Kangbashi …

It’s not food.  It’s not me cursing in some uncommon language.

It’s a place.  The BIGGEST ghost town in China to be exact … and I’m going to let the numbers do the talking …

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Back in the day, I’d be the few to research to death on how to get there – the path less traveled-cum-ghost cities or abandoned places …

Like the visit to Fatehpur Sikri or Pripyat. With the latter I had received mocking childish comments like “why don’t you just stick your head into the microwave” which conjured images of Sylvia Plath‘s final moment. 

Well, not that I’ve seem images of her head being gassed in the oven, or intend to, but curiously while growing up I had imagined a charred head! and wondered wide-eyed awake in the middle of the night how did the oven get hot with the doors open and/or how did she keep her head in there when it got hotter and hotter – yes, I had insomniac tendencies as a child!

And since I’ve digressed, a little more wouldn’t help … as an adult, I wonder if suicidal tendencies is genetic, having learned that Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes son had chosen the same path … if you must know, daddy Ted took his own life and so did his second wife!!!

Anyways, I was just going to say that someone has beaten me to Kangbashi – read his blog and view the photos here – and strangely this year, I have no zest, will, desire to travel!

Sure, I still research and plan – I must. I derive more joy doing this than actually filling up visa forms and immigration cards. And I most definitely prefer my bed 8/10 times to a hotel’s … though some hotels are super cool until I realise the hole it had caused in my pocket!

Nonetheless, I thought this place – this Kangbashi, Ordos … outpost/ abandoned city (of once great glory?) in the remote part of Mongolia – should be made known to my friends and readers who may be inspired to go.

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feeling bummed …

First it’s a Blackberry. I never had much of an opinion on this front; a smart phone is a smart phone and there’s very little about smart phones that excites me.

Sure, it “entertains” by way of providing me with headlines and updates in 148 characters … I read up to 250 tweets in traffic back in the good ol’ days where I spent on average 3.5-4.0 hours of my life daily strapped behind the wheels. Now, I read RSS feeds mostly from CNN, BBC, Reuters and Huffington Post (because it’s fun and light, bordering idiotic and oxymoronic at times).

I do check some emails and like 1.11 billion other people, proclaim to the world the most mundane aspect of my life… e.g.  my booger-no-meter ranks the air quality in Los Angeles lower than New York. Yeah – that kind of updates that you’d rather not know, but who knows(?), it could be useful.

In any case, the Blackberry informed me some 8 days ago that my limit was dangerously low.

LIMIT?!? there is a limit?

And this too was me relying on free Wi Fi available on trains, hotels, airports, public places blah3 to bore people with:

  • the colour of my aura ring (I don’t own one, silly!),
  • I bought a gear-like Rubik cube that spins 360 degrees! (this I am not kidding you and cost me a bomb, but will earn me more geek rights!),
  • I saw a dog with two different coloured iris’, or
  • writing rants like this!

Not one to abuse company property, I had switched the BB every other day and responded only to super urgent emails (3-4 max each time) … and I’ve hit my unknown to me an imposed limit.

If that’s not bad enough, my password to the office server has expired and I am blocked out. But that’s not the best part, which I trust you’ll like: I have to lodge an online ticket to IT to get it rectified! Hello?!??? If I am blocked out, how the {insert preferred expletives} am I to contact you online to get me online? d-u-h multiplied by infinity.

Typically, when things like these happens, I bounced back after a 1 minute rant and go into solution-ing mode. Failing to find one, or being expressively faced with a brick wall (like in this case of needing to log into the server to lodge a complaint), I would regress to the dark ages of being unreasonably stubborn and rebellious.

… and so, here I am sitting in LAX (not my favourite airport) in Starbucks with lousy coffee and a salty and hard sandwich contemplating what I should do.

Situation:

I arrive 18 hours later … with time zone differences, I’ll be roaming Narita for an hour, followed by yet another airport at 4:40am, waiting to board another plane for a 2-day workshop at 8:05am. I don’t have a confirmation of my airline ticket for the 8:05am flight.

I am sure my colleague has done the travel arrangements – she is the best!

But the problem is I simply can’t retrieve any official emails/ notifications with me being barred out of my company server and not having any reception left on the Blackberry!

Honestly, read the caption on my coffee mug that surmise the current situation perfectly: OMG! WT{blip}

OK – am off to board my flight – good bye LA! good bye US!

Back to 90-hours work week! UrrrgghhhHHHHHHHH

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one year older, one bucket list tick-ed

When you get to a certain age, it’s just a number.

Interesting observation on the number of well wishers though. Social media mostly. Not surprising – it cost just a micro second of one’s life to click the Like button or 30 seconds to to type a short wish.

Some long distant chats perk the day up.

An awkward meeting with an extremely critical CEO ended up being bizarre-ly weird and awkward in the presence of my Country Manager – a deliberate move. And I can’t be more thankful for it.

And finally, after numerous marathon nights post the trip from Europe, I was relieved to have met the Travelogue dateline; not the number of pages, not the original story line.

I had almost resigned to fate when at 11:42pm the servers hung.

The MacBook Pro (that’s due to see Dr. Mac) proceeds to crash soon after.

And at 11:58pm the time indicated to complete the upload was still fluctuating between 9 minutes, 14 minutes, 32 minutes, 18 minutes … thanks to my unreliable broadband. By 1:32 am time was still ticking and I was far from done; sick of the fluctuations that gave me no comfort.

I slept. “It’s a long hectic day tomorrow,” I thought.

At 3:29 am I was woken up by a blinding light and a “zing” type ping noise – indicating it had gone across / or maybe not.

I turned over and slept. Hoping for the best.

I heard nothing the next day. And the next. And the next next …

On 3rd October, I get a note that all is well.

On 5th October, away from home on a work assignment, I receive a note that a copy has been sent across … and here’s the copy …

One 2013 To Dos completed.

Yet another Bucket List ticked off.

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