Monday, April 30, 2012

Weird Restaurant, Taipei

In the Restaurant called Modern Toilet of Taipei, nothing is what it seems, or better yet what you see is not the reality.  Although you see the diners seated on bath seats or the tables seem to be washroom sinks, they are not eating in a bathroom facility but in an authentic restaurant with a theme inspired on bathrooms at the time that they designed the sitting room.

The ambience is similar to a giant service room  that has more than 100 toilet seats, whereas the tables are made of glass and there are urinals along the walls.

Image:  Fun Fever
Want to know more?  the plates are small spittoons and the drinks are served in urinals!!!  And so it could not be otherwise that  toilet paper is used for cleaning your mouths.

Image:  Fun Fever
Image:  Fun Fever
I first learned about this restaurant, when my nephew with his wife shared the picture of their eating experience in one of their trips to Taiwan on occasion of the wedding of their friends.

Toilet Story started from  a group of “muckrakers” following their dreams.  Here is their story:  It all started when one of us was reading the manga, Dr. Slump on the toilet – and the rest is history. In the beginning, we mainly sold ice cream – a big pile of chocolate ice cream sold in containers shaped like a squat toilet. This humorous spin became a great success.After much planning from all of our partners, we finally took the first step towards realizing our dreams in May 2004 with the launch of the “Marton Restaurant”. The restaurant immediately caused a stir in Taiwan with its humorous “out-there” design. At the start, many people peered in at the restaurant trying to figure out what we were selling – then had a big smile on their face when they finally worked it out. By continuing to come up with great ideas and making improvements on old ones, we have expanded over the past few years from just ice cream into a fully-fledged theme restaurant with stores all over Taiwan. Our stores have also won the support of devoted fans as well. Future Business Philosophy and Direction To expand the variety of our stores, in April 2006 all Marton restaurants around Taiwan changed their names to “Modern Toilet Restaurant”. In the future, a greater range of washroom facilities will greet new customers and old friends alike. We will also continue to do our best to surprise and entertain everyone! Your comments are welcome! Source: Modern Toilet.

Here are the pictures:




Source of information:  The most unusual restaurants in the world.
Source of images:  Modern Toilet.

I know that there are weird restaurants, but this so far for me is the weirdest and the most unappetizing place to go for food or drink.  Simply disgusting for me. Eating is not only for the good of its taste but also the presentation should  be catching the eyes before even savoring the food.  But then we live in a free world...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Gourmet Markets in Madrid

Something you really should get your head around if you are going to Madrid is the hora del aperitivo. This is the hour (or two, or three), some time after noon, that the Madrilenians like to devote to having a civilised drink, preferably accompanied by a few tasty morsels to sharpen up the appetite, before the main event of lunch. Although this custom is as traditional as it gets, one of the best and buzziest places to experience it is the Mercado de San Miguel (, the gourmet market that opened in May 2009. Right by the Plaza Mayor, the dainty ironwork structure dates back to 1916 and housed a neighbourhood food market until a couple of years ago.   Source:  Simon Seeks.  Source of Image:  Ron's photos.

The iron structure that still remains today was built between 1913 and 1916, inspired by other European markets, such as Les Halles of Paris. The 1,200 square meters of today’s market sell Spanish specialties, from gambas to jamón to regional wines. But really, it transcends the national: there is a sushi stand and a Mexican section too. No matter what kind of food you like, you will find only the best of the best here. So make sure to come hungry.  Source: Vagabondish.

While there are still a few fruit and vegetable stalls, the aisles are now lined with chichi shops and bars where you can try a few slivers of marbled ham, half a dozen oysters or maybe some chunks of crystally mature Manchego cheese, along with a glass of wine, sherry or beer. The purist’s choice of aperitivo, however, is draught red vermouth, topped up with a dash of soda water – and there is an excellent one on offer here. Order white anchovies in vinegar to go with it, and you will feel as Madrilenian as Penélope Cruz. Source:  Simon Seeks.

San Anton Market, located in the neighborhood of Chueca, is the last renewed market in Madrid.

They have taken sustainability seriously by adding solar panels and materials that care about the environment.
On the first floor you can buy organic products, fruits and vegetables, cheeses from around the world, fish, meat, bread…

The second floor is reserved for Italian and Japanese cuisine, seafood, cakes and chocolates, juices... and tapas!

On the third floor there is a restaurant, La Cocina de San Antón, which allows you to choose any kind of food from the market and they'll cook it for you. You can have your food inside the restaurant or on its terrace acclimated for winter and summer. They have a menu too so that you can order directly. Source:  London Wishes.

Last Wednesday, a new gourmet market has been inaugurated in Paseo de la Habana, Madrid.  It is called  Isabela Gourmet Market.  Its owner and Director, Isabel López, says that "it is not a market".  Actually, it is a gastronomic space of 3,000 m2, where one can  eat or buy food ready to go, and everything that is sold is pre-cooked.  At present, there are 36 different stalls selling Peruvian, Japanese, and Mexican food, beer and wine and products such as ham, oysters, hamburgers, foie and codfish among other products. 

Its peculiarity is that each stall sells its products in exclusive, that means to say, that nobody can sell food that others already have.  It is curious to note that there is one that caters to products made from goose such as omelettes, ham and sausage.

A new concept of markets.  I have gone to the San Miguel and San Anton Markets and tapas were good and affordable.  If what you want is a variety of tapas to choose from, these places are where you should go.

Source of images:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Priceless Historical Anecdote... 1892

This happened in 1892, a true and part of a biography

A man of about 70 years was travelling on a train, having beside him a young University man that was then reading a Science book .  The gentleman, on the other hand, was reading a book with a black cover.   The young man noticed that it dealt with the Bible and it was opened on the words of Saint Mark, the Evangelist.

Without further ado, the lad interrupted the reading of the old man and asked:

- Sir,  do you still believe in that book full of fables and stories?

- Yes, and besides, it is not a storybook, it is the Word of God.  Am I right? - Well, of course it is.    Sir, I think that you should read the Universal History. You would see that the French Revolution, that happened more than 100 years ago, demonstrated the shortsightedness of religion.  Only the people without culture, are still believing that God made the world in 6 days.  Sir, you must know a little more what our Scientists say about all that.

- And... is that the same as what our scientists say about the Bible?
- Well, since I am getting off in the next stop, I have no time to explain it to you, but give me your card with your address so I can mail you  the scientific materials by post  as soon as possible.  The old man, therefore, with a lot of patience, opened carefully the right pocket of his bag and handed the card to the young man. As soon as he read what was written thereof, he left with his head down, feeling worse than an ameoba.  The card read:

Professor Doctor Louis Pasteur
Director General of the Institute of Scientific Investigations
National University of France

A little of science separates us from God.
A lot, keeps us close to Him.

... Dr. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

P.S.:  The best pleasure of an intelligent person is to appear like an idiot, before an idiot that looks intelligent.

Louis Pasteur was the 19th century giant of microbiology who proved the germ-theory of disease and invented the rabies vaccine. His humility certainly did not hinder his greatness and his commitment to science did not preclude his belief in God.

Whether this story is true or not, I cannot tell, but it was written about him that:

Louis Pasteur did not deny religion, but was compelled to say that, "religion has no more place in science than science has in religion." The role of religion in his mind was clear:

"In each one of us there are two men, the scientist and the man of faith or of doubt. These two spheres are separate, and woe to those who want to make them encroach upon one another in the present state of our knowledge! "  Source:  Pasteur Brewing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Endemic Birds of the Philippines

Aside from flowers, I love colorful birds. In the Philippines, these are some of the our endemic birds.

Image from  A Birder's Blog

Guaiabero (Bolbopsittacus lunulatus
is a common endemic bird in forest and forest edge below 1000 m.It s a small green parrot with a short tail, blackish bill,yelowish rump and blue or yelow collar.It´s usually found singly,in pairs or in groups feeding on a tree.It flies very fast and it´s commonly seen in Subic.

Image from  A Birder's Blog

Red-crested Malkoha
is another endemic and common bird seen frequently in lowland forest and forest edge.It has a typical black plumage,red crest and pea green bill.It usually appears singlyor in small groups in the understorey, skulking in dense foliage and vines.In Subic you can see it on the forest and quite often near the main roads.

 Image and text from  A Birder's Blog

Philippine Pigmy woodpecker
is a small endemic and common woodpecker that inhabit lowland and montane forest and edge.It´s the smallest Philipine woodpecker and it´s unmistakable because of its size and streaked underparts.It travels on mixed flocks foraging up branches and trees.They usually appears near the main road of Subic early in the morning.

 Image and text from  A Birder's Blog
Red-bellied Pitta is a shy and inconspicuous pitta that inhabits forest and secondary growth usually below 1000 m. It ´s dark blue on the upperparts and has a red belly.It appears on or near the ground and it s very vocal at certain times of the year, singing on exposed rocks or stumps or high up in the trees.

 Image and text from  A Birder's Blog

Indigo-Banded Kingfisher
is another great and beautiful endemic kingfisher.It´s n uncommon bird restricted to clear freshwater streams up to 1500m.It looks like Common Kingfisher but it has a darker head,wings and tail and a bluish breast band.It perches on rocks or on branches.It flies quitely and very fast.It can be seen in MBA gardens in Mount Makiling.

 Image and text from  A Birder's Blog

Wattled Broadbill,
is the only broadbill that you can find in the Philippines.This endemic bird inhabits in Bohol, Leyte, Samar and Mindanao.It´s uncommon and local in forest understory below 1000m.It´s unmistakable.It usually appears solitary sitting still on exposed perch or travelling in groups with a mixed flock.

Image and text from Philippine Inquirer

The Pinsker’s hawk-eagle
is endemic to the Philippines and known to thrive in the subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest. It belongs to the Acciptridae family and is considered threatened because of the loss of its natural habitat.   
This white and fluffy Pinsker’s hawk-eagle chick is the first of its species bred and hatched in captivity at the Philippine Eagle Foundation in Davao City. Its sex will be known only within the next five years. It’s classified “valuable” because its small population is rapidly decreasing. Superimposed at right is its mother hawk-eagle who goes by the code name FAMSG captured in Maguindanao. Photo courtesy of Philippine Eagle Foundation.

The above are some of the selected avian treasures of the Philippines.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bullfighter's regret

The above photo has been circulating on the internet, with claims that it is Alvaro Munera Builes, a Colombian animal rights activist who in his youth fought as a novice bullfighter under the name "El Pilarico" in Colombia and then Spain, where he completed 22 bullfights. However, others like Fiskeharrison in his blog questions the veracity of the identity of the person as portrayed.
The picture seems to show the collapse of the bullfighter Alvaro Munera as his conscience overcame him in the middle of his last bullfight... as to the injustice to the animal.

The picture says:  "Suddenly I looked at the bull.  It had that innocence .... that all animals have in their eyes and it looked back at me as if imploring. There was a cry of justice, very, very profound within me.  I describe it like a prayer, because if one confesses one has the hope of being forgiven.  I felt like the worst shit there was in the world".

In 1984 a bull called ‘Terciopelo’, from the breed of Marqués de Villagodio, caught him in the foot and tossed him across the ring, fracturing his fifth cervical vertebrae, along with other injuries, rendering him paraplegic. He was transferred from Spain to a recuperative facility in Miami to be closer to his relatives in Colombia. There, the doctors, nurses, other patients and their families treated him with contempt due to the source of his injuries. In his own words, he converted to their point of view because “there are more of them, they must be right.”

Now After having killed 150 bulls, and  paraplegic, he is part of the organization Fuerza Anticrueldad Unida por la Naturaleza de los Animales (Fauna) in defense of animals and  became a councilman in Medellin in 1997 where he engaged in promoting the rights of the disabled.

Whatever the truth is, the fact still remains that there is hope for one who admits his mistakes and acts in consequence to his conscience.

Source of  information and image:  Wikipedia,  The Last Arena

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Meal Project - Sally Davies

Why We're Scared Of Happy Meals

By Kristian Laliberte
Art & Culture Refinery 29
New York, USA
Aug 26, 2010 4:00 PM

It's pretty much conventional wisdom that you don't head to McDonald's for a healthy treat. And, if you've seen Fast Food Nation, you'll know that the chain's offerings have got a whole lot of icky ingredients. Though we don't really like to think about that while munching on a Big Mac, NYC artist Sally Davies did, creating the Happy Meal art project that provides evidence that Mickey D's food really is the worst shiz you can put in your body. Davies took a Happy Meal sized burger and fries, put it on her living room table, and as Bravo says, decided to "watch what happens." She photographs said meal every day, and 137 days into the project (with no end in sight), the results are remarkable in the fact that they're really unremarkable. To our eyes, the burger and fries look exactly on the same on day 1 as on day 137. (As published Aug 26, 2010).

Today,  Davies  celebrates the second year anniversary of what is known as "'Happy Meal Project', by distributing in internet the daily photos that she takes of  the bread, meat and fries that she acquired 730 days ago.

Until now, the only changes observed is that the bread has become dry and broken into two in some parts, while the hamburger meat, after the first few days, became like a "stone" and had shrunk a little bit,  whereas the French fries maintained almost the same appearance.

Davies, in this way, defends that the food has experimented certain dehydration but has not initiated the process of putrefaction, indicating its poor nutritional values observing that  "the food does not rot nor decay with the passing of time".

Davies began her artistic career as a painter for more than three decades and her paintings have appeared in various tv series, like "Sex in New York", although her huge step in photography started more than 15 years ago.

Source:  El April 11, 2012.

I wonder how this will affect the burger sales from fast foods chains like McDonald's or Burger King.  We will probably hear about this topic from the nutritionists sooner than we expect.  But in the meantime, do not be hungry yet.

The real question asked is: why don't the buns mold? That's the really scary part, since healthy bread begins to mold within days. What could possibly be in McDonald's hamburger buns that would ward off microscopic life for more than two decades?

No normal animal will perceive a McDonald's hamburger bun as food, and as it turns out, neither will bacteria or fungi. To their senses, it's just not edible stuff. That's why these bionic burger buns just won't decompose.  Source:  Natural News

Monday, April 9, 2012

Unique Flowers from Thailand

Every year during the first weekend in February, Thailand celebrates itss the Chiangmai Flower Festival. This is Thailand's greatest flower show, featuring a parade of floats made with colorful flowers, beautiful Thai and hill tribe girls in traditional dress, a Miss Chiangmai Flower Festival beauty contest and loads of exotic plants and flowers on display.The city is awash with vibrant colors ranging from the electric orange and lilac colors of the bougainvillea to the velvety blossoms of petunias in all shades of pink, white and purple. The strident red of the poinsettias, bought by many at Christmas and New Years, is echoed by beds of scarlet salvias. Homes and shop owners alike line the city streets with colorful flower boxes. The sheer profusion of color that the flower festival and carnival brings to Chiangmai aptly gives the city its name “Rose of the North”. On all three days of the festival, prize blooms are on display at Suan Buak Haad near the city center. Every type of flower, miniature tree and orchid is put on display for the judges to choose the best of the species. Landscape specialists put on an elaborate display, which includes patios and waterfalls with exotic decorative plants and flowers.
Source:  All Thailand Experiences

Some of their native flowers are:

1) Bat flower white and Bat flower black: A very unusual species with black bat shaped flowers up to 12" across, and long 'whiskers' that can grow up to 28". Tacca chantrieri grow wild in the tropical forest  where they can get as tall as 36". These beautiful flowers grow best in well-drained soil and high humidity.  Source:  Van Bourgondiens' website.

2)   The Plumeria Tree-  The plumeria, or frangipani, is a flowering shrub or small tree which grows in tropical climates. The plant produces white, yellow, pink or red flowers that range from two to four inches across. The flower is fragrant and waxy with five petals, each tucked under one of its neighboring petals and layered above the other. The leaves are large and leathery, growing up to 20 inches long and 3 inches wide. The plant needs a frost free environment to survive.FloriData: Plumeria spp. Common Species: Plumeria rubra; Plumeria obtusa; Plumeria pudica       

The Plumeria Metallica Thai
3) Parrot Flower, "Impatiens psittacina". Known to the people of Thailand as "Dork Nok Khaew". Impatiens psittacina Facts: Size: Plant grows to app. 6 feet (1.8) meters Leaf : Broad, sharply pointed, to 2 1/2 inches (6 cm) Flower size: App. 2 inches (5cm) Stem thickness: To 1/2 inch (1.5cm) Bloom season: October/November in Thailand Growing conditions: Tropical, humid, and moist. Source:  The Exotic Rain Forest.

Added to the wonderful collection of their orchids, Thailand, I would say is a beautiful country of flowers.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Week Celebration in the world

Spain celebrates Easter Week much more than most European countries. During the whole of Semana Santa, (Holy Week), street processions are organised in most Spanish towns each evening, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

People carry statues of saints around on floats or wooden platforms, and an atmosphere of mourning - which can seem quite oppressive to onlookers - and the Easter week processions end with Easter Sunday, a day full of light and colour when church and cathedral bells are heard ringing throughout the country.

In some of the processions, marchers wear clothes reminiscent of the klu klux klan. Infact their clothes are meant to depict the Nazareños, people from Nazareth. The religious fraternities and brotherhoods are responsable for carrying the statues and organising the penitents and musicians. The Nazareños follow the people who carry the floats bearing sculptures and models of biblical scenes.
The people who carry the weight of the floats are called "costaleros" and are expected the carry these "thrones" with solemnity and grace. They use a small cushion, "costal" to protect themselves from getting sores from the wood rubbing against their skin during the long processions.
The most famous Easter celebrations are held in various Andalusian towns, Valladolid, Toledo, Segovia, Burgos, Zamora and Cuenca.
Source of text:    Euroresidents.  Source of images:  El País.

Here are some photos of the celebration.

Triana Bridge, Seville
Alhambra, Granada

Penitent, Seville

Friday, April 6, 2012

Original houses

Here are some absurd houses, although others may call them original.


If you do not want any visitors, you can just cut off the wires. While ordinary people would likely use trees to surround their houses, but when you are weird, you use huge stones. Creepy, creepy, creepy.


Just the mere sound of the cracking of a branch will drive me nuts!
And that car, how did they manage to  get it  in there?


The tree below while the flowers on top, this is not too bad. But imagine having to go home to a place like the picture on the right after a long day's work!
Not when there is a hurricane, thank you.  And who cares for humidity?


My son loves bridges and he takes delight in taking pictures of different kinds of bridges, but I am sure he would think twice before buying a house like this. And my daughter will  certainly be "chilled" with the idea of living in an iceberg house like the one pictured above.

Ridiculous houses but highly imaginative, I would say.

Source:  Somebody with a tremendously powerful imagination.