The sights, sounds, spirits and flavors of Frenchmen Street in New Orleans

Twas’ the day before our flight. I sit up on my chair with a sudden bolt of panic. My beloved cousin sends me an email about a news article on Tropical Storm Lee. It read something like: The city, anxious about any possibility of a repeat of Hurricane Katrina, has already declared a state of emergency and is taking early precautions…extensive flooding, rainfall amounts of two to three inches per hour. Flashes of catastrophic Katrina footage pops inside my head and chills began to run down my spine.

Why didn’t I just plan to go somewhere sunny and swank like the Greek islands of Corfu in the Ionian Sea? I mull over this for a second- I was sure I could find a last minute vacation deal or at least cheap flights to Corfu.  So I began the process of searching online, well, almost. Because out of the blue the third world voice inside my head began to yell at the pansy gentrified person I have become.

See I grew up in a country where we ate tropical storms for breakfast. We have been through every imaginable type of storm: super typhoons, depressions, tropical cyclones, thunderstorms- and my all time favorite- monsoon storms. I remember wading through flooded streets or at times riding small rowboats just to get to school when I was very young and the city didn’t have proper storm drains (yes this happened in the metropolis and not some barrio in the boonies). But now the slightest whisper of a storm makes me almost wet my pants.

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Planning tips and survival guide for music festival getaways

Aside from writing and traveling, music plays a big role in my life. You see, international artists RARELY go to the Philippines and if they do they tend to come during the end of their careers. That’s why when I began my expat life in the U.S.A. I also began a full throttle music binge. Having lived in LA for most of my time in the US afforded me access to great music venues like the Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theater, Wiltern and smaller ones like the Viper Room, Hotel Cafe and Troubadour. I’ve also traveled outside of LA to attend concerts or to see artists that I love. On top of that, I make it a point to check out local music when I’m traveling overseas.

However, I have never been to a music festival. I finally had the chance to attend the 2011 Coachella Music and Arts Festival last weekend. I was with fellow music aficionado Alex of Europe to La La Land and you can check out a day to day account of our first Coachella experience at her blog. It took some planning but I am happy to report that Alex and I survived the three (3) full days under the desert sun. We had a blast and I think it was due to the fact that we came prepared.

This is why I have decided to put together a guide with tips on how to make the most of your music festival getaway. Note: click on images to enlarge.

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