Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Summer's Hot, Hot, Hot!

Only one snapped up my offer last week of an all-expense paid and no-cost delivery of "Fire". See post below. Either no one noticed or readers thought of it as a hoax. I am off to Boracay tomorrow from which I shall send an installment-post but in the meantime, I am sharing this photograph of "Fire" which might just stir up the loins of you my dear friends. Thus the offer is extended until April 8 but I may not be able to dispatch your requests until I return to the City on April 5. Again, simply let me know where to send your request in the comment box of this post and please provide us later with a snippet of your experience.

Monday, 29 March 2010


Suddenly, I noticed that my face was unusually dirty almost sending shockwaves through my body. Apparently, I have not been looking closely at my face until I came face-to-face (pun!) with it while shopping in an Adidas store tonight. While fitting on some garments, I had the benefit of a full-length mirror up close bathed beneath bright lights. Run!

Thanks to The Spa -- caught them in time for a much needed facial which I haven't had for years!! The facial treatment wasn't easy as anybody who's had one will attest to. Without doubt, the facial therapist was patient and deft at cleaning up the debris. Sixty minutes after and I was again ready to face the world.

It's not easy to be a movie star (not that I'm one) or any kind of celebrity if one has to have twice-a-month facials. Sports figures are subjected to even more stringent troubles considering the heat, sweat, and pollution in every game. Showers and warm baths won't cleanse your face as effectively.

Some may call that vanity but this case was an important step towards taking good care of one's self. Indulge once in a while.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Monday, Monday

Monday couldn't be any more refreshing than this photo. The Babies, as they are called, include Matthew (far left), Raffy the brown bear, Jr the cute little bear, and Mexique with the hat. Except for the latter, they have been in the family for some years now. Mexique was a gift to our son by our friend Elijah who hails from Hongkong. These special characters who have provided bursts of inspiration and unsolicited smiles have joined us on trips around the country and on weekend forays in the city. Do I see a smile there?

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Anyone interested?

In the spirit of true altruism, I would like to send without cost to recipients at least six tablets of "Fire" [see post below] to the first five interested parties who shall post their comments here.

They should be residents of the Philippines and willing to provide a narrative of their experience. Offer is good until March 25, 2010.

Go get them.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Too Hot to Handle

In a neat, little DHL Package today came a surprise that's too hot to handle -- ten small medicine boxes each of which contains blister packs of the world-renowned pill popularly known as Viagra. Suggestively branded as "Fire", the product which retails in India was sent out of London by a work colleague [who I trust is not Captain Hook or any of his cohorts].

I couldn't agree more that sildenafil citrate (aka Viagra or Cialis; 100mg tabs) reflects advancement in science along with other drugs designed to stimulate or dull the senses. On the upbeat side, they're promoted as 'male sex enhancers' but are medically considered as remedies for erectile dysfunction. It appears that the drug is available locally and globally.

The note attached to the package specifically said that the product was for "tests" which I took to mean seriously. Neither have I tried this drug before nor do I intend to do so now. While I was certain that there will be 'takers', I have asked someone to offer it to some individuals who might be interested in trying out.

Experiences anyone?

Let's await the next episode!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Peter Listens To This Too

Here's an idyllic piece from Africa that I think you'd enjoy listening to in the same way I did. The performer is Tito Paris from Cape Verde. Courtesy of Antonio Cardoso.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Going Home

"Have you tried smoking shisha?", said the airport agent as I checked into my flight to home. For a while, I didn't know what to say as the question was totally unexpected. "Haven't", was my response.

From what I know, shisha smoking is a tradition held in the Arab world. It is the result of tobacco mixed with fruit bits and bundled into a neat sensation and more interestingly smoked through what they call a hookah. Last October, after a dinner cruise in the Bosphorus in Istanbul, my colleagues took me around a menagerie of riverside bars frequented by local rich kids smoking shisha. I was asked if I'd like to try which I politely refused not due to any lack of adventure but perhaps due to exhaustion over the last few days of sheer work. With that spontaneous airport question today and then looking back to Istanbul, I thought that I may have then missed an opportunity.

Apparently, the shisha question posed was prompted by a group of middle Eastern tourists lining up with the adjacent counters. I however thought that shisha was an interesting and knowledgeable way of opening up conversation with a passenger. Novel indeed. Some more exchanges between us [being from my own country of origin too] suggested flirting with me but I simply let it go anxious to get going with my long trip to home.

Au revoir mes amies et a bientot mes cheres.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Allez chere chanteuse

You'd think that someone French must be lording the hit charts in Paris. Nope, it is still Lady Gaga whose songs are undisputedly mimed and sung. One hit after another have made the Fame Monster which I will attribute to her ability to capture a new genre combining danceable tunes with critical lyricism.

"I want your psycho, your vertical stick. Want you in my room when your baby is sick. I want your love, love, love." "Want your bad romance, caught in a bad romance."

Peter Pan is a fan, are you?

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Bonjour Paris

Truly bonjour! Peter Pan's disguise failed to deflate his arrival in the French capital today as on the way out of the terminal he was suddenly halted by a group of customs officials who were on a regular tour of questions and inspections.

That was a surprise indeed which nevertheless proved irritating. This little incident thankfully was not enough to dampen my spirits upon entering what I have always considered 'home' in Europe regardless of my London relations. Clear skies and sunny. Very cold though. Snow in the south of France -- what!

My 'home', the Hotel Sevres Saint Germain on beautiful 6th arrondisement, was all decked to welcome. Old friends were there -- Valerie at the front desk, Maria in the kitchen, and the rest including Ahmed, Larissa, and Cecille (the manager). The usual chambre on the 2nd level has been reserved and I was all set to take that afternoon nap, much deserved after waking up at 5 in the morning to catch the 9am flight.

Now I can relax and then plan the next days ahead. A tout a l'heure.

Monday, 8 March 2010

In Her Honor

It is International Women's Day. I have noticed that men and women are carrying long-stemmed flowers around Budapest but in a manner I have not been used to -- upside down. Apparently, it is a red-letter day in this country which says a lot about what it went through. That thought prompts me to ask what a nation needs to experience in order to accord love, respect, and equal rights to women.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Up, Up, and Away

Peter Pan flew in a huff on March 6 tired of London's grime and slime. Off to mysterious Budapest, beckoning with its post-communist and interesting culture. From the airport, barren trees greet tourists (Spring?) who had to contend with drizzles of snowflakes. Below freezing at 6pm. Brrrrr. The Marriott is tasteful and conveniently located; no regrets staying.

Those who'd like to visit Franz Lizst's roots and music must come here. The Romanesque architecture reminds of a horror movie set while the Renaissance art closely resembles much of Europe's. It is amazing that the original buildings have been preserved especially those that remind of the oppression and cruelty of the communist era. These are juxtaposed with today's commercialism as most of luxury and fast moving brands are available here. One can quickly scan the historical monuments -- the Castle, Parliament, etc. -- in a day. Transport systems are well organized and cheap even if not as glamorous and colorful as those found in more prominent European capitals. Currency is still the Forint, appears cheaper to buy things here against places where the Euro (or the pound!) prevails. Food isn't bad either. The people are helpful, if they can understand you.

No more than three days for Peter Pan here. Again. . . . up, up, and . . . .!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Is it officially Spring or not yet?

Could you imagine Peter Pan flying through sleet? Would he be drenched or will the water simply slip through his slithe body? These questions preoccupied me as I struggled through my third day in London and asked -- is it officially Spring?

The day began cold and gray (sounds like a song!) but sunlight peeked occasionally particularly at lunchtime. Then I noticed that the plants were alive as well. Weren't these indications of Spring. It was cold all right (hovering between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius) but folks were out some even showing signs of not bothering whether they were clad properly or not.

To show as much courage, I set out tonight to undetake dinner alone. There was this lovely Spanish restaurant on Great Portland Street. It is called Iberica - how apt! Tapas were exceptional and attention from the receptionist and servers extraordinary. Wine would have been wonderful but I decided not to take any alcohol fearing that my jet lag might set in. As if the place which has an art gallery as well had a reputation because the restaurant quickly filled up just past 7pm.

Is it Spring - who knows or cares. As long as people treat the weather as a friend and enjoy each other's company in a tapas bar/restaurant, it shouldn't matter. Peter Pan himself would not have bothered with the weather. . . . because his nemesis won't.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Dateline London March 2010

Where else to launch these Peter Pan chronicles but from the historical origins of that mythological (from what I know) character and legend known as Peter Pan. Similar to Peter's flight from his window into Never Land, I arrived in London today March 1st alighting from a long 12+ hour flight across much of Asia. It has been two years since I was last here and much of what was there before persisted. Peter Pan would have been pleased not to have been waylaid in a strange land that might be more familiar to Captain Cook.

For a while I thought that Terminal 3 was completely refurbished until I got into the labyrinth leading to the Heathrow Express -- Peter's children would have been scared going through the dungeon-like passages quite like the 17th century's. It was absolutely cold-- 2 degrees Centigrade -- but was happily sunny after a spate of rain and gray (according to locals). Lucky indeed despite! Unremarkable train and taxi rides into one of central London's old hotels, emphasis in the 'old'.

On arrival, I requested for an early check-in which the reception guys tarried over a decision. The published check-in time is 2pm. After some wrangling and an agreement to supplement my daily rate of 200 British pounds with another 35 for checking in early morning, I got my wish and went straight to bed for a quick nap. Quick indeed for an hour and a half. It dawned on me that London may be the most expensive city in Europe.

The afternoon's sun couldn't be wasted and so I hied off to Camden town which looked as old as it were. Pleased that nothing's changed, I proceeded to Oxford Circus for a bit of shopping confirming my thoughts about the expensiveness of the place. Even Zara's and Gap's prices looked prohibitive in British pounds. Boots (the pharmacist cum supermarket) stood at the same place I knew of it on Oxford street. This is where I purchased my dinner (salad, fruit, crisps, water) and an umbrella for which I got chastised by one lovely store agent who told me that the weather is fine without any rain in the horizon.

With that, I set forth with my return to the hotel. Peter Pan must have been one great fit legend to have been able to navigate the arduous stairs and paths in those tube stations. The underground trains are still the same - 'old' -- leading me to draw the conclusion that London is really an 'old' city.

It is evening and I wonder if I could get to sleep as usual. It has been at least 4 months since I suffered from jet lag. Wonder. Wonder.