Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2 oh oh 9

2009 is here!!! I have so many things I want to and HAVE to achieve. I don't think I did as much with this year as I could have. I think having so much time to myself and being away from everything and everyone has made me lazy. I feel I definitely could have done more! So here is my list for 2009:

1. Do more sewing. I have so many wonderful fabrics and patterns but something always gets in the way, usually vegetating on the couch or looking up useless stuff on the net. If I put an hour aside every evening to sew I could have a new piece of clothing adorable every week! I'd also like to be able to make my own patterns so doing some classes this year would be good!

2. Keep up the exercise. I have been exercising a lot more than usual and I really want to keep that up. I adore yoga and swimming and even lifting weights! I will definitely be joining a gym with a pool! I think I will even buy a bike to run all my errands around the neighbourhood on. I got addicted to bike riding in Kyoto.

3. Improve my Charleston and Lindy hop. I LOVE my dancing. I feel at my happiest when I'm being flung around the dance floor or cutting loose on my own with some crazy Charleston. Being away from Perth meant that I couldn't partner dance anymore (Mr A doesn't swing). I have been doing some Charleston but the hot weather makes it difficult to practise a lot without dying. I've also had problems with my knees that I haven't addressed because doctors in Thailand are a little scary. So I will be going mad on dancing when I get back! If I could get this good I'd be in heaven.

4. Start Clara Cupcakes! I'm starting my own cupcake bakery! My lovely friend Mel (and the owner of my burlesque troupe) has offered me the bar in her new space, the Burlesque Lounge. It will only be twice a week but it's a great way to get my teeth into the business, test recipes and see if it's all really for me without outlaying any massive costs. I'm hoping to also start my own little line of retro aprons to go along with it and eventually own my own bakery. *squeal*

5. Have more parties! Invite more people over for dinner too! I love cooking and don't do it enough! I love cooking for other people and making them happy through food. And parties are always glorious fun. Totally worth the clean up the next day.

6. Reach my goal weight. It has been eluding me for years and appears to only be getting further away! 9kgs and counting!!! If I keep the exercising next year it should be no problem.

7. Be flexible enough to do the splits. I am so close!!! Just a few more centimeters. I used to be really flexible when I was younger but have gotten less so over the years. I want it back!

8. Improve my Japanese. I speak broken Japanese at best. I really want to get fluent so I can have a conversation with my wonderful host mother in Tomioka. It would be wonderful! So I plan to be conversational by the end of the year.

9. Buy a house! This is something me and Mr A are obsessed with at the moment. We have been searching real estate websites like crazy. I really want a 1920's house. Wood floors, high ceilings, an old auger in the kitchen. Lovely. I can picture it all in my head. Something like this! Oh I can see it now!!

10. Stop procrastinating and make better use of my time. This way, I can achieve all my goals for the year! Woohoo!!!

11. Get back to tap lessons. I gave them up in a bout of frustrated arghness but I really want to learn to tap. It would help a lot with my Charleston dancing. Plus, Gene Kelly is my god. If I could ever dance even a 10th as well as he could I would die happy.

12. Get a little playmate for Gretchen. We will both be working next year so Gretchie will need some company. She's okay on her own (British sort hairs usually are) but I think she would like a friend. She's also really overweight from living in a smaller apartment (she's an inside cat) for the last 6 months. Having a friend to tear around with should help her shed those extra kilos.

Hopefully I can tick all these off this year. One for every month. Happy times!!!! Have a great New Year everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Going Honkey Nuts!

Mr A and I had this trip booked for a ages for over the Kings Birthday weekend. Macau, Hong Kong, Xi-an and Beijing. But thanks to the lovely people of PAD ( I am still angry at you for keeping Facehunter out of Bangkok by the way) we thought we would have to change our plans. Thankfully the airport opened 2 days before our trip and the lovely staff at Thai airways changed our flights for us free of charge! We couldn't go to Macau anymore and so we went straight to Hong Kong instead.

To be honest I have never really wanted to go to Hong Kong. I was never on my list but I can tell you right now I'm so glad I went! Hong Kong is AMAZING!

We had 2 nights in the most amazing hotel in a club suite and lounge. I loooooovvveee hotel breakfasts and this one had the best! So delicious! Here is the crazy chrismassyness on the outside of our hotel!
and inside!
So anyway, the first night we met up with Nick and Kim who had been in Macau, gambling their lives away. We went and saw a crazy light show across the way in Hong Kong proper (we were on Kowloon). It was pretty cool! That sky!!!
Afterwards we went out to dinner at this super cheap Hong Kong noodle shop. We walked in and the waiter yells at us "How many people?? Four people?!! FOUR PEOPLE!!!". He promptly kicked two guys out who had almost finish and plonked us down while yelling "FOUR PEOPLE!!!!" at everyone else in the shop. They were some tasty, tasty noodles though! Oh it was also Nick's birthday! Hooray! Birthday noodles!!

Afterwards we went in search of beer and shopping. Hong Kong is amazing for shopping, but a little expensive! Compared to Bangkok anyway. I didn't actually end up buying anything that night aside from a delicious baked sweet potato. After wandering around Kowloon for hours (much of which was spent trying to find birthday cake for Nick - fail!), drinking some beers and seeing a hilarious man slap fight (they were yelling at eat other but slapping themselves in the face) we decided to head home as my feet were about to fall off from coldness. Kim and Nick bunked down in our room for the night.

Kim and Nick left very early the next morning to head back to Macau. We decided to catch the ferry across to Hong Kong and do a spot of shopping and touristy stuff. I was quite lovely on the ferry.

We walk straight off the the ferry and up the road a little and what do I find..

*holy grail type music* ahhh ahhhh ahhhh ahhhh ahhhhhhhhhh. H & M!!!!!!
We don't have any in Australia so I was sooooo excited! I was like a kid in a very stylish candy store. Here's what I got:

Super cute button scarf, army style hat thingy AND seamed stockings pale enough for my legs! Sadly, I had to leave behind the most beautiful pair of patent mauve brogues because there were none left in my size! BOOO!!!

After that we decided to go up the hill for a gander over Hong Kong. We catch a cute little tram up and look who I saw waiting in line.

I squish you Jackie Chan! There is a Madame Tussards on the lookout ,though I wouldn't recommend going unless you are a big fan of Asian movie and pop stars.

We had some more lovely photos from the peak, including our ridiculous but delicious lunch at Bubba Gump (best key lime pie ever) but Mr A managed to delete them.

We went back to hotel after that for a rest and some afternoon tea and then headed out for some afternoon tea and a nap before shopping and sight seeing again! Oh Hong Kong, I love you.

Lion dog!!!

Here's my little haul:

All from Granville road, the best shopping street ever!!!

The next morning we were leaving for Xi-an so we took some time to walk around the parks and the foreshore. Lovely!

That's all for my little Hong Kong jaunt. Stay tuned for Xi-an and the terracotta warriors!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


(this photo was too disturbing not to post!)
There is a funny little joke in Thailand that amuses me. In Australia, we tend to use LOL when we think something is funny (not me. I hate text talk but anyways!). But in Thailand if something is funny they write this: 555

Why you ask?

Because 5 in Thailand is Ha. So 555 = Ha Ha Ha!!! I think it's awesome! This doesn't even really warrant it's own post but I couldn't think of another place to slip it in. So there you have it! Now your in on the joke if your Thai friend sends you a message!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

A very Clara Christmas

This year marks my second Christmas in Asia. Last year I had a very Japanese Chrisamasu, KFC and creamy Christmas cake and all. This year of course, I am in Bangkok. I was pretty bummed because we didn't have a tree (I have the most beautiful glass decorations at home) but I was cheered up immensely by helping my American friends decorate theirs. We did that a few weeks ago aided by some of my cinnamon hot chocolate. And the polar bear hats of course!!!!

Then on Christmas eve we had a little "family" get together at Kim, Nick and Morgans. Kim made some delicious chicken and broccoli pasta, some salad and provided the wine. I made some gingerbread men!

We decided to do a little secret Santa instead of individual presents for everyone. Marisa was my Santa!

She got me a super cute tea set and some patches! Loved them!

It was a really fun night! We drank wine, played charades (we finally kicked the boys butts!), talked to Kim's parents on skype, played dress ups with Morgan and Marisa's ridiculous Santa and Mrs Claus costumes and had cushion races down the hallway!

Thai style posing.

the bearded lady

We call him Sven.

Mr A and I slept in (with the exception of my sister calling at 6 am - urrrggghh) and got up around 10.30 for presents. He got me this adorable strawberry shaped pot with matching bowls and a cookie cook book! Some of my presents still haven't arrived from the Internet so I get double presents! Yay!!

I got Mr A a bunch of retro tin toys he'd been eyeing off for a while.

We then indulged in some deliciousness in the form of Crepes and Co and their delicious cheese fondue crepe and Moroccan mint tea. MMMmm. We got home to the lovely present of almost having our power shut off due to Mr A's inept receptionist and spent 2 hours wrestling with them over the phone. We managed to get them to hold off on cutting the power ill the next day. PHEW!

In the evening we caught up with Ms Morgan for some Japanese buffet and ice skating. I put on my more festive, chrissmassy outfit! The buffet at Shabu Shi was delicious. It's always good! A little odd for Christmas though!

After stuffing ourselves silly with sushi we went to the top floor to go ice skating. To our horror, some Scrooge had hired the whole venue out on Christmas. This photo best expresses my disappointment.

So we decided to go bowling instead. It was really fun! I am the worlds worst bowler!! We were in the Christmas bowling spirit!

Bowling butt shots!!!


We played 2 games and after scoring a miserable 57 in the first game, I won the next one with 109!

I can do it!!!!

I had an excellent Christmas. Different but excellent. I will confess, I am looking forward to finally having one at home next year. My own tree, my lovely cat and family. Yay!

Have a great New Years everyone!!