Friday, 25 June 2010

The Innovation Architect

After having spent a week in Sydney, giving high profile lectures, being waited on hand and foot and being dubbed "The Innovation Architect", my father made his way back home to Barcelona via Singapore. Where yours truly is still staying with her nose to the grindstone. Only coming up for air/wine/cigarettes when her team requires it.

Anyway, The Innovation Architect arrived at the airport and only had an hour to kill before getting on his next plane. As he's been here before and-has-dined-at-some-terrific-places-just-near-the-airport, we decided to go in the direction of Harry's BBQ (or something) and have a splendid steak by the beach.

The long and short of the evening is as follows: dad and g get in cab. Cabby doesn't speak English. Dad only vaguely knows where this Michelin star gem is and decides to trust cabby's interpretation of "very nice restaurant on the beach". Cabby drops us off at the "Food and Recreation Centre" in the middle of a dark forest by the side of a sand mite infested beach.

From outside the gates to the Food and Recreation Centre, one could imagine that inside lies a hidden away palace with a chef in white carefully carving a leg of lamb nodding at us as we pad our way across the marble floors. Turns out it's a flea market of sorts, surrounded by fleas with service provided by cockroaches - those that survive the food.

This is a first in a very very long time for the Innovation Architect and when I saw him balance his can of Ginger Beer on the plastic cup of ice, rather than pour it into it, I knew we wouldn't be eating.

One can of Ginger Beer later, one bite of a lamb kebab (I can afford to get food poisoning, as I still have a week here) and a really good heart to heart and he was off. Love my dad. His number one fan.

Monday, 21 June 2010

High altitude cross cultural encounters

I'm in Singapore. Recovering from a culinary feast with 10 other people around a lazy susan.

Feeling a little knackered, as I took the scenic route to get here: Hong Kong - Bankok - Singapore. 8 hours. In Bankok, the people next to me were changed from a large family of Indians with screaming babies to Mr. Lee, a skinny middle aged Thai with longish hair, covered from head to toe in black and red tattoos and sporting white shorts and t-shirt.

Mr Lee spent most of his flight drinking beer and wine (at the same time). While the parents of the screaming baby spent most of their flight trying to quieten the little thing by shouting "chips! chips!" and when that didn't work "chocolate!".

Upon arrival, I was then hassled by a 2 metre tall guy from Mali, for whom, in a moment of blind generosity, I agreed to fill out his immigration form and then found myself with a new 'friend' who defriending was a lot harder than it is on Facebook.

Now settled into the hotel, where I have a very pretty duplex room with high high ceilings and duvets under and over me. I feel like I'm suspended on a cloud. Going to sleep off that peppered crab...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

One way ticket

It's nearly been a week at Le Bureau and I'm still alive. I'm not actually going to write about work, as that's been known in the blogging world to end in tears. So, all that's left is how I get ready in the morning, my commute, lunch, my commute and drinks/dinner in the evening. Today you're getting the commute. Exciting stuff.

I walk out the door, kiss T goodbye (he goes in the other direction) stand on the pavement and wait. Eventually, the little green mini bus with the 10b cardboard sign in the window comes over the hill. I stick my arm out and fling myself in. Carefully avoiding knocking myself out on the door frame. I tap my Octopus card on the reader (5HKD - 70c USD), hunch over, walk to the nearest seat and sit in complete silence along with the other 10 people on their way to a hard day of pen pushing.

Complete silence isn't quite accurate as the drivers have a penchant for very loud, soppy Chinese music. So the Chinese equivalents of Alejandro Sanz, Whitney Houston and Lionel Richie echo round the tiny box of a bus as it stops and starts to let people in and out at completely random street corners. 15 minutes later, I squeak that it's my "stop" and topple out in front of Le Bureau. Again avoiding decapitation.

Of course, the bus doesn't actually go back home. It's a one way bus. Or it will be until I can find its return route. Or does it change its cardboard sign when it comes back? Crafty.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Brain Fry

Quick note today, as I have to go and catch my mini bus to... to work.

I can feel all thoughts of apartments, furniture, cooking and shopping being replaced with mountains of information on abc and xyz. Gqr documents that refer to G&BP that are sponsored by the FFP be prioritised, delegated, shared..accelerated..

I feel like a pilot fish that's just been assigned a new whale.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Shoes in haystacks

I'm in the Twilight Zone, Dead Man Walking, woman waiting for a job. I feel like a leprechaun, hanging out at the end of the rainbow, waiting for the pot of gold to turn up. I'm pulling petals here.

As T's at work - what with having a real job and all. I've had to lean on my next reliable shoulder; Gossip Girl. I've watched most of season 3 in two days, and I'm finding it all rather addictive. Although when you look at it all at once you realise that everyone is lying to everyone else and apologising for it all the time. Most tiresome. Love the outfits though...and I find myself saying "spotted" a lot in my mind.

Anyway, in between bouts of Gossip Girl, I'm razzling up virtuous hot chocolate (1 tbs unsweetened cocoa, 1 sachet Splenda, 1/2 cup skimmed milk, 1/2 cup boiling water) and trying to give myself facials (not a good idea). I also ran out in the rain this morning to buy shoes, as I don't want to have a Monday morning fashion crisis if Monday turns out to be one of those Mondays where-one-might-have-to-look-presentable.

Small detail on the shoe front. I'm a size 41. Picture the average Chinese woman.. size 41 doesn't exactly leap to mind, does it? So, as of this morning, I'm now qualified in the art of shoe shopping in Hong Kong. Upon entering a shop, I look straight at the lady at the counter and ask what their biggest shoe size is. Before looking at anything. This avoids any chance of disappointment or heartbreak.

This is generally taken as a trick question, but 99.9% of the time, the answer is, "39". Bugger.

Seeing my face fall, this is then followed with pulling hand movements and enthusiast expressions like "but stretch! Stretch!"

Ha! Stretch from a 39 to a 41?! Fat chance that's ever going to happen.

Thank goodness for Zara...

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Spring cleaning

Given this is the hundredth time I move, I've become used to regular spring cleaning sessions. I moved to New York with two suitcases, and when I finally got round to shipping the rest of my things over, I threw most of them out. Because I'm only really attached to a handful of things. And the cracked eye shadow collection is not one of them.

The obvious trick to keeping your life light, is to throw things out, give them away or sell them. I err on the two latter ones. Donating and selling. I donate what people won't buy and sell what they will.

In New York I sold my clothes through Second Time Around, which was downstairs from our house. I spotted it on an old episode of Gossip Girl yesterday (yes, yes I'm about 12 episodes behind) and found myself choaking down a nostalgic tear. Didn't realize how much I missed our little street, sniff.

Anyway, I have found my sell-all place in Hong Kong. Select 18. And it's also downstairs from our house. Down-stairs. Lots of them.

Bum burners

Select 18: Where the wild things are

One of my dresses they generously took off my hands

For those of you who shop, here are some little finds that caught my eye:

Mean sunglass collection

LV anyone?

Now, having sold about 25% of my clothes, I can now finally fill our wardobe. Which, if you remember, I had made to fit our wonky bedroom. And which I'm quite happy with, as it has plenty of hanging space and T's side has lots of shoe shelves. T's alloted space is a little tight, but that's why he's a boy and I'm a girl.

Result: Lightly stocked wardrobe

Yes, that's a bear in the corner.

p.s. The wardrobe was built by Home Style Company, orchestrated by Ric Wadrobe
Tel: +852 932 581 92

Friday, 4 June 2010

DIY Goddess at your service

I had so much I wanted to write to you about this week. Movers. Selling clothes. Maids. Cupboard building. Nearly getting a job. Shrinking. Bleach. And "Terminator" the garbage lady who can crush anything into the size of a walnut with her bare hands. But instead, I'm going to use this moment to boast. Of course, we all know about pride and that fall...

Story is that I had a dream. A dream about our kitchen. I had visions of it as somewhere I would bake, pull wonders out of the oven, whisk bananas into the smoothest of smoothies. Somewhere I would shine. The lynchpin of all of this, however, was to be able to hang things. I needed to be able to hang spoons, ladles, mashers, spatulas, spices and pot plants in order to be able to create accordingly.

Needless to say, I was devastated when T broke the news that you can't actually drill-any-holes-in-the wall-because-the wall-is-made-of-concrete-and-so-you-can't-hang-things-on-anything-except-stick-on-plastic-hooks. Right. That also went for the pictures and mirrors, in case anyone's interested. So, all hangable things are now leaning in strategic spots. Looking casual.

Anyway, I've been mulling over this quandary all week. The last thing I was going to do was stick those hideous hooks up everywhere. And today it hit me: Curtain rails with suckers on the sides.

You know the ones that grannies have holding up featherweight net curtains in their kitchen windows, so she can-see-out-but-no-one-can-see-in.

So, if you're looking to hang things and have no way of drilling a rod in the wall. All you need is a thin curtain rail, some stick-on "chord organisers" read hooks with straps, and very, very light utensils.

And Voila! Le hanging kitchen.

Hanging Kitchen

Swinging in style

If you need me, I'll be out gloating and toasting to the art of DIY and all things handy. I hope I don't hear anything go crash in the night...