Beginning to understand and appreciate the “hidden costs” of owning a pre-owned car. Getting her ship shape has now set me back a grand, and plus the GPS and other mods I’ll be putting in, will bring the grand total to almost $2k.
I think the peace of mind I get is well worth the money spent.
On another note, its ironic that public transport, if it doesn’t breaks down, is still faster by a wee bit for my work route. But compared to taxis, this mode is still faster, after factoring in the waiting times.
Took my baby for a couple of rides during the weekend and I realise a few things :
i) Top down when the sun is out will give you a good tan if you apply sunblock
ii) You need to have a good selection of music when the top is down
iii) You tend to panic at slightest drop of rain
iv) When panicking, you realise the controls used to close the top follows a very strict pattern
v) Once the top is closed you realised how loud your music was. Which will lead to realisation #2
vi) You begin to wonder what kind of stuff you can put on the dashboard and not let it fly off when driving.
I think its been 10 years since I had a car. Back then, it was a Suzuki 800 handed down by my mum at a grand COE price of $1. It just passed its 10 year old birthday and I would drive it for 10 years till its death. I recall in its 9th year, it started to sound its own death knell already. So much so by the 10th year, it literally sputtered its way into the salvage yard.
I was just starting to chase my dreams then, and I never expect it would take another 10 years before I could own a ride again.
This time round, it’s again a hand-me down; well, sort of. I bought it off the second hand market, with five years left.
Oh, did I mention it’s a convertible?
Yeah this is late, but better late than never.
2011 has been a really challenging year. Almost everything I did had obstacles to be overcome, and I don’t think I’d ever experience a year that tested my will and determination this much. From the renovations to my new place, from taking helm of a new ship to handling the cargo inspection by Customs, every significant event this year was fraught with obstacles.
This constant battle, this constant fighting with fire, really left me tired and jaded. Not even a 2 week sojourn to Europe granted me much rest. Even that trip itself presented numerous problems and issues for me to tackle. And after my trip, there were still enough battles for me to fight to leave me wanting another break.
To say its been an exhausting year is an understatement. But one important lesson I learnt was that as long as I persevere and don’t give up, I would be able to come out on top. But to be consistently presented with challenges after challenges, there were definitely times where I felt like giving up. Felt like just taking the fall and lie down for a while. I’m glad I didn’t cave in, but it has left me oh so tired.
I think I’ve aged a lot this year.
Earlier this year, I came across this article : The Obstacle Is the Path.
Without the challenges, obstacles, troubles, tragedies, failures, mistakes, problems, dilemmas, conundrums, and even catastrophes, our lives would be less, not more. Once you come to understand this, you realize that the obstacle is the path.
I’m not too sure that my life would be less without obstacles, but I get the meaning that great obstacles can lead to bigger opportunities. It’s just that I wished I hadn’t had so many to deal with this year.
Due to all these challenges, I hardly have the time to delve into acting. Not that many opportunities or good roles came along, but had they come, I would be hard pressed to find the time to do them. I’m hoping this year things will be more stable and I can embark on the project I had in mine when I got my place.
On another note, I’m thinking going behind the camera might not be that far fetched for me after all. This Europe trip I discovered I appreciated good angles and picture composition more than I realised. And judging from the feedback I got from the pictures I took, I think I can possibly develop further in this area. My director plans might not be that far fetched after all.
On the financial front, I’m happy to report not only did I manage to achieve my financial targets, I managed to attain another milestone in 2011 as well. Moving forward though, I don’t really have any lofty goals set. At the moment, I think I just feel like chilling.
So good riddance to 2011 and the Year of The Rabbit. I look forward to a better 2012 and Dragon year. And with such a difficult year behind me, I am confident I will be able to deal with any challenges thrown my way. I just need to get my rest first.
Guess what, a location scout came to my “ship” and asked if they could use it to shoot a scene. Probably be using the skipper’s (mine) cabin as well.
Shiver me timbers.
Paris, or rather Parisans, on the whole reminds me of Tokyolites. They are really not that frenly, and even if they are, you get the sense they are just patronizing you.
The Dutch, in retrospect are far more hospitable by far. I get it that most Cityzens are irritated and annoyed that their lovely city is being invaded by legions of tourists. Why this is already happening back home in SG, so I do feel a certain sense of empathy towards these feelings. At least these people have other parts of the country to retreat to; we on the other hand, have to retreat to other countries. And our problem are not tourists, but more on the huge influx of immigrants.
I think we still show great hospitality to tourists. But it’s beginning harder to differentiate between tourists and immigrants. Who’s to say we won’t grow more indignant in the future if these feelings don’t abate?
This became a very key phrase for me in my stay in Paris. Pronounced “parlay vu anglay”, it means “do you speak English” and somehow this little bit of french after a courteous “Bonjour” served me well.
I tried speaking in English straight away once and the reception was seriously much colder. But the thing that annoys me is that some of them would answer you in the negative even though they do know English. I half suspect they just wanna see how you react; cuz even in these cases, I would proceed to speak in English and they still understood what I wanted. Sheeesh.
The French loaf seem to be the cheapest thing here. Every lunch/meal, they will always serve you a basket of French loaf slices. WITHOUT FAIL. Even if the main course has loads of carbo, they will still serve the French loaf and will even top up the basket! I’m beginning to think perhaps the French loaf has no carbo at all.
The other thing that will strike you about French is how naise their TAP water taste. I daresay it’s the best water I’ve ever tasted in a city. Ooh la la! The best part? It’s free; even in pubs and restaurants. Just need to ask for it. All the Parisans do!
The queue for the Eiffel Tower is RIDICULOUS. I went there in the evening I first arrived and the queue already looked more than one hour. I subsequently went early morning the next day and the queue is TWICE as long. WTF?!!?
In the end I took the stairs, which only had a 20min queue. It was quite exhausting to climb to the first level BUT you get to skip the queue as you can then get supplementary tickets to the second level and in turn the summit. I did that and promptly laughed at the fools below me.
But the views are really worth the effort. Just not worth queuing for 2 hours.
The metros of Paris would seem very confusing and intimating to most travellers, but if you are Tokyo trained like me, then you will be unfazed. The thing that annoys me though is the petty crime rate. It’s so bad you have to be on your toes all the time.
I had my first brush the very day I set foot in Paris. I was approached by a Latina girl in her teens to sign some petition for the deaf. I initially declined but she keeps saying she only needs a signature. So I agreed, and while signing the form, she kept thanking me and planting kisses with her hand to my cheek. I then came across a column where I see some numbers being written and I ask her what’s that for.
She say it’s for donations and ask me to contribute. I declined as I told her that’s not part of the deal but she kept insisting. All of a sudden, a man dressed casually came to us and brandished an arm band that says “Police”. He told me what she was doing was illegal and appended her. As I didn’t give her any money I was allowed to leave.
I would later find out this was one of the ways they will try to scam/pickpocket you. And the policemen are in plainclothes on a regular basis. I would later see a pair of them in action in Galeries Lafayette trying to catch a suspect.
This lack of security, compared to the safe streets of Japan where I last travelled, is a real bummer.
I didn’t get to see the lovely models at A&F. Why? Because the queue looked to be more than an hour! Madness. These Parisans are crazy.