Experiencing a Carnevale in Viareggio

This is a very backdated post, but I didn’t know what to blog about today so finally I thought that I’d end my procrastination and share some pictures of my experience in a real life carnival.

As you know, in Italy, there is an event called Martedi Grasso which is kind of like a last chance for you to enjoy yourself before the start of 40 days of lent.

So you’d see a lots of children in costumes, throwing confetti around.  There would also be a carnival, and I was fortunate enough to experience one in the town of Viareggio.

You could read my experience there on the first day and the second day.

Which brings us to this post, the third day, Sunday. I woke up bright and early, excited to finally watch the carnival up close.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Not sure if I should keep having bangs)

After having our breakfast, we went back to the cittadella, where the floats were created and stored, for a few last minute interviews – one of them, a Mr Luciano Tomeni with his creation called, “Naviga il mio profilo”.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

I adore the name because it’s so witty as “naviga” means surf in Italian and the phrase “surf to my profile” works in this context.

From what I remember, the creator was inspired to create this float as he remembers a time when people had to physically go to places to see artworks and masterpieces. Nowadays though, everyone has become an armchair critic with social media.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

After we were done with the interviews, it was nearly noon and we heard news of how there was going to be rain, and that there was a risk that the carnival might be cancelled. The skies was already quite cloudy and I felt a little bit of a drizzle. It’ll be so sad to travel all the way here without seeing the floats!

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Here are the hosts Mas and Seri)

Fortunately the organisers gave the green light and we headed to Viali a Mare, where at that point of time, the entire area was barricaded and there were so many people there, that the seats were starting to be fully occupied.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

Aren’t all these floats amazing? I thought that the floats were as all as the hangars, but I realised that once out, the creators could affix more parts to make them even taller!

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

I love the colourful, festive and lively atmosphere. There were many people dancing around on the streets, on the floats, and cheers everywhere.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

In front of each floats will be a group of performers dressed up with the same theme as the float. These dancers for example are dressed up in Italian 18th century outfit.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

This group of performers were a little bit scary, with their bells and their whips. The men in the hoods came up to the audience even and smeared some coal on our faces.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

All of floats has a back story – many of them politically themed.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

But I think that something that I’ll never forget is how Zul, the producer managed to get us up, on top of this float! As you remember, we interviewed the creator the day before. Such a cheerful looking float!

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

I tried to take some shots from up there, but it wasn’t easy trying balance on a moving vehicle and to snap pictures at the same time. So I guess I just have to wait for the final video to be processed.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Look at the teacher!)

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Trying to get a selfie but got photobombed by the producer)

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Second try, still another photobomb :P)

At length, we managed to get all the shots needed and I had a quick respite and joined Cart who was already sitting down at the grandstand, enjoying the view.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

It was an amazing, wonderful, fun day – and such a feast for the eyes. I had such beautiful memories here and I was quite sad that I had to leave this place. I’d love to come back again.

If you’re ever in Italy during the ‘Martedi Grasso’ period, I highly recommend you to visit Viareggio. It might not be as grand as the one in Venice, but I think it’s getting there!

Definitely I’ll be looking forward to watch Ole Ole Temasya when it comes out in a couple of months 🙂

Delicious food by the beach

What I thought was to be a lazy day, Cart decided out of the blue at noon to have lunch out for Ferragosto – this is a Catholic holiday and you’ll find almost everything closed and everyone on vacation.

rinaz.net beach time

Everything apart from eating establishments. As you know, I’m on a vegan diet since January so I was at a loss of where to go – normally people in Rome would go to the beach and have seafood. Luckily I had the happy cow app on my phone  and I could quickly check out a place to eat.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

The restaurant that we went to is called Pinzimonio which is in Fiumicino. Most people would know the area as an airport, but there are plenty of good restaurants here.

We reached there at about 2 pm, which is actually starting to be late for lunch, but we managed to get a table anyway.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

The dining area looks like a typical Italian trattoria and there were a number of families already there having their lunch.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

Pinzimonio isn’t a vegan restaurant, but they are vegan friendly and there are ample food in the menu to satisfy any vegan. Being a holiday though, we were given a fixed menu.

For starters we had Polpette di Melanzane. Hummus di fagioli, caponata e filo di scarola.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

I loved everything on the plate. Even if you’re a carnivore, you’ll find them delicious too – the eggplant fritters were soft and packed a tasty punch. The caponata, a favourite southern Italian dish made of summer vegetables was delightful – sweet, sour and hearty. And the filo pastry filled with endives … While I don’t normally like bitter vegetables, it was actually lovely.

And then we had trofie with pesto di pomondorini secchi e mandorle

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

I’m not sure how the chef made this, as pesto calls for basil and pecorino and parmigiano cheese. Instead, almonds were used. This was quite good nevertheless – the saltiness of the nuts and the fresh basil made it taste close to the real thing.

Then we had pasta integrale con zucchine, peperoni, olive e noce

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

Cart doesn’t like whole wheat pasta, saying that they taste ‘too healthy’. I don’t mind them so much, especially when they are accompanied by a good sauce. Eating them together with roasted bell peppers, zucchini, olives and walnut, it actually went well together.

I was already very stuffed at this point of time, but we were given a plate of parmigiana di melanzana.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

The original version was a big favourite of mine before changing my diet – made mostly of eggplants and parmigiana and pecorino cheese, I used to get them whenever I see it in a restaurant.

This particular version tasted very close to the real one, with the meaty-ish eggplants and the sourness of the tomatoes but with the saltiness and cheesiness of the walnuts instead of cheese.

And to end our lunch, we had a bowl of sorbetto made of yellow peaches and plums.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

This was so refreshing and sweet on such a warm day. I’m looking forward to getting my own blender so I could recreate tasty treats like this one!

All in all, I enjoyed everything I ate and I had a very happy tummy.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

The restaurant happened to be really near the beach and it turned out to be a beautiful day out so we decided to go for a little walk to burn off a bit of calories.

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

It wasn’t too hot out and I was regretting a little that I didn’t bring my swimming costume along with me. There were quite a number of people at the beach already – sitting on the sand, swimming, playing games…

rinaz.net Ferragosto Fiumicino Lunch Vegan Italy Rome

While Cart and I walked next to them and played … you guessed it, Pokemon Go and Ingress 😀

Ristorante Pinzimonio
Via Formoso, 95

The NL1331 comes to Rome!

The NL-1331 van arrived in Rome yesterday for their first European tour. If you happen to be in the same area as one, you could get some free swag (normally a card with codes for your Ingress inventory) and you could also purchase the Van badge and kits if you wanted.

rinaz.net NL1331 Van Ingress Europe Tour, Rome

These are the swag we got

I would have liked the Van badge, unfortunately it was all sold out two days before the event. Oh well.

The event was held in Eur, near the ‘Square Colosseum’.

rinaz.net Colosseo Quadrato, Rome Italy

Cart and I reached there slightly earlier than the stipulated time but there were already so many people there – both the Resistance and the Enlightened.

I was nice to catch up with some friends, some of which I haven’t met for a long time, like Aldo and Smyx who both transferred out of Rome for work.

Eventually the van drove up. It was so easy to spot out – being all black with large white and silver decals around it. It was smaller than what I thought it would be though.

rinaz.net NL1331 Van Ingress Europe Tour, Rome

As I knew that there were going to be loads of people, I took a bit more effort to look nice as I expected that there would be a lot of photo taking.

rinaz.net NL1331 Van Ingress Europe Tour, Rome

And I had all the intention to take a lot of photos and selfies with friends – you know how some people take an effort to catch Pokemon? I wanted to try to catch as many agents as I could on my phone.

Unfortunately with a cross faction event, and with the density of the portals here, as soon as I opened my scanner, I was in ‘face deploy’ mode – putting in resonators when the portals are blue or shooting it when green. Boy, do I have a problem! :p

rinaz.net NL1331 Van Ingress Europe Tour, Rome

After everything has calmed down a little, was when I noticed that there was a new portal that didn’t exist before :

rinaz.net NL1331 Van Ingress Europe Tour, Rome

I’m not sure how long this portal will last but I don’t believe that it will be a permanent one. It took a bit of hacking but at length, I managed to get a key as a souvenir. But looking at the first picture made me glad that I did.

rinaz.net NL1331 Van Ingress Europe Tour, Rome

I am very amused.

My arms are so big!

While I’m not a girly girl, there are days when I’d like to feel more attractive. The easiest way of doing that is by putting on a nice dress.

I’ve amassed quite a number of dresses that I’ve gotten for myself ever since I’ve lived here in Rome. Some of which I haven’t even worn out.

rinaz.net Mana Designs Italian black pumps heels

(And honestly, I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t like wearing stilettos) 

Which is probably why I haven’t been so excited about the sale season that is going on – I need to organise the clothes that I already have.

And looking through the pile, I find that there are dresses which used to look acceptable on me, it just doesn’t look right any more – for example, certain sleeveless ones accentuates my arms but not in a good way. I feel like I’m a man wearing a dress.

Man in dress

From fashionblah.Co.uk

On the other hand, there are some men who look good in a dress and I’m probably exaggerating about my arms. Nevertheless, my body has changed quite a bit since I’ve moved to Rome. I’ve gained  some weight, I’ve lost some weight.

I haven’t been running for a while since I trained for my last race in December, but I’ve continued doing quite a bit of circuit training  and aquagym which I guess has changed how my body looks like. I could see that my shoulders and arms look different. But I don’t plan on stopping because I like what I see and I want to continue to feel stronger. That’s what’s important right?

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(Who needs drugs when you’ve got endorphins?)

Nevertheless, while looking in the mirror, my eyes keep looking at my arms. To me, they look succulent enough to eat 😛

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Maybe I’m thinking too much about it?  Cart says that he doesn’t see the ‘manly’ arms that I’m talking about. Also, the way that you pose and angle yourself plays a big role on how the visual turn out.

But if the clothes doesn’t look right, it just doesn’t look right, regardless of how much self esteem one has.

Which is why I’ve been drawn a lot to halternecks these days – it has the right cut visually, I can expose my arms and shoulders, without thinking that they are huge.

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rinaz.net

What do you think?

Quick thoughts on the Nexus 6P

Oh my, Cart gave me a Nexus 6P as a birthday present which was a very kind gesture of him.

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

My older phone, the Nexus 5 is still functioning  fine for me, but being two years old now is slowly starting to get sluggish, so it’s nice to have a new upgrade. I still like my Nexus 5 though, among all the phones that I’ve owned, I think that it’s one of the most attractive.

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

(Here are the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5 and Galaxy Nexus side by side. You can tell by now that I really like Google Phones)

Anyway, I’ve been using the phone for a couple of days now and here are my first impressions.

Design 

I find the white stripes around the corners of the phone strange.I thought that it was a protective strip but then I realised that it was part of the design.

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

Nevertheless, the aluminium back makes it look premium (hence the name 6P) but the black front makes it look indistinguishable to any other device. I would have liked the gold one, but seems that it is only available in Japan, India and in the USA.

Dimension 

It’s a big phone. Huge! Technically, I can’t even call it a regular phone but a phablet because of it’s 5.7 inches display. it. Watching Netflix is amazing now!

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

(If you’re wondering what to watch, Bojack Horseman, Stranger Things and Atelier are amazing!)

As a sidenote, you know how we used to laugh at people with those huge 80s brick phones? Look at who’s laughing now as more and more people go around making calls on their tablets.

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

Besides, I very rarely make calls on the phone since the birth of social media.

Display

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find the screen colour very saturated. I don’t know if this is because it of the AMOLED or if it is something that I could adjust, but my screen looks perpetually +20 Saturation. This is something I’d just have to get used to.

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

My Nexus 6P is slightly bigger than Cart’s One Plus 3

The resolution is also bigger, I can fit 5 apps in a row instead of 4. I can put in more apps and widgets! But being this size, has a slight disadvantage. I glyph slightly slower now because of the bigger estate.

Weight 

Of course, being of this size, it’s significantly heavier than my previous phone. I dare not take it out for jogging for fear of damaging it. You know how heavier things break more easily? Besides, I don’t think that it fits any of my fitness pouches.

Transfer

The exchange of data from one phone to another was completely painless. Being out of the box, you’d need to update the software and apps, which could take a few hours but apart from that, the move was completely smooth.

The photo that I took the day before for example, was already in my new phone (through cloud backup) and I didn’t even have to retype in WiFi passwords of the places that I’ve been to, it remembers. Google can be quite scary.

Security

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

The Nexus 6P has a fingerprint unlock function which sounds like a cool idea in theory, but personally, I find it a hassle, because the sensor is at the back. Why not the front? I’d find it much more ergonomic that way.

Sim Card

Rinaz new italian sim card

(Relic from 2009)

As I’ve been using the old Sim Card all these while, it’s been cut so much that it can’t be shaved anymore.  So I had to get my card completely replaced with a NanoSim. I find it interesting that I restart my phone, I don’t need to key in my PIN compared to the previous phones that I’ve used.

Audio

It’s loud! It’s so loud that I can watch shows and use Soundcloud without even needing to connect it to my Bluetooth speakers.

Charging

The Nexus 6P uses a type C charger. The box provides you with two cables – a long one for the wall charger and a short one which is compatible with a USB plug. The long one only works with the stock charger meaning that when I’m on the move, I can only use the short one for my portable battery. Or till I get new cables.

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

Cart’s One Plus 3 has a dash recharge, which claims that you’d get 7 hours of use on a 10 minute charge with it’s stock charger. I should have something similar. I haven’t done any tests so far, but charging does seem faster compared to when charging it on another charger.

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

Photos

As you know by now, I love taking pictures and sharing them online. The quality of the images I find much brighter and it takes a faster time capturing photos which is something I love and was something that I was starting to get a little frustrated with on the Nexus 5.

Here are some of the photos that I’ve snapped :

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

rinaz.net Reviews the Google Nexus 6P

(Apart from being resized for the blog, the pictures were unedited)

Changes 

Apart from the size, the biggest change I see is the lack of the Power Control Widget. I’ve always found this function useful as I could just change the brightness and GPS precision from one touch on the home screen.  Why would Google take out this useful feature?

I know that I could a two finger swipe down but I find that encumbering.

Apart from that, I’ve been liking my new phone phablet a lot. Apps load significantly faster than my Nexus 5 and I’ve been enjoying my time with it. I haven’t been using it so much on the go though because I’m still a little bit paranoid about dropping it, so I’ll have to find new accessories to go with it such as a bike mount and a bumper case.

rinaz.net Toon Kiss

Thank you so much Cartcart for the extremely generous and thoughtful gift :3

How I spent my birthday

As you know, I levelled up to a new level last Monday! Initially, I wanted to invite some friends over to my place but being August, the weather was already much too hot and I’m much too lazy to clean and cook and receiving guests.

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Nevertheless, I was already in the mood for buying a gift for myself and have decided on getting a new wallet. While I still like my old one because it was a present, it was getting a little bit worn …

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I refuse to spend a lot of money so I went to Ex Novo, my favourite “pre-loved” shop which I discovered some years ago during an event. They usually sell second hand items, but every now and then they’d have never been used stocks. Maybe I’ll blog about this place in the future.

Anyway, there was a wallet that caught my eye. It’s so gorgeous and colourful and a little bit eccentric like me. It’s a brand called Braccialini which is a brand you’d probably see if you’re in central Rome – the cute bags in the shapes of cars and houses.

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It’s a steal at 30 euro, don’t you think?

I just hope that I can keep it in good shape for several years at least. You know that I’m not a dainty girl. But what I find interesting is when I went to pay, the clerk put in a couple of coins inside. I knew of the superstition that when giving a wallet as  gift for Italians but I see it done for friends, so having a shop do that for me was unexpected.

Ex Novo also happened to have a lot of new stock on branded clothes that day and I tried one for the fun of it. Lavand is a brand that I’ve never heard before, but the fabric felt light and soft  and it fitted me so well when I tried it on. It’ll be a shame not to get it. It’s a timeless dress that I’d wear again and again. Besides, it was 20 euro something.

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(Do you like the rosebud I made for the bag? It’s easy to do!)

Anyway it was a lazy day, I didn’t have to work that day. Cart asked if there was any place in particular where we could have dinner at. I was happy to just eat veggie burgers but Cart was adamant for going to a nice place.  In the end, we went to Prati for dinner at a Vegan Restaurant called “Ma Va” which sounds quite tongue in cheek to me, almost vulgar like.

I’m familiar with this area as I passed by here often to go to my former job.  It’s not too far away from the stadium. Riding your scooter here during Spring is something quite romantic, but that could just be me.

The restaurant is interesting as it cooks traditional Roman dishes but vegan. I’ve never had the chance of eating a number of traditional Roman food so, it was an interesting experience.

The place looks cosy and definitely looks like any other Roman Trattoria. It was almost empty when we arrived at 8.30 but slowly filled up as the evening progressed.

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The hosts were extremely polite and a few minutes after we’ve seated, gave us some gazpacho con anguria as a starter. It was refreshing. light and not overly sweet with the watermelon.

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It was really good.

As an antipasto, I chose the tempura di verdure miste con composta di cipolle e maionese di zafferano.

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I thought it was a little bit on the salty side, but besides that, it was cooked well. The vegetables were crunchy and delicious especially when paired with the sweetness of the onion sauce which I’m a huge fan of.

Cart had the antipasto mediterraneo.

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There is caponata, hummus and tabouleh which I liked the best among the three.

We both skipped the mains – neither Cart and I felt like eating pasta so we went on to the secondo. I liked the idea of something cooked in coconut milk, so I had the spezzatino di soia al latte di cocco.

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Oh, this was good and mildly reminded me of rendang which I used to eat back in Singapore.

Cart had the seitan alla vaccinara.

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In the original dish, ox tail would have been used but it’s replaced with seitan here – it’s very soft, I suppose to emulate the hours of the ox tail stewing in tomato sauce. I really like the sourish, sweetish sauce by the way, which was delightful.

I enjoyed everything we ate that evening and to end the meal on a sweet note, I had the Torta cioccolata e pera while Cart had strudel con albicoca e crema di vaniglia as dessert.

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I would have preferred something softer like a sponge cake, but they were both quite decadent. Plus, a birthday with no cake doesn’t seem very birthday-ly.

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I had a lovely evening, with really good food, with the company of a sweet man. I feel attractive and I feel very blessed for the good things that has happened to me this year and I hope for many more to come.

Thank you all for the birthday wishes and thank you so much for supporting and accompanying me all these years in this humble little blog. Have a lovely day ahead! 😀

Ma Va’? Ristorante Vegano
Via Euclide Turba, 6/8