Friday, May 24, 2013

a bit of calm

I had such a fling for a few weeks. Things are quieter now. In fact I have some kind of bug which laid me low for 2 days and 6 days later I am still coughing a lot, and blowing a lot, and my ears are blocked. I called the dr but found out it is a national holiday today. I have no idea what holiday, but it makes a long weekend for the country.

So I am back to my routine; yoga, gym, osteo, swimming and massage. Life is tough. It really is a life of living in a resort. Pretty darn nice. I just found out our little store downstairs, like a corner store, which amazes me at all the stuff they carry, will be closing for 3 weeks reno. It sure could use a paint job. But it is so convenient. If I need something I will have to take a bus, or cab to a big grocery store. Maybe the two other condo properties have a little handy store I can use.

At least for part of it we are away. Tim has 5 days holidays  and we put it with his days off and we have 12 days for a bigger trip.

And if $$$ means bigger, that it is. We are going to go to South Africa. I am pulling my "It's a chance of a life time. We will never be back here and we should bite the bullet and maybe draw on some $$ back home, to do this". So it will be pricey. Not a cheap Asian escape. It seems that we are making a triangle with home. It is 20 hours (I think) to Durban SA from here. And 20 hours to Canada.

We will only do Cape Town and a safari out of Durban. The safari looks amazing and has come very recommended by my friend Kate. (She is from Durban and went to this one, Vlei, for her honeymoon).
If you want to google &beyond, then safaris in South Africa, Phinda, and then Vlei or Rock. We may go to both. They have a 4 nights for the cost  of 3 so will still have to work it out. But it will be amazing.

You get yourself to Durban and they fly you out on a little airplane. Just like in the movies! And novels! Cape Town is supposed to be fabulous and we are by-passing Joburg. So just the two destinations. Very exciting. June 5-15.

The downer is there is no Tilleys here, so I haven't got the safari outfits! Yoga stuff will  have to do. I googled the weather and it looks that it goes up to high 20"s 30 in the afternoon, but down to maybe 10 at night. And we are in tents! And have our private pool. Wonder if the animals know it is private!

A lovely very non-Singaporean vignette. We were coming home from a movie, and on the MRT, and this fellow asked me if I wanted his seat. This happens all the time- only because of my grey hair!. I said no thank you. and in a full voice asked me how old I was. Smiles around us. I think the guy had had a few, but he continued a conversation at full voice. About my age!

I was at Fair Price the other day. My grocery store. And in the check out line a young Asian boy, maybe 5, on this mother's hip, asked me if the man in front checking out, was my friend. I said no, so he asked if I had any friends. I assured him yes, . Well where are they!

My yoga studio does classes for kids. To see these little 3-6 year olds doing hand stands, shoulder stands. It is wonderful. And very entertaining.

We have gone to two HD 3D movies. Iron Man 3 and Star Trek. Not my kind of movie, but I bank the brownie points for when I want Tim to come to a chick flick with me. I have a nice balance in the bank!

Do you know that one day last week there were 48 hits on my post? WOW

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You gotta love synchronicity

The high continues.

I invited some friends over for a glass of wine. These wonderful yoga teachers who have been so supportive and kind and instructive. I wanted to say thank you. I sent out an email invitation to "Jane's Team" 3 yoga teachers and a fellow yoga student whom I met on the retreat last October, and who lives around the corner.

They all four live within  a few blocks of here.

I wanted to ask my massage therapist, Suzi, who works downstairs at the spa in our complex, but doesn't live close by. I wanted to ask her, but Monday is her day off, and she would have had a trek to get here.

I went downstairs to the back gate to let Kate in, and on our way back, there was Suzi! Back for the evening to the little bar we have downstairs. I grabbed her and said you have to come up stairs for a glass. So Suzi, who is definitely a part of "my team" was there to meet the other women.

And what a group of women! Wonderful, and wonderful to me. And short. They are all around 5', the tallest 5'3". Now I am only 5'7" but felt very tall that evening. The hilarious laughter in the photos is because they were all on their tip toes, and I scrunched down!

Karen, Suzi, Kate, me
 Marion, Karen, Kate, me , Anita

The wonderful week continues. Last night went to Ironman 3, in 3D and HD. $38 for the 2 of us. Amazing what technology they have. Marvel characters are not my style (more the Paris Opera, Also Sprach Zarathustra type!!) but  it was amazing.

Singapore does movie "gold class" where you spend about $50 a ticket, but only 12 in the theatre, you are served complimentary food and drink throughout the screening. In a reclining lounge chair. It is like flying first class (I think- I wouldn't know) I want to do it once before we go. When doing big, glitzy , and posh posh nobody does it like Singapore.

Monday, May 13, 2013

very excited

For two reasons.

Here is a youtube for Yaacov Agam's art. It is so intriguing and if you want to, take some time and watch these videos. Or some of them. He explains his idea. He says man started recording experiences using points to draw what he wanted to record. (Cave drawings in the prehistoric caves in Southern France). Then he learned to join the dots, and this line now was movement and kinetic recording. Then the now changes in an instant to a new now. Oh, listen to him talking. It is literally mind bending.

He takes a point (one note on the harp) and draws a line and the harp glides up it a high note. He moves his hand back to starting and the harp glides back to the first note. On a computer screen each coloured  shape has is a note. As you slowly move your finger on the coloured circle, and drag it across the screen, it passes other designs on the screen, the sound mimics your movement. When you interact with other shapes, you have harmony.

Oh watch the videos.

The second.

This morning I went to a fabulous lecture on Burma. Thierry Falise, a photo-journalist has spent 25 years in Burma, recording that country's evolution. As we all know, Burma/Myanmar has been going through amazing change. He talked about the political evolution, the cultural evolution. I bought his book Burmese Shadows and came home to plan a trip there. It is not on Tim's list of places to go, and a girlfriend here wants to go. So, check this. I have contacted a travel agent in REGINA to plan the trip. On the computer, of course! Let's hope it works. For Jan/Feb 2014. Anyone out there want to join me/us?

I am also looking at a trip to India. Not on Tim's list. He shows no interest until I start talking about going. Then he perks up a little. Because time is running (planning to leave in April 2014) I have a few, ha, many places to get to. So I will try to put together a trip to India too. A tour, if I  am travelling alone.

I am on an exciting high. Yahoo.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

sorry I was tidying up and saw drafts that had not been posted so last one out of sequence

I just have to share with you parts of a wonderful article in a local Expat magazine. It says it all so well.

Does anyone else miss that feeling of putting on tights and boots? Or the weight of a lovely thick quilt, wearing scarves, pretending to "smoke" on those magical frosty mornings, toasting marshmallows on the fire in a cashmere turtleneck at your ski lodge?

Remember that first moment you landed in Singapore? That wide-eyed, ready for adventure feeling? And then that other feeling. That "Oh, wow, it really is really hot here" feeling.

That unrelenting heat envelopes you like a thick fog. Suddenly you are Gretel trapped in the oven with Hansel. You know for sure that one day you will actually melt, just like the Wicked Witch of the West, leaving a pair of flip flops on top of a flesh coloured puddle.

You learn some lessons. Don't run messages at noon. Nighties can also be daywear. Don't bother straightening your hair. Umbrellas on a sunny day don't look so funny any more, and Singapore's obsession with malls makes sense.

You warn your company. It's going to be hot.  Okay, I'll just bring a jacket for the evenings. HA

Weather is no longer the default "we've got nothing to talk about" chat.
"Hasn't it been hot lately?"
"Yes it has."
"They think it will be hot next week, too"
"Yes it will."

I know someday I will be cursing the cold and dreaming of Singapore.

But in the meantime, there is always the cinemas.

(J. note cinemas are kept freezing. You take a sweater abd you are still cold!)

Heading off to I know not where [oops this have been posted a long time ago]

I am ready for the pick up, and am going to Sepoi-Sepoi, Lombok, Indonesia. (if you want to google it). An hour flight and a 2 hour drive, to a private villa. My yoga studio has arranged a 5 day yoga retreat. They have done all the leg work.
We will have 2 very optional yoga practices a day. All food and drink is looked after. There is snorkelling, boat to another island, you can go in to Lombok? why? I'll know more in a day.
But I sure am ready.
We have a limo coming! Tim got this HSBC card that offers free limo rides to the airport. So he orders a limo the night before his work, and the car is waiting for him downstairs. He sure uses that perk! So he is taking me to the airport, in a limo, then he'll MRT home. This is life here!
I spoke with my osteo, saying I was confused as to what to do next.... neurologist? physio? different sleeping pills? . He urged me to go to an ENT guy! Well, a day later I had an appointment. No OHIP 3 month wait! The ENT guy said my problem is structural, and has given me a list of things to do to deal with very compromised airwaves. I have always been a light sleeper except in pregnancy and menopause. Guess what. Hormones affect the airwaves, the suppleness of them. So I will teach myself to sleep on my side, head raised up (I sleep on my back with a tiny pillow), take puffers to open the airwaves. Blah blah blah. At any rate, if my sleep improves my "issues" should disappear. I will be happy when I get there. Still plug away on yoga and osteo. My gym work out increases minimally but I am holding my weight (less than I have been since age 30).
We have bought a back up hard drive, and a friend loaded it with a whack of stuff. We have been watching recorded tv and movies. We are working our way through Glee, and saw A Week With Marilyn the other night. It is unbelievable what is on this little "thing". I have written directions so maybe I can watch when Tim is working. The tv leaves me defeated. Maybe I will master this. The tv, as back home, offers maybe 3 channels repeated 16 times, and then serials in Chinese and Thai and Malay. So the choice is awful.
I have ordered tickets for the SSO for Jan to June. One a month. The most unfriendly user form I have come across. No map of the theatre. You fill out your form, having no idea what seats! ??? So I called them and ordered over the phone. But the woman at the other end has such a thick Singlish Chinese/English accent I can't understand her. I just about lost it. But stuck with it because I really want those tickets. I thought I was going to have to go down to the concert hall to order. It's an hour away!
I am having fun gardening. My balcony. I brought seeds back for 4 kinds of tomatoes- cherry, plum, beefsteak, and basil, and cilantro. Cilantro is on life support. I also planted Datura seeds and they have not shown, after about 3 weeks. Maybe they won't. But I do have hope for some tomatoes. I have no idea with this climate, this wind. I'll keep you posted. I also have a 4' gardenia in bloom, that perfumes the balcony. I also have jasmine, bougainvillaea and palms. It is fun. But the pots are so dependant on me. They are planted in the local spoil, sandy clay, and get so much wind on the balcony. But I am having fun.

Culture Vulture

Wow, all days should be like the last three.

Thursday I went to the Paris Opera performance of Falstaff!!! Like Live at the Met in N.A. Singapore Lyric Opera sponsored the showing of Falstaff at the Paris National Opera in a movie theater here. There were 10 of us there! It was just fabulous to see.

I have to say the N.Y. production is much better. Here it was not high definition. Makes a huge difference. The shots are so close up it is great when they are so clear. The quality of singers was great.  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Canadian- Quebec) was Mrs. Quickly. She was superb. A great singer, a wonderful actor, and a hilarious comedian.

Falstaff is the last opera of Verdi's, taken from the Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor. I have to say I was constantly comparing to N.Y productions, and that is a VERY high standard. Just know that those gems in the theaters back where you are, are the best! I don't want to be negative and compare. It was sooo wonderful to see opera. I will devour every performance I can get here. The next production is a ballet set to Mahler's Third Symphony. New to me. I want to see them stuff the orchestra they will need in to the pit!

Friday I went to the symphony. The SSO did Elgar's violin concerto and Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. The Elgar was good, great soloist but the Strauss was superb. This is a really good orchestra, and the hall is so good acoustically, that it sounded wonderful.

I love that piece. It is very challenging for all players. You can bet passages from this piece are on auditions. Technically very difficult. For the basses, aside from being a mitt full, leaps in to "nose bleed land" (very high on the fingerboard) Strauss wrote solo parts for all the string players. So at one point, the last stand of bass players are playing a SOLO! No one else, just the two bass players at the back of the section. You hardly can know where the sound is coming from. Then the next stand enters, and now the 4 are playing individual lines. Then on through the section and by the end he has added all the string players, and many individual voices, so the texture it magnificent. But for a bass player, particularly at the back of the section to have a solo!! Well!!!

Then, Saturday, a friend asked me to go to an art showing with her. At an amazingly gorgeous posh hotel downtown. On Sentosa Island. Think Toronto Island but wratch it up to megabucks. An artist from Israel, Yaacov Agam. He was 85 yesterday and on his 85th birthday gave a 2 hour talk on his art. It is difficult to describe, but absolutely fabulous. Maybe you can google him and get an explanation of what he does. Suffice to say he deals with time in art. "Now" is so fleeting. So if you look at a piece of his from the extreme left, you see something, then as you walk in front it changes, and to the right, a whole different thing. He uses 3 dimension in the piece and the idea is like a holograph. He calls then Agamographs. His mind is amazing!

He has done painting on buildings. So as you drive by, the painted wall changes colour. What you see in a split moment changes the next second! I was holding my friend's baby and rocking him, standing in front of one piece, and as I rocked back and forth, the piece of art wavered in to different colours.

He has done things on the computer, where you run your finger over the screen and coloured shapes sound a note. As you move your finger over the screen, the colour moves and passing other patterns on the screen, new sounds are made. So you can compose visual art and music, and it will never be the same twice. Not very good descriptions but amazing. Watch for Yaacov Agam coming to an art gallery near you!

Sunday a quiet day off. Mom here, missing her children on Mother's Day. Oh.

Ha, when I went off downtown to the concert, I  grabbed some shoes out of a drawer to wear. Some cheapo H&M but I rarely wear closed shoes, and thought I would dress up for the concert. Got down to the bus, and saw I has a costume malfunction. The shoes were disintegrating on my feet. I guess it had to do with the humidity, but it was pretty funny. Dressed up for the concert and this is the best I can do!

I don't know if you can get the idea, but Agam's art was fantastic.
This one is called Galaxy and the circle is white as the moon, and then as you walk on, it becomes a rainbow.

Tomorrow I go to a lecture on Burma. Culture vulture I am.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ha, and I thought last week was hot!

I thought it was hot last week! It must be over 100' here. We are at a diving resort on Bunaken Island Indonesia. A 3 1/2 hour flight from Singapore to the north east end of Indonesia. Tim did 6 dives on three trips out. He is amazed at the diversity of fish. He saw giant turtles flying through the water, one big fella sleeping on a shelf of a cliff( underwater of course)

I went snorkelling and I had a guide who was wonderful, pointing out clams, shrimp, lobster, sharks. NO! But the things that were on the bottom lying still I would not have seen. The fish were wonderful. Every colour under the sky. Every size. Beautiful coral. It was really terrific. One of the sites had a huge current. The tides. I didn't go in there. I was the only snorkeller and was intimidated by the tide current.. But the second location one of the boat guys came in with me and that was great. I feel like we are in the middle of nowhere but then we get to these dive sites and there are many boats. I was happy to have a guide, so I wouldn't get run over by another boat!

This place is on Bunaken Island of which most of the island is a national park. The town of Bunaken has a mosque for a very small community of Muslims, and has a very ornate Protestant church. They stand out on the shore when going by on a boat.

It is very distressing to see the litter in the ocean. Plastic plastic and more plastic. Actually it was funny (almost). When coming out of the harbour of Manado to get across to this island, the boat trip was interesting. First to get to the boat, we had to walk across three other boats. I could not have done this a few months ago. After four ins and outs of boats we finally got to the boat we were taking, we took off, and the driver had to gauge where there were lines under water, anchoring other boats tied up, and he would have to lift the propeller over the ropes. About four times. Then we set off and he stood at the back of the boat, looking over the roof of the cabin we were sitting in, going around big litter, standing there steering with his big toe!

All of a sudden the boat lurched to a stop, we were thrown around and he grabbed the handle to turn the motor off. Lifting the propeller, there was a huge plastic woven-like bag wrapped around the prop. So he untangles it AND THROWS IT BACK IN THE WATER! OY.

The resort is on a steep hill. After landing, with the boat getting to within a few feet of the beach, we jumped (me gazelle-like) in to the water and (again I would have had difficulty doing that a few months ago) we walked up steep stairs to our resort. I am a counter, and we were 52 BIG steps up to our cabin, and another 57 to the dining room area. A large space with a roof, open on the sides. With stairs like that you have to think carefully about what you want where, to not have to make a second trip!

Our cabin is like a little old Muskoka cottage. Very creaky wooden floor, bead board walls and ceiling, minimal lighting, single pane windows held open with rusty old hook and eye latches, but then a balcony looking over the ocean - 52 steps below!

The one drawback is the heat. There is air con but only from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 a.m. Nice to sleep by. But during the afternoon, with us getting the full afternoon sun, there is no relief. It is stinking hot. Today I lay on the bed, had a shower and lay there wet, thinking that might help. Nope, only if there is a breeze, or power for the fan. So as of 5:30 when the power comes on all is well.

On the other hand, after enduring the full afternoon sun, we have superb sunsets from the hammock on our deck.

The lounge area is with the dining space. We sit on cushions on the floor. Again I couldn't have done this a few months ago. I can now. It ain't pretty but it doesn't involve a crane to get me up off the floor.

The ocean was glassy water. Not a breeze. No lapping of waves on the shore. And all the boats there had 40 hp engines. It sounded like at the cottage. Not the sound of ocean boats, but small water craft on a small lake. It sounded very Muskoka. With our cabin seeming quite like 4 Oaks cedar lined cottage, it was nostalgic.

Our cabin in the jungle
Capt Tim heading for the deep sea.
Our resort, cabins up the hill to the common area on top of the hill.
 After the heat of the afternoon sun, we were treated to sunsets off our balcony.
Notice how still the ocean. One of the many volcanoes, off in the distance.
It is inactive. What you see are clouds!
Our deck. View out over the ocean. Notice the lovely bead board wood.
 Our boat trip out to the island. Manado, singularly ugly city in the background.
Very adept steering by our driver, until the prop wrapped around litter, and the motor lurched to a standstill. He almost fell out.

Back in Singapore now, back to heat but a BREEZE! Learning what is really important.