Saturday, 25 October 2008

Are we still on?

Hello again to my fives of readers!

October kind of got away from me, huh? It was kind of a big month. I would say probably the biggest this year. And this year hasn't been shabby so far neither. Here's what happened:


A while back i heard my friends Odd (who's quite normal), SK and Claire were going to Pulau Tioman, which is one of Malaysia's many idyllic islands near Singapore and I recklessly said "Hey! I'll join you! I'll just meet you at the ferry. No worries!"

So I spent end of September trying to get bus tickets to Mersing for a Tioman trip during Hari Raya!

Ha!ha!ha! That is not me laughing–that is the sound of ticket sellers at KL's famously crap Pudu station on hearing my request. My choices: get there at 4am then wait til 8am for the 1st ferry, OR go to Kuantan and double my trip time then get there at 5am. OR, the scintillating-Take the train to then get a bus to Mersing at 5am. OR,.. well you get the picture.

In the end, the travel gods smiled down on me and confirmed a ticket on the Berjaya Air waitlist. Here marks the end of my relationship with the Malaysian public transport system. Good luck and good riddance!

The replica plane that they sent to fill in for a real plane

An exciting wait in the under-renovation Subang airport, and I was on my way in a tiny plane with a lot of Germans. Is it the same group of Germans following me aorund? Every time I go islanding (real word, I swear)! I thought summer was over for Europeans? I don't get it.

Anyway I flew Berjaya Air and stayed at.. Berjaya Resort and ate Berjaya food and rode the Berjaya was one of those really authentic experiences. I looked at the Berjaya view (see above) for 3 days, so I can't say I have any complaints!

KL Swing

Next up is where things begin to go off the rails... in a totally good way. In late September, I met this girl Ling who had created a KL Swing Facebook group and I offered to help.

We are both Malaysian-ish and had both been in town for about 6months, separately bitching that there was no Swing dancing. In between then and early October, we held a free taster class in Tiara's Aroma Beauty Salon in Bangsar (good floors, crap sound system, cheap) and then she promptly accepted a job in Singapore!

Note the awesome black light deco

That meant I was on my lonesome for the Oct 9 workshop we had organised with Sinclair, my teacher from Singapore. I like to think I am realistic. I probably err on the side of glass woefully half empty. Just to be, you know, safe. So I fully expected to find myself alone, in a Punjabi bar called Topaz (good floors, crap lights, cheap :D) but to my great surprise and delight, most everyone who replied on facebook, and then some, showed up.

They very obligingly learned the 8-count in mood lighting–I had asked the manager to help me turn off 1) the disco ball 2) the strobe lights. I tried for 3) non-smoking, but he wasn't having a bar of it.

Having noted I could safely get enough people for the class, I began the search for a proper studio. Weekday nights are dance studios' bread and butter, so it took alot of calling around before I found 2 separate ones for Sinclair's next visit, which was last Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday went great, once it got started! Monsoon rains, immigration queues and mega traffic meant Sinclair's trip from the airport was much longer and arduous-er than expected. Started half an hour late, but we got there in the end!

More pix here at FB


In between workshops, I popped down to Singapore for some work. Some very exciting days spent in a darkened room! My first coffee table book shoot. I really really wanna share, but that'll have to wait.

I also got to hang with my girls J & P who very bravely took me to Bellini Grande for "A new realm in live entertainment"–according to the poster. It was another realm all right! It boasts about a bajillion musicians and an all-hot cast of singers and dancers. It's meant to be in the vague vacinity of Swing Jazz, but it's more closely related to a cheesy day-time Vegas variety show than a Big Band. It's all showbiz T & A with a Kermit puppet, a faux-Southern singer and an Elvis impersonator to boot. My face really hurt when I left from all the laughing-I recommend everyone do it once! Is cheesier than the whole of Wisconsin.

Oh yeah, somewhere in there I turned 29 :) So far, it's not too bad. Not too bad at all.