Sunday, September 30, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Above is the toy store, below is the sub-freezing eski-bar.Adjacent Mexican restaurantsHolland Village's hawker center
Realizing that no literature has inspired me more, I've tried to find this book, but failed. I did not know the title.
Here I am 16 years later, making new international friends at an international school. And, as if from a dream, here is Georges Perec: Tentative D'Épuisement d'un Lieu Parisien. It is not a book, but was published in a journal in 1975.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
4:30pm: Leave Phuket by vans towards Krabi, Thailand. Our van has a blue neon light, which flashes in time to the Thai dance music blaring out of the dual 12" subwoofers. Bus ride supposed to take two hours.
7:30pm: Bus gets lost in Krabi.
8:00pm. Dropped off at a stall, charged money for a boat ride, though no boats are in sight. Follow man in rain jacket through the dark. Sounds of bullfrogs and Thai chanting. Faint smell of gasoline and sewage.
8:15pm. Get onto small boats, crashing through waves.
8:20pm. MBA students and all their possessions are soaked in many different languages. Attempt to open eyes to see amazing islands emerging over the water in the pouring rain.
8:35. Thai boatman tells us to get out of boat and walk to shore through thigh-deep water. Confusion ensues.
8:40. Arrive in destination, where food and joy are served.
9:35. 15 other students, travelling on a much later flight, arrive and are impossibly dry. We pretend not to know them.
9:36. Amazing weekend in Thai paradise begins. Click for more pictures.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Her name is J.N. or J.U. She comes to my house twice a week, but I have never seen her. I am not sure if she can read, as she seems to check random boxes in the cleaning report. She is short, and has long black hair which occasionally falls out. She cleans my dishes, even though it's not on her job list, leaving me to do them but weekly. I will not clean a toilet for 10 months, I do not own cleaning supplies. She is part of my rent, since as an Ang Mo I do not know how to fend against the mould, mildew and monsters that can grow.
When I first got here, I left my jewelry in a tangled pile on my dresser. Here is what J. did with that:
Are you making friends? What is your class like?
Well, of course. My class has students from something like 75 different countries, with 450 students spanning French and Singaporean campuses. Canada is the fourth most represented nation, with approximately 10 Canadian students in my class here. My fantastic study group, with which I do numerous group projects, is a fun team consisting of a Korean, Russian, Indian and Belgian. My responsibility in the group, as the token native anglophone, is to teach them slang, and to edit our assignments' grammar.
How is the weather?
Canadians ask me more about the weather than we talk about it here. It went down to 23 last night, and this was remarkably cold. It is consistently hot and humid, sometimes hot and rainy. This does not often bother me, as my four apartment air conditioners are effective.
How are your classes?
Well, fifty thousand euros gets you good teachers, in general, and my courses are interesting. That whole reading and homework thing really cuts into my leisure time, however.
How is your apartment?
It is lovely and very comfortable. It has Balinese furniture. It has three corkscrews. Please see next entry.
What do you miss most?
Well, I've only been here for 3 weeks, but of course I miss my friends. I miss having drinks and in-depth discussions, I miss sushi, I miss discussions in cubicles, and I miss my car (oh oups, that one's material).
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Given its multicultural nature, Singapore's cuisine is a mix of Chinese, Malaysian and Indian. Very yummy Singaporean specialties include fish head curry and chili crab.
I eat lots of dumplings, steamed with veggies in my rice maker. There is microwave laksa here that is nearly as good as Abba's. I have also discovered a true love for passion fruit, which I identified on the Internet on my second attempt.
While I sometime dream of cheese (please send me a Works burger!), the grocery store offers me all things western. Except cream for my coffee! Coffee makers are a rarity here, so I use my bodum (thanks Heather!). Here are some things I'm using as cream substitutes. Clearly a literacy problem led me to choose the low-fat one.
Finally, unlike many drink options, this falls into the non-yummy Singaporean gastronomy category. Slogan: "Whatever: Any taste for any thirst."
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Possible Vermin: Brio's Italian bears, cheesy love bears, Balinese Buddhas,
scary Asian boys with hats, pug dogs, wild sheep, and sad blowfish.
Non-threats: Rocking horses, pelicans, creepy kitties.
Based on this, I've decided it's simply to dangerous to open my windows except briefly. I am unprepared to deal with this kind of vermin threat. Imagine the Cheesy Love Bear / Wild Sheep combination at night, for example.