Saturday, 31 March 2012

An Awkward Photo

Walking around Mumbai taking pictures of things.

I was walking to the famous CST (previously Victoria Station) and there was a big, interesting-looking building next to it.

Kind of connected to it.

Big iron gates. Open.

Quite a few people walking around inside.

I went in to take a pic.

Then suddenly;

Armed Guard: What are you doing?

Me: 0.0

Well what's everyone else doing??


He sees my camera.

Armed Guard:
Taking pictures?

Me: 0.0

Please don't shoot me.

Armed Guard: Pictures ok.

He steps aside, smiling.



Hostile if I want to come in, happy if I'm taking photos?

I don't understand.

I took one badly framed photo and ran away.

[one awkward & useless photo. including head of guard.]

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Abandoned in India: The Blind Man, The Pepsi Man and the Phone

I was PUMPED full of excitement!

Just landed in India.

First time ever. 

About to see my sister, first time in several months.

About to see my uni classmate, first time in several years!

I entered the arrivals area, scanning for a sign with my name on or familiar faces to scream at...





My first thought: how many airports are there in Mumbai? Are they at the right one??

I waited a while.

Then I felt a bit stupid/bored/worried and decided to take some pro-active steps.


I walked back towards the terminal but the armed guard stopped me.


I asked for a phone.

He pointed that way.

I went that way and saw nothing. So I asked the man at the Pepsi stand.

Me: Is there a phone

Pepsi Man: Yes, there [he points at taxi rank. what?]

Me: ...Where?

Pepsi Man: There. The red box.

I still didn't really get it.

Me: ...Ok. Thanks. 

I went in the general direction. And sure enough there was an old, blind man sitting at a little red booth with an office phone on top.

Me: Can I use the phone?

Blind Man: Local call?

Me: Yes. How much?

Blind Man: 3 rupees. 

Well, I just landed and the smallest note I have is 500 rupees. That's not gonna work.

I go back to the Pepsi stand and buy a drink.

Now I have a 50.

But...still not really good enough.

I ask the Pepsi Man for smaller change.

He looks doubtful.

Me: I just need 3rps to use the phone :'(

Then pitying.

And takes 3 rps coins from his own pocket.



I call my friend - apparently there's only one airport and we're both at it.

So I describe my location and wait for rescue.


There is no rescue.

But the phone rings and the old, blind man starts waving it around and making noises, which I interpret (correctly) as, "where's that girl, whoever you called has you called back."

My friends. They can't find me. After scrabbling for a common landmark, I spot theirs. Hang up, go find them.

But first I have to pay for the privilege of receiving a call.

And I really don't have any change now...

Blind Man: One dollar

Me: I don't have any change left.

Blind Man: Just one dollar. 

Me: I don't have small change. I just got here.

Blind Man: Please. Give luck for me. I am blind. 


How lah??

Me: I don't...mmm...I only have this drink. You can have my drink?

Blind Man: Please, lucky for me.

Me: I don't have anything. 

Blind Man: ...

Me: Do you want my drink?

Blind Man: Yes. 

Ok good.

And off I go on my merry way, I find my friends and my car and my hotel.

Helloooo India...

Friday, 16 March 2012

Fashion Advice

Ever tried to get fashion advice from a 4 year old?

Not really recommended. 

I went to my friends house the other day, to get changed after work. 

And her son wanted to hang out. 

Show me his cool toys. 

Bring me drinks. 


We girls had to get ready!!

…but you can't fight the little people. 

They always win. 

So I re-directed his energy...

Me: Hey, what do you think I should wear?

Small boy: 0.0

Me: Which one? [pointing at my many, many hangers]

Small boy: You should wear the black one. 

Me: [pause] There is no black one. Look - it's green or blue. 

Small boy:


Small boy : It was my friend's birthday today, I got a new pencil sharpener!

And so he launched into a dramatic monologue about the sharpener. 

[it was like this. only blue.]

Ignoring my outfit dilemma. 

I made the choice alone. 

But it was a bad choice. 

So I changed again in the car park.

(Maybe I shouldn't admit that..?)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Jet Skiiing

The first time I jet ski'd was in Penang.  

I was there with a few friends and we'd spent the day exploring. 

And were now at the beach. 

Playing in the sea (which was a bit gross, actually - you know that squidgy, muddy sand? Yeah.)

Anyway, suddenly;
Friend: Who wants to jet ski?
Friend: Come on guys!?
I want! 

But he's a boy.

I wanna jet ski with girl... 

Malu lah :(

But the other faces are lazy and reluctant.

Nobody moves. 
Friend: Really? Fine. I'm going. 
He starts walking down the beach. 

Mat Salleh looks frantically : beach - jetski - lazy friends - jetski


Me: Wait for meee!!
I run to catch up, but I'm still shy. 

So when we climb on the jet ski, I go for the polite English grip - there's a good hand-width distance between us and I'm just holding onto the life jacket at the arm holes.

If you've ever been on a jet ski, you'll know what's coming. 

Although perhaps with a normal person, I would have been fine. 

My friend accelerated at MAX-SPEED into the open ocean, flying off small waves. 

Friend: Woooooooooooooooooooo!

Me: 0.0 *muffled squeaking*

Still going super-speed, he pulled the tightest corner you've ever seen.

And the world was upside down. 

And there was a very loud scream. 

Which was abruptly cut off as;


Everything was water, in all directions.

[if there was a camera, this would be the picture]

When I bobbed up to the surface in my little lifejacket, gasping for breath, I saw a genuinely concerned face, flood with relief. 

Friend: I thought I'd killed you. 

Me: You did!

He dragged me back on the jet ski. 

Friend: You have to hold on this time!!
Me: You have to not throw me off!!

There is no room to be shy on a jet ski. 




Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Sarawak Kolo Mee

Food in general is a Malaysian obsession.

But some foods reach cult status. 

One example: Sarawak Kolo Mee. 

Ask anyone from Sarawak and they'll tell you it's the best food on the planet.

In a tone of voice is SO passionate you wouldn't doubt it. 

Not for a second. 

Every time they go home, they'll return to KL with tales of…Kolo Mee.

Not family. 

Not friends. 

Kolo Mee. 

Or they'll hear about a stall that's opened up nearby.

Sarawakian 1: Hey, there's a new Kolo Mee stall at _____! 

Sarawakian 2: Ooooh, not  like home one lor…

Sarawakian 1: It's actually quite good bro…

Sarawakian 2: Isit..? 

Then begins the discussion. 

Anyway, it so happened that I was at a food court with Sarawakians and they all ordered Kolo Mee. 

Now is the time! 

I was quite excited to try it. 

Because if Malaysian's can be trusted on one thing, it's food. 

If they tell you it's good, it's good. 


My plate arrived. 

I ate. 

[nom nom...nom?]


Mat Salleh keliru?

Sunnguh keliru. 

Friend: What's wrong?

Me: I don't understand...

Friend: You don't like it?

Me: No, I do, it's ok but…

Friend: Most Mat Salleh love it.

Me: It's just…is that it?

It's just like wan tan mee. 

Only with a weird, slightly ketchup-y taste.  

I don't even know how to describe the taste except… "unmalaysian"

SO unmalaysian? 

After all the build up and the drama.

And all the other amazing food I've eaten in this country…

I've honestly never been so disappointed.

I just don't get it..?

: /

Friday, 2 March 2012

Formal Wear

Someone official at work recently discovered that text messages are much harder to ignore than emails. 

And so now important information or appointments are announced via this medium. 

Because no one checks their emails. 

I don't even know how to access my work email.

: /

Anyway, last night I got a text.

Work: Tomorrow we will be having an important visitor. Please wear formal. TQ. 

So today I am wearing a very smart black pencil skirt instead of jeans. 

Well done me. 


I came back from lunch, sat at my desk. 

Took off my shoes. 

Because who wears shoes in Malaysia? Not me. Ever. 

[shoes. not on my feet.]

Then, as happens after lunch on a Friday, I started to wonder what time I could leave.

So I dropped into the next room to check my hours with the admin people. 


As I stepped out of the door…

…The Important Visitors!


I'm not wearing shoes!!


Boss: And this is Claire [glances at my feet]

Important Visitor 1: Hello, John [glances at my feet & extends hand]

Me: Hi! [shakes hand]

Important Visitor 2: Hello, Steve [glances at my feet & extends hand]

Me: Hi! [shakes hand] Sorry about the no shoes. I was just in the staff room [big smile]!


That's not even a reason!?!

Oh well. 

What to do?

They were Mat Salleh. 

Maybe they didn't mind..?