Saturday, 28 March 2009
Caught up with Scott for dinner at Catch Sushi at 7.15pm, then a coffee boost at Starbucks on Courtenay (not sure why I felt so tired but I definitely needed caffeine) before heading to Rain. Colm met us on the way in and Dvita came over shortly. It was rather empty when we walked in at 8pm. Cost us $30 per person for the event which included ice-breaker games, prizes and drink specials. It was amusing that the organisers of the event already knew who I was when we walked in – haha, must be from the series of emails of me informing them I have a group of singles turning up and please, pretty please, DO NOT match any of us up together :P
We were given 2 cards from the deck and tasked to find our match for the first hour. Once you’ve found your match, the pair had to tell one another their favourite animal and colour, and 3 reasons why. Fortunately for the 4 of us, we had no matches so spent the rest of the night flitting around talking to random strangers, regardless we had a matching card or not. Occasionally, we would group together, have chat and laugh, then break away again to talk to others. We joked about telling other people that our favourite animal was a bunny rabbit! That would be a conversation starter ;P I have to say, we are definitely not shy and felt very at ease talking to strangers. It was interesting talking to some of the guys and I wondered if they were slightly intimidated by my confidence – had few of them choking on their own words. Ops! I chatted with the hosts for the night as well and found out that the Wellington Singles Club is only one of the many life consulting services provided by the wider company. Apparently you can get life coaching on other aspects of life like career as well. Hmm, interesting…
2 older guys who came to chat were into dancing but we had little in common so I found myself having to constantly bring up new topics to talk about. 2 other Indian guys already knew who I was before I introduced myself – they happened to be Telecom staff and saw me in my Chinese princess costume at the work Xmas party. Eeks! Talk about lasting impressions!!
As it turned out, we were informed that our favourite animal is the type of partner we seek and our favourite colour is who we are. Really?? Hmm…bunny rabbit…what on earth would that imply? Hahaha!
About 9pm, we had to get into groups of fours for an adjective name game, where you need an adjective in front of your first name that starts with the same letter as the first letter of your name i.e. in my case, Amazing Angelica. I had one of the organisers at my table of four who volunteered us up to stage to introduce ourselves to the party, and we got prizes for doing so too! Cool!!
One rather interesting (and odd) person I met was a Scottish man with an accent so thick I had to get him to repeat his sentences time and again. He came over to ask me if we had matching cards and though we didn’t, I invited him to join my table. Instead of taking my offer, he walked off, grumbling that we didn’t have a match so no point talking. What??! Nobody gets away being such an arse! I kindly asked the people at my table to let me slide out of the lounge chair, walked up to the bar where the Scottish man was and plonked myself on the bar chair across him. “I kindly ask you to join my table and you just walked off – that is just plain rude,” I told him off to which he mumbled that the game was stupid. I rolled my eyes and thought to myself why he bothered to turn up in the first place when such cheesy games were to be expected at the event. I then introduced myself to him, we started talking and he bought me a beer. Through my short conversation with him, I could tell he is a very opinionated man and told me he was a ‘man on a mission’ – he meant looking for someone. Good luck, buddy, because I ain’t sure you’ll find what you want here tonight!
Around 10pm, Scott rounded us up to head over to Hawthorne Lounge for a drink. The lack of people at the party made the place seemed too empty and the games started to bore many of us. I could see my Scottish man giving Scott dagger-eye looks when Scott was whispering to me at my ear! I had to explain to him that Scott was a friend when he asked me what was that all about. When he started to tell me stuff like he thought I’m cool, pretty and easy-going, warning bells ring in my head – oh hell no! Geoff asked me last night why I don’t walk up to random guys at social events to strike up a conversation since I’m not a shy person. I couldn’t give him an answer then but now I know why – somehow I always get stalked after that!
Colm, Dvita, Scott and I left for Hawthorn Lounge taking half the party with us! The organisers came to ask us if we really had to go, as if in fear our departure also meant the end of their party. We really do have to go – I need to run away from my now stalker! Ok, I didn’t exactly say that out loud because Scottish man was nearby. He just wasn’t letting me out of his sight, and walked me arm in arm all the way to Hawthorn. Sh*t…I need Plan C…
Everyone mixed and mingled at Hawthorn which was much more relaxed than at Rain. Scottish man didn’t stop pushing his luck, trying to get me to drink more but I didn’t feel like one. Besides, I really dislike being pushed to drink. And letting you buy me a drink doesn’t mean I owe you a thing! Guess he got the gist when I kept declining his offer to head to some other bar and after he tried hitting on a few others girls at the bar, he took off. For a ‘man on a mission’, I have to say his mission failed for he didn’t even take any girl’s phone number. Perhaps he’ll have better luck elsewhere. I wouldn’t mind being his friend if he wasn’t so ‘on his mission’.
All in all, I have to say I had a good time and great laughs of the event. Though none of us met anyone of interest even to be friends or swapped numbers (except one Kiwi-Indian guy who took Colm and my numbers but I think all he wanted was really to get to know Dvita better because he just couldn’t stop talking about her after she left!), us 4 had a fun night out. It was also a good way for one to push your own limits if you are afraid to talk to random strangers. I think I just enjoy feeding on other people’s fear when I’m oozing out confidence :P Not sure if I’ll go to the next event though.
About 11.30pm, Colm and I left and headed to The Malthouse for another round of drinks. Found Chris and Geoff along the way and had them join us. Wellington is so small – we bumped into Vicky and Ant in the bar and ended up hanging out all together, chatting and catching up. Headed home around 12.30am – I want my bed!
Thursday, 26 March 2009
A quick stop for a bite at the Thai place on Cuba St and dropped by Geoff's new place around the corner, the 3 of us headed to Hotel Bristol to see Wellington Heads play their gig tonight. I hardly ever go to Hotel Bristol for a drink nor have I heard of this band until James mentioned about the gig. There was no cover charge to get into the bar so why not check it out? And if memory serves me right, James has mentioned the band a few times - more reason for me to come to the gig then!
Wellington Heads is a jazz band that plays music stretching from 1920s jazz to New Orleans blues. Quite a nice band actually. Sitting at the table with the boys drinking my beer, my thoughts went back to the days I spent in Chicago checking out the music scene. I miss those days and it is nice to know that there are such jazz bands around in town yet for me to discover. Thanks James for having me tag along!
Turns out, James and his swing buddies also dance to the Wellington Heads. Pity I didn't know how to dance swing or the two of us would have gotten up and danced like the other couples we saw on the dancefloor. Hmm, maybe I should pick up swing dance classes...Photos taken at Hotel Bristol on my phone:
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Quick stop for me to the $2 shop nearby to buy a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" badge to put on for the rest of the day. I know I'm not Irish but I just had to try my luck and see how far I get with it ;P Colm taught me some Irish sentences to practice and put to use. Here's what he taught me:
Angelica is anim thum (Angelica is my name)
Is moith liom buchail deas (I like nice boys)
Is moith liom pog (I like kisses)
Is misha caleen gealic deas (I'm a nice Irish girl)
I laughed at my desk reading his email went he gave me the translations - haha! Awesome! Going to write it on a little sticky note and pull it out if I needed to later tonight. Hehe...
Caught up with James at 5.30pm after work and we walked over to JJ Murphy's to meet his mountain bike buddy, Simon, for a few drinks. Wow, the place was packed inside and outdoors! We were fortunate to find a table with a bit of an outside view, drinking our Irish beers, Murphy Red (hah, the bartender told me I am a woman of good taste when I ordered us Murphy Reds!) and stouts. We chatted over all sorts, from our lives to Simon and his many piercings, laughed so much, even ogled and tried taking a photo of this man with man-boobs (eww, that's disgusting Simon!). Geoff came to join us for a couple of beers and Claus briefly caught up with me over a drink. Wellington sure is small - found George and his friends around the bar and had a short catch up as well!
Hey, my badge is not working! My scorecard for kisses is still a big fat zero! I think I had to be more obvious and flash my badge around...my hair is kind of covering it...hmm...
Around 8.30pm, I left Geoff, James and Simon at JJ Murphy's to go grab a bite on my own. I had to eat something - I just couldn't continue drinking like the boys :/ Catch you boys later! Aww, so sweet of James and Simon to add 2 more kisses on the cheek to my scorecard - you boys are so cute!
Stopped by at Momo Tea (ah yes, the regular supper place) and texted Damien to come join me, Colm and gang at Molly Malones for a few beers later. Turned out he was only a block away and ended up having him and his mate sitting with me, catching up in between me scoffing down my fried kuey tiaw. I followed the boys to check out the Welsh bar at the end of Courtenay Place but they decided not to go in as it looked pretty dead so we walked towards Molly Malones instead. The queue to get into Molly's was outrageously long, like 2 shops distance, and not even moving much! Damien and his mate decided to head home so we said our goodbyes there. Catch up with you another time, D!
Thankfully George and his mates walked over shortly after Damien and his friend left because it took another 15 minutes before I even got to the main door! They kept me company and we waited in line together to get into Molly's. One of George's friend was donned in this Superman-like costume but had everything in green. He wore a green eye mask and got his lips all green too! And yes, he's Irish. I had to take a photo with him because it was just so funny!
Finally caught up with Colm and bunch around 9pm upstairs of Molly's. Just in time to say hi and bye to Rachel and Debs who were on their way out. Hmm, we'll have to catch up this weekend at Colm's house party then...Colm and I both had our badges on - he'll get better luck than me since he's the real Irish! And he made me read out loud the sentences he emailed me earlier!! :) Chatted and laughed over drinks with Flo and Mel as well, then headed downstairs to check out the live band outside in the enclosed makeshift marquee set up for the night. Ah yes, Irish music, of course!
Bumped into the Soares sisters downstairs whom I've not caught up since Christmas. Lots more flitting around chit-chatting, dancing, sipping drinks in between laughs and photos. It was an awesome night out with friends :)
Left the gang around 11pm for the office to grab my laptop as I'm working from home tomorrow (gotta love the job - lets me work from home one day a week). The town was crowded as if it was a Friday or Saturday night. Would have liked to stay out longer but I really can't keep up. Need to catch up with my sleep....Photos taken tonight: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157615514993096/detail/
Hmm, my final scorecard for kisses on the cheek was 6, all from my buddies (thanks you guys!), and not one person pashed me in the lips. Felt somewhat disappointed...boo...was also looking forward to my first kiss with a girl tonight...bummer, need to try other tactics next time...hmm... :P
Thursday, 12 March 2009
"How did the cat get in?", you ask? Well, strangely enough, my room (the room nearest to the main entrance) has a cat door built in one of the walls. Though we have Flick in the house, she never uses it and as far as the rest of us at home were aware, the cat door was always locked. Leopard-spotted cat literally broke the plastic lock attachment and barged into my room. I wondered how long it stayed, waiting for someone to open my door to let it out. Thankfully it didn't decide to destroy my belongings, pee, poo or give birth to kittens in my room - that would have been awful.
Hmm, leopard-spotted cat is not very smart...I opened the front door to let it out but instead it ran into the living room. I could hear Flick snarling and hissing, all puffed up as if her hair had caught some electric shock. Easy now, tiger, I'm just going to open the door to the garden this time and our intruder can leave in peace. Flick didn't attack the other cat; she decided to pounce on my leg instead after the other cat took off! Found out from Andy that it was rather typical of Flick not to attack the opposition but whatever is nearest. Gee, I open and close the door and feed you every other day and you attack me??? Cats!!
Andy promised to seal up the cat door with superglue today. Thank you! I wouldn't want to come back after the weekend trip away to WOMAD and find more cats in my room!!
Did I also mention that my car is covered with bird shit? I might be having an Evan Almighty week...
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Scott, why am I always waiting for you to get ready??? You are a guy! Come on, chop, chop!!
We decided to walk over to Newtown since the weather was nice and sunny. Took us about 20 minutes to get to Riddiford St where most of the action was taking place. Part of the street was closed so that people could walk about to check out the little stores selling food, clothes and all sorts. It was only 11.30am and the place was already bustling with people - awesome!
Scott and I walked up and down the festival area, stopping now and again to greet friends or check out anything of interest. Some of the sellers seemed to have brought in all their unwanted stuff from home and set up a mini garage sale stall! Quite odd and one wonders if they do make a sale. Hmm, perhaps we should set up our own stall selling random things next time...Oh, but the best stall was this man selling whistles - you could buy 1 for $4 or all 3 types of whistle (bird, duck and cat) for $10. It was the type of whistle the size of a 20 cent coin where you can hide it inside your mouth, blow into it and make super loud noises without anyone realising you were doing so. I used to own a bird whistle like that but wasn't very good at it - there are some tricks on how to place the whistle in your mouth to make the noises. I managed to make a convincing pitch to Scott who ended up getting one - I can so see him trying it out at home during his spare time...hehe...hmm, perhaps I should have gotten the cat one...sounded rather interesting...
Some friends were also performing today in the various stages including Mariachi Loco, Brazealand and a salsa group teaching the audience a short sexy dance routine. I even had a few gafieira dances with Ramnish on the street to Brazealand and then we all joined in the congo line, hopping about to the Brazilian music. Photos taken at the festival: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157615050711475/detail/
Left the festival around 2pm for home to change to beach wear and headed out to Worser Bay to catch up with the others for Ramnish's Salsa on the Beach event. I wasn't keen to dance but wouldn't mind just chilling out in the sun. This would be the first time this summer that I'm heading to the beach in my bikini for a tan. I know - even I am surprised it took this long to get any beach days this summer!
Ah...I LOVE the feeling of the sun in my face, the warmth, the brightness. Just give me happy-happy feelings :) Spent the rest of my afternoon lying in the sun, catching up with friends and had a few dances as well. Most of us were in chill-out mode so not many actually hit the sand dancing.
Hahaha, we are a crazy bunch! I'm not sure how it all started but a group of us were just chit-chatting and Alicia started off lying on Stacey's tummy, then Naz on hers and it exploded to this huge domino stack of one person lying on another person's lap or tummy!! We had SO much fun, laughing uncontrollably at our silly antics. Poor Rodney was telling me to stop laughing as it was causing him motion sickness lying on my tummy! That didn't help with the laughter - instead I laughed even more! :P Photos taken at the beach: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157615123051216/detail/
I had a fun Sunday spent with friends :)
Saturday, 7 March 2009
Several friends and I got together and headed down to Civic Square late afternoon to hear Vaughn and his band perform. It was one of the few free events of the Wellington Jazz Festival 2009 which runs from 5th-8th March. Boy was I glad I went to it - the band was awesome, playing a range of jazz pieces, even some with a swing and latin beat to it. Not surprising, the swing dancers and us salseros where up on our feet, having fun dancing to the tunes of the band (and loving the attention from the audience...hehe...).
I wasn't aware that Vaughn had his own band; most times I've seen him perform, he was always the trumpet player for most of the Latin bands in town. Turns out, not only is he one of NZ's most prominent trumpeter, he is also a composer, arranger and the lead of the 18-member strong Vaughn Roberts Big Band. One thing I really loved about Chicago was the jazz scene - you could listen to all sorts of jazz in so many places any day. Here in Wellington, it is still quite limited. Really, Vaughn, your band should perform more regularly in public events - I would be your no. 1 fan :)
OH MY GOD!! I couldn't recognise Scott when he walked up to me. I've gotten so used to his moustache - without it, he looks totally different! And it sure takes several years off him (not that he's THAT old). About time for a change in look ;)
Note to self, wearing a pashmina scarf as a tube top is NOT ideal for dancing - I spend too much time pulling my top up because it was falling downwards! Eeks!! Photos taken at Civic Square: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157615122545610/detail/
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
There’s more structure to the practices this time round (or at least I feel Christian is trying his best to) – with Helbert, it was based on whatever moves he felt like teaching for the night; with Christian, he conducts the classes just like he would for salsa, by teaching parts of a step that builds up to the move he wants to teach for the night. Either way, works fine for me!
Ok, which one of you boys decided that was a good idea and funny?? Luciano has the tendency to dance with the ladies like in salsa where the right/resting hand is on the lower back – in gafieira, it is much easier to have the resting hand on the upper back, somewhere around the follower’s bra line. But that doesn’t mean you have permission to thwack my bra line to remind yourself where your hand should be!!! Hey! He just enjoys doing so and have us both laughing about it – naughty :P
Ron’s also back in town so we’ll probably resume to 2 weekly practices like we had last year. Helbert should be so proud and pleased with himself that we are still continuing the classes, which was what he wanted us to do after he left NZ :)
Sunday, 1 March 2009
The last time I had a go at climbing and belaying was when I did a term of indoor rock climbing course during my university days. The truth was that a few of us went for the class because the trainer was pretty hot :P He resembled the size and look of a Clark Kent aka Superman. Well, that was over 6 years ago so I don’t remember much about the sport except me smacking myself against the rock wall because my climbing buddy didn’t let me down me properly – ouch! Somehow I never got back into the activity and even though I do trust Damien, I still have reservations about climbing and not falling off (and not smacking against the rock wall). Did I also mention I have a fear for heights? Ha, Damien has gotten to know me well enough to know that despite my fears, I would take on the challenge anyway so I ain’t backing out today!
Cost us $18 per person to climb and hire the harness which we wore and clip ourselves onto the different ropes. We had a free belay course (oh yeah, I needed that!) where we were taught how to correctly handle the ropes, taking turns to climb the walls and belayed each other. We had this white tag clipped on us and could only climb within a marked white area until the staff supervising us deemed we were free to climb on our own and check out the other walls.
Man, Damien sure can climb! It looked so easy watching him go up the wall, occasionally pushing himself off to hop to another rock. Me? I was gripping onto the rocks on all fours for dear life the first few climbs!
I can tell you that rock climbing is both a physical and mental challenge. It was tough for me given that I lack upper body strength and at times just unable to grip onto the rocks to lift myself up another notch. My hands were slipping but then I get this voice in my head telling me “you can do it, just push yourself up, and take a leap of faith” – taking in a few deep breathes, I could somehow manage to push myself further to the top, stretching myself if I had to or even attempt a small jump to switch my footing on the rocks. And boy was it satisfying to touch the very top of the wall! I get this euphoria of satisfaction that just felt so good and worth the effort. Note to the ladies, please cut your long nails before you attempt the sport or you may injure yourselves. We were wearing normal sports shoes which also added to the climbing difficulty – it would have been an easier climb with the proper shoes (more foot grip).
Oh, I’m sorry Damien – I’m not so strong so when I let him down, at times he just hung mid-air and I guess it was rather uncomfortable…hee…ops :)
Felt rather sore in the arms and could see my hands shaking after nearly 2 hours on and off climbing. Still, it was a fun activity and I really enjoyed it :) Hmm, perhaps I should get a regular climbing buddy and do this one a week. Definitely more fun than going to the gym...I’m very sure I’ll get a good night's sleep tonight…ah…
Actually, this activity makes a pretty good date event. Why do I think so? Well, you get to know quite a lot about a person through the activity - you get to build trust with one another, find out whether the person you are dating is one who gives up easily when met with obstacles or one that is not afraid of challenges ahead, and just plain to see if one is physically and mentally fit. Hmm...
Ramnish had suggested earlier that we head to Southern Cross to see Brazealand prior to dinner with Pip at Calypso Café so around 5pm, Ken and I headed out to Southern Cross to catch up with the others. The band hadn’t started when we got there so we stuck around and had a beer. Had a few dances with Luciano and Ken while I was there, even caught up briefly with a few familiar faces in between dances. Didn’t stick around much for the second half of the gig and left shortly after Ramnish and Nicola turned up.
I so would have liked to see how huge the serving of $15 feijoada they had on the menu tonight but no one in sight ordered the dish. Bummer! I would have loved to have that for dinner, more so with the wet and cold weather outside!! But since Ramnish doesn’t eat much pork and I’ve always been meaning to try Calypso Café, we stuck to the original plan and headed over to meet Pip and friends at 6.30pm.
Oh, there was this really dodgy guy who asked me to dance forro. I had my doubts if he really didn’t know how to dance and asked me to teach him (first, forro is an easy dance and second, I think he’s Latino so it was quite unlikely he couldn’t dance forro), only to find him dipping me on the floor by pressing his hand on my chest (or breast, rather) for the dip, then asking me what I thought of it with a sly smile. Er, I think that’s the end of our little forro lesson and I excused myself and ran off to Ken who could see I needed help. Eeks!
Calypso Café is located at the corner of Vivian and Taranaki Sts and is Wellington’s only Caribbean restaurant. Nice little place that for some bizarre reason played salsa music this evening (we thought it wasn’t very Caribbean). The food was great though we felt the service was rather poor – it took over an hour for our meals to be served (and we all ordered mains)! The front of house person didn’t seem to know what she was doing nor was she saying the right things to us hungry and not-so-happy patrons. Honestly, they should have more front of house staff because the place was nearly packed yet only 1 person was serving. Hmm…At some stage of the wait, Pip and Ramnish got bored and had a salsa dance – ha, free entertainment while we waited!
I had the Calypso Chicken which was chicken on the bone, slow cooked in coconut milk, lime juice and spices, served with rice and veggies. Cost $18 and was very tasty. Ken has the seafood gumbo – I don’t know if I like the gumbo. Kind of reminded me of seafood chowder mixed with thick vegetable soup. Ramnish’s fish dish looked rather interesting and boy, you should see Matt’s (FYI, Matt is Pip’s bf) dish of lamb ribs – it was massive!
My 2 cents? Food is nice and affordable but you need the patience and time if this is the service they plan to keep up. Will have to come back another time to try their tapas and brunch.
After dinner, we split up into smaller groups and headed our various directions and agreed to meet up later at the salsa ball. Ken and I went to catch up with friends Yvonne and Kim for a drink at Hooch and all four of us moved on to St James Theatre for the salsa ball about 10pm. The girls where so funny – they literally manhandled me to St James so I wouldn’t quietly run off home. I wasn’t planning to go to the ball and was still contemplating paying $15 to go but they gave me no choice!
It has been quite a while since the last ball was held at St James – the last few balls were held at Loaded Hog. I prefer having it at St James only because it was a convenient inner city location and we could go to a bar or club after the event. Caught up with lots of friends and had quite a few dances. There were several visiting salsa dancers tonight from Auckland (besides Ken) and Whanganui – awesome! I had a lot of fun dancing with Aucklander Alvin, even though he was a LA style dancer (dancing LA style just meant I had to concentrate more because I’m not very good at keeping to the line which is what LA style is mainly about). Also dance with Mohe for the very first time – the Cubans have their own style of dancing! Damien also popped by and we made up for all the dances we didn’t get to dance at the Cuba St Carnival haha…
You wouldn't believe this but the dodgy guy I met earlier also turned up at the ball!!! He pulled the same trick on Stacey, asking her to teach him how to dance. Scott and I were standing at a corner near the fan to take a break in between dances. Told Scott about my earlier incident and we were more than ready to run to Stacey's rescue if we see her flinch. Then again, I could so see Stacey kick the guy in between the legs if he tried anything (oh yeah, you don't want to mess with Stacey...). It was rather amusing to hear her tell both me and Scott after her dance that she thought the guy was dodgy. Definitely!
Photos taken at the today: