Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The best laksa in Manila. And about the Travelife Iceland reunion tonight.



Quite frankly, the best laksa in Manila is made by my friend Stella, who was part of our wonderful #Travelife to Iceland group last July. I love laksa and a couple of weeks ago, I happened to mention this to her.

Then two weekends ago, when my #Travelife to Saipan was suddenly canceled and I found myself in Manila for a weekend, she sent over a pot of laksa complete with condiments and even chopped coriander. 

It was laksa-to-order with the works, and I even got sent a pack of the best siopao in Manila as well, apparently purchased at another downtown Chinese restaurant that always runs out of this siopao by noon. #lucky

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THE BEST LAKSA IN MANILA

That was the best laksa I'd ever had in Manila.

Until then, I'd had to go to one of the five-star hotels in Manila that serves laksa as part of its buffet offerings. But now all I need to do is to make sure I keep in her good graces so that I get to taste this wonderful laksa every so often.

Well, tonight we are having our first official Travelife Iceland group reunion, although we've already seen each other several times since our return from our trip. Everyone is bringing something delicious and we're having it at my house.

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HOW TO COOK LAKSA

Of course, Stella is bringing her laksa. Or more accurately, she's coming over to my house earlier than the rest to cook the laksa in my kitchen.

Apparently, she had the fishballs for the laksa bought from a restaurant in Binondo and the exotic spices from a host of other places. I can't wait.

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CAVIAR PIE & 
THE BEST HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE IN MANILA

The others are bringing equally delicious food like caviar pie, an entire kit from what is supposed to be the best supplier of Hainanese chicken rice in Manila, and strawberry shortcake.

And way too many other goodies besides.

Last night, one of them said: "You know, our reunion is just going to be another excuse to plan another #Travelife."

Yes, it will be. And I'm so looking forward to another evening of laughter, memories and planning for the next #Travelife.


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Monday, August 22, 2016

Tesloop launches sustainable travel service to Greater Palm Springs with a Tesla Model X



Now travelers from Los Angeles and Orange County who are planning a trip to Greater Palm Springs can leave the driving to someone else.

Earlier this week, the new Tesloop ridesharing service began offering visitors a relaxing ride in a Tesla Model X with drop-off locations in each of the nine cities in Greater Palm Springs.

Depart in the morning and arrive relaxed and just in time to jump in the pool and enjoy lunch at one of the award-winning restaurants that Greater Palm Springs has to offer.

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WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE TESLOOP

The Tesloop service includes free Wi-Fi, phone charging, healthy snacks and beverages, curated musical selections, noise cancelling headphones, and a wide range of pillows for a comfortable car nap.

According to Tesloop, the new experience is designed to make travel to Greater Palm Springs convenient, economical and sustainable.

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Founder Haydn Sonnad, says, “Our goal is to create the best mass transit system in the world, while providing travelers an alternative to burning fossil fuels and creating air pollution. The rapid advances in autonomous electric car technology are enabling us to transform regional travel, and make getting to Palm Springs easier than it has ever been.”

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Summer fireworks festivals in Japan. And about the Tokyo fireworks along the Tama River.


In Tokyo last weekend for just one night, living a #Travelife, we went to see the fireworks festivals along the Tama River instead of going out for a fancy dinner on my one night in Japan.

It was literally a quick overnight trip but it was also the night of the famous Tokyo fireworks festival so we decided to join some friends for some fun.

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EVERYONE ELSE DID THE LEGWORK

Just like in previous years, for the fireworks festival in Tokyo last weekend, some friends very kindly did the leg work, and all I really did was show up. I'd just had a cooking event in Manila the previous day and I was just in Tokyo to pick up something important that I'd forgotten, and I was completely exhausted.

For the fireworks last weekend, someone found a way to secure a very good place by the river to view the fireworks, and he laid claim to this patch of grass from the day before -- a good 24 hours before the start of the fireworks.



A PICNIC SPOT
THE SIZE OF A SWIMMING POOL

He has got this down to a science by now as he does it every year. Thank goodness for a friend like him.

He then got four very large tarpaulin mats and taped these together, and placed this on this space. The result was that we had a place to sit on that was about the size of a modest swimming pool, for about 15 people.

Watch out for this guy's foodie adventures in our upcoming issue. He really makes me laugh. On sale next week...


NOT THE AMAN TOKYO.
BUT GOOD ENOUGH.

It wasn't the Aman Tokyo, but it wasn't the cramped hardship situation I always feared, regarding fireworks festivals in Japan. I hate crowds and small spaces, which is also why I need big hotel rooms and I don't usually eat in small restaurants.

For this fireworks festival, though, I had enough space to sit down and relax, and I could even have lay down if I wanted.

Everywhere else was cramped and crowded, save for this mat the size of a swimming pool, with 15 people on it.

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GETTING TO KNOW MORE
GETTING TO THE TAMA RIVER

To get to the Tama River fireworks festival, we drove about 15 minutes to the suburbs and deposited the cars in parking lots about 10 minutes away. There's absolutely no parking near the fireworks venue, and all the roads are blocked.

Most people take the train so there was no traffic on the road at least until this point, and we had no trouble finding parking places at all.

From here we took taxis to the point where the roads were blocked. And from there, it was about a ten-minute walk to the "swimming pool."





JUST IN TIME FOR CHAMPAGNE

We got settled in about 45 minutes before the fireworks began, which was just enough time to pop open the champagne and enjoy a few nibbles.

The fireworks show itself was magical, seen right on top of us. It was one whole hour of non-stop fireworks. 

I can just imagine how the Akita fireworks are, if the Tama River fireworks were this impressive, on this beautiful summer evening in Tokyo, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.




JAPAN'S TOP 
SUMMER FIREWORKS FESTIVALS

Omagari Fireworks
Akita Prefecture

Lake Toya Fireworks
Hokkaido Prefecture

Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition
Ibaraki Prefecture

Sumida River Fireworks Festival
Tokyo

Nagaoka Festival Fireworks
Niigata Prefecture

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