Saturday, 30 July 2011

Salsa dancing at Coolabar (29th July 2011)

I really shouldn't be heading out dancing when I've got an early flight tomorrow morning but since Ken's competing in the salsa heats at Coolabar tonight, I have to make an appearance to give my buddy moral support, plus take the opportunity to video him in action ;) I'm pretty much packed anyway, having started packing yesterday for my 2-week trip in California. So excited - I'm finally getting to see Jono in person! Yippee!!

Around 8.30pm, Ken and I caught the train and headed out to Coolabar on Pitt St. It was my second visit to this salsa venue and cost $13 entry fee, an additional $10 if you were taking part in the Jack n Jill dance competition. "Not me, just him," I said to the lady at the door when she tried to convince me to join in. I don't think I'm quite ready for it having only been back dancing for a few weeks...Tonight's salsa heat was the first of two heats and there were 5 others who have signed up by the time Ken put his name down. The heat is on!

Gosh, I never seem to get the opportunity to rest at Coolabar! Before I could sit down to take a breather, next comes another guy asking me for a dance. It's definitely a nice feeling to be asked so often and by various dance leads. Each guy has their own style and set of moves they would lead throughout a song - gives me plenty of variety and I get to learn new moves dancing with lots of leads as well. Adrian was very quick to come grab me for a dance whenever the opportunity arises and gave me another glow bangle this evening. "You look particularly happy tonight, smiling even more than usual," he said as we danced and before I could tell him why, he went "Of course you're happy - happy to see me and dance with me," and I rolled my eyes and laughed. He's always acting all full of himself just to be cheeky. Sorry to disappoint but you aren't the cause behind my plastered smile ;P More and more leads are recognising me in the Sydney salsa scene these days, several of the guys giving me a polite nod and smile as I passed by. "Hello you, my student," went Clement - I've only attended his class on Wednesday and now he remembers me. Eek!

Around 9.30pm, Clement got the DJ to turn down the volume to announce who's paired up with whom for the heats (Ken was paired up with a girl named Martina) and winners for the lucky draw. Ken and I had thought the numbered chits given to us on entry were for a free drink draw - turned out the draw was to be a judge for the heat which in return scores you a free drink. You wouldn't believe it but I got selected to be a judge! I told Clement I was Ken's friend and it would be unfair for me to judge but he said it didn't matter. "Just decide based on what here tells you," he said to the 6 selected judges (Adrian was one of them), lighting tapping his chest where the heart is. It was pretty straightforward judging - all we had to do was give them a score from 0-10 with 10 being the best. "But first, a round of drinks for all!" and he ushered us to the bar where we all got to choose up to $10 worth of drinks each. Hmm, isn't this going to impair our judgement? Hehe...

With a drink in one hand and a score sheet on a clipboard in another, the judges each found a spot on the edge of the dance floor to watch the dancers (we were free to move around the edge as we like). The first 3 randomly paired up couples stood in their allocated areas on the now emptied dance floor awaiting the DJ to play the song - I found myself a pillar which had a stand where I rested my camera to video Ken and still had a good view of the competing couples. The song began and I watched the dancers show off their moves. I'm impartial when it comes to judging and Ken being my buddy doesn't score him extra points - sorry man! The key thing I was looking for in these couples was connection, whether or not they were having fun dancing together. I've seen many dancers over the years who are literally dancing by themselves, with their fancy shines and styling, and not actually dancing with their partners; 'interacting' or making a connection with eye contact and body language is essential in dance and makes even the basic of moves beautiful to watch.

The next 3 couples stepped out to the dance floor and us judges continued on our task, finishing up by giving each couple a score. All the score sheets were handed over to Clement and social dancing resumed till the results were announced around 11pm. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed at the end result - I was expecting Ken and Martina to be runner-ups in the heat and the winning couple to be the one who were the actual runner-ups (this couple, though lack eye contact, would have wowed the crowd and other judges with their acrobatic moves so it was no surprise they would win). The couple that won the heat deserve credit for pulling out many fancy moves and styling but didn't score very high in my score sheet due to their lack of interaction with each other (it was like watching technical dancing without any emotion, the type of dance that loses my attention after the first few bars of the song). Oh well, I think Ken gave his best shot and kudos to him for taking part in the competition. Video I took of him in action:




More social dancing and I had several fun dances with a few of my favourite leads who happened to around tonight - peacock dancer (I learnt his name is Idor), David (we only had one dance and it wasn't even salsa!) and a few other nameless leads (which is how they end up getting all sorts of nicknames so I could remember their faces better). Ken and I left around 12.15am to catch the last train home and I was in bed by 1.30am. And I've to be up at 6.30am!


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Traditional Thai massage at Chaiyo Thai Massage (23rd July 2011)

About a week or so ago, I was sent a massage deal via email by Stardeals by Groupon Australia - 90 minutes of traditional Thai massage for $49 which included a choice of either an hour full body Thai massage or foot reflexology, plus a 15-minute head and facial massage, and a 15-minute foot spa ($260 value) with Chaiyo Thai Massage. I hardly pamper myself and so desperately need to relieve tension from working hard in the office and at the gym. The deal sounded pretty good to me and just what I needed - buy!


Source: Chaiyo Thai Massage

Shortly after completing my online purchase, I received my massage voucher which contained information on the deal and contact details of the retailer. Like most online deals I've purchased in the past, there was a fine print - with this deal, you can purchase as many vouchers as you like, each valid for six months however you have to make your booking within two months of the purchase date.

Located in Haymarket on busy George Street, Chaiyo Thai Massage is open from 10am-10pm daily, its long hours allowing customers to easily book in a session to suit their schedule; I was able to get a slot on a Saturday afternoon. I wasn't sure if I was at the right place at first - as I walked up the dimly lit stairs to the first floor, I was greeted by two rather burly-looking men at the reception area. On presentation of my printed voucher, one of the men called out to the back room and a young Thai chap donned in the typical Thai massage/spa uniform of loose pants and top came to the reception area and escorted me up a narrow flight of stairs to the second floor to the main treatment room. The large room was sectioned by pink curtains into four compartments - I was showed into my compartment which had a firm mattress on the floor and rolled up towels, pillow and cushion, as well as a neatly folded set of clothes on the side. "Please change into these clothes," he said politely then drew the curtains shut to give me privacy and left the room. With Thai massage, you are required to wear loose and comfortable clothing so I wasn't surprised that I had to change. The clothes were obviously a 'one size fits all' - an oversized polo and baggy pants which I couldn't work out how to tie it onto my waist (and that seemed to be the only way to keep the pants up). "Are you ready?" asked a female staff from behind the curtains and I was still fumbling with the pants. "Ok, ready!" I replied and tied the pants as best I could. Please stay on!

A bubbly little Thai lady greeted me and my 90-minute massage session began, starting with the 15-minute foot massage. I was guided to another compartment which had several comfortable lounge chairs and was told to take a seat. The masseuse had left my feet soaking in a portable foot spa with lukewarm tea-coloured mixture of water and herbs for ten minutes before returning to scrub my feet with an electric brush. It was like brushing your feet with an electric toothbrush but five times the size and it tickles! My feet were then wiped dry and given a good dose of massage. Ah, this is nice...

I opted for the hour-long full body massage instead of the foot reflexology. Back in my compartment, I was told to lie tummy down and the masseuse put her hands to work. Oo, nice...very nice...ow, 00, ow, ow...I flitted between pleasure and pain as she massaged my body, my shoulders hurting the most. Oh yeah, I've got plenty of knots there and it hurts each time she puts pressure on my sore spots. During the course of the massage, the masseuse changed between using her hands to using her forearm like a rolling pin. There were times when she would climbed on top of me, walking up and down my body with her knees, putting pressure with care. "Are you ok?" she would asked me every so often. I was also put into many yoga-like positions, stretching parts of my body. There was definitely a certain flow of procedures that were performed - the masseuse would work on the whole back part of my body before getting me to turn around and work the front side. This was followed by a face massage and more rhythmic pressure massages and stretches, occasionally hearing a 'click' when I was put in positions for a back crack. One thing that the masseuse didn't do that I fear most of traditional Thai massage was the head crack - performed correctly, it loosens up the neck but when not, it could be fatal. I guess this move is no longer allowed in Thai massage these days exactly for such reason.

At the end of my massage, I was left to get changed and when I returned to the reception desk, my masseuse gave me a cup of warm tea to finish. It has been a wonderful experience, my muscles don't feel so tight now and interestingly, I felt both relaxed and energised after my session. I'm very glad I bought the deal :) 

If you've not tried traditional Thai massage, consider giving Chaiyo Thai Massage a go. You can choose a 30-minute session if you don't feel up for a 90-minute session the first time. They have plenty of online deals so find one that better suit your needs - choose from services such as traditional Thai massage, oil massage, or massages that focus on the foot or head and face only. I'm going for the oil massage next!


Monday, 18 July 2011

Salsa Level 2 with Latin Motion (18th July 2011)

I recently learnt that salsa dance school Latin Motion had relocated to St Peters and conveniently less than 5 minutes walk from the St Peters train station. Sweet - no excuses NOT to head over to classes and brush up on my dance skills! I contacted the school last week to get some idea of which class to attend given my dance level and was told to try the Level 2 class (Linear salsa) to see if it was the appropriate level for me. I headed to the 6.45pm class after work this evening, arriving about 15 minutes early to sort out registration and payment. Cost me $20 for the class - that's bloody expensive for a normal class! The most I've paid in Wellington was $12 but $20?! I had better make the most of my $20 tonight...

Class began promptly at 6.45pm and was taught by teachers Johnny and Isabel. It was a small class of about 15 students and as usual, more women than men in the class. I have to say I was surprised that this venue was the home of Latin Motion - it has only 1 main studio and though comfortably fitted the class tonight, it wasn't large enough for salsa dance parties; I had expected 2-3 studios at least. The class itself was well-taught with Johnny and Isabel breaking down the dance steps for guys and girls respectively, giving us time to practice the moves individually before coupling us up, boys changing dance partners every couple of songs so all the girls had a turn. The moves was however quite easy for me so was merely a quick refresher of what I already knew - Level 2 is more suited for someone who has learnt the basic Linear moves and wanting to learn new moves to add on to their repertoire. Most of the class picked up the moves taught tonight and just needed more practice to make the moves look fluid. Hmm, I'll have to ring up the school tomorrow about trying out the Level 3 class instead...


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Ajisen Ramen, Haymarket & Sydney Fish Market (16th July 2011)

Ken has never been to the fish market to date and I thought given he's into cooking and a foodie, he would enjoy a trip to the market just to see what is available so suggested we head over this afternoon. We caught up at Central Station around 12.30pm and headed into Chinatown for lunch. Ken felt like having ramen and we ended up in Ajisen Ramen, a Japanese ramen noodle chain restaurant that specialises in ramen with tonkatsu-based soup (pork soup). I've read a couple of reviews of this chain restaurant and mostly unfavourable but since Ken was keen to try it out, I agreed (though not hopeful it would be a great experience) and we headed into the restaurant located on Hay Street. The place was rather empty though the staff didn't take notice of us - we helped ourselves to an empty table and went to the counter to grab the menu since no one attended to us. Not scoring any brownie points with me so far...

Looking at the menu that had 2 pages dedicated to just ramen varieties, it was an obvious choice to try their specialty (they do have bento boxes and rice dishes as well). I ordered the original Ajisen ramen while Ken had a combination ramen that looked similar to mine with the addition of kaarage (deep fried chicken) and we also got a side dish of fried squid to share. Our meals arrived promptly and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Served in a deep bowl with ladle and chopsticks provided, my ramen came in a light creamy broth with thinly sliced chashu (Japanese roast pork), half a stewed boiled egg, sliced spring onion and cloud ear fungus. "What's that your putting into you soup?" I asked watching Ken as he grabbed a bottle from the condiment rack and sprinkled some of its granuled contents into his soup. "Fried garlic - it's nice," he said and offered me the bottle. Hmm, fried garlic in soup...maybe just a bit...ooo, YUM! It gave the soup a delicious flavour and though quite garlicky, I didn't care - more! Ken though the ramen wasn't too bad saying he has had worse and that this turned out to be a nice lunch. That's pretty positive hearing it from someone who has had the real deal in Japan and actually knows what's good and not. We agreed the fried squid was pretty average (wouldn't recommend it). Cost us $32 all up for our meals which was a bit costly but worth the experience trying it out for ourselves.



Ajisen Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Left the restaurant around 1.30pm and headed to Sydney's Paddy's Markets to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetable before heading off to the fish market. A quick stop at Emperor's Garden Cake and Bakery around the corner to pick up a turnip cake (a Chinese dish made from shredded radish and plain rice flour). Cost me $9.80 for a 20-inch round pre-cooked cake - keen to see if it's anything like what we have in Malaysia and believe it or not, we have it for breakfast and/or supper! All I have to do it cut it up into slices and pan fry them before eating. This was our second visit to the bakery (our first was with Su Wei which was how I learnt that the shop sold turnip cake) that sold an assortment of Asian cakes and pastries - it was always busy, especially the long queue for their famous Emperor Puffs, miniature custard puffs baked fresh daily on an automated contraption viewable from the shop window. Definitely have to come back to get the puffs another day when I have more time. Curious to know what all the hype is about!

We took a brief stop just outside Paddy's Markets to check out a busker who was playing music on his bottle xylophone:




A short video clip of the busker having fun playing tune "Hokey Pokey":




We walked to the fish market with our purchases in our backpacks. It was about a 30-minute walk from Haymarket, Ken asking me "Are we there yet?" every so often just to annoy me. Walking is something Ken probably didn't do much living in Auckland but me being a former Wellingtonian, walking is second nature though after all the dancing last night, I am beginning to feel it in my legs too...We finally arrived at the fish market around 2.30pm and boy was Ken happily excited to see the amazing selection of seafood available at the market. We went to several of the seafood retailers and picked up some marlin and swordfish steaks as well as salmon sausages for dinner. Salmon sausages? Now that's a first for me! Expensive as it was $3 per sausage but we were curious what it would taste like so bought it anyway. The whole place was buzzing with tourists and locals buying fresh seafood or enjoying a delicious seafood meal on site. "You'll have to come back here some day for lunch," I told Ken and he nodded in agreement. Jono and I really enjoyed our lunch when we came here a couple of months back. Fresh, yummy and affordable! Photos taken at the fish market here.

"This is awesome - makes me happy," said Ken smiling as we headed to the train station for home. See, I told you that you'll like it here :) The rest of the day was spent at home doing chores and resting our tired legs from all the walking. Ken panfried the fish and made a simple oil-based pasta for dinner while I made us an orange carrot cake for dessert. The pasta and fish steaks were absolutely delicious and so was the salmon sausage (oh, it was GOOD!). I'm in food heaven!! 


Oil-based spaghetti with pan-fried marlin and swordfish steaks, corn 
and salmon sausage - thumbs up to Ken's cooking. Yum!



Girls' night out & salsa dancing at Coolabar (15th July 2011)

2 more weeks till I see my baby Jono - yay!

JAK had organised a girls' night out this evening after work with me and her gfs to watch movie Bridesmaids and dinner in town. Around 5.30pm, JAK and I took the train from North Sydney to Town Hall to meet the others. We were early so went to The Star Bar (formerly Planet Hollywood) for a drink. The bar was much like a sports bar and still quite empty at this time of the evening. Nothing very spectacular about the place except they have a 5pm - 11pm happy hour where new schooners (refers to a glass of 285ml beer on tap), house spirits and wines cost only $3.50 each. Seriously?! Our drinks of vodka lime and beer was only $8 bucks, a bit more expensive but still under ten bucks! $3.50 drinks is dirt cheap. This is the place to go to if you want to get smashed - I'm not surprised it's popular with poor uni students and party-goers most nights!

JAK and I caught up on what's been happening in our lives and around 6.30pm, we headed over to Events Cinemas across the street to collect the tickets she had purchased online (cost $19.10 each). Thank god she bought the tickets in advance because there was such a long queue at the ticketing counter, with the majority of patrons buying tickets to the newly released Harry Potter movie - we skipped the queue and headed straight to the ticket collection counter which was way shorter. Pam and Sandy met up with us shortly and us four headed into the cinema to watch the 6.50pm screening of Bridesmaids. I hadn't read much about the movie except it was by the producers of movie Knocked Up which I didn't really like. The movie turned out to be really funny with grossed out gags and some crude scenes - no surprise to see guys enjoying the movie in the cinema as well. It's similar to the movie Hangover but a female version and I enjoyed it much more than Knocked Up, that's for sure.

The movie ended at 9.10pm and I already had 3 missed calls from Chefs Gallery about my 9pm dinner booking. Yikes! Hope they'll still seat us! We rushed down to Bathurst St around the corner to where the restaurant was located and fortunately our table was still available and we were shortly seated for dinner. Jono and I had walked past the restaurant several times and often seen long queues - we always said we would come one day by but haven't done so to date. Chefs Gallery has a similar flair to Din Tai Fung, dark wood furniture, contemporary Chinese cuisine and a glassed-in kitchen where you can watch all the action (if you want front row seats to all the action, take the bench seats). And like Din Tai Fung, the kitchen staff wore a mouth guard (Din Tai Fung's kitchen staff wore surgical masks), a small plastic shield worn on the chin and strapped onto the ears, covering the mouth area. I'm not sure why such measures are needed - hygienic? Probably, but I feel indifferent whether they wear a mouth guard, surgical mask or nothing at all. Though I hope that their hands are clean when in the kitchen preparing food...

Us girls went through the menu and picked out several dishes to share. Even the choice of food served looked similar to Din Tai Fung! We ordered Fluffy Chinese roti with pork floss (a combination of  handmade roti sprinkled with pork floss), handmade egg and spinach tofu lightly pan-fried and topped with preserved radish, vegetarian spring rolls served with a sweet chilli tomato salsa, seared scallops served with a garlic and oil free vinaigrette dressing (comes out in a beautiful glass dish - the small version has 5 scallops), sweet and tangy diced chilli chicken tossed with handmade noodles, work fried medium grain rice with 3 kinds of eggs (chicken, salted duck and century eggs) and drinks of beer, wine and tea. Most of the dishes were delicious but my favourite was the fried rice - the salted duck and century eggs were diced up so finely and gave a nice flavour to the simple dish. Handmade noodles being the signature dish of the restaurant, I would suggest NOT getting the noodles we got tonight as it was pretty average (kind of like sweet and sour chicken on noodles and does no justice to the handmade noodles). Oh, and you'll know when the kitchen is closed for the night because the automatic blinds by the glass windows comes down, much like a theatre show. Cost us approximately $100 all up less 25% off the total bill with the use of my Entertainment Book voucher which was good value for money. I'll have to bring Jono here when he gets back so he can sample the fried rice and other yummy dishes :)



Chefs Gallery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Thanks JAK for organising the night out - it was good fun! We left the restaurant around 10.30pm and I said my goodbyes to the girls before walking over to Coolabar on Pitt St to meet Ken who was there dancing salsa. This would be the 4th salsa place we've checked out together over the last 3 weeks (Ken's been to a couple more during weeknights) - I'm really clocking up my dance card since Ken turned up (and Jono's away)! Cost $13 cover charge to enter the bar that reminded me of the old Latinos Bar in Wellington, with a bar area on one end of the venue and dance floor on the other. Ample of dance space tonight compared to the packed Pumphouse Bar and I recognised a few leads I had danced with from last Friday. One of the guys remembered me and gave me a smile and nod as I passed him to drop off my bag and changed shoes. Ooo, getting recognised - we've obviously been around enough that people are beginning to remember us!

I had one dance before the DJ stopped the music and called out dancers who have put their name in a hat for the Jack and Jill dance competition. How it works is this: participants pay to join the heats which can be salsa, bachata or zouk, depending on which heat it is (tonight's heat was bachata) and the couples are put together based on names pulled out from the hat on the night so you never know exactly who you would be paired up with. 6 couples showed off their best bachata moves on the dance floor, the winners of each set (2 sets of 3 couples) clearly visible and overshadowing the rest of the couples. There are several more heats in the coming weeks before the final competition vying for the prize money of $1500. Dancing resumed shortly with 2 songs each of salsa, bachata and zouk played consecutively. I had A LOT of dances tonight, hardly much time to chat with Ken who was mostly seen sitting this evening (he looked tired) - every time I was about to exit the dance floor, another lead grabs my hand and I'm back dancing. Oh, and you wouldn't believe who asked me to dance again tonight - the guy who gave me the glow bangle last week! This time he pulled out a glow bangle from his pocket and put it on my right wrist before we started dancing - I laughed and asked him if this was how he marked which female he has danced with. "Not just any girl, special ones only," he responded with a broad smile. He was a funny guy who acts as if full of himself, saying things like "Ah, I see you have been practicing for me - your moves have improved" or "It's a salsa song - must be your lucky day to dance salsa with me" and I cracked up laughing at his silly comments :)

Ken and I left around 12am for home - he looked really exhausted and I didn't want to hold him up so packed up and left with him even though I felt energised and could dance a bit longer. "Hey Cinderella, where are you going?" said glow bangle man who saw me changing my shoes. I learnt his name was Adrian (he probably told me previously but I couldn't hear it over the loud music) and had a brief chat before saying goodbye and headed off. On our way out, I saw David who was on the phone - damn, would have loved to have a few dances with him tonight! Oh well, next time...It was a good night out spent with friends - I feel I'm beginning to build on my social network in Sydney which is great!


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Wagamama - The Galeries Victoria, Sydney & salsa dancing at Pumphouse Bar (8th July 2011)

Ken, Su Wei and I decided to head out salsa dancing together this evening so met up outside Queen Victoria Building (QVB) near Town Hall station around 7pm for dinner prior to hitting the dance floor. Ken wanted to have Japanese tonight and searching for Japanese restaurants in the area on my iPhone, Wagamama came up in my search results. "Oh yes, let's go to Wagamama," said Ken happily. But Wagamama is NOT Japanese and that was coming from a half-Japanese! "Works for me," smirked Ken and I rolled my eyes as the three of us made our way to The Galaries Victoria (TGV) where the pan-Asian restaurant was located.

On arrival, we had to wait in the queue to be seated. For your information, Wagamama is a restaurant chain and all its branches has roughly the same look and feel - informal setting in the style of a modern Japanese ramen bar, the menu and staff friendliness are pretty consistent. The wait took about 10 minutes and we were shortly ushered to our seats at one end of one of the many the long tables in the restaurant. Looking through the menu a couple of times, I stuck to my usual order of chilli chicken ramen whenever I dine at Wagamama (how unadventurous!). We ordered a main each, a pot of genmaicha tea (combination of roasted rice and green tea leaves, giving the tea a smooth nutty flavour) and entrees of chilli squid (lightly fried chilli squid served with lime dipping sauce) and sweet potato kusabi (hand-cut chips served with basil and wasabi mayo) to share. Hmm, the ramen was not as tasty as I remembered (or maybe I'm just biased to pho these days) and the entrees were alright though all three of us were surprised what the kusabi turned out to be - thinly sliced deep-fried chips (we were expecting chunky cut chips) and it flops over your chopsticks when you pick up a chip i.e. not crispy. Cost $60.50 all up for our dinner after taking 25% off the total bill (yes, another Entertainment Book voucher). I can't really see myself frequenting this place to be honest. The food ain't that great for its price and kind of makes me feel I've just been to an overpriced Asian McDonalds...


Wagamama Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


We left the restaurant around 8pm and headed to Pumphouse Bar at Darling Harbour. Once a month on a Friday, the bar holds a salsa night with dancing starting from 9pm till 1am. We were early - there were still diners having their evening meal and though the dance floor has been cleared in preparation for dancing, it was empty. We decided to head in anyway since we were here and Ken got us a round of drinks as we waited for the party to begin. Cost us $15 each in cover charge and we found ourselves a corner on the leather couch where we piled up our belongings and changed to our dance shoes.

The Pumphouse bar is a 2-storey heritage building that was built in 1890 as a pumping station and used as part of Sydney's power infrastructure before the use of electricity. Today, you can come here to enjoy a tapas dinner and sample their wide selection of imported and local hand crafted beers, including the Thunderbolt beer that is exclusively brewed for this bar (which I was not aware of until the writing of this blog post). The DJ began to play Latin tunes around 9pm and more people turned up, most changing into dance shoes shortly on arrival, a clear indication that they were here for the same reason we were - dance salsa. Ken took turns dancing with me and Su Wei, then he left in search of his Linear dancers while I hung back with Su Wei to check out the salsa leads on the dance floor. Hmm, no Cuban dancers in sight so far :/ Oh well, hopefully some will turn up soon...Most of the male leads were Linear dancers who seem to enjoy pulling out fancy moves, many I have forgotten or not learnt - dancing with them would be 'torture' for both of us, the lead frustrated at my inability to follow, and me unable to just enjoy the dance so I just sat and watched while Ken and Su Wei hit the dance floor (Ken and Su Wei are predominantly Linear dancers). Definitely a lot more advance dancers in the scene tonight and for some peculiar reason, I felt my confidence somehow deflated, as if I wasn't good enough for the already now packed dance floor. Hmm, maybe it's time to revisit my Linear skills with classes...

Ken came by to check on me and said he would ask around to see if there were Cuban dancers and send them my way. At some point, the DJ accompanied Ken to see me and he (the DJ) asked me to follow him upstairs where he would put on some Cuban songs and then dance with me. Sweet! Thanks Ken! I followed Mr DJ up a flight of stairs and found more dancers twirling in the small dance space on the 2nd floor. Mr DJ busied himself with his music and I was left waiting, unsure if he was still planning to  dance with me as promised. As I waited over the next 2 songs, I had the opportunity to look down into the main dance floor and watched the dancers. "You, you and you...," I marked these Cuban leads with an invisible 'X'. Yes, finally found a few guys to dance with! Mr DJ was still doing his thing so I decided to give up waiting and turned to head downstairs when an older man grabbed my hand and started dancing with me. He was a Linear dancer and had a habit of going 'ba, bam, bam...bam, bam, ba, bam, bam', chanting out his beats, usually enough to throw me off my steps as it conflicts with the beat of the music but he got it right so it was ok. We had a couple of dances and it seemed that he wasn't going to let me leave the dance floor, continuing on as the next song started so I had to make a run for it when the current song came to an end. Didn't get very far for I was stopped by another dancer for a dance. And he turned out to be a Cuban dancer - awesome! Well-built guy who occasionally gives you a smile, he was great to dance with though has an interesting style of his own which reminded me a lot of some bird dance - chest puffed out and movements lead head first then body follows. "Peacock dancer," I thought to myself, chuckling silently. I'm SO naughty :P

I headed back downstairs and caught up with Su Wei and Ken, only to find another former Wellington salsa dancer, Vincent, standing behind them (and they didn't even know Vincent was there until they wondered who I was waving at behind them and turned around). Our little salsa contingent from Wellington is growing!

Former Wellington-based salsa dancers Vincent, Su Wei and I

The dancing continued, this time on the main dance floor and one guy I danced with looked so much like Scott! Ken, Su Wei and I all agreed, and though he was a Linear dancer, he was still fun to dance with. Oh, but there was a guy who kept coming back to ask me and Su Wei for a dance - he was weak at leading yet wanted to lead complicated Linear moves and tells you off if you did not carry out the move correctly. It was just not enjoyable dancing with him but yet he kept coming back! Su Wei and I literally ran as far as we could or grabbed another dancer when we saw him coming our way (for he wouldn't take no for an answer). It was THAT bad. I also rocked up to my marked men and had at least one dance with each guy. The skinny guy with the fedora had a big smile on his face and was highly impressed with my ability to turn so much - he made me laugh when he pulled off a hat pass in between his moves, putting the fedora on me, and stealing it back when the opportunity came up. I had a couple more dances with 'peacock dancer' and I was sure I started to mimic his dance moves unconsciously so we moved in unison...One guy who came to dance with me wore a glow bangle and put the glow bangle on me instead at the start of the dance which was a strange but sweet at the same time. Here's a short clip with footage of me dancing with 'bangle man' - his name is actually Adrian and his friend wasn't convinced he had rhythm and could dance so took the video as proof:



Rather dark but I'm sure you can work out my silhouette if you follow the glow ;)

Ken and I left for home at 12.15am. God, I'm shattered and my feet hurt, even more so thanks to an Asian chick who stubbed me on my right foot on the dance floor (and yet she still had the cheek to glare at me for her mistake!). A quick pit stop at Hungry Jacks on George St for Ken to pick up a late night snack and then we headed to Town Hall train station where we caught the train home. Finally in bed at 2am after a shower. So tired...


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Real Insurance Australia TV commercial shoot (5th July 2011)

I was somewhat skeptical of Rosey's Talents Consultants when I first joined the agency, unsure if they were a proper casting agency or just a scam but since they had me on their books, I have been contacted on several occasions for castings and today, they had booked me on a job as an extra in a TV commercial. I wasn't given much detail of what I had to do except the time and location of the shoot, and that I had to wear black pants or 3/4 black skirt (a top will be provided to me on set). Right, well, I guess I'll find out more when I get there!

The location of the shoot was in The Precinct Studio in Rozelle and was a day long shoot that started at 9am. Having not been to Rozelle before, I decided to take a taxi to the studio so that I didn't have to stress about how I was going to swap trains/buses and then walk to get there on time. The taxi ride took about 20 minutes with a bit of traffic congestion along the way and cost me around $35. On arrival, I was greeted by crew member Rachel who showed me to the waiting room where the other extras were chilling out - 5 of us, a mix of men and women, broke the ice pretty quickly and learnt that we were all from the same agency. Casey, Louise, Brendan, Patrick and I spent most of the day getting to know one another and shared our experiences in the acting and modelling industry, keeping each other company in between shoots. We were all fairly new with the agency and this was our first job with the exception of Brendan who was on his second (though if we compared experience in the industry, I probably have the most since I've been in the industry for 5 years in NZ). Oh, and I was the only Asian on set - yes, I do feel quite special haha :P

Everyone was given a Real Insurance Australia company t-shirt (mine was one size too large and made me look a tad nerdy) and we were told that we would be playing employees at the insurance company's call centre. Cool, I've never played the role of someone working in a call centre before! It was an indoor studio shoot today and the set was already set up to look like a call centre - lighting and video equipment were overshadowing the set. One by one we were called to the dressing room get our make-up and hair done by the make-up artists - my make-up was a simple and fresh look, and hair tied up in a ponytail. "You've got the most gorgeous lips and so much hair!" complimented the head make-up lady. Ah yes, I get that every time a professional make-up artist or hairdresser tends to me. Part of me often felt sorry for these people having to deal with my stubborn volume of hair, coming back to tuck away stray ends or adding more hairspray to keep them in place. There were 5 other actors in the dressing room who came from various agencies - they were the featured actors and each had a speaking role in the commercial.

As with all of my extra roles, I spent most of my time waiting around until called on set for the shoot. I came prepared with a book, snacks and water, and a jersey to keep warm. Refreshments of tea/coffee, fruits, water, soft drinks, biscuits, cake and chocolate were provided throughout the day and we just helped ourselves to them as we please. Around 11am, I was called in for the shoot (the extras were called in at different times) - finally some work! I was told to take my allocated seat in front of a computer screen and keyboard, and was given a set of headsets to wear (FYI - none of these equipment were actually connected). My role, like all the other extras, was to pretend I was talking with a smile to a customer making enquiries on the phone, moving my mouth as if talking but muted. The commercial was to be broadcast in all the local TV networks and were shot in 30-, 60- and 90-second lengths. Kellie, one of the featured actors, was telling us she could feel her cheeks vibrating as she smiled and talked - I'm not surprised when we have to repeat the script so many times. Even I was getting tired having a one-way conversation with the blank screen - was just running out of things to talk about!

The crew, actors and extras took a break around 2pm for lunch and was back on set again within the hour, shooting the rest of the scenes. A lot more sitting around having hot drinks and reading books or chit-chatting, and being on set as and when required. The shoot was meant to end at 5pm but overran and didn't wrap up till 8.50pm. One of the male actors did not even get filmed until the last 2 hours - the poor guy was waiting for his turn the whole day! The final scene was a group shot of everyone seated in our makeshift desks, this time actually talking out loud since our voices weren't recorded - oh, the funny things some of us said and everyone was trying to keep it together in our professional call centre manner and not break into laughter while still being filmed. And it's a wrap!

Though it ended up being a really long day, I enjoyed my first experience working in the Sydney acting and modelling industry - the people I worked with today were all very polite and appreciative making the experience fun and enjoyable. Here is the commercial we made that has a glimpse of me (well, my back only, that is):







Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sydney's Paddy's Markets & Salsa Caliente (3rd July 2011)

Today's the end of week 1 that Jono has been away. Even though we have kept in contact regularly, it just isn't the same - I want him to be physically here so I can snuggle up to him in bed instead of making a huge cocoon with the duvet to keep warm! And I want my hugs, my kisses and cuddles!! Sigh, I just miss him so much :,( 4 more weeks till I see him!

Got up at 8.30am, had breakfast and headed out with Ken to Sydney's Paddy's Markets in Haymarket to buy fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. We came prepared this time with a day pack each so it would be easier to carry our purchases home. I haven't been doing much cooking since Ken stayed over - he has been making all our dinners and filling up my pantry and fridge with food items (his way of paying back for us letting him stay in our living room) so I left the shopping decisions to him and just tagged along as we moved from one stall to another. It was interesting to watch Ken as he picked up items and eyes lit up with excitement - I could sense he was thinking of all the possible dishes he could make and being someone who enjoys cooking, it brings him joy. We walked around the market once to get a feel of the prices (stalls selling the same fruit or veggies may not necessary have the same quality and/or price) before beginning our shop. Eggplant, kai lan (aka Chinese broccoli), persimmons, mandarins, mushrooms, eggs, avocado etc. filled our packs. We also went to the meat section to see what they had and Ken asked the Asian lady working behind the butcher counter if they sold beef tongue (he's obviously got some recipe in mind). Apparently they do but he needed to order it in advance. Eee, tongue of a cow...doesn't sound very appealing to me..."Oh, you'll see - I'll have to make the dish for you guys when Jono is back," responded Ken, explaining to me that a cow's tongue is huge so no point cooking the dish when there was only two of us. Ok, I suppose I could try a bit to see what it's like...Photos taken at the market here.

Stopped by at Pho Pasteur, my favourite pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup) place in town on the way home around 12pm for lunch. I had my regular pho ga (chicken noodle soup) while Ken ordered their special beef pho which had beef tendons and beef balls in addition to thinly sliced beef. Always crowded and filled with customers, it's great for a quick cheap meal but not a place you would linger for long.


Pho Pasteur lunchtime crowd


Pho ga (chicken noodle soup)


Home to put away the shopping and rest, then out again at around 2.15pm - Ken headed up north for a house viewing while I went into town to find a new pair of ankle boots to replace my old pair which I managed to chip of a corner of its heel dancing on Friday.

Ken convinced me to go out salsa dancing again this evening, this time at Docks Hotel in Darling Harbour. "But I'm really tired..." I whined but he wouldn't give up. Fine, I'll come but we'll have to leave early this time since it's Sunday. Docks Hotel turned out to be a bar/lounge and bistro located by the waterfront with Salsa Caliente (the name of the salsa dancing event) occuring every Sunday from 8.30pm till late and it was free of charge. We arrived around 8ish and El Moro (Cuban salsa instructor and performer) had already started his class only to our disappointment that it was a beginner's salsa lesson instead of the bachata lesson as advertised on the web. Bummer! Ken bought us beers (we tried the Bluetongue, an Australian beer I've been meaning to try - quite nice, light and crisp) so we sipped and chatted as we watch the class go on for the next hour. A majority of the participants were new to the dance and it reminded me of what I probably looked like when I first started learning salsa - the look of uncertainty, unsure of what I was doing, trying to be co-ordinated and still be in time with the beat. But it was good to know that there were new people joining the dance scene - I've not seen anyone here that I saw on Friday.

Finally at 9.30pm, the class ended and social dancing began. Ken and I had the first dance together and then split up in our hunt for other dancers. I didn't dance as much this time partly because most of the leads were absolute beginners and I couldn't sight any Cuban dancers on the dance floor. As I stood by the bar watching out for potential leads, a young Brazilian guy (hmm, maybe early 20s?) came to grab my hand for a dance. "I'm not very good at salsa," he said, giving me a smile that showed his braces. He was actually easy to dance with and had his own groove. "Wow, you dance very well. Where do you come from?" he continued, a question both Ken and I seem to get a lot dancing in Sydney salsa scene. And so we chatted while dancing and I stayed on for another dance. He started asking where I was living and if I was keen to come out dancing with him elsewhere, subsequently asking for my phone number. Hmm, a bit weird when I hardly know him so I ignored his requests casually with a smile and continued dancing. When he started to lightly stroke my arm at the end of the dance, alarm bells started ringing in my head - this ain't no salsa move; the guy was hitting on me! It was further confirmed when his next question was if I had a bf! And yes I do!! He wasn't convinced and followed me to the bar, asking if I had my phone handy so he could give me his number (apparently his phone battery is dead) so I had to excuse myself and rushed to Ken who was on the other side of the dance floor for cover. Help! I retold the incident to Ken who very kindly put an arm on my shoulder and I think the Brazilian chap got the gist, even if Ken was faking it. Phew!

We continued on dancing with other people (I had a guy who goes 'yeah' and nodded his head each time I completed a turn which made me felt weirdly uncomfortable) and around 10pm, headed to the train station for home. Hmm, salsa dancing on Sundays is not quite ideal when we have to head off 30 minutes into actual dance time. But at least we now know where to dance salsa on a Sunday!


Saturday, 2 July 2011

ColourDujour Freeze Flash Mob & World Press Photo 2011 (2nd July 2011)

Ow, ow, ow...my whole body woke up today in aches after last night's salsa dancing at Vivaz. Can't believe my body ain't coping with 2 hours of dancing despite me working out at the gym regularly. Obviously working different muscles plus the fact I've not been out dancing this hard for a while. Haha, I'm not the only one that's complaining of muscle aches this morning - Ken feels the same! I guess that just means we'll have to go dancing more often so our bodies will get used to dancing for hours again :)

After having breakfast at home and around 11am, Ken and I headed out to Darling Harbour where me and other flash mob participants had to meet Natalie, director of online ladies fashion store ColourDujour, for our briefing on the promotional stunt we were carrying for her company this afternoon. This was an unpaid job I found on StarNow and the 'freeze' stunt sounded like good fun so I applied to participant in the event. I was one of about 20 volunteers who gathered outside Sydney Exhibition Centre around 12.30pm for the briefing on how and where the stunt would occur. The stunt required everyone to have at least 2 layers of clothes on, taking the top layer off and stripping down to singlet and shorts, swimwear or undies, and then 'freeze' in a pose of our desire for 90 seconds. Yes, I knew about the stripping part as we were all informed prior to the event though several last minute volunteers had no idea what they were getting themselves into. No nudity allowed since we were performing the stunt in a public place and participants were also given the choice to opt out from being featured in the promotional video.

To be honest, stripping to my bra and undies is not something I feel too comfortable doing in public (strangely, bikini is ok and my Brazilian bikini probably covers less than my bra and undies) which gives me even more reason to partake in this stunt where I get to push my own boundaries but within a 'safe' environment ('safe' environment because I'm not doing it alone). As it got closer to our 1pm 'show-time', I could feel myself feeling nervous and a voice in my head going "this is for real - I am stripping in public!". Gulp!

Everyone headed towards the Spiral Fountain by the harbour where the stunt was to take place. Volunteers were chatting away animately about their poses and once we arrived at our destination, we spread ourselves about a metre apart and waited for the signal to begin. Natalie and her crew started off by taking their top layers off and the rest of us followed suit. I did my cute burlesque 'oh-o' look with my butt stuck out :P Part of me wondered if the others too stripped down to my level or if I was the only one in bra and undies. Well, too late to back out now!

Why is it taking so long to end? My jaw and hands were beginning to tremble as the seconds ticked by and it felt as if I have been 'freezing' for a long time. Fortunately the weather was sunny and warm which made the 'freeze' pleasant. We certainly caught attention of people passing by, some stopping to take photos and wondering what on earth we were doing. When the 90 seconds was up, we put our clothes back on and dispersed. And that was it - job well done!

Ken was invited to participate but he much preferred to keep an eye on me from afar. Photos he took of the stunt:







Here's the YouTube promotional video:




It was great fun and I'm glad I did it - now I can say I've stripped in public! ;P

Ken and I then made our way to the Circular Quay, making a pit stop at New Zealand Natural near Town Hall train station to pick up smoothies and sushi for lunch. Yum, fruit smoothie - just what my body needed (oh damn, brain freeze!)...We were headed to the State Library of New South Wales on Macquarie Street for the World Press Photo 2011 exhibition that begins today. I have been to the World Press Photo exhibitions in Wellington for the past two years and it is an exhibition not to be missed. Pity Jono's away and won't be back in time to see the exhibition (the exhibition is on from 2nd - 24th July) - he would have enjoyed coming along to see the photos.

The exhibition is free of charge and held on the 1st floor of the library. We took the entrance that led us to the Sydney Morning Herald Photos 1440 exhibition so had a look around at the interesting prints taken by the newspaper's photographers from 2010 till present. Most of the photos captures a particular moment in time and thus the name 1440 which signifies the 1440 minutes in a day. We continued on to the World Press Photo 2011 exhibition and as usual, many of the press photos will shock and stir you. The winning photos this year was a portrait shot of Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old Afghan girl who was mutilated (ears and nose sliced off) as punishment for fleeing her abusive husband. How horrific is must have been for her, to be severely punished for her husband's wrongdoings in such cruel and inhumane methods! There were also many photos of disaster-hit countries such as the earthquakes in Haiti and China, where dead bodies were thrown in a pile like broken dolls. I always feel thankful my life is nothing like the lives of the people in the photos whenever I attend this annual exhibition. A series of photos that brought a smile to my face was of two Bolivian ladies who were best friends in life but best enemies in the freestyle wrestling ring aka lucha libre - it was interesting to learn that they fight wearing traditional skirts and bowler hats of the indigenous tribes and fight in WWF-like.

We left the library around 3pm for home. I think we've had quite a productive day though I really would like to put my legs up for the rest of the day...


Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness & salsa dancing at Vivaz (1st July 2011)

This was the first weekend without Jono around and it sure feels weird not having made any plans for the weekend with him. We have been chatting online briefly each day which was nice but I would really like to hear his voice and see him too. With the time difference, it is quite difficult to have a proper conversation with him especially when we only have a 2-hour window when we are both online and it's usually during work hours, making it even worse :/ Perhaps we'll be able to have a Skype call over the weekend...

My colleague, Julie-Ann (everyone calls her JAK, which are her initials) came to see me about an hour before I knocked off work to ask me if I wanted to join her and friends to the theatre tonight - she mentioned about she was going to a play during our weekly girls' lunch yesterday but her partner wasn't feeling well so now she has a spare ticket and asked me if I wanted to come along. Sure, I haven't made plans for the evening so happy to join in!

Around 5.30pm, JAK and I went to meet Mark at the lobby of our building and took a taxi over to Walsh Bay where the theatre was located. Mark, an Englishman who has migrated to Australia, is an ardent theatre fan and buys several tickets in advance without knowing much of the play or how many people would come along - risky but from what I gathered, he's a social butterfly and usually has no issues finding enough company to the plays. He had organised pre-show dinner for the group at Firefly, a cosy wine and tapas bar by the waterfront in Walsh Bay. Sandy, JAK's gf came to join us as well, sharing 2 bottles of red wine plus a selection of tapas from the menu - Quattro formaggi rustic pizza, lamb and pork meatballs, grilled haloumi with watermelon, mint & almond, Pino's organic sweet pork chorizo, salad of shaved beetroot, goat curd, pinenuts & garlic crouton, and 6 hour beef bourgignon with garlic mash - a feast for the taste buds as each of the tapas had its own distinct flavour. We chatted and laughed over our meal, sharing our experiences of travelling and living abroad which seemed to be our common ground among other things. JAK was also secretly trying to hook Mark and Sandy up, and they seem to be getting along well so far :)

Around 7.30pm, we settled our bill (cost us $50 each - ouch!) and headed over the Sydney Theatre Company located around the corner to collect our tickets for play Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness. Sydney Theatre Company is a premiere theatre company in Australia and where famous actors such as Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Geoffrey Rush have played a part in the theatre's productions. I had plans to come see the play but didn't know that if you were under 30, the ticket cost less than half the normal price (I paid $30 instead of the normal adult price of $73 for this play). In fact, this applies to all shows in the theatre. Darn, Jono and I should have checked out what was on and made use of the offer - will have to make a point to see more shows at this theatre before we hit the big 3-0 this year!

We headed towards Wharf 1 theatre where the play was held and split into two groups, me seated with JAK, and Sandy with Mark. "Ooo, look, they are talking and smiling," said JAK, elbowing me so I would look down towards where Mark and Sandy were seated. Looking good! The theatre kind of reminded me of Circa Theatre in Wellington and surprisingly for a Friday evening, it was only two-thirds full. The show started at 8pm and was 1 hour and 40 minutes long with no interval. It featured 4 actors, one of them playing the character of Edward Gant (a ringmaster-like moustached man with a protruding tummy who wore tights, a top hat and uses a walking stick) and his troupe of performers who together was putting up a show to entertain playing various characters and fascinate their audience (us, in this case) with tragic stories of human loneliness. The first story was of a pimple-faced Spanish girl Sanzonetta, who was so ugly people repel at the sight of her but whose pimple when popped produced pearls. A naive young girl, she was exploited by her evil sister (played dramatically by a male actor dressed in a flamenco costume), 'harvesting' and selling the pearls, even stealing the man Sanzonetta loved. It all ended tragically with the lover realising Sanzonetta was still around and running off with her, only to follow in the footsteps of the evil sister, 'harvesting' Sanzonetta's pearls and eventually leaving her for an oyster (yes, highly bizarre but this was how it was potrayed). There was a part were the evil sister barged into Sanzonetta's lover's house, trying to win the man back by giving him her pearl (she grew a massive pimple on the head) but when she squeezed it, all that came out was yellow puss (eew, yellow bits of stuff flew across the stage in the 'explosion'!) and caused her permanently brain damage and eventual death.

The next story was of Edgar, a man who lost his love and travelled the world in search of a medicine man to cure his grief. Medicine man was played by the same guy in the flamenco dress and he was brilliantly funny, speaking in an Indian accent and bobbing his turban head. Sadly nothing could cure the Edgar's grief even though medicine man tried by cutting out part of Edgar's brain and then stuck a cork back in the opened wound to stop the bleeding. The third story was of a poet who couldn't remember his lines and was interrupted by a teddy (an actor wearing a teddy bear costume) wanting 'imaginary' tea and cake. Partway through this act, the actor who played the poet decided to call it quits and rebel against Edward Gant. In all the commotion of shouting at his boss, the other two actors appeared from behind their huge teddy heads, lost and unsure whether to follow the mutiny or stick to their orders. The situation was strained but Edward put an end to it all by killing himself, pulling a cork from his head (so was he Edgar??!). Sometimes grotesque, other times hilarious, it was very imaginative and a rather magical experience even though the play itself didn't quite make sense, especially it's abrupt ending. But that's the thing with theatre - not every play makes sense. I enjoyed my first theatre experience in Sydney though and thanks JAK for inviting me along!

Around 9.45pm, the group walked towards The Rocks where I said my goodbye to meet Ken at Vivaz on George Street for salsa dancing. This was another first for me today, to dance salsa in a Sydney salsa club. I have not done so to date! Band Club Havana Band was playing and the place looked rather crowded when I arrived. Vivaz is a restaurant and nightclub, and on Fridays and Saturdays, Latin bands entertain patrons while dancers fill the dance floor. Unfortunately I had spent all my cash on dinner and the theatre ticket so didn't have any cash left for the $10 cover charge :/ Ken had left to a nearby pub for a drink so I had to wait for him to turn up to pay for me to get in. Frankly, I wasn't prepared for dancing - I was still wearing my work clothes and wore boots but gave it my best shot anyway. Oh my god, it has been such a long time since I last danced! "You still got it," said Ken after our first dance. Aww, that's sweet, thanks :)

Club Havana Band was playing many salsa songs that we knew and it was fun to be back dancing again. Ken and I had a few dance together then split up looking for other people to dance with. I stood by the bar, checking out the dance floor for potential leads - it was amusing to find myself in 'hunting' mode, seeking out Cuban dance leads and making a beeline toward them when the current song comes to an end, asking them for the next dance. Over time, I have come to realise that if I wanted my 'awesome' dance (fun and relaxed, sexy groove and occasional new but still able to follow moves), the probability of a desired lead coming to me is less likely than me seeking him out and I have no issues asking a man for a dance. I had lots of fun dancing with Sri Lankan guy David who despite knowing few moves was a pleasure to dance with and wasn't shy of dancing close, grooving to the music - we dance several times throughout the evening and I gathered he is a regular dancer in the local salsa scene. Several of the guys who asked me for a dance where beginners and it was highly amusing to watch their 'oh-o' expressions when they found out I could dance after the first bar of the song, confidence slightly faltered. Oops... :P One bald-headed man made me laugh every time he does the shoulder shimmy - I could feel his whole upper body vibrate as we pull apart and continued dancing. It always gets me in giggles :) Almost everyone I danced with asked me where I came from (several also complimented on my dancing which is always lovely to hear) and it turned out Ken got the same too. Hmm, I bet these dancers have sniffed out that we were new in the dance scene (what I term 'new blood'). I like 'new blood' on the dance floor and thrive on 'sucking' their dance souls. I'm such a dance vampiress hehe...

Ken and I left around 12.30pm in time to catch the last train home. God, our legs were killing us! But we had a great time on the dance floor, dancing for a solid 2 hours. And I still love dancing, even though I know it's going to cause me grief tomorrow, muscle aches and all. Home by 1am absolutely knackered - bed time!