Archive for the ‘places’ Category

June 22, 2004

Austin – arrival

Alright, I’m now a bit sobered after crashing and passing out for 2 consecutive days. I guess my fatigue can be called a jet lag – although I claimed that I’m not suffering from it.

That day, when I arrived at Dallas airport, I only had like 1 hour and 20 minutes to transit from an international arrival to a domestic flight. During this period, I had to go through the immigration, to pick up my bags, to go through a series of mind boggling procedures and to check in my bags again. And all that location was segregated from each other on different buildings… you know, old American airports. They’re always big and confusing.

When I was at the immigration, I was brought into a room. No I don’t think I look like a terrorist but, somehow, I was ‘required’ to take an oath and register a series of information about myself – like where do I live, what’s my father’s name… have I ever killed someone… things like that. I was kind of surprised myself as the few Japanese guys before me that looked like mutated insects didn’t have to go through all that. So, I think this must be the capital M thing about our country. (hint: a religion)

So, by the time I completed all the procedures with a computer illiterate immigration officer (which I had to teach him some shortcut keys to cut down the time), I was left with only like 10 minutes to rush for the flight… and the journey to the next terminal alone took me 5 minutes with a bus, had to checkout and check in my bags at the same time and perform a few hundred meters worth of running. Did I make it? Hell no. It was impossible. The big queue at the security check point alone, where everyone was required to take out their notebooks… remove the shoes… etc would have taken more than 10 minutes.

But I got myself onto another flight alright – which was located on the other side of the airport. And I had to travel all the way back to where it began. This time, luckily, I was not required to go through any more security checks. No they don’t perform strip search on anybody. That’s a myth. I think.

Arrived at Austin at about 1pm. Had to locate for my bags as I had them checked in through the earlier flight that I missed. After spending like 20 minutes doing that, I finally located my bags and proceeded to the rent-a-car counter.

Got myself a Camry, with a GPS navigation device called Never Get Lost (or something like that). To operate the thing, all that was required to do is key in any location, and that sucker will direct me to the destination… which at my first impression, was pretty cool. But I was so wrong. That hotel that I made a reservation with? Actually has 3 branches in Austin. The Never Get Lost doohickey got me to the 2 other locations except the correct one. It wasn’t really that 100% effective. I eventually had to get a map from a blond chick at the wrong hotel and managed to get myself to the correct hotel on my own

Upon arrival at the hotel, I tested out the free broadband out and crashed not long after that, slept until the next morning.

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September 11, 2003

Singapore – day 3 & 4

Well, both day 3 and 4 were so short that I decided to blog them both at one go

On day 3 (Wednesday), I was assigned to dock with several agents. But then, I only selected one of them, in preference of the customers he was going to service that day. The guy’s name is Ben. He was so freaked out about the idea of me docking with him that he lied to me about his location – you know, just so to avoid meeting me. Well, luck was not on his side that day – I met him right on face to face at his office. I was about to yell at him for making my life so difficult, but then, I changed my mind, and decided to follow Nelson again instead.

So, I was reassigned to Nelson. Once we both hopped into the cab, we started talking. Nelson asked me if I have been to Geylang before. I was like surprised + choking + gasping for air… because I totally get what he was trying to find out. Geylang is actually a very well known red light district in Singapore, and I wasn’t so sure what to answer him.

But he didn’t wait for me to answer – he started to talk about his “adventures” there, how the professional livestocks (chickens) there eased his stress etc etc. He did not bother to censor anything at all, and described his whoring activities in vivid details… and this actually made me feel a bit uncomfortable, with the taxi guy hearing everything he said. But then, much to my bewilderment, the taxi guy happened to be a regular as well… and they started to exchange stories.
And at one point, they even talked about the general characteristics of Singaporean chicks, how materialistic they are, etc… They had everything covered like a pro-CNN journalist —- all in their aesthetic Singaporean Hokkien dialect.

Of course, being on a different frequency range of language, I could only comprehend 80% of what they said – hence, I did not participate much in their conversation. X-P

Day 3 ended very quickly, no funny customers. Those we met were high position executives, and they were all stodgy dumb fucks with ugly secretaries. So, nothing much to tell about them and my assignment ended by noon. As an appreciation of his hospitality, I treated Nelson a steak buffet lunch… Then, my day continued with plenty of shopping at Bugis and the city area.

Nightime, I met up with Johnny (one of the BODs) for a short meetup. Hung out at Singapore’s famous Esplanade. It was mid-autumn festival eve then and the atmosphere there was very relaxing & nice.


Image taken with a Nikon Coolpix SQ, the city scene from Esplanade

Day 4 — did not go for any assignment, I fucking overslept. Not being able to productively salvage the rest of the day, I decided to spent my time doing more window-shopping. I then took a cab to the airport. Had a scary ride – because the cab driver was dozing off and almost got me killed (alright, it was that bad, but you get the idea). The cab drifted over a few lanes, made a few scary emergency brakes, made sudden turns, you name it. The guy had to be the worst driver I have ever seen. He almost missed the airport when my colleague gave him a nudge (yeah, I came for my assignment with a colleague).

Damn scary man. My colleague is now lodging a complaint about that maggot infested driving freak through a complaint hotline and is now asking for a compensation for the fright ride or something.

I am blogging all these from the airport’s free internet PC. There is this korean guy standing beside me who is about to turn green soon — because he is so flustered about his free internet PC that keeps locking up. I better run for now, before that guy starts to get mad.

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September 9, 2003

Singapore – on assignment day 2

I boarded a cab today and found out that – the destination I’m heading was a place less than 2 streets away (walking distance). What a fucking sohai I was. But then it was still ok for me because it was all claimable.

Today, I was assigned to a guy called Nelson. The guy sounded a bit serious on the phone, but turned out to be quite a nice chap. It was easy chatting with him, as the guy’s on the same band of frequency with me.

Visited a few customers with him around the city area. Some were abusive, some were downright stupid, and some really freaked me out. Here are some of my encounters :

– One of them, complained of his notebook having performance issue. Asked him if he has ever done any defragmentation on his PC. Funny enough, he didn’t even know what I was talking about, and this guy was an IT guy. WTF.
– I’ve got another customer who taught me how to enjoy feasting on wild animals. I’m not making this up. The guy have his own theory on why SARs existed, and he was preaching us on his philosophy, all the while munching a chocolate fudge on top of his notebook. I was pretty shocked to see him working on the cake, because he was dropping a whole deal lot amount of crumbs into the crevices of his keyboard… which kinda made me figure out the reason for his complain – keyboard failure.

Geez…those guys in tie and coats, they are so “underground” inside.

I got all my assignments completed before lunch and had plenty of free time to kill. So I went to the mall for some windows shopping. Raffles City, Suntec City, Citylink, Marina Square and even to Orchard Rd.

One thing I noticed about Singapore shopping scenes, they’re a big decline compared to the pre-SARS days… most of them look deserted… while many ran out of business. Albeit the amount of shoppers there are still a lot more compared to Malaysia, but it was a shadow of its former state. The place used to be teeming with chicks and whatnots… It’s so different now.

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Singapore – on assignment day 1

Got to Singapore this morning in a dizzy condition. It has been raining cats & dogs today and there were plenty of thick clouds rocking the plane. I hate flying sometimes, makes me sick. Luckily, I’m not on an American flight – else, I would have really puked. I don’t think I want comment about old flight attendants anymore.

Actually, I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of taking up this assignment in Singapore. The work is to engage behind enemy lines and spy hard about things we can make use to enhance our offense. Something like that. More often than not, you get fucked up in the ass without knowing the reason why. And here we are to make ourselves an easy target for these unscrupulous people. I would very much prefer to stick back in my lab doing my stuff. Why was I being sent out here…

At least the hotel is good. We get to lodge at Swissotel. The place is right above City Link Mall and all watering holes are walking distance away. It has a nice view too – I’m on the 62nd floor and Singapore city view is right outside the balcony. It kind of also reminds me on my last trip here with the BOD, when we lodged in a budget hotel. No windows and without proper ventilation, quite contrary from this hotel I’m in now, that place looked more like a rat hole. And on one of the nights, my buddy Luis saw a fucking ghost sitting on the bed staring back at him. Creepy.

Lesson learned from that trip – always get a hotel room with a window, if not a view.

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August 26, 2003

Hong Kong vacation – summarized

Back from Hong Kong on 24th.

The trip was awesome, despite the fact that some part of the trip weren’t really that enjoyable. The part I was talking about was the China tour on the 2nd day till 4th day.

1) Emily & I was the only young couple there – the rest of the 2 couples were old beings. Hell they were so irritating. One was a prick & the other a nagger – who talks really fast. I had to wolf down plenty of paracetamol tablets in order to withstand their screwed up attitude. Goddamn.

2) The people from China are rude. They have hygiene problems – couldn’t build a proper toilet. And their food sucks + dirty. Out of the 6 pax from our group, 5 got serious purging after consuming the food there. I’m the only one who didn’t get the poisoning. I think I’m tough. :PbPb

3) The road works in China are a turn off. Although I can say I’m seriously concerned about the number of potholes on our Malaysian roads but, it was not really that when compared to those I encountered at Shenzen & Guangzhou. Taking a car or any road vehicle there is like riding a horse with parkinson’s disease. Car sick is the national past time on the road there.

4) Stuck at immigration for 1.5 hours at China-Macau border just because the immigration computers didn’t sync properly – our visa info was ok when we entered China but the information was not found when we’re leaving from the other side of the country. It was like scanning your Touch n Go from the northern highway and when you reach Jelapang, the fucking system beeps an error telling you that no info was found on your card. China was such a screw up country – on that day.

Coupled with all these cons and hot weather, it made our China trip really dull & boring. Macau was ok – not much place to go except the casino.

The free & easy trip at Hong Kong was totally different. The city is scintillating with life and vibrant. The night scene from Victoria Peak was amazing. Skyscrapers so close together and there were lights everywhere. Our Petronas towers are like 2 chopsticks sticking out from a bowl of rice, and Hong Kong is like having 365 arrows sticking out from Milla Jovovich’s flat chest – big difference. Favorite past time there would be shopping. We shopped from Mongkok to Causeway Bay and Emily was out of control when she saw so many SALE signs all over the place. I had serious aching on my legs from these concrete jungle trekking. Bought lots of stuffs. Emily bought a few handbags for her sisters, and some designer clothes for herself. I got myself a pair of my dream Timberland shoes (the model which I’ve been droolling for so long in Penang).


Images taken with Nikon SQ.

And yeah, we also visited Ocean Park. It was a fun place to be – for kids. The roller coaster got my brain tangled with some part of my colon – felt so fucking sick after the ride. The only thing I enjoyed there was the cable car ride & the dolphin show. The place was simply too full of China tourists and trust me, nobody wants to get near those bunch of wild people.

There were so many wonderful experiences & places I had visited which I’m not able to cover in this entry. It was beyond what I can describe. (ok… maybe it’s because I’m freakin’ lazy)

But there are some downside about Hong Kong – food there was not that good compared to Malaysia. They are very expensive and not appetizing at all. The best thing I ever had at Hong Kong was the RM90 Thai food buffet at Causeway Bay – which didn’t even taste like Thai food. Not spicy enough.

Overall, I can say that I enjoyed my vacation to the fullest this time. China trip was boring yes, but still, it wasn’t really that bad as I didn’t have to see Rob’s face for the whole week. I believe if it weren’t for the screwed up China trip, I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself so much in Hong Kong. Sort of accentuated Hong Kong as the better half of the trip.

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