Day 100 – Return to Tradition

Last night was the first Wednesday we had in five weeks. For some reason with Mr.Ken in Asia, the regular Wednesday Festivities just do not come together like they ought to.

This also means that this morning I am 1kg heavier than I should be. A few days will take care of that though.

Jade Egg for Luck
Jade Egg for Luck

Ken returned from Malaysia and Vietnam with some lucky gifts. Or I am choosing to interpret them as lucky, although there was some suggestion that Jade may instead be for wealth. I’ll happily take either if it works, or the Jade for its own sake if it doesn’t.

Apparently I have been brainwashed though, because at first the colour of the egg threw me. I was sure it was Jade, but it just wasn’t as green as I felt it should be. But the above colouring is the natural one, so I’ll assume that the Jade I’ve seen in the past has all been treated with something.

Jade Horse for Wealth
Jade Horse for Wealth

It may actually be that Jade is for wealth. The horse seems to have caught some money at least. 3,000 Dong which translates to about 15 cents. As you might imagine, Ken was a multi-millionaire while travelling.

What surprised me is that apparently it is quite easy to get by with English and gesturing in Malaysia. When Ken ran into trouble trying to get a “horse”, finding a specimen to point at and then explaining the size requirements in English was apparently a very effective combination.

A Game of Tsuro
A Game of Tsuro

But most importantly, the return of Wednesdays means the return of board games. We talked most of the evening about Ken’s travels, so we needed a nice quick game for the end of the evening.

Tsuro takes about 15-20 minutes for a full game with 3 players. It can accommodate up to 8 though.

Everybody starts at the edge of the board with their stone and gets three tiles with crisscrossing paths on them to start with.

A Clash of Stones
A Clash of Stones

As the game progresses you put down a tile each turn next to where your stone is, and then move them to the next edge along the newly created paths.

You may not cause your own stone to crash into the edge unless you have no other alternative.

When you hit the edge, you lose.

A Feast for Jerry
A Feast for Jerry

Which means that at the start of the game, everybody starts off doing their own thing at the edge, but as you get closer to others the tile placements get more sneaky and nasty.

The aim is to place a tile that moves you forward but crashes someone else into the edge of the board.

There are enough tiles in the game to fill all but one space on the board. This *almost* guarantees that there will be only one survivor.

Although, technically it is possible to finish an 8 player game in an 8-way-draw with all the players standing around the last remaining open spot in the middle of the board with no further tiles to play.

I don’t know what the odds of that outcome theoretically are… but I know Wednesdays, and I doubt it’ll ever actually happen.

Day 56 – On The Road Again

And once more I have arrived in Melbourne, safely tucked into a hotel room at the Grand Melbourne. Not as good a view this time, but still, the room is massive as always (photo-rapportage tomorrow). They are now overhauling the existing rooms, so there is a lot of construction going on.

I feel a bit like one of them weird conspiracy-theorists when I arrive.

I go around the room Unplugging All The Devices. This has nothing to do with radiation-whatevers, but more with the fact that most appliances have ridiculously bright leds, mostly blue. They keep me awake when I try to fall asleep. The only one I leave as-is is the tiny light in the smoke detector. I’m assuming it’d be frowned upon if I dismantled that.

I do wonder whether there is perhaps a note on my file that I’m the crazy guy that keeps unplugging the TVs and the clock-radio.

Here are some miscellaneous pictures of my travel.

Day 21 – Melbourne

I didn’t have the smoothest of flights this time around. No, not turbulence. Well, not in the typical sense of the word… it appears that perhaps somebodies IT systems are not as reliable as they should be.

In my rush to find the quickest way to make it to Melbourne, I totally forgot to take a picture of the queues. I walked straight past the snaking queues in the terminal entrance; there were easily thousands of people in various queues that did not seem to be moving.

I went through security and found the first gate with a near-empty Virgin desk and briefly spoke to a very helpful staffer who directed me to Gate 45 where the Service Desk is. I dutifully followed instructions… and still found myself in a queue with at least 60-70 people in front of me, and it was barely moving.

Not My Original Ticket
Not My Original Ticket

A quick call to the corporate booking agent later though, and they had my original ticket cancelled. I was to take an alternate flight with Qantas. So, from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 I dashed. I arrived with a few minutes to spare before boarding.

After all that I found my way to Melbourne on the same schedule that I had originally planned for, albeit quite a bit sweatier than intended. I’m sure when I get back home my FitBit will have a great story to tell about today.

It also briefly tickled me to think how many stairs one of the FitBits with the altimeters built-in might have thought I had taken after flying. That must easily equate to several weeks’ worth of calories in stair-climbing. Alas, mine doesn’t track that, so I’ll have to limit myself to real exercise only.

My Room on the Corner
My Room on the Corner

Whenever I arrive in Melbourne, I go on a quick shopping trip. I normally don’t find time to have dinner before I get all the way here. From the moment I leave the office at 4pm, get home and ready for the taxi by 5pm, and then taxi-plane-taxi to the hotel, it’s around 9pm and I’m usually starving.

I cannot say that I make the best dinner choices in this state *coughcideranddonutscough*, but once a month after 5 hours of rushing about, I really have little willpower left to do the right thing.

Above is a picture of my room this time around, as seen from street-level outside. One of my evenings this week I’ll blog a post about the hotel, because it has a very quirky out-of-time feel. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to encounter the TARDIS in one of its rooms.

Stow-away Cookies
Stow-away Cookies

And as a final note; it appears someone might have tampered with my luggage between the time I packed it, and when I arrived here because I have no knowledge of the package shown above at all. I will not vouch for the contents (other than to say: nomnomnom).

And now I must go do a little work before I go sleep.

I may have to head in for an 8am start as well! *shudder*