Sunday, 28 March 2010

Walking Mount Victoria & Earth Hour (27th March 2010)

This was probably one of the rare weekends that I didn't really get up to much. Most weekends would have been spent attending some event, catching up with friends or at band/dance practice etc. so it was a nice change to do not very much this weekend and just chilled out at home :)

Jono and I went for a short 2-hour walk at Mount Victoria this afternoon after spending most of the day at home trying to fix my laptop (it's going SO slow these days and I could hear the fan noise of the machine, as if working too hard - I reckon it's on its last legs and about time for me to replace it!). Jono's so sweet, helping me clean up unnecessary stuff on my laptop so that it would hopefully run faster - thanks so much! You're the best :)

We walked most of the Southern Walkway track towards Mount Victoria summit from and back to Newtown, which was about 4kms return. I was not prepared for a real walk - I was wearing flip-flops and had a skirt on but went ahead anyway as it was nice and sunny outside. Let's go get some sun! Jono was really funny, bringing along his microwaved corn on cob and ate it as we walked. I laughed when he had to hold on to his eaten corn cob all the way during our walk till the summit before he found the first dustbin. Haha! Photos of our walk:

Jono eating his corn on cob as we walked

View of Wellington CBD

Jono dangling his eaten corn on cobbecause there weren't any dustbins around

Brr, what's happened to the weather?? It has suddenly turned overcast and windy - time to head home! Note to self, must wear proper footwear when going on walks more than an hour. Though I've done walks on my flip-flops, the uneven track of rubble and bush made my feet (mainly my heels) quite sore towards the end of the walk :/ Good news though, I've done my 10,000 steps today ha!

Speaking of 10,000 steps, I'm into week 4 of the programme and was surprised to find active me couldn't clock 10,000 steps some days! Hmm, I wondered if the pedometer wasn't sitting quite right on my hip so some of my steps weren't counted...I actually found that the best way to get that many steps is to do some activity that requires active stepping (not dancing, swimming, yoga or going to the gym) - you would be amazed to know that walking lots and stepping to the beat at Batucada practice are my top activities to achieve over 10,000 steps a day. 4 weeks down, 6 more to go till the end of the programme!

We also participated in Earth Hour at night, a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiative aimed at fighting climate change where homes and businesses turn off their lights for an hour as part of this annual event. There’s more to it than switching off lights for one hour once a year; it’s all about giving people a voice on the future of our planet and working together to create a sustainable low carbon future for our planet. To show our support, we had all the lights turned off at 8.30pm at Jono's (it doesn't matter which country you are - just turn off your lights at 8.30pm your local time on the 27th of March) and played Guitar Hero on the Playstation in the dark. It was my first attempt on the Guitar Hero and boy was it hard work! I wasn't used to playing on a guitar controller (I don't know how to play a guitar) and the fingers weren't coordinating to what I saw on the big TV screen. Grr...I was playing on easy mode while Jono did the expert level - fingers flying, moving at fast speeds to Metallica songs! Go, Jono - you rock! Lights back on around 10pm when we finished the game and had a chilled out rest of the evening with some light reading before bed.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Rissa's surprise birthday dinner (25th March 2010)

It’s Rissa’s 29th birthday today and bf Ben had roped several of us to help him throw Rissa a surprise birthday dinner at Piccolo Restaurant on Vivian Street this evening. Hmm, I wonder how Ben’s going to keep it a secret…Rissa’s pretty on to things and might figure it out…

Rissa sent around an invite to friends to meet up for birthday drinks at Hashigo Zake Cult Beer Bar (formerly Vintage Bar where Scott and I hosted our first joint birthday party) on Taranaki Street before Ben took her to dinner so Jono and I went over for a quick drink around 6.30pm after dropping off the 9-inch orange ricotta cake and wine we bought for Rissa at the restaurant. It was funny that Ben couldn’t respond to my email about the cake arrangement last night because Rissa was around but we managed to sort it out in the end without Rissa’s knowledge. Mua-ha-ha! Jono and I cooked up an excuse that we had a dinner booking at Nicolini’s at 7.30pm so we had to leave by 7.15pm...AND Rissa totally bought it! She even said we should swap notes on our Italian restaurant experiences another day. “Oh, are you guys going to an Italian place for dinner?” I asked, feigning surprise, trying to keep a straight face, praying I wouldn’t burst out laughing. “We’ll see you again very soon!” said Jono as we left and waved goodbye. Rissa has no idea how SOON is soon haha!

Hurried along over to Piccolo’s and we were the first two of the party of 8 to arrive. The maitre’d had our wines opened and left them at our table to let them breathe by the time we got there (eek, they opened Rissa’s birthday wine – oh well, she’ll just have to drink her present tonight). The others had mistakenly turned up at the other Piccolo on Willis Street before coming here (same owners but different in venue size – the one on Willis Street is much smaller). Haha, you should seen Rissa’s surprised face when she saw us at the restaurant! “Why you cheeky buggers!” she cried and came over to give us hugs. Hi-5 gang, we did an awesome job surprising our birthday girl! But all the credit still goes to Ben who organised this - kudos to him given being organised is not one of Ben’s strong points for he’s more live-the-moment type of guy. Makes the surprise even more special :)

Yum, I love the garlic mushroom entrée and the venison sausages & spinach pasta the boys had was absolutely delicious - these dishes were part of tonight’s specials but it has always been on the specials board every time I’ve been here…hmm…The maitre'd was very good at selling the entrees and sides to us, suggesting we get a bit of this and that for the table to share. Sold!

The rest of the evening was spent drinking, eating and chit-chatting in good company. The folks at Piccolo were great hosts, playing along with the rest of the gang with the surprise and as instructed, brought out Rissa's cake with candles lit after they cleared our table when we finished our mains. The maitre'd was real sweet, wishing Rissa a very happy birthday and kissing her on the head as he laid the cake in front of her, just like a dad would do to his daughter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RISSA! Photos taken tonight:

We've got to be the noisiest table in the busy restaurant tonight and the last group to leave. The staff were not shy at all, coming over to our table requesting slices of birthday cake! We had more than enough for ourselves and they deserve a treat too for being such a fun lot. It was a lovely evening spent with friends and I'm honoured to be part of the surprise!

Volleyball at Wellington College (24th March 2010)

Jono plays indoor volleyball every Wednesday and this evening, I had the pleasure to watch him and his teammates (mostly his work colleagues which included Pooria and Liviu) play their regular game at Wellington College located by the Basin Reserve. I had better do some reading about the game rules before I watch it tonight since Jono ain't going to be sitting with me, explaining what's happening!

Jono came to see me after work around 5.30pm and we headed over to Wellington College where the rest of his teammates were already warming up, practicing their volleyball techniques: spiking, blocking, passing/bumping and serving the ball. I found myself a spot by the bench and sat there for the next hour watching Team Alcatel (Jono's all-male team) play against a team of younger university/college boys (Jono tells me these young boys are much better players than his team - don't worry, just give it your best and have fun!). Ooo, this should be an interesting game to watch, male testosterones on the court! Haha, kidding - it was a friendly game and the guys all had good sportmanship :) No jeering or swearing!

Hey, hey, don't hit me! Pooria was so mean, using me as a practice target for his spikes during warm-up...grr...Honestly, there was not a spot in the whole hall that one could avoid getting hit by the ball. 3 courts in the hall, all occupied with 2 teams of 6 players per court during the 1-hour slot, the balls were flying across courts and bouncing against the wall at times, occasionally getting way too close for comfort (had to dodge in fear I would get smacked by the ball!). I can forget about reading my book here - I don't want to get hit! Plus the game was more fun than my book anyway...hehe...Ha, and you wouldn't believe who ended up refereeing for them - Josh, though he doesn't recognise me when I smiled at him. Hmm...

Great effort, guys! Though the score tonight was 1-3, I thought Team Alcatel did very well - there were some good saves and blocks. I had fun watching the boys play :) Jono had to referee the next game and asked me to help him flip the score chart. Urm, are you sure you want me to help? I don't exactly know the rules all that well but ok...Took of my heels and scuttled down to court 2 where two mixed teams were about to play against each other. From the little I know about playing volleyball, this is what I understood about the rules of the game: when the ball contacts the floor within the court boundaries or an error is made, the team that did not make the error scores a point, whether they served the ball or not. That team then serves for the next point. If the team that won the point served in the previous point, the same player serves again. However, if the team that won the point did not serve the previous point, the players of the team rotate their position on the court in a clockwise manner (every player gets a turn at serving). The game continues, with the first team to score 25 points awarded the set. I'm not sure if it is compulsary but it seems that the player that serves next when his/her team scores 24 (match point), he/she would do a jump serve, a manoeurve that more often than not results in the ball getting caught by the net and the opposing team gaining a point. Occasionally, Jono had to whistle to stop the game when the ball from the other courts got into ours and the teams would just restart the serve.

I laughed when Jono told me one of the team's name was Village Idiots! Oh, but they were no idiots in volleyball - it was an exciting game watching them spike (and they spiked hard too - ouch!) and defeated the other team 4-0 (the opposing team were pretty good players too). At one point, one of the players was trying to save the ball that came very close to the net and ended up smacking into me! Now you believe me when I said you can never avoid getting hit? Still, I had a fun time - thank you for having me along tonight, Jono! We left Wellington College around 8pm and spent the rest of the evening watching TV over takeaway pizzas for dinner :)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Divorce & BBQ party at James' (20th March 2010)

James invited a bunch of friends over to his place this evening for a joint divorce and BBQ party - he and his friend Cilla were both celebrating their official separation from their insignificant others (their words, not mine!). It has been several years of battle for both James and Cilla going through the stress and pain from their respective marriage splits so as friends, we were there to celebrate their newfound freedom, even though a 'divorce party' sounds rather inappropriate/wrong to attend. Actually, do people even celebrate a divorce??? This is definitely the first of such party I'm invited too!

Headed over to James' around 5.30pm with Jono and caught up with friends over drinks and nibbles. James had some of us girls make salads and I made my usual kumara salad (Jono was a great assistant helping me make the salad), a favourite of mine to bring to BBQs ;) "Oh my god, how much meat and alcohol did you buy??!!" I exclaimed at James when he opened his fridge to show me what he has got. He had bought enough to feed a whole village! And everyone brought along some meat and drinks too!! We'll have more than enough food tonight, that's for sure :) Pamela brought out cheese, crackers and dried figs soaked in balsamic vinegar - who would have thought balsamic-soaked figs eaten together with blue cheese and a cracker with a sip of wine would taste so divine! A burst of flavours that awakens the tastebuds. And I don't even like blue cheese - this is a great way to get non-cheese lovers hooked on the good stuff!

This was what I found when he closed the door of the fridge, a poster that read "It's better to have loved and lost, than to live with a psycho for the rest of your life!". Naughty!

It was a very chilled out evening spent with friends mostly from the swing dance scene. James' driveway became the party place with lounge seats and chairs placed near the BBQ, a pool table set up (interestingly, the pool table had to be propped up on one end but was still slightly slanted which probably made the game rather challenging) accompanied by Damon DJ-ing on his turntable throughout the party. Damon brought along a wide selection of tunes and as the night progressed, played more upbeat music with plenty of jazz music too for those of us who fancied some swing dancing. Haha, we could see the students from the hostel nearby watching us having a great time from their windows, as if wishing they were part of the party! James was busy manning the BBQ, cooking up a feast for the guests which included his family members. All of us could tell that James was really happy - he had this happy smile plastered on his face the whole time. I'm happy that he's having a great time and happy :) And he did such a great job on the barbie - the grilled vegetables, meat and sausages were YUM! I think I ate TOO much...

More chit-chats with friends and one too many rosé wines later (James insisted that we left the car at home so we could drink - oo, getting lightheaded and tipsy...), a few of us were ushered to the garage by James for a few swing dances. It has been awhile since I last danced swing and surprisingly did alright on the steps dancing with James despite the many drinks...hehe...Jono was so cute - he doesn't know how to dance swing but gave it a go anyway and we even practiced the salsa moves he learnt in his beginners salsa classes to the songs. Such great fun!

Guests started to leave around 12ish and half the party headed up to James' lounge for a SingStar (a competitive music video game on Playstation) sing-off. I wondered if it was the alcohol or what but even Jono and I jumped on the SingStar and sang a few songs! You know, I've never been a fan of karaoke but for my first attempt at the SingStar, I must admit, it was fun! Jono's such a mic-hogger (he wanted to sing some more!) and damn, he's good singer - there was no way I could beat him at SingStar!! Had a few more sing-a-longs with the crowd and headed off home about 1.30am. Photos taken tonight:

Thanks for the invite to the party James - you were an amazing host and we had a blast!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

St. Patrick's Day (17th March 2010)

The days just whizzes by and it’s St. Patrick’s Day again! This year, I’m prepared for St. Pat’s Day – bought myself a Little Miss Naughty green t-shirt just for the occasion hehe… :P

Caught up with James after work at 4.30pm and we headed down to The Green Man Pub located at the corner of Victoria Street and Willeston Street to meet up with the rest of our friends for our annual St. Pat’s pub crawl. I’ve never been to The Green Man Pub before even though I’ve heard of this Irish pub – a first for me! Woah, only 5ish in the afternoon and the place was already packed with patrons, Irish or not, with most of us donned in green attire of sorts trying to get to the bar for a drink (the line was 3 rows deep with people ‘sardined’ together). Ironically, James and sister Fiona, who are both Irish descendents were dressed in black. “We don’t need the green; our hair obviously tells all we have the genes,” said Fiona and we all laughed as she pointed out her red locks. How true! Geoff came to join us for a drink and us four moved on to 3C Bar & Restaurant on Chews Lane to meet up with girls Pam and Gemma who turned up to The Green Man Pub only to walk up the ramp and gave up when they couldn’t push themselves through the crowd to get in. 3C is another place I’ve not yet stepped foot into - a chic and classy bar and restaurant situated in a beautifully restored heritage building formerly the Colonial Carrying Company of Wellington. We were fortunate enough to secure a corner table for our large group – lots of chit-chat and laughs over drinks :)

Ooo, feeling tipsy after 2 beers…need food…I’ve been thinking of pub steak the whole day but sadly it wasn’t on the bar menu at 3C. Disappointed that I wasn’t going to get my steak fix tonight, I was just about to put in my food order and have another beer when Jono texted me to say he was at JJ Murphy’s. JJ’s = STEAK!!!! You stay there – I’m coming over NOW! Said my goodbyes to the gang (we’ll continue our chat about burlesque and costumes at James’ bbq on Saturday!) and rushed off to Cuba Mall around 6.30pm to meet up with Jono who was there with Steve. And they had a table too at the busy pub! This is a sign – I AM having steak tonight!! I didn’t care that the boys had to leave me on my own at the pub in 20 minutes’ time. Nothing was coming between me and my meat!! Ordered my Murphy’s peppered steak and a Murphy’s Red beer which cost me $30 all up. Surprisingly, it didn’t take very long to get served - awesome! Steve headed off while Jono kept me company as I gorged my oh-so-delicious steak (this is not the first time he has seen me devour my steak so I think he’s quite used to it :P). YUM!! Ah, happy belly :)

Left JJ’s and walked down towards Taranaki St where Jono picked up his car and headed off to his regular Wednesday volleyball while I continued on my pub crawl at Molly Malones where friends Colm and Chris where at. Chris had his “touch me I’m famous” t-shirt on – what a laugh when random strangers attempt to touch him haha! Had a bit of chit-chat with friends (was hard work to talk as we were literally shouting at each other) then headed out to the makeshift tent where the Irish band was playing to have a few fun dances and headed home at 10pm. Photo taken tonight:

3 Irish pubs in 4 hours - quite a record!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Angel (11th March 2010)

Another busy day at the office for me, which seems to be the case these days with me working on multiple projects but honestly, I rather be busy than not doing much. Makes me feel ‘in demand’, if you know what I mean ;)

Caught up with Jono after work to see play Angel that is running from 5th - 13th March at BATS Theatre, probably the last of the many Fringe events on this year. Summer in Wellington is always filled with activities, both indoors and outdoors, and I find myself running all around town to see this play or that exhibition etc. almost every other day! Well, I’m sure you can tell I’ve been busy out and about doing too many things from my lack of blogging – hardly home to write about them!! Got to make time to blog, got to make time…

Cost us $16 per person for the 55-minute show that started at 6.30pm. Hmm, I wondered if it was too early for plays at this time of the day because only a third of the seats in the theatre were filled (or is the play really that bad?). Angel is a about a fallen angel trapped on earth who is finding ways to get back to heaven. A one-cast play of a ‘de-winged’ angel wearing a clown’s red nose with a live piano accompaniment, the story begins in mime with Angel trying to understand what has happened to her and discovering new things on earth. She goes on seeking different avenues to get herself back to heaven, including meditation to seek enlightenment (was funny to watch Angel struggling to sit in the yoga leg-crossed position because she can never get it right and falls over, and running under the spotlight, supposedly the light to heaven, getting quite frustrated as the spotlight kept moving around) and pretending to follow the footsteps of Mother Theresa. I think this part of the act may not be so well-received by some of the audience as it may be seen as taking the mickey out of Mother Theresa and her good-doings – it was funny to start when she clipped on a handkerchief on her head and did the Mother Theresa look but it dragged on for too long that it didn’t feel so funny after awhile. Angel proceeded to kill herself, suicide-bomber style when she saw her little hand puppet baby flew to heaven shortly after death. That didn’t quite work either when no one in the audience wanted to join her and she soon realised it was a bad idea, and carefully took off her bomb jacket (the bombs were Christmas crackers!). None of these seem to gain her acceptance back to heaven, so Angel then tried using love and got a man from the audience to join her on stage – every one was given a little love letter as we entered the theatre and part of the act was that she accepted the love letter from an audience but love didn’t convince god either. Frustrated and angry, Angel spent the rest of the days roaming around collecting all sorts of things. What happens after this in the play didn’t quite make sense to me. Angel was pretending to be Rocky Balboa, training up to lift this huge globe/ball, followed by some circus acts of skipping rope and juggling rings while balancing on the ball, both of which finally got the audience applauding. And then Angel could speak, describing to us what heaven is like as she tried to convince the audience to follow her on the journey to heaven while getting entangled on the trapeze.

Something was missing. Parts of it were somewhat slow and dragging, some funny and it didn’t quite make sense what the end of the story was about – was Angel banished to earth forever more?? The ending was her sitting alone on the bench and disappearing into the dark. What is that supposed to mean? Despair? ‘I’ve given up’?? I did like the piano music in the play which cleverly expresses Angel’s emotions and the scenarios she was in but the play was not one of the better BATS shows I’ve seen so far. Definitely room to make it better because the clown theatre, mime and circus acts were good. Fringe events are always a hit and miss – sometimes they are good, sometimes they make zero sense. Have got to see it to find out!

Rest of the evening was spent chilling out at Jono’s eating Malaysian takeaways from Serai Heaven and watching a movie. I’ve never been to Serai Heaven located on Riddiford St in Newtown before – the beef rendang I had was nice though $11.50 was a tad expensive for a little takeaway place in the suburbs. They even have lontong (a light coconut-based soup dish with compressed rice that is then cut into small cakes, vegetables and tofu) on their menu - I've not seen this dish served at any of the other Malaysian restaurants I've been to in town to date. They didn’t have proper Malaysian sambal for Jono’s nasi lemak though and gave him chilli sauce instead! Eee…Jono will have to visit Malaysia to sample authentic Malaysian cuisine!!

Friday, 5 March 2010

The Navigators (5th March 2010)

Yahoo, it’s Friday again!

Went out for coffee at Deluxe Café on Kent Terrace with boys Jeremy, Greg, Sam, Tama and Phil from work this morning – it’s usually a boys-only coffee group but they do occasionally extend their invite to me. Wait up, I’m coming along!

Did you know that your coffee would be free if you got the right match when rolling the dice at the order counter at Deluxe? Most cafes in town will give you a coffee card which they would stamp each time you buy a drink; here at Deluxe, the free drink entitlement is quite different. First, order your drink then get the 2 dice stowed away near the cash till and give it a roll. If you get 2 sixes or a six and a star, Deluxe will shout you your coffee. I never knew Deluxe had such an interesting free-coffee-by-chance game until Sam told me about it. “Go on, roll the dice!” egged Sam and I did…AND got a six and a star! Free flat white for me!! “Why you little s&^t…” grumbled Sam and caused quite a commotion in the café with me and the other patrons laughing. The man queuing behind us added that he has been a regular patron of Deluxe for over 15 years but never once has he gotten lucky. Hehe, first-timer’s luck I say! :)

“What do the guys talk about?” you ask. Well, mostly still work-related stuff with the occasional gossip (yes, even guys gossip!) of what’s happening in the team and life outside work. The talk of the week has got to be Sam’s upcoming wedding. Yep, our Irish boy is walking down the aisle with fiancé Anna this month - congrats, Sam!

The rest of my day ticked along rather quickly. Around 6.30pm, boys Ben and Jono came to meet me at home – the guys, me and Rissa were all going to see The Navigators circus performance at Waitangi Park later this evening and catching for a BBQ at Ben & Rissa’s before the show. The boys had already bought the food for the BBQ so we walked over to Regional Wines & Spirits at the bottom of Ellice Street (about 2 blocks away from my place) to meet Rissa who was there waiting for us in her car. I’ve never been to Regional Wines – they have a pretty good selection of alcohol but what was interesting was that you could bring your own bottle and refill it with beer sold in mls from the choice of beer rigs in store. I’m not sure if you have to buy the refill bottle from the shop – the ones that Ben had looked rather similar to those 1.25-2 litre soft drink plastic bottles, except they didn’t have a label stuck to it and were brown in colour. Or do they weigh the filled bottle when you pay?? Hmm...I have no idea what was done (the boys did the refilling) except told us girls that we were paying for the beer. Okie dokie :)

Arrived back at Ben & Rissa’s and the boys got the barbie going while Rissa and I cooked up the mussels and made the salad. Ben had his speakers out so we had music playing while we prepared the food. Ben kept disappearing to the roof to play on his trumpet (don’t ask me why – I’ve no idea what he was doing) leaving Jono to deal with the barbie on his own. Harry, Rissa’s cat, was meowing at us girls relentlessly in the kitchen when we were cooking the mussels. Hmm, kitty likes seafood :) Helen came over to join us for a few drinks as we ate our yummy thick porterhouse steaks with a side serving of salad, bread and corn, downed with cold beer – yum! Photos taken at Ben & Rissa's:

It looked to me we wouldn't be going to the circus show since Ben and Rissa still had a full plate of food and seemed quite comfortable where we were. “Come on, I’m finished,” rushed Jono. Someone’s still keen! Ops, I better hurry up!! After 10 minutes of deliberation, the group decided to head down to Waitangi Park to see the show, even though we would have missed the first 15 minutes by the time we got there. Rush, rush, rush…a quick walk downhill to Waitangi Park while Ben skateboarded down (hey, no fair!), we arrived at the park around 8pm and joined in the crowd to watch the show.

The Navigators is one of the free events (koha) which was part of Wellington Festival of Circus 2010 at Waitangi Park currently running from the 3rd – 9th of March. An amazing 1-hour circus act that truly suited our windy Wellington theme, it follows a group of intrepid explorers who were out at sea searching for treasure and the meaning of life. Filled with danger and death defying stunts, the acrobats wowed the crowd by twirling and twisting themselves up and down the tissue, flinging themselves on trapeze (the trapeze was swinging really high up), balancing themselves on one another and made us laugh at their silly antics. A local production from the folks at Fuse Circus, it is a must-see show and a great opportunity for us Wellingtonians to support our local performers! Photos taken of The Navigators (my camera’s not so great for night shots) :

The show ended at 8.45pm and the gang headed over to Deluxe (de-ja-vu!) for drinks and cake. Jono tried his luck on the dice after I told him my earlier experience but he wasn’t as lucky. It’s ok, better luck next time! *hugs* Ben and Rissa called it an early night as they were still recovering from their cold and everyone headed our own ways home around 10.30pm. Works jolly well for me actually because it's going to be a long day tomorrow celebrating and partying at Ramnish and Antje's wedding! You two get better soon!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

A Day in Pompeii exhibition (4th March 2010)

I had another photo of mine featured in the Australia & New Zealand 2010 Intrepid Travel brochure, this time a photo of me sampling fresh oysters in Tasmania (photo taken back in 2008 when I did the trip). Check it out:

Met up with Jono after work at 5pm and headed over to Te Papa to see the A Day In Pompeii exhibition which runs from 19th December 2009 - 25th April 2010. We've talked about heading over to see the exhibition several times but always ended up doing something else. I found out from reading the local papers that Te Papa was offering Wellington City residents free admission to the exhibition today (normally $15) - no excuse not to go! We had to bring along proof of address that we DO live in Wellington City to gain the free admission.

A Day In Pompeii revisits the violent eruption of Mt Vesuvius that buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii over 2000 years ago. With over 250 priceless treasures including marble sculptures and delicate frescoes, most are perfectly intact, as if time capsuled (they have been preserved by ash) for us to discover, learn and admire today. The exhibition also features replica body casts of people and animals trapped by ash on that last fateful day which may be upsetting for some. A surge of sadness and despair engulved me. I could actually feel what it must have felt like for these people and animals, those last breathes and struggling moments, just standing there looking at the contorted body casts.

You can also travel through a virtual house that illustrates the beauty and elegance of a Roman villa in this ancient city. Unfortunately due to the huge crowd, Jono and I didn't get to play with one of the interactive screens. We continued on our visit checking out the sophisticated objects used by Pompeians for their day-to-day living, many of which we still use today. Best of all, the exhibition has a spectacular 3D immersive video for visitors to experience the final hours of terror of Mt Vesuvius’ deadly eruption. This is one exhibition not to be missed!

Left around 7pm and shared takeaway noodles by the waterfront to catch the last bit of sun before it sets. How romantic, hehe ;) Rest of the evening was spent chilling out at home and watching some TV. Yay, it's Friday tomorrow!

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Official 10,000 Steps Program (1st March 2010)

12pm today marks the start of Telecom’s participation in The Official 10,000 Steps Program, a 10-week walking challenge where teams in the organisation compete to be the first to virtually walk along around NZ. I missed out on the programme last year so wasn’t going to miss out again this time! Unfortunately, no one in my immediate team was interested to form a group so I ended up joining another team headed by Rachel Vinac based in Auckland (I was the only team member based in Wellington – felt so left out!) to get into the programme.

Every participant is given a Yamax pedometer (Telecom funds the first one and we’ll have to pay our own replacement pedometer – the Yamax pedometer costs around $60 and is said to be the most accurate in the market), an Official 10,000 Steps guide book and cap prior to the start of the programme. At the start of each day during the course of the programme, I have to reset the pedometer to zero and have it properly clipped onto the waistband or belt, directly in line with the foot, and record my final step count in the guide book at the end of the day (that’s before getting into bed). Each Monday morning, I’ll have to email my total step count for the previous week to my team captain so she can add it to the team step count on the website. For certain sports such as swimming, there is a conversion chart provided that converts the activity into steps (the pedometer is not waterproof). The aim is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day as studies show that if you complete 10,000 steps a day, you dramatically reduce the risk of developing illnesses and diseases such as obesity, diabetes and even some cancers. The key goal for each team is to walk a total of 7,097,256 steps to get right around NZ. Frankly, 10,000 steps a day sounds like a lot even to sporty and active me. Hmm, it would be interesting to see how many steps I actually clock in a day. Better get off my arse and start walking!