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Showing posts from June, 2007

Fodor's List of 7 New Wonders of the World

Tian Tan Buddha
The editors and writers of Fodor's, a publisher of popular guidebooks, have compiled a list of the 7 New Wonders of the World. Here it is:
1. Banaue Rice Terraces - Banaue, Philippines 2. Palenque- Chiapas, Mexico 3. Tian Tan Buddha - HongKong 4. Palm Islands - Dubai, UAE 5. Panama Canal - Panama 6. Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain 7. Walt Disney World - Orlando, Florida
Top 5 Honorable Mentions
Pueblo de Taos, New Mexico Temple Expiation de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain The Summer Palace, Beijing Teotihuacan,Mexico City St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
For more information click on this link: http://www.fodors.com/wire/archives/002574.cfm
Check also my article about Lantau Island (under Images) where I wrote about our climb to the top of the hill to see the Tian Tan Buddha.

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Image by Rosario Charie Albar

Oahu Aloha Gallery

One of the many things I look forward to when visiting Oahu is indulging in island favorites like saimin (noodles in hot broth topped with vegetables and strips of meat), a bento lunch, and malasadas. I had the opportunity to travel to Honolulu recently with two of my best friends. Amidst sand, sea and chow, we relaxed and fortified our friendship.

On our first day in Honolulu we decided get our shopping out of the way so we took the free shuttle to Hilo Hattie. Instead, we each found floral printed dresses, perfect for a night out on Waikiki Beach. Shopping over, we crossed the street for lunch at Sam Choi’s. While the menu had many appetizing dishes listed, I had my heart set on the bento lunch. In the old days when I used to live in Honolulu, bento orders were served in a black lacquer box with compartments for salad, rice, fish or meat entrée and the quintessential Hawaiian sliced meat, Spam. My plate arrived with generous servings of steamed rice, chicken and beef teriyaki, mahima…

Mmmm, Malasadas

Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu has been serving their famous Portuguese malasada from this site since 1957. It’s practically an institution. Malasadas are ball shaped doughnuts served warm from the fryer. There are plain and filled malasadas. Pick from a variety of fillings like haupia (coconut), pineapple, chocolate and custard. Try one of each.

If you can’t go to the bakery at 933 Kapahulu Avenue, there are Malasadamobiles™ around Oahu.

If you would like to make your own malasada, check out Emeril Lagasse’s malasada recipe at www.emerils.com/recipes/by_name/malasadas.html
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Image by Rosario Charie Albar

Postcard from Amsterdam

Images by Rosario Charie Albar

Boracay on Yahoo! Travel's 2007 Top Ten Best Beaches List

Boracay Island's dazzling beaches has just been selected by Yahoo! Travel among its Top Ten Best Beaches for 2007. Boracay ranked 7th on the list which follows:
1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
2. Miami, Florida
3. Cancun, Mexico
4. Kaanapali, Hawaii
5. Honolulu, Hawaii
6. San Diego, California
7. Boracay Island, Philippines
8. Key West, Florida
9. Sydney, Australia
10.Santa Barbara, California

For more information, check out this link:
http://travel.yahoo.com/beaches;_ylt=Ag5LWiuYAlPghcC6YWI3sHn8xmoA

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Images by Rosario Charie Albar



Travel Reads

It's summer and many of you will be traveling far and wide or to destinations closer to home. Here are some travel-related books to read when you stretch out on that beach chair or during long flights across the Atlantic or heaven forbid, interminable delays at the airport. Happy reading!
Fiction
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Africa
Paul Theroux, Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown

Asia
Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea
Peter Hassler, A River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze
Paul Theroux, Great Railway Bazaar: By Train through Asia
Paul Theroux, Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train through China
Pico Iyer, Video Night in Kathmandu

Australia
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country

Europe
Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island
Bill Bryson, Neither here nor there
Frances Mayes, A Year in the World

Panama
David G. McCullough, The Path between the Seas

Memoir
Marlena de Blasi, A Thousand Days in Venice
Marlena de Blasi, A Thousand Days in Tuscany
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
Arthur Golden, Memoir…

Berlin Dining with a View

On Mother's Day we celebrated by the Wannsea Lake, just a short metro ride from central Berlin. The weather cooperated so we could eat outdoors. I never imagined that potato pancakes could taste so good with chicken kebab.
It was several visits ago that my friends Sonia and Klara introduced me to two restaurants on or near the shopping street, Kurfürstendamm. I ate recently at Le Buffet Berlin inside Wertheim department store. The restaurant offers a choice of hot and cold meals, salads, and desserts. The view from its glass windows of what's left of the bell tower of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is priceless.
Down the street at Wittenbergplatz is Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), the grand dame of Berlin's department stores. Their Wintergarden restaurant has a curved glass roof which is a destination by itself. I took longer to finish my strawberry tart because I was mesmerized by the view of sunny skies. It had been raining for days.
I've always had nothing but good foo…

Chalk Art

Outside Santa Barbara Mission (the "Queen of California Missions"), we were treated recently to a riot of colors. An outdoor gallery of chalk art graced the grounds in front of the church. There were copies of Renaissance paintings, Van Gogh's Starry Night, Winslow Homer's Boys in a Pasture and scores of original art. With no rain in sight (and no erasers), this exhibition could stick around to delight visitors. * * * Image by Rosario Charie Albar

NEMO Science Museum

At the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam, there are a many discoveries to be made. It's great to see the museum full of schoolkids from grammar school to high school. The younger kids were busy running around from one exhibit to the next. Budding scientists were seriously experimenting in the lab. Not surprisingly, teenagers were queued up at the booth that tackles the subject of sex. A neon lit sign asks teens, "Am I my hormones?" Personally I was mesmerized by a giant robot that could sense my presence and greet me. This hormoneless robot has a lot of potential. The rooftop terrace with its fountains and great views has become the hot summer destination. It's okay to sunbathe here. How apropos to combine scientific learning and relaxing in one venue. Maybe it's easier to retain knowledge when the brain is at ease.

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Images by Rosario Charie Albar

To be or to bento

One of the many things I like most about Hawaii is the incredible choice of mouth watering cuisine its many kitchens offer visitors and locals alike. A mainstay of island dining is the bento box. During the years I lived in Hawaii, I remember being served my bento order in a black lacquer box with partitions to hold steamed rice, a meat or fish entrée, salad and of course, that quintessential island favorite, spam. (Spam was a staple item during WWII and it has stayed that way since.)

On a recent trip to Honolulu, I was tempted to order the bento lunch at Sam Choi's on Nimitz Highway. How could I pass up a plateful of mahimahi, teriyaki beef and chicken, an omelet, steamed rice and spam? It was a lot of food for under $11.00. I couldn't think of a better way to start our brief and hectic visit to Honolulu.


* * * Image by Rosario Charie Albar

Solvang

Few cities in the U.S. can claim it is truly unique. There's Santa Barbara with its distinct Spanish architecture, Santa Fe with its adobe buildings, San Francisco has its hills lined with Victorian houses and there's the Danish community of Solvang, in the shadow of the Santa Ynez mountains. A visit here is a trip to the old country of Denmark where thatched roofs crown half timbered buildings. And of course, there are many bakeries offering Danish pastries. What a way to cap off a leisurely stroll around town.