Friday, October 24, 2014

The Bridges of Love in Paris - #ParisFrance, #lovelocks

Walking along the Seine, I spotted a bridge with what looked like a million locks clamped on the sides. The next day I also stumbled on still another bridge with padlocks. I saw couples holding padlocks and looking for their special place on the bridge on which to attach their locks.  The custom is for lovers to lock padlocks on the bridge and throw away the key. This symbolizes their undying love.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Cuenco Cousins in Paris #Cuenco, #CebuPhilippines, #ParisFrance

 It was strange that the four of us cousins would be together in Paris. While we had been close as children, we became absorbed in our own lives and didn't see much of one another. Then suddenly there we were, enjoying Paris in October.

It was Celine Gonzalez Conejos who learned I was in Paris and arranged a meeting at Les Deux Magots for dinner.

My cousins in Paris were: Manny Gonzalez and his sister Celine, and Chickie Reyes Feraren.  Our mothers were sisters, daughters of Mariano Jesus Cuenco and Filomena Alesna.  The black and white confirmation picture shows Chickie in the center holding a little boy who's Manny. I'm the girl on the far right. Our mothers are in the back row. Chickie's Mom is third from the left, and Manny and Celine's Mom is fourth from the left; my mother is fifth from the left. (Celine was not yet born.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Southern California: JOHN ALLEN, Candidate for Water Replenishment District 3

As many of you know, California has been suffering from a serious drought for years, and water conservation is of paramount importance.

Our Guest Blogger is John Allen, Long Beach Water Commissioner, who's a candidate for Water Replenishment District, Division 3.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Germany: Heidelberg, Jose Rizal, and A Las Flores de Heidelberg

 Cecilia within the Castle of Heidelberg grounds

I visited Heidelberg, Germany on October 18, 2014, knowing that the place had influenced the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. From the time I was a child, Jose Rizal was held up as the epitome of what the Good Filipino could be. Called a Renaissance man, he was a doctor, writer, sculptor, painter, educator, historian, and nationalist, who was martyred by the Spanish colonizers.

Gate within the Castle of Heidelberg grounds

Thoughts on Turkey and Kobani, #Kobani, #Kobane #Turkey #IS

The government of Turkey has disappointed me greatly.

Turkey forced a righteous US vice-president to apologize for a truth he said, this despite the fact that foreign jihadists themselves say they have used Turkey as their entry point. Further, Jihadists have established a market for stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil in Turkey

Pretending to be neutral in the matter of Kobani, Turkey has been supporting IS by blocking off the only corridor left for the defenders and people of Kobani. There are many eye witnesses who state that IS jihadists have free entry and find refuge in Turkey, including an American-Lebanese woman media person who reported on this matter and mysteriously died after being accused of spying and threatened. In plain view of the media, Turks maltreated Kurds who have been desperate in trying to save Kobani.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Frankfurt, Germany: Dinner with Dr. Michaela Keck

 In Frankfurt, Germany, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Michaela Keck, from the Institute of English and American Studies at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany.

Michaela and I had never met before, but we had such an easy time together and ended up talking for hours, until the cafe closed in fact.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Berlin, Germany: Book Launch "Freundschafy" on German-Filipino Friendship

l-r: Marily Orosa, Cecilia Brainard, Dr. Isagani Cruz, Medy Cruz

Cecilia Brainard with Senator Serge Osmena

My friend, Marily Orosa, launched a coffee table book (Freundshaft) in Berlin, Germany. Edited by Isagani Cruz, this beautiful book celebrates 60 years of Philippine-German friendship. Contact Marily Orosa at for more information about the book.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Train and Airplane Strike in Germany! - Cecilia's Update #2, #BerlinGermany

No, no,no!  This can't be happening! When I arrived Paris, there was a train strike. Now that I'm in Berlin, there's a train AND airplane strike.

I'm stunned and don't quite know what to think. We're supposed to take the train to Frankfurt and fly home in a few days.  Hmmm.....

Travel: Berlin, Germany- Cecilia's Update #1

Check Point Charlie

I'm in Berlin, Germany, dear Readers having arrived from Paris yesterday.

The place is full of history, and I have lots of pictures so I'm going do several entries about this city. Today was a nice day in Berlin -- no rain, clear sky, but the city has a certain "gray" quality. The Philippine Embassy Attache, Ms. Nelma Jose-Casas, talked of how some personnel at the Philippine Embassy get depressed in Berlin.  I thought that was interesting.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Travel: Eiffel Tower Madness! #ParisFrance

To me the Eiffel Tower is very photogenic. Every time I visit Paris, I go crazy and take many pictures of this cultural icon of France.  Here are a few pictures. 

I love how the intricate metal work gives a lace effect. I love that this structure had been new and that some had reviled it in 1889, but that the French integrated it with their old structures, saying to the effect that one day it too would get old.  They said they same thing aboaut the pyramid in the Louvre.  

Travel: Goodbye Paris for Now #ParisFrance

Dear Readers,
It was a full day today, my last day in Paris. We visited the Arc de Triomph, and afterwards, walked along Champs Elysees. From there we went to the Eiffel Tower and went up for a last view of all of Paris. It was a perfect October fall day to do so -- no rain, a bit brisk but very pleasant.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Paris Flea Market - Marche Aux Puces Saint-Ouen

Paris was rainy and gray last Sunday, the day my cousins and I went shopping at the Marche Aux Puces Saint-Ouen. This famous Paris landmark clams to be the largest flea market in the world. Established in 1870, it consists of 2,500 stalls in various buildings over a sprawling area east of Paris.

October Saturday in Paris - #ParisFrance

I had a very busy Saturday in Paris which started with a some sightseeing with Marily Orosa and Medy Cruz. After checking out the Notre Dame and surroundings, we went to Les Editeurs (4 Carrefour de L'Odeon, 75006) where we had lunch with the writer Bonnie Arcache Melvin. Les Editeurs is a favorite hangout for Paris publishers and other literary people. The restaurant has bookshelves filled with books given to the restaurant by their literary patrons.  The downstairs area feels like most other Cafes in Paris, but the second story has a cozy feeling like a study.  That's where we had our lovely lunch.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Paris: Dinner at Les Deux Magots with Cuenco Cousins

My first cousins, Chickie Feraren, Manny Gonzalez, and Celine Conejos, happened to be vacationing in Paris, and we had a wonderful reunion. We had dinner at Les Deux Magots, famous for having been the hangout of Ernest Hemingwary, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Albert Camus and other intellectuals. 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Notre Dame Madness! #ParisFrance

Today's blog entry shows pictures of one of the most famous Gothic Cathedrals in the world: Notre Dame de Paris, built in the 12th century, with subsequent additions. 

The Notre Dame is very photogenic. Like the Eiffel Tower, I can never get enough pictures of it. Here are some pictures showing it in different angles. Note the details like the gargoyles, flying buttresses, spires, saints, and so on. The cathedral sits on one end of an island in the middle of the Seine. It is simply gorgeous.

Click on the picture to make it big.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Arrondissements and More About Paris - #ParisFrance

Dear Readers,
I accidentally deleted my most recent blog entry. I'll try to recreate it now.

I was talking about how in my past visits to Paris I usually took the metro which is fast, efficient, economical and easy to figure out.  My complaint about the metro is that I don't see the landmarks of Paris.  I go down, ride the metro, and surface near my destination, like a pop-up mole.

Train Strike in Paris - Day 1 in #ParisFrance

 I made it to Paris, dear Readers, and am recuperating in my hotel room. First there was a 5-plus-hour flight from LAX to Montreal, followed by a 6-hour flight from Montreal to Paris. There was a harrowing moment when the plane in Montreal was delayed docking or parking because of something or other. When the plane finally opened its doors, a whole group of connecting passengers flew out of there. It wasn't just a matter of going to another gate either because you had to go through some kind of border control, which added to the delay. Fortunately, my connecting plane waited for us.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Coming Up: Paris, Berlin, Heidelberg, Wilhemsfeld #Travel

Dear Readers,
I'll be visiting Paris, Berlin, Heidelberg, and Wilhemsfeld, and I hope to blog about those places. If I have difficulty uploading to this blog, I'll post in my FaceBook site:

Cecilia Brainard -

In Paris, on Thursday night, October 9, I plan to be at the Open Mic reading at Culture Rapide, 103 Rue Julien Lacroix, 75020, around 8 p.m.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

With Friends like Turkey, Who Needs Enemies? #Kobani #NATO #Turkey

"Turkish Inaction on ISIS Advance Dismays the U.S." - The New York Times

"This isn't how a NATO ally acts while hell is 

 unfolding a stone's throw from their border," 

said the official...."

 Two Kurdish women who fought against ISIL in Kobani and who died bravely.

Kurdish mother Nasreen, left 2 children behind and died fighting against ISIS in Kobane.
  Arin Mirkin, a Kurdish female fighter suicide bomber attacks IS in Kobane

Read also
Battle between ISIS and Syrian Kurds for Kobani sparks unrest in Turkey

Turkish police clash with demonstrators near border with Kobani

UN Envoy on Kobani: Don't let another city fall to ISIS

Check updates by Jenan Moussa on twitter

This is all for now,

Monday, October 6, 2014

The World Supports KOBANI, Syria! #Kobani

From by Jenan Moussa Twitter #Kobane:
Kurdish activist Mustafa Bali inside tells me: Reports ISIS inside city are false. I am still in Kobane; YPG as motivated as ever.

There is worldwide support for Kobani:

 London at Trafalgar Square
New York City, Union Square

Santa Monica, California: Great Eggs Benedict at Spitfire Grill Restaurant

My husband is an eggs benedict aficionado and is constantly looking for restaurants that serve good eggs benedict.  He swears the Moonstone Grill in Cambria serves the best egg benedict.

We recently had brunch at the Spitfire Grill in Santa Monica and he enjoyed their eggs benedict, although I think he still rates Moonstone Grill on top. I had crab cake benedict, and I enjoyed it. There were two thick "crabby" cakes with eggs and rich hollandaise sauce on top.

The Spitfire Grill is located within the Santa Monica airport complex. We were there on Sunday and there were many people having brunch/lunch there.

 Read also

Tags: Spitfire Grill, restaurant, cafe, food, airport, Santa Monica, California, Southern California, Westside
This is all for now,

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Turkey, the World is Watching You Regarding Kobani in Syria #Kobani

Turkey, so-called NATO member, while you watch KOBANI
the world is watching YOU!

From Twitter #Kobani -10/5/14

"A female #YPG fighter named Arin Markin carried out a suicide bomb attack on an #ISIS tank close to #Kobani today after running out of ammo."

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Syria: SAVE KOBANI #Kobani

My thoughts and prayers are with the Defenders of Kobani.
Email your US legislators to help them!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Literary Cats Going to France and Germany?

 Oh, no! My Literary Cats, Che and Tesla, think they're going to France and Germany! Tesla is reading the tour book on France; and the two of them are deciding which cat food to pack.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Day with Susan Brooks, American Peace Corps Volunteer to Bago, Negros, Philippines

 Susan Brooks, who recently completed her two-year service to the American Peace Corps, visited Santa Monica, California.  Susan served in Bago, Negros, Philippines. The pictures show us at Chez Jay Restaurant, Versailles Restaurant, Tongva Park, and the Santa Monica Pier.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Islamic State: How Evil Flourishes & The Power of the Media

I have two thoughts in my head this morning. The first has to do with how evil flourishes or is allowed to grow; and the second is that the media is powerful and can influence people's minds.

I'm really think about the Islamic State (or ISIL, ISIS, IS).

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marina del Rey, California: Eddie's Italian Restaurant

 Eddie's Italian Restaurant is another favorite restaurant of ours, nothing fancy, but just good Italian food. We love their veal piccata, shrimp el diablo, linguine with clams, fried calamari, and caesar salad.  As soon as you sit down, they serve a large basket of bread and a mound of garlic nesting in olive oil. Hmmm.... delicious.

They don't serve liquor but you can bring your own, and there's no corkage fee.

Eddie's is located at 4001 Lincoln Boulevard, Marina Del Rey, California. You can also order food to go.