It’s been a long time since I’ve pursued photographing people as a creative experiment, and I realized I’ve missed doing it. Recently I had the chance to work with a couple of people, one of whom is Allen, a young man whom I’ve had the great pleasure of photographing. What I found fascinating was for a young man of 24, he liked artists like Marina Abramovic and followed beatnik style. And the best part is that we both liked theater, even though he’s very athletic, he doesn’t believe in being stereotyped and was open to performing on stage for theater too.
Over the weekend, we got the chance to stay at a very upscale hotel in Beverly Hills, the SLS Luxury Collection Hotel. From a design perspective, the interiors were designed with a focus on fashion and current trends. I was not expecting to see an AK-47 gun or a 5 foot tall black horse as lamps in the lobby, nor the backlit poster of Penelope Cruz adorning the entire wall of the reception area on my floor as I stepped out of the elevator. For designers who love pop art and not just subtle clean design, this is a place to check out.
More than just staying at a nice hotel, we also got the chance to try out our friend’s highly recommended restaurant – Scratch. They make everything from scratch, from their butter, to their breads… not just that, but if you’re adventurous, try out the 16 course meal which the chefs will prepare for you, only letting you know what ingredients they’ll be using, and not telling you the sequence or combinations of how they’ll use the ingredients. They change their menu every month on top of that. It’s a very bold concept created by a group of chefs, there are no servers in the restaurant, and the chefs who create the dish also take the time to explain to you what their creation is.
We’re not really big wine drinkers, or any kind of alcohol for that matter, but if you’re visiting San Francisco for a couple of days and you have enough time to go to Napa and/or Sonoma, you should definitely go. Not only will you learn interesting information about different types of wine and how they’re made (plus taste all of them if you wish), but you’ll get to see the beautiful landscape too.
Believe it or not, the distance between Napa and Sonoma is just about 13 miles, 22 minutes away by driving, and yet the short distance creates a subtle difference in climate and soil – which in turn creates a huge difference in the taste the grapes produce for the wine. We’re talking about 10-20 degrees fahrenheit difference between one place to another, on any given day.
Mexico was every bit as lively as we imagined it to be. From day one, the moment we landed into the city and saw the colorful streets and houses – til we left in a hurry from Frida Khalo’s colorful home, our journey was packed with ooohs, ahhhs, and yumm. And yes, our first meal was of tacos! In retrospect, I always took for granted Mexican cuisine and only used to recognize it for tacos, but in fact their cuisine is so diverse and tasty that it’s almost underrated. I’m imagining the chapulines, moles, churros, and hand-churned chocolate shakes we encountered in our journey…
For the first time…the video came before the photos.
Mexico was just awesome. I got the chance to spend a few days with one of my sisters — (fyi, I have 5 older sisters plus 1 brother, all from the same mum and dad!). Our days started early and we had a great breakfast spread every day. I particularly loved the super sweet papayas we had every morning, and the fresh guava juice which was a refreshing change from the typical OJ. It felt to me like we were treated like royalty since really good service and hospitality is hard to come by in the US. But hey I’m from the Philippines, one of the countries where hospitality is a big thing that drives tourism so my perspective might be biased.
One great thing that came out from my experience was that I’ve loved Mexican food more through the trip. It was here I got to try the móle, a savory chocolate sauce which is a specialty from Puebla, and some really fresh and crispy tacos in Coyoacán. I’m already drooling now as I’m remembering our time there.
Before I dive into all of my experiences in Mexico, just check out the video first and see our journey through Taxco, Cuernavaca, Xochimilco, Puebla, Cholula, and of course Mexico City 🙂