Friday, September 25, 2009

random musings about fashion

i love people watching! especially at what people wear!

the ladies here in Gibraltar are understated and i must say, safe, in their choice of clothes. i have observed that they are more reserved but at the same time they do not sacrifice style. oh no! even the old ladies i see going to market everyday have a certain air of elegance around them. bedecked in their old-world gold jewelry, they wear crisp skirts with a matching top. their shoes and their handbags go together like fish and chips. sometimes i see a splash of color. especially in summer when everyone (well, not entirely!) is in a riot of colors. but other than that, their manner of dressing is well... safe.

on the other hand, it is the tourists that i see strutting in main street that are more adventurous in their fashion taste. perhaps because they are on vacation that they throw caution to the wind. they are bolder and more devil-may-care and yet you can tell they put a lot of thought into what they wear. i see a lot of them in cute outfits without being vulgar. sexy outifts without showing skin. others dress more neutral but they sure know how to accessorize! with a hint of color and a splash of style in their handbags or earrings, scarves and etc. i admire them for being so fashionable without looking tacky. these ladies sure know their stuff!

the lady on the left (below) is around middle-aged sporting a chain-strap handbag (could be Chanel) and yellow birkenstocks! a perfect combo to her summery outfit! how cool is that?

the lady below left is wearing a delightful green jumpsuit! but paired with a neutral grey cardigan, pink flip-flops, a bright bag and a plastic watch (which by the way is so in this year)she looked like she came out of a tracy reese runway show!

but sadly, there are also others who dress like drag queens (no offense meant for drag queens! i love you ladies! and for some reason your outfits are all flamboyantly damn well put together) and are attention-seekers. they dress in the most outrageous costumes (i call them costumes because you only wear them on red letter days!) and horrible ones at that!

these ladies need counselling pronto! when i saw the midriff-baring lady wearing a blingy blue top and sparkly gladiator sandals that DOES NOT match her ugly bag, i mentally kneeled down to pray! she was scary!

and then there are those guilty of committing a fashion faux pas! id like to reassure myself that either they dont know what a fashion faux pas is or they just dont care. in any which case, i will pray for them as well. but until that time when they know better, they should be off the streets! the lady in brown turned heads, for obvious reasons! VPL (visible panty lines) is a major DONT!
ladies, ladies!!!!! PLEASE dont do this to yourselves!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

good food, good friends

the taste and flavor of philippine cooking will always be something i will forever look for wherever i am. the girl from the jungle may leave the jungle... but the jungle will never leave the girl. thats what the old folks used to say.

its funny but today i was chatting with 5 very different friends who are now scattered all over the world. we talked about how we miss food from home. we talked about how we try to replicate the flavors of home and how much we need a filipino restaurant right this very minute!

each one of them do not know the other.

one is working in Saudi Arabia. he very much misses his family back home. for Eid, he visited his brother in law and they ordered filipino take out food in Riyadh and told me how it really tasted like Sr Pedro lechon manok (or roasted chicken). instantly, it took me back home. the smell of fresh, hot roasted chicken stuffed with lemongrass and spring onions. brushed outside with a secret concoction while it goes round and round the rotisserie. perfect with a steaming plate of rice and best eaten with the fingers!

another friend is from Lake Tahoe in California. she migrated to the states with with her family a few years ago. they are originally from the colorful island of cebu. cebu is well-known for a delicious dried fish delicacy called "danggit". deep-fried, "danggit" is crunchy and with just the right sea-saltiness to it that is instantly gratifying. best eaten with papaya salad or cucumber salad on the beach!

a good friend of mine who teaches english in a big university in Xiamen, China and married to a very nice, quiet gentleman from there told me she experiments with her cooking. she is from the same city as i am and we used to hung out together when we were young and single and without a care in the world. naturally, we almost have the same taste buds when it comes to local food. she told me she enjoys experimenting and had made some meatloaf (maybe with a bit of a filipino twist to it). her husband however does not like western food that much so she has them all to herself :D

another good friend who has been working as a nurse in Dublin, Ireland for over 9 years now confided to me about how he is now an avid cook when it comes to filipino food. we reminisced about the places we used to frequent when we were in high school and what kind of food our meager allowance can afford to buy from a nondescript stall. usually we had huge banana-cues and maja blanca! such good times! such good food!

a very pregnant long-time friend now living in Singapore reminisced about how we used to hung out at their house after school and her mother used to serve us pancakes or peanut butter sandwiches! we were in grade school then. we used to buy songhits every week and we flip through them while munching on pb&j sandwiches! we were so young and so happy!

when i was in Singapore, food wasnt much of a big deal since there was always someone who will cook filipino food at home or we could get some from a filipino restaurant. when i came to Gib, the closest i could get some asian food is from a chinese or thai restaurant.

sometimes i cook... but nothing still beats my dad's cooking :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

an inconvenient day

the RAF Red Arrows were visiting Gibraltar after 15 years. everyone was abuzz with excitement! an aerobatic show was scheduled at 11 am in europa point. naturally, everyone wanted a piece of the action. so we decided to go at half past 10, plenty of time to pick the perfect parking spot. or so we thought. traffic was bad near ocean village as we got out of the parking lot. we were inching our way to queensway quay. we could see the show had already started as we see the smoke in the sky.

we thought we got out of the worse as we head through rosia bay. but alas! when we entered the tunnel right after little bay, we didnt see daylight ever again.. nor the Red Arrows themselves :( what we saw instead was the long line of cars queuing up inside the tunnel. like us, they were stuck. what a waste of time! logistics-wise, it was poorly planned. taking into consideration the volume of people as well as cars that were expected to come, there was only one entry and exit points of the vehicles :( and in the end we never really did reach europa point as the RGP ordered us to turn back because they finally decided (more than an hour after the show!) to use the tunnel as an exit point as well :(

so we resigned to our fate of not seeing the famous Red Arrows in action, we headed dejectedly towards home. at this point we were feeling first degree pangs of hunger and i desperately need to peepee. it was already 30 past 1 in the afternoon. time for lunch.

as luck would have it, there was also a dog show in victoria stadium. and naturally, there was also a queu for parking! after quickly relieving myself, i hurriedly went to KFC to buy a quick lunch. guess what i saw in KFC. another f------ queu! my husband who was by now pissed and hungry and sweaty and frustrated decided to just pick up a sandwich at a new coffee shop that opened. they had none we liked so again we walked and made a beeline for The Mexican. thank God there was no queu! or so we thought. our order came 30 minutes late and by this time i was ready to explode!

after i tried to calm myself and finally found the will to eat my cheeseburger, my husband and i headed towards the south dispersal in the airfield for the display of the famed Red Arrows! or so we thought. what we found were only the Hawks, the Tornados and the Typhoon fighter jets. well, the guy i talked to told us theyre actually just the same except for the color. well, yeah of course they are but.... the Red Arrows just have a nice paint job to it. it makes all the difference really.

and so that was how we spent the majority of that lovely saturday. either queuing up or being inconvenienced by reasons unknown to us.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

national day 2009

a sea of red and white all over town. red and white being the 2 predominant colors in the Gibraltar flag. even the cute doggies are parading in casemates sporting the colors of the day.

a stroll through main street and people just came out in droves. there was even a lady pushing a pram with a pig in it! (i didnt take a pic though)

we watched the childrens costume contest and a cute cake and calentita seller won :D we were rooting for the twins :D heres a pic of one of them :D

after the fanfare, it was time for a barbecue at the beach :) plenty of food for everyone with the very best of Gib cuisine like paella, pinchitos, steaks, hamburgers, sausages, cucumber salad, stuffed sardines, rice pudding, etc. prepared by Pepi, Vincent and Nuria.

i was stuffed the whole day! what a day! *burp*

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

featured place in Gib: out of the ordinary in Main Street

Main St is the shopping district of Gibraltar. its one long stretch of shops, jewelry stores, banks, pharmacies and cafes. its where you can find almost everything you need. and while you are busy taking in the VAT-free shopping, you cant help but notice THEM. still as a statue. hardly even blinking. but then again i never stayed long enough to observe them properly. they have a piece of cloth laid out on the ground in front of them. presumably for any kind of payment you can give them for your viewing pleasure.

they are amusing in a way and children are their no. 1 fans. maybe because they are lifesized interpretation of characters you only see in childrens books, classic novels or old movies. i wonder how much do they earn in a day?

Monday, September 7, 2009

no habla español?

thats right. i come from a country ruled by spain for over 300 years and i cant speak spanish. go figure!

up until my mom's university days, spanish was taught as a mandatory subject in higher education. after which, the government at that time thought to replace it with stenography, electronics and what-not electives. so by the time i rolled into university, spanish was no longer offered in the curriculum.

this is not to say that i cant speak nor understand the very, very basic spanish. i can actually. but individual words are easier for me to understand as some of them can also be found in my first language as opposed to whole sentences which involve connectives and subject-predicate agreement. there lies my predicament. how to string them together using the right connectives as well as the right form of the verb or noun for that matter.

and so this is why i found myself enrolling in a spanish beginners class with the local college which will start this 24th :)

and by the way, never for the life of me imagined id find myself living in a spanish-speaking (well, majority of them anyway) country in my mid-30's! my husband is a very patient man and i am one lucky bitch indeed!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

of antique shops and flea markets

today is a lovely saturday. weekends usually are my flea market days. when i was back home in the philippines and singapore, my weekdays are quiet, peaceful, slow and stress-free days that i always relish and look forward to. it is the one day in the week where i recharge and listen to the weird tickings of my mind!

i had to save this post and edit again today (sunday) as i had to stop and spend quality time with my husband. his off days are precious time for us to just chill out.

okay where was i? ahhh my haunts :) for a couple of months now i have been going to a collector's fair in ocean village every weekend. its just a small group of people who sell the same thing every weekend. i am more particularly interested in vintage jewelry though so going there is mostly a "me-time". got to know some people there who are pretty serious about their crafts. one was a lady who made beautiful hand-made cards. she is pretty creative with her craft as she has a lot made for sale. she also accepts orders for customized cards to fit your particular occasion. which is pretty neat! im posting one i gave to my mother-in-law.

flea markets or bazaars are very uncommon here in Gibraltar. the territory is awashed with history and yet i only saw one antique shop in the whole isthmus! the place is jampacked from floor to ceiling with furniture that is mostly turn of the century but im sure if i looked hard enough i will find some dating back to the 1700s. they have books as well but upon closer inspection, they are modern publications which can only be found in this shop. worth browsing though.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the image of a cathedral

it has been four months and five days since i arrived in Gibraltar. i can still remember the first day i arrived. it seemed unreal at first but the chilly wind pulled me back inside the arrivals area of the tiny airport. i remember going through the motions of answering questions from the immigration people. and then there was sunshine. and faces. lovely, familiar faces.

this is my first entry and as compulsive as i am, decided to create a blog about my new life here in Gibraltar. no pressure at all whether i can write in it regularly or not.

while surfing the net, i came across this quotation by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (French pilot and author of "The Little Prince") that goes: "A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing with him the image of a cathedral."

now, Gibraltar is a small fortress of which the Rock of Gibraltar is the main attraction. it is a massive limestone jutting out from the sea at the southern end of the Iberian peninsula endowed with a very rich military history. i was thinking how fitting Saint-Exupery's quotation is to my new life here in Gib. yes, it is a Rock and a very famous one at that. but to me, i chose to see it as a cathedral. a cathedral as magnificent as La Familia Sagrada by Gaudi and even more!

since it is a small territory (only 6.843 square kilometers total land area) with a population of only over 30,000, its pretty quiet and people are laid-back and in no hurry. activities for work-life balance are only a handful and for someone coming from a busy metropolis like Singapore, it was quite a shock to me when i suddenly found myself without anything to do.

the things i do for love hehe

today, as i sit here and write, i saw an old woman holding a green fan looking out the window. i wonder how she lived her life when she was young. was her life full of laughter? of dancing? of spanish guitar music? (which i LOVE listening to over and over again) did she love someone and was she loved in return? is she a hopeless romantic? or a drama queen?

i wonder if one day when i am old and toothless and sitting in my garden (because it is imperative that i have a garden!), what would people think of when they see me? what questions would they ask themselves when they see an old woman holding a green fan? i hope the answers to that would spur them as well to live life as if its their last :D

this is a blog to record the things that i love to do, the things that i find beauty in, to record my new life here in Gibraltar as well as a continuity to what i have always been and will always be. a philosophy of fun and positive things that i am making of the cathedral in my mind.