquijor (north of Mindanao), find the mankukulam, give him or her some money and he or she will put the needle out of the doll.

If you don’t care about all this please travel to the Island of Siquijor anyway. Reserve at least a full day for the Cambugahay Falls (see picture above from June 2006) and relax.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Breathtaking view of Manila

See the bright side (for some) of Manila. All green you see are part of gated communities or the Manila Golf Club (founded in 1901), where the membership is priced at Peso 17.2million (i.e. $325,000).

Some might want to listen to Eric Idle's (Monty Python) song ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ by watching this photo from June 2006 on top of Manila’s magnificent Pacific Plaza Towers.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sainthood of John Paul II: Another Miracle to Add

On 27 May 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited Wadowice, Poland, the birthplace of his predecessor John Paul II. Benedict XVI came up with the interesting statement that he wants to pray for the sainthood of John Paul II.

If it comes true, we have another miracle to believe in. Blessed are the poor in spirit…

Photo from Vatican or whatever other holy institution. Best read by listening to Roger Waters' ‘It’s a Miracle’ from the Album 'Amused to Death'

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Kotzbecken: the cure against football fever

Welcome to the 2006 Football Worldcup in Germany!

There are quite a number of reports on the global football fever. If your fever breaks out in Germany then make sure that somebody carries you to one of the tradional beer houses. Most restrooms for Herren (male) come with a Kotzbecken which will provide immediate relief.

Study the picture that you know how to use it properly.

Photo from Cologne, Germany. Forgot the year.

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Head Down in the Philippines

When you travel from island to island in the Philippines you always see kids who prefer to see the world upside down. Interestingly, the same applies to some species of fish such as shrimp fish which swims head down.

Why do they do it? Is evolution bringing the all of us Down Under?

Photos from Dumaguete and off the coast of Siquijor Island, Philippines in June 2006.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Imelda’s missing jewelry found!

It seems that parts of the missing jewelry of Imelda Marcos are back in Manila (see photo from June 2006 taken at El Cirkulo, Manila).

Sorry, I missed the shoes while taking the picture but I doubt that even Imelda was wearing the world’s most expensive shoes, the Cinderella Slippers by Stuart Weitzman. Such glitzy fantasies currently cost a flashy $2million

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tropical Signs

Can you imagine such signs 'please beware of falling coconuts' on every coconut palm tree in the tropics?
(Photo from Siquijor, Philippines, June 2006)

The next tropical signs will be glued on mosquitos: 'Pls beware: I will suck your blood!'
(Photo will be taken soon).

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Real End of German-French Hostility: Schnitzel Parisienne

The century-old German-French hostility was finally brought to a culinary end:

The Schnitzel Parisienne!

Bon appétit from Dumaguete's Mexican Restaurant 'Coco Amigos' (Philippines, June 2006).

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Deep Drop Apartment Buildings

There is so much talk about high rise apartment buildings. Even more interesting are the deep drop apartments. Actually here we are talking about deep drops in an earthquake-prone area.

Wanna move in?

Photo from Banaue, Philippines (2006).

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Butterfly: Bigger than Two Palms

After the termite attack (see below) it's time to show other fascinating facets of nature. One day nature surprised us with a giant butterfly in our garden in Alabang. The beauty was bigger than two palms and stayed with us for 6 hours.

Too bad, butterflies rarely come again …..

Photos from Alabang (south of Manila), Philippines (2002).

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