Ahhh it’s been a relaxing, lazy, super-soaked in sunshine and love and the magical possibility of the new year kind of break. I’m a bit late posting this (and have week 27 to post tomorrow!) but I’m sure you don’t mind. Sunshine and ice-cream must come first, no?
How I’m feeling? Getting tired again. It’s hit me all of a sudden, this fatigue and I find myself taking my time to go up the stairs slowly or even putting on pants take effort. You do not want to know the state of my toenails. Yeesh.
Fitness? Swimming, walking and prenatal yoga. I do this yoga routine a few times a week in the morning and it really does help me. I’m toying with the idea of the prenatal Vinyasa one I can do because my bones and heart aches for a good, sweaty yoga class but my body is telling me to ease up and stick with the stretching. My back thanks me every time I do it as well. Swimming has been awesome – especially in this heat, although it also means that the local pool is full of kids (also because it’s school holidays) and they kinda annoy me.
Can I say that?? I mean, I know I’m about to have my own kid, but seriously some of this little monsters need taming. Especially when they randomly come swimming into my lane despite them having THREE play areas AND a massive aqua play area in the big pool. I’ve nearly missed being kicked in the stomach several time coz of these kids.
Weight? Oh vey. Getting off the couch is at least a half-hour exercise and my belly seems to be stretching beyond belief. Those faint stretch marks I had right at the start are starting to show a bit more as well despite my generous slathering of Bio-Oil.
How I’m changing? I’m getting excited – the third trimester is just around the corner and that means the home stretch for me. I also find myself getting really protective of my belly, especially when I dared to negotiate the crazy shopping centres after Christmas. Not worth it. Although I did manage to pick up two cheapish sunglasses at 50% off, a new diary and monthly planner and some sheets etc for the baby’s bassinet.
What I miss? Sushi. It would be THE perfect summer meal right now. However, I do have Ev’s talent in making Vietnamese rice paper rolls and that’s just as good.
Symptoms? Back pain. It ACHES. I can’t sit still for too long. Or walk for too long. I feel like I need to be having a constant back massage.
Cravings? Hmm…cherries are awesome. But then again it’s been more like – if I see something, my mind immediately goes “Oooh I wouldn’t mind that” about a hundred times a day. I’m an advertiser’s dream right now.
Aversions? Nothing major.
Highlights this week? NEW YEAR’S EVE. We are hosting and it promises to be an awesome night of family and fun
It’s so fucking cold in the office. Usually the air-conditioning is stuck somewhere in between chilly breeze and ice-box, but today I feel like I have moved to the Antarctic. My arms are covered in so many goose bumps, it’s practically Braille. And the one day I don’t bring a cardigan. I have to subtly wear my hair down to cover my chestical area if you know what I mean.
I totally think it has to be a conspiracy dreamed up by men. Perverts.
This whole week I have been feeling not-so-attractive. Bloated, pudding-like and flabby. I know WHY, but it doesn’t make it any less fun. And it doesn’t help that every time I take the bus here in HK, I am inundated with the commercials advertising how I can be more beautiful if I slather myself in fairness creams (and by that same logic stay out the sun), go for slimming treatments, drink essence of chicken (I am not even kidding about this. It totally blew my mind. It got me to thinking what part of the chicken exactly is bottled up in there. And also consider whether people here just buy anything and whether I could make a fortune and retire by bottling MY own essence. You know you’d buy it.) or a combination of all.
Also you can become more regular by taking some weird herbal pill which is helpfully shown in animation. Thank you. I needed that graphic demonstration that early in the morning.
Clearly since this blog really is a place where I write about anything and everything, let me continue along this train of thought.
While my normal vices tend to work in making me feel emotionally better (I don’t have a problem. I don’t. *clutching the bottle tightly*), they’re also fairly counter-intuitive to help me feeling un-bloated. So I totally googled “how to reduce bloating” and the interwebs spat out the following:
Drink more water. Ok that might sound weird since you are retaining water, but trust me it works. The water flushes out the excess sodium in your body which is what is making it hold oh-so-tightly to the H2O and produce that non-food food baby.
From that logic – reduce sodium. Which has been hard since I didn’t even realise how much I am dependent on salt until my colleague borrowed my salt to gargle. Fairly normal request right? But stick to unprocessed foods and ease up on the ketchup and you’ll be right.
Also avoid food that causes bloating and gas. There’s a whole list that I didn’t really pay too much attention to. But YOU should. Eating food with soluble fibre like legumes, bananas, potatoes etc are really good in everyday digestive health. (Did I really have a sentence with ‘digestive health’ in it?? Oh lord.)
Exercise. Apparently moving helps as it swishes things around. Well – that’s the non-technical explanation, but basically if you sit on your ass all day, you tend to bloat more as it kinda has nowhere to go. And you know what I mean by that. So get up and move.
Also, a natural remedy is peppermint capsules. Have no clue where to find them so have been substituting for peppermint tea instead. So good.
Can I totally digress here for a second? Just writing that above, took me back to the early days of being married to Evs. The second day to be exact. For some unknown reason, Evs was showing me how to do crunches (and no not some weird kinky move for the bedroom) by holding onto my feet so that I could actually get up to do the move, when the inexplicable happened. Something so embarrassing that I had hidden it back into the deepest recesses of my scandalised mind.
I, um, farted.
In his FACE.
Oh, I am dying just saying that. He was of course, was very understanding (I mean how do you even REACT to your wife of literally two days doing that? The mystique was so meant to last longer than that!!) and we laughed about it, but not before I ran away and locked myself in the bathroom refusing to come out until he stopped rolling on the floor.
That’s got to be love right there.
Anyways, so I have been doing all the above as much as I can (and exercise wise – walking has been sufficient) and feel much better. You CAN beat the anti-bloat monster. But if it’s like IBS or the after-effects of that nasty kebab or something, then I am useless. Go see a doctor.
So much better that after my slightly hysterical meltdown in the change rooms of a clothing store here in HK (I swear they have no idea what to do with girls that actually have boobs and a butt) earlier this week I popped by to Marks&Spencers because they had a sale. And I had much better luck. Those UK people get it.
I bought two pairs of jeans.
Let me write that again.
I bought jeans.
This is a huge moment for me since I have not bought jeans for myself since…umm…2003. Give or take a few years.
Admittedly, I am now one size bigger than I was back then, but still – they fit well and were comfortable with no butt-cleavage and muffin-top action to be found. I am quite excited at the thought. I also bought a white linen kurta-style top/dress that is perfect for summer and some gorgeous accessories. Which took all the money I had at that time, but I WILL be back. I need new underwear and they look like they know boobs and butts.
This has been such a random post.
But I never claimed to make much sense anyways.
Jeans – are they are struggle to buy for you as well or is it just me??What is your most, ahem, embarrassing moment in front of your partner?
Despite the dire warnings from all and sundry, we decided to brave it in the name of Adventure and set off on Sunday morning via the MTR train service. After changing a few stops and train lines we were on our way. We had to go to the very end of the line (Lo Wu station) which is basically where most of the Shenzen shopping is located.
We were chatting away, when I remarked – “How do we know if this train goes to Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau?”
My companion looked at me baffled, and then said – “Shit. Good thinking 99”.
I comforted her in the thought that we had a 50-50 chance of being right, but as we kept going on it was clear that we were heading to the wrong stop. Should have known that it would also mean a 50-50 chance of being wrong.
Getting off at the practically deserted station, we waited giggling for the train to take us back. And realised we were waiting on the wrong side of the platform. To add further insult to our stupidity, while we were giggling, the train had come and gone.
Thought I'd take a picture to capture the moment of our stupidity
We made it to the right place finally, where further glimpses of our brilliance were witnessed – going to the immigration line without a visa, waiting for said visa and commenting that it would be funny if they didn’t take $HK and then going to get our money exchanged when they told us they didn’t take $HK. By then, my friend forbade me from speaking since it seemed everything I was saying was in a twisted way coming true.
Shenzen….was muggy. And dodgy looking. We immediately held our belongings close to our bodies as people inexplicably jostled into us (pickpockets are rife there). We were suddenly accosted by young men cajoling us with -Missy! Missy! You want handbag? Shoes? Come, I take you. What you looking for? You very pretty. You must be looking for me!”
In your very vague and non-sexual dreams mister. (Don’t really want them dreaming about me )
Shenzen was not really what I was expecting. I somehow had this image in my mind that it would be like Mongkok in that it would a whole heap of open-air markets. But in reality, it’s a multi-level shopping centre filled to the brim with tiny shops selling anything and everything. People stand at each corner and each escalator landing thrusting cards promising cheap massages and manicures (to which my heart and nails were immediately enthralled by) and “good price”.
We actually had lunch at that Taste cafe as well. Not too bad…
I was actually kind of nervous bargaining. I am so not a confrontational person and having to assert myself was slightly terrifying. But the thought of getting ripped off made me determined to bring out my apparently inbred Indian bargaining side (And I don’t mean *I’m* inbred. I’m from Melbourne, not Tasmania Uh oh – I have a whole state after me now!). I couldn’t shake the images of the Russell Peters sketch (Aha! It all makes sense now! ) from my head.
We first went to a tailor as my friend wanted to get some stuff made. It was quite overwhelming and we ended up asking one of the ladies standing nearby if she knew this particular tailor that was recommended to us.
“Ohhhh…LILY! Yes, I call.”
And in two seconds a cheerful, plump woman came running down the corridor of shops and introduced herself as “Lily”.
I was kinda holding off on this, only because we will be travelling to Hoi An soon which is like THE place to get stuff tailored for cheap in Vietnam. Still, I somehow managed to fall in love with some beautiful silk material and get roped into getting a dress made. My friend will go pick that up for me in the next week or so.
Lily also mentioned that she had a good friend who sold “quality” handbags and if we liked could see and due to her influence could get a “very good price”. Shenzen’s version of mate’s rates. Lily took us down to a small shop filled with bags and wallets and to a girl who also seemed to be named “Lily”.
The shelves were lined with familiar designs but with the labels missing. So I saw a Jimmy Choo Ramona but with just a small silver bit instead of the Jimmy Choo label. Or a Prada clutch with the tell-tale triangle where the Prada label would be. The other Lily girl assured me that they had “top-quality” bags in the back and to browse through the catalogues to choose.
And boy, did they have everything. Hermés, Chloe, Burberry, Miu Miu. They refused to tell me the price so they could ‘tell me altogether’. She also showed us some watches and earrings and my friend bought some cufflinks and I wrangled myself a nice fake Gucci watch. All this time, various people were walking in and out of the stores with coloured bags – dropping them in and taking back the same bags. It was really odd – but the reason for that became obvious when one of the bags contained the Chloe bag that I had requested to view.
Apparently the police have started cracking down on the illegal fake-designer business and so the storefronts only display nondescript slightly-familiar looking goods while the actual good stuff is hidden away. So while I was looking at the admittedly lovely bag (and Lily trying to assure me of its highest quality by taking a lighter to the bag to prove it was real leather), one of the guys rushed in and took the bag from my hands. The watches were swept away under the desk, Lily stacked away the catalogues and my friend and I were left bewildered to wonder what the fuck was going on.
It turned out that the police were doing a ‘raid’ and coming around to all the stores to check that they weren’t doing anything dodgy. Um, dodgy was certainly happening. We were uncertain whether we should stay or go, but Lily continued her bargaining as if everything was normal. The bag didn’t appeal to me anymore and somehow as I insisted that I really didn’t want it anymore, Lily took that to mean I wanted a lower price. So, as I was walking out of the store I managed to bargain the Chloe bag down to $500HK from the original asking price of $1650HK Believe me, I was pretty tempted but left without it.
But my proudest acquisition was the very unsexy purchase of some glasses. Frames, lenses all done in under an hour. I was sceptical since I just rattled off my prescription to them and they assured me that they could make it perfect. Bargained it down to $650HK which converted to less than $100AU. Not a bad deal at all, but I am pretty sure I still got ripped off.
They checked our eyes with some admittedly fancy machines which only made me wonder a few times why bother going to university and doing a four-year degree in Optometry when this was so much more painless. I doubt the authenticity of the Gucci frames I chose, but if they last even 6 months it won’t be too bad
A coffee and dodgy manicure later (I had to – couldn’t resist!), I picked up my glasses and was pleasantly surprised that they managed to get my prescription right (I am one of those freaky people that have two different strengths for each eye).
Hahaha I look like a nerd. It actually took my eyes some adjusting to the glasses since I haven’t actually worn them in so long. And that’s only because the only pair I have is left over from high school and definitely has seen better days as I tend to take out my frustrations on it (it has seen many a wall) and the nosepads always end up green.
Excuse the tired eyes…buggered after work.
That smile seems to be frozen as well. Shocking photo.
So all in all Shenzen was fine. I didn’t get mugged or pickpocketed or kidnapped. I bought some nice stuff and now I have a back-up plan for when my contacts decide to roll to the back of my eyeball*.
*True story. I thought I lost it and put in another to eventually find out that I had TWO contacts in one eye. Gross.
*Edited to Add: OMG! I also totally forgot to mention the crazy lady at one of the clothing stores selling fake Karen Millen dresses who nearly chased me out of there because I got some makeup on the dress she INSISTED I try on. She gave me an obviously too-small size and it barely fit over my head so I didn’t even wear it!! I was like HELL to the NO I am not paying for that!
If you wear them- glasses or contacts – what do you prefer? Ever bought a ‘fake’ item??
I went to Shenzen and all I got was this fake designer bag.
And watch. And cufflinks. Oh, and earrings.
Seriously. I tell the truth for all except the bag.
They should really do t-shirts for this. I’d buy it but not before bargaining it down to one-third of the original asking price and know that I most likely still got ripped off.
With my time in Hong Kong slowly coming to an end (and my Vietnam adventure about to start!), I am trying to cram as many things as I can in each and every minute I have.
Which meant my weekend consisted of a free yoga class organised by the Firm that on Friday night that made me painfully aware that I need more flexibility in my life (and have me craving a good regular yoga class once I get back to Melb!) and used muscles I didn’t even know existed. But one thing I learnt (Evs take note) is that I can stay in the Downward Dog position forever .
The gym where the class was held was something out a fitness fanatic’s wet dream. And actually mine as well. State-of-the-art machines. A stretching frame. Awesome changing facilities. Complimentary t-shirts, shorts and towels that didn’t make me look like a whale. Power plates and get this – their own BOXING ring in one corner of the gym.
I nearly squealed with delight like the one time that I thought I saw my teenybopper long-lost love Taylor Hanson in Melbourne and then they turned around and it was a long-haired blonde woman. True story. And anyone could make that mistake. I just never thought it would be me.
I followed up my super sweaty class with a big bowl of spicy ramen noodles which were de-fucking-licious (seriously the bowl was about the same the size of my head after reading all the compliments from my last post ). They were the good kind of spicy – hot enough to get my nose watering but so, so addictive. The waitress kept coming over to check on me with this worried look on her face, saying “It very spicy” and offering more green tea.
I was like, chest all puffed out, GET OUT OF MY WAY WOMAN, and don’t you KNOW I am INDIAN? I was RAISED on chilli!!*
* Total lie. In fact, I barely could eat chilli until I met Evs. He is solely responsible for unleashing the chilli monster within me.
Clearly, while I thought I won the battle of chilli that night, the next morning my stomach disagreed. Let’s just say my ass was on fire. TMI? Oh well.
I wakeboarded again on Saturday and am proud to say I did not faceplant once. Did you hear that? Not once. It was glorious and lots of fun. And tiring. I skipped an invitation from Jups to go her friend’s housewarming (even though I was hankering bad to relax with some red wine) and just kinda conked out.
Earlier in the week, I got a message from one of my high-school friends earlier who also happened to be in HK and also happens to be heading back to Melb at the same time as me. We agreed that one of the must-do things to do in HK is to travel across the border into South China to the city of Shenzen.
Shenzen is a mecca for fake designer items. But it’s also known as a Dodgy Place. So Dodgy, so that my ever-lovely colleague from Melbourne, didn’t want to risk going there without a Mandarin speaking person because her cousin’s wedding was coming up. Which, as you can imagine put me in a state of slight panic. If someone who is more tuned to HK doesn’t want to go without an escort, what chances do two pretty clueless Indian girls have in a strange city where literally everyone is out to swindle you?
And since this post is doomed to crash and burn and the sequel worse than the original, I shall leave it here before your short attention span like mine threatens to have you chasing a dog with a fluffy tail or trying to lick your own elbow. (You’ve never tried that??! You haven’t lived. Let me know if you can )
To be continued…
Have you ever been to a dodgy place by yourself against all good advice? Spicy food – can you handle it?
*100 points and a chocolate bar to the first person who can guess the line from the post title