Sunday, May 23, 2010

TV : NatGeo's The Best Job In The World

Remember The Best Job In the World advertised by Tourism Queensland about a year ago? It attracted 35,000 applicants from all over the world, all vying for the $100,000 contract and an experience of a lifetime.

Well, as we all know the job went to Ben Southall from Hampshire, England - he has an impressive background and is certainly a deserving winner.

Credit : Ben Southall

I was cruising the channels this afternoon and caught the episode on NatGeo where Ben and girlfriend Bre arrive on Hamilton Island in July last year to start his 6 month stint as the island caretaker. I'm not sure if the series is a repeat or is just being shown because I usually don't watch NatGeo.

Wow, they get to stay in a very, very nice modern house overlooking the beautiful ocean, and have a golf buggy for transportation as there are no cars on the island.

The views are fantastic - bright and sunny, blue skies, white sandy beaches and so on so on. And I suddenly thought, 'Oh no, sunblock everyday!' :P I wonder how many bottles he will go through during his stint.

The only thing that I found was a bit of a turn-off was that they recorded and showed too much PDA between Ben and Bre. At one point I thought they looked like a giddy couple who just won a honeymoon package and can't keep their hands off each other. Haha!

Anyway, I will try to follow this series and enjoy the news and views of the beautiful Great Barrier Reef.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good to Share

Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours.

Swedish Proverb

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bitten by the Yoga Bug

As I have free weekends during this non-travelling period, I signed myself up for a Beginners' Yoga class.

We're just about halfway through the 10 week course and I am enjoying it immensely. So much so that I crashed the Advanced Class twice, haha. I must say that I do feel better, both mentally and physically. After the first session I did feel some side effects - dizziness and nausea, which are quite common for first timers I was told due to the stretches and twists for detoxification.

Some poses are challenging for me (like the Camel, the shoulder stand) but yoga is not about competition, it's all up to you how much you are able to do.

My favourite so far is the extended triangle and the Warrior variations. I'd like to share some of the basic poses we've learnt, taken from here.

  1. Yoga for a headache. This is the simplest pose I will suggest today. Legs up the wall pose is great for headaches. The pose is simple – place a towel by the wall; lie on your back with your hips/butt on the towel; put your legs up the wall. Close your eyes, breathe, and relax. Stay in the pose for 5 minutes (or more). If you want more intensity, pile a few towels instead of just one.
  2. Yoga for energy. I like bridge pose to re-energize. Exhale as you push your pelvis up towards the ceiling. You can stay in the pose for about a minute, breathing deeply. To release, exhale and slowly roll your spine back onto the ground. You should feel revitalized and stimulated.
  3. Yoga for sore feet. Take off your shoes as soon as you get in the house. Go barefoot as often as you can. And step into downward facing dog pose a few times every day. I do this pose in my kitchen, my living room, and even at the office when I’m there alone.Press your heels towards the ground – you can bend your knees to facilitate this. Your shoulders should stay down your back (meaning they should lift up towards the ceiling). Think about putting your shoulder blades into your back pockets.
  4. Yoga for depression. When you’re feeling down after a rough day, child’s pose can ease your mind and improve your mood. Spread your knees and sink back into your hips. Breathe deeply and enjoy the stillness.
  5. Yoga for a backache. I sit at a desk all day long. I stare at a screen work, for my hobbies (this blog), for reading news, and even when I’m learning something new. When my back aches, I add in an extended triangle pose to my routine.In the pose, your inner thighs should be pulling towards each other. Stretch your arm towards the ceiling and look past your thumb. Stretch your arm parallel to the floor by your ear (keeping your shoulder down) for an extra stretch. Stay in the pose for 5 deep breaths.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Central Vietnam : Thien Mu Pagoda and Emperor Tu Duc's Tomb

The last bit from my Vietnam trip that's been sitting as a draft all this while :)

After the Hue Imperial City, I decided to go to one of the pagodas nearby, the Thien Mu Pagoda that sits by the Perfume River.

View of the Pagoda from below the steps. Entrance is free.

Nothing impressive here. The view of the river is quite nice though.

The 'garden' and building within.

A giant bell within one of the smaller pavilions in the compound.

Columns at the step entrance.

Perfume River - I did not smell anything?

As I still had some time before catching my bus back to Da Nang, I decided Emperor Tu Duc's Tomb was next. There are other royal tombs to visit but this was the nearest I guess. It did not disappoint me, the whole complex was much bigger than I expected. There was only a handful of tourists around, and the place was quiet and peaceful. Entrance was VND55,000 if I remember correctly.

Align Center
This is called the Stone and Steel Pavilion.

This must be the said autobiography.

Giant pillars were decorated with blue and white dragons and cloud-like features. I liked that they were in a natural deteriorating state like that and not touched up.

One of the columns on the outer part of the pavilion.

Elephants and horses to accompany the emperor in the afterworld.

Info board explaining The Burial Area.

I walked walked walked under the hot sun and saw a stall selling cold drinks!

One of the floating halls/buildings on the small lake. I am not sure if the lake is man-made or otherwise. The water was kind of murky.

View from across the lake.

Alas, after all that walking, I reached the main tomb area was sealed off for ongoing restoration works.

On closer inspection, they used broken bits of pottery with its distinctive blue and white patterns for this wall.

Well, that's it from my Vietnam trip - I hope in future I'll get the opportunity to explore the northern parts of Vietnam.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Books : Larsson and Murakami

I got these today : )

Books No. 28 and 29 for my 2010 reading list. I am going to retreat to my cave and indulge.

*happy dance*

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mission Accomplished : Borneo International Marathon 2010

Yeay me!

This morning I ran (and walked) the 10K and finished within time to get a finisher's medal. Did not bring my camera this time hence no pictures galore.

Not the most flattering of pictures, I was still sweating and my face was still red from the burning morning sun, but who cares? :)

Next : SC-KLM end of June.