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Annie Leibovitz - exhibition in Hong Kong

I recently checked out the Annie Leibovitz exhibition at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Hong Kong. 

The exhibition wasn't as extensive as I had hoped for, but it was nonetheless interesting to see iconic figures captured with Annie Leibovitz's magic touch.

Arnold Schwarzenegger. We can all be politicians! 

Nicole Kidman, when her hair was still her hair, and her face (less?) touched by the scalpel.

Angelina Jolie - pre-humanitarian days.

Andy Warhol - rarely captured.


Mother's Day 

I'm a mom of 2! 

I can't quite believe it myself. I feel like it's my birthday and I'm squealing excitedly that I'm turning 2.

This year's Mother's Day is all the more special because of my baby girl, who's no longer a baby, but is still a baby, which I know makes sense to a lot of people. 

My son colored in a picture at school and gave it to me:

My husband said: ''s a little dark?'

My son also 'wrote' (with Dad holding his hand) me a card, and somehow understood that it's a day that's special for mom, because he got all coy when he handed me the card, and whispered under his breath 'Happy Mother's Day'. And with a huge smile that lighted up his eyes, he said 'I love you Mommy' and gave me a big hug. 

I melted and turned into a pool of mush. 

We went to the Peninsula Hotel for brunch at The Verandah restaurant, which was bright and bustling, with an impressive brunch spread to boot. I could not wait to tuck in, but first had to get my son's hands out of the M&Ms bowl at the dessert station.

I'm pleased to say we did not break a single plate and no drinks were spilled. The kids were very agreeable and we had a very dignified Mother's Day brunch. Pure bliss.


Thrill Ride!

We went to Ocean Park a few weekends ago and it was of particular significance because my son went on his first thrill ride!

The ride was called Raging River, and if the name didn't set off alarm bells, perhaps the minimum height requirement (122cm, nowhere near my son's height) might, or even that the minimum age is 3 years old. But no, my husband heeded none of these parameters; he was single-mindedly focused on taking my son on his first thrill ride.

The ride is a little log-like boat which travels along a river of gushing water. You go up, up, up, which clearly means at some point you'll be going down, down, down. I can see how steep the drop is and I can hear the screams from every single boat that goes down that plunge. So, I, who is not one for such rides, decided to sit this one out, but my not-yet-3-year-old-son was being conned by his dad to take the ride. 

He was really excited about taking the ride, he was watching people get on and off the little boats and he must have thought oh, this is so fun! Obviously he completely missed the part on the boat plunging so he didn't really know what he was in for. 

Right when he boarded the boat with my husband, he was all smiles and genuinely thrilled to be riding along in water. The plunge took him by complete surprise, and to his credit, he was all calm (probably in shock) for a good minute after the plunge, before he started bawling. 

The ride's cameras took photos and when we saw the photos, we had to buy them - it was priceless, you can see his happy face right when he gets on the boat and is starting off, and then you see his face frozen in terror just as the boat drops.

My son looked at the photos after and said 'Dad's laughing, I'm crying for mommy'. 


TWG Tea Salon at IFC

A friend and I went to TWG, a gourmet tea salon, for brunch yesterday. It's such a lovely looking place, with a distinctively colonial feel to it, tastefully decorated with rows and rows of tea.

We had the eggs benedict and the scones. Both were delicious. The scones came with a light clotted cream and their signature tea jelly spread, which was heavenly - just the right balance of sweetness with a hint of tea. 

We had the tea of course - they give you a tea bible to flip through, and an extensive list of teas to choose from. I wanted a decaf tea and had a creme caramel rooibos tea. Sipping it instantly brought me back to memories of my honeymoon, which was in South Africa, where we drank rooibos tea every day.

They've got beautifully packaged teas for sale too, a tea for every occasion - they had a Grand Wedding Tea, even a White House tea, which was created to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The service was good. We got there just right after they stopped serving breakfast, but we felt like eggs and ham, so they made an exception for us and served us breakfast anyway. They served the savories first, then the sweets, a mark of well-trained wait staff.

They also have a delectable array of tea-infused patisseries - gorgeous looking macaroons and cakes, all very tempting. Unfortunately we had no room for dessert, but I'm definitely coming back for the sweets.


Paul van Dyk in Hong Kong

So we went clubbing last night. 

I realize how ridiculous this sounds as I'm writing this.

My husband's a fan of Paul van Dyk and he was playing at a club near our place. We last saw him play in Singapore at St James Powerhouse, but that was maybe 10 years ago.

I can't recall when was the last time I went clubbing but it feels like a long time ago. Paul van Dyk was spinning at Play, which is the former Hei Hei Club, once the crown jewel of clubs in its hey day. When I first arrived in Hong Kong, Hei Hei was the place to go. It felt like deja vu to walk through those doors again.

The event was meant to start at 10pm, and of course it wasn't going to start on time - we reckoned it'll start around 11.30pm, so we got there at 11pm. We were told he'll come on at 12 midnight. He didn't come on till 1am.

So my husband and I mainly talked while we were waiting. Or rather, we shouted since we were in a club. But it was good conversation - we talked about highlights of our time in Hong Kong, laughed about funny stories of our kids, recollected random clubbing sessions, and recounted bizarre incidences.

While waiting, I found myself thinking about how my kids would one day navigate this world of clubbing. That seems like a time far off, but perhaps in a blink of an eye, 15 years will go by. 

Looking at the crowd, it was a diverse group - lots of locals, but also lots of foreigners, all mainly in their 20s and 30s. We were standing by the bar and there was a guy who stood out because he was behaving strangely. He was standing by the side of the main walkway and kept doing furtive glances, scanning the crowd, looking right and left. I observed him for a while, trying to figure out what he's up to. Is he looking for some girl to pick up? But no, he never sidled up to anyone and he kept his distance. 

For all intents and purposes, he was behaving like a bouncer. Except he wasn't dressed like one. He was in regular clothes - a white shirt and black pants. He looked like any other clubber. A plainclothes bouncer! Funny!

Wait, or did he forget his bouncer uniform? Is this his first day of work and he didn't get the memo? He looked Nepalese and I was thinking well, if he's just starting his job, it must be really overwhelming to move from a village in Nepal to a place like Hong Kong and work in a club as a bouncer. His daily life is being surrounded by a club scene which seems so removed from life in Nepal. It's like those matronly ladies who work in the restrooms in clubs - I wonder what it must be like for them, to be in this clubbing environment day in and day out, seeing girls throw up in the bathroom, and whether they worry about their kids.

My husband ran into an acquaintance who got us into the VIP area which was cordoned off by a velvet rope and guarded by a uniformed bouncer. Champagne flowed freely, sitting on ice beds embedded with lights that sparkled like Christmas. We were plied with champagne and had both hands full - one with our vodka tonic which we were drinking before getting whisked into the VIP area, and the other with a flute of champagne. We didn't even know whose VIP lounge we were in.

There was a guy in the VIP area who was clutching his iPad the entire night. He was dressed in a polo T-shirt and jeans, and with his iPad in hand, looked like he just came from the library where he was doing research on his essay. Evidently this guy didn't think he was going clubbing when he got dressed and left the house. Needless to say, he wasn't doing any dance moves. A little tricky, with iPad in hand. 

We called it a night a couple of hours later. It was crazy smoky and when we left the club, I was reeking of cigarette smoke, especially in my hair. I had to wash it out at 3am in the morning. This is what older people with kids do after a night out clubbing - go home and wash your hair out. And decide that you don't really want to do this anymore.