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Could not get enough of Christmas markets.

Meanwhile in Dubai…

We had a Christmas market too. I know. I know. Dubai is a Muslim state. It is a desert. What could a Christmas market be doing in here? Well, anything is possible in Dubai, remember?

Our Christmas market was not bad at all. In fact, I honestly thought that it was one of the best that I have visited ever. Not that I have visited a lot, but I have visited enough to have a say on this one. First of all, it was huge. Second, it was well organized. Third, looked like they paid big bucks for the decoration. There was Santa Claus waiting for a free photo opportunity. A huge Christmas tree glittering with all kinds of Christmas trinkets stood in the middle of the venue while a train went around it. There was an ice skating rink. There was a fake snow blower. There was a play pen where kids could make snow angels and pose with the snowman, which my son AND (especially) MY SISTER really loved. There was a stall to make gingerbreads. I loved it. There was a huge inflatable slide, a trampoline and so so so much more!!! They even sold mulled wine over there and a blonde guy sang Christmas songs and played the guitar live!

Other than the “fake snow”, the Christmas market was overall a fantastic idea. The fake snow part sounds really awful but what to do. Dubai is pretty good in faking things. Whatever. At least they are spending their money on something worthwhile. What else should they be doing? Keep riding the camels and make sandcastles? πŸ™‚

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Speaking of…er, not original…I took my husband to the pyramids of Egypt. Not the real ones. Just over there at the mall. πŸ™‚

So today, I took my husband to Wafi City for the first time in four years. This mall was the first mall that I visited in Dubai. I loved it then, I still love it now. It looks like a glass pyramid from the outside that is guarded by giant statues of the sphinx and pharaohs. It is definitely not your ordinary boring mall. The interior design is just crazy. In fact, it felt more like a little museum tour rather than a trip to the mall. Even if you only have a few days to spare in Dubai, this mall is still worth a visit. You might even find this more interesting than the more famous Mall of Emirates.

While it is unsafe to travel to Egypt at this time, this would do my Egypt tour for now.

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Devoured Wagyu beef burger from SoHo grill at the Food Court.

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Forget the Wagyu patty. This apple pie was a culinary explosion in my mouth. I scraped the plate clean down to its last few drops of melted ice cream. Scrumptious! I think I even ate it a little faster than normal so I did not have to share half of it with my husband. Hahah!

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Happy monthsary to you, darling!

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A little too late Christmas post.

I have noticed that in the past months, I have become too lazy. Could it be old age? Mid-life crisis catching up on me? Or perhaps, just my family’s warmth and comfort making me feel too cozy inside my cocoon to create a little stir. Whatever it is, I know I am happy. Today is no different from the past days, still the old, lazy me,but I could not sleep, so might as well go back to blogging.

November was a month of European destinations in my calendar. Most importantly, I set my heeled booties in Sweden for the first time. It was chilly in Stockholm during that time of the year, perfect to feel the Scandinavian Christmas cheer.

During Christmas season, flight attendants just love to visit Christmas markets in Europe, and that was exactly what I did. Put on my heeled boots, which were not really meant to tread on cobblestones. Had my glittery jacket on, which was a little too thin for the weather but I had not worn it for a long time so I packed it in my suitcase. We have this saying or phrase back home “tiis-ganda” which sort of translates to “to suffer for beauty.” That explains my unreasonable choice of outfit. Hahahah! At least I had a piping hot takeaway cup of coffee which made my long and cold solitary walk much more enjoyable.

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Such a beautiful piece of currency.

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I headed for the Old Town of Stockholm called Gamla Stan. Gamla Town is a very charming little square that dates back to the 13th century adorned with cobblestones, kinky alleys, merchant stores and tiny restaurants that could be much older than my great great great grandmother.

I have developed this penchant of taking a shoe selfie with the canal covers. πŸ˜›

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A very long time ago, Stockholm used to be just the area of Gamla Stan. Through the years, its square area also expanded as the town grew into a major city. Many parts of the old Gamla Stan still remains, which is what makes it very interesting. Also, Gamla Stan architecture reminds me so much of Prague which was like a history book talking to me.

Here is my stroll to the Christmas market in the Old Town. Could not help but stop at the shops every few meters for touristy stuff and loads of sweets. πŸ™‚

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I have photos of the Christmas market somewhere but I cannot find them anymore. All I got left was a photo of the glogg wine that I brought back in Dubai. At least I still remember enjoying my dinner of pasta with pork chunks in that restaurant facing the market. Never imagined that pork could go so well with pasta until that day.

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The secret recipe for a warm winter night is that little Santa bottle which cost me almost nothing. Glogg wine is a mulled red wine served hot. Here is a traditional glogg recipe.

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kokblog.johannak.com

Here was how the Christmas market would look like if I had not lost my photos. It was just a tiny market but its location at Stortorget was perfect. This was the same location of the infamous Stockholm Bloodbath in 1520 where the Danish-Swedish king hanged and beheaded 90 Swedish noblemen. It could not get any more medieval than that, eh?

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catrinr.typepad.com

Something surprising that I learned during this brief trip to Stockholm was the number of islands that Sweden has. Just take a look of what I saw from the office window. Those are only a tiny part of the total 221 800 islands in Sweden. Never really thought of Scandinavian Europe to be an archipelago, but it is.

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I sure had a pleasure spending quality time with myself in Stockholm. Then, I went home to this:

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Our borrowed dog wrecked havoc at our throw pillows.

Hey there, Ice. We miss you!

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Meanwhile, in Romania…

Here’s a cheeky but very effective, witty, straight to the point and may I say, original ad campaign that was run by a Romanian newspaper as a subtle protest to Britain’s plans to curb mass migration of Bulgarians and Romanians to the UK.

Here you go.

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In reference to the Kate ad, if you ask me, Romania probably has the most beautiful women in the world. Think of those Serbian beauties, only more feminine, sweeter and softer facial features.

Here is a very humble Romanian colleague who won’t believe if you tell her that she is beautiful.

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So why don’t you fly over? πŸ™‚

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Emmy in Rio.

Emmy is baaaack!!! Her itchy toes just could not stay put in one continent. Fly with her to Rio!!!

Bom Dia! That is how they say good morning in Brazil. πŸ™‚

I feel safe in the hands of Christ.

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That’s the Favela from my window.

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Glad to have finally met you, Cristo Redentor!

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Arms wide open to the world.

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A little side trip to the Sugar Loaf Mountain. That cable car ride made me feel nauseous. Geez!

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Last but not the least, a little bit of waka-waka dancing by the Selaron steps. Today is a long and hectic day. Is my red lipstick still on?

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Love! Love! Love! Love you too!

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Emmy around the world.

Since I am too lazy to do anything good, I will let Emmy do the work.

Meet Emmy, the absolutely stunning travel buddy of another gorgeous friend of mine. See the world through her eyes. P. S. Her beauty might distract you from her less competitive background. She loves her hat too much. She couldn’t leave the house without it. She is crazy like that. Hahahah!

Kisses!!!

Emmy, the trouble maker. ;)

Emmy, the trouble maker. πŸ˜‰

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Just landed in San Francisco International. Hmmmm. Shopping is in the air.

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Looking forward to a day tour in the sun.

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The famous San Francisco cable car.

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Time-traveling to Perth, Australia. This is called the Swan Bell Tower. Just around the corner is a popular bar called The Lucky Shag bar. Aussies….:)

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Painting the town red with my red lipstick and these playful roos.

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A great day for a walk at the Stirling Gardens.

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I will always find time for a little shopping at London Court in Perth.

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Fast forward to sunny days in the Middle East. Hello days off!!!

De-stressing with the breathtaking landscape of Musandam, Oman.

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Hopping on a dhow cruise, still here in Musandam, Oman.

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Just could never have too much sunny days. πŸ™‚ Vacationing at work in Mauritius.

I could smell the ocean from my window at Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel. Just love it!

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All set for the catamaran cruise in my high heels. Hahah!

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Hello there, my sun-worshiper friend!

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28Β°C today, -5Β°C tomorrow–story of my life.

Contemplating whether I should go out or not at Radisson Blu Hotel, Frankfurt. Brrrr.

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Moving on with my Euro trip. Hello Barcelona!

A cathedral like no other–the Sagrada Familia.

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Getting a little bit up close and personal with Catalan genius, Antoni GaudΓ­ at Parc GΓΌell.

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A little bit more of GaudΓ­ at Casa Batllo, Barcelona.

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Any smart guess of where I am now? Hahah! Venizia, of course!

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What was left of Doge’s Palace, once a seat of government of Rialto, Venice.

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I am now at Piazza San Marco. But where are the pigeons?

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Saying a prayer at the exquisite Saint Mark’s Basilica.

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Here’s a little peek at the watery interior of this Venetian city.

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Flying back to my mommy’s homeland, the Philippines. Slowdown at Villa Escudero. πŸ™‚

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You’re done meeting me. Now, meet my mommy. πŸ™‚

Meet the original Ms. Em, Marien Javier.

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The beautiful cabin crew sisters, mommy Marien and Aunt Laurel.

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Kisses, kisses, kisses and more!

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A day in San Francisco…with my “angry birds” eye brows. :)

Where: San Francisco, U. S. A.
When: Sometime ago. Circa November 2012

This American city needs no introduction. It is most likely one of the top ten most popular cities in the United States. Many thanks to the famous Golden Gate (which is actually rust, or to be precise, international orange, in color) and the infamous Alcatraz who’s got its fair share of interesting Google entries.

If one only has a day to explore this wonderful city, one should take the hop on/ hop off bus, which I did. I actually had two days to spend there. But the second day was reserved for shopping and a well-deserved “chillaxing.”

In advance, I would like to ask for forgiveness for my “angry bird” eye brows. We, ladies, go through that phase, don’t we? Also forgive me for my godawful outfit combination. They were too bright they hurt my eyes too by looking at them. I must have been thinking of rainbows and unicorns while packing my stuff.

Meanwhile, we got on at SanFo Airport Train Station.

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Got off at Powell Street Station. There is a huge Forever 21 store infront of it. One of my ladies went inside and simply disappeared. Tsktsk.

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Downtown SanFo where the best shopping stores are.

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Hop On-Hop Off Bus tour costs around 35 US$. If you are short of time and want to explore the city, the best way to do it is via a Hop On-Hop Off Double-Decker Bus tour. It takes you around to the most important tourists pit stops with the least hassle, with additional sites informations and also the best view.

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My Arab conection from Egypt and Jordan.

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The SanFo skyscraper begins.

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Oooopssss….The red light district does not time discriminate.

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The famous Saints Peter and Paul School, where O. J. Simpson studied as a kid.

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The more famous Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral where Joe DiMaggio married his first wife and where he also posed with Marilyn Monroe after they wed at the SanFo City Hall.

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Even when the couple divorced nine months later, Joe had ordered for fresh flowers delivered to her grave for twenty years.

etherealbride.blogspot.ae

etherealbride.blogspot.ae

Dropped by at the Fisherman’s Wharf. You may also rent a bike from here and cycle all the way to the Golden Gate bridge.

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The Disneyland cruise ship dropping by too.

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Not your ordinary skyscraper.

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Guarded 24/7 by three creatures. Creeps.

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Another interesting building with a story to tell. This is a building that was dedicated by a woman to the Firemen of San Francisco after they saved her from a burning house.

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It was a hot day. πŸ™‚

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The flying books between the telephone wires caught my eye.

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The world-famous Condor Night Club. It introduced to the world the first topless and bottomless stripteasing in the year of…what do you know…1969. πŸ™‚

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Just passed by the Lombard Street.

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My perfect capture of the Alcatraz. πŸ™‚

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Ladies, what are you looking at?

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The thick fog means we were almost near the bridge.

A place of love and tragedy.

As of press time, the number of suicides in the bridge totaled to almost two thousand. Most of them were caused by a broken heart.

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It felt like a scene out of a zombie movie. The Golden Gate bridge amazed me, visible or not.

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The view at the other end.

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The most popular lookout and photo opportunity point.

The Golden Gate was a little shy today.

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It is okay. Standing in your presence proved to be enough to me.

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Words of love left behind for the sky to see and for the winds to listen to.

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Thinking of you too.

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Me and my girls.

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…Because I cannot get enough of you.

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Everywhere was fog.

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Back to the bridge. I’ll see you again, Red Lady.

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Under the bridge.

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A welcome of rain.

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Back to the downtown.

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The last leaves of fall.

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Up ahead is the most crooked street in the world–the Lombard Street.

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Where I usually eat when in the USA. Where else?

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My first letter to Santa at MACY’S!

Just an interesting trivia about Macy’s. Did you know that the two old couple in Titanic who died together in their bed was based on the deaths of the owners of Macy’s?

From omg-facts.com:

“Isidor and Ida Straus, co-owners of Macy’s, were on the Titanic. They were seen standing near Lifeboat No. 8 in the company of their maid, Ellen Bird. While the officer in charge of the lifeboat was willing to allow them a spot, Isidor Straus refused to go so long as there were women and children still remaining on the ship. His wife refused to go because he refused to go. She said, “We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go.” And they both went down with the Titanic.

Their story struck a chord with many. In fact, the creators of the movie Titanic even subtly tipped their hats to them. They were the old couple in the movie who went to sleep as the ship went down. A cenotaph at the Straus Mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is dedicated to Isidor and Ida together. Its inscription reads: “Many waters cannot quench love – neither can the floods drown it.”

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Done! Time to say good night. πŸ™‚

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That was a day well spent, I must say.

For useful tips to enjoying the sights, taste and sound of San Francisco, click here:

http://geektreks.com/48-hours-in-san-francisco/

Enjoy!