Saturday, July 4, 2015

US Trip - San Francisco

It was almost 10PM when we landed on San Francisco International Airport. We were picked up by the Juanatas, Ne's church friends from Ugong, Pasig. They were very nice and very hospitable. They are Christian family and I sensed sincerity and goodness. We stayed in their beautiful home at Vallejo. It was only one night accommodation and I really appreciated their kindness.

The next day, we headed to the Ferry Terminal and bought tickets. We were going to Pier 39. During the trip, the view along the Napa River was amazing. The calm waters made the journey even better as we took some pictures.

We arrived at Port of San Francisco before 9AM and we roamed the area. We walked along the streets and found some interesting places. Pier 39 is a unique site on its own. It has plenty of stalls, markets, stores and food centers. I saw the place where you can take a ferry towards Alcatraz but unfortunately, it requires advance booking as it was full that day.

Then, we visited the popular tourist attraction Fisherman's Wharf. It is located in Pier 39 but this area has other attractions such as museums and parks. But most importantly, there are plenty of seafood restaurants! We tried this crab soup in bread (I forgot the exact name) that is being sold along the streets and I must say, it was very tasty! Also, around the area is a sea lion colony.

Of course, we wouldn't miss to visit the famous Golden Gate. From Pier 39, we walked and looked for a bus stop so that we can take it but we got lost so we just decided to take a cab. Ah, it was an ecstatic feeling and I couldn't hide my happiness when I saw the prominent structure. It was a perfect day and a perfect way to appreciate the beauty.

At around 5PM, we went back to Fisherman's Wharf and waited for Pam. It was very nice of her to drive us around the city. We went to Japantown (first time to hear such kind of place, mostly it is Chinatown) and Pam treated us some snacks from Sophie's Crepes. We also visited The Coit Tower and drove around the city at night. It was a magnificent view of the skyscrapers of the city and the lights that surrounded them.

Lastly, Pam treated us (again) to a sumptuous dinner at Cha Cha Cha. The foods were seriously deelish! We were fortunate to get a table as it was filled with customers. After that, Pam drove us to the bus station where we took a bus going to Los Angeles. Play below video to see other pictures of our trip in San Francisco.

Friday, July 3, 2015

John Legend Live in Dubai

Dubai Jazz Festival happened last February but I really have to post this because I was very excited about this event! I am a big fan of John Legend and I saw him live for the first time last March 28, 2009. I even blogged about it. Anyway, the festival was a 3 day event but I only attended the last one.

The opening performer was Esperanza Spalding. She is the first Jazz act to win 'Best New Artist' in the Grammy Awards. I am not really a big fan of jazz music but when I heard her, I appreciated it. She is best known for playing a big jazz guitar. Her music is very relaxing and it seems like there was an overflowing of coolness in the atmosphere that time.

After almost an hour, John Legend came out of the stage and everyone was screaming his name. The above video was his performance of his very first hit song 'Ordinary People'. I lost track of the number of songs he did but I am proud to say that I know ALL of the songs that he performed. I was singing my lungs out haha. Other people didn't really know some of his songs but everyone was enjoying every minute of his performance.

He also performed his latest hit 'All of Me' but unfortunately, I ran out of battery. He did a very unique version of the song. He mixed it with Arabic 'touch' and was joined by three other performers playing instruments. I found the above video on YouTube and trust me, this version is quite enchanting. I am hoping to see him again live very soon.

2nd video courtesy of Fleur Yennek-Butcher

Iftar Dinner @ Al Hallab

Iftar is the meal consumed by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan or the holy month. As a tradition in our office, we organized an iftar dinner with colleagues from SPb visiting Dubai for business matters. After considering several options, we booked tables in Al Hallab Restaurant at Mall of the Emirates.

The meal is a buffet style and I must say that there are variety of foods that you will enjoy. Our Russian colleagues enjoyed their meals. The atmosphere in the restaurant is very pleasant and very nice and the staff are really accommodating and helpful. The food option starts from appetizer to main course and dessert, all separated by big tables. I am very satisfied with the taste of the food, it is very different from other iftar meals that we had. The restaurant was full that time so if you want to eat there, better book early. Also, the buffet will end at 9PM but we stayed longer just to talk with each other and had a very wonderful time bonding with the Russian colleagues.

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