May Kwento Ako #45 : Lipat Bahay ( Moving homes ), in France

In more modern cities where there are high rise buildings, modern conveniences like service elevators or lifts are common. But how about in centuries old cities like Paris where elevators are uncommon and often a luxury in homes. Oftentimes, only two people can fit into the elevator; suitcases excluded. Would they bring up the goods by the winding staircases ?

The thought of how people brought up their beds, sofas, dining tables in centuries old apartments in France has crossed my mind. But I parked the thought until one day, someone mentioned to me how it was done. And luckily, I witnessed an actual move shortly after.

There is an automated ladder that hauls up the goods in crates and someone up there receives it, presumably to unload and unpack.

I was amazed and glad it is now automated, probably only in recent years.

I took a video but I don’t know how to post the video of the actual crate going up the ladder – yet. Someday, hopefully.

Classic apartment building in France. So nice, isn’t it ?
I took a video but I don’t know how to post it. Items are brought up through
this automated ladder!
Yeah, the ladder goes over the pedestrians heads.
That truck below left contains all the furniture and personal effects that will be
brought up into the apartment.

May Kwento Ako #44 : Some nice neighborhoods in Athens or is it Athina ?

Apparently, in Europe, Athens is referred to as Athina. I didn’t know this before until I exited another city bound for home. One learns new things each day, as they say.

Here’s are a few more things I learned from Lazarus, my new smart, articulate Greek friend who drove me from and to the airport:

  1. the seafood in Athens or in Greece is exceptionally more tasty because the sea nearest Athens is more salty as compared to other seas.
  2. the red and white wines in Greeces are particularly exceptional except that is hasn’t reached my corner of the world, I think.
  3. sadly, the economy of Greece has still not been doing so well even after 12 years but they are all working hard and hopeful.

Here are a few photos of this eternal city of Athens. Amidst the crazy traffic it has in narrow streets, there are some hubs that are very discreet.

So, it’s not all busy and crazy streets. With tons of tourists. There are very interesting niches, like everywhere in the world, I discovered.

European architecture with distinctly Greek details.
Beautiful doorways always catches the eye.
This home I shall refer to as “he made it work” home. I think this also has good feng shui as the front entrance door is blocked from the main road. And he got to keep the tree.
Smart moves.
The hilly city offers great vista and challenge to your knees.
From above the Acropolis Hill, Athens is one big city. Mount Lycabettus is the hill on the right hand of the photo.

May Kwento Ako #43 : What Abu Dhabi looks like from above.

Abu Dhabi as my flight took off

Ferrari World
Desert land everywhere. Has better infrastructure compared to many.

For some of us who live outside of the Middle East, I could not imagine what a desert would look like. Yes, I have seen movies set in a desert but those are highly stylised. An opportunity came up for me to pass through the airport of Abu Dhabi and hope that one day I, too would get to stay for a few days.

I cannot imagine what the architecture and infrastructure would be like 10 to 20 years from now in this city.

Someone once told me that this country is run very efficiently but conservatively and they seem to be reaping the benefits.

May Kwento Ako #42 : The Climb up to the Acropolis Hill of Athens

Near the Entrance Gate on the South East Wing
Just past a few of the several millennia-old ruins below the hill …
Almost on top of the Acropolis Hill but not quite up there, yet.
And more steps like these.
Till one reaches the apex.
The lucky neighbourhood just below. The visuals in the evening are as astounding.

The Acropolis Hill is worth the trip to Athens and the climb. After all, it is dated 4 millenia before Christ’s death (BCD). And large enough to host many historical landmarks, most of which are in great shape considering the thousands of years that have passed but many are “under renovation”.

This hill is not very high. It is lower than I thought it would be, honestly. But one has to be reasonably fit to make this climb. I saw a signage below as I was about to exit that there was a lift to get up hill for the handicap but was not able to pursue this.

The hill’s gates open at 8AM and I entered at 8:10AM as I recall as the place I was staying in was a 2 minute walk away. It was a bit chilly at that time. Saw less than a dozen people as I hurriedly took my photos and appreciated the place trying to imagine what stories lay within its midst. Maybe 100 people at the top of hill then. But in half an hour, the number of people grew exponentially.

By the time I got to the top, it was close to 9AM as I took my time appreciating the vista and the ruins. Trying to familiarise myself with the type of soil, the boulders, the ruins.

The blogs I read preparing for the trip gave good tips:

1) Be at the gate by 8AM.

2) Stay near the new Acropolis Museum.

May Kwento Ako No. 41 : A Pleasant Discovery in Makati

I am not a wine connoissuer. Far from it. But in recent years, I have found myself meeting people who are afficionados or in the trade and little by little, one just picks up a lesson or two and become more familiar with this old world drink over time.

Expertly handled and poured.
Very nice to see you again. It’s been awhile since Paris with “SP” in 2016.
And the Piper leads the pack. Soft shelled crabs, pasta with truffles, shrimps. Beautiful composition.
Pleasant way to cap the lunch.

May Kwento Ako No. 40 : A Reunion of Sorts

It is not everyday that the six of us are able to partake in a meal together. Modern day challenges with family members living in different parts of the globe or even just the country, quite common in most families for a long time now.

Each on has his own strength, completing the other or likely the rest. I wonder if people know this of themselves. How about if one is an only child, I now wonder.

But it remains exciting nonetheless when we’re together. At this point, each one of us has their interesting stories to tell and their continuing journey of experiences and self-discovery.

I now prefer bigger fonts so they are easier for me to read.

May Kwento Ako No. 39 : Post-Corporate Life

With Irene Ibanez

So happy to have spent time with Irene Ibanez and some of her recent fine art watercolors on giclee archival paper.

Irene since retiring as top remarketeer for IBM reseller of AS/400s and S/36s, SSI has been busy being a wife, mom, entrepreneur and more recently fine art watercolorist.  👩🏻‍🎨

She remains good friends with many of us. Shares countless happy anecdotes. And I suppose they show in Irene’s art, don’t you agree? I know many of you have gone to art from private messages and posts and I am sooo happy for you. ( My lips and fingers are sealed, of course ). Tuloy ninyo lang yan. Nakakaginhawa din ng kalooban yan.

Yes, Joe, there is still a beautiful life outside corporate life! 

She has generously agreed to donate a portion of her sales to BlueGenes Fund Drive for Building 17, Paradise Heights, Smokey Mountain in Tondo which brings children to school.

May Kwento Ako No. 38 : Reunions are for those with solid memories.

Once upon about 4 decades ago, when most of this rowdy bunch were fresh from uni/college, we somehow found our way to a fabled cave in Paseo de Roxas where minds, hearts and souls were further formed to be a cross between scholars and warriors. Attitudes were further fixed, wits were challenged and readied further for the outside world. You know and still be smooth. It was not easy but we made it work. 

Last night, at a hosted dinner for a good man and his lady love, we chided ourselves about how another couple of zeros were added to our annual targets, the exciting technologies that us, consumers will soon be living with, that our gym routine has significantly been altered to walking around a few blocks in the neighborhood to get those blood cells going. Now a couple of decades since we parted, we know we’ve experienced more of the outside world. Ok, a few more cuts and bruises here and there, acquired along the way. Medicines have replaced the health and muscle-building supplements. And progressive lens have replaced the tortoise shell Tom Cruise-made famous Ray Bans. 

Now, this life’s progression called reunions, come to think of it, made our dear folks busy for a few decades. So, it seems that we are following suit. Of course we talked about the people who were not present! Won’t be as much fun if we hadn’t, would it? But nothing racy, I assure you. We are not that kind. All in good fun.

This photo says it all. Despite it all, we all can still be hams. And it’s perfectly alright.

Till the next.