Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hello From Taiping

Hello everyone. This is not Michelle guest blogging, but it is me once again. The entry before this actually caught me by surprise when I saw it at Changi airport as I got free internet access there. That will be another story later on.
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El clásico tren.
Traveling more than 5,000 kilometers from my place in Nagaoka, all the way back to my hometown in Taiping was indeed a grueling, exhausting, tiring 36 hours journey. Yes, thirty-six hours, and I hardly got even a short nap in between. I take almost every mode of transportation you can think of. Car, train, subway, airplane, bus, and of course walking until I felt both of my legs were going to get rip off.
As my train was leaving very early in the morning, I stayed up the whole night watching the Olympics. By the time I was getting ready to leave, I started to feel dizzy and slight headache but I just tried to put them away but eating my onigiri.
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No worries, this would be the one and only picture of myself in this entry.

One thing that I still could not master although I have lived here so long is the correct way of opening the wrapper. As you could see, there is just three simple steps which are clearly written at the tips of the onigiri.

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This is called onigiri.

First is to pull it downwards, and then pull it sideways for the second and third step. But no matter how many times I tried, there will always be some seaweed getting stuck in between the plastic wrappers and sometimes I could get even messier than that. The conclusion is, onigiri will never be my best friend.

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Told you my place is surrounded with paddy fields only.

I tried taking short naps in the train but when I almost get to doze off each time, the train will stop at a station and the sound from the passengers getting down and boarding the train will wake me up. In the end, I didn't get any sleep for five and a half hours. I could take the bullet train and that will take me less than two hours to reach Tokyo, but it will cost me double for what I pay for the normal train.

It was already noon when I reached Shinjuku station and as you might have known, it is the largest train station in Japan with more than twenty different lines. And for my first time, I got lost inside the station. I was trying to find the correct exit to grab some Krispy Kreme doughnut but after three of four attempts, I still could not manage to locate it. In the end, on the fifth attempt, I came out from the station and saw what I was looking for.

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Krispy Kreme.

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Hot and fluffy Originals.
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Workers putting the doughnuts on the tray before distributing it to the waiting customers.

It was drizzling when I was there but the line didn't get any much shorter than I had hoped for. I got two dozens of the doughnuts and straight headed to the airport although my flight will only be departing in six hours' time.

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Almost everyone had a luggage with them, as most were heading to the airport in the train.
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Unlike a nomal scene inside a train in Tokyo metropolitan. This was during the non-rush hour.

This is my first time taking an airline based in the US, Northwest Airlines and I had some doubts about the service, whether it could match the service like MAS, or it will be just like another Air Asia type of airline. Problems started to appear when I check-in because the staff there told me my name was not in the list and I said this cannot be. I showed them my itinerary and after a few minutes, finally they allowed me in. Apparently, there were some problems regarding my first name and last name and it did not match my name in my passport. Seriously, I will have problems whenever I fill a form which requires us to provide our first and last name.
I just had a simple lunch at McD and went to the observation deck to see planes taking off and landing, while waiting for my flight which was still a few hours to go.

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It was raining that evening.
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A plane taking off from Narita.

This time, I had three stuff taken away when I was going through the security check at the before I go through the boarding gate. I knew liquid stuff are not allowed into the aircraft but I just forgot to transfer them into my luggage. Three stuff which is quite lame - hair gel, okonomiyaki sauce and blueberry jam, all almost finished already anyway. Honestly, the service was not bad and I would recommend anyone to take it. The stewardess looks nice (as in how they treat the passengers, not how they look) and the food was even better. The noodles with shrimp tasted so good that I almost wanted to ask for a second one.

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Here is how the plane looks like.
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The snacks - Pretzels minis.
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Doesn't look appetizing but it is really good.

The main reason I took this airline instead of MAS is because it is very much cheaper, although I need to take a connecting flight from Changi airport. I arrived at Changi in the wee hours of Monday morning and it was actually my first time in Singapore since I was five. This makes it my only second trip to Singapore even though I was just stopping inside the airport. My connecting flight via MAS will only be leaving for KLIA at 0650 and I had to wait for six hours there doing nothing. That is what you get when you want to save a couple of thousands ringgit.
My first impression of Changi airport? Well, it looks like a forest.

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Which has some Japanese carps in the pond.

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With a creature from a mixture of lion's sperm and mermaid's eggs called Merlion.
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Also three lamps to enlighten their days.
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Finally, a city is born.

And I have no idea what am I crapping now.
I am not so sure about the services they provide for transit passengers in KLIA or Narita airport, but here in Changi, there is free internet access. However, I was already half dead by then and I just check my mails, read some news (Lee Chong Wei losing the gold medal to Lin Dan in the Olympics and Man United drew their opening match in the EPL wtf) and that is all about it. It was quite hard to take a nap there because the majority of the people I saw there were foreigners, whom I suppose were Indonesians and Bangladeshis. How to sleep like that right? I could wake up and find my laptop not with me anymore.I took MAS from Changi and it was just a small aircraft.

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Waiting for every minutes to pass by felt like so long.

In fact, this is the smallest one I have taken so far and just when I was starting to get comfortable, it was already time for landing.

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The plane I took.
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Inside the aircraft.

When I was in Bandar Tasik Selatan station, I was taking a lift and I wanted to get to the ground floor. I entered the lift and the button showed "1", and I thought I had reached the ground floor. So I wondered isn't the door opening and for me to realise that I have not pressed on the button to the ground floor yet. The reason is because maybe I have got used to the system in Japan, as they do not have such thing as ground floor. Their ground floor is called the first floor; the first floor is called the second floor and so on.

One more thing was that when I was boarding the STAR LRT, one Indian girl rushed towards my direction and without lining up behind, she just cut the queue and got into the coach, just like that. I was like wtf, right? She didn't even wait for the passengers inside to get out and she just dashed in like that. Dei, queue up lah, it is not like you are having your labour pain. I am not trying to boast that I get to study in overseas and such, but this is just all about manners and being considerate, isn't it?

Another incident happened when I was waiting for a bus in Puduraya bus station. If I am given a choice, I will never go there because the place is just flooded with the foreigners. You can see at least a few of them for every few meters at the area. To add with people yelling everywhere and the smoke from people smoking everywhere just make the place havoc and crazy. I was standing at the platform waiting for my bus to arrive and one middle-aged Chinese man wearing a beige shirt with a briefcase approached me.

"Ngor tei hai thong yan mah, hor?" (Translation: "We are both Chinese, right?")

"No, I am a Malaysian."

I should have answered him that, but no, I didn't. I knew what his intention was and could roughly guess what will be his next line if I were to entertain him. He later continued by praising my height and some other stuff but that didn't impress me at all. So, I just replied him, "Wakaranai desu" (I don't understand), in Japanese. As usual, the place was noisy with people shouting and honks noise coming from the buses. "Harh??!", he said to me. "Wakaranai desu", I replied him, again with the same line. Not knowing what I was talking, he walked away. His facial expression was priceless. I might sound like I am a heartless person by turning that guy away just like that, but I am I think there is a fat chance that he was asking me for help, because this kind of cases is nothing new.

There was another incident in the toilet. I know it is like so many incidents happening even I was only traveling back home, and I have not even switched to my holiday mode properly yet. Anyway, I went into one of the toilet and saw a wallet on top of the cubicle. I had two options - to hand it to the lady outside or just to leave it there. Actually I had a third option - took it home. However, that lady outside could make the wallet to be her possession and I decided not to touch the wallet and just leave it there. When I opened the door, a Malay guy asked me whether there is any wallet inside and I handed it to him. Behind was two Bangladeshis I supposed, and their faces were telling me "Haiya, we could hit a jackpot if we were a few minutes earlier". That young guy was indeed one lucky guy or he could have lost his wallet to that two foreigners.

Halfway through my bus ride, my bladder could not stand it anymore and almost gave way. I was going to ask the bus driver to stop at the next rest area, or else I will have to pee inside the bus. Luckily, before I told him, the bus stopped at Behrang rest area and I quickly rushed to the toilet, without bothering to see which one is men or woman toilet. Then the Indian lady quickly told me, "Eh! eh! Lelaki sana!!". Haha, damn paiseh I tell you. Luckily she told me before I get inside the woman's toilet. That happened because I was still half asleep and didn't really go to look for the sign board, although it was written there so big. Same thing actually happened in Changi airport. Back then, I heard that lady was whispering to her friend, "Mata pun tak buka lagi. Teehehehe" (Eyes also haven't open properly. Muahaha). I quickly apologise to them. I swear it was not my intention to enter the ladies on purpose, okay.

There was one elderly couple sitting two rows behind me, to my right in the bus I took. As soon as I boarded the bus after I was done with the call of nature in the toilet, both of them were talking in such a high tone that I bet everyone in the bus could hear them talking. When I looked back to see what was going on, the wife was nagging her husband continuously because he took off the handkerchief she had wrapped around his hand. I have no idea what is the reason of wrapping the handkerchief around that area, but she continued lecturing him that I just could not be bothered any more. Luckily, my tiredness from the journey I had had made me dozed off all the way until I woke up when it was just a few minutes away from the bus terminal.

I reached home by five in the evening and already began to feast on my mum home cooked dinner. Petai with big prawns, fish curry, stirred fried xiao bai chai, bitter gourd with eggs and of course durians. A total orgasmic moment. I am not uploading any pictures of the food (yet) as you guys who are still in Japan will later blame me again. By the way, didn't I mention earlier that I brought two dozens of Krispy Kreme all the way back from Japan? I was so curious and anticipating to see what had happened to them. But unfortunately, when I opened the huge white rectangular box, I saw disaster, which I had expected it to happen already anyway.

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Gone case.

A total catastrophe hit my poor doughnuts.


K3ViN said...

wah ur 1st ever post since u at malaysia... abt the experince u say tat the chinese guy approach u at pudu raya right... actually last few ago i at puduraya n been approach by a middle man chinese asking me if i can speak mandarin or nope.. but i just geleng kepala nia lor..... cos i dont wan cause trouble lor :P anyway.. Welcome back home....

mg said...

i shd learn that trick. wakaranai desu or use kiwi accent n say i beg your pardon. lol..

see u at changi ^^

Kae Vin said...

hey dude welcome to Malaysia.

and Don ever wander at Pudu Raya. Things happened.

Kae Vin said...

and i once brought Jco from KL to Penang. It survived. ;P but that's only 4 hour :)

Anonymous said...

puduraya tempat yang dah berubah tapi sebenarnya susah nak ubah.
a place that I wont want to go at all if no need.

btw, my experience.
last time i think i wanted to go genting with my friends.
and this one guy came to us ask something.
i didn't answer and showed aku tau paham face.
and he asked me, are u deft or dumb?
and turned to my friend and asked her,is your friend deft or dumb?

well,i just hope that these kind of people can have good life in the coming time.
luckily i didn't get angry and punch the guy,though i am actually a getting angry easily person.

calvin said...

@ k3vin:
thank you very much.
yes, these kind of things are quite common to happen in puduraya and i guess we just have to be extra alert all the time ;)

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
i will use german in my next encounter xD
eh, changi? when would that be? =P

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
i was not wandering there. if i had choices, i would not have gone there >.<

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
your case was only four hours. mine more than twenty-four hours xD

calvin said...

@ ns29:
i wonder, since when puduraya had changed? i never see any differences at all. in fact the condition is worse than how it used to be.

just a precaution, sometimes just control your anger when you are dealing with these kind of people because they can do almost anything to you. but i have to admit that i am someone who will lose his anger very fast as well xD

Anonymous said...

it changed eh..
about 5 years ago i think, inside those ticket seller counters didnt have aircond..LOL
at least now the have wall made by bricks now..
last time i guess it was papan..

calvin said...

@ ns29:
you got a great memory. i am trying to think back how it used to look like, but i just could not do it. but in terms of the noise there, and being a stuffy place, it think it is still the same, if not worse =\