Month: December 2011

Fatherhood, twice over

Our eldest daughter will turn 3 years old this March. After the first few sleepless months of making her milk in the middle of the night and cleaning after her poop, wee-wee and barf, things have finally settled down. We have been blessed with an inquisitive and precocious child. I have been pleasantly surprised numerous times regarding the fantastic progress that she has made. At babycenter, she has consistently surpassed the milestones appropriate for her age, except for her supposedly being fully toilet trained by now (ooops!). As I am typing this now, she is beside me playing a memory game on the iPhone, a device that she learned to navigate on her own. She can already read letters and numbers, and can converse in complete sentences. When we were young, a child was already considered gifted if he or she could read by the age of 3 years. I am guessing that, with the advent of information technology, the way of thinking of the next generation will also be wired differently. It’s a totally …

Hong Kong Travel Tips 21-30

21. Crocs and their escalators are not the best of friends. The shoe material seems to melt on prolonged contact with the metal sides of escalators. The good thing is that Crocs come at a cheaper price here, especially if you buy them from Citygate Outlets. 22. There is a Hong Kong-wide sale every January and July. 23. The Symphony of Lights is not for everyone. It is better to combine watching the show with another activity in your itinerary such as dining in a restaurant with a view of the Victoria Harbour, having drinks on a junk, or riding the Star Ferry. 24. Most cabs along Canton Road will ask for a minimum of HKD100 flag down rate at night. To avoid this illegal practice, take a cab from Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel along this road or from the bus terminal at its harbor end. 25. As a guide to the best bespoke tailors of Hong Kong, refer to forums instead of ads. 26. Save time by knowing the real-time ferry schedules to outlying …

Tales from the Diplokitchen: Martha Stewart’s Carrot Cake

This recipe will not fail any baking rookie. We prefer to use just half of the confectioner’s sugar for the cream cheese frosting though. Ingredients 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans 1 cup packed light-brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 large eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup water 1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups) 2 cups pecans (1 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake) Cream Cheese Frosting Directions 1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, …

Ladies who brunch

One of the first things I searched for before being posted in Hong Kong is an organization that caters to diplospouses in particular. There was none. I met my counterparts at random through my Cantonese class and diplomatic functions, but I was longing for something more regular than that. Last Tuesday, I found my self preparing for a ladies’ coffee morning primarily organized by the wives of the consuls general of Indonesia, Brunei and Myanmar. It was going to be my first diplomatic function without Mr. Diplomat, and I did not let my third trimester blues get in the way. That morning, I met some 40 new faces of the diplomatic corps, the wives of consuls, honorary consuls general, consuls general and heads of missions. My composure was specifically starstruck (not quite obviously, I hope) by having been able to chat with three women who belong to a family that Mr. Diplomat and I were recently watching about in The Biography Channel. Of specific interest were the wives of honorary consuls general as I found …

Booked!

Finally! After 7 months of shuttling between the public and private healthcare systems here for antenatal checks (from my previous post I need a private hospital and some Dunkin’ Donuts), I received the provisional booking confirmation for delivering at Matilda International Hospital. That is a feat given that I was only deferred once and I still have 6 weeks to go before the due date. Donations for the deposit and final hospital bill are very much welcome!