8.24pm - Curiouser And Curiouser
Trip Start Jan 07, 2010
77Trip End Dec 13, 2010
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Where I stayed
Alright. I caved. I am now officially sick, and the lack of sleep I was getting from my roommate's snoring was leading me to spend a little bit too much time staring at kitchen knives, so I decided that for my health and her safety, it would be best if I excused myself to different accommodation for the last couple of nights of my stay. Last night I slept properly. It was fantastic. All is now right with the world.
So I’ve been having fun with strangers again here in KL. As usual, it’s my fellow travellers that are the oddballs, not the natives (they just want your money, it’s a fairly straightforward deal).
The following evening, I was quietly reading and eating my chicken rice in the café downstairs from the hostel when the eReader made another new friend. People bloody love that thing, you know – not once has someone failed to comment on it every time I read from it in public. I’m going to put a sticker on the back, I think, because the conversation is always the same:
“About 200 books, give or take.”
“Just this and a wire.”
“Yes, through USB.”
“Yes, you can buy them online and download them onto the reader.”
“Yes, it’s very handy, mainly because it’s so light.”
“About $250.” (depending on if they’re rude enough to ask)
I’ve had a few others, such as “Can you change the print size?” from an silver-haired woman in an airport queue, “Where did you get it?” from a waiter in a restaurant in Alice Springs (sadly I had to inform him they hadn’t been released in Oz yet – he looked quite gutted), and from one enterprising fellow sitting next to me on the MRT in Singapore, “What formats does it hold?”. He was quite dorkily excited when I said that it would display PDFs. Of course, I was no less dorkily intrigued by an article on the iPad that hinted at EPUB compatibility, so I can’t really talk. (To digress even further, I must say, I’m excited for iPad 2.0 – as soon as it’s got a camera and they’ve tackled the multitasking issue that’s annoying so many pundits, I could definitely be talked into one. Judging by the fact that I had another, albeit far more minor, shampoo invasion in my bag on my last plane journey, I will no doubt have destroyed my eReader by the time they release the next model, so I’ll be in need of something to replace it.)
Anyway. Back to my chicken rice and Alice In Wonderland. I was sipping my Tiger and ignoring the world at large because I was painting the roses red, when suddenly an Aussie voice broke in: “You’re making me hungry!”
I looked up to see a middle aged guy sitting at the next table slurping his own beer and nodding at my food. I smiled politely and said something about how I was sure his food would be along soon, then returned to my book. But he was not to be politely dismissed, not when the eReader was in sight. No, instead my new friend insisted on asking the eReader Questions above, and without pausing for breath segued neatly into the Traveller’s Questions (where are you from, where are you going, where have you been, why are you here, where are you staying, and what did you do today – they are the equivalent of “And what do you do?” when you’re on the road, and some people toss them out before they’ve even introduced themselves). Normally I’m cool with the Questions, having asked and answered them many times, but I was tired and would have been in bed already if I hadn’t been starving. I wasn’t in the mood for small talk. But it turned out this guy was from just south of Adelaide, so I gamely switched my smile on and spoke lovingly of my favourite Aussie city for a few minutes.
Eventually I lapsed back into silence, however, and wondered if that might be it for now. Apparently not. Having run out of interesting things to say, he then began to give me his views on the Asian people. Oddly, for a man voluntarily in Malaysia, they were largely uncomplimentary. I am rarely in the mood for casual racism as it is, but this evening I was particularly unreceptive to it. Having learnt a long time ago that hotly debating any fascism results usually results in said fascist dismissing me as being irrational (occasionally throwing in the “Are you on your period or something?” line), these days I tend to shut down and go for the cold stare and monosyllabic answers until they crack on that they’ve lost me. Handily, this was basically what I wanted to do anyway due to the aforementioned sleepiness, so it was win-win. Victories for tolerance are all the sweeter when you get an early night out of them.