Thursday, October 28, 2010


So it's finally cooling down here and the weather has me thinking about fall back home. Last night I dreamed that I was outside in the damp and chilly New England weather and now I miss it. Damn this tropical weather! It was about 70 degrees here yesterday (which felt great, by the way) and people were out in down jackets and scarves. Good thing they celebrate Halloween in a big way here. I'm not sure what I would do if they didn't.

I want to carve a pumpkin and watch scary movies.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Finally, some easy enjoyment for you all! These are shots I took in Kowloon with a beautiful new camera. Enjoy.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm Back!

Hi, everyone! I'm so sorry that I've taken such a long break from blogging. I just returned from a trip to Malaysia and Singapore and I didn't have a real keyboard to type on while I was away (only had an iPad) so I figured I would wait to give you all the updates.

Malaysia and Singapore are both very interesting and VERY different places. Since I visited Malaysia first I'll begin my entry with  an explanation about my adventures there.

The Muslim population in Malaysia is incredibly large. This may seem like a strange observation to start off with, but as an American coming from the U.S. and all its hoopla surrounding Islam I couldn't help but feel fascinated.  Pork is hard to find on Malaysian menus, Mosques are everywhere and most women wear traditional Islamic garb, albeit in varying degrees. I spent the majority of my first day in Kuala Lumpur at the city's National Museum of Islamic Art. It was wonderful. The museum's permanent collection includes impressive scaled-down models of all the major Mosques in the world as well as beautiful Qur'ans, scrolls, traditional Islamic clothing and textiles, jewlery, metal wears and so much more. I really learned a lot! Did you know that Mecca can fit as many as 1 million people inside its walls? I sure didn't. The museum's temporary exhibit featured Islamic jewelry. IMPRESSIVE. The largest and most valuable ruby in the world is there. Its inscribed with Islamic text and weighs in at about 130 karats. Remember the giant red forbidden jewel in Disney's Aladdin Cave of Wonders scene? That's what the ruby reminded me of.

I also toured the world's largest aviary while in KL and saw some funky birds and later visited Malaysia's Batu Caves. A 140-foot-tall, gold Lord Muruganis statue (its Hindu) stands at the foot of the caves' entrance (the largest statue of its kind in the world). In order to enter the caves you must climb 272 steps. I thought I was dying at about stair #100. A group of funny African dudes made fun of me and my lack of cardiovascular abilities... The caves' interiors are decorated with Hindu statues and shrines. They are grimy and tacky and oh so wonderfully Asian! However, there was a sort of tranquility  and calming nature to it all. Tons of monkeys hang out in and around the caves and I was afraid they were going to pee on me or steal my sunglasses or something.

Singapore was pretty cool as well. I ATE SO MUCH. Alex and Eric Cassella: Thank you for the pointers. The food I ate was so delicious. However, Singapore is way too expensive for my taste and although there are really great parts of the city it was a little boring at times. Its a very pretty city and very clean. The taxi's are cheap and the people there are incredibly friendly but I think I prefer the grit and grime and hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. I also drank a lot while in Singapore. I particularly enjoyed the Raffles Hotel Singapore Sling. You may have heard of the cocktail. It was invented at the Raffels back in the good ol' days of British imperialism. Originally a ladies drink, the Singapore Sling became a classic Sigaporean staple. I wrote down the ORIGINAL recipe for all of you! They are really yummy. Here it is:

Raffels Hotel Original Singapore Sling
  • 30 mL Gin
  • 15 mL Cherry Heering
  • 7.5 mL Cointreau
  • 120 mL Sarawak Pineapple Juice
  • 15 mL Lime Juice
  • 10 mL Grenadine
  • A dash of Angostura bitters
  • Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry
Shake. Add a few ice cubes. Enjoy!

Sorry that I don't have any pictures. My camera went missing right before we left. However, Justin's beautiful camera just arrived all fixed and new from the shop so I will be able to put up more photos from now on! Yay!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Crazy Sale!

While perusing Hong Kong's many winding streets and shopping districts it is not uncommon to see the words "CRAZY SALE" posted in shop windows. In fact, its uncommon if you don't see them. Hong Kong retailers love their sales. Everything for sale in this city seems to be forever attached to some sort of discount or promotion. New arrivals are typically marked down by 10% and sale racks are endless. Yesterday I entered a store where EVERYTHING was on sale and it seemed normal.

The discounts don't end with retail. Happy hour drinks go for about half the price of regular drinks AND happy hour is more like happy afternoon and evening, with most places boasting a 3-9 happy "hour." Very tricky.

Promotions and sales and discounts are great and all and I must admit, the selling strategy often works. Buying something for 40% off the already marked down price is fun. Honestly, though, all these mark downs are getting old and I'm beginning to see through them. Sales just aren't as fun when everything is on sale.

A story: I recently joined a gym for a very reasonable price and was awarded a free facial and full body massage for signing up. Yay, I love these Hong Kong deals! Not so fast. Yesterday as I was enjoying my free facial a woman came into the room and tried to bully me into buying a spa package. The nerve! She took advantage of my relaxed and happy state to sell me a HK$5000 massage/facial spa package. Talk about a buzz kill. I told her no but she wouldn't listen. She kept asking me why. I almost had to yell at her to shut up and leave me alone and no I don't want your stupid spa package. JESUSSsss.

Sales people here do not take no for an answer. From the spa lady to the people at the first gym I checked out to the people in the markets selling fakes. One man literally grabbed my arm when I walked away from a pair of shoes he was selling. No mean NO, bucko, so leave me alone. My feet are too damn big!

All this is not to say that the shopping here isn't great. It is. Minus the whole big shoe thing (I've been hard-pressed to find anything over size 8 and my feet are 9.5 or 10) Hong Kong is a shopping mecca offering everything you could ever dream of buying. Designer clothing? Got it. Dried and flayed lizard skin on a stick? Got it.

Needless to say, I have barely scratched the surface here.