Friday, February 19, 2010

The Slack Blogger Returneth!

No apologies or excuses - you've most likely heard them all before anyway!

So I am off on my usual rants about food and travel and adventure once again and there may again be great tracks of nothingness between posts, but then again I may surprise you. Hell I may even surprise myself.

Having read my last blog - Laverstoke Park farm yard animal antics - I realise I have some filler talk to provide before I launch into the present and discuss the future. I left Laverstoke perhaps a little earlier then expected but I knew very soon in the preceedings that it would not be a long term job. It was amazing and interesting and a great experience but he (Mr Scheckter)- although a clever and driven man - was too 'all over the place' and lacked a goal. I was confident at one stage that his plans to create a mobile hospitality business was going to be great for me but he seemed lacklustre in his decisions to pursue it and I did not want to make myself look stupid with contacts in the city if he was not going to back me in this endeavour. He also thought I needed to go and work under some great chef for a while to build up my strengths. Which to be honest was a fair and helpful suggestion. But I have other plans!

I left and headed for Antibes. My original destination after Christchurch, to work on yachts and sail the Med and cook up flourishing and elaborate inventive concoctions to delight the guests, who pay exorbitant money for their holiday or break from reality. Antibes, in fact the whole of the French Riveira, is a place of dreams and things that just dont fit in real life. Money here is just that thing that gets passed around while the rich and famous languish in style and glamour aboard multi million pound boats of such excessive opulence it would make any normal man blush. It is people like me that service these crazy rich people, with a graciousness and perfectionism that borders on insanely anal. Everything has its place and purpose, and although wastage is shocking in this industry, it all has to be perfect before its thrown out. The food - works of art, the flowers - creations of beauty, the floors, walls and shiny bits on a boat - pristine and glistening, the bubbly - perfectly chilled. Then its all tucked away or thrown away, for new and fresh stuff for the next guest or the next time the owner returns.

I speak as if I know all this, but the truth is I am still looking to get on that first allusive boat. Once you get your first job the work is easier to find but everyone wants someone with experience on boats. I have perfected my CV to its 15th revised look and I am quite happy with it, but they always want more. 'How about a portfolio of photos of food you have prepared' (never even contemplated photgraphing my food before deciding to come to this industry). In the days and weeks and months to follow, you will see a slowly developing repetiore of photos as I begin to take more and more photos of my food.

But I digress, I was filling you in on my movements. After leaving Christchurch, I headed to Italy to meet with Lisa, who was travelling through Europe with her lovely 'Fairy Godmother' Lynette. I met up in Rome and we soon travelled to the Amalfi Coast via Pompeye. A week there and then back to Rome and then a stint in Austria before I said goodbye to my darling in London. I then got work at Laverstoke and then headed to Antibes (that was the expigated version of the last few months). Here I undertook safety courses and fire fighting and first aid for working on boats and had a medical and met with all the boating employment agencies. I stayed at Debbie's Crew House ( which caters for accomodation for those in the industry. A great place to meet others doing as I am doing and as she calls it a home from home. Here I was given the opportunity to cook great feasts for the crew and Debbie and her family. I got to experiment and show off and some dishes were a kind of help yourself (not superyacht food) and others I plated up like on a yacht. Debbie congratulated me on these occasions and stated my food was better then she had tasted on yachts and she has been in the industry for over 18 years. This made me very happy but I do feel it must have been a slight exaggeration on her part. But nevertheless I keep getting the compliments and I am happy with or without these comments as I just love cooking for people.

But despite a month in Antibes and seeing all the agencies I was lost without seeing my darling everyday and the thought of missing her until March was too much to bear. So I booked a flight back to Oz and Christchurch for Christmas and New Year. With me I took a purchase from a well known store in Nice, and upon my arrival in Sydney (Lisa was house sitting in Coggee Beach), I was dutifully collected. On the drive from the airport after many kisses and hugs from my love, I directed her to a rocky outcrop at the Coggee headlands. In this idyllic setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean I got down on one knee and proposed to my beloved. Thankfully she accepted and we returned to Christchurch for Christmas and New Year and time with her family which was magical. I catered for Xmas parties and New Year and even for our own Engagement party and I had a ball concocting various different dips and canapes for each occasion. The last party, our enagagement, was fabulous fun and I made several marinated skewers of beef and chicken and meat balls for quick bites all with lovely dipping sauces and decorated them just like in stylish parties. I even made meat pies and little asparagus and cream cheese rolls. The Champagne flowed and my darling and I were very happy. Then sadly I had to admit that it was time to try and earn a living again. So here I am in Antibes, the place for hopeful employment again, visiting all the agencies and cooking for the crew at Debbie's, again! I expect to be in employment some time in March but its a long slog and somewhat frustrating. The season has not yet started but I have been told it works in my favour to be here earlier then all the other crew looking for work as I have time to make an impression.

So make an impression I will. I cook for everyone and anyone I can and I walk the docks with friends who expound my cooking virtues to prospective employers and I dont even have to pay them! I have had only one significant interview so far but my CV has been sent to hundreds. I am unabashedly not shy when it comes to applying for absoluetly anything. Eventually someone will pay notice.

In the meantime I practice and play at Debbie's cooking souffles, Thai Curries, BBQ's of gargantuan proportions for neighbours and crew, sweet fruit mousses, stews, roasts, pastas. You name it I am cooking it. I made some Ameretto macaroons the other day and made a Selibub based on a Nigella recipe and it was a huge smash hit at a lunch on Debbies deck. The old Italian man from next door who Debbie calls her adopted father, expounded the virtues of my biscuits as nostalgic thoughts flowed across his brain and he reminiced about how my biscuits tasted like the biscuits he ate during the war and that the biscuits from the original town were they were invented were the same as mine. I was very touched and both Franco (Debbie's Italian husband) and I were nearly brought to tears by his stories. Franco has also been very complimentary of my cooking. If only the cook from his own boat (The Kingdom) would have a coronary then maybe I would have a chance to get work with him.

So I continue to cook and delight in making people mmmmm and aaaahhhh about my food. The crew here have agreed to put money in a pot for me to cover my food costs and they get to reap the benefits of their small donations. I will endeavour to bring you more tales, but for now I think I have acheived a mighty step forward in my lazy life as a writer. Until next time dear reader. Thanks and see you soon.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is all the shit worth going Organic!?

Well, it's certainly been a while and I guess I had to have some kind of epithany or some life changing experience worth sharing, that would bring me back to the the world of food blogging. Well dear reader, I have had such an experience. Birth by fire you might say! First of all I would like to say hello to all who have ever read my blog and sorry for being away for such a long time. I was last incommunicado in Christchurch New Zealand, starting my chef course and loving every bit of it. During the space in between, I finished my course, which was everything I had dreamed of. Fell madly in love with my girlfriend, who was so supportive of my life changing careeer choice and then ventured to London. In London I had a short spell visiting my mate Neil (fellow food blogger who introduced me to an amazing man Iqbal Wahhab, the founder of Roast, a fabulous restaurant in the Borough Market. During our meeting/lunch, which I have to say was marvellous, he told me he knew a man who needed a private chef and he would put me in touch. True to his word he exchanged contact details and while I was travelling in Italy, visiting Lisa, who had ventured off on holidays of her own, I arranged to meet one, Jody Scheckter. A millionaire who was once a Formula One racing driver winning the Grand Prix in 79, who then became a fabulously successful innovator of gun training machinery and made his money there. This was not enough for a man who likes a challenge - he then decided that he would buy a farm in Hampshire and establish an organic farm that produced the best food his family could eat. Well he didn't stop there and now he has a unique farm of gargantuan proportions (a word easily slipped in that Daryll Hannah would be proud and envious). A farm that is not only massive in scale, but of such diverse and original complexity to make it a 'one of a kind'. Its a "bio-dynamic organic farm", producing everything God ever intended for us the way nature is supposed to nuture and provide. Organic chicken, geese, pigs, boar, buffalo, beef, lamb, wheat, barley, hops, milk, eggs, fruit and veg, cheese, ice cream, salami, biltong - the list is endless.

Well I met him after my holiday in Italy and a day later I was working for him as House Chef and something more that I am not quite sure has even been developed yet. And if it does get developed it will be by me. What I am saying is that i need to create the role. So I am now esconced in immediate employment, infatuated with "this place" (Laverstoke Park Farm) and the fact that everything is produced and consumed on the farm (sold elsewhere also, but the main plan was for the Scheckter's to eat and enjoy). During my time here, I have involved myself in understanding the place and have therefore worked in various divisions to get a better understanding.

Now I get to the crux of the moment when I felt this all was worth writing about and hopefully will inspire me to write more again, regularly. Well today, during my induction into this escape from reality farm world, I worked in the Dairy. I got to milk buffalo and cattle, feed calves, hold a piglet, let the free range chickens run not just free but rampant around the fields and watch a few bulls have an almighty scrap, determining which one is boss in the neighbourhood. Well a bull got thrown out of a field (one tonne of animal) Afterwards, he looked kind of sheepish about it all. The chickens clambered all over the car and in the passenger seat (teach me to close the doors when working). The pigs were gorgeous, although I was emotionally wrecked during, as two little piglets had died overnight. And although I felt the milking would be incident free, I was appalled and disgusted at the fact that having to hold down a buffalo that unfortunately had been in a fight earlier and as a result suffered from blood in her milk. Said buffalo decided to shit while I was holding her and then proceed to wipe my face with her shitty tail. Later when I thought I had recovered from such a disgusting attack on my person, another buffalo decided to wipe her piss drenched tail accross my face while I was managing the suction cups.

I was disgusted and appalled and the other workers laughed on as if it was the most normal thing in the world and I was behaving like the buffalo had just given me herpes. So, I have determined that I like cooking them, love their milk and cheese, but if another buffalo wipes its dirty disgusting shit and piss drenched tail over my face ever again it'll be Tesco's all the way for me, organic or not. Farming is fun but just aint my thing!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vinegar or Wine, Delicacy or dogs dinner!

As we come to a close of the second week in my cookery course, what have I learnt? Well, I now know there is a competitive streak in me determined to have my presented dish look better then the next persons. I think I want to be the best student, definitely in this group, that NZSFW has ever had. I am sure that will be a ridculous statement to make so soon into the course and my abilities are still so naive and young. Nurturing the passion to develop grand menus and challenging dishes that excite and delight will take longer then the requisite 16 weeks. We have worked on vegetables and stocks and sauces so far and no the heat in the kitchen will be turned up because these things although difficult in themselves are the boring and back to basics of cooking. However, when we are grilling a fish or baking a lamb shank or have a nice steak on the gridle we have to be thinking "veggies?", "sauce?" and make and ensemble piece.
First set of homework handed in and no one is quite sure what was expected of us. Guess we shall find out on Monday and just how little prepared we all are for the amount of effort they are expecting of us. Do we wanna shine. Well I bloody do so I know I need to write more and get reading more and devour cookery books by the truck load. Heston Bleumenthal's Fat Duck book was on a stand in a bookstore yesterday and I skimmed through it. Massive and full of amazing colours and things that dont quite look like food. He has laid out the challenge, as has Jamie and Gordon and I am not looking to emulate Floyd with a bottle of red in one hand. Do I wanna be like Nigel Slater - he at least is down to earth and no nonesense. Like Nigella - no we already have the porn star celebrity chef - no emulating that, besides she has it in spades.
Had our first wine day as well and looking forward to more of those. Keri our instructor seems very well versed and a lot of fun. Tasting jelly babies as the initial instruction on how the tongue works in conjunction with our nose. Olfactory senses appear to be bloody important in being able to taste food. My liquorice jelly bean tasted like sugar and nothing else when I held my nose. When I released it all the aniseed smells emanated around me and filled my mouth with new sensations. I guess thats why chicken soup is subjected to people with colds/flus - they can't bloody taste it anyways so why not.
I made French Onion Soup today and was dissapointed in the final colouring of my onions. Was I too lacklustre in the browning process - afraid to burn - I dont now, trying to impress the boss (head chef) I tried to be too careful with my cooking heat. As a result I lightly sauteed and braised my onions until browning was just turning them to mush. It still tasted delicious though in the end. Smothered in toasted sourdough bread and melted gruyere cheese with a sprinkling of parsley.
Eggs next week. Poached, omletted, in salad, in baking, fried, boiled the team will be toyed with and taunted to create little gems of genius. I have some secret ideas up my rolled up chef sleeves. Will let you know how I get on.
Signing off for now - have a yoga class.
Thanks dear reader for listening to me rant.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Twenty One things to do with a Carrot!

Now the title for this blog could sound extremely rude and some might say, I will get loads of porn surfers looking up my blog now for food porn suggestions. However, as I am writing a blog about my new found wisdom in culinary skills and the course I am on is currently focusing on vegetables - I am surprised myself, with a carrot's versatility. Julienne, Jardinere, Paysanne, (types of cutting techniques). They are used in soups, stocks and as decoration. You roast them, boil them, grate them, puree them - I could go on. Well its interesting for me anyways.
So the course is one week in and I am delighted by the prospects of another 15 weeks. True a week on vegetables may sound boring but we have to have a grounding and build our way up. It was sauces today! - All the french words keep getting stuck in my throat and make me jittery about whether I will remember them all, but I will get there. Bechamel sauce, mornay, mushroom, some easy, some meant to drive you mad, but once you know the technique - its tre terrifique!
So I am bringing home all the food I cook, which means trying to get ellaborate with its uses. Todays mushroom sauce and mornay sauce has been used to make my diner tonight and lunches for the next two days - Just add a little fettucine to the sauces and with the mornay I added a little streaky bacon so carbonara tommorrow. Friday was theory day and we had a day at looking at how to run a kitchen and more importantly what to think about to ensure it makes money. So budgeting and menu planning - I suppose this is what its all really about. getting creative but making it financially viable. Sort of takes the romance out of it all. Sure I would love to order fresh truffles from France - flown over in a lear jet, for that perfect over the top dish that's gonna wow the patrons, but then I would need a patron willing to pay over $25,000 for a dish. I have several projects to work on over the next few months involving setting up a menu for a select group of people (different each project) but ensure I budget accordingly. I have $17.60 to cook a Mediteranean meal for two - that includes starter, main and desert. I pay over $10.00 just for a sandwich for lunch most days. Fuck me its gonna be hard! But enjoying the "wake up and smell the roses" nature of it all. Wish me luck and I will tell you all about my menu decisions.
Thanks dear reader. Speak again soon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If Only One Day I Could Say Fuck Like Gordon!

Well I have started my course. The first day they announced that we shall get our equipment the next day and we should be careful when dealing with our knives. I was eager to have a decent set of knives to cook with and my mate in London of Lambshank fame asked me if I had cut myself yet and that it was a right of passage into chefdom. Well you will be pleased to note that I did incur a little nick on my middle finger. Only a little blood and the knife impressed me rather then scare me due to the easy way it sliced into the flesh. I have cut quite a few pieces of paper in front of people since to demonstrate just how sharp my knives are.
Its now the 4th day which is slack that I have not written a daily account so far due to the important nature of this course for me and my one day hopes to fucking swear with the best of those celebrity knob chefs. Day one was all hellos and meets and greets. Talk about the course which would follow and in the afternoon a fabulous history lesson in French Cuisine by Celia Hays the founder. She has a history degree so she was eager to share her knowledge in this regard. Her knowledge both old and new of chefs in the know was fascinating and exciting. Having dined at the Fat Duck she could attest to the quality and ingenuity of Heston Bleumenthal. What I did not know was the history of the Michelen Star. Developed by the tyre company of the same name (I never knew - Just always thought it unfortunate that they had the same name), and created as a result of the developments in the motor car. People began to travel in the early 1900's and Michelen wanted them to burn rubber so to speak. Travle far and wide and wear out those tyres. So they encouraged people to visit restaurants further afield then their local areas and rated restaurants worthy of visiting. As a result the michelen star was born and people drive to these bastions of fine dining. As a result the chef's that managed to impress the critics of michelen and earn their stars became the first real celebrity chefs. Right up to Gordon and others who now adorn our TV screens some with amazing insight into food and others with utter drivel. The next day was vegetable cutting (the day I cut my finger). Never knew that there was so much science to the simple sliced carrot. Even faces in a diced carrot will allow even colouring and enhance flavour. So cutting needed to be precise and although it seemed a little anal I can appreciate perfectionism that one bit better.
Day three was soups and we made two vegetable soups which I was lucky enough to bring home and serve to my darling's family for starters in a birthday dinner I had eagerly volunteered to cook. So the guests got two soups, a cream of vegetable which I boosted with fresh coriander and a French Provincial soup called Soupe de Pistou which I spiced up and served with a lovely baked foccacia bread from a local bread artisan (can't wait for my own baking week on the course). She wanted Vienna Schnitzle, which although not fine dining was her birthday request - so I delved into the request with gusto. I made the schnitzle with garlic and parsley butter in its centre so when you cut into it the delicious buttery juices poured out. Vegies where, two types of potato (they are an Irish family afterall) one roasted chips and the other a mash concoction where I blended the potato with three seeded mustard and gruyere cheese then piped out into baking tray in lovely swirls to be lightly roasted. Roasted carrots in honey and seseame seeds, courgettes, shallots and mushrooms fried in butter and parsely, Broccolli and snow peas. It was a veritable feast. I even managed an angel cake with hokey pokey icecream and white chocolate and cream sauce.
Today we did more vegetables. A ratatouie and braised cabbage dish and I got to invent a egg plant dish of BBQ'd eggplant, olive oil, garlic, green peppercorns, parsley and cumin. Fuck knows what I will call it - mayber Patlican a la Dazza. It'll be nice on some of that fucking bread I bought.
Tommorrow is budgeting for restaurants so will have t use my brain and also take a calculator. Eugh - maths.

Its a great course though and can't wait to get stuck into some of the more interesting ingredients. Oh and the wine.

Speak soon dear reader.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Update before the whirlwind!

Well its been a while and I have stopped berating myself for being slack so dont you start on me. I came back from Thailand to Australia. Met my darling at the airport and we ventured accross the country visiting friends and family and in the middle had a bit of break in lovely Byron Bay where I turned 40. There was no great fan fare, I did not feel any different afterall. I did however undertake my first ever Yoga class and despite it being advanced and grueling and I sweated like a 40 year old pig I had a ball. Had a cleansing bath to remove toxins through my feet and all around had a holistic experience. We even fit in some comedy at a festival. Back up to Brisbane after the break and said farewells to family again ("boy not another farewell" said my brother). Lisa sung the national anthem at a race meeting on the Gold Coast to raptuous applause by me and thousands of others and we flew to Sydney and saw Tim Minchin perform. He is a genius and had us in stitches. Then it was off to New Zealand.
Christchurch is a fantastic city and for those of you at all interested I will start a new blog this week called A Life Less Ordinary where I will describe the antics I encounter in this fabulous city over the next four months. Working in factories, writing for magazines and checking out the night life. This blog Squeezing Grapes, will continue with my adventures in food as I embark on a 16 week intensive chef course at the New Zealand School for Food and Wine. Starts Monday, so thought I better get back in the swing/saddle so to speak.
One thing I guess I shall admit before going to this course is that my baking skills are slightly lacking. Having been frightened I could never cook perfect rice I have had two attempts prove perfect of late so I can scratch that one off the can't do list. Baking however. I made a fabulous Carrot cake guessing volumes of ingredients like a man refusing to look at directions when he's lost and it worked out brilliantly although I stuffed up the philly cream icing. Still pefecting that one. Then I tried a big Chocolate Cake. Guessed the ingredients again and added a load of choc chips into the mix. The consitency looked good and it tasted lovely prior to baking and watching it grow in the oven was exciting at it rose perfectly. Then when I tried to see if it was cooked all looked good and i decided to cut it in half so I could add a layer of caramel in its centre. Damn it was still soggy in the middle so I had to bake it again cut in half and watch the goo solidify. I then added the caramel and then smothered it in the thickest glumpy icing made with icing sugar and a chocolate mousse packet (didn't really work but those that ate it agreed the icing tasted lovely). The cake itself was stodgy to say the least and was more like a chocolate brownie cake. Thick and heavy. I blamed it on the choc chips melting and stuffing up the sponge effect but I think I just fucked up the mixture because I refused to look at a recipe. Then little kids arrived at the house so the challenge was to bake cup cakes. Had all the ingredients and then at the last minute decided to throw caution to the wind yet again like the idiot I am and cook 'em "guess stylie". You suck at baking dog - says a Randy Jackson in my ear. Gonna get booted off the cooking idol show me thinks. You cook like a bad kareoke singer says Simon. Oh hell the cup cakes looked great although they grew in the oven like scones. I lathered them up in four different coloured icing toppings with freckles and choc chips and other decorations and although I was unhappy with them the kids gobbled them down. I must start using bloody recipes. Who the hell do I think I am.

I made a big Thai meal for Lisa and friends last week and it was a huge hit - and guess what I used my cooking books from the thai cookery class I attended. What a surprise. Well lesson learned and as I am about to enter school and take instruction from a real chef soon I had better start using the tools they give me.

Speak soon dear reader.
Hopefully with cup cake recipes to blow you away with. Gonna make choc chip cookies to a recipe right now and later whip up a bowl of home made hummous for Lisa. I can do that!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back To Basics!

Well, you would have thought that after my last blog and the reverence I paid the simple hotel in Krabi compared to the electricity bare bungalow of Koh Jum, that those days of slumming it are behind me (slumming is a big word for the bungalows as they were quite quaint, had their own shower and toilet and did have electricity for 4 hour night). I arrived yesterday afternoon in Kuala Lumpur armed with a budget hotel guide. I chose my hotel based on the symbols you get above each. Air-Con (tick), Shower (tick), Internet (tick) the rest were really supplementary or should I say, elementary. I had decided on a budget (usually unheard of by me) and limited myself to MYR100 per night (about £10). That should do it. The last hotel I stayed in the last time was only MYR120 a night and it was quite reasonable and I had a lovely view of the city, it was close to the shopping district and had internet although its strength was so poor in the room it was almost non existent some times. But I had a mini bar and TV and the bathroom had a bath. So back to my current search, I had agreed on The Green Hut Lodge also near the shopping district so that I was familiar with the best places to eat and shop. It had all the criteria I needed and maximum room was MYR85. I thought bargain.
I had back up hotels should this one be full, but if you ever get to see my travel bag, you will realise getting about fills me with dread. The place looked nice enough. I was asked to go see a room and low and behold the upstairs sections of the building had been raided by Irish builders. Now I am not being racist here when I say this I merely have first hand knowledge of their quirky building ideas. Walls were there shouldn’t be walls, stair wells that seemed to grow out of nothing and find there way to the next floor like some Escher painting. The room I was shown thankfully was not the one I stayed in but I am still not sure whether I got the better room at the end. It had two small single beds squeezed into a space meant for a toilet. The air-con was there – well half of it. The other half went into the wall presumably so that the next room could share. I wonder who gets the control or is it battle of the remotes. Also to my surprise the shower and toilet was a shared one. Well there were several on each floor in crazy haphazard places that only Paddy could of conceived of constructing but no room in the hotel had its own shower/toilet. Bit of cheek that they got away with sticking that little symbol in the budget book I say. When I came down I was reluctant but couldn’t be arsed to move besides it looked clean at least and it had internet which was my pre-requisite. Thankfully / or not I was saved staying in that room by the manager who berated the guy behind the counter for being stupid as they could put two people in that room and make more money. “You want single? I have best room for you with double bed and window” and then the best line I have ever heard in a hotel “you have your own air-con – no share!”, “That’s me sold”, I said. So the man behind the counter helped me up the steps with my gargantuan bag. Seems the Wi-Fi would not stretch to that part of the building so I was told I could use it down in foyer. Seems even though the Wi-Fi was down in the foyer I couldn’t use it there either so had to resort to chatting with my girlfriend on an antiquated computer with a dodgy screen. Well they did not lie….. but!!
I eventually went out and dined in the street market I had used as my source of food the previous visit and had drunken duck hot pot. I personally think they used chicken and hoped I would not notice. I noticed but did not pull them on it. It was nice, the hot pot is infused with rice wine therefore reasoning behind the name “drunken”. What perturbs me is the fact that Thai and Malay people spend so much time cooking and eating fabulous meals and yet appear very lazy with their preparation. They all had mad axe cleavers to cut meat with which is effective and quick but means when eating chicken its like pieces of road kill, with shattered and splintered bones throughout. Not a pleasant experience when eating. The last time I came I decided to be adventurous and ordered frogs in spicy black bean sauce. It all looks appetising and certainly the flavours all worked together but fuck me, did they have to chop the little mites up with a cleaver so that every miniscule portion was saturated with tiny cracked bones and splinters. It was worse then eating little fish were every mouthful is a dance with potential slow death by swallowed fish bone.
Stick to the char sui pork and satay sticks I say, at least the only bone is the stick that runs through the centre and with the pork all you get it the occasional gristle which can be crunched and eaten anyway (Neanderthal, I hear you say!).
After some brief window shopping, I ventured back to my room. Not having been too observant the first time I realised, there was a fitted sheet on the bed but no top sheet or blanket, so presumably I would have to just lay there on the bed cover non-gratis, flagrantly nude to the world. Furthermore there was no towel, so I guess no shower for me then. Presumably, the other backpackers that would stay at this establishment came with there own top sheets and towels. With the size of my bag you would be excused for thinking I had a whole array of linen and bathroom accessories in side – but sadly – no! One saving grace was that the Kuala Lumpur city area has limited Wi-Fi service throughout the city and from the top floor of my salubrious hotel I was able to connect and surf porn for most of the evening. During my sojourn with computer on the bed, of which the bed was the only piece of furniture in the room, I noticed the scurrying of a couple of baby cockroaches on the wall. Damn – well I guess I could not have expected to avoid them in a place like this. After squashing a couple including one which had crawled on the bed and up my arm, you would have thought, he’ll pack now and go find another hotel. One with its own shower and a towel. I am not that much of a snob, well actually I am but I am also interminably lazy and I couldn’t be arsed traipsing around at the time of 11.00pm in search of another hotel. I would also have to argue about getting my room fee back although I would have gladly foregone the MYR52 they charged me (I should hardly complain for a room worth £5 a night, should I). But it crawled up my fucking arm!!
I decided I would brave it and after spraying the contents of my mozzy spray around the bed and luggage (who knows whether it would keep the cockroaches away but at least lying on the bed I should be spared mozzy bites. I slept disjointedly and at one stage felt one in my hair. Oh this was intolerable. Then the neighbour came home at around 3am and was banging and clomping and making all sorts of racket – someone should complain (I am shy! – well lazy at least). I survived the rest of the night without noise or bug incident although I am sure if I taped myself they all must have swarmed all over me the moment I went into deep sleep the little bastards. I had a wash and blow dry at a shopping mall today and have decided on a full body scrub when I arrive in Coolangatta. After my girlfriend reads this she will probably make me wash again in Sydney before I can even kiss her.
So Now I am in the airport, ready to return to Oz and more tastes of adventure and food odysseys await. Thanks for joining me.
You will be hearing from me again real soon.