Sunday, 31 May 2009
Had yum cha for brunch at Regal with Scott, Barbara and Colm at 11am. Caught up with Yvonne and Alicia around 1pm at St James Theatre before the show started. Cost $80.50 per person for a stall seat in the 1 hour 40 minute show with no interval. The show was exactly the same as I remembered it though parts of it were indeed faster and funnier. I STILL loved it - so much energy and sound made on normal day-to-day household items. Haha, Colm suggested we all head to Mitre10 (local handyman store) around the corner to get ourselves some tools and start our own garage STOMP band! It would have been awesome if they held workshops where we got to play with the kitchen sink, rubbish bin lids and massive tyres for the day - I'm DEFINITELY in for that!
Sunday, 24 May 2009
Caught up with Hew, her family and friends for steamboat dinner at her place after work on Friday. Ah, steamboat - one of my favourite foods in winter. Warms up the belly :) It was nice to see them (it has been awhile since I last saw Hew and family - they went away on holiday for about 6 weeks) and oh my, Edmund's grown so much taller! Played a game of Guess Who? with the little man after dessert (couldn't believe I lost!) then left the party to James' for a chilled out movie night.
Damn, I need to get a panel heater like yours, James - keeps the temperature in the room the same throughout the night. So nice and warm! I enjoy my regular movie nights with James. We would just cuddle up together on the couch watching some movie that doesn't require too much thinking, usually a comedy, snacking on popcorn and jet planes (sweets). No romantic reason or dodginess to our cuddles - just 2 good friends who are comfortable in each other's company :)
Saturday was a horrible wet and cold day but I had to be out at Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre in Newtown in the morning for an open level zouk dance workshop taught by Auckland dance teacher, Futa Ofamo'oni. Cost $25 for the 2-hour workshop of this dance evolved from the Lambada danced to zouk music, the music of the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haiti. It was kind of a closed workshop i.e. only people in the salsa scene knew about it. I wasn't aware of such a workshop until Christina mentioned it to me on Monday at Willy-John's birthday party. I've always been interested to see what zouk is all about - it's currently the 'next big thing' in the salsa dance scene and everyone is getting into it. Unfortunately, it is not yet taught in Wellington (or NZ-wide, actually) so will take some time before enough dancers are able to dance it socially. I enjoyed the dance and class thoroughly - the dance itself was slow, relaxed and with sexy body movements where the female would move hip first towards the male dancer's hip (er, yes, kind of looked a little dodgy on the dancefloor but it's just a dance, ok?), lolling her head as she tosses her long hair to the sultry music. I don't know what it is about this dance but I feel as if in a trance when I dance it. Can't quite describe the feeling but it just felt euphoric. Hmm...Oh, and the teacher is quite hot too, especially when he moves those hips...makes me drool...hehe... :P It was an awesome class - I'm glad I came to the workshop! Can't wait to try out the moves on the dance floor!!
Had lunch after class with good old friend Ramnish whom I've not caught up for a very long time then back home to chill out before James came to pick me up around 6pm to Happy Feet in Lower Hutt. Having done a whole block of beginner's swing dance class, I decided to tag along to their monthly social dance event, Happy Feet. It was a first for me dancing swing socially so I really didn't know what to expect. Shall be interesting!
Cost $5 for the event held at Link Church Hall in Lower Hutt. You've heard me say this before but I will say it again - in the Hutt???! Frankly, the chances of me going any event would be much slimmer if it was in the Hutt. Didn't quite understand why their social dancing is usually out of the city centre. Rather inconvenient for dancers to head out into town after the event. James was really clever - he knew well I might back out so told me not to worry about driving tonight and he drove instead. Damn, I was stuck with him :P Made a stop at the local supermarket to buy a cake for supper - apparently everyone brings a plate for supper which is served partway through the event. Hmm, interesting...we never have that in salsa...
James was the only guy around when we arrived and the place was still quite empty. Phil (another dance teacher from Full Swing) started the event with a half hour lesson on how to dance the Shim Sham. The Shim Sham is a popular swing/tap dance routine that has somewhat similar moves though there are several variations to the choreography and usually, everyone stops dancing in partners and dance solo in a large group to the songs. Definitely a good warm up dance! Note to self - heels are not very good for swing dancing. Will need to wear flat shoes or heels that are lower and larger to help with balance.
Being new to the crowd, I felt a little outcasted and it was difficult to be part of the group even though I tried to talk to others while James was busy dancing. Also, my lack of confidence with my swing dance steps meant I wasn't bold enough (like in salsa scenes) to walk up and ask guys for a dance so spent most of the night sitting and watching people dance. It was ok - I expected this to happen and it is pretty much the same with any new social group. It is initially difficult to break into the group but over time, everyone gets to know each other a bit better and eventually, you become part of the group. From my observation as I sat there watching the crowd, I feel that the swing folks are more laid back compared to the salsa crowd. In the salsa scene, I often find smaller groups by class batches or dance schools, and even groups segregated by dance aptitude. Didn't see any of it here - everybody just dances with anybody which was nice.
Had a few dances with boys James, Richard and Daemon who were all very nice to me even though I made mistakes in my dance steps. We just laughed it off! The dancing took a break at 9pm for supper - all the cakes and biscuits were out, served with hot tea or coffee. A rather interesting twist to a social dance scene with no alcohol served. More dancing after supper and headed back into town with James around 10pm. Photos taken at Happy Feet: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157618646568095/detail/
I haven't had enough of my dance fill tonight so ended up heading to St James Theatre after James dropped me off home for the Salsa Ball. Cost $10 tonight and as usual, had plenty of fun dances and brief catch-ups with friends who were there. Danced a bit of zouk and also salsa with boys Hayden and Jay, both whom I've never danced with before - fun, fun, fun :) Left around 12.45am and popped over to Hooch to see James who was there for his workmate, Felix's birthday party. Did a bit of mingling and sang the birthday song while I was there having a cocktail called Lita Butt (how sexy). Left around 1.30am to meet up with Peter at Alice who was there with Daemon and another couple from the swing crowd. James and I shared a Nonsensical Tea Party cocktail in a teapot - not too bad. Left the gang for home around 2.30am - was way past my bedtime.
Sunday was a day at home doing my chores, reading a book and just spending ME time. Wasn't planning to leave the house at all but Claus 'bribed' me with a Bombom (Brazilian candy) to accompany him to Fringe Bar to watch an improv comedy show where his work colleague, Jonathan, was playing the saxaphone. I thought the comedy festival had ended yesterday but turned out it was tonight. Alright, alright, I'll come - wasn't so much there for the candy but more so for improvised comedy which I've never seen before. Cost $15 door sales for the show WellingSIN City by Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT). It was such a cool show and I'm really glad Claus dragged me along! Improvised comedy is SO different from the other shows I've seen at the festival - here, the audience calls the shots. A group of 7 comedians came on stage, beginning the show with open ended sentences where the audience filled in the gaps with keywords that made up the core of the story. It was hilarious to see how clever these comedians were thinking on their feet for a funny continuous storyline to fit around the words. Nothing was scripted, all impromptu and it was amazing to see how they work together to make the audience laugh. Even Jonathan deserved a pat in the back for his saxaphone accompaniment to suit the mood in the story. There was murder, revenge, justice all rolled into one. Of course, there were moments where the story didn't quite work out right e.g. there was fake smoke in the air which one of the comedians described as a ghost. Still, I was really impressed by their wit and had a great hour at the show.
Friday, 22 May 2009
Had my usual samba lesson - still need to work on my co-ordination. The feet and hips sometimes just wouldn't do what my head tells them to - urgh!
Kim caught a ride with me into town to do our groceries and we were catching up as I drove. Was telling her about the events of my life and she turned around and said to me "You are ready to date again." You know, sometimes there are moments in my life where I feel everything comes to a standstill like a movie frame and you get one of those Matrix-like s-l-o-o-o-w motion. But in this instance, I felt as if for those few seconds when she said those words, it was like my sensei or Jedi master telling me I'm ready to fight the enemy, with one hand firm on my shoulder as the words were spoken. And this was exactly what went through my head at that moment, not really thinking about what she was actually saying!
Anyway, so here she tells me that I need to break away from my group get-togethers - not saying I should stop hanging out with them but to leave the group once and awhile, and just sit alone with a drink by the bar and wait. Apparently guys are intimidated to talk to a girl swhen they are in a group and it is also quite hard to tell if she is single or not. Hmm, a few of us singles, guys and girls alike, had thought about that before but not really made an effort to single ourselves out when together. According to Kim, I need to give it some time too, about 10-15 minutes on my own before I walk back to my group. And if I saw any interesting men within view, that I should look them in the eye and give them a flirting smile, and they will come over to chat if interested. It always works for her and she wanted me to test it out and tell her how it went the next time I see her. Okay...I would have to find an opportunity to do that...hmm...
Caught up with Bronwyn and her flatmate, Amanda, at San Francisco Bathhouse around 9.20pm. Bronnie asked me if I wanted to check out the last Best of the Fest and I thought, oh well, why not? We didn't dare ask the others to come in fear it would be another terrible show. Got ourselves a table this time and enjoyed the show over a round of drinks. The MC tonight was Australian comedian, Mickey D, who was very funny but drank so much! There was a bottle of Jagermeister on the table on stage and every comedian who came up would help themselves to a shot or two. Mickey D would just go back for more in between his jokes! Oh and he was good at dealing with heckles alright...
Tonight's comedians were all local NZ comedians. We had Sarah Harpur, Jerome Chandrahasen and Cori Gonzalez-Macuer for the first half. Sarah Harpur played a ditzy Kiwi musician from small town Dannevirke, rather light comedy. Jerome was funny, him acting out a list of things he had written down in his notebook, in a slight drunken stupor - I've danced with him several times in my swing dance class but he never told me he was a comedian. And Cori, he did a repeat of what he did last week which made me think how do these comedians cope with saying the same jokes over and over again for all their shows, possibly the whole freaking year, and still need to make the audience laugh? Cheers to you folks for a job well done!
Diane Spencer and Jan Maree were up after the interval. We sure have more female comedians tonight! Diane was a gorgeous British redhead that would shock you and make you laugh heaps at the things that comes out from that sweet, innocent mouth of hers. And Jan Maree was fabulous! Our Kiwi own version of Janey Godley, no holds barred with swear words flying out, so provocative but she made me laugh till I cried with her story about the lady that does her waxing. Such a pity I missed both their shows this year - will need to make a mental note to see these ladies in their next comedy show.
Wow, this was a very late night for us with the show ending at 1am. But I'm glad we came out to do this, Bronnie :) Thank god it's Friday tomorrow!
Sunday, 17 May 2009
On the way back to our respective homes, we bumped into several friends we knew. Stopped by briefly at Jimmy's Cafe to interrupt Willy-John who was chilling out in the sun, reading his book. Back home to chill and around 6pm, Tim came to pick me up, headed to pick up Dvita and drove over to Chris' place on Talavera Terrace for roast dinner. This must be my lucky week, having 2 guys cook dinner for me :) Chris was such a great host, making us bread dips and falafels to start, followed by his family roast beef recipe served with salad and roast veggies. Yum! Thanks for having us around for dinner, Chris! Look forward to another round ;) It was nice to catch up with the gang as well, especially Tim whom I hardly see these days (he's always hopping from one country to another for business). The rest of the evening was us chilling out at Chris' over ice cream and a movie. A nice way to end the week :)
Dropped Dvita home, did a bit of my own stuff then headed out to Cubita to catch up with Bill over coffee. I've seen Bill at many salsa events but hardly ever got to talk to him so I would have to say, he wasn't a friend but more an acquaintance. It was nice to get to know him better over our 3-hour long coffee session - there was so much to share and chat about! Haha, he IS indeed a Mexican trapped in a white man's body. He speaks Spanish like a native speaker! A very interesting person with a positive attitude towards life. Rather refreshing to spend time with someone that oozes out positive vibes as he speaks and it rubs off on others - I like that :)
Rush, rush, rush - back home at 5pm to shower and get dressed before Colm came over to cook us dinner. He offered to make us a steak dinner instead of us heading out somewhere to get our steak fix tonight. So long as you're doing the cooking, it's fine by me :P I wasn't much help to him but kept him company and chatted over red wine as he cooked away. I have to say, dinner was AWESOME! He seared the steaks medium-rare, just how I like it, served with a blue cheese sauce (I'm no fan of cheese but the sauce was yummy!) with Angel hair pasta cooked in coconut milk and stir-fry veggies. Thank you, Colm :) That was SO good! In fact, you can come cook at my place anytime hehe...We polished a whole bottle of Merlot and shared a Bavarian chocolate cake I bought for dessert enough to feed 8 between the two of us. Ops, it'll take a week to work off our dinner tonight but I don't care right now :P I'm having a great time!
Around 8.30pm, we left my place and headed to the Opera House to see Ed Byrne's comedy show, Different Class. I saw a bit of his show one night on TV and thought he might be fun to check out. Better still, why not ask my Irish mate, Colm, to come along? I'm sure he would appreciate the comedy from someone of his home country :) Cost us $45 per person for the show and we got seats at the Grand Circle, which was at the top level. Gee, walking to our seats at the front row does cause a bit of vertigo...Dvita, Kelly and Chris were also here for the show but sat a few rows away from us (they got their tickets last minute).
The show was 2 parts of 45 minutes and during the interval, Colm and I went to the bar and I got everyone a round of beer. I thought Ed Byrne was funny but I didn't laugh till I cried like with Jason Cook. It could be that the two were somewhat similar in some ways, like how both would do this feminine curtsy move and had a little voice in their heads, telling them to do things. Still had a good time though - laughter is by far the best medicine to a happy life!
After the show, the 5 of us headed out for drinks at Hope Bros Bar & Restaurant where Rachel was having drinks with her work colleagues. Dvita and Kelly wanted to check out Roda de Samba who were playing at Matterhorn tonight so we headed over after 1 round of drinks at Hope Bros (hmm, where did Rachel and her group go??). Roda de Samba played mostly bossa nova music and the usual Brazilian crowd was there as I had expected. Lots of cheek-kissing and hugging as I flitted around the dancefloor greeting people I knew. Having been in this social circle for about 3 years, I do know quite a lot of people. Some things never change though - I still get asked how I'm coping with the split from my Brazilian ex and often hear friends tell me "Oh, he still loves you and will soon realise what a grave mistake he made", or "He's only ever loved you" and the like. Frankly, I'm quite tired of hearing all these which is probably why I haven't been attending many Brazilian events. My split with my ex is now history, a chapter in my life closed for almost 2 years now and we've both moved on with our lives but sometimes I feel our friends just aren't helping us get on with lives by digging up old memories. Well, I can't control what a person wants to say but I sure can change my attitude towards what they say so these days, when anyone starts rattling on about the possibility of me and my ex getting back together, I just put up my hand to stop them and say we've both moved on. With time I'm sure they will get the message.
I danced a bit to the music but it was too hot to dance in my turtleneck and jeans - I really wasn't dressed to samba dance tonight. One by one, the gang left for home when the gig ended around 1am. Wow, the moment the band finished their second set, the sudden mass crowd on the dancefloor disappeared! My cue to go too!
Friday, 15 May 2009
At 6pm, we headed over to see the film with 2 of his work colleagues, Jono and Liviu. 8 was an interesting film about the Millennium Development Goals, pieced together by 8 short films of 8 different directors on their free and personal vision of the world. Some of them were rather sad, showing how harsh life can be for some parts of the world. It was quite a long film, 100-minutes long. This was the 2nd human rights film I've seen in the festival - went to see Flying On One Engine last Sunday with Damien which was about this partially paralysed and ill plastic surgeon, Dr Dicksheet (sorry but I cringe everytime I hear the surname), conducting marathon surgeries for children with a cleft lip so they could live better lives. I'm amazed at the number of children born with cleft lip in India and glad they have someone like Dr Dicksheet to help them. Though Dr Dicksheet was a bit of a dick/shit, to say that he was more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize (he had been nominated 8 times) than Mother Teresa or Al Gore, saying the former got other people to clean up the children and latter didn't change the world's temperature 1 degree. I didn't think that was a very noble thing to say...
We stayed behind for the Q&A session after the film and it was interesting to hear the what the panel speakers had to say in response of the questions thrown at them by the audience. Part of me wonders if the world can really achieve the goals by 2015 - I think it would be a huge challenge to do so. Some countries are just way too corrupt to allow for changes for the better.
Left at 8.30pm to Zibibbo for another Wellington Singles Club event, this time a Masquerade Party. Everyone had to wear a mask (bring your own or buy one with the the club) - I got mine from the $2 shop :) Boys Claus and Liviu came along with me to meet Scott who was already there. I was a bit shocked to see the number of people at the event - even though the venue was much smaller than Rain where several of us attended their premiere event, it had the same dreary vibe to it. One look and boys Claus and Liviu said there weren't going in. I had no choice but to hang out to accompany Scott who had paid $35 for his entry fee. We chatted to the organisers and gave them our 2 cents about the event. I had my free champagne and took off with Scott about 9pm. Seriously, none of my single friends would ever come along to any events held by this club again after yet another disappointing night. Not so much disappointment that we didn't meet the man/woman of our dreams but more so that we weren't even interested to get to know other people in the crowd. Something just didn't felt right.
Managed to catch up with Claus and Liviu who were playing pool at Cue Room so Scott and I joined them for a few doubles game. I didn't know how to play pool but with beginners luck, me and Claus won a few games. Oh, I never knew Scott could play pool so well! Oh yeah, when he starts, you can grab a chair and take a seat - he doesn't seem to stop sinking the pool balls into the pockets!
Said my goodbyes to the boys and headed home about 10.30pm after a somewhat uneventful night. I really wonder, is the dating scene in Wellington so bleak? Just because I do not fancy going to a bar to drink on my own in hope some man will chat me up, or attend dating events, does that mean I'm not going to find a man in this town? Hmm...
Took my colleague, Kirsty, out for lunch at Caffe Lafarre - it will be her last day working with us tomorrow and we would all miss her dearly. She's like a mum to us at work :) It was quite unfortunate due to company hiring policies that her contract was not renewed this time round (which made me rather thankful that I'm a permanent staff though that doesn't necessarily guarantee you a job during recession time). I would definitely miss her presence in the office - best wishes, Kirsty, and keep in touch!
Back to work and had a Skype video chat after work with Helbert and his mum. Ah, the world of technology - we could talk, laugh and see each other even though he's in Brazil and I'm in NZ. Isn't that cool? :) Helbert and I try to chat on Skype every fortnight just to keep each other updated on what's been happening in our lives. I miss him heaps and vice versa but he's very happy in Brazil and not planning to come back to NZ any time soon. Plus he's now seeing someone nice so I doubt he'll come back soon anyway hehe...His mum was speaking to me in Portuguese, asking if I was attached. I couldn't respond in Portuguese so had Helbert translate for me (I could understand his mum fine, just not speak the language well). "Why are still single? It's winter, my dear - you have to find yourself a man to cuddle and keep you warm!" said Helbert's mum and I laughed. Told Helbert to tell her I wished I had a man but couldn't find one and that I may have to put up an advert in the papers since winter is coming soon and I could see her loll her head back, laughing away. It was rather endearing to be in such good friendship like this with Helbert and his family, despite all that has happened to us in the last 3+ years.
Whilst I was chatting away with my Brazilian family, Rosel popped in to see me, bringing along a box of homemade slices. She's always bringing me food! I would marry her if I was a guy :P Came along with me to my samba class but she didn't stick around for the lesson. Samba class tonight was hard work, mostly focusing on our abs, doing crunch moves and lots of it. I could feel my ab muscles cramp...
Rush, rush, rush as usual. After class, I took off to Osteria del Toro on Tory St to meet up with Stacey and gang for dinner before we headed to another Best of the Fest. We had such a fabulous time last Thursday so decided to do another round tonight. This was also the 2nd time I'm having dinner at Osteria - my first experience was bad, if you folks recall, where the paella I shared with Hew's friend had way too much salt in it. But I was willing to give them a 2nd attempt and tonight, had the Fatima Lamb, slow cooked lamb tagine with raisins, Moroccan spices, carrot, garlic and onion, with a side of Moroccan couscous - yum! Willy-John and Esther shared a HUGE goat dish (check out the photos)!! Of course, we had drinks accompanying dinner - I had a glass of sangria which I shared with the girls. Hmm, the sangria still needs work. Can't taste the fruits in the drink! More pounding of the fruits required, or preparing them overnight.
We chatted, caught up and laughed over our meals. We weren't really thinking of dessert so when the waitress came over and began asking the boys if they wanted any, they said no thus everyone followed suit. Human beings are funny creatures and I was saying to the people sitting around me how just because the first person that was asked said no, the rest of us who were unsure whether or not to have dessert also said no. I suppose there's a fear and shame aspect that if you were the only one eating, everyone else had to wait and stare at you so it was better to conform than not. From the corner of my eye, I could see the cute Chilean head waiter whispering away at the waitress, as if to say "Watch me - this is how you do it" and he walked over to the girls end of the table, with menus in hand, asking us if we were really sure he couldn't tempt us with dessert. Half the table ordered dessert and the trick to it all is to ask the ladies instead of the guys. Clever but I saw through that (and I think he knew I was telling Stacey exactly what he was up to when he headed to our table). They had panne cota on the menu - I just had to try it. I LOVE panne cota! The one served at Osteria was a Vanilla Panne Cota with pinot gris and poached fruits. Presentation, not so great (too much whiteness in the dish, making it rather nauseating?) but tasted fabulous. Photos taken at dinner tonight: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157618210129329/detail/
Left for San Francisco Bathhouse around 9.20pm and the line into the bar was already so long. Check out the queue:
Bumped into Ron in the line and boys Scott and Willy-John decided to ditch the girls and joined Ron's group since they were slightly ahead of us. "You boys sure you'll be able to get us a table?" I teased and went back in line with the girls. Cost $15 door sales like the last time.
Hmm, we probably should have skipped dessert and headed over earlier. The boys weren't able to secure us a table so we stood through the whole show. Tonight's line up were mostly local NZ comedians, with Dai Henwood as the MC. We had Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Steve Wrigley and Jim Brown for the first half. Cori was rather expressionless, taking the piss out of dumb blonds and doing this dialog of 2 silly NZ TV presenters which wasn't really all that funny (perhaps it would be if I was drinking?). Steve Wrigley, he was the guy who always wore a bandana, and the 3rd guy, Jim, was so-so.
On the 2nd half, we had Te Radar, Benjamin Crellin and Glenn Wool. Scott and I both thought Te Radar spoke way to fast for our comprehension while Benjamin reminded me of a just released prison convict, head all shaven and those seedy eyes. Interestingly, I couldn't remember any of his jokes...guess I wasn't paying attention...Glenn was the only international comedian this evening. Ok, I get it that at late night comedy shows, comedians normally drop down their guard a bit and drank alcohol as they carry out their acts but Glenn was getting a bit aggro when he got heckled by people in the crowd. The show didn't get any better as the night went on and the comedians were just dragging on. Scott and I took off around 12.30am before the show even ended.
I'm not sure if it was because I didn't grow up in NZ so couldn't find humour in most of the jokes, or the fact that my legs were so sore standing for 90 minutes but I didn't really enjoy tonight's show. In fact, I cringed a few times when the comedians made jokes about the Maori people (I wondered how Willy-John took it since he's of Maori descent). I guess I was disappointed after having seen such a great show last week and this time around, we had a bigger group and was really looking forward to an awesome night out. Hmm, not sure if I would do another round of Best of the Fest next Thursday after tonight...
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Claus had asked me to come along with him to the Food Show held at Westpac Stadium today. It was an annual event held over 3 days in major cities in NZ, featuring a broad range of food and beverage stalls for patrons to sample and buy the products.
We had a light lunch at Lambton Quay at 12.30pm then headed over to the cake tin for the event. I had to laugh at Claus when we walked past Ma Higgins Cookies shop - he was like a kid, all excited to buy a bag of cookies and devouring them one by one. You sure have a liking for your sweet stuff, Claus!
Cost us $20 per person for the event. There were loads of people all around the stadium when we got there. "Where shall we start?" Claus asked me and I shrugged - I've never been to one of these things so really just going along with him (he went to the show last year). We picked the side that had less crowd walking through and began our little food and drink exploration, stall after stall.
Stopped briefly to the theatre area where famous Donna Hay was showing the audience how to cook a simple 3 course meal. Hmm, her makeshift kitchen didn't have a basin for her to wash her hands - Claus looked at me with a disgusted look on his face when Donna Hay excused herself to blow her nose, and then get back to her cooking. Eew...I hoped she did use those no-water handwash liquid (we were sitting quite far back so may have missed it)...
We continued on our way, trying all sort of things we fancied. We mostly stopped at all the salami/sausages stalls, Claus gorging away (and I've a photo to prove it!). Some of the highlights for me would be the honey wine and liquor, microwave ready mussels and this beautiful Rosemount bubbly white wine served on ice - you can drink this in summer, outdoors with a bunch of friends the whole afternoon. I would have tried more things but it was quite a fight to get to the food - at times, 3 rows deep and then you get this group of people who just wouldn't leave and empty the whole plate of samples, as if they've not eaten for days! Sheesh...Claus was the one who did all the shopping; I didn't see anything I really wanted or needed to buy.
Bumped into several friends along the way. Interestingly, the food show not only sells food fit for human consumption, but pet food as well as kitchen gadgets and utensils. There was also an area where hospitality people were competing against one another and the clock on their service skills e.g. making the bed, serving a table of guests, coffee-making etc. We took a break from walking to chill out at the lounge chairs near where a jazz duo were performing before continuing on. I think we were there for about 3 hours which was way longer than I had expected. Still, it was a fun experience - thanks for asking me to come along, Clausito!
Oh, there were travel stalls at the Food Show too (how weird). Claus was there checking out some brochures when I saw the Intrepid Travel Australia brochure and showed him the page with me in it. Perhaps I shouldn't have told him about it...he started telling everyone at the stall that his friend i.e. me is world famous, then asked for a pen so I could sign the page for him. Claus!!! This is SO embarrassing!
Left the cake tin about 4ish for a short walk along Oriental Parade before the sun disappears for the day. It was sunny but still cold since it was 8 degrees. Photos taken today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157617836736219/detail/
Left for home around 5pm and out again for a swim, and then back home to make myself a nice salmon steak dinner - yum! Out again at 8.30pm to Southern Cross Bar for Matt's and Jo's leaving drinks. They were heading back to UK for a bit and travelling to South America as well in the coming 8 months so having a big catch up with everyone before they left. As I watched them flit around the bar, trying to spend as much time catching up with each person, I remembered what it was like when I did the same in 2007 - so much to do and packing before you go, then catching up with all your friends in between. Thoses were long, stressful and tiring days, trying to fit everything in. I'm not surprised they would only really get a proper break their 2nd week back home in the UK hehe...Have a wonderful time travelling, you two, and keep in touch! See you in 8 months :)
Yawn...not sure why I'm so tired tonight. Just had 1 beer and stuck it out till 12am before heading for home. James was a good human prop to keep me from falling asleep sitting on the lounge chairs :P
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Caught up with him at his office around 6pm and walked over to upper Cuba St to Midnight Espresso for a light bite and catch up before our first show. Janey Godley's show (cost $25), Domestic Godley, was up first at 7pm at the San Francisco Bathhouse. I had a quick browse of her biography earlier today and my god, I admire how she can still make a joke of it all - growing up sexually abused, mother murdered, married to a gangster - and still make a name for herself! Her jokes mainly revolve around her childhood growing up in a Protestant home and her Asperger syndrome husband (and how her daughter, Ashley, and her would play mind games with the husband, each making him do stuff around the house for points), which would only be funny if you were open-minded with religion and disability jokes. One thing I found out quickly about humour is that not everyone enjoys the same humour. Didn't think Claus enjoyed Janey Godley as much (didn't hear him laugh out loud at most of the jokes)...
Next up was Jason Cook in his show titled Joy (cost $25). This was the show I REALLY wanted to see tonight. Everyone in San Fran had to leave and queue up again outside for the show (I suppose this is how they know who has paid and who hasn't, not so much to 'reset the place' as the bar staff puts it). Lucky for us, we got ourselves a table this time and ordered drinks and chips while we waited for the show to begin at 8.30pm. Jason's show was mostly themed around his family and getting married, but boy was he good at dealing with heckles from the crowd. Stand-up comedians impress me with their ability to think so fast on their feet, knowledge of a broad range of local and international issues and still able to make a funny comeback when thrown off course. Jason also has this little voice in his head that often tells him to do naughty things to people for a laugh. One such example was of him sending a picture text of himself in a tiger suit to his mate who asked him how was his honeymoon. He had half the photo up on the projector screen for the crowd, him in a cat snarl look, and then started talking about a mangina, which some people had blank looks on their faces (me too!) - the crowd squeeled in laughter when he showed us the bottom half! Front on nudity with his penis tucked away, legs crossed thus looking like a woman. Claus and I laughed till we cried! Mangina - I'm sure you ladies have had a boyfriend at some point in your lives that pulled that trick on you. Oh, and apparently the view of a mangina from the back is called a fruit bowl. Don't ask me how - you can go figure it out yourself! And of course, we all got given a pair of cheap male socks and a hat each at the end of the show ;) I hope he comes back again next year - I had an amazing time at his show!
The third and final show of the evening was at The Fringe Bar, just further down the block. I've never been to this bar (it used to be some jazz bar) and apparently it's Wellington's home of comedy (you can watch comedy here 4 times a week). Small little place with a tiny stage. We were here to see Dunedin guy, Simon McKinney's show, Simon McKinney Tells A Bit Of A Yarn (cost $20). As the night progressed, the comedy got better, both Claus and I agreed (and no, it has nothing to do with the alcohol because we only had 2 beers each). Simon was so funny and his jokes were just about everyday silly things that people do (like how we mouth our words so slowly to someone across the street when we are in the car, windows up) and how different accents can cause funny confusion. And he's AWESOME at impersonations! Got me laughing into stitches (and did I mention he's quite cute too hehe...). Kelly and Dvita also came along to this show, sitting far back - good on you girls! Photos taken tonight:
Thanks Claus for coming along to all the shows - I've had a blast and hope you had fun too! Everyone headed our on ways for home - the weather was so cold!! Bumped into James and Mike (my swing dance classmates) and us three headed over to Southern Cross Bar to join Peter (swing dance teacher) for a drink. Had a few swing dances with James while I was there too :) Left for home around 12.30am. Need to catch up with sleep after having 2 late nights in a row!
Friday, 8 May 2009
Samba class itself was alright. Still found it rather challenging and Clo would tease me a lot in class "Angelica, move more!" or "Angelica, need to move knees faster!". Eeks...
Caught up with Damien for dinner at La Casa Pasta on Dixon St after class. It was all very last minute and I already had a salad for dinner so just had cheescake for dessert while he had his meal. Hmm, neither of us could remember what the place was like but it sure looked much nicer now. Somehow have a vague memory that it was rather dimly light with a very different layout. Will need to come back to try their food another day.
Around 10pm, Damien dropped me off at San Francisco Bathhouse on Cuba St where I was catching up with Stacey and Bronwyn to see the Best of the Fest. Best of the Fest is a comedy show featuring the best local and internationl comics performing at this year's NZ International Comedy Festival and occurs every Thursday night for the next 3 weeks. I've never been to a stand up comedy show before so this was a first for me - really didn't know what to expect. All I know is it would be fun :) This festival occurs annually with shows from both local and international comedians held simulteneously in Wellington and Auckland for over 3 weeks. How could I have not attended any in the 7.5 years that I've lived here???
Wow, the queue into San Fran is so long! Lucky for me, I bumped into Flo, Colm and Rachel who were already in the queue and joined them...hehe...They were wearing santa hats they got from the previous comedy show at San Fran by comedian Jason Cook - funny! Flo had an extra hat in his bag so I had a blinking santa hat too, hehe!
Cost $15 door sales to the show. Stacey and Bronwyn already had a table so the rest of us joined them. Haha, they too were at the Jason Cook show earlier and had hats on - we were a whole table to santa hats! I will have to go see Jason Cook's show myself tomorrow since everyone had such a great time at the show. He was the comedian that had Lego man type of hair (bell-like haircut) and was the MC for tonight's Best of the Fest. Oh my god - I laughed SO much that I cried! He was SO funny, cracking the crowd up with jokes and playing around with the folks sitting near the stage. Note to self: never sit at the front in stand up comedy shows unless you want all the attention and be a subject of humour. We were fortunate to sit 3 rows back but still stood out thanks to our hats - almost every comedian that came out tonight had a comment or two about us :P Come to think of it, if we were to line up in twos in the dark, our hats would look like a tiny airstrip!
We had Jarrod Baker, Janey Godley and Chris Brain for the first half of Best of the Fest tonight. Most of us thought Jarrod Baker was bad - other than him ability to play the melodica well, he wasn't at all funny. Janey Godley, she was one provocative Scottish woman with lots of swearing but still funny (might check out her show tomorrow) and Chris Brain, was so-so. For the 2nd half, we had local Kiwi, Simon McKinney, and Canadian Jason Whitehead who were both awesome. I still like Jason Cook the best :) Must check him out tomorrow!
The show ended around 12.30am. It was supposed to end at 11.30pm (a 90-minute show) but the comedians just went on and on as the crowd asked for more. Felt tired but well worth all the laughter. Haven't laughed this hard and much for awhile! Really had a great time with awesome friends for my first stand up comedy show. Looking forward to more!
Monday, 4 May 2009
Had to get up early to drive out to a private residence in Tawa (about 25 minutes by car) where the photo shoot was taking place. My call time was at 8.30am which was rather early. Couldn't sleep much the night before as I was still contemplating whether to drive or train to Tawa. Me, the city girl, dislikes travelling to the suburbs – fear of getting lost and end up late (has happened to be before)! But with proper planning (leaving home at 7.30am) and Google maps, I got there with no problems and still had a bit of time to spare despite traffic delays on the way.
I was the first of several people of different age and ethnicity here today for the shoot. The crew were all very lovely and jovial for a Monday morning. For the first shoot, I had to put on my flannel pajamas and got made up to look as if I had a really bad cold – the make-up artist made my eyes red-rimmed and nose looking sore from blowing it too much. “Oh no, you've got the swine flu!” some of the crew members teased when they checked out my make-up. I really did look sickly when I saw myself in the mirror...poor me!
The first part of my photo shoot was taken in a bedroom, where I was sitting on the bed with my lower half under the comfy duvet, tissue box nearby, scrunched up tissues on bed and me chatting away on a mobile phone. The next set of photos were taken in the kitchen, still on the mobile phone with a glass of water in one hand. Now, with photo shoots, I'm always given a list of items to bring along and they requested I brought along a sleeping robe. I didn't own one so got a cheap, gawdy red robe from a garage sale for $5 - couldn't believe that the camera crew thought it was perfect and had me put it on top of my flanel PJs! So there I was, yakking away on the mobile to some imaginary person (and they had me standing on top of a foot stool to add height haha!) and more snap-snap.
As the hours passed, more people turned up for the shoot. My final shoot was taken in the dining room, this time all healthy and happy, on the phone and having a cup of coffee. The whole shoot probably took about 2 hours and I had heaps of fun :)
Back to work and around 4pm, I went to see my dentist to get a crowning done for one of my back molars. Cost me $600 today for my first appointment where the dentist 'prepared' my teeth (another $600 to go in 2 weeks to complete the job). I was given anaesthetic so I wouldn't feel any pain, and for the next hour, the dentist did his magic, drilling away (urgh, I cringe when I hear those zher-zher drilling sounds), taking a mould of my teeth and fixing a temporary cap until my new porcelain cap arrives. My earnings from the photo shoot today would not be enough to cover this dent in my pocket :( Maybe I should have studied to be a dentist though I'm not sure I enjoy looking into people's mouth everyday. Hmm...
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Didn't end up helping Damien much preparing lunch but kept him company and laughed watching him clean the mussels, pulling out those hairy bits with a pair of pliers - you need more muscles to take on those mussels, man :P Oh, and we did nuke a few and it was exactly like what Asian dude told us. Not too bad actually despite the sea water salty taste. Hmm, I wondered if we could put in more than 1 mussel to nuke at a time...Damien's friends, Terryanne and Matt, popped by shortly and we had lunch together while I listened to them talk about their work stories. Reminded me a lot of those TV dramas like Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy - the little dramas among peers, interesting cases or patients, etc. And you thought Scrubs and Grey's were fictitious stories - some do happen in reality!
Thanks for the awesome lunch, D - so full now! Around 3pm, Terryanne and Matt took off while me and Damien headed out for a drive along the south coast to Taputeranga Marine Reserve since there was still some sun. Did a short beach walk out in the crisp cold sunny day (me and my boots didn't get very far) and then stopped by The Bach Cafe for hot drinks before heading home. This was probably one of the last weekends we'll spend together before he goes travelling to South America and move over to Ireland to work. We've become really good friends in the last year and it saddens me that he's not going to be here for long. Am going to miss him heaps :( We'll have to keep in touch and visit each other!
You would never guessed what I came up with…I told the two that I was taking them on an ultimate adrenaline ride on the Bungy Extreme on Taranaki St. And they were so excited, like 2 kids told they were going to Disneyland! The Bungy Extreme is an open capsule (like a metal ball) connected to two 40-metre high towers on bungy cords, where up to 3 people can be strapped on, catapulted 55 metres into the air at speeds of up to 160kmph in less than 2 seconds.
“You must be insane!” I hear you cry. Honestly, I was scared as hell (I’ve never done it before but the two misfits have) and just hours before the 3 of us met up to do the ride, I started asking myself why on earth did I even suggested doing the bungy! Well, you see, one of the things on my list of things to do for 2009 is to organise a group of people to do the Bungy Extreme together. This was a good opportunity to do so plus it was a gift of a shared lifetime experience rather than something material.
We met at the venue at 6pm. Oh my god, oh my god, OH MY GOD!!! I could feel my heart beating so fast against my ribcage. This is CRAZY!! But I can’t back down now so let’s do it! Cost me $90 for all 3 of us to go on the ride. Unfortunately the video recorder wasn’t functioning so we couldn’t get a DVD record of our experience. We’ll just have to use photogenic memory then :/
The 3 of us were told to remove anything that might fall off and Kim and I to tie our hairs back so it wouldn’t get in the way. I had thought given both Colm and Kim has done this before, they wouldn’t be as jittery as me but oh, you should look at their faces – fear, written all over 3 of our faces! Yet we acted cool and were egging each other as the operator of the bungy strapped us on with the harness. WHAT??! Just this seat belt looking harness??? Oh my god…We were told to hold on to the straps but not the yellow parts (and why is that? Ok, I don’t even want to know…) and I could see the horror in Kim’s eyes. Too late now, sweetheart – we were all ready to launch. The operator asked if we wanted a countdown or a surprise launch and the birthday duo shouted in unison “countdown!”. Ok…5…4…3…2…AAAAAAAAAAAARGGHHHHHHHHHH!!! We scram so loudly as we bounced up and down in the gigantic ball that swivels as it moves – I’m not surprised we woke up the whole of Courtenay Place at 6pm hehe... :P Happy Birthday, you two!!
As we were slowly lowered down to ground, we had an amazing night view of Courtenay Place – the night lights were beautiful :) Oh, we had SO MUCH FUN! I want to do it again!! Sharon, Kim’s flatmate, who witnessed the whole thing, said she could hear our screams echoing as we catapulted up. Haha!
“I think this should be the new trend for anyone celebrating their birthdays – bungy first then party!” said Kim and Colm, as we walked to Lagerfield for pre-dinner drinks. Hmm, I think that’s a fabulous idea, me being the trendsetter ;P Hehe…the adrenaline kick will keep us buzzing as the night officially begins!
About 7pm, we headed over to New Orleans Dinner Club to catch up with the others who were there for the birthday dinner. Lots of catching up friends over drinks before we sat on the long table reserved for us. Very nicely set out and Colm and Kim had balloons at their table – so cute!
Oh yeah, the theme of their birthday was “Dress to Impress” and everyone definitely put on the best outfits for the dinner. I threw a few items together and got a little mischievous – I had on a short, sexy dress with thigh-high socks, heels and a hat. Hmm, I’m sure the combination would make quite a statement tonight hehe….All I needed was a pimp stick to complete my look :P
Kim insisted that everyone had to try a Hurricane cocktail tonight. It is a popular cocktail in New Orleans made up of lime juice, passion fruit syrup and rum, one of those you can drink many in succession. Yum!
I DEFINITELY recommend that you come here for dinner. The food was AMAZING!! And outrageously HUGE! I had their buffalo wings with bleu cheese dressing as an entrée which was enough to feed 2-3 people. Thankfully I ordered a small Authentic New Orleans Gumbo Ya Ya served over rice for my main – hearty, rich gumbo that makes a great winter warmer meal. I loved it! Scott, who was sitting next to me, had hushpuppies for entrée and pork tenderloin for main and I got to sample some of his food (plus a bit here and there from the others nearby since most of us couldn’t finish our own meals). I still think mine were much nicer...This is the type of place you want to come with your partner and order an item each from the entrée, main and dessert menu to share. There was no way I could fit in dessert – I couldn’t even finish my entrée! Hmm…I’ve made quite a mess eating those chicken wings with my hands…opsie…
We were entertained as we dined by a local jazz band lead by singer, Charlie Kurtz. I really like the ambience here – it reminded me of a picture I had in my head when I was little; I’ve always dreamt of this moment where I was in a nice restaurant having drinks and dinner in great company and accompanied by a jazz band. A dream come true, really.
Haha, it was really funny when the Charlie came up to our table to sing to Colm and Kim. He sang the Happy Birthday song in rap and then in a Latin beat mix which cracked us all up! He also startled Dvita when he grabbed her for a dance. Naughty! I too had a short boogie with him to another jazz number.
Around 10pm, everyone settled their bills and we all headed back to Lagerfield for another round of drinks followed by some dancing at Temperance (the numbers halved by the time we got to Temperance). It was such an awesome night out! Photos taken tonight: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157617534496327/detail/
Friday, 1 May 2009
The 2 actors played 9 characters in between them, all very well portrayed in action and voice. It was a bit confusing at first trying to differentiate the characters but I thought it was really cool to watch the actors change from one character to another with such smooth transition. Amazing! The story was about Chinese New Year Eve where the individuals in the Chen family walked the audience through their lives – communication within the family, family love, friendship, intercultural dating, adapting to the lifestyle and culture in NZ and lives of NZ-born kids of the immigrants – working through their issues before sitting together for the New Year Eve dinner. Many of the scenes hit too close to home having experienced some of the challenges living abroad myself.
We sat at the front row of the small theatre watching the play while sipping our beers. Oh my god – there were times that I was tempted to just walk into the stage! There were several moments that I felt my personal space invaded when the actors got too close!! A rather unique experience sitting so near and feeling as if part of the play. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend you watch this play if it does come to your town. Was really glad that we did end up coming out in the cold to watch the play – beats staying in, for sure! We stayed on at The Pit Bar of the theatre for the Q&A session where the audience had an up-close and personal opportunity to have their say in what they thought of the play.
Left the bar around 8pm and headed over to Momo Tea for dinner. I tried their Orange Beef special this time while Damien had the old favourite, Malaysian Fried Kuey Tiaw, and of course, another 2 drinks on the menu we hadn’t tried. It was nice to catch up and honestly, I’m starting to feel a bit sad knowing that in a few weeks, my good friend whom I’ve build a close relationship with over the last year will be leaving the country for Ireland. Yeah, Damien’s heading off to Ireland to work for awhile and I’ll miss our regular weekly catch-ups :/ Hmm, the guys in my circle are leaving one after another this year – Helbert has left, next in line is Claus, followed by Damien and later this year, Scott. Was joking with the guys that I should start recruiting new guys in my harem of men before they go so that the numbers stay put – haha! Well, we shall see if any new guys pop up…