30 September 2014

Cavorting with the Companion: The Cathedral of Pisa

Of course we went to Pisa. This was the last city we stayed at in Italy, staying here for 3 nights, before flying to London. We explored Pisa, but at the same time, as usual, we opted to do some daytrips in and out of the city as well, going to places like Lucca and Livorno. But for the moment, let me show you some pictures of the Pisa Cathedral, located at the famous plaza where the famous leaning tower can also be found.

28 September 2014

Instagram versus the Homeless Man

The other day, I was in Berlin Hauptbahnhof, which is the main train station. It's a big place, with 16 different tracks, 8 going north-south and another 8 going east-west. Obviously, given its size, it attracts lots of different types of people. Including homeless people. And I saw one that day. Normally, given the state of uncleanliness of the homeless man, I would be disgusted with him. But what I saw later made me more disgusted of other people.

26 September 2014

Cavorting with the Companion: San Gimignano

San Gimignano is perhaps my most favorite daytrip we have done while we were in Tuscany. We were still based in Florence at that time, and so one early morning, we opted to take the bus to head down south to the province of Siena. We first took a bus to Poggibonsi, and from there we transferred to a bus heading to San Gimignano. This town is known for its medieval towers, which pretty much makes it look like a medieval-looking Manhattan in the middle of the Tuscan hills.

24 September 2014

Book Review: The Green House by Mario Vargas Llosa

I have decided to pick up another book by Mario Vargas Llosa. This is my fourth novel from him; I started reading him when I picked up Death in the Andes in the summer of 2010, followed by Who Killed Palomino Molero? during the same year. Finally, last year I read The War of the End of the World. I have to say that The Green House is perhaps the most complicated of Vargas Llosa's books I have read, and maybe for that reason, people consider it as one of the three great books of the novelist, the others being The Time of the Hero and Conversation in the Cathedral.

That being said, while reading, I found myself very much lost and my brain struggled to construct a coherent mental picture of the events that were being narrated.

See, after reading the book, I went ahead and checked out Wikipedia's entry for the novel. It is a very complex novel, with a heavy and complicated structure. There are four sections, and each section begins with a narrative that reminds me of the way Jose Saramago writes (that being said, this book predates the bulk of Saramago's work): no punctuation, no paragraph break, just free-flowing text, including the dialog. The narrative is also non-chronological, and the characters are referred to in plenty of different ways, not always by name. The net effect of this is thus a narrative painting of past and present melting with each other, creating a timeless standstill in rural Peru.

22 September 2014

Cavorting with the Companion: Pistoia Sotterranea

One of the day trips we took out of Florence was to the town of Pistoia. It is 30 kilometers away from Florence, and since we were also interested in the places to see outside of Florence, we decided to take the train one day and head here. It is a typical medieval town in Tuscany, and we spent a few hours visiting some museums, art galleries, as well as the medieval hospital.