Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Pictures here

KL = Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia. Like everything else here, it's always called by the short name. After my hospital adventures, it was a while I did not get out of Singapore, and I felt I have to do that right away. Many consider KL not worth attention, one more Singapore (though I like the latter one a lot!), but how could I miss this magic city, a sticker from which was hanging in my toilet (!) since I was born. I dreamed of koalas living there... actually, the name means "muddy confluence (of the river)".

Trip there is easy. Just cross the boarder to JB (Johor Bahru, a city just at the boarder) station and be attacked by guys shouting "KLKLKLKLKL". In 15 min, I am already on the way. The driver promised 4h trip, so I hope to be there in 5h. Takes 6.5h, and there's no time for anything else but go straight to bed. Ratna, a cool Indian/Malaysian girl picked me up in the station and we still spent half night chatting.

Next day, early early out of bed to get tickets to Petronas Towers, once the highest building in the world, and now the highest twin-building. Our time is 2pm, apparently there are many taking advantage of free entrance. After all, they gave 30min presentation of how cool is the company, and 10 min on the top. But now I can say been there, done it.

Batu caves - a Hindu temple inside a cave on the top of the hill - is the next point. That's where Hindus walk during the Thaipusan festival with hooks pierced in their backs and face, dragging heavy burdens behind. Ratna's father did that - apparently, they are in trans and it does not hurt. No, they don't get high, just have a month of preparation, and play drums before it all starts.

In the afternoon - a huge CS birthday party, more like a wedding. Soooo many people, so much food. No drinks - it's a muslim house - and once again I see how people here can have fun without alcohol. Lots of fun! Now I have 100 new friends in Malaysia :) There was even Latvian-Lithuanian girl. And a guy from HK, that teaches people how to use their brain few times per month. The rest he can travel. Apparently his brain is very efficient :) I should attend his class... 12h per day at work, and no use.

On Sunday I randomly bumped into Malay food fair, all kinds of delicious cooked food, free for all. That was an eating weekend :) The day ended in little India with delicious dinner for ~1 euro for 2. I must say, KL is really pleasant, still clean, but there's something in the air that is not in Singapore. Could live there, especially with danish salary :)) The place I stayed, a huge nice apartment, big room, the price is a quarter of my box. Ratna told her guest was missing aircon and "western standards" or whatever... hm... then he'd think he's a hero he survived the cockroach attack in mine, hehe. Though, I love my pets :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

A couple days trip to SGH

Have never heard of SGH? Well it's not very far away. It was not my intention to go there, but they convinced, so I thought two days won't do much bad... I must admit, quite interesting. Food is awesome, indian curries, chinese vegetarian, malay seafood, even "western" steamed fish was really nice. Usually here understanding of western food is some crapy steak/sausage with fries or pasta, ketchup, and always beans. I am sure chinese the same way enjoy chinese food back in Europe. Back to SGH, people are super friendly and kind. Would do anything for you, always wondering if you are fine and not missing anything. Just it's freezing. And for a bed in dorm for 2 they rip off like Hilton. Ok, if you did not realize yet I had a chance to explore hospital life. Not that I was very sick, but also signing a doccument that I am going against doctor's advice did not seem the right thing to do. Anyway, just a small tropical living being inhabitted my right eye. Certainly the worst eye infection I could ever imagine. But now I am fine, no worries. Tomorrow I am going to work, and I am happy about that like never. Though, they gave me a paper giving me 31 days of holidays. I could wave it and go traveling... not. Eh, sometimes phd has disadvantages over normal job.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Though there's only minority of christians here, obsession with Christmas is nearly like everywhere. The first time I heard Christmas song it seemed unreal... what, Christmas in summer?! Hey, but it's nearly December, hard to believe when you don't need anything more than a T-shirt. Today I really know Christmas is coming. I spent a good hour in a huge supermarket trying to find a few things (pretty hard when I don't see further than a meter, will tell next time why), and listening to the same song playing over and over again... Santa Claus is coming to town! I also know I am not coming back there before Christmas is over. Or maybe tuesdays special is Jinggle Bells?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Have you been too long in Singapore?

This text is not created by me. I hope posting here does not conflict with any property rights, and I must also disclame that this text has nothing to do with me or my oppinion, and is not intended to offend anyone. I removed some items just because nobody would read until the end:) So gals n guyz here u go

(taken from http://www.bevaart.com/cultureshock/)

  1. You know why this list needs the following disclaimer: "This list is intended only as an amusing, light-hearted, and exaggerated look at life in Singapore and is not meant to be taken seriously. There is no intention on the part of the authors of this list to make any untrue, misleading, or defamatory statements concerning any person in particular, nor to make any statement intended to cause offense. If any such offense has been caused, the author apologizes and retracts the offending statement. In any event, the author's NOT WORTH SUING, so don't trouble yourself."
  2. You get used to being called "Ang Moh", "Geyloh", "Bulek", "Mat Saleh", or "Orang Putih".
  3. You think there's nothing wrong with putting chili sauce on everything you eat.
  4. You wait for instructions from people in authority before doing anything. Always.
  5. You accept the fact that you have to queue to get a ticket for the next queue
  6. You join queues without knowing or caring what the queue is for.
  7. Your idea of a good night out consists of having dinner at a hawker centre, drinking beer, and then going to another hawker centre and eating again.
  8. You would buy a $20 product you don't need if it's on sale for $10 just to save the money.
  9. You forget to say the last consonant in words like "faCT", "aTE", etc.
  10. Every task you take on and every group you form is incomplete without a mission statement and a cheesy slogan.
  11. "Crossing the country" means taking the MRT to the end of the line.
  12. You think that corn and beans are dessert foods.
  13. You would cross the entire country all day to find the places that make the perfect fried noodles, or roti prata, or ice kacang,or chili crab. And none of these places would be close to each other.
  14. Most or all of these acronyms make sense to you: NUS; NTU; ERP; SDU; PAP; MRT; LKY; GCT; PRC; TIBS; SBS; SMS; JB; JBJ; AMK; AYE; PIE; ECP; CTE; BKE; ISD; ISA; 5 C's; CPF; CHIJMES; SPG; CWO; LTA; URA; MOM; SIR; COE; EP; IRAS; EDB; CBD.
  15. You use too many acronyms when you talk, or you create new ones.
  16. You think that nothing makes a girl or guy more attractive than to dress exactly like hundreds of thousands of other girls and guys who all dress exactly like girls and guys in malls.
  17. You think that $100,000 is a reasonable price for a Toyota Corolla and $1,000,000 is a bloody cheap for a bungalow, but $5 for a plate of fried noodles is a barbarous outrage.
  18. You believe that not being able to get decent roti prata outside Singapore is enough to keep the best and the brightest people from leaving.
  19. You see nothing wrong with forming committees of select elite people to deliberate and study ways to stimulate creativity and spontaneity.
  20. You justify every argument with the phrase "in order for us to be competitive in the 21st century".
  21. You think everything should be "topped up".
  22. You have a naive belief that the war against ants will somehow be won.
  23. You don't think any dish of Western food is complete without baked beans.
  24. You see nothing unusual about an organization of trade unions spending more time owning and operating supermarkets, drugstores,amusement parks, nightclubs, and financial services outlets than planning the next strike.
  25. You wear winter clothes indoors and summer clothes outdoors.
  26. Durian and belachan no longer stink to you.
  27. In a country where people use smart cards for public transit, you have no problem with construction workers riding in the open backs of pickup trucks.
  28. You think paying $50 for a bottle of booze that costs $15 at home is a bargain.
  29. You're not confused by a street naming system that locates streets like Clementi Road, Clementi Street, Clementi Crescent,Clementi Lane, Clementi Drive, Clementi Way, and Clementi Avenues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 all within Walking distance of each other.
  30. You think that skinny girls and guys are the most attractive of all. (How did they get so skinny in the first place?? Do you know how much oil is in nasi lemak, char kuay teow, duck rice, and your average curry.)
  31. When you cross the border into Malaysia, you automatically and deeply fear for your life and your wallet. [this happens when crosing into Singapore. Deeply]
  32. You think that no vegetable should ever be eaten raw for any reason. Except for cucumbers. [and not even those necessarily]
  33. No matter what you're doing at the moment, you'd rather be shopping.
  34. You don't have a problem with four different direct payment systems spread out over seven different cards in your wallet, and none of them will work overseas. [and nothing from overseas works here]
  35. You forgot what chewing gum tastes like.
  36. You're not bothered by the fact that government cares whether you know how to use a toilet or urinal correctly. (People squatting on toilet bowls?)
  37. You think chicken floss, corn, mayonnaise, and tandoori spices are proper pizza toppings.
  38. You've become a fan of either Arsenal, Man. U., or Liverpool when you barely knew what soccer was before you came to Singapore. And you don't care that none of these teams are Singaporean!
  39. You think a bus is incomplete without a TV.
  40. You accept that expressways here are cleaner than toilets rather than the other way around.
  41. Walking in a straight line to avoid people in the street becomes increasingly difficult, and you don't care if you do walk into them.
  42. You watch Tamil soap operas on Central, even though you can't understand a word they're saying, because despite the fact there are 30 channels available to you, there is nothing else worth watching.
  43. You add lah to the end of every sentence.
  44. You think by crossing the bridge to Johore Bahru your are traveling overseas and you will get a lot international experience
  45. You think a 163 meters hill actually is a respectable mountain.
  46. If you want a taxi, go and stand 20 feet up the road from someone who's been waiting for 10 minutes. Ignore filthy looks from that person.
  47. Walking distance is 10 meters [anything above they say not here lah]
  48. You know how much your friends are paying for rent, how much their car costs, what the make of their watch is and how much it cost.
  49. You spend the day shopping and every shop assistant you come across is rude to you - and this does not give you a complex.
  50. In bars, you consider it perfectly normal to wait 15 minutes for your change after ordering a drink. You spend S$200/night on alcohol alone without batting an eyelash.
  51. You don't get annoyed when you're not given a napkin with your chili pepper crab or you now carry around little packs of nose tissue when you go out for lunch.
  52. You serve warm water to guests even if their sweating profusely.
  53. You've stopped waiting for people to exit an elevator, the train, etc. before pushing your way in
  54. You know exactly where to stand when you wait for the MRT train so that when the train comes, the door will open right in front of you.
  55. You need a trial period to keep left on the escalators.
  56. You actually start understanding what people on the other end of the line are saying & you stop saying 'excuse me' & prefer 'wha lah ?'
  57. You stop explaining nicely to taxi drivers etc that in your home country people actually work. You just snap their heads off and tell them to get a life! [15h per day, 6.5 days per week. anything less is too much fun!]
  58. The taxi driver asks you for the way, even if you have just arrived at the airport.
  59. You honestly believe cars do not come fitted with indicators.
  60. You see red traffic lights as an opportunity to pick your nose.
  61. You put your bag on a table before going up to order.
  62. You've realised sentences just don't end in lah but whaaat and may.
  63. If It's going to be delivered at 4, you know you'll still be waiting at 6.
  64. We in the West have no clue as to what carrot cake is. [actually, it is radish fried with egg]
  65. After arriving into Singapore off a 14 hour flight your first thoughts are of mee rebus and bee hoon.
  66. When someone asks you to do something, you answer with "Can, Can"
  67. You nap on your desk at lunch. [and on table/keybords at other times]
  68. You use an umbrella in the sun. [uv-proof]
  69. You know what they do with all that whitening cream.
  70. You forget how to speak "GOOD ENGLISH"
  71. You hate shopping, all the shop assistants show you in size is XL when in fact back home you are S or M.
  72. You learn how to squat and not WET your SHOES
  73. You know all the holes in Bintan and all the whores in Batam.
  74. You leave your chinese collegues' wedding dinner immediately after you've finished dessert even though some people still haven't started dessert.
  75. you think it's perfectly acceptable for men to drink alcopops.
  76. You think nothing is wrong when the staff at the Cold Storage put each article you bought in a seperate plastic bag. [if you buy two apples, they go in separate bags as well. please no no I don't need bag is not convincing]
  77. You think the long fingernail on the little finger is not only the most useful hygiene implement, but it is also a fashion statement. [and with all long, you'll be the most beautiful bus/taxi driver in the district]
  78. You eat AROUND the cockroach in your curry just because it is from your favorite hawker stall.
  79. You no longer say excuse me when you bump into someone.
  80. You enjoy cold milk tea with bubbles. You know what bubbles and pearls are.
  81. You have forgotten what coffee with real milk tastes like, or worse, condensed milk or powder whitener are preferred.
  82. Paying $8.90 for a pint of strawberries is cheap!
  83. Paying $10 for your favorite cereal is normal. Hitting a sale when it only costs $9.85 is your lucky day! [or, you go for noodles for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack]
  84. You no longer ask for directions, because you know that people will nod and point even though they have not understood what you have asked.
  85. You know that if you must ask for directions to keep the key information required in the first 3-4 words. Second halves of sentences are not heard.
  86. If there is more than one assistant in a shop, it pays to ask all of them the same question. The first may tell you that it is not stocked, the second or third will take you to where it is on the shelf - often in front of where the one who told you it is not stocked is standing.
  87. You know that if you are at a Food Court or Hawkers Stall and you have requested no sauce on your meal, you must hover vigilently so that you can stop them in time as they go to put the sauce on anyway. [same with sugar]
  88. Even as a shop assistant is nodding their head in response to what you have said, you are already formulating a simplified/Singlish version of what you have just said, because you know that the nodding means nothing and that it would be a miracle to be understood first time out. If you really want something until you see the light go on in their eyes. No light, noo outcome.
  89. When talking about equipment you say "off it" or "on it", instead of "turn it off" or "turn it on".
  90. When walking along the steet and a man puts the finger along his nose and snots on the path in front of you, rather than register disgust and nausea, you instead just make a mental note just to walk around it.
  91. You know your passport number by heart
  92. You understand everything on this list!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Saya suka Malaysia. Part I: Taman Negara

That does not mean anything bad as Lithuanians might thing, just I like Malaysia. If spelled correctly. In a short time, we did quite a lot: starting from train trip to the jungle, ending by visiting beaches and towns on the eastern coast.

Here we go!

To the jungle we took a train. The only tourists in the second class. Though I did not see much difference, except double price. Reminds my childhood trains in Lithuania, just those were much warmer. "Express" does not mean anything. 7h half way through peninsula. Though good sleep, and freshly cooked rice in banana leaves for nearly no price. Right after getting out we are picked up by the only agency doing boat trips. Nearly impossible to be cheated. No need to negotiate, they don't have "special" tourist prices. Minibus to hotel, bus to the boat, and 3 hours in the jungle river. Beautiful views, and once in a while settlements of indegineous inhabitants - Orang Asli.
Warm welcome to the jungle

Taman Negara is the biggest national park and nature reserve in Malaysia, as well as the oldest jungle in the world. At least in Asia. It takes maybe thousand sq km, and in the far away places is still quite wild. The park was isolated until end of 80's due to (racial) conflicts in Malaysia. Just a few years ago it was only accessible by the river, now there's a road and a local bus. Seing how locals are entertained by riding together with some dirty stinky tourists, apparently not too many choose the second option. If you want to be bored in an aircon clean bus full of tourists, there's an option of paying 5 times more and taking a shuttle.

First shower we took the first evening. We did not have much time to explore the jungle, but facing the wildlife was instant. First we spotted raindeers and little shining bugs (jonvabaliai). Right after - bloody thick leaches in our skin. These were our most faithful companions for the rest of the days in the jungle. From disgust and screems "get it out!!!", we transfered to automatically picking tens of them every hundred meters from our shoes and out of feet, and taking photos of these lovely friends... NOT. That was the most annoying thing, that made us run without looking to the trees (we decided they attack less if we are fast), rest only on the trees, and come back to the hut even before 6pm rain.

That was tough... but we did it!

Second day started with ease. We forgot leaches from the evening and headed to the canopy walk. A bridge up high in the trees, maybe 30m. Only 4 at a time on one bridge, at least 5 meters in between. After that, more hiking up, nicely sweating. Bit of mud. Until we saw our legs... full of bloody bastards. Still I can proudly say we did nearly full day, just at the end we cut off the waterfalls and rested by the river close to our hut. That was were we spend the night, a hide with wooden "beds", were you are supposed more wait for animals then sleep. The far away was fully booked, so we went for the closer one, where we stayed alone. Very romantic, and very scary :) Tropical rain outside, anymals roaring... ok, more like barking... all jungle sounds, absolute dark... and the most scary talks ever :)

The next day we ran straight to the headquaters in the morning, and learned about baigon. Something that you should spray far away from skin and clothes, never touch or breethe in. Having nearly bathed our shoes and trousers in it, we were safe from leaches. And saving everyone we were meeting on the way :) Anyway we went for a bit of rest, swimming in the river. and visiting Orang Asli.

The wild people

Nomandic tribes, the race of negritos. Still living from hunting and picking fruit, building sheds from leaves, never going to school and getting married at the age of 16. When boys know how to hunt and light fire. When girls know how to build a house and catch fish. It's not a show-off four tourists. Some of them do have t-shirts and sneakers, others cover with piece of cloth. Observe us, but don't wave. They probably don't know what is waving. Some speak English, all understand Malay. They sell forest stuff for production and some souveniers to us, like hand-made bamboo combs. They don't eat tourists and are shy, pieceful and friendly. Malay government is trying to bring kids to school, integration is hard. Jungle life is happy, but there's not enough jungle anymore.

To be continued...

I am still alive :)

I know it's been some time, sorry guys. There are still plenty of things happening, but have to work sometimes as well :) I'll try to catch up with everything, and new trips are already on the way. Backwards from last weeks:

Sweetmango took us to real traditional Malay wedding of her collegue. You can see us in traditional (though quite modernized) Malay costumes here. More pictures to come, we made thousands.

Wednesday was halloween, we had lot's of fun dressing up and scaring people on the bus. It's not as common here as in Europe. Pictures to come, my camera died exactly on that day.... and got back from life short after.

Daniel was visiting me for a week, we ran all around Singapore, met the CS team, had one more Hari Raya dinner, and visited Malaysia's eastern coast and the real jungle, Taman Negara (literally, national park). It's the oldest jungle in asia, if not in the world. We were getting wet and dirty, eaten by leaches, then relaxing in paradise beach and participating in Malay wedding, just because our bus did not come. See here and more to come.

Joel has moved out, and we have a new flatmate, Chris. Not couchsurfer yet, but to be recruited :) Now we are are all fish eating vegetarians (pescetarians), but anyway no time for cooking. On that occasion we had a leaving/moving-in house party, if you like to see many faces check this.

Of course we had many guests visiting, sigtseing Singapore, having dinners, exchanging experiences and spreading the love :) sweetmango is right, that's what CS is about.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Selamat Hari Raya

Ramadan is finished, and Hari Raya celebrations, lasting for a month, have started. People visit and invite friends, and of course eat eat eat. Just like our Christmas, very long ones. On monday we (CSers) were invited to real malay Hari Raya dinner by Sweetmango, a super nice and kind girl, her mam was cooking for all of us, excellent manaly food, that we served ourselves again and again with short breaks to digest :) After, we sang (ok, shouted out) karaoke, love songs of 80's. But neighbours cannot complain, as it's Hari Raya!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Working in Singapore

I come in the morning at 9, my colleague is already there, for a good while. - My wife starts job very early. I'm leaving at 7 in the evening, my colleague is still there... - you Europeans know how to have fun! I am still here at 8 debugging my experiments that I want to have ready for tomorrow, he's leaving. Wow, finally I am not the first to leave! - I am coming back...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Hari Raya

Hari Raya means "happy day" in malay, and that's supposed to be the celebration of the end of Ramadan - a month of fasting and abstinence of pleasures... from sunrise to sunset.

During the day, not even drinking water is allowed, which is quite tough in countries where you are sweating all the time (if being outside, I happily drink 4 liters or more of water, even get up at night a couple of times to drink... except aircon lab and rainy days, I am constantly soaked with sweat, sticky and stinky :)).

After the sunset, 7pm, hari raya celebrations start. Plenty of food, usually meaty, fried and greasy, many sweats... not so appealing to me, but it's amazing to see how much attention is payed to food (though the biggest complaint is thirst). We went once to a night market in Malay Village, where you can buy special clothes for hari raya celebration, and of course endless amounts of food stalls. Traditional costumes are family sets, for example you can have an orange family, or a pink family (saw it in the show for tourists, and exactly the same in the market later).

It's less noticeable in Singapore, a bit more in Malaysia, but in Kuching where we were it's still crowded with chinese that live as usual. Still, at night people come to life. Once I had to catch a bus before sunrise, there were many foodstalls, market, people just shopping and walking around. My friend just came back from Indonesia, where you see people sleeping in mosques and just in the street during the day time. At night, they prey. And eat.

Haven't got my pictures, but will try to borrow some :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Weekend in Kuching

It was a great trip, full of emotions. Meeting locals in the evening, then getting up early, catching a bus (big challenge!), hiking, sweating, cooling down in a waterfall in the middle of the jungle (dear parents, it's just like a forest by your house! no snakes, no tigers), looking for a beach while it's getting dark and starting to rain, meeting orang-utan (man of the forest, though it was a girl) face-to-face, even visiting hospital...

I went with a French girl I met in CS gathering. Just like me, no sleep, do more, walk a lot... and nice company as well. Last half day I stayed alone (making it longer, got up at 5!), met company on the way - a malay that speeks almost no English, and is not too extrovert to do without it, but still would not leave me alone! Nothing left but to appreciate the friendliness of the locals. Last funny thing on the way to airport - the taxi driver showed the first page of local newspaper... with us!

For now short, more to come... see pictures in picasaweb.google.com/daliadk/http://picasaweb.google.com/daliadk/WeekendInKuchingAndAroundBorneoSarawakMalaysia.

Next weekend for sure Tioman!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Kuching this weekend

At the end, I go to Kuching ("Cat city", full of tasteless sculptures of cats, but I will have a challenge to see life ones, monkeys are more likely) - Malaysia, Borneo island, Sarawak. Historical city (size of Vilnius), some jungle trekking around... not wildly wild, but must be more than Singaporean "jungle" :) News and views will come Monday evening. Enjoy your weekend, and let me know how you guys are doing!

Tioman might be next :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sun and beach at work

Doesn't feel like working after lunch... read news? No, there is something better - get out of the lab where it's colder and darker than in winter, enjoy sun, warm water, and palm trees. Just did that:) Wow, like this I don't mind to have long "working" hours! In this case, I was classified as "staff" and can use all the sports center for free. Who said students have huge pressure here?

Weekend in Singapore

This time I did not go anywhere, need to socialise here as well :) Saturday we did artificial beach with Pontus, his girlfriend Ellen, and Swedish friends. The rest were few hours late (as usual), did not get to see them. Cool bar, swimming pool, loud music and all that stuff, that's how I imagine look resorts in far-away paradise places, "all included", stay in hotel, drink, eat, at the end did not even know where you actually were. Just would be no oil tankers in the horison :)

After, mid-autum festival in chinese gardens. In china it's huge celebration. Stay with family, eat mooncakes, light latterns. Nobody could exactly explain why latterns and why mooncakes, but seems the latter ones were used to pass secret messages... now you can find wishes inside. Commercial like christmas... for few dollars you can get big golden "coins" to drop on a whish tree and have your wishes fulfilled. Disney kind of stuff for kids, crowds of people. Performance, to which (of course) we were late, but doubt would be anything good. We found a quited corner with HC-ers (hospitality club guys), and had a cosy family evening :) (Aalborg family, don't worry, you are still the true one:))

Sunday was a jungle day in Bukit Timah nature reserve, as much jungle as you can get in Singapore. Again, some got lost, some did not come... Pontus and Ellen joined me later, but before I had few hours up-and-down, even if it's not real jungle, was goood exercise. Just before leaving, finally it was a crowd of monkeys! That's what the park is famous for. After all, in the evening I could not even crawl to bed, so stayed chatting a bit with Karen, american couchsurfer teaching english in Japan. She likes veggies just like me, so the next day we went to little india (again!) for yummy food, with an indian CS-er from my department. Kind of pancakes with veg sauces. Just like in an indian joke about a guy who eats his pancake and has sauce left... then he orders another pancake and needs more sauce... well at least I did all day tracking before :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ladies Nite

Like to drink? Stay in Singapore will cost you a good piece, does not matter if you do it out or home. Cheapest wine in a supermarket - ~10 euros. That's all taxes, no drunkards wanted here. In a bar - similar prices, might be cheaper, or even free! Wednesdays are special. Many bars/clubs are having Ladies Nite, when entrance and drinks for girls are free. Obviously, guys pay both. The one we explored, ~12 euros entrance, but drinks as cheap as in cambodia, ~2 euro for a BIG JAR of something like juice and rome. Or, just find a girl who will queue for you.

Business strategy?
- where are girls, are also guys (yes, that's a sexist strategy, and all guys complain)
- see our nice bar, and come on weekend
- stay late, free drinks are only until certain hour, which is late enough for a wednesday to be followed by a working thursday, but free drinks can help you forget that

We tried it out, totally unprepared, with beach dresses and flip-flops, but for foreigners everything is forgiven. Farah took as there, a girl who has a special tallent to get people drunk (thanks to her, a birthday boy did not even reach his surprise birthday party previous weekend, hehe). I was resistant :) But, they don't even give juice, it MUST be with a good portion of something 40%. As juice will not force you to buy more juice later. yayi, a girl staying with us was less resistant, but let's finish the story here :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weekend in Cambodia

Last week a met I Lithuanian girl, she was going for 4 days to Cambodia, Siem Reap/Angkor Wat. I also want!!! Have to go to work on monday, can have 2 days there. Too short? At least something. I get tickets, and the next day we go - me, Ruta, and her chinese friend.

Angkor Wat - the area of antient temples, and the most touristic part of Cambodia. But you can still see a bit of "real" local life (not for long, I guess). So far, it's the most poor and the most exotic place I've seen. There are quite some 5* hotels, or you can sleep in a guesthouse 5$ per room as well, what we did. Everyone lives from tourism, many speek english, but most are still very poor, there are people earning 20$ per month. Of course, they get different prices. Bars have menus for tourists, and 4-10 times lower prices for locals, you can rent a room for 50$ per month and squeeze with the whole family. If you come for short time like I did, that's gonna be one of the most expensive trips. Have to pay visa, exit fee, ticket to the temples, transport, and of course at least a bit support kids that surround you at every temple selling cheap scarfs (good, but cannot have 100 of them) and all nonsences like "christmas decorations". Merry christmas to you too, but no, thank you, no, no, no, noooo.... some can have patience to follow you for kilometers. We had a "car" to run away at the end.

We arrived to the place 7am, after ~3 hours of sleeping. Just like our Aalborg trips:) Cab tothe city $5 - that's a flat rate, and we are in the most poor and at the same exotic town I've seen. The driver dropped us out at hte center, apparently few streets further than we asked, but everything is close. We took the first guesthouse on the way, it was good choice. Inside much cleaner than in the street, still "local" style. Nice owner, like everyone else. People are increadibly friendly, and not only for money. Kids will alays say hello, when we had a boat trip to a floating village quite far away from the city, everyone was waving and smiling to us. NOT asking for money. A common way to travel around - a tuk-tuk, that is a motorbike with a carriet attached behind. The driver is always with us, helping to shop, etc., telling about the country as much as his english allows.

Floating Village

The trip to the village and the views are amazing. It seems like it's 100s years ago, all food is made on fire, houses build of something tree-straw like, all have 4 legs, as there are floods in march and april. Plenty of kids. ~5-6 per family. Half of population - younger than 20, much more women due to the civil war and totalitarian regime some 10s years ago. Kids are all dirty, half naked, playing around. Free and happy, even if poor. Everyone seems to be happy. Of course, that's touristic area, and they can get some dollars. For selling food, souveniers (though in that village did not see any), taking around by boat. Water is brown, and of course that's the place where villagers put ALL waste. Kids are swimming around. Probably getting deseases as well. They also have floating "hospital" and floating school. Not much worries about education though. Young girls were taking us around by a small boat, on a school day. Very beautiful, taking in Khmer, singing, giving us to row the boat, singing Khmer national songs (that was the best part!), touching without shyness. At the end asking a dollar, but they deserver it! The agreed fee their mam is taking. Infinite smile and joyful screems with getting it. Actually, we gave sweets to some instead of money, and they were equally happy.

Sunset in Angkor Wat

In the evening we went to the temples to see sunset - standard procedure. You can get in after 5pm with tomorrows ticket. Ankor Wat - the biggest temple, impressive. Check wikipedia for more info, I am not good in remembering facts :) The area of the temples is huge, 100s of sq. km, I guess. Can go >30km from one area to another - these were antient, also from middle ages villages. Many from Khmer empire. Now protected by UNESCO, many countries support reconstruction. Plenty of package tour visitors.

The next day

Another procedure, but less standard - sunrise, coming to place 5am. That's what I did, again not more than 4h sleeping. Let me use this word again, AMAZING! Our tuk-tuk driver had to pick up the rest of our team 9pm, and I took a motorbike driver. Very romantic trip :)) Warm morning, clear sky. No city lights around - you see all stars and the moon. The driver being funny, telling about his family, teaching me Khmer, as I always ask that."tree" is three, all I remember. The rest does not associate with anything, only sound of vietnamese from hollywood war movies.

There were not that many people in the morning, and the view is worth cutting off half night, seing the sun rise right behind the temple. It's entrance is straight to the west, which is direction as death - as the temple was a tomb for one of empirors. A few kids offering coffee and a plastic chair to sit, but it's easy to step away and try to make some crapy photos (still too bad in that). After, 2kms walt to another ancient city, and another temple with many faces directed to the east. Should that mean birth? Just don't approach little "markets", as they don't let you pass by peacefully, and enjoy climbing on the stones - they let go in and on anywhere you want, plenty engravings - mostly faces of god(esses) and war scenes. Good to have some time alone and explore everything. After, still many hours with my travel mates, sauna-like feeling, sunset on one of tallest temples, and nice conversation with english-speeking guide. Nice and bright, can discuss politics, history, anything. Education - probably not more than primary school + some craft school in Singapore. Education, that's what we need, he sais. Volunteer teaches - educated people were killed during all stupid totalitarian times. Maybe that could be the place to go?:)

Local foreigners

to be continued:)


Monday, September 3, 2007

At work

That was my first day, quite exciting:) With getting lost a few times it took me a couple of hours to get there, but tomorrow I'll do better. Still need to get the documents done, but as I stay less than 5 months, don't have to do a HIV test, x-ray and other tests. I suppose, HIV-infected students are not welcome.

The place

I was threatened that there are 50 students working in my room, but it's nothing like that. I have a nice working place, and there are not that many of us. There is a sign "no drinks, no food" (I'd add no snoring, see later), going in and out only with access card. When you get wet in the rain outside, feels quite chilly. I have a nice indian collegue, chinese are having big problems with english. Just like Italians in Denmark :) But not that fast to improve, even after 5 years they don't understand much.


I've never felt so sleeepy... when the fun of traveling is over, reading papers reminds that it's long time ago I had more than 5 hours in bed. Even if its quite chilly in labs. There are no windows, feels like late at night. Oh, look to the right, my indian collegue feels the same. And listen what's the sound coming from the other end of the lab, isn't someone snoring? Must be something about this place, Rico (my danish collegue on the same exchange as me) said after lunch they all take a nap of an hour. Then stay here until very late, but I see them more walking around then really working at the table.


Of course, food culture also visible here. There are different stalls with chinese, japan, indian, vietnamese, vestern (the worst, I suppose). And 3 canteens around. For less than 1 euro you can get a delicious dish, just freshly made in front of you. Fruit and freshly pressed juice as well. No beers :)

At the end

Shopped in IKEA, still did not find supermarket, got home half past 9 (left at 8). But typed for you all this in a bus - have to be efficient.

First days in Singapore

It seems more things happened during the last couple of days than a month in Denmark, but from today it's going to settle down - I'll go to work, spend hours in buses, metro, and finding things. Normal supermarket I have not seen yet, and they hardly exist - people just do not cook. Now I understand why, after 12-15 hours of working day (!!!!) there's not much time left for anything else. Saturday I was talking with a taxi driver on the way home. He was a smart one, knew my street, what is GPS, and how his little device works (others don't even know how to turn it on). This tought me some malay, and told he has one sunday off every second week. Then he can have time with his kids. I like Denmark :)

The rest is great here, people are increadibly friendly (some too much though:)). Juana, a girl from CS and a friend of my flatmates, picked me up in airport, brough home, cleaned up the fridge from expired things, and happily ate my burned rice. It was also a day when I first time met a weird couchsurfer, but about that later. In the evening we ate in indian restaurant, using a right hand (left is reservered for other things:)), and went to couchsurfing meeting. That was so familiar... first wednesday in student house. What's your name, where are you from, what you are doing here. And like that with 30 people, mostly girls (finally!). It was supposed to be bd party, but the bd boy did not reach the destination thanks to considerable amount of beers. After we went to a real club with life music, performed by a huge transvestite.

There I found my first couchsurfer in SG, a guy from india that looks like chinese, lives in canada, and travels for a year in asia. Sunday was a getting lost day. We went to look for a national part that's supposed to be like real jungle. MRT passes a few kms from it, but noone knows how to get there. We did find a little park and eh, again chinese eating place. My "vegetarian" green stuff had little brown pork-like pieces. Rice was good:) After we got lost for few hours in the center looking for our bus, then got desperate and took a taxi, with which we got lost again. The driver was kind enough to take us to MRT and not take full price.

At the end I finally met one of my roommates, Pontus. He's cool. He's vegetarian, just like me :))) Has lived everywhere around the world, now I'm meeting people like that. Why a hell are we stuck in aalborg for so many years?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

HK specialities

Uh, that was a lot, and it was good. In two days you can see just a little part of what you can find in HK, and there is a lot - city life, NY-like skyscrapers, old streets, a bit of history, markets, nature.... most of people are squeezing around the center, and just half an hour by ferry can bring you to the wild nature. For which there was not time enough :(

I stayed with a girl from couchsurfing (CS for future references), and met a few more (obviously in Aalborg I was missing girls company:)). Everyone is incredibly friendly, kind, though by mentality exactly like Europeans. They feel to be chinese, happy to be part of China, but also with western influence. With people I met I have much more in common than with many Lithuanians.

They like food. I also liked some, actually eating was big part of this stay, and it was fun. Food is nearly always shared, you don't order personal portions. First day I had dim sum with my hosts - little dumplings and other tiny pieces. In the evening I had to end up in Chinese fast food, not much different than you can find around the world. First I said no to a grill bar with nothing much more but pork-like stuff and demanded vegetables. At the end had to give up - cannot be so picky when people are nice to me. Next day again fast food for breakfast (they do that every day - noodles with meat, sausages, eggs, and still stay tiny!), but I was saved - special portion of plain rice noodles for me with a piece of something green. At lunch time I decided it's now that I have to become 100% vegetarian - meal in a monastery was awsame. For dinner I met with a couple of funny girls, just returned from studies in Europe, and swiss guy. We had a huge spicy boiling pot on a table where we were adding small pieces of everything - vegetables, meat, fish (including delicious fish stomach), dumplings... lots of fun for a few hours. More people meet for lunch, more stuff you can add inside your pot. It's something for winter to get warm, but equally good in summer. Just turn on airconditioner :)

I like their names. Everyone has English names that they choose themselves at school in English classes. You can even have it on your ID, and it's cool to call each other like that. Only your parents would still remember the real chinese name. I suppose, new generation might not even have one.

I did not notice crazyness about money, at least not with people I met. No more superstitions in the new generation, not much religion. One thing they complain about, it's the weather. Haha, they should exchange it with danes and everyone would be happy. Btw, they are not crazy with airconditioning after a government campaign.

The last nice thing - free WiFi in airport :)

All you can see here: http://picasaweb.google.com/daliadk/KongKong2007August

Extremely positive to Cathay Pacific

I love international flights. Back to childhood! I always get entertained with all these little pillows, blankets, meals in little boxes - real hygge ("cosying yourself"). This time we also got funny sleeping socks, tiny toothpaste, there were even hand and face creams. And plenty of free drinks, you can have a real party:) Menu with many choices (including GOOD chinese food), cold and hot snacks, and, Daniel, get prepared - apples! Never again European airlines like Lufthansa if I can choose. At the end, you are rewarded with splended views of HK airport. US reminding queue for imigration, and here I am, in warm and wet air on the way to explore as much as possible in 2 days.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I have home!

Finally! I'm still in Denmark, and I already have new home... I already thought it is mission impossible to find something that satisfies my long requirement list
- nice flatmates (a must)
- friends coming by, friends staying overnight (guys, you'll have to visit me!)
- cooking (believe or not, they just don't do that)
- not too expensive
- close to center

The university accomodation option was discarded at once. Not only no cooking and no guests - one cannot have a person of opposite sex in the room behind closed door. Very dangerous :))) I had ads in few websites with long explanation about my desires for friendly roommates, no rules, and still the only offers I get are those "no cooking, no guests, king size bed" style. Why do they need king size beds if they cannot invite anyone?! Some offers from couples living with kids. In Singapore, you must have a nice home. Even if you cannot afford it, and need to stuff it with strangers. They don't really care, who you are, just be clean and "professional". Oh, I also got some kind of dating invitations. But I will listen to my mum and not look for chinese guys :))

At the end, I have everything! Found in couchsurfing. Ok, it will take me an hour to get to work, but who cares if I have real home. My new flatmates are hard-core couchsurfers, so I am sure there'll always be people around. Just like in old times in Danmarksgade, hehe. I've just missed a housewarming party at my new home, but we'll make more. Eh, I already want to be in Singapore...
As you can see I even have two floors :)) But it might decrease to one when I am there... Of course, everyone is welcome! Can help finding cheap(er) flights :)