Friday, September 24, 2004

Hotel From Hell


I went out of town two days ago, visiting one of our regional offices. All the hotels there were full and we only managed to get a room in one of the older hotels. It was with a great deal of apprehension that we agreed to stay there after probably calling all the other places. There was a suite available in one of the other hotels but I don’t think I could justify a RM 625 price tag for actually using the place for 8 hours.

The check-in counter was manned by a guy who looked awfully a lot like the winner of a recent reality show, with that dwarfy look, complete with almost no neck and all. The surprise was that only one RM 58 "standard room" was available.

“Corner suite ada…………., RM 88 satu malam”, he said.

Yeah, sure, a “corner suite”, and RM 88 per night at that. Oh boy, visions of “apartments” which were no more than glorified flats filled my head. Ah well, all I need is a clean bed, clean sheets and a good night’s sleep. Then he handed me a towel and the room key. My God, it has been ages since I was handed a towel while checking in. I’m gonna love this place….

We went to my room first and as I opened the door my friend said, “Hey look, a cockroach……” I’m in love with this place already. My wish did not come true, the bedsheet looked like it has not been replaced for a few days and the sofas in the “suite” should have been buried, with full military honours, a long long time ago. I’m head over heels with this place.

By the bedside is a price list, including the room rate that went like this :

Corner Suite – Single Bed RM 200 per night
Corner Suite – Double Bed RM 230 per night
Additional Bed – RM 15

Yeah, right, talk about wishful thinking. PAY ME RM 200 and maybe I’ll think about taking the room again in the future.

The cockroach was still running around like a maniac around the room. I decided to let him live and moved all of my stuff onto the table, used socks and all. I’ll leave my shoes where they are. If he’s silly enough to mess with my shoes, then he probably deserved whatever that will happen to him as a result of that. Ah well, I hope I have immunity against mangy bedsheets. Here goes…..

Woke up next morning without any extraordinary urge to scratch any part of my body. OK, that’s good. Sadly, my six-legged friend lay dead in the bathroom, with all six legs pointing towards the ceiling. I guess it is true that your feet get to heaven first. Ah well, never got to know the little guy well. I gave him a twisting fluid burial in the bathroom. One flush and he’s all gone. I told him not to mess with my shoes.

Went down to have breakfast and the restaurant was not opened yet. I asked my friend that we should get out of the hotel as quick as possible and I’ll buy him breakfast to replace the breakfast that he will miss. Not miss really, one that he will not eat.

So I said goodbye to the dingiest hotel that I have ever been to in my life. That’s not the end of the story. My friend kept scratching his back all through the day, attributing it to the bedsheet in that hotel. He’s still scratching as of today.


Friday, September 17, 2004

Nearly Crying In The Rain


I left the office at 5 pm sharp yesterday. I wanted to go to Seremban as my mother was holding a kenduri arwah for my late father. Even though I left early, Jalan Tun Razak was a bit slow and as I approached the tunnel in front of RSGC, I saw the reason why – a car has broken down on the right lane. As I got closer I thought the car looked awfully familiar and true enough, it was my friend, J. I parked in front of his car, switched on my hazard lights and went over to him. He was trying to get a mechanic and/or a tow-truck. It took a bit of work but we managed to wring a promise out of some auto association or something like that and we set out to wait.

Have you ever been in that situation? It’s very embarrassing to say the least. Some people honked at us while we were waiting in the rain by the roadside. One biker yelled and it all made things more amusing for J and me. We just laughed. Tak ambik hati pun. I mean, his car broke down and there is absolutely nothing that we could do other than trying to get the car towed away as soon as possible and we have worked towards that. I do have a few choice words for people like that but I doubt if any of them have access to a PC much less know which keys to press in order to reach this blog. Maybe they can’t even spell blog. Maybe they…. Enough of the cheap shots, like I said, the chances are, the intendees will not be reading it.

Fifteen minutes. Nothing. They came about half an hour later. So did the rain. Good thing that I had like a million umbrellas in my boot. They fiddled around a bit and declared that the distributor was wet. Made sense. We have to wait for the tow-truck. Once again, it was the waiting game. You never get good at doing that by a busy, jammed road and while it’s raining Tabbies and St. Bernards. So we sat the rain out in my car and after a good one hour forty-five minutes after I first stopped, the tow-truck arrived. I have never seen such a beautiful tow-truck in my life.

So my good deed for the day done, I went on to Seremban. By the time I arrived, the kenduri was pretty much over. I went to have a shower and had dinner. Sat done and chatted with my mother and brother.

On the way home, I remembered that someone mentioned that the Nilai R&R has got a stall that sells good nasi lemak. So there was I, at 1 a.m. this morning, eating nasi lemak alone at the Nilai R&R. Not bad actually, stall no. 16, northwards bound. Nice actually.

So J, you owe me big time.


Monday, September 06, 2004

For The Want of Roti Canai...


I was a bad boy last Saturday. You see, I pretty much shouted at a lady who jumped queue. Well, pathetic, sort of.

I went to buy roti canai for breakfast. I put in my order for six roti canais with one of the workers and stood there waiting for them to complete my order. Then this lady came in, said that she wanted eight roti canai and stood there looking pretty and started giving instructions on how her roti canai should be fried, patted and wrapped. My spider sense (slap me silly and call me Parker!!!) started tingling and true enough, the roti canai counter man counted eight roti canais and proceeded to wrap them. And the other thing was, they have started on a batch of tosei (did I get that right?), which means that whoever is next will have to wait until they have completed the toseis (once again, is that right uh?) before they switch back to roti canai mode.

“Hello mamak, saya tunggul ka?" Looking at her, "Saya datang dulu la…… Apa ini, beraturla." Then to the mamak, " Saya punya enam, bukan lapan”, and I raised six fingers to show him what I meant.

There were some rather animated conversation between the mamak and his fellow worker, of which none I understood and a lot of head movements before it was established that I was in fact the rightful owner of that batch of roti canai. All the while I was bitching, that’s the only word I could use to describe me then, about people who simply think it is beyond them to queue. I got custody of the roti canai, paid for them and on my way out I noticed that the lady has was nowhere to be seen.

I must confess that I overreacted to the situation but people who jump queues simply pisses me off. We see that everyday, especially while driving. People who jump queue simply contribute to the traffic jam. If you do not want to be late for work, start early. It is that simple. Most Malaysians when they see a queue will think of how to overtake it. It is bad, rude, kurang ajar and there is nothing nice about doing it. But very very Malaysian. Oh, I do it sometimes but not everyday. I’m no angel but it’s not a habit. That lady simply assumed that she was next in line but I am not that invisible. I was two feet away from her and it is hard not to see me. I could have said nicely to the man and her that I was there before her but then I just decided to up the ante and do the stupid macho thing and raised my voice a few decibels to make my feelings known. Bad actually.

Anyway, she did a silly thing, I did another silly thing but it was a good thing that it ended there and then. Next time, when you want to buy roti canai, have a look around if there is a 5 foot 8 inch, 210 lb guy around. He could be buying roti canai too. He could have been there first. He might prefer that no one touches his roti canai, or even look at his roti canai. But then again, if you are 6 feet 3 inches and weigh 290 lbs with or without your socks, it does not really matter what that 200 lb shortie like or doesn't like, does it?

When I say pathetic at the beginning of this blog, I meant me. For the want of roti canai, everything civilised was lost.


Thursday, September 02, 2004

Look What You Done, Mr. Stork


For the last two weeks or so I have been up and down visiting my brother-in-law in University Malaya Medical Center (UMMC, formerly the University Hospital) and my mother-in-law in the Armed Forces Hospital in Kem Terendak, Melaka. I really really had to find the time to do so and my brother-in-law have found my visits very very unpredictable – I have appeared before him early in the morning or as late as midnight, that was on Merdeka Day’s eve. The patients at Menara Timur had a good view of the fireworks. If you want to be sick, be sick around Merdeka Day. And be admitted to the UMMC.

On the subject of being sick or close to it, I am facing a rather difficult, sometimes hilarious situation at the office. Both my geophysicist and geologist are expecting and one is due this month and the other next month. In one bold stroke, the stork have taken two thirds of my G&G strength away. And of course, expectant ladies do tend to have a bit more days off due to medical reasons than the rest of us. OK, OK, let me rephrase that, a lot more…. More often than not, I’d get a message that one, or even both of them are on MC. Nothing I could do about it. And my reservoir engineer, her son is 8 months old and you know how 8-month old kids are. Fever, tumbled from the bed, rashes etc. etc. etc. Quite a few times I got messages from her that she was going to be late for the day. Que sera sera, what will be, will be and there is nothing I could do about it. More often than not I told her to stay home and be sure the boy is OK. Why? She is no good to me here with her mind on her son. We could have solved the problem had his husband been able to provide milk (as he could work from home) but men are not equipped to do that.

There is also the slight problem of their leave – they have ran out of it!! Or nearly. At the rate they are doing, some might not have any left for Hari Raya. Well, a few times I told them that let’s pretend that they went over to our research facility yonder or to meetings with our partners. Potential problem solved. Everyone gets to spend Hari Raya with their loved ones. What would my boss say? He didn’t want to know about it, heh heh. Good thing they work fast to make up for lost time. They could and they do, heh heh heh….. Otherwise it’s my neck on the chopping block. But then, my neck is cheap.

I should have been a goddamned doctor. Oops, pardon me. Then I'd flirt with that cute "fellow" doctor. Kidding, just just kidding......