Monday, November 09, 2009

Holy Cow I'm Sleepy

Early bedtimes and lots of exercise for the last few weeks. Why am I still so sleepy?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Under Construction

I have been doing a little bit of renovating and am on a track to get my SH together. Blogging and twittering will begin again momentarily.

Recent goings on:

Hard at work.
Taking a time out on the drinking.
Cantonese class.
Playing piano.
One month til my first 10k!
Lots o reading.
Still addicted to the beach.
Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them.
How in the world did my Wildcats get to #18 in the BCS?

More tales to tell...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Faux-Hawaiian Weekend Staycation

I've been in a bit of a mood lately. I've hit a slump in the job. I'm still not used to working every day... forever... and so at times I do get very antsy. I like the feeling of a beginning, middle, and end, so for a job to just keep going every day... well, there's not enough interesting things going on and I'm needing to make up stuff to keep it interesting. It's fine. I know it will pass. The constant gloomy weather doesn't help either. I'm also distracted by plenty of good stuff. It's a funny time.

I know it's only been 2 months since I've gotten myself out of town, but that's roughly one month too long. When you live in 400 sq ft, when you work with only 3 other people, and since I've been a good person and have kept the socializing to a minimum... well, you kinda itch to get off the scene if you catch my drift. Did I also mention the weather is giving me the blues?

Saturday I joined Amy in her neck of the woods-ish. I hauled it out to Tung Chung, on Launtau island by the airport, to meet her for coffee. She told me to come prepared for whatever could be in store for us later, so I brought my harmonica. From door to door it took me about an hour, but only a 30 minute train ride. I don't mind heading out there every once in a while to get out of Central. And I always enjoy gabbing it up with Amy. I don't see her enough. She usually enjoys a coffee on Saturdays while Aaron plays soccer.

When the boys were done with soccer, we headed back to A Team's house. They live just across from the beach and the boys still had enough time to catch some waves. Because of that typhoon in China or Taiwan or wherever that was, the waves were pretty decent! This is a rare occurrence and everything lined up nicely.

It was wonderful wonderful wonderful. We refreshed ourselves back at the house and spent the rest of the evening gabbing and singing to a guitar and throwing back some cold beverages. It was nice to enjoy each others' company and we didn't even get to playing Rock Band! We played a little poker, had some philosophical discussions, and passed the F out. Amy made a wonderful fritatta breakfast the next day and we went to the beach for one final round before kicking the weekend to the curb.

Because we weren't really doing anything, the weekend seemed a little bit longer, but never long enough. The hospitality dished out by our lovely hosts the A Team was so great it really felt like we were on vacation.

Once again, by this post you would never have guessed I live in Hongkers.

I Live Where?

I just took a look at the previous post and picture. You would never guess I live in Hong Kong. But that's just one of the many reasons why I like it so much.

Friday, August 07, 2009

When it Rains, Baby Showers

Mums to be in order of due date! Emily, Janie, Nadia and Andrea.

It's August and the weather is nothing but hot and humid with showers!

A hot and humid dense metropolis is not the most comfortable place to be in. Especially when you don't have a car (a/c) and have to haul it around town. I hate showing up to places dripping, makeup sweated off, and hair matted to my face. It doesn't help that it's been raining a lot lately and ruining all chances of beach weekends. We've had a couple of typhoons and an amber rainstorm recently, but nothing timed well enough for us to get a day off of work :(

I'm getting a bit restless. I'm overdue for a trip out of town!

Things are pretty normal. Work, piano, gym, veg in front of the tv, shower rinse repeat. I haven't been sick in nearly 2 months and it feels great. And now I've gotten myself back into a good routine!

The above picture is an easy night catching up with my mates at Cochrane's: Amy, Ali, Jeff, and Liz. I see Amy every now and again but not nearly as much as I would like. And everyone else I don't think I've seen outside of book club, so we are long overdue for a happy hour. It's a bit difficult with conflicting schedules and everyone living all over the place. You understand.

Then came Emily's baby shower. It was intimate and sweet. Since I actually don't know Emily that well, I took a peek on to her Facebook to see what she likes. She's very girly, is having a girl, loves pink, loves things that sparkle, and loves food. Cooking, baking, eating, everything. I found this great kitchen shop called Pantry Magic near my apartment and bought her loads of red and pink kitchen goodies. And also found a little cooking kit for the baby! It had a mini rolling pin and everything! So, a gift for mum and a gift for bubs.

It was a great day. No games. Good company. The host's mum was so sweet and completely in love with me. Such a lovely lady. We pigged out on cupcakes and savory muffins, and I had loads of champagne.

This baby shower and hanging with this crew put me in check. Most of my friends here are my age-ish, bankers, lawyers, ridiculously successful, and know how to live the high life. One of my dear friends recently ended a relationship of 6 weeks... which was a decent amount of time for him! A few are in relationships, none are married, none with kids, and we like it that way. But this is not how the rest of the world works.

My other circle of friends, Cathay Pacific pilots, wives, GFs, families are much more grounded (ha), but even then it's a different lifestyle than... I don't even know. I don't know what's normal. I come from TV. But man o man is this crew a fertile bunch!! At Em's shower, 1 gal had a baby and 3 more gals were expecting! More champagne for me!

For the record, out of this circle of friends I'm the only non-Cathay wife, and the only American. Represent! Everyone's Aussie, with a couple Canadian's sprinkled in.

And while we're talking about Aussies...

Breakfast is breakie. Drink is bevvie. Champagne is champers. Stroller is pram. Crib is cot. Herbs is said with the 'h.' Mom is mum of course. and everyone has a nickname.

The following Sunday I went to another baby shower!

This was my first trip to Discovery Bay. Kinda Stepford and as suburban as it gets in Hongkers. People call it Dogs and Babies because that's where you go to have them.

Mum-to-be Janie does not know the sex. I saw the nursery last week and it's filled with a lot of red. She loves red. So I knitted little "Wilbury" a red beanie! And got a cushy black and white and red book too. There was one more expecting mum at Janie's shower! I'm not drinking the water, but I'll have another champagne thanks!

Babies babies and more babies! On Monday, I was told by my college bud that he is also expecting!!! OMG!! I know tons of people having kids but this is the first of my inner crew. OK technically Tess was the first baby but that's a different ballpark. THEN yesterday Meredith tells me that Melissa is expecting AND due on Saturday!! Holy shitballs.

Please pass the champagne. The weather is treacherous!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

End of July Catchup

Where have I been? What have I been doing? I don't even know, but it's time for a proper catchup. Lorelei and I have exchanged a few emails lately, which is a treat because she and I are usually best in person. She said she loves my pics and loves my writing... and since she's not the first or second person to say that I will try harder with both the pics and the writing.

Why is summer so beloved? I don't actually like the heat, but there's something about summer that's really special. People are outside, we're getting vitamin D, everybody's happy. Last year I was at the beach every weekend except one during a typhoon. But this year, even though the weather is much milder than last, the weather has been completely crappy on the weekends. Like right now, I see blue skies and sunshine as I sit in my office. But come Friday night, a rainstorm or typhoon will roll in. Some China conspiracy i'm sure.

Last week we had a very special occurrence, a solar eclipse! Here we only got 70% darkness, so mid morning looked more like the end of the day. Kinda cool but easily missed if you had no idea it was going down. I saw tons of idiots looking straight into the sun. I'm sure they saw a whole lot. I snagged this picture in a reflection of the sun from the building across the street from the office. Genius!

Yes, I'm working normal hours on the normal days doing normal things. I like having a regular paycheck but I don't like only getting paid once a month :( Thinking that I'll only get paid 12 times a year is pretty sad.

I guess I've been less active on the old blog here because of Facebook. I love Facebook but I can't neglect my blog. By know you should know what I've been up to. Drum jamming, Kopi Luwak drinkin, junk riding, champagne and baby showers!

Everything else?
It was probably around this time last year that I named 2008 the year of the Douchebag. It wasn't even excessively douchey, but there was just something special about last year. But early this year I insisted that this would be the year that we got our groove back. It took us a little while but I believe that my call was right. I haven't been sick for more than a month. This is great because I think I was sick every 10 days for the first half of the year. But things all around are changing and I'm incredibly optimistic. Or really stupid, or maybe both.

Getting our groove back 09!

Monday, July 06, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours fo sho

Things are busy busy busy busy!!

And good. This is job security in rough times people.

It's good all around. Although there are some moments when I am close to flipping out, somehow I manage to get by with just a few more gray hairs.

A few weeks ago I was on a family vacation in Italia! It was great to hang with my family outside of our normal digs. We ate like madmen and still somehow shed pounds. We spoke decent Italian (which is strange that I can't speak a lick of Cantonese after a year and a half) found some great fashions, got in touch with our Catholic side.

Then I returned to a pretty tumultuous time in the office. Nutty, but it keeps us on our toes and makes the day FLY by.

My social life has been waning because I'm sick ALL THE DAMN TIME. But there's good stuff somewhere in there I swear.

Shoot me an email sometime. I miss your ass.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Love Letters, Hate Mail: Tiananmen Square 20th Anniversary Edition

Hong Kong, I am proud of you today.

There are plenty of things I could call you. Spoiled. Apathetic. Self-centered. A sellout. Abrasive. Vain. Sneaky. Ill-mannered. And while I do believe all those to be true, last night restored my faith in the place I now call home.

The divide between Mainland China and Hong Kong is a tricky one. And I think they like it that way.

Let's assess. Since the handover in 1997, Hong Kong was deemed a Special Administrative Region of China. They say something like one country, two systems, but this is definitely not the case. I have a Hong Kong ID, I have a Hong Kong work visa, I work for a Hong Kong company. Nothing to do with China. I do have an expired China visa, and yes, that means I have to get my passport stamped every time I go into China for work. And Americans are not easily allowed entry into China. On the flip side, Mainlanders are not easily allowed into Hong Kong. There is some kind of quota so HK is not overrun with Chinese... and you wonder why there are still tensions!

Hongkongers don't want to look like Mainlanders anyway. I can sometimes tell the difference between them. They don't even speak the same language, which is an additional headache for me because I now have to attempt to learn 2 crazy languages. They drive on different sides of the road. They have different toilets. And if you were born a Hongkonger, you can never work for the Chinese government. They just don't trust you.

And yet, when I waited at immigration for my visa renewal, the place was packed with Mainlanders who obviously wanted their child born the a better place.

Let's take a look at another stark difference. Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square. Days before this anniversary China had blocked access to Twitter and Hotmail and any search or mention of Tiananmen Square. How can they do this, and how can a government deny the event, access, and information in this day in age? This is an ongoing oppression, not just a one time event. While peaceful and beautiful vigils were held around the world for this anniversary, it was business as usual in China. You would never have guessed anything of significance occurred on this day.

So as best we could on "Chinese" soil, we gathered in Victoria Park.

I may have only been 8 when this all went down, but I remember it. I remember seeing video and it struck me. Will I ever have enough courage and conviction to leave this world a better place?

Last night's vigil was orderly and peaceful, and didn't even have much police presence. There were a lot of younger people there which gave me hope that this generation may actually give a damn. We even made ABC Nightly News!

People are worried that our freedom in Hong Kong will be taken away and will become more like the Mainland. How can we possibly allow this to happen?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Love Letters, Hate Mail: The Weekend

Everybody's working for the weekend. It's true. This one was so good I bought this bottle of Grey Goose!

The hot weather is here (gross) and so is the rain and humidity (double gross) so to escape the heat we sought shelter at the russian ice bar.

As refreshing as that was, we didn't last very long there. Sadly we thawed out right away and kept searching for the cool.


Saturday, we pre-partied while watching COPS (awesome) and walked right around the corner to a bday party at M1NT.


Cheers to you weekend. Come around again soon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Love Letters, Hate Mail: Engrish Names

So right now I'm looking at an email with a fabric quotation, from a person named Water!

I don't know how or when this started, but Hongkies and China Mainlanders often have English names. This makes it easy if they are dealing with English speakers. Yes, for me the foreigner, it's easy for me to remember Ivy and Anna and Stephanie. But as it turns out, like everyone's name is Stephanie. And their last name is either Kwong, Lee, or Chan... so they end up with the same name anyway and it's no easier to remember.

I've come across some good ones at work. No one in my office, we all have pretty regular names. But vendors we have worked with have ranged from Heman to Piano to Funni and back to Water. My co-worker told me she once met a Dinosaur! I need to meet a Dinosaur. I've heard of Purple, Xerox, Money, Coffee... if you're a working professional, how are you supposed to take them seriously. Really.

Another one of my co-workers told me her parents don't even know her English name. They don't speak a drop of English, nor would they probably care.

Choosing the names. I guess if you're parents are progressive or well educated or lived abroad or work with foreigners they may give you an English name. I'm pretty sure this is not the norm though. English names are often chosen when they get to school. A teacher has a list and I'm not sure if a name is issued or chosen but there you go. There's your new name.

Let's put aside the funny or Funni names for a second and take a look at the "normal" names they choose. I'm like, really into old school names, but English names in circulation here are pretty ancient. It's like these kids grew up on Wizard of Oz and just assumed Dorothy was a good name. I have never come across so many Dorothys in my life. It's a very common name. I'm uncomfortable with a name being issued when there's no understanding of the context involved.

More common names: Beatrice, Joyce, Rose, Ivy, Ester, Stella, Stanley, David, Henry, Wilson. These names are not just common, they're everywhere.

It's kind of a relief knowing I won't come across a Jaeden or Jayden or Kaedyn or a Jake or a Madysen or Madisyn or whatever these crazy kids are coming up with these days.

I get a kick out of it, I really do. But a name to me is very important. Have you ever met someone who's name didn't quite fit them? I have a friend and we all know her by her Chinese name Wing. That makes sense to me. Just recently and only because I caught it on her work email address did I see that she does in fact have an English name and it's Matilda. Ok, I dig Matilda. It's an awesome name. But it is soooooo not her.

While we're playing this game, I've given myself a Chinese name (nobody outside the inner circle knows this) Wang Ho. My college BFF is Ming Poon. Her bro is Wing Man. Brian is Wang Kok. If you'd like a Chinese name, Fuk Yu is still up for grabs. And there is, indeed, a Fuk Yu building.

Love Letters, Hate Mail: The Price of a Coke

Today at lunch, I paid over $6 USD for a diet coke.

Love Letters, Hate Mail: Space, the Final Frontier

The previous post is relevant because it's not just about the dirty diapers. Space is at a premium here (have I embroiled that into your head yet?) and while we AMERICANS like our space and our privacy... well, Hongkies don't have that.

Immediately after the dirty diaper incident, I could hear someone in the front of the room clipping their nails. This is not the first time I've experienced someone clipping their nails in public. I've seen it on the MTR, I've heard about people doing it at work. And it's one of those things that if you're aware of it, you can hear it a mile away.

So, knowing this, you can imagine the kind of activities that take place in the women's locker room at the gym. I personally spend as little time in there as possible.

This lack of space also causes Hongkongers to be absolutely unconcerned with the people surrounding them. They can mentally block out ANYTHING. Traffic, noise, people ramming into them. Whatever. This really bugged me especially when I first moved here.

If someone bumps into you, you expect them to say sorry right? Not here. It's to the point where they'll bump into you on purpose to get you out of the f'ing way. This is a constant at the grocery store. Instead of saying excuse me, they'll just ram into your cart with theirs and not even give you a second look. For me, I would rather someone say get the F out of my way than that... but it's just the culture. I've even been in line at the grocery and someone runs their cart right into me, my person. Does that make them think I'm going to move any faster?

Bumping is something you cannot avoid either. You have to learn to live with it or you'll die of a heart attack. Just as people don't give a S if they bump into you, people don't give a S if they get bumped. It's a fact of life here and just one of those things that Hongkongers have evolved to ignore. So, if I slam into someone, I don't feel bad at all. But I still have enough respect for them to say sorry and excuse me. I TRY to hold onto my manners but it's getting harder and harder.

A friend who lives in Causeway Bay (a very busy neighborhood) has a 13 second walk between her front door and the entrance to the MTR. On average she gets bumped 4 times.

So, maybe a Hongkie could ignore me if I went off on them in English (It hasn't happened yet but it's just a matter of time before I punch out someone) but they certainly can't ignore me if I rip them a new one in Cantonese. And then beat the S out of them with my shoe.

I'm enrolling in Cantonese classes in the Fall.

Love Letters, Hate Mail: Dirty Diapers

In a perfect world there would be one love letter, one hate letter. However I know it's going to roll in one direction for a while and then shift to the other. Live everything in my life, I love and hate it with all my heart.

Today, while waiting at Immigration, some chick was changing her baby's diaper in front of me!! Ok, I understand you need to do your business but I don't #1 need to see your baby's junk while I'm waiting for my work visa (yes I said baby junk) #2 when she ran off to the counter mid-diaper change to let her husband take over because she was called to the counter I thought... Good Lord, I'm NOT going to be the one who follows her at the counter. I just think of everything she touched... and everyone she came into contact with at immigration... and how many people they come into contact with... and you wonder why in 2009 we are concerned with things like SWINE FLU.

Wash your f'ing hands people. Did we learn nothing from SARS?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Love Letters, Hate Mail: Dirty Laundry

The first edition of Love Letters, Hate Mail to Hong Kong.

We know HK flats are teeny tiny. I live in a 400 sq ft place, but it is not unheard of for a couple or family to live in something less than half that. How that works I have not a clue.

Since I don't live in a newer, more modern complex I'm not sure how they work. Nor do I have the thousands of USD every month to find out. So for the very average person like me, we have a washing machine located in our kitchen. Keep in mind my kitchen is smaller than my entryway closet in my old LA apartment. My previous apartment in HK didn't even have a kitchen. This is why there are more restaurants per capita in HK than anywhere else in the world. Anyway, so in this teeny kitchen lies a washing machine. It usually takes the place of the oven. Yes, it's true, Hongkongers rarely have ovens.

So, you have this washing machine. Don't even think about room for a dryer cause there isn't one. You'll see laundry hanging out clotheslines 20, 30 floors up and beyond. I am very spoiled because I have a washer and dryer in one.

The point of this story. I notice that in the warmer, dare I say hotter, months many people smell like wet dogs. You can't avoid it. We rely on public transportation, the sidewalks are crowded, it's everywhere. But I was really fascinated by this "wet dog" body odor. Someone explained to me that since Hongkongers don't really have proper dryers, clothes don't dry thoroughly, and in this humidity everything remains moist anyway.

I'll take this a step further. Today on my lunch break as I was strolling through the grocery looking for carpet cleaner I came across some laundry detergent. There was a sign there that made me believe that Hongkies DON'T use laundry detergent, and should therefore buy some to make their clothes super clean. Are you kidding??? That's gross, but explains a lot.

Love Letters, Hate Mail

To give my blog project a little more interest, I'm starting a series called Love Letters, Hate Mail, dedicated to my current home Hong Kong

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sanya Homoliday

A little bit more about Sanya. Last weekend was a holiday weekend (Labor Day on Friday, Buddha's Birthday on Saturday) and most people (expats) leave HK on holiday weekends.

We left Hongkers Friday night and it was a quick one hour flight to the island of Hainan. We took a chance with the Crowne Plaza hotel, but it turned out to be really nice. So nice in fact, that we consolidated our two room spread into one room. That's right, we squeezed 5 girls into a king hotel room but it was actually quite comfortable.

We were thrilled with our accommodations. Freshened up, and then headed out for dinner. There are three beachy areas of Sanya - Sanya bay more to do there I guess but full of mainland chinese, Dadonghai - lots of Russians, and Yalong Bay where we ended up - the nicest beach out of the three, nicer hotels, but not really anything else. However, I don't think we were missing anything by not venturing out past the hotel scene.

Since we are from Hong Kong and walk everywhere, we figured a walk down the beach to find dinner would not be a problem. However, these hotels are massive compounds and we were got really tired from walking in the sand. The Marriott was much further than we anticipated.

We ended up at an Indochine restaurant that was pretty good. Then lounged in the lobby with a drink and called it a night.

The following day at the beach was prefect. It was cloudy and breezy and warm without being hot. It was no problem chilling in the lounger all day and reading. Cora and I wanted to infuse some kind of adventure into this vacay and wanted to go jet skiing. We then found out that all the jetski places required you to ride with an instructor. Totally lame. We ended up not doing it.

That night we decided to check out the nicest hotel on the strip - the Ritz. We showed up and managed to get a late reservation at the Italian restaurant there, so we had a couple of hours to kill. We walked over towards the beach and came across the most perfect place, a bar right on the sand with bean bag chairs! It was pure heaven to be sipping drinks with our toes in the sand.

Now, because these massive hotels don't yet have too many guests, there was no problem getting a seat here. Any other place we'd be fighting to get a table, and any other Ritz we wouldn't be able to afford to eat or drink. That's right. I believe this is the cheapest Ritz in the whole world. But still gorgeous.

Our beach bar experience was made more perfect by the super dope song stylings of the coverband that attended to all our requests. It was such a great experience we went back there on Sunday night too.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Asia World Tour: Sanya, China

A little bit about Sanya. It's considered the Hawaii of China, on the island of Hainan in between Hongkers and Vietnam. It has recently been developed as a getaway spot for Hongkies, mainland Chinese, and Russians. Yes, everything is in English, Russian, and Chinese!

It's still up and coming so there's really nothing there except massive and mostly empty hotels and the beach. And I did not know this place existed until I was booking my flight.

We ended up there because 1) it was a holiday weekend and we needed a break from the gray skies of Hongkie town, 2) we organized ourselves pretty late in the game so other destinations like Thailand were booked.

I got a lot of reading done and I have to say those cushy beach loungers made for the most comfy beach experience I ever had.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Campaign Weightloss Revisited

I should be on Week 9 right now but there was a bit of a hiccup. Several weeks of debilitating illness has set me back. The exact same thing happened precisely a year ago when I fell down the stairs. It completely ruined Campaign Weightloss 2008.

But I am officially back. 100% or close enough. I don't want to get discouraged, even though I am, so I just want to start over. It's too bad because right before I got sick I was at the 10 pounds lost mark.

I most certainly put weight back on, largely in part to my iron deficient anemia. I changed my diet while I wasn't feeling well. Eating a lot of red meat and a lot of meat in general... and I don't really like meat.

So I'm starting over. Back on the diet, back exercising. And from here I would like to lose 21 pounds. Seriously. That puts me in the range of weight when I worked on Knitty Gritty, when Marie & E got married, and not my thinnest but definitely ok. Yeah, that's 21 pounds away!

Oh yeah, and I'm going to Italy in June. So I should just stop eating until then because I'm going to pork my way through Rome and Florence and feel great about it.

Tomorrow: Fruits for breakfast and kickboxing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Average Day

It's time I get into the habit of blogging again, and now that Meredith is a fierce blogger I have to keep up with her now!

Since probably all of you never see me on an average day, here's how it goes. I wake up anywhere between 6:15 and 7:15, depending on if I have to wash my hair and how long it takes me to get out of bed. I hit my snooze for 30 mins. Its terrible and I could actually hit the snooze longer but my phone only allows 30 minutes. The snooze factor is something I've picked up from my parents and I absolutely hate waking up in the morning. Not only am I not a morning person, I'm actually 100% concentrated evil. If you dare talk to me I will surely yell obscenities.

I have to set two alarms because there's always that possibility that one will not go off (it was set improperly, battery died, etc) and also because I am in the habit of turning off my alarm when it goes off... but I am still asleep and then never wake up.

Immediately from my bed I hop in the shower. It's the only way to wake me up. After the shower I have a quick breaky, which is usually fruit, or iron fortified cereal with soymilk. I hate the taste of HK milk and have to drink soy, which isn't a big deal anyway cause I like it. Between 7:30 - 8:00 AM ABC nightly news is on, and I prefer it to watching CNN or god forbid, Fox News. I like it cause it's real American news and not international stuff that I don't care about. Ok, that's not true. It's just mostly that I care about dear USA, so I'd like to hear more about it. Kind of a drag not watching local news in the morning though, because I have no clue what's going on in HK! I wouldn't watch it anyway. Local news is so poorly done and some of the news anchors really bug me.

I eat my breaky, watch some news, check the email, do my hair and make up and try to get out the door by 8:00 AM. I walk a few minutes to the MTR station and on the way grab a local paper. That's how I'm caught up on the HK haps but really I still don't have a clue. Nor do most Hongkies anyway.

I take my blue line subway train one stop to the red line in central. I've been thinking about just walking straight to the central line. It would probably be about the same time anyway, and at central station I could stop by this good bakery deli place and pick up a yogurt and sandwich. I'm obsessed with their yogurt. It's greek yogurt. Tastes like sour cream. It's fab. Anyway, yeah, maybe I'll try walking straight to central station but not on a rainy day.

My commute is pretty simple. Walk to MTR station, train ride, walk to office, and that takes 30 minutes. And then starts my work day.

I have no idea how to explain what I do. I receive tons of emails. I deal with my head office in LA, the other office in Thailand where my boss is, our materials suppliers mostly in China, and our garment factories in Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. So that's the merchandising side. There's also the office manager side (there are only 4 of us and since I'm the boss I buy the toilet paper), the HR side, the IT side, and often times I'm the cleaning lady too.

Last year I worked a lot. Even when I didn't have to. I stayed in the office very late just because I felt I needed to. My resolution this year was to work less. I mean, get the job done but be productive and leave at a decent hour so I can do other things and be happy and therefore a happier little worker the next day. So now I leave between 5:30 - 7:30. 5:30 pm on wednesdays so I can catch Pilates, but on other days it's more like the 6 pm range.

Oh, and I take lunch breaks now too! In our old office in Lai Chi Kok, we were in a very industrialized neighborhood with very few places that spoke English. My co-workers would have to order me food and I never knew what I was really going to get.

But now we are in a great neighborhood. Chances are if you've been to Hong Kong your hotel was in this hood. Tsim Sha Tsui (pronounced Chim Sha Choi, kinda) but since I'm a dumb gweilo I just say TST. Yes, it is kind of touristy with all the shops, hotels, but it has a spectacular view of HK Island. It's also more diverse here, everyone speaks English, and there are plenty of lunch options.

My lunch usually consists of Subway, a salad at CPK, something easy from a coffee shop, or a pizza and salad from Pizza Express. Those are my usual stand bys but like I said there's lots of options.

After work I will go to the gym across the street for kickboxing class (Tuesday), take a bus to Tai Koo Shing for piano lessons (Monday), dart to the gym close to home for Pilates (Wednesday), or just take the ferry home. The ferry takes 15 minutes longer than the train but it's a gorgeous ride through the harbor and puts me in a good mood. I essentially walk from my office to my apartment, except for the 6 minute ferry ride.

I might join friends for a dinner or drink, might hit the gym, or might sit around and watch tv. Tuesday nights I occasionally go to quiz night at a pub. It's a pretty big deal and people get super competitive. It makes me feel really stupid though because the questions are definitely not tailored for Americans, and the bulk of the crowd consists of Brits and Aussies.

That's my average weekday. I try to get to bed around 11 ish, sometimes don't make it until midnight or 1:00. And then there was that one time I got to bed with one hour to go before getting ready for work. It was not pretty, but they happen once every few years.

It's Oh So Quiet (Ssh, sshh...)

Hi Friends. I've been quiet lately because I've been sick. Not a cold or flu sick. Possibly a virus, coupled with iron deficient anemia, and I've been flying low on the radar for about 6 weeks.

It was bad. It really knocked me out and now I'm on the road to recovery. I'm nearly there! I've been productive at work and finally made it back to the gym after several weeks off.

So, you haven't missed anything.

Easter was super chillax because everyone else was out of town, and because I wasn't feeling well I didn't go anywhere. The weather has been very gray with rain sometimes, but on Easter sunday I made it to Shek O beach by myself for some reading. The cool thing about Easter here is it's a 4 day weekend!

Coming up, there's lots of birthdays ahead and next weekend heading to Sanya in search of sunshine!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Scuba Diving


Add it to the list of things I probably would have never done unless I moved out here.

Joel was asking me if I knew of any good diving places in the Philippines, since his friends were interested. It just so happens that my dad's cousin manages a place: Planet Dive. This is the same place we went to last year.

So we started planning a trip. Turns out the original party couldn't go, and all of our other mutual friends couldn't make it and in the end it was me, Joel, and his GF Ting.

It was a super leisurely weekend. And very quiet too. We spent lots of time in the water snorkeling, but it was challenging with the swarms of jellyfish that we somehow couldn't avoid.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Polaroid Party


I had to put this pic first, because it's too funny.

Last weekend my friends Tim and Alex held the first of a series, summer rooftop party.

Host Tim

Host Arex

Because everyone we knew of in Hong Kong was going to be at this party, we also dubbed it the Eviction Party, since the boys have gotten into enough trouble already with their building security and management.

I thought this would be the right opportunity for me to finally bring out my polariod camera. I got this camera as a birthday present from Jeff, Cang, and Daven, and while it is actually not a polariod (polaroid went bye bye) I prefer calling it that than instant mini print fuji camera-lama-ding-dong.

I love this little gadget. I really do. You have the instant gratification element like a digital camera, but because you are only given 20 shots per cartridge and an actual print, there is a sense of permanence and commitment that has disappeared with today's digital images.

And it looks old school and I dig it.

DJs Powers and Daven kept the beats pumpin, and as far as I know the party was a success and without incident.

Ok, maybe we were short on the jello shots, cause tons of randoms showed up. I don't have pictures of those randoms because I didn't want to waste my instapix! Yes, all of these fine peeps are my pals.





And of course I snagged a couple of regular digital shots too. I couldn't let lil G9 get jealous. This is me n Pete, haven't seen this guy in a while.


A great party for sure, and a nice excuse to take my lil insta-cam out for a whirl. That leaves me, in my teeny lil flat, with 1 instant camera, the G9, the rebel, the 20D, 2 phones w/ camera... and now that beach season is approaching, I might get myself a waterproof olympus!

Campaign Weightloss Week 5

Weight lost this week: .02 pounds, and that's ok.

I've been not so well recently. This week was tough. I somehow made it through the earlier part of last week even though I wasn't feeling great, but by Thursday I just couldn't function. I slept and slept and slept. This is similar to whatever went down a couple weeks before. I've got a doc's appt coming up on Wednesday so I'm just trying to hand in there.

To make myself feel better I've been feeding myself a lot more than I should and only made it to one kickboxing class and thought I was going to faint. I'm going to put all activities on hold until after my doctor's appt.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Campaign Weightloss Week 4 Update

Today, for the first time in who knows how long, I am able to reach the 4th notch in my belt. This is how my belt was worn when I bought it and as I traveled with Clever. I'm not down to a normal weight yet. And it's kind of deceiving since the producer pants I would wear sat much lower than these jeans. But this is definitely good. The last quarter of last year, I could barely get this belt on.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't Stop Believing

Journey Concert in Macau


I've been to Macau twice, and both times have been for concerts. Even though we left HK a bit early on Friday, we still didn't end up with much time for sightseeing. So, we chillaxed, threw back some drinks and enjoyed the Venetian.

I wanted to pick up the tickets and then maybe check out the Portuguese colony and architecture, but instead of rushing to cram stuff in, we lounged about which was better anyway. Amy and I met up with Cathy and some of her friends from Minnesota who were in town for drinks and tapas. And then...


So maybe it's not the same without Steve Perry, but I've heard good things about the new guy. A Filipino dude who was discovered while singing at the Cavern in Hong Kong... a place which I've been to many times before!

When the show started I was really taken aback at just how spot on this new guy was, and how great his hair is. It was a great show but like all the concerts I've been to out here, super short.

We didn't stick around afterwards and Amy had to catch another ferry to her home in Lantau. So we headed back home to Hongkers, grabbed a couple more drinks and snacks, and Amy had to make a run for her 3 AM ferry.

Wheel in the sky keeps on turning
I don't know where I'll be tomorrow

Campaign Weightloss Week 4

Total pounds lost: 5.

This is good news. Moving in a good direction. The fat is not flying off as quickly as I'd like, but it's steady and according to the experts this is a good pace. And losing weight too quickly may result in more weight gained back.

I didn't have much time for the gym last week. I think I only hit one pilates class and that was it. I'll try harder this week.

I've also noticed, the more sleep I get, the more weight I lose. Maybe I didn't sleep much last year and it made me fat!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Journey in Macau!

I'm barely back from the Philippines and I'm already heading outta town again. Ok, it's only a one hour ferry ride but it requires a passport. I'm going to see Journey in Macau!

No, that's not the Venetian Las Vegas, it's the Venetian Macau. Although it much bigger than the Vegas attraction, it's significantly less fun. Way to go Chinese people and suck out all the fun from everything again.

It's ok. Cause we make our own party. I'm leaving momentarily to meet Amy and catch the ferry. Unlike the infamous Air Supply incident, we're going to head over a bit early, maybe see some of the Portuguese settlements, have a proper dinner (not Long Island Ice teas) and jam out for reals.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Campaign Weightloss Week 3

Report: Not good. But not terrible.

Things such as weekend vacations are not so good for the waistline. Especially in the Philippines where vegetables are not a priority, the meat is fatty, deep fried is a way of life, and piles and piles of rice.

I couldn't exactly avoid these things either, since we were at a remote diving spot, and we had to eat what was served. I wasn't about to hit the open waters with an empty stomach either.

Time to get back on track.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jakarta, Banana Kafe

At every establishment we visited, Daven asked for a banana. He likes bananas. We think he's a monkey. He sometimes does this at home as well.

The two things Rachel told me to experience were foods: nasi goreng (check) and a cheese and chocolate covered banana. Say what? Yes, you heard that right. She's been clamoring over it ever since I've known her and I kept my eyes open all weekend for it.

On our last night we wanted to celebrate by going to Bebek Bengal, or the Dirty Duck Diner. We were severely disappointed and it started when the taxi dropped us off at a mall. NOT a good sign. And mildly reminiscent of Cesars.

This was definitely not the restaurant it was in Hongkers. The old one had amazing atmosphere and ambiance. You felt like you were in Bali. It had a great outdoor patio over Wan Chai, where you could lounge in the couch-like seating and eat sitting indian style. This would all be nothing if the food was not fantastic as well. We usually went for the set dinner, which was a sampling of maybe a dozen items (no joke) of whatever was fresh and what the chef was cooking. It was always fabulous.

Well, that closed and now the stupid one in Jakarta remains. The menu consisted of about 5 items, all of which we ordered, and it was severely disappointing. We didn't even want to order more.

During our walk around this strange shopping plaza, we stumbled upon the Banana Kafe. Probably one of the weirder things in this Muslim country. WTF?

It must have been designed by Bobby Trendy's Indonesian little bro. This place was all over the map.

Feather boas, chandeliers, textures, colors, a mosh of everything.

Oh yeah, and it was empty.

But I found what I was looking for. There it is, the cheese and chocolate covered banana! The final verdict from all three of us: it was delicious!

CWL: Week 2 Update

Things are looking better. I think being in bed two days last week kinda helped. My body has accepted that it doesn't need ALL that food I've been eating. And because of that my cravings have chilled out.

And I've decided that my old routine at the gym doesn't cut it anymore. Back in the college days, we lived across the street from our fairly new rec center. Jay, at the time 100 pounds and a workout guru, showed me how to use the machines and all that. Going to the gym was never too bad because most of the time I had Mere or Jay to go with me.

Our typical routine: 30 mins cardio on the bike or 1 mile around the track. Stretch. Weight machines.In my last semester I really got into Hip Hop classes and yoga so I did that 5 days a week.

And somewhere in the middle I found Jennie Garth's workout video, and me, Mere, and Gill would do that in the wee dorm room. Sometimes Tae Bo too. Well it's not so fun working out without a buddy. I find it quite boring and am uninspired during my workout. So now I'm making the transition back to the classes. I've been doing Pilates for a couple of weeks and love it. I also started a kickboxing type class and dig it.

Fingers crossed for good things in week 3.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Campaign Weightloss Week 2

Total Pounds Lost: 3.6

That's more like it. Unfortunately I think it's not because of all my hard work. I think it's because I've been ill twice this week.

Tuesday I was being a good person and went to get a CPK salad for lunch. And it betrayed me. I felt ok at work but on my way home I realized I was painfully bloated and must have looked like I was in my second trimester or something. It was really gross. I got home and was extremely tired, but I thought I was just recovering from the trip to China the day before. I had a frozen quiche for dinner and felt better. Decided I should run over to Sebas' to water his plants and in that 2 minute distance between our flats I thought I was going to hurl or pass out on the sidewalk and that would be the end of me. Moments later it occurred to me that I had some bad food.

It wasn't a terrible encounter with the demon. Pretty mild, but for safety's sake I decided to work from home the following day. I ended up sleeping ALL DAY. What's up with that?

Things returned to normal and on Friday night I decided to stay in because the weather was so crappy. Went to bed late-ish but not too bad, slept in and woke up with my head feeling heavy. I allowed myself extra time to wake up, watched some tv, made breakfast, read in bed. A couple hours later I realized I was really sleepy. Thought that was weird since I got nearly 12 hours of sleep but decided to just close my eyes and see what happens next. I passed out. I was dead until about 7 PM that night and only because I forced myself outta bed. It was like someone slipped me a roofie or an ambien. I was groggy and a bit dizzy. I chillaxed for a couple of hours and then decided to join my friends bowling. I figured it would do me some good to move about, interact, and if I still felt like death I could always run home. Or to the hospital.

It went away and I hope it never comes back. It could be PMS and if it is at least there's an explanation but if it's true, that really sucks. I could be associated with my Vertigo and other vague issues and if so, that also sucks. It makes day to day life really difficult.

So with very little movement this week and lots of sleep I've lost a fair chunk. And now the goal is to keep moving in this direction and not stall or gain. It's going to be hard.

Moving to HK has made me more active than I've ever been. I can stand a good jog now, I go hiking, and I have to walk everywhere all the time. And I think because of that, I have a bigger appetite and now weigh a lot more. So I guess for me fitness has nothing to do with weight.

It's also frustrating to see how much krap Hongkies eat and remain under 100 pounds. I swear the dudes don't even weigh 100 lbs. It's carb city with pastries for breakfast, rice and noodles, very little if any fresh fruit or vegetables and it's usually paired with a heavy cream or mayo or something greasy. It don't add up.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Jakarta and other stuff we did

Here's Daven and some dude, and when I went to take the picture the dude ran to grab his baby so he could be in the pic too. Then the three of us hopped on the back of 3 motorbikes. No helmets. I was f'ing terrified but having so much fun. I rode on the back of a taxi-bike before in Vietnam, but that time Daven was behind me so there was no way I was going to fall off. I seriously visualized myself falling off the back, scraping my skin on the road, and then getting run over by the cars behind us. But then at the same time it felt great to fly so fast with nothing to protect you.

This impoverished country, or whatever, sports some pretty nice taxis!

We also spent a little time at the pool.


Our explorations were limited because, as I said earlier, it's not a walking town. We spent a good deal of time schlepping about in taxis not really knowing where to go. We hit up the markets and they weren't all that great. Just a lot of remote controls. Like, a lot a lot.

We found Chinatown, which was more like China-back-alley but still more of what we expected out of Jakarta.



These teeny streets were bustling with motorbikes and these bajaj (tuk tuks in Thailand, tricycles in the Philippines).

So we hopped in one and told the driver to go to the old Marina... more old Dutch stuff.

But we found no interesting or historical sites. And I'm pretty sure we weren't allowed out there.


Later we saw some fire breathers or fire eaters or whatever these guys are.

Found the expat section of Jakarta, which was really cool. We hung out at a bookstore where they had some live music. We didn't spend much time in this neighborhood but it looked really cute. There was a massive KFC with a music center inside. And a Cold Stone too!

While we're on that topic, I feel like there are more American things available in Jakarta than there are in Hong Kong. I don't know how that works out. Let's do a tally...

Hong Kong:
Burger King -recently in wider release but still only a few
McDonalds - is everywhere. This shouldn't count
KFC -is more popular overseas than it is at home
Pizza Hut - is also everywhere and shouldn't count. However the menu and the pizzas are NOTHING like they are at home
Popeyes - ONLY available at the airport. So, I just about always eat this when I'm at the airport
Fatburger - a recent addition. I only know of one and I've yet to go
CPK - which recently food poisoned me
Ruby Tuesdays - yet to go
Ruth's Chris and Mortons and Lawrys
Outback - yes, it's American and I wonder if the Aussies are pissed
Fridays - been there once. Not my idea. I almost killed myself.
Tony Romas - what?

Then there's stuff like Levi's jeans, Lucky Brand, Juicy, all that. Most labels you're able to get here but there's no stores like Gap, ANF, Express.

And then there's PLENTY of stuff around town claiming to be American or Western and it's completely off.

So now that I put that down it's more than I realized but it's quantity over quality. Where's some decent Mexican food! And yes, we do have Mexican food but it's not that great, it's just ok, and it can get pricey.

Most of the stuff listed above is readily available internationally. I don't know why. So on top of that Jakarta offers: Chili's, The Sizzler, Cold Stone... and yes, I would totally do all three. They also have Forever 21 there, which would really help me out since I cannot afford HK and definitely not their fashions.

I'm hungry :(