A disappointing destination

After such a good day yesterday, today I came crashing down from that high. I was feeling rather down, didn’t really feel like going around at all 😔

I went and had breakfast at The Brunch Club, which was near the serviced apartment. I ordered the continental breakfast, which was huge! It came with three different types of bread; fruit; muesli with honey and yoghurt; your choice in coffee or tea; and your choice in juice. It took me sooo long to finish it, but after about 1.5 hours of taking my time with it, I managed to get through most of it. It was all quite good! I would go there again tomorrow, if there wasn’t a bajillion other cafes I wanted to try in the area.

I decided to wander around IFC mall, one of the shopping areas nearby. But as you know, I don’t really like to shop, so that got boring very quickly 😂

From there, somehow I decided to get one of the famous HK trams and ride it all the way to the very end of the tram line on the east, to Shau Kei Wan. It took forever and a half, but I made it eventually. And all for a mere HKD$2.60 one way (less than S$0.50). Bargain as! 👍 The trams are slow as, they don’t have aircon, and you’re exposed to the elements when it’s raining, but I love them for some reason! 😆 They’re just so quaint 😊 I always sit upstairs and admire the view from up there, as the tram plods along on its tracks, manoeuvring in between cars, trucks and buses along the way.

I wanted to stop by this park near the water at Shau Kei Wan, but the whole area was closed due to construction, which was terribly disappointing, after having sat on the tram for what felt like a bajillion hours. I could’ve just taken the train back, but where’s the fun in that?! So of course I caught the tram back 😊

I then just went back to the serviced apartment and wrote a bit more in my soon-to-released blog, while I waited for N so we could go and have some dinner. We went and had some Japanese, and then wandered around for about half an hour, walking up and down the numerous flights of stairs in this hilly area that we’re in, just to get in a little bit of exercise, at least.

Not the most exciting day, unfortunately. Hopefully I can enjoy myself more tomorrow.

The smallest of things makes me happy

You know how I said that I had a few other things that I didn’t get to do last night? Well I got to them this morning. All of them. I didn’t expect to get through my whole list, but I did. I was so happy 😊 Ah how the most trivial of things make me happy 😊

But it did mean that I didn’t get to have breakfast at home, and I had to go without coffee all morning. The lack of food just helped my cause, though, expanding my current 12-hour fasting window target 😊 The first time I ate today was on the plane – at 2:45pm. That was a 16-hour fasting window! I was starving! I was so hungry that I actually finished everything on my tray. Highly unusual for me!

I was allocated an exit row seat between two other people travelling on their own. Last time I flew, I was also allocated a seat in between two solo travellers. Does Singapore Airlines want us to all make friends with each other or something?? 😂 Anyway, apart from the never ending leg room (I couldn’t even kick the flight attendant sitting in front of me, even if I wanted to 😂), I don’t see any benefits to this seat:

  • Firstly, you have to keep your monitor stowed away during takeoff and landing, cutting out about half an hour from your flight time to watch movies;
  • Secondly, you don’t have a seat in front of you, meaning you don’t have a seat pocket or space in front of you to store your items. Everything has to be put up in the overhead compartments. There are magazine pockets on the side for two seats, but the third seat gets diddly squat. But they’re not very “stretchy”, so you can’t really store anything but flat items in them. I don’t even know if you can store a laptop in them, since there’s already a whole heap of paraphernalia in them;
  • Also, people who are queueing for the bathroom or who just want to stretch their legs tend to cluster around in the area, simply because it is such a large space, which can be a bit distracting;
  • And lastly, a flight attendant (or two!) is sitting in front of you, and has the unlucky spot to be in clear view of your ugly mug for the half hour of takeoff and landing 😂
  • So the exit row is never my first option, and I certainly won’t pay a premium for the extra leg room that I don’t need anyway! OK, I’ve come up with one extra positive: it’s easy to get in and out of your seat, without having to bother your seat neighbours. Now that’s a pretty good perk. Particularly for longer-haul flights. But when I’m only travelling around Asia, where the average flight is, say, 3 hours, these two positives don’t really carry as much of a punch.
  • I watched a Japanese movie on the plane called 50 First Kisses. It’s based on the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore movie 50 First Dates. I haven’t seen the American movie in a while, but from what I remember of it, I think it was more comedy than drama. Well it does have Adam Sandler in it?! 😆 The Japanese version felt like it leaned more on the drama side. But it was still good. The male lead reminded me of a Japanese Scott Baio 😂 Do you agree??

    Takayuki Yamada

    Scott Baio

    I managed to survive the flight without really feeling the turbulence, even though there was actually quite a fair bit throughout. Not wine-on-the-ceiling crazy turbulence, just minimal turbulence, but consistent throughout most of the 4-hour flight. I was pleasantly surprised. Flights normally take their toll on me and I have to recover in the hotel as soon as I land on the other side. This must be how the vast majority of people feel when they travel. Totes jeals! I did feel the turbulence during landing, though. It was/is raining in HK, and that affected the smoothness of the landing.

    Last time I was in HK, I applied for the e-channel service at HK airport, which allows you to use the machines at the arrival and departure halls and bypass the queues at immigration. The HK and Aussie governments must have some agreement, coz the only requirements for Aussies in order to be eligible to apply to use the e-channel service is that:

    1. They have a valid Australian passport with at least six months’ validity left on their passport;
    2. They’re over 16 years of age; and
    3. They don’t have any adverse records in HK.

    Given how frequently we’ve been travelling to HK recently, we thought we should apply for this service. The walk to the immigration office in HK was the worst bit of the whole application process. When I went, I asked a staff member where I can get a ticket to join the queue, as there were a bajillion people already there in the waiting area. I was expecting to be there for a good hour or two, waiting for all these people to be served ahead of me. She asked what I was there for and I told her, and that was when she proceeded to process my request then and there. Five minutes later, voila! I was eligible to use the e-channels 😊 No idea what the bajillion other people in the waiting area were there for, but clearly not to apply for the e-channel service!

    So arriving this time in HK, I bypassed the “Visitors” queue and went straight to the “HK Residents” area, and got a machine straight away. No queue! Also, since I am only travelling with carry on, I had no luggage to wait for and so I was out of the airport in less than ten minutes and straight onto the train to HK Island. Woohoooo! Love it 👏

    We’re staying in a serviced apartment this trip. The apartment is huge! Probably the same size as our 2-bedroom apartment in SG, but it has only one bedroom, so there is more space in each of the rooms. Except the kitchen. They’re both tiny as! 😆 It’s nice to have more space. It feels just that little bit more comfortable, and more like a home away from home.

    Adrenaline

    I’ve pretty much been running on adrenaline all day today. It’s the day before I fly to Hong Kong, so I had to get the house in order before I fly out tomorrow. Well, when I say “I had to”, I mean “I would like” 😊 It’s a choice I make. I like coming home to a tidy house and a clean fridge, inside which there are no rotting fruit or vegetables growing its own face while I’m away 😂 So I had to clean up as well as pack tonight. On top of doing my usual day-to-day stuff: vet, trading, errands and the gym. That adrenaline sure helped! 😆 I didn’t get through everything that I wanted to, so hopefully I can get it all done tomorrow morning before I head to the airport.

    My packing is getting much better, I have to admit. I’ve been working off three day-to-day outfits and two gym outfits, and that’s been working really well for me. I normally bring 2-3 pairs of shoes, but this time I’m bringing four 😲 Just writing that out sounds like a LOT! The fourth pair is a pair of dance shoes, in case we practise on the weekend somewhere. And I also brought a pair of thongs, because it’s raining a whole heap in HK at the moment, so I need a pair of shoes that dry easily. And coupled with a raincoat, I think I will be well equipped to brave typhoon season 😆 Well, sorta 😂

    I’m not bringing my laptop with me to HK, so I won’t be doing any trading while I’m there. Instead, I think I will look into getting this new blog project of mine up and running. Is it too ambitious to aim to have it operational before I get back to SG?? 🤔 Let’s see… 😊

    Health and reading

    I booked a health screening this morning, scheduled in a few weeks’ time. The customer service officer and I both have heavily accented English, and we had a hard time understanding each other. I don’t think my accent is that heavy, but I guess any accent can be quite different if you’re not used to it. But it was a bit ridiculous at times: eg I had to spell my first name to her, as she was obviously not used to common English names. I start with the first letter “K”. She goes “J – for Japan?”. Wth?! 😂 I had to come up with a country for each and every letter in my name. That was actually quite challenging! 😂

    Anyway, the health screening is basically a comprehensive health check up. Apparently it’s going to take half a day for them to do all the tests! That’s going to be fun 😳 But the funnest bit of all is that I have to give urine and stool samples omggg I seriously don’t know how I’m going to do that! 😆

    I’m just a bit more concerned with my health these days, now that I’m getting older. Not that I’m really doing anything to warrant the concern, I’m just a bit of a worry wart. So I’d like to do this more for my own piece of mind than anything else. I did feel very anxious that day when I went to get my eyes checked and that was just my eyes. This is a whole body checkup! My blood pressure is going to go through the roof!

    I finished Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women. There’s actually seven stories in the book, not six, as I originally thought. The last four stories were more in line with what I would expect from this author: weird, what-in-the-world-was-that-about stories that just give you a different view of the people in this world. I did enjoy the book overall, in a slightly odd, Haruki Murakami way 😆

    So one book down and another one picked up: I’ve now started book 3 of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, Rich People Problems. I actually did start reading this a few months back, but stopped reading it for whatever reason. I decided to just start again from the beginning, as it’s been so long since I started reading this book that I’m sure a re-read would probably be a better idea than trying to pick up from where I left off from last time. But it’s been good so far. Hopefully I won’t stop reading again this time around! I think it was only because I had read books 1 and 2 in quick succession that I felt like I needed a bit of a break before reading book 3. So I should be ok second time around 😊

    Pay-offs not quite as expected

    I got up at 7am 😲 to accompany N to the airport, he flew to HK this morning. He was flying out of Terminal 4, the new terminal, which I haven’t yet been to. So I thought this was as good a day as any to go and visit 😊

    It was actually rather disappointing! The public area is much smaller compared to the public areas at the other terminals; it seems they saved the good stuff for those actually flying. So my waking up at 7am didn’t actually pay off in the way that I expected 😂

    I then went to Changi City Point, a discount shopping outlet very close to the airport. Most places open 10am or 11am in SG, and I got there at 9am, so when I was nearing the mall, I got this sinking feeling that it wouldn’t be open yet.

    And it wasn’t 😆 Only a few places were open, most of which were food places, so I went and grabbed a quick breakfast and then just walked around, waiting for the mall to wake up 😂 I’m glad I did because the mall itself is actually quite pretty! There is a lot of greenery both inside and out, and there is also a lot of running water. I suppose they consulted feng shui experts when they designed the building, as typical feng shui features can be seen throughout.

    Once the shops finally opened, I decided to take a walk around and see if I can get any good deals. Surprisingly, I found a new pair of sneakers! My current ones are dying – well they are almost ten years old 😂 (I told you I’m an underbuyer!) – and I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement pair for a few months now. Happy days 😊

    And then in the evening, I decided to watch Frozen. I’m not a fan of animated films in general, but I thought I’d give this one a chance. And I’m glad I did: I actually ended up enjoying it more than I expected to! It’s been good catching up on all these movies, I should try and do this more often 😊

    Derailed plans

    I was having a conversation by text (in Chinese) with our Chinese teacher yesterday, trying to arrange the start of our next lesson, which was supposed to be today. He said that he was going to send through an email to organise payment, and we left it at that.

    So this morning, we got ready to go to Chinese class, even though we hadn’t yet paid for it as I hadn’t yet received his email. So as we were walking to class, ten minutes before it started, I texted our teacher asking if class was starting today, as I hadn’t yet received his email. Apparently I had misunderstood everything: there was no class today, and we’re starting back up in two weeks’ time. Argh! I should’ve just had the conversation in English and not be practising my Chinese 😂

    Anyhow, so that meant that we now had the morning to ourselves. We started wandering around a nearby mall, but that soon got boring, so we sat down somewhere and tried to figure out what to do with the rest of our suddenly empty morning. N then came up with the idea of watching Crazy Rich Asians. I checked to see when the next available screening was, and to see if there were any decent seats left. The first screening for the day at the closest cinema was at 10:45am – and the cinema was not even half full! So we got a very decent seat 👏

    I actually enjoyed the movie much more than I expected to. If I had done that FB challenge after having seen this movie, then this one might have made my top ten. Comedy, drama and romance all featured. It was light and whimsical, and I really liked the soundtrack. They filmed most of the movie in SG, so I spent pretty much the entire movie trying to place where they filmed any given scene 😂 Overall it was a good, light-hearted movie, and followed the main plot of the book quite well. I think there will be movie #2 and #3 eventually, in line with the books as well, so that’s something to look forward to in the coming years.

    And then we had our first Latin lesson later in the afternoon, our first lesson in weeeks, followed by Latin practice afterwards. We worked on Paso Doble in our lesson, so that routine isn’t quite in our memories yet; but the other four Latin dances didn’t fall apart too badly when we were practising afterwards. I was pleasantly surprised, given how long it’s been since we’d stepped onto a dance floor. So we’re inching ever closer to our five dances for Latin, and ten dances overall… Very exciting!

    We finished practising quite late, so I suggested that we eat at one of the local hawker centres, as I was getting awfully close to the end of my 12-hour eating window, and I would definitely be well into my 12-hour fasting window if we went home and made dinner instead. Eating at the local gawker centre wasn’t going to be as healthy as cooking something ourselves at home, but my primary goal at the moment is to try to stick to this 12:12 plan (12-hour fasting / 12-hour eating windows), so that took precedence. I finished eating and drinking 10 minutes after my eating window had closed, which isn’t too bad 😊 I don’t have any plans tomorrow, so nothing should derail 12:12… Fingers crossed! 🤞

    Kitty, books and travel

    The vet gave Kitty a blood test this morning. I completely forgot that the whole process was a bit traumatic for her! They lay her down on her side, and they draw blood from the inside of one of her hind legs – which meant having to hold her down in order to do so! So of course she was totally unimpressed, hissing, biting and scratching everyone in sight. But they got what they needed, thankfully, with everyone relatively unscathed 😂 And results were unchanged from last time, phewww 😅

    For day 1, I actually stuck to my 12:12 plan of intermittent fasting! I was so proud of myself 😊 I had my coffee just after 9am, and I finished dinner just before 9pm – woohoo! Now let’s see if I can maintain this for a little while, before ratcheting it up to 14:10…

    I finished story #5 in Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women. Bizarrrre story, more like what I was expecting from him 😆 Let’s see what the sixth and final story has in store for us readers… I’m hoping he has left the best for last 😊

    I have now also borrowed book #3 of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. With the movie just recently released, I figured this was as good a time as any to finish off the trilogy 😊 I was hoping to watch the movie this weekend, but the cinemas near us are all packed, and the only available seats are either right up in the front row or just single seats randomly plonked around. And this is despite being screened virtually every five seconds! So I think I’ll wait a few weeks before watching it. Well, I HAVE to wait a few weeks to watch it: N is in Hong Kong again for work for the next two weeks. All this travelling to HK reminds me of when we were going to and from Sydney and Melbourne. Only this time it’s HK-SG 😂

    Hangover

    It was the day after a mid-week public holiday, so of course I felt a bit disoriented, not really sure which day of the week it actually was today!

    So the hangover from the public holiday lingered on today 😂 I didn’t really feel like doing much at all. I did do some trading stuff, including attending my usual FX seminar, but that was about it. I was quite relaxed the rest of the day. I watched To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, after reading a few things on social media about it. It’s primarily aimed at teenagers / young adults, but it wasn’t too bad a movie nonetheless. Maybe I’ll also add it to my ever-growing list of books to read… 😆

    Speaking of books, I finished The Diabetes Code. The book has motivated me to eat healthier, and to even try the intermittent fasting regime that it recommends. The one that I’ve heard about is the 16:8 plan, where you eat during an 8-hour window each day, and fast for the remaining 16 hours. And you choose whichever 8-hour window works for you and your lifestyle. I don’t know if I can go straight to that plan right from the get go, so maybe I’ll aim for 12:12 first, then 14:10, and then eventually 16:8. Ease my way into it 😊 And also to reduce my carb intake. I’m not diabetic (as far as I know! 😳), but better that I take steps now to prevent it than have to manage it later on down the track.

    Photos and healthy food

    It was a public holiday in SG today, so we had the day to ourselves. I wanted to go see a photo exhibition in Joo Chiat, so I thought that was a good enough reason as any to go and have lunch there 😊

    We went and had brunch with some friends at this place called Thunder Tea Rice. They serve Hakka food, which I’d never tried before, and apparently this place does good Hakka food, so I thought it was a good place to go and try it. However you’d think I was torturing everyone by choosing to go here 😂 No one else seemed to like the food here, but our friends were kind enough to entertain me by agreeing to join us, even though they’d been there already. I actually liked their food, I just wasn’t a fan of the green veg broth that accompanied the rice. I would order the thunder tea rice again, but just skip the green veg broth. We went for lunch part 2 because the others weren’t quite satisfied with part 1 😂

    We parted ways after lunch, and N and I headed over to the photo exhibition. They had hired a room in this co-working space building. I was reading the blurbs of the photographers, and a lot of them had mentioned God and/or had quotes from the bible. I figured these photographers were quite religious, and thought nothing more of it. After I finished waking around, that was when I realised the meaning of the name of the exhibition: “Through His Eyes”, H in capital letters. So I’m guessing the photographers belonged to some church group. Their photos weren’t at all religious, so I think their church group was what bound them together and brought this exhibition to fruition.

    I think the woman on the left in this photo was one of the photographers featured in this exhibition. Her photos just happened to be my favourite shots in the exhibition, which made this photo all the more meaningful for me.

    After that, we just went home and N took a nap while I read more of my book The Diabetes Code. I am now even more freaked out about sugar – and eating in general! 😧 I’m probably catastrophising, as I always do, since I generally do eat in moderation, and I like to think that we do have a well rounded diet. But still, I know I can eat better. And I’m probably even more motivated now to do so, after having read this book. I’ve almost finished it, so I’m wondering if I can finish it either tonight or tomorrow.

    A good day, despite the vomit

    For the past week, Kitty has been throwing up about once every second day 😔 She threw up this morning at around 6am and woke up N in the process. And on the living room rug too, which is quite plush and therefore quite hard to clean 😔 I mentioned it to her doctor today, and he said this is quite common for cats with kidney problems, and I can give her more of her anti-vomit medicine if need be. I gave her some this morning, and I’ll monitor her over the next few days, so hopefully she can get better on her own without extra dosage 🤞

    Despite not having started the day in the best of ways, I still ended up having a good trading day, and I also wrote another post for my new blog project, which I am still yet to launch… 😳 Soon, very soon…

    But my motivation from yesterday to collate my FY18 tax papers didn’t spill over in to today, unfortunately. So FY18 is still looming over my head…

    And then the evening was gym and Masterchef Australia. I’m starting to wonder just how long it’s been since we’ve danced! Excluding the dance basics that I’ve been doing on the treadmill, I have not done any dancing in weeks. I can’t even remember the last time I stepped foot in a dance studio 😳 Gawd, what is our dancing going to be like when we return… 😒 But I do feel stronger, at least, since I have been doing more weights at the gym, which I wouldn’t have been doing if we were dancing as per usual. Gain one thing at the expense of another… Always the way… Hopefully it will still indirectly assist with my dancing somehow…! 😬

    I’m more than halfway through that Men Without Women book my Haruki Murakami. It comprises six short stories and I’m now into the fourth story. The first three were relatively normal stories, I thought, very tame for Mr Murakami. They were still good, but pretty “normal” for this author, I thought. But now story #4 shows the reason why I like this author: it is just so damn weird! I’m pulling faces as I read, because the story is just so odd 🤪 But that’s what I love, being able to pull faces at the weirdness of it all 😆 Maybe he left the el weirdo stories for the second half of the book 😊

    So overall, it was a surprisingly good day, despite being woken up early this morning by the sound of Kitty throwing up 🤮