I’m emotionally-scarred (for life) right now.
After my not-so-recent trip to Russia, I thought I looked all bloodless and pale and I need a tan badly. There are 3 ways for me to get a tan. First, do it au naturel. Second, go to the salon and get airbrushed (mystic tan — i love it. so poi-fect!), and lastly, good ol DIY. Unfortunately, jetting off somewhere el tropical is not feasible so the only option I’ve got is to fake it.
I have to admit that I’m no virgin when it comes to tan-in-a-bottle stuff. Generally, I use Dior Bronze — it’s fast, it’s safe, it’s easy and j’adore the color. It’s my favourite. Another one that I like is Peter Thomas Roth. I’ve also used Clarins and Lancaster. It takes ages for me to tan with Clarins while the latter is quite streaky. Lancaster also makes me look as if I’m a hepatitis/jaundice victim.
2 Months ago, I bought a couple of DIY St. Tropez stuff (tanning lotion, mousse and self-tan remover) to test it. I tried St. Tropez at a salon before and I got good results. I was planning to bring it with me to Moscow but I forgot it at home.
So yesterday, off I brought out my little unused bottle of St Tropez tanning lotion. I followed the instructions. Scrub, exfoliate and moisturize. Scrub, exfoliate and moisturize.
I applied the lotion throughout my body with my bare hands. I had the self-tan remover so I was quite confident that my hands will look alright so I didn’t use gloves… none of that repulsive "I-stuck-fingers-up-somebody-else’s-dirty-ass" look. A few minutes later, I used the remover and washed my hands.
Hand check: Jessica Simpson 2 shades darker
4 hours and a shower later, I’m thinking "ooooo" and "ahhhhhh". Lovin it so far — but I’m not yet satisfied. I want a darker color. I want a color that screams "I huffed and I puffed and I spent 8 hours a day, every day for 7 days at the beach, sea, sun and sex on the sand in broad daylight."
So off I tried the mousse… again, using my bare hands, I applied a thick coat all over my body.
And this is where the disaster began.
Hand check: Michael Jackson in Jackson 5
I used the self-tan remover on my fingers and on my palm. I rubbed, scrubbed and washed.
Hand check: Whitney Houston in the 80′s
I rubbed, scrubbed and washed.
Hand check: Vintage Louis Vuitton trunks
I rubbed, scrubbed and washed.
At this point, I gave up. It’s official. Although my body have this rich, fantafuckintabulous tan, my hands look like wood. It is sooo gross! What’s worse is I’m gonna be like this for days… or weeks. Who the hell knows?
There is no friggin way I’m gettin out of the house with hands like this. Good tan gone the drain thanks to my hands.
My worst nightmare became a reality.
In a way it’s a blessing in disguise that I didn’t use it in Moscow. Otherwise, I’ve got a ruined holiday.
Lesson learned: use gloves when visiting St.
Tropez in late November.
It’s official – my hands do look like wood.
It feels so weird to be home. It’s been several days since I got back and I’ve only been away for only 3 weeks and it’s like my house doesn’t feel like a "home".
I hate this odd, after-travel feeling. It’s one of the nastiest feelings ever. I simply could not function. I can’t work. I can’t reply to all of my work-related emails.
For the past 36 hours, all I’ve done is email some people, talk to a few of my clients, spent an enormous amount of time on BlogExplosion, paid some of my bills, sent a FedEx envelope to the USA, sleep, eat, sleep, sleep, browse some sites, etc.
Nothing productive, to be honest. Even my body clock is fucked up. I’ve been sleeping at 2PM and getting up at around 8PM when normally, I sleep at 4AM and get up at 11AM.
How long would it last? I have no idea. I definitely need to get my act together. I’ve got lots of pending projects, waiting clients, etc.
I’ll keep you posted in a bit.
Oh. my. god.
My mother recently bought this digital weighing scale and she asked me to try it out. It’s been ages since I last weighed myself and I think I got a bit skinnier after going through 6 lipodissolve sessions (on my stomach and arms) before I left for my holiday.
Imagine genuine shock and horror when I found out my true weight.
A staggering onehundredtwentyfuckingnine pounds. At fivefuckingfeetnine short.
Never in my life I have been so obese. Ever. I have always thought I’m in the 110-117 pound range. Perhaps the digital scale was a cheat? Perhaps it’s the breakfast I just had? All I had on was a cotton t-shirt and boxer shorts.
That’s it. I’m really taking the Reductil pills I’ve been keeping. I stopped taking them yesterday because reading the insert made me freak out… I only took 2 capsules so far, one on Sunday and one on Monday.
Before I left for Moscow, my doctor told me it would be nice to meet up with her after my trip so we can "catch up" on things…. and now I’m terribly ashamed because I think I gained weight.
Ugh. I’m sooooo pissed at myself it’s not even funny.
Here’s a silly little video clip of me that Mark took when we strolled around Tverskaya after having dinner at Cafe Pushkin.
Small Version (1.6 Mb)
Large Version (4.7 Mb)
Warning: it’s just a silly clip of a very camp 22 year old guy prancing around the streets of Moscow. Enjoy!
Just got here in Bangkok. My flight to Manila’s like 1:55PM.
My god, Aeroflot is the worst airline ever. Did I say the bathrooms were so repulsive? They’ve got no toiletries whatsoever… only liquid soap.
The stench is so bad you can literally smell the scent of fress piss at least 6 feet away. No wonder the toilets can only be found at the front of the plane… or at the very end. I feel sorry for those who seat near em: both pilots/cockpit area… and some unfortunate scum cattle class passengers.
I went to the cattle class toilets at the end of the plane just for fun halfway across the flight and I swear, there’s lots of trash and garbage everywhere — on the sink, on the floor, everywhere! Every single imaginable toilet trash you can think of. Tissues with snot, tissues with shit skid marks, tissues with blood, beer bottles, cans, candy wrappers, bloody tampons, you name it. In fact, even one of the toilet bowls is covered with puke.
I am dead serious.
Surely I’m not the only one who has flown Aeroflot before — so I dare you to ask someone else and I bet they’d agree with me hands down.
Anyway, the only thing I did in Bangkok really is smoked a couple of fags, had some canapes at the lounge, bought 2 clear lip gloss tubes and the Addict Trio lip gloss at Dior, plus 2 cartons of Marlboro cigarettes at Duty Free.
Only paid around US$250 of excess baggage to my flight in Manila this time.
I just want to go home… see my family, see my cat and have a good night’s worth of sleep.
Time to say goodbye, I guess.
I slept at around 8:30-9:00AM today and asked reception for a wake-up call at 10:30. I got up for like 2-3 minutes and slept again. Thank god I had my cellphone alarm set to 1PM so I got up at around that time.
I spent the next hour doing random things, like calling Federal Express to follow-up my pick-up (I’m sending a box to the Philippines with some of my leftover clothes that didn’t fit in my luggage), going down to the business center to get some forms filled out in Russian, call my parents, blah blah blah.
I then took a nice little walk to the supermarket 2 blocks away from the hotel. I spent around US$417 on caviar (4 jars of black, 1 huge 500gram jar of red), Russian Vogue magazine, 3 packets of chewing gum, a bottle of Evian and a bottle of Russian Standart.
Jane picked me up at around 4:30PM on our usual meeting spot, right in front of the hotel in Tverskaya-Yamskaya. Our plan is to hit some of the shops at Stoleshnikov Pereulok.
We probably spent a good 45 minutes – 1 hour on the streets because of the traffic. It’s just as bad as Manila. I took a couple of random pics using my camera phone because I forgot my camera at the hotel.
First stop was Christian Dior — loving it! I bought another gambler bracelet, this time in fuchsia, and a pair of navy blue corduroy pants with a stainless steel Dior patch on the back and Dior stars chain and safety pin on the sides. The prices at Dior are actually consistent with the worldwide market; bracelet was around US$310 (I got 2 in Bangkok for around $295 each) and the corduroy pants were like around US$860. Not bad at all.
We then took a quick look at Hermes because I’m looking for a wallet for my dad, but I ended up getting him a green epi leather wallet at Vuitton. Jane went to Burberry because she’s looking for a croc/alligator shoe.
Our last stop was Rostik’s on Tverskaya. I love Rostik’s! It’s the Russian version of KFC/McDonald’s (cause they’re everywhere) and they sell chicken, potatoes, etc. It’s pure junk/trash food but what the hell… I love it. Jane got me a cab from Rostik’s cause she’s running a little late — she had to visit her mom on the other side of the city because her mom was about to give birth.
When I went back to the hotel, my driver and I quickly went to the airport for my flight to Bangkok.
My god, Sheremetyevo 2 has got to be the WORST airport I’ve been to EVER. There’s lines everywhere, from checking-in, to customs and passport control.
It took around 15 minutes to get my boarding pass issued because I had 50 kilos worth of excess baggage. The excess baggage counter was closed so they had to call up some woman to come over there.
Guess how much I paid for excess baggage?
19,646 rubbles, which is around US$700.
I begged and I begged and I tried to use my charm to the old, late 30′s bitch on the excess baggage counter but she won’t give me a discount.
Bollocks, I thought.
I swear to god…. with all the money I spent on excess baggage going here and returning back, It would’ve been much mucho better if I just bought my bags a roundtrip ticket — at least they get seats inside the fucking cabin!
Anyway, thank god I booked the Airport Fast Track service at www.aerotour.ru, otherwise, I’d be spending hours in customs and passport control. The girl who assisted me when I first arrived in Moscow was the same one who helped me today. It took me no more than 10 minutes to pass customs and passport control. In fact, the only thing that the customs person asked me is how much cash do I have/bringing out to the country. I said around US$100 because I used my cards… and then that’s about it.
The real horror however isn’t the queues at customs/passport control but the huge, gigantic queues at the gate! I have never seen an airport where there’s a security check prior to boarding/going to the gate. Usually security checks are done before you even check-in… or after checking-in.
Thank god I arrived quite late so when the airport people were doing a final call for passengers to board the plane to Bangkok, they gave us priority to pass the security check. Even if you’re flying business or first class, you still have to fall in line with the masses before going to the gate.
My Moscow airport experience was truly weird — and was a miracle. No wonder a lot of people advised me to be there at least 3 hours before the flight.
I left the hotel at 6:30PM, got into the airport at 8PM because of the traffic and my flight was scheduled to depart at 8:45PM (although it got delayed to 9:15PM).
For some strange reason, a couple of people took pictures of me when I went clubbing in Moscow and St. Petersburg. God knows where they published my pictures. 2 people sent me a message on this Russian personals site I joined telling me they found me etc. My skin looks bad, the lighting is poor, I’m all sweaty, I’m probably not sober, my pose is shit and it’s just not right!
On that page, I’m on picture #s 10, 11, 12, 19 and 21. Yuck!
I wanna crawl up and die. So so embarassing. :(
As always, all good things must come to an end and I’ve spent my last night in Mockba with some of my closest friends.
Mark and I had dinner at this Chinese restaurant in Tverskaya called Peking Duck. I’ve been there once before with Sasha and Andrey and I liked the food there. It was the only place in Moscow, that I know of, where I can have a full Asian (non-sushi) meal… meat, vegetables, rice, etc.
I wanted Mark to try Chinese food as he had never had it before. We ordered some beef in oyster sauce, some vegetables, rice and then a roasted aromatic duck (the one you roll etc). I loved the food but he didn’t… he ended up ordering a kebab as well.
After having dinner, we went to this internet cafe/bar/club called Phlegmatic Dog, near the Kremlin wall. Use of the internet is free with any order. We had vodka and Jaguar, a red bull-like drink that a lot of navy cadets drink in St. Petersburg. I quickly checked my emails while he browsed some stuntriding and biker websites — he’s a biker by heart. He loves stunt riding and he used to have a motor bike in South Russia that he sold in order to move to Moscow.
After 15 minutes, he told me to look at the windows… so I did.
And I saw the most amazing thing ever.
It was snowing…. on my last night in Moscow.
One of my top reasons why I visited Russia at this time of the year was to see snow because I haven’t seen it in ages. But according to them, this year has been quite warm… I’ve been in Russia for 3 weeks and I haven’t seen snow… and today it was snowing.
He told me to go out and enjoy it… so I did. I took a quick walk near the Kremlin wall and the ground was covered in frost…. small snow flakes falling from the sky… to my hands and my face… for me it was just plain old wonderful.
After my little snow encounter, I went inside to pick Mark up because the bar was closing. Jane called me up telling us she’s in front of the Kremlin on the main road, waiting for us. She (and my other friend Kate) wanted to meet me up that night because it was my last night.
We went into her car and we went to Open Cafe, this cafe-cum-club. Unfortunately, there was a private party inside (I think it was some DJ’s birthday party) and they can only let people in with invitations, despite Jane and Kate having club VIP cards.
We then settled to go to Soup Cafe, a cafe near my hotel. Jane and Kate were a little hungry and gagging for a snack. They had some salad and some pasta, while I had a crab thingie.
After eating, we chilled out for a bit and both girls decided to go home. It was the last I saw of Kate; Kate is this russian girl of Korean origin – her parents were Korean but she was born and raised in Moscow. I swear to god she was the only Asian person I knew… and probably have seen in Moscow.
Kate is quite nice and very thoughtful. Jane and Kate gave me a box full of Russian presents, such as the matreshka dolls, a couple of babushka keychains, an amber necklace, a mini panting with amber stones in it, a couple of magnets, etc.
It’s funny how I got to know these people. I went to Fabrique, on my 2nd night in Moscow with Simon. Upon exiting the club, I approached Kate and told her "oh my god I swear you are the only asian-looking person in Moscow!!" and the usual "where are you going sweetie", "how are you" etc. We exchanged digits and hanged out since then. Kate then introduced me to Jane, blah blah blah.
I also met Mark on the same night. He was in Fabrique alone, etc etc etc. ;)
I’d say the three of them are my closest friends in Moscow. They really took care of me without wanting anything but company. Very genuine and sincere people; I wish the world is full of them. :)
Anyway, Jane and Kate brought me and Mark back to the hotel. I spent the next 5 hours packing all my bags (until around 8AM), while Mark browsed the internet. And yes — he’s straight. And yes, we’ve slept on the same bed, close to wearing nothing… and nothing happened. He’s a very good friend — imagine him watching me pack all of my stuff until 8AM. Nobody with a decent mind would do that!!! He told me he won’t leave until I’m finished packing and then we can formally say our goodbyes etc…. he really DOES care!! And yes, he’s got a girlfriend. LOL
Cafe Pushkin is this 24-hour Moscow institution that screams "old people=old money". It’s a cafe-slash-restaurant that serves traditional russian dishes, all prices in euros, and quite "elitny".
Jane and I went here on my first week in Moscow at around 2AM and it was dead empty so we went out immediately. The interiors are quite classic and rustic european and very traditional (high ceilings, french windows, you know the drill).
However, I really wanted to try this place cause I’ve heard so many reviews about it. Not giving up, I went ahead and invited Mark to have dinner with me.
We hired a Merc just to bring us to the restaurant. I wore a little baby blue and navy blue striped t-shirt, bleached jeans (old Mcqueen), chanel handbag, little white fox fur jacket, gold vintage cowboy boots and d&g chains and teddy bear appliques with crystals "patched" on my jeans. Mark wore a simple sweater and some jeans.
When we arrived, door person opened our Merc and I stepped out, stomping the ground with my cowboy boots as if it were a huge catwalk ala fashion week.
Security and door person welcomed us with a smile… at first I thought they weren’t gonna let us in because my outfit definitely doesn’t fit the venue. However, everyone was nice and friendly; I think this is one place where clothes DO NOT MATTER at all and I can be myself.
When we went inside, the entire crowd was in their late 40′s, most human males were in suits and most women were quite, well, elegant… and there I was, little camp asian boy in his little clubbing outfit.
Who gives a fuck though. Nobody cared, nobody bat an eyelid.
Waiter asked us for aperitifs; I asked for a gin tonic, and Mark asked for a sambuca.
Yes. a sambuca. at Cafe Pushkin. Imagine the look on the waiter’s face when Mark said that. Me and the waiter giggled (in a nice joking manner) and then I told him that we’ll just get Mark a gin tonic as well. Poor Mark… it must be tough to be in his shoes. Not only he has to tag along with the queen of the royal fags, but it was also his first time in a pseudoposh place.
I told him not to be concious and just be himself.
I placed my order — asked for blinis and caviar, and then a huge steak with potatoes and vegies. And with Mark being a gentleman, he said he didn’t want to eat anything and he’ll just drink instead.
I told him it’s ok, he can get what he wants and I’ll pay for it, but he continously refused to do so because he thought it was expensive and he didn’t want to "spend" my money.
I felt utterly guilty cause I spent the next 40 minutes pigging out in front of him and all he did was drink 3 gin tonics.
He still said it was ok.
Our bill… for my meal, about 7 gin tonics, and a bottle of evian, was around 130 euros.
Honestly, I loved the place. Everyone was nice and helpful, the service is extremely fast and swift, the doormen, security, waiters and ushers were very friendly and warm, the music was quite alright (although a bit in the dark ages… classical… violin players and all), our table was good, right beside the window, overlooking the street. Overall it’s a place if you would like to take someone for a romantic date.
Mark and I went around Moscow for a teeny bit because it was so beautiful today — nice sky, some sunshine and little wind. I’ve been in Russia for almost 3 weeks and I haven’t even been on the metro. But today, I decided to go with him for a ride, even if it was only for a couple of stations. First we went from Byelorusskaya station (near my hotel) to the station in front of his girlfriend’s flat (see below) to meet his girlfriend, Victoria.
Mark (left) and his girlfriend’s flat (right)
They chatted for a couple of minutes at the station. Mark told me Vika is pissed and jealous cause he’s been hanging out with me for the past few days and she now thinks Mark is a little, well, bent… which is not true. Mark is just a very nice (and sweet) guy who cares. He’s a very good friend.
From there, we went to Okhotny Ryad, this big underground shopping center near Red Square. It’s this huge underground mall-like structure. Mark and I strolled around for a little bit before going to the food court. I told him I wanted to try Rostik’s, the Russian version of McDonald’s. They sell chicken ala KFC, friend chicken, chicken wings, etc. I bought a meal – 2 small pieces of chicken, some fries (which are nasty) and a drink. The chicken ain’t that bad… they were quite tasty actually. Mark showed me how expensive some of the things at Okhotny Ryad were. There was this kiosk that sells hand gloves and mittens – a couple of bad-looking leather gloves from Hungary were about US$100 each!!!!! I mean, if you saw those gloves, you would think they were cheap – they looked cheap! Those gloves shouldn’t cost more than US$15 I think.
From Okhotny Ryad, Mark and I went to Red Square. It was my 2nd time there — it was just beautiful. I took a couple of pictures; I had goosebumps while walking there. It was pretty much the epitome of Russia. Every single guidebook, web page, tourist books or brochures that have Moscow on it will show a picture of either St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square or the Kremlin in it.