Wednesday, July 30

The arrogance and ignorance of youth -- and I mean it in the nicest possible way. Was having lunch with this fresh-out-of-Cambridge fellow intern, and was struck by how self-assured kids are these days. In her opinion, "all magazines are immoral. They make you aspire to be perfect and beautiful which you can never be in real life. I will never work for them". I never had that kind of courage or conviction to make those kind of proclamations when I was 21. Or even now, for that matter.

She also politely wanted to know how old I was and whether I wanted to be a journalist. When I told her how ancient I was and that I used to be a writer, she asked incredulously, "Why are you doing work experience?"

I've stopped asking myself that question, since there are only two more days to go.
One of the few nice things about the Tube is that passengers very kindly leave their newspapers behind when they get off. So what if the carriages look like post-apocalyptic disaster zones filled with litter? It gives you something to occupy your time [even though it might just be The Sun and its trashy Page 3 girls] and allows you to be legitimately anti-social to your fellow passengers and pretend they don't exist.

Reading a discarded Metro [free commuter paper with similar journalistic standards as Streats and Today, which isn't saying much] on the way to work, I got the latest breaking news: Today is National Foreplay Day and tomorrow is National Orgasm Day. And the day after is National Faking It Day. [I just made that last bit up.]

Tuesday, July 29

One side effect of insomnia is that when you finally fall into an exhausted sleep, you waste those precious hours in restless dreams and wake up unrefreshed.

In the early hours of dawn, I dreamt of both my dead grandmothers, one I called Ah Por and the other I called Ma Ma. They kept switching identities as I tried to talk to them, but not in a disturbing, horror movie sort of way. It felt rather comforting, and I had some semblance of control over my actions, yet I couldn't make myself wake up even though I knew I had over-slept. It was as if I was enveloped in thick cotton wool and I got all tired out from struggling against it.

I think it was the night after my Ma Ma died that I dreamt of a big black moth, which is an omen of death [especially to me with my deep-seated phobia of moths, butterflies and other fluttery things]. My sis told me later that there was indeed a moth on her coffin.

The last time I dreamt of Ah Por, I can remember it so vividly that I am convinced it was more than just a dream. We were standing at a dimly-lit lift landing, and she was wearing her flowery printed samfoo with baggy black pants, and her grey hair was immaculately combed as usual. I was so happy to see her that I touched her, and I remember the tactile feel of her face, still smooth and warm. Then I asked, with every intention of visiting her: "Where are you staying now?"

And this is the part which freaked my mother out while, at the same time, sent her scurrying to the neighbourhood 4D outlet: My Ah Por replied, "07-01."

[We didn't strike 4D, in case anyone was wondering.]
Insomnia is back to haunt me. Yet another night to get through with my eyes wide shut...

There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
There are worse things than these
miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected;
there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for
thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things
come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking
worse and worse and worse.
-- Fleur Adcock

Monday, July 28

They really shouldn't call this "work experience" when there is no actual "work" to be done. I'm slowly going out of my mind from doing nothing constructive. Even started fiddling with the crossword puzzle, which I've always regarded as the hobby of grubby old men in tweed jackets, but managed to stop myself from degenerating in time. But a nap in the loo is not out of the question, especially with post-lunch stupor setting in.
I was dropping some eaves in the office and heard these two journos talking about buying a Dell laptop online, but I didn't believe what they were saying until I saw it for myself.

At the end of the lengthy order form, there is a question: "Will the product(s) be used in connection with weapons of mass destruction, i.e. nuclear applications, missile technology, or chemical or biological weapons purposes?"

Would your order go through if, as an honest god-fearing terrorist, you answered "yes"?

Sunday, July 27

Unbelievably, this blog is blocked by the powers that be in China, as are others with the same domain name. A long-lost friend based in Shanghai has been trying unsuccessfully to access the site, but it appears that my holiday pix have been deemed to be more subversive and salacious than those at I feel so flattered.

Saturday, July 26

[Weather complaint #2976] Five days of continuous drizzle, dismal temperatures hovering around 20 deg C, zero sunshine. And more of the same over the coming week. And they call this the Great British Summer?

Friday, July 25

I wasn't doing anything, so I placed my hand on my mouse and clicked with my index finger on the dullest blog in the world. Then I tried to hone my sense of irony by writing this.
Managed to relocate myself to a desk that is hidden from the features editor. Now I'm obscured by stacks of hardcover books, or "fire hazards" as their owner calls them, as I'm seated next to the journo who writes for the books pages. He is this blustery red-faced Irish man and calls me "sweetheart" in a booming voice.

The reporters are having some sort of story meeting now [no space in the room for inconsequential interns], and all of them are wearing the ill-concealed looks of boredom I remember so well from the days of Richard Lim. The ed seems to be getting overly-excited about something called Speed Snogging, which happens after Speed Networking events, which in turn is a variation of Speed Dating for those who don't want to be labelled as desperate Speed Daters. Wonder if he is gonna make any of his babe female reporters go undercover.

Despite asking for more work, some work, any work, please, there is absolutely nothing to do. All I did today was compile a column of quotes. Which was what I did yesterday. And the day before. And I'm pretty sure that is what I'm doing tomorrow, too.

Thursday, July 24

Without me being aware of it, the half-way mark of this countdown has drifted by in a lazy hazy daze. There are now exactly 40 more days to go [well, give or take a day for the time difference, and my bad math] before I am home.

I'm hyperventilating and procrastinating at the same time over my final essay, which is still in the embryo stage. I thought I could get away with bluffing a lot of things by doing it on the SARS cover-up in China, since the ang moh lecturers aren't able to read Chinese, but the whole thing is about to explode in my face, cos I realise I have to interview the Beijing correspondents from AP, Reuters, Time mag, NYT, and other influential international publications. But my basic background research hasn't even gotten off the ground yet.

It doesn't help that I'm at The Independent during the day, even though I am not doing much actual writing, just calling people for quotes and anecdotes. [Sidetrack: Even though I'm just a lowly intern here, I am gratified that no one has made me the Coffee Gal. Everyone is self-sufficient here, unlike the chi-chi Cosmo chicks with their designer lattes.] I am so tired out from waking up early, the morning rush hour, and acting keen the whole day that when I get back, I have little energy to do my readings.

Also have to make time for sending out resumes in a last-ditch attempt to stay here, even though I haven't really figured out where I wanna be. Just keeping my options open. I'm still torn between "Dem, I need to get a job writing crap in London so I don't go back to writing crap in Singapore" and "I want my laksa with extra hum and I want it now, demmit".

Tuesday, July 22

It is good to be back in a proper newsroom again.

Started my two-week internship [they call it "work experience" here] at The Independent yesterday, and I feel quite at home already. There is something so familiar about the urgent hush, the clickety clack of keyboards, the TV screens with CNN droning at too low a volume, the glass boxes that the editors sit in, the messy piles of news releases, the stacks of yellowed newspapers for references, even the same surreptitious glances when you walk around the open-plan office as the new girl. So I avoid going to the loo too often.

Just eavesdropped on the slightly snooty journo next to me, who fobbed off an unwanted caller with the universal brush-off: "Why don't you send me a press release and I will get back to you [which of course I will not, because I am not interested, you dim-witted PR twit]?" His desk, by the way, can rival the legendary Magdalene Lum's, meaning it can't be seen, and loud noises will trigger off an avalanche of papers and envelopes.

I feel so at home here that I have given up all pretence of work on my second day here and already am flagrantly checking Hotmail and blogging. Even though I have been given a small story to do, I am just sitting on my ass. This is just like in those bad old days at work, when a Friday deadline seems so far away that I can't help but procrastinate. The routine of trawling through archived stories and looking for the right person to talk to is all coming back to me, in quite an unwelcome sort of way, and makes me question: "Why am I doing this? I'm too old to be an eager beaver intern all over again!"

I know I should be more pro-active [gosh, I am so the direct opposite of "pro-active" and I so hate that word] and this could be my only chance of a job here, but I used up all my enthusiasm yesterday introducing myself to everyone while smiling most ingratiatingly.

Five minutes ago, with immense amount of willpower, I mustered up the strength to pick up the phone to a potential interviewee. I think that's enough work done for the afternoon. I am truly incorrigible.

Monday, July 21

Phone call from home.

Mama: What are you doing?
Zann: Erm, reading... [Actually just woken up by phone and very groggy.]

Papa: When are you coming back?
[The arrival date had already been repeated many times over many phone calls.]
Zann: 1 September.

Mama: Do you want me and your auntie to come and help you carry your things back?
Zann: No need. I going to ship my winter clothes and books back.

Papa: When are you coming back?
Zann: [Patiently] 1 September.

Mama: Your father wants to go India again.
[Papa goes on a pilgrimage to see Sai Baba, his religious guru, every year, much to Mama's displeasure.]
Zann: Orrrrr...

Papa: When are you coming back?
Zann: [Still very patiently] 1 September. Why?
Papa: I'm going to India to see Baba.
Zann: Orrrrr...

Mama: How much is it to ship your things back? Very expensive?
Zann: I haven't checked yet.
Mama: Don't leave everything to the last minute ah. If it is very expensive, we can come and carry things back for you.
Zann: You can come if you want. It doesn't have to be for carrying my things.
Mama: No lah, no money. Because your father wants to go India.
Zann: Orrrrr...

Papa: So you are coming back on 2 September?
Zann: [At this point, Zann is torn between exasperation and amusement. She speaks with exaggerated patience.] 1 September. I leave London on 31 August and arrive in Singapore on 1 September.

Papa: Got enough money or not? [When he runs out of things to say, this is the question that invariably gets asked, and usually signals the end of the conversation.]
Zann: [Lying through her teeth] Yah, I got enough money to last until [very loudly and slowly] 1 September.

This would make a more realistic ad for international phone calls than those lame ones SingTel uses. The tagline would be "Sometimes, you don't need to say the words".

Saturday, July 19

In addition to speed-reading musty journals with gripping titles such as Questioning The Media and The Political Economy Of Global Communication [or should it be Global Communication Of The Political Economy?], I have been keeping late nights with an altogether more thought-provoking book.

Hanif Kureishi's Midnight All Day was picked up a couple of days ago purely through serendipity. I had nipped under a bridge during one of those sudden downpours and found myself browsing through a makeshift second-hand book stall after swearing I would not lug any more books back to Singapore.

But these words just leapt out at me, right there in the gathering gloom under that damp bridge:

"We are unerring in our choice of lovers, particularly when we require the wrong person. There is an instinct, magnet or aerial which seeks the unsuitable. The wrong person is, of course, right for something -- to punish, bully, or humiliate us, let us down, leave us for dead, or, worst of all, give us the impression that they are not inappropriate, but almost right, thus hanging us in love's limbo. Not just anyone can do this."

Flying off without even a goodbye from a certain cheating and lying someone, and without a single word to break the hurtful, sullen silence between us since then -- I had given up trying to sort out the conflicting pangs of emotions whenever thoughts of him flit unbidden across my mind. It might not have been love, it might have felt almost right, but at least now I have the words to describe my state of mind -- Hanging in limbo.

Friday, July 18

“Have you seen the tiger in our flat?”

My flatmate nearly caused me smash the dish I was washing when she asked me the question. Seeing that she didn’t look particularly alarmed, I quickly concluded she must be referring to something else. I mean, I might have slept the whole day away today, but even I couldn’t have missed a ferocious feline prowling our hallway.

Turns out that we have a new flatmate and she is a Thai girl. She has taken over the room of the Croatian guy, but she’s been pretty stealthy and I haven’t caught a glimpse of her or even heard her make any noise at all.

I shall not be evil and make jokes about Tiger Shows, although I am dying to relate the anecdote of my temping stint at a travel agency. There was this client who kept insisting, in a secretive manner, that I book a Tiger Show for his Bangkok trip. Cluelessly, I asked my colleagues: “Should I call the zoo to book?”

[Heh, I think I just related the anecdote I said I wouldn’t.]

Thursday, July 17

Yesterday was a horrible muggy day [yes, wot a Brit word -- "muggy"], and in the spirit of not just showing the bright, sunny side of life, here's the Thames with a bit of drizzle and a lot of storm clouds. See how grey and gloomy it is? Am I not justified in my constant weather complaints? It's almost depressing enough to drive a person to jump off the bridge. I might have made the pix black and white to enhance the pseudo arty effect, but it was pretty bleak even without my embellishment.

Bai kar update: I've been prescribed a new type of medicine from Professor Black. Must say his name in an awestruck tone as some sort of talisman that the meds will work this time.

Untitled (Boy In Red Cardigan), by William Eggleston

I may not have a good eye when it comes to taking photos, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a good one when I see it. Just spent the whole afternoon wishing I have the talent to give so many layers of meaning to a simple photograph, after wandering around my fave Tate Modern at this exhibition called Cruel + Tender. Such an evocative and brilliant title. Not only does it capture the nuances of the photos so well, it also triggers all kinds of emotions.

It is just too bad that the website with its dinky-sized photos doesn't convey the same mood. But anyway, I just thought I'd share those glorious colours in Boy In Red Cardigan.

Wednesday, July 16

Once upon a time, I had such great legs that they were used for a photo shoot.

Now, I just have bai kar which hurt all the time, sometimes so bad that I can't even sleep without twitching in pain. All the horrible wounds and swelling make my feet look like pig trotters. I have to take pills that have such strong side-effects that other meds have to be precribed to keep them in check. And don't even get me started on all those pretty shoes I can't fit into anymore.

And yet, after more than 10 months since the blood clots and wounds started appearing for no apparent reason, I am no nearer to being cured, or even an accurate diagnosis. The specialists I saw [four in total] think it is some sort of immune system failure, but since the meds aren't working, they are left scratching their heads.

After screaming at the inefficient NHS for the umpteenth time and a two-month wait, finally, finally, finally, tomorrow I am going to see a supposed pre-emininent specialist in the field. His name is Professor Black [like some sort of Cluedo character] and I'm hoping he will solve the case of the mysterious foot ailment.

Wish I had kept a copy of that shoe story from long ago, so I can at least ogle at my own legs when they were at their best. Oh well, there goes any career plans as a leg model. Dem.

Sunday, July 13

Common Sense, by Martin Parr

This photo [part of an exhibition I'm dying to see next week] was the inspiration for my donuts, which turned out to be a delicious disaster. Sure, deep-fried dough smothered in icing sugar does sound remarkably like donuts, but mine do not have the look or taste of the real thing. For one, they do not have holes in the middle. For another, the texture is closer to biscuit than to bread. But they are yummy nonetheless. Deep-fried anything is always yummy.

Now that I have exhausted my inner Martha Stewart with that bout of cooking and baking and vacuuming and laundering, tomorrow I can truly concentrate on my reading and research. Well, that's the plan anyway.

Saturday, July 12

Fell asleep under the blazing sun while writing. Woken up by buzzing of bees around me. Instead of being alarmed and frightened of being stung, I tried groggily to take a pix cos they were so fat, fuzzy and cute. They appeared as little black dots among the daisies, much to my disappointment. And I thought my photography skills were improving. At least you can see how bright the sun was for a change and how pretty my new pink clogs are.

Continuation of Zann's culinary adventures: My mee rebus was a hit with my flatmate, who was so satisfied that she wanted to pay me for cooking her a meal that she compared to Wagamama [London forerunner of Singapore's Nooch]. Of course, the fact that she is Korean and has no idea what mee rebus is supposed to taste/look/smell like helps.

I highly recommend this packet sauce thingy to all cheaterbugger chefs. It is pretty authentic and almost idiot-proof, although I doubt anyone back home will be bothered to make their own when they can just have it so cheap and convenient at the hawker centre. I miss the S$1 mee rebus at the office canteen. As the smiley stallholder never fails to say in that unmistakable Mat drawl: "Power, member!"

Friday, July 11

I've cracked the recipe for Champinones Al Ajillo [or going by its more mundane name, button mushrooms with garlic and olive oil] on my second try. Turns out that the secret ingredient is balsamic vinegar, as it is in so many other dishes like spaghetti bolognese, grilled pork chop and even chicken salad.

Very pleased with my success in kitchen experimentation, so here's my bastardised version of a classic tapas dish:

Finely chop enough garlic to overpower a vampire. Heat saucepan and saute garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Throw in button mushrooms and lower heat. Add about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and same amount of balsamic vinegar. Allow to simmer until liquid is almost gone. In the meantime, quickly chop a big bunch of parsley. Remove saucepan from heat, add salt and pepper to taste and top with parsley. Enjoy!

Still on my fave subject of food. In the short space of five days, I have managed to stuff 1 kg of bak kwa down my throat. I would have prefered to savour the precious contraband smuggled from Singapore to London via Frankfurt and Barcelona, but was warned that bak kwa does not have eternal life, unlike, say, beef jerky. Not that I minded the excuse to gorge.

Tomorrow, I am going on a supermarket sweep. Isn't it pathetic that the highlight of my week is a trip to Sainsbury's? But, in my anal retentive way, I'm already making my shopping list, cos I intend to make mee rebus [from a packet of ready-made sauce my sis brought from Singapore half a year ago which I forgot all about] and donut holes [easier to shape and easier to devour in large quantities]. More gorging to come in the following days.

Thursday, July 10

In an attempt to prevent the Spanish mood -- they call it alegria -- from dissipating too quickly, I have been incorporating a siesta into my already very lazy daily routine. Also made an attempt to bask in the sun while reading, but was thwarted by those ever-present London clouds from improving my feeble tan.

Have been dreaming and drooling over the Spanish version of hot chocolate, which is basically molten Nutella, so viscous that you can stand your spoon in it. Mmmmmm. Dunno how to make it though, so I'll resort to eating Nutella from the jar as has become my dirty little habit. It's a less sensuous pleasure, but it will have to do.

So, instead, I decided to focus on making my favourite tapas of button mushrooms in garlic and parsley. Super yummy, quite healthy, and most importantly, appeared to be easy to make.

But somehow, my dish just didn't capture the Spanish flavour. Maybe it was because, instead of the Spanish ingredients stated in the recipe, I used Italian olive oil, British white mushrooms, and garlic and parsley from who-knows-where. Maybe I need to bung even more salt in to make it tastier. [Salt brings out the flavour in everything, but that is just my unproven theory.] Or maybe I'm just a plain lousy cook.
Geez, computer morons like me shouldn't try tweaking html with just knowledge of how to make bold and italic text. Sorry about the messy margins and weird colour and strange photo sizes, but I'm still trying to clean things up.

Wednesday, July 9

I know it sounds callous of me, but it must be a particularly slow day in the newsroom when the deaths of the Iranian Siamese twins is the top story on all the networks here. I mean, the odds weren't that good to start with. But I must admit I was half-expecting a "triumph of the indomitable human spirit and marvels of modern medicine" type of story.

In other non-related news, I finished reading the latest Harry Potter in three nights and developed serious biceps and triceps from the pure weight of that immense tome. Now, why is it I didn't shed a single tear when I heard that the twins died, but got all bleary eyed over the demise of an imaginary character in a book about a teenaged wizard?

Tuesday, July 8

Sorry to inflict this on you if you are the sort who gets dead bored by holiday snapshots. I know I am only entranced by my own pix, self-absorbed creature that I am. Other people's vacation pix either make me jealous at seeing places I wish to be or my eyes just glaze over cos the photo can seldom convey the actual sense of the place and capture the mood of the moment.

The pix are gonna take some time to load. And I give you full permission to click "STOP" anytime and escape from this page.

Check out those uncooked chicken fillets! Obviously, I was too busy lounging on the beach to even get up to attempt a decent pix of the quaint seaside resort of Tossa de Mar.

The view from the top of the ancient Roman village was worth rousing ourselves from siesta to make the climb. We came up almost everyday to try to catch sunset, but somehow never made it. Once we were too late, another time it was too cloudy, and most embarrassingly, once we were gazing in the east instead of the west.

Lovely square called Placa Reial in Barcelona where we stayed. You can't see the shabbiness and the years of dirt on the walls, but that just adds to the charm of the place.

The one and only pix Lilian and I took together. Just shows how camera shy we are. [Or rather how reluctant I am to have my fat face placed next to hers and compared. Please email me to reassure me that I have not put on weight, although I will not believe you much.]

The one must-see sight in Barcelona, for me at least, is La Pedrera. It was my second time there and I was still captivated. The building is out of some fantasy world, all wavy and curvy, and the rooftop is a magnificent playground, with all these chimneys that look like knights on guard.

All those gorgeous tiles were everywhere in Seville -- walls, benches, window sills, ceilings, even the undersides of balconies -- but I didn't know how to capture the details on my laopok featureless camera.

Hopelessly lost in the many winding lanes of Seville and enjoying it. I spent most of the time peering into people's patios instead of looking at road names.

How is it possible for carved stone to look like lace? I am still amazed...

This place is huge, double the size of what you can see, and almost every surface is totally covered with tiles. I am not exaggerating. Known as Plaza de Espanya, it was built to be a mammoth showcase of the best of Spain in 1929 or something. [I tend to forget unimportant details like that.]

End of tedious holiday slideshow. I'm afraid you will have to return to doing actual work now.

Monday, July 7

There I was, channel surfing the pathetic five stations I have last night, when my finger stopped pressing the buttons at a familiar sight. It was Raffles Hospital on the news, the same hospital that where I'd gone numerous times for bai kar treatment, and where I stayed in when I had suspected appendicitis.

Gosh, it was like I felt homesick for a hospital. Or rather, I longed for the efficiency of the health system in Singapore. The NHS here truly deserves its awful reputation -- I just got an appointment to see a bai kar specialist after waiting for more than two months. In the meantime, I was limping all over Spain without proper medication.

Anyway, Raffles Hospital seems to be doing a very good PR job. Not surprising, since it is a high-class hospital with lots of money, a baby grand in the lobby, bellhops to hail cabs for you and Power Point presentations of appendicitis operations to freak you out. Oh, and there is a bunch of lousy useless doctors there who never managed to cure my bai kar. I really hope they don't fudge the operation to seperate those curiously cheerful Iranian twins.

As I watched the twins posing like movie stars, a familiar stick-like figure jostled his way to the front of the pack and started shooting. It was good old Straits Times photog Francis Ong and his trusty camera! I lapped up the sight of his curry-pok hair and those tight pants he has worn since the '60s. It's reassuring to know some things will still be the same when I get back to work.

Sunday, July 6

Almost 24 hours of blissful sleep. And it isn't enough still. My comforter is so warm and cuddly, my pillow is just the perfect firmness, my sheets still have the faint lovely scent of vanilla, and my bed is perfectly horizontal, which is more than I can say about horribe unreclinable plane seats and airport benches that have arm rests to deter people from lying down. And in case anyone is surprised, my cheap flight home on DifficultJet was delayed. At one point during the interminable wait, surrounded by loud Spanish voices and even louder Brit ones, I looked around the anonymous departure lounge, totally disoriented and wondered, "Where the hell am I?"

Was woken up by flat mate just now who wanted to see my failure of a tan. She proclaimed that my face is a different colour from the other parts of my body. The SUNKILLER [yes, that is the actual brand name and it can only be Japanese] that we used on our faces must have been very powerful, more super duper than the SPF 40 sun protection that we had on the body.

During the same time while I was in Spain, some people I know also went on trips, but more exciting ones than mine. One went to Ho Chi Minh to bribe officials to start an IT school. Another flew from Sydney to Tokyo to track down the love of his life to propose to her -- after not seeing her for five years.

My trip of sun, shopping and a little bit of sangria seems quite ordinary in comparison, and I have the usual tourist snaps to show. So, coming up the next time I surface from deep sleep, 100 lousy amateur photos of Spain [with only ONE consisting of both Lilian and I, since we are so camera shy]. You have been warned.

Friday, July 4

Last few hours in Barcelona. Simply too tired to see any more sights or scout for any more sales. Have been trudging around many Zara and Mango stores since arriving by train at 10 am. Surprisingly, the sleeper train wasn't the nightmare I thought it would be. Unlike the last time, when we were packed like sardines in triple decker bunks, this time round, I only had to share with three other women, and there was even enough space between the beds to stretch my legs. The chugging motion of trains is really quite hypnotic and soothing, and I slept quite well, until rudely woken up by the ticket inspector at 8 am.

Credit card has been having a major workout today, so much so that I'm afraid that I'm about to hit my credit limit [cos I have also charged to the same card two air tickets, two separate hotel expenses and countless meals all over Spain].

Just to scare myself into stopping this shopping spree [and no more shopping when I get back to London, despite the summer sales!], here's what I bought in about four hours today:
-- denim jacket which I rationalise I will need to summer in London, since it is always cold at night
-- cute skirt which can be dressed up or dressed down
-- two wrinkled effect shirts so I don't have to do any ironing with the laopok iron in my flat
-- striped bikini top I've been eyeing since Day 1 and I managed to snag the second-last piece on sale
-- lovely set of lingerie including lacy bra, French knickers, thong, camisole, etc. Simply could not resist getting everything, since I feel ill at ease whenever I wear mis-matched underwear

Okie, enough shallow talk about shopping.

I realised that this is probably the last trip I'm gonna be taking for a very long time. With the state of my finances when I return to Singapore, I'd be lucky if I can even afford a trip to my favourite Bangkok.

And after travelling solo in quite a few places, I realise that I can be independent, but it is not my favourite way of travelling. Catching trains and planes alone, ordering and eating alone, wandering around vast monuments alone -- I can do all that without problems, and I quite enjoy the freedom and solitude most of the time. But sometimes, I wish that there is someone with me to worry about missing the last train or getting the date wrong or finding the hotel or losing the passport, and I can just do absolutely nothing.

Gosh, look at the time. I am down to my last 5 euros or so, just a handful of coins left in my pouch, hopefully enough to pay for the Internet usage. And then I'm off to catch the bus to the airport, where I will have more time to kill. At times like these, I really wish I can teleport, and be at home in an instant [And strangely, I regard my tiny flat in London as my home now more than Gillman Heights in Singapore].

First thing to do when I get home is to take a very very very long bath followed by a very very very long nap. Somehow, no matter how long I bathe here or how much sleep I try to get, I never feel clean or rested enough. This 40-hour journey home is no joke.

Some people say it is the journey, not the destination that counts. I have this overly romanticised image in my head of this girl on a rickety bus with the windows open to the dusty road. Her hair is flying in the wind, her head is resting on her backpack and in her hands is a dog-eared book with its pages falling off the spine. And as she finishes reading each yellowed page, she holds it out of the window and it flutters away.

Well, my journey is a lot less romantic, but at least I'm getting there.

Thursday, July 3

Sweltering in Seville now. Wearing a boob tube doesn´t seem to help with the heat, though the sticky sweat does keep the thing from sliding off. Taking a respite from the 30 deg C heat now in lovely air-conditioned cafe. Too much sun, too much sight-seeing.

Considering that I have only 48 hours in Seville, I really think I must have been mad to take a train here all the way from Barcelona. Total journey time is more than 24 hours. But I must say the sights here are more than worth it, since I just love looking at old buildings, winding little streets, grand palaces, quaint little squares, etc. The mix of Moorish, Christian and Mudejar architecture is simply stunning, and I just can´t stop taking pictures of those blue-yellow mosaic tiles, light-as-lace archways and marble columns. Even my hotel is gorgeous, with an indoor courtyard filled with plants and sunlight where you can have free breakfast.

I really dunno how to describe how amazing the buildings are, and I know my photography skills will not be up to scratch, so here is a pix I stole off the Net.

Just replace the woman in the pix with a mental image of me.

Just going to take it easy for the rest of the day, because the next 40 hours or so are going to be hell. I have to lug my backpack to the train station to catch the sleeper to Barcelona at 10 pm. Upon arriving in Barcelona at 8 am the next day, I will have to rush to Zara, Mango, TopShop, etc to try and get some last minute bargains, cos the sales started on 1 July.

Then, I have to collect my other luggage from storage and make my way to airport for a night flight. I´m very sure that EasyJet will be delayed, as it was on my way here, and I will arrive at Stansted airport too late to catch the last train. So I will have to spend the night at the airport. I can only imagine how dishevelled I will look by then. And I am tired just thinking of dragging my suitcase from tain to plane to train and then finally up four flight of stairs to my flat.

Oh, I just received an email with my Media Law exam results. The exam was way back in February, and I was quite freaked out cos I was sure I had flubbed the essay questions and will be a borderline failure. Well, to my immense surprise, I passed. And apparently, I had an "outstanding" 79 marks, according to my lecturer. I just hope he didn´t make a mistake, cos there is this other super-on Suzanne in my course.

Okie, time now to go back into the scorching afternoon sun. I can´t believe I´m saying this, but I am rather looking forward to the weather in London that I´m always complaining about.