Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Domesticating Prissie

I can't belive how domesticated I've become!! Instead of spending a bulk of my money on cover charges and alcohol like I used to, I fantasise about having a perfectly equipped kitchen and then splurge on cooking utensils and herbs and spices at IKEA and Carrefour :p It makes me happy to see my fridge well stocked and I'm excited at the thought of grocery shopping! I try to find ANY excuse to cook, to the point of inviting people I met like twice, over for dinner :p I want to grill and bake and host dinner parties (as long as there's someone willing to wash up for me :p I ABHOR that bit, which is why I'm very glad for the system C and I have, where I cook and she cleans up hehehehehe) and now that J is coming down, I'll have even more reason to be in the kitchen! What joy! It's also a bonus that he doesn't mind doing the dishes. woohoo! Can't waaaaaaaaaaait!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Virtual Stalking?

I've recently found out something scary about myself... I'm capable of stalking... well virtual stalking... It's amazing what sutff you can dig up on a person on Google! Arrrghhh!! I'm a wierdo!!! I think I should do myself a favour and stick to safer stalking habits like Google that hottie David with the oh so gorgeous eyes from El Canto del Loco and use his pic as my wallpaper!! Or I could do something a little more productive like start my Spanish again :p

Merry Christmas!

Ok I've become lazy about blogging again... I've got a couple of posts in my drafts folder but it takes too much to write down my thoughts, so for now, I'll settle for commentaries... :p

Christmas Day is pretty quiet, something I'm quite glad for. (Woke up late so missed Christmas Mass :p) Had an exquisitly prepared homecooked Italian dinner last night of spaghetti vongole (I love spaghetti vongole!!), grilled peppers with anchovies in olive oil, bellinis topped with caviar, parma ham with parmesan cheese, and roast beed and potatoes, and strawberries, longans, grapes and mini Mandarins to finish off, or and a peach cake C and I picked up at Bread Talk. (Good ol Bread Talk).

The most exciting piece of news at this point is that J will be arriving on the 29th to spend New Year's here!! He'll only stay for a week but ex or not, it's still great to have a familiar someone with you, especially when you've spent 2 New Years in a row with that person and had an absolute blast both times hhehehehehe... I have to start doing my homework and check out the happening places to be at on the 31st, or he'll never forgive me :p

Ok I'm not gonna bury myself under the covers and catch up on some sleep. :p Good night!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Widening the Social Circle

So it's been a month, and I'm still working on expanding my social circle. There are a few whom I meet sorta regularly, (meaning we've been out together more than twice) and I've just 'made contact' with 3 others over MSN today... all thanks to The Hospitality Club... I'm slowly getting a life :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Dangers of Shanghai - Massages

While a 1-hour massage in Singapore would cost me S$100+, a 1-hour full body oil massage costs about S$30 here... and that's slightly high-end, you can get a full body 1-hour massage for S$10. And it's sooooooooooooo relaxing i want to go every week! Everyday if I could. But that would be far too indulgant and bordering on obsession. Aarrrghhh!!! Must resist!

The Dangers of Shanghai - Food

The little taster I posted earlier doesn't even come close to the various other cuisine's I've had the luxury of stuffing my face with... I'VE PUT ON 2 KGS!!! IN ONE MONTH!!! I'm doooooooooooooooomed!!! Here are a few more...


And the Rolls of Beef that Go Into the Pot

And most importantly, the FREE BEERS that come with the meal! Note the label...

Sigh I need to seriously start exercising...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gastronomical Delights!

But of course! What's an adventure without food!! Whoever told me that food here is either bland, too salty or too oily must either have over stimulated taste-buds or just didn't know where to eat. The authentic Sze Chuan food is to die for! Your lips literally die from the numbing spiciness thanks to a particular innocent looking pepper that the cuisine is loaded with).

One of my gastronomical highlights was a trip to a fish market on Tongchuan Road, about 45 mins out of Shanghai city centre. Stalls upon stalls of fishermen offering their LIVE catch. You can take your pick of shellfish, crabs, lobster, octopus and lord knows what else, give your purchases to one of the many restaurants nearby and get them to whip up a sumptious meal for a fraction of the price of what you'd pay in Singapore.

Can't wait for more stuff!!


1st Dec 2006

Anyway, I've been here 19 days now and so much has happened already! I don't know how I'm gonna bring all you guys up to speed. I guess I'll just start blogging from today and fit in bits and peices of the previous 19 days as I go along. Met up with a friend who'd been here for the past 6 months or so (and is therfore well into the clubbing scene) last night and was taken to an underground-hole-in-the-wall joint that played rocking music and sold S$2 bottles of beer. It was heaven. There was a nice mix of locals and lao wai's and had none of the flashy I'm-here-to-see-and-be-seen feel about the place. People were friendly and pretty easy to get along with. But great as that may be, I realise that you're more often than not gonna end up with more acquaintances than you would friends. To many, myself included, the 18.7 million population cosmoliton city is one of THE places to be. It's opening up, foreign investment is flooding in and everyone wants a piece of the action; from the CEOs with big fat expat packages, to those who come with nothing but a suitcase of clothes, and a tote-bag full of dreams. They are in very different fields with one thing in common - most don't stay for long. People come people go. You meet someone in a bar one day and next week he's left the country for good. It's a tough place for the heart. But, I'm not gonna let that bug me for now. There's still so much to see and explore, many people to meet. So gonna enjoy it while I can. ;)


After a month in limbo, and switching from one domain to another, I'm back! And with such a simple solution. So simple I wanna kick myself. Mozilla can't access the site but IE can! And I just didn't think to check! So delete WordPress and LiveJournal from your links and reinstate WANDERLUST!!! Woo hoo!!!!

PS: The next 2 posts are backdated...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wanderlust Has Migrated...

... to :) See you there!

Sorry Yen :D


Ok everyone, this is it. After focusing all my energies on getting my relocation into motion, and tying up lose ends, I completely forgot to migrate my blog. FYI, China used to block it, and though they've unblocked it, the situation appears to be either temporary or highly erractic. So rather than get locked out of my own blog, and since it's too late to do anything, I'll simply open a new account with LiveJournal. Will add a link once that's done! :p

Fingers Crossed!!

Re-submitting visa application at 0900hrs today!! Fingers crossed!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Follow that Bunny!

It's amazing how the number of hits to my blog has increased due to the title of my last post. At least 40% of the visitors stumbled upon Wanderlust after googling 'certain keywords;.... :p

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Porn Star Name

You can tell how bored I am by the title alone, but I just found it so amusing I just HAD to do a little post on it. Now I'm sure almost EVERYONE knows of one version or other on how to generate your very own Porn Star name (don't question why anyone would wanna have one...) Well, the one I learnt involved the name of my first pet and my mother's maiden name. I had a pet Myna called Dicky and my mum's maiden name is Pulle... So what do we have?? DICKY PULLE!!! I still hold the record of coolest Porn Star name in the group hehehehehe.

What Do I Have To Do???

There are unseen forces that either do NOT want me in Shanghai or are making it frustratingly difficult for me to get my visa to test my determination... I'm supposed to leave this Sunday, but I am nowhere near getting my visa. :p

Monday, October 30, 2006

Money Money Money

Met up with my insurance advisor... I am to start investing! Hmmmmmmmmmmm... Never thought I'd do that :p

Dearly Departed...

Just watched The Departed and it ROCKED! I LOVE it!!! A must see.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Hairy Affair

Whoever perpetuated the belief that women should be hair-free in order to be sexy was an ABSOLUTE ASS!!! It was probably some guy who needed a boost in his monthly razor sales** and decided to prey on one of women's greatest weaknesses... V-A-N-I-T-Y. All it takes is one person to light the match and before you know it, shaving has become a social norm. I take that back... it has become a social must-do! Why am I so annoyed, you ask? Because I admit, I have been sucked into that whole farce and am now trapped in it. It's ridiculous to have to avoid certain clothing because you're not hair-free in certain areas. I want to wear what I want when I want without being shot looks of grimaces (trust me, the comments I have heard about others!) Yes I know it's a choice, that I can throw away my shavers and wax strips, but it's also a choice to run around town topless. You don't see anyone of sound mind doing that do you. Now, not only women but men as well, spend hundreds of dollars on razors, shaving foam, epilators, wax treatments (lord forbid you should grow stubble after you shave) and for what? To be silky smooth for someone else who was conditioned into believing that smooth is good?? That smooth is sexy? PAH! (There are services these days catered to women of a certain ethnicity who due to the 'preferences' of their men, wax their ENTIRE bodies!!) Now for the messed up part of it all, half the time guys don't really care if you're not baby smooth, WE just think they do! That's the fairer sex for you...

I admire women who have enough self-confidence to be able to resist conformity. Unfortunately I'm not as self-assured. On that note, please excuse me while I go wax my legs.

**according to my sister, the history buff, the removal of body hair has been in practice since the time of the Egyptian Pharaos where harem girls were required to remove ALL body hair before visiting the Sultan's bed. I AM NOT A HAREM GIRL!! Why do I want to look like one??**

The Gathering

Just got back from a fun gathering of Stella Maris 'kakis' from 10 years ago (my god!!) at the residence of the one and only RYAN TANN CHU MING and his lovely wife Nicole! In attendance were: Geraldine, Aaron Wong and gf (soon-to-be-wife) Lina, Adrian and gf (soon-to-be-wife) Ying Ling (ARRRGHHHHH!!! I can't leave for more than 4 months without someone getting engaged!!), Francis and (gf) Valerie, Richie and (gf) Ashley (it was her birthday too), Ceaser, Aaron Nathan and I (the 3 rocking singles :p) Sigh, the herd is dwindling. One by one we're getting lassoed into 'the settled' life, leaving the rest of us to run the open grasslands until it's our time
to hang up our wandering shoes. YEAH WHATEVER! Anyway, had a fantastic time rehashing old memories and swapping stories of teenage mischief, talking about the future...

Oh and it's Deepavali! And since we were on the 24th floor with a fabulous fabulous view of the KL skyline, we were treated to amateur attempts at pyrotechnics. But fireworks are fireworks, they're still beautiful and they still make me squeal and clap my hands in delight. Tried capturing the twinkling lights on film but there's only so much my phone can do :p

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Back in Singapore

And I'm stuck in bed with a full-blown cough and cold! Bleh!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Goodbye Vietnam!

Coffee with G & XHad dinner with X, a Vietnamese friend of a friend of my mum's whom she put me in touch with. Took me to a lovely restaurant for seafood Vietnamese style. Unfortunately for some reason they didn't have the stuff I was looking forward to trying, like tortoise and something else (can't remember). I'd come down with an annoying cough and my nose was stuffy so didn't have the energy to stay out late. X was a little disappointed especially since he thought we could stay out for a night of karaoke. Head started pounding after some time too. Still managed to go for after dinner coffee. A big mistake though. I forgot that since I'm not a coffee drinker, the caffeine usually hits me pretty hard. True enough, I didn't sleep a wink last night. Probably drifted off due to sheer exhaustion at 0500hrs and alarm went off at 0630hrs. Had to call for airport taxi at 0730hrs. Flight scheduled for 1030hrs. Got to airport only to find out that flight was postponed till 1350hrs. ARRRGHHHH!!!! Crashed out on airport chairs.

I love Hanoi, including the crazy traffic and incessant honking. It just grows on you. The back-to-basics way of life was a welcome change from the bustling city of Singapore and I enjoyed the idea of getting around on 2 wheels, of being able to sit by the road and enjoy a steaming bowl of pho, and people watch. Glad I decided to go ahead with the trip. It was a great taster of Vietnam and I'm definitely looking forward to my next proper trip. Though I think I'd prefer to go with a friend. I don't think I'll be able to enjoy the place half as much if I didn't have someone I could talk with and make observations.

Goodbye Vietnam, until me meet again!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Day 5 - Ninh Binh

Woke up bright and early. Breakfast. Were given a roughly-drawn map of the route we'll be taking. Interesting. Especially since we'll be taking the backroads. I have a feeling we're gonna get lost.

Proposed Itinerary:

Tam Coc & the Bich Dong Pagoda - Hoa Lu & the Ancient Citadel, Dinh Tien Hoang
Temple, Le Dai Hanh Temple, Tomb of Dinh Tien Hoang - Kenh Ga Floating Village - Van Long Nature Reserve.

Limestone MountiansTam Coc or the 'Halong Bay of the Rice Paddies', is about 10km from Ninh Binh and features lime stone moutains emerging from the padi fields. Getting there was easy enough though I absolutely dreaded the first 7 km which had to be done on the dusty main road with the cars and trucks.

For 50kD per person, we were taken down the Boi river by 26 yr-old Ninh (who's got a sister named Binh!!) and her mother.
(Not surprisingly, I was asked if I was G's wife.)

They row with their feet as easily as they do with their handsThe two-hour boat ride took us through the 3 caves from which the area derived it's name, and a lazy cruise past small isolated houses that dotted the river bank. Truly breathtaking scenery.

The locals here make a living herding goats and rearing ducks, as well as selling their embroidery to tourists. They'd cleverly bundled up their wares and stacked
them in the boat before we even boarded, then pounced on us on the trip back with everything they had, from T-shirts, to tables cloths and we were pressed to buy something 'in support' of them. Got myself a tastefully embroided T-shirt that said Vietnam for US$3 *shrug*

Cycled along the backroads through the country side to get to Hoa Lu. Took us sometime to find the track though since there weren't any sign boards. And asking for directions didn't really help either initially. G. had trouble understanding the first guy. All he could get was that we'd have to turn left somewhere by a tall house, then we'll come to a mountain and finally cross a bridge.

*The modern architecture here is a curious copy of houses in Hanoi; Tall and narrow, with barely any or no windows on the sides, and only the front facade painted. It's
understandable in Hanoi where houses are squeezed very closely together and there really isn't any room for elaborate balconies on the sides and pointless to have windows opening out into your neighbours wall. But on the outskirts where they have all the space they could possibly want, it's odd to see them build exact replicas of those in the capital.

Anyway, more help from a woman mixing cement farther up the road. (the women here do back-breaking work!) We rode through a housing area and had children waving at us and shouting 'Hello' whenever we passed. We were the only crazy tourists cycling for awhile, not even sure where we were, or if we were even on the right track, until we crossed paths with 2 caucasians coming in the opposite direction. Whew! We're not lost! We soon left the more 'urban' area and found ourselves faced with miles of padi fields and believe it or not, silence! There were no cars, no trucks, only a handful of motorbikes, which meant no honking! Everyone else were on bicycles. Women were stooped in the fields, water buffalos wallowed and soaked in the water, men walked by with fishing rods in hand. More children waving and smiling.

Arrived at another housing area. Finally a signboard! We're still ok. Pushed on till we came to what looked like a temple. Still not sure which one that was. Turned the corner and bumped into 2 backpackers who were also putting up at the Queen Mini, sitting under a tree and drinking Vietnamese coffee prepared by an old lady. We decided to stop for a chat and join them for coffee and wafers. One from the Czech Republic and the other from Slovenia and they'd travelled from Eastern Europe overland, stopping for a maximum of 3 days in each city of the countries they went

Me on my wheels and my cheesy MORLBARO hat!
Checked out the temple after our coffee then proceeded along a dirt road. Eventually came to a cross road. Ahead was a huge hole blasted into a mountain and to the right was a pebbled road that led into a village. Figured it would be better if we rode through the village. It later dawned on us that that was the mountain the guy was telling us about earlier. We linked up with the dirtroad again anyway. Was not long till we came to the bridge and finally Hoa Lu. Lunch was pho.

Did a quick look around. Like I said earlier, once you've seen one pagoda you've seen them all. Unless you're a history / cultural buff. Was intrigued by what was at the top of a very long set of steps cut into mountain. But we'd spent so much time on the road that we weren't sure if we could afford half an hour getting up there. Decided to give it a miss. No regrets though. I thoroughly enjoyed the bike ride and was glad I did it.

Decided to skip Kenh Ga Floating Village and the Nature Reserve since we'd already taken a boat ride and we would need a good few hours to see them.

Took a different route back. It was harvest time and the roads were lined with padi that lay drying in the sun, and rows of guni sacks stacked beside in which the padi will be stored. Left the countryside and linked up with the damn mainroad again. Came across an accident. Car and motorbike. *shudder*

Arrived back at The Queen Mini with an hour to spare. Great! Still have time for a shower. I must have an inch of grime and dust on me. There's a 1530hrs bus that stops outside the hotel but I really wanted my shower :p Walked over to the bus station and caught the next minibus to Hanoi for 28kD. It stops somewhere in the South of Hanoi which was a bit of a distance from G's place so took a taxi. Starting price 11kD. Final cost 60Kd.

I'm gald we went to Ninh Binh. I realised I like the adventure kind of holiday and the cycling and boat ride was right up my alley.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Day 4 - Hanoi / Ninh Binh

Woke up an hour too late to catch the tour group to Halong Bay. A little disappointed as that was supposed to be the highlight of my trip. Decided instead to take a train down to Ninh Binh, small city roughly 100km South-West of Hanoi, 2.5 hour journey by train. Took the soft seater - 37kD. Meal provided. Train was at 1545hrs so had time for the 'bun cha' that I'd missed yesterday. Yummy! I love meat afterall.

Kept getting stared at on the train by both the men and women, well the older women at least. I should be used to it by now. Been stared at from Day 1, but it's still unnerving. And I have no idea WHY they do it. Wasn't sure if it was due to my dressing (I ran out of clean clothes and so was dressed in shorts and a strappy top) or because I looked local and was therefore scandalous that I was travelling alone with a foreigner, or I was just paranoid.

*apparently Vietnamese girls don't smoke, don't drink, live with their parents till they get married, and are home by 2300hrs. They are demure, obliging and discreet. I am the exact opposite of that, and I sometimes feel as though they are able to reach into my mind and see what an Un-Vietnamese life I lead. :p I don't even know why I care. I could be COMPLETELY wrong!*

The 2 little old ladies to our left and the younger guy directly in front of us finally decided to strike up a conversation with me (of course, afterall "she looks JUST like one!"). First question they asked (directed to G this time) was if I was his wife. Apparently, it's more polite to say 'not yet' than it is to say 'no', and I really didn't want to be a social outcast, so G just anwered with the former. That got them excited and they appeared to be really happy for us for they kept looking at me, nodding their heads and smiling, and kept up a steady stream of conversation with G. It was all so surreal. I am now engaged.

Arrived at Ninh Binh at 1800hrs. Walked to Queen Mini Hotel (rooms from US$3 per night) 30m from train station. Had dinner of french fries (had meal on the train less than an hour ago), then took a walk around. It was already 2030hrs by then so nothing much to do. Spoke to the manager of the hotel about places we could see tomorrow. We had the option of getting them to organise a private tour, or we could go by ourselves by motorbike (US$5 per day) or bicycles US$1 per day. The adventurous me opted for the bicycles. Also since we had to catch the 1600hrs bus back to Hanoi so G could get to football practice at 1930hrs that evening, going by ourselves would give us the flexibility to pick and choose what we wanted to see and how long we wanted to stay. Woohoo!! Can't wait for tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Day 3 - Hanoi

Hah!! Decided to extend my stay! I've come all this way the least I could do is stay till the very last possible minute. Crashed at G's place which he shares with 3 girls, for the remainder of my stay. Was promised 'bun cha' (rice noodles with grilled meat and fresh vegetables), but silly me took my Larium on an empty stomach and nearly passed out while on the bike :s Since too shaky to get far, settled for more pho a few steps away from where we'd stopped. Felt better after getting food down. Stopped for fruit just in case, and was chided by a wizened old lady for showing too much skin (my top had ridden up about an inch above my trousers). She stood staring from a distance before deciding that this was something she'll have to put a stop to. So she shuffled over and started pointing to my belly, all the while mumbling something in Vietnamese. Seeing the confusion on my face, she huffily tugged on the hem of my top till I was 'decent'. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to feel chastised of amused. Whatever it is, from that point on, I was constantly checking on my state of dress (or undress as some were inclined to think). :p I wasn't exactly flashing myself. I'd read that the Vietnamese were a little conservative so I'd taken care to wear long trousers and selveless tops (I just oculdn't bring myself to put on one with sleeves! It was so hot!) and avoided strappy stuff. Bleh!

*A side note on dressing: The Vietnamese girls are covered from head to toe whenever they're out! Long trousers, long sleeved tops, a mask, (esp. when they're on a bike), a hat and sunglasses (these are optional). I know that the main reason is to protect their skin from the sun, Lord forbid they get a tan... but it sure doesn't help put my mind at ease when all I want to do is prance around in shorts!*

Went to West Lake and took a stroll. Lots of couples here as well enjoying the breeze, while watching local fishermen cast their lines. Ont he other side of the road is Truc Bach Lake, smaller but just as pretty. Visited the Tran Quoc Pagoda on West Lake.

Decided to take it easy today. Wasn't feeling 100%. Stayed at home for the rest of the day and watched Seinfeld instead (Yes I know... the worst thing to do while on holiday!) Passed up the iniviation to join the rest of the house for dog meat dinner. Don't get me wrong. I'm all up for trying new stuff, as long as it's not a pet. It's probably also coz I'd heard that dogs can smell that you'd eaten one of their kind and will not be at all friendly to you in future. Not sure how far that's true but I'm not taking any chances.

Early night. How boring of me!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Day 2 - Hanoi

Ngoc Son Pagoda on Hoan Kiem LakeSaw Hanoi from the back of G's bike. I'm not a fan of museums and if you've seen one pagoda you've seen them all. Checked out the Botanic Gardens, where young lovers like to gather, the Opera House, waved to Ho Chi Minh from outside (the Mausoleum is closed on Mondays), watched the Water Puppet Show (impressive), did some souvenir shopping (Vietnamese silk!!) , wasn't able to get myself an Au Dai though, very disappointed. Didn't find one that I liked. Started to rain. Rode around in the rain for awhile till we seeked shelter in a Western style cafe that served 'hashers and bangers' :p Had The Kiwi Special that looked like a typical Western breakfast except for the pan-fried Chinese vegetables that were heaped on the toast. Weird...

Pho stallHad my first bowl of pho for dinner, which we ate perched on tiny plastic stools by the side of the road. It was tres delicious!!! Tried some of the home-made rice wine that they drink before having pho as well. Man was that powerful shit. Think vodka neat served in a chinese ceramic tea-cup.

On to a pub where the rest of the guys were gathered (again), had 1 beer but really wanted to do more Vietnamese related stuff. Left and was taken to a cafe on Hoan Kiem Lake for some Vietnamese coffee. Strong stuff. Had mine with LOTS of condensed milk :p Very romantic atmosphere, fairy lights, gentle breeze, listening to the water lap against the sides.

Took a ride in search of their famous wines that are apparently good for health and to make men 'strong' if you know what I mean. There are various types, some with snakes, some with geckos, others with worms. Wasn't really planning on drinking any of it. Wanted to get a bottle for a friend instead. I'd seen a vendor with bottles and bottles arranged by the side of the road but I couldn't remember where. And he probably wasn't even there anymore, considering it was really late at night. Managed to find a restaurant that was willing to sell us a litre from they're stash. (Thank god G. could speak Vietnamese!) Settled on the one with bees and grubs. Only because it was difficult for them to get the snake out of their bottle and into the vodka bottle they were gonna give me. I was grateful all the same. Was then asked to sample the stuff. It PACKS A PUNCH! But what else is new :p

Happy with my purchase, we called it a night. Flying home tomorrow.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Day 1 - Hanoi

Plane touched down at 1830hrs. Was met by Anh, one of the tour guides, and bundled into a waiting private car. Anh spoke very good English and seemed quite happy to give me a running commentary of Hanoi and its people and culture, while his partner deftly manoeuvred the car
Them motorbikesthrough the masses of motorbikes that clogged the roads. In KL, it's not uncomon to see a driver with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a phone / cigarette / arm tapping the outside of the car to whatever beat was playing on the stereo, but in Hanoi, one would generally drive with one hand on the wheel and the other on the horn! And I could see why... the roads were full of motorcycles! Hundreds of them, barrelling down the highwaym in a never-ending stream, weaving in and out of traffic, some packed on with 4 passengers and no one wearing a helmet. In this city of roughly 4 million, each household apparently has 3 to 4 bikes. That's ALOT of them.

Traffic here is chaotic at best. Road courtesy is non-existent and they're dare-devils, suddenly popping out of side-lanes, cutting from one side of the road to the other, even the women in their fashionable pencil-skirts and pumps on their way to work. To survive the streets, you need nerves of steel and be constantly on high alert... if you're a foreigner that is. The locals merely breeze along, chatting into their mobiles, SMS-ing, even flipping through a book!! I am not kidding! 2 yr-olds sit quite comfortably on the back, quite oblivious to the harum-scraum that goes on in front.

Anyway, stayed at Eden Hotel on Tho Nhuom St. Small but clean. HUGE bed. Lovely staff, very helpful. About 15 min to 20 mins away by foot from the centre of the Old Quater, which is where most souvenir shops and the
Water Puppet Theatre is located. But that first evening I decided to try one of the motorbike taxis or the 'Xe Om drivers', which was also my first of many bargaining experiences. His opening price: 20,000 Dong. I countered with 10kD. He offered 15kD. I thanked him with a smile and walked away (read that one must always smile when in Vietnam, even when in a disagreement. Vietnamese consider anger a sign of weakness). He called me back and we settled for 10kD. I probably still paid a bomb but who cares. Was dropped off at Hoan Kiem Lake and proceeded to wander through the brightly lit streets, taking note of the tour cafes and pho stalls that seemed to alternate all along. Had a Vietnamese lady get mad at me (she probably doesn't care if I think she's weak :p) coz I didn't wanna pay 10kD for 2 bottles of water. (In my defence I had no clue how much a bottle cost and was convinced she was trying to rip me off). Eventually paid the asking price and decided that after more than an hour of incessant honking and haze and avoiding motorbikes and bicycles, I needed a little quite corner and a tall cold beer to sort my plans for tomorrow.

At Le PubStepped into Le Pub on 25 Hang Be (I later realised that I'd stumbled into one of the best bars in Hanoi) and got myself a Heineken for S$2.50. NICE! Local beers go for S$0.80. Got to talking with a bunch of expats, some who'd lived there for the past 3 years and could speak the language, and was given a few tips on getting around Hanoi. 3 hours and several beers later, I'm dropped off at my hotel on G's 125c.c., sandwiched between him and W., with an offer of a tour around Hanoi tomorrow morning. Lucky me!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

T-1 Days to Hanoi

Having serious doubts about going. Apparently I'll have to sort out my Shanghai work Visa here and since that will take about 4 to 5 working days, AND i want to spend at least a week in KL, I have to cut my trip short. So from my ideal 14 days, I'm reduced to 3 :( Bye-bye Halong Bay... Arrrrghhhh!!!!!

* 8th Oct 2006

I'm off to the airport! Gonna go afterall! Here I go!

Off I go!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Quiet Night Out...

After a lovely picnic at the Botanic Gardens with students and families, I hopped onto the back of L's new bike and we sped off to Marina South for some Steamboat YUMMY!!! Wasn't very hungry when we arrived (had too much picnic food) so decided to hit the arcade for awhile and spent $12 ( we exercised a fair bit of restraint) on Daytona and Time Crisis III. Didn't get very far with the latter. So crossed over to the restaurant to bag ourselves a table and get cooking... was looking forward to the seafood! Realised that they were giving out coupons for 'live' prawns and crabs!!! Arrrghhhh!! Couldn't find 'non-live' ones anywhere! Big craving for prawns though. :(

So after ALOT of deliberation, figured I'd give live prawns a go. Guy at the tank scooped up a netfull, dunked them into a second tank (probably with a different water salinity or something) to stun them a little, plonked them into a plastic container and slammed on the lid (not before 1 plucky little one attempted a last minute dive out for freedom and ended up wriggling on the floor). Holding the container at arms-length, (i dunno why, I'm never usually squeamish about stuff in general), I placed it on the table and tried to figure out how I'm gonna cook the damn things. Half of me was going "YAY PRAWNS!!!" and the other half was calling me a cold blooded murderer :( L wasn't too keen on being an accomplice and preferred to just sit there and throw me alternating looks of amusement and grimaces. In the end, I steeled my nerves, chanted 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry' like a mantra and tipped them into the boiling water. It took me a good while to eat them after they were cooked. BAH!! Last time I'm gonna cook anything that's still alive!!

And if dinner was dramatic enough, we decided to
ride out to Changi Airport to watch the planes take off, and subsequently got ourselves held up by the police and our ids checked. Apparently, as a security measure, the public aren't allowed to stop anywhere along the perimeter of the airport. Trust me not to know that. BLEH! L. was pretty freaked since the poor boy had just upgraded his bike license last week. *grin* So much for a quiet night out...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

4 Days and counting down...

Too bad about the typhoon that hit Central Vietnam. Am thinking of cutting my trip short and just sticking to the North. Just doesn't feel right for me to travel through Hoi An and Danang on a holiday when people have lost their lives.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Vietnam: Rough Plan

OK, made rough plans for my Vietnam adventure. Still in the midst of researching the finer details (e.g. if I should take the train or the bus from city to city, and how long I’d stay in each) but for now, this is what my IDEAL trip would look like.

6th Oct

Explore city on rental motorbike of cyclo
Catch water puppet show

7th Oct
Go on 2D / 1N local tour to Halong Bay; stay the night on a boat

8th Oct
Back to Hanoi
Make way up to Sapa
Take 2D / 1N local tour trekking up into the highlands
Homestay with tribal community

9th Oct
More trekking?
Check out handicraft
If I like the place might extend stay

10th Oct
Travel to Hué (looks damn far man)
Stay a night

11th Oct
Travel to Hoi An
Stay a night

12th Oct
Travel to Danang(might skip this)

12th Oct
Travel to Cu Chi to check out the tunnels.

13th Oct
Back to Hanoi

14th Oct
Fly back to Singapore


Extend stay and travel to Ho Chi Minh after Cu Chi. Stay a night, then cross over to Phnom Penh via Mekong Delta (heard the 2D / 1N tour is pretty good). Catch flight straight to KL from Phnom Penh.

What a Small World Indeed!

Was browsing through Hospitality Club, trying to get in touch with members in Shanghai so that I'll at least know a few people there and will actually NOT have to stay home on weekends that first month of so (I'm being optimistic here), when I received a friendly e-mail from someone in Germany (never met the guy) saying that if I was ever in Germany again, that I could drop him a line and he'd take me around. (You'll understand why once you figure out what the Hospitality Club is all about). We got to chatting and it turns out he lived in Sabah when he was little (same tiny town I was born in), and that our dads worked in the same plantations!! Well not really the same plantations but same area. Both our dads were in cocoa and they might actually know one another! How freaky is that! Been chatting with him for over an hour and so far he doesn't seem to be a weirdo, so wahey! I've made another friend! I love the Hospitality Club!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


This whole Vietnam business came about by pure accident. I'd won travel vouchers for a tour package at my company DnD last month and gave them to parents to use as they pleased. (I suggested Vietnam). They were quite happy until they realised that it was a huge hassle since the flight departs from Singapore (they're in KL). So I was left with the vouchers. Then it hit me... why don't I go instead!? DUH! I still find it hard to believe that despite all my eagerness to travel I have yet to set foot in any country North of Malaysia. So managed to entice a compadre to split $500 worth of travel vouchers and backpack (I know it seems a little odd - travel vouchers and backpacking, but I have a plan) through the country that brought us the oh-so exquisite 'ao dai' and 'Pho'. We plan to fly on the 7th of October which really doesn't leave us much time to prepare. And considering the fact that I don't have a backpack, and neither do I have trekking shoes, 2 weeks suddenly seems really really short.

Mu initial plan was to just buy a 3D / 2N free-and-easy package (hence utilising my vouchers) but the more I thought about it and the more I read I knew I'd regret not staying longer. L. will have to be back in Singapore by Tues, and C & F want to stay for a max of 1 week. Still not enough for me. Am thus contemplating on carrying on as far South as I can (dare) on my own. Just worried that I wouldn't be prepared enough. BUT IT'S SO EXCITING!

Stumbled upon a Vietnam based tour company that sets up short guided tours around Vietnam, guaranteeing visits to non-touristy sites and adventure trips like trekking and kayaking and homestays with the highland tribes. My god they look so fun! I want to do them all!!! I'm really looking forward to going up to Sapa and doing the whole homestay bit and putting up on a boat as we cruise Halong Bay, not to mention all the kayaking that I can do. Also, am challenged to renting a scooter and ride around Hanoi. I'm so up for it man! sigh... I can't wait!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Good Morning Vietnaaaaaaaam!!!!

And that's exactly what I'll be saying on the 8th of October 2006 - for at least a week! I can't wait! Not really decided which parts to visit yet, but will definitely start in the North, entering via Hanoi and, time and mulah permitting, work my way down to Central Vietnam. Did I say I couldn't wait?! *grin*

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


After almost a week of wanton indulgence in good food and alcohol, my body has begun protesting. General lethargy aside, my tummy has been giving subtle hints as to being in great and urgent need of some TLC (i.e. a healthier diet). Well, I guess it'll do me good to NOT ignore my body, so I've placed myself on a detox diet and a vegetarian diet. (translation: Absoultely NO meat of any kind. But seafood and eggs are ok) *GRIN* I see it as a sort of challenge, for going without meat for even 2 days is REALLY REALLY DIFFICULT for me. I swear I start showing signs of withdrawal if my meat supply is interrupted. But 5 days into my 'diet' and I'm must say I'm quite proud of myself! Not a single piece of beef, chicken or pork, has passed through my lips. I even turned down a BITE of pizza because there was meat on it. I've also come to realise that being a pseudo-vegan ain't all that bad. My tummy has certainly settled for one, and second of all, I don't get all sleepy after meals anymore - a chronic condition I've faced my whole life, thus earning the nickname 'The Python' courtesy of my daddy. :p Nevertheless, please wish me luck on my journey to healthy living as I have a sneaky feeling my enthusiasm and determination will wane sometime next week and the gorgeous smell of Nasi Tomato with chicken rendang will just wreck havoc on my will power... sigh

On Soul Mates

“... People think a soul mate is your perfect fit... But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they’ll tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with your soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave.”

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert pg 149

Gives a whole new perspective on the whole idea of Soul Mates, huh... ;)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Princess cut or round cut?

Received an SMS from an ex-University buddy asking if I could please lend him my female opinion with regards to buying a ring. I happily agreed until it was made clear to me that my 'expertise' was needed to aid in the procuring of THE RING! My first thought was "OMG, what an honour and privilage" followed almost instantly by "OMG how stressful!" I'll be helping this already flustered guy decide which ring to spend $x on and pray that the object of his affections would love it. Needless to say, I had a fabulous time hopping from one jewellery store to another and 'modelling' the rings. And how did he base his decisions? On whether I sat or stood while trying on the rings, whether I squealed in delight or look unimpressed, and the length of time I left the ring on. It took us the whole of 2 hours and revisits to the short listed stores, but he decided on one eventually and is now $8000 poorer. His next dilemma now is should he propse underwater during a dive or on the beach under the stars... DECISIONS DECISIONS! But I love it! *SQUEAL*

*I am now an expert on diamonds and the 4Cs hahahaha*

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New Beginnings

I am not one for making resolutions, especially not on New Year’s Eve. If you ever hear me make one, I can assure you that it was done in the spirit of things. (I never keep to them anyway, so why bother). And this year was no different, New Year’s Eve came and went like any other day, except the fact that I couldn’t help wishing I could relive the 31st of December in 2003, one of the best New Year’s Eves ever. But there’s no point wishing for something that you can’t have again, a habit that I'd unthinkingly fallen into.

And so, I’ve decided to make a birthday resolution: to sort and store my what-was and had-beens for the last 26 years and make space for the next.

But first, I need 2 boxes, one that I wrap with shiny red paper that has star-bursts on it, and the second, deep-blue metallic paper paired with a gold ribbon.

That done, I take a walk down memory lane.

I revisit all my favourite moments; walking home at midnight after a movie, hand in hand with the person who’d captured my heart; strolling along the streets of Paris; in my bathroom in tears of joy when I found a surprise that was waiting for me; holidaying in Bintan; learning to drive; my first kiss; my first slow-dance; running in the rain; it’s a long list…

A montage of my happiest times slowly float by back to back as though on a film reel. And at each one I pause and allow myself to step back in time and immerse myself in the emotions of that moment, grateful for having had the chance to experience them: Once done, I line them up neatly in the red box with star bursts, close the lid and store them away… someplace accessible of course, so that I can look through them whenever I choose.

Next, and the more difficult of the two: To look past disappointments and hurts in the face, cry over them, accept them, cry over them some more and then let them go once and for all. It is not easy, but I am not alone. I have a comforting voice on the other end of the line and I make it through. I don’t erase them though. Why should I? They played a big part in making me who I am today. I’d like to think that I’m stronger, that I’ve learnt from my mistakes. I stack them up in my gold-ribboned box instead. They deserve a pretty box too, just one with a tight knot over the top.

And so for the first time in a long long while, I’ve fulfilled a resolution. And I feel as light as air. I’ve laid all my demons to rest, and filled my treasure boxes to the brim with beautiful memories. It’s now time to begin a brand new year. My 26th. And I can’t wait!

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I have finally lost it. That guy has said his last condescending word to me and it was all I could do to bite my tongue and yell "FUCK YOU AND FUCK THE PERFORMANCE!". But I'm a professional and there were customers around (BLEH!!!) Anyhoo, I knew I wouldn't be able to get up on that stage with him and pretend to be all happy happy, so I grabbed one of the directors by the arm and had a little chat with her. I was glad to hear that I'd raised some very valid points (I was afraid I was making a big fuss over little things because of the tension between us) and that the matter would have to be brought up to the principal. I later found out that he's been stepping on ALOT of toes lately so I'm not the only one seething with rage. But I'm gonna put all that behind me now and enjoy myself tonight and the Dinner & Dance by taking full advantage of the free alcohol. WOOHOO!!!!

Conversations in My Head...

Condition: somewhat tipsy after several bottles of Cobra beer (I know, can it sound any more dodgy??)

Location: In my bed
In attendance: Voices #1 and #2

Time: 0230hrs

#1: Oooh.. need sleep. Long day later. Must be... ZZZZZZZZZ


Time: 0530hrs

#2: Pssst... wake up!

#1: mmmmghphhh...

#2: *prod prod* Wakey wakey...

#1: mmmmghphhh... wha...? It's still early, what you go wake me up for?

#2: Really? It's early? How do you know? I should check the time.

#1: No, No! Don't check the time...
Arrrghhhhh!!! Bright light! Eyes hurting! Why did you check the time?
It's all your fault *SMACK*

#2: Hehehe... well since you're awake, what shall we talk about?

#1: No, no! I'm tired! Long day later. Must be alert for performance.
Dinner n Dance tonight. Must be good Marilyn Monroe...

Go back to sleep...


#2: Hey, there's an itch in the throat department. How annoying.

#1: Just clear your throat and it'll go away.

#2: I have a better idea, how bout if we really focus on the itch and see how long it'll take you to get up for some water.


itch still there

*swallow swallow*

itch still there

*swallow swallow swallow*

itch not gone!


#1: Oh alright I'll get some water!

*Fumbles in the dark for glass of water. Drink. Fall back into bed*


*Drip drip drip*

#2: Psst... hear that?

#1: You've got to be kidding me! Please go back to sleep!
Look, the body is motionless, the eyes are closed.
All you need to do is SHUTUP!


#2: Hey remember that guy who kept hitting on all the girls?

He so desperately wanted to get laid!

#1: Hahaha! Yeah. He was a good dancer though...

NO! I'm not getting into this conversation!


#2: I'm so glad I went out last night, otherwise I wouldn't have made all those lovely friends.

#1: Oh yes! What were the odds of meeting people like Shyla and Arjun who attend tea dances!

#2: And they love karaoke-ing as well! Woohoo!!!
It just sucks to know that I'll only have 1.5 months to enjoy their company before I leave :( BLEH!

#1: Yeah... And don't forget Juan and Balli.

They're fun too... in the alcohol binging kinda way. hehehe.

#2: It's such expensive fun though :p

#1: Which is why we go to places like The PoW where beers are good and cheap and Cobra beer even cheaper!

And we don't have to deal with the hoity toity yuppies in their Armani suits and Hugo Boss ties.

#1: *giggle*... Can I go to sleep now?

#2: Ok. G'nite!

Oh, don't forget to blog about that conversation you had with Alex just now.
The one about Superman being a cheapskate... heehee... that was funny.

#1: k. Did you realise that you know 4 Alexs??





Monday, September 04, 2006


I broke one of the Cardinal Rules... I'm hopeless! Wish I could die right now :(

Sunday, September 03, 2006

How Frustrating...!

My move has been postponed... YET AGAIN! I'm getting quite sick of it really, but there isn't much I can do. It's not like I'm dying to leave Singapore, just that I've been mentally preparing myself to leave, and trying to plan my weeks so I can say goodbye to all my friends as well as rush around sorting out documents and stuff. And to make matters worse, I just found out that I'm gonna be homeless again! Arrrghhhh... My boss rang me up this morning to say that she needs her place back coz she forgot that she'd promised it to her cousins for when they come down on the 20th of Sept! If we'd stuck to the original plan, I wouldn't be here by then. But now I am! Bleh!!!

On a happier note, I have to clear all my leave before the 30th of Oct, which means I get a total of 3 weeks to burn! Woohoo! The perfect amount of time for a holiday in Europe. Unfortunately, now that I'll have to start paying rent again, I probably won't have the cash on such short notice. Oh well, heard one can move around Thailand on very little... *grin* We'll see...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Learning Curve

This morning I was asked to cover a class that I'd never taught in my life and used to only assist in like 2 years ago. You could say it was a very interesting one hour seeing how I wasn't sure how the class was supposed to be run. And I knew I was in trouble when one of the 2 year-olds had to tell me what the next portion of the class was. Crap... Oh well, at least now I'll never forget how to run this particular programme ;p


One of the most difficult situations you can be in is a drama with someone whom you just don't have any chemistry with and absolutely cannot stand! arrghhh!! And I have to suffer him for another 4 days... HELP!!

*I've got blue eyebrows from the makeup I had on earlier today for the drama... AND IT WON'T COME OFF!!! I look like one of those middle aged women with fading tattooed eyebrows. Arrrrghhhh!!!*

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bon Voyage, Alex!

I’ve forged an unlikely friendship with an 18 yr-old English boy, Alex. At 6’ 3”, a red mop of hair that is his crowning glory, a whole load of freckles, and the ability to talk the ear off a donkey, he is one helluva Energizer Bunny. We met at a time when I desperately needed to feel like a kid again and he sure as hell drew that silliness and whatever little spontaneity I had, out.

*We walked from one end of Orchard Road to the other in the rain with nothing but a teeny-tiny umbrella for protection. Ordinarily, I’d be bitching about the rain and jumping into the first taxi I saw, but today I just couldn’t stop laughing as we walked into huge puddles and got wetter and wetter until we were hopelessly soaked and soggy.*

Unfortunately he leaves for England tonight to begin university, and train with the Royal Air Force. Sigh… There goes my entertainment. So to celebrate his last night in sunny (now rainy) Singapore, we went to the Ministry of Sound.

Now that is one place a girl above the age of 25 should NEVER go to on a Wednesday night! Yes, even if it IS Ladies Nite (ironic huh...) unless you’re with friends your age and you are just CRAZY about the music they play there. I was surrounded by people 8 to 10 years my junior! I had absolutely nothing in common with them and the worst part is, you’re a target for testosterone pumped 16 year-olds who want to practice their pickup lines! One particular fellow (who only came up to my nose) kept staring at me through at least 5 songs with a huge grin plastered on his face and the minute Alex turned away he literally SWOOPED in, looking all pleased with himself. I was so taken aback I was momentarily at a loss for words. Nevertheless, not wanting to be impolite or appear haughty, I ‘admitted’ him into my dance space. Then at the end of the song, he asked if he could buy me a drink. I wanted to laugh, I swear! I could just picture myself standing at the bar trying to make small talk with him while he tried to impress me by… I dunno… whatever teenage boys do to impress teenage girls. So I simply told him that I didn’t drink and before he could get over his confusion as to why anyone in their right mind would not want to indulge in copious amounts of alcohol, I told him to go ahead and enjoy his drink, turned him around a nudged him in the direction of the bar. Alex was just beside himself with laughter… The ass!

Anyway, back to the point of this post... I’m gonna miss that freckled-face giant. Good luck in Birmingham, dude!

The Big Friendly GiantShow me those muscles!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Prissie the Groupie

* Warning: This post contains excessive gushings of a totally smitten fan.*

Ok as mentioned in my previous post, Radio Mundial is THE hottest band I've come
across recently. So, my MAIN AIM that last night of WOMAD was to get the autographs of all 5 memebers of the band. AND they had to sign on whatever I was wearing. (Only coz it's less difficult to misplace comapred to a piece of paper, and it's more interesting than getting them to sign on the CD... Honest! ;)) So, armed with 3 marker pens, I left most of my dignity at home and headed for WOMAD.

Jean playing the cuatroSeriously, you can't get a better combination in a band... sizzling Latin music and scrumilicious vocalists... Especially when Jean, riffs away on the cuatro in nothing but fitted jeans, a wifebeater and his cowboy hat *SWOOOOOOOOOOON*

(Note: Their photos on the net don't do them ANY justice whatsoever!)

I'm not very proud of it, but I allowed myself to be, as C. has labeled me, a groupie... just for a night. And be a groupie I did, from deliberately getting mehendi done on
my hand just so I could catch a glimpse of Jean as he browsed through some carpets at one of the other stalls, to pushing my way right to the front of the stage and screaming in response to every word that left their lips, and reaching up to shake Richard's hand as he leaned into the crowd.

Anyway, back to my quest for their signatures... I managed to garner 3 of them by hanging around the stage after their first performance, and the final 2 after the WOMAD finale, by casually 'passing by' the holding area and 'falling' into aimless chit-chat with one of them. And then, who should come by, but Jean (who recognised me from earlier as 'the girl with the shirt' *rolling my eyes*)... but I got weak all the same. Then he goes on to invite me to the after-party and I was reduced to a puddle. Minutes later, I found myself being snuck into the party, since it was apparently only meant for artists and staff, and had the most amazing time! There were huge coolers of alcoohol and trays of food, none of which I touched, coz I was too busy dancing!

But all good things have to come to and end, and after a couple of hours or less, I reluctantly took my leave and turned down an invitation to join them sight-seeing the next day. It was obvious he was just being polite... the dude doesn't even know my name! :p Sigh... it was a fantastic night, but like I'd promised myself earlier, my groupie status will begin and end at Fort Canning Park. Oh well, another story to tell my grandchildren... I danced and chatted with Jean Shepard. And even though he's probably forgotten that he ever met me by now, it's an experience I'll always remember...

*I am now back to my sensible self but it took me 2 whole days to stop grinning*

I love this shot!RadioMundialEncore

Bassist Brian and IRichard and I

I'm never washing this!
*mouseover the photos for descriptions*

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

WOMAD Singapore 2006

What can I say… IT ROCKED! Of course people would hold different opinions on whether WOMAD rocked but for someone who was in much need of a night of hard dancing, this was the event! Friday night alone got me dancing almost non-stop to the likes of Brazilian Chico Cesar, who got the crowd singing along within minutes in Portugese and bopping to his upbeat tunes. By this time I’d bumped into at least 10 old university friends, half of whom were my clubbing buddies, so we were jumping up and down with great abandon and doing the samba or some version or other of it. I have to say Chico Cesar has great charisma on stage and he knows how to keep the crowd engaged. And of course he was backed up by awesome musicians.

And then there was T-Bone, the reggae-ska-jazz 10-piece band (including trumpet, saxophone, bass saxophone, and a DJ called DJ Puki… yes that is what he’s called!) from Thailand, who pumped the already hyped-up crowed for an hour. My god I don’t know if it was all the pent up frustrations and stress, but I was high on musical release. And all I had was 1 beer and 1 cup of wine. They are a fantastic band, but even though they varied their tempo and rhythm from time to time, I felt that it got a little monotonous after awhile. But overall they still rocked!! Oh the best part was when the vocalist invited the crowd on stage! I sure as hell didn’t have to be told twice. I pulled myself up just as security moved in to prevent more people on. I swear that stage would’ve collapsed if they hadn’t. A dear colleague of mine (whom I’d met there) managed to take a video of me dancing on stage but accidentally deleted it!! Arrrghhh… I wanted to kill him! Oh well… Shit happens.

Korean Dulsori wowed the crowd with their spectacular drumming, and what was even more impressive was the fact that the majority of the members were women! That was some crazy ass drumming they did, complete with acrobatic moves and dancing, continuously for a whole hour! I felt exhausted just watching them! The stamina they must possess!

The closing act for Friday night is now one of my favourite bands. Radio Mundial, headed by Richard and Jean Shepard totally blew me away with their blend of Latin rhythms, funk and rock. My feet were successfully kept in constant motion, and the brothers’ Puerto Rican – Peruvian good looks ensured my eyes were fixed firmly on them… Talk about hot stuff man! The only thing that kept me from storming up on stage, grabbing and kissing them was the buffer zone that served the precise purpose of keeping people like me at bay :p I had to therefore, be content to ogle from below.

Jimmy Cliff closed on Saturday night to a sea of waving hands and a standing ovation. It was the first time I saw 95% of the crowd on their feet for any one performance. There were screams and cheers of encores and he of course obliged much to the delight of us all. Again I left WOMAD on a high (after all, I caught both Chico Cesar and Radio Mundial’s performance again. I even managed to get my photo taken with the latter hehehe.)

I have to mention that the other performances were equally good, just on a different level. I admit that my mood that weekend didn’t really allow me to appreciate them as much as they deserved though I’m quite sure I would have enjoyed them immensely had I been in a different state of mind.

Susana Baca’s sultry voice helped lower the energy a little and allowed us to catch our breaths while enjoying her very relaxing and soothing tunes.

The Musafir Gypsies of Rajasthan kept us enthralled with their traditional music, elaborate costumes and dancing.

Bukky Leo & Black Egypt contributed to the event with their afrobeat and jazz funk. I only caught them in the finale which was more of a jam session and so didn’t really experience their music.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch Sam Tshabalala’s performance so I really can’t comment. And I skipped all the workshops with the exception of Radio Mundial’s.

On the whole this year’s WOMAD was the best I’d been to. I’m very glad it wasn’t a repeat of last year’s somewhat low key and unimpressive line-up, considering the amount of money I spent on tickets and other miscellaneous stuff there. TWO THUMBS UP!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Why do we have to make decisions we don't want to and then pay for them?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Prissie the Grouch

It's 0421hrs, Tuesday morning. I was woken up by a bad dream and now it's next to impossible to go back to sleep. The incessant dripping of water in the pipes somewhere doesn't help :p Ordinarily I would be on the phone with J., like I always do when I have a bad dream, but now I can't, and it sucks :( BLEH!!! I've become such a grouch... Why?

Because I feel old.

I feel like a decrepit old cow.

A decrepit old cow who gets a buzz after only ONE mug of vodka 7-Up.

Who has not clubbed in a looooooooooooooong time.

Who gets worn out by normal daily events so easily that I'm in bed by 2300hrs.

And prefer quiet Sundays at home by myself.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaawn.......... I'm so BORING!!!

I need a snack.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

And the drama begins...

My housemate's jealous possessive 19 year-old girlfriend will be flying in from Italy on Wednesday for 2 weeks. And apparently, Mr. Genius didn't tell her that I share the apartment (for obvious reasons) so now if she ever asks, I'm only supposed to have moved in tomorrow :p Great... she'd better not give me an grief or I'll whoop her ass!

*Update: Said girlfriend not coming afterall. Apparently daddy didn't allow it. Woohoo!! I now don't have to be stuck in an apartment with a couple who have been apart for 5 months... Lord knows how much cuddling and canoodling would've gone on. :S

The Finish Line

Days go by in slow motion
I watch people go by through a screen
No on notices me
I'm glad
It's hard to accept that I've been left behind
But such is life
You can do everything to catch up
But it's never enough.

The journey was over before it even started
The finish line right in front
But I refused to see it
Couldn't bring myself to cross it
Now the final whistle
Has been blown
The last of the spectators

I close my eyes
Memories dance past
Laughter, tears, love, passion
They're all still there...

I take a deep breath
It's going to be okay

I cross the line...