Posts tagged ‘postaweek2011’

Improvisation; Travelling, Cooking, Dancing..

Improvisation is a wonderful word.  In Dictionary.com, its defined as 1) to compose and perform or deliver without previous preparation; extemporize.  2) to compose, play, recite, or sing (verse, music, etc.) on the spur of the moment. 3) to make, provide, or arrange from whatever materials are readily available.

One needs to be flexible, quick thinking, and adaptable in order to achieve that.  These are the qualities I love as they also show strength; to deal with all situations, to react accordingly to circumstances and to go with how the wind and water flows.  Life is not that hard when you apply it to all aspects as there are always options.  Be spontaneous and life will always be exciting because you’ll never know what’s going to happen next. 

When it comes to travelling, I generally have a rough plan in terms of direction, transportation and accommodation.  As a lone female traveller, I am responsible for my own safety.  However, I’m always open to detours and road blocks which makes up the thrills of travelling because you dont know where it’ll lead you. 

When I was in Beijing China alone in 2008, I met 2 hostelmates; an Englishman who arrived just a day before and a Dutchman who had been travelling for years.  I wanted to travel to somewhere for 3 days and thought that it would be nice to have company.  Hence I mentioned it to the Dutchman and we spoked about travelling to Harbin to experience the harsh winter and to see the famous ice sculptures.  In our heads, it was a great idea but we were uncertain about travelling together since we only met a day ago.  Eventually, we asked the Englishman to join us and he agreed the next day.  All of us postponed our original travel plans and it all turned out to be a fantastic experience.  

Our only plan was to get to Harbin to see the sights and ice sculptures but in the end we went even travelled further to ski for 2 days!  That was my first ski experience! 

It was so amazing that we got along very well (we are all born in the year of the horse coincidentally!) and we were sad when we returned to Beijing and spoke about meeting at some point in our travels down south.  We stayed in touch and to date, the Englishman now lives and works in Beijing and the Dutchman is a proud father in Holland. 

 

Cooking on the road has its challenges; lack of necessary crockery, kitchen necessities (stove and oven) and appliances.  My ultimate goal is to try to eat healthily (minus too much cheese, oil, sugar and salt)  and to cut cost, hence I had to find ways to improvise with the limited resources.  Couscous (just add hot water) with broccoli and carrots (steamed) tastes great with Japanese rice seasoning, cooking soft and hard boiled eggs using the coffee maker, etc.  I also had plan how to make use of the only 2 plastic containers to prepare and eventually to serve the food in.  That can be quite tricky but I had a lot fun working around it.

I didnt really receive much formal training in Salsa dancing.  My best friend taught me the basic 1-2-3, 5-6-7-8 and that was it.  The rest, I owe it to all the guys I’ve danced with and a lot through observing others.  With my ‘unorthodox’ training, I did have to improvise along the way whenever I missed the hand or step or auto-piloted some moves (a big NO NO for ladies because we are supposed to follow).  I appreciated when guys improvised their moves to go with what I was doing at that time, get me back into place with them and continue the lead.  This shows their versatility and graciousness.  Occasionally, they too discover some new moves along the way.  Ultimately, social dancing is a form of relaxation and enjoyment so there’s no need to get all too technical and strict about it!

In short, IMPROVISATION is great and if you train yourself to do that, life will have less obstacles because you will always find a way out or around and thus make it a lot more fun and enjoyable!

February 16, 2011 at 8:35 pm Leave a comment

Salsa in Cincinnati Ohio

Just before I arrived into Cincinnati Ohio, I launched into the once again tedious task of searching for a venue with salsa dancing somewhere near downtown.  After searching for 15 minutes, salsapower.com is the only one that gave me some kind of information but I’m wary that it may be outdated.

There’s Monday Salsa at Mad Frog which is a little too far away for me to travel alone from downtown and there’s Havana Martini Club in downtown which I later found out that they’ve turned into a not too exciting looking Penguin Piano Club of sorts. 

A week went and a bartender at the theatre mentioned he saw some salsa dancing long time ago at a Mexican restaurant just down the road.  Hopeful, I surfed the web again to investigate further and chanced upon midwestlatino.com.  I think their updates were more reliable because there were information about a Salsathon event  on Saturday which I can’t attend because I’m working!!! 😦 

The website is packed with information and personally, I think it’s too cramped up!  It’s similar to loads of salsa websites online where everything is cluttered together.  I think they need to space the information out a little, organise by colour, change of fonts and spacing of everything, basically better organisation so that it’ll be little more soothing to the eye. 

Nevertheless, I did find out that aside from Mad Frogs on Mondays, there’s Bartini on Wednesday!  I can’t believe that I missed last Wednesday because Bartini is right beside the theatre where I’m working!  OMG.  What a waste!

Bartini is a nice looking venue.  Surprisingly, the bar area is relatively quiet as the salsa tunes were very well contained in the dance floor section.  It’s a nice size dance floor with 2 bars and a lot of sitting area.  I think the dance floor could use a bit more light.  Not that I want loads of swirling multi-coloured LEDs and moving lights waving crazily above us, just a bit of dull orange light will be good so that we can see our partner’s face. 

Interestingly, I did see quite a few good-looking men (6 foot 1, muscular with dark looks) who can dance.  It seems like a rare sight for some reason.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to ask them to dance and they didn’t too.  I wonder why because I can see that they were interested to dance with me (btw, did i say i’ve been dancing for 7 years?  So I think I’m quite an average good dancer.).  I guess my hesitation had to do with not wanting to look like I’m trying to hit off with them.  It’s weird that I was conscious because its normal that I ask men to dance and I do it all the time!!

 We are heading to Chicago next week… the search continues…

 

January 29, 2011 at 8:49 pm Leave a comment

Dance is a form of communication and self expression; Salsa is the language

I started salsa dancing years ago in Singapore.  It was quite a new thing then and to date, the salsa scene in Singapore has grown.  I see new faces whenever I return for a dance in Union Square  in Singapore after my travels.  Yes that’s the place to go and its the longest standing salsa club in Singapore!  (http://www.unionsquare.com.sg)

Salsa is a great social activity because you’ll get to meet people in different fields; from lawyers, doctors and accountants to housewives to singers, dancers and actors.  Another good thing about it is, you don’t need to go with a bunch of people as like going to a dance club.  It’s usually safe and quite common for girls to go to a salsa club alone and not be bothered by unwanted attention.  Well I’m speaking from experience as I do that all the time.  So far, I’ve danced in London, Barcelona, Shanghai, Beijing, Sydney, Malaysia, etc. and many cities in the US like Portland OR, San Diego CA, Pittsburgh PA, Louisville KY, Raleigh NC and many more… Yes I go to the clubs on my own. 

Salsa is a fantastic form of exercise for all ages.  It’s a total cardio workout with loads of fun!  It also helps to develop your coordination and rhythm, increase your self-esteem and confidence as well as work on your posture grace and flow.  For those who likes to perform for others but don’t have the chance to do it on stage or has stage fright, the salsa dance floor is a great place to show off your moves!

January 9, 2011 at 7:21 am Leave a comment

Cooking while on the road

At the start of the tour, I was tempted to travel a rice cooker so that I can make my own food.  The advantageous: 

  1. Low cost – eating out every meal can be an expensive activity.
  2. Healthier with the use of fresh ingredients.
  3. A solution to curb my Asian cravings.

With zero knowledge of what is available in each city, I decided to start small… first by acquiring the necessary cutlery:

  1. Chopsticks
  2. Soup spoon (the chinese type that is deep enough for you to hold soup and noodles in it.)
  3. A microwaveable plastic container about 6′ by 6′ and 2-3′ deep
  4. A Swiss Army Knife

After a month, I realised that the items above are a great start and especially useful when you can request for a  microwave to be sent to the hotel room.  That is the amazing thing about hotels in the US.  Microwaves has never been an option in all the hotels I’ve stayed in Asia.  Well… excluding rooms that comes with a kitchenette. 

As I venture into the world of ‘Cooking in hotel rooms’, my collection of condiments and cooking essentials inevitably started to grow.  I had to be innovative with what I make and need so that I dont end up travelling from city to city weekly with a larder.  Starter kit (preferably in plastic containers for weight concerns) includes:

  1. Sea salt
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Organic Soya Sauce
  4. Shichimi (Japanese condiment – mixture of sesame seeds, seaweed, chilli flakes and sometimes bonito flakes.)
  5. Spicy Sesame Oil 

Shichimi - Japanese Condiment

I was pretty excited about working with the limitations and managed to make up a bunch of simple dishes that are both easy and quick to make and healthy!  Stay tuned as I start to roll out the list so that it will be a no brainer should you decide to cook while on the road!

January 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

Daily / Weekly Blog 2011

I started this blog with hope to write everyday or at least once a week; to record my experiences and to share them with my family, friends and everyone out there!  I am definitely inspired by my partner who participated in project 365 – A photo a day, and a poem a week, for 2010. It takes a lot of perseverance and determination to follow that through. A round of applause for him!

For 2011, WordPress threw out a challenge – To encourage everyone to blog everyday or at least once a week. Since it’s in line with what I have in mind, I’m taking up the challenge…

(I can feel my knees shaking and sweat breaking… yes I’m scared… Fingers crossed!)

January 7, 2011 at 9:04 pm 2 comments


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