I moved into the apartment yesterday. It was pretty tough going, a few pieces of unfamiliar furniture and no guidance I could’ve tried to make it feel like a keroaucky beat moment but the whiteness of the flouro and energy-saver light globes was too much to overcome.
I had a nightmare – something to do with the malevolent ghost of a child. For someone who likes to point out possible good omens (3 sulphur-crested cockatoos in the morning) I’m trying to not take it as an ill-omen, and instead a combination of the groaning of the under-floor heating system, the piercing hum of the fridge and a too-hot room.
The monk came over today and through gesticulation and charades I got the low-down on how the heater works. Then my handler from the school came over and we went shopping — she’s a nice person, and it was what I was hoping for because I was starting to feel a bit left high n’ dry, like ‘fully-furnished’ should mean more than a washng machine and a single bed.
We stopped off at a restaurant serving local cuisine and had dinner. This is nothing special, people here do it all the time, but I couldn’t help grinning at there being 30+ bowls/food recepticles on the table. She asked if I liked it, and I said yes, very much, and in this earnest stilted english she basically says – good because you’re paying for it. That made me laugh.
We went to a big department store – like K-Mart, except with food too, called E-mart. I bought some stuff like cutlery and tea-bags (HoofuckenRay for that, only Liptons and way expensive, but it was the first I’d seen anywhere) — after deciding on each item and about to move onto the next, she’d say in this near-by, furtive voice, “and then…?” and I almost cracked up completely because it reminded me of that Chinese Foooo bit from Dude, Where’s My Car?
Also while still at the apartment, after long conversations between her and the monk they sorted out getting internet and cable tv connected – tomorrow fingers crossed. All the net is broadband here, although the wireless situation leaves somethng to be desired. The only places that offer wireless is Starbucks, and even then my compadre Frank who was determined to get it happening, couldn’t. There’s no starbucks in this town. And cable tv is all there is here – I don’t know why — maybe the surrounding hills. Some of them are free-to-air stations and others are stuff in English, like the Super Action channel, and the Armed Forces Network – courtesy of uncle sam. Ironically, this is the only way I will get to see The Simpsons, and supposedly, the AFN channel’s program grid is decided on by vote of the troops.
I’m going to have to change my internal mental definition of the word-trio, ‘zen buddist monk’ because he drives a car (toyota?) and has a mobile phone. Despite the language barrier he says that he want to show me where some of the restaurants are and will take me shopping to e-mart sometimes. Giant-supermarket shopping with a zen monk — now that’s something that couldn’t possibly be done without sunglasses.