Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Vacation With Many Firsts - Part 2

I fell asleep at around 2am, in the same clothing I had put on at 6.45am that morning, albeit for a borrowed T-shirt. I felt so uncomfortable and dirty. I did buy a toothbrush and toothpaste but there was no luxury of facial cleanser, toner, or moisturiser. I woke up at around 8am the next day. Washed up and had breakfast - still in the dirty clothes unfortunately. It felt really really weird to not have *any* luggage. I know most people carry a change of clothing and toiletries in their hand luggage - but I was trying to travel light so I had no hand luggage except for a sling bag with my camera, extra lens, travel documents and the Twilight novel. I guess I will never travel without a hand luggage from now on :)

I made a few phone calls to the Airline and to the travel insurance company. I was allowed to buy clothing, toiletries, etc and be reimbursed. Of course the private travel insurance provided more coverage than the Airline.

Image courtesy of Drugstore.com So, I went shopping. It was difficult to shop and buy literally everything enough for 1-2 days in the span of an hour or so. I got a pair of jeans, a sweater, a t-shirt, and lots of undies (hey, it was free clothes!). I also bought a lot of toiletries - especially 2 bottles of my favourite Neutrogena Norwegian formula moisturiser. . The irony is that I cannot get this moisturiser in Norway :) It works wonderfully - especially for autumn and winter when my skin becomes really dry.

After shopping, I headed back and fell asleep for approximately 2 hours. Then my friend and I decided to go to the airport to place a formal incident report, so that the private insurance will approve our claims. On the way to the airport, at about 5pm, we received a phone call telling us that our luggage had arrived. We were so relieved :) I had McDonald's for dinner that night, after picking up the luggage. McDonald's in Germany is quite tasty.

The next day, I went to Zurich. It was beautiful. Granted, the Swiss are really really rich - you see Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ferragamo, Gucci, all along the streets. For a moment, I felt like I was in New York (someday, I shall go there). The Louis Vuitton store's window display was just one handbag. I remember my friend asking why the display was only of _a_ bag. I mentioned that our one month's salary is not enough to pay for one of those bags, then he got the picture. Breakfast at Zurich was in a quaint cafe with croissants, bread, strong Swiss coffee and orange juice. Lunch was at Wagamama. I heard of this place from a friend but never got to try it. Fortunately, Zurich has all the nice stores you can imagine. I bought some scarves in the Christmas market at Zurich; I also got some skin care products from Lush. I love Lush's products - they are really nice. I learned how to use their Mask of Magnanimity from my sister while she was in UK.

The following day was spent in Konstanz. My friend was getting iPod shuffles (three of them in blue, green, and pink) for his nieces and nephew. I got an external hard drive (640GB) and some clothing from Esprit. Esprit was having a storewide 20% sale for members. I happen to have a membership card so I got some pieces of clothing at a steal :) I was never a fan of Esprit in KL but in Oslo, I have to be, because its one of the lesser worn brands. I don't like buying clothing that I will see on somebody else. It's a small luxury I allow myself. Since there are only 2 Esprit stores in Oslo, I have some false sense of security that nobody will wear what I am wearing :) Lunch in Konstanz was a sandwich and a slice of German cheesecake from Vogelhaus. Dinner was at a Turkish restaurant known as "Radischen", with a mutual friend and his Turkish fiancee.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Vacation With Many Firsts - Part 1

I am what you call a "Lucky" traveler. I never miss flights, I never have flights canceled on me, I never lose my baggage. My worse travel woe is excess baggage - the physical type; not emotional. This vacation, I experienced everything.

My friend (with whom I was traveling with) and I had the Oslo-Frankfurt-SmallCity connection. We missed our SmallCity connection. Up till now, I'm not sure how that happened. We were at the airport, at what I believe was the correct gate, but we missed the flight. It felt so strange to miss a flight. I always thought I was the emotional type because I am close to tears when my bag is overweight. I have no heart to throw stuff out of my suitcase. Strangely I was calm about missing the flight. We were happily given new boarding passes for next flight in 5 hours (maybe the flight was overbooked?) and a 10Euro meal voucher each for dinner (they were feeling bad for us?).

After waiting for approximately 4 hours (eating McDonald's for dinner and cashing in the dinner vouchers at Starbucks for enough cake slices for 6 people) we found out that our flight was canceled. So missing a flight and having a canceled flight all in the same day. We were told that there was a train going to SmallCity in exactly 20 minutes. Fight or flight? When you are told your flight is canceled (after you missed the same flight half a day ago), surely you feel like fighting - or just arguing enough to vent out some steam. At least, I thought that was the kind of person I was. I never give in when I am faced with bad service. Strangely (again), I found myself telling my friend to take the train connection and hurry out. Just before we rushed off from the airport, I heard myself asking "Bags?" and then we were given a phone number to call and ask for our bags to be sent to us. It was a 2 hour train and I spent the first 30 minutes in surprise at the day's events. Could it get worse? Fortunately, my friend, a native German speaker, was already on the phone - enquiring about a taxi from the airport where our train will arrive to SmallCity. We blew 60 Euros on the taxi and reached our destination at approximately 1.30am.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pouring Water onto Paint

Documentation is art. It may just be purely technical communication - but the act of stringing words together, making them mean something; drawing diagrams; taking screenshots - its purely a subjective task. Hence, it is art. Today, somebody took my baby - a small bit of code that I wrote as an example - and spilt "water" onto it. It looks horrible now.. and the pain is unbearable. I don't know how to describe it but the pain is similar to:

* Having your favourite blouse ruined.
* Having a really bad hairstyle that you will have to endure till your hair grows out.
* Having somebody break your favourite toy.

I see red. The sheer anger is painful. I don't know how it is going to be solved. But, I DO know that I have lost all respect, like, and kindness toward that person who messed it up. I can't curse him, but I can't wish him well either. Someday, Karma will get him for it...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Let It Snow...

It's snowing today in Oslo. I've been working heaps and cleaning up my apartment. I have this bad habit where I don't put things back where I take them from. It's getting on my nerves lately how messy my place is getting. So last weekend, I kind of dropped everything and just focused on putting everything back into its proper place. Also made two trips to the basement and rearranged my shoes (or should I say shoe collection?). Then I vacuumed the whole place and washed the bathroom. Felt much better afterwards.

I'm going to Germany for Christmas. Got an offer to spend Christmas there so I figured I'll take it. The other option would be to spend a few days in quiet Oslo, with nobody around. I've gotten used to having people around me here that I don't crave solitude as much as I used to when I was in KL and Brisbane.

Now if I can just lose 5, maybe 4 kgs, my life will be perfect!
...maybe a black leather handbag would make my life perfect too..
...and a telephoto lens...
...and a nice pair of boots (shoe fetish I think, totally incurable)...
...maybe 4-5 sweaters to survive winter...
...be able to wear a shirt with a sweater on top (looks hideous on me for some reason)...

*SIGH* I'm never satisfied :)