Paris again for New Years and opera!

‘Tis the holiday season! People who you love gather around this time of the year because it’s cold and that’s what people do apparently around this time of the year lol.

Since I have a forever single life I decided to meet up with my sister for New Years. My sister wanted to come to New York for about 2 days or so but I suggested her to meet up with me in Paris again! So I’m staying for about 9 nights in Paris and I’ll see my sister for approximately 5 nights.

After getting rejected to a bunch of places in Airbnb, we finally were able to book a place around Bastille!! GOOD FOR ME!! Because it is literally two blocks away from the Bastille Opera House!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d29FWCUz04La Boheme

I’m looking forward to La Boheme done with a contemporary space background. Gustavo Dudamel will be conducting and Sonya Yoncheva will be playing Mimi. I am so anticipated to this marvelous getaway. Especially for the conductor and the revolutionary attempt to redesign the set. 

There will be Don Quixote ballet performances during my stay in Paris. I intend to go and experience it all. I cannot wait. It’s been always hard this time of the year. Finals and wishing a lot of things. But everything’s fine and I’m very blessed. After all, I’ll be spending time in Paris for New Years. I have so much to be thankful about.

Photocopy: Medici.tv

Turkey Istanbul : Sultanahmet Day 2

I’ll be honest.

I slept 7 hrs during the daytime instead of touring around. My mom was shocked! Ahahaha oh well jet lag is real. I’m not the type of person to walk around and tour. I just like easygoing, relaxed, eat delicious food type of person.

All this walking around in the humid heat and sun stresses me out!

But we woke up early and went to the Grand Bazzar. I took this photo on our way to the Bazzar.Our purpose was to exchange at a cheaper rate. I researched the cheapest rate for exchanging, and a lot of tourists recommended the Grand Bazaar.

Grand Bazzar is huge. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos that I took but I recommend everyone to have google maps, if you ever want to go back home. It has 61 covered streets with over 4000 stores. And be prepared to be heckled. Everyone’s going to try to talk to you to sell you something.

We actually ended up bargaining a lot for really beautiful things. We bought shoes, Turkish tea cups, and cushion covers. The patterns and the prints of these products are absolutely beautiful. But I even though I bargained like my life depended on it(I’m a really cheap person!!), my mom and I still had no clue how much the items really costed.

These are photos of the teacups that we bought.Two teacups & one teacup plate costed us 60 liras.

Coming back, we passed by some beautiful streets.

We headed back to the hotel and I ended up sleeping 7 hrs and waking up at 9 p.m. that day.. oh well!!

We went to a restaurant that was near the Altari(?) bazaar and ate a variety of appetizers & a traditional dish which is chicken or beef or pork in the clay and is heated in the fire and when it’s ready, you crack the top and pour it on top of rice! I forgot the name of this cuisine, if someone knows please tell me. Thank you kindly.

And the waiter from this restaurant recommended us to go to Ortakoy and see the night view of the bridge. He also showed us how to buy the transportation card: Istanbulkart. Which costs 6 liras but the card was a little difficult for us to purchase through the machine. The Istanbulkart is 6 Turkish liras and you can use it on the metro, tram, and bus. But all of these public transportation ends at 12 am so keep that in mind. We ended up going to the last station of the tram 🚊 and couldn’t find the bus station so we ended up taking a cab which costed us 25 Turkish liras. Again, we had to bargain with the cabs.. a little frustrating but we still made it to Ortakoy. My mother always takes the best photos.

That’s the mosque and next to the mosque is the bridge. It’s right by the water but there was really nothing much to do. We ate gelato and walked around for a bit and bargained with a taxi AGAIN to go back to the hotel. Cost us 35 Turkish liras, but the cab driver put EDM music on blast and stopped short and raced so fast as if we were in a club or something. It was a fun ride.

And my mom was so tired she fell asleep immediately, and sucker me. I couldn’t go to sleep because I slept 7 hrs during the daytime. Haha.

Conclusion: Minnie is not fit to tour.

And FYI, after we left (of course), Turkish liras worth plunged to the bottom so when we were there 1 usd was 4.70 Turkish liras. But just a few days ago, it became the lowest it’s ever been, which was 1$= 6.92.

I heard 2 merchants in the Grand Bazzar committed suicide. Hope things get better there.

Istanbul(Sultanahamet): Cat Heaven Day 1

I get the opportunity to travel places because of my sister who works at the airline company. And the three of us(mother, sis and moi) wanted to reunite somewhere. After many consideration among multiple different locations, we came to a conclusion to tour someplace where it’s cheap. How Korean of us.

Turkey has been going through this political chaos due to the current conservative President Erdoğan. When I arrived in Turkey the inflation caused to the fixed interest rates has been gone up to about 20% alone this year. So it was good for people like me, who come from Americaaaaaaa that have US dollars can buy a lotttt of Turkish Liras. For example, the 100$ was about 460~470 Turkish Liras.

But anyways, back to my travel log. I got to use Turkish Airline with a direct flight that took 10 hrs with a staff ticket. Which means, I only pay tax and get the leftover seats. A deal and a HALF!

Met my mom at the airport in Nero Cafe, and we headed to our hotel. We couldn’t check in yet so we just headed upstairs to have our Turkish breakfast.

I asked for water and I didn’t understand the lady’s accent so she made fun of me and made my nickname to “water” and teased me every morning until we left. 🙂 The hotel kitty that lived right outside of the hotel had no name because apparently the kitty doesn’t catch any mouse thus did not deserve one 😂We walked around until we could check in.Beautiful displays of spice&perfume and a lamp store, the only thing that bothered me was that it was a very touristy area so every restaurant and every store tries to heckle you for your attention to sell stuff or to make us eat at their restaurant. Literally every store. The outside interior of Saint Sophia.

Just walked around the area to see what’s in the area.The outside of the Blue Mosque. I didn’t have a scarf to wrap my head around, so we my mom and I decided not to go in.A souvenir shop with a kitty.

And to finish off our evening, we decide to go back to one of the places that I’ve bargained earlier that day. I ended up getting the bread w/ hummus & tzatziki and tea and baklava for free. The lamb chops were amazing. And the owner was flirtatious but who doesn’t like to joke around and have a laugh ?

Hey who doesn’t like free baklava ?

NYCBallet ALL BALANCHINE

It was on Tuesday, I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to go check out the NYCBallet’s All Balanchine on Friday evening. And then a couple hours later my friend texted me and asked me if I wanted to go to the show because he had tickets.

I immediately said yes and ditched my boyfriend because I was blinded with a center orchestra seat. Ha! So shallow of me! Can you blame me?!

So my friend and I went to Lincoln center on a gloomy Friday evening. My friend used to be my formal professor in college, and afterward, we became close friends. It’s a weird relationship that we have because everyone thinks I’m his gorgeous escort or lolita or whatever.

I was so very thankful for the opportunity to come and see a New York City Ballet performance. The reason why I was interested in this particular all Balanchine performance was because I follow NYCBallet on social media, and they had a video about behind the scenes of the ballet dancers dancing to Tschaikovsky’s Pas de Deux. I didn’t know the music was supposed to be a part of Swan Lake, but Balanchine took that bit and decided to choreograph it.

I was very excited. The music that was used for the ballet performances was Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel and Tschaikovsky’s. And it was my first experience to be a spectator for a ballet performance. I didn’t know much about George Balanchine, but after watching his choreographed pieces gave me a sense of awe because of the genius mind behind it. The choreography was very symmetrical and mathematical that seemed to look like patterns from far away. It was very strictly knitted together.

My favorite of them all was, of course, Tschaikovsky’s Pas de Deux. The upbeat music that makes us feel all the adrenaline with the insane techniques! People were wowing and applauding him during and after his short solo. The music was so addictive I was humming the piece after the performance. I tried to watch some of the same performances on Youtube, even though it doesn’t do justice to the actual live performance because you can’t feel the strength and the speed of these jumps and turns. This performance on youtube is with the ballerina that I saw the other night; Ashley Bouder. TschaiPasthumbhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQn8QVyEG9Q

I couldn’t take off my eyes of these fascinating techniques, even though the Stravinsky’s music was very odd. The very last performance; Symphony in Three Movements was something else. It was so meticulously choreographed, the dancers had to be precise. Especially in the very end, all of the entire cast makes this stance, and it blew my mind because I thought it was almost looked like a modern art painting. methodetimesprodwebbin704754f2-4452-11e6-a45d-8299bb50a973SymphonyinThreeMovements-slideshow-thmb

Image sources are from the NYCBallet website.

La Boheme in Opera Bastille

I arrived in Paris at 6:00 AM on the 29th of December, and after I came at the Airbnb, I went to the Bastille Opera House in the afternoon to acquire some information regarding the “Youth tickets.”

I don’t know if that’s the correct term, but if you’re under 28 and there are seats available for that show for that day, you’re able to buy a 215€ worth orchestra ticket for 35€. All you need to do is go 30 mins before the show starts, and if they have availability, you show your ID to prove they you’re under 28 and, voila! You can see the opera. And since the Airbnb that I stayed in was ten mins walking distance from the Bastille Opera House, I was able to ask for information about the availability of the tickets and see the show!

I feel so lucky that I was able to see “La Boheme” in Paris. My words cannot express my happiness. I’ve been to the Palais Garnier Opera House but not to Bastille Opera House! And this was the inside of the Opera House. I had a pretty decent seat, and this was the view from my seat.

The background for this particular performance of “La Boheme” was in space. Rodolfo was in outer space, and as he was dying in space on the spaceship, he reminisces Mimi while slowly running out of oxygen.

At first when I read information about La Boheme in a space background… I was opposed and appalled by this bold experiment of setting the background of this most loved classic, renowned opera in space. I mean what?!?! I was highly doubtful about this bold attempt.

But when I read what the director was trying to portray about how looking at the past from the future accentuates the tragedy of the love relationship that Mimi and Rodolfo had, I fell in love with every part of this bold attempt. It did work.

Rodolfo sees Mimi, hallucinating the past, he looks at the history, sees what has happened as if it is happening in the present and Rodolfo in space, tries to touch Mimi, but he’s not able to hold her because she isn’t there. She’s the past. It was heartbreaking to see that, how the future is linked to the history that makes us miss our loved ones even more dearly.

A tenor named Benjamin Bernheim played Rodolfo, and he was terrific. As soon as he opened his mouth and started singing… It was just pure magic!

I wish I would be able to see his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House!

This blog is like a diary for me to jot down a few of my thoughts:)

Middle East Doha, Qatar

My relative lives in Qatar and I’ve been there before but it was my first time to visit a market called Souq Waqif . And oh boy I have to say, I can finally say that I’ve been to the Middle East.

The beautiful patterns of the coin wallets, lamps, the smell of cloves, the people trying to sell souvenirs saying “Nihaoma”. A little on the side note, one thing I’m glad about living in New York is that due to the large Korean population, they don’t say Hello to me in Chinese or in Japanese.

Anyways, it was really unique and interesting to experience all the different type of Arabic culture, such as Syrian, Lebanese, Pakistan, Indian, etc restaurants everywhere with the sweet scent of the smoke of sheesh(?). In the back alleys, a huge pet store, selling perfume, cloths and Arabic sweets.

Street performance of a group of men singing, the women covered in hijab and the men wearing their traditional clothing was not something I’m used to seeing everyday.

It’s now winter in Doha so it had the perfect weather, 65 F. A perfect getaway from the freezing New York.

I got to have Syrian food with my relative and I have to say, boy oh boy it was delicious. Hummus and baba ganoush and something wrapped around in grape leaves with the freshly made bread. Oh, my gooodnessssssss. It was so good and I can’t forget the mint & lemon drink; which was not too sweet and not too sour, just perfect. It was just a perfect evening to spend time with my relative with. Even though we haven’t seen each other for a long time, it felt as if we were together the whole time.

Doha was nice to visit for a couple hours. I hope to see visit again!

But first, next stop is Paris. Once again 🙂

The Famous “La Comédie Française” theatre 

When I was in Paris, I had the chance to see  Rossini’s opera “La Cenerentola” for the second time but this time with my family. The next day, we decided to go and try to get tickets to see “Cyrano de Bergerac“. 

Since my aunt is a theatre actress/professor she was thrilled to visit this particular theater. The theater has so much history to it, in fact it is actually considered to be the oldest still-active theatre in the world. When we first visited the theatre, we asked about 4~5 times for ticket availability for the show Cyrano de Bergerac. They said every ticket that they are able to sell were all sold out but they mentioned that if we wait 2 hrs before the show starts, we might be able to get tickets to see the show. That’s why couple days later my aunt was determined to wait to see this show in the historical theater.

Me and my aunt, trying to look sad and hungry while waiting

We went to the theatre La Comédie Française around 6:20 and there were already people in line. So we went in the back of the line and my aunt and I sat down on the ground to wait. The show started at 8:00 and we had no idea when the box office would sell the leftover tickets. While we were waiting my aunt and I had a very deep conversation about art and politics that I was impressed with because it was hard to ever share these type of conversations with my aunt before. It was fun waiting in line. The hour went by so quick by having a long intellectual conversation. But then all of a sudden the box office opened and we were able to get tickets!! My aunt and I were so happy we jumped around in the park next to the theatre.

We got the tickets for only 5€ each. And of course the inside of the theater was small but extremely beautiful.

And there are photos of me and my family but I don’t have their consent of sharing their faces so I’ll just put up mine. Because.. I don’t care. What are you gonna do with my photo anyways. 

We expected to have English subtitles for the show but….  noooo English subtitles unlike the opera! We couldn’t understand anything. So…. we all slept 1/2 of the Act 1 and left during the intermission. The seats were 5€ for a reason because we were at the very top of the theater and every time we fell asleep we felt this fear of falling down over the railings haha. But we were all safe and sound in the end and went back to our hotel with satisfaction. 

After all, I can finally say that I’ve fell asleep watching Cyrano de Bergerac in the famous Theater Comedie Francaise.