Thursday, June 28, 2007


Yes, my days in T.O. have officially kicked into single digit. It's D-9. It seems that I've become too busy to be as excited and sentimental as the past few weeks - interesting.

For those of you who can find your way to Lula Lounge in Toronto this Friday (June 29th), you are invited to my farewell party! It'll be dinner in an excellent and cheap Vietnamese restaurant a few doors down, followed by live salsa music and dancing at Lula, one of my fave spots in T.O. Expect to dance with me! ;)

For your viewing pleasure, I managed to dig up this photo of myself when I co-organized the University of Toronto Dance Club first-ever boat cruise back in 2003. Who would've thought that I'd use it now to promote my own farewell party?! :)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The world is a book...

... and those who do not travel, read only a page. (Saint Augustine)

I read an article in Gulf News this week about a man whose goal it is to travel to as many countries as his age.... which seems more attainable than going for 'every country in the world', or even 100+ (they have their own club, called the Travelers' Century Club).

So I started making my list...
  1. Netherlands
  2. Belgium
  3. Luxemburg
  4. Germany
  5. Denmark
  6. Sweden
  7. Norway
  8. England
  9. Scotland
  10. Ireland
  11. France
  12. Spain
  13. Italy
  14. Sardinia
  15. Switzerland
  16. Liechtenstein
  17. Austria
  18. Czech
  19. Poland
  20. Vatican
  21. Turkey
  22. Dubai
  23. Abu Dhabi
  24. China
  25. Tibet
  26. Philippines
  27. Australia
  28. Singapore
  29. Japan
  30. United States
  31. Canada
  32. Cuba
  33. Thailand
33 it is! I'm up to par! (one up even for about two weeks to go... hehe)
(check the list of countries to see how the counting works according to TCC)

I'm debating wether I've visited Andorra and/or Monaco, but the people who would know -parents- are on holiday :) so we'll have to sit that one out...

It's safe to say that I will try to keep the score up there. And I know that Shu'll want to join me -or beat me, more likely ;)-

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Such diversity

I attended a barbecue yesterday in Dubai organised by Graham. I met Graham in February when he was so kind to let me CouchSurf at his place.

Let me explain the term Couch Surfing...
CouchSurfing (and Hospitality Club as well) are online communities of people offering other people the chance to stay at their place for free. You sleep on either a bed, a couch, maybe even the ground ;) but you have a warm home to go to. It's a way to save a buck, but more so, you get to meet a local, an interested and interesting person from a new place! It's a whole different way of traveling. You're not bombarded with all the touristy stuff you have in hotels, instead you get a locals perspective of city you're at! Truly unique!

Yesterday Graham and I met up again and he was hosting a CouchSurfing/HospitalityClub barbecue. The turn-up was not the expected 20-25 people, instead, only 11 people were there. But what struck me was how many different nationalities (and personalities!) were actually there.

The nationalities present were:
English (2!)
Italian and
Dutch (guess who...) :)

Wow! Such diversity! And all very different people too!

And all these people offer complete strangers to stay at their place when visiting from another country! All through the networks of CouchSurfing and Hospitality Club! Check them out!

Monday, June 18, 2007

We have Internet!

After long sits in dark internet cafe's, finding free WiFi's to 'borrow' outside buildings and having too much McDonald's because they by far had the best free WiFi... we now have our own internet connection in our house!
This little helper gets us connected and gives us a nice WiFi signal throughout the house!

Find me on GTalk, MSN, Yahoo or S kype (shhh, it's not allowed here!).

I am again... a happy camper! :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

And some more pics

This is the building we're in:
O, and did I mention that we have a gym and a pool in our building? :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Our (first!) house!

We have our own house! Yay :)

It's a 2-bedroom/2 bathroom place in the city centre, located on the 10th floor with a beautiful view of an office building opposite to us!

Have a look at the pictures!

The movers moved the stuff on June 2. They had a blast with 107 (!) packages/boxes... especially the couch, which would not fit in the elevator. Oops.
They unpacked most of the stuff, only the kitchen items I left in the boxes for now. As you can see in the pictures, my kitchen is only a fraction of the size of my old one. And for those who know me and/or have seen my previous one: that one already was too small!
The surprise: I haven't quite finished unpacking and organizing everything yet in the kitchen, but it actually looks promising! I might just be able to fit in everything with enough space left to move around! :D

The pictures are actually a little outdated, this is because I haven't posted in such a long time, and I've taken these pictures on moving day... to see how I set up the living room, take a peek at this video. Most people will recognize the furniture ;)

And here is a walk-thru video of our apartment (before moving in, so quite empty).

Anyways, with everything almost in place, and Shu 'almost' on the way: we can soon call this home!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bits of My Toronto

My last post sorta made me realize that I had been somewhat in denial about what Toronto meant to me. Subconsciously I started taking notes of the bits of Toronto for me to remember by, and I did so with the digital SLR John lent me (thanks John!). Here are some photos, and I will continue adding more as more are taken. Darn, am I sentimental. :)

Two cool designs I came across this weekend: Crystal and Pulse Light. The first is the new building design for Royal Ontario Museum and it's absolutely phenomenal! The latter is part of Luminato festival. It's consist of 20 high-beam lights installed along harbour front, each of which takes a spectator's impulse by handle bars and pulses the light with the persons's heart beat - think 20 strangers' hearts dancing together in the night sky in the form of lights!

It's not just all fun and photos, meanwhile my packing continues and I'm surprised at how much I can compress my belongings. If I try hard enough, maybe I can fit all my stuff into a stove-size container. :)

As for Q, apparently they had an "interesting" night shift when the cyclone storm Gonu wiped through the Persian Gulf last week, "Boy, what a night it's been.... I've seensome crazy traffic at times, but this was seriously insane. Anyways, we all lived, including the planes/pilots." After four days rest, he has started another 6-work-day rotation.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Apartments, Cars, Driving Tickets... Action!

Yes, apartments, cars, driving tickets... very exciting, isn't it! But since they are Q-related actions, I'll leave them to him to clarify, but just thought to fill in the vacuum a bit. (Sorry for the teaser, everyone!)

Sandra (N.B. friend in NL!) suggested that I should update everyone about my situation in Toronto, so here it is. My flight to Abu Dhabi is likely to be on Sat, July 7 inshallah ("if God's willing" as the Arabs would say). At this point I have about five weeks left. Work-wise, I officially communicated with my managers about my intention of moving to UAE last week. They were very supportive of my decision, and are actively helping me in finding a protential position in UAE and region - can't really say the chance is good, but it matters to me more that the management is trying hard - much appreciated! So worst case, I should be able to get a leave of absence. *Fingers crossed!*

Besides the expected moving-related chores, I have also been busy with some "one-last-time" things, like exploring different neighbourhoods of Toronto and/or Ontario with my friends and family. Among the things that come in mind: a 3-day canoe camping trip in Killarney Park in central Ontario with my friends Viv, Jay and Ben; under-the-star Salsa Sidewalk dancing with my mom; a wonderful dinner to midtown Terroni with my friend Vid; another wonderful dinner to downtown Terroni with my cousin Li; a fun-packed Luminato evening with my friend Ada; an upcoming visit to Hugh's Room (local hotspot for live performances) to see one of my favourite Canadian-Cuban performer Alex Cuba with my friend Thu Huong; an upcoming long-weekend trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake with my friends Criana, Donna and Vid. Yeah, I guess it's fair to say that I'm trying to pack in as much Toronto as I can.

Heck, I am not even gonna try to deny it, I _will_ miss Toronto greatly - not just the amazing city itself, but also my dear friends and family, and the years of laughters, nerdiness and silliness... snow storms, blackfly herds and vintage coats... kensington market, greektown and Salad King, TTC passes, salsa nights and free outdoor events... Just thinking about these things is already getting me very emotional... and I'm literally choked with words, so I'm gonna stop for now and maybe pick up the topic later.

That's all from me for now. Keep on sending those blog suggestions, people. ;)