The Checkered Life
...of a corporate slave down south
Monday, September 03, 2012
Friday, April 15, 2011
When in Türkiye
Picture courtesy of http://www.weblogturkey.com.
Being close to the coastline means that seafood is in abundance in Antalya. Thanks to my Turkish colleague, I avoided tourist traps and get to eat at places that locals hang out.
At night, I walked around the town, stopped by a small shop and picked a few postcards. The shop owner offered me a cup of hot cay, which was very comforting on a freezing night. After gulping down the tea I realised that I shouldn't. Erm, didn't your mum tell u since young that u shouldn't accept things offered by strangers? Anyway, I was probably thinking too much, and to quote my Turkish colleague 'Do not get too wary, this is Turkish hospitality'.
I shall end this post with a picture of a half sunken ship along the coastline, I heard from the locals that it crashed into the coast during thunderstorm months ago and it was left abandoned there till now, probably turning into another historical site. Hmm...
Friday, October 29, 2010
Breakfast at Tsukiji
I took the JR line, transitted at Shinjuku Station and was immediately greeted by horrendous human traffic during morning rush hour. My mojo was depleting as I spent almost an hour walking up and down looking for Oedo subway line. The station master was totally eigo wakarimasen and I was on the verge of giving up on my Tsukiji breakfast.
Fortunately I didn't as my senses kicked in. I reached Tsukiji late morning and it was still pouring.
I walked into a small cosy place and ordered a large bowl of don with my limited nihongo and sign language. It was quite an experience sitting at the bar counter, watching obasan and ojisan moving around the kitchen. As expected, my bowl of maguro and sake don was lovely.
I continued walking around Tsukiji in the rain looking for more food. I passed by the long queue in front of a Ramen counter a few times and was tempted by the queue more than the food. It was Ramen by the way. I never liked Ramen, just like how I always shudder at Indian food.
In the end, I succumbed to my kiasu spirit and joined the queue.
There were two ojisans in the kitchen. One was cooking noodles and another one was slicing char siew. Beside the Ramen counter was a row of tables with no seats. They only serve one (1) type of Ramen which is good for me, as I don’t have to use my private limited nihongo to order.
I got myself a corner and slurped my bowl of Ramen with piping hot rich stock. I swear at that moment, I’ve forgotten that I wasn’t a Ramen eater.
Standing beside me were two Hongkies speaking in Cantonese:
'Li Gor Hai Gai Thong Lei Gar' (This is chicken soup base)
By the 7th day, I was deprived of Cantonese and felt like 'ching chong-ing' with them on the Ramen - "Hai Meh, Ngo Yi Wai Hai Jzu Guat Thong Lei Gah Leh" (Isit? I thought it is pork bone soup leh). Of course I didn't as the socio-phobia in me knocked sense into my head.
Half way slurping through the noodles, I took out my blackberry, took a picture of it and sent to Hairy – the Ramen fanatic, while he was peeling his usual orange and kiwi combo for lunch in the office.
I still kept this picture in my blackberry. Somehow I find it more appealing than my Gucci.
Oh here's another unrelated but wondrous creation that I discovered. I was drying my clothes at the laundry room one night and saw this in the vending machine.
And guess what, my first dinner when I returned to SG was Shoyu Ramen at Parco.
Sigh, I miss my Tsukiji breakfast.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Hokkaido Fair @ Isetan, Scotts Road, Singapore.
Till 9 February 2010
More about Sapporo.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Because Time Waits for No One
Friday 7 August 2009
I took out my keys to open the front gate, the corner of the wall was empty. It was an unbearable scene.
Rewind 9 years
Friday 2 March 2001
"I just bought a dog. You can have it. Yeah, from a client. No choice, a new way of entertaining client. Big business mar...heh heh"
That was from my cousin. I immediately ran to his house, which was a few blocks away from mine.
My cousin pointed at a steel cage. Behind the black bars was a fur ball in white...
Which looks nowhere near like a 'dog'.
I showed my cousin a sepuluh sen face. "Huh? I thought you told me it is a 'dog'?"
That was the sweetest thing I have ever seen in my life.
She likes durians. D24. No kampung. No thai.
It hurts me everytime to think about her departure. What really happened to her while no one was around at home, and the things that I would give up just to listen to her barking at the background whenever I call home or to see a running fur ball whenever I open the front gate.
I hope you had a happy life whilst staying with us.
Rest in peace, my girl.
Friday, July 03, 2009
# 2 The Black Echoes
That irritating sound won’t stop.
It just won’t stop bothering me.
258 was the number of days that I have been counting.
There it goes ... I heard the sound again, echoing in the tunnel.
I moved myself to the adjacent burrow. I can feel that it is coming towards my direction. Wait, something is not right here. From the back of my body.
Was I dead or did I just pass out in the dark? All I can feel is the numbness in my nerves.
I hate the sound of machine guns.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I grabbed the handle strongly, so strongly that I almost clutched myself to the seat right in front of me. The bus was rocking a hard way through the terribly uneven muddy path.
'The absorber is worn out.'
Again, my head hit high into ceiling of the bus as it runs over a huge crater on the road.
We joined a day tour to Cu Chi and Cao Dai for less than USD 7. For that price, I certainly didn't expect a long arse journey on the bus. I think my lungs, kidneys and stomachs sagged by 1.5cm after spending 5 hours travelling on the rocky road.
Our Bobby Chinn look-alike tour guide was very entertaining.
'Miss, whe du yeu kam frum?'
'Ohhh...de land famous for robbers!'
Astounded by his reply, I found out later that he means ‘rubber’. Certainly one of the most interesting remarks in this journey.
The journey throughout Cu Chi was a remarkable one. I was particularly amazed by their perseverance and determination. Imagine a bunch of Viet Cong soldiers living in the dark, humid and claustrophobia-inducing underground. The American troop described the conditions within the tunnel as ‘black echoes’.
We did try to explore one of the sections of the tunnel that has been expanded to accommodate taller/ larger sized tourists.
It ain’t fun.
I was a fool to believe that the tunnel has been enlarged to accommodate the big size us. *imagining walking around the tunnel freely like visiting museum liddat*
Half way crawling through the tunnel (I almost laid flat on the floor and creep towards the end), I was sweating and screaming in my heart…the tunnel seems to be never ending. How did the Viet Cong soldiers manage to survive in the tunnel for 20 over years when I find the dark claustrophobic atmosphere unbearable for mere 2 seconds?
I am a true brat spoiled by modernity.
After the exploration, I found something amusing. I really wanted to try that real thing. At least once. The guy recommended M16, so I bought 10 bullets (USD 17) for that.
It still ain’t fun lorrrrr.
I was a fool to believe that ear muff works. The NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) is close to ‘0’. The impact of the shot was so powerful that every shot leaves my ear drum with a numb (wee wung wung…wee wung wung…) feeling.
I’m glad that I insisted on trying out Nguyen Trung’s coffee on our last day despite the fact that we were supposed to rush to the airport.
We ordered “The Legend” which was nothing like the ordinary Starbucks cappuccino. The coffee was really strong and bold, definitely one of the highlights of my trip. *Love*
Later on when we return to SG, we found out that there is actually a branch located at Liang Court, Clark Quay. *Double Love*
For now, I’m more than happy to return to my comfort zone, happily munching on my routine subway ham and egg, surfing dumb websites, and crossing the road without the fear of being smashed by 58 motorbikes into a slab of tomato paste in the middle of the road.
Bar none, I still love you, Saigon.
Yellow stars missing in sight ...
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Tales of the Unexpected from Saigon
#1: Untold Secrets of the Message Room
'Shhh...be quiet...you don't want to wake them up...let me show you the way.'
I didn't dwell myself too long in that B-grade horror flick as I walk through the underground tunnel of the Reunification Palace.
Oh by the way, I was at Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for 3 days. Thanks to the free air tickets from the lucky dip.
The first, second, third and fourth floor didn't excite me. There were numbers of meeting rooms, conference rooms and dining rooms of different themes, a place previously resided by the presidents.
We were just wandering around the Palace and stumbled upon one eery staircase that leads to the dark underground. That really intrigued my interest.
The young boy is definitely not from our hallucination but he was really everywhere. Everywhere that we went. He loves blocking our way, interrupting at the background when we were shooting photos and looking at Hairy with a creepy smile.
'Sekali you see him in one of the black & white pictures hung on the wall' said Hairy with a blank look.
We dropped by Ben Thanh Market (we call it the 'Beh Tahan Market') and zoomed straight into the food section.
Tell me about pracitising food hygiene, there were a few dead cockroaches lying under my seat.
To eat or not to eat? Gulp...There goes my first bowl of pork knuckle noodles in Vietnam and L-S (diarrhea) on the very next day.
At night, we strolled along the night market street and the dai chow stalls came into sight. Born to be gluttons, we settled for another round of food.
Can you believe that a bottle of Saigon beer costs only 90 cents (10,000 dong)?
But that 90 cents can only give you a taste of gassy plain water. I stopped at one bottle.
Photo credit to the legendary Hairy from Black Tie White Lie.