Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A virgin stroll down freebie lane

I'm packing my bags for my first freelance writing gig abroad. Yessiree, I am travelling to China to attend the opening of a new hotel in Guangzhou for 'the leading business and travel magazine in Asia'. Snap!

I'm heading up there on the train this afternoon, a lazy 2 hour ride away (ample time to get stuck into an episode or two of my new-but-not-so-new favourite TV series, Gossip Girl). I'll be checked into the brand spanking new hotel, where I'll no doubt order some room service and perhaps, once again, get stuck into an episode or two of my new-but-not-so-new favourite TV series, Gossip Girl. Then tomorrow morning, after a lazy breakfast, I'll attend the Grand Opening (hopefully while wearing one of those All-Access lanyard things making me look and feel tres importante), a press conference, lunch, a media tour of the hotel and then finally, I'll make my way back to Hong Kong via train, ample time to get stuck into a further episode or two of my new-but-not-so-new favourite TV series, Gossip Girl.

I don't actually have to do, say, write anything until I speak to my editor when he gets back from holidays in another week. All I have to do is enjoy it. Experience it. Perhaps take a note or two on the room quality, the service, the food.

I have to say, I can think of worse ways to spend 24 hours, can't you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Popping my (junk) cherry

Until yesterday I was a virgin-junker. A rare sort of virgin in this party town. Let me explain. Firstly, a junk is an old-school boat you can hire for a reasonable fee, get all-you-can-eat, and all-you-can-drink (yes, alcoholic) supplies for the whole day, a crew to look after you, and an adventure off to outlying islands of Honkers, where the water, the air, the everything feels cleaner. More often than not these junk trips turn into wild drinking affairs, partay central. You can imagine.

Now, sadly (or not), my dirty thirties are turning me into a bit of a nana, so that sort of junk doesn't really appeal to me. Trapped on a boat with 20 drunk lads and lasses? Ain't my cup of tea, sista. Luckily, my very civislised (ahem) cousin organised a chilled Sunday junk where alcohol was BYO. Tres clever, tres tres clever.

And it was amazing! Driving off on a boat with great friends, great food, a great swim, ball games and wake boarding for the boys, chatting and swimming with the girls. No skyscrapers to be seen. No traffic, no noise. A proper Hong Kong escape.

Such a contrast - the old school fishing boats with the luxury yachts behind
Unfortunately, NOT our boat...
Ours was more like this

I adore being on a boat. Surrounded by water. Away from the city. With nothing but the horizon ahead. I had such a nice time, and felt so relaxed afterwards, I will most certainly be going back for more junk time. Now that my cherry's been popped and all....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Frock it: Lady crush

One of my favourite bloggers is ThisMid30sLife. She's got to be one of the funniest women around with that nutty, dry, Aussie sense of humour that makes you slap your thighs and laugh out loud. A while back she started a series on her blog to make fun of admire the latest frocks on show. It's called Frock It. I've been meaning to join in for, oh, 8 weeks now, and I've finally pulled my finger out.

I was inspired to join in because I saw this ridiculously good looking lady while perusing my Daily Mail Online app in bed this morning. An app, my friends, that every Grazia reader should have. Considering gossip mags are 10 times the price here in Honkers, this app is a cheap way to get my gossip thrills I've been so desperately missing the past 8 months. I would highly recommend you get involved. It's free people.

So have a look at this woman. Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Oh. My. Stars. Did someone say hot? Look at that DRESS! One shoulder, sheer, sheesus is all I can say. Those LEGS!! I've alluded to my desire to have such legs before, Bar Rafaeli style, but I think she's been trumped by this goddess. Ah-MAZING!


So, while I wipe the drool from my mouth and rapidly pull my gym gear on to start my I-WILL-have -Rosie's-legs-mission, head over to ThisMid30sLife for a perve on some other fancy frocks this week.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Typhoon time

Typhoon season has hit us hard here in Honkers this past week. They're the same same summer squalls that pass through this part of the pacific every year, but it's my first time experiencing them and they are Full On. A typhoon is effectively a tropical cyclone, with massively powerful winds and torrential rain. All felt, heard and seen just that little more from the 36th floor. We had a T3 the other day which means the winds were somewhere between 100 and 185km/hr (the lowest grade being a T1, a T8 meaning the city shuts down, everyone is sent home from work for the day, woop). It's still hot, tres hot. We're hitting about 33 degrees most days, with humidity somewhere over 80%. Add the winds and rain and it is an.....lets call it.....interesting, climate to be a part of.

Either way, it's making movement out of the house particularly uninviting. So much so, its made me yearn for those beautifully hot, but comfortable sunny, summer days, with cooler evenings and fresh starts to the morning. We're planning on heading to Thailand for a week over the next few months if my husband can drag himself away from (I'm beginning to think his true love) the trading floor. So there is respite ahead. Until then, I've been immersing myself in the glorious memory of our honeymoon in the Maldives 9 months ago..... That place, my friends, is heaven. Pure bliss. 

Have you been? It is incredible and such an amazing treat. The food, the people, the water, the snorkelling, the diving, the everything. What a memory to have.....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chick Flick heaven

I LOVE a Chick Flick. Cannot Get Enough. And I just walked away from a great one. The kind where there's the obligatory hot guy, the great girl who should have him but doesn't, the bitch who has him but shouldn't, the token male best friend who is the nice, funny, almost-good-looking guy we all wish we had one of, the scenic shots of that city that you wish you lived in and just enough humour to make you smile the way through. 

I never get sick of them. Ever. And the older I get, the more I love them. Perhaps it's the dirty thirties turning me all wise and noble (ahem), but I'm finding myself content with my own company these days. I've become quite the pro at taking myself off to the cinema, alone. Something I would NEVER have done in a million years in Sydney or London. And I find myself absolutely loving it. Pure indulgence, enjoying a film solo.

But particularly, the Chick Flick. What is it about Chick Flicks that are so damn enticing? Is it because we love a happy ending? Or because we love pretending that maybe that's our life just for those 120 minutes? Because we can vicariously live our lives through those on the screen? Because we love a love story? Because we just want to escape for a little while? Because we love looking at beautiful people? Because there's not enough romance in the real world? Or because the modern consumerist world has made us suckers for wanting what we don't have?

I think my main reason is I just love a good story. A well told one. A happy one. Where the good guy/girl wins (helps when they're all ridiculously good looking and wear great clothes throughout), you get a giggle along the way, preferably a shirt-off moment with said hot guy, and you walk out of the cinema feeling a little lighter than when you walked in. For me, that's the perfect ending.

What about you? Do you love a Chick Flick? What makes you keep going back for more?

Monday, June 20, 2011

You like Fry Rye? A visit to Yangshuo.

This weekend just gone, my parents, husband and I jumped over to China for a weekend getaway 'with a difference'. We were contemplating heading to Shanghai or Beijing for a change of scene, but decided on the back of many recommendations to fly to Guilin and from there, get a transfer to our destination, Yangshuo. There's nothing quite like a recommendation, is there? And this was certainly no exception!

The drive from the airport was pretty spectacular in itself. The 60 minute journey took us on a highway amidst the most spectacular giant limestone mountains jutting out of the earth like it was no ones business. Then we arrived at our little rural oasis right on the river, with beautiful bamboo-made everything and a relaxed vibe that had me worrying I'd not bought quite enough books for the weekend.

The favourite activity in this place, for tourists (which meant us), was jumping on a raft and cruising down the river, taking in the remoteness, the beauty, the charm of the ridiculously amazing scenery in front of us. It was quite easily one of the most relaxing things I've done. It was a world away from the madness of Hong Kong, which was exactly what we all felt like. No noise, no distractions, just a man and a pole pushing you down a river. Superb.

We discovered a few little towns on a few journeys over the weekend which made me feel like I live like a queen, what with my 24-hr electricity and air-conditioning.

Needless to say there was a LOT of fried rice consumed, many a 'Ni Hao' and 'Xie Xie', and more smiling and nodding with not a clue what was being said. The locals were so friendly, the accommodation superb, and the food fantastic. I'd recommend it to anyone considering a break from Honkers, or anyone about to plan a trip to China. 

This is the place we stayed here. Most definitely worth a visit!

Hope you've all had a good week!

ps. Thanks for all the comments re: my wandering blojo. I'm feeling like it might be on the way's hoping ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Losing my blojo

I don't know how. Don't know why. But for some reason over the past 2 weeks, I've just lost it. My blojo that is. My blogging mojo. Its gone on summer vacation and the bugger forgot to leave me a memo. 

As a result, I'm left struggling to think of what to write, feeling like I'm not delivering to my readers, struggling to read my favourite blogs, struggling to participate. I'm sure it's just a phase, a trough, a hump that I'll soon get over. But for some reason, I'm just not feeling it. I'm confused, curious and slightly disinterested all at the same time. Weird, no?

Meanwhile, I'm having a fabulous time with my friend here, I'm about to leave to pick up my parents from the airport and it's my birthday tomorrow. So the blojo may be 'lost' for just a little bit longer while I revel in the good times this week is bringing me.

Is it just me or has this happened to you? Have you lost your blojo before?

Friday, June 10, 2011

A bit blergh...

I've been a bit slack with the blog this week. Sorry team. It's partly due to the fact that I've been floored with some sort of virus the past few days and have struggled to have the energy to do much at all, except of course, eat, which I always seem to have the energy to do. Funny that. And partly because I'm just a bit blerh with life here at the moment. Obviously the colossal failure of the internship was a massive blow and really disappointing. I feel like I took 2 steps forwards and 5 steps backwards. I've lost the routine I had that was getting me through my long days, am questioning what my life here is going to be from now on and sliding towards that HK trough I know only too well.

We're also in the midst of summer and it is just so bloody hot. There has to be a serious incentive for me to leave the comfort of my air-con at the moment, because the minute you walk outside, it's like you're wading through a hot sauna, sucking in the steam, counting down the seconds for the relief. Don't you just wish you were here?

Luckily, I've got a few things to look forward to at the mo'.

(a) It's the big 3-oooohhhhhhh for me next week so we're having a bit of a shindig at a nice restaurant tomorrow night with all our lovely friends here. The restaurant is a little bit of gastro-pub-England in HK, with great food and nice atmos, so is a lovely treat to look forward to after a less than average week (pending current fever and lethargy subsiding....c'mon health gods, make it happen).

(b) A great friend from London has been travelling around Asia after spending 6 months living in Aus and she's arriving here on Monday for a few days which means....playmate! Not of the playboy kind people. Although she is pretty hot and I'm sure would teach Hugh Hefner a thing or two.

(c) And then on Tuesday, my parents are arriving for a week. This is their first visit since we've lived here and it'll be so nice to be able to show them our HK and have company for a whole 8 days! We're heading off to China for the weekend but I'll tell you more about that closer to the time.

So, really, after having a whinge about the current state of affairs, I do have a fun and exciting week ahead that will be filled with lots of chatting, catching up and no doubt many a laugh. Which to be honest, is just what I need. I guess I've just had a few days of feeling under the weather which makes the light at the end of the tunnel pretty hard to see! You know the feeling, right?

Deep breaths. Onwards and upwards.....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pokies and Portugal

It was a long weekend here, this weekend just gone. And for a few reasons, including the fact that I am currently up to here with Hong Kong, we decided to skip town to Macau. It's just a 60-minute ferry ride away which makes it the most convenient weekend spot we could get our hands on. In case you don't know much about Macau, it's a) a Special Administrative Region of China (just like Hong Kong), (b) a Portuguese colony, c) the most densely populated region in the world and d) the biggest gaming district in the world (yep, it tops Vegas). Doesn't it just sound like the perfect holiday destination? Well, unfortunately for me, there's no charming country house on a vineyard just an hours drive away, or a simple little beach shack for us to hang ten in so we plain and simple, just have to work with what we've got.

I've never been to Vegas, so this was a bit of an eye-opener for me. The most eye-opening things, in fact, were the 489.34 billion Chinese people that were occupying these casinos,  24 hours a day, and more shockingly, their soberness. I associate casinos, like I'm assuming most Sydney-siders do, with being quite off your trolley. I mean why else would you go to Star City, right?! But things are different here in China. People are served water. In bottles. And tea. In cups. Everyone. Is. Sober. No one is drinking. You know how the toilet water is supposed to flush upside down in this part of the world? Well, it seems like their priorities are much the same. I simply don't get the pleasure in consciously deciding to give someone else your hard-earned money and 99% of the time, getting nothing, except some Chinese attitude, back. Call me crazy but I just don't get it.

Apart from the casinos, we managed to see the famous House of Dancing Water show, which was fabulous! Think Cirque du Soleil in a giant pool of water, with acrobatics, dancing, tricks, motorbikes, the whole shebang. Definitely worth seeing if you ever, ahem, find yourself in Macau. Check out a clip here.

We also made it to the old Portuguese part of town, and for a few minutes, just a few, it did make me feel like we transcended the madness of Asia, and the relentless crowds and smells, and were back in Europe, gawking at the beautiful architecture and pretty colours that make that place just so damn beautiful.

And then, before we knew it, we were whipped out of our European dream and swiftly reminded that we were still in Asia, a place that constantly overloads the senses, in every possible way. The unyielding heat and humidity, the bustling of the crowds, the overwhelming stench of fresh meat in the streets, the confusing sound of a language we don't understand. At times it is just so overwhelming.

Hope your weekend was as colourful as mine!