THE BLOOMS OF ALHAMBRA

A trip to Granada isn’t complete without visiting the majestic palace of Alhambra, which is one of the last Islamic palaces built in Spain by the Moors. The palace is one architectural masterpiece and its interiors remind me much of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey mostly due to the colorful mosaics and geometric designs. I also enjoyed exploring the palace gardens, which was bursting in a kaleidoscope of colors from the multiple flowering plants. Here are some of the photos I took of the garden blooms using my iPhone 7 Plus.

LUNA GIBBOSA CRESCENTE DAL COLOSSEO

The title of this post is a literal translation of the phrase “Waxing gibbous moon by the Colosseum” to Italian. I thought the translation sounded sexier than the original English text. LOL! When I took these photographs my intention was to capture the Roman Colosseum in multiple angles until I noticed the moon in one of the arches so I started including it in my compositions. It would have been nicer had it been a full moon but a waxing gibbous moon was just as good, it being the phase prior to a full moon. Thankfully, the sky was still bright enough for me to capture the details on the moon’s surface. Had I taken these an hour later the moon would have been just a pale yellow ball in the sky.

If you visited Rome between 2011 and early 2016, you would have seen the ongoing restoration work on the Colosseum, which was mostly covered in scaffolding. The shoe-and-luxury goods maker Tod’s donated millions for the restoration of this architectural wonder so lucky me to have visited it just as the project culminated. Anyway, it’s good to see the Colosseum in a cleaner state and am glad to know that more restoration work are being done to this day. Maybe the next time I’m in Rome I’ll get to see the additional renovations and when I take new photographs a full moon will be high up in the sky to photobomb this magnificent piece of architecture.

DAYBREAK IN HONG KONG

Hong Kong is one of my all-time favorite cities and if I can only afford it I will move there in a heartbeat. I just love looking at all the giant skyscrapers sitting on top of the most rugged terrain all reaching up for the skies symbolic of the city’s reputation as a center for global economics. When in Hong Kong, it’s always best to stay where one can enjoy the sweeping views of the city so on my most recent visit I stayed at two hotels so I can bask on the iconic views of Hong Kong from both sides of the harbor. The photos in this post were taken from the window of my suite at the fifty-third (53rd) floor of the Island Shangri-La Hotel. I just woke up and was getting ready for breakfast when I noticed the sun slowly rising from behind the mountains as if trying to quietly sneak into the still sleepy city. I used my GoPro Hero 7 Black and iPhone 7Plus to take these photos as there was too much reflection on the glass windows when I tried using my Canon DSLR. By laying the camera flat on the window it eliminates almost every reflection from inside the room. The colors of daybreak are always beautiful and I’m glad to have captured Hong Kong at a time when this dynamic city was at it’s most serene. Once this pandemic is over, I am definitely coming back.

PARK HYATT BANGKOK

The Park Hyatt Hotel-Bangkok was our home away from home during the Thailand leg of our Asian trip fall of last year. We were considering other hotels (Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula and Shangri-La) but being one of the newest hotels in town and having stayed at some of their properties we decided to book our stay with them. This 5-star luxury hotel is located in one of Bangkok’s nicest neighborhoods with access to the sky train making travel around the city highly convenient. The hotel sits on top of a massive shopping mall, which was a great perk for someone who loves to shop, although my favorite part of the complex was the infinity pool with amazing views of the city. The photo above was taken by the pool (yes those are my legs) while the photos below were taken around the hotel as well as inside our suite using my GoPro Hero 7 Black. We booked their Diplomat Suite, which was a huge and luxurious 1-bedroom suite with floor to ceiling windows providing us endless views of the city. The hotel was beautiful and well maintained but the service was unfortunately not at par with other Park Hyatt hotels we’ve stayed at. The hotel staff seemed to lack the warmth, hospitality and even the professionalism expected of a luxury hotel. Some staff had to be reminded repeatedly to deliver basic service, a waitress had to be followed-up 3 times for a cup of coffee while during dinner in one of their restaurants the waiter took away our unfinished bottle of wine (we had to call his attention) then hovered over after giving us the bill as if we were gonna sprint off without paying. They did apologized after we complained but first impressions last. Prior to Bangkok, we were in Hong Kong, Manila and Siem Reap and also stayed at 5-star hotels and resorts and we were amazed by the level of service they provided. Would we recommend this hotel? Most definitely not…the facility is impressive but if you’re willing to spend so much for a hotel stay then there are far better options around Bangkok.

Below are photos of our one-bedroom suite (Diplomat Suite)

WATERFALL IN THE CITY

Before I decided to become a full time clinician I was working as an executive for a healthcare company. When the office stresses became overwhelming, I would take short walks around the building’s neighborhood to relax, although, I wish there was a green space for me to sit and refocus. The only green space available for me back then was in the logo of the neighborhood Stabucks. So when I visited Hong Kong last year, I was excited to know that my hotel was right beside the Hong Kong Park, a green landscape in the middle of a busy commercial center. It was constructed so people can commune with nature to relax from the stresses of work. In the middle of the park was a man-made waterfall where one can sit and listen to the wonderful sounds of the cascading water. This was where I spent most of my time in the park…to enjoy the sight and sound of water crashing into the pool. Although I didn’t visit Hong Kong for work, it was still nice to have found a spot where I could sit and just enjoy nature right in the middle of a bustling city. How I wish there was a space like this where I used to work. I probably would be sitting there more often than inside my office. 😬 Here are some of the photos I took of that man-made waterfall in the middle of Hong Kong Park. I took these photos using a much longer exposure to create the cotton candy effect on the water.
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