Thursday, March 31, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Still reeling from the after effects of Superman’s (Henry Cavill) destructive battle with his Kryptonian rivals that caused mass destruction both in Gotham and Metropolis, Batman (Ben Affleck) considers the potential damage the extra-terrestrial could still cause, and declares him as a threat. In an effort to develop a weapon that could deter the Man of Steel, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) threads through the currents of American bureaucracy in an attempt to secure access to Kryptonite samples left by the commotion of eighteen months ago, but is faced with staunch opposition from senator June Finch (Holly Hunter). After a carefully orchestrated mayhem leaves Superman guilty in the eyes of the public, The Caped Crusader takes matters into his own hands, leading to a gladiator match between the two heroes that the world has never seen before. They are forced to unite, however, as a bigger threat emerges from the shadows of the past. As they find themselves overpowered by the much stronger enemy, unexpected assistance arrives courtesy of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), a 5,000-year-old deity who has decided long ago to lie low and no longer be of help to human beings.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

[DUBAI] Budget and Itinerary

MONDAY: 28 March 2016
Rayna Tours (Rush Visa Processing) - 440.00
Air Arabia (Tehran - Sharjah) - 306.64
Airbnb Sharjah (1 Night) - 115.00
Dunkin Donuts (Boston Kreme + Strawberry Filled) - 10.00
World News Cafe (Chicken Masala Sandwich + Coke + Kitkat) - 25.00
Bus 15 (Airport - Rolla) - 6.00
KFC (Rice Meal + Pepsi) - 25.00

[DUBAI] Where Did All the Arabs Go

I just went malling in Dubai. I know, right? It’s not that there isn’t anything to see, but it’s just that... Well, if you have been following my travel related blog posts for the last few years, you must have already noticed this pattern where the cities towards the end of my itinerary always suffer from indifference and exhaustion. It’s just the way it is, which is why I am trying to limit all my travels to a maximum of two weeks. Fortunately, Dubai is a really good place for chilaxin’, and chillax I did.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

[VISA] United Arab Emirates (Single Entry)

I think I would have considered this visa as one of the easiest to get if not for the astronomical security deposit they ask you to give them. I don’t know how the system works at the UAE embassy in Manila, but if you opt to involve a travel agency and apply for a sponsored visa online, the security deposit is always mandatory. For the agency I chose, Rayna Tours, I was asked to deposit AED5,500 (~PHP71,500), which will be forfeited if I decide to overstay my welcome in the emirates.

Monday, March 28, 2016

[TEHRAN] Budget and Itinerary

SATURDAY: 26 March 2016
Accommodation (2 Nights) - 54.00

Aseman Airlines (Shiraz - Tehran) - 2,381,000.00
Metro Line 4/1 (Mehrabad Airport - Azadi - Imam Khomeini) - 8,000.00

Sunday, March 27, 2016

[TEHRAN] Hunger Games Iran

Yahoo, we now take a break from the usual ranting and nerdy verbal diarrhea you see on this blog, because we have a sob story to tell! Oh wait, technically, it’s still ranting but with the hidden agenda of eliciting sympathy from you. To tell you the truth, I’d rather you give me food right now instead of sympathy but if Cirrus debit cards just can’t penetrate Iran, I don’t think your food package will make it here in time either until I leave or starve to death. And so the Cashless in Iran saga continues!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

[FARS] Budget and Itinerary

WEDNESDAY: 23 March 2016
Qatar Airways (Istanbul - Doha - Shiraz) - 217.61
Accommodation (2 Nights) - 20.00

Visa Fee (Iran Embassy Rabat) - 40.00
Agency Fee (Pars Tour Agency) - 30.00

Friday, March 25, 2016

[MARVDASHT] The Ruins of Persepolis

I could have chosen a better time to go to Persepolis. I mean, who chooses a national holiday to contend for a selfie spot in a popular tourist destination like this, right? But this Iran trip has been badly planned from the very beginning anyway. So what’s the use in complaining, really? I guess I just found it a bit surprising because almost every blog entry I’ve read about the place said that it’s almost always empty. But then again, they probably didn’t go on a national holiday, now did they?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

[SHIRAZ] Cashless in Iran

I’m not a big fan of money changers. It’s been a habit of mine to leave a country without money in my wallet, which means to say that I also land at the next airport WITHOUT any moolah. I’m not broke, I just believe that in a modern world like ours, ATMs serve this very purpose. Once you are done with immigration, you claim your baggage from the carousel and then you go to the arrival section where an ATM with a cirrus logo is happily waiting for you, with matching blinking lights and a drum roll.

[VISA] Iran (Single Entry)

There are several websites saying that we’re still visa-free in Iran, but almost everyone I know who has been there opted to get their visas in advance so as to avoid hassles at the airport. I decided to do the same. Let’s make this simple, shall we? First stop, you need a visa authorization code, which you can get through a travel agency. will be the first in a long list of Google search results. Avoid that one like the plague. I got mine from Caravanistan, and I am really satisfied with their service.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

[ISTANBUL] Budget and Itinerary

SUNDAY: 20 March 2016
Turkish eVisa (Online) - 20.70

Air Arabia Maroc (Casablanca - Istanbul Sabiha) - 143.48

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

[ISTANBUL] Archaeological Nerdgasm, Domes, and Minarets

There are many districts to explore in Istanbul. As for me, I just decided to stick to Sultanahmet because I am just here for two days anyway and I want everything to be chill. You know you want to take things slow when you opt to split two destinations facing each other into two different sightseeing days. And so day two was reserved for the Blue Mosque as well as Topkapi Palace. But the museum and palace of Topkapi were closed because it was a holiday, which made me settle for the Archaeology Museum.

Monday, March 21, 2016

[ISTANBUL] Virgin Mary Dome Ceiling Selfie

It was Eurowings Check-In Counter Phuket 2.0. The guy told me that they would have to call Turkish immigration first to confirm if my visa was valid or not. In my head, I thought this guy must be shitting me. You mean to tell me that if my flight was close to midnight and offices have already closed in Turkey, you wouldn’t let me board just because of your baseless suspicion that I, to quote him, “might have FORGED” my visa. Screw this, right? And so I had to wear my most sinister bitch face for an hour or so.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

[VISA] Turkey (Single Entry)

This has got to be the fastest and easiest visa I ever processed in this lifetime. Philippine passport holders who hold an unexpired visa from any OECD country are eligible to apply for a Turkish visa online. The website states that even if you’ve already used your visa (in the case of a single-entry Japanese visa, for example) but your travel date falls before the expiry date indicated on it, you can still use it. The only requirement is that it should be on your passport, which means an Australian visa won’t do.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

[RABAT-SALÉ-KÉNITRA] Budget and Itinerary

Qalam Wa Lawh (Colloquial Moroccan Arabic x8 Weeks) - 11,880.00
Qalam Wa Lawh (Apartment Single Room x8 Weeks) - 12,960.00
Qalam Wa Lawh (Lunch M-F x8 Weeks) - 1,600.00
Laundry (x8 Weeks) - 400.00
Dinner Allowance (MAD50 x8 Weeks) - 2,800.00
Petit Taxi Allowance (MAD20 x8 Weeks) - 800.00

Monday, March 7, 2016

[DRÂA-TAFILALET] Budget and Itinerary

SATURDAY: 5 March 2016
ONCF (Rabat Agdal - Marrakech) - 127.00
Airbnb (1 Night) - 190.00
Car Rental (2 Days/4 People) - 80.00
Gas (/4 People) - 70.00
McDonalds (6 pcs Nuggets w/Fries & Coke) - 44.50
Eatery (Tajine + Coke) - 30.00
Admission Fee (Ait Benhaddou) - 10.00
Restaurant Messina (Chicken Cutlet w/Fries & Coke + Choco Mousse) - 95.00

Sunday, March 6, 2016

[OUARZAZATE] Welcome to Yunkai

To be honest, I really haven’t seen Yunkai yet on Game of Thrones. My last marathon ended on that episode where Dragon Mama lovingly asked Drogon to barbecue the evil jerk in Astapor who tried to trick her during their negotiation for the army of the Unsullied. So yeah, they haven’t even reached Yunkai yet. If we decided to go to Essaouira, then I would have easily recognized Astapor, but Ait Ben Haddou seemed to be the more popular option, and getting there is not simple at all.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

[OUARZAZATE] The Atlas Mountains and Letting Go

Dear Atlas Mountains, I get you. I totally get you. Sometimes in life we reach that certain point where we lose track of who we are and we just don’t have an effing idea of who we should be. And it sucks, maybe because society dictates that this dilemma should be long gone by the time we hit our late twenties or early thirties. And how old are you again, 60 million? That’s fucked up, but you don’t have to be sad, because that’s what makes you beautiful. I think I just quoted a One Direction song. Shit.
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