Happy New Year’s aka “kazzawa”

Ah, these last couple of weeks of jaunting through SE Asia and Australia have been a great experience. It is lots of fun catching up with relatives and friends and even having some valuable time to reflect.
Shanghai was all about standing awestruck at the “go-big-or-go-home” building structures. I’m sure the Shanghainese will be self-aware of their hubris in the near future, however. Meeting up with Jenne and her coworkers and friends at SMIC was a treat. I’d love to work there, but 10-12 hour (effective) work days because of all that needs to be done doesn’t quite jive with my desire for a balanced life.
Beijing was brutally cold for me and somewhat drab. Thanks to Praise and Susan for coming out to play with me. It’s kinda funny that I spent a good amount of time searching for cool cafes to hang out it, though.
Indonesia, as I wrote previously, was a semi-charmed kind of life. First of all, we were there for my cousin Ian’s marriage. And as most of the cousins (from my dad’s side) hung out at Camp Shalom, there was the requisite parental lecture/talk. Single people know how difficult or trying – and even depressing – weddings can be, and this talk didn’t help any of our matters much. Andrew, another cousin got married in the summer. He’s the second oldest cousin on my mom’s side, and I’m the oldest, so naturally I’m expected to be married off some time soon. I’m also next on the pecking order on my dad’s side.
So, to speed up matters, there was an attempt to introduce me to local. Having coffee with some cousins – from both sides – I was briefly introduced to Winnie – who is also first cousins with both of those sets of my first cousins (Andrew, on my mom’s side and the Soenaryo brothers, on my dad’s side). Now, if you’re thinking this is getting complicated, you ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s all about “spaghetti relationship” as my parents put it. Their home church is probably all related to each other through marriage. I think I have several first cousins with first cousins who are first cousins of first cousins on the other side. I’ve heard of some extended families from churches in Scarborough, but they’ve got a long way to go to match the complexity my family has in Indonesia.
About the match-up: it fizzled, I didn’t really get to talk to her much, besides finding out she’s going to San Diego for music therapy.
Now coming to Australia, I’m experiencing the BAPC syndrome. That happens when you ask: “Where in the world are the non-good-looking girls? Are they locked up underground?” First I sat next to an attractive Chinese-Australian girl returning from her vacation (which starts with four weeks!!!) on the way in, and I’m impressed at how stylish Sydneysiders are. Ruth says that Sydneysiders are free-spirited (along with being stylish), compared to the NYC elitism of Melbourners. I find people here are moderate in their stylishness – it’s a bout quality of appearance, largely without the excesses seen Stateside or on the streets of Tokyo/Shinjiku.
Before I get too chatty about this, I’ll just mention we had a nice conversation about things to see and do for NYE (New Year’s Eve) and about accomodations in Jervis Bay, where we’ll do some SCUBA diving.
Well, NYE (New Year’s Eve). We went to our relatives in Pyrmont. Had a wicked dinner then walked to onto the Anzac bridge. We watched the fireworks on the harbour next to five rowdy guys dressed in variations of blue/white striped dress shirts. They had been drinking their Heinies (carried in a large foam box – a common sight in City on NYE) since 7:30. They were quite entertaining, roaring what sounded like “Kazzawa” to passing motorists. They were the only encounter with any sort of drunkies – but they were the pleasant sorts. The Anzac bridge is a good out-of-the-way spot to catch fireworks off the harbour, since it is sufficiently out of the way. However, you do get a clear view of the Sydney Harbour bridge, and that is the main show after all.
Mobile phones: Hmm. If anyone wants to give me a ring, call me at: +(62) 0401 599 204. That’s my mobile number in Australia. In Hong Kong, it’s +(852) 9513 4893 – I should be there Jan 10 – 12th, if I get my ticket to Toronto sorted out ok. I bought a tri-band GSM phone – the Sony Ericsson T202 – in China. I’ve been finding mobile services much more convenient in Asia. Especially for travellers. I have a major beef with how things are done back home. North American providers have a long, long way to go to provide travellers the same level of convenience found out here. Here, I just buy a pre-paid SIM card and off I go. Of course, it’s a little more expensive than a monthly plan, but I can change providers simply by buying a SIM card. And SMS is very common out here – Jenne has kinda gotten me going when I was in China. Too bad Optus the Australian provider I chose is really expensive. National calls are $0.37/30 seconds and add to that a $0.16 flagfall. I’ve already had to buy a $30 recharge card about five days into the trip. However calls to other mobile phones are cheap in the evening.
Anyhow, it would be interesting to see if SMS will make it big back at home. Speaking of which, I should probably have a little shopping trip to Shenzen where I can check if I won that T-shirt and mug from the That’s Beijing magazine SMS contest with my China Unicom card.
Update: The URL for That’s Beijing magazine is now: www.thatsbj.com

2 Responses to “Happy New Year’s aka “kazzawa””

  1. By the way the that’s Beijing URL has changed to http://www.thatsbj.com

  2. thebeijinger says:

    Hi there!
    I was perusing your site and noticed that you have a link to us on your site — thanks for that – and this is just a quick note to let you know that we’ve changed our URL – from the original http://www.thatsbj.com to the new http://www.thebeijinger.com.
    Pop by and you’ll notice the content remains the same, as always, including:
    — Beijing’s most active free classifieds;
    — An oft-used (and occasionally abused!) bbs
    — Our extensive Beijing directory and events listings
    — The online archive of articles from that’s Beijing magazine
    — A large collection of Beijing-related links
    — An online gallery of Beijing party and event photos
    — And our new web-only content posted daily in our tbjblog
    Thanks again for linking to us and please send us a message any time if you have any questions!
    the Beijinger Web Editor

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