Whisky daze

Getting sent to Seoul to cover a golf tournament wasn’t something I thought I’d be doing ever. It definitely wasn’t something my golf-loving dad thought I’d ever do but off I went. What have I learned from covering my first golf game? Well, there’s a lot of walking to do. Don’t diss golfers! They have to walk the whole damn course (I think).

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I managed interview last year’s winner without hopefully sounding too stupid and golf-nooby, which was posted here (he was cute). When Bernd Weisberger won last year’s Ballantine’s Championship, he went to Scotland and created his version of the Champion’s Blend, which sounded pretty fun. They only make like 10 bottles of the stuff so we didn’t get to sample that, but I did go on a mini tour of Seoul’s nightlife and spent three evenings downing copious amounts of alcohol, mainly whisky (which you can also read about here! This blog post has become a shameless plug of my “real” articles.)

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We did a sampling of four 17 year old blends of Ballantines’ named for four different regions of Scotland at a bar called Parity Bit (after some computer thing, address is: 7-19 Nonhyun-Dong, Gangnam-gu, no website). The four blends were Original, Glenburgie, Scapa and Miltonduff and each was paired respectively with dark chocolate, white chocolate, vanilla and orange to bring out the flavours. It was an interesting lesson in colour and taste and we proceeded from there to hit up one more bar that night, and another two the night after. Basically by the end of two days I was dunzo.

And then we went back to Blackstones and did this, at 11am in the morning.

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This time we got to sampleĀ  a 17 year old, 21 year old., a limited edition and a 30 year old. We also had a lesson in the finer points of tasting whisky (add water so that the aroma comes out more) and learned about the different tasting notes of each. At the end of the day, I have to say that my uncultured palette preferred the 17 year-old (which means the youngest whisky in the blend is 17 years) – obviously this goes towards my preference for youth. The taste of Ballantine’s 17 year-old is more subtle and sweat, with the spice coming from the highlands and the floral coming from the lowlands (so say my notes). The 30-year-old was probably the most impressive, with a lingering taste which was very rich and oak-influenced.

I wouldn’t say I’m a whisky expert by far after this trip but I’ve definitely learned to appreciate it more.. I’d even go so far as to say I’ve learned to appreciate golf more too! At least I know a bit more about how it works and a little more about the personalities of the game (this was largely in thanks to Alex, editor for HK Golfer who had to put up with me on most of the trip, http://www.hkgolfer.com). All things considered though, it will probably will be awhile before anyone asks me to write about golf again, but hey we can always hope on the whisky front.

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Fried chicken for the Seoul

So the internet in China hates me…actually I’m pretty sure it hates everybody with an independent thought. For me though it just seems to hate uploading my pictures to my blog, VPN or no. This just means my all of 3(?) readers will get radio-silence every few months when I’m in China. That or a lot of boring text.

Earlier in May I went up to Seoul to cover the Ballantine’s Golf Championship forĀ LifestyleAsia. I figured since I’ve taken some golf lessons in my time, and I do enjoy whisky (in a really, uncultured kind of way unfortunately) I would be relatively qualified.

I also really really like THIS:20130422_234004

The whole bird flu thing here in Shanghai, much like the whole North Korea thing in Seoul, seems to largely leave the local population unperturbed…but the one thing I have tried to do is avoid chicken. Which after pasta is like my favourite food of life. I basically checked into the Grand InterContinental Parnas, waited for my fellow traveller and then told concierge to point us in the direction of the nearest Korean Fried Chicken. He totally seemed more than happy to oblige.

20130423_001945We basically walked down this street till we got to this:

20130423_001937And in we went! And it was wonderful. I felt so chicken deprived I think I literally ate half the chicken. We chose one (in case you can’t tell from the picture) that was drowned in garlic sauce and fried to ultimate crispy goodness. We were there till about midnight and there were still lots of people going strong. If this is eating in Seoul I think I’d fit right in. That’s probably not a good thing….

Anti-gravity yoga @ Bodywize: we came, we tried, we flew

This is so overdue…blogging is so hard in China because for some reason getting pics to upload doesn’t always work…but anyway, here goes.

I’ve been talking to Lisa Mak, founder of Bodywize spas in Happy Valley about anti-gravity yoga for a looong time. They brought in the practice/sport end of last year and officially launched it early 2013, and I finally had a chance to try it, well, fly it this week back in Hong Kong.

Exercise and I have never had a good relationship. I know I should do it, and I want to do it…but I’m so lazy. And now it’s been a good six months that I’ve been gym-free, so I’m even LESS motivated to do anything. Nevertheless, it sounded fun and my sister goes (she’s an ex-gymnast and cheerleader so already I should have been more weary) so I figured why not.

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Anti-gravity yoga involves using a stronger-than-it-looks hammock to take most of the stress of balancing poses away. It also involves inversions, or in easy speak, flipping upside down. In these moves it’s important to trust the hammock, I have trust issues with people, so inanimate objects meant to keep my face from smashing against the floor was a little tough.

This is definitely a full body work-out, particularly if your body (like mine) isn’t generally that used to working out. I like that you have to use your arms just as much as your core to pull yourself up and swing around on the hammock. Inversions, which are obviously a highlight for most people, were not my favourite thing. I don’t like the feel of blood rushing to my head but I’ve been told it gets better after a few times.

I was told that no one leaves the class without laughing and that’s exactly what happened at the end. In addition to some flying moves where we got to swing (in unison, so as to avoid any collisions). We also did a parachute-like move where all the participants (all five of us) held hands and swung as though we were free-falling, sky diving style. I felt like that sort of gave a sense of togetherness for the class.

It was definitely worth checking out and an interesting new way to do yoga. For those who might be more interested in the more traditional yoga (that might be me), Bodywize has excellent traditional classes as well including hot yoga and Hatha.

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And here we are flying.

G/F & 2/F, 1 Wong Nai Chung Road,
Happy Valley, Hong Kong

http://www.bodywizeyoga.com.hk