Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Cultural Exposé

For any of you planning your first visit the country of love, where Ladurée originated from.

This is a funny video clip with some useful tips that should help you in adjusting and almost becoming a François!

Au revoir! 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Shattering Sunday

This was how my Sunday started - the 10ft x 7ft mirror we have in one of our corridors was shattered to smithereens, decorating the floor like pave diamonds and jagged pieces of ice shards. Upon closer examination I realised why - look at the back of the mirror and focus on the circled area. Yes, unfortunately the glass installers were not putting on their thinking caps when doing the installation. They had used transparent adhesive tape aka Scotch tape!!

And on the wall, there were rows and rows of neatly lined double sided tape !@*%$!?! So far I never had any major complains about shoddy local workmanship but here's the first! Thank god we don't have any little ones otherwise can you imagine if that ridiculous mirror fell on the baby???

This explains the weird crash-tinkling noise I heard last night. I was tucked in bed watching a movie and thought it was probably noise from the neighbours. It is indeed a blessing that this happened while I'm home alone (MC is still away on business) as he would have walked in the darkness to investigate and hurt himself very badly!

I rang reception, the Supervisor was aghast to see the accident scene and very swift in executing a clean up. 10 housekeeping boys came and proceeded to tidy up the mess. As majority of the mirror was still in a big piece, they had to break it down to more manageable-disposable size. They were very efficient and within 40 minutes the floor was spotless. In any case, I'll get the maid to do a good cleaning & hoovering again tomorrow. 

There are still lots of mirror/ glass walls around the house, oh dear. Perhaps we better start wearing crash helmets around the house....

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Grouchy Day

Today sees me not wanting to do any research online for our big day - I'm sick of browsing gown ideas, decorations, invitations PERIOD. I also don't want to correspond with vendors on quotation for an upcoming luncheon for my social club. What I would very much like to do is get my hands on my favourite tub of Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream or Baskin Robbins Pralines 'n Cream. Oh the thing one takes for granted while back in the fine city.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Sharing the sweets

We had recently acquired a new car and weeks before the car had arrived, MC informed me his staff were all expecting him to bring in sweet items for them in lieu of the new acquisition. I thought his staff were pulling the fast one on him but he said it wasn't so as when another colleague had gotten his new car, he brought chocolates for everyone.

Me being the avid baker decided to go for a more personalized touch and bake something. I baked a massive tray (20 x 20 x 3) of banana cake and some chocolate chip cookies (there must have been at least 200 cookies). Each staff was given a personalized pack of cookies. Baking was easy peasy but the packing and tying the personalized cookie packs was so time consuming! By the time I was done, my fingers were hurting from tying the knots.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sixty Nine

Time flies when one is having fun and I can so vouch for that. It's been 3 months since I moved to Mumbai and if we do the proper calculation, I've been here for precisely 69 days after deducting all the little trips out of India.

Much has happened since our holiday in Thailand, MC & I were off to Singapore immediately after for a week. There I caught up with so many good friends, ate till my hearts content, shopped and totally submerged myself into the whole Singapore experience (everything is clean, functional, orderly oh I've missed it so much).

Monday, 27 February 2012

My gutsy friend, Winnie

Today's entry is rather special for I will be covering a different topic, not of any adventures on India living but rather I will be featuring a guest blogger. Winnie Chen is a dear friend of 8 years now, and she resides in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A couple of weeks back, Winnie updated on Facebook that she will be doing her first stand up comedy performance as a personal challenge. That instantly created a ripple of reaction among us friends, all singing the same tune, rooting for her.

The show was on 9 Feb and had a good turn up of 300 people. For many of us who were unable to attend the comedy show in support of Winnie, we had asked for there to be a recording.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

High life of a beach bum

Today I'm blogging from Phuket, we are midway through our Thailand holiday. The weather is lovely, with bright sunshine all day long. Our daily routine involves going for breakfast and straight off to the beach for at least 5 hours of sun, sand and a swim. We are spoilt for a selection of beach with 3 close by, barely 10 minutes drive from our villa. The beaches here are pristine with superfine white sand, water is a blue-ish green hue with amazingly warm temperature.

Beach with crystal blue water 

Gorgeous view from my deck chair
Beach essentials

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Ready, steady go!

The India Assembly Elections heat is on, with barely 8 more hours till Maharashtra polling booths open! The streets in the past few days have been filled with politicians, campaigners and supporters organizing various rallies. Just when one thought the traffic in Mumbai couldn't get any worse hah!

We were out for V Day lunch and I was lucky enough to catch a procession taking place. I whipped out my camera to do some filming, and as you can see the supporters got excited and started slowing down and posing for my shoot which caused additional slow down in traffic haha! I felt it was wise to stop my home videos then.

The Government has declared polling day (17 Feb 2012) to be a bank holiday. MC is pleased for it gives him the opportunity to begin his packing for our beach holiday, due to kick off in 2 days time. The next time I write, I'll be sipping my sunset cocktails while basking in the sun. Sawasdee Krap readers.... 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Eating Around Mumbai

MC & I are big foodies, we enjoy good food and are always game to try new cuisines and restaurants. My gfs have been asking how the Indian food is here - honestly missies, I can't really tell as I've only eaten it twice in the 50+ days that I've been here. Once was at a baby naming ceremony where the vegetarian food was served and the second time at Ziya in Oberoi Hotel. Without a doubt, Ziya won hands down as the best Indian I've had here. Famous chef, Vineet Bhatia owner of Michelin star Rasoi London does consultation work for Ziya.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Knife sharpening 101

These are our Indian knife sharpeners, men who cycle around residential/ commercial areas offering knife sharpening services. The whole mechanism is very simple consisting of a regular bicycle with an additional attachment of a grinding wheel placed on the bicycle's frame.

To sharpen the knife, the blade would be placed on the grinding wheel and the man would do stationary peddling to get the wheel spinning. As the wheel spins, the friction caused would sharpen the knife's blade.

I've been asking the security guards to ping me when these men come around as I have a couple of blunt knives but so far no luck. Not sure what the rates are but am sure it's really cheap. Was lucky enough to catch a knife sharpener at work when we were out for lunch. He agreed for me to video him working so here you go!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Chinese New Year

Apologies everyone for the lack of postings in the last few days. I'm currently enjoying the Chinese New Year celebration here in Malaysia. My days have been filled with meeting up with family, friends, house visits, eating, drinking, and more eating, gambling and collecting ang pows too! Ang pows are red envelopes containing money given out by the married couples to the unmarried ones. Been lucky at the gambling table too, won some money unlike the past few years - I sense 2012 is going to be a fantabulous one!

Yee Sang - a prosperity dish only available during Chinese New Year

Friday, 20 January 2012

What a long day it was!

I was invited to an Indian church wedding yesterday that was due to start at 9:30am. Got there only to find the church was empty! Apparently it was delayed (reason unknown as only the church caretaker was around). He said it could start anytime between 11am to 1pm. I patiently sat there alone with a full bladder and my stomach was beginning to rumble.

Told myself if by 11am the wedding doesn't begin then tough luck, I'm leaving. Out of nowhere, I heard someone say hello to me. It was 2 school girls coming to chat with me. I was pleasantly surprised by their boldness and friendliness and entertained them. The girls had come to church to pray before going for their exam.

Martina & friend

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Oprah Winfrey in town

I was so right about Bollywood mania - guess who is visiting our shores this week?? None other than the queen of talkshow, Oprah Winfrey.

This is Oprah's maiden trip to the country and I only found out about it last night. Apparently Oprah is going to make a coverage on India and Deepak Chopra for her new talk show Next Chapter. A lavish party hosted by a Bollywood socialite was thrown in honor of Oprah, attended by the glitterati and other Indian celebrities.

Oprah donning the gift sari from Aiswarya Rai

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Bollywood Mania!

Bollywood is increasingly gaining it's popularity in the Western movie industry. In the recent years, more Hollywood stars have starred in Bollywood production for example Slyvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards in the rom-com Kambakkht Ishq (which I have not watched).

It seems like Leonardo DiCaprio also wants to jump on the bandwagon according to a recent article in the local papers.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Pali Hill

This video clip is specially created for the friends who have been wondering what our neighbourhood is like. It isn't very much different from any of yours - there is a mixture of apartments, houses, shophouses.

This neighbourhood is rather self-contained, I can find most things within 10 minutes drive without having to make a trip into town. There is a good selection of grocery stores, restaurants of most cuisines, fruit & vegetable stores, roadside stalls (locksmith, egg seller, chaiman (man selling Indian spiced tea), clothes boutiques, salons and spas.

For those in Singapore, Pali Hill is similar to Holland Village (the slightly grimier version) with lots of expatriates living around here. But at the same time, there is another part of my neighbourhood which is highly populated with the locals at an area called Khar Danda (also known as the fishermen folk area).

It's a nice and peaceful neighbourhood, we are happy with our choice and feel safe here.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Picture Day!

Today's entry will consist of pictures only because
i) it's the weekend
ii) finally managed to sync my memory card

Haji Ali Mosque

Taj Mahal Hotel

Steady head

Happy sales boys who wanted their picture taken

Which one to buy for CNY? Spoilt for choice!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wake me up in 30 minutes...

Some of my close friends might have heard this story but to those that haven't, here is my first horror experience with the maid, J.

J was a referral that came to interview with us. I thought ok, let's try her for she claimed to have lots of experience working with expats, had a good command of English. I did find her a tad bit talkative but MC said it was as she was nervous, her hands were shaking throughout the whole time.

Our agreement was she would be a live in maid on 6 day week, and be in charge of doing all domestic house chores. I asked J about salary expectations, she said she was fine with whatever salary offered. Then, I was clueless on market rate on salaries so I told her I'd have a think and get back to her.  She said ok.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Our theatre experience

On my second week in Mumbai, I got invited to go watch Mission Impossible 4 as MC's company was organizing an ice-breaking event. How excited I got for I'd only being doing boring stuff then (i.e. unpack, unpack & unpack). Ok in all fairness, our movers did a great job in unpacking. They emptied all the 180 boxes of our belongings and placed them in respective rooms. All I had to do was reorganize how I wanted my things - clothes arranged in colour order, kitchen utensils based on usefulness etc.

So anyway back to the movie, we were going to watch it at an IMAX big cinema. Got there in the nick of time, there was the typical rush hour traffic. We rushed in but as usual, had to go through the body scan procedure. Here it is a requirement to have your body scanned before entering most buildings. There will be two queues - 1 for men and another for women. The women would be required to enter a small curtained chamber where their bags are checked and body scanned by handheld device.

Monday, 9 January 2012

I have no mummy, no daddy

Child beggars are a common sight here in India - they can be found in flocks at touristy places and major traffic intersections. Before migrating to India, I was warned by a local Indian to never give any beggar money. Apparently it is all part of a syndicate and they have been trained to master the art of manipulating people's sympathy. The local news have reported that some of these child beggars are actually kidnap victims who are put out on the streets to earn some money for the syndicate.

I believe that there might be some genuine cases of beggars who are subjected to such practices for whatever reasons. My golden rule is that I typically never give beggars money, but instead give them food. On days that I go out, there would be a stash of candies, chocolates and small packs of biscuits for give-aways.

Scene 1
While leaving the Haji Ali Dargah mosque, I was approached by a boy around the age of 8.
Boy: "Mdm, please give me money. I have no mummy, no daddy. Please mdm."
Me: (The strings of my heart were tugged) I gently shook my head.
Boy: "Please mdm, I have no mummy no daddy" (10x).

Sunday, 8 January 2012

One Month

Namaste! It's hard to believe it's been a month since I migrated to Mumbai - it feels longer! Am now living in our new apartment which is feeling rather homely with all our belongings in. My utmost priority now is to play the role of interior decorator i.e. spruce up the luxurious extra space we have compared to our previous home in Singapore. It has so far been rather testing due to my lack of familiarity with the good home decor shops, inability to find pieces that cater to my taste and the traffic.

For those who have not been to India or Mumbai might wonder what it is like. I'll be honest, my current perception of Mumbai is very different from when I'd first visited it August for recce. During my first trip to Mumbai, little did I realize then I was visiting it in it's worst possible light. It was smack in the middle of monsoon season and out of the 3 day trip I caught a cold and was plagued with the infamous Bombay belly!