Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Weewee Trail & Other Short Takes

1. Men-watching In Beijing

By and large, Beijing men were darn good-looking. Abu's Angels made this delightful discovery during their recent China jaunt, an observation even head honcho Abu himself was hard put to deny. Not that he did, for he knew the score, with three starstruck women by his side.

Ann and Awwa just couldn't stop ogling: "Ooooh look at that guy, Ma! Hensemnya!" The skull-capped youngster serving our dishes, the ramrod straight Red Guard in front of Mao Tze Tung's mausoleum, the hotel concierge,
the very 'cun' waiter at Ley Mo Cafe, the lean and trim chap swinging by in his leather jacket, stylish muffler and knee-length boots, even the street peddlar who offloaded some pictorial books on China on me, just outside the Forbidden City walls. My tired 55 year-old eyes were revitalised at such delectable eye candies!

They were taller and trimmer than the average Malaysian Chinese. Five days, and I didn't see a single obese Beijinger. Their features were sharper and well-defined (such beautiful upturned noses!), their eyes bigger. Add those rosy cheeks, high cheekbones and alabaster skin, and they had my girls oohing and aahing from the word 'go'. Eat your heart out, Tommy!

2. 'Hothouse' Hotel

The girl at the hotel's front office couldn't believe her ears. She understood English alright, but had to ask Lu Qiang the guide for reaffirmation.

A flurry of Mandarin flowed between the two. She explained, laughing. He listened intently, then turned to us, asking: "You say your room is too hot? You want your room colder??"

I could guess what was running through his mind: "Are these folks for real? It's freezing my nuts out there and these two crazy Malaysians are asking for their cosy, comfy heating to be turned down!"

I jumped in: "Yes Mr Lu, our room is too hot. Last night we slept on the bed cover and with the toilet door ajar to let the draught in. I know the room temperature is centrally-controlled; can you please ask them to make our room cooler?"

More rapidfire Mandarin. Finally the girl, still smiling broadly, turned to us and said: "Ok, we send our man to make your room cooler, yes?" "Thank you, thank you!" Darn, I couldn't sleep a wink, the room was like a furnace....

3. Along the Weewee Trail

Winter is cold and cold induces weewee; nothing could be further from the truth. Only that Beijing wasn't just cold, it was freezing. Gloveless for five minutes, and your fingers numbed over. Thus, our five-day trip was like a worn script:

- before stepping into the van at the hotel: "Oi! You guys better go toilet first.."

- upon arriving at any destination: "Where's the toilet?" (This especially applies to Pak Abu, the undisputed holder of the "Weewee Cup")

- before leaving any destination: "Wait, wait.. I go toilet first."

- while walking around or shopping: "Eh, where's [fill in the blank]"? The standard chorus: "Gone for a wee..."

- in the van, enroute: "Isyy, wanna wee laa...sejuukk!"

Recommended remedy: Bring lots of Baby Wipes/Wet Ones. Washrooms were generally clean (perhaps because it was winter.. less tourist usage) but there was no water for washing up, only for flushing.

Weewee anecdote: Enroute to The Great Wall, as our van crawled along:-

Awwa: Maaa! I saw a guy peeing in the snow by the roadside! Brrr, how can 'it' 'tahan'? It's soo cold! Hahaha!

Me: "Poor fellow. Must be one of the stranded motorists la tu. Where, where?"

Abu the Weewee Cup champion, piping in: "Alah, I'd do just the same if need be. You can't see anything anyway, with snow falling so hard... hehehe.."

4. Fat, Fat, Fat

The herbal centre guide took pains to expound the virtues of bian stone therapy. Speaking in both English and Bahasa Indonesia, she called upon each of us to participate in a demonstration, to prove her point.

Our cuticle was duly smeared with some cream and placed under a microscope. The resulting image was then flashed onto a big screen. Good results all around.... until my turn.

She hemmed and hawed."Uuuu, you see here? All these spots? Fat, fat, fat. You see here also? Fat, Fat, fat. Here? This part? Fat, fat, fat. This one? Fat, fat, fat. Madam, you have many, many fat!"

Thank you very much Miss, for pointing out the obvious! (sighhh...)

5. I Want My Change!

One cardinal rule: Have lots of small denominations on you at all times, especially when visiting tourist spots. And be prepared to be accosted by street peddlars, some very aggressive. And if you buy anything from them, give exact change, or risk not getting your change back.

I had just purchased three pictorial books on China when I saw Pak Abu unsuccessfully trying to ward off the attention of a middle-aged woman peddling leftover souvenirs from the 2008 Beijing Olympic.

Each time he walked away, she followed. She trailed and pestered him for at least 20 metres, half running and all the time repeating, "Cheap cheap! Cheap cheap! Ten yuan, ten yuan!"

Defeated, he decided to buy the keychain collection of the Olympic mascots, just to shake her off. He groped into all his pockets but could not find any small change, only bills of 100 yuan. So I offered him my 20 yuan bill.

Guess what? The woman snatched the bill from my hand, pushed a few more items into his palm and quickly walked away without turning back! Hoi! I don't want all these crap! Gimme back my change! Not a chance, buddy...

6. Klutz Takes A Holiday

What's a winter holiday if someone didn't slip or fall, at least once, in the snow or on ice? Under normal circumstances, I would be the family resident klutz, the one who could be counted on to provide comic relief for family entertainment. The only thing bruised usually was my ego, nothing more.

However, this klutz's luck held in China. No walking into doors, glass walls, furniture or people, no spilling of hot beverages (especially on other people's lap), not even an accidental breaking of wind. It was father and daughter who took up the klutzy mantle on my behalf.

We were walking towards the van after dinner when we heard an almighty thud followed by cries of 'Owwwww!' We turned around; there was Pak Abu splayed and sprawled in the snow, being helped up by the guide, Lu Qiang.Thankfully, he was alright.

Not to be outdone, our last Beijing dinner the following evening ended with a painful 'Arrrgghhhh!'; Ann had choked on a fishbone. It took munching on a whole slice of bread and throwing everything up again, for the bone to be dislodged. Poor Ann had to turn in early while we went on our final walkabout (where Awwa avenged Ann's absence by haggling a cashmere scarf from 280 yuan to 50 yuan).

7. Cameraless In KL

The trusty Panasonic Lumix camera served us well, then it decided it had served us enough. The last night in Beijing, it dropped itself (with my unsolicited help, naturally) face down under the restaurant's dining table. It isn't quite RIP yet I think. A trip to the repair shop is forthcoming..

17 comments:

Zendra-Maria said...

Kama, in countries where they do not have "muslim showers" (as a pakistani friend calls them) in the weewee place, I carry with me the smaller mineral water bottle pre-filled with tap-water, for conveniences. However, in freezing cold weather the water can get frigid, so top up with hot water from the sink beforehand ;)

Love this entry - so humorous one.

PS Have you ever met that apek Tommy?

Kama said...

zen dear.. nochet meet defler tommy... he scared of me lah, dowan to met..LOL

MrsNordin said...

When I was in Beijing a couple of years ago, I remember going to this toilet which had no door! Infact, most of the toilets I visited tak ada pintu! The kind you just go in and squat, and it's open for everyone to see. Eeee... horror! And when it's cold, memang sejuk!!

Maybe now dah pasang pintu kut. I was there in 2005.

Kama said...

Salam MrsN, tq for dropping by. Been a while since.Ha'ah, I had heard from friends about doorless toilets and about the need to bring an umbrella when you move around, just so you would hv a shield handy, for toilet.

YTou may be right; things could have changed since. I found Beijing toilets clean (and with doors).

Naz said...

OMG! You cracked me up this morning. Dalam kekaburan mata (bangun lambat daaa), I got confused with the Wee Cup thing and its connection to Pak Abu. Imagination runs wild and haha! minta ampun! minta ampun! Sekarang dah got it :D

I love this entry. Hollywood pun tak boleh buat movie macam ni punya funny!

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Haiya Puteri, why lah so superficial one leh, I tot u r more discerning than that when it comes to looking at ‘thing’ of beauty. Those blokes in China r GM product whereas Tommy is more organic, as in Coca Cola ‘The Real Thing’ mah. U know, your white knight in shiny Armani (Giorgio hah not Emporio, ok); bolih kira the full 'good deal'package lah.

Trust Zee to talk about the weewee thing, so embarrassing lah woi. Puteri, I think it’s your guide lah, each time u see him or thot of him; sub-consciously it reminds u to go to the loo….hahaha, just like what a dripping tap can do to you.

Cheers & have a happy2 weekend,

Tommy

P/S - Sure lah, room gets too hot when u guys behaves like rabbits :)

Queen Of The House said...

Loved reading your Beijing holiday tales!!!! You make me wanna go .... but boleh pinjam your daughter Awwa to haggle for me?? Hehehehe ....

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Puteri,
Item #1 is main reason why I want to itut you to China. We also want to ogle at "delectable eye candies!" purrr....meow!

kay_leeda said...

Heh..heh...so funny one lah you, Kak Puteri. You know sumthin', they say you can have yr nose done in Beijing. Plastic surgery can change a "penyek" nose to one like MJ's and Beijing is the place to get it done. Dunno lah how true this is. But that's what our tourist guide told us.

I was like Zendra too..hangkut water dlm mineral water for wee-wee. Bukan apa....takut gat*i..keh..keh...(sshhyyy...Tommy MUST not read this eh!!)

NanaDJ said...

Puteri,
I go for the tall dark and handsome type, not sure whether fair and cun will appeal to me, will decide when I go to Beijing. You are hilarious and can see the funny side to things. What a loss to the media now that you are no longer a journalist. You should have a column somewhere like Kak Teh (I never miss reading hers).
Will definitely bring an umbrella and a small mineral water bottle to Beijing - thank you ladies for the helpful tips.
Salam.

Shahieda said...

You're such a scream Puteri! I'm glad that I was alone in the office when I read this post. I almost fell off my chair laughing!!

Even funnier is that the whole time I was reading it, I was imagining the expressions on your face, hehehehe! Crazy innit!!

D said...

Wow, I'm trying to figure out how the rooms were too hot! Yelah... maybe you guys were the hotties, not the hotel! ;)

Such a marvelous light read to start my Saturday morning in gloomy England - Allah's way of melting all the snow! Thanks!!

Be Somebody with Vemma said...

Salam Kak Puteri, kami masih menunggu MoU dengan Mediabiz..apa perkembangan sekarang? Ader juga terdengar spekulasi2 kat PESENI ni..sy pekakkan n butakan mata sahaja..harap2 semuanya berjalan lancar..agaknya bila PESENI terima dokumen perjanjian itu?

Deen

Kama said...

salam deen
maaf lewat. saya balik dari beiJing 5 hb manakala hisham balik daripada bandung 10 hb. masing2 perabih cuti. internal meeting yg pertama dibuat berhubung PAMERAN PESENI ialah pada hari khamis baru2 ni. yusuf iwasi (yg bersama2 pergi ke KB dulu) ditugaskan prepare draft MoU untuk submission to mediabiz pada hari isnin (esok). insyaallah, kalau boss agreeable to the content, kami akan e-mail kpd deen by rabu ataU KHAMIS.

Kak Ezza@makcik Blogger said...

Salam kak

Best baca entry ni...saya ni dok sorang2 tergelak pagi pagi buta ni..hahaha

Be Somebody with Vemma said...

Thanks for the information, Insya Allah I'll inform to the blog.

Deen

Kama said...

Naz - Now that you mentioned it, I am beginning to see the other perspective too..that's indeed funny!

Tommy - Come have coffee with Zen and Nana and I one day; let us assess 'the real thing' that's you, Tommy.. hehehe..

Qoth - Heh, maybe it's a good idea to rent Awwa out for the purpose of haggling..LOL

Cat - See,you are right up my alley. Meow!

Kay - memang can be gat*i! in china i too hangkut a small bottle of mineral water for that same purpose..didn't want to end up having to terkeruk2 in public places..lol

Nana - in my teenage days, i wanted so much to marry an old man! pelik kan? must be the 'father figurew' thingy..

Shahieda - glad you had a good time reading.. and we did hv a good time in KL, didnt we?

D - how to 'berhottie-hottie' lah D, each time head meets pillow, dead to the world, penat! hehehe

Ezza - good to know your internet connection dah back to normal. sakit jiwa kan if no internet?