Waking up in Vegas


My weakness: the penny slots.
Chinese guardian lions at the entrance to the Wynn. I wonder if they're to entice and encourage Asian gamblers? After living in Asia and seeing these everywhere, I can't help but wonder.

Vegas is such an odd world. At night, everything glimmers and impresses you with its extravagance. During the day, you see just how artificial and gritty the place actually is. We saw a homeless encampment yards away from a casino on our way to the hockey rink. It seems as if there are just as many churches as there are bars in Las Vegas. Everyone comes here looking for something. I wonder if they find it. 

My favorite place in Vegas is the Wynn. It is beautiful, luxurious and the shops, in my opinion, are some of the best on the strip. Jeff and I aren't really gamblers; we sit at slot machines long enough to get a few drinks out of it and that's about it.

The last time I was in Vegas, I won $300 on a penny slot machine at the Wynn. I used $100 of my prize money to buy Jeff's silence while I spent the rest of it on shoes (best hundred bucks I've ever spent). I tried my luck at the penny slots again this past weekend, but ended up losing all my money. The house always wins. 

Hockey Weekend Across America


Did you know last weekend was officially "Hockey Weekend Across America?" Neither did we, but it just so happened that we packed the weekend full of hockey anyway. 

First, we went to the Sharks game on Thursday against the Washington Capitals. The Sharks won 3-2. 
Pre-game warm up. 
L: My favorite SJ Sharks player, Douglas Murray. R: Jeff (with his parents in the background) at the game.
(I'm a sucker for a big defenseman. I married one, after all.)
A view of The Tank from our seats.
This is the Shark head that gets lowered onto the ice at the beginning of each game. The players skate out onto the ice through the mouth. 

After the Sharks game, Jeff went to play in his own hockey game with his old team, the San Jose Scorpions. The rink was freezing. My tolerance for cold weather has gone out the window, that's for sure. The Scorpions won 9-3. 
Sorry, not as many photos of Jeff's game. My hands were freezing and I didn't want to move away from the heater. 

As if that wasn't enough hockey, we flew to Las Vegas on Friday for the Sin City Shootout Street Hockey Tournament. Jeff has been going for a few years in a row now. His team won their division and they got a big, shiny trophy. It was fun catching up with his teammates who we only see once a year at this tournament. 
Street hockey (a.k.a. ball hockey) is played on sport court; the players run instead of wearing skates or roller blades.
The So Cal Chiefs, Division B Champs of the tournament.
That's Jeff, number 96.
 Apparently victory tastes like Newcastle beer (the team drank it out of their trophy).

For us, there can never be too much of this sport. This was Jeff's second tournament in as many weekends and if there was time for another, he'd sign up for that too. You've heard us say it before and we'll say it again: we miss hockey. 

One thing I definitely don't miss, however, is hockey smell. If you don't know what I'm talking about, consider yourself very lucky. Props to the hockey moms, wives, girlfriends and equipment managers of the world who have to deal with airing out stinky hockey equipment after hockey games. 

Singapore at the World Pond Hockey Championship in New Brunswick


Hockey in Singapore? Kind of, but not really. Jeff represented Singapore this weekend at the World Pond Hockey Championship in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick. He named his team after our beloved Singapore Slingers. Jeff was the only player on the team from Singapore; the rest were from the Bay Area. 

The World Pond Hockey Championship is a big tournament in a little town all the way on the eastern coast of Canada. According to their website, upwards of 8,000 people attend each year. The Singapore Slingers were the only team from all of Asia in attendance. Jeff was told he might be interviewed by the media at the tournament, and he was. You can read an article from the CBC which includes a quote from Jeff here

Below are some photos and videos from Jeff:
Local youth hockey players were chosen to be the flag bearer for each team during the opening ceremonies, like in the Olympics.
The Slingers talking to the San Jose Scorpions. Jeff is in the middle, with the Slingers jersey.
Yes, one of the guys is wearing a hot dog costume. Photo courtesy of WorldPondHockey.
 The Slingers talking to the Scorpions. I feel cold just looking at this photo.
The pond hockey rinks in the evening. 
This is a video Jeff filmed of the opening of the tournament and you can see his teammates. 

Jeff said he had a great time and hopes to come back next year. It was freezing and we couldn't find all his snow gear in time, but he said he still had lots of fun. We wish there was more of a hockey presence in Singapore. If anyone finds this and is interested in playing ice hockey in Singapore, contact Jeff at jeff@jeffreyandflora.com.

Update: Video embed codes aren't working right now, but you can see them by clicking here and here. We'll work on fixing these ASAP.

Day Trippin': San Francisco


The Painted Ladies, which some of you might recognize from the intro to Full House.
The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge
Don't mind the sun flare on my face. It was such a gorgeous day! 
Clam chowder from Boudin at Fisherman's Wharf. 
You actually can see Alcatraz Island in this photo.
Jeff's cousin Sarah and her boyfriend Dan wanted to visit San Francisco while they were in town last week, so I got to play tour guide and show them around. As a kid, San Francisco was only a short drive away from San Jose and we were there quite often on the weekends. Sometimes all it took to make the quick drive up 280 was a craving for clam chowder or fresh crab. 

We were pressed for time because Sarah and Dan had a flight to catch, but we made sure to see some of the more famous San Francisco attractions. We had clam chowder at Boudin's at Fisherman's Wharf, drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, chased a cable car, drove down Lombard Street, and to satiate Dan's love of the TV show Full House, we went to Alamo Square so he could see the row of old Victorian houses featured on the show's intro. We also went to the actual house used by the Tanner family in the show (Dan's idea, not mine!).

It was a beautiful day to be in the city, but even during the coldest or foggiest of days, I still think San Francisco is a fun place to be.

Every time I head into SF, I know why a song like "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" was written. 

Homeward bound


Before and after
From left to right: Jess, Nick, Dan, Sarah, me, Jeff

If you ask any expat what they miss the most from their home country, there's a good chance you'll hear them recite a laundry list of all kinds of things only available from their native land. For us, family and friends will always be the number one thing we miss. Also up there on the list are hockey, good Mexican food, seasons, and of course, California wine. 

Jeff and I decided a trip home was in order to satisfy our cravings for the people and things we've been missing in Singapore. We sort of planned our arrival to coincide with the annual Superbowl party that Jeff's parents throw, which in recent years has become a family reunion of sorts. It was a great way for us to cram as many family visits into one trip home as possible.

First things first: a wine-tasting trip to Testarossa winery with some of Jeff's cousins the day we arrived. Jeff and I hadn't been back since our wedding day a few years ago. The weather was like a warm spring afternoon, the wine was delicious, and the company was great. It feels so great to be home. 
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