Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cat Whisperer - G to the Z

Cat cafes. A little weird but fun. Good hygiene (we had to make sure our hands were sanitised should we give germs to the cats), okay margaritas, nice friendly people. 

But not as good as dog cafes.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

China - week 15

A busy week this week, but a week full of fun and happiness care of a few hundred lanterns, flags and some giant marsupials. 

A lovely dinner with my turtle friend and a great evening with a new peep - anyone who embraces the option of a drink in a cat cafe with an enthusiastic yes has my vote as being a- okay (not to mention the wikipedia-ing of chinchillas to see if they were a workable pet option for me). 

The working week ended with me remotely attending a birthday party in Australia and then in real life... with a couple of great cocktails and an evening exploring my favourite area - little Japan. We ate dinner at a restaurant with limited choices but lots of laughs, free beer and hugs.

Then a weekend of a gallery opening, a dinner party and a haircut (during which I was kept company through the WeChat channel with my fellow bike gang member from Canberra). 

And this is where I now find myself. Sunday evening, having caught up with some parentals, one of the gypsy girls and the best person I know from Dubbo.  A bowl of homemade fresh noodles, a glass of French syrah, and a playlist that just jumped from the Saints to Lloyd Cole to Ratcat and that spectacular view. Insert happy emoticon.

1930 cafe & wine, cocktail bar G to the Z

It isn't every bar that allows you to teach the bar staff how to make a Negroni.  While not too difficult to explain, given it's just a mix of three ingredients, the guys behind the bar couldn't hide their distain for such a concoction. Sometimes you don't need language skillz to know what someone is saying.

The drinks were good, the bar was the right amount of smokey and snug and dark. Vinyl floors, tapestry tablecloths, eclectic interior - I will definitely be back.

How to get to it? Walk up the Mall of the World, go under the underpass, cross the road and walk through the pedestrian area.  At the patisserie turn right down some laneways. Turn left just before the chinchilla store (!!?!!) and at the cat cafe turn right and meander a little bit more. With those directions - it should be on your left hand side. Alternatively, scroll down and have a look at the directions on their business card.... 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Last Sunday night sounds

It's been a while since I've posted sounds. But what better time for my first music post from G to the Z. It's nice nearly four months in to still be surprised by things just outside my front door.

It was a perfect evening - great company, a fantastic Polish jazz (kinda) band playing in the beautiful Guangzhou opera house. Think Dirty Three crossed with something European and a little bit more upbeat. Daydreaming to waves of sound - a wonderful way to spend a Sunday night.

Exhibition - Goelia 225

A lovely exhibition on at Goelia 225 in Guangzhou. Beautiful watercolours of household objects the artist remembered from growing up. I'm pretty hopeless, in that I didn't take any notes on this so I don't know the persons name, or how long this is exhibiting for - but I do remember the simple beautiful lines and uncomplicated work.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dogs of China - #26 (Hong Kong edition)

The beauty in lane ways

There are beautiful quiet spaces in this bustling town. A few weeks ago we found our way to a little oasis of alleyways shaded by old tall trees, and people going about their Saturday afternoon business. It was obvious we were out of place by the curious smiles. While there aren't many photos, I'll remember that walk for a long time and I know that these are the moments that make this all worthwhile. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

China - week 15

Good parts. I saw my first true vapour trail, the weather is turning to nice, I got to hang out with some pals from Canberra town and had a great evening at a wonderful Himalayan restaurant with some local peeps .

Bad parts. I was sick every single day of week 15. Cold be gone. We also said goodbye to our friend Pony.

Dogs of China - #24

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Home made pizza - GZ style

Pizza made in under an hour - including dough made from scratch. Amazing how my thought process works. I had fresh basil and mozzarella to use up, so of course it makes sense to make pizza dough after work. Of flipping course.

For dough and tomato sauce:

2 cups flour, 2 and a quarter teaspoons yeast, salt, sugar,3/4 cup of warm water and some olive oil.

Mix yeast, sugar and warm water in a cup and wait around five minutes.  Put pour in a big bowl and add some salt and add in the wet mixture. Add a big glug of olive oil. Stir and once it is mixed, knead by hand. I find if the bowl is big enough you can knead in the bowl. Easy. Rest it.

While resting make tomato sauce by pan frying some diced onion and garlic until soft, add canned tomato, splash of red wine, some salt, some sugar and whatever herbs you have around. Cook until dough rises (on low) for about 40 minutes.

Back to the dough...it should have risen by now, so knock it back and knead a bit more. Get a tray and add some olive oil and push the dough out directly onto the tray. Add the sauce and whatever you want to put on top and cook for around 12 minutes in an oven you've preheated at around 250 (depending on how powerful your oven is....mine is not very).

Eat smugly.

Siem Reap - what I did and how I did it

I took the cheap and bumpy long bus ride from Phnom Penh so I could stay in the fancy Heritage Suites. Worth it? An emphatic yes for the cocktails alone. A great spot away from town, but close enough to walk places - and lots of little things that make you feel special. What a surprise to be picked up in a vintage car, complete with cold towel and fruit drink. And every night little gifts would appear as they turned down the room. Yep. As.They.Turned.Down.The.Room.

I hired a bike to look at some of the temples - that was fun and highly recommended. Flat easy roads and easy to get from one temple to the next.

Once you have finished with temples you should head down to Kandal Village. The Hive and The Little Red Fox both do amazing coffee (the Hive also has a great brunch menu) and Trunkh is just down the road and for great one stop shopping.

While we are on the topic of shopping, the Made In Cambodia market is a great place to visit to buy local products and it runs a few times a week: http://shintamani.com/made-in-cambodia/

Back to food....there is a Foreign Correspondence Club here and it's a great place to drop by for a drink and a bite to eat. Sit on the balcony and take in the view of the street and river below.  Also go to Marum which is a branch of the Friends restaurant group.  Great food and the chance to help out in a real life training environment for street kids.  Clunky service with a smile, but hey - everyone's learning! http://tree-alliance.org/our-restaurants/marum.asp?mm=or&sm=ma