Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stubbornness runs in the family

6-year-old nephew cries out loud: I want some whiskey too!!

Brother replies: -Sure...but do you remember what happened last time you had a sip of whiskey?

- I vomited.

- Do you still want some?

- Yes!

Merry Christmas everyone!

...or as they say in Australia - Merry Christmas!

The world according to Tia

My 7-year-old niece knows her stuff:

- My legs are sore but I'm dealing with it. It's tough luck!

- I like to dress for the job.

- So Daddy is going to have all his favourite girls around him tonight...and his one true love, which is me!

My 2.5 year-old niece is not yet as self-aware. She spends her time going around on her tricycle singing "I like to move it, move it".

I'm in Australia, upside down.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wisdom sharing

-Marie, can you write some Christmas cards for the students?
-Sure, what do you want me to write?
-I don't know. Some words of wisdom, perhaps?
-Don't eat yellow snow?
-Yep, that works.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My rock n'roll lifestyle...

...is killing me. The past two weeks have been one endless party and I have three more evenings to go until I can begin to sober up. I am in fact so beat that I am looking forward to my 9 hour cattle-class flight to Australia on Sunday just so I can sleep.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dead woman walking

I picked up my passport this morning. I've been dreading it for weeks. I'm not vain, but I do like having a good passport photo. The problem is that I am as far from photogenic as a penguin is from a polar bear.

So it was with a sickly feeling (which had nothing to do with my booze consumption yesterday) that I received and slowly opened my new passport. And alas, there it was, the photo that shall follow me for the next ten years (or until I lose another passport), and I look just like Zombie Barbie having a stroke.

The camera has caught me in such an amazingly freaky stare that if I met myself in a dark alley, I would scream and run away.

I suppose it could be worse.


Hot or not?

Got a reply through to my profile on an online dating website.

hi nice good evening. how r u. i see your profile and again see and read about your self.so want know u more about u sef.bzc cant control my self.bzc you have some qualityes? you have many think...........i think u like many hobby........but its very surprise....ihope u are very intelligent girl......about your profile. but you no.1.and no..pic.look very attractive and charming girl..your hair style.look,model.girl........so before i write about u ,u have many qualitiyes...... canu tell me more about u self.................hows going your life? bzc i read many profile so just choice just one............yy_angel? your really angel and look like queen?so i says attractive girl. i feel your profile your a honest girl,and nice.anyaway ,psl tellmore? awaiting u.well reply. but u look really .smile......look like flower..........rose? if you dont mind can we talk,msn,yahoo. bcz i am interesting with u. my name is,sheikh.ppl call me,sunny. anyaway,i tell u someabout my self. i am liveing in hk.andalso work here.own small ,logistics.also single.look to be honest friend. bzc i belive,true,honest? awaiting u good reply.

I'm speechless.

Monday, December 15, 2008

If you want to mess with your co-worker

When he or she leaves the computer, take a screenshot of the application in use and save it as the desktop wallpaper. Then close all applications.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Do I need a man?

I know there must be a way to connect my "also a CD player" machine-thingy to my computer. The obvious ways are not working.

I hate having to ask for help.

The fine line between piss-taking and evil

Some time ago I was asked by L how come the volume of her Ipod was...well, sort of having it's on life.

I told her that it has to do with altitude. If she's high up, the Ipod has to work harder in the same way that if you exercise at high altitudes, your heart has to work harder, and you get out of breathe. When the Ipod works harder, the volume goes down.

I could just have told her to take the Ipod out of her jeans pocket.

J calls me sinister.

Friday, December 12, 2008

If I was King of the world...

...I would make it a rule that if you are caught wearing a rucksack on a jammed-packed train, you will be shot on the spot.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reality check

It's easy to forget that when I complain over the lack of a walk-in-wardrobe or guest bedroom, most of my students live in flats smaller than mine with their parents, grandparents, brother, sister-in-law, 2 nieces, 1 nephew, 3 cats and one bullfrog (but that's for dinner).
Next year I shall be more grateful for what I've got.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things that bother me

When Yanks go, if you're ever over on the east coast, let me know.
East coast of WHAT?

As it happens, I AM on the east coast...of China!

Carbonating my footprints

Have I told you that I'll be visiting the monkies in Australia over Christmas and New Year?

It will make my countries visited list in 2008:
UK, Italy (twice), Switzerland, Germany, Finland (twice), Norway, Denmark, Sweden (3 times), Russia, Czech Republic, Taiwan, China, India and now Australia.

This is completely insane. Next year, I do not want to go travelling...much.

Unpredictive text

I have a French friend who texts me with an accent. If it was anyone else, I would assume they are just making fun of themselves but this guy is not one to do so. He also has the most amazing ability to make his text messages sound just as irrationally and passionately upset that only the French can get.

"No, no, no, no...it is u woo is ze opeless one, I ave ze next 3 evenings off..."

I really quite like it.

I think I might start texting in Swenglish: "Hallaaa. My neim is Inga, ja!"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Call for sympathy

I feel sick. I feel sick because I had a jar of black truffle pate at home, and I ate too much. It's tough living like this.

English guys...mainly!

You know that your friend is either in the middle of having sex, or just about to...if you call them up after years of silence and they go...

"shit, yes...I really want to catch up, where are you, can you call later, or well oh I'm sorry but oh it's great to hear from you only well where are you now...I can't really but I would like to but can you call back."

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Mummy 3...

...did not disappoint. It was just as shite as I expected it to be. I do like a certain degree of predictability in my life.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

But it's good for you!

"What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten?" is a question wasted on the Chinese. They don't consider anything unusual - it's all bloody delicious.

With a bit of probing though, I got my students to accept that perhaps Stir-fried Cocooned Silk Worm is borderline unusual. Donkey Stew fell into that category as well.

Eventually one student admitted that the time her mother served her placenta, she was a little bit put off.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Badness

I had an evening of badness yesterday. I don't want to talk about it. Instead I'll tell you about another dumb thing I once did.

In 2000, sitting on a train between Murmansk and St Petersburg, I stroke up a conversation with group of Russian soldiers. They were on their way to Chechnya, I was going back to St Petes.

Thinking it could be cool/educational/interesting to keep in touch with one of them, I gave him my address. I gave him my address as in "write me a letter". He assumed I gave him my address as in "come for a visit"...which is obviously what he did!

The evening after the train ride, he appeared on my doorstep with flowers, champagne and cake.

What happened next is a bizarre story of badness, stakeouts, hiding, the Queen of Lalaland (my flatmate) loudly protesting that she does not feel comfortable lying to a Russian sniper, and H appearing like some sort of deus ex machina to be greeted by "shit, get down on the floor and stay away from the windows".

When it was all over, and sniper boy was finally on his way to Chechnya, the Queen of Lalaland was asked how she dared living with me considering the company I kept. "At least my life isn't boring" was her general response, adding "and he brought champagne!".

This is what is generally referred to as the "incident with the Russian sniper". So now you know!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Phoneless

I left home without my mobile phone this morning. I don't feel any different for it. I don't feel stressed, out of touch or naked. A year ago I would have headed straight back home to get it. Now it makes no difference. I wonder why? Do I no longer expect phone calls? Have I stopped getting excited about text messages? It's weird.

Unwell

I've felt it coming on for some time now, teasing, threatening to take over my life. This morning it finally arrived in full force - blocked sinuses! Teaching with sinusitis is like eating barbed wire...not great.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dog or no dog?

I'm teaching slang this week. Friend A reminded me of the dialogue from the movie the 51st State.

(This, I will not be teaching!)

Felix: Oh, bollocks!
Elmo: Dog's bollocks?
Felix: No, just plain fucking bollocks!
Elmo: No dog involved?

Elmo: So, let me get this straight. "Bollocks" is bad, whereas "the dogs bollocks" is good, huh?
Felix: Yeah.

Confuse your audience

Speak in reversed euphemisms as often as you can.

- Where’s Jeff?
- I don't know, he’s dumb!
- I don’t think so. He’s a pretty smart guy.
- No, no. I passed by his house and the lights are on but no one's home.

- Where’s Kate?
- She’s pregnant.
- Really, wow!! When is she due?
- Well, the bun in the oven should be ready in about 20 min.

- The recreation centre’s open so I suppose I had better go to the toilet!
- What?
- I have to drop the kids off by the pool.

The turkey method

A student asked my colleague what he did to quit smoking.
-Cold Turkey, he replied.
.... (long silence)
- So...keep lots of turkey in the fridge?

Too easy!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quiet

Grandmother describes the day when family leaves as unbearably quiet. The joy and relief of having your bed and your usual order back, stays away. Even for someone like me, who more often than not chooses the peace and quiet of my own company, is this involuntary silence unsettling.

Mother advises to fill the void with Christmas decorations.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hit by a bus

I was hit by a bus yesterday.

Today, I've been trying to find out who the driver was. I can't remember exactly but I think the registration number was something like "V0D K4".

If you should spot that bus, tell the driver I'm not impressed!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beer for breakfast

Explaining the idiom "hair of the dog" to Chinese students is challenging.

Not just older - better too!

I don't worry about getting older, really I don't! I like the wisdom and respect that each year brings.

My subconscious seems to be in a state of alert, however, and keeps popping up to make me aware of the fact that I am about to add another year to my age.

Wherever I look, something or someone is there, suggesting disadvantages to growing old. One of my students asked me not IF I was going to go on botox...but WHEN. One suggested that if I really feel the need to tell everyone how old I am, perhaps I should lie about my age by some 5 years. Outside my front door, the hospital opposite has hung an enormous sign celebrating the plastic surgery department's 10 year anniversary.

I don't care. ID Marie should shut up. Marie Super-Ego is 32 tomorrow and happy about it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Guru Marie

I had one of those I'm-bored-time-to-leave moments this morning and searched some job sites for teaching jobs in Indonesia (why not?). I found this job advert for a GURU!!

What an amazing conversation starter that would be.
- What do you do?
- I'm a Guru.

I wonder what the going rate for a Guru in Indonesia is? The position is listed as "entry level" so clearly you don't need much experience of guru-ing (?). I'm so applying!

[Upon further research, the word Guru in Indonesia is often used for a teacher. This particular Guru-job is as Maths teacher...so if I should ever want to be a Guru, there are ample opportunities.]

Don't trust sober people

Peter Englund is a brilliant Swedish Author and Historian. In a recent interview he was asked the standard likes/dislikes question. His reply for favourite beverage was:

Tea. If I drink alcohol I do so to get drunk.

It reminded me of an old friend, who would refuse to go to a parties with us if we weren't on for a full night of drinking.

He used to claim that he lived according to a Yoda-esque philosophy on life; you either do or do not, there is no trying.

I used to claim that he was a bloody alcoholic and just wanted to drag the rest of us down with him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not impressed

Me: Do you have kids?

Him: No. Well, at least not that I know of, hehehe.

Me: No, me neither - that I know of.

Him: What do you mean?

Me: That you're an idiot and this conversation is over.

Kylie's stealing my friends.

My birthday party is clashing with Kylie, and I don't seem to be winning the battle. I think I'll simply move the venue and treat it like any other Thursday.

Falling over coconuts

There are many advantages of being a head taller than everyone else. You don't, for instance, find yourself breathing into someone's armpit while travelling on the underground.

One problem, though, is the Chinese insistence on stopping in the middle of the road. If you are walking down a crowded street, you have to keep walking. If you really need to stop, you move to the side before doing so. Everyone knows this, surely!

It seems I'm completely out-of-sync with the Chinese walking style. I walk much faster and because I'm tall (and often have my head in the non-literary clouds) I don't notice much what goes on at ant level. When someone stops right in-front of me, I inevitably walk straight into them. This happens every day, sometimes more than once. It's frustrating.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Visitors

I'm quiet because my cousin and her man are here.

My cousin is the youngest female airline pilot in the world.

She claims that's not the case...there's at least one who's younger. I don't care! She's 23, and really hot, and she can fly really big planes...so cool!

I don't even have a driving license.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Finally!

We won the pub quiz tonight, S and I! The only team of two in an ocean of 6, 8,10,12 member teams.

We made sure to be very smug about it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Duck

If you find that a conversation is moving in a direction you're not entirely happy with, you can keep the advantage by using a technique I call deflection.

This is easier done on men as their response tend to be more predictable (apologies for generalising).

There are 4 deflection techniques that I frequently use:

1. Move the attention away from yourself by providing a worse example.

- So you've spent five years and thousands of pounds on a university degree to end up in a job you can get qualified for through a two-week course in Thailand?

- My barman is a Neuroscientist! (this is true, he is!)

2. Change the topic of conversation to one he could not possibly win.

- Marie, have you SEEN the credit card bill this month?

- Does this dress make me look fat? Be honest!

3. Use sex to make him lose focus.

- Marie, how many pairs of shoes have you bought this month?

- You know how you were saying that you'd like to me to get one of those slutty nurse's uniforms...

4. Run away

- We need to talk

-Wohoooo...there's my bus, gotta run!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Too many facebook friends?

If you make it a point to correct grammar, spelling and punctuation in your friends' status updates the problem will take care of itself!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Everyone knows that shoes grow on trees

Today's teaching material is on workplaces and prepositions. I work in a hospital, on a farm etc. In addition to a long and useful list of examples, the authors have added in a mine. This is good-to-know stuff but I promise that not ONE of my students will know what a mine is. This is Hong Kong...if you ask someone where gold comes from they'll say "the shop".

I'm simply going to claim that a mine is where Prada handbags come from.

Sudo make me a sandwich

I'm trying to get someone to respond to an email by sending out telepathic brainwaves.

It's not working.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blogging

I've just surpassed 300 blog entries. Before starting this madness I had never read more than two or three blog entries in total. Now I read two or three blog entries per day. It's like staying in touch with people without having to talk to anyone. xkcd is spot on:

Stalked

The irony is that only a week ago I commented on the fact that HK men are so used to women taking the initiative, you'd even be grateful for the attention of a stalker!

Well, be careful what you wish for, I say! As of Friday evening I have one. In my defence I want to point out that I did nothing to encourage it. It was a brief bar conversation that unfortunately had me reveal where I live in enough detail to work out the exact address. My stalker was also cunning enough to get my phone number of someone in that bar. It's not a well-guarded secret so there are plenty of suspects!

Some 15 text messages, 5 phone calls and one early Sunday morning knock on my door, have left me feeling a little bit uneasy about the whole situation. Especially as my Sunday morning "No, you can't come in. I don't drink coffee and I don't like people just showing up at my doorstep" did nothing to discourage him.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just call me Maria

Yesterday, a student told me that I look like Sjarapova. It was such an unlikely compliment that I got completely stuck in a goldfish stare, only to be broken by my colleagues' cries of laughter (at the lack of resemblance and at the look upon my face). I thanked her but added that it's a bit like comparing a can of beans to lobster thermidor.


The ironic thing is that P always used to say "you're not exactly Sjarapova". Well, it seems some people think I am! An ugly version perhaps, but still!

Bowling

1993 was the last time I went bowling. I was 16 years old and my friend L and I were in a "let's try new stuff" phase. For most kids this translates into sex, drugs and rock n'roll - for us it was bowling.
I had a great time that day and I've been meaning to do it again ever since. Well, it's happening tonight! Thanks to my job, it only took some 15 years to organise the return to the bowling alley.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Superheroine

Today I am Action Woman!! I'm getting stuff done. I'm stirring things up. I'm making plans and telling people what I think of them!

That's the beauty of procrastination. Once you've actually dealt with something, it makes you feel like a bloody superstar!

Porn (again)

The picture round in tonight's pub quiz was....well, different. Usually S and I do rather well identifying famous faces.

Tonight, however, this round featured faces of 6 females and 3 males, engaging in sexual activities.

The question was: Of the 6 females, which ones are getting it anally vs vaginally? Of the males, which ones are giving it to a man vs a woman?

Apart from laughing my head off, I did get four correct answers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The world according to wikipedia

...and here are the teams playing in group A of the Ice Hockey World Championship 2009.


Canada, Slovakia, Belarus, Hungary and Philippines


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_Hockey_World_Championships

Life is about making tough decisions

After a long, warm shower you slide into clean, crisp bedlinen under a duvet just warm enough to keep you perfectly comfortable. Every tired part of your body relaxes; from your heavy eyelids to your silly-shoes-maltreated feet. Sleep is only seconds away.

This is when you notice that despite having already flossed, a tiny bit of a strawberry is still stuck between your teeth. Do you get up?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Don't even get me started on sashimi!

- Tonight I'm having shushi!
-Sushi
-Shushi
- No, sssssushi
- Shshshshushi
- Ssssss
- Ssssss
-Sssssalt
-Sssssalt
-Sushi
-Shushi
-Sunday
-Sunday
-Sue
-Sue
-ssssushi
-ssssushi
-Good, sushi!
- Shushi!

What am I doing wrong?

Westboro Baptist Church

If you look at the flier below, at the very bottom, you'll notice that the protest was scheduled to take place for 30 min only!
So why travel all the way from Topeka, Kansas to spend only 30 min at the picket line?

I have some theories:
a) Sweden is just one of a long list of countries that God hates.
b) They have tickets to go see Mamma Mia.
c) They need to get their drink on.
d) It's too cold to be outside (yah big girls!)
e) They are secretly scared of the girly-man King, who after all kills wolves with his bare hands.

I have intentionally put their name in the blog heading, hoping that they might find my blog (while searching for Firewomen pictures) and either damn me to hell (again) or perhaps explain why they think 30 min is enough to do the trick.

Ps. I like gay people!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reminiscing

Kalmar FF winning the Gold meant the team anthem "FF till Tusen" played on Swedish radio. This certainly brought back memories. "FF till Tusen" is a song by the dance band (Swedish/German music genre - like American country but worse) TONIX.



The singer in Tonix is the father of the girl I was best friends with in school. This is how I ended up on the door VIP list during numerous Tonix gigs at the mere age of 14.


I don’t remember it being much fun hanging around a bunch of drunken adulterous grown-ups. It was more the case of popping in to get a hot dog, then going back out again where cool teenage boys on mopeds fed us beer, often followed by some snogging-behind-a-tree.

Those were the days!

Better late than never

We've been waiting for 98 years, but 2 min ago KALMAR FF finally became Swedish Football Champions!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

So how did you guys meet? part 3

Ash, who sometimes comments on this blog, claims that he became a coconut reader after googling for some Firewomen pictures and the results brought him my blog.

This is so incredibly funny that I almost think he's someone I know, taking the piss!

Then cook for how many minutes?

The key to surviving in a foreign country is to never expect things to be easy.


Note how these particular dumplings seem to be able to speak. I can't help but think that they are saying something like:

"Ouch, ouch! Get me out of here, man. I'm frying!"...but in Chinese, of course!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

You know you need a life when...

It has been pointed out to me that:

"Mark Six has 49 numbers (1 - 49), not 50.
The statistical probability of picking 6 randomly drawn numbers from 49 are 1 in 13,983,816 against 15,890,700 for 50 numbers.
Your readers deserve quality fact checked journalism!!!!!!!!!!"

I apologise! The "word of the week" in my training centre will next week be "pedantry". You inspire me in so many ways ;)

You're in my way

After work last night, I popped into my local for a glass of wine.
To get a seat by the bar, I asked an English guy if he could possibly move down one step. He informed me that this was the second time he had seen me in that bar, and both times I had asked him to move.

As far as conversation starters goes, he thought it was an unusual choice but much more original than "do you come here often".

The village people

That the Hong Kong Chinese are racists is never more evident than whilst travelling on public transport. The seat next to me is always the last to be filled, with some even opting to stand rather than to sit down next to an evil white person.

I'm used to this by now and don't think much of it. This morning, however, as I looked up from my book, I was surprised to see about 120 people standing, but the seat next to me was still empty. I looked down on the seat to see if there was actually something wrong with it. There wasn't. I then glanced up at the person sitting on the left of the empty seat. My eyes fell upon the smiling face of an Indian man.

- Do you think it's you or me? he asked.

It's a shame that there wasn't a black guy around as well so we could have had the whole train to ourselves!

Friday, November 7, 2008

So how did you guys meet? part 2

S emailed me re So how did you guys meet? with his own suggestions for far worse ways to meet than online:
- She was my arresting officer.
- I picked her from the catalogue of "Beautiful Tajikistan Brides-4-You (2008)".
- I woke up and she was just...like......there.
- In rehab.
- At a Ferret Fetishists Meeting.

I'd like to add:

- We met at a nudist summer camp. It was love at first sight!

ROFLMAOWPE

As I arrived at work this morning I found the topic of today's workshop to be "Text Messaging". Dreading the answer, I asked myself if it could really be the case that I am to be teaching the language bastardisation that SMS English is. It was "yes", naturally.

When it comes to this linguistic abomination, I'm a dinosaur. I write my text messages in complete and correctly punctuated sentences. I find it off-putting to read messages with 4, U, C and whatever else lazy people write. Nor do I understand the abbreviations. I have to Google most of them. It's only a few weeks ago that I found out what "lol" means. Twice I have asked my brother "what do you mean, brb?", only to get annoyed that he has left the chat without telling me.

However, as I am now to be teaching this, I decided to dive into the world of one-letter words and searched out a list of those commonly used. I have to admit that some are rather clever. I am also amused at the originality of rude comments. The list is, in fact, so full of rudeness that I felt compelled to check with my manager that it wasn't too much even for one of my classes (I never shy away from teaching "conversational" English ). He was kind enough to point out that I might want to remove the ones that I don't want to have to explain in class. Hence btycl (booty call) quickly disappeared!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Eli attack

Immediately upon entering my flat, I can tell whether or not Juliet, the cleaner, has been there. Not because of the lack of cat hair and general tidiness, but because my eli-on-strings' right leg is bent.
At first I thought that she bumped into it whilst cleaning, but I am slowly starting to suspect that she does it on purpose. When the right leg is bent, it's whole height is carried by the left leg and the strings.
As eli-on-strings is an antique, and really very heavy, I worry that the strings will break one day and send him into a floor-bound free fall. Perhaps this is Juliet's cunning plan to get rid of the evil-looking puppet.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Seven useless facts

Snaskefar has requested that I follow in the game "reveal 7 facts about yourself". Since the request did not include "then send it to ten friends or you will have bad luck forever", I am happy to oblige.

1. First time I heard of the concept “mock Tudor” I thought it meant "bagpipe player".

2. In Russia I had a pet cockroach called Igor.

3. It takes me 22 min to get ready in the morning. If I’m in a hurry I can cut the time down to 10 min – this still includes a shower.

4. I have 84 pairs of shoes…not including boots or trainers.

5. I take the radio quiz Melodikrysset almost every week.

6. I was once invited to join my friend the Prince of Congo to a bbq at Gordon Brown’s house, but I didn’t go because I had a really wicked hangover!

7. I’ve never attempted a handstand, not even against a wall.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Swedish bureaucracy

I’m going for another battle with the Swedish Consulate this week. I’m not sure if I ever shared our first encounter with you.

I lost my passport in April or something, and since I can be a bit procrastination-prone I had not bothered getting a new one.

Come July, an unexpected trip came up, so I finally made an appointment with the Consulate.
I arrived and started talking to what actual turned out to be the Consul General herself.

Me: Hi, I need an emergency passport.
Stupid Diplomat Woman (SDW): Did your passport expire?
Me: No, I lost it.
SDW: Have you reported the loss to the police?
Me: No. Eh, not yet!
SDW: When did you lose it?
Me: Some time ago.
SDW: Was it stolen?
Me: No, it went missing when I moved.
SDW: It went missing?
Me: Yes
SDW: Have you looked for it?
Me: Yes
SDW: But you can’t find it?
Me: No
SDW: You really should make sure you know where you have your passport.
Me: Yes (love being lectured). But now I need an emergency passport.
SDW: You need a police report first.
Me: There’s no time. My flight leaves tomorrow.
SDW: You’ll have to change your flight.
Me: I can’t
SDW: Why not?
Me: It’s an emergency, hence the need for an emergency passport.
SDW: Well, I can’t issue an emergency passport if you have lost yours.
Me: Of course you can!
SDW: No, we need a police report.
Me: I got an emergency passport in March while applying for a Russian visa. I didn’t need a police report then.
SDW: That’s different.
Me: Why?
SDW: You hadn’t lost your real one then.
Me: If I was at Arlanda airport, about to go on holiday but I had left my passport at home, I could get an emergency passport!
SDW: Yes, but you would know where you had your passport.
Me: Ok, so let’s say I know where it is but my flight is leaving in two hours and I haven’t got time to go home to get it.
SDW: But that’s not the case.
Me: Let’s pretend it is.
SDW: No, you’ve already told me that you’ve lost your passport.
Me: Ok, can I leave and come back in five minutes to give someone else here a different version of events?
SDW: No
Me: So what are my options? I have to be on that flight.
SDW: Well, I suppose we can’t deny you a passport. Here, fill out this form.
Me: ???????

I still haven’t got a real passport. This is why I need to revisit the mad-house. I do however have a police report now.

Major Major Major Major

S asked if I'm taking Nilsson back or if I'm going to be to be a bit more last name-creative. He suggested a double-barrel name as in Marie Double-Barrel.
The Chinese find it difficult to cope with "Marie". Imagine the confusion that would follow if I were to adopt S's suggestion.

I wasn't planning on changing my name again, but perhaps I ought to. One could have all sorts of fun with it.
Donalds (my initials are MC)
Urderer (my students are easily frightened)
Swede (as if it wasn't obvious enough)

The right line of work?

My cousin writes on her blog today that she and her boyfriend almost missed their domestic Thai flight because they had confused the arrival and departure times. There's nothing particularly funny about this. It is, however, rather ironic considering they both work as airline pilots!

Monday, November 3, 2008

So how did you guys meet?

I've just had a brief chat about whether or not people should have cover stories for how they met, if it happened to be online.

I think that online dating is probably the most honest way to meet someone. You exchange a few emails, meet up, hopefully have a nice evening and become at least friends.

Owning up to the fact that you met online can in no way be more embarrassing than hooking up with someone in a bar, get drunk and end up in bed with a guy you don't know the first thing about.

Or even worse, meet someone at say, a Tory Party event, get drunk and exchange phone numbers...who would ever want to own up to meeting like that?

No wait, that's how I met my ex!

En casa solo

I've had my family over for a week. It's been really nice to have them here, although a bit of a challenge speaking Swedish every day (I'm crap!).

My auntie is a frequent reader of this blog. This means that whenever I start telling a wee story about something that's happened to me recently...she already knows! It's nice but rather strange. I have decided to hold back on some stories for next time so I can have some original material for her.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The important stuff

It doesn't happen every day but occasionally I read Barometern, the local newspaper of the town where I grew up. The Editors of Barometern are superstars at putting life back into perspective. Today's news are:
- There are people on the Internet who commit fraud.

-A man bought a bicycle four months ago and now it's rusting.

-It's been snowing.

Cross dressing

We're hosting a Halloween party for our students tonight. My manager is going as Wonder Woman. As a British male, he takes any chance he gets at wearing a dress. Those are his own words, bless him! I can just thank my lucky star that I'm not dating a Brit!

Oxymoron

I've just realised that in order to win the Happy Valley pub quiz, I need S, possibly M and definitely one smart American...
...
...maybe in a zoo somewhere?!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Same same but different

I bought a Mark Six ticket today. Mark Six is a Hong Kong lottery where you pick six numbers out of fifty, then hope for the best. Tomorrow's jackpot is 28 million honkies.

Queuing up to buy the ticket were 56 smelly, old Chinese men and one tall blonde. I fit in like a red-light district in the Vatican.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Slapper

I've been discussing with my manager whether or not we should be allowed to slap our students into becoming better people!

I have one student, a woman in her 30s, who has been coming to introduction classes for 3 months and still claims she cannot understand "the dog is in the street".

We all know that she understands, she knows that we know that she understands...but she has entered into some sort of teenage rebellious stage where she's just too cool for school.

This is where I think a slap in the face would be suitable...for her own sake, obviously!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday fun...

Give the grays a final go before you get yourself pickled tonight.


A man wanted to get into his work building, but he had forgotten his pin-code.
However, he did remember five clues.


A) The fifth number plus the third number equals 14
B) The fourth number is one more than the second number
C) The first number is one less than twice the second number
D) The second number plus the third number equals 10
E) The sum of all five numbers is 30.


What are the five numbers and in what order?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bad idea?

Aerobeds in a two-cat apartment.




Swept away

A friend advised that when choosing someone to be romantically involved with, it's good to estimate how long it would take before you were out of topics to talk about - if you had the misfortune to end up stranded on a deserted island.

So I quickly did a run-through of my male acquaintances and came up with a list ranging from 30 seconds to a few months.
One stood out though. He could easily spend a whole year making just one long story short....and that's without me interrupting. Crazy about that guy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chicken or egg

Had a chat with one of my girlfriends.

Marie, can we have a chat about relationships.
Sure!
Not sex, relationships.
Yes, I'm with you.
I'm just having a nightmare at the minute...
...
...
Tough situation. I think the best you can do is to just stay positive no matter what. No one likes a bitter person.
So how do you mean that you stay positive?
Well...hmm, I always tidy my flat before a date!
So we're back onto sex then?!
Ehh...well! Ok, but I'm not the one with problems!

It's happened again...

...someone's been shoving bills through my mailbox. It's rude and tiresome, not to mention a waste of money.

When this happened last month, P told me that I had to pay them.
They won't go away just because you ignore them, he said.
So I did, but now, one month later, the bastards are back again!

There must be a better way to live!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This is not a collective

A very serious looking, uniform-clad Mr Health Inspector came and knocked on my door today.

-Your AC unit is leaking water.

- No, it's not. It's the AC unit on the 7th floor that leaks. It drips onto mine, so it looks like it's coming from here but really, it isn't.

- No, there's no one at home on the 7th floor so it must be yours.

- Well, it's 11 am, perhaps you should try them this evening.

- No, is yours.

- Ok, well why don't you come in and have a look.

The serious man inspects the AC and concludes that the water is indeed from the 7th floor.

- Ok, so you need to arrange additional drainage for the AC.

- But mine's not leaking. Surely the people on the 7th floor have to deal with this.

- They are not at home.

-What, like never?

- What do you mean?

- Can't you just leave them a note?

- Ah, yes a note. Ok, ok.

- Great. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I wonder why...

... the English find Fawlty Towers funny, when in comparison to a vast majority of English hotels, the faults and failures of the Fawltys' almost fades?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Best today

Oh, so you're Swedish?!

Yes

"Dett komer billar"

Such a nice change from "hemtil dey eler hem tilmey", "vakkra svenska flika", "vil do knola" etc.

Like winning the lottery

I've just discovered that my favourite waterhole features free wifi.

I DO have an elephant puppet on strings


Picture proof as requested by Hult!

On their way back...

The boys are in Wan Chai, all done and on their way back up to the Peak...they should get in under 4 hours. Last year's winners did it in under 3 hours so I doubt the boys are heading for Marrakesh (World Championships). Personally, I think it was a mistake to take the STAR FERRY - too slow!

Up on the Peak I have been researching like a crazy person. My fingertips are actually sore, which is obviously way worse than K's and M's tired legs. I have yet to have that glass of wine, I haven't even taken time to go to the loo...but I will do that now - get wine and go to the loo!

Thanks Mike, Ross etc for your help - nice talking to yous!

Still at the Peak

...and ooo...they're playing jazz! I could so have a nice glass of wine now but K says I can't drink, have to stay sharp! Party pooper

At the Peak

I've been talked into being some sort of Com Central for K and his friend today as they are running the CityChase race. So I've plonked myself down at Peak Lookout Cafe and expect to be spending the next few hours looking up bus routes etc. I think it'll be fun!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Greatest invention ever

This week I am teaching vocabulary on the theme "inventions".

Asking my students what they consider the most important invention of all times, the answers were all reasonable: the light bulb, the car, the telephone etc.

One girl thought long and hard about it, and then announced: the rice cooker!

I suggested that perhaps we should start talking history in terms of BRC - Before Rice Cookers.

Caning needed

Tomorrow's the International White Cane day, an effort to educate and raise awareness on blindness.
In honour of the occasion, Radio Sweden had invited a blind girl onto the show to talk about her canes (she had several). The radio host was priceless:

Blind girl: This is my favourite cane.
Radio girl: THAT'S your favourite? But it's all grey and dirty.

Blind girl: This is my party cane, it's a bit like a cabaret cane.
Radio girl: It doesn't really look like it but ok.

Blind girl: Someone stepped on my cane so it broke.
Radio girl: Really, did you see who it was?

Radio girl then got to try walking with a cane, blind-folded.
Radio girl: Help, is there something on the floor in front of me?
Blind girl: Don't ask me, how am I supposed to know.

I wish they made canes for dumb people. One that could be used to beat them over the head with.

Impulse shopping

ICELAND is for sale on ebay.
Imagine turning the whole place into one gigantic hot tub! How cool wouldn't that be? The price, however, has jumped from 99p to £10,000,000...which seems a bit steep for a bathtub especially considering that:
- Bjork isn't included
- The successful bidder must collect in person. (from Croydon).


I'm eternally grateful but...

...who are these people that post stuff on youtube? Why do they do it? Being re-stuck on V, there are hundreds of clips for me to refresh my memory with, and this is great. What I would like know though, is why anyone would like to spend time posting them! God bless them regardless!

Dating

When P and I separated a year ago, I decided to approach single life a bit more methodically than what is usually done. So I conducted market research using an online dating site. I have now moved on to more field-based research. So far, I have discovered that the HK market for eligible males is actually not that bad BUT OMG I really have to get a bit more selective!

I've just come home from a date with a man I've known for a few months but never been on a "date" with before. He's wonderfully exciting, intelligent, attractive and fun; plus he really likes me so it all seemed promising.
However, half-way through, as I displayed a combination of annoyance and boredom at the fact that he always wants to get to the bottom of "why I left my husband"...he turned into an insecure schoolboy (he's significantly older than I am) and spent the rest of the evening trying to impress me with ridiculous statements about how wealthy he is! Money is the last thing that will ever impress me about a person, so I said thank you very much and left.
Disappointing and weird!

My students are trying to hook me up with another teacher. "Don't screw the crew" I told them but they didn't get that so tomorrow I'll have to, yet again, introduce rude vocabulary to them.

Monday, October 13, 2008

V's back!

I could not have wished for a better start to my week. I would like to announce the return of the tv-series that made me a complete sci-fi freak, and also scared the the living daylights out of me on countless occasions. V: The Second Generation, is under production!


With mind-blowing special effects (just look at the youtube clip) and a story-line that would make Tolstoy green with envy, V just rocked my 80s world.

http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=VObQfWMgmIM

A bit of trivia for you: in the first series, the first language spoken by the Visitors is Swedish. Once the flying saucers have landed(?) an announcement is made through a speaker phone. I believe the first words spoken are "God Afton", which means Good Evening. I think the first meeting took place day-time, so that wouldn't make sense at all...but it's been over 20 years so perhaps I'm mistaken on this point. I'm certain that it was Swedish though!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Talk about fighting a losing battle!

I took this photo in India. Queue in Hindi means "throw yourself into the crowd and push, elbow and pinch yourself to the front".



Friday, October 10, 2008

Alcolock my brain

Google has created an alcolock plug-in that forces you to solve mathematical problems if you are to access your emails between 22 and 04! This is such an outstanding idea I hope they'll quickly find a similar solution for SMS, and indeed mobile phones in general...and perhaps also my entire voice box.

However, I did recently apologise to a friend for only ever calling her when I am drunk stupid. She replied that it was perfectly ok - better pissed than never!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Worst idea ever...


I've signed up for Boot Camp training. 3 early mornings per week, I will be sweating and hurting and regretting the whole thing!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bought an "also a CD player"

I gave in and bought one of the mega machines that "also plays CDs". It seems to play every modern format of music known to man (although not necessarily to Marie) out of 5 speakers and something called a sub-woofer (when did this become a word?). I quite like that in addition to being "also a CD player", it is also a radio!

Hooking it up yesterday I was rather pleased with the sound quality. However, I only managed to get sound out of 2 speakers and the sub-woofer-thingie. I will have to troubleshoot today or if worse comes to worst...call a man!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Don't mention the war

Americans are frequently overheard defending their country's foreign policies with the line:

If it wasn't for us you'd all be speaking German!

This is a ridiculous statement! Even if Germany had won the war 50 years ago, the English would still be struggling with German.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Here we go again...


Hong Kong typhoon season is getting a bit tiresome! I find the forecasted change in directions by the 4th a bit suspicious... perhaps the guys at HK weather observatory want another day off.

Budgeting marie-style

Without salary levels of years past and no toy-boy to pick up my bills, I have decided it would be wise to stop spending money like a Durcell bunny on crack.
I've been noting down my more important daily expenditures:

- Tram to/from the MTR: $4/day
- Taxi to/from the MTR: $45/day
- One glass of Pinot Grigio at my local: $52/glass
- One glass of Pinot Grigio out of a bottle purchased at the supermarket: $30/glass
- One can of "who gives a rat's ass, let's worry about it at the end of the month": Priceless
For everything else there's MasterCard.

See, I can do budgets me!

American bashing

Start all your conversations with Yanks by asking if they're from Canada.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Your name is WHAT? part 3

My students did a group exercise today. I paired them up. That's how Kinky met Virtuous.

I'm a dinosaur

Four times over the past weeks, I have walked into a tech shop to buy a CD player. Four times I have left empty-handed.

My most recent encounter with a tech sales person started off with a brisk walk to the Ipod docking stations.

-No, no, I said. CDs, not Ipod.

-Oh, but you not put your CD’s on your Ipod?

I don’t have an Ipod. (this isn’t strictly true, I just find it tiresome to use) …and I don’t want one, just a CD player.

Next we ended up by the DVD players.

-Here, CD player.

-That’s a DVD player.

-Yes, play CD also!

- Do you have one that’s JUST a CD player?

- So…you have DVD player already?

- No, I don’t want one.

- Why you not want DVD player?

- I don’t have a TV.

At this point the salesperson stared at me like I was from outer space.

- We have very good offer. TV, DVD, Ipod player blblblablabla…play CD also!

- But that’s like buying a car to light a cigarette.

…and saying this I realised that there is no chance in hell that the sales boy and I would ever understand each other…and I would NEVER leave that shop with a normal CD player. I left empty-handed again.

On a different note: Do cars still come with lighters or have the NO SMOKING police put a stop to this as well? The way they put their noses into everything, you’d almost think smoking was bad for you!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A toilet balancing act


When Chinese girls use "proper" toilets, they step up onto the toilet seat and squat. I know this because there are always footprints, or shoe prints rather, on toilet seats in Hong Kong. I don’t really understand the point in doing this. I am, however, rather impressed with their balance. If I had to balance my heal clad size 40s on an 8 cm slippery surface, I think we'd see many pairs of silk shoes being ruined by toilet water (or worse)...especially in the wee (!) hours of the morning.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hearing voices

Have you noticed how it’s become ok to talk to yourself in public? When I grew up, back when dinosaurs roamed, we used to laugh and point fingers at those crazy old men carrying on with their monologues. I can’t remember last time I saw one of those loonies. I don't think they have all gone away. I think it is more the case that we no longer react to this phenomenon as half of us are now walking around with a Bluetooth device stuck in our ear.

I only thought of this just now as my friend Snaskefar is going off his blog for a few days but says he intends to carry-on with an “oral live blog” instead. I asked him if the correct term for this isn’t just “talking”? The difference, it seems, is that when you are keeping up an “oral live blog”, you are not to be interrupted.

I was about to ask Snaskefar if there’s any chance he’s one of those nutcase monologue people…only to realise that if this is the case, no one will ever know!

Sleeping with Mao


More on t-shirts...
You might recall that a few months ago I went to my first ever rock festival. My main concern at the time was finding something suitable to wear. My closet is not exactly full of rock festival clothing (not that I knew what that was).

I ended up wearing a, for the occasion purchased, t-shirt featuring a big picture of Mao. I think flashing Mao’s image is about as tasteless as walking around with a swastika on your forehead, but I had two good reasons:

-I thought I would fit right in! Surely Swedish rock festivals are full of communist teenagers?

- It could be a very good conversation starter.

I imagined the conversation to go something like this:

- So you like Mao, hu!
- No, absolutely not!
- Then why are you wearing that t-shirt?
- Because I find it ironic that the biggest icons of communist history have been turned into fashion symbols to increase the wealth of the very same capitalists that people such as Mao fought to eliminate. (In this case Mr Tang of Shanghai)

The problem was that I didn’t meet anyone sober enough to understand that last part…and eventually I wasn’t sober enough to explain it. I ended up being just another communist chick.

Only my friend Hans could see beyond Mao’s face. He took one look at my t-shirt and said:

-Nice boobs!

My Mao t-shirt’s rock festival days are over – it is now sleepwear for all those chilly Hong Kong nights known as “Air Conditioning”.

I saw this t-shirt...

...saying "Che was a murderer and your t-shirt is stupid"

I think that was a good t-shirt.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The nice hypocrite

I have been known to voice my opinion on what not to eat. I generally include shark fin soup, foie gras and whale.

However, it wasn't that long ago I happily gobbled down baby tuna sashimi. I frequently complain about not being able to buy wild salmon in the supermarket. I will not buy foie gras, but if someone else has already committed that sin, then if offered I will devour the dish with great pleasure.

So does this make me a hypocrite? Hell yeah…but I rather like the life philosophy that “wrongs aren't wrong if done by nice people like myself”.

Who needs sustenance anyway?

Any Westerner, trained in the intricacies of etiquette commonly referred to as “good manners” knows not to serve oneself food until all one's guests have filled their plates.

Any self-respecting Chinese person would rather be caught dead than serve themselves food before their teacher has had his or her share.

So there we all sit while the food is getting cold, slowly starving to death...but at least we’re not being rude.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Taking yourself too seriously?


Some years ago, my friend C spotted Jim Courier in a bar in Wanchai. Jimmie boy had had a bad, bad tournament and was commisserating.

C, in the spirit of cheering Mr Courier up, approched him and said:

"Hey Jim, I'm a tennis coach here in Hong KOng. I could give you a few pointers."

Mr Courier, being an American, did not get the funny in this and replied:

"Just you keep drinking your beer, Sonny!'

C thinking that this was unusally arrogant, even for a yank, proceeded to ask a girlfriend for a favour.

Next person to approach Jimmie was a pretty Asian girl saying:

"Sorry Boris - could I have your autograph?"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Captivate your audience

Consider beginning all your statements with "well, it's illegal now but..."

This week..

...I bought 2 new mobile phones as Gweilo first ate my old one, then my brand new one. I yelled at him of course. He gave me the "what?! what are you going to do? You've already had my balls cut off!" look.

I met my new friend K again. He is half Northern Irish Catholic, half Tunisian…which sparks the question: …so did your parents meet in terrorist summer camp or something? He’s a good sport about it!

I received 12 moon cakes from my students. I think moon cakes are nice but a tiny slice at a time is plenty.

I found a lovely flat – way too expensive for me really but as I told my manager…if I need a supplementary income, I can always go back into stripping. It’s very lucrative.

My divorce papers came through. My divorce cost less than H$600 and once the papers were sent off, took less than 3 weeks. Thank you very nice!

So a very good week all things considered! It’s bank holiday weekend and I have NO plans! I like it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Your name is WHAT part 2

Today I met a girl called Kinky. I wonder if she knows Wanker?

Looking for a shoe box

Flat hunting in Hong Kong can be quite depressing. I've had to add new criteria to my search.

  • It can't smell like feet!
  • The kitchen/bathroom must have been renovated at least once in the past 50 years.
  • I need to have enough space to turn around in the flat, not having to walk in and back out!
  • The bedroom has to be big enough for me to sleep straight. You might think I'm kidding but I viewed a flat this morning where the bedroom was about 1.30m * 1.60m (I'm 1.73m). The estate agent suggested that I sleep diagonally across the room.

Perhaps I am just being difficult. More flat hunting on Saturday!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Catch 22 in telecom-ish

When I visited Sweden this summer I walked into the local telecoms shop to get mobile internet. I had planned to buy a modem and the refill card that would allow me to pay for a week of internet access at a time.

Sweden uses a very clever personal ID number system, which allows for information such as your income, address, credit worthiness etc to be accessed. I have one of course, but since I have emigrated, there's no address registered in my file.

This has never before been a problem. However, Telia's summer campaign for mobile internet worked as follows:

1. You can rent a modem and buy a week-by-week refill card.
or
2. You can buy a modem and sign up for a month-by-month subscription.
however
3. You can only buy a week-by-week refill card if you rent a modem
and in addition
4. You can not rent a modem unless you have a Swedish address or can supply a passport number of your FOREIGN passport.
and
5. You can not sign up for a month-by-month subscription unless you have a Swedish address or can supply a passport number of your FOREIGN passport.

Nor did they have a gun so I couldn't even shoot myself.

Is it me?

I am not getting through to people any longer. I don't know what I am doing wrong.

In India I had the following conversation:

I would like a taxi driver for the day, please. I am going to Khan Market for a few hours, then Imperial Hotel for lunch, then back here.

Ok, so you can visit the Red Fort in the morning.

No, I only want to go to Khan Market and Imperial Hotel

But you have time to visit the Red Fort.

Yes, but I don't want to.

But there's plenty of time, it's berry berry interesting.

I only want to go to Khan Market and Imperial Hotel.

If you leave at 8.30, 2 hours at Red Fort, then your driver will take you anywhere. It's all included in the price.

Thank you. I only want to go to Khan Market and Imperial Hotel.

So you don't want to go to the Red Fort?

No

Are you sure, it won't cost extra.

Thank you, I'm sure.

I am now viewing flats. My main criteria is UNFURNISHED. Otherwise I'm easy. This morning I viewed a flat in Sheung Wan.

This flat is furnished.

Yes, you want unfurnished?

Yes, it says so right there in your papers.

But the furniture is very nice. Very contemporary.

Yes, but I already have furniture.

Maybe you can fit your furniture too?

No chance. Can they remove the furniture?

Oh, no can do. Why don't you sell your furniture.

No, I like them.

Ok-la. I have one more apartment in this building. Let's go see!

Ok

5 min later.

This flat is furnished

...(feel free to continue the dialogue - I have no strenght left)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Your name is WHAT?

Some Chinese people are kind enough to pick an English name so that we dumb westerners can say their names. There are lots of Kellys, Hayleys, Joes and Jacks in my classes. There are also some unusual versions such as Milk, and her friend Sugar (really wish we had a Tea so I could get them to do group work). Human is a student of mine, and so is Elephant. However, my favourite student is a boy called Wanker.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I survived India

...and returned with some amazing memories, a cold, and what I suspect is a stomach parasite, which is currently making my life interesting.

I will post photos but as I have now also started working, my blog will have some downtime until I get into my new routine.

So far my new job is going well. My students have dubbed me "the pretty teacher", which is nice. When called "Barbie" though I had to point out that I am really more like Barbie's ugly cousin...and that I respond much better to bribes than flattery.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Driving - Indian style

- When driving in India, keep your car in the middle of the road.
- Lanes? What are lanes?
- When overtaking, honk your horn.
- There's is no need to use rear-view mirrors. Cars will honk their horn if overtaking.
- Trucks do not have indicators and may go from the middle of the road to one side at any point. Honk your horn.
- Trucks do not have, or will not use, rear-view mirrors. Honk your horn if planning to overtake, or if you are in close proximity of one (which is ALWAYS).
- Mind the cows.
- If a person looks like he or she is about to cross the road in front of you, honk your horn to let them know you're not stopping.
- Never mind the camels.
- Accept that driving is really only a motorised version of slalom.
- Never mind the donkeys, dogs, monkeys or crowds of people.
- Swish past motorcycles, but honk your horn if the sari-wearing wife is riding along.
- Speed limit, Schmeed splimit!

My driver's a master so about 6 hours and 15 near-death experiences since leaving Delhi, I have arrived in Pushkar - famous for it's temples and pick-pockets!

Cows and kali

I made it to Delhi eventually. This place is hysterical.
Unfortunately I've found that it is ill-advised for me to be out walking around on my own at this time - mainly for the fact that I can't see any other women on the street. I did have a fascinating taxi ride in though, past religious celebrations and some 16,000 cows.

Tomorrow morning I am off on my tour of Rajasthan. Since Typhoon Nuri shortened my holiday, I have opted for a private driver instead of train rides. This is a shame but will make for a more efficient use of my time.

So if you don't hear from me over the next few days, I'll be in Pushkar, Jaipur and Agra.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Maldives is SO last season!

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has issued a warning about a newly-wed couple. It seems the happy couple met while serving life sentences for killing off a few people. They recently got married, and have now escaped prison to go on honeymoon.

I think it is so important that you as a couple have similar interests. Sure, there should be room for compromise and independence, but if you are into say, "killing people", meeting someone like-minded really helps the relationship develop. It is also nice to see that there's still a sense of adventure in young couples:

"What should we do for our honeymoon, babe?"
"How about a prison break?"
"Yes! You know, I've always wanted to do that"

...and they lived happily ever after.

http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article3159100.ab

Floored

I managed to talk a taxi company into a T9, 3am pick up, only to discover that my flight had been further delayed.
Being a creature of (at least some) comfort, I strolled over to the airport hotel in the naive hopes that they might have just one tiny room left. They did not, obviously.
Instead I plonked myself down in a corner of the airport along with the thousands of other stranded passengers. Amazingly enough, I slept like a baby. Since I knew not to expect any further updates until 09.30, I even had a lie-in...on the floor (I found a bench at 09.30, and slept another 30 min there).

If my flight leaves at 13.30 as the current schedule suggests, I only have left to convince the Indian immigration services that although my passport does not strictly speaking have 6 months validity (5.5 months only), they still ought to let me in. No problem, surely!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Delayed...after all

It seems that although Air India doesn't mind flying in a T8, the Chek Lap Kok airport is not that keen on letting them do so in a T9, which is supposedly the current status. My flight has been delayed until tomorrow morning. It's ok, I wasn't sure if I was going to find a taxi anyway.

I live quite close to one of the HK weather observatories (Waglan island) so I can pretty confidently tell you that wind speed is currently around 94 km/hour. It's cool.

That was all!

A bit of wind never killed anyone

I was just on the phone with Air India. My flight is about the only one not listed as "Cancelled" on the airport info site.

- No, Madame, the flight is not cancelled, just delayed.
- Really?! That's great, but what about the typhoon?
- Oh, it's just a bit of wind. We can still take off.

Typhoon schmyfoon I say. I like Air India!!!

There's a typhoon outside my window

IF, I could force the front door open into the mad gusts of wind. If there would be a kamikaze taxi driver waiting up the road. If the airport express was running. If pilots for Air India were desperately homesick. Then I would be going to Delhi today. I don't think it will happen. Oh well, tomorrow's another day!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Irrational lack of aerophobia

It seems Typhoon Nuri will be hitting Hong Kong in full force at exactly the same time as my flight is due to depart tomorrow. I wonder if I am the only person in the world who really has nothing against flying in a Typhoon? I rather like when it's a bit bumpy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Got a job - going on holiday!

I've opened another coconut. My rock n'roll lifestyle ends September 1st, when I will be reporting into my new job like any other mortal.

I thought I would start my new employed life by taking a holiday (as you do) so I have this morning booked a flight to India. I shall attempt to travel around Rajasthan for a week using trains, buses, camels and the odd elephant.

Mother thinks it's a very bad idea for me to be traveling alone but I pointed out to her that considering there's a billion or so people living in India, I am not likely to be alone for much of the time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Room for improvement

I have been thinking about the Olympics and about sports. I think it would be much more challenging if some sports were combined so that the athlete had to master several skills at once.
I have a few suggestions:

100 m Fencing
Synchronised Swim Boxing (two teams of synchronised swimmers would launch team members wearing boxing gloves at the other team to try to disturb their routine)
Underwater Hurdles
Synchronised Ski-jump Shooting
Triple Javelin Jump
Ice Tennis

I think I would be particularly good at 200m Rubbish Talk.

Crayfish


I ended up opposite IKEA in Causeway Bay today. I'm in dire need of my annual fix of crayfish so I popped in to see if they had any. They did...and ironically enough, they were Chinese. So my kilo of delicious red critters were caught in China, shipped to Sweden for cooking and packaging (it says so on the package!), then sent back to China to be sold at IKEA. My crayfish have quite an impressive carbon footprint.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jub hunting

My flashy summer lifestyle is coming to an end and I am applying for jobs. Tomorrow I have an interview and the company has sent me directions:

Our address is Room D7, 7/F, Yip Fat Factory Bldg (Phase One), Kwun Tong, Kowloon, HK. Please look for Exit B3 at Kwun Tong MTR Station and you will see a stair and please walk down. After that, you have to walk straight for about a minute, and you will find a door number of 77. Don't be shocked when you see the big trucks, please walk inside and you'll find the lifts

It seems the porn industry has really gone down since my last production!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Olympics

I have just watched the very impressive Olympics opening ceremony. Despite having some 15467 TV channels, the closest I could get to live coverage was a program with 5 Chinese men discussing the games (in Cantonese) while the opening ceremony was being shown on screens behind them.
So instead I ended up watching German Eurosport streamed from a Macedonian TV channel via a website in Malaysia (seriously!).

I have a few thoughts on the ceremony.

- I like the idea of using the Chinese alphabet to determine the order countries entered the arena. Gabon, Turkey, Benin, Canada, Mali...it sort of added a bit of excitement (it was a rather long ceremony and I was bored waiting for Sweden...at number 185!)

- I would never want to compete for Greece as their team always have to spend hours in a hot arena waiting for the other monkeys.

- I liked the little fan/wind machine on the flag poles. Beauty is in the details!

- What was up with the bagpipes and bongo drums?

- I think the final torch runner (or flier) burnt off his eye brows...at least.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Yummy!


The new Chinese Olympic stadium is called the Bird's Nest. Bird's Nest, found in Bird's Nest Soup, is a delicacy in China and has been used in cooking for hundreds of years. The edible version is the saliva of the cave swift.
That was all!

Lucky day

Happy 888 day everyone. May your day be extra lucky and prosperous.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dumb dumber

Last night, P and I had a great, although rather drunk, celebration of our last wedding day anniversary. The evening was spent on the balcony drinking copious amounts of wine and talking rubbish.
At one point P told me:

- Nowadays I only date dumb girls, as next to them, I seem smarter.

-Yes, I know what you mean, I said. That's why I married you.

He took it like a man...well, he threw water at me!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wait for me...

I just found out there's a typhoon warning level 3 in HK. This is no big deal and with my luck it will have passed over HK by the time I land.

I don't want any deaths or injuries...but a bit of drama every now and then wouldn't go amiss!

No comment needed!


Ripped this photo from Snaskefar!


With friends like these...

Sitting in Frankfurt airport I recieved a text message that I just have to share here; without asking for permission, obviously!

Agreed! Frankfurt is crap! To provide relief, buy a hot dog and toss pieces at passing Germans, loudly asking "Does the Frankfurter hurt-er? in a mock and slightly sinister German accent. Worked for me in '02. The 4 hour detention and cavity search were a hassle though. Call if you need bail money!"

No point wasting time!

I was queuing up to get a cup of tea at Arlanda Airport this morning. The 30-something year old man in front of me was chatting with the bartender. Jokingly the bartender asked the guy if he was buying a beer. It was “jokingly” because it was 09.30, and Swedes tend to wait with alcohol at least until lunch time.
The guy replied:

- Beer? No, it’s almost 10 – give me a Gin&Tonic, make it a double.

I like his attitude!

Fight club

The cuts in my face no longer hurt but are not exactly esthetically pleasing. It looks like I have been beaten up. I make it a point to tell people “You should see the other guy!’. I think it makes me seem more cool than clumsy.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Leaving the forest

I'm leaving Vibo tomorrow. I would have liked to have stayed for a little while longer but as someone pointed out...it's ok to talk to cats and hedgehogs, but when they start to talk back, it's time to seek out family and friends (and/or get help!).

Kalmar tomorrow, then back home to Honkers!

Friday, August 1, 2008

When wearing a burkha would be practical!

This morning my phone was ringing downstairs so I tried to quickly get out of bed. My legs somehow got stuck, my brain forgot that I have arms, I fell and landed on my face. My chin has been bleeding. My nose looks reasonably normal but is so sore I can barely touch it. My upper lip looks like something out of "When plastic suregy goes wrong". I am not a pretty sight! I was going to leave Vibo today but I think I will stay until I can leave the house without scarying children.

As S pointed out, it has been a while since I last had an accident so I had it coming!

It hurts!