I have to log this, because I recently developed a terrific case of rashes and need to find out what I’m allergic to the next time it hits. You know when you have a rash you have normal looking skin and little red bumps that are the anomaly? Mine got so bad the red bumps merged to form a sea of red and the normal looking skin occurs in very sporadic patches. Itched like anything for Saturday, Sunday, afflicted my face so I looked horribler than normal, couldn’t go to church, and so I went to the doctor to get more heavy duty medicine rather than all the antihistamines in my house I was experimenting with (that didn’t do squat) and he gave me an MC for monday and tuesday! I guess all good things come in pairs. So here’s a log of a Saturday morning expedition gone awry.
We brought liangze’s folks to a 茶馆 for brunch – this one I visited with mingsee about 4 years ago and remember it vividly for its excellent 茶叶蛋. Although the fact that 4 years later it’s still open is rather baffling. Is there really such a huge chinese tea drinking audience in Singapore? Who would be willing to visit a 茶馆 and pay the $8 cover charge? Generosity is not one of the Chinese’s strong suits. In any case, to the 茶馆 we went and tried two different kind of teas – the french rose flower tea (which I sent to chris)
And another tea called 千里香, or “Thousand mile fragrance”
which I must say was actually very fragrant – all the three notes of 温香，暖香，and 冷香 were there。
We also had the dim sum, which I remember being not very good (as you can see from my post about it 4 years back) but it has improved tremendously on this tasting. While it is not as good as say, Peach Garden or any place that actually specializes in dim sum (Peach Garden’s dim sum is not that great either, maybe that nice little xiao long bao place at Smith Street FC) it wasn’t as horrible as my last impression.
We got two of the dim sum platters, one bao platter
the glutinous rice in lotus leaf:
A bowl of mee sua with some kind of tea leaf boiled into the soup (didn’t get a pic), and of course the tea eggs which I absolutely adore.
I thought I was a huge fan of tea eggs until LZ’s father said he knows somebody who queues for them. Absurd! Where would you ever queue for the tea egg? After eating this one, all the pasar malan tea eggs will pale in comparison though! I brought back a packet of the herbs to make my own again :d
So that’s about the long and short of all I ate on Saturday before the rashes hit. After the 斯文 teatime we sent LZ’s dad off to a synod meeting and ourselves headed to Bras Basah to hunt down Cloud Atlas. Last week when I was not very productive at work, I spent a fair bit of time ordering books online (on NoQ.com, where I have a customer discount as well as a birthday discount this mth since I declared a fake birthday to see what kind of discount coupon they sent customers for their birthday month) and blew almost $100 on 5 different books –
1) Epigram’s Uncle Lau’s Teochew Recipes – which includes a recipe for orh nee as well as a recipe for steamed pomfret
2) Epigram’s Madam Choy’s Cantonese Recipes – these two books make up half of a collection of other recipes (Indian and Eurasian I believe) which are very well designed and look rather authentic
3) Douglas Coupland’s Player One, which is his latest novel. After I own this I think the only ones which will be missing from my collection of Douglas Coupland’s work is the Gum Thief and Miss Wyoming. Right now I have two copies of Eleanor Rigby, if anyone is interested to read one just comment here!
4) Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge, which is her first novel and is set in Hungary and Paris – how to pass up? About the Hungarian Holocaust.
5) Kazuo Ishiguro’s Unconsoled, which I haven’t read but was on one of the Quora threads for books that will change your life.
I also tried to order Andrey Kurkov’s Penguin Lost (sequel to his Death and the Penguin, which I recently got from my Amazon shipment), but that part of the order was rejected because they were out of stock. However, en route to Bras Basah we parked in the National Library carpark and I borrowed three of Kurkov’s books from there, including Penguin Lost!
So while I was ordering books online I asked liangze if there was anything he wanted, since it is flat rate shipping ($5) for all orders to Singapore regardless of how many books you buy. NoQ is actually a subsidiary of Times the Bookshop; if you ever make an order from it you will be charged by Times the Bookshop. He requested Cloud Atlas and I thought about it but decided that book is better gotten from Bras Basah – after all, they have a ton of pretty cool stuff like Sue Townsend and Douglas Adams and Nick Hornby, like, very up to date works, perhaps they might carry David Mitchell. I read it years ago when Zheng Yi lent it to me in J1 and Raghu and LZ and I are going to watch the movie on wednesday. So we went to Bras Basah accordingly to look for it – went through almost all the titles in the $2.90 price range (which is displayed outside as well as in two aisles inside), and also went through all the classics. It’s dusty in there! And the books may be infested with all sorts of weird insects like silverfish etc. So I think the main cause of my rash may be the dust from the books there, as I told the doctor. But we can’t be sure. All the food that was ingested I have eaten before with no problems (I think).
Went back with a great stash of books:
1. Sue Townsend’s The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year, which I already have, but this copy has a nicer cover than mine. Incidentally, I’m giving my copy away to anyone who wants to read Sue Townsend. It’s hard to give books to people who will read them nowadays, Mingsee doesn’t read half the books I get her and she’s the lit major so she’s been blacklisted.
2. Two of Tim Lahaye’s Left Behind books – The Mark and The Assassin. I actually really like that series of eschatological fiction. It’s funny and well-written despite being a Christian series. Nothing real high-brow here, but good, mindless fun. Anyway they cost a LOT new and I’ve been slowly collecting them from Bras Basah – have books 1-6 now and The Mark, which is probably book 9 or 10.
3. Douglas Coupland’s Eleanor Rigby, which brings the number of copies of this book that I have up to 3 – but one is designated for Mila’s birthday present. As point 1, this is up for whoever wants to read it – it’s a great book!
4. Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass – I have not read his His Dark Materials series but decided to give it a try since Liangze said it’s vaguely about familiars. I totally enjoyed the anime Zero no Tsukaima, which is also called “The Familiar Zero” but haven’t read anything on the subject.
5. Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love. I have only read On Chesil Beach since it was a birthday present from her ages ago, but would like to see the rest of his work.
Cost me $19 but now I have two days of freedom. I’d say that’s a great trade-off! Don’t much care for the unbearable itching though. Gah.