Monday, February 28, 2005

A journey of 1000 steps

French women don't get fat because they live in a city that is so easy to pace around - take today's experiences, for instance.

After a bit of a sleep-in, batreg and I took off on the Metro to climb the Arc de Triomphe. Last time I was here (in 2001), I couldn't work out how to get across the roundabout from hell and up the stairs. I was obviously dense back then because it was so easy. We came off the Metro, walked up the stairs, and VOILA - there was another set of stairs directing people to the ticket booth for the Arch. After paying our 7 euro entry fee, we turned to the bottom of the spiral staircase to be told that it is 285 steps to the top. Too late to turn back now, so up we went. I tell you what, with all this walking up and down stairs, we will be cracking walnuts or modelling for bikini commercials in no time. The view from the top of the Arch is quite stunning, and finally we had a decent weather day up there so we weren't contending with too much cold or frost. It was a bit windy, but OK for pictures and a quick look-around.

After descending the 285 stairs, we walked up the Champs-Elysees to take in some shopping experiences. We bought some baguettes for lunch and kept walking along to eat them. If you've ever seen a map of Paris, you'll know how long this road is, so the refreshments along the way were much needed. We stopped in at the Gap to fix batreg up with a coat (very chic), and wandered through the Jardin de Tuileries, through to the Louvre. A quick picture of the glass Pyramid, a coffee in a neat little Salon du The, and we were back at the Metro to come home.

My legs aren't tired now so I must be getting used to the walking around and admiring the view. There is certainly no shortage of either opportunity here. After last night's pizza dinner at Cafe Momo down the road, we're heading to an authentic French restaurant tonight to check the menu out there. At least I can be sure that whatever I eat or drink tonight will be walked off tomorrow!

Photos from Honkers

Nathan Street
Originally uploaded by tink007.

I have tried to be sophisticated and set up a "photostream" to showcase the first batch of Hong Kong photos.

To access the photos, you need to click on the picture of Nathan Street (above), and then keep clicking on "next in stream" to scroll through them.

If it doesn't work, don't blame me.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Culture and all that crap

What I love about this part of my holiday is that nothing is rushed. We are both valuing the opportunity to catch our breath, see some of the more touristy things at our own pace, and enjoy the prelude to a rushed next few weeks.

Last night we went to dinner at Nick and Celine's place (two of Kate's friends) and met some other expats with whom Kate now spends a fair bit of her time. It was a real melting pot of cultures and backgrounds at dinner last night - French people, Aussies, Americans, Scotts - the list went on.

We caught a cab to the James Bond ball, and got there about 11pm. As we left Nick and Celine's it started to snow, and I tried my best to look like this sort of thing happened to me all the time. Quietly of course I was so excited that the snow had started to fall and that I was actually dressed for it.

It's hard not knowing people and so there was a lot of casual chit-chat as we got acquainted with Kate's expat crew, but I came away from the party confident that Kate has found some really nice people here. Lovers of drink, dancing, and generally having a great time.

Of course the 12-hour flight from Hong Kong caught up with us quickly and we had to come home. Kate gave us her keys and we rugged up to face a wait for a taxi ride back to the flat. We realised that we were in the Pigalle section of Paris (like this was meant to mean something to us). As it turns out, the Pigalle is the area containing the Moulin Rouge, obviously a tourist drawcard, and therefore a strong likelihood of taxi presence.

Unfortunately our exit also coincided with a heavy snowfall so, to coin a phrase from "The Sound of Music", the snowflakes stayed on our nose and eyelashes, but it was not one of my favourite things at all. In fact it was rather annoying because it made it tricky to see where we were going. But after seeking some directions to a taxi rank from strip club bouncers, we walked to the Place de Clichy to get a cab. I couldn't find a taxi rank, because I realised I didn't actually know what they look like. So I stood in the middle of an intersection (pretty much) and nearly threw myself at full force in front of an available taxi.

Fortunately one stopped for us and got us back to the flat safely. We threw ourselves into bed and slept until nearly 1pm this afternoon. When we finally got moving we went to a Monet gallery by the Bois de Boulogne on the outskirts of the City - very nice way to spend the afternoon. The snow came down heavily again as we sat at a coffee shop (Salon du The), and so the refills on the hot coffee were restorative in a big way.

I think we will spend the next few days doing the tourist thing - Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and all that "culture and crap" which should be a nice 'au revoir' to Paris before we head off on the train tour.

Thanks to all those who have emailed their well wishes - I will write back soon.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Paris in the winter time

We left Hong Kong at 11:35pm or so last night and we had the worst seats ever. Granted we were seated together, but we were more squished on this long flight than we were on the plane that brought us to Hong Kong. I suppose in retrospect it proved to be no big deal, since Andrea and I were asleep before dinner was even served. We snoozed on and off for the full twelve-hour flight, but still resembled the walking dead when we finally got to Paris at 6am. It didn't help that it was -2 degrees Celcius once we hit the tarmac.

So it was on with the polar fleece and scarf, and trying to be good-humoured as we took the airport bus from Charles de Gaulle all the way into the Paris Opera, where Kate met us. When we found Kate's apartment, we enjoyed a fabulous French breakfast of fresh baguette (plus Vegemite), strong coffee, and pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants) and other danishes.

After breakfast we had a shower to freshen up (much needed given our zombied state), and took off to go shopping and sight seeing. I really needed a pair of gloves and a warm coat. Walking around a few blocks, we found "Brontebay" and I picked up a pair of black leather gloves with cashmere lining, which are absolutely beautiful and super warm. Then it was off to Zara, where I found a beige coloured zip-up jacket which is also super warm. Given the colour, I will of course attract every speck of dust and crap between here and Italy but at least I now have a decent top - no more polar fleece!

Tonight is a James Bond party with Kate's expat group, then tomorrow will most likely be more sight seeing in my fabulous new gloves and jacket. I don't think I will be appropriately dressed for it, but most of Kate's friends already know Andrea and I are coming, so no doubt they will make allowances for our attire. Maybe I will flash them my gloves.....

Off to have a late afternoon nap now - will write again soon.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Dim sum and tight buns

I am writing this post from Hong Kong's international airport, feeling quite literally exhausted from 2 frenetic days of sightseeing. From the back seat of a Mercedes. As you do. HK hospitality is something else again.

In only two days, with our trusty chauffeur Robert to guide the way, batreg and I delighted in Hong Kong's sights, smells, and sounds. What no guide book felt honest enough to mention is the climate in February. We had fog, we had mist, we had cloud. And in that sense (and that sense alone), it was a shame we had a Harbor-view hotel room. We could only see out the window for such a small amount of time in the day, which was disappointing. I would say that, on a clear day, it would make for a magic sight.

We went to Victoria Peak, which again purports to have stellar views over Hong Kong. However, the site was deserted owing to the awful weather, and there was nothing to see up there anyway. In fact, it was quite treacherous because we were slipping and sliding over the rained-on tiles as the mist closed in around us. Eerie stuff.

We then went to the Stanley markets where I was in fear of being mugged (irrationally of course). A horrible coffee from the Delifrance chain accompanied us on a meander through the windy streets to peruse the shops selling pretty much the same things. Andrea and I emerged with a souvenir print each. Tacky souvenirs can wait I think.

After the market trip, we went to Repulse Bay, which is a misnomer if ever I have heard one. The beach is actually quite nice, with soft (treated) sand, and a calm swimming area. Off to one side is a collection of Chinese sculptures - mostly Buddha and other deities. Andrea and I walked across the Bridge of Long Life, to give us long life (DUH) and, upon direction, also fondled a stone that purports to see you fall in love and get hitched in the near future. I'll keep you all posted on that front (gulp).

All this misty touring works up an appetite, so we caught a ferry to Jumbos, the floating restaurant. For $7A each, we feasted on dim sum, but of course I used a fork. Never have masted those chopsticks. The meal was delicious, and the accompanying jasmine tea was a really relaxing (albeit hallucinogenic) condiment.

To work off the hearty meal, we took a public bus up to the Pao Lin Monastery. Again, the entire complement of passengers trusted our lives to the bus driver as we wound up and up a mist-covered mountain. We were rewarded with more fog. Oh, and the biggest Buddha I've never seen (fog fog fog). To see the Buddha we had to climb up about 700 stairs and I tell you - my legs are positively killing me. But the peace and quiet at the top was worth the effort. You know it's funny - it didn't matter what nationality my fellow tourists were - we were united in the common expression of pain and anguish as we ambled, mountain goat-style up step by step. We shared the common "oh-god-why-are-we-enduring-this-ridiculous-vertical-ascent" moments, and it was gratifying to notice. But they do say 'no pain no gain', so perhaps the muscle spasms will subside and reveal shapely, toned legs. Yeh. Moving on.

After Buddha, we went back to the Hotel and had dinner with my Dad and his colleague in Nathan Street. Shopping mecca, crazy place. A lot like Kuta in Bali, and a real place that never sleeps.
On our last day in HK (today), we crossed the sea - and Chinese border - into Macau. On the whole a rather unpleasant experience. However, this blog post is already too full to go into it. Suffice it to say the first page in my new passport is already full of stamps. Not bad for my second day of holidays, huh?

Next stop is Paris - our flight leaves nearly midnight, and the cute guy at the checkin counter promised to try and get us better seats on the plane. I don't care really - I plan to sleep. Katie tells me that a James Bond party awaits us in France's snowy capital.

Will write more soon. I should have done this holiday "thing" years ago - it's such a blast!

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Human Lasagne

I remember a friend telling me about a shopping expedition to Kookai (aka the House of Polyester), to be told that layers were the fashion trend du jour. Even at the time I was unconvinced, believing instead that like all fashion fads, layers weren't for everyone (think "Michelin Man" effect on anyone whose physique does not resemble a stick insect).
But in my typical 'style', I'm latching onto the layering thang, albeit a few years late. I mean, how else am I supposed to take all the beautiful things from my wardrobe and fit them into that dinky little suitcase? I'm sure Chanel would agree - if you can't carry it, wear it!
No, it won't come to that. I am seriously going to have to leave some wardrobe treasures behind. One black suit for job interviews or funerals, or if nothing else is clean, and then casual stuff for everyday wear.
Even though I'm wearing daggy tshirts, I've decided not to sacrifice glamour completely. Top shelf underwear (in case of any encounters with paramedics), and Donna Karan perfume are going to be in my suitcase no matter what. Some things a girl just cannot compromise.

Here's to the Internet

Veuve Clicquot
Originally uploaded by Dey.

I have been up for way too long today and have spent the better part of tonight reserving holiday accommodation online. I am highly doubtful that some of the hotels I wanted to book are REALLY fully occupied on the dates I selected. I think some tourism operators are in cahoots, that's what I reckon. It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

I even ended up writing to two convents and emailed them in Italian. Here's hoping the nuns stop laughing at my rusty Italian long enough to check their booking sheets. If there proves to be no room at the inn, Reg & I will no doubt be bag ladies in Rome, wheeling our belongings behind us to all the sites.

Cross fingers, cross eyeballs, whatever it takes - just keep the good vibrations coming and maybe we'll get somewhere. And be allowed to stay there.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

No big d-eel

Blah! I'm a monster!
Originally uploaded by robotgirl.

In my fatigued and caffeine-addled brain, I found today's paper quite amusing.

A story from Melbourne says that a giant eel has found its way into a trout farm. Theories abound as to its Scottish ancestry and a reward is being offered for its safe capture for relocation to the Melbourne Aquarium.

The eel has a head the size of a football, apparently. I say send in Rex Hunt to give it a big pash. Yibbita Yibbita and all that rot.

I really have to go back to bed.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

I think the reality of what I'm about to do hit me this morning. Early this morning, in fact. I woke up before 6am to the fear that I don't have enough money for my trip. My conscious mind knows that is complete bollocks, but my subconscious was having a minor freak-out.
My suitcase came down from the top of the wardrobe yesterday, which could have something to do with it. I have now begun the process of flinging things into the open suitcase, in an effort to make sure nothing important gets left behind. I have been subscribing to the chaos theory of packing, which basically holds that there is no point keeping all holiday-related items in one spot. The result is a mad-cap rush around the bedroom, attempting to recall which drawers and shelves are housing the things I need to make the next 12 months as comfortable as possible. It's quite a shambles in that room at present, which probably is the real reason I'm hiding out in the computer room.
Yesterday I bade farewell to my "Crazy Granny" (the Russian Empress, to those of you familiar with the stories); Shedes; and Theresa and Jane. The latter farewell was jollied along by bottles of red wine - with a screw top, Lord help us - standards slipping. I don't like these "seeya later" events, that's for sure.
As you can tell, my brain is wired about the trip and what I've committed to, so going back to sleep isn't an option. I think I will just content myself with a cup of strong coffee, and the company of my beloved Barkley The Wonder Pooch, and hold onto both as long as I can.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Now THAT'S what I call a send-off!

The Clan
Originally uploaded by tink007.

Yesterday's family BBQ was a great opportunity to get the Clan together (biologicals and non-biologicals) for an Aussie BBQ.

Kudos to kilabyte for truly legendary hamburgers and to Rae for keeping the champagne flowing.

Jems presented me with a truly international and really creative farewell banner. Thankfully it was not a photo board - not one of my favourite things. Leaving her for a year is not going to be pretty.

I'd take my sister with me in my hand luggage if it wasn't already stuffed with Tim Tams of almost every variety, and Vegemite in neat little squeezy tubes (what will they think of next?). Katie will very soon have a serious Vegemite fix if her Parisian pantry is lacking in it, that's for sure.

Sorry in advance to the family members and friends who figured that I wouldn't read the beautiful things you wrote in my travel journal before I actually took off. I know I wasn't supposed to peek, but too bad. At least I waited until you'd all gone home before I read your messages. So naturally, another champagne-fuelled sob session followed and none of you were there to see it. Phew.

This morning as I reflect on what was said and done yesterday, I know how lucky I am to have such great loved ones. And I'm fortunate that I can read back over my journal while I'm away and remind myself of that fact over and over.

I'll just make sure that batreg keeps a supply of Kleenex at the ready for me.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A Military Offensive for Cargo Pants

Cry Baby
Originally uploaded by Jan Tik.

Okay so this pic is more "me" after an hour-long shopping spree in the City yesterday. I decided several days ago that I needed long pants to travel (in addition to jeans) and that, once I had them, I would be ready to roll.

But today's sentiment over at batreg was echoed yesterday after browsing the shops. I realised quite quickly that I had to buy what was on the shelves - I couldn't wait till next season. Normally the 'pressure shop' is an adrenalin rush of the best kind. Yesterday it sucked.

And I also had to shop for pants that I knew would still fit me with the weight loss I plan to endure walking around the European landscapes. This isn't wishful thinking if you consider my body when I got back from Europe last time. I looked good, felt great, and my cargo pants fell down when I breathed in. But that was the result of a 'no wine, no beer, not much dairy' diet that I adopted by virtue of living in a one-room apartment like an outcast. After all, no point buying runny brie if there's no one to help eat it. Communal living would have been better for that I now accept.

Since I will be living communally with our batreg in the coming months, chances are the temptation to indulge in brie, wine, and other local (ie fattening) delicacies will be much more prevalent.

So I made batreg promise yesterday that she won't let us indulge TOO much. I agreed to negotiate the purchase of our goods in the foreign language required, as long as she ensured the quantity was appropriate for moderate consumption.

No more tantrums in clothing stores. You heard it here first folks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Clothes Maketh The Man (and Woman)

Originally uploaded by tozzo.

I read once that you should leave the house every day dressed as if you were going to run into your high school nemesis. The idea of this little pearl of wisdom is that if you're always feeling dressed to your best, you can face anyone and anything with your head held high.

I get the feeling that ever since I missed my high school reunion, I've been dodging some serious karmic retribution. And when I get to Hong Kong next week, I'm going to have a word with the freestanding Buddha about why he's come to collect now.

In the past week I have seen many ghosts of younger years - people who in a small town like Adelaide, I've thankfully managed to avoid. The reasons for this "duck and weave" mentality are too big and too weird even for this blog, so I'll leave you in ignorance. Suffice it to say, it IS possible to exist here and disappear into the background if you really want to.

But I suppose Buddha has made it his personal mission to make my last week in Adelaide a time to make me face up to those situations, or most recently those people, to whom I have nothing left to say. So each time, I have been forced to shuffle by and, in silence, intently study my shoes until they pass. Fortunately I heeded the advice I'd read and I was dressed comfortable on each UNcomfortable occasion. Phew.

I can only therefore wonder about the boy who shared my bus bench yesterday afternoon - what clothing advice had he read?

You know the type I'm talking about - white gangsta rapper wannabe. Like a midget Eminem; tragic really. White, old Converse sneakers, blue tracksuit pants with very little elastic in the waist, satin boxer shorts poking out about 1 inch above the top of the trackies (the boxers had little red chillis on them - a wilful euphemism on his part perhaps?). Romeo also displayed a bare pigeon-chest with a NBL basketball top casually draped over one shoulder. Hold me back.

Perhaps the only people the mini rapper should worry about running into are the fashion police.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ghosts, Ghouls, and Goblins - oh my!

L' Anée Dernière a Marienbad
Originally uploaded by anapinta.

Everyone is well aware that my subconscious is perhaps a weirder world than this one. My dreams are often vivid, certainly in colour and, on occasion, contain clear messages or signs. What I do with those signs is up to me. If you believe in all that malarkey.

Last night's dream was set in a house very similar to the one in this photo (thanks to 'anapinta' over at flickr).

The dream was probably my subconscious tapping into Nicole Kidman and her film "The Others". I say this because my dream centered around me following the housekeeper around as she locked each door behind us to prevent the ghosts escaping.

She was quite up-front about the supernatural tenants and said that, as long as we removed our shoes each time we came into the house, all would be well.

Time had gone on and I was still following the housekeeper around with no sign of ghosties.

And then a lady turned up who I think was eager to buy the house. We did the obligatory "here is the observatory", "here is the kitchen" sorta tour, and then we came up to the study.

We walked in, and there she was. Reclined on the sofa, reading quite a big book, was the ghost of a lady in a white nightdress, with long and flowing hair. But she was actually the ghost of a mummy. Her flesh did not look attached to her bones in any reliable way.

Behind her on the wall unit was the ghost of a little boy (more solid this time), attempting to throw fine bone china at the ghost of a butler, who was swatting him away and telling him to get down.

I waved at the lady's ghost, simply because I saw her so clearly. This took the housekeeper by surprise; however, the ghost did not wave back. She went back to her reading and we continued with the open inspection.

I asked the housekeeper what she was reading. Upon hearing her reply (Thomas Hardy), all I could say was "well, that's quite an undertaking".

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ole and Adios Senoritas

Roasted Chicken Nachos
Originally uploaded by bump.

I found this nachos photo and recipe over at, where all good photos (and chicken nachos recipes) go to "roost" - sorry, just some lame holiday humour there. Thanks to Mark for the pic and the top hints on how to prepare his stellar dish.

This photo is relevant to today's post because of the delightful dinner I have coming up tonight. Yes, another farewell for myself and batreg. This time, we're saying 'adios' to Courts and Tone. But I will remain brave and dry-eyed. No one has made me cry yet (the alcohol soaked sob-fest at Christmas time does not count).

So tonight we combine nachos, margaritas, sangria, and conversation to create a memorable and fun-filled farewell. No tears allowed, but crazy conga dancing around the restaurant and spontaneous pashing of waiters is okay.

Speaking of which, it is really a shame that the cute Frenchman with the slight paunch no longer works at the Vietnamese restaurant across the road from tonight's dinner venue. Sigh, he was such good eye candy while enjoying Mexican delights. Good eye candy while enjoying Vietnamese delights too, but one simply can't seem too keen and go in there all the time!

Such a cosmopolitan street is Melbourne Street, wouldn't you say?! I will miss it.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The home stretch

For so long now I've been talking about my holiday using the "far off" future tense. It never seemed close enough to even be a reality, so there hasn't been a great likelihood of me freaking out or changing my mind.
But here it is - just over a week away and I can almost taste it. Pretty soon my suitcase is going to have to come down from the top of the wardrobe, dusted off, and be packed (and re-packed) will all the jet-setting precision I can muster. Am I up to this task?
I have been trawling travel websites and have purchased an array of knick-knacks to maximise my in-flight, transit, transport, and accommodation comfort. In this sense, I am ready to go.
But nowhere in my bag of tricks do I have a magical remedy for coping with the weather extreme that my body is about to endure. Rome and Glasgow have a 5-day weather forecast that I previously would have reserved for the Arctic! What's with all this "2 degrees Celcius overnight" and "10 degrees celcius maximum daily temperature" stuff? Hard to fathom when we're sitting here (albeit FINALLY) with 38 degrees Celcius.
Hard to fathom, but harder to dress for. I can see it now that I am going to resemble a human lasagne. Layer upon layer of insulation, waddling like the proverbial Michelin Man down the main street, trying not to slide on icicles the size of my head. Here's hoping the coffee is up to par, as I believe there will be some serious caffeine consumption occurring - in order to defrost from the inside out, if nothing else.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Gee Whizz-inator!

It doesn't surprise me that drug-addled athletes do it, but now fading Hollywood "stars" are at it too?
News from over at Yahoo tells me that burly and surly Hollywood actor Tom Sizemore has been locked up. Seems this time Mr Sizemore has been busted for allegedly trying to use a prosthetic penis to fake a monthly drug test, a condition of his parole for previous bad-boy antics (drugs and violence).
By using a device called a Whizzinator, available on the Internet (naturally), Tom thought he'd cheat the system. Either that, or he was keen to impress the drug testers with the double bulge in his pants. Whatever his objective, poor Tom's concealed gem did not live up to its "undetectable", "foolproof" claims, and it's back to the slammer for its no doubt dissatisfied owner.
The lengths some people will go to, huh?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

So Chuck and Cammy are getting hitched?

Our Prime Minister has called the recently-announced engagement "sensible". What a terrible world to describe this supposedly happy occasion.
Johnny Howard has also commented that the nuptials are something that "most people expected". Well not me. I always imagined they would maintain the status quo and hump like jackrabbits at their respective country retreats until they were too old to do it anymore. What's wrong with Charles staying a bachelor? Why does he have to marry his infamous "other woman"? Knowing how much the British people loved Diana, how whole-heartedly will they now embrace the woman who was allegedly behind the marriage collapse?
And when the wedding bells toll at the end of the service, Camilla will have the 'courtesy title' of "Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall" and be known as the "Princess Consort". Does anyone else think this has undertones of courtesan about it? I don't know how happy I'd be with that title. Duchess is okay cause you'd get in free at the movies, but Consort suggests people might think you're just a bit on the side, plus tiara.
What's the matter with the PR machine at the Palace? It's going to have to work overtime to fix Cam's reputation and one would suggest they have their hands full with Harry right now. Perhaps someone should start on Camilla's hairstyle and work from there.

Back to MY city by the Bay

I spent the day at Glenelg with Susan and baby Daisy (Ellinor really). I don't get to The Bay often, but I really should. It was a bit cold, sure, but we had a carafe of rose in chilled glasses, some pizzas, strong coffee and a chocolate biscuit at a cafe that fronted onto Jetty Road. We got to people watch and other people watched us. Oh and the waiter was cute - and foreign. It was a great day out.
Perhaps it was the baby that drew the admiring glances because though my new glasses are fabulous they aren't, admittedly, all that interesting. Unless you're into that sort of thing I guess. Being in public with a baby, even if it's not your own, is a real people magnet. No one approached us, but there were definitely some admiring glances being levelled in Daisy's direction. Little wonder really; the kid's a stunner. And so well behaved. Cries when she's hungy, or cries when she's tired. It really is that simple. None of the mind games that some other kids play.
So there it was. I got to play wannabe Aunt for a day in fabulous weather, and I didn't have to hold Daisy to do it (phobia of mine). All I had to do was to tickle her stomach every now and then, play with her fingers, and make goofy faces to keep her smiling. My top stayed free of spit-up and my nerves were in check (thanks in some small part to the rose I expect).

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

And now from the "strange dream" file

Last night's dream came on the back of a sad episode of CSI: Miami, two episodes of Without A Trace, a glass of Banrock Station red, and dozing in a sleeping bag. Context will help, trust me.
So my dream was about a visit I paid to a frat party [obviously the American influence in my life is starting to pervade my subsconscious]. But this frat party was held at an Aussie university, and two guys from my work were hosting it. All the frat boys wore black pants, black shoes, white shirts, black skinny ties (perhaps this was me recalling an ad for Men In Black I'd seen earlier that night?).
This dream was not a dreamy remake of a bad tits-and-arse teen movie either. We played games in the dream, but they had more in common with a 19th century etiquette gala and were quite above-board. One of the party games we had to play was where each guest had to put a heavy-ish chain and loveheart padlock around their necks and, while holding a key in their hand, had to go around the room and find the person whose key opened your loveheart.
And the real kicker was that the fraternity was trying to build self-esteem, because the key you were holding actually opened your own padlock. Well you don't need to be a dream analyst to work out the message in THAT.
Corniest frat party that I never went to, that's for sure.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The lion won't sleep tonight

Last night's Chinese New Year's Eve on Gouger Street was fun - a hearty dinner with live entertainment and friendly service. What more could one ask? I missed last year's celebrations and was determined that this year would be different. So I rounded up near and dear ones, and headed for China Town.
The buffet menu was 'interesting' with some delectable delights I'd heard of, but never actually been offered in a restaurant. So we skipped the esoteric menu in favour of more tried-and-true morsels. Ooooh they were tasty treats that we scored, let me tell you. Yummo.
In terms of the entertainment, I always thought the smiley-faced animal that dances around at Chinese New Year celebrations was a dragon. But it's a lion - who knew? Okay everyone else except me, probably. All the colour, enthusiasm, and good humour was there, it's just I screwed up a little on the animal. Oh well.
When the lion dancers emerged to shimmy their way around the restaurant, collecting cash from patrons trying to buy themselves good luck for the New Year, I participated. I deposited a little red envelope into the lion's mouth, which will hopefully be enough to secure some good fortune this year.
But something tells me from the energy expended at last night's performance alone, and knowing that New Year celebrations will continue into this week, there is no rest in sight for that dancing lion.

Monday, February 07, 2005

What would Brad and Morgan say?

A British survey has revealed that, with the exception of greed, what we know as the "Seven Deadly Sins" have limited reference to our modern lives.

If you need a quick refresher on the sins (or on the Brad Pitt/Morgan Freeman film), the seven sins are:

  • Greed
  • Gluttony
  • Sloth
  • Envy
  • Pride
  • Anger
  • Lust

26% of women surveyed said that "lust" was the sin they most enjoyed committing. I like that.

Survey participants said that the 2005 list of 'deadly' sins should recognise the idea that a sin is a sin if it leads to actions that hurt other people.

For this reason, participants argued for greed to stay on the list, accompanied by:

  • Cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Bigotry
  • Dishonesty
  • Hypocrisy
  • Selfishness

*Sigh* Something tells me the 2005 movie wouldn't be any good if Kevin Spacey was finding all his sinners in the halls of Parliament, but that's just me.

For We Are Young And Free

"The Fro"
Originally uploaded by tink007.

I have decided to be a little sentimental in the last days before I flee to the other side of the world.

So I've composed a slideshow of Aussie pics over at that you might like to look through.

Click on the photo of Guy and when the Flickr website loads, you just need to click on the "next in set" arrow to see the full slideshow.

Bear in mind that this isn't supposed to be computer programming at its best; rather, I'm just practising to make sure I know how to do this stuff while I'm away. I think a Paris slideshow or a Rome slideshow will be fun to share with you too.

Until then....

Sunday, February 06, 2005

A New Year is something to crow about

At midnight on 8 February 2005, the Chinese community around the world will celebrate the dawn of the Year of the Rooster.

Originally uploaded by tink007.

According to the Chinese calendar, roosters are organised, excellent time-keepers, love money, and are show-offs. Coupled with this, they are usually always right - and don't they know it!

As someone born in the year of the Snake, I enjoy fine food and get-togethers. I therefore plan to live up to this reputation and join in Chinese New Year celebrations tomorrow night.

Having been born with Wood as my lucky Chinese sign, it would appear that my "lucky times" are between 3am and 7am (I say nothing), and apparently sour foods and vegetables are good for me, but I neverthless have to watch my nervous system and gall bladder. Yeh I'll do that.

Check out the Chinese Fortune website to determine what will come your way in 2005, and particularly what body parts you'll need to watch this year!

Happy Chinese New Year to all!

Why I Am Not A Supermodel

Originally uploaded by tink007.

To the untrained eye, my absence from the world's catwalks and catalogues has to do with the fact I am 5'2" (in heels) and weigh as much as two supermodels. But no.

This morning's episode revealed to me the real reason Gucci and Chanel don't call. I don't get dressed fast enough.

The parcel delivery man visited me this morning, while I was swanning around the house in my new Peter Alexander PJs. [Editor's Note: They are fabulous pyjamas, but probably not suitable for the eyes of too unfamiliar a man].

So as Barkley goes crazy alerting me to the guy's arrival, I am literally scrambling for a top to cover myself. And upon finding a top, do you think I could put it on under pressure?! ARGH so frustrating.

And by the time I wrestled myself into the top, I didn't have time to confirm it was on the right side out, or see what my hair and make-up were doing. I can't begin to imagine what the delivery man thought.

So there it is - I may not be modelling for Missoni or parading for Prada, but I don't suppose I mind all that much. I reckon my catwalk companions would relish my slow, holiday-mode routine and they might actually enjoy not doing anything quickly.

If they ever want to swap places once in a while, I guess a strut down a catwalk could be good exercise for me. As long as my costume changes could be just a little longer. Quality can't be rushed, you understand.

Saturday, February 05, 2005


I think I just put myself in a trance. I usually approach the Internet searching for something in particular; however, this afternoon I find myself typing away at the computer with no real need to find anything, or anyone. With the whole world at my fingertips - literally - I can't think of a thing to search for.
Sigh. So it must be "Quiz Time". Let's see here - what is my theme song?

Motorpsycho - What If?

Motorpsycho - What If . . .
You are lively and energetic, and probably devote a lot of that energy to intellectual pursuits.
Asking questions and seeking answers is recreation to you, and besides that, you're quite good at it. Intensely creative, you make life an adventure for the people around you - people love being with you because the time is never dull. Whether it's an intense discussion about an important issue (which you've probably thought much about and your companions only pretend to understand) or light-hearted banter, you know how to keep the conversation interesting.

What's Your Theme Song?brought to you by Quizilla

Sniff - never heard it, but I quite like the description.

Okay, bored again. Time to lapse into that trance once more.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Haven't you (hic) left yet?

For the first time in my life, my dance card is full.

I have committed myself to catching up with my disparate groups of friends before the 23 February take-off. But so far the common denominator in these social engagements seems to be alcohol.

Martini (Originally uploaded by tink007)

Looking at my diary for the next fortnight is like gazing at the life of THE most hedonistic alcoholic you're ever likely to find.

Cocktails here, dinner there, more cocktails somewhere else.

But just before you think I'm telling you this to complain, think again. I love it.

But I can't help but wonder whether the Lonely Planet people are publishing a global directory of Betty Ford clinics, just in case a rapid detox is necessary.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

All the better to see you with, my dear

Originally uploaded by tink007.

Oh joy and rapture. The anti-ageing cream I have been slathering on my face for the past 6 months seems to be working! I showed up at the optometrist today for the 'routine' eye exam (eg every 2 years), to be told that my vision has actually improved since I was last there. I have the same vision I had when I was 21 years old.

Buoyed at the transmission of such good news, I floated on a cloud around the store to select a pair of frames, guaranteed to be 50% off (another bonus, yay for me). And supported by a genuinely lovely salesperson (a rare find), the ultimate choice came down to a pair of blue frames, and a pair of pink Modo frames.

Never much of a girly girl, I tended towards the blue pair. However, there was just something about the pink pair, and so I popped them on again for one last look. The dialogue that followed went something like this:

Me: Let me just try these pink ones again
(At this point, I slam the glasses on face, and critically appraise my reflection)
Her: Oh they are very cute.
Me: I'm not sure I'm going for cute. Maybe I should be going for "take me seriously".
Her: No you're not, you're going for cute.
Me: Okay I'll take them.

And before you say it, I know - there's one born every minute.

Here we go, vertigo

The tower
The tower,
originally uploaded by Kate is in Paris.
I have decided to steal a picture from Kate's online collection, to inspire myself for the forthcoming visit to Paris.

I am a little nervous about arriving on a Saturday at 6am, given that I'm quite sure many Parisians will be out and about somewhere near that time. Paris never sleeps, surely.

And I'm more than likely going to be wearing polar fleece. Andrea has made me freak out about that. It's not like I'm wearing fur, right?!

Oh well, at least La Tour Eiffel will always be there. I can throw myself from her lofty heights if I make any hideous fashion faux-pas. Like wearing polar fleece down the Champs-Elysees.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Single Girls seekYHA with GSOH for fun times

I am starting to think that youth hostel websites are a lot like personal ads - a whole lot of acronyms, some grainy out-dated photos, and not too many helpful descriptions. Roughly translated, they could be flat-out lies. I am allowing for language barriers in my understanding of 'comfortable' and 'centrally-located' and even 'clean'. It's all part of the experience, right?

I am trying to navigate my way around the youth hostels of France and Italy, marvelling as I go at the mental image of batreg and myself wheeling our belongings the 700 metres (precisely) between the train station and the hostel's front door. Can it be done? What if we go 700 metres in the wrong direction?

But I tell you, I'm getting the hang of this travel planning stuff. I have devised a proverbial route around France and Italy, investigating scenic and 'character' hostels along the way. All have internet booking (gods be praised), and most have internet cafes on site (ahh love it). One of the hostels is right in a medieval village, another is at the foot of an Alp (just one), and another is overlooking the Meditteranean.

With the exception of having to wear flip-flops in the shower and wedge a chair against the door, I imagine this is just how the Hollywood stars feel when they travel.

Foul is not fair, it is simply fowl

For the last two nights running, I have had a dream about caged birds. Both dreams have been quite disturbing actually and, upon waking, I have felt rather uneasy both mornings.

The first dream was about biological warfare and terrorism, I guess you'd say. I was in a posse (yes you read that right) and we were feuding with another posse of people about my age. We did something to them (which my subconcious won't let me remember) but, in retribution, the baddies unleashed flesh eating ants in our aviary and the ants only ate the heads of the budgies we were keeping in there. When I discovered what the baddies had done, I raced to the bird cage to find some of our birds still okay, but others had holes where their heads should be. And right across the perches and branches inside the cage were these flesh eating ants, and one massive fluoro blue dragon fly. Weird.

Last night's dream was more mundane, in the sense that it was set at home and I was in my room. I heard a commotion outside, so I split the wooden venetian blinds a little so I could peek outside. Where our little shed is outside was actually an aviary in my dream. I realised at this point in the dream that I was living in the bush, and we had exotic native birds in our cage (lorikeets and stuff). I saw that a thumping great big pink cockatoo had somehow trespassed into the cage and he was giving me the evil eye. Well, the light from my bedroom reflected in his eyeballs making them glow at me. So I went outside to investigate how he got in. When I peeked over the door to the aviary, I could see a dirty human foot stuck around the side. Someone was sitting on the floor of our aviary, with their back against the door. I didn't know who it was so I screamed for Jem, and ran inside to where Mum was in the kitchen. She came dashing out and we arrived just in time to see the dirty kid from next door scaling the back fence. His father was yelling at him for being on our property, and I was yelling at him to never come back to our place again.

Anyone with a degree in dream analysis care to enlighten me?

No hot male

Okay so that heading was just to get your attention.

Try as I might, it is proving impossible to get access to my HOTMAIL account (hot male = hotmail. Get it?!). Sorry that was ultra lame, even for me. But it made you look, right?

If you have sent something to my holiday address in the last week or so, my apologies for not responding. I haven't even read your message, so there.

But I am so grateful to have my internet connection back up again that I can't stay made at my ISP forever. I would kiss the computer if it wasn't a level of perversion with which even I am uncomfortable.

It's like you're reading my mind, man

It's been a while between quizzes, and this latest one sought to tell me what lies behind my eyes. Before I could jump to the "cranial fluid and other squishy gunk" conclusion, I answered their preliminary questions and look what flashed up. Just check out just how philosophical our friends at Quizilla can be.

I really need to find a hobby.
In your eyes, people see life... You see yourself
as just an average person! You enjoy life, love
wildlife, but also enjoy time with those who
know you best. You like to get outdoors and let
your mind wander over all of the mysteries god
gave to you. You don't really have a certain
sanctuary because you're so well-rounded, but
you like having fun and adventures, but can
also be found sitting quietly about, reading a
book. You have a pretty good life ahead of you,
never trade it for anything else :)

What Lies Behind Your Eyes? (With Pics, See All Results!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Daytime TV

Even with the return of students to a new school year, the television networks are slow to reinstate quality program. I say that like there was quality programming BEFORE school holidays. My bad.

My crossword addiction is not helped by the absence of "Fresh - Cooking with the Australian Womens Weekly" from my screen. In fact, it is being exacerbated by each network's tendency to re-run the biggest load of balderdash I've ever sat through. Where are the quality midday movies? Or where are the midday movies in general?!

Okay I appreciate that Channels 7 and 9 are still basking in the afterglow of summer tennis and cricket screenings. Fair enough. But on behalf of all the overweight couch potatoes out there searching for the remote, I beseech thee: Have Mercy!

And no, I am NOT going to buy Foxtel so quit asking.

Nerd is the (cross) word

Greetings blog-fans, apologies for the delay in transmission; however it now seems I am wired (or is that 'weird') once more.

This is my second week of holidays and given that we were only able to resurrect our blessed internet connection tonight, I have had to spend the intervening time amusing myself like the colonial pioneers. That's right, I have become addicted to crosswords.

A few years back I experienced a similar fetish for Tetris and I played that to the point of obsession. When I closed my eyes at night, or in the day to be honest, I saw little coloured squares, moving into perfect alignment and creating seamless rows upon rows upon...well, you get the idea.

And so it is with this current love. I close my eyes and I see grids. White squares within which to place letters, interspersed by solid black squares, making definite divisions between the words. Ahh it's all such perfection. It makes the anally retentive geek in me want to twirl on a mountain-top, Julie Andrews style.

But I digress.

Hmm, digress - good Scrabble word and evidence that the crossword addiction is proving a thumbs-up for my vocabulary. Look out world.