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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Noir means black

I only posted a few posts this year. The year i promised i'd make a proper list of my reading materials and progress and something else on the side too. Duh!

Anyway, not to cry over spilt milk, but i regret the shortcoming very much.

I was in Bangkok last month with 3 of my good friends. I'd been in Bangkok before. I don't get any particular attraction with the city. I like the food and market. Booze was cheap and entertainments plenty. 

When my friend flew out, heading for KL, I flew to Hat Yai. My main aim for this journey is to experience KTM's train shuttle from Hat Yai to Kuala Lumpur. 

Hat Yai is a bustling border city. The food are mostly Chinese-Thai. Not as fiery as those in Bangkok. many Malaysians do business here too. I shared the van ride from the airport to the city centre (journey time about 25 mins) with two friendly Singaporean men (they're on business trip) and some other local Thais. They told me that Hat Yai is the 'in' thing to do development investment in SEA. What do i know about investment? meh!

I scoured the city centre on foot until i cant walk anymore. I called out for tuk tuk and paid only 30B for him to take me to the nearest shopping mall. he asked for 50B. I said, i have no money 30B or i'll just walk. he sent me to a large mall (i cant even remember the name). I rushed inside for the aircond. I found the bookstore here.

When i asked the cashier if they sell any english book, the girl looked confused. I'd walk and look around the bookstore, books are in Siam. Even the Japanese mangas are in Siam. Maybe because i look like a Burmese (which i believe, the Thais regard as dirt-rag) who happened to speak English, so, the cashier didn't expect me to asked her the question. After she regained her composure (about 5 mins later) she hand signaled me to a small rack near the stationery section. Tada!

Interestingly, more than half of the books on display are English book about Asia. I took; Phnom Penh Noir, a book about cultural detective and Haddon's The Red House (so, now, i have a complete Haddon books!). The best part? they provide book wrapping service for free. yay!

I read The Red House immediately that night, after having dinner at a quaint but beautifully decorated little cafe, 2 blocks away from the railway station. Then, i bought some street food; grilled meat and mango. i also bought cheap Red wine at  7E. Its too sweet. Argh!

The train departed in the evening (4pm). Its on time. The train was clean, i paid for a lower bunk (RM56) upper bunk much cheaper. No food selling on train. No reading lamp. No charging point. The good thing? everything was clean, even the toilet was cleaner than most public toilet, and the aircond was good. 

30 mins into the journey, we arrived at Padang Besar immigration checkpoint. Bring all your belonging to the immigration and customs checking. Immigration first, after they stamped on the passport, move to customs (they asked to open up bag), then move upstairs (small food court and waiting area) to wait for their cabin check. Everything was easy, until i got the urge to go to the small room. phew! nastiest toilet i ever laid my eyes on. AVOID.

Hat Yai was quite okey. Most of the hawkers speak chinese to me. (bah, iyalah, mungkin nampak macam chinese) when i told them i'm not chinese and speak English instead, they laughed and carry on speaking chinese. some of them even speak malay. (i overheard men discussing escort price at the backalley-publicly negotiating, its kinda interesting, macam nego tambang tuk-tuk)

I arrived in KL sentral around 6.15 am. my next flight to Kuching is 7.50 pm. I go straight to KLIA2 and lepak there with the a group of Indonesian maids (carpeted area on level 2) waiting for their night flight to Jakarta. They thought i was an indonesian too. hahaha.. iya sajalah, told them i'm from Kalimantan. I read half of Phnom Penh Noir here. Its damn good!

When i came to Kl again a week after my Bangkok-Hat Yai trip, i made a mental note to buy KL Noir (4 books). I am currently on the last book (I didnt read in sequence) Red. Yellow. Blue and i'm on White now. If you ask me which is my favourite, i'd say the yellow. 

Ya, if you're curious about the KL Noir book, check them out. Its pretty decent. Read the RED first. 

A good book should help us to think deeper or broader or both. Sadly, not all who read, think. If you caught yourself reading just to gain knowledge and facts, maybe you should re-think reading. 

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