Friday, July 28, 2006

The Pink Furry Handcuff Interview

We found out that Seow had bought a pair of furry pink handcuffs from an adult shop Wroclaw...unfortunately, it wasn't able to see the light of Singapore day as it was confiscated by the Changi Airport police. I have it on record that she was interrogated by no less than 5 policemen that fateful day.

Below is an excerpt of an interview with the victim:

Q: Where did you buy the handcuffs?
A: In an adult shop in Wroclaw, Poland. I was with Feri and Aisha

Q: Why did you buy them?
A: Initially, they caught my eye because they were pink and I love pink...but then I thought it would be a fun item for decoration...(decoration?? what is she thinking?!)

Q: Describe your handcuffs.
A: They're pink, soft and furry.

Q: What is your greatest regret?
A: Not trying it on Julia.
( i sense some kinda fantasy here??)

Discus-Throwers and Shot-Putters Part IV

The day of our performance dawns. We wake up bright and early, ok..not that early...I skipped breakfast coz a) the food sucks and b) I'm a pig. Well anyways, we're at our venue to do soundcheck. I originally thought i'd have some time to do some shopping in between soundcheck and the performance but i thought wrong. Drama 2 ensues...when we see that our stage has been stripped bare, exposing the wood beneath. How on earth are we supposed to sit on this?! So we ask the technicians if we can have the flooring back. And they say no. I wander around looking for the flooring. I thought if I found something we could use, we could put the flooring on ourselves. I found it but they still wouldn't allow it. Aisha had to call Renata, our L.O and get her to talk to them in Polish. After a long wait, some men finally came in to put the flooring on. And then, all of us had to move our instruments onto the stage.

So come late morning, we're finally good and ready to go...minus our delightful drummer...but we can't we start rehearsing. This goes on till about more time to shop..its back to the hotel to shower and get ready.

Pre-performance....Joyce and I cab it to the venue....I'm too lazy to walk and it gave me more time to catch a little nap. When we arrive at the synagogue, there are already people milling around outside. Hmm...i'm surprised to be honest. I thought they couldn't care two hoots about our kinda music but hey I'm wrong. I'm so glad to be wrong! About 10 mins to performance time, suddenly the stage light goes out. We find out that there's no electric power. I remember thinking then that someone or something was trying to play a trick on us. You know, make things difficult...but thank heavens for daylight saving, so at 7pm, it was still light outside. We wait for about 10 mins...the organisers keep coming to ask if we can start without power, which means without miking. Last min adjustments to our repertoire and we are good and ready to go...Aisha now has to dance to our opening piece. Our gamelan actually sounds good without the miking! Power came back midway during our set and we walked off the stage after "Baris" to thunderous applause. The TOD trio takes over with "Papyrus" to end the first half of our first performance in Poland with success. Julia and I bop about backstage to the really grooving beat! Getting jiggy with it....Soph has the video...we should seriously post all our videos...really reality tv material. haha.

Second half of our performance is the fusion part. Again, its well-received and at the end, we hd a standing ovation!! I'm so loving Poland at this moment!!! I try to say thank you in Polish...You know, the obligatory part about the foreigner trying to say something in their native language. I sounded horrible but they really liked it! Apparently, the organisers also liked our performance...gone were the bad attitudes and rudeness. In its place was a smiling Marie and a bus waiting to take us back to the hotel.

Renata takes us to a place where we can get some authentic Polish food. Its weird - in Poland, you have to go to a specific restaurant for their authentic cuisine, which is not situated in an accessible area. Rather, you have to go through some alleys and walkways to get to this place. I choose Polish dumplings for dinner. It looks somewhat like our curry puff, but with mashed beef filling. It comes served with a huge dollop of sauerkraut (German??) which is this sour whatchamacallit...i really dunno what that was, but all i can say is it tasted really sour. You know, the appetite-inducing kind.

After dinner, most of us go our separate ways...some go off to take pictures and walk around the city. Joyce, Seow and I go off with the trio and Renata to explore the nightlife. We chance upon some sculptures of animals and we start camwhoring like mad, posing with the animal year we're born in. Yes, Seow and I got the cock...ok rooster. So yes, see the extent of our madness...even the poor bunny wasn't let off.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Discus-Throwers and Shot-Putters Part III

The next day, we reach our venue early in the morning to unpack our instruments to find our instruments are not there as planned. So ensues drama number 1. Marie arrives at the venue and explains that our instruments are not there as the festival organisers need to pay tax for the instruments before the authorities will release it. Joyce, Sophian and I stay back till 4pm to wait for our instruments and unpack them. The rest head back to the hotel to get ready for some promotional thing they're supposed to do at night at the market square.

At night we go to the market square to show our support for Julia, Aisha, Feri and Seow who are doing some promotional thingy to create awareness for our concert the next day. After that, we head to a Korean/Japanese restaurant for dinner. Because of our double bass friend, I have to go into the restaurant to recce and see if there is a space big enough for our dear friend. I also speak to this Asian guy behind the sushi counter and ask if the restaurant served any kind of tofu (just for you Clayton) so i mentioned agedashi tofu, coz that's the only kind of tofu i know served in a Japanese restaurant. He thinks I'm Japanese, and rattles something off in the language. I tell him I don't understand and he says...ah...Korean? And then rattles something off in Korean. I tell him I don't understand and yet he says, ah...Chinese? And then he says something in Mandarin. Finally! So I animatedly respond...and then...i find out he doesn't really understand...(-_-') Well anyways, the gist of this whole paragraph is to say that, yeah, we got to eat in the restaurant, Clayton got his tofu and everything was fine and dandy.

Here's some photos of our venue. Its actually a Jewish synagogue. Bombed during the world war and is still in the process of restoration. Cool beans huh?

There's a cafe just outside the synagogue, with loads of old furniture and portraits, family portraits, self-portraits...spooky...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Discus-Throwers and Shot-Putters Part II

In my last post, i told you that we were seated as comfortably as we could in the sweltering heat. In the minutes nearing to our stop, most of us were clustered around the windows to get as much of the scenery and the breeze that we could. The things we saw....couples frolicking about near a pond (ok thats as much i can say for want of censorship..but you guys know wat i mean), a lady hanging out clothes on the clothesline in just her bra...not a sight you'd wanna see you know. Some random guy sunbathing just outside his house. I know what you must be!! Sorry..the train was travelling too fast and we were all caught off guard by what we were seeing. You should have heard us - everytime we saw something racy, a collective "ooh" could be heard.

Finally, we got off at our stop. Not before waving goodbye to the people on the train, who'd come to know us because we were all so noisy. no. i should say, exuberant. haha. Right. So we get off at the stop and realise that we were at the wrong stop. Where were the banners welcoming Gamelan Asmaradana to the Brave Festival?! Where was the Brave Festival flag?! Where were the crowds of supporters, press and paparazzi?! And most importantly, where were our Liasion Officers?! Well, I'll tell you. We found out that they were at the next station. Darn those Polish and their confusing station names. Everything was Wroclaw something and Wroclaw something and Wroclaw get the idea.

Aisha gets on the phone and talks to the "people" and soon our Liasion Officers come to get us. And off to our hotel we go. Savoy Hotel. A quaint hotel, more like a bed and breakfast. Rooms were pleasantly furnished. I got a room to myself on the first night. Everything in that room was so vintage! I like! The sofa bed was covered in some fabric that looked old and thankfully did not smell the part. The radio was the vintage kind with turn dials and buttons to press. And the telephone was the old dial-round-till-you-hear-the-whirring-kinda phone. Cool beans!!

I walk out onto my balcony (yes, i had my own balcony), look towards the neighbouring balcony and see two Aussies in boxers playing jazz to whomever was walking past at that moment. Just great, I'm sleeping next to these wierd musicians. Now, I'm so totally sure they are weird that I'll even name names. Yes ,Darren Moore and Timothy O'Dwyer of Timothy O'Dwyer Trio fame, you are those two weird musicians.

Enough already on these angmohs...lets proceed to dinner. We had dinner at a Western restaurant and all of us were so dead tired that we couldn't even stomach much down! After dinner, most of us went our separate ways. Joyce, Serene Seow, Renata (our Liasion Officer or LO), the three Aussies and me went to this jazz club called Club Rura. I know i know, sleazy sounding name..but it was not like what i expected. I was definitely not expecting hot, sultry jazz in an underground room. Again, no aircon. But luckily for me, Polish night is actually cool, a rather big drop in temperature from the Polish daytime. I order the talked-about Polish vodka with redbull and the waiter brings me double shot of vodka and one full can of redbull. liquor anyone? Well..i basically couldn't stay any longer than half an hour, so the girls finished their drinks and headed back to the hotel with Clayton.

Okay thats it for my first steps in Poland. More coming coming soon...having some problem uploading my photos.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Skinheads, Discus-throwers and Shot-putters Explained

So this is the post where i explain about the discus-throwers and shot-putters. Well, because most of the guys in Poland look like this. Tall and huge, with hair cropped to there. Don't they look like Olympians in their bid for the discus-throwing/shot-putting events??

There's just so much to say about this trip to Poland. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. We were stuck in Amsterdam due to a flight delay, arising not from a problem with the airplane or the airline but because Germany closed their airspace. Something to do with the World Cup Finals!! Imagine that. So we could have left the airport and gone into Amsterdam. Damn!

AND because of that flight delay, we had to run for the train in Warsaw. Had to find someone who understood English..waited around for someone who could understand English and finally we were going towards our train on Platform could have been Platform 9 and 3-quarters. Looked exactly like Harry Pottie's train. Maybe all trains in Europe look like that??

We only had 5 mins to throw everything on board the train. And i mean everything, from the humongous double bass case, to the heavy bonang pots in the luggage to the mallet bag and everyone else's luggage. So we make ourselves comfortable in the train...until the conductor comes along and waves and warbles in Polish (we couldn't understand a single thing he was saying). Another conductor with marginally better English comes by and tells us that we are in the wrong carriage. This carriage is a first class one while we only paid for second class tickets. Woohoo~therefore here we go again, transporting everything and i mean everything, from the humongous double bass case, to the heavy bonang pots in the luggage to the mallet bag get it...from the first class carriage to our designated second class carriage that just so happens to be on the opposite end of the train. Lots of banging, overturned luggages, rolling of luggages over people's toes ensues. Till we finally get to our carriage, minus the humongous double bass case that simply couldn't make it to our end. Clayton decides to get off at the next stop, wheel and run his double bass to our carriage. My job? To jump out from our carriage and wave wildly so he knows where to run to. Haha...i should have videoed the whole episode with my camera. Seow looked so funny running alongside Clayton. Why she was there I have no idea...

Everyone's settled in our carriage in the end. But boy, was it hot! So hot that I couldn't even take a nap. I am not kidding you, it was/is way hotter than Singapore! And there was no aircon nor fan anywhere in our carriage...not even in the first class carriage mind you! The only carriage with a/c was in the carriage behind ours. But even then, it just felt like we were sitting under the shade of a big tree. I wanted to melt! Put me in the freezer puhlease!!!! Arghhh...

Phew! Recounting this makes me feel like taking a cold shower. Um...excuse me...i think i'll continue later. I leave you then...with more photographs...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Back from the Land of Shot-Putters and Discus-Throwers

This is just a short post, to say that I'm back from Wroclaw, Poland safe and sound. If the title of this post sounds funny...go figure. I'll explain in my next post. Haha.

Till then, I've only got this to say...Poland's got the best vodka..Woohoo~~!!!