Mr. Wanderlust


This Tumblr owner is Vince
Traveling the world like a prince.
Always living to learn
Enjoying life at every turn
So follow my life and all things since
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ask me anything / Seldom Reblogging
>>>Instagram: nihaovince
 photo Egypt.jpg

Smooching in Syria


[ Souq Al-Hamidiyah, Damascus, Syria ]
Study Abroad Semester Fall 2010 

Show a little more skin, separate and lift the girls, and make those longing puppy-dog eyes. It’s no surprise that some women can flirt their way to get a few perks out of life, namely a free drink at a bar or access to a VIP lounge. But would she kiss someone to get her way? Well I have. For free goods, surprised? Join the club.

Let’s backtrack in this story. I first met “Peter” (not his real name) at a Turkish style bath house a few days prior to our kiss at his market stall. Hold your breath, before you gasp, a “bath house” in the Middle East is for actual washing and bathing, nothing sexual or raunchy or else this would be a completely different sort of story.

I digress. Like most Syrians, he demonstrated great hospitality towards me, a tourist, and after he gave my (actual) backside a thorough scrubbing with a loofah at the bathhouse, he generously offered a tour of Damascus in his car. Risky? Very much so, but I was already visiting the country flying solo, so #YOLO right? So I did.

We agreed to meet again at his store in the famed Souk Al-Hamidiyah a few days later and upon arrival I was content to see that his space had a plethora of souvenir type of items to choose from. Much to my surprise (but perhaps I shouldn’t have been), he dumped multiple items into my hands such as embroidered tapestries, jewelry boxes made of wood and mother-of-pearl, and cashmere scarves among others. I insisted I did not have adequate cash on hand nor do I have the space to bring them back to Egypt to which he responded, “If we are true friends, you will take them as gifts”. My first impulse was to shrug off his generosity and I attempted to pay the price, but again, I was told to take them as gifts, which still made me uncomfortable. Finally, he face lit up having found a compromise. With his index finger, he pointed to his lips, which was now puckered and pursed. He said, “True friends kiss”. My mind raced. What? No they don’t. Not on the lips - though the men in the Middle East do traditionally greet each other with cheek kisses, certainly nothing on the lips. If you haven’t guessed by now, yes, in the moment I gave in and leaned in and *smooch* lips to lips. As I was walking away from the market, I came away with a treasure trove of items but I felt a little (a lot)…icky.

Kiss

And that my friends was the only “guy action” I received all semester studying abroad. Admittedly, the Middle East is hardly a paradise for gay boys but I will always have this story, Peter, and his very very very free goods.

P.S. In the pictures, I’m the one with the orange backpack…

California lovin’. Can I move here already?

California lovin’. Can I move here already?

Green Ram Temple in Chengdu, Sichuan, China
[青羊宫 “Qing Yang Gong”]How very sense-arousing Chinese temples are these days. In one, you might hear the pious chanting of bald monks, clutching on to prayer beads, robed in the most vibrant orange. In another, you might smell the pungent burning candles and floral incense used for prayers and offerings. Maybe, you will find yourself in a zen-like state as you take in the tranquil flower gardens, peruse the temple grounds, or interact with the turtles, overcrowding the ponds. To my bemusement (or to the delight for others), you can find a meal at the vegetarian restaurants connected to the temples, or better yet a Starbucks - if you want to get your white-girl on. For those that are exceptionally lucky, you might even encounter a monk driving into the temple grounds in a black two-door Mercedes-Benz with chrome rims, chatting it up on his new iPhone before he starts his religious duties. 
Regardless of what you encounter, temples in China are representative of the rich cultures and longstanding traditions in China. Whether it be a Buddhist, Taoist, or Confucian temple, each one serves as a historical, architectural, cultural, and religious gem. Beware: It is easy to get desensitized to temple-touring because many temples have numerous and striking parallels. Furthermore, others may be cheaply restored (over use of not-so-authentic concrete everywhere). Don’t let these distractions take away from the architectural beauty and tranquil ambiance of it all. So everyone reading this, go get your temple on.  

Green Ram Temple in Chengdu, Sichuan, China

[青羊宫 “Qing Yang Gong”]

How very sense-arousing Chinese temples are these days. In one, you might hear the pious chanting of bald monks, clutching on to prayer beads, robed in the most vibrant orange. In another, you might smell the pungent burning candles and floral incense used for prayers and offerings. Maybe, you will find yourself in a zen-like state as you take in the tranquil flower gardens, peruse the temple grounds, or interact with the turtles, overcrowding the ponds. To my bemusement (or to the delight for others), you can find a meal at the vegetarian restaurants connected to the temples, or better yet a Starbucks - if you want to get your white-girl on. For those that are exceptionally lucky, you might even encounter a monk driving into the temple grounds in a black two-door Mercedes-Benz with chrome rims, chatting it up on his new iPhone before he starts his religious duties.

Regardless of what you encounter, temples in China are representative of the rich cultures and longstanding traditions in China. Whether it be a Buddhist, Taoist, or Confucian temple, each one serves as a historical, architectural, cultural, and religious gem. 

Beware: It is easy to get desensitized to temple-touring because many temples have numerous and striking parallels. Furthermore, others may be cheaply restored (over use of not-so-authentic concrete everywhere). Don’t let these distractions take away from the architectural beauty and tranquil ambiance of it all. So everyone reading this, go get your temple on.  

Because condoms in China come in stylish “Love Boxes”. I may or may not have had a collection… Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool!

Because condoms in China come in stylish “Love Boxes”. I may or may not have had a collection… Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool!

thatasiannicole asked: Hi there Vince! You're blog is amazing. I love reading your adventures in China! I'm overly excited as I want to travel the world like you. Got any tips/ advice for a young one like me? Ps. I'm Filipino too :) hehe

Thanks for the kind words! I greatly appreciate it : )
My advice is to travel any chance you get and make opportunities for yourself to do so.

A good way to start is through your school (my high school had a senior service trip to Nicaragua) and there are many more offered on a college level. And remember, there are scholarships and research projects that will fund your travels with some work!
Best of luck and let me know what happens and if you have any more questions. Cheers to you new traveler!

Getting this Snapchat from your future boyfriend *melt*. Word play is like foreplay with me…

Getting this Snapchat from your future boyfriend *melt*. Word play is like foreplay with me…

No surprise to anyone, McDonald’s is a ubiquitous presence around the world. And as a personal mantra, I will try any new food, but I know what you’re thinking… “Why go to Egypt only to eat McDonald’s?”. Valid question.
Trying this McArabia was within the first week of arriving in Egypt which also happened to be during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. In this month, there is fasting from sunrise till sundown, so it became rather difficult to find food during the day at local establishments. However, global chain restaurants remained open - thus me eating the above meal. Being there during Ramadan was a bit of a culture shock, not only because food was harder to find, but also because when we (fellow study abroad students and I) did eat or drink we chose to do so out of view of practicing Muslims, simply out of respect.
So what exactly is a McArabia? It is grilled chicken or kofta (spiced beef) between toasted Arabic style pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and garlic mayonnaise (delicious). And of course, obligatory french fries that seem to be standard across the world. I like the idea of eating at Mickey D’s in other countries, see how it differs from the ones stateside. As for this McArabia? I’m lovin’ it!

No surprise to anyone, McDonald’s is a ubiquitous presence around the world. And as a personal mantra, I will try any new food, but I know what you’re thinking… “Why go to Egypt only to eat McDonald’s?”. Valid question.

Trying this McArabia was within the first week of arriving in Egypt which also happened to be during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. In this month, there is fasting from sunrise till sundown, so it became rather difficult to find food during the day at local establishments. However, global chain restaurants remained open - thus me eating the above meal. Being there during Ramadan was a bit of a culture shock, not only because food was harder to find, but also because when we (fellow study abroad students and I) did eat or drink we chose to do so out of view of practicing Muslims, simply out of respect.

So what exactly is a McArabia? It is grilled chicken or kofta (spiced beef) between toasted Arabic style pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and garlic mayonnaise (delicious). And of course, obligatory french fries that seem to be standard across the world. I like the idea of eating at Mickey D’s in other countries, see how it differs from the ones stateside. As for this McArabia? I’m lovin’ it!

[Mt. Sinai, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt]

[جبل موسى, Jabal Mūsá]

Three years ago, while studying abroad, my American friends and I had to make a decision whether to host and prepare a traditional Thanksgiving feast with the scant supplies readily found in Egypt (not a pumpkin to be found) or to go our separate ways and travel the country. The decision: travel.

One particular location that I deemed a “must see” was the heralded Mt. Sinai. Yes, the mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments and yes, the mountain whose base, shelters the Burning Bush. 

My friend Raul and I, with the help of a local teenager as our guide, started the assent at 3:30 in the morning with the evening desert cold gripping and slowing our limbs and joints. Why so early? So that we can watch the famous Mt. Sinai sunrise. After 3-4 hours of climbing, stumbling, and traversing the rocky path, we do in fact reach the pinnacle exhausted and shivering.

This mountain has significant religious value, not just for Christianity but for Judaism and Islam as well. It was commonplace to hear other climbers singing religious hymns in varying languages, chanting of prayers, as well as bowing and prostrating before the holy mount. Even if you are not a religious person, you would have to be dead on the inside not to be moved by the sensations coming from all around you.

To this day, I cannot convey the experience in words to do it justice. Scaling the mountain was already rewarding but to watch the pitch black horizon slowly produce a small fiery ball of light made me think of the beauty of the natural world. This small luminous speck would rapidly grow and in a matter of a few minutes, there was a full sunrise illuminating the mountainous terrain and shining light onto the faces of all the other climbers that made the trek. Suddenly, on this Thanksgiving three years ago, how could I not be thankful? This world is gorgeous, the experience was breath taking, it was a day that I’ll never forget.


 

Zumbathon with Von Gossi as a fundraiser for Typhoon Haiyan relief. (In conjunction with the Rush Fitness Complex and the Filipino American Association of the Triad). MARAMING SALAMAT

Zumbathon with Von Gossi as a fundraiser for Typhoon Haiyan relief. (In conjunction with the Rush Fitness Complex and the Filipino American Association of the Triad). MARAMING SALAMAT

Tagalog Vocabulary Lesson: Bayanihan
Bayanihan ([ˌbajɐˈniːhan]) - a nation, country, town, or community working together towards a common goal.
There is no direct English translation but its etymology originated from the sense of community formed between neighbors when working together to move a family’s entire stilt house. 

The Filipino people, humble, kind-natured, hospitable, and warm, will show their resilient and strong nature once again, by surviving this disaster. What is guaranteed is that Filipinos will laugh, smile, and thrive despite being pushed to the limit of devastation. Together, their sense of bayanihan will transcend any set back or disaster.

Tagalog Vocabulary Lesson: Bayanihan

Bayanihan ([ˌbajɐˈniːhan]) - a nation, country, town, or community working together towards a common goal.

There is no direct English translation but its etymology originated from the sense of community formed between neighbors when working together to move a family’s entire stilt house. 

The Filipino people, humble, kind-natured, hospitable, and warm, will show their resilient and strong nature once again, by surviving this disaster. What is guaranteed is that Filipinos will laugh, smile, and thrive despite being pushed to the limit of devastation. Together, their sense of bayanihan will transcend any set back or disaster.

marccdancingg asked: Hello! Thanks for the follow! My name is Marc. (: just wanted to take the time out to say I love your blog and the quality of your posts! Looking forward to reading more stuff from you! (:

Hi Marc, I’m Vince! Thanks for the Tumblr love and I appreciate you taking the time to write a compliment. It takes a surprising amount of dedication to post my own material - so it makes me smile that you enjoy it. There is plenty more to read too!

Ni Hao,I haven’t posted anything on Tumblr since August 3, 2011 and overall I have been pretty inactive. To whoever is left on my Tumblr friend list: I am back and posting again : )
This page will retain its purpose of blogging about my travels, but I will also add current personal news, special occurrences, and the good/bad that happens in life. You won’t see many reblogs on here, but more like my personal pictures and musings. 
Now, I hope you are following me because I have plenty of stories to tell you guys. -Vince
[ Picture above - the week I came back from China, I was in Chinatown in San Francisco ]

Ni Hao,
I haven’t posted anything on Tumblr since August 3, 2011 and overall I have been pretty inactive. To whoever is left on my Tumblr friend list: I am back and posting again : )

This page will retain its purpose of blogging about my travels, but I will also add current personal news, special occurrences, and the good/bad that happens in life. You won’t see many reblogs on here, but more like my personal pictures and musings. 

Now, I hope you are following me because I have plenty of stories to tell you guys. -Vince

[ Picture above - the week I came back from China, I was in Chinatown in San Francisco ]