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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Beautiful Xmas Tree

This is my Christmas tree, in addition to being super smart and funny, I am also a domestic maven, or aka superwoman:-P Thank you dad for teaching me the values of modesty. Anyhoo, the theme this year is birds and blooms... See the peacock on top?
Confession: actually this is L's tree... sweet dreams L! My Christmas tree is, well, being a true environmentalist, I decided to leave it in the forest!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Ok, I can't wait to put up my Christmas Greetings anymore! Here it is: Merry Christmas Everyone! Peace on Earth... Now, time to terrorize some puppy dogs!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Journey Home

This week, a plane flew from Shenzhen, China to Taipei, Taiwan, marking the first direct, daily cross strait air traffic between the two sides since 1949. For those of you unfamiliar with Chinese history, China and Taiwan split after the Chinese Civil War and for a long time there was no contact at all between the two sides, not unlike North and South Korea.

Like millions of Mainland Chinese, my grandfather was stranded in Taiwan after the Civil War. He never saw his parents again. He was separated from his wife and children for forty years. The hardship my grandmother endured is unimaginable to most people. And now, it takes a mere hour or two to fly from Taiwan to the Mainland, a journey that took my grandfather four decades. It's about time.
The first direct flight from China to Taiwan since 1949 arriving in Taipei. Photo courtesy of Chiang Ying-Ying/The Associated Press.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Clear Truthful Restaurant

Leaving work at almost midnight, nary a soul on the streets...poor me, working so hard, wiping a sweat off my brow...

Alright, I confess. I went home late cuz I was out eating late at a "Clear Truthful" restaurant. In Chinese, the term "Clear Truthful" denotes Islam or Muslim. For instance a "Clear Truthful" temple would be a mosque and a "Clear Truthful" restaurant would be a restaurant that does not serve pork. Here is a beef innards soup: very flavorful though I wish they had skimmed the fat off the top, then I would've drank the whole bowl.

Mooshu Lamb -- pretty yummy. I didn't know mooshu dishes were northern Chinese dishes, I thought they were an American concoction. Thanks for the cultural lesson K.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Family of Conservationists

It rained buckets last night. My poor little pad felt like it was in the middle of the ocean getting pounded by waves! Yep, it was that loud. Anyhoo, I just spoke with my mama, and she said she put several buckets outside to collect rain water to be used for gardening later. Ah, my mama is such a pioneer conservationist!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Calm before the Storm

I saw these strange clouds outside my kitchen window... we are due to get lots of rain tonight and tomorrow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The New Economy

In light of the financial crisis gripping Planet Earth, I've decided to publish a new book, see cover below.
Here is a brief excerpt from the chapter on my Xmas shopping this year:

Budget: $20
Source: Collecting recyclable bottles
When and where and what to shop: will get up at 3am the day after Xmas to camp in front of WalMart and buy five Xmas tree themed sweatshirts at 2 bucks each.
What to do with leftovers: stash the remaining 10 bucks underneath my mattress. I won't trust anything with the word "Bank" in its name, even if it's Piggy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I am innocent!

I typically receive some holiday cards from business associates. But today, I, for completely unknown reasons, got a happy holiday calendar from a bail bonds company. Since my assistant opens my mails for me, I had to go to her to specifically tell her I've never been arrested! NEVAH!

AAAHHH, to add insult upon injury, it turned out I was the only lawyer who received this happy holiday calendar! WTF! I am so innocent, I swear, never been arrested.... blink blink wink wink, really I am like the most innocent little thing there is!!!! I swear!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Disgusted!

Resign already! Governor Blagwhateveritis... What a disgrace! The dude's skin is thicker than the Great Wall of China! He needs psychological, dermatological help in addition to a likely long jail sentence!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The United States of Flakes

Here is the scenario: a casual acquaintance asked me to have coffee, we exchanged a few emails to settle on a date and time, we went back and forth a few times, with me suggesting Wednesday since I was busy on Tuesday, that was Monday and today is Wednesday, for some reason I never heard back from that person... I am like, eh, I don't particularly care if I ever hear or see you again, but if you ask me to chat, at least follow through... Flake.

What is with Americans these days? One thing I've noticed from my travels is -- Asians and southern Europeans are much more social and socially competent than Americans. In general, there is clearly a higher percentage of socially awkward people in the States than Asia and Europe. People seem uncomfortable dealing with other people in America -- even my neighbors, they seem to have problem looking at me in the eyes and saying good morning... there is this awkwardness, it's like they don't know what to do with strangers and so they put on an invisible shield. I've noticed in Asia, people tend to have multiple social circles and are generally at ease with each other. When they ask people to eat together or meet up, they mean it, there is no pretension, no overthinking, just simple easy human interaction...

Anyway, sorry for the rant. Here are a few patriotic American flakes :-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rainy Day at the Louvre

Here is the famous glass pyramid entrance designed by I.M. Pei.

Beautiful stand alone spiral staircase leading to the main atrium.


La Pyramide Inversee -- see how much my French has improved? This is a beautiful pyramid... crystal clear and on the bottom it touches a small solid stone pyramid... gosh Mr. Pei must've had fun designing this. Just beautiful.

And last but not least, tada, Starbucks at the Luvre! Ah, American contribution to world culture... they have all these paintings of naked ladies, we have Starbucks! Hymph.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Paris at Night

I thought I'd be like "meh" when I see the Eiffel Tower... it's like the obligatory touristy thing to do. But when I saw it in person tonight, I was like "wow." It is truly a marvel... I can't imagine how people wowed when it was built over 100 years ago... they probably couldn't close their mouths!

This is what's underneath... it has a hollow center.

Arc de Trioumphe

Strolling along the Champs-Elysees

Cold-cut platter for dinner... I know, it's kind of un-French but not too hungry today!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Food Meltdown

Since hotel food is very expensive, I usually go to the closest supermarket to get snacks and drinks to save money. Today I went to the mother of all supermarkets... The Galeria Lafayette Gourmet! It makes Whole Foods look like a country mart! I had a near meltdown looking at all the yummy food stations -- seafood bar, proschiutto bar, sushi bar, sandwich bar, pastry bar... ahhhhhhh!

The Galleria Lafayette is actually a complex of three buildings, kind of like Whole Foods, the Ferry Building in SF, Nordstrom's and Bestbuy all rolled into one. Here is the main building, looking all Xmasy.

Sadly, I was only able to snap this picture of the proschiutto bar... one of the employees saw me and told me not to take pictures... so mean :-( Your proschiutto will be sliced right there for you. There is a little bar stool area on the other side of the proschiutto bar if you want to sample proschiutto slices and sip some fine wine.

It's 1am here, need to catch some zzzzsss... so I leave you with this picture of the golden statues above the Paris Opera House. Bonjour or Bonsoir, wherever you are :-)

Bonjour!

Giddy Japanese tourists in front of the Paris Opera House...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Just arrived back in LA from Istanbul. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! It's been a rough year on so many levels but I hope you and yours are all happy and healthy and enjoying the holiday. And of course, remember to gobble gobble gobble!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Afternoon in Istanbul

Sultan Ahmet Mosque from afar... it is magnificent.

Awww, this mosque only has one pole thingy, how sad...It borders the Grand Bazaar.

Sigh, the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays... open sesame, open sesame! Grrrhh, didn't work.

Built during the reign of emperor Justinian I in the 6th Century, the Basilica Cistern is located next to the Sultan Ahmet Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. It is an underground reservoir which supplied fresh water to the great palace of Constantinopole.

This is what's beneath of the columns... fresh water and carps...

Mysterious Medusa head in the Cistern. Two of the columns are supported by two humongous medusa heads. One is placed upside down and the other on its side. It is rumored that the medusa heads were cut from another Roman building and reused here.

Yours truly striking a pose next to one of the Medusa heads, the one placed on its side.

Sushi in Istanbul

The winds were howling outside and rain was pouring... so we settled on, eh, sushi, in the hotel... the waitresses were dressed as geishas, haha. The sashimi turned out really good, like all foods here, very fresh...


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good Night from Istanbul!

We started our night out at the Four Season's... alas, I am not staying here... given the economic times, even Princess Cat needs to tighten her belt :-P BTW, this used to be a prison!

Sultan Ahmet Mosque -- you can tell that it is a very important mosque by the six pole thingies. The Mosque in Mecca has seven!

The Hagia Sophia -- it began its life as a Christian basilica, then became a mosque and now it's a museum. It is right across the street from the Sultan Ahmet Mosque.

Another view of Hagia Sophia

Then we grabbed a beer at an "alpine" bar...

After the beer, we headed to Taksim... a popular place that's akin to a nightmarket... the flower vendor at the Taksim Square.

Main thoroughfare at Taksim.

Look at the fish! The one in front has got these little nail like things!

Fruitstand. Notice the long melon hanging on top?

Time to find a restaurant...

We settled on a mom and pop place. It was 10 and the place was packed! It seems people elsewhere (ie. other than America) really know how to enjoy life, chatting with friends until the wee hours.

This is celery root, good dish to eat before the main entree, very refreshing.

My favorite, grilled sea bass! Very lightly seasoned, fresh and tender.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good morning from Istanbul!

As you can see, it's already a busy morning here in Istanbul. The famous Blue Mosque (now a museum) is in the background... I am on the Europe side, and right across is Asia, isn't it cool, I am in Europe and I am in Asia, kekeke...

Cat is in Turkey

I've arrived in Istanbul! Yay, after 20 hrs! It's a really pretty city, with the waters and hills and historical ruins... it's so different from the States where everything is new. Gosh, the little Indiana Jones in me wants to drop everything and just start digging for treasures! Arrived at night so no pics yet, but hope to post some soon. Oh I am so hungry too, it's 5am here!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My name is Cat, Meow Meow Cat...

Ah, Daniel Craig has turned me into a starry eyed fan girl :-) Quantum of Solace, as the name implies, looked and sounded very good, but did not make any sense. Anyhoo, that's beside the point. The locales were exotic, the women were beautiful and Daniel Craig was ├╝ber cool. What more can you ask for? Only if I could come out of a meeting looking like this, with my high heels in hand, dress torn up and hair strategically tusseled... My name is Cat, Meow Meow Cat...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Turkish Dance

K, in celebration of my impending trip to Turkey, I've decided to practice my Turkish dance steps again... hehe, hope to meet a few cute Turkish boy kitties there!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Victory Noodles!

Hmmm, the day after... it's been quite chilly here lately, so I wanted something soupy and noodly, and I got it... only if I could come home to a bowl of hot noodle soup everyday!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We have witnessed history...

Prayers for President-Elect Obama... Prayers for America...Prayers for the World...
uncredited picture found on web