Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Feminine Hands


On a Tuesday. 

Why not.


A male student walks into the staff room and sits down next to me. 

After the usual conversation openers,

Student: Look. 

He does a slow, glamorous "jazz hands" in my face. 

The little finger on each hand has a coat of glittery nail polish. 


Me: What? Why?

Student: I have very feminine hands. I was testing it out. 

[he was A LOT happier than this...]

Me: …right. Then you decided to do a second nail as well…?

Student: Yeah. To balance it. 

He rolls his fingers dramatically. 

Well with that logic....

Me: Why didn't you just do the whole hand?

Student: Too dangerous. Gays. 

Me: :O

He chuckles, philosophically. 

Student: I don't know why they always come to me. I need to build up my body. I have quite a chick-ly look….

Me: :O


I just stared...

Friday, 6 September 2013

If You're Gonna be a Noob, Don't Go Shouting About it...


3 months away from the blog and I still get readers.


Did I tell you about the time I got ripped off for being a noob..?

[taken with my own fair hand]

My friend and I rented a motorbike in Bali. 

Ultimate freedom and fun. 

And danger...because, of course, we didn't really know how to use it.

Luckily though, the rental guy gave us a quick lesson. 

Then he told us about the petrol. 

Rental Guy: Now, there is1 litre of petrol inside. Add 2 more and the tank will be full. Ok?

Us: Ok!

Me: How much should it cost?

Rental Guy: 1 litre, 5000 rupiah.

Me: Ok.

So after wobbling precariously across a stupidly busy road, we were up and running and headed for the petrol station. 

Trying to cross busy roads, slowing down, speeding up, not fall off….all was a bit of a trial and was accompanied by MANY shrieks and MUCH giggling, which could no doubt be heard for miles around. 

We turned into the petrol station and hopped off.

The moto-pump was run by an attendant who motioned for us to open the seat. 

We both looked at the seat for a while.

Then each other.


Then burst out laughing - this was not covered in the lesson!

The guy smiles and does it for us. 

We pay the 10 000 rupiah (for 2 litres) and wait while he pumps. 

After what is a ridiculously short amount of time, he's done. 

As he pulls out the pump I see inside the tank…..it doesn't look full….but maybe…it is? Or maybe the rental guy was exaggerating? Or something? Whatever. 

We get back on and as we swerve and scream our way out of the petrol station, video'd by some amused Balinese on their phone cameras, I look at the petrol dial. 

Me: Is that thing in the same place as before..?

Friend: What?

Me: The petrol dial. Was it in that place before?

Friend: ….was it?

Me: Ya, it's supposed to be full now! It's the same as before!

Friend: Whaaat??

Me: OMG he didn't put ANY petrol in!!!!!! 


He literally didn't put anything in the tank. 

Just put the pump in and laughed to himself about his free money. 


Saw us coming a mile off…… 

We stopped later at a tiny roadside petrol stall and watched as a LOVELY man poured the correct amount of petrol into the bike, from his little glass jars. 

And never went back the petrol station......

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Walking to Malaysia

It was a simple enough task. 

Upon exiting the Woodlands checkpoint in Singapore, get on the bus (which we had used to arrive just hours earlier) and take the 15 minute drive to the Malaysian checkpoint in Johor Bahru. 

It was 11pm.

So we exited.  

There was a waiting bay for mini-buses. 

And there were signs for Coaches & JB pointing straight ahead. 

So we followed the signs.

Down some stairs. 

Into a creepy, dark alley. 

Me: O.O

Friend: See, this is how Singapore treats Malaysia…

I was genuinely waiting for a man with a knife to jump out.

But he didn't. 

We came out of the creepy tunnel, alive.

No bus stop. 

Just Causeway. 

Us: :S

We looked back - perhaps because it was so much brighter on that side, looking down there it was pitch black.  

The creepy tunnel was no longer creepy tunnel but DEATH tunnel. 

Any sensible girl - no, any person - would steer WELL clear of that. 

Friend: Maybe the bus stop is a bit further on?

We stood…unsure. 

And a bit lazy. 

Looked back into the tunnel. 

And there emerged a boy, about 18, his white polo shirt glowing out of the darkness. 

He walked past us, really fast, and onto the Causeway. 


Friend: Lets go and see..?

Me: Ok.

There's a pavement. 

We follow it, and the boy, around the corner and see the few km of road stretching ahead, cars, bikes and buses rushing past in both directions. 

No sign of a bus stop. 

But we're still walking...

Me: So…are we walking to JB?

Friend: :|

Me: :|


That is exactly what is happening.

We just kept walking. 

Cos there was a pavement AND a boy, so it must be fine. 

And what fun?! 

Who knew you could do this?

We found the "0" marker - exactly on the border!!

Wah. So cool. 

[Singapore behind me, Malaysia ahead...]

So it was all quite jolly until the last 1km. 

When suddenly the pavement stopped. 

There was a big wire fence and there was road. 

Me: :O

Friend: :O

Me: But the boy? How did..? Where..?

Suddenly realising we lost him after taking all our photos, perhaps we should have followed him more closely.

: /

Now imagine - if we were unwilling to turn back at the edge of the tunnel, how about now - walking so many km AND the tunnel??

We looked up and down the Causeway for a while, helpless. 

Friend: The edge of the bike lane. Let's go. 

Me: :|

This part was not so much fun. 

But we managed not to get hit by anyone.

And at last, we reached the glorious, glorious immigration building.


Me: How normal do you think this is, on a scale of 1 to 10?

Friend: Um, minus 5??

Me: Oh...

We walked past a room with a polis man sitting inside, who watched us walk by. 

Kept going, looking for someone to tell us what to do next, I suppose. 

From above we heard shouting. 

It was two polis men on a balcony, gesturing behind us. 

We turned. 

The sitting polis man had stepped out of his room and was standing with his hands on his hips, his face a curious mix of rage and wonder.

Delayed reaction.

Polis: Where you're going??

Me: Um…Malaysia?

Polis: Hah?!

Obviously, right...

Me: : /


At this point he turned his rage from the obviously clueless mat salleh to my Malaysian friend, shooting a tirade of questions at her in Malay, including things like, what are you doing? How did you get here? You cannot simply walk into Malaysia! How about your passport? Where are you going to get a chop? Enter Malaysia without chop then you are entering illegally, what are you doing????

The best part was when, although she was answering FANTASTICALLY about our useless innocence and naivety, he still looked mad.

Me: Tell him about the boy!

Friend: Ah! Ada orang lain, dia pun jalan! Kita ikut dia. 

Polis: Di mana sekarang dia?

Friend: Er…saya tak tau. Dia hilang. 

Polis: Hilang?!?


Quickly change the subject.

Eventually he realised we were just silly and told us we couldn't use the bike entry lane but we had to go back and use the car entry lane. 

Which doesn't really make any sense. 

So we had to walk a few hundred meters the WRONG way down the bike lane, which was by far the most dangerous part of the journey.


Then another polis officer saw us, asked us very similar questions, looked equally confused, but then moved barriers and stopped cars to allow us safely into the building.

He pointed us up some stairs where we joined all the bus passengers who'd just (happily) got off their buses. 

Not really a big deal then, what?

That's all we were looking for - it's not as if we were TRYING to walk into Malaysia without a stamp. 

Because if we wanted to do that, we could have easily jumped into the sea or climbed over the wire fence…


So we got our passports stamped and there we were. 

Safely and legally back in Malaysia. 


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Nasi Kandar & Fake Malaysians

I was having a catch up with my friends. 

Soon enough the conversation turned to makan.

And I discovered that my Malaysian friend is not really Malaysian after all. 

Friend: Oh, I had the best food the other day. 

Me: Oh ya?

Friend: Nasi Kandar.


Friend: My first time ever, it's soooo delicious. 

Me: :O

Friend:  So much of food! :)

Me: :O

Friend: You know, they mix the curries an' all, 6, 8, different curries? So delicious! 

Me: OMG, I know?!?!?! I eat nasi kandar EVERY DAY?! 

Friend: :)

Me: How was that your first time? How have you never eaten it before? It's like…everywhere? 

Friend: I don't know. I've never had it before

[borrowed from kopi-n-pes.blogspot.com ...thanks ;) ]

Me: In the mamak shop? Never?

Friend: Nope. 

Me: How is that even possible??

And she's Indian. 

How IS that possible?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Gili Islands: Bicycles and Flash Lights

Another cycling adventure!

We went for a sunset dinner - on the beach, overlooking a distant Bali. 

It was too beautiful. 

Colourful skies. 

White sand. 

Ibiza-lounge chill out music. 

Coconuts & delicious food. 

Fire dancing. 


Then we had to go home. 

By now, this underpopulated half of the island was pitch black. 

Totally dark. 

We started to cycle and I happened to look up. 

The stars were INCREDIBLE!

[i didn't even try to take a picture.]


10 thousand more than I've ever seen. 

Imagine the most starry sky you've seen - then throw glitter into that picture. 

Me: Chap….

I had to stop.

Me: Look at the stars...

Friend: Keep moving!



It was a little scary. 

Then suddenly out of the darkness came the blinding lights of a (literally) rampaging horse-drawn carriage.

Nearly killed us.

We shriek and dive to the side of the road as the horse and it's massive, bouncing load narrowly miss swiping us off the planet. 

Friend: O.O

Me: O.O

We don't wanna die and we are a bit invisible.

Friend: Right chap, lets do this.  

Cycling-in-the-dark continues. 

We soon cross paths with a cyclist riding in the opposite direction. 

He has a torch which he generously shines on the ground between us and we do not crash. 


Cyclist: [mumble, mumble]…flashlight. 

How nice!

Us: Thank you!! :D

Cyclist: No, I said YOU NEED TO GET a flashlight. 



Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Gili Islands: Drugs and Bicycles

It's after dinner and we're making our way back to our room. 

We hired cute bicycles which is way more fun than walking. 

We dismount [good word]  to browse in a few shops along the way.

After one shop, as we're climbing back on, there's a happy looking guy sitting on the wall outside.

In heavily accented English, 

Drugs Guy: Wacky Backy?

Friend: ...What's he saying?

She thinks it's Bahasa. 

Drugs Guy: Weed?

It's English. 

Friend: OH. 

Me: Hahahahaa

Drugs Guy: Shrooms?

Me: Not today…

[ticket to the moon?]

Drugs Guy: Maybe today you try, no need to pay. 

Me: No. It's ok. 

Drugs Guy: Where you from? England or English?



Friend: Too many shrooms…

We start to cycle away.

Drugs Guy: You from Burnley?

Us: :O


I don't know if this was just a coincidence that some guy wasn't looking where he was going or if the MIND BLOWING randomness of an Indonesian drug dealer knowing that the totally insignificant town of Burnley exists was too much hilarity, but at that exact moment, my friend had a head on collision with another cyclist. 

I simply watched and cried with laughter. 

Although it was almost an genuine problem, as her bike chain came off. 

: /

Broken bike.

We were rescued by super-lovely massage ladies who rushed to help and, with the assistance of a passing local boy, got the chain back on. 

Such fun. 

Who needs drugs?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Gili Islands: Shake Down at Bangsal

We arrived at the tiny Lombok airport and began the taxi-hunt. 

The car counter offers us our first deal.

Guy: 800 000rph for taxi and boat. 

Me: Ish, mahal! How about just the taxi?

Our FLIGHT was only 350 000.


Guy: Just taxi is 300 000.

Me: How far is it?

Guy: Two hours drive. Very far.

Me: Hmm. And the boat? How long it the boat trip?

Guy: 25 minutes if using public boat, 10 minutes if using fast boat.

I do a speedy calculation. 

Me: Wait…so you're saying it's 500 000...for a 10 minute boat ride?

Slightly sarcastic tone.

His friend at the counter cant help himself. He snorts a laugh and giggles at his wide talking buddy…who, busted, cracks a cheeky smile. 


After much back & forth, we get the taxi for 200 000 and decide to risk negotiating the boat for ourselves. 

He writes us a receipt.

Guy: Name please, for the driver.

Me: Claire.

He writes down, Ms Clain. 

Me: No, it's Claire.

He looks at me like…ya, that's what I wrote. 


Me: Ok, nevermind...

We stroll out of the airport and are met by a small cluster of enthusiastic taxi drivers, all shouting for our attention. 

But the loudest, waving his hands madly like a steering wheel, is this guy, 



Taxi Man spends the first 20 minutes of the trip trying to sell us an expensive boat ride with his own Captain. 

We already don't trust Lombok. 

Us: No. Really. Thanks. We'll take the public boat. 

At 25 000 versus 150 000, that seems logical. 

We finally arrive at the jetty.

Unload from the car. 

Instantly surrounded by a cloud of wild looking Boat Men.

The taxi driver is in cahoots and lets them carry on.

Mad Luna: Ok we take your bags, 150, go now. 

Me: …No.

They 100% ignore me.


Three guys grab our bags urgently, hoist them onto their shoulders and turn towards the beach.

Not good.

Me: Tak. Tak!

Still ignoring me?!?!?

Oh wait. 

This isn't Malaysia. 


They immediately drop the bags, deflated, and disperse. 


My friend and I walk off triumphantly to go buy the real, cheap tickets. 

But the leader of the gang trails us and our success is short lived... 

We buy the public boat tickets. 

But Mad Luna (we later discover his name is Luna. He is mad.) takes hold of them. 

Mad Luna: Now you must wait. 

The girl at the counter rolls her eyes at him. 

But she does confirm that there's only 9 people on the boat right now and we must wait for at least 25 or 30 people to get on before it will leave. 

We want beach. 


So we agree to pay the Mad Luna 50 000 for both of us to go now. 

He enthusiastically agrees and pockets the money in a flash. 

Mad Luna: Ok, just wait here for a while. 

He takes us back outside and sits down.

After getting the boring questions out of the way - where are you from, how long are you staying, he pauses. 

He touches my friend's curly, half-Carribean hair. 

Mad Luna: Look like spaghetti noodle hair. 

Friend: :O

Me: :O

Mad Luna: *giggles* Ya, look like noodle!


Incredibly offensive…arguably racist, if you come from England, the home of Political Correctness.

And therefore also hilarious. 

Mad Luna: Like me! Also spaghetti noodle!

He pulls at his own big, curly hair, still giggling. 


Mad Luna: I like you noodle. So cute.

He said, patting her head. 

He proceeded to spend the next 10 or 15 minutes talking rubbish whilst we laughed in shock and deflected his occasional advances. 

Finally he hustled us into a boat with about 30 other people and lots of island supplies. 

The public boat.

[worth it]