Friday, 30 September 2011

A favour, please!

Just back from a dinner where a few of us talked about Singapore stuff - there were Sito and I, a Malaysian who spent more time in Sg than Malaysia, and a couple from PRC who spent more than 10 years in Sg studying and working.

Now I have a strong urge to go back to Singapore - home is still best! I don't even mind working! :)

So I have an idea....

My dear friends, we need your help! Please join us in praying - in our respective beliefs - that Sito lands a good job in Singapore (needs to be better than his current job offer in the US!) so that we can go back after graduation next year!

May our collective prayers work.... Thank you thank you...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Delightfully huggable, or not

Followed links to a recent TV ad by London Weight Management and read a lot of negative comments on it. Many people are denouncing the ad - trivialising post-natal depression la, demeaning women la...

I just found it funny, especially when the music went from depressing to bright and cheery as the woman looked enlightened, got up from her wheel chair, full of determination (crescendo) to.... head for a slimming centre.

The ad is just ludicrously trying to put all their target clients into one woman - women who has excess flesh after pregnancy, women who work in a place where image is everything, women who think that being slim will get them everything.

I can imagine that there are people who feel that their fatness is the bane of everything else in their life. Examples:
1) I'm fat, that's why he doesn't like me. If I were slim, he will like me. (Well, he may like your new body, not sure about you...)
2) I'm fat, that's why I failed the interview. If I were slim, I will get that job. (Sure, if you double your wits as you halve your weight..)
3) I'm fat, cannot wear that dress (perhaps to seduce said "he" above). If I were slim, I can fit into that dress. (But it may not suit you!)

Thing is, there are women like that. The developed world grows up learning that slim is good, fat is bad.

Sure, perhaps LWM shouldn't be encouraging such behaviour but LWM is a company, not MOE! There are negative influences everywhere. What I find the most funny is when some people asked where the censors were for this ad. I thought people didn't want censorship?? (And then the Abercrombie ad happened...)

Anyway, I would have forgotten this ad if not for Tuesday, when I discovered to my shock and horror what a summer of sitting in front of the computer (and the trip to the west coast) had done to my weight since May - I gained 5kg in four months!

I'm now at my heaviest EVER. Yes, I'm weighing more than my peak in Oxford. New record! I already have some ugly veins showing on my legs since my last Amazing Weight Gain 10 years ago. And I'm now 10 years older and no more fitter than last time. I think I'd better do something about this new weight gain.

But no, I'm not going to a slimming centre!! Although I must admit that I was once silly enough to have spent a few hundred dollars on slimming massages some years ago. I lost nothing from those massages but I thought I gained a thing or two from the nutritionist who came with the massages.

So why did I become "enlightened" and head for the shortcut slimming solution when I was only a little chubby from university days? (I eventually lost the weight from exercise and improved eating habits, e.g. 云吞面白的不要油 - didn't give up carbs :p)

Financial independence was an excuse. To be very honest, I have always had a body image issue.

I grew up as a tall and big kid among puny kids. I was still in primary school when I outgrew my mother's adult dresses. Hell, I was heavier than an uncle by the time I was nine!

At the same time, I love carbs - rice, noodles, pasta, savoury pancakes, potato. I love meat - red or deep-fried is always good. I love desserts - chocolate cake, brownies, cost chewy cookies, sweet pancakes. And I have no self-control sometimes. I don't crave for ice cream usually but if Sito goes away for days, I'll compulsively eat up all the ice cream. I bought a 20 oz can of unsalted roasted cashew nuts on Saturday and I finished it on Tuesday, and Sito had just one little cashew...

Oh, and ah, number (1) and number (3) :p

I still remember being inspired by Dove's Campaign on Real Beauty many years ago. It tells me to be less conscious of myself and to see beyond the physical of people around me.

I do know big men and big women, but the person within is bigger than the physical person. Unfortunately, the me within is not bigger than the physical me. I'm tinier than I look. (Or write, actually.)

For some time, I have accepted that I'll always have a bit of flab around the tummy and thighs; I'm delightfully huggable :) I didn't even exercise or control my diet for our wedding. But the latest 5kg gain is quite a shock. I'm still huggable but whether that's delightful now, I have to ask Sito haha!

I don't know if it's because of that that I didn't feel hungry today - I took an hour to eat lunch. But I knew even with lunch I would be hungry during the afternoon class so I force-fed myself *.* And then after dinner, Sito came back with cookies and a slice of really rich chocolate cake :) so despite not being hungry, I compulsively ate a cookie and the cake anyway :(

(I guess he must say I'm still delightfully huggable since he fed me sweets right? :p)

Now that school has started, I have classes every Monday and Thursday, and I go downtown every Friday. I'm not in front of the computer all the time now! I'll try to make Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays gym days to target the 5kg. Must keep fit and healthy!!

For now, I shall google for celebs caught without make-up to lift my spirits a bit :p

Update 2 Oct 2011

I think I wrote the above for nothing. We bought bathroom scales finally, after Sito convinced me that I could weigh myself often and avoid sudden massive weight gain in future. Then I found that our friend's old bathroom scales were just wrong - I didn't gain 5kg at all! I've gained maybe 1kg since May. (Our bathroom scales couldn't be wrong because they're new!) Very, very relieved... But it's not for sure that I wouldn't pile on more over the long winter when my body stores fats involuntarily. So let me not be slack with gym!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Random couply things

Just some random stuff that happened these two or three days..

1)
Went to ka jiao him at his desk, standing next to his chair and just hugging his head against my chest. He then put his head under my shirt and stayed there for a while.

mf: Hmmm, I cannot suffocate you with my boobs *.*

Then he came out panting.

Sito: Your stomach is suffocating me..

!!!

2)
This follows from above.. So he pressed my tummy with a finger. The finger sank in. Then I flexed and told him to press again. Still soft :(

My turn. I pressed his tummy with a finger, and it sank in a lot!! Then he flexed and I pressed again, and woah, that was something! :p

I went with him to the gym after that, my first time in more than a month - he to up his oomph factor and me to get rid of the soft layer!

3)
We were quietly having our dinner and watching news clips on CNA when we heard this guy pronounce "feels" as "fuse". We turned to each other and went "fuse".

So mean!! :p

4)
Chocolate with 85% or more cacao is supposed to be a good brain food. So I bought some 85% cacao Godiva and fed him one square after dinner.

Sito: I feel smart already!

And he went to shit.

5)
Sito: *whispering* bah kwa...
mf: No.

Three seconds later..

Sito: *whispering* bah kwa...
mf: ... Ok la... (psst: I'm so nice right?!)
Sito: *light-bulb-moment look* Bah kwa has fewer calories than instant noodles!
mf: *glare*

As I turned to the fridge, I suddenly remembered that I hadn't fed him dark chocolate yet! So I fed him that instead of bah kwa :p

Five minutes later...

Sito: *whispering* bah kwa...
mf: Wa liao...

Now he has his bah kwa and is quiet.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

A time to remember

I just came back from a baby shower (my first!) and from visiting a new mum and her newborn downstairs, and I was thinking about babies when I suddenly realised that tomorrow would be 26 Sep 2011, the estimated due date of our Angel Baby.

How time has flown. Half a year went by just like that, and I had achieved nothing at all.

The other day, when I was at the Museum of Contemporary Art with WSY, I found a naked baby doll with wings at the museum store and almost bought it until I saw that it was a boy ^.^ Well, we don't know whether our Angel Baby is a boy or girl, although I think it's a boy - based on the mum's gut feel and from some website that churns out the gender based on some info, so far twice accurate for two JVs here!

Anyway, I thought it might be nice to get something concrete to represent Angel Baby. But nothing suitable seems to come by. I guess for me who throws out stuff every few years, perhaps a spot in the heart is the most suitable of all.

This year has seen us through extreme joy, extreme anxiety and extreme sadness. Not sure what I'm feeling right now, a bit down, but overall, zen...

Another familiar dish

Ta-da! 干捞云吞面!



Followed the recipe from My Wok Life again, just that we don't have fried shallot oil. And I should have increased the amount of soy sauce for Sito cos well, I fed him more than a bundle of noodles :p

Been making familiar Singapore dishes lately - first prawn noodles then Hokkien mee. At first it was because Sito was getting saturated from all the angmoh outside food during his internship. Now it's to make him happy, relieve his stress due to all the recruiting for jobs in Singapore. Maybe I'll make chicken rice next week - using Prima Taste premix la, hoho!

Sito, jia you! :)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Then library, now...

During my backpacking days some 10 years ago, I would highlight public libraries alongside key attractions. Why? For free internet access!

I still vividly remember feeling all anxious when I saw emails from the other seven mathematicians in my college saying that mods (name of our first-year exams) results were out on the board. I couldn't wait to see with my own eyes!

Now, who cares about looking for public libraries when you can use a smart phone? Don't care for high 3G bills especially if you're roaming? Look for free wifi - many hotels and cafes have free wifi these days. Or just head to the nearest Apple store where you can "upgrade" from squinting at a smart phone* to surfing on a 27" iMac :p

Of course, Sito would point out the part with the asterisk to me, and begin his usual sell, "But if we have an iPad..." and flash me his winning smile :)

So we're just waiting for the gift card from recycling our old Mac before buying the much coveted tablet. Useful for him - it's a new toy and it replaces his personal laptop whenever he's got to go out of town for work next time. Useful for me - I can watch dramas on a bigger screen while on the treadmill! :p

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Writing then vs. writing now

From this week, I have classes every Monday and Thursday, 10.30 am to noon and 3.30 pm to 5.00 pm. Just the past Monday, Sito and I walked to school together :)

And it was during one of the two classes on Monday, when the professor was talking about the final written exam, that a thought hit me.

How different writing has become!

Remember composition? It started with a sentence back in primary school. Then it become a para, a few paras, a few hundred words...

I remember those days when a few quick sketches on a piece of scrap paper were all I had to guide my composition on the actual exam script.

Now? I make my sketches by typing on this page before expanding on them into a full post. Similar? I don't think so. I think my entire thought process has changed.

For a simple post like this, I don't need an outline and I can write more or less continuously. For my long posts, I usually have an outline, but I'll keep editing - add, change, delete, more words, sentences and entire paras. I certainly don't remember having to do so much editing for my compositions years ago!

Maybe I didn't know or think too much when I was a student so I didn't deviate much from my outline, compared to now when I know and think more (although it's a different story whether I think coherently!). But I think it's more likely that I used to have a good idea of what I wanted to write. Now, I have simply become lazy with conceptualising my thoughts and instead taken the easy way out with very, very rough sketches, relying on text editing technology to compose my thoughts. Technology also gives me an excuse to have thought diarrhoea and type every little thing out before organising them together.

It's me feeling stupid again... Sometimes I feel that whatever brain mass I gained from all those years of schooling is useless outside the school. Seriously, who would ask me to prove Pythagoras' Theorem?!

Or just blame work - all that vetting and rewriting ruined me!

* It's feeling-unhappy day though there really isn't anything to be unhappy about.

miso: Say it out loud - P.M.S.

Monday, 19 September 2011

My sandwiches :)

So when Sito is away at work, I'll often have a sandwich for lunch and/or dinner. Here are some of my favourites :)

Bah kwa sandwich

My favourite so far! It was an accident, really. I dropped two half slices of bah kwa on the floor while taking other stuff from the fridge so I washed the bah kwa (yes I did!) and layered them on a slice of cheese, topped with a generous handful of spinach and three drops of reduced fat three cheese ranch sauce.

But I forgot to take picture *.*

Sunny-side up sandwich



Um, I just replaced the bah kwa with the (hidden) egg :p

East-meets-West sandwich



I happened to have extra boy choy from the night before but I didn't fancy a bok choy sandwich *.* So I popped a hotdog into the microwave :p

Hotdog roll



Hotdog again?! Well, I happened to have some hotdog buns.. But I heathified it with chopped onions and a lot of spinach on the side, lightly drenched in vinaigrette. Thankfully I wasn't trying to lose weight.

Korean sandwich



Used left-over kalbi and fish cake! Look at the cut pieces under the spinach. It was really good.. Almost can fight with the bah kwa sandwich.

Meatloaf sandwich



I like to keep a stash of mini meatloaves in the freezer. Just reheat one with some chopped onions and pile onto a slice of cheese. Ta-da!

But this one doesn't look very good cos the onions were browned enough. Later versions with TWO mini meatloaves look better :)

Pizza sandwich



Sito brought back leftover pizza from his dinner. The dough wasn't terribly good when reheated but the chicken topping was good! So I scrapped it onto a bed of spinach :p

Vege sandwich



After having some meat at lunch, I decided to have a vege sandwich with freshly made pepper confit, lightly microwaved spinach and guacamole!

Beef patty sandwich



Hmmm, the beef patty isn't too obvious here.. Made a couple of beef patties with leftovers from making the mini meatloaves, topped with a really generous serving of guacamole as I wanted to finish it - if I were to add any more lemon juice to stop it from turning brown, it would become too lemony!

Cinnamon sweet potato sandwich



Went for pub food the day before and had some leftovers. The sweet potato was really, really yummy!

Breakfast sandwich



Well, we had a few cans of beans so I had my first open sandwich! No meat but still full of proteins..

Mushroomy and cheesy sandwich



Again from leftovers. Somehow we just couldn't finish the mushrooms and they were starting to wrinkle so I stir-fried them, with butter I think..

When Sito was in Nicaragua, I had some sandwiches as well, but they were all repeats of my usual sandwiches. I think I still have some bread left from two weeks ago haha! Keeping them in the fridge to soften brown sugar when I need it.

And today, I made a usual meatloaf, i.e. a big one! But it turned out crumbly and broke easily :( But it seems that it's also more moist this time. Well, one portion is in the fridge now so let's see if it remains moist tomorrow!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A very familiar feeling...

I'm sitting at my desk, mulling over stats and logic, trying to justify and rationalise, searching for evidence to back myself up.

This could very well be a scene taken out of any of my regular days between 3 Nov 2003 and 9 Jul 2010, but no, it's 18 Sep 2011, when I, a housewife in the Chicago suburbs, decide to put some Singaporean thoughts to cyber paper.

This is giving me a huge headache. But honestly, I'm enjoying the process.

Maybe I'll ask Sito to vet later. Just maybe.

What did we do with leisure time before Facebook??

That's a serious question.

Since my mid to late teens, I haven't been big on TV. I guess I read a lot. Got my first library card when I was seven or eight and I kept going to the library.

I think that was all I did in my leisure time before Facebook!!

Oh, wait. I have been blogging since end of 2004 too. And of course I went out with friends etc.

Now, how about a more specific question: what did we do with leisure time on the internet before Facebook?

Let's go back to the beginning...

When I first had regular access to the internet, it was in Oxford. And I was a full-time student who spent a lot of time on ICQ *.* and downloading songs *.* and watching Japanese drama *.*

But I was also using the internet to study! Ah ha! It wasn't all play :)

Back in Singapore, before mid 2007, I used the internet for mostly blogging and researching for holidays as I had no regular access apart from lunch hour at work. When I finally had internet at home, Sito and I used Skype a lot. And we would play Scrabble or something on Facebook together. But no, we weren't on Facebook all the time.

Then I had my iPhone. Suddenly, updating profile status becomes very easy.

And then we came to Kellogg. For me, work in the form of ex-employment, studies and household stuff isn't heavy. And Bejeweled is addictive. So addictive I killed Sito's mouse while he was in Nicaragua! And now I'm on Sims Social ALL.THE.TIME.

I'm so ashamed :( Sims Social (and other things) makes me less sociable :(

I should go back to a more disciplined life. Read. Blog. Research. I shouldn't spend so much time on Facebook. And this, is my start-of-school resolution.

Play Sims Social just once a day? *sheepish*

Saturday, 17 September 2011

California sunshine!

This has to be the most last-minute trip we've had so far. Settled tickets and hotels only five days before the journey!

Wednesday, 17 August - plenty of wonderings...

Welcome to Tinseltown, Mr and Mrs Sito! :)

Woah... Wait wait, not so fast... We had to take an airport shuttle to the Metro station, negotiate three different Metro lines and walk three blocks before we finally reached our hotel. Along the way, we saw plenty of freeways, empty spaces and ulu areas, and some looked familiar, like this:



Do we need a car? We wondered...

I found Hollywood Stars Inn on Expedia, conveniently located in the Hollywood area, with cable TV, free wireless, toiletries etc. But it also smelled of "air-conditioned smoke" - I don't know how else to describe it! And there were brown cigarette marks on everything - bedside table, dressing table, wash basin, and there were even tiny burn holes on the curtains!

Seemed like I got us a Hotel 81 heh? *.* We just didn't see any hourly rate on display :p But for $75++ a night, it was good.

We had a Metro day pass so we headed somewhere far for dinner - Little Tokyo! We passed by the toy district but all the shops were closed by then - it was only 7 pm! - and the whole area was very eerily deserted...




Is this a city?? We wondered...

But Little Tokyo was nice enough! We settled on San Sui Tei for ramen :) and gyoza :) and Sapporo draft beer :)



Trivial: On the way home, I was randomly reciting the Japanese alphabet. And Sito went, "ramen!" I hadn't gone to r, m and n yet!! *pout*

Thursday, 18 August - reaching for the stars

And today, we went deep into Tinseltown, after a satisfying breakfast at the Macs across from our hotel, no less.

We were walking along Hollywood Boulevard, the more ulu part of it, when we saw a small group of people standing in front of a gap between two buildings... It's the Hollywood sign!



We didn't bother crossing the road, just snapped a shot from afar :p

Finally reached the beginning of the Walk of Fame, but that wasn't our destination - we hopped on a bus to Warner Bros for a studio tour!

We were early and had time to explore the shop - plenty of Harry Potter stuff!



Opening next spring :( In the UK :(

Our guide brought us to a soundstage that was just starting to be disassembled - the set for Ellen where we saw a fat cat named Smokey. We also saw the filming crew for The Mentalist!! But didn't see anyone familiar.. Can't wait for the next season..

We also went to the largest soundstage where they filmed The Perfect Storm and Poseidon. It has a huge water tank for such scenes, under ground level.



They also have a forest, where the scene of the dinosaur chasing the jeep in Jurassic Park was filmed - apparently, they went around the short trail a few times to get enough footage! Later in San Francisco, we happened to watch Jurassic Park on TV - it felt...strange :p

This picture shows part of the forest where the front of a house stands...



And here's a shot of the soundstages from outside - looks familiar? :)



The studio is like a huge factory. They produce backdrops, rooms for sitcoms etc. There is a huge building of decorative stuff and furniture where set designers go shopping! And I heard with undisguised envy about the eight miles of wardrobe and three miles of shoes and bags! *drools*



You know when people break glass bottles on heads? Special bottles, like the one I was attempting to whack Sito with!



And all these are not just for Warner Bros productions - other people may rent their soundstages, rent their furniture etc.

Can you recognise this set?



Friends! So nostalgic..

We also went to two museums in the studio. The first was a transportation museum. Plenty of cool cars from Batman and Austin Powers, but my fave is this:



They even took a picture of us and superimposed on Hogwarts Express!



The second had the entire second floor devoted to Harry Potter! Now this was feeling like a Harry Potter tour :) We got ourselves sorted - I'm a Slytherin and Sito a Hufflepuff! :p No camera allowed, unfortunately.. But we had a lot of fun there.

We ended the tour with gelato at the shop, and skipped lunch totally! For good reason, you will see...

So it was "star search" time! We went back to Hollywood Boulevard to check out the stars. The signs are on both sides of the road but we only choose one side at a time as we walked down the boulevard. Nonetheless, we managed to find a number of familiar names - Arnold, Colin Firth, Gwyneth Paltrow, Pierce Brosnan, Steven Spielberg and even Disneyland and Shrek!

Chose to show Marilyn Monroe here as she was the first Hollywood star I heard of when I was a kid:



This was from our earlier trip to Chicago, on the way to Navy Pier. I think someone commented that "it's white".. Hmm.....?!



So Sito must take a picture with Shrek again! :)



And these were at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Sito with the original Spock:



mf with Julie Andrews - check out the date!



Then we HAD to have Hooters for dinner :p Plenty of wings, onion rings and quesadillas!



What followed was the Kodak Theatre!



No, we weren't just there to pose, even though I admit I would such a thing, ha! We were there for Cirque du Soleil!



We watched Iris, a journey through Hollywood, a new production schedule to premiere only in September - so we watched the preview! Before the show started, a few characters came out to interact with the audience. Quite funny, one of them had a big fake butt! During the show, my heart just went up and down as the characters swung up and down and through the air! And I gawked at the contortionists - at some points, I didn't know where I was looking *.*

Friday, 19 August - the walking day

Time for downtown!

We started with Olvera St, where we squeezed into a little eatery and ate with many locals. The food was simple but quite yummy. The eatery has an interesting "feel", rather unlike the bigger ones we saw later down the road.

This is me, making a wish at a wishing well.. But don't be fooled by the bright blue colour of the well - it's just that, colour! Well is dry *.*



There is a historical building, like a museum, so we went to have a look and understand the history of LA.



But generally, the whole street was kind of touristy, a bit too touristy.. The upside to this trip was....

NYPD??



NYC cabs? Hey, weren't we in LA?!



Yes, we were! And these were only the set for CSI: NY!

We walked a lot more to reach a more bustling area. We wanted ice cream but all we saw were smoothies and juices! How frustrating to not be able to get sinful stuff! But eventually we found one little store, and finished up with bubble tea :)

Then, it was more walking, bubble tea in hand, to find a cinema. Of course, we must watch a movie in Hollywood! And we finally chanced upon a Regal cinema! Watched Conan the Barbarian in 3D - expensive! $30! But we got to hold on to the 3D glasses :p

By the time we came out of the theatre, people were knocking off and the restaurants in the area were filling up. We prefered to eat cheap that day so we walked a little and ended up in Denny's. The food was ok but the brownie was amazing! Usually, the blot of ice cream is pathetic right.. But this one, the ice cream covered the entire brownie - and no, the brownie wasn't tiny! We were very satisfied :)

Saturday, 20 August - the bus day

We decided that LA wasn't a place we wanted to live in. So we escaped to San Francisco!

Took a Chinatown bus from somewhere far from our hotel. But we didn't get lost. The bus had some problem, however, and we had to change to another bus at our lunch stop. And that was where we encountered an asshole.

We were among the last to get on the bus and there were only single seats left. We asked a chap if he would mind if we swapped seats. And he replied YES! The reply itself was acceptable but it was the tone! And the assholey look! And the bus was supposed to be fully occupied, and this chap had his bag on the inside seat and refused to even move! We found seats nearer the back of the bus; I sat with a young boy and Sito with an old man. Later, we saw that the selfish chap HAD to move his bag anyway. Bah!

But the old man next to Sito was nice. He gave us tips on where to eat haha! There was also a baby on the first bus who was right in front of us. He kept playing with us and calling us 叔叔 and 阿姨! :)

We got into San Francisco a hour later than expected. But it was good, cos we had a nice room at SW Hotel in Chinatown! At $129++, it was one of the cheapest I could find in town. The room was tiny and the queen bed wasn't really queeny but it had everything, including fluffy white towels! And no smoky smell!



The next find was even better. 金山酒楼, or Golden Mountain Restaurant, was right across from our hotel. We had one of the most fabulous char siew EVER!



Yes, we ate ALL of that :) And the complimentary dessert - not in picture - was sago :)

Sunday, 21 August - three winey pals

It's mini road trip day!

YX picked us up at 10.30 am and we went on to Castello di Amorosa where we took a tour and did some wine tasting.

The tour was really fun! We think the owner is quite a fanatic from the way he built the castle. We also learnt a lot about European castle architecture in this tour, since we didn't take guided tours when going around Europe...

We walked through the castle court yard etc, but the main tour happened in the basement. Here's us in a tunnel full of wine barrels:



They even had a torture room! With torture equipment! Yes, a real castle would have a torture room!

We had a short barrel tasting session, a two-year-old barrel, before the main tasting session, where we tasted the same wine but four-year-old. We shared so we managed to taste all 14 wines available!



Before we left, I posed at the vineyards outside :)



At the end of it, we were rather tipsy *.* So we must absorb the alcohol with KFC and A&W! :p



Check out the red and white boxes - they say KGC. This isn't pirated ok.. KGC stands for Kentucky Grilled Chicken!

The restaurant has a sign that says that the theft of mugs would be persecuted. But our rootbeer float came in a paper cup, bah!

Deciding that we couldn't drink anymore, we tried to drive to Point Reyes. But keying in "Point Reyes National Seashore" into the GPS brought us to the visitor centre, which is 45 minutes away from the coast! It was past 6 pm by then so we decided to head back to town. It was about time for YX to sleep since he just arrived from Singapore!

Not to settle for driving for nothing, I had to do something.. Being in a car, the only thing I could do was the dog-sticking-tongue-out-in-the-wind thing!



Oh, had to pump petrol on the way back. We're so used to having someone help us in Singapore!



We drove in via the Golden Gate Bridge. This turns out to be the best picture of the bridge of this trip. You'll see why...



And so we said bye bye to YX... Next we see him, it'll be with SF! We were saying four of us could go on a cruise together! :)

Not hungry at all due to the late lunch, we lazed around in the room watching Star Trek for quite a while before we headed out. But it was my foot before our stomachs - I had foot reflexology!! It wasn't cheap like back home, but it was cheaper than in Chicago and quite good. My only regret was that I couldn't pull up my skinny jeans so the auntie couldn't reach my calves..

Dinner was simply wan tan noodles. And we bought beef hor fun in black bean sauce for part 2 :p Then we watched a lot of TV and slept only at 2 am after The Mummy Returns!

Monday, 22 August - google babies!

We woke early for breakfast at the hotel. They had a decent continental breakfast, with a toaster, various spreads, cereals, juices and hot beverages. There was also a board showing the history of the owner of the hotel, quite interesting.

Then, we headed down south to meet more friends!

YR picked us up at the Mountain View Caltrain station and we stopped by Ranch 99 for some groceries before heading for Google for lunch. We bought a mooncake! :)

We parked next to a cone bike that can seat eight persons. Apparently, people have discussions while travelling from one building to another. But the thing moves really slowly. I can imagine why - the poor machine has to move some 600kg of flesh and blood!



We also saw people riding Google bikes. This is Sito posing :p



This is good to read before heading for lunch!



And finally we met XY and YJ! And they brought Little P with them - she's so cute and cheery! More on her later...

So they brought us to one of the canteens for lunch. It was way healthier than we thought it would be! I really enjoyed the yummy salads! But Sito cannot work there - the food isn't unhealthy enough for him :p

Went to the Google gift shop after lunch and along the way, chanced upon a photo gallery of Meng. I just googled him, quite funny - click on the link.

Next was Stanford. Such a beautiful weather!



We walked the grounds and took a look around the Memorial Court and went to meet CH for tea at the Stanford Bookstore. He looked so relaxed! Of course la, no more work for a while!

Then XY picked us up to go to her place, a nice little house filled with kiddy stuff :) We then picked D up from school - he didn't change much since we saw him two years ago! He grew bigger, yes, but I could have used photoshop to enlarge a photo of him from back then! D has a reputation for being hard to manage. But apparently he was shy with Sito and me so he was quite quiet. But I think he has "potential" haha!

Dinner was at Cooking Papa at Santa Clara. More Cantonese food! There was a nice dessert whose name I can't remember... Some puff..

I was carrying Little P before YJ arrived with YR and YL - wa, so many Y's! - as XY had to jaga D. P did something funny.... I felt her little hand feeling for my boobs! Um, disturbing, haha! And she was nibbling at my shoulder, which felt soooo cute! :)))) Handed her back to mummy to nurse - the little girl was hungry! :p

It was nice catching up with them over dinner, even though XY and family had to leave earlier. YR and YL dropped us at the train station, and I realised we didn't take a single picture together!! :(

Back in Chinatown, we went to a bakery near our hotel for an old fashioned cream cake and a 烧饼 to end the day, with Jurassic Park on the tele!

Tuesday, 23 August - dim sum and then some!

Today, we had no breakfast. We went in search of 皇宫 for a dim sum brunch! :)

Random shot along the walk - reminds me of childhood :)



Anyway... The best part about this place it that it has a push-cart system! We had har gow, siew mai, char siew bao, char siew cheong fun, har cheong fun, carrot cake, prawn balls and beancurd rolls, and we were so full!!

Must show everyone the cheong fun - the char siew one was the best I've ever had!



Took two buses to get to the Golden Gate Bridge and this was what greeted us:



!!!

We walked a little and managed to get some pictures after a while, still shrouded partially in fog..



Then we hopped on another bus, changed to a tram and alighted at Castro St for tea. My tea was a vile concoction of peppermint, stinging nettle (!) and dandelion. Bleah. Please, remind me to be less adventurous food-wise next time...

We took the tram again, this time for the shopping district! Bought two tank tops :) Hiao :p And a passerby helped us take a nice picture at a corner of Union Square :)



Back in Chinatown again, we found another foot reflexology place. This time, I changed into my berms before going. And the way the lady rubbed my feet reminded me of the auntie with curly hair in People's Park Complex! Suffice to say it was really, really good...

And dinner was a familiar spread:



Chilli crab! Besides the sambal kangkong, we also ordered seafood hor fun but by the time it arrived, we'd already tucked into the crab so no photo :p They also gave complimentary dessert - pulut hitam, yum!

Being not very very full, we grabbed bubble tea before heading back to the hotel, and had our mooncake! :)



We had quite a bit of bubble tea in San Francisco - they call it boba, for 波霸 as in 波霸奶茶 or so we guess. But the milk tea was pretty thick, so thick it felt like coffee sometimes!

Wednesday, 24 August - bye bye...

We did the touristy thing and ate at Fisherman's Wharf - clam chowder in sourdough bread bowl! And that wasn't enough. We had a nutella banana crepe with Mexican coke! It came in a glass bottle and tasted like childhood :)



Now, why did we zoom into on these sea lions? Cos Sito spotted the gender of the light brown sea lion - hoho!



And after four recommendations on In-N-Out Burger, from the girls, YX, YR and XY, we just had to try it and so we did! And....it wasn't spectacular... I just liked that it had a lot of vege.

Random picture along the way - bear says "gimme some chocolate" and I couldn't agree more :p



And so we headed back to Chinatown, passed by a hair salon and decided to cut our hair! $7 for Sito and $13 for me - super cheap! Sito's haircut in Evanston usually cost $20 and that was already among the cheapest here! So we were very happy :) And if I had remembered earlier, I would have rebonded my hair too but we didn't have that much time by then :(

I thought we looked good :) Sito still does but my hair is all a mess now, sighs... Here's us almost immediately after the haircut, on the plane waiting for take-off:



It isn't very clear here but I looked like I just stepped out of the Shinji Matsuo in mid 2006!

Today...

.. is many days after our holiday! Time to plan for the next? :)

Update 25 Sep 2011

Just heard from friends that the cities of LA are more representative of LA than the downtown area we were in. Downtown is like "where mummy goes to work". We were so clueless! Well then, if we go again and if we drive...
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