Literally the shortest day of my life [YQrtw Day 125 Aug 13]

safe landing

Location: Pacific Ocean

My flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong left around August 13 midnight and reached on August 14 at about 6am. The flight was about 14 hours long.

so if we do a bit of subtraction, we can deduce that August 13 lasted about 6 hours for me. That’s the shortest day of my life!

Of course this does not take into consideration that one other time I flew from San Francisco to SIngapore. But then I’ve forgotten how long that flight was so we’ll just take it that August 13 was the shortest day of my live.

Happy to blend in

Being on the Cathay Pacific flight from LAX to HKG was the first time in many months that I was around so many East Asian people. It was a weird feeling being one of the faces that blended into the crow,

I was expecting people to holler, “Chino!” as they did in South and Central America and the crowd to riot but Latin American stranger said that so all was calm and peaceful.

The 14-hour flight didn’t feel that long. I’ve been travelling so much on this trip that the process of getting from one place to another doesn’t seem very significant now. As long as I get there without vomiting, I’m happy.

Watching ‘Library Wars’

I did watch quite a lot of shows on the plane.

My very favorite movie among all that I’ve watched was Library Wars. It’s a Japanese movie adapted from a manga (Japanese comic) series. I have a friend who’s a fan of the comic so I thought I should give it a try. Plus, the male lead actors are all damn hot. Seriously.

Within the first 10 minutes of the movie, tears streamed down my face. I’ve forgotten how much Japanese films and manga make me cry happy/sad tears. There was quite a lot of book burning going on in the movie. Those scene make me cry silently. I think there would be less of an effect if they burnt Kindles. (Coincidentally, sales of e-readers have dropped so low in the period of the movie that they were mentioned once in a news program.)

The premise of the movie is that the Japanese government have set up a Media Betterment Unit (aka Bastards Who Burn Books) which censors unhealthy media in the public by deleting files off the internet and burning books. There is another much less funded unit against this censorship. It’s the “Library Protection Unit”” (or something like that) which helps preserve these so-called “unhealthy media” by gathering the materials in their library.

The public is free to use resources from The Library. The Library will also protect the privacy of the readers and not reveal what they have been reading.

Back to the plot, our gutsy Heroine signed up to be one of the Protection Team (PT) in the Library Unit because a member of the PT saved her from a jerk from the Media Betterment Unit. She even nicknamed this mysterious unknown person as her Prince (they do a lot of that in Japanese comics).

By 20 minutes of the movie, we–the audience–guessed that the hero (or her “prince) is actually our heroine’s rather nasty Higher-Up. He is supposed to be a lot shorter than her but the guy who played the role did a lot of Dreamy Prince roles that we cannot help associate him with Dreaminess.

There’s also the Sidekick to Higher-Up played by the guy who usually plays the leading man when he’s in his own movie. Sidekick and Higher-Up have a very strong bromance going on. But we know that they are straight because they do a lot of action-related training.

There’s also the Handsome-Smart-Well-Pedigreed-but-Snobbish-Boy and the Beautiful-Smart-Friend-of-Heroine. Even though Snobbish Boy confessed his confused love to Heroine, by the end of the movie, we all hope that the two Beautiful non-leading characters end up together because they are so smart and good looking.

I’m glad I watched the movie because reading the comic or else I might get the The Book is Much Better than The Movie syndrome.

Other shows I’ve watched were many of The Big Bang Theory episodes from Season 6. It’s funny how I started following this series in South America and not back in Singapore.

Bing Bang Theory on the plane
Bing Bang Theory on the plane

Bumpy landing

There’s a typhoon coming to Hong Kong about the same time as my arrival. Luckily, the typhoon was still in Guangdong when the place was landing.

It wasn’t a smooth landing as the pilot had to pull up the plane back into the air once.

Safe landing
Safe landing

There were a few crying kids. I’m not sure why they are dry crying with lots of crying noises but no tears. Is it because their ears hurt or that they are afraid to die? I wasn’t sitting near a kid so I couldn’t ask him.

I would tell the kid, “Hey, you should be crying when the adults are crying. Not now. Nothing bad is happening now.” Then I’ll point to a random corner of the screen and say that I think I saw a UFO.

Still, we manage to land safely and the kids stopped making loud noises.

It’s time to formally meet Hong Kong.

Rumah terbalik (Upside down house) at Telibon, Sabah

My sister brought me and my friend to the upside down house (Rumah Terbalik) when I was back home for the weekend.

Sabah has lots of gorgeous natural tourist attractions so it was very funny to find this man-made attraction that’s trying a bit too hard to be popular.

The location of the attraction is very far from the city center. Even with our own car, we drove kilometers and kilometers until we are at the foot of the route to Mt Kinabalu!

To find your way to the house, you will need to pass the water reservoir on the way to Tamparuli. The house is next to the Shell station after the famous Tamparuli bridge (it even has it own song–“Jambatan Tamparuli”!).

There’s an entrance fee and locals pay a bit lesser than foreigners.

The rules there say you are not allowed to take photos of the inside of the house but you can take as many photos as you want outside.

You will be fined 100 ringgit if you are caught taking photos inside the house. (What draconian rules.) The employees said it’s to preserve the uniqueness of the house. Pfft.

Inside the upside down house

The inside of the house is more fascinating than the outside. It’s a rather tiny home and everyone has to crowd on the red carpet.

The layout of the house is a typical Malay home sort of place, except everything is glued to the ceiling.

There’s a living room, two bedrooms, one bathroom and a kitchen. There’s spare change scattered on the floor and even a bucket of KFC–a cute touch.

My favorite is the upside down washing machine because I didn’t catch it (not literally) until I was far away from it.

The backside of the house is really cute because of the upside down bicycle.

The most interesting exhibit is the upside down Kancil with upside down Angry Birds dolls. I tried to pose like I’m hanging outside a car, waiting for Spiderman to save me.

Have you ever been to an upside down house?

Gift of Fear, travel edition

Blog title taken from the title of a book that everyone should read: The Gift of Fear.

Travelling as a single woman takes guts.

Despite putting on a brave front telling people about my solo travels, I have to admit here that I feel panicky before every single trip.

“What if something bad happens??!” Worst case scenarios run through my head: my body floating in the Seine, found dead in my hostel room, etc–all sorts of scenarios from bad detective novels.

Despite all my paranoia, nothing really bad happened to me on my trips. *touch wood*

That said, there was a scary incident in Paris. It is scary on hindsight but (fortunately) I wasn’t that afraid then–more annoyed than scared.

Here’s a recount of the event (with edited paragraphing) from my Paris travel blogpost (a copy and paste of my e-mail to my friend):

No need to panic but some random guy threatened to kill me.

Was walking out of train station to where I live. Heard someone calling out from behind. Ignored (bcoz you never know who it is, and quite a few mad men around). Shout got louder as I walked away. I exited, thinking I was safe. At traffic lights, a China man (only reasonable term I can use now) said something loudly to me. I turned to him. He looked red in the face and smelled a bit drunk. He rambled on loudly in his dialect. I never opened my mouth but gave him a look that said: What the f do you want?

He ended his rambling, asking: You are China person (def not “overseas Chinese” in this case), aren’t you? I shook my head and looked away to behind him, holding on to my not-give-a-shit look.

Then he said: Next time you do this, I’LL KILL YOU.

He walked off.

While i feel frightened now, I’m glad I held on to my BITCH PLZ look.

Fullscreen_capture_1162011_101938_pm

This was where the scary thing happened, in the evening with the sky slightly gray.
Credit: Google Map 

Additional information about the incident. It was late in the evening in summer but there was still some light. The tunnels in the Metro were winding. There was a cafe opposite the exit–but no one sitting outside to witness the incident.

As I said I was not afraid when it happened. It was in my instinct that the guy did not have a gun or a knife with him. It was also instinct that told me: Put up a brave front.

Moral of the story: Trust your instinct but bring pepper spray, just in case.

How would you have handled such a scenario?

This post is part of BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Day 6: Fear.

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The rest of my posts for the project can be found here.