Sunday, 29 August 2010

When the cat's away

...the mice do their hair.

I don't want to bore you with the ins and outs of hair salons. They're boring enough already without me having to re-live it all for you.

So, long story short:

Saturday: Got my legs put under laser so I wouldn't ever ever have to wax etc again ever. That was done in Indulgence. Unfortunately, I have to go back another 5 times until it's all gone. But the expert (Tamara) is a real pro. Says me who knows nothing.

Sunday: Got my frizzy mane tamed (finally) with that brazilian hair straightening treatment I've been debating whether to do since I arrived. A male friend of mine recommended the place, so I assumed it would be low key and cheap.... need to get better at recognizing metrosexuals... Place is called Dessange. Hair is dead-straight. I have to wait 2 days before I can wash it, so you'll find me at home if you need me.

The cat, in case anyone's interested, is in Paris..still... which is why I can do all these full on boring hair-when-is-this-going-to-be-over treatments.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


It's been a grueling week in Singapore rounded off with a knees-to-my-chest flight home.

As a welcome home special, this morning I got caught in the rain. Sorry, the Typhoon. I was minding my own business walking out of the bookshop when it hit. And in Hong Kong, it really hits. It buckets down and often doesn't stop for a good hour or so. As the rain worsened, I went through a mental list of everything I was a) wearing b) had in my bag and c) had on my face (mascara down cheeks? Not good for morale). And decided I had nothing that wouldn't recover after being drenched. And off I plunged. Into the wall of water.

Strangely enough, it was oddly relieving to be in that rain. After about 5 minutes of walking with my dress clinging to me and my hair plastered to my head, I started to feel quite calm. Like the week was washing off me, and that nothing is really that important anyway.

Of course the best thing of all was getting home, diving into the hot shower and bundling up in dry clothes with a cup of my-still-favorite-Nespresso to stare out of the windows as the thunder and lightening hit.

I feel just like just that girl in The Maggie B. Who, for-those-of-you-who-were-deprived-of-the-best-children's-book-on-earth-ever, faces a huge storm while out at sea on her little boat, and comes back inside in the midst of it to cook a delicious, warm dinner for her baby brother and her.

Sleepytime Tea anyone?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Complementary Goods

I'm back in Singapore and staying with Nss this weekend. Nss lives in the red light district, which I thought to mean up-and-coming. On its way to gentrification.


This afternoon I went for a stroll, in search of a shop that sells eye makeup remover. Couldn't find any. But there was plenty else on sale. Too much actually. I'm feeling a little nauseous to be honest.

Anyway, I picked my way through the women-infested pavement, avoiding car doors opening and closing, trying not to interrupt any business transactions. And then came across the flea market of complementary products.

Men sat crouched over their dish cloths with their goods laid out. I took a closer look at the red pills on display and asked one of the chaps what it was for. He curled his hand into a fist, nodded and said, "very good." I nodded back, trying to look knowing and holding the same expression I would have if I were buying melons. Seeing that I was a potential customer, he opened up another cloth to reveal even more pills and other accessories and, oddly enough, gold watches.

Clearly somebody had done some careful market analysis and realised that gold watches and blue pills go together like pencils and rubbers ..erm.. erasors. Perfect complements.

Friday, 20 August 2010

My favorite things

I've already shown you the sheep (who's doing fine, by the way - although I think the maid vacuum cleans him as he's getting woolier). So I thought I'd show you some other little things that make me happy in Boom.

Here's Alex, the New Mexican frog who had to have his legs glued back on after a bumpy ride down the backstreets of St Antonio:

The Warhol which was given to me by a friend in New York and which I believe came from Transporting that and a mirror from her flat on top of Magnolia bakery to mine resulted in an epic taxi crash:

Stuff White People Like (Standing still at concerts, NPR, Film festivals, Apple, Manhattan and now Brooklyn, Architecture, Obama, Bicycles, Ray Ban). I think these nicely sum up life in New York:

Postcards stuck into frames liven up the stairs to the roof. The cards were given to us at various points by Little Miss Tiny T:

Mexican fish chills on the whitewashed wall. My mum gave me this after disappearing into the depths of DF while I was working on a tequila project:

The goat that warms wires. Or.. a highly dangerous way to cover wires. In case anyone's asking, yes T used to live at the Guitar Center in Union Square:

Surf boards in strange places. Signature T:

East Village Monsters. These remind me of my dentist when I was small - he had them in a huge jar at reception:

Saturday, 14 August 2010


I went out last night with a new found friend. But this was no ordinary night out. This was a jaw-dropping-where-have-I-been-my-whole-life soiree. I caught myself at least twice with my mouth hanging open in utter amazement.

As she glided easily from one anecdote to another - from fasting to lipstick orgies in New York lofts, to the lesbian ex girlfriend who was the daughter of some Italian Mafia Padrino, to the evils and exploitation of modeling in the Big Apple - I conducted some serious memory excavation to see if there was anything vaguely that interesting that I'd done.

I didn't think getting into the shower with my bra on by mistake was going to cut it.

To do: get into some sort of trouble and then breezily tell everyone over dinner while sipping on my Pinot

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Just Green

I'm highly skeptical about the "organic" movement. In New York I simply refused to go to Whole Foods. Ghastly place. Over priced, over marketed, over packaged and over crowded. I must admit though that after watching Food Inc (which I rolled my eyes at throughout) I switched to organic meat. Watch the movie. You'll see why.. But all the other stuff... like organic toilet paper..puullleeeeese.

That said, I got totally suckered into this whole thing yesterday. I've been trying to wean T off Kellogg's Special K as it's just a pile of chemicals, and so I thought maybe I could find him some muesli or something. So I headed down to Just Green. A live-longer-live-local-be-happy sort of shop. And boy did I enjoy it. It was just like being in a cosmetics shop. Hundreds of products that promise you everlasting youth, in scrumptious boxes, without any of them necessarily having to prove that they can deliver.

I passed the fantastically packaged organic tea, drooled over the organic-all-natural stemmed ginger cookies, and inhaled the scent of the fair trade milk chocolate with nutmeg. Note that all these delicacies (and maybe even the entire shop - and most definitely the shop assistant, who looked like she'd been freshly shipped from Hull) had been imported from England. Live local my arse.

This whole thing is really a big fat con to give people with disposable income something to dispose their income on. But I must say, as I sit here munching on T's Red Fruit Crunch Organic muesli (developed by a "pioneering vegetarian"), I'm thinking I could just hop down there later tonight maybe and get some natural-fair-and-delicious tea to sooth me after a long hard day at the office. Something to help me come closer to the natural order of things. Sucker.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Botanists needed

I love to go down to the flower shop in Soho and pick up a bunch of flowers for Boom Boom. I've gone quite a few times now, and the lady finally knows me. What that means, is that she now charges me $60 HKD (6 euros) rather than $100 HKD. And two days ago I felt particularly "chosen" as she actually gave me an extra bunch for free. The fact that both those bunches she gave me are duds is not something I'm ready to talk about.

Anyway, I'm so glad my mum is sailing somewhere in Greece and out of radio contact, as she would turn in her bunk if she heard that I don't actually know either of the names of these flowers. Endless summers in Kirstenbosch gardens, drawing, drying and painting flowers all gone to waste. Pearls before swine.

So, here are the flowers. Can anyone tell me there names? I've googled "white flowers with big stems" no avail..

Monday, 9 August 2010

The bags

Nothing to declare

I had always been under the impression that if you did anything too suspicious in Thai airports, you'd be flung into prison and have the key thrown away. Clearly this doesn't apply to troops of Indians carrying countless numbers of yellow plastic bags across the border.

The queue for passport control (this is leaving Bangkok) was endless yesterday. Not because there were necessarily more flights, but because the passport control team takes-their-time. Anyway, we joined the back of the queue, which was somewhere near the entrance of the airport to wait.

As we stood there and shuffled forwards, I saw a group of about 15 Indian chaps. They were all carrying vacuum packed plastic bags, that were inside yellow plastic bags, with "Kolkata" written on the side in permanent marker. They were being directed by another Indian in a grey suit and a toupee. He seemed most agitated, and kept waving his hands in all sorts of directions, as he tried to get the guys to jump the line, or at least get in somewhere near the middle of the hoard.

The number of people behind us had probably doubled by this point, and the Yellow Team had managed to bypass all of them, and were just about to skip in front of us, when the bodybuilders behind us blocked them. So they were gridlocked behind us for the rest of the wait...

However, Toupee had a better idea. He shared his plan with one of the men, who then told all the other guys in a sort of Chinese Whisper, that if the men couldn't get through, then at least the bags should get through. And so the careful, and highly suspicious looking, relocation of the yellow bags took place.

As the body builders had blocked the scrawny group, they released one of their team to "subtly" stand somewhere more forward in the middle of queue. He then looked back and made the signal, which was a pretty obvious nod and hand gesticulation, and another one ran over with 4 of the bags, planted them next to him, and skipped back to the group. And so this charade continued, until all the bags had been moved to the very front of the queue.

Bags in transit

As that part of the crew were shuttling the bags forward, another bunch decided to "divide and conquer" the queue, in order to also get the men forward. And so, they hopped and skipped through the masses, ducking when innocent passengers-to-be looked around, cowering behind burqas and slipping under barricades. They made themselves almost invisible, except when they stood in front of the large ventilation fans which channelled their Eau de Calcutta rather effectively for all to enjoy.

Note that not a single security person batted an eyelid at the now 20 or so yellow plastic bags lined up at their feet. Anyway, I managed to get a gander at what was in the bags. Clothes. Each bag contained tightly folded clothes. And each bag contained the same clothes as the other.

How odd. Why would you get 15 men to carry 30 bags of the same clothes from Bangkok to Calcutta? Why wouldn't you check in the bags? Why don't you DHL the bags? Why shlep 15 men back and forth across southern Asia? Why carry them in the same look-at-me yellow bags? Curioser and curioser.

Mission Accomplished

Friday, 6 August 2010

Birthday surprise!!

My birthday's only in two weeks, but T surprised me this morning with a birthday prize: A weekend at the Peninsula in Bangkok! What a treat!!! Such a lucky duck. Spoilt rotten!

- By the way, T's off to Paris on my bday. And I'll be sipping cocktails in the jacuzzi with my colleagues in Singapore. Hence the timing. -

Now, if you read my last post, you might have noticed that we stayed there last weekend. Indeed we did. But there's nothing quite like going back to a place you love a second time. In fact, it's so much better. Now there will be even more - if-that's-at-all possible- bowing, scraping and hello Mr and Mrs T, how wonderrrrrffuulll it is to have you back. Tough life.

So, we're off this evening. I've packed our bag (2 undies each, 2 t -shirts each, 2 dresses for me, 1 pair of shorts each and bathing costumes) and now I've got 12 hours to go before we leave. Time-goes-by. So-slowly.

When it comes to packing, I've always kept it light. This probably comes from years of sailing with the family where I was only allowed the smallest of ruc sacs to live out of for 2 months. Funny how that training makes you realize how little you really need. I've never understood women who travel with 2 heaving cases, bursting at the seams. I mean, really, do you have to bring 2 pairs of stilettos and that ball gown on holiday to Thailand? I suppose we can thank "Resort Collections" for that. Sigh.

However, there are a couple of things which I simply must have with me. One is hair straightener (told you about that one already), another is my face cream (or else I can't smile because of cracking) but, most importantly, is my little silver perfume flask from Penhaligon's London. It was given to me by oldest and dearest friend Nt with the honour of being her bridesmaid. Thanks to those terribly sensible airport security laws, me and my flask are inseparable. I fill it up with my perfume at home, using the little funnel, and then I'm ready to waft notes of hibiscus and jasmine everywhere I go...

So now I'm ready! If you need me, you'll find me by the pool!

Off to work now, wreaking a little more of perfume than what's generally deemed office-appropriate.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Bangkok in pictures

Moments I missed on camera: the crocodiles under the houses by the canal; the Thai massage which involved stepping on my back while pulling my hair and legs up (think Cirque Du Soleil with less soleil and more cirque); the "slow food mecca of Thailand" Bo.Lan where there were more escorts than waitresses, sullenly pushing home-grown-organic-baby-fingerling-potatoes round their plates; T&G cross-grading from the Lebua hotel (dump) to the Peninsula Hotel (splendid).