Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Well-Deserved Celebration

We figured the occasion called for a celebration. Deposit on new flat was put down in early January 2010. Legal completion of the sale and purchase was only in end July 2010. Almost 7 months of waiting - quite painful waiting at times it seems.

So when we figured handed over the cashier's order for the 6-figure final payment, we went all out to have a good meal at OChre at Orchard Central, a contemporary Italian restaurant.

This was a 6-course meal, with a sorbet palate cleanser also
counting as one course! It ended up being a rather expensive dinner, with an additional 2 glasses of wine and a limonata. We had a fresh tuna sashimi starter with tapenade and a tiny bit of salad. Very delicious even for a non olive lover. The tomato broth was next. It was light and thin with a mussel and 2 little clams. I had to add some freshly ground black pepper to take the fishy smell off. But overall it was still tasty.

I had the risotto with parma ham while G had orecchiette in a tomato-based sauce which actually tasted like the tuna pasta that he frequently makes for a quick dinner. Both the risotto and the pasta was slightly undercooked and although edible, both dishes would have been much better if cooked for a bit longer. A bit of a
disappointment in texture altho the flavours were quite good for mine.

My main course was the herb-crusted lamb chops. They weren't very big but they were extremely delicious. I like the daikon strip too for its somewhat unique and almost bitter-sweet taste.
G had the fish as his main course.

And finally it's dessert time. Mine was a pretty berry
compote on a fromage texture sort of pudding while G's was an expresso gelato on a creme caramel. Mine was very good and G tried to trade but I was generous (and too full) and shared mine with him without even a taste of his. Coffee and tea came along with the meal, G's expresso was fine but my latte was not up to standard so I didn't finish it and saved the calories!
So all in, a well-deserved celebration. Now we wait for another 3 weeks where we will treat ourselves to another celebration when we physically get the keys.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Artistic Treats

Hotel Eclat in Taipei is a boutique hotel at the quiet end of the shopping street. In fact it must have been right at the end where no more shopping exists, the street was quiet except for the scary Taipei traffic. And it is new so not many people know of it.

In spite of (or because of) its lack of size, it tries to make up in style and high-tech gizmos in the room. I liked the Nespresso machine but found the 5 remote controls too much. Especially when I could turn on the TV with 2 of those remote controls but unable to get any channel to come on with any of the remote controls!

But I was tickled by the artworks around the hotel. The brochure boasted of works by Dali, Warhol and a couple of Chinese artists whose name I forget, but the Chinese artworks are distinctive, in the sense that many Chinese artists have been making art in that style - like the sexy Ms Piggy toting the pink handbag, perhaps a statement on the consumerist culture that is so pervasive in the nouveau riche stratum of society. Or the laughing skinny, bald-headed chap in the traditional bowing stance. I love the gorgeous light fixtures, all pretty baubles and the Roy Lichtenstein inspired fabric for the baroque armchair.

This was a breath of fresh air that made a nice change in the usual corporate hotels we get stuck in for work trips. What a treat.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010


This was our home in Surry Hills.

This was our home in Cammeray.
Now we are just waiting for our new home in Cassia Crescent. Another 5 weeks to go.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Our Own Space

It's finally getting close. I found an apartment I like on my 10th day back in town in January. Put down a deposit the weekend after. And then waited. And waited. And waited some more. And finally we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the waiting game is coming to an end.

I also contacted my old designer/contractor who did my last apartment, about 5 years ago. He actually remembered me. I really liked the custom-made hydraulic storage bed he had designed and constructed for me the last time. We will probably do something similar because G, the tall boy needs to have a long bed, Asian length beds don't work. At 180 cm, the length is already 5 cm shorter than he is, and considering one doesn't sleep right at the top of the mattress, his feet would be dangling off a fair bit. So we have to order a European mattress which we will then have to get a special bed base to fit.

Hopefully, with minimal renovations required, we can do the basic work (painting the whole flat white, so goodbye mauve walls!) very quickly and then do the other less essential work in stages.

After so long, we are looking forward to having our own space again.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Tale Of Two River Banks

This was my only R&R during my very first business trip on my new job - to Shanghai. Dinner was at a restaurant that straddled the old and the new Shanghai, on either side of the river.

The old is the former English concession area, with the glorious architecture, art-deco style and overrun with tourists everywhere. The new is the spanking business district, with tall, glassy skyscrapers, all lit up and boasting of the most expensive property in the world. A condominium sells for USD15,000 per square metre. No wonder property everwhere else is considered cheap by the Chinese who are snapping them up by the dozen and pushing up our property prices over here.

I am dazzled by the modernity of the lights and the tall skyscrapers. I am intrigued by the romanticism of the old buildings. What a contrast.


Friday, July 02, 2010

A Disappointment - Resolved

I had been patiently waiting for my Etsy goodies for almost a month. A ring with greeny-blue stone, a jadeite vintage brooch and a later purchase, a 1960s carpet bag.

The jewellery arrived first, almost 3 weeks after I've bought them.

Lo and behold when I tore open the package, the ring which was in a jewellery box, was broken. The box was heavy-duty and would have protected the ring quite well. It looked to me to be either broken before being packed, or it might have been wedged against the lid of the box and it snapped it off when it was closed or pressed on. Anyway I emailed the seller and she was really quick to reply and refund my purchase price back to my Paypal account. As she had been on vacation, that purchase had been packed by her daughter, whom she thinks was to blame for the poor packing.

I am a little disappointed of course, but happy that my jadeite brooch is intact and that is the better purchase actually. And am happy that the seller was so prompt to take responsibility and refund me. I love Etsy.

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