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I never thought I’d spend a FRIDAY night surrounded by excitable minions (i.e. children) watching – wait for it – Dora the Explorer sing… and live to enjoy it.

Honestly, this was more excitement on a Friday night than we’ve had in a while. The days of catching a drink after work have long been replaced by hanging out on the couch feeling very tired. However, when we won free tickets to the Dora the Explorer show we swallowed our fatigue in a way we haven’t been able to for our own friends and took the kids.

They were so excited when they got to the exhibition centre where it was held, and they hadn’t even got to the floor where the face-painting and other Dora stuff was going on. In fact, they didn’t really experience any of that because V was late. Hmph. However, he went out during the show to get balloons for them.

Unlike every other kid on the planet, mine are not really familiar with Dora purely because we haven’t discovered it on YouTube yet. Instead, we often watch a cartoon entirely in Russian about a bear and a naughty little girl (Reminder to self: Ask friend with Russian husband for the name of this cartoon. It is awesome). I should have introduced the kids to Dora before the show but I was too lazy.

I was a tad nervous that they wouldn’t really get into a stage show because they’re three and two, but they totally did. Well, when the lights went out, they were a tad scared. But the show was very interactive and got the kids to shout out stuff and do actions. Many of the kids had these glowing stars on a stick, which is apparently a thing in the Dora series, but mine didn’t and had to make do with the free plastic stars because kanjoos parents. Mimi was more into the actions than Benji, who sat there with this stupefied smile on his face. They are both now obsessed with Swiper who was supposed to be the villain of the piece. Go figure.

I have to say, I was quite excited. I loved the theme song and all the tunes are quite catchy. It was obvious to anyone watching me that I was having a whale of a time. Still, it was a bit surreal even for me.

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Ever since I read this, the only thing I could focus on was the possibility of Saravana Bhavan in Hong Kong because …idlis. So when a friend called asking if I wanted to check out Saravana Bhavan I was confused about how I could have missed news of its opening and also obviously game. Apparently, the restaurant is in Chungking Mansions which made sense, but the closer we got to the date, the more doubtful I was. In the end, it turned out to be Saravana ‘Hotel’ which someone had recommended to friend for South Indian food. We ordered: dahi puri, ragda pattice, mysore masala dosa, masala dosa, vada, and of course idli. The first few things out – the chaat, ragda pattice and dosas – were very promising. Tragically, the idlis were not. And I started feeling queasy towards the end.

Conclusion in the sane light of recovery from food coma: Worth it only for the chaat and dosas. The vadas probably had soda in them that made us all gassy.

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The rest of the weekend was dedicated to football. It’s been an exciting if very shocking World Cup and by the end of it, with all the teams (Italy, Netherlands) and individual hunks (Christiano Ronaldo, Mario Balotelli, James Rodrigues) I was supporting out, I was neutral about the final. I’m just glad it didn’t into penalties and in the end, the most consistently good team won with a real cracker of a goal. It was cute how the kids ran onto the pitch to hug their daddies. Goetze’s girlfriend is very hot but didn’t seem to want to be there (“Maybe she didn’t tell her parents,” V said.) Lowe cracked a smile. Messi did not. He was really pissed. Angela Merkel checked her phone a lot but hugged all the ‘boys’. One thing I liked about the World Cup is how many of the (male) players let it all hang out emotionally. Yes, really men do cry. Alls well that ends well, but what will I do with myself now?

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I had an awesome session with my shrink. Note to people seeking therapy: Go with a recommended one even if it costs the Earth. I wasted a lot of time and emotional energy on the free social worker, well-intentioned as she was.

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Had lunch at Ichiran, which is some famous Japanese ramen chain. The whole experience is a lesson in Japanese efficiency. You queue up in stages – first outside in the terrible humidity, then inside, then further inside where you can sit on stools and watch a control panel with lights blinking according whether the seat is free or occupied. Finally, you’re led to your seats, which are individuals stools in front of a counter, each seat partitioned off from the one next to it, though if you’re with someone you can still talk to them (but it’s not the most romantic setting). Surprisingly, they were able to provide a high chair for a couple with a baby. The best thing was that each seat had its own water tap with a note saying “Try our delicious water”. In a world in which restaurants behave like water is running dry unless you buy it, this personal fountain was much appreciated. I think I enjoyed refilling my own glass as much as the ramen. Which was delicious. I’ve never been a great fan of Japanese food, but I’m totally getting into ramen. I also really like the individual seating thing. It made me think how when I first got to Hong Kong I was so awkward and sad about having to lunch alone but now that I seem to have company for lunch almost every day, I really miss having lunch myself and sometimes purposely don’t schedule anybody in so I can do so. The only annoying thing is avoiding people in the regular haunts and feeling guilty about taking a table for two but ordering for one. So Ichiran would totally suit me.

However, I did have a tummy upset in the evening, which could possibly be due to me checking ‘5’ for spice intensity or due to the greasy McDonald’s breakfast we indulged in post World Cup.

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Ended the weekend with a facial, despite V moaning that I was ditching him. It was lovely though I have a couple of pimples now. Hmph.

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