Thursday, June 30, 2011

I could get used life here. I take the subway aka Metro to the university, picking up a sandwich for lunch, take notes furiously during the sessions, then on the way home, buy my dinner from the supermarket. I feel like a student all over again.

I followed British lady on my second trip on the Metro. It was quite uneventful this time round, but the dimly lit stations don't make me feel safe.

Everyone here is sniffing and coughing so it is virus heaven, help!

Fortified by a powerful cappuccino (love the coffee here), and my third egg tart, I set out for the next session. Listener's fatigue is beginning to set in, and I have to remind myself to be polite. This means not swinging my legs when I am bored, no restless tapping of the fingers, and not interrupting with questions, and not rolling my eyes at their answers to my questions.

It being a gathering of geeks, mine is the only iPad 1 here :(

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

V's entry: the zoo is going wild

In the absence of their doting mother owner, the zoo is behaving terribly.

Blackie has overturned his food bowl, after peeing into it. RABBITTTTT!
PipSqueak is even more picky an eater than ever. I shall just let her go hungry if she wants to be so difficult.
Friendly wants to come out to play, to come out to play, to come out to play to play to play.
Ninja as usual is the best baby Squeak. She only ate up all of her food, and Friendly's too.

When is Masterofboots coming back?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

University of Lisbon

I refuse to pay the high price for wifi at my hotel, so I shall make full use of the free wifi here.

Taking the Yellow Bus is a very useful way to orientate myself around the city, and take a whirlwind tour of all essential sights. At least now I know where the university is vis a vis my hotel. I just hopped off the bus whenever I like and take the next one that comes along. Yes, it is the lazy way to travel, and I haven't tried taking the subway yet.

Some of the landmarks are so monumentally huge that I thought they are near, until I tried walking there. Would probably try to look at some of them more closely if I could. Would write more the places when I could actually download the pictures.

Lisbon feels pretty safe and clean, but why is there graffiti everywhere?
The historical buildings are magnificent, but people of Lisbon, why do you anoint all the buildings with squiggles of paint? Add to them the tell tale broken windows, and you get the impression that city maintainence isn't what it should be.

Lesson is starting so I shall have to take copious notes, like a good Singaporean student.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Arrived at Lisbon

Transit in Schipnol (Amsterdam) was mercifully painless. The place was well organized and clean. It was a longish wait of four hours, but coffee, my kindle and some naps helped time to move faster.

Then I arrived at Lisbon jet lagged and found that on Sunday afternoons, the shops are sadly shuttered and streets quiet. There seem mainly to be bewildered tourists like me wandering around. Managed to find the basic survival tools - the supermarket, subway and international ATM. Thanks to the Chinese diaspora, no one is surprised to see a Chinese girl walking around alone. I try to look like I know what I am doing. Maybe my huge sunglasses help to hide my wide eyed look.

Cappuccino index: the (really) small cappuccino in Amsterdam cost 2.5 euros, but in Lisbon, I paid only 1.9 euros.

Sad to say that so far, I don't find the people friendly, whether here or Amsterdam. It feels like they have seen one too many Asian in their homeland. And worse, one lady on the plane tried to explain to me what the headset was for. Where on earth does she think I come from?!

Excuse my language slips and typos. The hotel is charging an outrageous 5euros per hour for Internet. Most unforgivable for a business hotel. Hm!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blackie Post Op Recovery

We tried keeping Blackie quiet after his neutering surgery, just in case, though we had no idea just how long or short the time should be. Blackie got very frustrated, there was plenty of thumping and pawing. Finally, he took matters into his own feet - when I was feeding him, the rabbit slipped out of the cage like lighting. There was a losing game of 'Catch me if you can'.

 RAAAABBIIIIITT! Still feisty.
Looking at me cautiously. "I am not going back until I want to."

Well, it is good to know that he feels fine. Life is back to normal.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More pics - walking through the village

The source of our tasty organic vegetables. Unfortunately, they have not found a way to preserve the freshness and export their produce.

Every hut every house has a satellite dish, no matter how poor they might be.

Down the winding road. It wasn't a long walk but there were no streetlights.

Monday, June 20, 2011

More pics - delighted!

Pet rabbits. I also saw another white rabbit running around free-range. What a haven it must be for these things here - feeding on fresh vegetables and running around in the cool air.

The view on our way down from the mountain peak, standing on the back of the lorry. Was great fun.

More pics - organic food

We see some relics of the past here. The yellow bowl of water is for you to wash your hand in.

The best grilled fish we have had
 Tasty kampung chicken.

Here we get organic food at its simplest best - enriched by the volanic ash, the soil produces marvellously fat fruit and vegetables. The downside to using animal manure in farming? Flies. Flies everywhere, in great clouds :P Gulp.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blackie: Post-operation

These are not happy days for Blackie, newly neutered.

We aren't allowing him to come out to play yet in case he does his usual acrobatics. Now he is sulking and getting outrageously spoilt with freeze-dried strawberries and alfalfa hay. At least he is eating again. It was so worrying when he refused food at first. would be time to get a friend for him...I should probably adopt one, give an abandoned rabbit a home instead of buying from petshops.

Let's see how things go. The menage is about to grow again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Some pics

The view is simply amazing. See the rainbow? This isn't photoshop work.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Life Skills

Folks, take your Math lessons seriously. Was filling up a form when I discovered that I had to use a calculator to figure out my age.

Haha, maybe I just didn't want to know. And yes, I am a year older than I thought.

V's entry: Pet Boarding

Since the parents pet owners can't steel themselve to discipline their children pets, traditionally, there is one way to get someone else to do it - send the children pets to a boarding school petshop.

The critters got bundled into their respective carriers and ferried to the petshop where they would know the rigors of being an ordinary pet. There would be no one to pander to their fussy tastebuds. They are just going to get normal pet food (though there is no stopping masterofboots from packing a box of organic nuts and seeds for them). Even if they throw tantrums, no one would give in to their demands.

*** ***

Actually, it is because we are going overseas for a while and we have too many critters to make our friends babysit them. The petshop kindly offered a bundle deal for our 3 hamsters and 1 rabbit.

Hopefully these naughty things will come back more docile and appreciative of the comforts of home.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Rabbit adventures

We had been using a pet pen railing to confine Blackie to the laundry yard, and it meant that every time we wanted to enter the yard, we had to seriously stretch our legs to cross over the thigh-high barrier. That just wasn't a sustainable solution, especially in the early mornings when our eyes were barely open.

So we got this pretty baby gate from Ikea. Looks nice, doesn't it. After installing it, we happily went to rest and watch TV. Suddenly, a small furry black animal hopped into the living room. Blackie! How did he get out? Did we forget to close the gate?

This is silly, but the rabbit is so thin that he slipped through the bars of the gate! Hahaha! Actually, when we saw him nosing around the gate, he looked much too fat to get through the bars. We didn't realise that most of the bulk is his fur, and he is really thin. So to him, the barrier was no barrier at all and he happily went hoppity hoppity hop to look for us in the living room, only to be chased back hurriedly into the yard, where he demonstrated how easy it was for him to go inbetween the bars. 

This meant another hour of hard work, pinning pet netting onto the gate. Luckily it still look rather nice.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Rabbit run adventures

"This is my litterbox. No one is allowed to touch it, unless you are filling it with hay."
Blackie rubs his scent all over the box in case you have any doubts about his ownership.

Look like toys, soft like toys...Are not toys. Rabbits don't like being carried because it makes them feel like the predator has got them. It's rather a pity because they look so cuddly and have the finest fur you can imagine. Here, Blackie is cross because we had to carry him into the rabbit run. Grooming himself sulkily and ignoring me. (Hey! Why is there an grinning unexpected addition in the background?)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Life as I see it

Warning: this entry will give highly unfashionable opinions.

My dear fellow citizens,

Reading all the highly charged opinions in the Internet and mass media leaves me bemused why everyone feels so aggrieved.

Maybe it is because I had such an impoverished childhood, working part time through half of my education, I feel that now, life has never been better! ( yes, stone me if you will) No, I am not one of the elites, just a typical member of the sandwiched class paying off my mortgage.

And everyday what I observe reinforces this impression. There are retirees enjoying breakfast at coffee shops, and joggers relaxing in the park connectors in the evening. One can't help but think, ah, if this isn't peace time, I don't know what is. People even have to queue up to get into Gucci shops.

We all complain about rising costs, then how come during the weekends, restaurants are packed with my neighbors? As for transport, don't we all enjoy reliable mrt services? Even the buses are mostly air-conditioned! Some apparently have forgotten or never experienced the creaking, broiling buses we used to have. Well, public transport would probably be less crowded this month thanks to the June exodus, as everyone leaves for overseas holidays to exploit our strong dollar. A Malaysian friend once told me to be glad that I carry a singaporean passport because it is so easy to get clearance at customs all over the world.

I don't want to paint an unrealistically rosy picture, but I think we really need to season our aspirations with common sense, to temper our discontent with thanksgiving. Yes, of course life can be better. Life can always be better. But while waiting for our hard work to bear fruit, we would all be much happier if we learn to enjoy what we have in the meantime.