September 2012 Archives

in eating and drinking |

Bak kwa
photo by flickr user miikka skaffari

Many years ago when I was travelling to Singapore regularly, one of the indulgences was asian style jerky from bch. I tried chicken bak kwa, and it quickly became a favourite. The chicken, or the more traditional pork or beef, is marinaded in spices, sugar and salt before being cooked in a smoker. The distinctive sweet, fruity, meaty flavour is best enjoyed while the slices are hot. I find the Singaporean and Malaysian versions tender and juicy while the Taiwanese versions are more dry and spicy.

So mm and I shared a packet to take home. It’s not cheap, so we opted for the sliced pork which was on special. And now I read that a few fine engineers in the Bay area has started making and selling their own. Something for my adventurous American friends to try.

in outside interests |


We took the train, 45mins, went through two vastly different immigration checkpoints (one side fully electronic with fingerprint sensor, the other a scramble and long queue), checked in with the counter at the station and within minutes were at the queen spa complex. Seven levels of relaxation, wow.

First, we were directed to the lockers where we were given a security wristband with a number. This number will be used at the end to settle up. Then it was time for sauna, steam room and a shower before changing into the uniform pajamas. Then the fun begins. The menu had a selection of body massage, facial, hand, foot, head, back massages as well as manicures, pedicures and even hairdressing. One floor was massage, another was the pool, the main lobby had huge armchairs with personal tv sets.

We opted for 90min body massage. It’s pretty standard, my muscles were sore afterwards because it’s been a while for me. There were free fruit, ice cream, snacks, tea, coffee and soft drinks. After the massage it was time for dinner. Again there were choices — the main restaurant upstairs, the smaller restaurant on the main floor or sit at the armchairs and order noodles. The food was good, relatively expensive.

Head and foot massage for 90mins after dinner. By then it was 10.30pm and we’d been there over 5hrs. Total bill including tips worked out to be just over £100 for 2 people. The tip situation is always awkward, they push for big tips and give limited choice on the slip you sign at the end of each procedure. The smallest amount is already 30% of the cost of the massage and it goes up to several times the cost. Reading the reviews it seems to be a persistent issue and I won’t be surprised that westerners or people who can’t read have been scammed into giving a biggest available tip amount.

Although called a spa, and having the usual spa facilities, it’s too family like, noisy and busy to be truly relaxing. Staff are polite but quite in-your-face. It’s the nature of the beast I suppose. Go without expectations, know what you want and it will be a good experience.

in eating and drinking |


Went to watch my niece at her taekwondo lesson, then we went to dinner at a mussels and beer place. My niece had goat’s cheese pie and mash potatoes. Sis and I both opted for the mussel pots. She had a coconut beer served in a coconut shell shaped bowl and I had a kwak. It’s just like at belgo’s!

in eating and drinking |


Mum and I met with a contractor about flat renovation today. Before going, we thought we’d have lunch at one of the nearby places, but most of the ones we remember have gone. So we ended up at Mcdonald’s. Aside from the sausage egg mcmuffin for under US$1 available all day, there are other offers and special menu items. I had a shogun burger which is teriyaki pork burger on lettuce and a sesame seed bun. Nice teriyaki sauce flavour. Reminds me that there are special international items not available in the US, some of them look pretty nice — chicken katsu burger in Japan, paneer wrap in India, cordon bleu burger in Poland. And beer in cool countries.

in photography is life |


I didn’t bring the big camera with me so all I have right now is the iphone camera. The next incarnation of my beloved lost s90 is the s110, which comes out late October. It’s only a small upgrade from the currently available s100, with added GPS and wifi. Truthfully, I don’t need either, and if the release date weren’t so near I probably would have gone out and bought the s100 instead.

in techtalk |


Mum uses a basic Nokia, and I keep my old 6300 around for disposable numbers. For some reason she decided she needed a few songs on her phone. It has a USB port, but I couldn’t get it to mount to the mba. Well, there’s the old fashioned way — I bluetoothed the mp3s one by one to her phone. Actualy didn’t take very long, about 10 seconds each file. Heh. Remember when every pretentious git had a bluetooth earphone glued to their ear? I remember standing around in a circle of friends sending files to each other. Like I said, old-fashioned.

in family first |


Had dinner at mm’s brother’s place, so he can show me his new home’s renovation and give me his contractor’s number. By the time we left, it was raining very heavily. I didn’t have an umbrella, so I got off at a near-enough station and changed to taxi. As we were getting close to the gates, Mum was already out there with an umbrella. The taxi driver said, “the greatest unconditional love.”

in being healthy |


Went with Mum to the park. It’s about 1 mile away, we took a taxi. There’s an athletics track, tennis courts, basketball courts, football fields and even a skating rink. The track is good, and there’s even another path outside the track for when the track is closed or there’s an event. The path is nicely marked in 100m increments, total 550m. Mum walked and I ran, by the time we met back up I’d done 2.5km.

in habitat |

Met mm and did some home research. Windows, taps, door frames, handles, locks, lights, switches, measurements. Ack, so many details to think about. And that’s not including labour, I need someone for painting, and someone else for tiling, and someone else again to do the windows. Electrician I can understand, surely it’s like DIY, but it’s not.

in photography is life |


Way back in the long ago past, before flickr, or instagram, or facebook, or iphones, there was The Mirror Project. Between 2001 and 2006, around 34,000 simple 300px self portraits on mirrored surfaces were submitted. Of course, nowadays it takes instagram 10 minutes to reach 34,000, and facebook has 300 million pictures uploaded daily.

It was a different era. Most people had digital cameras then, but phone cameras were still in their infancy. Arguably, people thought a bit more about taking pictures. Or just appreciated the opportunity for participation more.

Which is why I was very excited to read that founder Heather Champ has relaunched the mirror project from backups. No new material, just the original stuff. How wonderful. I hope she doesn’t open up the site; or if she does, point new submissions elsewhere. There’s a piece of internet history there, a time capsule as she describes. Best not to disturb it.

I didn’t, and still don’t, like my face all over the web. So I only had a couple of pictures in my gallery. So kitschy and simple and so bad, they’re even good.

in being healthy |

My right ear was terribly blocked, so I went to the doctor who removed the ear wax buildup using a terribly uncomfortable method of poking a thin metal rod inside. Not the gentle syringing using water, oh no, it was a probe vacuum.

But it was effective. And now I can hear much more. More ambient traffic sounds, more wind blowing outside, even my clothes rustling when I’m walking around. Sounds like the experience is not unlike the first days with a new hearing aid.

in habitat |


Went back home to pick up letters and see the state of the place. The new flooring is great, I like the lighter wood effect. The bathroom is…okay, needs major cleaning and should last a while. The bedroom closet needs to be replaced. All light fittings are so old and grotty, but replacing them is easy. Need new windows and curtains or blinds. The kitchen is a disaster. The units are so high up that it’s impractical. The hob, oven and ventilator all need to be replaced. There is a piece of wood / laminate stuck on the washing machine (no frame, free standing) and it’s supposed to be a worktop. It’s the general sense of ugliness and lack of thought that bugs me.

So, I need the apartment renovated. Sigh.

in on the relationship front |


Met mm after work and went back to her place. Dinner at home, relaxed, no need to go out. She bought salmon sashimi, whelks and edamame from the supermarket and we found a bottle of sake in her fridge. Afterwards, she practiced piano and I played on her new mbp.

in about me , esoteric meditations |

It occured to me last night that right now, I’m essentially jobless and homeless. True, all I have on me is what was in the luggage — mba, kindle, 2 iphones, passport, money, certificates, clothes and shoes. But the situation only sounds dire because it’s a snapshot of my current state while I wait for my shipment to arrive, and get some rest before I start making contacts. Therefore the snapshot is only valid as a statement of fact as opposed to an indication of wider circumstances. In other words, context.

I’m an impatient person, but some things I can wait. If I’d sat through the marshmallow test as a kid, I probably would have been able to wait — the reward for waiting is so much greater. Well, I hope anyway, because apparently those kids grow up to be smarter and thinner. It’s called delayed gratification, which upon reading seems to be another name for listening to your head vs your instinct. The other factor is that the reward is so bluntly stated. Wait x minutes and you get two marshmallows. What would have been even more of an incentive is if the child waited another x minutes, the number of marshmallows will double again. That becomes a no-brainer. Some things in life are obvious, I learned from a young age that when given 3 wishes, the third wish is always 3 more wishes. I also operate better with a goal. Witness how my running has gone pearshaped because I don’t have a goal race. Effort, temptation and reward are all intertwined.

Some comments in the article give an interesting perspective that I never thought about. That the delayed gratification outcome will only work if the kid trusts or knows that the adult will bring back a second marshmallow after the prescribed waiting time. Interesting for me, because I’d never doubt it, as a 4 year old and now as an adult. Is it a class thing? An education thing? A glass half-full thing? Going back to the jobless-homeless analogy, there is never any doubt in my mind that if I wanted to, I can find a job. What does that say about me, that I’m a fool or I have too much self-confidence. The homeless angle is irrelevant, my apartment is long paid for and requires very little financial maintenance.

That said, the main reason I’m being so laid back and not doing much is more likely to be laziness anyway. Delayed gratification may be another name for “I can’t be bothered.” Hee.

in how the day went |


Went with Mum to the market to do this week’s shopping. Ack. People everywhere. My idea of grocery shopping is pushing a trolley around a supermarket. Her version is going to the wet market in the middle of a crowded town centre and fighting your way through the narrow corridors and what seems to be the entire population of the world. And it was crowded on the train back. These people have no concept of either personal space or indoor voice. I know on travel programs they love places like this. I hate it.

in easily amused , family first |

I went over to Sis’ for lunch, and my niece asked if I could go to see the amazing bubbleman with her tonight. How could I refuse? So I took Sis’ place so she and R can go have dinner alone.

The Amazing Bubbleman is Louis Pearl, and he’s been playing with bubbles for over 30 years. It’s very much a show for kids, and there was a lot of audience participation. Some of the kids were quite loud and not so well behaved, not unexpected really given how excited they were. My niece put her hand up a few times but wasn’t picked. Pretty amazing skills, I enjoyed the show too. Especially liked the part where the bubble travelled up a piece of string, and when he blew 10 bubbles within each other. Needless to say, we bought the bubble trumpet at a huge “show special” markup. It’s part and parcel of the experience, I think.

in how the day went |


Yes, I woke up at 2am and didn’t get back to sleep till almost 5am. Woke up also to itchy eyes and runny nose. Ah, the dreaded pollution strikes again. I’d forgotten. So much so that I left my anti-histamine supply in the shipment. I have enough in my backpack to last about a week, so I have to ask my dad to get some more. Sigh. A day of rest and unpacking. Mum has 4 seasons of Fringe she’s watching, I took out the foot massage machine and watched a few with her.

in how the day went |


I know I’ll sound like a spoiled brat but I hate being in the lowest airmiles class. No priority boarding, although the announcement was vague and the staff member let me through before general economy boarding. I checked in as soon as the online window opened so I was able to switch to a second row window seat. The flight was full, there was a poor girl sitting in the middle seat. Watched The Avengers and a few eps of Glee, slept for about 5hrs. Luggage took forever to come out, the priority bags came quicky then there was no activity for a good 10mins. So much so that I had to go over to the desk to check. Ugh.

My parents, bless them, came to pick me up and we got home in a taxi quickly. Had dinner at the market they like going to — golden prawns, pigeon and vegetables. I was so hungry I even had half a bowl of rice.

Got really sleepy suddenly. I hope I won’t wake up in the middle of the night but I’m sure I will.

in eating and drinking |

hawksmoor filet tail

Flight tonight is at 8pm, so as long as I’m back at the room by 4pm I’m fine. I took the tube all the way out to Covent Garden and had lunch at Hawksmoor. Sigh. That wasn’t a surprise at all, right? Not a filet person, always finding it too bland. But I finally tried the filet tail they had on the board, plus bone marrow and a side of peas and lettuce. No dessert, moved to the bar for a Blanton’s though. And then got a free shot of Rittenhouse from the bartender when I told her that I was flying out. The end of an era, of sorts.

It’s a long way to go from Covent Garden to Heathrow, over an hour on the tube. There was enough time for a shower and final packing. Check-in was straightforward, at 21kg I wasn’t even overweight. I’m only bringing minimal clothes, the heaviest items in the suitcase are Prague sausages. I’m wearing my Highland Park t-shirt, and had a nice chat with the people at World of Whiskies. Flight looks to be full, I hope I can sleep.

in how the day went |


The movers did the final packing (bed, TV, other stuff) and started loading in the morning. They didn’t want to send the container to have it sit in a residential area for 2 days, so they transported the boxes to their depot in a couple trips — this was how they intended it, apparently, since the depot is in Park Royal, only a short hop on the A40. They were done and gone by lunchtime. Which meant I had the entire afternoon to clean. So I did, cleaned room by room. No vacuum cleaner, just a broom and pan from the pound shop, leftover swifter liquid, lime lite and lots of cloths. Looked pretty clean and spotless after I was done.

Booked a cab for 5pm, and so that was it. Saying goodbye to another home. For the next 24hrs I’m staying at the yotel at heathrow. I’d stayed there before, once before an early Chicago flight. They call themselves a cabin hotel, with small but functional capsules consisting of a bunk style bed, tv and small bathroom with monsoon shower. This time, the bed was on the upper level, so it involved a bit of climbing in and out. I did think about splurging and staying at a really nice hotel on Park Lane, or somewhere central near Paddington, but this was the best choice. Getting my luggage to heathrow means I don’t have to worry about it tomorrow, and can just get over to T3 after I’ve done whatever I want to do in London. Plus they don’t have check out times, booking is by the hour, so I can have a shower before I leave.

Settled for dinner at café rouge in T4. Good location at the departures level and good for relaxing and people spotting. Ordered moules marineres for starter and bavette et frites for main course. Confused the servers somewhat by not being in a hurry, I guess they’re mostly used to people on their way to catch a plane or meeting people or generally people with a timeframe.

Back to arrivals level and my little cabin for the night. Watched the Great British Bake Off (ah, I’ll miss this one) and Hell’s Kitchen USA. Caught the final ep of Hell’s Kitchen on youtube so I know the winner. I have most of the day tomorrow, have to decide where to have lunch.

And that, was my last full day in London.

in arts and media , sports active |

I missed the parade of heroes because the movers were here packing and I barricaded myself in a corner in the kitchen. They were done by mid-afternoon. The flat is now full of boxes ready to be loaded to the truck tomorrow. I’ve gone for groupage shipment so it won’t be the container that arrives in the morning. They will load my stuff into the next available container and I may have to share with other people.

The movers left the TV and bed. I looked at the schedule and there is nothing worth watching. No Clare Balding, no Lexi guide, no overly eager 5-min segments explaning the difference between the two types of rugby wheelchairs, no one running incredible races or swimming their hearts out or playing blindfolded ball games. And sob no Last Leg sob. #isitok to have gotten addicted to the most un-PC coverage of disabled sports?

in how the day went |


I should be reflecting on the Paralympics closing ceremony and the end of a glorious summer of sports. Too many thoughts still, which need to be organised and mulled over.

The other thing on my mind is this is my last weekend in London. The shipment people are coming tomorrow, the parking space has already been blocked on the street outside. I’ve been trying to get rid of stuff, but ended up buying more. More food. More wine. I have the charity stuff in a corner, my luggage in another, and cleaning / stuff not going in yet another place. Deep breath. That’s it. Another move.

in arts and media |

Took a little break from the Paralympics to catch the last night of the Proms. Always a boisterous and emotional and patriotic event, it didn’t disappoint. In a way, I wish I’d tried to get into the Hyde Park crowd, 40,000 people opposite Royal Albert Hall in a simucast with Belfast, Caerphilly and Glasgow. There was a surprise at Rule Britannia, when several members of Team GB and Paralympics GB rowing medal winners came on stage to show that Britannia does rule the waves. Perfect.

The walls are very thin here, so I have to keep the volume low but I did sing along with Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem and the National Anthem.

in sports active |

ldnpara00boccia ldnpara00tabletennis

I woke up early and was out of the door by 8.30am. Ah, rush hour on the tube. Had to remind myself not to go to Stratford and get on the DLR for Excel instead. Excel was much, much quieter than the Olympic Park, the security and everything else was efficient.

The only event taking place was boccia. Amazing game. Very slow, very quiet. Similar to bowls, and played by athletes with obvious great disability. It’s quite entrancing actually. I stayed for about half an hour. Then headed to the opposite hall for team table tennis. Both men and women’s matches, standing and wheelchair. Quite a job to keep track of 4 matches at the same time. Both matches involving China had them surging on in front quickly, they would win them easily.

ldnpara00fening ldnpara00volleyball

It was only 11am, and time for sport #3. Wheelchair fencing was amazing. The fencers weren’t allowed to come out of their wheelchairs. Each bout was 3mins, and to be honest, it took way longer to get them ready beforehand. There were 8 fights at the same time, it was a women’s team match with 3 team members each team fighting every member of the other team. With 9 bouts in total, there was a lot of volunteers running around and fixing wheelchairs. Vocal support for Team GB, who got hammered by top seed #1. Strange tug of loyalties for me, teehee.

I didn’t need lunch, having packed a bagel and bought fruit at M&S. The stalls were a bit sad, more about that later. Watched a bit more boccia and the end of the table tennis matches before heading back to the fencing semi-finals. Got a better seat this time, to watch the GB team as well as the extremely close HK vs China semi-final. Then it was across the hall to sitting volleyball. Watched the first set of Morocco vs Rwanda, then headed home. Could have stayed, GB was up next, but it was more than an hour away.

That was the problem with Excel. Unlike Horseguards or Lord’s, which were single events, it was sort of like the Olympic Park but much less so. The best things were that it was indoors and the walking between venues was less. Not a lot of atmosphere though, it was like going to a business conference and going from room to room taking in the various ongoing events. The sports and athletes were the same level of amazing though, from the severely impaired boccia players to the athleticism of the single-armed table tennis players.

In a way, I’m glad Excel was my last Olympic and Paralympic experience. If it were at the Park, I’d be more emotional. As it was, I just wanted to get home. It had been an inspiring, humbling summer of sports. I’ll never get to experience this again, and words can’t describe my feelings are about all the sports and venues I’ve watched.

in sports active |

ldnpara00tennis ldnpara00football

It is a truth universally acknowledged that all good plans never work out the way they were planned.

I got to the park around 10.30am to learn that there were no day pass seats left at the Riverbank for the 5-a-side football. So there went my well laid plans. A quick look at my schedule, and it was over to Eton Manor for the wheelchair tennis. OMG, it was a scorching day, we were all sitting right under the sun, and I’m sure I turned 3 shades darker. But what about the tennis? It was brilliant! All the rules of able-bodied tennis, except the ball is allowed to bounce twice. The skills and speed were great. I saw the #1 seed from France play the #3 seed from the Netherlands. The match was won by the French athlete.

By then I was desperate to get away from the sun. Over to the basketball arena to watch Australia vs Sweden in murderball. What a great match! Lots of banging, the wheelchairs really got a hammering. And lots of strategy too. Ryley Batt from Australia murdered the opposition (pun intended) and Australia won comfortably.

There was enough time to run back to the Riverbank to catch Brazil vs Argentina in the blindfolded 5-a-side football. Now I worry about Rio2016. I was sitting behind a Brazilian family and they had absolutely no discipline. In blindfolded football the crowd has to remain quiet so the players can hear the clinking of the ball, but this family kept talking, the kids whining and climbing all over the seats. The match was a 0-0 draw, and it went to penalties, which Brazil won. Very skillful playing, imagine dribbling and shooting in the dark. Huge admiration.

ldnpara00murderball ldnpara00goalball

It was by then 5.30pm, and I was pleased I’d seen 3 of the 4 sports on my list for today. Logically it’s over to the Copperbox to see goalball, but emotion won out. 7pm was the start of the murderball match between GB and France. It was very close, and the noise of the crowd stunning. Yes of course it’s home advantage, and we have used it, and will intend to use it, as much as we could.

I left at halftime. There was just enough time to go see goalball. More quietness. All I can say is, what a strange sport.

It was 8.45pm and time to head home. I still have Excel tomorrow so it’s not goodbye to the Paralympics. It is goodbye to the Olympic Park. I’d visited 4 times, walked miles and miles, from Orbit Circuit to Eton Manor. Sat at Park Live to watch the screen. Bought expensive beer and food. My lasting memory, I can’t pick on just one. It’s been amazing. Coming to see diving on that first day with mm was magical (and hot and bewildering). Watching the athletics on Tuesday was another piece of magic. The Paralympics was another highlight. I had a terrific time, a terrific day, have the utmost respect for all the athletes, feel so utterly proud to be British and privileged to have seen both Games in person.

in sports active |

I’ll be at the Paralympics for the next 2 days, the 2 day passes that were originally all I got. Olympic Park tomorrow and Excel on Friday. Access to sports other than athletics, swimming and cycling. I had thought that I should just go, walking around and see what’s available. But with visitors topping 1 million, some strategic planning is needed.

I don’t plan to be there too early, probably around 10-11am. At Olympic Park, the choices are 5-a-side football, goalball, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby. Studing the schedule and what teams have been announced:

  • 11.00-12.15: 5-a-side football, China vs GB
  • 1.30-4.00: goalball
  • 4.00-6.00: wheelchair tennis
  • 7.00-end: wheelchair rugby, France vs GB and Japan vs USA

A little bit of football is enough for me. Goalball is supposed to be quiet and relaxing. Tennis goes on all day, so it was useful to schedule. The first wheelchair rugby, aka murderball match started today, and it looks very interesting.

Friday’s plan:

  • 11.00-12.15: fencing, including a HK vs GB match
  • 12.30-3.00: table tennis
  • 3.00-5.00: boccia
  • 7.00-end: sitting volleyball

Again, the intriguing and new sports is boccia, probably the exact opposite of murderball. That murderball might end up being my new love.

in sports active |

ldnpara00T13 ldnpara00T54

It was impossible to resist, there were paralympics athletics tickets on sale last week. I’d never been to a track and field event before, and of course there is the opportunity of being inside the Olympic Stadium. My seat was in row 10, very close to the track, at the top end of the back straight where 200m races start. Would have liked to be on the other side, but it’s fine. Especially since I had an end seat overlooking one of the tunnels where athletes come out.

Field events took place all evening — 2 men’s shot put final (F35/38, I think and F40); men’s F20 long jump, which was nearby on my left and women’s F35/38 discus which took most of the field of play. Not a lot of attention from the announcers or screens, they went about their competition quietly. Well except the long jumpers, who got clapped on their approach run.

The track events got the bulk of the attention. There were final after final, in many different classes. There was a 100m, a couple of 200m and 400m but mostly 1500m. Every time a GB athlete competed, the noise of the crowd rose 1 million decibels. The most cheers were understandably for David Weir in the T54 1500m final, and when he raced to gold, it was pandemonium. So moving.

GB also won a silver and 2 bronzes on the night. The Russians did well, as did the Kenyans, Brazilians, and Assia El Hannouni of France, who won her third gold medal in T12 400m before retiring. Every so often there’d be a victory ceremony, a good opportunity to stand up and stretch our legs. The 2 Brazilians who won the 200m T11 race had the best celebration, I’d never seen anyone so happy at wnning medals. Lots of cheers for everyone, and they all deserved them.

in all about people |


I met JE and T for dinner at Hawksmoor. It’s totally my fault for not being aggressive enough to arrange to meet up, leaving it till my last week in London. Silly me. I remember meeting them at PTown 3 years ago. I’m so happy that we caught up and had a fantastic evening of conversation and good food. We’ll keep in touch online of course, I hope we don’t need to wait another 3 years to see each other again. Didn’t get a picture, this is the crumble I made in 2009 that brings back good memories.

in sports active |


Ran 12k around Hyde Park, and spent the rest of the day watching the Paralympics. The standout moments today — medals in the velodrome for GB, wheelchair basketball (my new love), T11 athletes running with their guides, Aled Davies of Wales receiving his discus gold medal from the Duchess of Cambridge. And that class 7 table tennis final between GB’s Will Bayley and Germany’s Joachen Wollmert. Will Bayley had endeared the entire nation yesterday with his unabashed joy at winning his semi-final, running and jumping up to his coach. He was understandably distraught at losing the final. The great moment for me was Joachen Wollmert, almost twice Will’s age (47 vs 24), who coaxed the weeping Briton up from the floor and acknowledged him to the crowd. Terrific sportsmanship.

As the Games progress, I’m learning more about the classification system. For instance I can now tell the difference between T13 and F46 in athletics as well as the various S-classes in swimming. The guides from the various newspapers helped, and certainly the graphical lexi interface on Channel 4 has been useful. I’m slowly warming up to C4’s coverage, still not happy about the ad breaks and the presenters talking over each other, to give them credit they are trying very hard. And hey, Clare and Ade in the evening works for me.

in sports active |

Watched quite a bit of Paralympics today. I only get one of the channels, and all Channel 4 seemed to be showing was swimming, cycling and athletics. Tiny bit of football and wheelchair basketball. A very emotional day, all the big stars performed — Oscar Pistorius set a world record in his first round 200m race, Ellie Simmond’s world record freestyle, Team GB cyclists and equastrian athletes.

Two images stayed with me today, on 2 extremes. I could only find the video for one though. The first, Omar Hassan from Djibouti finished his T46 1,500m race at over 11mins, 7mins behind the rest of the field, to a standing ovation. He is one of the single participant who got a wild card.

The second was Richard Whitehead’s gold medal in the T42 200m, how he simply powered through once he got going and round the bend. Visually, it was stunning, running through 2 other athletes. Tearjerking stuff.


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