Monday, May 22, 2006

Wet, cold, bonjour from Montreal

It's cold, the streets are wet, my sandals are not doing my toes much good, and the sundresses I am wearing are sheer torture in this weather. Lucky I had brought some shawls, a few cardi's, and a quilted jacket. For the lower extremities, I have tights. But the whole wet and cold late spring wear is still not enough to stop this tropical girl from chilling out in a bad way. 10 degrees Celcius, with a wind chill factor of another minus 5, so it's cold. At times unbearably so.

Montreal has an underground maze, connecting all the hotels, including the one I'm staying in. But as it takes twice as long to get to the conference center or any of the major hotels where some of the sessions are taking place, it doesn't look like a favorable option when I need to get to work. Get soaked outside or be late inside? Quite a choice. Looks like taxis for me this week.

One of the best parts of attending this annual event is seeing friends I only get to meet once a year. JC is my roommate, so we are set for more bonding over chocolate and general gossip. Two of my favorite male buddies are here as well, both haven't changed that much, still as immature as the get go.

So far, we've had cocktails at a bistro made famous by Brando (Le Soubice), a creperie in the middle of the Vieux Montreal (probably too touristy for most, but it was a safe haven in the middle of a bad rain storm), and a Viet-Thai deli not too far from Place D'Armes. The only bagel I've had has been disappointing but will continue to hope for the best. And I have heard great things about the markets so I plan to try the Jean Talon and the Atwater (unsure of the actual name of this one but it's on the map) soon to buy cheese and other Quebec products.

Met up with R on Friday night. Probably not a good idea as nothing has panned out since we last saw each other. Looks like R doesn't want to communicate but I have left messages so it can't be said that I didn't try. C'est la vie indeed.

Friday looks the only day that I can visit the city a bit. I hope Julie gets time off to sit and chat. It's been years, and I think she has a baby. Will keep my fingers crossed that Carl and Weiya are around.

Brrr, must take a long hot shower and sleeeeep.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

On the road again

Dear Diary,
I'm leaving on a jet plane, june 5 I'll be back again, oh blog, i love to gooooo....

Yes, am off to not-so-sunny Montreal tomorrow. Not yet packed, not quite organized, and anxious about avoiding certain people who I can't but really wish I could. Work! Pain in le derriere. Gotta practice my french!

Reminder to self: look for digital camera! get battery for said camera! delete pictures on memory disk!

Warm regards,

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Last Sunday, Mother's Day to some, a day to waste for others, a bunch of thirtysomethings got together to be friends. We knew we had but a few hours of fleeting pleasure to be together and we didn't want to do anything serious. Frivolity was on the menu.

It's been sometime since we had had a Sunday lunch, our previous weekly binge fests had transformed into a once a month or impromptu text fest. That day, after fighting the winds of Caloy, we had the slightly damp look coming in from the rain. M, G, A and I were hanging out in bedroom, dillydallying over where to have lunch. We played a rerun of some oldy but goody tv classic, and spent more time procrastinating over what we wanted to eat. One hour later, we dragged ourselves back out into the greying light, and drove to Little Tokyo near Makati Cinema Square.

We had originally agreed to go to Kikofuji, where I had had a good lunch last Holy Week with J and J. But we probably should have called ahead, as Kikofuji was packed! Gills overflowing. The parking situation was our yellow light that we probably should have found someplace else. But we tried, and even had the support of a friend doing lunch there (thanks J!). To no avail though, so we had to go back out into the haze and find another outlet for our growing craving for Japanese food. Location wise, we were not at a loss for choice. If we had been on the cheap, there was Shinjuku or the grocery cafe around the corner. And next door were several similarly placed Japanese pleasure domes. So we went down the row and ended up in one of the other places, Seisoku (however, don't quote me, I must review the photos to get the name right). It was very empty, but unlike other empty restaurants, there wasn't a sense of despair and insecurity about its lack of custom. We also saw that they had a specialty - hand pulled noodles. I'm a sucker for artisinal hoohah.

With D joining us, we had enough stomachs to eat a cow. And the cow's four stomach's although I'm not that keen on internal organs. We ordered a range of dishes: grilled salmon, two kinds of noodle soup (using their touted hand pulled noodles), tonkatsu, a massive onigiri that reminded us of a cannon ball, agedashi tofu, mixed tempura, a boatful of sushi and sashimi, and lots of tea. We had a pleasant and relatively helpful waitress who did her best with our constant questions, and made sure we never ran out of anything. Kudos to Len. Food quality was a 7.5 to 8, and service was a high 8. Plus having the place to ourselves was a plus factor. We could enjoy the moment without dealing with other people's noise. If I had any gripes it would be that the serving of edamame left me wanting more. But it was enough to raise our expectations and not dampen our tastebuds. We didn't try any of the bathrooms so the review is incomplete. And in retrospect, while I didn't eat the tonkatsu, I was pleased to see that the pork fillet wasn't beaten thin as a sheet of paper and heavily coated with batter. There was a substantial piece of meat, thick enough and juicy enough. For the celebratory spectacle of the day, definitely the sparkler that came with the monster onigiri took the cake.

And after eating our fill, we all had dessert on our minds. Off we went to Razon's on Jupiter for sweet, custardy goodness. It was also gill-packed, but this time we stuck it out and got a table after 10 minutes of waiting. Much salacious talk ensued, perhaps all that food got our tongues wagging.

3 hours later, we were happy, fat, and ready to face our mothers.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Facing the end of something that was never real

How do you say goodbye? How do you end an affair? What words do you string together to make it easier for both parties involved? Does one put it baldly? Bluntly? Be cruel and cutting? Look down one's nose (hopefully with the right kind of curved beak suited for looking down on. A flat nose is just not apropos.) with a raised eyebrow? Point a finger at the door and say "begone"?

Then what do you do when the person you plan to cut dead writes you something that makes your knees feel like jelly? A simple sentence that stops you from ending it all, making you rethink whether it is time to cut it short. And then they tell you that your presence in their life is the only thing that makes them happy?

Taken with a modicum of salt, the idea of being a source of happiness is not enough to end the finality of the former decision. But it does delay the stay of execution. Maybe one more bite....

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Losing my cockles

It was a beautiful morning, the sun slowly coming out of it's dark womb, the shadows of the mango tree hedging back, and the coolness gives way to a hint of warmth. I get up without incident, head downstairs to water the plants and enjoy the quiet of the morning.
By 6 I'm out of the door, fully prepared for the rest of the day. I get to the gym before the half hour, happy to avoid all the traffic and mess that will be building up in a bit. But that's where it hits me, it should have been so clear from the start that something was amiss. The tote bag was rather lite, but I didn't think anything of it until I was walking through the doors of the gym. I had forgotten my shoes at home! And I was wearing a skirt today. Gosh dang it and all the toned down swear words I could think of, it didn't quite look professional to be wearing trainers the entire day, plus it wasn't even my puma yoga shoes, but my ratty grey sneakers.
The only comfort I get from this is that the color of my trainers doesn't clash with my red and grey outfit. And as a friend told me this morning, I seem to be working it.

Another cloudy afternoon.. yesterday there was a bit of a rainstorm, and it looks to be the same. What a weird summer.

I had a semi-decent weekend, had to work so it wasn't quite as pleasant as all that. Plus my ego was damaged from a comment that someone texted to me. If it was from someone who mattered to me it would have been easier to take the criticism and it would have forced me to truly look at change. As it came from a relative stranger the major hurt comes from having someone make a judgement call before meeting me. Or maybe I had given the person too much of a leash to use against me. In any case, the hurt stayed on through the weekend. By Tuesday, a comforting comment by someone I shared the confidence with helped the healing process along and I was on my way to feeling normal again.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I am a puddle

Heat, this heat. Killing me. Brain cells dying. gah

I thought Puerto Princessa heat was just heat further south, therefore understandable. But the heat in Manila is just as bad, if not worse for being a few meters north and because I was on board a boat for a week and there was a breeze and I was not as hot as this foreffing'ssake.

Back to so-called civilization, hah. But I'm just suffering and feel the need to be bitter. Bitter about being back where the diving is at least 2 to 3 hours away by car, bitter that I missed out on seeing the hammerheads near the Malayan wreck and I'll need another year or two to go back to see those durn hammerheads. Post-dive blues. Woe is me.

On the upside a good friend is now married. Hope she married the right guy though. He should learn to smile.

And Friday, sweet Friday is not that far away.

Why does Citibank Visa think I need a credit increase? Aren't they making enough money off of me? Do they really need to tempt me with more debt? Yoiks.

Pike Market Peonies

Pike Market Peonies