Sunday, November 17, 2013

40 and Fabulous

September marked the beginning of my 40s.   Dave & I had planned a big trip to Europe at the end of the month to celebrate which meant I wouldn't be celebrating with my family or so I thought.  Dave had arranged for my sisters and one of my oldest friends to fly out to Denver to celebrate with us.   They had planned a weekend away to see Mt Rushmore, the number one item on my travel list at the moment if you don't count Antarctica, but Mother Nature had other plans.   My birthday weekend was the weekend of the flooding in northern Colorado which resulted in the roads being closed, so we quickly came up with plan B.

We figured if there was flooding up north we would go south to Manitou Springs and booked tickets on the cog railway to the top of Pikes Peak.  The railway was a fun way of getting to the top, although Melissa might disagree she was excited at the beginning but quickly realized she's afraid of heights.

Sadly as we approached the top the clouds/fog rolled out in and we couldn't see a darn thing.  At least we got to eat some delicious donuts.

On the way down we were treated to some great scenery and little critters posing for us.
We wandered around town for a bit and realized that many shops were closed/closing.  The rains down south had started to cause flooding, we were told in one store that they were about to close the highway.  We high tailed it out of there and made it back home safely.

Monday we stayed closer to home and hiked Castle Rock.   

It was great to ring in my 40s with great friends, family, wine and laughter.   

Catching Up

I've been a little busy with the move and travel for both work and pleasure so the blog and my photos have taken a back burner.   I'm trying to get caught up and then stay on top of things.    Here's a quick synopsis of what I've been up to the last few months:

If you want more details on each of these adventures click through the links above.  If you are just interested in seeing the photos click the links below:

Birthday Celebration

The next big project is getting our new house set up.  We move in the day after Thanksgiving and are hoping to have the place all fixed up by the Superbowl when the Seahawks play the Chiefs in NYC.  

Stranded in Singapore

After Hong Kong I was supposed to spend 24 hours in Singapore and then onto Indonesia before returning to the US.  I finished up my meetings in Singapore headed to the airport and then was stopped.   My passport expired on January 1, 2014 unfortunately Indonesia requires that a passport be valid for 6 months + 1 day for entry into the country.  I was unable to get a boarding pass, even though I had a return ticket out of Indonesia 24 hours later and one from Singapore to the US on Saturday.   They are telling me I shouldn't have even been allowed into Singapore with my passport and I had to go to the embassy to get an emergency passport to continue travelling.

At the airport I'm scrambling to find a hotel, there is a big convention in town so many of the hotel rooms are booked.  Luckily I find a room and decide to make the best of the evening before heading to the embassy in the morning.  I wander down to the river and get a bite to eat from one of the hawkers in Makansutra Gluttons Bay.  So many options I finally decided on a whole fish.  Delicious!

In the morning I head to the embassy and the inform me I do not need a new passport to return to the US that I am fine but I need to get a new one as soon as I return as many countries require 6 months validity.   With that out of the way I have a whole day free in Singapore.   I decide to first check out Gardens By the Bay there is a cloud walk in the top of these Super Trees.   T

The gardens were filled with beautiful flowers and  plants.  Unfortunately with the heat and humidity I needed to get inside and cool off so I cut my visit short.  I figured a quick stop at Raffle's was in order for one of their world famous Singapore Slings and some chicken satay.  I didn't want to eat too much here as I had plans for  something much better. 

In case you want to make your own sling here is the recipe.  

One of my favorite dishes in Singapore is the chili crab.  This unfortunately is a large dish and is best shared with others.     I had heard good things about the No Signboard Seafood and I figured after the drama I deserved a treat.  The waiter offered to find the smallest crab they had for me since I was dining alone.   It was wonderful and a nice end to the day.

Hong Kong

I arrived in Hong Kong late in the evening and due to a mix up with my reservation I had no hotel room.  Luckily the hotel had a room available and I wasn't sent onto the streets.  They offered me an upgrade to their "Woman's Floor."  This was the first time I had ever heard of this.   The hotel has a special floor dedicated to women travelling alone.    I had mixed feelings about this especially since it is advertised in the elevator so everybody knows that floor has only women.   I was also told that the decor and amenities in the rooms are designed for the female traveler.   When I saw the decor I had to laugh.

Animal print shoes for chairs

Rhinestone Room Numbers

And my favorite the plastic pink shellfish toilet seat

There wasn't much time for sight seeing as there was lots of work to do.  On my walks to the office and to dinner these were some of the interesting sights I encountered.  

Scaffolding for the buildings was made from bamboo. 
Giant robots,  people were waiting to have their picture taken with them. I was told these are from some comic but I don't know what it is.

Sometimes I have the sense of humor of a teenage boy.  I saw this sign and couldn't stop laughing. 

And of course there was the food. A friend suggested I go to Fook Lam Moon and she was right. This place was great although probably not ideal for people travelling alone. The food and the staff were great. I loved the fact that they brought a table for me to put my purse on so it would be safer.  I opted for the roast chicken and a dish of noodles.   This was enough for 2 meals for me, so I took the leftovers back to my room and had them for breakfast the next day. 

The local account team took me out to dinner on my last night in Hong Kong and when they were giving me options of things we could do I jumped at the chance for Beijing (Peking) Duck.   The meal has to be ordered ahead and the whole duck is presented and served tableside in 3 different ways.  The crispy skin dipped in sauce, soup, and sliced meat with pancakes, sauce and vegetables.   A couple of other dishes were ordered as well. I tried them all but the duck was my favorite.

Tokyo For a Day

In August I headed to Asia for a business trip, I had about a 24 hour layover in Tokyo which was just enough time to sleep, eat some excellent food and see a tiny bit of the city.  Tokyo is definitely a place I want to go back to and see more of.

I stayed at the Tokyo Station Hotel very convenient for getting the Narita Express into and out of the city.   By far my favorite feature of the hotel was the toilet.  The seats were heated and the controls were fully automated, you could lift and lower the seat with a touch of a button.   I think a toilet like this would be fabulous in our new house.  

On Sunday morning I wandered around the Imperial Palace and Edo Castle.   The Nijubashi Bridge is a big tourist attraction, even at 8 AM on a Sunday morning.

The mixture of old and new buildings in this area was impressive, Turning around this is the view.

A little bit further down the way you can see skyscrapers behind the Keeps.

I saw signs everywhere that reminded me of Dave.

I really wanted to ride in one of these but sadly this will have to wait for the next trip.

And what would a trip be without food.   When I arrived I was exhausted and wasn't paying much attention to where I was going to eat.  I ended up wandering into a place that had no sushi or ramen.   The biggest challenge was the menu had no English translation.  Luckily there were pictures so I just pointed and hoped for the best, luckily the food was good.  
 Waking up at 7 AM on a Sunday there aren't a lot of places open.  I did manage to find a cafe and had a hard boiled egg and a ham and cheese baguette.  

For lunch I followed the recommendation of a friend and ended up at Tofuro.  I highly recommend it.  The ramen and sushi were both delicious.


As much as I wanted to I decided to not eat at this place.