The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Causeway 2010 Report Number Two

The Original Singapore Walks "Secrets of the Red Lantern" around Chinatown was very interesting. We were given quite a lot of useful information re which hotels to avoid (or not for some). Indeed we could even tell the locals a few things they didn't know the next day!

Talking of the next day I did not excel in the mini tournament, with Albert taking the honours and me in the middle (or maybe bottom of) the pack. The few racks that I noted that looked hopeful were actually useless so maybe I didn't actually play too badly and am saving up the blanks for next week. I can hope :) Even the move when I opened up a 9x and immediately got walloped still looks the right play to me. However, despite my dismal showing the day was enjoyable meeting up with old and making new friends. Cheah treated us all to dinner in the evening but I was not as adventurous as Diane and Albert.

I did not sleep well last night. Well, actually I slept well until 2.30 but got woken up by music outside. My earplugs were hurting and trying to reinsert them still could not stop the noise. At just before 4 am I decided to don my wrap-around skirt over my jimjams and go outside for a ciggie. I am almost on first name terms now with the Chinese cabbies that wait outside the hotel in the early hours! When I got back inside bliss - no more music. However, I still tossed and turned quite a lot and think I finally fell asleep after the call to prayers...

Today Albert and I planned on doing a harbour cruise. The hotel receptionist said we should prebook so we decided to do the afternoon one instead as we weren't sure if we would make it there in time in the morning. So we set off for Clarke Quay at 11 a.m. and had a wander around that area before going for lunch. I wasn't actually hungry but really just wanted a drink, an ice cream, a ciggie and a rest so told Albert to pick anywhere he wanted as long as I could get an ice cream. So eating place picked, menus given, drinks ordered but no - ice cream finished for the day! I suggested rescinding our drink order and going elsewhere but was told I could buy an ice cream at the 7-11 and eat it there. Probably saved a fortune.

We weren't entirely sure where the South Marina pier was that we were supposed to get the boat. The people at the restaurant didn't know either. The map on the brochure wasn't very helpful other than giving us a vague idea. So we set off. And it looked as if it was about to bucket down any moment so we decided to head for the Marina Bay MRT bus stop were there was a pickup point. We got there with 10 minutes to spare and waited a further 15 after the supposed pick up time. Then as we could see a road sign for the south marina we decided to walk. And walk. And walk. Through the construction site that is happening there. Eventually a sign for the pier and we arrived just as the boat was pulling away. Luckily we hadn't paid up front and if they phone to try to get the 'cancellation' fee they may have a long wait.

So I now have a big blister under my left heel and a small one on my right heel. Albert wandered about the harbour while I investigated the buses (or actually bus) back out of the middle of nowhere. I then got the MRT back to Little India while Albert, whose earlier blister has healed, decided to keep walking.

I am feeling a little better now after a nice long shower and am going to have a quiet rest of the day and prepare for the next adventure of the number 170 bus to JB tomorrow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Causeway 2010 Report Number One

For a change I made it to Colin and Maureen's on Tuesday with no mishaps - no overheating car and not a flash flood in sight.

It turned out that Robert (son of the above) was also going to the airport the following day. And then it turned out he was on the same flights as me, but he was continuing on to Brisbane. I had already checked in on line before I left home so we were not sitting together - which turned out well for us both on the first leg of the journey to Dubai as we both had two empty seats next to us so could stretch out for the journey. I think I must have relaxed too much as I discovered on the second leg that I had left my headphones somewhere. I was, however, more concerned that my power cable for this laptop did not seem to be working - neither on the plane nor in the airport. The flight on to Singapore was as bad as the first leg was good for us both. I had a snorer in the aisle seat and a deaf man next to me - at least he could sleep through having his head phones on loud but unfortunately I couldn't.

I had investigated on-line getting to my hotel on the MRT and once I found out that I needed to get the skytrain to terminal 2 all went smoothly. EZLink card purchased and off I went. For once my errant sense of direction behaved itself on exiting Little India station and I was heading in the right direction towards the hotel. Which was just as well as the first spots of rain were starting to fall. By the time I turned into Perak Road the thunderstorm was in full flow but the walk had been mainly under cover.

I am very happy with the hotel - all of my research appears to have paid off. Room smallish, but big enough for me. It is clean and has a very effective aircon unit. And when I plugged my power cable in the blue light came on - I almost kissed the man showing me the room :)

I cannot get wifi in my room but the connection is fine in the lobby area and there is free coffee on tap. And the connection seems to work outside in the smoking area too. And I have been lent a network cable for using in my room.

So I pottered about for a few hours last night - bought some water, read my email, skyped Paul, read my book and then went to bed at 9 p.m. as I could hardly keep my eyes open.

And slept really well.

And when I woke feeling quite alive again I made myself a coffee and switched the laptop on. Hmm, something not quite right here. I had been squinting at my watch trying to determine if it was 7.50 or 8.50. And then the penny dropped - it was upside down and it was 2.20!

Well, as I was up I decided to wander out for a ciggie before going back to bed. I awoke the night watchman as I walked past. There were 3 Chinese men outside chatting and eating as I sat at another table. Luckily for me as I found I couldn't get back in - they told me to knock on the window to wake him back up to let me in :)

I slept fitfully after that but managed to avoid getting up until jut after 9.

I was just about to head out for breakfast when my phone rang - Albert Hahn did indeed manage to also get a room here and had got in last night. We chatted over breakfast and are planning to meet up this evening to do the guided walk around Chinatown.

I have spent a few hours today exploring Little India. I realised that I had forgotten to pack my fish oil capsules but there were no lack of health stores in the Mustafa centre!

After returning to the hotel for a quick shower I ventured out again to restock my water supply and eventually found a supermarket as I wanted to buy some fruit for the room. So now I have bananas, mangos, dragon fruit and a few things to try along with a packet of digestive biscuits to tide me over...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Countdown to Singapore Continued

The onions have been pickled.

The fruit tree bed to be has now been completely covered in cow muck.

The veggie patch is going to have to wait until next year.

The word revision is ongoing. 16000 down, 4000 and one week to go. Seem to be getting through between 1000 and 1500 a day along with the cardbox, but some days are easier than others. A good choice to do the 8s - am quite rusty on the 10-20k range, down at around the 90% mark. But look on the bright side, if I got them all it would have been a waste of my time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Countdown to Singapore

With under two weeks before I leave I am on track with my revision. As long as I don't get distracted with too many other things. The garden is winding up - all potatoes out and just need one more session of muck spreading to get the bed ready for next year's apple trees...

After the mammoth spreadsheet of base words 2-6 I then did the same with the top 10000 sevens. Reduced the list by approximately 50%.

And now I am back to 8s. Hoping to get through the top 20000 before I depart for Singapore. I am over half way there. After whizzing through the top 5000 I am now doing batches of 500 from the starting points of 5001, 10001 and 15001 in rotation just to even the load.

The cardbox is coming back in to play with those I miss.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Mikki Magic

Mikki made a promise last year at Causeway.

"If I get to the NSC final I will go dressed as Barbie".

This I think was to make the point on how much money is invested in the doll over scrabble.

Oh what joy that he lived up to his promise. And even better that he won as I don't think there would have been the same impact had he lost.

Despite the media frenzy (at least in the context of scrabble) none that I have seen have made the link...

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