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Pharoans Rally 2011

Did a photoblog on the adventure of Team Vespe ai Faraoni in Egypt!

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Musical Memories

“Let the music heal your soul,. Let the music take control.”

I want to talk about how I felt yesterday when I was running and a Scorpion song started playing on my Ipod. I couldn’t help but smile. I started to sing along and even did some head banging and air guitar-ing where appropriate lest I fall of the treadmill. 😛 Then I thought of all the other metal/ rock songs I have in my Ipod from the 80s. Metallica, Guns & Roses, Eagles all started to pop in my head. It made me smile so wide I nearly wanted to slow the treadmill down and start scrolling for these songs. I thought better of if when another song I liked and haven’t heard for so long started playing. Remember Jordan Hill with the song “Remember me this way” from Casper the movie? I wondered what happened to her??

I like it how random songs pop up when I put my playlist at shuffle. Most songs bring back memories of that moment that seems like it was just yesterday but when you actually think about it…damn! it has been almost 15 years or even 20!! :O some songs remind me of specific people and then my mind wanders to them and wondering what they are doing right now? Where are they in the world? The more I thought about it, the more I think music does play a big part in peoples life. It manages to evoke memories than anything else.

I was never one who could tell who the singer was nor the title of the song. I could almost always sing the chorus though. I didn’t even really own any CDs or tapes. Very few. Matter of fact, I got my first mp3 player just a few years back. Even if I had canggih (meaning state of the art in Malay) phone I still did not have any music in them. Even now. Then I moved to Singapore and met Dee. She is one big music fan! Thanks to her I made more of and effort in music. Now I even surprise myself when I can recognise the first few verses of the song on the radio! Recognise the singer by their voice AND know the title of the song. I have come a long way.

I am sure everyone has had the moments when the song plays and you remember vividly where you were and what you were doing. Whenever “Lemon Tree” plays, though most of us hated the song after a while because it was being overplayed and sung in so many languages it was like having verbal diarrhea everyday, I still remember being in the car back in 95′ being driven home after tuition. I remember vividly, that I was commenting on the song and half catching myself singing away. Then, KC &Jojo’s song “All My Life” brings me back to the beginning of 98′ just before college graduation in KL at a friends house. So so so vividly it gives me goosebumps. Even now.

Zainal Abidin’s “Hijau”, I see myself huddled over a radio with a pen and paper trying to get the lyrics. Yes, there was a time you had to do that to get the lyrics if they didn’t come with the cover of the tape. And yes again, TAPE. Sheila Majid’s “Lagenda” brings back P. Ramlee’s celebrations and his movies and Search’s “Isabella” brings forth the image of my cousin singing this song with his fist mike in his living room while we were all laughing around him. Ahh…..good times!

There are so many more….

What are your musical memories? Do share!

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Watches! Watches! Watches!

As you can see I am using the gallery mode again. I realised that my last photo gallery, the photos came out too small. I couldn’t even zoom into them to fully enjoy my stationery. 😦 So this time, I changed them to the full size. Fingers crossed, this tech moron did something right this time.

Back to the topic at hand. I have been following this designer for a few years now and I love his work!! His watches are one of a kind. He was one of the founders and designer of the watch Quatro Valvole of Meccaniche Veloci. He has since left that company and with it he took his creativity and now the watches of MV is bland with no new innovations (totally my own perception, of course). Then he started with another partner a new venture. His talent can now be found in Quarto Di  Miglio!! For the moment the site is only in Italian but because I love them so much, I have decided to help them out on the other front! I am working with some friends to bring the English and Chinese version of their website so the rest of the non Italian speaking world can enjoy their fabulous works of arts too!!

I got to know Marco a few years back from an ad company who was handling his company’s communications. They were looking for someone to help them design and construct an exhibition stand at the world famous Basel watch and Jewellery fair. They loved our design and we got to working with them. Before we knew it, we became fast friends. Marco is a man full of passion for all his designs. If you ever catch him anywhere ad get him started on his watches, you can see the passion light up in his eyes and he will whip out his laptop and show you his designs while explaining his inspiration behind each and every one of them. His is such a prolific designer that he churns out new and exciting designs every so often. You can follow QDMs progress on facebook.

I love their watches so much. I actually own a few of them. 😛 I even have one personalised with my initials. They Love Me, I tell you! 😀 Recently, they have asked me to help get into the Asian market. and I have agreed to help them. I know nothing of the watch industry but I am now working on it! Hoping to create a distribution line for them all over the world!!! I shall conquer the world!! bwahahahahaha!!!! That is some self encouragement on my side. Anyone interested in having the distribution or selling or even owning these watches send me an email and I shall get back to you. 

Doesn’t this look gorgeous!! I didn’t use to wear huge watches before but after knowing Marco, he has changed my life! 🙂 I now ONLY wear his watches.  Either  QDM watch which is 99% of the time or I lapse and wear his MV watch. But always his watches! Enough about Quarto Di Miglio. I would have to start getting technical if I continue writing.  Just wanted to rave about QDM and their amazing watches! We even made a line for our Pharoans Rally Vespa Team. 🙂 Did I tell you I love them?? I do! ❤

I am in a loving mood! ❤ ❤ 😀

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I love Stationery!!

I just  ❤ LOVE ❤  stationery!! I hardly ever write anything now but every time I pass a stationery shop, I must stop and take a look. The stare wishfully at the beautiful notebooks available, the colourful pens, the rainbow coloured papers…the list goes on. In our whirlwind trip to Barcelona 2 weeks ago, we walked into a modern interior store. A store sort of like Iwannagohome. While we were browsing..guess what caught my eye? They had a whole shelf of dreamy notebooks in all sizes. I stood staring and caressing the books so long that M told me to get them.

I sadly told him…I don’t need them. He continued that they are so “belli” (beautiful). I said, I know but I again insisted that I don’t need them. Truth be told, I have a few more unused notebooks lying around. If I don’t stop myself from buying every nice one that I come across, I can open a little school for needy kids and they all get free notebooks! After pulling myself away to browse the rest of the shop, i inadvertently came back to it. 😦 Finally, when M was paying for our purchase, wollen gloves for the family, he insisted I get one. How sweet of him. In the end I did get one but I am determined to not hang on to it. I bought it with a friend in mind and I am going to give it to her as a gift when I see her next. I bought the design that reminds me the most of her. 🙂

While on this topic, don’t you just love coloured pens!! I can’t get enough of the pens that MUJI carries. I still only buy my coloured pens from them. Though now I hardly use them anymore. if anyone knows me from my Uni days, my notes are all taken with coloured pens and are divided by the different colours that I have decided to use that day. A colour for the heading, another for the content, another for the sub-headings and another for side notes. So, actually reading my notes is very easy. I already colour coordinated and subdivided them just by writing them down.:D Too bad there is no MUJI here in Italy. But I found one in Barcelona! Another great find in MUJI is a pair of gloves for anyone who has a touch phone! You know how troublesome it is to have to take off your glove to use them because they are all heat sensitive now and not pressure sensitive, which is one of my pet peeves with the new touch phones, especially in winter. This new gloves at the cost of €20 has a heat sensitive pad on the index finger tips and the thumbs! I tried them on and it works!! You don’t have to take them off!! But the price tag put me off! I don’t actually live in such a cold place that I need to wear gloves all the time. Besides the Siberian breeze blowing through we are now back to 8˙C and above. Might dip a little if it is raining but other than that it is warm when the sun shines. I couldn’t justify the €20 price tag. 😦

My latest purchase, see I told you I have to literally stop myself from buying stationery, is a mousepad notepads! Featured in the photos above. By the way, I am trying to use the photo gallery thing that wordpress offers so I don’t know how it is going to turn out. If you see later that it is not in a photo gallery mode anymore, you will know that I didn’t like it and I changed it. Back to the notepads. I bought 2 though I liked like 5 of them, I had to pare my choices down. The little vespas on the side is so cute. I thought it was the best choice as we do buy, sell and restore antique vespas! I am thinking of giving them to M. Vespas are his passion afterall.

I got a new company notepad today!! I am stationery-ly happy!!! OOOooo…and M got me a Swarozski pen for Valentines!! I got to get started at writing old fashioned letters just to use up my stationery! Anyone wants to receive snail mails from me??

p/s : I think stationery is so important to me that it merits its own Category! 😛

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Monday Blues..

This is me, feeling blue. After 2 weeks of waiting, and waiting…. Plus the rain and gloomy skies are not helping matters. I should be more like Milo here moving closer to the balcony doors to soak in the sun. Getting some natural high.

On the bright side. I can get back to running!! I might just be able to hit my weight loss target in 3 weeks time. Time to amp up the exercise. 🙂

Ah…I am feeling better already. Just by ranting aimlessly. 😛

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La Dolce Vita

This is what people usually think of when you tell them you are living in Italy. Ah….”Italy is so beautiful”, “Such great food”, “beautiful cities”, “great architecture”, ” so historical”….Is what you would usually hear. I am not out to put Italy down but just to make some comparisons with the other cities that I have lived in.

I totally agree that Italy is beautiful and has many architectural beauties and is so steeped in history it is every where you look. But like every country and everything there is 2 sides to it. When I first came here back in 2006, I never did before even when I was flying, I thought Italy is a 1st world country, while I am from a developing country, I expected a lot. What I found was disappointing, to say the least. They have many beautiful things but they are not organised well. I felt that I went back in time to a Malaysia of, at that time, 10-15 years ago. When I went to register after my wedding in 2007 to get a local Identity Card (IC), they gave me a paper IC that lasts for 5 years. So, I thought, since I am a foreigner they would require that I renew it every 5 years in accordance to my Permesso Soggiorno (Resident Permit) but it was the same for the Italians. I thought that was funny because, why in the world do you need to renew you Identity Card every 5 years unless you change you address? Aren’t you a citizen? What is the use of the IC then? I found out later the Social Security card is more important than an IC. An IC is useless unless you want to travel within Europe and you don’t have a passport. It is even more useless than a driving license which can be used as an ID. So, even if you lose the IC, it is no big deal. You are not really required to carry it around as long as you have a form of ID. Not like in Malaysia or even Singapore. Anyway, this not a big deal. Just something different. I could hardly find an internet cafe to connect with the rest of the world. Until recently maybe 2 years ago, the airports didn’t offer wifi nor any type of internet not plug points. Just fly into Germany and France you get connection though you have to pay for it. Things have moved on from then, Thank goodness! Either that or I am now more connected via my mobile operator I don’t feel the lack of it anymore.

Then came the food. Yes, the food is good. I put a freaking 10kgs in my FIRST 6 months in Italy. Another 5 in the subsequent years. I was so much slimmer when my husband met me. I am trying really hard to lose the weight now. You will occasionally read of my struggles here. 😛 But…after a while the food is the same wherever we go in Italy. Though, never bring this up to ANY Italians. I am not saying that their food is bad, it is good, but lack variety. I can’t imagine myself eating a croissant and having a cappucino or espresso in the morning as breakfast EVERYDAY. But for the Italians, that is breakfast EVERYDAY! I have taken to making my own breakfast at home whenever I can. My Asian side weeps for me… I dream of having a hot noodle soup today, and tomorrow a great big English breakfast, then nasi lemak the next day and a yummy huge ass LBT sandwich the day after. Even my parents lamented after just 1 week here and they still had a week more to go. Are we having pasta or pizza again today? Seafood or meat? Usually cooked the same way too. All I said to that was, welcome to my world! I LOVE food and I try anything before I say I don’t like and I am just limited here. Add to that, I live in Genoa where there are limited foreign restaurants. I know of a few Chinese and Japanese restaurants which are really good but only 1 Indonesian restaurant and 1 Mexican which I think is closed now. I saw a few African standing only food places that I want to try but M being M he is hard to convince. It took me 2 years to get him to eat tofu and that happened by chance in Tokyo where it was also his first time eating oxtail! Can you imagine that!! I have it good already cause I have a friend who is Malaysian and was married to a Sicilian who ONLY  eats Sicilian and some Malaysian food cooked by her, while living in Genova!! I am not kidding!! He makes exceptions for pesto and foccacia which is what Genova is famous for. I miss variety!

So, I thought now that we are here in the “first” world things work a little faster right? nope! No such luck. Things are faster in Malaysia than here. We get can get our passports now in a day! Here they still need 2 weeks to a month or sometimes months. It helps if you know someone. Though our North-South highway took years to build and some of our highways in KL itself too a few years, nothing beats a stretch of highway from Salerno to Calabria that is taking (note the fact that I am saying “is taking”) 25 years and counting to be finished. AND…. not that they make one side and then start on the other. If you every have the chance to drive to Calabria, though I do not encourage you to especially in summer, you will find certain stretches are under construction on one side and then you get diverted to the other side of the road, then another 15kms down, you get diverted back and the scene repeats itself. Last summer we drove down to Calabria. It is usually a 12-14 hr drive with a few stops for lunch and dinner or coffee. We did 8 hours and reached a little after Naples and decided to rest for the day. Which we were lucky we did. The last 4 hr journey took us 8 hrs!! with traffic, diversion, 6 lanes becoming 2, 4 lanes becoming 2, bottle neck here and there under the hot scorching 38˙C sun!! It was no joke. This happens only in the south though, the road condition,I mean. Calabria operates on a totally different plane. Of course many factors come into play as we still hear of the mafia stronghold in the south and in Sicily. So, I don’t know if things are going to change any time soon. We can only hope.

If you are ever thinking of travelling in summer by plane try to avoid Rome Fiumicino or avoid at all cost a transit via Rome. 99% of the time, they lose your bags. Sometimes, even if you have a direct flight they STILL lose your bags. Tried and tested by yours truly. Bring only a carry on if you can and send your luggage ahead with other means. It happens rarely in Milan Malpensa. I don’t know why. They have changed the baggage handling company numerous times but it still happens. I don’t even experience this in Bangkok, even in the old Don Muang Airport! Actually in all my travels I experience it badly only once with other airports but ALWAYS when via Rome. It is like a 100% success rate of failure for them. Well, at least they are consistent that way.

I have a lot more to say but I guess it is enough for today. I love living here because there really is La Dolce Vita here but if you want to work, it is really difficult. I might explain that some day. Italy is ideal as a holiday destination. To enjoy that dolce vita I think I would have to make my living outside of Italy and come here to enjoy it. Besides Milan, possibly Turin and Rome, everywhere is like a retirement town. Slow and easy does it. Which is why it is called La Dolce Vita. Ah…the sweet life!

Will I get some backlash from this post? Who knows? Do Italians even read my blog? We’ll have to wait and see. Toodeloos!!