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Intro

1 Jul

 

Travels, Music, Food & Tattoos

Sorgente: Intro

Past and present

22 Jun

I think about this blog every day, I think about the reasons why I decided to write it and whenever I open it and read it, I always have that feeling that it has been one of the most beautiful things I have ever done.

And I wish I had the time and the focus, and the constance of those times.. when waking up was the step before writing. Taking out all the energy I have inside, my feelings, my stories, my beautiful life.

Now Life is still beautiful , is just different.

At the time of the trip and the blog, I was just wondering around the world experiencing travels and adventure in US and Mexico. Now I see myself with a satisfying amazing job running up and down for meetings and great projects in Dubai

I am preparing some word to speak about my experience here, and, given the time of the year in this part of the world, I will give you my thoughts about what I learnt of this culture, and religion. Ramadan.

Aside

That’s so me

9 Sep

I often log in with the intention of writing again.

I like to realize that even if it has been seven months since I wrote my last article, people still enjoys reading my blog.

So I click on “new article”, and feel like I am ready to start writing…then on the right there s a list of bizarre articles names, which I barely recognize as mine.

It feels so far away from that, I feel so different already and then concentration disappear. I say: next time.I prefer reading my funny stories and thoughts of my 90 days backpacking.

Even if I stopped writing on the 25th February,  my way to Rio keeps going on. And I keep traveling quite a lot.

After my return to Naples in January, I passed through Barcelona for a dinner with my friends at Por Venir, visited Switzerland and its quiet lakes and mountains, cooked in Portofino for 150 people with a friend , topped up my oyster card in London just to feel like I was living there again, sung in an underground karaoke in Rome for one of my best friends birthday,  played the hajje in istanbul in order to enter in one of the most famous mosques in the world,  gained arabic residency and driving license for a new, fantastic job opportunity; Swum in crystal clear waters in Formentera and partied a teenager in Ibiza; I was kicked out from a governmental office for having my legs not  covered enough, stood at the foot of the tallest building in Dubai and –  last but not least – during a security inspection of a check control in Iraq I run out from the car because of a grasshopper. I imagined the day after local newspaper mentioning of an  italian woman  in Iraq for business purposes, shot as believed to want to escape from the Iraqi check control.  That’s so me.

 

 

Chi ha detto che c’e’ un solo Messico?

25 Feb

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Qual è la prima immagine che vi viene in mente quando pensate al Messico? :

Belle spiagge di sabbia bianca e acque turchesi con temperature estive tutto l’anno”.

Grandi cappelli colorati chiamati Sombreros e dei cantanti baffuti, i Mariachis”.

Il famoso topolino messicano Speedy Gonzales che canta: “andale, andale, arriba, arriba”.

Mezcal e Tequila”. Giusto. Ma forse non sapete che questo liquore in realtà è considerato il miglior rimedio per le malattie influenzali, che i messicani bevono in ogni momento e con qualunque scusa.

Non importa se il giorno dopo dovranno andare a lavorare con una gran sbornia, che loro chiamano “cruda”, alla tequila non si rinuncia mai!

O magari assocerete questo paese centroamericano a un bel cactus verde. Si, ce ne sono a migliaia di esemplari in Messico, ma magari ignorate che li’ lo mangiano lesso o alla piastra condito con uova, cipolla e carne, come farcitura di una specie di tacos chiamati “nopal”.

La cucina messicana e’ stata considerata patrimonio dell’umanità. E se pensi di conoscerne le caratteristiche ti basterà mettere piede in un mercato popolare per renderti conto che non avevi capito niente.

Guacamole con nachos è un tipico piatto messicano amato in tutto il mondo, ma il nome originale di questi deliziosi triangoli di mais e’ “totopos”, il nome nachos glielo hanno affibbiato i vicini texani.

E neanche i “burritos” sono messicani, bensì’ nordamericani, ma vi innamorerete della gran varietà di tacos e tortillas. Tacos e tortillas sono alla base di tutti i pasti; i messicani non rinunciano per niente al mondo a questa specie di piadina di mais o di farina.

E’ bello vedere le persone del posto che fanno la fila fuori i piccoli laboratori di produzione artigianale di tortillas, pronte per essere farcite a casa con gli ingredienti più disparati.

Una “torta” in Messico non è una torta come la si intende in spagnolo o italiano, il tipico dolce di compleanno. E’ infatti cosi chiamato un semplice panino imbottito, da comprare sia presso i numerosi venditori ambulanti ma anche in bar e ristoranti, ripieni di res (manzo), pollo, verdure e così via.

A noi europei piace soprattutto d’estate sorseggiare una bella Corona o Sol ghiacciata con una fetta di limone e diamo per scontato che sia una tradizione messicana. Niente di più’ sbagliato: anzi, per loro e’ il modo per riconoscere a prima vista un “gringo“, un turista, e magari ridere di questa nostra usanza buffa! I messicani doc preferiranno piuttosto bere una michelada: e’ pur sempre una birra – che loro chiamano “chela” – mischiata con succo di pomodoro e lime, sale e peperoncino.

Ai messicani piace festeggiare tutto, persino la morte. Hanno un icona per questa festa speciale che si tiene il 2 di novembre: è un elegante scheletro di una donna con un cappello chiamata “la Catrina”. Durante questa celebrazione popolare, i messicani “sorridono” alla morte con musica e festeggiamenti come nessun altra cultura sarebbe in grado di fare.

E’ stato spiazzante sentire chiamare un giovane cameriere ventenne “viejo” (vecchio) e un settantenne “joven” (giovane). Quello che può sembrare uno sfotto contraddittorio e’ invece costume.

In effetti, il Messico è in generale una terra di infiniti contrasti, misteri e sorprese, tra passato e futuro, tradizione ed avanguardia, lusso e povertà estrema.

Mi ha colpito tantissimo la gran varietà’ paesaggistica, climatica e folcloristica dei suoi 32 stati: benché siano estremamente differenti fra di loro, risultano tuttavia convivere armoniosamente in un grande paese di due milioni di chilometri quadrati, in cui vivono oltre 110 milioni di persone.

I deserti dello stato del Chihuaua, le giungle dello Yucatan e Chiapas, le incantevoli spiagge caraibiche del Quintana Roo, le splendide città coloniali di Puebla, Oaxaca, Valladolid, Merida e San Cristobal de las Casas. Antiche piramidi Maya ed Azteche e memorie millenarie. Ma il Messico e’ molto di più.

Città del Messico, comunemente conosciuta come una delle città più pericolose al mondo, si e’ rivelata un posto accogliente per una trentenne che viaggia da sola come me.

Incredibilmente affascinante, edifici antichi a contrasto con l’ architettura d’avanguardia moderna.

Gallerie d’arte contemporanea e tantissima street art, non c’e’ da meravigliarsi che sia la città’ con il più gran numero di musei al mondo; maestosi teatri, sontuosi viali, negozi di lusso, ristoranti alla moda, bar esclusivi e discoteche.

E’ sicuramente una delle città’ più inquinate al mondo ma vanta anche di tante aree verdi: il bosco di Chapultepec è il più grande parco urbano in America Latina, imponente quanto il Bois de Boulogne a Parigi o il Central Park a New York.

C’è solo una cosa che non si può fare in Messico ed e’ sciare. Purtroppo questo meraviglioso paese non dispone di alcun modo per praticare questo sport.

Ma nessuno né nulla è perfetto e posso garantirvi che il tempo non sarà’ mai sufficiente per poter visitare e vivere a pieno la gran varietà di meraviglie che questo paese ha da offrire.

E spero che attraverso le mie esperienze di viaggio, possiate scoprire i segreti più nascosti di questo paese cosi affascinante e misterioso, e sono sicura che a molti di voi farà’ innamorare, proprio come e’ successo a me.

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The people’ s car. For Love, Peace and War.

6 Feb

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The Beetle is probably the most popular car in the world. Actually, it is the most produced car of a single design platform with more than 200,000,000 models sold.

Its production lasted more than 60 years, starting in Germany in the early 30’s, when Adolf Hitler ordered the designer Ferdinand Porsche to develop “a car for everybody” and change the idea of the car as a privilege. He wanted to give a shape to an idea of a Volkswagen – ” the people’s car”, from German volks (people) and wagen (car).

The production of this car ended up in 2003 in Puebla, Mexico, being this city home to one of the biggest VolksVagen factories in the world after the german one in Woflsburg.

The Beetle has been used in so many different contexts, countless are the times it has been utilized in leisure as in movies scenes and commercials; who doesnt’ remember Herbie, featured in several Disney motion pictures starting in 1969 with Love Bug?

During the Second World War, its production was mostly aimed for military objectives and even became the symbol of the economic rebirth after the war, but at the same time it is now considered an icon for “peace and love” hippie movement during the 60’s.

There is a model called ” escape from Berlin”.   AS all of you may already know, from 13th August 1961 to 9th November 1989 a 155 kilometers wall divided East Berlin from the West. This special model with a wider coffer so to hide people  must have been very much appreciated from lovers or families divided by the wall. My innate romanticism makes me  imagine romantic scenes such as a blonde tall  girl  getting anxious seeing that  funny curved car to arrive , and that coffer to get opened and finally hug and kiss a tired out – but happy – tall and blonde, auburn-bearded guy.

The Beetle must have been a very reliable vehicle , being the car which has been most used as a Police car.

And you might not know that it won the first prize in different rallys, the one in Montecarlo in 1954 above all.

Many peculiar features charachterize this amazing car, but the fact that it is the only car able to float, it’s absolutely amazing. Probably not even his designer Porsche meant to, but must been a great satisfaction when two italian Beetle fans crossed the 7 miles of sea of the Strait of Messina that connects Sicily from the Calabrian coast. And not only in Italy, because some other brave fans reached the English coast from the Isle of Man with a Beetle, as well as in the bay of Hong Kong, in Lake Michigan and the Strait of Singapore.

The Beetle has thousands and thousands of passionates and fans who prefer to call this iconic car differently in their country. Please find hereby some, but it would be great if any of you reader could add any other one commenting below!

  • Maggiolino or Maggiolone in Italy
  • Beetle or Bug in United Kingdom and United States
  • Vocho or Sedan in Mexico
  • Escarabajo in Spain
  • Bubbla in Sweden
  • Fusca in Brazil
  • Carosca in Portugal
  • Kever in Belgium and Netherlands
  • Käfer in Germany, Switzerland and Austria
  • Coccinelle in France
  • Buba in the ex Jugoslavia

If in Europe it is more a vintage object just used sometimes to have a nostalgic ride, or used to attend the many Beetle gatherings across the continent, in Southamerica it is absolutely normal to use it on a daily basis as a mean of transport. I saw many of them during my trip to Argentina, but I am sure that I saw more Vochos in Mexico in a week than in all my life. Red, fuchsia, yellow, spotted or with the typical Mexico city taxi colors: golden and red. Zipping through the busy Mexico City avenues or parked in a tranquil colonial street in Chiapas and Oaxaca. Once in Oaxaca city I saw 3 beetles in a row: one was red, the second white and the last one green: the tricolours of the two flags of my current favourite countries in the world: my native Italy and my adored Mexico.

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My three months traveling

27 Jan

12th October 2012 to 12th January 2013

October:

  • 12th-15th New York, New York, Usa
  • 15th-20th Chicago and Michigan City, Illinois, Usa
  • 20th – 22th San Francisco and Sausalito, California, Usa
  • 22th Monterrey and Carmel by the sea, California, Usa
  • 22th-25th San Luis Obispo and Ventura, California, Usa
  • 25th-28th Los Angeles, California, Usa
  • 28th-29th Las Vegas, Nevada, Usa
  • 30th- 31th Mexico City, Mexico

November

  • 31th October – 4th Morelia and Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
  • 4th – 7th Mexico City
  • 7th – 9th Puebla and Cholula, Puebla, Mexico
  • 9th – 11th Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
  • 12th – 17th Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico
  • 17th – 22th Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico
  • 23th – 29th San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
  • 29th – 30th Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico

December

  • 1th – 3rd Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • 3th – 6th Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • 6th Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • 6th-7th Mexico City
  • 7th-8th Tepotzlan, Morelos, Mexico
  • 8th-26th Mexico City
  • 27th Bacalar lagune, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • 27th – 29th San Pedro Island, Belize
  • 29th to 4thJanuary Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico

January

  • 4th- 5th Valladolid and Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico
  • 5th – 6th Playa del Carmen
  • 6th – 9th Holbox Island, Yucatan, Mexico
  • 9th-12th Playa del Carmen
  • 12th-13th Cancun-Madrid-Roma-Naples

Who said there is only one Mexico?

17 Jan

What is the first image you have when hearing the word ‘Mexico’?

“Beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters with summer temperatures almost all year-long”.

“Big sombreros and Mariachis”.

” The famous mouse Speedy Gonzales saying: andale, andale, arriba, arriba

Tulum ruins and beach

Tulum ruins and beach

Mariachis y sombreros

Mariachis y sombreros

 

“Mezcal and Tequila”. Right. (But probably you don’t know that it is actually considered the best cure for flu and other illnesses. Mexicans drink it at all times and with whatever excuse; it doesn’t matter if the day after they will have to go to work with the strongest hangover, which they call “cruda“).

A cactus might appear in your mind when someone says “Mexico”. And you might be right again, but you ignore that Mexican enjoy eating it with eggs, meat and tacos, and they call it “nopal“.

Cactus in Mexico City

Cactus in Mexico City

Cactus at sunset in Oaxaca

Cactus at sunset in Oaxaca

Guacamole with nachos is a combination loved all over the world; but don’t ask a local to get some for you, be aware that this is the North American translation for their beloved “totopos“.

You think you know Mexican cuisine until you arrive to Mexico and discover that its traditional flavours are kept hidden in the street markets.

I am not a burrito :-(

I am not a burrito 😦

Love for Food. In mexico, for sure. Lunch at "Delirio" in Mexico City

Love for Food. In mexico, for sure. Lunch at “Delirio” in Mexico City

You might feel disappointed to find out that burritos are not Mexican but you will fall in love with a huge variety of tacos and tortillas: Mexicans cannot delight a meal without this round flatbread made of corn or flour.

I loved to walk to the supermarket and observe locals queuing outside Tortillerias – old shops for handmade tortillas to be filled at home with the most delicious ingredients, especially meat, onion, corn and tomatoes.

A “torta” in Mexico is not a cake as in its usual meaning in Spanish. It is a popular, often cheap sandwich you might find both at the street vendors and restaurants, filled with res (beef), chicken, vegetables and so on.

Mexicans don’t put lemon in a Corona bottle as most of Europeans think. This is just a way to detect gringos – tourists. They would rather drink a michelada: a beer, which they call “chela” mixed with lime and tomato juice, salt and chili.

In Mexico they like to celebrate it all, even death. But I wrote an article dedicated to it, called Canta y no llores (on the day of the dead) , for if you want to know more about this peculiar celebration.

On 2nd November the most important woman in Mexico is actually the icon of death: an elegant female skeleton with a hat called “La Catrina”; here people “smile” at death with music and festivals, as no other culture might probably do.

La Catrina de Diego Rivera

La Catrina de Diego Rivera

Mexicans say “joven” – young – to a 70 years old waiter and “viejo” – old – to a 20 years old one.

But Mexico is in general a land of infinite contrasts, mysteries and surprises; between future and past, tradition and avant-garde, luxury and extreme poverty.

I took this picture in New Years Eve 2013, but the sign said Feliz 2012. I wish it was a better year for them

I took this picture in New Years Eve 2013, but the sign said Feliz 2012. I wish it was a better year for them

 

Different kind of landscape and environments meet in a 2 million square kilometres country of more than 110 million people spread out into 32 federal entities ( 31 states and a federal district ).

Chihuauan deserts, Yucatan and Chiapas jungles, stunning Caribbean beaches, beautiful colonial cities: Puebla, Oaxaca, Valladolid, Merida, San Cristobal de las Casas. Ancient Mayan and Aztecs pyramids. And so much more…

Me and Sandrine at Chichen Itza, Yucatan

Me and Sandrine at Chichen Itza, Yucatan

 

Playa de Mazunte, Oaxaca

Playa de Mazunte, Oaxaca

 

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You can never forget the first night sleeping in the jungle

Colonial house in Puebla

Colonial house in Puebla

When thinking about Mexico you might not associate it to “museums”; but Mexico City hosts more museums than any other city in the world, above all the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, the most visited in the whole country.

It contains significant archeological and anthropological artifacts from the  pre-Columbian heritage of Mexico, such as the Piedra del Sol (the “Stone of the Sun” or Aztec calendar stone)

Me and THE  Sun Stone

Me and THE Sun Stone

In this Museum there is also 16th-century Aztec statue of Xochipilli:  the god of art, games, beauty, dance, flowers, and song in Aztec Mythology. As well as in modern times, bon-vivants, life lovers are usually more open minded to diversity and people with diverse tastes and way of seeing life; Xochipilli was actually also the patron of both homosexuals and male prostitutes , a role possibly resulting from his being absorbed from the Toltec civilization.

Going back to museums and Mexico City, I can tell that this city has fascinated me with its beautiful buildings from several centuries ago and the most avant-garde architecture, full of contemporary art galleries, theatres, large avenues, upscale stores, trendy restaurants, exclusive bars and nightclubs;

The statue of Angel of Indipendence, Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City

The statue of Angel of Indipendence, Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City

A lovely cafe in Polanco, Mexico City

A lovely cafe in Polanco, Mexico City

 

 

Mexico City downtown

Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City

And Bosque de Chapultepec is right in the middle of the town, it is the largest urban park in Latin America, as big as some of the greatest in the world, such as Bois de Boulogne in Paris and Central Park in New York City.

There is just one thing you can’t do in Mexico and that is skiing; unfortunately this amazing country lacks of snow.

But you can’t have it all in life, in general. You have to make do with what you have. No one or nothing is perfect and believe me, you will still need many months to visit and experience the big variety of wonders that this country has to offer.

And through my travel experiences in Mexico, I hope I will let you discover the most hidden secrets and surprises of this mysterious country called MEXICO so that you can fall in love just like I did.

 

 

View from my 15 USD cabana in Mazunte, Oaxaca

View from my 15 USD cabana in Mazunte, Oaxaca

 

A walk in the jungle nearby Palenque ruins, Chiapas.

A walk in the jungle nearby Palenque ruins, Chiapas.

Gran cenote, Tulum

Gran cenote, Tulum

Street vendor at Oaxaca local market

Street vendor at Oaxaca local market

 

Canyon. Canon del Sumidero, Chiapas

Canyon. Canon del Sumidero, Chiapas

Guadalupe Church, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Guadalupe Church, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Making new friends in Cholula, Puebla

Making new friends in Cholula, Puebla

Afternoon laundry in Tulum

Afternoon laundry in Tulum

 

Cataratas de Agua Azul, Blue waterfalls in Chiapas

Cataratas de Agua Azul, Blue waterfalls in Chiapas

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