Wednesday, August 31, 2016

סיפור על אהבה וחושך (A Tale of Love and Darkness)

Growing up at a time of tumultuous transition from Mandatory Palestine to the creation of the state of Israel, Amos (Amir Tessler) gets a semblance of normalcy thanks to the efforts of his imaginative mother, Fania (Natalie Portman), whose collection of stories never fails to tickle his imagination. She also plays the role of the supportive wife to his father, Arieh (Gilad Kahana), a struggling writer with an overbearing mother who is not so fond of her daughter-in-law. As depression eventually sets in, Fania finds herself in a state of perpetual gloom, slowly losing her zest for life. Her son continues to be her daily companion, helplessly witnessing her deterioration, both mental and physical, while trying to navigate his way around the new status quo that paints a rather uncertain picture for the years to come.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

[OHIO] Budget and Itinerary

MONDAY: 29 August 2016
JetBlue (Fort Lauderdale - Cleveland) - 115.10
AirBNB (2 Nights) - 58.00
Red Line (Cleveland Hopkins - W. 65 Lorain) - 2.50
22 (W. 65 Lorain - Lorain/West Blvd) - 2.50
No 1 Kitchen (Large Ham Fried Rice + Water) - 8.50
CVS (Junk Food) - 9.98

Monday, August 29, 2016

[SANDUSKY] Life Is a Roller Coaster

Life is a roller coaster and to some extent, I think I agree. When your mood swings are as extreme as mine, then every day is one hell of a ride indeed. Highs and lows aside, though, I think what makes me fond of riding roller coasters is that it’s one of the few remaining things on this planet that makes me feel alive. I know that sounded too emo, but that’s just the way it is, nothing but the truth. Sometimes all it takes is gravity to give you a jolt and remind you that, wow, you’re not dead yet. You win again, gravity. You win again.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

[FLORIDA] Budget and Itinerary

THURSDAY: 25 August 2016
JetBlue (Port-au-Prince - Fort Lauderdale) - 167.26
AirBNB (4 Nights) - 88.00
1 (Southbound) - 2.00
Subway (Spicy Italian 6") - 4.97 1 (Northbound) - 2.00
Circle T (Snacks) - 7.88

Saturday, August 27, 2016

[BROWARD] The 36-Hour Fort Lauderdale Insomnia

I think I really just wanted to get out of Haiti ASAP, which made Florida look like a refuge of sorts, a place where I’d be doing nothing but chill. But the journey to my Airbnb place at Sunrise Boulevard proved to be a very long one. Landing at Fort Lauderdale late in the evening, the wait time was further exacerbated by the blockbuster lines at US immigration and customs, which added another hour or two all in all. I arrived at my Airbnb place after midnight after walking because I missed the last bus.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

[OUEST] Budget and Itinerary

TUESDAY: 23 August 2016
Capital Coach Line (Santo Domingo - Port-au-Prince) - 40.00
AirBNB (2 Nights) - 55.00
Immigration (Haiti) - 35.00

Moto (Capital Coach Line - Haiti Communitere) - 300.00
La Maison (Barbecue Chicken w/Coke) - 440.00

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

[PORT-AU-PRINCE] Don't Go to Haiti

Okay, that made me sound like a total jerk. Let me rephrase that. Don’t go to Haiti if your mind is set for tourism. I think this would have been a really different experience had I decided to come and volunteer instead, because the country and its people seriously need all the help they can get. But if you are a persistent tourist, then prepare to deal with some third world BS coming your way. Wow, douche alert. Harsh, dude. I’m just being honest here, because there really isn’t much to see in Port-au-Prince.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

[SANTO DOMINGO] Budget and Itinerary

SATURDAY: 20 August 2016
JetBlue (San Juan - Santo Domingo) - 91.40
Tourist Card (Airport) - 10.00
AirBNB (3 Nights) - 67.50
Taxi (Airport - Zona Colonial) - 25.00

Monday, August 22, 2016

[DISTRITO NACIONAL] The Oldest in the New World

The Caribbean island of Hispaniola was colonized by the Spaniards in the 1490’s, back when Christopher Columbus was yachting around the world trying to find India and thinking the next island he landed on would probably be it. Columbus, Columbus, Columbus. I already told you. NEVER TRUST WAZE. And so the Spanish crown established the first ever European settlement in the New World, Santo Domingo being the oldest European city in Latin America. Hooray? And then the French came to join the fun.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

[SAN JUAN] Budget and Itinerary

THURSDAY: 18 August 2016
Copa (Mexico City - Panama City - San Juan) - 256.31
AirBNB (2 Nights) - 45.00

Friday, August 19, 2016

[SAN JUAN] Viejo San Juan

The aftermath of Spain losing the Spanish-American War meant the acquisition of most of its remaining colonies by the United States which included the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico, with Cuba becoming a protectorate. More than a century later, Cuba is now independent after being used as a pawn in the Cold War. The Philippines is now being "run like hell by Filipinos rather than heaven by the Americans." Congrats, Manuel Quezon, you got your wish. On the other hand, Guam and Puerto Rico are still US territories.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

[PANAMA] Budget and Itinerary

THURSDAY: 18 August 2016
Metro Card (Albrook) - 5.00
Taxi (Albrook - Casco Viejo) - 3.00
Caffe Italia (Carbonara + Coke) - 16.85
Duran Coffee (Vanilla Frappe) - 4.95
Auntie Anne's (Minichocobon + Water) - 8.25

Estimate of USD1 = PhP47.50
TOTAL PhP1,807.38

[PANAMA CITY] Dubai of Latin America?

The cost of a direct flight from Mexico City to San Juan was almost the same as that on Copa with a layover in Panama City. I even had the option of a 12-hr stopover, landing at around 7 AM and taking off at 7 PM. With a little bit of research, I found out that Panama does allow you to enter the country with a US visa. And so I decided to take the bait despite having a similar experience with my LA – Dallas – Mexico City last May and not particularly enjoying the experience. Hey, maybe this time it’ll work if I sleep enough the night before!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

[MEXICO CITY] Budget and Itinerary (2)

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Spanish Course) - 7,600.00
Apartment Rent (x7 Weeks) - 17,500.00
Food Allowance (x7 Weeks) - 14,700.00
IUSACELL (1.2GB) - 300.00

Monday, August 15, 2016

[MEXICO CITY] UNESCO World Heritage Campus

Don’t get me wrong, UPD will always be my alma mater and our campus is awesome in its own right. UNAM’s campus is simply amazeballs, though. I guess that comes with the UNESCO World Heritage tag. There are many similarities between the two universities in terms of local prestige and overall academic atmosphere, although UNAM’s main campus is way bigger and more artsy than our campus back in Quezon City. But then again, it’s not all about the venue...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

[MEXICO CITY] I Live at the Artsy Artsy District

You know the drill. ihcahieh moves to a new city. ihcahieh snubs the new city because he lives there anyway. ihcahieh realizes that it’s his last week in the city. ihcahieh realizes that he has not seen much of it yet. It’s always the same thing all the time. Perhaps the worst casualty was Vienna because it’s a really beautiful city that really has to be seen. But cramming works most of the time. In the case of Mexico City, though, cramming is just not enough because of its sheer size. You defo need more than a week for this.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Ghostbusters (2016)

Up for tenure at Columbia University, physicist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) finds it really inopportune timing for a book on the paranormal that she wrote ages ago with ex-BFF Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) to suddenly surface on Amazon for public consumption. She begs her to bring it down, but she is hesitant because of past issues between them. When a ghostly apparition malevolently haunts an old mansion, the two make a deal to explore it in exchange for what she wants. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Abby’s new partner in crime, tags along, and the trio witnesses a legit paranormal sighting that excites all three of them. This, however, costs Erin her job, yet finding a rekindled passion for the supernatural which she is now convinced exists. As more specters emerge to terrorize New York, the three find an ally in Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), an MTA worker who has seen a phantom on the tracks and decides to join them to save the city from the impending ghostpocalypse.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Suicide Squad

Things changed when Superman flew the skies, and then changed yet again after he’s gone, making the powers-that-be realize that the world is simply not ready for such potential threats beyond human control. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) believes that the sure way to survival is to fight fire with fire, assembling a group of incarcerated criminals with specific skillsets whom they can throw under the bus if things go awry. Her elite team consists of: Deadshot (Will Smith), an expert hitman who never misses; former psychiatrist turned supervillain Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie); Aussie bank heist master Boomerang (Jai Courtney); pyrokinetic El Diablo (Jay Hernandez); and the reptilian Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Their abilities and forced camaraderie are put to the test when an ancient evil entity called the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) decides that it’s high time human beings worshipped her again just like in the good old days, wreaking havoc of the supernatural kind on an unsuspecting Midway City.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

[SAN SALVADOR] Budget and Itinerary

SUNDAY: 7 August 2016
Pullmantur (Guatemala - San Salvador - Guatemala) - 60.00
AirBNB (1 Night) - 15.00
Wendys (La Melt Combo + Frosty) - 7.75
McDonalds (Frozen Coca-Cola Large) - 2.35

Estimate of USD1 = PhP47.50
TOTAL PhP4,042.25

[SAN SALVADOR] El Salvador de Multinationals

There were many differences between the Honduras and El Salvador trips as far as the journey was concerned. First, it takes around an hour less to reach San Salvador from Guatemala. Second, Pullmantur was way better a bus company than Hedman Alas. The seats were super comfy and the attendants were very welcoming and helpful. And yeah, there was WiFi, too! As for the border crossing, the bridge connecting the two countries can’t be crossed by large buses, which means a change was necessary.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

[COPAN] Budget and Itinerary

FRIDAY: 5 August 2016
Hedman Alas (Guatemala - Copán - Guatemala) - 1,461.99
Immigration Fee (Honduras Immigration) - 60.00
AirBNB (1 Night) - 650.00
Admission Fee (Copán Ruinas) - 300.00
Taxi (Hedman Alas Office - Copán Ruinas) - 40.00
Cafeteria Roasalila (Fish Fillet w/Mashed Potato and Coke) - 166.00
Taxi (Copán Ruinas - Town) - 40.00
Café Welchez (Choco Shake) - 38.00

[COPAN] Mayan Pyramids and Flirting Macaws

Honduras doesn't really have a very good rep as far as travel is concerned. The country seems to have a lot to offer when it comes to beaches and other natural attractions, but most people tend to just err on the side of caution and avoid it altogether. Perhaps the capital, Tegucigalpa, having one of the highest homicide rates in the world is one reason. But I wanted to cross out this country off my list of Central America, and so I did. I stayed really close to the Guatemalan border, though.
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