Elmer Blogger

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Transferring This Blog

I am planning to migrate Elmer Blogger to www.cagape.com soon.

As I have my own site ready to accommodate my blogs I have decided such move. However, Living In Hong Kong (hongkong-life.blogspot.com) will remain in Blogger.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Munich Winter

The trip to Munich started at 6.19AM as we took the Österreichse Bundesbahnen (ÖBB) train from Vienna's Westbahnhof. It was cold at -3C plus wind chills. The trip costs €29 one way (about HK$ 267) and will take four hours of travel, passing through a few stops at St. Pölten Central, Linz/D Central and Salzburg Central train stations. By 10:33AM I arrived at Munich's Hauptbahnhof.

Munich is the biggest city in southern Germany, the proud headquarters of BMW (though to SEO people BMW Germany web site made an embarassing mistake last 2 weeks) and the capital of Bavarian region. It did not take a long time to start exploring and finding out sightseeing areas, starting off with the nearby Marienplatz. The temperature seems colder than in Vienna but given the fact that I am leaving this place by next 29 hours there is little time to dilly dally.

Same as Vienna, Germany keeps its language the priority (no English options on instructions, menus, etc) and appears non-friendly to non-German speaking visitors. False, they are very friendly and even don't need to be asked for help. They have a ready weapon called "can I help you" once you're found staring at the buildings and your hand-held map five times in three seconds or appear scratching your head in confusion in the middle of the street. People generally speak English (young and old) and German words have some relationship with English and only has ä,ö,ü and ß as special characters which are not difficult to master.

Transportation is similar to Vienna, with a 3-day train pass (Einzelfahrkarten) for three persons costing €18.50 (in many EU countries, they use a comma in place of decimal symbols and use period symbol to mark thousands in currency). The ticket can be obtained on counters of underground train stations (U Bahns). This ticket can be also used on trams and buses. While everyone can easily ride the trains without paying since there are no turnstiles and people to check the tickets on entrances. But beware when undercover security agents randomly check passenger tickets. If caught without a valid ticket (you need to activate ticket on first use), you will pay a €40 fine and a bad reputation to police authorities, at least.

Winter is not the best time of the year to visit parks but nevertheless, Munich has a lot of attractions to show. The first one is the Marienplatz which is probably the heart of the city. It is dominated by the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus), a Flemish-Gothic inspired structure which features Glockenspiel, an animation of dancing characters every 11AM, 12AM and 5PM. When I arrived at the center, the animation was in progress and it gathered a large number of curious viewers, locals and foreigners alike. Nearby is the Viktualienmarkt, Munich's most popular open market, selling fruits, followers, vegetables and cheese.

One of my most desired attractions is the Olympiapark -- the venue of 1972 Munich Olympics. I read it first in a 1972 edition of Reader's Digest and is the first Olympic venue that I visited. The location in the outskirts of Munich was complemented by the futuristic BMW office headquarters across the street. The park has shown signs of aging; the tent-like roofing has some worn out sections. But many areas have been undergoing renovation. The 290-meter Olympic tower has been transformed into the "world's tallest rock museum" providing a good view of Munich and nearby areas. I got a shirt souvenir to attest to such "achievement". To go to Olympiapark, take the Olympiazentrum station of the U Bahn.

Owing to its name, the Residence is home to dukes, kings and electors of their day. It is now filled with paintings, porcelains and tapestry made by the best artists at the time. There are also several interesting structures nearby. I have toured the Schönbrunn museum in Vienna and this one is not much different. During my entire trip, I am always wondering how Europe developed a very rich culture in the past preserved through time while its counterparts from other parts of the globe were unable to do so.

I stayed at Hotel Eder at a near proximity to Hauptbahnhof. Exuding with personal touch I usually see on small coffee shops in europe, this hotel is small yet provides the basic needs of an exhausted traveler without sacrificing the wallet nor the distance to Munich's beautiful attractions. The thought of staying in a hotel popped out when the temperature seemed inhospitable enough to visitors wandering through the night. Top top those features with friendly staff, this hotel is recommended to all types of travelers.Despite the chilling cold, trip was worthwhile, exhausting the alloted 23 hours seemed far from difficult because there are many attractions to visit in this lovely European city.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Sad Continuing Trend

I am having a great time in Vienna so far. But the enjoyment has been tempered with the sad news I got about the mudslides in Leyte, Philippines. In my previous travels, there had been sort of coincidences: Beijing (Beslan massacre) and Tokyo (Pakistan quake) are two grim examples.

Friday, February 17, 2006

As Tears/Years Roll By

On this Victoria Park pavement I came walking
On a fine chilly December evening
I grabbed my phone for I have to call you
And ask how is everything going

The phone kept ringing, ringing and ringing
There has been no answer from you
In excitement my heart kept pounding
At the eighth ring, still no response from you

How can this be that you've ignored me
When just a week ago at Causeway Bay we laughed freely
Thinking that you have placed your trust in me
Your refusal to my e-mails calls and SMS has sent me into misery

Before I sing Cliff Richard's theme song
Allow me to think if I ever did something wrong
I’m so afraid to show my feelings
I have sailed a million ceilings

Remember the time when I wake you in the morning
Our movie trips to Cyberport, UA and JP Cinemas
Our church visits together I thought was the beginning
Now I realize I was just dreaming

I can only look at the photos of the happy past
When we're with friends and being together was a blast
I'd admit I fell in love with someone else
But later on I found this chance with you shall never pass

Being there for me during those trying times
You are really someone special
I spent time writing love letters for you at the Central Library
Only to find out nothing beats being vocal

I never wanted to let this thing happen
For I value you much as a friend
But the commitment was intense I prayed to God to let me be
Your steward here on Earth until my breathe's end

There were nights when we stayed late, and even once until the break of dawn
Those thoughts fill my mind for days on and on
Your time with me was very important present and past
For I do not know if the last time we're together would be our last

I love you, you don't need to ask me
You can see what I do and I've told you quite frankly
But you don't seem to feel the same way
That's why you let your phone ring all the way

Days have changed dramatically,
And as I age here in Hong Kong I feel even more isolated
Friends are everywhere but their suggestions are not answers to the questions
Nor their plans are not solutions to the problems

There were times I could not sleep at night
As you can see the evidence in my eyes
Looking at the photo album remembering the past
Realizing some things really doesn't last

I still remember our first date
On a downtown fastfood we thought it wasn't great
I loved to recall the late-night messages
When at 12 midnight or 1am, we were still both awake

Remember the time when I thought a lot of signs were pointing towards me and you
When I realize they are possibly out of coincidence and would be too good to be true
Now I crash back to reality needing to teach myself
That in life nothing should be

Do you recall that fateful evening
When I realized you caught me cheating
No amount of crying or explaining
Can help me win back the feeling

Maybe it's about time I remove our photos together
On that small yet elegant photo frame
And the images of us next to each other all these years
I have to quit playing this silly game

I thought you penned the song "Don't Speak"
For you know how I feel, when I am strong and when I am weak
Now I still do not know that as years este tears roll by
Why is there a word "good" in "goodbye"

Monday, February 13, 2006

Philippine Olympic Boxing Hero Needs Help

Do you remember Leopoldo Serrantes? If so, then good. He is the 1988 Seoul Olympic flyweight boxing bronze medallist who brought honor to the Philippines and ended the medal drought which struck the country for 24 years.

An enlisted man in the Army, he is now suffering of lung ailment and needs help. He needs a wheelchair and an oxygen tank, the Philippine Star reports. This should not be a big request from someone who used to fuel the resurgence in Philippine boxing in the Olympics. Let's remember he was the one who started what Onyok Velasco ended. In 1988 Serrantes virtually won the bronze medal by beating his third opponent, someone from Morocco. He lost the semifinals game against a Bulgarian, thereby certifying the third place honors.

In 1992, the Philippines won another bronze medal courtesy of Roel Velasco, in Barcelona, Spain.

In 1996, Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco claimed the Philippines' second Olympic silver medal ever. The first one was won by Anthony Villanueva, in Tokyo Olympics in 1964, losing to a controversial fight against a Soviet Union fighter. That was the last medal won by the Philippines until Serrantes came into the ring.

So if the Filipino people had much love for Manny Pacquiao, let this love never fade whether he is a world champion or an aging, incapacitated boxer. Aside from Pacquiao, we have other heroes. They don't want to be in the spotlight. They only need to be taken cared for in times when their bodies don't cooperate much longer.

Do I hear anything from "Pacquiao Siamese twin" Lito Atienza, Chavit Singson or Miguel Arroyo who grabbed the limelight supposed to be Manny Pacquiao? Hopefully they will.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Congratulations: Southern Mindanao Prisaa Team

Davao Region has emerged as a powerhouse in collegiate sporting scene when it finished second overall among competing private colleges and universities in the Philippines.

Had it won its finals games in women's basketball and women's volleyball, Southern Mindanao would have been the champion. Anyhow, the achievement was tremendous and I congratulate the team for the job well done.

Region Gold Silver Bronze Total
Western Visayas 71 75 61 207
Southern Mindanao 61 52 50 163
Central Visayas 47 30 56 133
Calabarzon 33 40 30 103
Region 1 (Host) 26 29 20 75
NCR North 10 0 0 10
Region 5 7 22 7 36
NCR South 6 4 1 11
Region 3 3 7 27 37
Region 12 1 4 3 8

Source: Sunstar Davao

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Another CNN typo

I visit more BBC pages and spend more time reading its news stories than CNN's. But again I found another glaring typo, this time just appearing in the homepage. Should I rename this blog as CNNwatch? CNN should look into the welfare of their editors who may be overworked and to sleepy to correct "terroism" into "terrorism".

Again I better watch my typos before I do pick on others. But I think my blog has less than ten views a day and I am not paid to proofread it. Do they say news should be accurate and factual? The news items at CNN may be factual (I am not anti-CNN) but these little misspellings bring down CNN's reputation.