Saturday, December 26, 2009

dear bestfriend

Hi Bestfriend,

Thank you for sending me pictures of your Christmas in Canada! The kids are growing up fast! And I love your home - it looks very warm and inviting, to think it's in the city. I can almost smell your gingerbread cake :)

You asked me how Christmas is here in the building. It was - eh - normal. Like a regular day. I already emailed you the pictures of the Christmas tree in the garden and the lobby. That's enough Christmas decorating for me.

Now I want to show you some "new" things in the unit. The last images you saw were probably still from the Apartment Therapy feature, but a lot has changed since. Books have piled up. Mementos from all the traveling are slowly creeping into the space. I shall purge soon, but for now, I thought I would show you the mess.

1. I finally framed the poster that made me change the way I see Manila. I thought it would put the unit into context. The more I travel, the more I appreciate home. The santo is an antique from the family - the one that "escaped" the fire. I think I told you the story. The books are all Lonely Planet "Encounter" guides, which I collect. Kulang pa - hindi pa ako nakakabili for some of the other cities I've visited.

2. Underneath is the mess I haven't sorted out. Old books, my travel bag, magazines I haven't read, a nice bottle of wine waiting to be opened, etc. You can also see the SkyCable Digibox, which is useful for a person who switches channels as much as I do.

3. There's finally a temporary workspace/fold-out desk. It's installed in the formerly useless small foyer. The IKEA thing never came (they ran out of stock) so this was the next best thing. It's functional. Eyelove.

The Gucci chair which I wrote about here is nomadic. It becomes a side table, a chair for watching TV, a working chair, a chair to eat in, etc. It's heavy, so exercise na rin when moving it around.

MSP and I framed all the maps of the cities that were memorable to us - even those we didn't love, pero memorable pa rin. You can see right away that Paris is the messiest!

4. Thank you for the wine cork you gave me last year. I still use it. This wine was gifted to me and of course I couldn't finish it in one sitting. The cork keeps it just a bit fresher.

As you can see, I didn't decorate for Christmas. The building people went overboard decorating the common areas anyway, and walking through them daily is enough for me.

So - I'll talk to you tomorrow. Yahoo or Skype. I hope my camera works.



Monday, December 21, 2009

do you know where your cashmere is?

With temperatures in Manila going as low as 22 °C at night (almost like Spring in Paris), it's time to turn the air conditioner off.

I love how cold it is. Just last night while walking around Greenbelt 5 after eating at Mr. Jones, I felt the Christmas chill for the first time. I wished I had brought my Stefanel cashmere long cardigan. But alas, it was tucked away in the Hello Lulu travel clothes case my bestfriend gave me last Christmas, together with a more precious Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater I rewarded myself with last year PLUS all the other woolen clothes I only use abroad. Maybe it's time to bring them out.

Anyway, Mr. Jones Greenbelt 5 was a bit disappointing. MSP ordered the Wagyu ribs - they managed to overcook it so much that it didn't taste like Wagyu anymore.

When I am disappointed by food, I find myself going back to a happier time when food was just delicious. Somehow, the disappointing Wagyu led me to think of Le Coude Fou, one of my favorite restaurants in the world. Everyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of Paris. However, I would come back if only for
Le Coude Fou (There's a video here).

Located in the less pretentious Marais area along rue du Bourg-Tibourg (Paris Métro Hôtel de Ville), this resto serves authentic Parisian food in a laid-back setting devoid of the usual snobbish staff.

One of the waitresses looked a lot like me (she noticed it, too) and the owner/chef was a nice guy. I didn't realize you needed reservations to even get in (as the place gets packed by locals), but luckily, my lookalike waitress was able to sit MSP and me beside a noisy Italian family.

We devoured the (a)
foie gras de canard maison et son chutney de poires, (b) tartare de filets de canard mi cuits, and (c) entrecote sauce bordelaise liee au foie gras cru.* Prices were not astronomical - we had three dishes and two glasses of wine for under 50 euros.

*I don't speak decent French, but somehow, I can order from/remember entries on French menus. It's a gift from God.

Friday, December 18, 2009

real friends stab you in the front

An out-of-the-country trip with friends you've known for 12 years takes you back to when you were 17 and didn't worry about the stock market. You get to be a kid again.

Jumping for Angkor Wat (Cambodia)

Where's our pilot??

Upgraded to business class just because

I wonder where we'll go next year.


merry christmas to me

I am complete broke from the crazy 10-day Cambodia/Malaysia trip (complete with missed flights, mysteriously disappearing/appearing things, and curry overload).

However, I had to get this chair to replace the old one.

It's much bigger in person. I curl up with a book and sleep on it. I haven't actually done that because I am too busy working, but one of these days, I will. You know. In theory.