Month: September 2014

World Heritage Site Tuesday: Ephesus

I am learning as I see more of the world how much I don’t know. I have never heard of Ephesus before the second quarter of last year. Ancient Rome, yes. Athens, yes. Ephesus was an alien concept, and it blew my boyfriend and I away as our tour guide started walking us through the ancient ruins, and telling us the story of the site that doesn’t get as much credit as the Acropolis or Rome. Which also proved how much we know about history and the ancient wonders of the world, since we learned that one of them, the Temple of Artemis, is in Ephesus. As we started the tour, what was most interesting is that the excavation isn’t done yet. Only about 15% is done, which means there is so much we have yet to learn about our history. Pottery, Lunch and Rugs. After the tour, our guide asked us if we would like to pass by a place where they make pottery. We had time, so we said yes, and it turned …

Storm King

“The business of art is to reveal the relation between man and his environment.” – D.H. Lawrence Just an hour and a few minutes drive from New York City is Storm King Art Center, considered one of the world’s premier sculpture parks. My boyfriend and I have been talking about going over to Storm King since earlier in the year (he has been there before and has been wanting to take me), but I was hesitant this morning. He was not feeling that well this week, I have had a long week at work and a lot is going on everywhere else in life-dom. But we decided we needed this — so we headed off to a day of art and the outdoors. It was a gorgeous Saturday weather-wise. It did not quite feel like fall yet though the leaves suggested otherwise, their colors are radiant and beautiful, and not summer anymore even with the sun feeling warm and bright at times while we were walking from one sculpture to the next. Storm King combines …

What Colors are the Empire State Building?

When you are walking in the vicinity of Herald Square, it’s always fun to see what colors the Empire State Building’s lights are and learning what those colors mean. Here are some photos I took using my phone as I just happened to chance upon the pretty colors of the ESB those nice New York nights. Follow the @EmpireLights twitter account or visit their website for a lighting schedule. Weekly photo challenge: Nighttime

Travel Tips Thursday: New York City

There was a very good article a few days ago on Lonely Planet that mapped out how to have a perfect day in New York. I thought I’d supplement it here with a few additional tips of my own. Skip Times Square. If you do not absolutely have to, do not venture onto Times Square. It is extremely crowded and there isn’t much to see. Unfortunately, I have to pass by Times Square on my way to work, and to class as the midtown building of NYU is located at West 42nd. It is painful getting through and you could use the time exploring Central Park or one of New York’s many museums. Do not be afraid to try smaller restaurants. New York has a wealth of eclectic fare for diverse tastes. In midtown, for example, Sake Bar Hagi is a hidden gem of a yakitori restaurant. It is open from 5 pm – 2 am so if you find yourself trying to find food really late this is a place that is open. (I …

Wednesday Sightings: Turkish Sprite, Thai Sprite

Great brands have such strong identities and recall, that end users associate colors and images, sometimes even shapes with them. Global brands like Apple, McDonald’s and Coca Cola are a few examples. No matter where you are in the world, you would instantly recognize products, advertising and all things associated with these companies. Taking it a step further, what makes a global brand great? Meeting their customers where they are, speaking their language, adapting their customs and tastes to company practices. McDonald’s, for example, serves fried chicken and rice with gravy in the Philippines to compete with strong Filipino fast food chain Jollibee and meet the Filipino taste. In Australia, you would find vegemite on its breakfast menu; and a McVeggie is served in India. During my own travels, I have seen Sprite packaging tailored according to the country, but the brand has strong recognizability that you know immediately it’s the same drink. In my job we went through a branding exercise. Having been a part of a team that defined a company’s brand was …

World Heritage Site Tuesday: Chateau De Versailles

What do you value, work hard for? If you were to become extremely wealthy and powerful, what would you do with the riches and power you’ve suddenly come across? I was thinking about the word “extravagance” as our Contiki tour group was going through Chateau de Versailles, a nearby suburb of Paris.   Historically, the palace was a symbol of absolute political power for the royal family starting in the reign of Louis XIV. It has now become a symbol of status and wealth. It was interesting to see how royals lived and learn how the palace is still being used in modern times for dignitaries. It was also interesting reflecting and asking oneself, would you want something like this as a lifestyle? Or, would you be happier with the simple joys of life — perhaps with sporadic stays at royal palace-like places every now and then — surrounded with fulfillment, or at least with the search for it? But then again maybe daydreaming of a royal lifestyle while at Versailles is inevitable, and the …

On Our Robatayaki Experience, and Spending Quality Time With Friends

During this day and age, time with some of our most treasured friends that we very seldom see come few and far between. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for work, family, significant others, errands and everything else that needs to get done — so when we get to spend time with these great people, it becomes even more special. One of those times that stand out in my mind was once upon a birthday. That November some years ago, not only did I get to meet up with two of my girlfriends that I don’t get to see very often, but it was unforgettable for its uniqueness. We went to Inakaya, a robatayaki in the New York Times building the city. It is a Japanese type of cooking that literally translates to “fireside cooking,” where food — mostly seafood and vegetables are slowly grilled over charcoal. I was excited to begin with as my favorite cuisine. But when my friends G and M told the staff that it was my birthday, they …