My home for five days in Manhattan is a beautiful gem right at the heart of the ‘city that never sleeps’. Upon stepping outside the car that picked me up from the airport, the hotel took my breath away. Being a tourist, I was immediately taken by its old world charm, which I have only read in novels and seen on television or the silver screen. It was one of those establishments that have stood the times and has witnessed how history unfolded itself. I will not attempt to pretend to know its architectural details, but this description in The Mansfield‘s website says it all:
Constructed in the popular Beaux Arts style, and influenced by neoclassical Roman and Greek architecture, the Mansfield was originally built as a hostelry for well-heeled bachelors and socialites. Notables such as painter John Butler Yeats, father of the poet William Butler Yeats, stayed to experience a thriving New York following his immigration from Ireland. During the 1950s, the Mansfield was home to Max von Gerlach, who was believed to be the inspiration for Jay Gatsby, from F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”
The photos I took on my iPhone do not do justice to its elegance. And its strategic location is not bad at all. Given the limited time I had, it was lucky that a lot of the places of interests are within walking distance that I was able to see as much as I could squeeze in my free time.
And of all the foreign travels I have had in the last ten years, I only had one night of jetlag, maybe because of super comfortable beddings. Despite the oldness of the whole building, the amenities of the rooms are ultra modern, and wifi was not so bad (a must nowadays especially if you’re travelling alone).
Continental breakfast was a bit sad, though. If you are a Filipino like me, who considers breakfast the ultimate meal of the day, you would be disappointed, too. lol
But I love, love,love this hotel!
The Junior Suite
There is truly too much to see in the Big Apple. But since I only had one free day, I could only explore those in the neighborhood around the hotel I was billeted in. I was glad for the opportunity even though I almost had blisters in my feet, and my shins and calves shouted in my protest as I kept on going and going the dozen blocks I went around in. Anyway, I swore to myself that I will be back, and next time, I will make sure to visit all the things the city has to offer. But for now, my feet took me to these places…
I just got back from the Big Apple a few days ago. As always, I will blog about it in the days to come, but this one here deserves a separate post. Yay! For the first ever, I got an upgrade from Cathay Pacific to Business class! I wished that I got the upgrade during the long haul flight from New York to Hongkong so that I got to travel more comfortably, but I will take this any day. I was really so giddy the whole time. Who wouldn’t enjoy the pre-flight champagne, 18-inch LCD screen, huge legroom (though I have short legs, lol), upgraded menu, and much much more personalized service.
I could get used to this. I loooove Cathay Pacific, and have travelled with them on my first international flight to London, then to Canada, then to Cambodia (through Cathay Dragon), and now to New York. If at all possible, I will always use them for all my trips abroad. It can also be said that I totally dig transiting in the Hongkong airport, absolutely one of my favorite airports in the world!
We grabbed a quick bite at Torimomo Japanese Barbecue one time. Because we were in a hurry, and it was the first restaurant that has empty table, that we decided to go here. When we looked at the menu, we were a little surprised that the prices were cheaper than the average Japanese restaurants. Their specialties, as the name implies, are barbecue. But they also offer some of our regular Japanese favorites that’s why we ordered them. We had: tempura, shoyu ramen and pork belly barbecue.
And because food is cheap, serving is also small. lol. We got what we paid for, somehow, and every bite was tinged with disappointment. Aside from the pork barbecue, they also offer salmon, squid, shrimp, bacon-wrapped mushrooms, beef and chicken. Maybe we’ll try those next time. Or maybe not. Oh, and if you have other plans after here, make sure you bring extra clothes and some perfume. The smell of the smoke sticks like crazy.
We stayed for a week or so at Mico’s home in Quezon City. It was partly vacation, especially for the kids, and partly house sitting when Mico went out of town for a few days. He had new helpers and of course, wouldn’t want to leave the house at their disposal. So off we went. It was actually bliss because I haven’t had to get up early, cook, wash the dishes and do the laundry. However, it was a bit farther than the office, and traffic going to and fro was horrendous to say the least. It was still fun, though, while it lasted. And we were there to celebrate the day of Dads for this year. We decided to stay in, and order some Chinese.
Joined a good cause today, and donated blood to the Red Cross. The bloodletting is part of the office’s anniversary celebration. This is actually my first time because I got rejected once because I just had oral surgery several months prior, and they said I still retain some anesthesia in my system.
They took some 450 ml. of blood. I was actually okay after resting, and even gone down and dutifully ate the food they provided and drank more liquids than usual. However, after an hour or so, I felt kind of lightheaded. Not dizzy as I was expecting but more like my head has been detached from the rest of my body. lol. I had to let go of a meeting because I just can’t. Rested a bit more and felt better after a couple of hours. But I would like to do this again sometime. Donating blood is actually healthy as you get to replace your blood cells, at the same time you’re helping save lives.
I didn’t make a career out of it but glad that I won second place, yay! Earlier in January, we were all challenged at the office to safely lose weight. The contest ran for 15 weeks until April. The results: from the initial weigh in of 138 lbs, I clocked in at 123 on the last session.
The not-so-secret, simple strategies I did:
1) Increased water intake a hundredfold! Yup, I am quite a lazy drinker but I made it a point to drink so much more. I thought that it would up my metabolism and make it easier to remove toxins in my body.
2) Eat only two boiled eggs every other day. I would have made it everyday but I didn’t want to shock my body with the sudden loss of food intake as I am used to quite a heavy breakfast.
3) Cut down on rice intake. For Filipinos, this is such a hard task as rice is so much part of our diet and culture. So it doesn’t again shock my body, I gradually decreased this by eating fruits and veggies only at dinner. I figured I don’t need the carbohydrates when I am about to sleep anyway.
4) Cut down on sugary drinks. Thank goodness I am no fan of Coke but I like my iced tea and coffee 3 times a day.
Avoided Tried to avoid meat at all costs. I failed many times over, I am only human.
6) Used the stairs more instead of riding the elevator. I know I had to put in some physical activity in there somewhere.
7) Substituted green tea for coffee! This may have been the key, really. I was no fan of tea before, but it has grown on me.
After a few weeks into it, I began to feel the changes. I could fit better in my clothes, especially my pants. My jaw began showing itself again. And I don’t huff and puff as much when I need to walk some distance or when going up and down the stairs. And many more!
I swore to myself that this challenge is that – a challenge, something to try and work hard at to achieve success. But I also promised that I will not sacrifice so much that I will starve or let the lack of food affect performance both at home and at work. It has to be gradual and I should still be happy at the end of each day, not grouchy and weak because I was lacking energy from eating rabbit food or other equivalent. I should still be functional and would enjoy myself. I still found time to binge of my super favorite ramen and pasta at least once a week. Hmmmm maybe next time, I would refrain from having these hehehe.