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Hong Kong over the weekend
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Can you believe it’s only my second time to travel this year?
Last time was Singapore for Valentine’s Day. And then Asiana Airlines crashed, and I lost my desire to travel.
But after my lipo I was needing some new clothes, so I asked my husband to take me to Hong Kong.
The flight going there was pretty OK, but I was scared as a cat. I was really paranoid and curled up into a ball praying the Rosary.
Towards the end of the flight I relaxed a little and sat in front of the hubby.

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Can you see my Candy Crush? It really helps pass time.
We stayed at the Park Lane Hotel due to its proximity to my favorite I.T store, Frabpois, Cabane Zucca (read: chic Japanese clothes for middle-aged women like me)

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Aesop is just around the corner

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I love the free sampling at the entrance

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At Wellcome I can get my favorite Kowloon Dairy bottled milk

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Across the street is Tonkichi

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There is a huge Muji not so far away

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And right underneath the hotel is Ikea

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and a Homeless store

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But Park Lane is really a borderline hotel for me because despite its great location:
1) The wifi is free for only two gadgets
2) The TV remote doesn’t work and I need my CNN
3) My pillows smelled like old man’s saliva
4) and the server on the Club floor refused to give me a glass of water because it wasn’t in our package. (what’s a freaking glass of water for a parched throat??)

Park Lane Hotel

The price was right. But next time we will stay in a better place and spend a little more.
Hong Kong was sweltering hot. I had to shower two to three times a day that I nearly ran out of clothes and bras.

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Luckily I caught the tail end of the sale season.
The sad thing is, I felt really old. The clothes I want to wear are hard to come by, for my age and body issues, so for the first time Jeroen and I traveled without fear of overweight luggage.

Jeroen and I in Hong Kong

My only real fear towards the end was coming home to a typhoon which was in between Manila and Hong Kong.
On the night before our flight I prayed many rosaries and tweeted incessantly to ask about the weather at home.
As expected I developed the runs at the Hong Kong airport in anticipation of a turbulent flight.
But as soon as I settled into my seat, I spotted Ben Chan and Miguel Pastor on board plus Mons Tantoco and friends, followed by Richard Gomez, so I quickly asked, “Where’s Lucy?”
Lo and behold, Lucy was on board too, looking like a vision in COS.

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Seeing Lucy made me less scared because I think Lucy is an angel and we can’t crash.
I settled into my seat and prayed many chaplets. The flight started out really smoothly but got shaky towards the middle. I prayed for mercy. Then it settled down.
I finished reading my printout of the Napoles exposé which is so juicy!!
And before I knew it, I could see the comforting Manila lights and we landed safely.

When we got out I was surprised to see Manila raining cats, dogs and the kitchen sink—considering the flight was not so bad! Cathay Pacific really rocks.
Earlier today, Cathay Pacific posted this notice on their website:

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So glad I missed that and made it home, I can’t tell you. God is good!

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Don’t judge a shopper by its cover
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Remember this scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts tries to shop at Rodeo Drive and gets treated like crap?

I guess most of us have experienced something like this at some point in our lives.
When I was a teenager back in the ’80s, I tried to buy eyeshadow in a San Francisco store and asked to look at it.
Then the sales assistant says, “But sweetie, that’s $40. Do you have $40?”
“Yes I do!” I said. (In fact, I had more.)
Wit that, I was able to buy it.
Many times I dress like a homeless person. I’ve been treated like crap at Hermés in Hong Kong, but I get what I want for the most part.

But one of my chicest friends (a Filipino) was in Italy many years ago to meet with a client who happened to be Dolce & Gabbana. During her free time she passed by a Prada store and asked to see a white bag that was on display.
“No,” said the sales assistant.
“Why not?” my friend asked.
Just no.
My friend guessed it was because the bag was white??? Even though my friend was wearing gloves at that time, they refused her the bag. She walked away very offended.

Another time my cousin Jenny went to Hermés in Paris with the intention of buying a Birkin.
The sales assistant told her they had none. So she stepped outside, and asked her European husband to try.
Jenny’s husband entered and was able to purchase a Birkin for Jenny without any problem. The bags were hidden in the back!
The thing is, Jenny and her husband had to communicate by cellphone while Jenny waited outside, because they wouldn’t sell it to her!

This day and age, there are still many places, especially in Europe, that aren’t eager to sell luxury goods to Asians.
Not even to Oprah Winfrey.
In 2005, Oprah was refused entry at Hermés Paris, even while some shoppers were still inside.
And now a more recent incident in Zurich, where a sales person gave her the Pretty Woman treatment at Trois Pommes.

Troi Pommes store

Here’s how Oprah described the incident on Entertainment Tonight:

“I was in Zurich the other day, in a store whose name I will not mention. I didn’t have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and my little sandals. But obviously The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich. I go into a store and I say to the woman, ‘Excuse me, could I see the bag right above your head?’ and she says to me, ‘No. It’s too expensive.”
The saleswoman went on to suggest she look at cheaper bags. ‘I left the store but it proves that racism is still an issue.”

I follow Oprah on Instagram where she posts pictures of herself without makeup on.
When not on TV, Oprah has no problem going out like this.

Oprah off duty

The bag she was interested in was a Tom Ford bag named after Jennifer Aniston—except the one in Zurich was in crocodile and costs about $38,000.

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer clearly loves the bag

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Personally I don’t care for anything Tom Ford. But if I were him, I would send Oprah the crocodile bag with a nice note. (Tigilan na kasi ang crocodile bag!) Cause I love Oprah and I believe in her.

Tom Ford

To think the store’s spokesperson had the gall to defend its salesperson against Oprah!

“This is an absolute misunderstanding,” Trudie Goetz, head of the Swiss luxury chain Trois Pommes, told Us Weekly in a statement. “Any sales person would love to sell a crocodile bag. She simply explained [to Oprah] that the bag she wanted to look at was beautiful but in a very high price range and suggested lower priced models in leather, ostrich and so forth.”
Goetz adds, “It was a misunderstanding. The staff member who welcomed Oprah is one of the hardest working and regularly deals with VIP clients. There was no discrimination.”

Well, I honestly doubt it.
When I owned a store I told my sales persons to be kind to everyone who walks through the door because some of the richest people dress like slobs. Not everyone wants to dress like a fashion statement every single day.
Bottom line: Be kind, for the person you are rude to may be your best customer.
Have you ever experienced rudeness at a store? Tell us in the comments section.

UPDATE: Oprah says sorry the whole thing blew up.

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Good news!! NAIA has renovated the dreaded toilet
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A bit of good news, and I can’t believe it happened in my lifetime.
That dreaded toilet near the airline lounges at NAIA 1 has finally been renovated!!
This used to be the toilet signs. Note the draped skirt on the female figure (read: not Yohji Yamamoto)

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Imagine my surprise when I saw that they changed the signs!! My heart was racing!!
They seem to have switched the location of the male and female washrooms. The female symbol is now wearing a more normal dress

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This used to be the icky green sink that looks like it goes back to the ’70s

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OMG. Look at it now!!!

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I can’t believe this is NAIA!!

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There’s like freaking paper towels and hand sanitizer!!!

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This used to be the dreaded toilet—can you smell that?

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Now this is what you get—I must say, wrong choice of floor tile, where all watermarks can be seen

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But hey, there’s toilet paper!!

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and where this door used to look like the gates of hell

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now there’s a safe place to hang your bag!

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and a place to put your phone!!

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So thanks to whoever did this! One kind advice though: please provide employment to more Filipinos. Perhaps a cleaning lady can be stationed at the restrooms to keep them spotless?
This is life-changing! I no longer dread using the loo at NAIA.
Now can somebody please fix the food selections? Thank you!

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Savor authentic Singaporean dishes at Spectrum
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Spectrum, Raffles and Fairmont Makati’s all-day dining restaurant, in cooperation with Singapore Airlines, invites you to to Savor Singapore for a limited time only this August 10-14, 2013.
Guest Chef Muhamad Bin Mahfod from the historic Raffles Singapore will prepare authentic Singaporean favorites like Chicken Rice, Chilli Crab, Laksa, Chicken and Lamb Satay, and Prawns Curry.

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Chicken Rice

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Laksa

Traditional desserts like Kueh Dadar (pandan pancake with coconut filling) and Pisang Goreng (banana fritters) will be added to the festive spread.
The lunch buffet is available at Php 1,675 net per person, while the dinner buffet is at Php 1,995 net per person.
The Sunday brunch, which includes endless servings of Singapore Sling is priced at Php 3,888 net per person.
For reservations or inquiries, call 555-9840.

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