things i totally forgot on my second trip to china


... And I'm still kicking myself for those.

Number one is, flush before you use any toilets in China. This is the norm, unfortunately I only got it after the n-th times using their toilets. I was taking a dump when someone enters the toilet stall beside me. Right after I heard the door closed followed by the sound of toilet flushing, I heard her (or him, I don't judge) pee.

I was estatic about that, like having a revelation. That was a short visit about four years ago, and by the second year spent at my own country, I've already forgotten about it.

Again, on my second visit to China this month, I was using their toilet for the n-th times, wondering why it smelled awful, when a mother and her small kid entered the stall beside me. I overheard the mother telling her daughter something like "don't use the toilet yet, flush it first" kind of thing.

-_- I was not a smart person. And no, they generally don't flush after using the toilets. I'm sure there are Chinese people who flush after using the toilets, I just haven't encountered any.

The second thing is handbag choice. If you travel by MTR, you'd want one small compartment, secured by a zipper, accessible from the outside of the bag, not the inside.

As a visitor, you carry significantly more things around while riding a MTR. Your passport for example. And maps. And qingwen flashcards.

What? No, the compartment on the bag is not meant to store passports nor maps nor qingwen cards. You store them in your bag. In the main section of your bag where they belong. The small compartment is meant to store MTR tokens or cards. If earlier this month you saw an overweight foreigner stumbling with her bag in nearly every stations trying to find the tokens between all those documents and maps, you probably saw me.

huo pangzi for the first time

huo pangzi

I really really like this restaurant 火胖子肥肠煲 (Huǒ pàngzi féicháng bāo). It sells Sichuanese cuisine. I've actually eaten there twice during my stay in China earlier this month.

The first time I went there I ordered beef gan guo. There's a story behind this selection, but that's a story for another time, another place. I also ordered mapo tofu and stir-fried cabbages.

The next day I wasn't particularly hungry, so I only ordered seafood gan guo. Turned out to be one of the best things I've ever eaten! I ate the pot clean, even the onions, except for the chili-things.

They also have the best barley tea! It was free, and you first use it to sanitize your bowls and chopsticks. Although it is called tea, actually it is not made of tea leaves, but sesame-like grains. When I pay, I asked the cashier lady if I could buy the tea grains, I wanted to bring it back to Indonesia.

barley tea
It'll lost its color a bit after you simmer it in hot water.

When I studied my receipt later, I found out that she put it as 一桶饭 (yī tǒng fàn), one container of rice.

The service was wonderful for China restaurants standard. The waiters and waitresses were helpful and very patient to me who can barely speak Chinese. Hey, I can write Chinese, but I can't do it orally okay? And no, no Google for you in mainland China. Good luck with that.

so the day came... -- part two


My friends from uni days and I have been planning to meet but didn't got the drive to do so for a long time. Until today.

We chatted about this and that, and suddenly one of them pointed out that the other had been skipping meals. She'd been having only one meal a day, usually it was dinner. I immediately expressed my concern.

"I am fine," she said: "I don't feel hunger anymore, just a little dizzy."

I closed my mouth though I didn't actually share her view. We then talked about other things.

Going home I was very disturbed. Adult life has messed with us more than we care to admit.

(And yes, there's a post that look like this.)

pakistani guys, wtf?

pakistani burnt letter

Your sisters have curfews to protect them from people like you... doesn't that make you feel bad?
--Wishal Raheel--

People ask me why I'm not too keen having anything to do with Pakistani guys. So one day I thought that it's wrong to judge people from what others say about them and decided to give the next guy a chance.

Worst. Decision. Ever. See for yourself what happened.

him 8:48:32 AM
hello <my nickname>
me 8:58:59 AM
hello <his nickname>
him 8:59:27 AM
finally, you replied me

Excuse me, finally? How many times have you said hello to me before? Just once, right? Or maybe it's a language barrier you're having... Okay, okay, moving on...

him 8:59:31 AM
lol busy?
me 8:59:43 AM
him 8:59:55 AM
at home or work?
me 9:01:22 AM
him 9:01:33 AM
add me?

Sorry, who are you again?

me 9:02:01 AM
introduce yourself
him 9:02:22 AM
i am from pakistan, but live in Canada now
him 9:02:30 AM
recently moved in Canada
me 9:05:24 AM
are you <input the name of a group here>?
him 9:05:33 AM
you are too busy
him 9:05:44 AM
what is <input the name of a group here>?
me 9:05:58 AM
sorry, i mean are you <input the name of a group here>?
me 9:06:03 AM
or <input the name of a group here>?
him 9:06:10 AM
<input the name of a group here>
him 9:06:14 AM
why you reply so late?
me 9:06:27 AM
i have other people chatting with me too
him 9:06:53 AM
ohh wow you are very famous?

What's with that "I'm VVIP" attitude man? You think I am your maid? I'm not in any way obligated to put down other people, just so I can reply to your messages right after you type them!

But, ahem. Another chance, another chance, remember? So be patient.

me 9:07:22 AM
just a little
me 9:07:33 AM
so what are you studying?
him 9:07:46 AM
about accounting
him 9:07:51 AM
so you do not want to add me?
me 9:08:48 AM
the tone of that question is rude
me 9:08:57 AM
i don't like it
me 9:09:27 AM
you won't do well in canada if you don't change your way of phrasing a question
him 9:09:50 AM
him 9:10:03 AM
thanks for your advice
me 9:10:11 AM
it's OK
me 9:10:17 AM
tell me more about yourself
me 9:10:21 AM
how old are you?
him 9:10:41 AM
you did not told me anything about yourself
me 9:10:43 AM
what university do you go to?
me 9:11:24 AM
what do you want to know?
him 9:11:34 AM
him 9:13:27 AM
ok..i think u do not want to tell anything
me 9:14:33 AM
now you're jumping into conclusions
me 9:14:38 AM
so how old are you?
him 9:15:17 AM
<input a certain age here> and u?
him 9:18:37 AM
him 9:19:25 AM
you are so rude
him 9:19:27 AM
him 9:19:29 AM
him 9:19:31 AM
me 9:22:17 AM
and what is so rude about having the same age as you do?

And he didn't reply back! Actually I look a lot younger than the age I told him, so maybe that's the reason why he wrote to me the first place.

My patience to keep replying to such a self-entitled person even when I had to keep myself from clicking the 'block user' button has been fruitful. Now I'll just refer any Pakistani guy who bothers me in the future to this post.


house repair

I don't know what to write. I guess I'm having writer's block. So I'll write things that need to be done to my house here instead:
。Empty the septic tank.
。Fix electric fan that is used to dry hanged laundry.
。Raise the floor. Currently front door and bathrooms are cemented to prevent flood from destroying the furnitures.
。Fix lighting on the storage room.
。Create a bigger vent for the kitchen so the smell of cooked meals don't go all over the house.

loneliness, britney, and ants


If a man does not make new acquaintances, as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.
-- Samuel Johnson --

What can I do? This loneliness is killing me, Britney Spears once said. Now I say amen to that.

I drown myself in work. That didn't work (pun intended).

I try love. Exercise. Movies. Hobbies. Reading. Writing. Food. Reading. Learning languages. Nothing worked.

Well, at least I laid some posts. A couple were golden. The rest were rubbish. It's OK.

I also went nature-watching a lot. Actually I did watched fire ants today and found them marching back and forth. It's actually impossible to know whether one ant in particular's heading home or work, except if there's food involved.

(Okay I actually know what to do. It's just making new friends is not that easy.)