Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Singapore Grand Prix - Recap of my first F1 race adventure

I'd to a NASCAR race before, but in September I went to my first Formula 1 (F1) race in Singapore.  The Singapore Grand Prix is unique because it's a night race, and basically an entire weekend of parties (i.e. concerts and racing events) and was a lot of fun.  I ended up purchasing Premier Walkabout tickets for all 3 days. 

These tickets were ideal for me, since I don't like having restrictions as to where I can go and I wanted to be able to travel from Zones 1-4 easily.  As an added bonus, these tickets also gave me the opportunity to ride the Singapore Flyer for free. 

How could I pass up the opportunity to see the track and the views of Singapore at night, when the trip was gratis?  I couldn't.

As for the highlights of the weekend here goes:
  • Sebastian Vettel won the race.  For those of you that have no idea, here are some details about him:
    • He's German
    • Races for Red Bull Racing
    • Current World Champion
  • I saw Rick Astley perform in concert.  Here are my 3 cents on this experience.  ****  Why 3 cents, you ask?  Because I have more sense than the average person and I'm louder.
    • If you are a man and you're not there with your significant other, you shouldn't be in a pavilion taking up space watching Rick Astley perform.  You need to listen outside the pavilion and give your "seat" to a female.  It's just the right thing to do.
    • Rick talked to the crowd about the humidity in Singapore.   ****  Tell us something we don't know.  He performed all of his hits and a few covers and I must say, I enjoyed the performance.
      • Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I like Rick Astley.
  • When given the choice between watching Shakira or Boy George, I chose Boy George.  ****  In the interest of full disclosure, I'd already seen Shakira perform in 2010 at the NBA All-Star Game in Dallas.
  • Boy George looked great!  He's on the heavier side these days, but he looks healthy.  His eye make-up looked fantastic and he sang all of his hits.  Not sure how many other opportunities I'd have going forward to see him perform so I'm happy I seized the moment.

  • Shaggy in concert was cool.  A guy gave me his wristband so I went to the front of the stage.  I'm not a huge Shaggy fan, but he did his hits.  I was hoping I'd hear "Freaky Girl", but I didn't.  Either I missed it or he didn't perform the track.
  • Linkin Park was the final show on Sunday night and the people were out in droves.  I'm not a huge Linkin Park fan, but I enjoyed their set.  I left it early (i.e. ironically, I think they were playing "Encore") to walk on the race track.

As for the races...
  • I watched the F1 qualifying on Saturday night from Zone 1 near the pit.
  • I watched the Porsche races from Zone 4 on Sunday.

  • I watched the final F1 race from Zone 4 as well. 
  • Don't try to be a hero, bring and wear your earplugs!!!!  Thank goodness I had my iPhone earbuds on me or I would've had to buy earplugs.  Those F1 cars are loud!!!

  • Go to the races hungry.  Since this is Singapore, plenty of good food is available and relatively inexpensive.  Even if you don't like racing, go there and eat!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Iraq v Singapore ~ 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Qualifiers

Soccer, football, whatever you wish to call it was what I checked out last night.  In preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil there are qualifying matches that need to be played.  Last night I took in Iraq v Singapore at Jalan Besar Stadium. 

I know very little about soccer to begin with.  After watching the most recent World Cup on TV, I can tell you which countries had the best looking men and go on and on about my appreciation of the soccer player body...  However, I'll spare you in this post.  Further, for the purpose of this post I'll do my best to speak "soccer/football" as properly as possible until I can't take it anymore...

I went to the match with Xander and Andreas.  I work with both of them and they're fun.  They both came prepared.  Andreas was dressed in red, and Xander sported a Singapore scarf.  I just wanted to get out of my work clothes and not melt to death in the humidity.  In the opening few minutes or so of the game, Xander asked us who we thought would win and for a prediction on the final score.  I predicted that Iraq would win 1-0. 

At that very moment, I also regretted not running across the street to put a bet on the game!  Oh well.  ****  Incidentally, I would've won.

After we filtered into the stadium and listened to the national anthems, we noticed that Tony Tan, the newly elected president of Singapore was taking the field, to greet the players.  That was cool.

In the first half, Iraq was more aggressive and had more offense.  Singapore's goalie was working hard. 

As the match progressed the guys were getting thirsty and with no alcohol being served in the stadium we headed to a food court for a drink. At the food court, as we indulged in a Tiger beer, Xander managed to break his chair!  Hilarious.  Thank goodness it wasn't me.

We returned to our seats after missing a portion of the 2nd half and sure enough Iraq scored again.  It was a weird goal...  Surreal how the ball bounced into the goal...

Singapore lost, but it was fun to do something sporty again.  Happy I got the invite!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Bali ~ The W in Seminyak and Ubud (i.e. a temple, rice terraces, the monkey forest, and shopping)

I'm not really sure, "why", but I've always wanted to go to Bali.  So, this past weekend, that's just what I did.  Now I don't care if you think it's cheating or not, but I stayed at the W Retreat & Spa Bali - Seminyak (Seminyak, Indonesia).  Why?  Because I'm Starwood Platinum and I deserve to treat myself to a little bit of rest and relaxation once in a while.  Don't get me wrong, I like culture but there's only so much "culture" that I can absorb before I start to crave the beach and some pool time.

Prior to landing in Bali, I had arranged for the hotel to send me a driver.  Yes, that's how I roll.  As I checked out the fantastic room that the property had upgraded me to, I started to snap some pictures for this blog.  Enjoy. 


The hotel opened in March, but it was "officially" open in July.  It has good security (i.e. similary to other properties on the island there are guards at the vehicle entrance who sweep the vehicle).

As I fell asleep listening to the waves crash the beach and looking out at the Indian Ocean under the moon, I knew I'd made the right choice. 

All day Saturday I was at the pool. 

I ordered the nasi goreng for lunch and it was good.  It's basically fried rice with beef satay, a piece of fried chicken, and an egg on top. 

After the pool, I watched the sunset on the beach.  Just gorgeous.

In the evening I met my Brigitte (i.e. a friend of my friend, Pam) and we talked over drinks and food at Ku De Ta.  ****  Brigitte had been in Bali for some time as she was on a retreat to become a yoga instructor.  She and I became friends and hopefully we'll catch each other again in Dubai one day!  I really want to see Dubai...

Ku De Ta is a great spot on the beach to have drinks and eat, while you watch the waves.  Definitely check it out if you're in Seminyak.  If you plan on eating dinner, make a reservation.  Otherwise have a seat and just order off the "bar menu" and enjoy cocktails along the railing by the beach or upstairs.  I didn't check out the upstairs, outdoor bar.  However, I'd imagine that it's nice.

Sunday I eased into the day and hired the same driver that swooped me at the airport to drive me to Ubud for a 6-hour day trip.  I wanted to see a temple, the rice terraces, the monkey forest, and do some shopping before I flew back to Singapore.  ****  Hiring a driver is definitely the way to do it.  He waited while I enjoyed the different site and also served as a photographer when I needed someone to take my picture.  It's a great deal!

I only visited one temple, but I'm sure if/when, I go back I'll try to check out Uluwatu and Tanah Lot.

When I was younger I learned a song about planting rice.  The lyrics are:

Planting rice is never fun
Work all day, til the set of sun
Cannot stand and cannot sit
Cannot rest for a little bit.

My driver tried to explain to me the process of growing rice, but I still have so many questions... 

From what I hear, the older generation is the one that plants rice.  The younger generations have decided that they want an easier life and go into other fields. 

From what I saw, planting rice is hard work, but the terraces look gorgeous!

Ok, the Monkey Forest... 

Now this is interesting.  Loved watching the monkeys interact with each other and take care of their babies, but after a while it became a bit much.  There were too many tails and too many monkeys for my taste after a while so I left. 

I wasn't brave enough to try to feed a monkey and unlike some of the other people at the forest, I wasn't keen on touching one or having one touch me.  I'm more of an observer, I guess, so I did my best Jane Goodall and got out.

After seeing the sites, of course I did some shopping.  I picked up a couple of decorative items and a couple of rings.  Yes, I love rings.  My dad even laughed when he saw the picture and said, "More rings?!?".  Yes, always...  More rings! 

Bali is just beautiful!  So happy I went.