Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mapless in Melbourne (aka Fatigue and a Shortage of Everything)

This is one of those 'ME' posts - long, ranty, and not very much useful in the bigger scheme of things. It does feel good to write these once in a while though.


I am tired:

- of being me.

- of being me being a crutch.

- of being me being a crutch once too often.

- of being me being a crutch once too often, and for other people.

- of being me being a crutch once too often, and for other people, without anything in return.

- of being me being a crutch once too often, and for other people, without anything in return. What's more, it isn't like I am expecting some reward (though I do habour some expectations).

Being supportive, or otherwise being a friend, is sometimes a tiring exercise. Sometimes, I just want to quit it. If I could just easily tender my resignation as a friend sometimes, it'll be so much better.

A leave of absence will probably not hurt either. In some way, being 6000 miles (approximately) away from home does help.

I don't get too bothered by folks back home when I am here.

I don't get knackered at the end of a day chasing deals that never materialise.

I don't worry about people around me.

I get time away from all that has saddened me and worn me down. I am still sad about it - I just can't do damage to myself from being physically where it hurts (thinking about it still hurts... but it's containable here)

*** By the way, don't believe that bull shit about how getting away will help you forget.


But I don't get to be myself though. Over here, my social circle is diminished, and there is increased interaction with a very small number of people. Being with colleagues for 12 hours a day, constantly, and without respite, is probably none too healthy (even though most consulting engagements are such, I've always been the local and never realised the almost 24/7 interaction required with other colleagues).

Consider this: I live in the same hotel as them; see them the first thing in the morning before heading out; take turns driving the rental car and bitching about traffic; work in a small meeting room overrun with cables, laptops and assorted fat-inducing munchies; hunt for new vegeterian options (I work with a vegeterian Indian, a somewhat renounced vegeterian Indian, and a none-too-picky Thai) during lunch; brainstorm over coffee about our collective problems; fire off emails and make cruel jokes about our counterparts from Hong Kong (they and their 'sing-song' English); check out for new dinner options (Thai today, Italian tomorrow) - the first suggested restaurant wins (so long as there is vegeterian); and then retire to the hotel room, with the privacy it offers me to watch my latest downloaded shows (ack... Heroes is ending!).

I see my colleagues too much. I even talk like them now (affected Indian accent with bobble head thrown in for good measure; kawaii Thai intonations - quite charming for a gal, very gay-ish if you're a guy though).

My rant is: I need to be home... and they aren't letting me be.

Part of the reason is cost: it costs less to house me in the hotel over the weekend than fly me back and forth. The hotel is none too bad: it has broadband, the room is big and spacious, and I get a queen sized bed all to myself (anyone wanna come share it?). The flyback is not bad either: the company books us on SIA (Side note: Since I fly economy class, I always check into seats near the galley, somewhere around row 53 or so, and on the window aisle seat - go find out why).

Another reason is my bad timing: I chose to stay over one weekend, just for the heck of it (and me and another colleague did the Great Ocean Road! 2nd time round for me but she was totally thrilled to see the cliffs and winding roads). That was last weekend, and the intention was to fly home this weekend. Which proved impractical because we were going to fly home ANYWAY next Wednesday (or Thursday, or possibly Friday because we are such poor planners).

It sucks that I can't go home this weekend because: 1) I already miss home and people I know - I also miss TCC coffee; 2) I am going to miss a friend's wedding, and furthermore, that is my one chance to play being a 'Brother'. This sucks ass - I've always wanted to be the guy helping the groom tackle the ruckus of 'gate-crashing' while fighting off demanding bridesmaids. It always sounded like so much fun.


In other news...

1) Melbourne May 2007 is probably not the best of times for this sunshine state. The water shortage is made further acute by the realisation that the government has miscalculated its water reserves by 40%. 40-freaking-percent! This means further water restrictions are likely, with Stage 4 being a distinct possbility now. Yikes... people are already not washing cars due to current restriction levels. What's next for this drought stricken land? What is a stupid tourist like myself worrying about a drought in this country? Perhaps I just like the collective environmental conscience that seems to permeate policies within this country, and therefore hate to see it suffer such (un)natural problems.

2) When driving in Melbourne, you cannot do without their version of the Street Directory. The Melway is one really comprehensive road directory - it never fails to list every major or minor road. The one thing that impresses me about it is that it accurately reflects how 'big' a road really is (which is one gripe I had about Singapore's version of it - all roads look the same size and one-laners are no different from expressways). Much as the Melway helped within understanding and planning a route, Melbourne itself makes it disappointingly hard to get your bearings: street signs are not the most conspicuous objects and the necessity of doing hook turns at junctions featuring tram lines still baffle me sometimes.

3) The Great Ocean Road is one big scenic drive - doing it the 2nd time round is decidedly more fun, since I am now a more seasoned driver and can navigate the curves better (there are other curves I navigate better these days too but... sighs... no chance there). This time, I was driving in a generally west-bound direction and during the mid-morning to afternoon period. The views were amazing - sheer towering cliffs, waves crashing on rocky shores, inlets carved out by years of pounding surf. Given the chance, I would love to do it all over again - and bring a camera... and lose the non-too-adventurous colleague.

4) Finally, the last news item of the day: If you know anyone who can take me out to somewhere chic in Melbourne and have a swell time, sign me up with them. I hang out with people who are currently married / engaged or otherwise seriously dating someone while here. This means there are no singletons like myself who would love to hang out over some drinks and meet other people, and this means that this means post 9pm, I'm mostly back in my hotel room watching downloads or checking out Australian TV shows like Big Brother, 1 vs 100 etc. In the short term, it is kind of nice having a hotel room to thrash like a rock star. In the longer term (which is the next one month or so) this place will start to seriously bore me. HELP!


Oh btw, since I have a surfeit of photos which I have yet to blog about, I will probably put a couple of posts to showcase them a bit - bear with me as some of them date back to last year.

Mapless in Melbourne, May 2007