Thursday, September 11, 2008

Multiple blogs?

So, if I wanted to have two identities in the blogosphere, and use my same email and blogspot account, how do I keep them separate? It seems if I update about me in one, it adds it to the other. So does this mean the anonymity of one blog is obliterated if you'd like to have one full access blog?

Would love yer feedback, fellow bloggers!

Noelle Aguayo (perhaps!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Villa LeDuk and Kaliandra

We spent our first week in Indonesia as the guests of Sietse and Li Tho (brother and now sister-n-law) at Li Tho's uncle's estate. Unlike all of the other estates I've frequented (ahem), Villa Leduk and the surrounding bungalows and lodges that comprise Kaliandra, deliver finery and culture Indonesian style.

At the main villa, this translates to two hosts who are highly accomplished and successful in business, culture and etiquette, yet who treat you with kindness and listen attentively to your conversations without outward scrutiny, a highly trained chef who prepares fresh, local and mainly organic meals and snacks approximately five times a day, and a dozen house servants dressed in white button down tops and colorful pants who walk barefoot across the marble floors to deliver your beverages or serve you multiple courses in one of the many dining areas or grand outdoor terraces. This is coupled with a sense of relaxation derived from the temperate climate, the casual elegance of the owners, and the genuine friendliness and openness of the Indonesian people, who, most importantly for us, absolutely love children. We stayed in the forest bungalows, or the Hastinapura complex, a 10 minutes walk uphill and into the forest.

As you climb lava stone steps and cross hand woven foot bridges surrounded by lush vegetation, you hear birds and other forest creatures. Ezra's 19 month old status, enabled us to have a bungalow to ourselves!

Afternoon tea with sweet rice or banana desserts on banana leaves were brought to us every afternoon in our bungalow, and a young man would come to our bungalow every morning to inform us breakfast was ready on the upper pavilion restaurant. I haven't even begun to explain the decadence.

The life of luxury we maintained for a week as guests of Sietse and Li Tho at Villa Leduk (see 8/23/08 post for more photos) might have led us to feel inconsiderate and self serving in light of the extreme poverty just an hour's drive from this isolated paradise. But, we were able to avoid most of these feelings due to two things: The philanthropic endeavors of our hosts, Atmadja and Bagoes, and their prized non-profit, Kaliandra.

Kaliandra deserves an entry all its own, so I will just say that it marries two ideas that should co-exist in every society--environmental education and stewardship paired with cultural education and preservation. In other words, At and Bagoes ROCK! They give back to the community through this non-profit, provide many learning opportunities to local villagers, and a whole lot more. To learn about Kaliandra, visit the following link.

good night!

A shot of construction in Hong Kong

Although Hong Kong only represented a few days of our trip, I have to share this one picture. I'll have to check my memory against that of Arie Jan's, but I believe I took this from a foot bridge, rather than from the window of the high speed tram. This picture of major construction in the midst of high rises somehow encapsulates a part of my expectations of Hong Kong as a rapidly expanding economy. We were afloat in people, yet it was not as crowded as I had imagined.

More on Indonesia to follow

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Forgoing the Wheat, Dairy and Sugar

A few months ago, I went to Soho to see a local act, and while listening to Mike Dawson, the warm up act sing about an x-girlfriend who was a Milpas Street hooker, I chatted with my friend and local rocker Antara. A friend of Antara's came to the table who looked vaguely familiar. She was slight, fit, with a fabulous hair cut and well dressed. Well, ends up I DID know her--she had just changed everything about her outer look, which translated into a more confident, striking woman.

The last time I saw her, she was a pudgy, round cheeked chef, with pale skin and a air of weariness about her. Now she was thin, energetic even. Without wanting to sound inconsiderate, I tried to find out what had happened. She went on a diet. A diet, I asked? Which one?

After being diagnosed with candida (I believe), she read up on it, and found a book called "The Yeast Syndrome." The book explains how yeast can wreak absolute havoc on our bodies--on both men and women, and can be associated with skin problems, weight problems, low energy levels, etc. She put herself on the diet and several months later emerged as a leaner, and subsequently happier version of herself. My big question though, is, can you trust a thin chef? Yes!

Thank you oh chef for sharing your story with me! You look fabulous.

For the last two weeks, I've been trying the no wheat, no dairy and no sugar diet, and it is very very challenging. You can't eat fruit! And sugar is in everything it seems. Bread is a staple in so many meals, and dairy is the other half. So what do I eat?

Lots of vegetables, soy products, tempeh, rice, polenta, corn, beans and lots of veggie juice and water. Meat is fine in the diet, as is plain yogurt. But I'm not much of a meat eater. Besides an occasional slip of my spoon into Ezra's applesauce, so far so good!

Results? Almost down to my high school weight (a good thing) and more energetic and focused.