Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Act X1, Sc XXV

So after my stomach has begun to quit whining about food poisoning, I start sneezing all day and as I type this, there's a familiar stuffiness in my nose and I can feel a flu coming on.

I guess pictures are not all i brought back from Jakarta.

And no, it was not the glorious street food, it was sushi at some yuppie up-market Holland V-ish place.



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I've been accused by various friends and ex-boyfriends of being a lover of Drama. I can say for sure that I've been quite successfully weaned off it.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Overload.

A typical scene on Friday night for me includes an argument about where to go, pros and cons are weighed, other alternatives are brought up, but generally discussions end with the consensus that Singapore's boring and there's nothing to do.

On a Friday night in Jakarta, only a fool would be at a loss of where to go.

In the last 48 hours (less actually, since I arrived mid-afternoon on Thurs), I've realised that this city is crazy. Of course it also required extremely thick-skinned behaviour on my part, and I am not exaggerating when I say that i'm solely dependent on the kindness of strangers this trip.

So there was a midnight bike ride through the highways and streets with a member of the hotel staff that had agreed to bring me on a tour after he knocked off his shift at midnight. We streaked past Blok M, something like Tanjong Pagar bar area gone mad, and the yuppified Kemang area. Then there was the Kramat Jati wholesales market at 2 am in the morning, which I would have not been prepared for if i had not already been to Kawan Bazaar in Dhaka.

I met mostly expats yesterday, during my tour to a couple of bars with the Dutch man who owns them. Lots of oil and gas players, teachers from international school and various others.

There was a man from Nashville, a pot-bellied, pig-faced man with 20-year-old twin daughters back home, an oil and gas engineer who drank his double shot whisky and grabbed waitresses hands and waists, making the young girls squeal. He took out a thick wad of 100,000 Rupiah notes and I started to take photos. He said, "Wait, I'll give you something to shoot."

And he reached into his pocket and brought out another wad of money, a rolled-up stack of US hundred-dollar bills, and began peeling them off in slow motion and I just kept shooting. He threw one on the table, and told his waitress-darlings to go "spilt it amongst themselves".

"Men are animals," said the Dutch bar. I couldn't agree more.

A song came on in the bar, some woman singing about what the meaning of love is.

"I used to love this song. What is love?" he said. "Now I don't give a fuck."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Breather

Go Away

I leave for Jakarta on Thursday.

Slightly bittersweet. I've been aching to travel, but this is really a make-or-break chance for me to prove to my bosses that they didn't hire a good-for-nothing. So it'll be horribly stressful, but I'll be enjoying it in a perverse way.

It didn't turn out to be the gritty trip I expected it to be. As of 10 pm tonight, a last minute grasp yielded me a beautiful room in a beautiful hotel. This is more than what I expected, which was nothing, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't fucking overjoyed.

I'll rough it if I have to rough it. No problems with that. If I get a free stay in an four-star hotel with awesome clean sheets and a bar, well... I suppose this would be a good time to talk about how nice hotel rooms make me unbelievably happy.

I love them! I just hate the price. I love the tucked-in sheets, the nicely arranged toiletries, the neatly folded towels, the bathrobe hanging in the cupboard, even the freakin' free writing pad and pen.

But mostly now, i'm just glad I have a place to stay.



Seeya soon.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Idols

I had actually typed a rather unhappy post, the usual mid-morning pessimistic rant, till I got distraced with all the American Idol chatter and decided to watch old clips of my undisputed favourite of all time - Elliot.

Few things can lift my mood so drastically. Ah well, what can I say, that man's voice makes me very very happy.





Bike lesson again. Went fairly well. I personally think I could've passed it, but maybe they're just not comfortable letting a girl pass a lesson on the first try. And I don't blame them, really. The three girls in the same class as me certainly did not inspire any confidence whatsoever, and all they did today was to prove to anyone watching that there are just some things girls can't do.

Ok bad move, that was the point of the prior unhapp post that I had managed to erase. If I start talking about stereotyping i'm going to have to watch Elliot again and I have to sleep, so I won't.





Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Everyman

"Or had he run to painting in an attempt to deliver himself from the knowledge that you are born to live and you die instead?"
- Everyman, Philip Roth




I hadn't finished a good book in a long time. Hell, I don't even think I've actually read a book in months. But the book was a gift, and it came highly recommended so I stuck with it. Initially tedious, since I'm not usually a fan of memoir-types, having started out with Stephen King and John Grisham, I have a tendancy to prefer my books fast-paced.

But it ended up with me reading on the steps of the MRT station, getting up only when the shutters were coming down, and devouring the last page while standing motionless in the middle of the pavement under a street lamp.

Last night, I fell asleep in the middle of reading. I think that's one of the basic pleasures of life that I seldom have a chance to enjoy. You're hardly in the mood to read when you're exhausted.

But the book is good, though slightly depressing. I don't deal well with philosophical insights on death and mortality. Not recently, since I've been thinking about Jesse and Yen.




I'm restarting the gym visits after a two-week hiatus. On Monday I ran till I felt as if my lungs were going to give out, and when I stopped five minutes before the usual quota there were those tell-tale white spots in my vision that made me think I might collaspe. If there's anywhere less embarassing to have a fainting spell than in a gym and on a treadmill - well I'd like to know.

It was probably because I only had two hours of sleep the night before, and today's session went much better. No white spots, at least.

Gave myself an undeserved treat and watched 28 Weeks Later. I enjoyed it thoroughly, because in spite of my inability to cope with death and such, I actually enjoy it on the big screen. People can be so strange sometimes. There's a line someone told me recently, about how people deal with their fears by turning them into fantasies. I guess this must be it.

A movie experience for me requires three things. One, a sweater because I don't like being cold when I can be warm. Two, a drink. Three, centre seats as close to the screen as possible without having to strain my neck and eyes.

So today's was perfect because I had all three.




One the way to the MRT station after the movie, I saw a couple that had just finished shopping at Carrefour, carrying a couple of shopping bags each. The man was Caucasian, in his early 40s I reckon. The woman, a petite Chinese in a green dress, probably around mid-30s, although I know she'll be insulted if she knew I guessed that.

The man wanted to take enter the MRT station, presumably to take the train. He turned and started up the steps, only to stop midway because of something the woman was saying to him.

I couldn't really hear her words, but I did hear those she repeated emphatically, as if saying it more would make it more true.

"I'm tired."Pause. Repeat.

The man replied, gesturing towards the station. The woman scowled, and kept walking slowly towards the main road while continuing to talk and repeating those two words again and again.

At one point, she stopped and looked him sternly and scowl-wingly and said, "I'm TIRED" in a way that was suppose to end the argument.

Her scowl was horribly irritating. It did end the argument, and I suppose they went off to hail a cab.

Maybe they just had a fight. Maybe she has a leg conditon that makes it painful for her to be on her feet too long. Maybe she just got fired or had a dose of bad news.

Let's hope she has her reasons, because if a woman as unpleasant as that can find someone to tolerate her, I can't even begin to wonder what's wrong with me.






Oh! Did I just say that! Here we go, the wallowing!

I'm kidding. No wallowing. I just read a book about a man who died with nothing after having everything, so I should be allowed to muse for a bit.

And that is not a plot giveaway, I assure you.