Random Solitary Thoughts

Friday, January 30, 2004

Typing of the living...

Morning has barely begun. I have barely woken up. And yet, the continuous sounds of typing can be heard emitting from the keyboards of the two junior designers (who should be, as most designers would know, be clicking instead...).

Thus is the usual morning situation at the office. The two of them gossiping before the bell rings. Then the sound of typing takes over and continues until breaktime, where the physical gossip continues. After the bell, the binary gossiping resumes. Ah... bliss is life... and it would most certainly help, if they could do ANY work...

I am most desperately sleepy today. Reason being, I didn't get my daily packet of teh ais kau! That, and the fact that I've been sleeping late thanks to a particular book I've been reading. Thank whoever I finished it last night. Terry Pratchet rocks!

P.S. I know this blog is a bit late, but for some reason that I forgot, I forgot to bring back this notepad file to post online last night, so here it is.

P.P.S. Yes, I know I can change the date and blahblah but I'm too lazy to add a few extra clicks.

The typing continues throughout the night...

Work has barely begun... nope, that doesn't sound right... lemme do this again... ahem...
Work has NOT begun, and already the sounds of typing are filling the dusty morning air. No work is being achieved. Never mind that it's not urgently required. Never mind that no one is barking at them. Never mind that they're being paid to work, for all that's important (to them) is to gossip all day long!

That's it... I'm cranky... I didn't get much sleep last night due to inconsiderate neighbours playing LOUD fireworks the whole night... or at least most of the night... or enough to keep me awake for some time and to aggravate me enough to feel grouchy this morning... bah, humbug!

Anyway, I have decided, (and partly inspired by the recent reading of Terry Pratchet's 'The Fifth Elephant') to write a story (something I haven't done in a while, not considering the recent long-winded account of my trip to Bali last year...). The story will be posted page by page as it progresses and hopefully by the end of the year, I'll have a quarter of it done. (so that sorta leaves me four years to complete a novel)

So starting next week, apart from my usual rantings, broodings, gloating, and mindless other stuff, I will add a short segment of the story. Anyone is free to comment, and add whatever you think is necessary, although, I might not change the course or direction of the story which is, by the way already planned even as I speak (shucks, I've been mentally writing and re-writing it for the past four years...) but, anything's possible! Till next week!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A mundane blog after a long break...

As the title above suggests, this is a mundane blog written, or more politically correct, typed, during the dull mundane hours in between productivity while at my office.

The week has yielded nothing but utter mundaneness and total boredom, courtesy of the lack of staff, and chatting companionship. There is ABSOLUTELY no one to talk to! So much so, I half envy my housemate Dan, who will be wrapping up his last week at work even as we speak. Lucky him...

Back to the boring, nonsensical topic... I have NO one to talk to except this notepad from which I am typing this blog. The people here are close to zombies... they sit and work from day to night, from night to day, and from day to day!

The only other people who chat do so via a network messenger and all they ever gossip about are Canto artistes and what so and so is doing. Basically, mindless gossip! The perfect example of Telekom staff!

And to add to my misery, my company doesn't have internet access!!! Argghh!!! I'm so tempted to quit on grounds that my job is boring me to death!!!

Okay, ranting has been done, let's see now... I'm currently modelling a heart... then I'll have to animate it... then a cross section.. life is so biological... and I've been reading Terry Pratchet's 'The Fifth Elephant'! Pretty good book.. humourous and witty! Stayed up till 2 a.m. reading last night! Will finish it by tonight... I hope...

The day the waves came...

We woke up early enough to attend a cultural performance of the Barong Dance, which is a dance telling the story of how good overcame evil and everyone lived (well... those who survived anyway...) happily ever after.

So onwards to details... the Barong dance is basically about the Barong, which is a good colourful protector of the jungle. It starts with two servants of one great person going to meet the King or something. Along the way, some evil spirit terrorists belonging to this underground organisation ruled by a vicious evil spirit king hijacked their bodies and in turn instigated the King/Sultan person to sacrifice his son to the evil spirit king.

For added assurance, some extra evil spirit terrorist hijacked the Sultan/King/Spiritual leaders's body and pissed him off, so he sent his son to her death. (The son was played by a female...) Oh, by the way,while all this was happening, somewhere in between, the Barong's servants, (in the form of three apparently beautiful lady dancers) came out to perform some weird Balinese dance with their eyes wide open and staring as if to kill.

Anyway, the Prince was tied to a tree and his guardian angel or some Dewa came down adn made him immortal, so when the evil spirit king came to eat him, he couldn't and the Prince got free and proceeded to battle the evil guy. Then the evil guy lost and turned into a wild boar and lost again. This scene was obscenely done and a rude shock to the otherwise rich cultural dance. The boar was stabbed and had his penis cut off in a manner meant to be a cheap joke. No doubt it didn't impress me...

Then the peniless.. er I mean... penisless evil person turned into a bird and fought and lost and then finally he turned into the most evil and vile creature ever.. his true form I believe (I again forgot the name of the creature he was...) and finally defeated the Prince. The prince then meditated (without being interrupted) and turned into the magical and mystical Barong! So they fought and fought but the evil spirit was too powerful, so the Barong's servants (guys this time..) came out with Kris's and fought along side the Barong.

After that, they sacrificed themselves (rather pathetically) by stabbing themselves with the Kris's and turning them round and round on their bodies as if they're trying to unscrew something accompanied by over-dramatised screaming. This is to symbolise how good triumph over evil, though I wouldn't know how killing yourself would help anything...

Anyhow, that's how the dance went and after that we went back to the hotel for a quick change before going to Kuta beach.

At the beach we were mobbed once again by the endless stream of traders. By now, we were already accustomed to their pestering so we ignored them and went surfing. At least I did... Kotak had a small board for cruising along the waves while I rented the big one for 'real' surfing!

It turned out to be quite a challenge as I attmepted to ride wave after wave. After about 45 minutes of seawater swallowing... I decided I've had enough salt deposits to last me a lifetime and proceeded to head back to shore.

We went back to the hotel and it was all packing and getting ready for our departure in the evening. The rest of the day wasn't as eventful, as we waited for the guy to pick us up and send us to the airport.

And to cut things short, (which didn't seem like the case so far...) we ended up on seperate flights back to Malaysia.

So ends our trip to Bali, an unforgettable shopping experience that put me off roadside shopping for a long time, a good bargain with the football boots, nice scenery, not so nice food, but altogether a well deserved holiday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Seafood - fresh from the delivery truck

Dawn of the third day, and we were beginning to tire of the mundane breakfast that was provided to us by the hotel. An almost westernised spread, interrupted only by the presence of porridge (which Kotak delightfully and religiously ate every morning).

The food was a combination of okay, versus not so good stuff. The sausages and eggs were good... not too bad, but the bread and pastry lacked everything that defines bread and pastry. In other words, they suck! The toast was okay tho, for I don't see how anyone can go wrong with toast, and I dread to imagine someone who can actually screw up toast! Burning it doesn't count btw... The corflakes were okay as well, and as mentioned before, I still haven't come across someone who can screw up cornflakes!

Anyhow, after the otherwise uneventful breakfast, we were scheduled to go to the town centre... the capital of Bali, Denpasar!

During the journey, I questioned the driver about the number of accidents, after seeing the way he drove, since I never saw one despite the amountof reckless driving I saw so far. He said that accidents do happen quite often and as a testament to his words one happened right in front of us. I've never ceased to be amazed by the power of the word...

The 'marketplace' in town looks exactly like the KL town centre. Dirty and wet, and full of dishonest people. Feels like home... The shops inside the complex were similar to those back home, but definitely smaller, darker, and dirtier.

Most of them sold handmade handicraft, carvings, paintings, and clothes. Very often they would pester you to buy their wares and would make you bargain for them. The trick is, to look around and walk away. And sometimes, it's good to bargain with the shop next door. Then you can see how two competitors slash the price down to beat each other. Kinda fun...

If there's one thing that really marred my visit to Bali was the fact that everywhere, there seems to be at least one local looking for easy money by following us around and trying to be our guide. They want to be paid for being a busybody and I really think that puts off a lot of people.

After completing the usual round of shopping, we had lunch at a cantonese restaurant nearby because almost everyone was sick of the bad tasting local fare. Then we headed towards the local Museum to check it out. On the way, we passed by a cloth shop, and everyone stopped to buy and bargain for cloth. I continued with Ms.Yap, a fellow group member and a friend of Kotak's mother.

The museum was closed, on a Saturday! Well, no worries, we hung out while waiting for the rest to arrive, and were constantly bothered by the usual bunch of locals trying to sell one thing or another.

When everyone was finally assembled, we headed off towards Sanur beach, and spent about 10 to 15 minutes there posing for a few shots and buying some expensive ice-cream and some old corn that wasn't as nice as it smelt. The roasted nuts were good and the satay was a bit better than the one we had previously. But overall they were cheap snacks to keep us occupied until our next destination, Tanah Lot.

Tanah Lot was a piece of land reputated to have one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. It housed a temple that was built on a ledge which is surrounded by water when the tide is high. One can only access the temple by boat, or when the tide is low. Or so we've been told...

Anyhow, when we got there, the first thing was to shop. Of course, having exhausted most of my cash, I decided to walk ahead and take a look at the shores of the temple. The temple was indeed built on a ledge and it was beautiful. The waves were crashing on the rocks like those seen only in movies. I could hardly contain my appreciation for the beauty of nature.

Here, we took a few shots of the waves and the rock formation, but unfortunately we didn't get to see the sunset because we were supposed to rush off to watch the Kechak dance, also known as the fire dance.

But somehow, we managed to miss it as we were late, traffic jam and all, so we settled for some seafood at this place which is famous for its 'fresh' seafood. Along the way we had the privilege of enjoying the view of more hillslope padi! So much for Tegalalang...

So we arrived at this restaurant, which is reputated to be famous for its 'Fresh' seafood. It reminded me so much of the restaurants that lined the road to my home back in Penang. But of course, this was Bali.

We sat down on chairs placed on the beach itself! The breeze was blowing, the sunset was visible, the view was magnificent, a live band was playing, and the waves were crashing! Talk about atmosphere... We had a menu to order drinks, and I ordered a 'Jungle Juice'. A alcoholic cocktail that combines fruit juice with Balinese wine. Worth a try in this foreign land.. so why not?

The women went to pick out the seafood, while Kotak and I sat at the table savouring the atmosphere. The drinks came and the 'Jungle Juice' turned out to be too much juice and not enough jungle... ah well.. what can we expect? The ladies returned shortly and proclaimed that we might have to spend more than we should... ooo.. kaaaaay.... I graciously checked my wallet to see if I have anything left...

The food arrived a moment later... and we tucked in, the ladies complaining about the lack of quality and how 'fresh' it was. Apparently, it wasn't as fresh as we thought, because according to Malaysian standards, fish or seafood was kept pretty much alive until the second before the chef decapitates the poor thing. In this case, most of the seafood came packed in ice... so of course they weren't as fresh as we expected...

The food itself wasn't anything to shout about. It was all cooked in practically the same way barbequed over a fire with spices and some sauce. But seeing that we were hungry, we ate almost everything. THe atmosphere did compensate a bit for the lack of good food. The band wasn't too bad as well.

So full of unfresh seafood, we headed back towards the hotel. By now everyone was tired, so while the ladies inventorized their spoils, Kotak and I headed out to get some last minute souveniours and say good bye to the night life.

Our first stop, was at a Nike shop just below the hotel which I had browsed the day before. There, I found a pair of football boots, black with an orange streak running down the side, on sale for RM 60!!! Without much consideration, (I had my fair share of considering the night before) I bought the boots!!! (The boots proceeded to be the envy of many a football player in the field in the days that followed... and still do.. occasionally...)(P.S. Football boots cost anywhere between RM 100-RM 500 here in Malaysia. Anything less than that usually lasts long enough until your next payday arrives. Plus, we're talking Nike's here!!!)

Next stop was at another Nike shop a few streets away where we met this local who was so friendly, we thought he was going to spend the rest of the night talking to us! So anyway we walked on and stopped by HardRock hotel to take a look at the souveniors. Too expensive.

Next, HardRock Cafe, and Kotak bought some T-shirts. We walked somemore enjoying the nightlife in Bali before heading back for a good night's sleep. Tomorrow will be our last and final day in the 'Land of the Gods'!!!

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Ode to my dog...

A little dog by the name of Toffee,
Felt like a curse bestowed upon me,
For he tore my plants, and chewed my pants,
And when he's scared he starts to pee...

An innocent puppy by the name of Toffee,
As cute and adorable as any dog can be,
But when he's bored, he starts to paw,
And down goes all the laundry...

A mischievious dog by the name of Toffee,
Drove me crazy by making me see,
The mess he made, while I was paid,
To sit in an office all week...

A sad little puppy by the name of Toffee,
Is all chained up as anyone can see,
He chewed some clothes, that someone just bought,
And condemned himself to life imprisonment.

An angry little pup who was once named Toffee,
Has gone all mad, frustrated and angry,
He chewed himself, and someone else,
And had to be put to sleep...

I hope the last bit will never happen... and that's why I'm taking all measures within my capability to keep him happy and contented. I've learned a valuable lesson. I've understood why my parents always said no to a dog. I learned that it's not easy to be there when you want to be. I've learnt that tempers cannot be forgotten, only controlled. I've learned that no matter how many times you tell someone to control their temper, it's so much easier said than done!

I wish to take some time and space, to thank the people who have been patient with me and guided me throughout this painful dog-raising process (which is still in progress by the way), and to apologize to them for the sleepless nights, and the trouble me and my dog has caused them. You know who you are.

For now, the dog is under strict surveillance and will not be able to commit any unscrupulous acts of deceit against his master. He will be trained properly without the traditional 'rod', and will learn to accept his fate behind bars whenever surveillance is lifted. He will enjoy two walks a day, and two meals as well, and no, he will not be harmed.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to help give this poor puppy some extra TLC is welcomed to do so. Anything ranging from keeping him company to walking him is welcomed. You will not be paid in cash, only in satisfaction. If you wish to keep him for your own, you will have to fight me for him! Either that, or convince me that he is plotting to escape and ravage my garden once again... peace!

The King of the Flies!

The morning came and went almost instantaneously... for the awakening was sudden adn the breakfast was rushed as we were a tad bit late for it. But still, with toast, egg, and sausages in our bellies, we headed towards a rented van complete with driver. Our itinerary for today is... (ahem...) more shopping!

Okay, that's not really it, but it was a big part of our plan anyways... so the first place we visited was the famous Besakih temple! It is the largest temple in Bali, and if I am not mistaken, the oldest as well. Please excuse my lack of historical knowledge as I couldn't understand what the guides were telling me. They weren't that good to begin with...

Anyhow, the temple was huge, and a link has been posted on Kotak's blog so just follow the link to her blog and see the pics for yourself, because it's kinda pointless for me to describe it all and even if I wanted to I can't because I don't really know what everything is for except that they look pretty and historical.

Actually, I do know one thing... we have to wear sarongs to show our respect when we enter the temple grounds and we were kinda cheated by the guides who want to seperate us so that we have to pay them indivdually instead of as a group. A bit dishonest on their part, but what can you say about people who are trying to make a living? Of course it doesn't help if they happen to want the cash to buy cigarettes. Makes you wanna sock them right between the legs... no?

After the uneventful, and uninformative 'tour' of the temple grounds, we were badgered by a throng of fruit sellers who wanted to sell us fruit. Here is a good reason why your parents always tell you not to accept food (or anything for that matter from strangers).

A fruit seller holding a 'sakat' offered it to Kotak for her to try. Being well versed with the KL culture of taking samples and then refusing them if they suck, she took it and tried the untasty and weird tasting fruit. Upon tasting the weird tasting fruit, she then turned to the fruit seller and told her no thanks, the fruit sucks, I ain't buying this (or something a bit more polite and less direct... ).

But the enraged fruit seller, having wasted a prefectly good, weird tasting fruit on a potential client, demanded that she pay for her 'sample'. She naturally declined, and an argument broke out, which resulted in the fruit seller being given a sock between her teeth. Okay, not really, a bit over dramatised there, but anyway, an argument broke out, and Kotak's mother, who happened to buy the same fruit (but a much better bunch) from another fruit seller, gave her back a fruit and told her to shut her trap (in a much polite way of course... something along the lines of, nah... dah bagi balik...)

Thus, our little drama ended, and thus children, remember, never ever accept anything from strangers... you never know when you (or your parents) have to 'pay'!

Our next stop was the hilltops where we could stop and admire the beauty of a dormant volcano, at a safe distance of course. The whole journey there was a blank for me as I was sleeping the whole time. Anyway, the view from the hilltop ws magnificent. Again, look to the link above and view the pics for a better idea of what I'm talking about.

After looking at the volcano, we decided to get some food, but food was expensive there, so after a while of hunting, we decided to skip lunch, (once again) and buy fruits to eat instead. The wild fruits they sold there were delicious! The mangos were tasty and juicy, and the bananas were sweet and ripe! Nice...

One set back of course was the fact that the place was dominated by flies... tons of them! More flies than you can imagine... but I don't think there are that many flies as those I encountered at Machap (yea, finally I got the spelling right!)

Anyway, as it was just after lunch hour, we headed towards some place in the middle of nowhere and stopped numerous times to oogle at the handicrafts that are sold at the side of the road. There were all sorts of crafts, from wood carvings to little souveniours that look nice and do absolutely nothing else. The bulk of the handicraft were wood carvings.

Throughout the journey, I couldn't recall much of what happened or how time flies as I didn't have a watch on me, and I was asleep most of the time. Finally we stopped next to a furniture store where Kotak's mother bought a deck chair. In the meantime, I shopped for souveniours to bring back home. Finally, all was done and we headed back towards the city.

This time however, we decided to grab some food for dinner, so we stopped by the side of the road at this one stall which took almost forever to serve us our food. This is to date, our second Balinese meal, and we ordered a Mee Soto each as an appetizer. The Mee Soto was definitely better than the ones we have here although generally, I don't think Mee Soto's are nice to begin with.. must be an acquired taste...

We ordered another Balinese delicacy, Ayam Bertutu, which turned out to be fried chicken with a fancy name. It wasn't too bad, and the mixed vegetables we not too bad either. We ordered a few more dishes, but I can't remember what, but generally dinner wasn't too bad because we were hungry and ate without much complain. We had some mangoes which a member of our troupe had bought for desert and they were excellent. Only thing was, we had desert first... then came the appetizer... Mee Soto...

Afterwards, feeling full and slightly adventurous, we candidly asked the driver to send us to Leggian Road so that we can see the place where crazy terrorists bombed the Sari club not too long ago. Along the way, we saw this drunk white guy totally naked walking down the road. Of course, he attracted much attention and I could have sworn I felt a little envious... it ain't 'that' big...

The Sari club was a piece of land, fenced up and lined with t-shirts, each bearing some message of hate at the terrorists, or some form of sympathy. The memorial showed a list of innocent people who were killed for some lunatic's zany ideas. It was a graveyard in the midst of shops...

After loitering for a bit, we decided to head back to the hotel. Nothing eventful happened along the way and we didn't see the flasher anymore. The night was still early, so we decided to hang out at the sports bar below our hotel and had some milkshake and onion rings. The food was worth the price we paid for it and it was an enjoyable time sitting there with good food.

And so the second night ends... and a slight intermission will take place before the third installment is posted...

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

The Land of Crazy Terrorists and Babi Guling (no offense)...

Upon arriving at the airport, I felt like I had stepped into the past. Everything looked so 70's... It did bring back old memories of Penang airport before they made it into a KLIA spinoff.

After doing the necessary stuff, I had to wait for Kotak and her entourage to arrive from Malaysia (they took a different flight). So I walked around and checked out the Dunkin Donuts outlet. The prices were still the same.. bummer...

A few minutes later, Kotak and gang arrived and we were whisked away to our hotel by a guide person. Along the way we observed the vast Balinese culture which was embedded in every corner in the forms of flower offerings and religious and cultural engravings. On most road junctions, whenever traffic lights were absent, statues of hindu gods and legendary figures took their place. It was a sight to behold.

We passed by numerous shops selling touristsy stuff and happened to chance upon a shop with the words.. 'Babi Guling'!!! (no offense to Muslim readers here...) And here I thought Indonesia was a Muslim country, but according to the guide Bali is pretty much a Hindu island with 95% of the popultion being Hindus. Aaahhhh... now the Babi Guling makes sense...

We checked into our hotel and found out that the air conditioning in the room was pathetic. Overall the room was nice and after a quick change of clothes, we were on our way to a half day tour of Bali.

For some reason, although it was lunchtime, we didn't eat anything and I had to rely on my stale bread as a source of nourishment until dinner...

So onwards we went, through the narrow streets of Bali. The streets are a far cry from those in Malaysia. The roads are narrow, and both sides are flanked with houses and buildings, so there's no way you can veer off the road without hitting some form of residence and overtaking takes plenty of skill and even more luck!

It was pretty straight forward. Our main program... shopping! First stop was a nice view of the outskirts (we didn't go near the city until the third day) before arriving at a batik gallery where all sorts of batik were sold. There were a few cool looking items, but the more experienced travellers told us that we could get it cheaper elsewhere, so we refrained from buying too much. the handicraft was nice and it was our first taste of Balinese culture.

Then, we went to this silver/jewelry factory thinghy where we saw the locals being paid a meagre wage to put together pieces of gem stones and silver to produce silver handicraft and jewelry which will later be sold at exorbitant prices! This seems to be the norm here in Malaysia too where we work our @$$es off so that our company can profit and give us all little or no bonuses year after year. Oh, and I forgot to mention, for a meagre salary as well... Anyhow, some of the silverworks were simply amazing, and they came accompanied by an amazing price as well... something on par with the quality of workmanship, but seeing that it's pointless to pay money for something pretty that does nothing to someone who makes it so that someone with money can buy it to display and do nothing, we decided to proceed to our next stop.

This next stop is probably the highlight of the day! An art gallery cum studio thinghy! Here, local talents produce magnificent artwork, rendered in true Balinese style to look like patchwork. You could almost feel the shapes as you run your fingers through the surface of the canvas. There were beautiful. Besides those, they had a huge mix of traditional and contemporary fine art pieces, all in various harmonious blends of colours. But as things were all priced in US dollars, we could only stare and drool! We wanted to stay longer, but time and the guide didn't allow it. So onwards we went to a wood carving gallery.

The pieces displayed here we definitely as good as the other handicraft that we have seen throughout the day. The carvings were of good workmanship and priced at US dollars... which seems to be the national currency for buying really nice products. They used all sorts of wood including hibiscus and anything else that washed to shore. Some of the more interesting works include Garuda, the noble flying steed of Vishnu (please excuse my lack of knowledge if I'm wrong, and please correct me as well), a Komodo dragon, (life sized, with textures covering the whole body... definitely took a while to complete) and a glass table with a wooden carving of a naked man holding it up. No doubt it was obscene... but it could double up as more than just a table... (women take note... no offense... peace... =))

After that, the women wanted to go see the infamous rice fields of tegalalang, so off we went, all the way to the infamous rice fields of tegalalang. The padi fields were slightly different from the ones here. In Bali, they grew them on hill slopes, so the padi were planted on man made steps along the hill slope. Other than that, they still look like padi plants.

Finally, then all was done and we didn't have anything else to see, we headed back towards our hotel and for some dinner. Among the suggestions were local delicacies, ayam bertutu, bebek, and babi guling. In the end we settled for babi guling.

The shop was simple, there was no babi guling in sight except for a pile of meat which we assumed was the cut up babi. So we ordered a bit of everything (choices were limited) and had milkless tea (they don't drink tea with anything and even sugar is considered weird...weird people...).

The soup was good... but the rest wasn't so... The babi was tough, and the satay was terrible... crude and thick, but not well cooked and no one would know what it was if we weren't sitting in a babi guling shop. The pork skin can outlast even the toughest chewing gum and the fried pork can outlast the skin. The piece of deep fried lard was okay, as well as the mixed veggie. Overall, dinner wasn't as good as expected and we walked back to the hotel, bargaining and shopping all the way.

Later that night, we took a walk to the Kuta beach area in a bid to find the place which some idiot terrorist blew up a couple of years ago. We didn't find it but we saw a sample of the night life in Bali. We because we went out quite late, there wasn't so much to see except for the clubs. We had a drink at McD's before walking back to the hotel.

And so ends our first night in Bali.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

A long needed vacation... by Kalamari the Stressed

The day was wednesday, the night before I was due to fly off to Indonesia for a much awaited and much needed vacation. I had managed to clear away most, if not all of my work on a very important project and had left the rest for the kids to clear up.

Leaving the office about 9.00pm, I was due back home to compile a last minute CD presentation for a freelance job I unwillingly but somehow oblidgingly took. Turns out, the client whom I was supposed to meet had called along his boss, which was my uncle in any case (now you see the connection).

So there I was, stressed out and burned out from endless nights of slogging in the early hours of the mornings and my packing not yet done, and I had to practically 'redo' the whole presentation which my uncle's staff (the client) had hurriedly done... and not a good one to begin with...

They wanted a video, so I had to edit it one way at first, but then they changed their mind, and I had to edit it another way. And thanks to the obsulete technology which I'm working with at home, it takes a whole lot more time to finish editting.

Finally, all was done and by almost midnight, I was ready to start packing when I realised the most important thing I needed was at my aunt's place... my passport!!!

Lucky for me, my aunt decided to visit and brought the passort along with her... so I saved a trip and started packing, (still in my officewear) at around 1.00am. By 3.00am, I was done and freshened up. So, onwards to the mamak for some food... first real meal of the previous day.

Came back at 4 plus, and was too anxious to sleep. So I went online and surfed to see how my team was doing. Half an hour later, I went to bed.

Woke up at 5.30am, thanks to a wake up call by Kotak, and I struggled to pry my eyes open wide enough for me to slip in my contacts. My dog was surprised by my early morning presence but nonetheless he could sense that something was brewing and was excited.

By 6.15 am, I had all my bags in the car and my dog seated up front, and was on my way over to Kotak's place. I arrived at 6.30 am, and after desperately tying up my dog to prevent further mischief (which he ended up doing nonetheless... more on this later), and a hurried goodbye, I was off to the airport, courtesy of Kotak's dad.

At KLIA, I checked in my bag, and boarded the plane by 9.00am. Five minutes later, I was awokened by two ladies in the opposite aisle who wanted to borrow the paper I was holding. Ten minutes later, I was awokened by the video on flight safety. Another ten minutes later, I was awokened by the stewardess handing out 'fresh' orange juice that had been in storage months ago. 20 minutes later, I awoke to find a tray of airline food in front of me. Half an hour later, I woke up to see a few snipets of 'Just for laughs'. 20 minutes later, I woke up to see five minutes of some weird magic show which repeated itself on the return flight along with the repeated version of 'Just for laughs'. After a total of 3 hours, I woke up to see (I had a window seat) the plane landing in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.

I had finally arrived...