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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Drowning girl

Last day in Singapore today!

A nice lady gave me a ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, so I think I'll do that this morning after I've checked out, then have a VIP thali at my favourite restaurant in Little India, buy a new backpack from Bugis Street (mine is disintegrating at this stage) and then head for Changi Airport :) I decided not to go the zoo because I want to do the night safari too, and I'll be on  a plane to Amsterdam tonight! So I'll do it the next time I'm here :)

Finally, an actual modelling photo instead of my endless tourist pics and waffle :p I just received this photo from the ever-awesome Sean "Lightroom Blog" McCormack, from my last Irish tour. The dress is a vintage 1920s silk slip kindly gifted to me by, the home of vintage slips.

Please click here to see more of Sean's work. I've worked with him several times now and look forward to working with him again :)

I haven't had a proper naked bath since Hong Kong! Can't wait to have one with lots of vanilla bubbles and a cup of peppermint tea when I get home ^^

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Singapore Botanic Gardens and more noms

On Wednesday 24th November my plans to go to Sinapore Zoo were once again foiled by another monsoon, so after the rain had got light enough to walk around in with an umberella (it was still too hot to wear anything but a tee-shirt!) I walked all the way from Little India, along the full length of the main shopping district in Singapore, Orchard Street, and to Singapore Botanic Gardens. It was actually really lovely wandering about there in the rain with my little brolly. After a hectic couple of weeks, everything seemed so peaceful :)

 Swan Lake

 Friendly turtle swimming around in Swan Lake

 Chopin in the rain

 Another one of those funny little birds that are everywhere here

 I <3 black swans, they're so romantic. When Liam and I have our dream retirement home in the country 40+ years from now, it will have a little lake with black swans :)

Since then I've just been shooting, shooting, shooting, at least one photo shoot every day, sometimes more. I'm absolutely shattered, but so happy about the reception I've had here in Asia! Getting ready to meet a client in 1.5 hours but thought I'd write a little blog while I'm waiting :)

Oh wait, another touristy thing I've done is have the best biryani in Singapore, apparently. I don't think I've ever had biryani before so I don't know how technically good it was, but I liked it :) I love how un-greasy Indian food is here. And they served it up in portions big enough to feed at least two adults! I didn't even come close to finishing all the rice >.<

I have my last shoot of the tour tomorrow morning, then I'm going to get a well-deserved massage and pedi (my feet are completely gross from miles of pavement-pounding to, from and between shoots and meetings) and maybe go and visit the famous statue of the lion in Raffles Place. Assuming it doesn't rain again, I'm going to visit the goddamn zoo on Tuesday, then go to my last client meeting in the evening before making a dash for the airport to fly back to London via Amsterdam :)

Things in London I miss:
  1. Liam
  2. fresh orange juice
  3. porridge (as in oatmeal, not Asian porridge, which has meat in it!)
  4. Liam

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Creatures and beaches and cocktails, oh my! :)

I had a whole day to myself to be a complete tourist in Singapore on Tuesday, so I went for it! (Apologies if you've already seen a couple of these photos in my Twitter feed!)

In the morning I went to Underwater World and stroked two different kinds of rays ^^ I love rays. They're like dogs, the way swim to the edge of the tank and jump up for food and petting.

This one is called a cow-nose ray, apparently!

I also saw some other pretty underwater creatures including an unusual kind of seahorse and dolphins.

I had no idea that Underwater World was on such a beautiful beach- Siloso, "the hippest beach in Singapore", apparently! I was absolutely kicking myself for not bringing my bikini, then I thought, fuck it, and went swimming in my pants and top. It was so hot that walking along the beach in wet clothes afterwards was quite nice! And the seawater was so warm!

I'm not normally a "beach resort" sort of a person, but I really liked Siloso. I saw this reptile running around in the grass. I think they must be quite common because I saw another one just like it at the Botanic Gardens yesterday (more on that later).

I finally staggered back to Raffles Hotel to have afternoon tea here:

... followed by a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar, something I've been looking forward to doing ever since I knew I was coming here (about 5 months ago)! It was pretty good! I made a note of the recipe :)

 The Long Bar is very cool, like a timewarp to the days of Empire. I'll definitely be going back again, and maybe having their Tiger beer-battered fish and chips *drooool*

Now I'm off to another shoot! Thank goodness for air conditioned studios, it is SO hot here! :)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

On location in Hong Kong

I spent 20th November shooting on the 38th floor of a Hong Kong skyscraper, and then for a complete change of pace, the next day I was driven out to a location shoot in the beautiful Hong Kong countryside.

It was just how I imagined Chinese countryside would look- lots of silver-trunked trees with papery, peeling bark, floppy bamboo-like grass and cranes flying over the little rivers and pools of water, with the skyscrapers just visible in the misty distance :)

That evening, I went to Nathan Street, which seemed to be the HK equivalent to Oxford Street, the Ladies' Market and the laser show by the Marina. Hong Kong at night reminds me of Times Square at night. No-one seems to sleep and it's just as bright and busy as in the day. I think you get to know a city better at night, though :)

The shops don't close till 10 pm, which I think is a great idea ;p (I hardly ever get to shop in actual shops anymore as the ones in the UK are always shut by the time I finish shooting.)
 I spent lots of time checking out the girls my age eating, shopping and hanging out. Hong Kong street fashion is so cool. I bought two pairs of leggings, some new false lashes (mine are just about disintegrating after being worn nearly every day for who knows how long) and a pair of chocolate brown leather gloves to match my handbag and purse :) The whole lot came to £15 due to my haggling skills ;p

Love the little bows on the gloves <3

The next morning I looked out of the window and said goodbye to the view before spending the day flying- Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur and then Kuala Lumpur to Singapore- ready for the six shoots I have lined up back-to-back in Singapore, starting on Thursday! :D

Monday, 22 November 2010

Hong Kong 香港

I arrived at Hong Kong Airport at 8 pm and had a ridiculous time trying to get to my hostel in Ngong Ping. I had pulled all the “how to get here by bus/ cable car” info off the website but what they failed to mention was that the buses and cable cars stop running at 6 pm (?!) and that there are no night buses (??!!) so I had to hunt down a taxi. I wasn’t even sure if I had enough cash on me or if my card would work abroad, but I figured:
  1. Right now I am miles away from my hostel with possibly not enough money to pay for a taxi.
  2.  If I get a taxi to the hostel, then I will be at my hostel with possibly not enough money to pay for a taxi.
  3. Therefore, I will have made a net gain. If any problems arise, well, I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it.
I was quite pleased with this bit of logical reasoning and luckily I did have enough Hong Kong $ to pay and tip the driver, who gave me directions of how to walk up a winding little path up the hill and through the woods to my hostel. It was incredibly creepy and when I arrived I found that that no-one else was staying there, so I had a six bed room all to myself.

The only reason I really booked it was because the location was perfect for exploring all the Buddhist stuff I wanted to see- it was right on the doorstep, as this map illustrates! I also found a HK$100 bill lying on the path on the way to the hostel (it’s not as much as it sounds) so in a way, I stayed there for free (it was very cheap) :p

So, on the morning of the 18th November I got up around 9, did my exercises, took a shower (no towels), didn’t check my email (no wifi), didn’t do my laundry (no washing machines) and didn’t have breakfast (no shop or cafe). The view from the balcony was great, though.

I visited the Big Buddha, the Po Lin Monastery, the Wisdom Path, the Native Tree Walk and trekked over the hills for about an hour, right around the Lo Han Temple and under the path of the cable car.

I had lunch in Ngong Ping village, chicken noodles again. You can’t go wrong with chicken noodles, although I avoided that funky-looking egg.

I bought my nan this cute silk purse (she loves pink) and ended up taking loads of photos of flowers. There were so many exotic-looking ones, all tended by Chinese ladies in big straw hats.

Yes, I had to go to Starbucks to use their wifi. It was nice to have a skinny latte with dairy milk mind, everyone here drinks soya

I was shocked to find that everything in Ngong Ping shuts down at the dot of 6 pm so I was basically stranded on the island in an empty hostel with what turned out to be plenty of money but not a single restaurant or supermarket to spend it in. I dug around in my suitcase and used the hostel kitchen to produce three cups of instant black coffee and two cups of green tea for dinner, rounded off with an aspirin as all that crappy chemical-laden coffee powder gave me a headache :p Now I feel like a real model :p

I sat and drank it all on the balcony overlooking the mountains and read Valley of the Dolls. I seem to have brought all my teenage favourites with me, for some reason: Valley of the Dolls, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby.

A massive praying mantis type bug, only orange, appeared at one point. I tried to photograph him next to my hand to give an idea of size but he got scared and ran off. He was probably about 6” long :0

The next day I decided I’d seen everything I wanted to see in Ngong Ping so I checked out of China’s answer to the Bates Motel a day early, hopped on the cable car to Tung Chung then got the MTR to L’hotel Nina. So glad I took the cable car to Tung Chung instead of the bus, the views were breathtaking!

You can just see the Big Buddha in the distance, on the left

Here’s my room from my first night in L’hotel Nina (i.e. in a proper hotel and not at the hostel time forgot). It would have been really fun to share it with someone because there’s a floor to ceiling glass wall between the bed and the freestanding bath. If Liam was here I could have waved at him in bed while I took a bubble bath (but drawn the curtains while I shaved my pits. Girlishly frolicking in the bubbles while your lover watches is one thing, but...).

As with my room in KL, the view of the city from way up here is fantastic.

 A lil self-portrait for your delectation

Once I’d had my hot bubble bath and a spot of room service the neon lights were calling me into Hong Kong to go and explore the crazy night-time street markets!

They sell some crazy food, a lot of which I couldn’t identify at all. The ducks looked pretty good, although I’m not sure I could eat a duck that was looking back at me the whole time!

I really felt like I was in “proper” China. Everything written in Chinese (apart from my sweeties), the amazing smells of food and incense and who-knows-what coming from all sides, the hustle and bustle and pavements crammed with local foods. When I got back to my room the first thing I saw this view of the skyscrapers over the river. And I thought, fucking hell, I have the best job in the world!