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 :(

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Asia World Tour: Jakarta, Indonesia


Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands. So this weekend in Jakarta is only the beginning. For the three of us, it was our first time there and it was NOTHING like we expected.

From what we heard from others it's a very dangerous and dodgy place. I have friends who have witnessed gun battles. My boss has fled teargas. And for some reason, we still wanted to go and check things out.


Really, it's like any big city. There's the posh places and the shady places. And like LA it's not a walkable town and everything's pretty spread out. This was probably the most frustrating point for us. We had to taxi everywhere, which is hard when you don't really know where you're going.

Enough people spoke English so except for the taxis it wasn't really a problem. And what really made a difference is that Bahasa uses the alphabet. If we wrote something down we could just show someone and they could point us in the right direction. Daven put together a 4 page cheat sheet, with a list of restaurants, useful phrases, tasty restaurants, hot clubs, and cool sites. He practiced his Bahasa on the taxi drivers who got a good laugh or maybe had no idea what he was saying. The only think I picked up was the word "mom," you know, just in case I need to say word to your nyonya.

And the food. Sweet Jesus the food itself made the journey worth it.

I'm pretty sure I'd never had Indonesian food before moving to SE Asia. And even then it's only been from one restaurant, the late Dirty Duck Diner or Bebek Bengal. They had some problems with their building management and so the restaurant moved back to Jakarta and we had the intention of visiting it as well.

The most common dish which can be found everywhere is nasi goreng. Rice, often with egg on top. So so yummy.

Daven claims this was the best chicken dish he's ever had. I'm not entirely sure I can defend that statement but it was pretty off the hook, perfectly cooked chicken, and oh so tasty. Next to it is some mashed potato concoction that was yummy as well.

Some other pics of where we lunched:



Like other big cities, this places is a big mix of cultures, and you can still see the Dutch influence.

While wandering about the older parts of the city, we made a stop at Cafe Batavia. It's been around since 1905. At this point I needed a break because it was pretty hot and extremely humid.

It's a really cool place to chillax, have a drink, play games, whatever.

I really wouldn't mind living in a place like this.

Their bar was nominated as one of the world's best bars twice in the 90s.

And you never know who you're going to come across. I bumped into Anthony Kiedis in the bathroom!

This place has a special place in my heart because they can offer you a variety of reading glasses and mobile phone chargers!

Back to the food.

Sadly, Daven was hit very hard by "the demon" and had to stay back at the hotel on Saturday night. He was in bad shape too. I've never seen anything like it. We didn't pinpoint what caused this mess, and it's strange too since the three of us were eating the exact same things and sharing our food and drinks. Whatever it was, was bad news. It was like watching an addict in rehab, shaking, yelling, crumpled in a corner in pain. I wished we had taken pictures of him but I felt too bad at the time. So Powers and I put him to bed and went out for a night on the town.

Dinner was at... I can't remember the name of the restaurant but the bar is called Tao. A really really cooooooooool place.


A pretty decent sized place, and by HK standards pretty big. The strange thing was, nobody was there!




The appetizers were better than the entrees, which was fine because we ordered a bunch of apps. I think we were just lead in the wrong direction by our server. It's times like those, here in HK too, that the language barrier is a problem. Even if their English is good enough, you can't pick their brain the way you can if you have a full understanding of each other. If you've dined with me you know that I have lots of questions. It's mostly because I try to be open minded with food and if I'm going to a restaurant for the first time I want to experience the restaurant... not the same old thing I always get. And I am very guilty of getting the same old things.