Thursday, April 30, 2009

Framed: "home sick.. burp!"

my lovely home-cooked Filipino-ish dinner.. this does not happen in Bermuda everyday :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bermuda Shorts #3: Water is power

Bermuda's paradox: for an island surrounded by vast water, maintaining one's water supply is an extra challenge.

Rain water is the main water supply of the residents in the island. If you walk around Bermuda, you will notice that residences' roofs are made of limestone with glides (resembling flights of stairs). These glides are necessary to collect the rain water and divert it into each house's water storage tanks. That's why it is also very important that roofs are cleaned regularly. Ohh, these limestone-made roofs can also resist hurricanes.

Of course, it's not all backward here as groundwater resource is also available and if I recall, Bermuda has a desalination, sea water distillation and / or a water reverse osmosis plants. That's a big improvement when back in the day, water was also imported from North America (!!!!). But then again, that kind of water supply comes with a price. Rain water supply means a lot of savings per household. However, the issue begins in between rainy months as queues for water suppliers can be so bad. It happened once in our old apartment, hubby and I had to shower in the office for a couple of days and fetch water from another source for our toilet use. How uggghhh is that!?

So here in Bermuda, water is king. [Gollum: "my precious.. my precious.."]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Framed: "bean counter's life"

A peek at a bean counter's life.

P.S. Not much the island life, eh? But 2 more days hun and you'll be up and running to get your groove back :)

Rockin' the DIY-in'

Everything is just efffing expensive here in Bermuda that DIY-ing is a biggie for survival. Today, I am just so happy to finally find a jewelry cleaner which works a lot better than having my blings cleaned in a jewelry store. (Don't get me wrong, it's just in the Philippines it costs around $2 to have your blings cleaned that it's common to have our blings cleaned "professionally").

Revitalizing jewelry cleaner works great - - only it costs more than 2x the US price. But, it's still value for money when you have to pay more than that for every cleaning.

I bet hubby would be proud - - these are his presents afterall, ye!

Revitalizing, you make my DIY-ing rock! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bermuda Shorts #2: Kite flying on a Good Friday

Good Friday is one of the huge holidays in Bermuda - - this marks the official day for kite flying. The most popular place would be the Horseshoe Bay beach where it's more festive and where the kite flying competition is usually held. But since it can be so crowded, others will detour to parks, picnic grounds or other beaches. Meaning, one may practically fly a kite anywhere.

Interestingly, the tradition is to actually fly kites during Easter as it symbolizes Christ's ascent (i'm assuming you all know your bible stories?). Not sure why it shifted to Good Friday, though. Maybe as not to steal or share the spotlight with egg hunting and egg chocolate eating during Easter?? [jeopardy theme playing in the background]

It's a big deviation from what I'm used to in the Philippines where Good Friday is taken more religiously or spiritually, and is traditionally devoid of "fun" (hmm, not as apparent since the arrival of cable TV though). Bermuda's way is a "culture shock" of some sorts.. but if you're in Bermuda, you do as Bermudians do (hmm, at least on the fun part). Of course, not without a prayer to celebrate the true meaning of the "holy week".

Hot Spot #1: Bath, UK

I've been quite lucky to have the chance to visit a few places outside of my own country.... and outside of my current residence. Each place is a learning experience, but there are really quite a few which are just on top of my list.

2006 was my first UK experience with one of my new-found-friends (NFF) in Bermuda, Myles. I joined her to visit her sister in Chippenham. Although visiting the common tourist-y places was a must, what caught me by surprise was our unscheduled visit to Bath. It was such a lovely, breath-taking place. The Royal Crescent, the Roman Baths, the Bath Abbey, the parks, the theathre.. I say everything. Even the shopping experience was superb! :)

I will definitely go back. I will make sure I force the hubby to take me to Bath this July (still waiting for my visa, argh!). It'll be the first time with him, I am so excited.

I just lovveeetttt!! :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Framed: "random stranger"

This random stranger's shirt pretty much depicts an expat's way of life in Bermuda.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

4 bird encounters and a lovely Saturday afternoon

Hubby got me a Nikon DSLR last 2007, hoping he would upgrade my love of taking photos from the usual digital point-and-shoot mode. Not until last month did I really get into gear learning it. So now that spring is here, I've been forcing my arse out of the bed a few hours each weekend to study the more intricate uses of my cam. I don't want to sound stupid but it's not easy deviating from the usual 'auto' or point-and shoot mode - - it may take a while until I fully learn the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. But I have years ahead of me to do it so I am really enjoying it at the mo. :)

So fast forward to one lovely Saturday afternoon I spent a couple or more hours just walking around Hamilton (the only city in the island) taking some photos. It was an usually busy day for the birds at the ferry station. I was hoping to catch the most wanted "Bermuda longtail" bird for a photo op but I wasn
't so lucky. I ended up capturing a few birds in flight for my first encounter.

I'm not really too sure of the type .. me, who grew up just seeing pigeons and Philippine sparrows (maya). That explains my restricted knowledge.. or call that ignorance for that matter. But with a little research here and there brings me to "conclude" that these birds belong to the petrel class. But not sure if these are Bermudians or migrants (like me haha).

Second encounter, I was resting at the Hamilton harbor after a couple of hours walking. Then, this pair of pigeons just made out in front of me. Get a room, you two!

Then, here's a cutie li'l yellow one who was lost among all the pigeons at the harbor area. Again, I had to do a bit of research and this came closest to a kiskadee. I'm not even gonna bother if I got this wrong. Basta cute sya de bah.

Leaving the harbor, another bird caught my eye.. not the same type which takes flight but is as also stunning. This bird of paradise stood out in the midst of the Harrys resto's front bit. I so looove the color. Spring, weeee! :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sipping a margarita at Rosa's Cantina

Ola! Friday night, hubby still in rut with his busy workload and miserably trying to beat his April 30 deadlines. So kawawa. Boo hoo.

Opted to have dinner at the only Mexican restaurant in the island and grab some comfort food. Good choice as I have been craving for a few margaritas lately.

Not the best Mexican resto but beg
gars can't be choosers right? This is monopoly at its best, which is very common here. However, we've always been treated well in this resto and food's relatively cheaper given their huge servings.

So, carry na.

Our dinner just got briefly interrupted with a sudde
n screeching sound and a loud bang . A bike accident just below the patio where we were seated. Lots of necks stretched to check what has happened, including ours. Good thing that it was a minor one, biker was unscathed. Sure scared the hell out of him though - - that's why stick to the speed limit!! (Reference: Need for speed blog).

Sorry 'bout photo quality - these were just randomly taken from my blackberry.

Chin chin... have a good weekend! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Effect of these "unprecedented times"

Last January, we got the surprise of our lives coming back from our month long vacay in the Philippines. A 10% job cut was announced in just a day's notice. The threat has always been there ever since the credit crisis hit early 2008 (or late 2007) especially in our industry where we thrive on financial services. Definitely not credit crunch-proof. But it hadn't really been this much felt until it struck home. Job cuts started in New York, where our "hub" is, and just shortly after, the sharpened edges cut through 769 miles and reached our offices. I remember it was a dark day for everyone, tears flowed, profanities were blurted.. and we were just in utter disbelief. Around 20 people were let go and in an office of less than 200, or an island of 65K - - that number is effffing huge.

Call it callous and super insensitive, but it was business as usual the day after.. and the day after that.. and the day after that... and the day after that...

... until today when we heard of another round of job cuts in our
"hub". Dejavu moment, we are just waiting for that sharpened edges 769 miles away to reach us soon. No one has an efffing idea who's next... anyone is dispensable... every one's just shit-scared.

Tick tock tick tock... the clock loudly clicking its recurring sound while the jury is still out.

Bahala na si batman. Dagdag na natin si superman at si wonder woman.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bermuda Shorts #1: Need for Speed

Eto na.. top of the list info one should learn about being in Bermuda is the speed limit. No joke, speed limit is 35 kph (not mph as most are often mistaken) regardless of vehicular mode. This is primarily driven by the government's attempt to reduce or avoid road accidents. For an island where scooter (or moped) is the primary mode of transportation, accident is really very common - - scooters are everywhere, wriggling their way out of traffic (btw, a 5min wait here is already considered heavy traffic, a far cry from Edsa or South Super hi-way).

In fairness, police would flag one for speeding here beyond 50kph. Hmm come to think of it, imagine trying to drive uphill here within the 35kph speed limit? Ang saya saya de bah. But it's a very costly offense mind you, with a minimum of $250 penalty starting at 55kph. It's a government cash cow - - heard there's an average of 100 offenders in court per day.

However, there are still maniacs on the road who'll chance it and drive beyond the limit - - David was once caught driving beyond 100kph but was lucky enough to just get a warning. His second time, the judge let him off as the officer lost his ticket. Lucky b@sterd hehe. But he is being careful now as losing his license is equivalent to losing a leg - - especially his type who's allergic to taking the public transpo. Feeling!!

Which reminds me of speculations back in '05 that Casino Royale will be shot in Bermuda. Hahahaha, can you imagine the super agent James Bond driving within the 35kph speed limit??!! Oh dear, oh dear. The film was eventually shot in Bahamas.

Kaya in other words, save your 4th gear here, mate. There's no need for speed here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Preface II: Milestones

What has happened since I moved to Bermuda in late October 2005? Here goes:

  • My very first serious brush with "diversity". Met new-found friends from different countries aside from the Philippines and Bermuda: India, Uganda, Pakistan, Canada, US, Kenya, UK, etc.
  • My very first Christmas away from my family.. boo hoo. But it turned out pretty well, my housemates and I hosted a fun christmas eve party for fellow Filipinos and other nationalities
  • Joined the dating scene... yeee heee. April 2, 2006 when my future husband-to-be David and I officially started dating.
  • Ipod
  • First bday with David
  • My first trip to the UK - no, not with David. Went for a 2 week visit to the UK with one of my closest friends in Bermuda, Myles in August 2006
  • First westend play, visit to Stonehenge and discovery of my favorite place in the UK: Bath!
  • My first trip to the US in November 2006. Hello, New York City!
  • First Broadway show: The Lion King
  • My first (and so far only) encounter with proper golf
  • My second Chrismas away from my family.. boo hoo.. But again, got the surprise of my life: David proposed to me in Miami on December 25, 2006. Hinde naman kami nagmamadali di ba, hahaha. Ay sya lang pala since he was the one who proposed - I never had an inkling in fairness! Oh, this was my first holiday / vacation with David
  • First visit to one of my childhood BFF Robie in Miami
  • First visit to Disney Orlando and Kenney Space Center
  • New Year in New York with the most special peeps in my life: David and my youngest sis Ascon. Super fun!
  • My first brush with winter. No snow encounter in wintery New York though... boooo!
  • Wedding plans!
  • Job promotion
  • First visit to Boston with side trips to Gloucester and Salem. One of my favorite holidays ever.
  • First time meeting the Saker boys :)
  • Nikon DSLR
  • Boracay wedding - December 6, 2007. Best-est [sic] day in my book, ever!!
  • Singapore, Malaysia trip with David
  • Meeting Ascon's boyfriend - wow, each Caceres sib was with a "hunny" for Christmas
  • David's first Christmas with my family and my homecoming after 2 years!
  • David's first New Year with my family - first encounter with torotot at paputok!
  • First visit to the Saker family in Bourne, UK
  • Job promotion
  • Snow in NJ.. first time and it was the night of the Pacquiao fight vs. de la Hoya
  • My visit to Bacolod and Su-ay with David
  • Happy Christmas with the Caceres brood
  • David's second encounter with the torotot
  • Credit crisis!!!
  • Macbook!!!!
  • Blogging
TODAY: Dodging redundancy and patiently waiting for my passport and UK visa renewal (tagal!)
TOMORROW: Dodging redundancy and carrying on blogging

Note: All photos in my multiply link :)


Ahh 3 years and change... yet it seems forever. I started a blog a while back when I first moved here (late '05) but frustrations with not having my own personal laptop and the slowest of slowest of internet connection just diluted any interest I had. It was called "Bermuda Shorts" hoping to do a bit of anecdoting about my life in the island. Did not pursue and resorted to just posting photos and a bit of blogging in my Multiply site and then Facebook came. Only when my sister Ascon moved to Cambodia and started a blog that I resurrected the idea .. in short, inggitera ang lola mo!! Haha.

So, here goes a new blog, hoping to still capture my experiences here in Bermuda. But I'll go beyond that and blog about just whatever. Good luck to me!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Off the Telly: My love affair with celebrity chefs

Since I got here in Bermuda, watching the “telly” (TV ‘to mga ‘tol) has played a huge role in my survival in this teensy weensy island especially during winter season. Otherwise, what else do I have to do when I’ve been to almost every nook and cranny in my first year here and when every appealing shop and caf├ęs are closed at 5:30pm - - errr, when I’m still holed up in my audit prison!

Bermuda only has 3 local channels (although at least walang network war cum kapamilya or kapuso dito) and it’s almost imperative for an expat to hook up with a cable company. However, this comes with an efffing price!!! $150 a month for 100++ channels, with 2 extra pay channels, and broadband service (not including ISP connection which you have to pay $100/month separately). The upside is that with the close proximity to the US East Coast, I get to watch my favorite US shows real-time e.g. CSI, 24, Bones, etc. And of course, I have to make sure I get my value for money which means spending more time in the couch / bed surfing and watching new shows - - albeit dealing with my numb arse (pwet ‘to mga ‘tol) from sitting too long.

‘Tis when I developed my love affairs with different celebrity chefs. Being in Bermuda has revived my love for watching cooking / food shows. I remember in grade school, one of my quality times with my late Mama (my late lola, the greatest cook in my book) was watching Nora Daza and Stephen Yan of “Wok with Yan” (who btw, in my opinion, still has the fastest chopping and slicing skills I’ve ever seen) . I remember always looking forward to Stephen Yan’s different aprons with printed wok “pun” - - “you are wok you eat”, and his fortune cookie in every episode. Then this stopped when I discovered there was more to do outside the house with friends than watching TV (well, except during Saturday Fun Machine hour).

Fast forward to today, I am amazed by the West’s fascination to food shows. There are dedicated channels on food (Food Network, Lifestyle, Fine Living) and a plethora of cooking reality shows (Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, Chopping Block, Last Restaurant Standing, etc.). No wonder the influx of the so-called “celebrity chefs” who are watched and celebrated like the Hollywood A-listers. And to be honest, I can’t blame them - - these celebrity chefs offer more than just entertainment compared to today’s Hollywood personalities. These are my top favorites:

Gordon Ramsay – The British kitchen god who rivals my Dad’s temper . I am never a fan of Hell’s Kitchen and I think his deliberate over-the-top (OTT) temper tantrums are just for the telly. But OMG, I can’t get enough watching his other British shows: “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” and “The F-Word”.

Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares is my absolute favorite. This show revolves around Gordon troubleshooting a failing restaurant with the aim of improving the restaurant in just one week. Here, you see the true Gordon and his drive to help local restaurants and struggling chefs. His temper and his gazillions of profanities are still there, but this show proves that this “monster” really has a heart. I can watch this show’s re-runs over and over again (redundancy intended). This show now has a US version.

Others may think it’s horrible, but his perfectionism in the kitchen and his short temper just add to his remarkable persona, like an extra zing to an otherwise bland British meal (think of potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes). Gordon just simply ignites my passion for cooking.

Anthony Bourdain – Ok, who does not love Travel Channel’s “No Reservations” ???!! (Ok, you be daft, if you do not!). Not many know that he is a certified chef, with a long prominent culinary training and career. He’s different, he’s cool and he’s brave. He defies a typical celebrity chef’s pop persona, in fact he often puts down the celebrity chefs in his show and is very open about his anti-commercialism of the cooking industry - - in short, he is a rock n’ roller.

I always love watching his show and what it represents. Bourdain’s adventures have always underscored the value of diversity and authenticity, and that there’s always something good about the place he visits even if it is the grubbiest spot in the planet. Oh, and he placed Cebu’s lechon on the top of his list of his favorite pork dish!! On the whole, I love him because he represents 2 of my favorite things on earth: food and travel.

Jamie Oliver - Ahh, he’s a softie and he’s a cutie, what more can I say. Popularly known as the “Naked Chef”, Jamie is Gordon’s alter-ego: soft-spoken and uber nice. Jamie is all about fresh, organic and simple home-made scrumptious dishes, straight from his own garden (eh kaya nga home-made ‘tol). Jamie has made a mark not just by being a celebrity chef but by his numerous and loud campaigns on anti-junk food culture within the British school system and other advocacies. Nonetheless, I just simply love watching him because he’s so scruffily cute…. and although often times mocked, I love love his accent. Yummy!!

Bobby Flay – He’s the king of the grill. I first saw him when I started watching Iron Chef America (I also love this show!) as one of the Iron Chefs competing against the challenger chef in each episode. However, I am more drawn to him in his other show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” where he challenges cooks / chefs across the US, renowned for their signature dishes, for a “throwdown” in their home turfs. Most of the time Flay has to learn the dish or the particular technique the first time and also more than often loses the challenge. I like it ‘coz it shows that even if he is a culinary king, there are still lots of dishes he’s not good at. His lack of knowledge is never disguised in this show. Very very human, love it.

Emeril Lagasse – I never attempt to cook his dishes as they are OTT, and one needs a high tech kitchen to be able to follow. But I enjoy watching his “Emeril Live” program. He’s known for his catch phrases like “oh, yeah baby” or the more famous “Bam!” However, I swear by his OTC bbq rib sauce and steak rub – very, very tasty.

Rachel Ray – No, she’s not a chef, and will never be a chef. And I hate listening to her voice and her OTT yelling of “delish!” and “EVOO” (extra-virgin olive oil daw to mga ‘tol). But, I’m a working wife with a hubby to nosh and Rachel Ray feeds to that particular demo. 15-minute meals? 30-minute meals? Yeah, gimme that for sure! Though I watch her show with one ear covered, I am a big fan of her magazine. I dunno why, I would buy it even if I don’t necessarily like the monthly recipes. Adik!

Masaharu Morimoto – Although Mario Batali is the most famous of all Iron Chefs (thanks to his BFF Gwyneth Paltrow), my favorite of all is Chef Morimoto. He’s the only one among the current Iron Chefs (America) who came from the original Iron Chef show in Japan. He is to me the most artistic chef on TV. He is as much as an artist as his being a great chef. He makes me crave more Japanese food than the usual sashimi and sushi. I can never cook his dishes, but we have something in common – drinking Coke while cooking, ye!

That’s it about my love affair with Celebrity Chefs. As to the ones I hate, I only have a few:

  1. Paula Deen and her most annoying Southern accent and bling blings ala Ina Magenta while de-boning a chicken – WTF!!
  2. Andrew Zimmern and his feeble attempt to be an Anthony Bourdain – sorry dude, you’ll never be the Man.
  3. Robert Irvine who used to man Dinner: Impossible but who’s now more famous for his fraudulent claim that he made Princess Di’s wedding cake. I never really liked him.

These 3 tend to spoil my broth.

Nevertheless, happy cooking!

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