29 - 30 July : Save The Best For The Last

Our next 2 days in Nelson was really a nice way of ending the last of our free stays in New Zealand before we head back to Singapore. Yesterday, K and I drove out to the Abel Tasman National Park and did a bit of walking and sight seeing. That's a very pregnant me walking along the tracks with my face all covered up like a Arabic girl..


After our short nature walk, we went to the Richmond shopping mall, which is really a small mall with the most 15 shops. There, we had a muffin and spinach quiche, and did some supermarket shopping for ingredients for dinner. Brett was going to make Phai Thai for us! And K was going to fry some chicken with indian sauce and make some chinese soup. We reached the house just when the sun was setting, and snapped the photo below from the driveway.. gorgeous isn't it!



Dinner

After dinner, the 4 of us chatted more. K and Brett have been in serious discussions of selling Brett's photography work in Singapore, so they were working out the details. And Ayelet and I were surfing the web to research on the prenatal vitamins i was taking. She also tried to market the vitamins she was selling to me.

Today, K and I didn't really plan much to do. We stayed in the house till about 3pm, cooked lunch and then headed to another walk. This time to the center of New Zealand. The walk was supposedly a 1 hour uphill climb to reach the very center point of New Zealand (both North and South islands). But i didn't manage to make it. After about 2o minutes, i was totally out of breath and giddy from lack of oxygen as we climbed higher.. What a pity.. i would have loved to reached the peak of the hill and at least claim i have been to the center of NZ!! = )

After the exhausting climb, we drove back into the town center to the Kodak shop where Brett works. We were going to have dinner together at this Pizza place that Brett recommended. Dinner was fantastic. A great way to end our last night with them. I had the most delicious garlic bread ever. Hot and super soft bite sized bread rolls. Yum yum!

As main courses, the 3 of them had wood fired pizzas, while i had pasta. We also ordered tiramisu for dessert, and the owner made us a complimentary chocolate banana pizza cause he knew Brett and Ayelet. It was so nice!









We drove home after dinner, and chatted a bit again, this time about photography. Brett showed us photos of their trip in India, and it was amazing. All his photos looked like something you get out of National Geographic!

I'm actually quite sad that we are leaving tomorrow cause K and I are in love with their house, the sunny weather in Nelson and also the company we have had for the past 3 days. We have been discussing a lot these days about moving to New Zealand for good when our baby is born, and Nelson might just be the place for us to stay in!

Tomorrow we have to wake up at 6am again, this time to drive 6 hours to Christchurch to pick up EK and S at the airport. So looking forward to seeing them again! Won't have internet access for the next few days though.. so will post blog again prob when i get back to Singapore! = )

28 July: To the South!

9:03 AM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
K and I woke up at 6am today, and started loading our luggage in the car. It was still dark, and we had to re-experience the whole lugging bags in the dark up the stairs and slopes process.

We reached the ferry terminal at 7am, checked in our car and ourselves, then went inside the ferry terminal center and got ourselves a cup of disgusting hot chocolate.

About 15 minutes later, the gates opened, and we were the first car to drive and park inside the ferry. The whole journey to the South Island took about 3 hours. On board the ferry, we had our peanut butter sandwiches, read through some tourist brochures on Christchurch and Queenstown, and watched "The Golden Compass" on the big screen TV. We also had brunch at the cafe around 10am: Baked beans, eggs, hash browns, bacon and sausage. With free bread and coffee. It was delicious. K and I also went outside to the deck for a while just to enjoy the breeze and beautiful scenery. I was half hoping to see some whales or dolphins though, but didn't..




Shortly after our brunch, we reached Picton, and everyone got off the ferry. This ferry is really just a cargo ferry, with no proper passageway for passengers to alight. So cars and passengers on foot got off the same exit. So funny..

We drove around Picton and explored a bit since it was still early. Then we headed to Nelson and the towns nearby. We visited the Christchurch Cathedral, which was really nice, and walked along the shops in the streets. Then we had a late lunch at around 3pm at Subway. Lunch was a foot long meatball sandwich with 2 soft cookies and a cup of coke. After lunch, we walked around for a bit more. We went into a shop that makes and sells glass ware, and to a ring shopr that claims its ring makers made the rings for the movie "Lord of the Rings". We saw the original "One Ring" used in the movie, and other rings worn by the other characters like Aragon and Legolas.



We arrived at our host's house before the sun set around 5pm. Ayelet and Brett were our hosts for the next 3 days. Ayelet had given me very detailed directions to get to their house, but no address. And we understood why. Cause their house was up on the hill (again!) and very difficult to find. We couldn't even see the street name or house number. So having the address wouldn't have helped. K complained and asked me why I had to find all "ulu" and deserted houses on top of mountains. We had drive to uphill and then up a narrow slope before we reached the house.

But when we stepped into the house, it was a whole different story. K and i totally fell in love with it. Ayelet is Israeli and Brett Kiwi, and they both traveled a lot, backpacking around the world. So their house is full of interesting paintings and decorations. Plus it has an amazing view of the sea. And it's warm and cosy. And we had a cosy bedroom with a very comfortable bed and a view of the sea as well. In fact, the bed is so comfortable i didn't have backaches any more when i wake up in the morning. And because we are around the same age (they are in their early or mid thirties), we had plenty talk about. And so far, out of all the hosts we have stayed with, they are the most easy going. And very casual. Can joke with them and talk cok. Brett and K talked so much about cars and photography and business. Brett is so much into photography. And he is an amazing and talented photography. Check out his website: http://www.brettfleming.com/home.html

Ayelet works from home for an MLM company selling vitamins and supplements. And she is very into subjects like running businesses and financial freedom etc. Which is K's kind of stuff too. So we basically talked ALOT..

That night, Brett made dinner for us: Fried udon with lotsa ingredients. It was delicious. He's a good cook too apparently!

We went to bed pretty late that night. K turned in early, whilst i surfed the net until about 1am in the morning.. Last 3 days of free internet before we moved to Christchurch!

27 July: Last Day in Wellington

Today is our last day in Wellington.

I woke up with a backache due to the soft bed, and a weird feeling inside my tummy. Like something is pulling inside. Really uncomfortable. At first, i thought it's the food i had the day before. But K had the exact same thing as me for the whole day, and he was fine. Then i began to wonder if it was just the baby moving..

We had invited Phil for lunch today, and he chose the dim sum place. So K and I had dim sum again today.

Before that, we drove to a tourist attraction called Weta Caves, where the production house for Lord of The Rings, King Kong etc. were located. The place had all kinds of collectible items, and also screened a 20 minute video on the team of people behind the scenes and what they do..

Me and K with "My Precious" hobbit..

After our dim sum lunch with Phil, we headed for a 1 hour guided tour at the Wellington Parliament House, washed the car, and drive down to explore the South coast of Wellington. The tour at the Parliament House was pretty lame, cause it was too short for such a huge place, and we didn't really get to see much. We went into the Speaker's room, where discussions are held to decide on laws to be passed, and we also went into the huge room where Parliament is held, and got to see where John Keys (PM of NZ) sits.

Me and The Beehive

Me and the Parliament Building

We had the same stuff for dinner again today at Hebe restaurant. This time the yaki udon was not as nice leh, don't know why.. too bad lah..

After dinner, we headed back for an early night. Tomorrow we leave at 630am to catch our ferry to South Island.. So when we got home, i prepared peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast so we can eat along the way. Damn sian that i have to wake up so early tomorrow, the sun won't even be up yet!

26 July: 2nd Day in Wellington

8:31 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Today K and I started our exploration of Wellington. We had the best dim sum so far in New Zealand at Grand Century restaurant. A fantastic recommendation from Phil. The 2 storey restaurant was full house at 1130am when we arrived, and we ended up sitting at a little table right in the middle of the restaurant. Trays and trays of dim sum kept getting brought out by the wait staff, and everything looked so good. We had a big bowl of lean meat and century egg porridge, pan fried carrot cake, deep fried squid, steaming hot BBQ pork buns, sweet custard buns, pan fried corn and minced meat patties.. EVERY dish we had was good good good.. The century egg porridge actually had white salted egg, it's been such a long time since i ate that! = )

After we had our fill of dim sum, and we finally found a spot to park our car, K and I went shopping in Wellington city center and visited the Te Papa museum (world class). At the museum, we viewed the “From Mountains to Sea” exhibits and saw different types of New Zealand birds, and a real giant colossal squid preserved inside a glass tank. Then we moved to the "Earthquakes and Volcanoes" section and learnt a bit about those too. I felt like a kid on a school excursion! = ) K and I even went inside a model house and experienced what an earthquake would feel like. It was all really interesting.

After all the walking around the city, I got a bit giddy in the evening. So we went and had chocolate mousse cake and really sweet lemon ginger tea at the museum cafe just an hour before they closed. To get my sugar levels up again.. = )

But before that, we headed to the information center, and bought 2 ferry tickets to South island on the Blue Bridge Ferry. It was an 8am ticket, which meant we had to check in at 7am, and wake up at 6am.. i was sooo not looking forward to that..

When the sun set, K and I drove up to the Mount Victoria lookout, where we enjoyed a spectacular view of the night landscape of Wellington. It was beautiful, and very romantic.. cause there was nobody there, just us.. = )

We had dinner at Hebe Japanese restaurant, a recommendation from this newspaper article we saw along the streets. Between K and I, we shared a plate of yaki udon with teriyaki chicken and a plate of hot edamame. It was super delicous! I promised myself i will have the udon again before we left..



We reached Phil's house after dinner around 830pm, had a chat with him, surfed the net on his white Apple Mac computer, and then headed to bed. This time round, after a few compromises, I warmed myself on K's side of the bed with the electric blanket, then switched it off for the rest of the night. Still didn't have a good night's sleep though, the bed was too soft, and I woke up the next morning with a terrible backache.. = (

25 July: Wellington

8:29 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
K and I went to the weekend Asian market today at Albert Street in search of soya bean curd. We had heard from A's friend and also from Becky that they have it at the market. But we couldn't find it after walking one round, but ended up with a bag of 5 pacific rose apples for 80 cents. Super cheap!

After our market spree, we went over to The Plaza mall to meet Becky and returned her the house keys as well as say our final good byes. Becky got us a nice gift of a 2010 calender with photos of famous New Zealand sights, and also a recipe book on how to cook with kiwi fruit as the main ingredient. So sweet of her right!

K and I had Japanese for lunch at Fujiyama again for the last time. I had tempura udon soup while K had his usual special set. After lunch, K and I went to the city library for 30 mins to use the Internet, before we drove back to the wind farm for one last shot since the weather had been sunny and dry the whole morning. The view was gorgeous and totally worth the second attempt.




I had to stand on top of 2 wooden stumps with K squatting below me to take this shot. After that, i had difficulty getting down.. = P

We finally left Palmerston North and started driving to Wellington around 2pm. We were supposed to arrive in Wellington at 5pm and stay with our next host Phil Wollerman. But we got lost along the way, ended up turning circles in Wellington city, and had to ask for directions from the Duxton Hotel. The nice (and handsome) guy at the reception was so kind he printed out the directions for me all the way from the hotel to Phil's house..

Turns out Phil's house was on top of the mountains. At first, K and I were quite disappointed that it's another one on top of the mountains, cause it seems we have been staying in farms and mountain tops quite a few times already. Plus, Phil's house was very difficult to find despite the directions he provided us. Cause the houses in his area were all numbered weirdly. It went from House number 38 to 40 then as you go uphill it becomes number 31. Phil's house was number 39.

We parked our car outside his house, and had to walk past a narrow path surrounded with plants and then down a small narrow staircase before we could actually see the house. I was so worried i will slip and fall with all the bags i was carrying.. When we stepped in, we were greeted by a fantastic view from his living room, which faces the sea. And we had a bedroom with a great view of the sea..



Phil's a web / graphic designer cum entrepreneur who works from home. Nice guy, with 2 teenage sons. Think he and his wife divorced cause they don't stay together.

That night, Phil had a dinner invitation to his friend's house, but he recommended this delicious pizza from a small cafe 5 mins drive downhill. So K and I had wood fired pizza for dinner, it was delicious. After dinner, I did about a weeks' worth of dishes that Phil had piled up in the sink cause his dishwasher had broke down. I think i actually got aches from all the washing after!

We turned in not long after, before Phil came back from his dinner. There's a huge steel heater in the bedroom, but pretty much useless. Luckily, the bed had an electric blanket. BUT, it only works on one side of the bed, and K refused to let me sleep on that side cause the current from the electric blanket is harmful to the baby (according to my internet research), so i had to go through the initial phase of falling asleep on a cold bed that night.. bummer..

24 July: Getting to know Palmy

8:28 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Becky went to work late today around 10 plus. She would be finishing work late around 8pm, and we had invited her for Korean dinner after she knocks off from work.

K and I started the day with dim sum at Chinatown for lunch. K had buffet lunch. For some reason, the dim sum sucked, totally different from the experience we had the first time we came here.

After lunch, we tried to drive up to the famous wind farm, supposedly the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. But on our way up, we were stopped by a truck blocking our way. The driver advised us not to proceed cause the roads uphill were too wet and dangerous due to the rain. So in the end, we u-turned back.

We then drove up to Fielding (a town about 20 minutes from Palmerston North), visited a lame herb farm, a honey center to taste more honey and do other touristy stuff, another town called Sanson and visited the very interesting town of Bulls. We took plenty of pictures of the many interesting signs they have in Bulls! (see Facebook) Basically, they have signs with words ending with "bull" everywhere, like this one here beside the ATM.. = )

In the evening, we went to the central library, sat and read there for about an hour. I read about 3 chapters of Olivia Goldsmith's “First Wives Club”. Quite addictive!

Then we headed to The Plaza mall where Becky works to shop around while waiting for her to knock off. We ended up buying a pink Snoopy tee shirt for me, while K bought 3 tee shirts for $40 at Jay Jays.

At 8pm, Becky got off work, and we headed across the mall for our Korean dinner at De Coree restaurant. Between the 3 of us, we had biminbab rice, ramen, gyoza, seafood pancake and beef jogogi, and 3 types of Korean side dishes: spinach, potatoes and kim chi. Not the best definitely, but acceptable. The guy who waited on us was a tad irritating though. When I asked him what was in their ramen noodles dish, cause the menu just said "ramen", he actually replied: "I don't know, i'm not the chef." I felt like kicking him. What kind of rude answer is that?? Sigh..

We reached home around 9plus, and everyone turned in early. K and I had another cold night in our sofa bed. Tonight is colder than the night before.. Burrrrr....

23 July: On the Move!

8:10 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Today we move again, ending our stay in the Atrium Motel which we called “home” for 1 month in Hastings, and driving 2 hours South to the town of Palmerston North. K and I woke up around 9am and started to pack up and load our luggage and stuff into the car. Actually, K did most of the loading, and A helped. A and Ah Ming had moved downstairs to a smaller unit the same morning.

I did the checking out, and said my goodbye to the landlord Janine. We hugged and promised each other to keep in touch and send pictures of our babies when they are born.. It was nice. K and I left with A in our car, and drove to return our last DVDs, and then to the bank to transfer A's salary from my account into hers, cause she had used my name to work in the vineyards for the past month.

We drove for about 2.5 hours, and reached Palmerston North around 230pm. Our plan was to get there in time for the dim sum lunch at Chinatown restaurant, but we figured we will miss the timing, so we ended up having Macdonald's in Hastings before we left instead.

When we arrived in Palmerston North, we decided to head to the dim sum place anyway to check it out, and true enough, it was closed for lunch. So we headed to the museum and learned about the history of the Maori people, the Freemasons community and The Salvation Army in New Zealand.

After our little museum tour, we headed to The Plaza shopping center, walked a bit and had a muffin and a cup of hot chocolate at Starbucks. Best hot chocolate I've had by far.

We arrived at Becky's house around 7pm after our Japanese dinner at Fujiyama restaurant, and had a long chat with her. Becky is a senior team leader at a travel agency called “Flight Center”. She has a black cat named Felix, which Becky describes as fat and extremely “talkative” cause Felix mews a lot. Becky has 2 bookshelves in her living room full of interesting books related to travel and famous people. She mentioned this particularly interesting one about a guy who literally walked his way around the world.. I find Becky really outgoing and open, I guess it's the result of having traveled quite a bit. She knows a lot about Asia, having worked in Bangkok for a year, and also Malaysia. She knows Singapore very well too, cause she does tours from Singapore to Malaysia.


After our long chat K and I took our showers, which was hot, but the water pressure was so strong that it was actually painful for me.. We tucked into our double sofa bed, which was very cold despite the thick feather blankets Becky gave us. Sigh, i had expected our own bedroom.. The wind was so strong outside I could hear the howling at night while we were sleeping. I was half worried our car will get blown away!


Becky's neat little loft

Us and Becky in her living room

Our 109 Monthniverssary

K and I celebrated our 109 months together in 17 degrees C, warmest ever!

For a start, we decided to settle the WOF problem. So K cut off the frays from the seat belt, use a lighter to burn away the ends, and went back to the same car servicing shop at Caltex to try our luck, since we already paid $40 for the inspection yesterday. After talking to the guy for a while, we managed to renew our WOF for the next 6 months. = )

We decided to clean up the car before we leave Hastings tomorrow, so we went to the self service kiosk and vacuumed the insides of the car. Then K did the car washing at another self service kiosk, while i sat inside the car and snapped pictures of him.. haha..



After the car wash, we headed to this Chinese restaurant in Napier and had our lunch. This restaurant served pretty decent Chinese food, and i had a craving for the Ma Poh beancurd that i had few days ago with Ah Ming and A. We ordered the beancurd, fried hoh fun, and stir fried kai lan with oyster sauce. It was yummy, but too much for us, so we ended up taking away the leftover kai lan.

We headed to the supermarket after lunch to get more fruits and some ingredients for dinner. Then headed back to the motel, hoping to finish up our last 2 DVDs before we leave tomorrow. But then i had a craving for pancakes, so i made my own pancake batter, which turned out disastrous (for the first time) cause i added too much milk... sigh..

The 3 of them left around 4 plus to play basketball with the china men, so i stayed at home and packed up our luggages and stuff and worked my heart a little..

For dinner, the 4 of us basically raided the fridge, trying to finish whatever food we had left. K made pan fried potato patties with salmon and carrots, and grilled salmon. And Ah Ming fried some party pack snacks, beef patty, and scallops. We also re-fried the left over kai lan from lunch. It was a "rojak" dinner tonight.. = )

We just finished playing 2 rounds of mahjong, our last session together before K and I leave tomorrow. Baby sleeping these days lah, so for the past 2 times, i didn't win.. no luck.. = (
A won quite a bit though!

It's 2am now, and K and I are still awake staring at our laptops.. i just helped K cut his hair.. will go to bed soon. Gotta wake up early tomorrow to check out and drive 3 hours to our next stop: Palmerston North! We will be staying with a kiwi host for a change, after being on our own for 1 whole month now.. Hopefully we will get used to being hosted again.. = )

Eda Mama..

9:19 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Latest prisoner profile shot of pregnant me taken few nights ago.. = )




Yesterday, K and I rented more DVDs to watch, but this time we rented the new releases instead of the old movies.. Then, we drove around to look for car servicing shops to renew the Warrant of Fitness (WOF) for our car since it will expire end of this month. Basically, without the WOF, we won't be able to continue driving our car cause it will be an offence. We found one car servicing shop near the Caltex petrol station, so we left our car there and took a slow stroll back to the motel.

I had curry maggi noodles with chicken nuggets for lunch, it was yummy.. = )

After about 2 hours, K walked back to the shop to collect the car while i stayed home and surfed the net. He took a long time before coming back about 2 hours later, with bad news that we failed the WOF. All because of the stupid driver seat belt, which the car service guy said was fraying at the sides and hence not safe for use. He advised us to change the seatbelt. That got K really worried, cause a new safety Then the ever so bright Ah Ming came up with the idea that we could use a lighter to burn away the frays and then go to another shop for inspection.

Ah Ming made Ba Kut Teh (with chicken meat) and steamed egg with minced pork for dinner yesterday. We had them with steamed rice. It was as usual, yummy! = ) After dinner, K and I continued with our DVDs, staying up till about 2am for a totally crappy movie named "Australia". So disappointing! Never expect Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman to accept roles in such a lousy film!

Primigravida

K downloaded this article on Pregnancy from Wikipedia. I just read through it, and realized that I am a "Primigravida" - a woman pregnant for the first time.. Cool! =)

A Hairy Business...

1:05 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
My hair growth seems to be retarded since i came here. Not sure if it's due to the climate here, or my pregnancy.

Not only is my hair not growing longer, and hair includes my eye brows, but i am also losing a lot of hair everyday.. I don't even have to comb my hair, just sitting there on the sofa, and my hair drops.. sigh.. will become botak soon..

I'm supposed to cut K's hair for him for the second time today, but haven't gotten down to doing it. 2 more days before we move to Palmerson North.

For the past 2 days, we haven't been doing much except laze around and watch more DVDs. Yesterday, we drove 15 mins to the small town of Havelock North to walk around, but nothing much there either.

We are also trying hard to finish our food supplies these days so we won't have to carry too much with us when we move again in 2 days.. so K and I have been cooking quite a bit these days..

These days, i have been eating toast with garlic butter, been craving it. But still cannot make it taste perfect like those garlic bread they have at Pizza Hut... haha..


My dream...

I had a bad dream yesterday night. I dreamt that i gave birth to a premature baby boy who weighed only 2kg and had several health problems. And all these was because i did not eat well and nourish myself during my pregnancy..

Sigh.. i am so worried that i am not getting all the tonics and stuff that all my friends got from their parents and in laws when they were pregnant. K told me that our ancestors and people in poor countries didn't have chicken essence and tonic also, and their babies turned out fine.

Think i am getting paronoid.. = )

Baby's Fun-tastic Day Out !

K, baby and I had a fun filled day yesterday at Port Ahuriri, a small port in the town of Napier.

We had picked up a brochure at the tourist information center some time back, and knew about this Art Decor festival going on this weekend so we decided to go and take a look.

We left the house with Ah Ming and A around 9am in search of the buffet brunches in the brochure. However, all the buffet spread were disappointing for the prices we were expected to pay, so we decided to postpone breakfast and went for a free Jazz Liturgy at this cathedral in Napier instead. The band from the Navy was playing in the cathedral, and we soon realized that it was more a Sunday service than a jazz performance. They simply had the Navy band to play some jazz to accompany their hymns and songs. The four of us did not stay throughout but
left halfway in between. K and Ah Ming weren't too comfortable, i think. And A is a believer so i think she didn't mind. As for me, well, i actually liked it cause it was all very peaceful and calm, and i like listening to the church songs!

After we left the cathedral, we went in search of breakfast again, and ended up at Cafe DMP, where i had my favourite banana pancakes and iced chocolate. = ) After breakfast, we headed to Rebel Sport to check out the winter sale, but came out empty handed. Because the next activity only starts at 1pm, we decided to go for makan again. This time, we had Ma poh beancurd, chicken wings and BBQ pork bun at this Chinese restaurant. A's craving! = )

By the time we finished our lunch, it was past 1pm, so we headed to the National Tobacco Center at Port Ahuriri for the Ahuriri Family Day Carnival. We kinda got all excited when we arrived, cause we were greeted by lots and lots of vintage cars lining the street, and small crowds of people all dressed in their high society clothes to match the vintage theme of the day. K and I felt so so poorly dressed amidst all the people in their suits, hats and fur coats! We spent nearly 2 hours at the carnival, taking pictures of all the vintage cars and people watching. A and I also had a fun time learning the basics of lindy hopping, while K and Ah Ming stood on one side and laughed at us. The 4 of us also took a ride in 2 absolutely gorgeous vintage cars for $2 each, all proceeds go to charity. Here are some photos that we took at the carnival:


Live band playing outside the National Tobacco Center

Whole row of vintage cars lining the street


Dark Purple Cadillac that K was totally in love with..

Almost 90% of the women we saw were dressed like this..

Me and A learning Lindy Hop.. can u spot me?

K, baby and I taking a ride in one of the vintage cars


We left the carnival around 3pm, and headed to Port Napier to board and tour the Navy's new ship. We had to join a long queue to get on board, but fortunately, the queue moved fast.. On board the ship, we were lucky to witness a huge oil tanker sail off from the port, with 2 tug boats pulling it along. It seemed like such a difficult task!

The Navy's latest vessel



I was fascinated at all the buttons one had to press to navigate the vessel!

After the whole Navy ship touring, we headed back to Port Ahuriri to secure ourselves a good spot to watch the fireworks display later in the evening. We parked our car by the railway tracks, and went to this bar restaurant beside the port where we ordered drinks and snacks and waited for the fireworks. We had deep fried squid rings and wedges with cheese with hot chocolate in the cold wind for nearly an hour before the fireworks started. There was a prize presentation ceremony at the restaurant as well, where prizes were being given out for the various activities held during the carnival, and also for the lucky draw.

At about 545pm, the fireworks finally began. By then, i was totally numb sitting outside in the cold.. but the wait was well worth it. The fireworks display lasted for almost 20 minutes, and it was spectacular. Haha.. another unexpected. I never expect i can get to watch fireworks here. I told K this was to make up the fireworks that we will miss in Singapore for National Day next month.. = )

After the fireworks, the four of us had Thai food for dinner. The food was above average, but cost us $100, which i felt was pretty expensive. We had tom yum soup, chicken satay, phad thai, chicken curry, stir fry vegetables and squid.

All in all, yesterday was a happy day for baby and me! = )

One of the many fireworks pictures that K snapped.. so artistic hoh??

My complaint to HDB

Again, as part of my kill boredom activity, i actually wrote a complaint email to the HDB town council after reading an article on Today Online. The article touched on the cleanliness of HDB flats.

Actually, it's been an issue that's been bugging me for a while: the mass of litter that has accumulated on the window ledges outside my HDB flat. Where residents are supposed to hang their clothes out on bamboo poles to dry out at. I just get so irritated by it, cause i am on the 5th floor, and all the rubbish from above kinda gets accumulated on the lower floors like mine. I just feel the conservacy i pay should not just include cleaning of the corridors and lifts, but the window ledges as well. Plus, the window ledges are just outside my kitchen and bedroom window, and it attracts all kinds of pests. And there is no way for me to clear the litter myself unless i sweep them all off onto the ground floor. Which then makes me a litter bug myself. Although i'm guilty to say i have done that several times out of desperation.

So anyway, the point is I wrote the complaint, and i was surprised to actually get a response within a day. This guy Jason replied and told me that he wil ask his contractor cleaners to clear the litter and put up notices to remind residents not to litter. I am surprised that they are taking my email seriously and actually sending people up high rised HDB flats to clean the window ledges. Surprised, but nonetheless, happy that somebody is doing something at last!

BBQ in 5 degrees celcius

6:31 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
I just had my first BBQ dinner at the motel tonight. It was supposed to be a mini farewell party for K and me, and 3 other Taiwanese girls who would be leaving Hastings soon and moving to the South Island. It's also the first time i did a BBQ in cold weather: 5 degrees C!

Ah Ming and A went to the supermarket this afternoon to buy the food stuff together with Ah Ming's sister and a few China men. The BBQ started around 5pm, right in the center of the motel where the pit and benches are. We had beef patties with onions, lettuce, carrots and BBQ sauce in burger buns, sausages, fries and lots of chicken and lamb meat. The entire preparation work took place in Ah Ming's sister's unit, and the whole kitchen was a mess.. Fortunately, our unit was the only one upstairs, so we didn't really get our unit dirty. The rest of the units downstairs had to share in the work, baking french fries and other preparations. It was like a mini Asian party, with more than 10 of us from Singapore, Malaysia, China and Taiwan. = ) The beef burgers were so yummy i had two! For the grand finale, Ah Ming prepared lamb's heart for everyone. The uncooked version was so gross i couldn't bring myself to eat it even after it was cooked.

As it got darker, i couldn't bear to stay outdoors and had to keep running inside Ah Ming's sister's unit to escape from the cold.. and then coming out once in a while to socialize with the rest.. It was the first time i met all the folks staying downstairs, cause K already knew them all from work at the vineyard. So it was kinda awkward for me at first, eating and chatting with strangers. Plus, me running indoors half the time didn't really help with the bonding.. haha.. oh well..

We had so much left over food in the end that it will be enough for breakfast for everyone tomorrow!

Here are some photos that i took just now:

Beef sausages

K starting the ball rolling with beef patties and sausages..

Our mini Asian party..

3/4 of the feast we had..

Ah Ming preparing the lamb's heart

Tomorrow K and I planned to go to Napier for some Jazz, buffet brunch and carnival type activities that we found in a brochure. I hope those will be good!

Food Deprivation

9:15 AM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
As part of my attempt to kill boredom yesterday, i went web surfing and suddenly recalled this website that used to be me and K's favourite back home: www.ieatishootipost.sg

And now it is my favourite again. All the photos of my favourite local food! My god, i nearly died looking at those pictures. I've downloaded a couple of favourites, so i can look at them everyday.. haha.. i am so pathetic i know!! =) But i am really very deprived of Singapore food too!

It's so ironic how we humans tend to only miss things when we are not able to get them easily..

When i get back to Singapore, i am SOOO gonna eat all of these! Every single one of them.. Yum Yum!


Satay with thick peanut curry sauce

Dark Fried Kuay Teow

Mouth watering fried hokkien mee!

Deep fried heh zhor.. salivating!

Black fried carrot cake

Bored to the max

I am so bored today, that i actually went to "Today Online" to check out the news in Singapore.. Seems that the H1N1 virus is getting more and more serious worldwide. Another pregnant lady and a kidney failure patient are the latest victims. Really hope K and I won't get quarantined when we get back to Singapore.

K is feeling much better now.. fortunately. I've been really worried that he won't get well so soon, cause we are going to start moving again soon... Plus, i am worried also that he will spread the virus to me and baby.. But yesterday, i bought some Pi Pa Kao for his throat, and he took quite a lot of medication, so today he is much better. The stupid Pi Pa Kao cost me $17.50. Super expensive, considering i can get the same back home for $8!

Yesterday night, K and I went on Skype with his aunties and cousins. after our spaghetti bolagnaise dinner. We had a long chat. It felt really good to get in touch with family again. Everyone was at Agnes yee yee's house gambling. Apparently, K's 2 aunties had taken 2 weeks leave to accompany his uncle and cousin who were both back to visit from USA.

After that, we played mahjong until midnight with Ah Ming and A Again, i emerged the sole winner. Baby luck! = )

Earthquake in NZ

12:51 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
I received emails and messages from my mom, mom in law and sister yesterday asking if i was alright. Apparently, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Ritcher Scale had struck the South Island of New Zealand on Wed night. And the news had spread to Singapore.. Fortunately, nobody was reported to be injured or dead, as the affected areas were mostly forests and sparse land.

K and I did not go out for dinner yesterday. K has fallen sick it seems. Down with flu and sore throat. So in the end, we had home cooked dinner by Chef Ming. There was soy sauce / Ma You chicken, steamed fish with ginger, and fried cabbages with carrots and ikan bilis. I am so thankful for dinner yesterday, cause it seems that i have not been getting the proper nutrients these days. And i am getting really sick of cooking. I hate having the heat from the stove on my tummy, and i just don't have the mood to cook anymore these days. And K hasn't really been cooking much for me either. When he's working, he's always tired. Now that he's not working, he's sick... Sigh.. At least yesterday i had chicken, fish and vegetables.. = )

K had an afternoon nap yesterday, so i turned in earlier than him. Him being sick and all now, there was no baby talk at all for the entire day.

Today, we watched another DVD in the morning, and then K went to sleep again. A and I took the car and drove out. We went to the supermarket, to the bank and to Clive to interview for a job that A had found at a fruits and vegetables shop. I bought more fruits for myself. Rockmelon and green and yellow kiwis.. really need to stock up on fruits and vegetables.. And A bought ingredients to cook spaghetti for us tonight.. = ) Our last stop was Macdonald's, to get my lunch. I bought myself a filet o fish meal, and a 6 pc chicken nuggets as a side. In the restaurant, i saw a group of grown men dressed up as superman, the Incredibles and Bananas in Pyjamas. Couldn't stop giggling to myself.. I wonder what party or event they were going to. The 2 guys dressed as Bananas in Pyjamas happened to be queuing beside me at the counter, and i overheard them talking to each other. One of them said to the other: "How are we supposed to eat? We forgot to make a slit in the masks for our mouths!" Haha.. so funny. But they really put a lot of effort in their costumes cause they look really good. The man dressed as Mr. Incredible looked quite old though, and i thought he looked pretty gross in the costume.. = P

When i reached home, it was already 3pm, but K was still sleeping. So i cooked mee sua soup for him. Now he is sleeping again.. sigh.. really hope he will get well soon..

I just finished reading another book yesterday. "Abandoned" by Anya Peters. The author writes about her life, a life of sexual abuse, desperation and despair. Here's her blog if anyone of u are interested: http://www.wanderingscribe.blogspot.com/

I can smell my dinner cooking now.. it's so nice to have someone to cook for you.. = )

A Very Warm Day

Yesterday was the warmest day i have experienced since i came here. In fact, for the first time, i didn't wear my jacket the entire day i was out. Initially, K and I had planned to stay home because the weather forecasted rain. But when we woke up, the sun was bright and sunny, so we decided to head out, although i was a bit reluctant too, cause i was all prepared to stay at home the whole day.

K had done some research on some of the nature sights / walks we could do nearby. And so after our late breakfast, we headed out. It was 16 degrees outside, and i felt so warm. I wonder how i am going to survive when i get back to the low 30s temperature in Singapore! Sigh...

K and I were supposed to find this nature reserve walk that's about 1 hour out from Napier. But we ended up getting lost and drove around on winding roads on the mountains for 2 hours under the hot sun. I got all giddy and nauseous and felt really uncomfortable. Plus, i was hungry. Then my craziness began and i started arguing with K in the car. The whole thing kind ended when K finally gave up searching for the stupid nature reserve and U-turned back for lunch in Napier. I slept through the journey back.

We had our lunch at the Cafe DMP in Napier town. Apparently, there is a Napier City Sale going on, and the town center was bustling with people. Which was kinda surprising to us cause it's the first time we saw so many shops open. Cause usually, when we go there, the shops there are either closed cause it's after 430pm, or because it's during the weekends. Apparently, it's most happening on weekday afternoons. haha.. so interesting. So we ended up shopping around the town center after lunch. We went to Pumpkin Patch, Baby Factory and Toy World.. all baby stuff. But we didn't buy anything in the end. Figured i'll do my shopping back in Singapore, or at least when i know the gender of my baby. When i was in Toy World, i met this little boy who gave me his rubber ball.. He was just so adorable!

After our shopping, we decided to head home to make dinner. On the way back, we detoured into Cape Kidnappers, a tourist attraction. But we didn't get to see anything, cause apparently, we can only get to the cape via a 5 hour walk or by tour group. K did however, make friends with a Malaysian Chinese guy who happened to have parked his car there for a smoke.

By the time we got back, K wasn't feeling too well. Think it must have been all the exposure to the hot sun and dehydration. So he took a nap, while i made dinner: Fried bee hoon and ABC soup.. haha.. We had dinner and watched another DVD: The Kingdom starring Jamie Fox and Jennifer Garner. Fantastic show. One of the better ones so far.

This morning, i woke up at 11plus. Adreana made some pancakes and i had them and banana cake for breakfast. K and I then watched another DVD. We stayed in the motel for most part of the day.

K's taking his nap now, and i am going for a walk / jog. Get some much needed fresh air! And perhaps think about what to have for dinner later.. These days, i don't seem to have much of an appetite. No cravings, and even my delicious fried bee hoon has failed to satisfy me..

Plus, i am so lazy to cook for myself these days.. sigh.. i wonder what's happening..

A Very Energetic Day

I spent 30 minutes writing my blog yesterday night, then the stupid web page refreshed itself for no reason, without saving my blog entry. So now, i have to write it all over again, only this time, i will try to be much more brief.

Yesterday, K and I had a very "energetic" day in Taupo. First we went to see a spectacular and extremely powerful waterfall (hydro energy), then we went to a volcanic / geo thermal park and surrounded ourselves with bubbling mud pools and bursting geysers (volcanic energy).

We woke up super early and left the house around 7plus after a quick breakfast, and just after the sun came out. When we reached the car park, we saw our entire car had been frosted up overnight when the temperature had dropped to -2 degrees. When i open my car door, the ice cracked and it sounded like the whole door was gonna fall apart.. haha.. It took us a few minutes to get the car under the sun and watch the ice melt before we started our 2 hour drive to Taupo.

When i checked the temperature before we left, it was 0 degrees..





The drive was a really nice one. We drove past lots of beautiful nature, saw the cows and sheeps (been a long time since i saw them!) and even some slow capped mountains in the distance. The roads were also pretty frosted with ice, and it was the first time we saw snow / ice since we came to New Zealand. At one point, our car skidded a bit even though K was driving very slowly. I fell asleep not long after, cause K was listening to his audio book, and i got bored.

We arrived in Taupo around 11 plus, and headed first to the tourist info center to get some brochures and maps. Then we had Japanese for lunch at a small little cafe. It was quite bad. Firstly, there wasn't a single Japanese in the cafe. The chef was a caucasian, the 2 ladies on the floor was a local kiwi and a Chinese. K and I ordered teriyaki chicken don , and prawn tempura udon soup. The chicken don had no teriyaki sauce on it, and they did not give tempura sauce. When we asked for the 2 sauces, the Chinese lady came back with 3 sauces, all of which were not teriyaki and tempura sauce at all. Sigh.. nonetheless, the food was still edible lah..

After lunch, we headed to our first destination, the famous Huka Falls, supposedly the largest waterfall in Taupo, supplying 20 million litres of water a day to the river linking to Lake Taupo. We saw Lake Taupo on the way here, and i don't feel like it's 3 times bigger than Singapore leh.. looks pretty much like a normal lake to me, except that i cannot see the other end.. = )

Here's a You Tube video clip on Huka Falls. At first i thought this was just another normal waterfall, but i was very fascinated by it when i saw it. It's really quite spectacular and very very powerful!! It felt so therapeutic just standing there, watching and listening to the water rushing down..

Huka falls
:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChzdknXMhGg

After the Huka Falls, we went to the Orakei Korako Cave & Thermal Park, also known as the "Hidden Valley", We paid $31 each for a one page map, a 2-way ferry ride to the valley, and a 1 hour self guided tour. So expensive right!! But it was quite an eye opener cause its the first time i've been to a volcanic / geo thermal park. We were literally surrounded by hot steam and stinky sulphur smell the moment we stepped on the valley / island. At first, K and I did wonder if all the sulphur smell would harm the baby, but still went ahead nonetheless. And it was fun. We also got a lot of exercise walking up and down the steps during the one hour tour of the place.

Here's a short video of what we saw when we arrived at the valley. All photos are on my Facebook.

Orakei Korako Cave & Thermal Park:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrPG5gALKq8

We left Taupo and drove back to Napier around 330pm. By the time we reached Napier, it was slightly past 5, so we didn't have time for dinner before the lecture. So we headed straight to the Eastern Institute of Technology for the free 1hour public lecture on "Personality". We were surprised to see that the lecture theatre was full house when we arrived. The lecture was quite interesting i must say, and i enjoyed myself. At least it's something different, something intelligent.. haven't really been using my head alot these days! = ) Sitting in the lecture theatre made me feel young again, and i really miss my JC and University days!! The speaker also shared a lot of reseach studies and results on Psychology and Personality, and that brought back memories of my Honours year when i had to do all these research for my thesis. = )

The lecture ended around 7pm, and K and I headed to the supermarket after that to get some groceries, before heading home to cook dinner. By then i was already super hungry, so i just made some mee sua soup and settled my dinner. We went to bed not long after that. What a day!

Baby and Diarrhea.

I have been having diarrhea for a few days now.. the first was on the day after i had the Thai beef noodles. Yesterday night, i kinda stink up the whole room cause i was farting non-stop and my stomach was making all kinds of funny noises. Then this afternoon, i was in the toilet for nearly 30 minutes.. It was so bad i wanted to vomit at the same time. And i was so worried that i might pass the baby out as well.. = )

Anyway, i refused to take any medicine, in case it affects the baby.. But for now everything is fine, let's see whether it will happen again..

I found a few baby photos on the internet and have decided to look at them everyday. I have even put them on my handphone. These 2 are my favourites cause they are the cutest! The first one is on my desktop now.. Everytime i look at it, i will smile... Isn't she sweet??!!








Calm after the Storm

5:23 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
K and I are fine now, after we had a long talk over our Macdonald's dinner the day after my breakdown.

K came home from work around 3pm on Saturday, his last day at the vineyards. We were still not talking at that time, although he already apologized for not committing time to talk to the baby. Anyway, we sort of bummed around at the motel before heading out for dinner. I was craving for filet-o-fish and fries so we headed over to Mac's. During dinner, we talked about the reason why we broke down, me needing attention and reassurance from him that there is a baby inside my tummy. And me wanting a baby's room and all. We had a long talk about how we will need to plan our finances, and make sacrifices if we want all these good stuff for our baby. If we were to give up renting one room, the lost rental income would mean that we have to sacrifice certain luxuries in our lives, like going for lesser vacations, maybe even selling the car. Anyway, we both agreed that we don't need a study room, so we will move all the study room furniture and convert the room into our baby's room. That way, we can still rent out the other spare room.

Yesterday, for the first time, we played 4 complete rounds of Mahjong with Ah Ming and A. I was the overall winner.. Think this baby is bringing me the luck.. haha.. 2nd time i won already. = ) Then for dinner, Ah Ming cooked. Actually, he wanted to go for this seafood buffet in Napier, but both me and A didn't feel like going out, so in the end, he cooked. We had steamed rice with stir fry sambal baby cabbages with fish ball and carrots, grilled fish, fried luncheon meat with potatoes and carrots, and baked beans with egg. No soup though, but nothing beats a home cooked dinner! = )

Just before i slept, i spoke to my family, who had all gathered at my sis's place for Shi Ting's 2nd birthday party. I spoke to the birthday girl and my older niece, i miss them so much!!


This morning, K woke up and made breakfast: Pancakes, eggs and sausages with chicken nuggets and hash browns.. = )


We stayed in the motel for most of the day since it was raining, and also because we still had 4 DVDs to finish watching before we need to return it before 6pm today. In the evening, we returned the DVDs, borrowed 6 more, and drove to Napier for dinner. We had Spanish for dinner tonight. 3 Tapas, one soup and one salad. It was a nice dinner, just the 2 of us, quite romantic setting and very good service by the waiter. Plus, we talked quite a lot, about the baby, about more money making business ideas and about us. = )

Tomorrow we will be going to drive 2 hours to Taupo.. To see the famous Lake Taupo, which is supposedly 3 times bigger than the whole of Singapore, and maybe go to a hot spa! Woo hoo!