Thursday, September 30, 2010

countdown to europe 2010

i can't believe we're going to be leaving in a week's time. i don't feel ready yet. i've packed my clothes, but the underwear, socks, electronics, and toiletries are still out of the bag.

things started piling up after we applied for our schengen visa. when we got our passports back from the spanish embassy, we had to make an appointment with the UK embassy for our visa application, and when that got approved, we rushed through all the hotel reservations and flight/rail bookings.

on top of that, PAL cancelled our flight to HK on october 8 and moved us to october 9 at 8am. i had to call them to rebook us to an earlier flight on the 8th, since we were going to catch our flight to paris at 10am on the 9th. it took me a while to actually connect to an agent, and when i did, they had to transfer me to two more agents just to give me my booking. no matter, though. after all the stress, i was able to get us the flight. i really just wish we didn't have to encounter these things.

and because of these mishaps, i'm kind of expecting the trip to be awesome. i usually try not to put such expectations on my trips, because that actually ruins them, but i can't help it this time. i think susie and i deserve this break after all the grunting and running around we've done for it. and i swear that next time, i'm going to book everything A YEAR early, and not wait for the last minute.

aside from the trip itself, i'm looking forward to testing out my HTC desire. it went through some repairs a few weeks back, and is now in tip-top shape. it now holds our itinerary using tripit, and even has links saved up on springpad for places of interest in the cities we're visiting. its 5MP camera will be used heavily, mostly to share photos on twitter and facebook of the things i find curious along the way. i hope my new gadget steps up.

so here's hoping tiny annoyances end now, and that we can sail smoothly through next week, and dive happily into the trip. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

ba noi's: the second time just sucked

ba noi's is a new vietnamese restaurant along perea street in legazpi village. since i love pho and will never say no to a bowl of beef pho noodles, susie and i decided to have dinner there a couple of weeks back.

the place was simple and pleasant. the crew friendly enough. i enjoyed their fried spring rolls, and the pho bo was yummy, despite the reviews that said it was bland. i had forgotten what susie ordered, but he enjoyed it, too. we went out of ba noi's then with satisfied smiles on our mugs.

banking on that first experience, we decided to have lunch there last saturday.

it started out well enough: the place wasn't too packed, and the waitress gave us our menus; she was still attentive enough. we ordered the shrimp pomelo salad as our starter, and i got a pho bo again (because i loved it the first time), and susie finally got to try the lemongrass chicken (which wasn't available last time).

our salad arrived on time, but it wasn't anything special. it wasn't bad, but i wouldn't sing praises about it, either. i didn't mind much, because i knew the pho bo would make up for it.

this time, ba noi's decided not to prove the reviews wrong. the broth came warm, not hot, and was bland. the basil and lime they provided didn't give it enough flavor, so i asked for more. it took the waitress about 15 minutes to give me my additional spices, and by then, the broth had turned lukewarm.

a really good bowl of pho can turn my mood around, but at the same time, a really bland (bad) one can turn me into a monster. this was not helped by the fact that susie's order had not come, even when i was halfway through my bowl (and i was eating it very slowly since i didn't really like how it tasted). all around us, people who had just come in were already feasting on their dishes, while poor susie had to wait with a grumbling stomach.

we followed it up with the staff, who just nodded and went back to the counter. the dish came after about 10 minutes or so. by this time, i had given up on my bowl, and i decided to order the fried spring rolls so we can at least have something nice to eat. unfortunately, the dish never came even after susie had finished his food.

so we just paid for the bill (we didn't have to wait long for that, how nice) and left a note about how disappointed we were, complete with name and number. no response from them yet. doesn't matter, though. we're never going back there again.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

philippine travel mart is tomorrow

what: philippine travel mart (travel deals for philippine destinations, or SALE NG BAYAN!)
when: september 3-5, 2010
where: SM megatrade halls, sm megamall

i probably won't be going, since i've a big trip scheduled in a month. but i can't not tell you about it--you might be looking for a quick getaway, and this is the best place to find a great deal! :)