Friday, July 25, 2008

Made of Awesome

I've been back in Manila for more than a week now, but I just haven't found the time to write about my insanely awesome 8 days of travel around Southeast Asia. Good thing Ish made this kick ass video chronicling our SEA Backpacking trip.

Seriously, just watching this video makes me excited all over again. I can't wait to pack my bags and travel again. Walking around bustling cities and amusing small towns, seeing all kinds of amazing sights and sceneries, meeting both the most gracious and the most (endearingly) enterprising kinds of people, experiencing different cultures and thinking about how similar and different it is to my own, tasting authentic cuisines and the exquisite local fare...

That is why I love traveling. That trip was just made of awesome. I can't wait for the next one!

Now playing: Mogwai - We're No Here
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

KL -> Siem Reap

Just a quick post, I'm on blog leave...

We just arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and I'm at our hostel's internet area :-)

Kuala Lumpur was awesome! The close view of the Petronas Twin Towers was worth all the long walks. I'll post pictures when I get back. Meanwhile, I'll get back to vacation mode now. Angkor Wat waits for us tomorrow!

See you in a week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wimbledon Update

It's been a great Wimbledon so far, with lots of surprises and tight matches.

Especially on the ladies' side if the tournament, where the top 4 players in the world have all lost. This is the first time in the Open Era (in ~40 years) that all top 4 seeds in the women's side failed to reach the Quarterfinals stage. Maria Sharapova was the first one to lose (I talked about it on this post), then world number 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia followed shortly, losing in the 3rd round to Jie Zheng of China, who is currently ranked #133. But then again, maybe Ana should just be thankful that she actually made the 3rd round. She barely survived in her previous match, beating Natalie Dechy 6-7, 7-6, 10-8, saving two match points against her along the way. As for Zheng, she won her next two matches and is now in the singles quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career (she has won two Grand Slams before though, in doubles.)

And then earlier today, the #2 and #4 seeds, Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova both lost in the 4th round, to Thai Tamarine Tanasugarn and Pole Agnieszka Radwanska. But even though the top 4 players are gone, it's not like Wimbledon has ran out of WTA stars. The Williams sisters, who have 6 Wimbledon titles between them, are both in the quarters and could easily meet in the finals. I wonder what Justine Henin is thinking about this lineup.

The QF line-up:
Jie Zheng (CHN) vs Nicole Vaidisova (CZE)
(Nicole was a quarterfinalist last year too, she's been having a bad year so far (there was a point where she lost 6 straight matches), but it looks like Wimbledon has revived her)
Agnieszka Rawanska (POL) vs Serena Williams (USA)
(Aga Rad has been having a great year so far, her ranking is now up to #11, but Serena has 8 Grand Slam titles)
Elena Dementieva (RUS) vs Nadia Petrova (RUS)
(What would a Grand Slam be without the pre-requisite All-Russian quarterfinal match? Elena isn't exactly a grass-court expert, and Petrova has fallen from the #3 to #18 in the rankings... But they both outlasted all the other Russians.)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) vs Venus Williams (USA)
(This is the Thai 32 year-old's first gra
nd slam quarterfinal. Venus is a 4-time Wimbledon Champ. Mismatch? Or huge chance for an upset?)

On the Men's side, only three of the top 10 players are left, led by the two best players in the world, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The other top ten player is the uber-talented Richard (Reeshard!) Gasquet of France. And right now, Reeshard is still playing his 4th round match, which he could very well lose to local boy Andy Murray, the #1 Brit and #11 in the world. Which is a pity because Reeshard is one of my favorite players. His backhand is poetry in motion to watch.

It's looking to be a Fed-Nadal final for the 3rd straight year, although I wouldn't count out the winner of the Gasquet-Murray match to snatch Nadal's spot up there.

The QF line-up:
The Master Federer (SUI) vs Super Mario Ancic (CRO)
(Ancic was the last player to beat Fed at Wimbledon, in 2002 when Ancic was 18 year old. It might be difficult for Mario to repeat that win though, since his 4th round match lasted for 3 hours and 49 minutes, going 13-11 in the fifth set.)
Marat Safin (RUS) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
(Safin followed up his win against #3 Djokovic with two more wins to book a quarterfinal spot. This is his first appearance at a Grand Slam quarterfinal since winning the Australian Open in 2005)
Rainer Schuettler (GER) vs Arnaud Clement (FRA)
(These two surprise quarter finalists are the oldest men left (Rainer is 32, Arnaud is 30.) The other thing they have in common is that their best Grand Slam performance was reaching the final of the Australian Open (Clement in 2001, Schuettler in 2003). The other, other thing they have in common is that they both lost to Andre Agassi easily on those Aussie Open finals.)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs the winner of the Gasquet/Murray match
(Nadal is trying to be the first man since Bjorn Borg in the 80's to win back to back French and Wimbledon titles. Gasquet and Murray are now in the 5th set of their match, Gasquet won the first 2 sets but Murray came back to win the next 2 sets)

Now playing: Muse - Sing for Absolution
via FoxyTunes