Archive for August, 2006

in transit: barcelona & sitges, spain

 Before autumn sets in, I will luxuriate under the Spanish sun in the city of Barcelona and on the gay mecca beaches of Sitges for eleven days.But before all that, I went to have my very first haircut here in Oslo, and my pretty Chilean hairdresser gave me a mohawk. A mohawk! I thought it would be quite a radical change, but I love it!And in an hour or so, we’re off to a flamenco party. Quite a teaser for my holiday, eh?Happy ten-days-ahead everyone!


superzoom it!

 I finally got a new digital camera – the Panasonic Lumix TZ1 – which was once the world’s smallest digital still camera with a 10x optical zoom and is the 2006 TIPA Awardee (Oscar’s of the European photo and imaging industry) as the best superzoom digital camera.Despite not being the prettiest or the most pocketable option, I decided to go with it because of its kickass 10x optical zoom which would come in handy for some homme espionage and the image stabilization feature which bids bye bye to blurry photos.Also, this camera would play a vital part in my planned weekly blog project series called WWYD Wednesdays.In the meantime, let me superzoom in on some of my neighbors.

alluring alejandro

 It’s been a slow blogging week since there’s not too much excitement in my life right now. Last night, I watched on TV an intimate performance of Hallelujah, a quartet of indepedently successful young Norwegian artists Kurt Nilsen (World Idol winner), Alejandro Fuentes (Norwegian Idol 2005 3rd placer), Espen Lind (blue-eyed Brad Pitt), and Askil Holm (don’t know much about him).Among the four, I am strongly drawn towards Alejandro who is Chilean, by the way, and is very cute and charming. The guy has a strong songwriting skill, too. And he is like what, 19? 20? (Update: he’s 18!) He wrote and performed Stars (click for a sampling!), which is slowly becoming one of my favorite songs. The melody is so beautiful and the lyrics are so pensive and positive.Hallelujah is currently riding at the top of the Norwegian charts, what with its line-up of haunting ballads, harmoniously beautiful songs, covers such as Seal’s Kiss From A Rose, David Gray’s Sail Away and Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me, and a couple of country-tinged singles.

visiting munch

 A visit to Oslo wouldn’t be complete without a leisurely trip to the Munch Museum, home to thousands of paintings, drawings and prints created by Edvard Munch, pioneer of Expressionism and the most significant Norwegian contribution to the history of art.I look so sleepy in this photo. I only slept for four hours last night, and three the other night. Anyway…When I was paying the admission fee of 65 NOK (+25 NOK if you want an audio guide), the sweet lady attendant asked me if I was Spanish. When I said I was Filipino, she was just so delighted and gushed that I must meet a certain Emily. Apparently Filipina. Apparently been working in the museum for ten years. Apparently in a vacation until the end of September.Ding ding ding.Maybe I can use this connection to try working in the Munch Museum. Apart from working in a hotel, with its plush carpeted halls and business suit uniforms, I also expressed interest, many times over, in working at a musuem. In fact, I was an apprentice at the Philippines’ Ayala Museum five summers ago. I love being surrounded by art pieces, I love those small spotlights bathing them in glory, and most of the time, they come with plush carpets, too. Hahaha. What is it with me and carpets? I must have some carpet-deficient childhood or pastlife.I had a most fun time in the museum, that I stayed inside the exhibition halls for two-and-a-half hours. There was just so much to see, from the world-famous The Scream (1893) to personal favorites: Vampire (1893), Anxiety (1894), Madonna (1895), Starry Night (1923-24), and The Girls on the Bridge (1926).If you’d find your way to Oslo, make sure that you drop by the Munch Museum. It’s just fantastic.

just another day

 Well, not mostly.Finally, I had something to do today to break the monotony of my daily routine here in this city. I went to the local office of Aetat, the Norwegian Employment Service this morning to register, trying to beat any long queues that might snake later in the day. With insufficient skill in speaking Norwegian, I don’t think I would be able to use my PR skills anytime soon. So when asked by the amiable officer, I said I could take in any job, be in the office or particularly in the service industry. I have always expressed my liking for carpeted hotel halls and spanking business suits.Afterwhich, I skipped riding the tram back home and just walked around the city, checking digital camera prices in some stores along Karl Johan. I am choosing between a Kodak Easyshare V570 and a Panasonic DMC TZ1. If I have more cash to spare, I would definitely go with a Canon Powershot S80. Now that is one high-powered camera.I also dropped by Steen & Strom to have a quick look at the remaining items on sale. I saw two pairs of Puma by Alexander McQueen sneakers both at 50% off, but still I couldn’t afford to take home one pair with me.Tonight, Keng and Stein came back from Prague where they had a weeklong holiday so Knut and I went to their place to bring some muffins and to take care of some business. Prague looks so beautiful from the pictures they took. I must go there one day.Then, I booked two hotels in two cities Knut and I would be visiting in two weeks. I can’t wait! The big city hotel looks so cosmopolitan, while the resort city hotel looks, well, decent for our budget.Good night.

hot ticket: gavin degraw in oslo sentrum

 “We brought the rain with us and we apologize for it,” quipped Gavin Degraw in between sets. Surely, the rain didn’t dampen the mood of the huge audience who came to see the American singer-songwriter in Oslo’s Sentrum Scene.With an intimate setting, I had the chance, yet again, to be only meters away from Gavin who churned a palpable 90-minute performance of his songs such as Follow Through, I Don’t Wanna Be, Chariot, We Belong Together, and Dreams among others. He had great charisma, high energy, and a great body to boot. Also, there’s a certain wicked charm to his smile. And he obliged to a two-song encore performance, afterwhich he heartily thanked Oslo for welcoming him to the city.Throw in some Idols, too!Other sightings include Norwegian Idol’s Aleksander Denstad With, Anders Mjaaland, and Thomas Frantzen, pictured below, who I found very very cute. He reminds me of Michael Buble.We locked eyes for about six seconds. No shit. He broke it with a smile. And so I did, too. He tried to tell me something, from across three people in between, on two separate occassions, to which I just nodded and smiled again since I didn’t understand him. He was talking Norwegian. Ugh!Sorry for the sucky photos, I took them with my cellphone. I thought the venue had a no-photography policy. Double ugh!

oslo, london world’s most expensive cities

 ZURICH (Reuters) – Oslo and London are the world’s most expensive cities, while Zurich and Geneva residents have the highest buying power, according to a report released on Wednesday.Europe dominates the list of 71 cities compiled by Swiss bank UBS, while Asian cities — including Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai — are among the cheapest places to live, based on the cost of a basket of 122 goods and services.Oslo maintained its top position from 2005, while London rose three places to second.Copenhagen, Zurich and Tokyo round out the top five, with New York in seventh place globally.For the full report, click here.Photo Credit: Karl Johans Gate, main avenue from the Central Station to the Royal Palace, lined with restaurants, shops, and the majestic Grand Hotel.

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