Advertisements
Tag Archives: NCGA

Monkey Says “NO” to Wasabi Peas

11 May

Our Monkey with His Snack of Choice

Almost the entire country of China shut down for 2 weeks in February to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. So with the doors of NCGA (Brett’s work) closed for business, we had no other choice than to hop a flight to Bali.  (I hope the sarcasm in that sentence is as obvious as intended.)

Before I can go into any details of the trip, I must first tell you that Brett and I are both geographically challenged when it comes to the size of Asia.  We mistakenly assumed that our flight time from Beijing would be 4-5 hours, when in reality, it was 9 hours of air time plus an overnight stay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Needless to say that when we finally arrived, we wanted nothing more than a cold beverage (avec bourbon) by the pool!

Our hotel, The Ayana Resort, is comprised of 78 freestanding, cliff-top villas.  Each villa has its own infinity edge pool overlooking the Indian Ocean.  Honestly, it is pretty ridiculous.  I should now take the time to selfishly thank all those involved in causing the  financial crisis, which allowed us to afford a vacation at this small piece of heaven on earth.  Best to look at the bright side of things, right?

Our villa was so secluded that at times we felt completely removed from all civilization.  Although I suppose the blaring Bose speakers, the Michelin Star quality room service, and the personal butler were pretty clear reminders. Sarcasm intended.   Those modern luxuries aside, the remoteness of our accommodations contributed greatly to our most favorite Balinese experience (or Balanean experience in Brett speak).

It was our very first day.  We were playing in the pool and my back was to the ocean.  With a very odd look on his face, Brett announced that a rather decent size monkey was rapidly approaching us.  As a monkey lover and one born in the year of the monkey, I was immediately filled with excitement.  Could it be?  Another monkey for my monkey pack?  (The Hangover movie reference) .  The truth is, the monkey was not trying to join my monkey pack.  In fact, he just wanted our food.  He initially went for a full bag of wasabi peas.  We assumed, after he spit them out faster than a Nolan Ryan fastball in his prime, he was not a fan.  Luckily for him (it was definitely a him) there was also a delicious bag of salt and vinegar potato chips nearby.  With a human like grip, he carried the bag to our cabana, reclined on the plush cushions, and proceeded to eat the entire bag…one chimp…I mean one chip at a time.

Visiting a Rice Paddy in Bali

While the wild monkey visit was a highlight for me, Bali had so much more to offer.  We visited amazing rice paddies, beautiful coffee plantations, and an entire wild monkey forest.

There are so many extraordinary resorts on the island of Bali; however, I strongly recommend Ayana.  The Spa on the Rocks is to die for, and the location on the island receives the most sunshine of any other spot.  Life is short.  Go to Bali.

www.ayanaresort.com

BTW:  The monkey did visit us again.  On the 2nd visit, he realized that we did not have any accessible food. So…he peed all over Brett’s flip-flops, and left.  Good times.

Tasting Kopi Lawak Balinese Coffee

Feeding a Monkey in the Wild Monkey Forest

Advertisements

Company Party

8 Apr

Brett and The King of PopI think most Americans would agree that the era of over the top company holiday parties is somewhat a thing of the past.  This is definitely NOT the case here in China!  In fact, the Year End NCGA (Brett’s company) party was one of the most fascinating events I have ever attended.

Our first clue that the soiree was not going to be a typical year end celebration came about 3 weeks prior to the event when Brett was approached by a few staff members and asked to participate in the company wide competition on the night of the party.  I mean – why pay for professional entertainment when the company has an abundance of employees more than willing to humiliate themselves for a laugh?  When Brett accepted the request for him to play the role of Michael Jackson as a part of the corporate team, I knew that I was in for a treat!

The competition proved to be far more intense than we expected.  Brett attended dance practice 3 to 4 times a week, props and costumes were purchased, and dress rehearsals were held.  When the night of the event finally arrived, I couldn’t wait to see “Mr. Jackson” up on the stage.

As a performer, Brett had to arrive many hours earlier  – so I had the unforgettable experience of walking into a room of over 900 extremely excited Chinese people all by my lonesome.  The celebration began almost immediately.  Wine and champagne were passed around and the “Gan Bei’s” commenced.  Gan Bei, the phrase used for toasting in China, literally means, “dry the cup”.  Honestly, I had never shot an entire flute of champagne before.  I would not recommend it.

After an hour or so of shooting drinks that should never be shot, everyone was seated and the show began.  Brett’s performance was legen…wait for it…dary!  He nailed it.  I literally could not take pictures fast enough.  They even won 3rd place (1st place went to an unbeatable group of men dressed as ladies in the Chinese version of a beauty pageant).

A 12-course sit down dinner was served after the show.  Well…it was 12 courses for the executives.  As best I could tell, the other 880 guests were eating some sort of simple rice dish.  I mean at least AIG had the decency to spend government bail out money on a gourmet meal for all of their employees, right?

The night ended with most everyone dancing on some sort of higher surface – a chair, a table, or the stage.  It was a fantastic night – made even more fantastic by the fact that I got to see Brett moon walk across a massive stage and that, once again, I got to be the only blonde in a room of almost 1000 people.

Beijing Tip: At the end of the Chinese calendar year, it is appropriate to give red envelopes with money inside to those who have helped you throughout the year: nannies, doormen, drivers, assistants, etc.  In fact, red envelopes are used for all monetary gifts given for weddings, graduations, and other celebratory events.

%d bloggers like this: