Monday, February 26, 2007

The Thing with Vacations that most of the time, you go back to reality like you were never away.

My three-day week happened to be as stressful as an 80-hour work week. Even though:

1) I just came from a vacation,
2) I spent time with good friends,
3) I ate delicious food and,
4) I got paid this week.

Thursday, I was already so down that I had to buy something. Yeah, shop-theraphy works for me as a temporary solution. I had to pick wisely even at this state. The choices include Appleseed DVD (don't know if it's worth it), Dishwalla - Greetings From the Flow State (wasn't there when I went back for it), Better Than Ezra - Before The Robots CD ($47.95, highway robbery), David Lynch's Blue Velvet DVD (pricey as well), High Fidelity DVD (not available) and other miscellaneous CDs and/or DVDs, or another good book.

In the end, I got a copy of Damien Rice's first album, O. It's good music, and mellow enough to fit my current mood, which is down, but not out. Not yet suicidal down as in The Cardigans - Long Gone Before Daylight (which I bought the Chinese version weeks before for a bargain $9.99), though.


Pau dropped the suggestion of a retreat for this Lenten season. (It's perhaps the only season that Singapore hasn't capitalised on yet). I think I need to go to one.


I am required to take an exam on investment banking financial concepts. 1000+ pages in a week or so, on top of actual productive work.


Flickr account is expiring. Paging Noel ;)


Housemate Nes, hope you had a nice vacation. And don't mind what I said about vacations :D


I managed to avoid using my credit card this month. Credit cards are evil! Letting you spend money you have not earned yet is dangerous for financial stability. So I'm quite proud that I was able to achieve such resistance to temptation. It's all about control.


You know there are just no slow news days on Philippine politics and showbiz.


How do you get into a state when you are really ready to take a vacation? You know, like in school, you take summer vacations, and not worry about old things when you come back.

How's that for an axiom: The thing I miss most about school is summer vacations.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bintan Resorts

Anticipating the absolute boredom that envelopes Singapore for the duration of the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations, we had to go somewhere else to get some R & R. A lot of expats, who choose not to go home for the holidays (Feb 17-20, this year) go the same way as a couple of officemates and I did: head for Bintan Resorts.


Lagoi, as it is originally called is a Singapore colony off one of the closest Indonesian islands from here, Pulau Bintan. It takes around an hour or so travel from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. The weather was a bit unfavourable at the beginning; but we were still hopeful of a good stay at the resort we chose, Nirwana Gardens Resort Hotel.


It's good news for me as well to know that my "old" waterproof case still works. Some wear and tear cracks but normal, really. The beach at low tide is full of sea stuff and you could see that the coast is hardly on an incline.


Instead, I just made the best out of the waterproof case in the swimming pool/s.


There are quite a number of novelty things to do there. One of which was to ride an elephant for S$10 (P310.00).


But the beach wasn't so bad/gross during high tide. The sun was out, and the waves were alive.


Not bad, not bad at all. Beats the heck out of any beach in Singapore. Except for the inflated food prices (S$15-30 per head), it was all worth it. Travel is hardly a problem from here. I'll be back some other boring long weekend.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Off to Bintan

... for the Chinese New Year Holidays.

Singapore is closed for the time being. Time to get out!

Be back on Tuesday. Hope to take great pictures of the place!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's That Time of the Year

Tax time!

I've just been handed a blank tax form to be filled up in the near future. They don't withhold taxes here like they do back home; they give you the entire thing to spend away. Good thing I set money aside every month for taxes and miscellaneous expenses. Aaand, I'm planning on paying for last year's taxes on installment throughout this year through auto-debit (GIRO). It's a considerable ease on finances.


I'm getting to like Indian food a lot. It's very much like Filipino dishes (served with rice and all). Roti Prata/Naan breads dipped in curry, the spicier, the better. In Manila, I've only really tasted Indian food in Queen's Crystal Garden Restaurant. Paneer, Tandoori, Samosa...


Chinatown is busy this time of the year, in preparation for Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations. People are hawking abalone, dried food, candies and selling Hong Bao ("ang paw" in Hokkien) envelopes. I've heard that Singapore stores and restaurants will generally be closed during the time, February 16-20. So if you're planning on visiting Singapore that time of the year. You might not get to do much in the city-state.


Sometimes, rummaging through sale racks and bins, you find some gems that not a lot of people care about. For example, in one of the shopping centres in Chinatown, I got myself a copy of Birth of A Nation for a good $5 (P150.00). It's a really old (1915) movie regarded as a pioneer in the industry, paving the way for beyond-an-hour long pictures. I'm no movie expert, but I never pass up on a chance to watch a classic, even if it's just to see what the fuss is all about. Yeah, I'm a poser.

I'll view it during one of my lonely laundry days.


One of the rare finds I found in London was this Japanese movie, Battle Royale, which I only was able to watch recently. It has very highly illogical, insane, yet fascinating premise. It involves Japanese schoolgirls, guns, and violence galore. It's also got Chiaki Kuriyama, more known worldwide as Go-Go Yubari in Kill Bill. What more do you want? (Oh yeah, sex. Well it depends. The film doesn't really need it.)


Tried out kickboxing with a free intro course. Interesting but expensive at $20 (P600.00) per class. And you're supposed to take four or eight in a month. I'll stick to the free workouts for a while.


And so while Singapore sleeps over the Chinese New Year. A couple of friends and I are headed towards Bintan, Indonesia. A nice coastal resort-town some forty-five minutes away by ferry. Time to take out and test the ol' waterproof case that hasn't been used since Fontana last year. I just hope it still works and my camera doesn't get wet... and broken...and I won't have to replace it...with maybe a DSLR...during March IT Show...if ever I'll have money to buy...which I won't have...Nope...I don't need it...don't spend...don't spend...Nnngh!


I've finished reading High Fidelity. (Hey, I'm on a roll on reading books!) I like it a lot and I can't wait until I get my hands on a DVD copy of the movie. The ending is not for me though, not at this point in my life. Nonetheless, go read this one, if you haven't.


And now, what should I read next? Anyone?