Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Toronto - February 15

The last 2 weeks in the UK has gone by with lightning speed. Soon we will be departing for Toronto for a few days holiday. I am actually looking forward to the trip because on one of the days we plan to visit the Niagara Falls. Much has been said about the city of Toronto and I am looking forward to the vast below ground shopping centres. There are numerous touristy places in and around Toronto that have been recommended but owing to our short stay we might not have time to visit them all. However, we like to consider this as a “sample” visit. If we like the city we would return to Toronto for a longer stay.

Winter in Toronto could turn out to be rather fun. We are hoping for some snow which would make our visit memorable. I remember visiting Boston a few year ago at around this time of the year. The snow on the day of our arrival was knee high. It was cold but very dry, sunny and pleasant. Let’s hope the winter in Toronto is similar to the winter of Boston.

We will depart London on February 15 from Heathrow Terminal 4 as all British Airways flights do. It will only be an 8 hour flight, so if we do not get first class or business, economy would be just fine. Looking forward to the trip and will write about it on return.

Monday, February 04, 2008

2008 - The Year of the Rat

Chinese New Year 2008 – Year of the Rat

The year of the Pig is coming to an end. Now comes the Year of the Rat. Chinese New Year 2008nfalls on February 7. All those with age 72, 60, 48, 36, 24…belong to the Year of the Rat.

A Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start. Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful. The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find. People born in an Earth Rat are said to be logical realists, shrewd, charming, ambitious, and inventive. Of course, the entire horoscope must be considered when making any personality assessment.

In Chinese, the Rat is respected and considered a courageous, enterprising person. People born in the Year of Rat are clever and bright, sociable and family-minded. They have broad interests and strong ability in adapting to the environment and able to react adequately to any changes.

They are gifted in many ways and have an easy going manner. They are active and pleasant, tactful and fantastic, and are able to grasp opportunities. They seem to have interests in everything and hope to participate in doing it and usually do it very well.

Here in the UK, Chinese New Year is generally celebrated by the Chinese community on the first weekend after the event. Chinatowns in London and in major cities all over the world will celebrate this day with lion dances and street fairs. This is the time for much merriment and reunions. A traditional Chinese family will have a great family feast either at home or in one of the many Chinese restaurants to celebrate the start of another year. Children dressed in their new clothes will receive red packets contain money (angpow) from their elders. One the first day of the Lunar New Year, all Chinese old and young will rejoice and look forward to a better year ahead.

Happy Chinese New Year to one and all. Let hope that the Year of the Rat will bring Love and Peace to all mankind.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Car Problem

Since returning to the UK we have not been using the car. No, we have not gone so green that we have locked the car away. For the last 10 days since our return we have had to arrange for the car insurance scheduled for MOT and then finally register for road tax. The MOT was done on the last day of January. Thankfully that went OK and happily we went out today, the first day of February to register for road tax. However, as soon as I started the engine the warning light came on telling me that there is a fault with the alternator. Drove to the nearest Mercedes Benz garage and after a long check-up they told me that a replacement alternator was needed. What are the alternatives? None !! The repair cost is estimated to be at least GBP286, maybe more. I guess that is the penalty I have to face for driving around in a MB.

So it has been an expensive month with the car. Insurance, road tax, MOT and now the repair bill will all add up to nearly GBP1000. If I have to change my vehicle, my next one will definitely not be a Mercedes. They are too expensive to maintain and the fuel consumption is not that great either. However, having said all that it is a very comfortable machine and a pleasure to drive. Hope to get the repair done by tomorrow morning. We have to be in Cobham for lunch with our grand daughter tomorrow.

We planned to do a little shopping at the Chinese grocery store today, but I guess that will have to be postponed to another day. Got to get the necessary stuff for the Chinese New Year steamboat dinner, most probably on Sunday 10.

This new Chinese year is the year of the Rat. Lets hope it will be a good year for all of us, with lots of Happiness, Good Health and most important of all, Peace and Love.