c*devotchka

having my Cake, eating it – and not counting every last calorie

eureka! January 5, 2008

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but not in a good way.

we knew a luggage or a box was missing from the move but we didn’t know which exact one until tonight.  the granny’s coming in a few days, then the in-laws in a couple of weeks – they can’t sleep in a bedroom that resembles a store – so i cleared the remaining boxes from our move.

and i realised.

with a nauseating, sinking feeling in my tummy – it’s the box with all my photographs.

all.

i mean all.

from the time i was born up to the day i bought a digital camera.

i knew i should have listened to my instinct and bought that scanner last year.

i knew it.

and now, all those pictures are gone.

excuse me while i disappear to mope and get a string of anxiety attacks – the eagerness to spontaneously combust into special moments a camera can make permanent.

 

the dark side of the farm December 5, 2007

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gotta love this.

 

having my cupcake and eating it too

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Ravi might still be deadset against me getting a cat, a dog, a chinchilla, a rabbit, a hamster, a mouse, a microscopic hairy bug or a pollen – but i became the happiest neneh in the world when he agreed to buy the display set of a Delonghi EO3870 that i fell in love with at Mustafa.

i also love Mustafa. sans customers who are inclined to molest chubby chickens reading the ingredients to Shokubutsu’s Orange + Seaweed shower cream. the age of innocence when shopping for deodorants and armpit razors at Mustafa is over. these days, i am ever ready with a rolled up NG to beat down the next guy who brushes against my ass even when there’s a berth wide enough for an entire buffalo to walk through.

delonghi eo3870

ah, there she is, my little beauty. it didn’t come with whatever’s roasting in the picture. looks like something that rose from the depths of hell. at S$350, S$150 below budget and made in a country which does not start with the letter “C”, it’s a steal. what didn’t rock however, was that my old baking and muffin trays don’t fit in it.

over-eager to immediately start baking, i scouted around Mustafa for smaller trays but they only sold Wiltshire trays that are made in China. at first apprehensive at the thought of something that could have potentially been glazed in cyanide, then sprinkled with plutonium powder, i then bitched to myself about how expensive it was for a product that’s mass produced.

there’s always something to complain or be irrationally worried about. so i bought 3 trays.

i think i’ll deflower Delilah with brownies.

 

i happen to love bananas November 22, 2007

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 12:09 am
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okay, dali, seriously, what the fuck? get out of yer lame —huuummmm— limbo and write something!

to be quite honest, the reason i haven’t finished talking about our adventure in Jordan and Egypt is because … here it comes … we’ve lost one of our luggages in the move from Dubai to Singapore.

a luggage with my guidebook, my notes on the holiday, the pamphlets and ticket stubs, emails of people we met i had promised to send pictures to, a hastily packed plastic bag of mud from the Dead Sea that we stole, a book of lithographs by David Roberts of Egypt in the 1800s that i bargained so hard for at the Luxor Museum, a bunch of shawls we haggled an hour over in the market at Luxor, a book on Sufism we bought at a stylish bookstore in Zamalek, Cairo which i loved so much that i begged Ravi to find suitable employment in Egypt which would not involve bending over with one’s pants down in the alleyways of Cairo’s markets.

i’m quite heartbroken, but i am still trying to describe each photograph i will post as accurately as possible with an old guide.

it was a good day today although it started out with a cacophony of noisy heels clumsily descending on the steps next to our bedroom wall, the karang guni man’s airhorn and the stupid mats’ motorbikes.

we’ve moved into a small 4-room flat in the west of Singapore, and if not for the cheap rent, i’d have a string of complaints burned into the agent’s door. i’ve never lived in the west of Singapore (save for that 2 month stint on Holland Road till we grew brains and left), having lived in Tampines, Katong, Telok Kurau, Pasir Ris and finally River Valley. i maintain and am now absolutely convinced that the east and south of Singapore are the best places to live in.

what we had not considered when we took this flat is that our bedroom is located next to the main staircase that serves at least 3 sets of families up to the 6th floor. this means that at least 15 families use this staircase to descend into the bowels of Singapore’s heartlands to break bread with pajama-clad aunties pulling rusty market trolleys across the neighbourhood basketball court.

i cannot begin to explain how this has led to my inevitable desire to bite somebody’s nose or ankles off in the mornings. i am a light sleeper, save for the rare night i’m knocked out cold and snore and snort louder than a certain pug i am in love with. i’ve heard of how new mothers who were previously dead-dog sleepers became light sleepers after they gave birth, always paranoid that they couldn’t hear their babies breathing on the baby monitors or convinced they’d hear someone climb through their window and steal their baby to make voodoo soup.

i can’t say i’m looking forward to that because if that’s the case, i might as well sleep with my eyes wide open like a freaking goldfish.

i am not even pregnant and i hear e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

i can hear when the neighbour upstairs goes to the toilet, i can hear when children of imbeciles attempt to hop down a block of stairs in one jump (every violent landing knocks several points of their IQ, i am sure, hence rendering certain heartland sprouts stupider and stupider by the day), i can hear when at least 5 female neighbours are not able to walk down in heels gracefully, i can hear when the pakcik 2 doors down decides to sing karaoke after his night shift, i can hear when the ah pek 3 floors up listens to Chinese music from the 50s as loudly as a deaf, old ah pek can afford.

i can hear ALL THESE while still participating fully in my dreams.

like as though my dreams are not fucked up on their own already, i’ve to have all these distractions to add multi-dimensional distortions to my convoluted dreams.

which reminds me – i forgot to get me earplugs today. instead, i got myself japanese made cream puffs and macaroons from Carousel. i am what one can sharply describe as not focused.

which means that tomorrow morning, i’ll jolt abruptly from sleep at least 15x from 0600-0900 and wake up absolutely exhausted like as though i really did run or fly as i did in my dreams.

i’ve just finished reading Rupert Everett’s autobiography “Red Carpet and Other Banana Skins”. i must say that this is one of the most delicious books i’ve read. Rupert writes as smoothly as KY spreads over an erect penis. at times, i found it difficult to get through chapters when he threw in names of industry movers and shakers in multiples. i got confused between John and Jane and Jim. i am, after all, one of those mindless movie goers who says “i want to marry optimus prime” after watching Transformers without even knowing the voice behind the machine.

at times, i had to bite down on my tongue in the train so as not to scare fellow passengers from my yelps of hysteria because Rupert Everett really is that funny and self-deprecating. and at least once, i sobbed uncontrollably in bed.

i’d always thought Rupert Everett was straight, or at most, bisexual, and i was most disappointed to find out that he is very gay (although he did have affairs with Paula Yates and some goth looking french chick called Beatrice). this does not mean, however, that if i were to spot him in a bar, that i would not feign ignorance of his celeb status and shamelessly throw myself at him.

one must try.

as Sheela so cleverly described, Rupert Everett is dreamy.

yes, he really is. when i reached the end of the book, i found i was a little sad, as i usually am after completing a good book.

more, Rupi, i want more.

don’t stop talking to me.

(yes, one must have grandiose visions of a famous drop-dead, dreamy hunk talking to them one-on-one sometimes.)

reading the book felt like listening to Rupert Everett talking to you over a table by some poolside where dead bugs and leaves float adrift while he smokes his millionth cigarette and idly rolls his 3rd joint while you reach desperately for the Ventolin inhaler in your purse.

oh Rupert, won’t you please come to Singapore? i promise to cook you some sweet and sour fish.

 

for Alex November 1, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 11:02 pm
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i must break my (unannounced) hiatus from blogging to write about this.

the short. a 15 year old French boy was gang-raped by local Emiratis, one of whom was HIV +ve and was not given proper medical attention. he was, however, attacked by the very people who should have protected him.

of course, when you’re the one saying “no, please, no”, it is your fault when you get raped.

the long.

just cos they are not of Emirati blood does not mean they are lesser than you.

just cos they are not Muslims does not mean they are lesser than you.

just cos they are building the next tallest building in the world for next to nothing wages, does not mean they are lesser than you.

just cos they are in transit in your country and not born with a spoonful of crude oil in their mouths does not mean they are lesser than you.

Boycott Dubai.

i am ashamed that you claim to subscribe to the same God i believe in.

 

life, death and eternity September 21, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 10:28 am
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on the day we visited Jerash, we stopped by at Ajlun too. the castle on the steep hilltop in Ajlun is called Qal-at al-Rabad and was built over an old monastery by one of Saladin’s (Salah al-Din) army generals in 1184. it is one of many Islamic forts that the Crusaders fought to take over.

jordan - ajlun 1

jordan - ajlun 2

a ghost in a hallway.

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as we explored the castle, we felt some sense of wonderment and strangely, kinship to the men who had once served under Saladin in this fort, fighting the Crusaders, many to their deaths.

jordan - ajlun 4

it is obvious why Saladin’s men decided to build a fort here, the 360° view from the summit is amazing.

jordan - ajlun 5
wind shafts in every room, for ventilation, to cool down hot, sinewy, soldiers.

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jordan - ajlun 7 (rv cannonballs)

thou shalt not trespass me for i have, in my hands, a cannonball! that, i wouldn’t drop on anyone’s foot. they must have had some sexy biceps action going on back then.

jordan - ajlun 8 (rv and me)

ah, look. how nice it is to see what we looked like before we got black and brown (left to right respectively) over the days to come.

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jordan - ajlun 10

brave men with bulging calves used to run up these stairs.

jordan - amman (rv at barber)

exploring Jerash in the heat and climbing rocks and stairs at Ajlun positively tired us out. i desperately needed a camera bag so we headed down to one of Amman’s malls. the Jordanians we encountered here could understand English but were unable to reply in fluent English (which surprised me) – however, they tried so hard to communicate with us, that we were struck by their sincerity. we love you, Jordan.

Ravi decided he could no longer deal with his squirrel tail hair no more and had the most perfect shave in his life. it was the straightest damn hairline i’d ever seen. he found his dream barber, and 2 days later, i found my dream hairdresser. which makes our next haircuts really expensive!

a little history lesson about Amman: it was once called Rabbath Ammon or “Great City of the Ammonites” and was ruled by different peoples at different times, Assyria, Babylonia, the Ptolemies, the Seleucids, Rome and then the Umayyads. Ptolemy II Philadelphus then renamed Amman “Philadelphia”.

jordan - amman 1

the next day, we rushed to Jabal al-Qala’a, the hill of the Citadel in Amman. the big plan was to finish sites in Amman before heading to Jerusalem. we were so psyched.

jordan - amman 2

the temple of Hercules/Heracles.

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jordan - amman 4

from up here, you get a pretty clear panorama of some parts of Amman. cradled in the middle of this modern day city is the Roman theatre, carved out of the mountain. it rises quite stubbornly, refusing to be forgotten in the smog of modernization.

jordan - amman 5

al-Qasr, part of the Umayyad dynasty. don’t have me notes with me, but i believe this is the dome, within the compound of the mosque. the original dome’s long gone, but restorers have replaced it with a wooden one.

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the Umayyad mosque.

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i could frolick here all day.

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must have been gorgeous back then!

the museum up here, while austere, is full of goodies. housed in a bungalow that feels more like a house, you’d find pieces excavated from the Middle Bronze and Iron ages to Hellenistic, Roman and Islamic ages. wish we had more time. in fact, had we known about how inefficient (and arrogant and rude!) the Israeli customs at the Allenby bridge would be, we’d have spent more time in this museum.

jordan - amman 9
we rushed downhill to the Roman theatre. this time, we passed on climbing the steep steps. i can almost hear Roman robes swishing and hurrying to their seats. despite being by a main road, the theatre was surprisingly quiet.

jordan - amman 10

the trademark of Philadelphia – an eye.

jordan - amman 11

and here’s Hercules/Heracles, or what’s left of him. crouching, broken, in a shaded corner, almost embarrassed to be found at less than half his heyday glory.

jordan - amman 12

and off we then rushed to Jerusalem, or so we thought. and that was the end of our 2nd day.

 

a sweet wait September 9, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 12:24 pm
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finally settled in far enough to upload some pictures from our holiday in Jordan and Egypt!

jordan - hisham hotel

in Amman, we stayed at a charming little hotel called Hisham Hotel in Jebel Amman where most embassies are located. we highly recommend it. stepping into the room was like blinking ourselves back to the 60s – 80s. different retro elements of the room made us feel strangely familiar. at times, the room also smelled of the 80s.

jordan - streets

driving through the streets of Amman. we love Jordan. King Abdullah, please make us honorary citizens. we promise to open a delicious S-E-Asian restaurant. the drive towards Jerash in the north of Amman was a sight to behold, different shades of browns, blues and greens, hills of olives rolling like waves over historical and archaeological land. i loved it especially when the hill dropped to such staggering heights, you feel like you can just fall over, and in love with the country.

jordan - jerash 1

i don’t have my notes (in the container at Dubai port) so please bear with me. this is Jerash, the most complete, preserved Roman archaeological site in the world, if i remember correctly. i can’t remember if this is the entrance to the city but something tells me it isn’t. i believe this is called Bab Amman, erected in honour of a visiting official.

jordan - jerash 2

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a strong arch, it is.

jordan - jerash 4

this is the forum where the citizens of Decapolis would gather on special occasions. important announcements would be made at the lone column in the middle. the columns of the colonnade were once half buried underground.

jordan - jerash 5

standing tall.

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back then, there would have been bartering and trading at shops behind the columns of the colonnade. look closer and you can still see the brick formations of the shops.

jordan - jerash 7

Roman corridors.

jordan - jerash 8

steps of the South Theatre which gave me an ominous preview of harder, thousands more painful steps over the coming weeks.

jordan - jerash 9

the South Theatre. we were amazed. we were standing on rocks of history.

jordan - jerash 10

topa the world.

jordan - jerash 11

more of the stage. back then, the lead actor would stand on a particular spot in the middle of the semi-circle – the acoustics is amazing. you don’t even have to shout and others can hear everything! genius!

jordan - jerash 12

Greek inscriptions on the lower tiers of the seats, presumed to be reserved for the upper crust of society.

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the colonnade from afar.

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all roads lead to Rome.

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a church, beautiful mosaic.

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ah, stupendous. if i’m not wrong, this was at the Temple of Artemis.

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the amphitheatre where the senate used to gather, i believe. i’d asked how weddings were performed, apparently they don’t know! so sad!

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the drainage system.

jordan - jerash 20

streets used to be lit up this way, see the carbon deposits from fire in the depressions above?

jordan - jerash 21

looking on, back on time.

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the temple of Zeus. nothing much remains of it, sadly. not everyone was allowed into the actual temple itself, each tier of steps were for different strata of society. only the priests were allowed into the inner sanctuary. hmph, elitists.

jordan - jerash 23 (ravi)

Ravi claims Jordan’s Philadelphia beer is the best beer he has ever had. and mind you, he’s been to Oktoberfest.

jordan - jerash 24 (stables)

where races used to be held.

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and that’s just Jerash! there’s still Ajloun! the Dead Sea! Madaba! Karnak and Shobak castles! Wadi Mujib! and PETRA!

oh Jordan, we will return.

more here.