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Friday, October 10, 2014

Samadhi Air

NOW EVERYONE CAN FLY(to Tioman Island)!!!!
From 12 Oct 2014, there'll be 3 flights a week from Subang Airport to Tioman (Tues, Fri and Sun - do ignore wrong info on the edm above).
Bookings are open to EVERYONE (not only our JapaMala guests). 
For queries and detailed information, call +032161 0769 or email flights@samadhiretreats.com

 Facebook : Samadhi Retreats 
Instagram : samadhi_retreats

 



Bruce Lee & I


"There are no limits. There are only plateaus. But you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee




"Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one." - Bruce Lee

Monday, July 28, 2014

The First & The Last, The Beginning & The End

My very first show at the old studio (Ampang) shortly after it opened. This was kinda like the 'opening party' and I was so very nervous as I've just recently been 'Bobbi-fied' hence the slow-rock song choice. I remember I choreographed this piece whilst driving back from Singapore on one of our trips... and I surprised myself actually as the combos and moves I had visualized seemed to fall right into place so it didn't take as long as it would usually take for me to put something nice together. A great start I'd say!


And this, was my last show before we moved away to Bangsar - 3 years later. It was also an emotional time and this Korean song, oh.... I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. Such a beautiful song don't you think?!

Miss this space and all the hardship that came with it! I trained and trained, failed and failed, tried again and again, it was in this space that I challenged myself, discovered myself, built myself, molded myself, and became myself. As the saying goes "you are what you are today because of what you did yesterday". Here's to growing more terrific tomorrows!



My first magazine shoot. With JUST DANCE magazine in 2010 :














And my my last magazine shoot at the old studio with NEW TIDE magazine in Aug 2013 :





Sunday, July 27, 2014

TIRAMISU : Pole Dancing in Malaysia



It has been a very very very long time since I last posted anything.... this clip is my latest and a real 'tiramisu' (pick-me-up) therefore I shall start with this.

With so much to do and so little time, I do most of my postings on Instagram and Facebook instead these days, so look me up!

FACEBOOK : Maple Asaro
INSTAGRAM : @mapleloo
TWITTER : @BobbisPoleMsia

Hope life's been especially good for you as it has been for me in the last so many months!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 Body Talk!

Lifestyle Asia recently published an article on how to get rid of holiday weight. And YAYY!! Bobbi's Pole Studio Malaysia got recommended!


Speaking from experience, as a dancer and fitness enthusiast all my life, there's no other way faster and more effective for women in shedding fats and getting lean and toned like pole training.




And because pole dancing is a weight-bearing exercise, it's particularly great for our bones and joints as it increases our bone density. Strengthens our joint, ligaments and tendons too.





And when we pole dance, we're doing body-weight training - we learn to handle and manage our own weight as we hoist our body off the ground, upside down or  while spinning on the pole by using our arms, upper body strength and core power. Overtime, our arm, core and upper body strength will gradually develop as our muscles are working and stimulated on a consistent basis.

Body-weight training is a fantastic alternative for women who dislike weight-lifting at the gym. What we do in class is a complete strength and flexibility method that will give women a lean yet feminine physique because we combine dance, stretching and body-weight training to equip the body not just with muscular power but also conditioning your small muscles (that we don't see) that prevent injuries. 




Many things happen to your body all at once when you pole train. It is not an easy craft either! But because it's so much fun, you won't even realize you're working your body so hard; you won't feel bored and you certainly could never get enough of it! HAH!

I hope you've set some fitness goals for 2013. Whatever you choose to do to achieve these goals, make sure it's an activity you LOVE and enjoy doing or you won't be motivated enough to stick with it. And understand how food works. Make an effort to learn what's good and bad for your diet so you see real results in your workouts. There's always a choice - make the right one. You don't wanna sabotage your own goals:)




Anyway, click here to read the article by Lifestyle Asia! Yeah! Come 2013, we're spinning on a new axis! Skinny is out and strong is IN! Yeah STRONG is definitely sexier, isn't it.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

Magical Marrakech

 
No, 'magical' didn't happen straight away. 
Imagine no fresh clothes to change into after some 13 hours flight (and no panties for the next 2 days??). To arrive in the miserably cold-and-wet slump-city sure lit my fire in all the wrong places. So, it did not start off nice at all. We had arrived from Istanbul, our bags however did NOT (I had a sick feeling already when we got off the plane). Many of our associates and friends told us later, some have lost their luggage, others stolen at this airport. Bloody hell if only we had known earlier??!
 
Anyway, several boiling moments with SUPER rude airport staff, a few kilometers on foot between terminals and a couple of wasted hours of waiting later, we could only be sure of one thing - we won't get a call from anyone tomorrow even if our bags do get into this forsaken airport. Sure enough we did NOT. Good thing we got to the airport an extra hour earlier before our flight to Marrakech. Ridiculous as it sounds, we had to search for our bags ourselves. Like rummage-through-the-piles type search - what a friggin mess! Heaps of luggage sprawled on the floor all around the entire belt area, some stacked on top of one another, others still lying on the conveyor belts unattended. I reckoned why bother asking anyone for anything. YES! We found ours but oops rejoicing too soon. Ali baba and his thieves had been in friggin action... great. The insides of my bag was as much of a mad house like their Casablanca road traffic system. Every zip opened, every pouch emptied and everything well and truly ransacked. They however stole only one thing from me.... but it was my favorite Juicy Couture gold-plated chain necklace - one which I've had for years:( The fucker probably thought he scored big on gold??! My hubby's silver cufflings were gone too. Not a fitness freak nor a Madonna fan I suppose? My Nike trainers and the bunch of Addicted To Sweat DVDs were untouched. So there it was, a very bad start. 

Casablanca is exactly what it is, a FICTIONAL romantic American film. Well, perhaps back in the day the city might have been splendid, sophisticated even. I pictured The Great Gatsby... and I equated Casablanca to elegance. Now seeing is believing, Casablanca is better off as a swear word. The capital city of Morocco too! I mean, REALLY???! Nowhere to see, to go or do (not even the beach front of the Atlantic Ocean). Nothing. The slump is a sad sight and the airport is but one big shit hole. Sorry. Unorderly, filled with rude hostile scary people, just practically a nightmare of a place. Even cab drivers are pretty hopeless. Do haggle your price before getting on. No meter system.

There was however something positively memorable though. I had the best Lamb Tagine here at a restaurant called Al Mounia - the most delish yet (even after Marrakech).  It was here in Casablanca that I've had my first ever taste of a real Moroccan restaurant, decor and all.

And my first ever Hammam experience was also here. Yeah.... decided to let off steam at the Art Palace Spa Hotel where we stayed. A good wash in a hot place I thought, sounded like heaven! Quite a nice little space in the basement with a heated (though not hot enough) rock pool. But the steamy hot bath room was nice

So I had this chick come in and washed my whole body. Decadent! She smeared this black paste all over my body while I was lying down on this hot marble bed. Mmmmm I felt like Cleopatra haha! I found out later, they call this black paste Savon Noir which is made of olive oil, very nourishing stuff my skin felt good). Then she put on the kissa glove (more like sand paper!!!!!) and scrubbed the life out of me!!!! I didn't quite expect it to be so uncomfortable.... even painful! Then she washed all that stuff off me including all my disgusting dead skin, then smeared me all over with a white paste this time. Then she left me in the hot room to steam for about 10 minutes. AaaaHhhhhh..... I like this part. When she came back in, she washed everything off me again. I felt new! But more importantly I felt CLEAN! I paid 900 Dirham (about 90 Euros - quite steep when you can do it at a local hammam for only 10 Dirham? Then again, can't guarantee how hygenic any local ones are). Oh, beware of Arab men who WILL try to pick you up. Just one day in Casablanca is just about enough;)
Then magic finally happened. And the magic word is MARRAKECH. It's everything I've seen and heard and more. This place is a million mystique with a thousand labyrinths of hidden ancient secrets. From the old city (medina) to the new 'vogue' of town (Gueliz), this place is intriguing all the same....from its magic shops to its foul- smelling leather - I'm quite bewitched.  
When I come back next year, it'll be a mega shopping trip for home decor. I love those jars and iron lamps and tribal crafts and overstuffed sofas. No more camel-urine treated leather goods please... uggghhhh. Carpets this time perhaps! The medina (the old city) is a shopping mecca. From Jemaa El-Fna, which is the big square that leads to the maze of souks, you'll find snake charmers with cobras and rattlesnakes sprawled all over the ground (avoid taking any pictures unless you're prepared to pay them something), henna-tattoo women in burqa (some would hassle you), waterboys, storytellers, all congregate with hordes of locals. 
And this square gets extremely crowded in the evenings when food vendors also set up stalls, turning this place into a busy market. Though I would never test my gut with boiled snails in brown soup or boiled sheep-head, I wouldn't have minded a Berber Lamb Tagine with Basmati rice! I'm not too fond of Chicken Tagine because of the olives. Olives here are foul for some reason?? That took me by surprise.
Gotta watch out for your purse AND ass ladies! Marrakech is unfortunately not safe for a woman or even 2 women to wonder about all by herselves. I wouldn't want to frankly... beware of scams too. Some younger males would appear friendly, chatty and offer to take you around the souks - NO THANKS. Most local men here look kinda scary... and  dubious in their hooded djellaba, rather shabby and dirty too. Kind of reminds me of medieval monks. The whole red city looks like a movie set from another time - it feels beautiful and scary, exotic and dangerous all at the same time!
 The ancient-looking people, the nomads, the beggars, the donkey carts, the mudbrick houses, sandstone walls, the bustling souks. Life goes on here like it had done for centuries... 
 
 
  
  
 
 
 So it WAS a famous movie set afterall! Sex in the City 2 was filmed here in the souks too.  While I was excited to go check out the souks, I couldn't wait to explore the prospects of my shopping in the local boutiques too! I've discovered a few owned by expat-fashionistas who have guided Sarah Jessica Parker and other Hollywood celebrities around the souks and to the elegant stores when they visited. One shop was Atika (very popular shop for their buttery-soft Tods and Prada knock-offs under their own label) and Michele Baconnier's quirky ethnic-fusion fashion line. Disappointed however that shopping in these boutiques was so ridiculously expensive!! Much more than in Europe!!!? Caftans, jewellery and shoes sold in boutiques are usually a minimum of 1000 DIRH (that's like 100 Euros). I preferred spending my money and time getting lost in the souks. Which will take at least 2 days. The maze can be pretty confusing, I couldn't remember at all where I came out from which narrow alley. 


There're tons of shoe shops selling huge assortments of those buttery-soft-on-the-inside babouche slippers of different colors and embroidery. And I noticed each shop offers something a little bit different - whether it's the design or materials used or color combo. Heaps cheaper too which you can bargain from just 150 DIRH a pair!! Warning however, they didn't smell at first during my stay. I even wore them around! Even the leather bags and leather trinkets weren't smelly - until I left Morocco! The stench has become so unbearable that I can't even keep them in the house! They even stink up my fingers after I touched them!!!? I bought a pair of super soft ballet flats (suede on the outside, butter-soft on the inside) from Michele Baconnier - I can't even put my nose near them now let alone sink my feet in:(:( That's very upsetting.
I also bought raffia bags laced with big gold sequins but realized only later that the straps are leather. YES I had stinky shoulders too :( Ok...on to happier things. FOOD. While spending time in the souks or the main square, keep a lookout for these delicious crispy-outside-chewy-inside  cookies called Ghoriba - they're absolutely divine and sell for only 1 DIRH each. BUY!!!!!




Also, if you're a real nutter like me, don't miss out on buying pistachios, almonds and walnuts! They're the freshest and sweetest I've had. But buy them only from inside the souks because it's cheaper compared to vendors at the main square (almonds at 85 DIRH/100g compared to 120DIRH).

Other rare but good finds include prickly pears, which is a cactus fruit found only in arid places. They're juicy and sweet and watching the vendor cut open the fruit so swiftly for his eager customers makes prickly-pear-eating in the medina one holistic experience (between 1 to 3 DIRH each). Most foreigners don't know what this is but my tortoises do very well indeed. So of course, I 'ta pau' some home!  
 Talk about rare finds, you should definitely NOT leave Marrakech without 'Herpes'! As the Moroccan saying goes "Everything is possible but nothing is certain." And nothing is quite what it seems. See that's the magic of Marrakech... There're magic shops and lot of herbalists within the labyrinth of souks. And you can't say you've gone to shop in the exotic Marrakech if you didn't come home with some of Morrocan's best kept secrets, right?  Well, electric colors and intoxicating smells exuding from these stores are alluring. In there they make natural balms, oils, creams, make-up and remedies for all sorts of skin and health disorders... with herbs, plants and seeds I've never seen or heard before! I find that so interesting, so fascinating! 
And I can't help but be bemused by this 'Herpes' balm which in fact is an all-natural lipgloss. It has a light red tint too, apparently naturally colored with poppy flowers and made with saffron as the active ingredient in aid of herpes outbreaks. This makes such a great gift and a good laugh!


WHAT TO BUY from herbalists :
  • Savon Noir (hammam black soap)
  • Kohl make-up
  • Moroccan Mint Tea
  • Amber cubes (used as moth balls - sold in grams)
  • Musk cubes (body deodorant - sold in grams)
  • Nigella seeds + Eucalyptus crystals (for colds)
  • Argan Oil (for cosmetic use)
  • Pumice stones
  • Natural red lipstick (stained by poppy flowers)
  • Saffron (if you fancy)
  • Tagine spices
  • crystal mineral rock (deodorant)
 I swear by Argan Oil. For hair, face, body - it's amazing stuff. Morocco is Argan country and produces the best kind of oils. I was so lucky to have stumbled upon this little hole in the wall which happened to be the Argan production run by the Women's Co-op. They're less commercial, slightly cheaper and fresh. How perfect! They sell both edible and cosmetic Argan Oil of superb grade, powerfood Argan-Almond-Honey paste which taste divine on bread, Argan soaps, creams, balm etc... which I bought loads of.
All of these shops however take only cash. So be sure to bring enough! (Heh... is it ever??). Be sure to haggle with vendors too because it's just the nature of shopping here. Including taxi drivers! Don't be afraid you'll offend anyone when you walk away from a vendor... you might end up with quite a bargain, like I did! I actually ran outta cash so in the end I paid just 400 DIRH instead of 700 for a necklace I really love! And  feel free to joke and respond in a friendly manner to vendors even if they're annoying like hell 'looking is free' they would say...  
I got a scare at first. When we first got on foot to explore the old city, there was a very friendly man who spoke perfect English, mocking all the other men who tried to lure us for a city tour. My hubby chatted with him as we walked, making an effort to be nice. The man was kinda nice, he offered to guide us into the souks since he was heading there anyway so he said. He recommended where to go and what to see and led us through the narrow allies, snaking deeper and deeper into the souk. There were other men at corners, just standing around... we were getting alot of looks too. I was quite overwhelmed with caution by then and felt terribly uncomfortable following him in. The maze is very disorientating, tight and dark at some parts. We've never ever seen a souk before and I think I wasn't quite prepared to feel so 'enclosed' in a strange place, I was very reluctant to go any farther with this strange man as thoughts of us getting robbed and attacked clouded my head! Before I could signal to my hubby, the man knocked on an old little wooden door. One of the more popular hotels in there it seems, he thought we might like to have a look. I was tugging at my hubby's sleeves signaling 'enough!', "no no I'm not going in there!' at the same time trying to look calm and continue to smile:( Then the door opened. We walked in. And that was the first time I saw a riad

It wasn't the most spectacular but it was pretty charming... like the many holes in the wall within the souks which often led into a hidden palace with courtyard and garden within, this one has a long lap pool fashioned with colorful tiles, flanked by fountains, orange trees and high pillars and higher floors. WOW. What a pleasant surprise!  
 Later, I tried to lose this strange but nice man by running quickly into a herbalist shop just outside the riad - it worked, thank god. He insisted we see this carpet shop first which annoyed me because I don't like to be told where and how to shop. So I planted myself inside this herbalist shop and there was where I discovered 'Herpes' and the many other awesome stuff:)
  
Many believe Marrakish are generally nice, non-hostile folks. I remember hearing 'konichiwa', 'chotto matte' and the occasional 'tokyo' or 'kawaii' as I brisked past. I know Marrakech is a very popular destination for the Japanese. In fact, I heard the word Marrakech for the first time while learning a Japanese song when I was 15 
 
Intriguing place. One gets a 'hocus pocus' feel too. Kinda wild I must say... some of the stuff these people sell! What NOT to buy in Marrakech : Spur-thighed Tortoises and chameleons. I'm a reptile lover and it breaks my heart to see so many tortoises (some really tiny hatchlings) stacked on top of one another, cramped inside a metal cage for sale. Not sure why the locals would buy them? At the stunning Riad El Fenn that we stayed in, I was so thrilled to discover 4 spur-thighed tortoises hibernating in a corner!!! I've never seen one before so handling them, checking for their spurs and studying them was quite a trip for me. The managers told me they were bought by guests who felt sorry seeing them in those cages hence bought them and offered to the Riad as resident pets. 
 
View from my hotel room : Atlas Mountain
  So 4 nights at Sofitel was komsi-komsa. It's a gorgeous hotel, no doubt. Beautiful pool, good gym, super house-keeping, free WIFI, fabulous view of the Atlas Mountain from my balcony... and best of all, their breakfast buffet O.M.G. absolutely world-class!!! Mmmmmm.... those sweet juicy freshest pomogrenate I've ever tasted, I had heaps of them every morning! The best breakfast I've experienced since Cape Grace in South Africa. 
Gorgeous Sofitel Marrakech in full Moroccan flavor

Am also hooked on their Orange Flower signature scent... so Marrakech... so memorable. While this special scent reminds you that Sofitel is a 5-star  establishment the moment you step into their lobby, interaction with their French-speaking-only frontline staff and rather ill-mannered Concierge (one particular individual) blew it off like a gust of chill wind. But I wouldn't consider staying here a bad decision at all. The worst decision we made EVER was to stay in Riad El Fenn for only just one night!!!
the epitome of Marrakech - a city of unexpected secret places
a sanctuary of the most stylish
so chic so charming - that's my seat!


common living

my room!
In-room toiletries!!!
The hanging garden... the riad's main pool
Stairway to heaven
the spa pool

the spa lounge

the spa lounge
amazing attention to detail
Rooftop Terrace

Morocco - a very cold country with hot sun

my next hang-out!
Of crimson &Branson
(Riad El Fenn is owned by Vanessa Branson - sister of Richard Branson)
my absolute favourite spot for hot mint tea
this hole in the wall will leave you breathless and famished for more...
I'm however not sated, not yet spent. We'll be back!



DON'T :
- Forget to pack fresh underwear + a shawl + a hoody jacket in your carry-on (if you must fly into Casablanca - GOOD LUCK).
- Leave home without your Uggs.
- Hesitate to stay, have a meal or at least check out the legendary La Mamounia Hotel - it's a fairytale fantasy!
- Miss the belly (fat) dancing at Jad Mahal Restaurant - it's hilarious! Gorgeous venue though!
- Worry of getting lost in the souks. Take a guided tour of the medina.
- Have enough cash? Shop at the airport instead! After immigration inside the international boarding gates, there's this little unpretentious shop just as you step off the escalator. Excellent local products including Argan Oils and soaps scented with amber which smell amazing!

- Go home without buying a Morrocan teapot to enjoy your Mint Tea! It just tastes better hahaha. And if you'd like to buy some Morrocan grown and produced teas, go to the TCHABA tea shop just opposite Palais De Congres. Fantastic range of teas. My favourite is the Vanilla Sencha which I drank every morning at Sofitel;) You could pick up a teapot from there too, it's the same price as in the souk.

- Be afraid to try something totally wierd and wonderful girls. Here's for eyes and lips! Use Kohl like the way  Cleopatra did and use red poppy petals to stain your lips. Now you can say you've lived the magic;)



  






 


































  





 






















































































































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