Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Special Saturday in Madrid

Madrid just like any other big cities, has a lot to offer in terms of cultural events.  Ron accompanied me last Saturday, February 13th, to Madrid mainly to participate in the celebration of the Chinese New Year.

It was a chilly, cloudy day with scattered rains.  But in Usera, where most of the Chinese community live in Madrid, it did not seem to be a detaining factor to gather along the streets a huge crowd that followed the parade of colorful costumes, dragon figures, fans and other paraphernalias.  

Here are some pictures of the event.

Before the parade:

During the parade:

There was a display of handcrafted goods and a mini temple inside the Chinese Cultural Center.

The fun was in taking funny pictures...

The break.-  We were hoping that we could eat in one of the restaurants in Usera, but to our surprise, the good ones were fully reserved and the not too good ones, we did not want to try, so we decided to go to Matadero Madrid.  Matadero Madrid is a former slaughterhouse in the Arganzuela district of Madrid, which has been converted to an arts centre.

On the table, you can see a white thing sticking out from a bowl, that is a towel that was originally like the size of one of the buttons of my coat approximately of one inch diameter, but with the addition of water, grew to what is shown in the picture. Funny, but at first, I thought it was some kind of appetizer, jejeje...

Food was original and creative,  but quite expensive.  Here is a strange tomato salad...

A certain variety of Chinese siopao.

 Spanish bread with meat and veggies,  a little spicy...

Desserts consisted of almond cookies and cream covered with a mixture of coffee and chocolate, nothing very different...

While in the Matadero, we went to see the exhibit (SELFI) by Darya von Berner, of Spanish/Mexican origin.  The exhibit projects a creative organic lighting of the room, which is exposed for the first time to the public in its entirety.  It enables a self projection of one's image (a selfie) as it is reflected against a mirror.  At first in the dark, it appeared quite spooky to me.  But later it turned out to be fun taking pictures inside.


The Chinese in Usera, has all sorts of stuff, including a big grocery store, aside from boutiques...

a bakery, with beautifully decorated  special cakes.  And for 25 Euros, not bad compared with the simple Red Ribbon cakes that sell for  the same price with a similar size.  I loved the coconut bread and the taro cake, so yummy!

a fresh fish market with giant squids and fishes and at reasonable prices, among other stores lined up in the same street.  While there is a chain of restaurants on the side streets.  

It just shows how the Chinese community in Madrid, has thrived and weathered the economic crisis in Spain.   Unemployment is virtually unknown among the Chinese,  Furthermore, they account for a vastly disproportionate share of business start-ups:  there are now more than 40,000 self-employed Chinese on Spain's commercial register, twice as many as before the crisis.  Source: The Big Read

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Now in Covina, still in California

After a week, and a couple of days before Mel left for the Philippines, we went back to Covina from the house of Nancy and driven by Miguel accompanied by Mae and Lita.   Mel was feeling better and her Lola was already in the house of Chris in Rimsdale, Covina.

We explored the surroundings while her Lola was resting.  The snow covered mountains attracted us to walk near them, but it did not take long before it got chilly and it kept us from exploring the area any farther.

But even simple objects were beautiful to my eyes; a mailbox, a flowering cactus....

Around the house of Chris, Ate Neneng planted several plants, and she obviously has a green thumb since even in a less lighted bathroom, she could grow and keep shiny the leaves of some plants.

Ate Neneng has an orange fruit bearing tree planted in the backyard.  But even when planted in a pot, it grew and had produced fruits in the last few years after they have planted it.

The orange grown from the backyard of Chris, compared with the Kumquats.

She has several anthuriums of different colors, spread around the front yard.  Anthurium happens to be  the favorite flower of my deceased Dad.

I took several pictures of my mother as we were in Rimsdale.  She is so photogenic, it seems that it is the camera that is smiling at her instead of vice versa. Those were priceless moments.

We took her out shopping and she never complained about how she waited while seated on her stroller as Ate Neneng and I looked around, for some of the  things she needed.

They sat down while waiting for pick up by Jess while I took some pictures.

It was a nice, clear day with blue skies by the West Covina Mall.


We took her to Santa Anita Mall, too, where she enjoyed eating pasta for lunch in the Cheesecake Factory.

Guess whose shadow that is, jejeje...

But where she enjoyed the most was the trip to Redondo Beach with the family including the elder brother of Ate Neneng, Dad Angel.  It was not the best day to go to the beach, it was a little cloudy with threats of rain, although, it did not actually rain.  We had lunch where they cooked for us some fresh steamed big  fish.  It was a good lunch and  a chance to eat by the beach.  There were not too many people around so we enjoyed the place with minimum distraction.

The pelican was not too friendly that day, it almost bit me with its long beak that almost got me offguard,  oops, almost.

See that look? urghh, okay, okay, no more photos.   And I went away far from his angry stare...

There were more sites to take pictures, anyway...

Claire and Chaela found some friends to play in the sand, while the oldies got ready with their poses.

Don't get any ideas, just friends... no more no less.... jejeje...

If you can get to be 92, won't you wish you would be like Mary?  full of life and merry?  I wish I would too.