domenica 17 settembre 2017

A new Birthday has gone

One more and one more birthday has what?? Well a mixed feeling of becoming more mature???or just older but no problem, as far as another heavy, shattering, tense tourist season is gonna finish in a positive way, as far as God gives us a good health we must be happy and grateful and enjoy every second and every breath of this wonderful life. So what better way to celebrate it if not having a birthday lunch to Caffè Roma where a perfect and professional host like Walter and his marvellous cook Ramona prepared for a delicious fish meal with Tagliolini allo scoglio, mixed salad, fried fish, good white wine, caffè and a strong and scented mirto flavoured grappa.
I received so many lovely presents(T-shirts, shorts, books, after shave, and so on) but the very best one was the presence of my friends and my family. Pity that my aunt, cousins and daddy were not there, anyway these are really those moments which makes life worth to be lived ;-)

martedì 11 aprile 2017

Return to Jakarta

After more than one year I was craving a return to Indonesia and finally, alone this time, I returned.
When you move from one area to a different one, in a huge metropolis like Jakarta, it's like to make a travel inside a travel, thus Pancoran was a real new experience in a real new "world" compared to Sudirman. As usual I gradually started to roam around the alleys and roads of the area, discovering small mosques, tiny eateries, high standard kindegarten and luxurious villas.
Pancoran is not a charming place but has its good sides maybe negligible but made my walks very nice: a couple fruit seller with delicious guava, sweet rambutan, tasty red dragon fruit or amazing dukuh who made my breakfast just a dream of healthy morning meal or thanks to a buttery avocadoes a great ingredient for my dinner salads.
But above all, in Jalan Raya Kalibata, an easy 30 minute walk from my place, from 7pm there was not only a small area with good and cheap food vendors but also so many Durian vendors, selling so many types of this stinky but delicious fruit coming from every corner of Indonesia but also from Thailand.
Another good reason to appreciate Pancoran, was the Duren Kalibata train station which allowed me to travel around Jakarta in a very fast, safe and efficient way but also to meet so many locals, from students to english teachers, from lawyers to housewives, all of the extremely friendly toward this solo bule traveller. It was so relaxing to travel by train, crossing the city in a different way, stopping at unknown stations, mingling in this huge warm humanity, no matter how crowded it could be, every trip was fine, every station a nice stop, even if a rain downpouring was ravaging outside.
What else made living in Panchoran fine??? maybe the small Kalibata Mall  despite I am not a fan of Mall lifestyle, or even  the poor, modest but cheap and genuine PGC.
Let's see where I will stay next time, because there will be a next time in Jakarta...insy-Allah.

venerdì 13 maggio 2016

Travelling to Salento: a beautiful friendship with Ale and Bisbinto

Finally me and Ale succeeded to find a couple of free days from our busy and stressful working life in order to visit our friend Bisbinto. It's unbelievable how full is our lives, we almost travel around the world for 1 or 2 months a year, which is a great privilege, that's sure, but once we come back home, no time to visit anywhere of our wonderful country.
Me and Ale loved this very short trip because our generous guest showed us so many beautiful spots like Otranto with its huge mosaic made of 600.000 tiny pieces representing the Tree of Life, Santa Cesarea Terme and its Morocco style Sticchi Palace, Castro and it's pristine deep rocky coast or the lovely historical Brindisi city center not to mention the magic atmosphere of Lecce cathedral by night which was just breathtaking, something UNIQUE that everyone must see in his life.
The food of Puglia region is well known all around Italy but I could never imagine it could be so tasty, genuine at inexpensive from bread to mozzarelle, from the huge sandwich called Puccia to Cicoria and fave purè, from handmade orecchiette pasta to dry burley frisa bread.
However what will always stay in my heart is the magic and warming feeling I had admiring the Palascia lighthouse (on the eastermost tip of Italian peninsula), during a terrific sunset in the middle of wild flower carpet breaking into a rocky coast. I thanked God for our strong and good friendship hoping it will last forever. Thanks so much Ale and thanks so much Bisby, lets nourish our great friendship day by day.

giovedì 28 aprile 2016

Flavio and Pino: journey to Krakatau

Before deciding to take him with me to Indonesia I had many doubts about my good friend Pino as a traveller companion. He doesn't speak any language other than his Taranto slang and has rarely travelled abroad before. Would have he been able to adjust himself to different situations, different food, a different language and a totally different culture not to mention possible predicaments.
With my big surprise, he proved to be a great travel buddy, a patient friend and a responsible traveller.
We have been invited by our friend Gigi to join her and her friends to an excursion on the Krakatau extinguished volcano, which the 26th August 1883 occasioned one of the most powerful explosion ever heard on our planet. The sound arrived until Australia (3500km faraway) and Rodriguez islands (4800km) and expelled 21cubicKm of ashes, stones and pumice stones.
Nowadays we do need a big amount of imagination just to figure out the catastrophic events that changed in such a nasty way the lives of so many people.
The excursion started in a weekend evening, we met at one of the Jakarta train station and immediately before Gigi's arrival met so many nice and friendly guys, most of them younger some older than us. We both loved all these folk which confirmed once again how friendly and lovely Indo people are. No need to say that the trip was long and uncomfortable, the train chairs in economic class seemed designed by one of the main genial officials of middle age inquisitions...a real torture for our backs and buttocks. Despite that I could only see happy, smiling and sometimes sleepy face.
Being a food choosy, on the vegetarian path, I really suffered the very poor food selection we faced on our destination, on the other side I loved our simple accommodation with big rooms separated between girls and boys as well as the funny bath provided with "gayung" system which means you have to scope water from a big bucket on your body instead of a normal shower.
I and Papi, as Pino was nicknamed, loved each moment of this excursion, talking with the guys, taking photos, snorkeling on the pristine waters, doing yoga under a terrific sky full of stars while flirting on the beach with the cruel company of tiny mosquitos greedy of sweet Italian blood.
Pity that Pino could not communicate with our new friends, anyway I was his official translator and at the end of the week end we felt sad but at the same time happy for the many new friends met.
Terima kasih Indonesia .

venerdì 27 novembre 2015

Hypocrisy Pinoy Style

We all around the world, not only politicians, are subject to behave in a hypocritical way many times per day but when I was travelling around The Philippines I noticed a very subtle, almost refined, I might say joyful fashion to say/write something and behave in a totally opposite way.
So many times I read words like "Be even if the others are not, will not, can not" not to mention the so many statues of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Maria in the schools, in the squares or at the entrance of a village. Despite I am a catholic and comes from a very catholic country like Italy, I was astonished to take a ride with a taxi driver listening on the radio to a mass, as well as watching a mass celebrated inside a mall on  a temporary church. So you would expect a country populated by devoted catholics where you can breath honesty all around the streets, a kind of Japan where you can leave your bicycle unlocked  or where your forgot belongings will be immediately given back to you like it happened to me in Chiang Mai (Thailand). But the reality is totally different, it strikingly different because if you forget your wallet or your glasses on a restaurant table, you have the same chance to get it back as you would have in Brazil, because if you enter a wrong poor area of a big city you should be as careful as you were in Ecuador. Yet, as my friend Michael suggested me, the biggest and most widespread epidemic known in this country is that of young, if not very young, single mothers who have been, forgive me the rude verb, fucked and then kicked away by their young sweetheart or by their old uncle or neighbour. When locals or my friends who lived there I could not believe it, I mean, when you talk with those lovely, sweet, young students they are polite but they are or pretend to be so shy, modest, devoted to their family and to their future husband that I could barely believe how the real situation is. Elio, 35 years in The Philippines, told me that at the end of the month in Dumaguete City you can see many young students "waiting" on the street side in the hope that a foreigner or local man stop there offering a "monetary help" for their University fees in exchange of some good sex. Please be careful, I am NOT judging these girls, certainly poor, in a negative way, I just say that in the hypercatholic Philippines thefts, assaults and sex are not a taboo at all. On the other side, this is probably, along with Thailand the country where people were so enthusiast of the Francisco Pope arrival (every TV and radio program was for the pope and Manila airport was closed for His arrival), gays and transexuals are openly accepted, even youngsters show openly their sexual tastes and seem absolutely happy and at ease with their life. In this case many countries, Italy included has so much to learn from The Philippines.

giovedì 21 maggio 2015

Cagayan de Oro: a place full of energy

CDO lies on the southernmost island of Mindanao. This island has always strangely attracted me since the first time I was planning a trip to The Philippines despite Mindanao has a very bad if not scary reputation because of Muslim terrorists/independentist. During my stay almost 50 soldiers were killed in the provinces of Cotabato and Maguindanao, nonetheless Elio had a waiter from this area who was supporting his fellow citizens because he said Philippine government try to steal their land in any way whereas they lived these places long before the Spaniards and then the americans colonized this region.
CDO is a middle size town, 600.000 inhabitants, quite congestioned by heavy traffic, some nice place like small street with tiny carenderia, coconut and fruit stalls, a shabby park, in other words it's not a charming town. Davao neighter is but before it has the beautiful Samal and Talikud islands for example. Surigao also is not a charming place but has a nice Luneta Park, many small islands and not only Siargao (famous for beginner surfers), but CDO has really nothing else than a modest but famous White Water rafting and at 3 hours distance a huge and tall zipline park in the beautiful region of Bukidnon.
But I loved this town because his dwellers are so amazing, curious, friendly, warm, sometimes crazy like a few freelance prostitutes who offered me many different services for a pizza or jollyBee meal.
The nightlife in CDO is surprisingly hectic, too many pubs, live music bistrot (Lexis Bar, Lokal and Led), a couple of discos and for the nightclub addicted also several strip-tease clubs like Coras and Coras 2. But also youngsters training their dance steps, their instruments or their tango coreography on the divisoria sidewalk.
At lunchtime I enjoyed one of the many dirty cheap and friendly carenderia whereas for nighttime an uplevel meal of various types was available on the Limketkai area (Jerry's Grill, Siam Thai and Ramentei).
Pure energy, this place was just great!!!

sabato 9 maggio 2015

Camiguin Island: a pearl of beauty

I talked with my friend about Camiguin Island as a beautiful place, or at least this was my feeling after reading some travellers' report. It could not be more true than it was, a couple of hours of Bus from Cagayan de Oro and then 1 hour by ferry toward this small island which has the highest number of volcanoes (all of them exctinct and just one dormant).
Caminguin has not huge, sandy beaches like Boracay or Bohol, however despite its tiny size (23Km long and 14km wide), this island is a real concentrate of natural beauties, populated by friendly people, no thieves (Guido's wife told me you can live your shopping bagon your motorbike without any risk)and a deep atmosphere of pure relax. No wonder that Camiguin is populated by many foreigners, also lot of italians, who settled here to run a business or just to live here. And no wonder this was one of my 2 months trip highlights.
You can get cheap, medium or expensive accommodation near the capital Mambajao, then by a rented motorbike or by bicycle you can start to explore the island chossing between the many waterfalls: Katibawasan Falls, Tuasan Falls. But also snorkel between the waters on an old Spanish cemetery sunken during the 1871 Mount Volcano eruption is a nice way to see many corals and fishes other than a huge ancient cross. Ardent Hot Springs are such a lovely place, open all the night also, where you can relax at a very cheap price (fortunately in The Philippines foreigners dont pay more than locals like in Thailand or Indonesia), not to mention Bura Natural Soda Water Swimming Pool, you can swim there but you can also drink this alcaline water and if I were living there I would spend a couple of hours per day there. There is also a Giant Clams Sanctuary, not easy to get there, but once you arrive you can really enjoy some snorkeling among this nice, anormous clams but be careful not to put your hand inside them ehehehe.
At the Sunset I and my friend had a delicious fish soup (chowdury) in the Laguna Bistro, a small restaurant built on stilts at the lagoon where the sun creates an evem warmer atmosphere between the waters and the mangroves.
Last but not least Mantigue island, a very microscopic island at 10 minutes of boat from Mantigues, well, when you get here you feel that God exists and did great things (despite we all are trying to fuck our planet in any way..): palm trees, white sandy beach, emerald waters, a huge number of fish on the reef of this tiny paradise island where you feel a kind of Robinson Crusoe.
To add some charme to this destination you can have a delicious dinner at La Luna restaurant where Guido, his wife and Vincenzo will prepare you wonderful pizza, pasta and bruschetta or to have a more international food in a very romantic sunset scenery you can go at Casaroca Restraurant-hotel run by a friendly Canadian guy. Considering that Filipino food is not the best in the world and that Italians are quite piky about food, this island was also a culinary paradise!