Friday, September 26, 2014
Seems this photo blog will be more of a travel blog for the next few months. Gots a few mini trips planned for each month before 2015 rolls around the corner.
First up for the Fall season: NYC.
For those who have been persistent about us getting back to NYC - Yaasssss! It's finally happening! Hopefully this is just the beginning of something epic. We plan on keeping NYC as a regular in the near future. ;-) See y'all on the East Coast!
besos ... jin.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Hipster. The one recurrent word our European friends have used to describe this city. I ain't gonna lie. I was a lil iffy at first, ya know, coming from a hipster town meeself. But then I set foot in this city aaaaand it's worth the hype that everyone has raved about. Total opposite of Communist anything. Berlin is vibrant, hip, happenin'. Hard to believe the Berlin Wall fell only 25 years ago! In my lifetime! I remember as a wee 9 year old watching the events unravel on TV. Mind blowing stuff.
If anything, Berlin is resilient. Which became very apparent when V and I met up one of my old neighbors from the Spain days, Guil, who recently moved to Berlin from Sao Paolo and moonlighted as our tour guide. I'm gonna digress a bit, but I haven't seen this dude in 7 years! He'll always have a special place in my memory during my life in Spain, being one of the first people I've met in Salamanca and one of the few who've stuck around when everyone went back to their respective home countries. We've had many a crazy nights chugging down chupitos at the local pubs and lazily drinking in front of a church and then drinking some more at our residencia. But I don't want to give the impression that we've drank a lot (just half the time =P). Fundamentally, everyone bonded over their own unique life experiences from all corners of the world during these gatherings. And that, there, is really the beauty of why I love meeting fellow travelers while traveling. Chances are you're going to meet someone who's in the same boat as you, constantly roaming the world searching for something more. More than what the social convention expects of you. Shared life stories of these fellow life wanderers reflects that. I'm in awe and inspired by these kindred spirits.
Guil is truly a kindred spirit of that very kind.
So with Guil practically a Berliner, we set forth on a cray-cray foot tour around town, hunting down currywurst and iconic street graffiti and remnants of the GDR. I swear we must've circled this town TWICE. Which is not an easy feat considering Berlin is HUGE. There are times the old Communist influences are still very evident and others like it had never happened. It's really befuddling and curious at the same time. But one thing's for sure, Berlin is a better, happier place. A city where one can easily roam its streets and find an artist's haven. A place I would come back just to explore more of its strong-willed history and perhaps seriously live in if I had the option of moving back to Europe (I wish!)
Guil - You're always welcome here at Casa de Chu-Ferrer. From one hipster town to the other, you'll love it here in Austin. We'll even take ya up on that dog-sitting offer if that's what it takes for ya to get here. Let's not wait another 7 years! ;-)
By the way, I must really mention how awesome The Generator hostel was (is!) during our 4-5 day stay in Berlin. How awesome? Let's just say it's been awhile since we've stayed at a clean, brand spankin' new, accommodating, insanely convenient, trendy hostel - not since Thailand 2009. Stay there if ya ever in Berlin.
besos ... jin.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
This guy. Andy. From Ireland. The most unlikely character we've met at a hostel in Malaysia some 5 years ago. A meet-and-greet extraordinaire working the front desk most enthusiastically. And if anything, he was probably THE highlight of the hostel. With that Irish jive he had going on - it def overshadowed some of the interesting parts of the place (That's another story!), but yah, he'd always had something colorful to add to the mini convos in passing, day in and day out. So anyways, he thought we were cool. We (V, Yi-Xuan, ChewLee, I) thought he was cool. We're all cool. Cool people keep in touch.
Fast forward 5 years later. So we got to thinking. It's been years since our last Eurotrip. Years! How'd that happened?? Time to get back to the Old World! Pronto. And we did just that. Booked us an overnight flight in a Dreamliner, right over the pond, straight into Dublin. 'Cause we've never been to Ireland and hey, Andy is there!
In true meet-and-greet style, Andy met us up at our hotel on Day 1. Simply just to welcome us into his hometown, then he was off for a bit. Hours later he came back to what began the weekend warrior whirlwind across Dublin. Started off with some sushi (and Sake Bombs!), theeen commenced the official cray-cray Irish pub crawl. Met some of Andy's friends along the way, asked everyone of them about the Irish Car Bomb (which astonishingly enough, no one knew what the heck we were talking about), befriended a couple of gals from Maritius over pizza ('Where the heck is Maritius??') and ended the night partying with them at a salsa club. Day 1 - DONE.
Day 2 was a bit more tamed, filled with touristy fun. From the oh-so-green parks (Hello, Oscar Wilde!) to the museum hopping to the Riverdance show. Throw in the occasional Irish pub break in between, where we introduced Andy to Tinder and had an entertaining go with it before he promptly returned the kindness by challenging V to the Ice Bucket Challenge, haha! Overall, we really were surprised by the walkability of proper Dublin. Like, how insanely close everything happened to be. A 5 minute walk here, a 10 minute walk there. Easily knocked off everything (worth seeing per Andy) in just a day. Although, believe it or not, with the constant chatter as we walked through the city, it WAS hard to remember to photo-document the trip. Andy, you are one entertaining conversationalist. BUT I did manage to squeeze in some beloved urban snaps and briefly ponder upon the cityscape likeness of London. (No? Just me?)
Next visit we're def gonna extend the adventures to more than just a weekend. Rent a car and explore the Irish countryside. Travel to Cork, Limerick, up north to Belfast. Find us some leprechauns and a pot of gold. (Had to throw in a stereotype eventually! *does Irish jig* =P)
Andy, you (and your upcoming Indie film) are always welcome at Casa de Chu-Ferrer. Texas awaits your cameo appearance! Let the world adventures continue, from Malaysia to Ireland to Texas!
'Friends for life.' - Andy Byrne.
besos ... jin.