lifestyle


There wasn’t much time to muck around after the whole flame lighting affair in Olympia.

We had videos to edit, photos to caption, stuff to pack, people to move around, tweets to send, hands to shake, … you get the picture. (So much for catching up on my blog entries!)

Lucky for us, we had a few hours in Athens before having to fly back to Singapore.

Acropolis from afar

Acropolis from afar... very far.

And that’s about as close or as good a view of the magical Acropolis as I could manage.

After checking into the hotel, we were all pretty knackered (or at least I was!) from the day’s events, but still we had to eat, even though it was past 9pm at night! Was told the Greeks eat dinner pretty late.

So off we went to Plaka, on advice from Mr Chris Chan, Secretary General of the SNOC, and experienced visitor to Greece.

Plaka Plaka Plaka

Plaka by night

It’s probably as touristy a place as you can visit in Athens, but with enough local flavour to keep me snapping pictures, trinket hunting and stuffing my face – sometimes even all at once.

old neighbourhood

Shopping or Ruins? I'm spoilt for choice

When you say that Plaka is in an old neighbourhood, it’s really understating it. There are ancient ruins that run right next to the shops.

Graffiti

Thou shall not spraypaint thy ruins

Even the graffiti artists seem to be respectful of what they can, cannot spray on and REALLY cannot spray on – which is cool.

scrawls

more wall scrawls

Takeaway art

This art you can bring home

But all the culture and history in the world can’t fill an empty belly, so it was time for some carnivorous consumption.

Meat me

Meaty me

And naturally, over food, we started talking and reminiscing about the historical ceremony we were all witness to. Then we decided to relive it all, especially those of us who didn’t get our hands on the torch. :p

Silas = :p

Silas (partially concealled) probably wasn't impressed

And even after eating, there was more temptation lining the streets

Gelato anyone?

Funky coloured ice cream = very tempting in the heat.

But we decided to do a little souvenir hunting instead…

endless shopping

Lots and lots to see...

And look what we found!

amanda and the vuvuzela

Amanda blows and blows... but nothing!

We eventually walked away with about 5 vuvuzelas! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And as we walked along with our booty we realised there were things on the pathway that we had to carefully sidestep.

Dogway

Doggone walkway!

Some of them were a bit more friendly…

tummyrub

Shufen (torchbearer chaperone) gives out a free tummyrub

But more friends started turning up…

Dog + dog

Doggy's friend looking for tummyrub too, but we got scared and left

Anyway, that was about it before scooting off to the airport at 4am. :p Sorry we couldn’t get to know you better, Athens!

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For those of you who were in Singapore yesterday, you are probably aware of how the skies suddenly opened up and decided to hit us with the biggest rain storm in a long while.

Water, water everywhere

I think it's safe to say our clock is waterproof?

Most of us in Kay Siang (not too far away from waterworld Orchard Road) escaped somewhat unscathed, but for those who were working or shopping in the Orchard Road area (otherwise known as Singapore’s shopping belt), things might have gotten a little soggy (that’s putting it mildly) from the onslaught of what appeared to be “tea with milk”.

The Olympic Superstore

I don't think there were many people at our Olympic Superstore ...

But good to know that despite the superstorm, our Olympic Superstore is still open for business! Yes… even in the face of all the tea in the world! While many who were affected might be rather cross about Orchard Road becoming an overpriced storm drain, I’m sure there might be other people out there who have been keen on having the floodwaters stay a little longer.

does Lyo swim?

"Row, row, row your boat... right down Orchard Road!"

Last photo (and other smarty pants remarks) courtesy ofย  my colleagues Chew Jin Jia and Kartik Agrawal. ๐Ÿ˜‰

As the Games draw nearer and nearer, people in the office have been staying later and later. This also means sometimes having dinner in the office. Tonight I realised how hardy some of my colleagues’ stomachs had become, and I don’t mean this in a good way.

A strange burnt smell wafted through the air this evening, prompting the inner fireman in me to want to rush out with a pail of water. I saw a few colleagues standing around, eating what appeared to be a cross between volcanic rock and styrofoam.

what the...

Would you eat this?

Anyone care to guess what they were eating? I’ve got a couple more pins to give away if you get it right. :p

This is in addition to the time when someone in the office attempted to blow us up by microwaving us to death. The resulting artifact then made its way around the office in a gruesome “Ripley’s Believe it or not!” world tour / Microwave “This-is-what-happens-when-you-forget-something-in-the-oven ” safety class.

the rock

Some say it came from Mars...

I think it’s still out there… *shudder*

Some nasty virus has got infiltrated my body’s operating system. (See end of yesterday’s post)

So far it doesn’t seem exceptionally destructive, and is just irritating more than anything. Like one of those silly viruses that activates a screensaver for a few days in a year, forcing you to shut down your PC or operate reaaaaaally slowly. Rebooting me doesn’t seem to help very much, and I drift into screensaver mode with more ease than usual. Doctor prescribed several pills but they don’t look like the big guns he usually pulls out for special occasions with technicoloured phlegm and raging fevers. Bah humbug.

Dr Francis Chong

No, he isn't about to perform surgery

Still, the thing about most folks at the organising committee is that even though they might be on medical leave, off-in-lieu, vacation leave, …. they are often still found in the office. The fear of infecting healthy colleagues, is often what eventually gets many to transplant their battered bodies elsewhere to work. (See suspect in mugshot above)

Similarly, holiday trips have often turned into work-related trips too, like how Lyo and Merly found themselves on a roadtrip up north to Malaysia. (See more of Lyo &ย  Merly’s travel pics)

Lyo & Merly at the Petronas Twin Towers

ooops. stray hand showing!

On a separate note, the doctor I saw today also asked me about that “song with the hand movements” after he learned I was from SYOGOC. I think he means the Singapore cheer song with JJ Lin. (Apparently, someone’s already spoofed it too) Contrary to popular thought, that’s NOT the theme song for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. (Again, see yesterday’s post)

Just thought I’d clear that up. (Now if only I could clear up my nose as well …)

UPDATE: You asked for it, here it is… the theme song ringtone:
.mp3 (for most phones): DOWNLOAD (843kb)
.m4r (for iPhones):ย  DOWNLOAD (831kb)

For some particular reason, spammers seem to really like my last post and have greeted it with lots more of their sales-pitches-disguised-as-comments than usual.

In truth, perhaps they’ve just gotten into the spirit of things, it being that time of the year again in Singapore that we locals know and love. Those eight weeks (plus and minus) of madness known as “The Great Singapore Sale“. (also known as the GSS – we love acronyms!)

From the deepest corners of Bangkok’s Chatuchak market in to the sparkling stores along the Champs Elysees, Singaporeans are adept at finding the best deals. We will whisper amongst ourselves, while whipping out our smartphones to double check the exchange rate and prices back home. Depending on the scene of the crime sale, we will further attempt to drive the price down, sometimes in a mangled mess of the local vernacular and sign language. All this before triumphantly carting away our loot and heading to the nearest foot massage. Or maybe that’s just me.

shop till you drop
spot the bargain

So when it comes to the GSS – which is pretty much the equivalent of the Shopping World Cup (in our own backyard, no less) – the Orchard Road shopping belt becomes a swathe of well-seasoned bargain hunters that swarms into the malls and plunders anything with a marked down price.

Second only to our love for good food, I think Singapore stands a pretty decent shot at a medal should the IOC ever decide to make shopping an Olympic event.

Some of the events could include 50metre butterfly queueing (doubles event where you take turns queueing), 1oom freestyle bargaining (whatever it takes to get the price down), shoppingbag-lifting (pretty self-explanatory?), bargain-bin diving (grace is always important even when looking for marked-down items). And since there’s already a modern pentathlon, we could have an urban duathlon: Eating & Shopping! What say you, President Rogge? ๐Ÿ™‚

But fear not, my friends who will be coming to Singapore in August. The GSS may be over by then, but if you’re looking for a good deal in the malls between your time competing in sports and taking part in the Culture and Education Programme, there will still be discounts to be found. Plus we’re just itching for another reason for a sale. ๐Ÿ™‚

(Let me know if you need foot massage recommendations ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

No, we’ve not turned into savage cannibals overnight, but it’s funny how leaving out a word changes the meaning of a sentence entirely.

"Hello Clariiiccce"

You probably wouldn't want to invite Mr Lecter back for dinner tonight

Today we celebrate “Eat WITH Your Family Day“. In most government bodies, staff will be getting off work half an hour earlier today to eat at home. (Hmmm… so I get to leave at 8.30pm) At 1 Kay Siang Road, we were luckier still to have a free lunch with colleagues from overseas, some of whom who don’t have their families here with them. So it’s sort of a “Eat with your adopted family day” too.

CEO Mr Goh Kee Nguan

Our CEO gives us a timely peptalk before the devouring begins

Well me and some of the other slowpokes were busy with work, and were in danger of missing out on whatever food was left. Lucky for us the Workforce team (Thanks Amy!) made sure we still had some grub and didn’t have to eat our families.

Lunch!

Do interns taste like chicken?

Go eat with your family! ๐Ÿ™‚

This year, the F1 rocks concert was a star attraction.

Black Eyed Peas in da house. Photo by Claudia Lim, flickr.com

Black Eyed Peas in da house. Photo by Claudia Lim, flickr.com

BEYONCE, BLACK EYED PEAS, JACKY CHEUNG, NO DOUBT & LINDSAY LOHAN... what else could you ask for?

Although I didn’t have the fortune to attend this concert due to er..budget constraints, I caught it on television yesterday night.

The concert was so awesome you could hardly tell it was Fort Canning. The open area was packed with a sea of jumping, screaming people. The live performances of Beyonce and No Doubt was so energetic I jumped off my sofa involuntarily. (it’s true!)

A mad crowd. Photo by: Claudia Lim, flickr.com

A mad crowd. Photo by: Claudia Lim, flickr.com

So imagine how much more amazing it would be if next year’s Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and F1 combine forces to stage a concert to celebrate the two mega events?

Just last night, Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Community Development, Youth & Sports Ministry, said: “Maybe we can have a bridging event between the two. If you look at F1 Rocks as a potential event, we could possibly use it and scale it up to become a very big party to link the two. A big party as a closure for YOG and a party that starts the F1 season in Singapore.”

If it were true, 2010 will be certainly an exciting, adrenaline pumping year for Singapore.

Let’s just say, YOG rocks too.

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