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Posts about bunnies (old posts, page 10)

Deadline over, tourist time

The big deadline is over. There's a few smaller projects to work on, but these can be done at a much more relaxed pace. So now it's time to start doing my promised tourist stuff!

Last Sunday, I did the thing that tops every list of tourist activities for this country: I went shopping. Well, window shopping. I didn't expect to buy anything, and I didn't. Other than food; I got a block of Australian mild cheddar. This was the first real cheese I've had in months... sure, melted Kraft plastic cheese slices don't taste horrible... but I like cheese that, when I bite it, it knows that it was bitten.

No, I don't know what that means either. It just sounded cool to me.

Anyways, I spent a girly two hours window-shopping. Mostly looking at laptops; I was thinking about getting a better laptop. But I couldn't find any Asus eee laptops around! Plenty of other small laptops, but not the brand that started the whole craze. I did discover that prices here were't as bad as I thought. Actually, once I factor in the taxes (which in Canada aren't part of the sticker price, whereas here they are), I guess laptop prices are just about the same.

It might be for the best that I couldn't find a laptop, though. I can probably get a better machine in a few months, and I didn't particularly want to go through customs and airport security with two laptops.

I also discovered that the Jurong Bird Park is in Jurong! Yeah, it sounds obvious in retrospect, but it was news to me. That means it's close to my apartment, so I'll go there next.

Some minor points about daily life here:

  • I occasionally see girls sporting the "wearing only a t-shirt" look. Upon second glance -- and believe me, a second glance is involved -- I realize that they are wearing shorts... just really, really high-cut ones. Combined with a long t-shirt, there's only 2-3cm of shorts visible. ... I'm not complaining. It seems weird to be talking about "high-cut" rather than "low-cut", but there you go.
  • Speaking of girls, a few days ago I had a shower in the morning. I didn't want to braid my hair while it was still sopping wet (it'd never dry), so I left it in a ponytail. When I was on the bus to university, I decided that I really was too informally dressed, so I braided my hair on the bus. I felt quite proud of myself for this accomplishment... and I'm sure that everybody who was at the party last Dec 26 and watched the hair-braiding lesson and saw my initial attempts at self-braiding would also be proud. Yes, I take "letting one's hair down" literally here; it's only done at home. To tell the truth, it's mostly a heat thing -- when my Luxuriant Flowing Hair is loose, it raises my neck's temperature by at least three degrees, which (when squared) turns into nine degrees of suffering. ... yes, suffering is the square of physical conditions. I don't know quite what that means either, but it sure sounds cool, doesn't it? (cool... I could really go for some cool right now) That said, only Indian women here braid their hair; the other Asians here keep it loose or in a ponytail. I can't fathom how they can bear it, although their hair isn't as thick as mine.
  • Food-wise, I'm still suffering. I'm even getting tired of Subway food... though their cookies are still fantastic. But a steady stream of almost-daily Subway meals has robbed them of their novely / reward factor.
  • A few weeks ago, I said that weather reports were pointless because it was always the same. Well, not quite; the temperature is getting hotter. Yes, scientifically (or linguistically) speaking that's nonsense; temperature does not get hotter or colder. But in a subjective sense, the temperature definitely is getting hotter. Much hotter. Two showers a day is not at all extreme.
  • University is in their exam period now, which means that most of those pesky undergraduates aren't around, so the cafeterias are much nicer.

Only 35 days until I return to Vancouver!

Still alive

Wow, it's been a while! I've been sick, had a huge deadline, and got slightly better. No, this isn't an exact repeat of the last update... although it somewhat feels like it.

My sickness this time was just a common cold/flu thing, caused from lack of food. Eating enough food here is a serious concern. I've taken to going to Subway or Burger King almost every day, just to make sure I have at least one normal meal. When I spent last Tuesday in bed, I even switched to coke rather than diet coke, just to increase my calory intake. Yeah, I know that fast food and soda being the "healthy alternatives" says really sad things about my ability to forage in this country.

On the plus side, I'm almost finished the big project. After that, I'll only work 5 days a week. That should give me more energy to explore the island (including the more Western-oriented food stores, Western hangout areas, etc).

Apparently one of my grandmothers checks the Singapore weather every day. That's nice, but completely unnecessary -- every day is the same. It's 29 plus or minus 2 degrees. There's an 80% chance of the day being entirely sunny. If it rains, there's a 50% chance of it being a downpour that lasts for about an hour. 25% chance of only a mild shower, and 25% chance of it being a downpour that lasts for 2-3 hours. Any downpour is accompanied by thunderstorms.

Perfect example of how unnecessary the weather prediction is: the evening news doesn't even bother to report it. In Canada, every newscast contains a weather report. I wish there was some variation in weather to report, though. :(

Actually, wait; there is one extra point. When it really downpours here, I can't see the buildings on the other side of the lake outside my apartment. Even the trees about 10 meters away from my window are noticeably obscured. It's like having a thick fog, but I'm pretty sure it's just from the descending water rather than floating water.

Other "news"... to celebrate the almost-finished project, I bought some Toblerone chocolate. Normally I'm too cheap to buy blatant chocolate like that, but it was on sale, and I wanted to celebrate. So I splurged S$7.

That's not so much "news" as just an illustration of my life here -- nothing's been happening. I'm not complaining, by the way. I want my daily life to be boring; it's my research that should be interesting. I'd talk about that, but I'm not certain how much interest there is in hearing about it... and in any case, I should probably wait until the reviews are done.

I had a few other random observations to make, but I can't remember them now. Oh well; when this project is finished in a few days, I should be posting more often.

Only 47 days until I return to Vancouver! And before everybody tells me what I should see in Japan on the way, let me remind you that my connecting flight is 2 hours and 20 minutes after I arrive in Narita. So unless you want to tell me about a particularly interesting shop in the International departure lounge at Narita (any maid cafes there? 'cause that would be awesome!), don't bother. :)

I'm somewhat regretting this choice -- two of my closest friends are in Japan right now, and it'd be neat to visit them. But I'm not going to cancel my air tickets... and besides, I miss my mountains and cat.

Living criminally

Wow, it's been a while! I've been sick, had a huge deadline, and got slightly better. Still not great health, but at least it doesn't hurt at the moment. Anyway, a friend from Vancouver visited me... err... two and a half weeks ago?

It was weird how un-weird it was. I mean, when you meet somebody on the other side of the world -- the only non-electronic connection to your normal life back home that you're likely to get during your entire stay here -- you'd expect it to be weird, right? Or at emotional or something?

But no, there was none of that. I arrived at the meeting place -- arranged via email, since he didn't have a phone here -- a few minutes late, looked around at the dozen people sitting at the tables, then decided he hadn't arrived yet. As I started to walk away (to be closer to the entrance), he stood up and followed me. Whoops; I'd completely missed him. (in my defense, I must say that his pink shirt did not suit him!)

"Hey." "Hey." ... pause... "Wanna go get some pizza?" "Sure, I'm starving".

I talked about the lack of familiar food; he talked about Malaysian hotels screwing up his laundry. I talked about my work environment; he talked about almost dying in Bangkok. It was just like normal! OK, medical emergencies weren't normal... but despite the topic, the tone of the conversation was normal.

He was amazed at the lack of smell in Singapore. Also at how clean it was, and how we had sidewalks. The latter two points didn't surprise me, but I hadn't realized that a lack of stench was a big plus for urban centers. I guess it's a good thing that I'm not sight-seeing in the nearby countries. :)

Mao, I miss Victoria (aka "Bunny Land"). IMO, Singapore (and Vancouver) do smell. Not in a "garbage stench" kind of way; just in a "lots of cars and stuff" way. I think I've turned into a "small town" guy rather than a "big city" guy.

Anyway, I showed him my place. His first reaction was "this amount of space is criminal", which stuck in my mind and turned into the title of this post. He's now in Japan... I wonder how criminal he thinks this place is now. ;)

Let's see... not much else has been happening, other than work. Oh, a woman asked me for directions. I didn't realize that I looked anything close to being a local. Then again, maybe that prompted her to approach me. I mean, the only reason an obvious foreigner would have to be in a residential district would be if he lived there, so I'd obviously know where the local supermarket was. Anyway, I directed her and assume she found the right place.

I might actually restart my attempts at doing touristy things on Sunday... due to my health issues, I've been home this weekend (instead of working on Sat), and it feels much better. If I make this a regular occurence, then I can use Sat for rest and catching up on email, and Sun for touristy stuff. We'll see how things go in the next few weeks.