Sunday, 31 August 2008

Catch-ups with friends and a farewell (29th - 31st August 2008)

Friday, 29th August 2008: Rosel had invited me to join her church event this evening and we caught up beforehand for dinner around 6.30pm at Sweet Mother's Kitchen. I've never stepped into Sweet Mother's Kitchen - the last time we tried grabbing a bite here, it was so packed (was packed tonight too!). But the food was nice, a mix of New Orleans and Mexican food - you can get curly fries with your quesadillas :) Worth a visit if you haven't been here.

Around 8pm, we headed over to this conference centre in the Mt Victoria suburb where Rosel's church, ARISE Church Wellington, was hosting a youth event called HUGE. Cost us $10 per person to enter and an exclamation mark stamped on our hands (I think this was the symbol for the event). We literally walked into what felt like a rock concert - the youths were jumping up and down on their feet, hands up in the air, electric guitar and drums played by the band up front, and just feeling and breathing in the high-energy environment. So this was what the church youths do on Fridays instead of drinking and partying in town...ah...It reminded me much of my aunt's church in Perth which I had attended several times during my stay with her last year. The modern day church catered to suit the needs of different groups. As expected, there were lots of singing and performances, including short comedy stints, and a sermon/service from verses in the bible. A slightly different Friday for me this week compared to most Fridays where I had the usual work drinks and then out for some salsa dancing. Thanks for having me come along, Rosel!


Saturday, 30th August 2008: It was a beautiful day today and I was all ready to head to the gym when Rosel called and asked if I wanted to go for a walk with her. Of course! Bin the whole gym plan - I rather go for a walk in the sun with good company :)

Around 11.30am, I went to pick Rosel up and we stopped by Chocolate Frog Cafe in Miramar to grab some lunch before heading to Shelly Bay for our picnic lunch. My god was the cafe buzzing with patrons! I've heard of this cafe but have never been here myself - located inside Palmers Gardenworld, it was a cafe I wouldn't just stroll in to. Rosel got herself a Spider drink with her sandwich. Spider??? Have never heard of such a drink! Turned out to be a mix of soda and ice-cream, a float, pretty much, but here in Australasia, they call it Spider. Sounded so weird to me...

Hopped back into the car and off we went to Shelly Bay for lunch. Rosel came prepared with a mat which we laid on the pebbly beach, chatted and ate our lunches while enjoying the sun and amazing view. Ah, life is good...After lunch, we walked up the Massey Memorial track to the marble monument, a tribute to NZ's late Prime Minister, William Ferguson Massey and his wife, Christina. It was a short 15 minute walk to the monument and us girls spent some time just chatting and chilling out, taking photos while we were there. You know, I've lived here for over 7 years and I've not been up this track. And the view here on a beautiful day like today is just gorgeous - you could see views over the harbour entrance and the coastal village of Seatoun. So nice to be out in the sun! We decided to take a different track and did a loop through one of the tracks from the memorial back to Shelly Bay Road, heading back to the car. Photos taken today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157607206182285/detail/

The sun was still shining so brightly - let's make the most of it! Headed over to the Botanical Gardens for a quick walk to the rose gardens (there rose bushes were bare - not the right season) before saying our goodbyes for the day. Thanks for another wonderful day out, Rosel! We'll catch up again soon :)

Rush, rush...today's a busy day...

Tonight was Thomas's last evening in Wellington. Yes, he's really leaving us this time, heading back to Germany to start a new chapter in his life with some travels on the way back. A few of us caught up at his place for a few drinks before heading down into town to Shooters for the Latin Dance Night salsa party. Photos taken at Thomas's farewell drinks:


Jessica and Thomas


Just us girls - Alicia, Jessica and me :)

Usually, the Latin Dance Night at Shooters can be quite quiet but to my surprise, it was packed tonight! My guess was that everyone was here to bid Thomas farewell and we had a special guest turned up at the party too - Antje! I did a double take when I saw her...what a surprise!! She's back for 6 weeks and it was so lovely to see her again :) And of course, Ramnish was smiling from ear-to-ear...hehe...Photos taken at Shooters tonight:

Ramnish and his special guest (and gf), Antje

Thomas and Clare


Jessica, Rafael, Lily (still dancing and only 1 week till baby is due!) and her hubby, Carlos

A very packed salsa party at Shooters tonight (me in the red top dancing with Carlos in orange)


Me and my sweet girlfriend, Antje

I danced A LOT tonight...but loved every minute of it! Few of my Brazilian friends popped in and I left the party around midnight to join Josiane clubbing. But before shooting off, a huge hug to Thomas. Safe travels to you, my dear friend, and keep in touch - you'll be dearly missed by many of us here!

You know, it sure feels weird to go clubbing when I hardly do so these days. Just felt somewhat unnatural? Don't exactly know how to explain the feeling. We headed over to Good Luck Bar on Cuba St, notoriously known as 'the place to pick up someone for the night' or bar to get lucky', and bumped into our friend, Mohe, whom I've not seen for awhile. Was good to see him and hear that he's well :) Jo and I didn't stick around too long and walked back to the Courtenay area to Red Square on Blair Street where we spent the next hour or so dancing to the club music. Carlos (this was Carlos the singer, not to be confused with Carlos, Lily's partner) came to join us for a bit and around 2am, us girls left Carlos at the lounge bar for home. I need to crawl to my bed...danced way too much tonight...What a night!


Sunday, 31st August 2008: I have totally forgotten it was national day in Malaysia today...
Caught up with Scott for coffee this afternoon at Mojo Cuba, a cool little cafe on the upper side of Cuba Street (Abel Smith Street end). There are several Mojo cafes in town and I recall the last time Kalwant and I walked 2 blocks to one, she was raving to me about this tart they sold. Decided to try this $3 tart that she would walk from her office, rain or shine for to which Scott laughed when I mentioned to him about it. My verdict? Yeah, the tart, which was lemon flavoured with a bit of chocolate covered on the side, was nice and of good quality but for 3 bucks and 2 blocks walk, I can do without it. A sometimes treat but not something I would go for everyday.

It was nice to catch up with Scott as we hardly have much opportunity to talk during salsa events. We should do this again, Scott! I had to cut our coffee session short as Claus and I were planning to catch up later in the afternoon. We had agreed to meet at Batucada practice in Thistle Hall so Scott tagged along to see what Batucada was all about. Batucada is a Brazilian word used to describe the syncopated, African-influenced samba music played by a large percussion group (bateria) as part of a street parade or carnival. Personally, I've never been to one of the practices and it was fun to see a majority of non-Brazilians get together to play music in full energy and sync. There were several familiar faces from salsa and from the Brazilian crowd whom I knew who were there dancing samba with the band. Of course, I had to join in and get my feet and butt shaking! Though I didn't expect to be dragged to the front of the line with other sambanistas (female samba dancers) - I don't even know how to samba properly!!! Oh well, I'll just have to rough it out :) Both Scott and I were quite intrigued with the drumming and you know, we might just consider joining the band. What do you think, Scott? Shall we, shall we?? It would be fun!

Claus turned up near the end of the practice and together with the band, we all headed over to Southern Cross Bar for a drink. It was a nice way to end my week, getting to know a few more people and catching up with old friends.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Salsa Ball 70s New York Style at Loaded Hog (23rd August 2008)

Tonight was another night of full-on dancing at the Loaded Hog. The theme for the ball this time was the 70s and it was nice to see several people dress up for the occasion (naughty me, I didn't dress up because I had no time to look for something suitable). Oh my god, you should have seen Scott - I could hardly recognise him when he walked in the door in his wig and huge shades! Very retro, man! :)

I danced so much my legs hurt but it was a blast! Was glad I was there last night - it was very well received this time with lots of new faces too. Yay, new blood in the dance scene! Photos taken tonight by and with friends:

Ramnish and Stacey


Tia (fellow salsera visiting from Auckland) and I couldn't help but grab on
to new hottie in town, Scott

A close-up of Scott - I could hardly recognise him!!

Me and boys Hiirini and Luciano

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Night out with Kalwant (16th August 2008)

It's Sunday morning and I'm still in the same clothes I've worn last night. It's a beautiful day today to go out for a walk but I need to fix this sore throat and minor headache, the result of having one too many drinks last night. One of my apartment block residents was giving me the "ah-a, I know what you did last night" look because I returned home this morning at 9am in my party clothes. Yeah right, all I did was stay the night at Kalwant's - was in no condition to drive home and I wasn't out and about with any boy! Our dear Kalwant was still in bed when I left. Hmm, my lips still has the tingling sensation from the buffalo wings we had last night, Kalwant - spicy!!

Ok, let me have a quick shower and re-fuel myself with another coffee before I start blogging...be right back...

The initial plan last night was for Kalwant and I to attend another singles party, this time held at D4 on Featherston Street. I found out about the event in my weekly event search and since Kalwant was around this weekend (she has been away up Mt Ruapehu skiiing/snowboarding most weekends), we decided to check it out. The DUO Mingling Party was hosting their first singles party and all we had to do was register ourselves on their website and turn up. Cost $20 per person for entry, nibbles and a bubbly. We were not out there to seriously look for a partner but just do something different, have some fun and meet new people so we had no expectations of what the night would be or what type of people we would meet.

Around 6.30pm, I headed over to Kalwant's place for wine and chat before we headed over to D4. Haha, you would not believe what we did when we got to the entrance of the bar - we decided to head back into town and skip the party altogether! At 8pm, the place was pretty dead and as small clusters of people started to go in, there were only women, women and more women! I think in the short span of time we stood outside making our decision, we only saw 4 guys, all of which were kind of old for our age. Hmm, perhaps we should put the $20 to better use elsewhere...

Back into my car to Kalwant's and had some dinner while we polished off the remaining bottle of wine opened earlier. Gosh girl, I could feel myself a wee bit tipsy! Kalwant had offered me to stay the night at her place and not bother about driving for the night (I'm often the sober driver so couldn't drink). Ok, let's go out then!

First stop, we headed to Latinos Bar - there was an Argentine Party tonight which I was invited to so we thought to stop by to see what is was all about. It was supposed to be music and dancing (well, that was kind of my impression). Bumped into Scott and Yvonne at the entrance and was told that the place was dead (this was around 10pm). Bizarre - why were all the places we planned to go so quiet tonight? Oh well, no worries. So instead of going into Latinos, Kalwant, Scott and I headed over to Hawthorn Lounge for a drink. We girls had a Toblerone cocktail suggested by Scott. Hmm, very chocolaty and yummy...and Scott was a darling to toast marshmellows for us too :) It was a very busy night at Hawthorn Lounge. I think I would still prefer when it's much quieter and people could enjoy the ambience, chat and drink.

Scott headed home after our drinks so Kalwant and I continued our night out and went to Madame Jo Jo's for another drink and some dancing. Again, it was pretty quiet - we were the only 2 girls on the dancefloor for awhile! The night was still young but my body was so telling me it was way past my bedtime. Yawn...

We ended our night grabbing a bite at the Four Kings, watching the Olympics (woo-hoo - gold medal for NZ!) and rugby on the big screens (Four Kings is a sports bar) and catching up with Sunita (she works there). Boy were those buffalo wings spicy! By 1am, we were both knackered and tipsy - time to hit the sack, girlfriend! It was a great night out. Have a get a few others to do this again and leave my car at home next time :)

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Southeast Asian Night Market (16th August 2008)

The Southeast Asian Night Market was a free event this week held at the TSB Bank Arena. It was a cultural and food event where many food and souvenir stalls were set up in the venue, representing the 9 different Southeast Asian countries. Ken and I decided to check it out this afternoon before our coffee session and the place was packed with lots of people, sound and smell! We did a loop around to see what was available - there were food like laksa, satay, Vietnamese rice rolls, Thai red curry, sweet desserts and drinks, and items for purchase such as batik, Thai silk and ornaments for the home. There were even performances from the various countries on stage at different times. One of our friends, Naz, was performing in the evening but we had other plans for the night so couldn't watch her performance.

Ken and I didn't end up buying anything at the market but instead went back to Latitude 41 Cafe and Bar for coffee and watch the hoards of people queuing up outside the event centre. The line was ridiculously long and it stopped moving at some point - obviously the event centre was too pack to fit more people! Photos taken at the market:



Friday, 15 August 2008

BI Guinness Appreciation Society first meeting (15th August 2008)

At the end of an insanely busy work week, a few of us gets a bit kooky and often cure our day with humour. Sam and Jonesy decided to gang up against Camila today and had posters of her stuck around the office - she was one of the FBI top ten most wanted fugitive for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for the misuse of company credit card (which is so untrue). The two rascals probably had it up while Camila was away from her desk. They somehow managed to get a copy of her passport photo...note to self, NEVER leave personal stuff lying around unattended, especially when Sam and Jonesy are around. Other staff members were found staring at the posters and sniggering to themselves, causing more of us to stop and see what was so funny. I couldn't help it but got Camila to stand next to her fugitive poster for a photo. See what I have to put up with working with these people? :)

Today was also the first BI Guinness Appreciation Society (B.I.G.A.S.) meeting, our team's own social drinking club, so most of us chipped in for drinks and chips, and the members of the club donned on their B.I.G.A.S. black t-shirts (I still need to order mine). I'm not a Guinness drinker but these are the group of people I have regular Friday drinks with so Jeremy got some Kilkenny for me (yes, I know - I'm special!). The committee is made up of Ashvin, Sam and Jeremy and they did a good job organising the get-together. Jeremy even made posters to put up like banners! Photos taken today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157606740000638/detail/

Thursday, 14 August 2008

This week is all about catching up (11th - 14th August 2008)

Yep, this whole week was all about catching up with friends. I have a lunch date pretty much everyday this week!

On Monday, Claus and I caught up and we headed to Freyberg Pool & Fitness Centre together. We work in the same area in town and coincidentally I was heading to the gym and he to swim at the same place during lunchtime so we decided to walk there together. Or so I thought - when I saw him downstairs, he had his mountain bike with him. No, you can't be suggesting we bike there??? He got me to sit in front on the top tube and biked the two of us all the way from Chaffers Market to the pool!! This is the amazing thing when we hang out some days - we somehow end up doing crazy things and it makes me laughs so much. A good warm-up workout for you Claus before your swim...hehe...Though biking like this gives me a buttsore (even more so when we bike pass bumps), it was so much fun :) What more when I don't have to do the hard work but just hold on tight and enjoy the breeze in my face :P

Tuesday was lunch with Rosel and Claus at Dorothy Patisserie - it was catch-up session with our opera star! Rosel was so full of energy today (way more than she normally is) and we chatted and laughed so much together. It was really nice and I would have loved for us 3 to spent the day together but Claus and I both have to be back at our work respectively so had to wrap up our get-together after an hour plus :( We'll need to catch-up again another day!

Wednesday was a coffee session with Thomas at Cubita Cafe. Since he returned to Wellington, I haven't really caught up with him. He will be leaving us again at the end of the month, this time officially leaving NZ for his job in Germany. Another farewell coming up and it's really sad that Thomas is leaving us. We'll have to keep in touch and do come back to visit us!

Yes, I still had to help teach samba de gafieira Tuesday and Wednesday night. Luciano is a joy to teach in the sense he would laugh at his own mistakes and crack jokes in between, making the class relaxed and enjoyable. And he's learning quick!

Thursday was a lunch date with Kalwant. Headed over to her office and we had our toasted sandwiches together in her kitchen. Hey girl, we should do this more often - her kitchen area is larger than the one in my office. Don't have to spend money eating out to catch up. We can do it indoors!

I felt that I've been dancing almost everyday since last Friday! Tonight's bellydancing class would be the last for the week. No salsa for me on Friday - too much dance! And too much of a good thing is not good :/

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Walk at Rimutaka Hills with Claus (10th August 2008)

It was another gorgeous day today and at around 8am, I got a text from Claus suggesting we head out for a walk. Of course! Wouldn't want to put such a beautiful day to waste :) Photos taken from my apartment this morning:


View from my kitchen towards Oriental Bay



The motorway



Hehe, just me :)



View from my living room towards Brooklyn Hill


When going on walks with Claus, expect to be surprised. Again, he didn't tell me where we were heading so I just put on enough warm clothing in case the weather changes during the day. I had thought it would be another track at Brooklyn Hill today but no - we were heading out to Rimutaka near Featherston, out of Wellington City to walk one of the tracks there! Cool :) I'm always up for new adventures!!

It must have been snowing last night at the hills. It was such a beautiful sight to see snow-capped mountains as we drove towards our destination...just gorgeous...

Look, look!! I kept pointing out to Claus as he continued driving at the road signs that stated the Rimutaka Hill Road was closed. Oh-o, does that mean we won't be able to get there today? We decided we'll head over to see if the road reopens by the time we arrive and take it from there.

Yep, sure enough, the road was closed with a whole long queue of cars but that didn't stop Claus so we had the car parked at the side of the road and started walking up the closed road! This is so wrong and illegal!! I have never in my life walked on a road that is closed, let alone one that has no pedestrian path when in use (it was a State Highway). And it was funny seeing the faces of the drivers and passengers we passed as we walked - they asked if we were walking to Featherston to which Claus said yes and I couldn't contain my laughter seeing the other person's eyes stare at us in shock. No way would we be walking to Featherston and back - that would take us hours! We even took photos lying in the middle of the road! It was insane and fun at the same time :)

We walked for about 30 minutes or so, chatting and racing each other each time we came up to a Keep Left Unless Passing road sign. Ridiculous! There was nothing but hills and a deserted road with 2 weirdos walking in the sun like they own the road. My guess was that the road was covered with ice earlier this morning thus the road closure - we could still see the remains of melting ice on the grass at the side of the road.

"You two - in the truck, now!" said the driver in one of those massive blue trucks used to block roads (and I think also to melt icy roads). Oh-o...turns out that they were going to reopen the road and we were not supposed to be walking on it - too dangerous. Obviously someone reported that we were walking on the closed road so the truck driver came in search for us to pick us up and drop us back where the car was. Eeks! Slap on the hand for us two rascals! And to make matters worse, our little walk got a few others following our footsteps - there were other pedestrians walking with their dogs uphill and the truck driver had to get them to literally run back downhill. Lucky for us, we only had a short leg to run to the car. It was so cool to be up high in a huge truck that made me felt so small being inside. Darn, should have taken a photo in the truck which both Claus and I regretted later not doing so :/ It was just funny and crazy how our morning went!

Back in the car and we continued driving uphill to the Rimutaka Trig Track. The track is a 45-minute return walk that starts near the summit of the Rimutaka Hill Road (555m) and climbs to the northern crest of the Rimutaka Range (725m). The track zigzags all the way up to the top and on a day like today, make sure you bring your camera. The view stretches all the way to southern Wairarapa including Lake Wairarapa and from the Aorangi Mountains south to Cape Palliser.

It was such a lovely walk and because we were the 3rd and 4th people walking the track today, it felt 'untouched' and could see only our footprints on the paths we walked. It was as if we were in the Narnia movie, magical euphoria. Well, my state of euphoria was quickly interrupted when I felt something cold smacking onto my clothes. Claus had started war and was throwing snowballs at me! What the?? I'm going to get you! Unfortunately my small hands were not fast enough to make snowballs to attack back - he was attacking me at machine gun rate! :P

Make sure you wear windproof clothing and sturdy shoes - at some of the exposed places, it can get quite windy and proper footwear is required because the track is rocky and with snow, slippery. I had my sports shoes on and by the end of the walk, I could feel my socks soaked through - eew! Photos taken today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157606725541524/detail/

It's always a joy to hang out with Claus. We somehow end up doing spontenous and fun things when we hang out. Looking forward to our next adventure, Claus!

Wet and freezing weekend BUT still out with friends (9th August 2008)

Saturday, 9th August 2008: Went swimming this morning after a late night out. Oh my god - I was just so tired and struggled during my swim session. Eee, I've been so slack...

After my swim, I went to pick up Ken and we headed to Wellington Town Hall to check out the 11th New Zealand Migrant Expo 2008. I thought it might be interesting to see what they had to offer. Plus the 2nd Fiesta Pilipinas was also on at the same place - great! Kill 2 birds with one stone. It wasn't a very nice day though today - cold and windy...

Ok, so the 2 events were nothing like what I had pictured them to be. I had expected cultural performances, food, travel kiosks of different countries, cultural clubs and the like. The migrant expo itself was really an expo for new migrants in the country - the exhibitors were from the city council and government institutions like tax department etc., so for old migrants like Ken and I, it was nothing new or of interest to us. Did a loop around and ended up bumping into a few friends of mine. The Fiesta Pilipinas was non-existent when we were at the Town Hall which was quite strange. Oh well, let's go grab a coffee then!

We then walked to Latitude 41 Cafe and Bar for a cuppa and spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on the nice cushy couches till the place closed and we had a window period to run to my car (it was pouring like mad with gusty wind!). I've never been in here before - it was one of the regular coffee places that Ken visits frequently. Nice place to just chill out with friends for the afternoon. It's nice to hang out with Ken - he's like a brother to me and we can openly talk about anything not worrying if we would offend each other :)

Dropped Ken home and I went back to get showered and out again for dinner with Hew and her friends. Hew had organised a dinner tonight at Nicolini's Italian Cafe Bar and Bistro on Courtenay Place, another place I've never stepped in before in my 7 years of living in Wellington (shame, shame). Her boys Jonathan and Edmund were there and so was a group of her work colleagues, a majority of them Filipinos.

Urgh, the weather was absolutely disgusting outside - this was one of those nights you want to curl up in your blanket and rent out a DVD...and I need to make a run to the restaurant as there weren't carparks nearby!

If I'm not mistaken, Nicolini's is Wellington City's top Italian restaurant and one that is always packed. If you do not book a table in advance, it is very unlikely you would get one when you pop in. I didn't know they had a back dining area too (I've always thought the small front dining area was it). The place was rather romantic in setting, with dimmed lights and candles all round. However, it was very noisy which puts a damper for those who were planning a romantic candlelight dinner here. The food was great and in massive serving - lucky for me I hadn't had lunch so I could finish most of my fettucine :) Hmm, fettucine with garlic and shrimp...

Hew's work colleagues are a crazy and funny bunch, reminding me very much of friends back home in Malaysia. Oh and they love taking photos! I think there were like 5 cameras and all taking the same photos! Hehe, I think this is a typical Asian thing :) I was quite surprised that they already knew stuff about me despite it was the first time I've met them. Apparently Hew had been talking to them about me and I was pretty much the topic of discussion of their work week. Hahaha, I didn't know I have a fan base in the hospital!

It was a lovely night spent with Hew and friends - lots to laugh about and the group setting just felt so familiar, bringing me back to days in highschool where friends tease one another and get up to silly antics. Photos taken tonight:

Photo of me and Bon



Group photo (l-r): Corina, Hew, me, Joanne, Bon, Loubeth and Nitin
And here's another group photo with Mark (Corina's hubby)

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Iolanthe (8th August 2008)

Friday has got to be my favourite day of the working week - the day just goes by so quickly! It was my work colleague, Mindi's last day with us and a bunch of us headed over to The Malthouse after a few drinks at work. It was really sad to see Mindi go (and the female count in the team reduced) but we'll have to catch up for drinks outside of work from now on! I'm going to get the wheat beer again - I like it :)

Around 7pm, I started to make my way over to The Opera House to meet up with Claus. We had bought ourselves tickets ($51 each for a stall seat) to a comic fantasy opera titled Iolanthe by Gilbert & Sullivan. Haha, you must probably be thinking, these two are being classy or rich, going to see an opera - the real reason behind it was because our good friend, Rosel, is debuting in the opera, playing the role of Phyllis. I was actually called in for a last minute acting job by my agent but had to turn it down since I had promised Rosel that I'll be there to support her show. Besides, I've never been to an opera so it would be a first for me :)

The story about the opera in a nutshell is this: Iolanthe is a fairy and fell in love with a mortal and had a son, Strephon, a half-mortal half-fairy who is in love with beautiful Phyllis. Phyllis too is in love with Strephon and they were to be married, only to be forbidden by the Lord Chancellor because Strephon was deemed not suitable to Phyllis, and wanted Phyllis for himself. Strephon seeked the help of his fairy mother and fellow fairies, but because Phyllis didn't know of his magical being, she was mistaken when she saw Strephon embracing his mother, a woman who looked too young to be a mother (fairies don't age). The rest of the story is pretty much how the fairies got themselves involved in the court members, and how Strephon and Phyllis worked things out.

I think the whole show was about 2-3 hours with a 20-minute interval. I absolutely enjoyed the opera - it was funny (especially the Lord Chancellor who was a splitting image and character of Mr Bean) and when Rosel sang, I was totally mesmerised! I wondered if Claus could fully understand the opera since English is not his first language (even I had trouble understanding some of the context). The poor guy was moving in his seat so often - the seats were not very comfortable and for his long legs, the lack of space didn't help.

Stop, stop it Claus! Not sure exactly what he wanted - why does he keep whispering to me that he wants to go for a shower???? And then he goes poking my handbag to which I got annoyed and took it out of his reach. Seriously, Claus, you can't be suggesting we leave now! We hadn't even gone halfway through the show. Rosel will be so disappointed!! Turns out, what he wanted was a CHEWING GUM. We cracked up laughing during the interval when we realised the miscommunication - somehow the way he incorrectly pronounce 'chewing' (he pronounced the 'ch' as he would in Portuguese so it sounded like a 'sh') and whispering it to me made it sounded like 'showering'. Ok, ok, you can have a chewing gum :) And he actually thought I was being a meanie, not giving him the gum after several attempts asking for one! :P

Rosel, my love, will you civil me? Rosel and I have this ongoing joke that we'll have a civil union together since we were both single and deserve great loves so why not each other. And now that I'm so captivated by her voice and singing, I will have to propose to her! Need to 'steal' her from Strephon...hehe...

Claus being Claus, he's always up to mischief. He somehow found out that I was a ticklish person and started to tickle me while we were watching the opera. Stop it! The woman sitting next to me was giving us evil looks because I was fidgeting in my seat whenever Claus poked me! He also managed to convince the head usher to let us backstage so we could see Rosel after the show. It was so cool that the usher came to get us at the end of the show and led us through the back alley to see her. Congratulations Rosel - you were fabulous!

After the show, Claus and I hung out in town for a bit. Wasn't expecting to end up clubbing but we did and it was fun dancing with Claus. He's such a clown and we occasionally danced salsa to clubbing music (we must have looked so ridiculous dancing salsa to 80s music but who cares?). Oh, and I've never been to Maya Bar before until tonight. Gee, I obviously haven't been hitting the clubs much since most dance nights were spent at salsa venues. I like Maya - hip dance music that makes you want to shake and move plus it had laser light beams coming through the walls, giving it a rather trance-like, 'high' sort of ambience. Very interesting. I surprised even myself that I could actually move and groove to such a different music genre and environment WITHOUT a drop of alcohol to loosen me up! We danced till about 1am and called it a night. It was a fabulous night out - thanks for the great company Claus! We should do this again soon :)

Thursday, 7 August 2008

It's been a crazy week (4th - 7th August 2008)

This week has been CRAZY!!! Work was up to my nose level and still so much to do!! On top of work, I've recently started my online project management course so have to fit in an hour's worth of study time into my already busy working week. Eeks! I NEED a holiday....

Tuesday and Wednesday evening was spent teaching more samba de gafieira dance moves to friends. Christian and Stacey are the only remaining couple from the start of the year and they are doing so well! I'm so happy and impressed that they were able to pick up a new combo Helbert and I showed them, made up of a few difficult moves like peao and puladinho. Yay! Practising puladinho can be uncomfortable for many as you have to dance literally pelvis to pelvis and yes, it probably looks like something else and not a dance move but when you get it right, it's nice. Not Stacey's favourite dance move at the moment hehe...Paula, a Chilean friend of mine and Helbert came to join us on Tuesday. She was a quick learner (ah, dance runs in the Latina blood!) and we went to her apartment to teach her more moves on Wednesday, this time with another gafieira newbie, Brazilian guy Luciano. Luciano's a new salsa dancer and like Paula, saw Helbert and I dance gafieira at Brazealand last week and was keen to learn. Great! Another couple to join our gafieira group :)

On Thursday, I caught up with Amilie Taylor from trustyle for a free 1/2 hour consultation. I had met Amilie once at an Xmas function and she is the owner of a company that provides services and consultations on how to wear clothes and accessories best for you. It was interesting to chat with her. From our conversation, I found out that I've been missing out on lots of fantastic cheap clothing shops in the Hutt area since I rarely venture out of Wellington City! I'm really missing out!! She provides several packaged services including girls night out fashion parties, wardrobe revamp and hens night parties. Hmm, perhaps something Hew might be keen to do for her hens night??

Oh yeah, I don't think I've mentioned that I've recently started beginners bellydancing classes with Traysi on Cuba St (upstairs of Indeja). For the last few Thursdays, I've been at the 1-hour class learning how to isolate parts of my body. You think bellydancing is just all about hip moving and easy? Hell no! It's actually hard work on the ab muscles, thighs and arms - I get ab cramps after class!! But I enjoy the class, with the exception of this particular teenager who blocks my mirror view most weeks and dances like a slapper in front of me (it's sheer torture watching her). I wonder what is her reason behind learning the dance...For me, it is something about self-expression and controlling parts of the body that makes it interesting and challenging. Plus I get to incorporate what I learn here into my other dances!

If you're wondering whether I'm still swimming and going to the gym at 6am in the morning, the answer is I've swapped it to lunch or after work sessions now. Too cold these days to get up so early. But I've been slacking and not going as often due to this on and off cold I keep catching. No time to be sick!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Latin Dance Night @ Madame Jo Jo's (3rd August 2008)

Tonight, I went to another salsa dance party hosted by Salsa Therapy. It was a the first time they held the party at Madame Jo Jo's at The Temperance and boy was it a hit!

I had invited friends Rosel and Claus to come along this time. Rosel couldn't make it so I headed to The Temperance with Claus. I've never danced with Claus before so this would be a first :) And you wouldn't believe how small Wellington is - turned out that he used to take classes with Lily and Ramnish! Even Mervyn was there! Mervyn is another one of Ramnish's and Lily's students and a family friend of mine. Was cool to be able to dance with the boys, even if they only knew a few moves (they were so apologetic about it - don't worry about it!) - what matters is that they are putting what they've learnt on the dancefloor and having fun! That's how it all begins!

It was also a semi-reunion in a sense our Germans boys are back in town - yep, Thomas and Ron have both returned from Europe and that brings back up the boy count of our regular salsa gang. Jessica also returned from Brazil - yay! Everyone's back!! Welcome back people!! You've all been missed :)

And did I mention that I am SO impressed with Lily - at 9 months of pregnancy, she's still dancing and teaching salsa in heels! Woo-hoo, you go woman!!

Frankly, I was not expecting such a fantastic turn-out tonight (it was a Sunday after all) - I danced so much to a point I couldn't sleep that night! Obviously my body was wide awake from the 2 hours plus of dancing hehe...We'll need to have another salsa party here soon! Photos taken by Ramon tonight:

A very packed dancefloor in Madame Jo Jo's


Here's me putting Mervyn's dance skills to the test


Regardless of space, we will manage a rueda!


A lovely photo of Ramon and Annie


And to the right...1,2...and to the left...1,2...(Rafael leading the moves)