Saturday, 19 December 2009

Down in the Dumps

Mr. Happy and I spoke from across the sea yesterday. He told me that he should be called Mr. Un-happy because he's very sad all alone in KL. Oh no! He leaves Monday night to fly to the US for the holidays. There will be a smile on that face soon enough!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Slowing Down in San Diego

The trip to LA has been extraordinarily busy and exhausting. I was really excited to take a weekend break and drive down to San Diego to visit with my college roommate Grrr, her sister Dr. J, and their mom.

San Diego is SO beautiful.

And Dr. J has the most amazing house.

Her backyard has a pool, hot tub, and a view of Janet Jackson’s house! I loved it here. Fortunately, there is plenty of room for me to move in. Unfortunately, they seem to think I’m kidding when I tell them this is my plan.

On Saturday afternoon, we prepped the place for Dr. J’s holiday party.

I’m finally getting into the Christmas spirit. Especially with these two holiday pups!

Maybe I’ve been out of America too long, but everything about San Diego amazed me. They’ve got dog food that looks as good as people food.

At Dr. J’s house the garbage can opened and closed on its own. And she had a vacuum that cleaned on its own. People even got around by flying through the sky.

When did everyone go all Jetsons on me?

Despite stuffing ourselves at the party on Saturday, we still managed to devour a couple of racks of ribs on Sunday.
We are such champs.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Going Hollywood

I’m in LA, baby!

I’ve come to town for a little over a week to ‘take some meetings’. The exciting news is that I recently optioned one of my screenplays! Now the real work begins. I’m going to be meeting with producers, managers, lawyers, etc. to talk about this project and future work. It should be exciting.

I’m zipping around town in a my rented Mazda 3.

Luckily, I’ve got a GPS with me. I’ve just been told there is a law in CA that you can’t have anything on your windshield. What??

My first meeting was with an exec. on the Warner Brother’s lot in Burbank.

I spotted Ellen DeGeneres here!
Most of my meetings seem to be based around coffee, lunch, and drinks. Not kind on my waistline.
But dee-licious.

My friend Round the World who you probably remember from my postings in July, is also visiting LA. She invited me ‘round hers and cooked up a D-licious dinner!

I loved this carrot ginger soup. I could not get enough! I was actually with RTW a couple of years ago when she bought her first cook book in London. I guess I ‘knew her when’.

LA is getting hit by some of the worst weather its had in two years. Luckily, the sun peaked out for a few hours and I managed to snap some photos.

I’m staying with a college friend in Santa Monica. This is a great area because it’s near the beach!

RTW and I took a stroll through Venice.

Where it was snowing!

My humble host and I, along with another uni-mate, hit the town.

Let’s try that again.

Not so much…

Anyway, the week is going great. I’m jetlagged which means I have a hard time falling asleep at night. Since I generally have a morning meeting, I’m not getting too much rest. I guess sleep can wait until Christmas.

Early Riser

For the second time in a week I am up at 2am and heading out to start my day.
I've just spent the weekend solo in Bangkok. I wish Mr. Happy could be with me, but I dilly dallied booking his plane ticket and airfares soared. So, I explored the city alone. Luckily, I've spent a good deal of time in Bangkok and know it reasonably well. Here is a group of shoppers outside MBK plaza. Wearing a pink shirts shows support for the Thai king.
He gets a lot of support.
I'm in Bangkok to catch a plane to LA.
It turns out the airport isn't too busy in the middle of the night.
Next stop...Tokyo and then on to LA!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

A Thanksgiving with Altitude - Ubud

We’ve arrived in Ubud! The landscape is dotted with rice terraces.

Surprisingly, lots of ducks hang out at the terraces. There’s a famous restaurant in town called the Dirty Duck. I guess this is how it got its name. We ate our Thanksgiving dinner there.

What does one do during holiday time when you are in a land that doesn’t celebrate your holiday? Apparently, do something quite foolhardy and reckless.
No, we're not Australian for goodness sakes. Our thanks giving was a bit more zen.

Our gang of three decided to hike up a volcano, timing it just right to see sunrise. This is more complicated than it sounds. Actually, I just re-read that and it sounds complicated all on its own. However...

First, this is the volcano.

It is much larger (and more active) than I anticipated. When we set out on the hike it was pitch black, so we had no idea how much climbing would be involved.

We awoke at 1:45am and set off for the volcano. That’s right…1:45am! This is when you are supposed to go to bed during vacation. It is never, ever a time when you should be waking up.

We had read a review of the volcano trek. It was described as terrifying and dangerous. We chose to ignore it.

Thus, we were terrified multiple times during this very dangerous trek. There is a very steep incline for most of the 2-3 hour hike. In itself, this would be difficult, but the volcanic rock breaks away and is difficult to navigate. Also, as I mentioned earlier, we were doing it in the pitch black dead of night. Also, as I neglected to mention earlier, the trail had been closed several weeks earlier due to volcanic activity. Every once in a while we’d come to a hole with steam piping out of it.

We were not ones to give up! Before we knew it we crested the precipice!

It was very cold at the top. It was also cloudy which put a damper on our sunrise plans. Still, the views were stunning.

Standing on top of a volcano looking down at the clouds is a perfect place to reflect on all the things we are thankful for this year. It’s been a good, good year.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Jolly Bali - Seminyak

Another weekend…another guest…another reason to travel!

Mr. Happy’s Uni-mate (a doctor and Harry Potter look alike) Dr. HP visited us for the week.

We debated where to go, but the decision wasn’t too difficult…Bali! Eveyone always has the BEST things to say about Bali, so I was anxious to see for myself. We decided to split our 7 days between Seminyak (a beach area) and Ubud (a mountain/rice paddy area).

You buy a visa on arrival in Indonesia. For a seven day trip, the visa is only $10US. Beyond that, I think it’s $25US. We caught a cab (70,000 Rp) to Tony’s Villas. The name doesn’t conjur up the most romantic of images, but it was a great place and a very good value for money compared to other villas in the area.

The first thing we did? Stripped off our city clothes and hit the beach!

Tony’s was about a 10 minute walk to the beach. Unfortunately, the closest beach to us was reserved for religious practice!
No problem, we just walked a bit farther down and the beach was suitable to rabble rousing and carousing. Dr. HP couldn't wait to bury his Birmingham body in the sand.

We stopped at the popular night spot KuDeTa for a snack before we tackled the waves.

We only had one overcast day…the day I brought my camera to the beach! But the weather was warm, the water warmer, and the waves were HUGE! In fact, we were getting beat up in the surf!

We didn’t brave the short boards, but we did have a lot of fun on the boogie boards.

I didn’t care for the number of touts on the beach. Every minute or so someone would come by and try to sell me a sarong, a bracelet, a massage, a blow dart and bow and arrow set…

After drying ourselves off, we headed to the bar at KuDeTa to take in the sunset.

It was one of the most amazing sunsets EVER.

I guess clouds aren’t always such a bad thing.

During our holiday, I had to finish up some work. The combination of Tony's - and a few beverages - made my task easy.
(just kidding, the drinks are from the night before!)
Fun fact about Mr. Happy: He really loves kites. He was taken with the omnipresent ship kites for sale on the beach. They are for sure the type of gift you’ll never figure out how to put together when you get them home.

Our last day in Seminyak? Oh yeah...

He bought two. The guy selling them went home for the day. He probably hit his monthly quota!

It was hard to drag ourselves away from the sun, sea, and sand…but the rice paddies call. One final toast to Seminyak!!!