Friday, October 29, 2010


I can kinda sorta see the "logic" behind it.

But... Eww! A yoga class ain't no pick-up bar! Is this just in Harrrrrrllywood (aka La-La Land), or in America in general? (Where I've been to it's been majority females in class only, and it didn't seem like there was any pick-up action going on. Or maybe I'm just clueless?)

PS. Sorry for the silence. Work is heating up again with late nights and early starts - resulting in some insomniac bouts from work stress in the past week too. Which means: Nonexistent MWF Shala practice after last Monday. (There's a post in this somewhere... Juggling an almost-daily 2-hour practice in the midst of an intense job with crazy hours. At this point, my body says: NO!)


Monday, October 25, 2010

Made It To MWF Shala

I had a crap night's sleep. The alarm rang at 6am, screaming out "TIME TO GO TO THE MONDAY-WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY SHALAAAAAAA!!!" (From henceforth known as the MWF shala).

I had absolutely ZERO/ NULL AND VOID/ ZILCH intention of going.

Y'know those mind games you play with yourself...
"I haven't had enough sleep."
"It's eff-ing FREEZING."
"I don't have a rain coat let alone rain-suit yet. What if it pisses down?"
"I'll re-set the alarm an hour later and practice in the living room."
"There won't be anyone there anyway, I'm better off practicing at home." (knowing full well that when the alarm goes an hour later, there'll be MORE excuses.)

Dudes. I used to wake up at 4.45am in Sydney to take the train and then the bus to go to practice. And I can't even do a leisurely 6am wake-up call in comparison?

I turned off the alarm.

BUT. I was wide-eyed and awake (I hadn't been sleeping properly before the alarm rang anyways). And this is when having a blog and being accountable comes in handy to kick your arse out of bed. I'd written yesterday that I *might* head there today. So I lay there bug-eyed, thinking: Fuck it. If all else fails, at least I'll have something to report.

I know. What a sad way of getting myself to practice, right?

FUCK IT! Sometimes it's a new pair of Lululemon pants, sometimes it's a rain-suit, but today my motivation was... er... Having a story to tell. *face palm*

I got all wrapped up in layers, thinking "It's gonna be eff-ing freezing, especially on the bike ride there, so just deal with it." (It was HAILING intermittently yesterday. So I wasn't being dramatic about the cold.) And you know what? Because I was expecting to freeze my ass off, the 10-minute bike ride there actually wasn't THAT bad. It's all about setting the expectation.

I got there at 6.45am (Mysore starts at 6.30am) and guess what?

*Sound of crickets*

Yes, quite literally the sound of crickets. The door was unlocked, the lights were on, but there was NO ONE around. I tiptoed inside and the teacher was there, behind a curtain, watering the orchids.

Which meant: Yes. I was practicing on my own. Of course at this point one part of my brain said "I KNEW IT! TOLD YOU SO!! SHOULDA STAYED IN BED!" ...the other part said "YO! It's a private one-on-one so QUIT BITCHING."

It's all about perspective, y'all.

By the time I got up to Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, someone else walked in! FINALLY! And more people came in later. By the end of it, there were exactly 4 of us in the room. A nice size. :)

So how did it go today?


I got some nice assists - some on only one side. Usually this really irritates me coz I feel lopsided afterwards (this is yoga-teacher-training 101 stuff, people!) BUT. After KM (pretty famous teacher... go on, think harder) adjusted me only on one side as well at that last Mysore workshop, I kinda got thinking "OK, maybe not everyone's as highly skilled as my beloved E in Sydney." ;p (E in Sydney can be assisting you on one side, move onto someone else a few mats away while you're in vinyasa and then remember to come back to you just as you're moving into the next side; Adjusting you right as you're exhaling into the first count, not messing up your timing. That's pretty mad teaching skills.)

But after practicing in my living room for about a month now, today I felt EXTREMELY self-conscious. I guess I was the ONLY person for a while, so my breathing seemed pretty LOUD. I had to be very conscious of keeping the inhales and exhales consistent, so that's not a bad thing.

And then halfway into it, I thought: "Why the hell did I put half an onion in last night's curry? I STINK!!" ...Yeah, seriously. I could smell ONION coming... OUT OF MY PORES! I promise you it wasn't my breath, it was pouring out of my sweat.


Even more grounds for feeling self-conscious.

In Supta Kurmasana, she bound my legs first before binding my arms... I was immediately all like "WOAHHHHHHH! I'm gonna call the Ashtanga Police!! It's the wrong way around!!"

Then I calmed down and thought "OK, so it's not the traditional way of binding but so what? I'M BOUND IN THE POSE, RIGHT?" And I even got a nice lift up to Dwi Pada on my own, bum-lift and everything before exiting through a sloppy Tittibhasana.

To be honest, I've been quite an Ashtanga-Snob. As in... Viewing any teacher who isn't authorized or certified from the source with a bit of suspicion. WAIT! HEAR ME OUT! ...Basically - you don't know where this teacher has trained, who has trained him or her, whether or not he or she has a daily practice and follows the traditional route as taught by P.Jois. Basically - I'm talking about LINEAGE.

That damn L word.

BUT... In the same breath, let me just say that I would definitely go to teachers who are not authorized or certified if I KNOW that they follow the Ashtanga method as taught by Jois, keep a regular practice or if they've been taught by teachers who have been authorized or certified, precisely because I know they'll be teaching from this lineage (just like Susan and Helen and my very first teacher in Singapore - I'd definitely go to their classes coz I know they're DOWNRIGHT LEGIT!) ...And seriously, I can tell you with conviction having been an Ashtanga tourist in various countries now - you can tell the difference in adjustments between teachers who come through this lineage of teaching (doesn't matter whether or not they themselves are authorized) and those who don't come through this lineage.

So I guess I took a while to kinda come to terms with this new place (no, the teachers aren't authorized nor certified)... I'd gone to ONE class there in the summer but it was a substitute teacher and I guess I didn't really click with her. Today, the regular teacher was back. But I still had no idea what I was getting myself into. Y'know?

BUT... After today, I'm eating humble pie. The adjustments I got were fabulous. And sure, I got yanked into Supta K the "wrong" way around first, but screw it... it's been a while since I've had a nice bind in that asana anyway. And who's to say what's "right" and "wrong" anyway? It worked. Period.

I'm definitely going back there again, even if they're only running MWF classes. I asked if they'll have Tuesday and Thursday mornings too and she said "Maybe, but not yet." Good enough for me. :)

Oh... And I think it was also a cosmic joke on me today. This morning when I left the house, everything outside was SOAKING WET, like it had just rained. But my cycle to the shala was dry as a bone. Upon leaving the shala, my snow-white bike was also soaking wet (Oh! Her very first rained-upon!)... But again, my cycle back home was bone dry. So much for *needing* that rain-suit to get to a shala practice. At least not for today.

PS. Sorry for the ultra-long post. Guess I'm excited about this new place!
PPS. Yes, she's also part of the International Laghuvajrasana Conspiracy, making me do encores of it. Won't bore you with the details since you know all about me + Laghu. Boy, I must *REALLY* suck at it.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Moon Day What Day?

According to the moon day page, Saturday was the moon day.

According to some people's moon phases apps, Friday was the moon day.

So there was a bit of confusion in the twittershala whether to follow Friday or Saturday as the Moon day. This was a twitter-conversation that took place on Friday.

My moon phases app said Saturday was the moon day, and since the site said so too, that was good enough for me that Saturday should be observed as the moon day. I follow rules, remember?

BUT... Even with the double-confirmation, I STILL PRACTICED ON SATURDAY!

Haha. I think a bunch of us #rogueashtangis did.

I remember in Sydney, if the moon day fell on a Saturday, my teacher would still take either the day before or after as the moon day. She called it a "teacher's holiday". HAHAHA.

Everyone needs a break every other week, right?

So, interestingly... According to the moon day dates (and my moon phases app) - the next few moon days will be on Saturday again.

I'm curious to see - How are you or your shala observing the Saturday moon days?

RAIN-SUIT UPDATE: I went to another cheap-charlie joint to look for one, and again they only had "L/XL" sizes available. I think the Universe is really telling me an ugly poncho is NOT the way forward. I might just *have* to buy that Nike rain-jacket I just spotted. (No, this does not de-rail my plan to finally visit the Mon-Wed-Fri shala tomorrow morning. I hope.)

MYSORE UPDATE: KPJAYI just emailed me again saying they've just put up an online registration form and may I please re-submit my application AGAIN for 2011. So I just did. FINALLY! They've hit the 21st century! ...and between the number of applications I've had to deal with between them and the Embassy, I'm really learning a lesson in patience here. :p

Oh and - have you seen KPJAYI's pretty new website? :) (They've added a moon app on their site, and on their shala schedule, it looks like they're also observing the Fridays as their moon days.) Hmm...


Friday, October 22, 2010

To Call Or Not To Call?

It has been pointed out recently off-blog that I'm a RULE FOLLOWER! (Thanks, Liz!) ;p

Well... Yes. What do you expect. I'm from Singapore and I practice Ashtanga. Plus, I'm Asian. TRIPLE BAM!

So it has suddenly occurred to me that the Indian Embassy here hasn't contacted me yet about my visa application for Mysore.

If you recall from this post, they pretty much told me "Don't call us, we'll call you."

Actually, this is exactly what I'd written that the Embassy Lady had said:
"Once you hand in your application, if we need more documents from you, we will call you to let you know, then you can come back with them only AFTER we've contacted you. Please do NOT call us until we've called you. It can take 1 to 2 weeks."

Dudes. That was TWO Fridays ago. It has been EXACTLY 2 weeks and 1 day.

So... what should I do - just call them now anyway and irritate the bejeezus out of them? ...Or continue waiting patiently (even though I suspect they're a bit more disorganized than they let on and may need a gentle-reminder-in-the-form-of-a-kick-up-their-bums about my case?)

See? I follow the rules. If someone else lays down the rules (ie: YOU, INDIAN EMBASSY!) and doesn't stick to it (Where's my phone call?!) ...Then what's a girl to do but call them up to check on them.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How Do You Motivate Yourself to Practice?

Following Monday's post, there were so many awesome comments from so many awesome people (yes, we're Ashtangis and we're all a little bit intense. Deal with it, thanks!), that I have been thinking more about the state of my practice. (Thinking about my practice? No shit, Sherlock!)

I mean... Now that I'm back in the Dam and coasting along at work (it's the calm before the next big storm), I'm trying to build a routine into this new apartment I've moved into too. And of course, when you talk about routine, the Ashtanga yoga practice figures pretty prominently, right? (HAHA.)

I've been trying a home practice out. I was totally inspired by my practice at the shala in London last month, so I figured I'd ride that wave back here. Unfortunately, the moment I came back to the Dam, I twisted my foot and then had to modify like crazy in order to keep practicing.

Needless to say, it has been quite the struggle. The foot is still not 100%. I can pretty much do most standing poses now, except Utthita Hasta Padangustasana while standing on the left foot (the arch still hurts a bit), and I can't do any lotus poses where the outer top part of the left foot needs to be stretched. UHP is starting to hurt less on the left foot, and I tried it with full extended right leg yesterday, but was WOBBLING LIKE CRAZY. It was like being a beginner all over again.

Practice has started to feel MORE AND MORE like a struggle these days. I guess it's a combination of practicing at home, practicing with a busted foot AND practicing in colder weather. The sun isn't up till 8am these days, so it's HARD to roll out of a toasty bed into the cold and dark living room.

My Sydney teacher used to say "Guruji said if you start your practice in the winter, you will have your practice for life."

It's so true!! The eff-ing freezing cold is such a deterrent.

Hence... You can see why I've been thinking about my practice, right? How to get myself motivated. I'm thinking it's something as simple as: I need to get me to a shala already.

The new-ish ashtanga shala that opened here a few months ago has morning Mysore classes, but as they only have them on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I initially wasn't interested coz... Well... I LIKE MY ROUTINE! What am I supposed to do on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays? Yes, yes, practice at home right? ...At the time, it just didn't seem like the ideal scenario to break up shala and home practices on alternate days.

Now... this idea is more and more appealing, just coz I think I'm at the point now where I need a teacher to motivate me, aka: give me an ass-whooping. HA! Not really... But I miss getting adjustments. I miss the group energy. I miss having an experienced eagle-eye push you just that little bit further, taking you somewhere you never thought was possible before. It's hard to find that in a home practice - you either over-do it or not do enough. And at some point, I feel a little bit lost. I mean... Hello? I've been at Laghuvajrasana for like 10 months now? Sometimes, you are your own best teacher, but sometimes you need a little guidance.

You know how for some people motivation to get on the mat comes in the form of buying a new mat, new yoga clothes or towels or other kinds of paraphernalia? Whatever it takes to get you on that mat. But this time, my motivation to get me to the shala is the most random thing. A rain-suit.

Y'know. Beyond the raincoat, a rain-suit is made up of ugly rain pants and a poncho on top. The Dutch all have one to get around on their bikes in the rain. Sometimes they also carry an umbrella while cycling (this is where having only back-brakes on the pedals comes in handy - no hand-brakes to manouver!)

I have been resisting buying one, purely from an aesthetic point-of-view. They're ugly. Which is kinda stupid coz in the winter it rains even more here than it does in London, and the kind of rain I'm talking about is really like that French phrase: "Il pleut comme un vache qui pisse." (And if you've been to a cow farm, you'll know where that phrase comes from!)

Seriously... Look at this week's weather forecast:

The thought of having to cycle through the cold, dark rain at 6am to get to the shala is giving me the heebyjeebies. (No wonder morning mysore isn't a popular choice here at all!)

Now I also have to work up the nerve to get that FUGLY rain-suit.

The things we do for yoga.


Monday, October 18, 2010

What's Normal?

I was out on Saturday night (Holy crap! Someone buy a lottery ticket, the hermit left the house!)

And I was having a conversation with a friend who recently found out I have a blog.

FRIEND: "What's your blog about?"

ME: "Um... Life. And yoga. And living in different countries. ... ..."

FRIEND: "What's the link?"

ME: "Um... Actually. It's kind of private and I don't really wanna share the link."

FRIEND: "What?! Why? What do you write about that's so private that I can't read it?"

ME: "Er... I write about yoga. And er... my struggles with it. My joys with it. Umm... A lot of stuff that bubbles under the surface that needs an outlet."

FRIEND: "So... Are you like 2 different people? Someone on your blog you're not in real life that you can't let people you know read about what your thoughts are?"

And at that point, I felt like a complete and total socially-inept reject.

Umm... Have you read this blog? (I mean, you're here right.)

And you must know... It's not really private. AT ALL!!! I curse and swear. Talk about when I get my period. Spill out the crazy-talk in my head when I don't get along with a yoga pose (Yes, that's you Laghuvajrasana). It's pretty honest, if I say so myself.

SOOOOOOOOO... Why is it OK to spill my guts out here, for pretty much perfect strangers to read about? ...But it's NOT OK for someone I actually know to read this? (My mum sometimes comes on here too... So sometimes I use that as my guide for how much I should censor my thoughts.) (Er... HI MUM!!)

And in talking about Ashtanga Yoga and seeing the glaze form over his eyes... It suddenly occurred to me that I HAVE BECOME ONE OF THEM.


Crazy cat lady. Who does yoga and eats sprouts and quinoa. And is part of some weird cult that follows the phases of the moon. WOO WOO! (Now I should just carry that broomstick and cauldron around with me).

Interestingly, I guess the people I've met in Cape Town and Sydney are a lot more of the "granola crunchy" type (as my sister calls it)... Who are a lot more in tune with this crazy "new age" way of living (if you can even call it that?!) So it's been quite a while that I've met "normal" people who haven't been exposed to a different way of living and thinking. My yardstick of what's "normal" isn't even that radical, but I was really feeling like a fish out of water that night.

It's times like this that I'm glad I've got this blog and the cybershala, sharing our freakazoid-sangha together. I mean... OK, I get it. "Hello, my name is Jaime and I'm an Ashtanga Freak. I actually wish I was more of a double-jointed freak so some asanas will come easier to me. Nice to meet you too."

HAHAHA. (Yes, that was a JOKE.)

I'm still settling into a relatively new city, trying to make new connections. It's hard sometimes being the new kid in the corner of class.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Dropback Win or Meditation Fail?

In my quest to try new things and meet new people in this town (or rather, "cosmopolitan village" that is Amsterdam)... I've come across this pretty rad site,



Basically - if you key in your city and a topic that interests you, you could very well stumble across different groups of people with similar interests who are organising meet ups in your area. Everything from foodies to movie-buffs to kirtan-chanters to vegans to girlie-groups (groups made up of all women - No, not pop-singer-girl-groups!) are represented in my little city. I'm still pretty new to it so I haven't had the chance to check them all out yet. Seems like a pretty good way to get out there and finally make friends OUTSIDE OF WORK! (Contrary to popular belief, I'm actually quite the hermit, preferring my own company at home. And this site seems like a good approach).

I found a meditation group on the site. It's advertised as "Buddhist Meditation" and kinda sorta put me off at first. I don't like things that are overtly/ in-your-face "religious", if that makes sense. But then I decided to keep an open mind and see if perhaps I could pick up more tools in my toolkit to "still my monkey mind".

So I checked it out last night. On entering the place, I was greeted by not one, but TWO monks in full robes! BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Okaaaaaay.

*Keep an open mind*

I should interject here that: I have NO CLUE about Buddhism. My entire family is pretty much Christian and I grew up in a Christian household. Before my grandmother converted to Christianity, I remember she used to have a Buddhist altar at home, with joss sticks burning and lots of food offerings. My only "knowledge" of Buddhism is really an impression... Or rather, an image of gold Buddha idols. And er... that's pretty much it. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I actually don't know anything about its theology. I should add, however, I have come to fully embrace the belief that there are many paths to one light (much to my Christian family's dismay). To me, there is NO SUCH THING AS "MY GOD IS BETTER THAN YOUR GOD."

I guess what made me a bit wary of the Buddhist angle in this meditation class is probably precisely because of my Christian indoctrination from a young age. Funny that - My view of "God" now is so much bigger than how the Bible defines its "Christian God"... And yet, I still carry the remnants of... what is it? Mistrust? Suspicion? of ALL kinds of "organized religion". (I just hate it when people try to shove their point-of-view down your throat. Y'know... I'm happy being a gentile, thanks! Don't judge me coz I don't share your beliefs!)

Now that I've put things in a bit of context, back to my meditation class story.

What immediately clicked when the class started though, was the teacher-monk started off with "Many people ask me if Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy. Frankly, if you ask me, I really don't know what it is. All I can say is that for me, it's a method to find happiness in life."

WOW! What a totally cool monk! (I never thought I'd ever utter a phrase like that in my life! "A cool monk"?! WTF? HAHAHA!) That immediately helped drop all my wariness. And I could just get on with why I was there in the first place: to learn about meditation.

We started off with a preliminary meditation exercise - similar to how you'd ground and centre yourself before a yoga class. Coming to a place of stillness, observing the breath as you inhale and exhale. Umm... my monkey mind immediately went to thoughts of "I really NEED to go to an Osteopath. Can feel this imbalanced pelvis!"

... ... ...

After that centering exercise, he began to explain that there are 21 Lamrim meditation exercises in total and today's would be on the 4 Noble Truths of the Buddha. A lot of it kind of overlapped with some yogic philosophy. And it was at this point I really got lost. I think I caught myself thinking "OK, here goes with the Buddhist teachings, blahblahblah..." To be honest, I thought he was talking about the "4 NOVEL Truths"... Until much later on that I realized he was talking about the "Noble" truths. I'm a terrible student.

And then you know what I was doing? I ended up thinking about dropbacks.

I was sitting in the middle of a meditation class and there I was, thinking of being in a gloriously deep, long, hangback. With arms outstretched, I was imagining grounding strongly through my legs, pushing the hips as far forward as they could go, stretching those hip flexors... then opening up the space between each vertabra as I was ever-so-slowly, with control... bringing my hands down to the floor. With straight feet, grounded to the floor the whole time (coz I tend to lift my heels on landing).

I mean... WTF, right?

He pretty much lost me after that. After explaining the 4 noble truths, we went into another meditation session, but the whole time with my eyes closed, I was practising hangbacks in my mind. I was practising the PERFECT DROPBACK. No splayed feet. No raised heels. Just a glorious opening in every part of the body.

Dhyana, Seventh Limb of Yoga: EPIC FAIL!!!!!

I was obviously still stuck on the Third Limb, Asana. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Claudia's just done her poll on dropbacks - Did you do them before or after Intermediate? (I had to dropback AND stand up from backbends before I was given Intermediate). If she's not obsessing about dropbacks, I obviously am! I actually really enjoy them, now that I'm into the dropback groove and kinda-sorta over the fear of bonking my head on the floor. HA!

I'm not really sure what I learned from the meditation class, or if I will go again. Think I'll need to give this a couple days to sink in first!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Post Fugly-Cry: The Great Twitter Muffin Bake-Off

I practiced after work last night. Just coz I couldn't roll out of bed in the morning. Because of the Moon Day and LH, I'd taken a few days' break. And then snuck in a couple more days' rest. Bwahaha. Not. Beating. Myself. Up. Over. It.

So I just stuck to Primary to get back into the swing of things. And after all dropbacks/ backbends, in my final counter-pose of Paschimottanasana, I proceeded to BAWWWWWWWWWL my eyes out. Like. For real, no holds-barred, Fugly-Cry. Seemed like an eternity. I have no idea why, it was just a R.E.L.E.A.S.E.

I'm guessing this must be a chick thing. You never hear of guys Fugly-Crying on the mat (Do you?) ...I blame the crazy-chick hormones. HAHAHA. Whatever. Who knows why we do what do. Some people go visit a shrink, I just get on my mat. And that's my therapy.

After that intense release, it was 9pm and I felt like eating MUFFINS. Heh.

Earlier yesterday, I was checking out Kai's new blog format (LOVE IT, CHICKIE! ...OK, maybe it's not such a new format after all). Y'know... aka The Reluctant Ashtangi. And I came across her FABULOUS recipe for vegan muffins. I'd tweeted about it while at work, and another Twitter pal, Dom, decided to bake Kai's muffins too.

DOM. IS. FABULOUS! You have to follow his tweets... Or if Twitter's not your thing, he's just started a blog called The Smoking Ashtangi (what else could that blog be about but the "memoirs of the smoking ashtangi". Of course!) Point your RSS feed readers his way and show him some lurrrrrrve (and also to help keep him on his mat). :p

And so began the Great Twitter Vegan Muffin Bake-Off.
Our slogan: Looks Horrid But Tastes Dee-lish!!

If you follow both of us on Twitter, you would have seen the hilarious exchanges (with photos too!) Along the way, I had cheerleading support from @onhermat, who was answering my "Baking for Idiots 101" questions like "If the second batch sits outside the oven for 20 minutes while the first batch bakes, will they still rise later?" ...and "Do I need to grease the cupcake cups?" HAHAHA!

These are Dom's Apple-Raisin muffins:

He wants me to say they taste better than they look. HAHAHA! But I think his muffins look GOOD!

And these are my Blueberry muffins (2 pints or 2 cups of blueberries in her recipe gives you SHITLOADS of bursting-with-blueberry-goodness in every mouthful).

Substitutions. I used:
- Wholewheat flour instead of regular flour (1 for 1).
- Agave nectar instead of sugar (1 for 1).
- Rice milk with almond (instead of soy milk)
- Olive Oil (the block of coconut oil I've got still looks too daunting to be used)
- Blueberries (followed Kai's substitutions to swap out apples and raisins for blueberries)

Spooning them out into cups:

First batch got put in for too long (Put them in for the requisite 20min, the longest time in the recipe)... Some muffin tops became a little too toasted with almost-burnt bits. I had to taste-test the ugly ones. :)

Second batch came out much better. They went in for 17 minutes, minimum stated in the recipe. Umm... I had 4 of these. But they're in SMALL cupcake cups! They're not huge regular sized muffins!! ;p

Brought the rest into the office today. Muffinmania became Muffinoverload. They're a hit with my workmates! (Especially coz they sound so "healthy" too) :)

THANKS FOR THE RECIPE, KAI! And... That was fun, Dom! Let's do it again some time... What are we making next? :) :) :)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Girl Effect

I've just come across this really simple and beautiful piece of animation for a really good cause.

Something about it really moved me. I think I'm really grateful to have everything I've got in life. To begin with... to be living in the First World as an educated female is something that can be so easily overlooked. By "educated", I mean: I can read and write. That's it. Until I realized what my life could've been like if I'd been born under different circumstances.

So I've just made a donation to provide life skills training and financial education for a girl in Tanzania. There are other projects in other countries that you can make a contribution too. Find out about The Girl Effect here and how you can help empower a girl on her way to being a woman in the poorest parts of this world... Every little bit counts.

And here's the animation that explains a little bit more about why this is important.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eenee-Meenee-Mynee-Moh Visa + Final Bike Look

So on Friday last week, I made my way to the Indian Embassy. I think I've just about recovered from the experience and now ready to write about it! HAHAHAHA!

It was a really lovely 1-hour train ride out to The Hague, or Den Haag, as it's called in Dutch. If you follow me on Twitter, you would've gotten blow-by-blow accounts of my trip there.

Here's a quick recap...
On the empty train (after rush hour)

Passing through Dutch countryside (with real cows and sheep!)

The tree-lined streets in Den Haag:

My Holy Grail (Thank you, Google Maps!):

So... Remember how I was bitching about consular hours for visa application were only between 10am - 12pm? And blahblahblah... what do these people do the rest of the day, drink coffee all day?!

Well... I take it all back now. I was a complete judgmental twat when I said all of that. If I worked behind the consular desk of the Indian Embassy in The Hague, I would probably become The Incredible Hulk, roaring in anger at all the pushy, idiotic people who are there to apply for visas or renew their passports. There must have been about 100 people crowding the tiny room, with 2 small counters with ONE person sat behind each.

The lady behind the counter was a TRUE YOGI. You could see she was completely frazzled and frayed at the ends a little bit by all the SAME QUESTIONS everyone had for her ("Local Dutch? Apply for your tourist visa through Visumdienst." "...Yes, that's outsourced now." ..."Ma'am, if you read the brochure, you can also see there's another company in Amsterdam you can apply through." ..."No, we. don't. do. tourist. visas. for. dutch. people. here. anymore." ..."JUST. READ. THE. BROCHURE.") At no point did she snap under that kind of pressure from pushy people who were all about the ME! ME! ME!

It didn't seem like there was some kind of system at first - people sitting down/ standing around every which way. You had to elbow your way to get in and then figure out if there was some kind of queueing system. Turns out they've gone "high tech". You take a number from a ticket counter, and watch the digital counter overhead. Even within this "system", there was no system.

There were TWO counters - one with the number "57" on it, and the other with "79" on it. Every time the counter buzzed up to the next one, BOTH counters would click up to the next number.

My ticket said "80" so I thought "BINGO!" I'm next in line.

HA! Fat hope. Apparently there was a glitch in the matrix. Both counters click up at the same time, but really only the counter with "57" on it was the one that was working (You find out by becoming chatty with the people around you). Within the first hour, the counter clicked from 57 to 61. ARRRGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! You know patience is not my virtue... so thank goodness I could play games on my iPhone4. I had 4 scrabble games on the go with friends in Australia and Singapore. Heh.

Long story short: When I got to the counter and explained my story, even the Patient Lady at the counter said "Once you hand in your application, if we need more documents from you, we will call you to let you know, then you can come back with them only AFTER we've contacted you. Please do NOT call us until we've called you. It can take 1 to 2 weeks."

I said "Can't I post the outstanding documents once you've decided what you else you need from me?"

She said (tersely) "No Ma'am, as I said before: You have to come back in person."

That was my cue to just SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN. Move along now lady, while we're all still *nice* to each other.

So I have no idea if what I handed into them is good enough... And the saga continues while we play the waiting game now.

Just so you know, this is what I brought with me:
1. Passport (DUH. She took a copy so I got the passport back. Ain't no way was I gonna leave it there!!)
2. Letter from KPJAYI (confirming that you are a student there and also requesting the Embassy to issue you with either a student visa or a yoga visa).
3. Letter from my office (confirming that I have a fulltime job here - detailing what my company does and what my job function is. This is so India doesn't think you're going there to look for a job.)
4. I had a salary statement with me too, just in case... But... she didn't ask for it, so I didn't hand it over. (Maybe this will be their Part 2 document request from me)

And I paid €33 in cash (No debit-PIN machine there, sorry!) ...This is cheaper than a tourist visa (€50) and also cheaper than a student visa (€99).

So... now I'm really confused what kind of visa this is that I've applied for. On my form - I requested for "yoga visa/ student visa", so let's see what I come back with!

Now... One of my friends currently in Mysore says that people who came on student visas had hassles getting registered with the Police Commissioner .. and some people couldn't even get student visas .. so some people are there on tourist visas. Both seem to work... But for NOW only. Who knows when they'll change the system again and start cracking down if some higher power decides to get a bee in their bonnet about something else again.

It's all so very unsettling, innit? I still have no idea what I'm applying for and whether or not I'll run into even more problems later on arrival in Mysore!


The visa saga continues...
(Hey LiAsh: What's your visa story?) :)

On the bicycle front, my white wicker basket arrived! YAY!!! But I didn't like the elastic ties it came with, and since I discovered a ribbon shop near me, I changed the ribbons on the front.

This place would be Liz's heaven! (top to toe ribbons and curtain-hanging-thingamajigs)

And this is the final look:

People in my office have said "Very Nice!" ...And are also taking bets that she will be stolen again within 3 weeks.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Almost-Embassy Trip & WIP Basket Action

Happy Moon Day!!

9.19pm and in an edit session, helping another Producer out. Conference call at 10pm. Since my time to start working isn't till later, I'm blogging on the go. Thanks BlogPress!

Since it was a moon day today, I thought I'd make a trip to the Indian embassy to figure out this vedic studies visa thing for my trip to Mysore. It's all the way in The Hague (y'know... Where the international courts are, where they put people on trial for World War 2 crimes and stuff?) it's a 1hr train ride away from Amsterdam.

If I were going on a regular tourist visa - Which you used to be able to go on until they changed the rules recently - I could get it done by an agent here in Amsterdam. However, this new rule about a yoga visa or student visa or Vedic studies visa seems as mysterious as the Yoga Korunta to everyone. They kinda sorta know it exists, but no one has ever seen it. I don't think it was eaten by ants in the Calcutta library though (HAHA! I made a REALLY silly Yogadork joke!! Actually, that's an Ashtangadork joke coz that info's probably obscure to the other schools of yoga thought)

But I digress.

Because I'm not even on a local Dutch passport, this makes it even more obscure to the visa dudes who don't know what they ought to do with me. So I thought I'd go straight to the source, the Embassy itself. THEY should know, right?!

They're BLOODY USELESS!! Never picking up the phone to answer, and when they FINALLY pick up the phone (calls answered only between 4-5pm on weekdays)... This is the kind of conversation I have:

ME: "Hello, I'd like to inquire about this new vedic studies visa I need to get. What documentation do you require from me?"

PERSON FROM THE MOTHERLAND EMBASSY (PFTMLE): "Oh. You just come to the Embassy and we'll see."


ME: "Oh-Kaaaaaay. But... What should I bring with me? My passport? Letter from the yoga school? What else do you need?"

PFTMLE: "Oh. I don't know. The person who knows is not picking up. You just come. If we need anything else from you, we'll tell you and you can post it."

... ... ...

So why do I have to take the bloody train an hour out there in the first place?! (On top of this, visa hours are only between 10am - 12pm. I mean seriously, what are they doing all day that they can't answer calls nor give you a visa at any other time?!)

*** END OF RANT ***

To be fair, it seems like it's EVERY single consular section from every single embassy or high commission that seem to have the same kind of laissez-faire attitude. Maybe it's just me. Remember when I had to fly back to Singapore after 1 week in Amsterdam coz the Dutch immigration had screwed up my visa application AFTER I'd already arrived?!

Anyways... If we don't end too late tonight, I might just take the train up tomorrow morning. Apparently it's a beautiful ride through countryside.

Here's work-in-progress action of my bike. I've added a front carrier. It's a very Dutch thing - most bikes have this in the front. Some people leave it blank like this, others add milk crates, boxes or baskets on top of it.

I've ordered the white wicker basket, so it will be attached to this tomorrow!! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Everyday is Different

I surprised myself in this morning's practice. Firstly, the fact that I actually rolled out of bed and got on the mat was a feat! HAHAHA!

After writing last night's post, I was inspired to do a short practice at 11pm (?!?) - nothing fancy, just half an hour of Suryas, forward bends and lots of pigeon variations. Then a bit more Pranayama. I figured that would be good to unwind before bedtime.

It had the opposite effect.

I was so wired, I was bug-eyed, staring at the ceiling till 3.30am. I had set my alarm for 6.30am to start practice. On any other day, I would've just given up and thought "Sod it. I need more sleep" and gone back to bed.

But something kept prompting me to GET ON THAT MAAAAAAAAT!!!

I was completely dreading it coz the last few attempts as you well know by now, were just terribly unfocused and painful on the foot. Once again, inspired by Fran's comment on yesterday's post, I thought I'd just plod along through the entire Primary series, modifying as I went along whenever my foot hurt.

I had a brilliant practice! Had to modify whenever any standing pose required lifting of the arches - eg. In Trikonasana, I couldn't grab my big toe on the left side without the arch hurting, so just placed hand higher up on the shin. That worked.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana was impossible with a full extended right leg - standing fully on just the left foot was too much to handle (I have flat feet, so this pose is extra hard work on my arches!)... But this was OK with a bent leg/ holding the knee (like when you first start out learning the pose). That worked.

So it was kinda cool, taking it from a "let's see what I can do. If I can't, let's see how else I can do it" approach.

The absolute kicker was - Backbends were incredibly open - from the first one, it felt like I'd already done all the Intermediate series backbends before and opened up the back. I haven't ever felt such an openness in the back after practicing only the Primary series. And this led to 3 amazing dropbacks as well as standing up from backbends.

WHOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I haven't lost them this time. (Still can't find the Supta K bind though...)

(In no way do I look like this as I'm dropping back, but it definitely FELT like it was this open. And holy-cow how beautiful is this shot!)

Funny how the body seems more physically able on less sleep (didn't Susan & Kevin talk about this before?) ...But I wonder if this could also be because I was practicing with no expectations today, going along with the flow.

I like how everyday is different with this practice. How can anyone say Ashtanga's "boring" coz it's the "same thing" every day?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's ALL Practice!

I have been told by my Yoga-Practice-Angel, aka Fran, to stop obsessing about all the other million and one things in my life and get back to obsessing about Ashtanga (see her comment from previous post.)


Thanks, Fran! Sometimes we all just need a good kick up the butts. Right? Consider this butt kicked. :)

It's been said many times before that any kind of injury teaches us humility on our mats. It's so true in this case. My busted foot is by no means a yoga injury, but trying to keep up some kind of asana practice has been INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT.

Even getting through any of the seated poses has been awkward. Any time my left foot is moved beyond a certain angle, the muscle where my arch is hurts to high heaven. Easy poses like Janu Sirsasana A become incredibly painful on the foot. Like... SERIOUSLY?! So I end up doing more poses on the right side than on the left... And then end up feeling lopsided and thinking "This can't be good for me." Right?

I feel like a fish out of water without being able to do my regular practice. It's a good reminder to just BLOODY JOYFULLY SURRENDER to where my body is at right now. I feel like such a cop-out, especially after recently getting back into the swing of practice again in London and thinking "I'm NEVER gonna stop practicing again!"

Moral of the story: NEVER say NEVER.


I can still hear my Physio tut-tutting me about not resting my foot enough. I thought finally getting a bike and being mobile again would take some pressure off this foot. As it turns out, I realize now I stop and push off on the bike with my left foot. So any time I come to a stop, the foot goes BAM! on the road and I feel a shock up my arch. Oh shit. (I tried doing it in reverse, pushing off and stopping with the right foot. BUT. My body just doesn't get it. Have you ever tried putting on a shirt the other way around - putting in the arm you DON'T usually put in first? It's a total mindfuck and even after the shirt is on, something feels off-kilter.)

The Universe is obviously making me rethink my situation and circumstances... And the more I think about it, the more it feels like maybe it's making me think about the attachment to practice. I fully believe attachment to practice is GOOD. Sharath said so too during his conference in Sydney. (Sorry, I hate to use the "Sharath said so" phrase too, but look at me using it!!)

A few times in the past week, when the asana practice has become either too physically laboured on the foot or just too much of a mental distraction (I find myself thinking "when will this bloody foot get better?!" then lose focus on breath/ bandhas/ drishti)... I've just stopped completely and moved into a Pranayama practice. Just a simple 10 minute exercise of sitting with only the Ujjayi breath for 10 counts on the inhale and exhale, then moving into Kumbhakas (breath retention) after the inhales/exhales... has made such a BIG difference to my frame of mind.

Maybe it's the Ujjayi breath, but it seems to be able to recharge me much more than my asana practice has in the past couple of weeks. So... it's not quite Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga Yoga, but I'm practicing a different limb of ashtanga yoga - not the asanas, but the pranayamas. Who cares?! It makes a difference to how I feel, so I'll take what I can get.

I still can't stop that niggling sobbing (no, WAILING) in the back of my mind... MY DROPBACKS!! MY STANDING UP FROM DROPBACKS!!! I just got those back and I'm back to "square one" AGAIN?!? Holyfuckingshitthissucks.

Sorry, bad lady. I'm only human.

The GOOD NEWS is... Today, I emailed KPJAYI coz I still hadn't heard back from them about my application. I sent them a scan of my application form and they replied the same day and said OK, I'm in. (Er... why do they make you snail-mail the application then?!)


I've booked my flight already. ON IT!

Now sorting out this vedic studies visa thingamajig. I'm still in the midst of figuring it out, since I'm not a Dutch local here and things get a little more complicated. I actually have to make a train ride out to The Hague where the Embassy is to personally make the application. Another adventure.

Once I've figured it out, I will definitely post step-by-step info on what YOU need to do to get your ass to Mysore. Everyone seems to be a bit confused by this new yoga student/ vedic studies visa regulation now. So when I know what to do, SO WILL YOU! :)

OK... So now starts the next mild panic of "getting my practice back to where it was" before I get to Mysore. It's been 8 months and I'm still stuck at Laghuvajrasana (moving countries and turning my life upside down might figure into that but I can't see past that now.) Holyfuckingshitthissucks. I am convinced I will be stopped at Supta Kurmasana coz I've completely lost that bind. Then the other voice in my head keeps saying "SO WHAT EVEN IF YOU GET STOPPED AT... AT... NAVASANA?!? SO WHAT?!?!??????"

Trying to joyfully surrender to this process and stop playing mind games with myself. Holyfuckingshitthissucks.

I apologize for all the swearing today.

*End of today's yoga obsession*

On to my next obsession: Finding the perfect wicker basket for the bicycle.
Here's your reminder of what it looks like:


(I'm leaning towards this. But maintaining the all-white look will be a bee-atch!)

Or this?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bicycle PTSD

It was like Christmas this morning when I walked downstairs to leave the house.

Yay for my new bike in the hallway!

And... I've decided not to name her coz I'd get too attached to Snow White... Oops I mean "her"... And as I've been warned - "In Amsterdam, you don't get attached to your bike AT ALL." For obvious reasons (aka "Roxanne").

I am writing this post from my new BlogPress app on my new iPhone4. Let's test drive this baby and see how we do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Er... I gave up, posted that as a draft on Blogger, and now here I am on my laptop instead.


Not that the app is not good. On the contrary, it's brilliant if you're blogging on the go. At this point, it seems ridiculous to do that since I'm sat at home with my computer. That, plus I still don't have patience with touchscreen-typing.

Today, I was on an all-out mission to get locks for my brand-new bicycle. Most bike stores are closed on Mondays in Amsterdam (because they're open on Saturdays, their weekend breaks are Sunday and Monday. What a good life!)

I ended up getting a back lock for the back tyre (it's standard here to have that or you're asking for trouble), aka an O-lock, or ring-lock. And for the front tyre and frame: THE KING OF ALL CHAIN LOCKS!!

Yes, all in capital letters.

The Viro lock.

Yes you heard me. The makers of heavy-duty padlocks like this.


And this.

Read this and this. Taken from the first link:
"…A true Amsterdam bike thief noticed the commotion and offered his services to remove the lock. He opened his jacket to reveal a portable tool shed and, for a small fee, did the job. He was also nice enough to give us a rundown of what locks we should and shouldn’t have if we’d like to ensure our bikes are safe from him.

His top pick to deter him: a Viro chain lock.”

Some people are even more maniacal and use THREE locks on their bikes: A ring-lock on the back tyre, like mine here:

The second lock being the chain lock like the Viro I've got.

The third lock: yet ANOTHER chain-lock on the back tyre again. I guess it's anything you'll do to slow down those damned thieves!

This 1.5metre chain lock is super-duper HEAVY though. I'm guessing about 5kg in total? I need to get proper support struts for my wicker/ rattan basket too, if I'm gonna dump that damn heavy chain-lock in there, along with a bagful of groceries.

Oh... this lock is also a mega-whopping gajillion dollars worth. To put things in perspective: This Viro is half the price of my bike.

That's pretty insane, right? (This bike better damn well not be stolen again coz this lock's worth too much money! Er... Yeah, even if I did get the bike for cheap!)

In the meantime, the best deterent of all (even with my back-lock and chain lock), is to keep her indoors, in my hallway. Talk about PARANOIA!!!

(While I'm cycling, the chainlock's on the handlebars coz it's too heavy to put anywhere else, so I've just left it there since she's indoors.)

I think I have PTSD. Y'know... "Post-Theft Stress Disorder". I'm afraid to leave this bike unattended. If it were a child, I would be its smothering parent. HAHAHA! This is not going to be healthy at all! I actually found myself awake last night, worrying about how to prevent this bike from being stolen.


I thought I took the theft of Roxanne pretty well. I suppose it just takes a new bike to bring up all this latent anxiety. I guess my Dutch workmates are right when they say "In Amsterdam, you don't get attached to your bike AT ALL."


She's just too pretty! (I haven't even ridden around that much in the 24hrs I've had her, but on street corners, people have been doing double-takes to look at this shiny beauty!) While buying the bike-locks, another customer asked "You've had this bike for what, one hour? It's so shiny!"

OK. I need to seriously stop talking and thinking about this bike now.

Maybe I should get back to being obsessed with yoga. Hehe.

PS. All photos in this post taken with my iPhone4. Pretty good right? I might just seriously do away with the Sony digital camera and onlt have this one gadget in my pocket!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gadgets + Bicycles aka "Good Design Weekend"

I have found myself in a little tech wormhole. For the following reasons:

1. Internet connection at home is finally here. YAY! (Although the wireless function on the modem is broken... But at least for now I've got an ethernet cable till the new modem shows up. It's coming in one month. Yes, you read right: ONE MONTH for a new modem.) ?!?!?!????

But... this also means I can finally keep up with this blog from the comfort of home. Apologies for the sporadic posts in the past month or so! But to make up for it, this is gonna be one helluva LOOOOOOOONG juicy post. So you have been warned (in case you start to zone out).

2. I got my iPhone4 last week. This is probably more likely the reason why I was quite happy being in my own little wormhole. DOUBLE YAY!

(Yes, that *REALLY* is a hot pink silicone cover. Again, I am being mocked at by the boys at work for this!)

I thought my Blackberry was a smart phone. Well, I guess it is. But if that's the case, then the iPhone4 is a super seriously GENIUS phone. With Mensa membership.

I have been downloading apps like there's no tomorrow (yes, "apps" = "applications"). I now have more apps than sense. I checked on my iTunes backup and it looks like in the 3 or 4 days since I've had the phone, I now have more than half a Gig of apps on it. That's 560mb of apps. Like...?!? That's more memory than the average dumb-phone (Nokia) usually has!

Er... I just counted. I have 72 downloaded apps on my iPhone4 (NOT counting the ones that came on the phone already.) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


But seriously... I've only paid for 4 of those apps. A total of only 10 Euros.

Not bad eh? I'm Asian, you see. We're cheap. ;p

But in my defense, some of them are different apps for the same purpose... I'm just test-driving them to see which ones I like before trashing the rest. I might make like Kai and Susan and also download Blogpress so I can start blogging from the palm of my hand. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Holy shit. I *am* a tech nerd. I don't really know much about tech, I just enjoy gadgets. (Again, I blame it on my Asian heritage.)

On the yoga + iPhone app front, there are lots of SHIT apps... there are some good ones for mantras... But guess what I'm already planning to use this phone for? My trip to Mysore! Wait. I haven't heard back from KPJAYI about my application yet, but I'm already planning ahead... I have a flashlight app (because the roads aren't lit at night in some parts, right?) HAHAHAHA! Seriously... it actually uses the camera-flash as a flashlight. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (I'm a sucker. At least that was a FREE app).

I've also found a map of Mysore that's available offline, since connecting to Google maps using autoroaming data will be too expensive. Since you've gotta pay for that app, I'm not buying it till KPJAYI confirms my registration. Hehe.

If anyone has any other bright ideas for what else I should download, I'M ALL EARS!!!

Now... because my foot is pretty much still busted (A physio visit last Thursday had her tut-tutting me for not resting the foot enough coz it's still slightly bruised/ swollen. She actually said "No Yoga till you're better!") Because I can actually walk around normally with minimal pain now, I've just been on the go. I still can't do the standing sequence poses though, but my daily Ashtanga practice is pretty bullshit at the moment because of this... (AGAIN!!!) Anyways... it was kinda great that I was pretty happy staying home not traipsing about, sucked into my iPhone zone.

When I finally looked up at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, I thought "DAMMIT. It's such a nice day out and I'm seriously geeking out on my own at home?!"

Then I decided to go on a bike-buying mission. Now - you remember when Roxanne got stolen, right? I'd promised more photos of the Bike Depot when I made that hike out to check on her. Here are the electric windmills from my bus ride there.

I really love the sign board to the place! (The 3 "XXX" are the official symbols for Amsterdam. No, not because it's Triple-X rated porn-land, it's coz it's on the official Royal crest insignia, silly!)

They actually bothered to decorate the driveway into the bike graveyard.

More pix of the graveyard (these are all from different parts of the place. It's huge!)

Remember how I told you I chained Roxanne to a "No Parking" signpost? Well, when I came back from London, the big, tall "No Parking" sign was gone, and in its place was this short, stumpy little post. And of course, no sign of Roxanne.

OK enough digression and reminiscing. Now back to my New-Bike story.

I basically gave my recycled-bike-dude another brief to cutomize another second-hand bike. That was like 3.5 weeks ago or something?

A check with him last Thursday confirmed he still had NOT started any work on my bike. Like... seriously dude? What a stoner! (OK, I shouldn't judge, and I don't even know if he's a stoner but I'm willing to put money on that bet! Hello, this is Amsterdam remember?) So I told him forget about it... I'd just buy a brand new bike ASAP!

So I went with a Dutch friend "in case they try to cheat you", he said. But... the average Dutch bike is so... So PRACTICAL. So BORING. Like this one.

My friend pretty much told me "Jaime, you have to give up thinking that a bike should be well-designed. In Amsterdam, it's for practical use. Just buy a good, sturdy, well-made one. It's nothing to do with how good a bike looks here."

How very... Dutch. HAHAHA!

Okaaaaaaaaay. Without good design in this world, we wouldn't have companies like Apple. And I wouldn't have my shiny new iPhone4. So... I'm sorry, but things-that-look-good is important. It's not just something shallow either. When I have something whose design I *LOVE*... I am that much happier. So it's definitely important for my well-being too. I repeat: I am not shallow. :)

After half a day of traipsing around looking for bikes yesterday, I didn't buy any. :(

Today, I got a text from the same friend who said he spotted some bikes at a local department store. Like... seriously, this is a department store like... Um... John Lewis in the UK or Um... Sears in the US? (ie: a pretty run-of-the-mill, dowdy department store). But a tip-off's a tip-off, and I'm glad I went. I found this:

What a beauty!

After a 10 second ride (yes, 10 seconds around the outside of said department store)... I bought it. :) :) :) The kicker is: She was on offer and half the price of a brand new bike and even cheaper than a 200-Euro second-hand customized bike... Yes, much cheaper than that! AND! With a 2-year guarantee - they'll come to your house to fix it. So... I'm winning all around!

Here she is outside my house. (I'm considering peeling off all those stickers. I already took one set off - the vertical one under the seat that said something idiotic like "Proud to be moving". Say what?!)

Because it's Sunday and no bike stores are open where I can get a proper chain lock, I'm leaving her in my hallway.

My original brief to recycled-bike-dude was: White frame, white tyres and a rattan basket. So... This is pretty much almost there. A quick check on the manufacturer's site and look how they've styled my bike there?


The first accessory I bought today was a Dring-Dring bell. Thanks, EcoYogini for the suggestion yonks ago! I found a store here that sells them direct. The bike came with its own bell. BUT... Of course it didn't look good enough. I got this instead. :)

Who'd have thunk I'd ever buy a GOLD bicycle bell? ...But it works! And it'll go really nicely once I put in a rattan basket too.

Ahhhhhh... A weekend of nicely designed items. I'm happy.
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