<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4364535739/” title=”IMG_4929 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4007/4364535739_17fa7f67bd.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”IMG_4929″ /></a>

How’s this for a lunch?  The Indian food here has been totally sweet, and by sweet I mean excellent, and not necessarily sweet. Although one side-dish I had yesterday of, I think pumpkin was sweet. It was sweet~!

What I’ve liked is the staff being totally unphased by tourist of the year walking in with no idea of what the normal way of ordering is. Have I mentioned that basically no-one I’ve talked to in service positions (including checkout-chicks) have had any trouble being understood in English?
Anyway, the Indian people have been totally cool, and obviously word hasn’t got out to the malay-indian community about how terribly racist australians are, because they’ve been totally nice.
Featured in the foot above was some mammoth calamari rings, and one killer-sized prawn. I don’t know what the accepted way is for tackling a prawn like that, but no-one stared when I mostered it with bare hands. Actually, the prawn was a bit mushy. Probably it was supposed to be like that, but the rest was ace. For 18.5 ringgits = 6k KRW = 6 bucks aus. = 5 and a half US.

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I was going to launch in a couple of days ago and say I wasn’t going to watch the winter olympics on principle. Principle being that it’s just a bunch of yuppie-vacation pastimes dressed up as ‘sports’. Having a go at curling is like shooting fish in a barrel though. And I have been watching it because there’s only about two tv channels in the room I’m staying in and one of them is espn honk-kong. winter olds is still rubbish though. The real sports are ones that can be done by people living in any part of the world, and that have a minimal amount of money needed for equipment, like marathon running.
Luge. What’s that all about? How is that related to anything in the real world? You know what the real story is, don’t ay? Worldwide luge is financially backed by the military industrial complex in order to advance the technologies needed to shoot men into outer-space. Human missiles to combat the impending Plutonian invasion.
And I find it amusing that it’s the world’s strongest economic and military powers who are the only ones competing in the couples figure-skating. Russia, Japan, China, USA, and Germany. IN fact, Russia poached one of Japan’s skaters.

Following are some size-minimal fotos (w/catchy captions) to assuage the abuse of bandwidths.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4364531957/” title=”rumours by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2799/4364531957_09affdf976.jpg” width=”311″ height=”233″ alt=”rumours” /></a>
_Don’t believe the rumours_

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4365275142/” title=”maos by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4046/4365275142_0ef3e34763.jpg” width=”311″ height=”233″ alt=”maos” /></a>

_Mickey Maos_

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4364532681/” title=”long-grain by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4007/4364532681_440683ca6c.jpg” width=”311″ height=”233″ alt=”long-grain” /></a>

_Persian food_

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4365275642/” title=”prayer by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2788/4365275642_cf5708a1c6.jpg” width=”311″ height=”233″ alt=”prayer” /></a>

_Could hear the call to prayer common from here_

happy? Happy in Paraguay.

<br /><div align=”center”><a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4308326010/” title=”IMG_4780 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4002/4308326010_6d13371819.jpg” width=”500″ height=”265″ alt=”IMG_4780″ /></a></div>

While I’m on lists here are some other things I’m enjoying.

  1. Friendly old people! Folks who don’t scowl, look you in the eye when passing and even say hello sometimes.
  2. Small talk at the counter when purchasing items. I’ve completely forgotten how to do this. Living in a non-english spkng cntry is a form of assbergers all by itself.
  3. Early afternoon scoping the supermarket for Reduced Price items. Some would say I’m spending too much time in the supermarket…  But just look at this:
  4. <div align:”center”><a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4308348262/” title=”meat-sm by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2749/4308348262_1142dd8020_m.jpg” width=”218″ height=”227″ alt=”meat-sm” /></a></div>
  5. $2.70 for this steak. Funny thing is that I was veggo before going to korea these 5 years ago, but steak is so expensive there I can’t help but buy and eat this.
  6. People from non-english speaking countries who don’t give a rat’s arse about their pronunciation of English. I’ve realised that korean people being self-conscious of their english speaking ability _while still in korea_ is their version of ‘does my bum look big in this?’
  7. People who’ve come here from other countries in general. It was a strange year last year in that I was watching the SBS news online three or four times a week, and while it did produce some raw info, I now am starting to see the slant that they, consciously or not, put on things simply to create tension. Asylum seekers was a constant, and just because of the way they framed it even I –from where I was– was thinking, well gee can australia really take any more refugees? And bless me if it wasn’t _malcolm fraser_ to set my head straight by saying that back in the 70s or whenever, plenty more people were coming here (from places like vietnam) and it doesn’t seem to have done the country any harm — far from it. In fact the pie I just ate for lunch was got from a bakery run by vietnamese people, and it was great!
  8. Looking at attractive women who look like they could be from almost anywhere and not just korea or possibly china.

Having said that, there are two things I am missing.

  1. My sweetie. Whenever I go out I start to imagine how much fun she’d be having if she was here. On the train, her: What’s that? Me: That’s the yarra river. Her: Yuddah!? -she’d say in her chortling, amused but not-in-a-negative way. She’d love it here.
  2. Playing my guitars on my amp. True I have two here, but these are the ones I want to get rid of, and an elctric with no electricity isn’t much use in my opinion.

All up it’s been a really pleasant stint back. Comparing to, a couple of years ago, I was walking around and felt a bit like being haunted by the ghosts of my own past. Seeing places I’d been, remembering things I’d done.  I’m still getting that but it’s more mellow now.

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It’s interesting to grok a bit more how the different media channels are used and or not used between here and where I live.

I did find that the local public library has free wifi access. Bring along your laptop and provided you have a library card, there’s no limits on time or MBs. Thank god for that! How the heck else am I supposed to get anything else done here?

I like that the ABC and SBS have a lot of interesting docos on. There’s been some good ones on music, and the thing is, I wouldn’t know these existed while sitting in Korea, even if they were downloadable. And it’s good that SBS and ABC now have an extra channel each, because the commercial stations are doing a lot less well, mainly due to the fact that they have commercials. When I’m watching a d/loaded movie at home I hit the spacebar to pause when I want to refresh my beverage or take a toilet break. If I’m watching commercial telly here, I can use ad breaks for this, but there are way more commercial breaks than there are things to get up for. And basically it’s an insult to the intelligence to be exposed to the same fucking ads over and over.
If there weren’t so many people living in Richmond, I’d be a major proponent for nuking GTV9 from orbit. “Nothing but shit” should be their slogan. Chopping parts out of movies for no other reason than to suit their timetabling, and the fact that they let shows run up to 15 minutes longer than scheduled are two things they do regularly.

It’s amazing how the proliferation of broadband in Korea shapes things compared to the broadband starved Australia. I don’t see (legit) DVDs on sale hardly anywhere there. In Hoju, they’re everywhere.

I’m guessing that the US is somewhere in between these two extremes, but I would say that the future is online. Commercial tv will go down first. There may be a chance for news channels to offer an online-style subscription service provided there were no ads, at least not in their present two-dimensional, 30 second format. I don’t know, but what I do know is that australia is becoming culturally impoverished because only a small few here are able to share in Happy in Paraguay.

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The customer orders carrots.

Here is a list of foods I am enjoying while in australia that are either unavailable in korea, or are very expensive.

  1. cherries
  2. mango
  3. dried banana
  4. coles supermarket standard apple pie (w/cream)
  5. fish n chips
  6. ‘black forest’ tim-tams
  7. hummus, tzaziki, baba ganoush and any other dip you care to mention
  8. Bickford’s lime and barely cordial
  9. sun-dried tomato pesto
  10. sun dried tomato
  11. fresh lime
  12. kalamatta olives

abdomen and some dried fish

I was intending to post something yesterday, since, apparently a decade clicked over. But I was busy packing and now today I’m waiting for a transfer at KLIA which stands for kuala lumpa international airport.
Honestly I wouldn’t mind if it was karachi intl it’s just nice to get out of the insane cold. This morning in seoul while waiting for the bus it was -15 dges centigrade.
Heading back to HOJU, Melbourne for a good 6 week break. Good to be at a job that’ll give that kind of break, again. Then, back here to check out KL for a week.
Anyway, apart from the cold, the solar year started auspiciously in that I got _bumped up_ to bidness class on the plane. Sweet! First time that’s ever happened, and I’m keen to know what the formula is. Was it just that it was a low booked flight — most likely. I’ve been feeling edgy about plane travel — not because of what might be done by insurgents upon me, but what might be done by the authorities to me. I’m anxious to avoid the grilling I received at tullamarine a couple of years back, all because I was wearing an adidas hooded top. So I decided to wear one of my white work shirts, the rest casual. But did this make me look that little bit respectable, and enough to be chosen for bidness? Or was of that I brought the charming, gorgeous J-e with me to the airport? The food is pretty lush in bidness.
Still got a headache though. Probably had the headphones on too long. Been listening to this ‘hardcore history’ series of podcasts on the eastern front of ww2. Google ‘dan carlin’. Fucking horrifying but astounding at the same time. will write more about that later.

26 seconds of ‘smoky buns’

After a lancastershiric colleague mentioned a new burger restaurant here in the chong-jew opening up, I checked it out. It’s called smoky buns and despite the bad spellin they do make a nice burger. And the chips are good too. Best thing I can say is that it’s better than crazy burger.

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*(12/Mar/10 Update:)* I no longer recommend smoky buns. I was there last weekend, and their staff were rude and racist. So they can go fuck themselves and I hope they go out of business. *(End Update)*

This gives you the idea of what the general noise level in a korean modern restaurant is. That is, it’s loud. Reminds me a bit of one of the first times I visited sydney by myself, and I was in Newtown standing at this hole-in-the-wall kebab place in Newtown and the guy says, ‘yeah mate whataya want?’ with this menacing tone that I was unaccustomed to receiving from the service classes. Also, the music was loud. Shop music is often loud here.

I’ve been in this town for 8 months and I finally got over to the industrial side of town today. Pretty neat. I like factories and quiet streets, weird chemical smells, rust and functional architecture.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4180668365/” title=”IMG_4697 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2690/4180668365_7ff4536108.jpg” width=”500″ height=”281″ alt=”IMG_4697″ /></a>

like tears in soup

all the memories of everything that I wanted to mention about the recent trip to Shanghai and surrounds is blending in to nothing, so I better try and write it now, with fotos.

First the food. I really like food from the different parts of China. I feel like I’m over Korean food. I guess it’s just a thing of mass. China is massive and made up of a bunch of different cultures that have their own food. Maybe it’s the result of being in Korea for some time now, but the Sichuan style of food, (spicy) is probably the kind I like best. <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5454898431/” title=”drool by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5139/5454898431_0e2375a21f_o.jpg” width=”394″ height=”205″ alt=”drool” /></a>

In this particular night we went to the appropriately titled Sichuan Restaurant. On the right is a kind of fried potato dish, lending further weight to my theory that chips are universal and that you could go to Mars and they would be eating chips there too. On the left, according to girlfriend with e-dictionary in hand, is a dish entitled, ‘an excess of saliva’, which we’ll shorten to ‘drool’ for the purposes of this blogpost. It was chicken in a spicy -hot oil. It really did make you drool! Very tasty once you get over the not-so-western style of chopping–they cut straight through the bone rather than filleting or sectioning the way folks like me are used to.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5455509596/” title=”journeytothecenteroftheearth by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5219/5455509596_07332ca023_o.jpg” width=”396″ height=”574″ alt=”journeytothecenteroftheearth” /></a>

I did several of the touristy things the first time around when I was there in late Feb but there was one that had eluded the tackyness-magnet. There’s an underground train that runs under the river which was like _Journey to the Centre of the Earth_ meets Star Trek: The motion picture meets Boards of Canada’s album, Geogaddi.

I think it’s worth noting down that weather-wise, late April was a perfect time to be in Shangers. It was warm but not humid and the nights were just nice.

For a day or two we got out of the central city to a place an hour na a half away on the bus, Xitang. It’s a small place and not as on the map as Hangzhou or Suzhou. Xitang’s claim to fame is that a few scenes from Mission Impossible 3 were shot there. In several of the restaurants and shops you can see fotos of Tom Cruise and cast standing around.

Personally I found it interesting to see how the place filled up with the new Chinese Upper-middle class on Saturday morning. there’s all these people with money in their pocket in china and now all they need is Disney Land.

In any case, Xitang was a nice little place and the canals didn’t smell.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5455510426/” title=”xitang by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5140/5455510426_8cb1dc9771_o.jpg” width=”461″ height=”259″ alt=”xitang” /></a>