Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Peek >o<

the other day i heard a radio dj saying that he always starts his blog posts with an apology for his blog's inactivity... and i really identified with that! i dare not count how many times i've neglected this blog and feebly revived it with an opening line such as "my blog has died for the last 3 months..." etc. but honestly, nowadays i find myself having very little free time to blog let alone sleep... and when i do have the time, i won't have the mood to compose a post... so i have no choice but to let history repeat itself again and again... i'm sure this blog is already immune to the inconsistent activity of its author.

then what caused this streak of luck that i should blog today? it is because i'm stuck in uni with my laptop and 2 out of 3 classes canceled for the day... with nothing desirable to do, i resorted to this blog...

i can't recall what i wrote in my last post, but i'm guessing it's something about my industrial training in permulab. well, that has ended about 2 months ago with not too bad memories... i did learn alot albeit not biochemistry related (at all!)... learnt more about common lab practice there than i've ever learned in school... however i've also learned that professionalism only extends up to a certain extent, that sometimes it's best to ignore the tiny details and just get the job done. the work atmosphere at that company reminds me of LK' first job (of course his was very much worse) and makes me wonder whether the work ethics and workers' mentality differ in a larger organisation. lately, any sort of talk or thought about working sends "worry" impulses throughout my neural system. i hope that this is the common worry of final year students. however, most of my close coursemates are planning to further their studies... as for myself, i'm not sure whether i have the determination and drive to carry on studying.

pushing that aside, i went to bali right after my industrial training (right before uni started) with BY and her friend. it was quite good but we spent most of the time traveling in the car and most of our money went to transportation fees. however we managed to travel practically all around the island and stayed at 5-6 star hotels. we flew to surabaya and climbed mount ijen to see the volcanic sulfur lake. it really gave me a culture shock. i thought that surabaya was one of indonesia's largest cities and the route we took gave us an impression that it was a backward and wayward place. but on the last day when we traveled back to surabaya from bali, we managed to see the developed part of the city (perhaps it was the city centre since there were quite a few good hotels near our hotel majapahit). we even managed to visit their mall... it was not so different from what we have in malaysia. but one thing i noticed is that the indonesian chinese are usually found in the malls and there's quite a drastic class segregation between the 'have's and the 'have not's. and it took us almost forever to cross the road to our hotel... there were so many cars!!! and ever so many toyota vios cabs! i can't believe they use vios as cabs and here, it costs so darn expensive... thanks to our import taxes! so i guess, what we saw on our first day was the outskirts of surabaya... the villages and slum area.

then we took a ferry to bali and started our tour at lovina, the to ubud, candidasa, and finally to nusa dua, where we visited the nearby kuta. kuta is like what we imagined bali would be like. it definitely is a tourist hotspot and everything there is catered for tourists and not the locals. all the branded outlets were having sales... were they genuine labels? i don't know. we bought most of our souvenirs there because we could choose in peace without someone nagging us to buy their overpriced goods.

candidasa was pretty uneventful... the view was good but there was no beach for us to stroll on and the waves were quite savage especially at night. in ubud we stayed at the best hotel, furama villas and spa. we had our own private villa with a swimming pool and an outside hut to "santai-santai". the service was very good too! come to think of it, when we were at lovina we stayed in our private villa too. but the service there wasn't as good. the front desk lady was very beautiful but pretentious... both villas had outdoor shower areas (meaning that there are walls but no ceiling)! we managed to see jumping dolphins at lovina... however when we reached the shore, we were swamped by the local pedlars (most were small children) begging us to buy their nick-knacks... i felt very hassled in bali!

ubud was like petaling street just that they sell more souvenir stuff and the sellers either practically beg you to buy their stuff or start mocking you out loud and right at your face. i spotted many malaysians there. i think malaysians enjoy bargain hunts but i personally don't like it... perhaps it's due to my lack in the bargaining skills department. in fact, we got cheated on everything we bought at ubud! so the enjoyable part of ubud was the hotel... we also managed to catch an evening performance of a traditional dance/play. the storyline was one of the legend stories that we studied in 'komsas' (bm literature) in form 4 or 5... we also tried the famous 'bebek bengil' restaurant which was only mediocre, slightly expensive and where the cashier wanted to cheat us of our change. but i'll give them credit for their layout and deco/landscaping... pretty interesting with a mini paddy field, fish ponds and an open-air concept with dim lights and colourful cushions at the 'bersila' booths.

finding our way back from bali to surabaya was scary. we did not have enough money to hire a charter van to ferry us from the ferry jetty to our surabaya hotel (10 hrs ride) and our bali charter driver warned us that there are more bad people in surabaya than in bali. so we had to be careful... our only option left was to take the public bus at night. thank God we met a nice indonesian lady on the ferry who actually accompanied us in the old junk taxi van (with a very rough looking driver) to the bus station before going home. luckily we took the bus that did not stop anywhere along the way. we reached surabaya city early in the morning and were bullied into taking a taxi to our hotel. but praise the Lord that we actually arrived in one piece and safe at our hotel majapahit. so that was pretty much what i remembered from the trip (in brief).

so now it's back to classes and assignments in uni. i've started my final year project which is gene walking of pseudomonas pha synthase gene. my friend and i are on the same project and our lecturer supervisor handed us to her phd student. so this phd student is our mentor and she has been so patient with us. again, my project has nothing to do with biochemistry... it's more bout microbiology and genetics. our chemical shopping list is so expensive that both our rm500 allowances has been exhausted and we still have reagents to purchase... so far, we've done two rounds of polymerase chain reactions (pcr) and our gel electrophoresis results are terrible... we don't have enough bands! and it's so tiring for us to walk to the postgraduate studies centre to do our lab work! i hope the exercise will do good for my overall health! although i'll be stinking up the antartic lab everytime i go there...

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