Free Sunday!!!

It doesn't always happen on a business trip but we had a free Sunday this trip.  So the day started early with a walk along Lincoln Drive to St. Monica Church.  It was a really pretty walk on a beautiful morning to a real beautiful church.  So I was there for 9:30am Mass and if you've ever been to a Catholic Mass you know it's the same wherever you are in the world … kinda like the oldest franchise around ;)   I digress, what I wanted to say is … it was time for communion, I was sitting there waiting for my turn, looking at the different people taking their turn … lo and behold I see Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Yep, the Governator himself.  Nope, that's not a picture I took.  The man was in church and I didn't think a Singaporean crazed fan moment was appropriate so I just took a second take to make sure I was right.  Seeing his wife, Maria Shriver confirmed that it was him and I went back to waiting for my turn at communion.

After Mass I walked to yet another great place for vegetarians in Santa Monica, Newsroom Cafe along Wilshire Boulevard.  I had a totally yummilicious breakfast of scrambled tofu and wholewheat toast … why doesn't some place like that open in Singapore?  Hmmm … I just might open my own organic vegetarian place in Singapore.  So after the last days having to chow breakfast down quickly, I enjoyed my scrambled tofu at a leisurely pace, sipping my peppermint tea and reading the papers.  Life can be good :)  the rest of the day was spent walking down the promenade, taking my first bus ride in California and checking out Main Street which has all these different little independent shops … my kind of shopping 🙂

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Customs cleared!!!

So Day02 was by all records much more successful than Day01 coz our stuff finally arrived and our booth looked like we were finally in business and not some sad secondary school set up :)  After quite a busy day, I was looking forward to dinner at my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Santa Monica, Real Food Daily.

LA is slowly grow on me … let me stand corrected, I think I can honestly say Santa Monica is a pleasant place to be.  So far everytime I'm here the LA smog seems to avoid Santa Monica and I don't have to run around in the crazy LA traffic :)  And with a view like that while I'm waiting for the lights to change, I won't dread coming back to Santa Monica if I have to 😉

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2 days in Seoul

Yep, flew in Sunday evening and woke up at 4:30am Wednesday morning to catch a flight out to HK.  So it was two full days filled with meetings in Seoul.  Not bad for a work trip, if I don't say so myself :)  When we arrived, I got off the plane and walked into an airport that looked strangely familiar … even though I've never been to … so I guess the designers for Changi Airport can only do one kind of design lor :P  It is a real pretty airport though 🙂

After an hour on a mini van we reached our hotel which was a great place.  Not too expensive for a comfy bed, a small kitchenette, a washing machine (which I didn't get to use) with free broadband … what else can you ask for? 

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It had a Starbucks close by and a major subway station.  Totally would recommend it to anyone who's looking to go to Seoul but make your reservation through www.hotelwide.com … it gives a better internet rate. 

In the 2 days I was there I realise Seoul is quite the city that doesn't sleep.  With a major road running in front of the hotel, everytime I looked out of the window the traffic was heavy.

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So on the first night, Michelle, Chee Wee and I braved the cold and headed to Myeoung-Dong for dinner.  We followed Michelle as she confidently navigated us through the slightly confusing station.  She told us when to get off, which platform to change to and which train to transfer to and viola … we've crossed the Han River and arrived to a young hip part of Downtown Seoul … well, at least from what I saw it came across young and hip to me.  It even had a stage for hip hop performances … made me wonder what tourists think of Orchard Road in Singapore.

Oh well, the 3 hungry  Singaporeans found the first place that served also vegetarian  dishes and went right in.  I had a typical Korean noodle dish with a whole bunch of fresh veggies with Korean chilli sauce.  It was yummy but so very spicy … so spicy I had to 'wash' my noodles in the soup 😛 but so yummy I couldn't stop eating it.

The next two days was filled with work so most of what I saw of Seoul was through office windows or the window of our mini van … and I'm pleased to report the Koreans seem to like us enough.

And on the last night there I ventured on my own to check out a vegan bakery and a vegetarian restuarant.  I had a vegan chocolate chip cookie before dinner … it was yummy and started to wonder why they don't have a branch in Singapore.  Then I navigated the subway station on my own and found a quaint little vegetarian place which served a traditional Korean fare veggie style.  It was buffet style with all-you-can-eat kimchi, fresh veggies as well as Korean style stir fry.  I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the meal :)  My favourite bit was the rice … sticky wtih beans for extra protein!!

After dinner I walked around a really sweet art-sy district.  It was filled with cute little local designer shops as well as fine art galleries to roam through … and then you turn the corner and there's street art too 😛

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So when we rose before dawn to catch our flight, I thought I should come back to Seoul for fun soon.  For now though, I was glad to say goodbye, the chilly spring where temperatures ranged from 2 – 10 degrees is not my style … I'm truly a tropical city girl 😛

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Organic Farming

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Ever since I became vegetarian some 5 and a half years ago, I've been learning more about organic produce; its importance to the environment and health has kinda made me a strong advocate of organic farming.

So whenever I have time, I go check organic farms out … coz you know an organic label doesn't really cut it for me … yes, I have trust issues :P  Anyway, A and I have pretty much checked out all the organic farms there are in Singapore and in fact order our weekly dose of fresh veggies from Green Circle Eco-Farm, so when we heard of this really huge organic farm in Negeri Sembilan … we packed out bags for a quick weekend getaway to check it out.

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I'm happy to report we had a lovely time and the Titi Eco Farm Resort is a nice place to getaway for the weekend :)  In fact, they actually have simple cabins for people to stay over with activities to learn about organic farming as well as nutrtional vegetarian cooking.  They do have a lot of different veggies but most of them can be found in Singapore too, and they don't deliver to Singapore coz we're a little to far away for the organic veggies with no perservatives to survive.  Makes me wonder about all this organic produce from Australia and the US that I find in our supermarkets in Singapore … …

Anywho, like all good organic farms they make their own compost so nothing goes to waste :)  All organic trash goes into a bin that is sorted and later turned into yummy nutrients for the soil which is important as a lot of the factory farmed veggies are grown on weak soil and so technically don't have sufficient nutrients we need.  And man, you can tell by the taste of the fresh veggies, I had corn raw freshly plucked from the plant … and they were the sweetest thing ever … first time I've ever had raw corn … and ladysfinger, fresh from the plant, it's sweet with no slime … cool, right?  The papayas though were the best thing I've eaten.  It was really too good to be true 😛

Made me want to go out buy land and become an organic farmer … then reality sets in and I remember the time when I was in secondary school and my parents were going away for a holiday.  My Mummy had a simple task for me – water her plants.  My Mummy, for the uninitiated, was born with green thumbs, fingers and toes … and unfortunately, I didn't inherit any of those genes so even though I watered her plants, they met their untimely demise.  So I'll stick to what I do better – shopping for organic produce 🙂

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A little bit of love …

… and anything is possible

Wish I was the one who took this picture but it's courtesy of the BBC … who would have thought a couple of little tiger cubs and orangutan babes could be best buds in a nursery.  Bet when they grow up the tigers won't eat the orangutans … although, I'm starting to hear voices of friends who disagree :P  I'm remain hopeful … if I can be vegetarian, I say anything is possible :)  Just ask any of my pre-veggie time friends, they'll vouch how much of a carnivore I was :P  I'm glad though … now I'm a predator who now just sayangs* my prey 🙂

* sayang – malay term to affectionately stroke … think it also means love as a verb

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