April 17, 2005

Before & After


They're about to finish the construction on the other side of our house, but they're just starting this one - right outside of our bedroom window.. Damn the development, damn the civilization and damn the sick drive for "growth" and "making things better"... Its ok during the week, because its already dark when we get home, but on weekends really gets down on us, - how ugly and disgusting humans may be. When they starting tearing down the abandoned house, there was still a lot of green around, we thought (we hoped) that they will respect and keep the old mature trees (many of them were fruit trees!), but no.. Aparently they have some other plans, probably something more "resort style", maybe palm trees and stuff.. I still don't understand why they need to scrape every living green thing from the Earth surface..

In Lithuanian classic literature we have one story (that every child reads in school) about an old wise sheppard who is very good with the animals and kids and is an adorable person in many ways. He has a special relationship with one tree in the village (the tree hosts many bird nests, gives shadow and is huge!). One day the neighbour, that owns the land where the tree grows, cuts it down. The sheppard is so broken hearted that he dies soon after. He says that "if the times have changed so, that people can kill so huge and magnificent trees just like that, there's nothing for me to do in this world anymore." Oh how I share this sentiment with skerdzius Lapinas... If it was up to me, this place would still be a jungle.. Just can't bear to see this destruction...

We're stuck in this apartment till September, but thereafter, I'd just like to pack and leave.. Oh, did I mention the construction noise and dust? Baaah...


Nyt me ihan oikeasti karsimme kulttuurin shokkin. Kaj paljon enemman (ja aikaisemmin) kuin mina, mutta nykyaina minakin naen miten ihmiset teke asiat ja en enaa ajattele etta "ne teke asiat erilla tavalla", mutta vain "ne teke asiat vaaralla tavalla".. :) Kaitsulle on pahempaa, koska hanen toissa ihmiset myos teke kaikki "vaaralla tavalla", mun toissa vain meidan johtaja kaytaytyy vahan oudosti, mutta mun kokkonainen tyoporukka on aina yhdessa ja kaikkea vastaan.. :)

Katsotiin kaitsun kansa leffan "A World Without Thieves". Jos teilla on mahdolisuus, katsokaa. Varmasti te vihdytte, mutta me melkein itkimme, koska se niin tarkasti kuvaa kiinalaistyylin managementia ja ihmissuhdeita ja kaikkea... Ikava! Arvakaa missa Kaitsu on nyt, suununtai iltapaivalla? Ei.. Vaarin.. Se ei maakaa puulin vieressa.. Se on toissa, parka..

Mun hermot useampi mene kun ma luen lehtea.. Taalla on sellainen kasitys etta valtio saa paata, suunnittella ja ohjaa melkein kaikki. Esimerkiksi nyt Leijonakaupunki pitaisi jotenkin kehitta "x-faktorin". Mita se on? Oletteko koskaan kuuleet sellaista "x-faktorista"? Ei? Ei minakin.. Se on jotain "intangible" mika teke paikkan erikoiseksi. Esimerkiksi new yorkilla ja Tokyolla on "x-faktori". Siis Leijonakaupungille nyt taytyy yritta rakenta sen (luuletteko etta NY ja Tokyossa jotkut saanolisesti kehittivat "x-faktorin"?) Kaikki hirveasti ajattelle miten siita vois rakenta. Jotkut sanoo etta Leijonakaupunki ei oo tarpeeksi siisti, siis pitais siivotta enemman. Toiset sanoo etta pitaisi rakenta 2 lisaa shopping mallia Orchard kadulla (jos te olette kayneet talla, taa idea varmasti kuulosta ihan naurettavalta, tassa kauppoja on enemman kuin hiuksia minun paassa (he he, helsingissa on varmasti vahemman kuin hiuksia Kaitsun paassa.. no offence man, just a nice analogy.. :) Mutta hallinto nyt kovasti selitta kuinka tama uusi kasino on tarpeetomaton rakentamaan "x-faktoria". Kuinka se uusi kasino toisi milijonia turisteija ja kuinka se luosi tuhansia tyopaikkoja.. Ja niin pois pain..

Vaikka kaikki ministerit jo tekivat paatoksen (rakenetaan kasinon tai ei) ja koko ajan puhu kuinka siita pitaisi rakenta, ne ei ole ilmoittanut viralisesti tasta paatoksesta ihmisille. Huomenna, maanantaina ne ilmoita ja selita.. Silla valilla ne vain heitta viitseija ja pitaa salaisen ilmion naamassa. Yksi ministeri sai uuden idean ja suunnan: "Tama keskustelu pitaisi keskeytya tyopaikojen luomisessa. Kysymys on - onko meilla mahdolisuus luoda uusia tyopaikkoja ilman kasinoa? Tama on kaikkien tarkein kysymys." Jumala autaa!!!


On the lighter tone - last Friday we had a 15th anniversary party at my work. We had about 1000 people having dinner and "entertainment" in one of the posh hotels in town.


Of course, part of the "entertainment" was dragging unsuspecting people onto the stage and making them do stupid things. And, of course, of course, I didn't have any doubts that I will be on the stage at some point (out of 1000 people, of course, they cannot miss me..) See? (I didn't include any dance moves here (on purpose), Kaj says that he will not be able to meet my colleagues anymore, because he "lost face" ha ha) And for all my effort I didn't receive any prize or gift.. Nothing.. :)


But otherwise it was fun. It was the first time that I had a 10 course Chinese dinner - dishes are brought in one by one, everybody shares and you get your portion in a tiny plate. It was the best Chinese food that I ever had.

I'm taking some leave during next 2 weeks and heading to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand next Wednesday. Kaj can't get off work, so it will be my first trip in Asia "aall by myyyseeelffff". Lets see how it goes, its supposed to be very interesting, you can visit hill tribes, go trekking and there's a lot of temples, ancient architecture and culture (he he..:). But as there's no ocean and beach, Kaj is not interested (plus he doesn't have any holiday, poor man..). I'm sure it will be fine, I've been to Thailand before and people are kind, tourist infrastructure is well developed, food is good, massage is the best in the world.. It'll be fun. I'll probably have internet access and write something from there, so stay tuned! (Btw, you can fly to Chiang Mai both ways for 100 dollars = 50 euros!!! And it is some 3000km away..)

Posted by gkligyte at 12:46 PM | Comments (3)

April 09, 2005

Our local talents and foreign guests


Taina and Mika left yesterday and our house is empty again. This time we don't even have anyone to wait for.. Everybody who promised, already came.. Baah.. :( Luckily our freezer is stuffed with ruisleipa (rugine duona).. One more time our guests got into real shopping frenze and they were blaming the Leijonakapunki for that.. Sure.. Once you go for a walk in Orchard road, your head starts spinning, adrenalin starts flowing, bling bling everywhere and you end up just paying and paying and paying... Don't know if it is true, but I read somewhere that each Leijonakaupunkilainen owns in average (sic!) 10 credit cards... We have a very healthy economy here, people don't mind spending (over the top, over the limit, over the means.. But you have to own this new Luis Vuitton bag!!!)...

Anyway, we had fun with Taina and Mika, just that we worked like we normally do, so we had very little time to spend with them afterall.. And very little time to sleep..


However, we managed to go to the famous Raffles Hotel and have the Leijonakaupunki Sling coctail (it was invented there). As a tourist you have to go and try that, but somehow we never managed to do that with Kaj..


This is happening in the swimming pool downstairs. Spookyyyy....

Our small camera got broken. The last picture shows what kind off photos our camera is taking now (psychodelic!).. It got broken last weekend when we had our 3rd year students diploma show (a little bit like "perziuros" or "demo day"). So I don't have many pictures from there. The show itself was great, Taina said, it makes you depressed, all these super-talented ultra-young (average about 20 years old) people doing amazing stuff. Beating you and me in all senses with their creativity, sensitivity, angst, talent, urge to do things.. The most amazing thing was that students came up with their final projects in 15 weeks and the standard was very very high (think about all the guys hanging out in Dailes Akademija or the Media Lab for years and producing nothing!... )


Our star student from IMD diploma was Kai, he made a Japanese style war/plane animation, an unbelievable mix of 3D and 2D techniques. I saw his portfolio and this guy is SUPER! I really have no words to describe how good his stuff is, so have a look yourself. And when you start crying and tearing hair from your head, remember, this guy is 18 years old.. He's going to army now. I'm sure that when they see his stuff, they will make him do smth more useful, not run with the gun accross the fields.. And I hope they don't damage his hands and fingers(or head) in there...

Another girl from graphic design made 4 versions of 60 page illustration book printed on textile fabric, somebody wrote a whole book and drew illustrations, somebody made 3 series of amazing photography.. seriously, I have no clue how they do that in 15 weeks and with so much devotion and talent.. WAhhhh.. I'd better go swim to the pool now, I don't have a chance...

Posted by gkligyte at 01:36 PM | Comments (2)

April 04, 2005

What could exhaust you more than holiday?

boat_river.jpg night_train.jpg

Another earthquake stroke and we missed it again! We must have been in the train taking us from Malaysia to Leijonakaupunki. Now when I think about it, there was a moment when the train swinged a bit more, but hei, trains always shake a little bit. So no.. We don't have amazing stories of apocalypse this time either..


The trains are actually really ok in Malaysia. Reasonably clean, reasonably organized, not so fast though. As I mentioned earlier, the Leijonakaupunki has hard feelings about this foreign railway in the heart of their country. My colleagues at work were warning that "they don't take care of it properly", "there's bugs and deseases crawling to our clean country", "its not safe". Well, it definitely was less organized and up-to-date than many other modes of transportation here, but I became quite nostalgic. Taking the night train reminded me of school trips... And all these signs all over the place were quite funny...


I'm late with updating my blog, because we have Taina and Mika visiting. I can tell you, its tiring.. We eat so much and drink so much of beer all the time! :) But its great, we have 2 (new) pairs of ears willing to hear about our trials and tribulations... I'll write a story about them when they leave.. He he.. So that they can't take counter-action...


kaj_bamboo.jpg Our trip to Taman Negara was very nice, but also very tiring. I'm getting quite depressed with traveling in Malaysia, because you have to spend at least 5-6 hours to get anywhere. And when you get there, there's only island/beach or forest or city. One thing at a time, never a mixture. So this time we had rainforest/jungle. It was amazingly beautiful on the 1st day, quite exciting on the 2nd and tolerable on the 3rd.. On the 4th we changed out train tickets and left earlier. We just couldn't imagine dragging our old bones to the jungle again. Everyday you wake up in the morning and go walking some 10km in the jungle sweating like an ocelot (btw, that was the figure of speech invented by Roland. I made a search on this "ocelot" and look, it doesn't seem like this cute thing has a too sweaty lifestyle, does it?). After some 4 hours of walking you feel slightly exhausted and dehydrated, then you have lunch, then have a nap, wake up when its getting dark already, go for dinner and go to sleep again. Next day the whole thing all over again. 3 days of that lifestyle is enough!


Otherwise it was really beautiful. Taman Negara national park is 130 million years old. Yes, 130 million, I'm not wrong. There were no major earthquakes and vulcano erruptions in the area, so the place has pretty much preserved as it was (when the dinosaurs were still here?).


There's beautiful rivers and everything is very green (not exactly a "Green Hell", but on the 4th day feels a little bit like that..) The first day we saw a lot of rare birds (as the birdwatchers that we met in the forest explained) and something black and big (a wild boar?), on the consequent days, not much of stuff.. It is basically green and as you walk sceneries don't change too much. You rarely get an open view like that. And when you do - see what happens, Kaitsu wants to leave his mark...

bukit_teresek.jpg waterfall_taman.jpg

We took a boat up to the waterfalls (ha, does it look like a waterfall for you?) and it was a beautiful ride, but once we got there, other tourists (mostly local or from Leijonakaupunki) started pouring in. We passed a huge bunch of local college students and one of them got a leech sucking on her leg. Oh dear, what kind of screaming and mass panic it caused! As we walked on, we saw a guy carrying first aid box to the area of disaster.. These people are so funny. They go to the jungle in flip-flops in huge groups, all wearing the same kind of Tshirts, girls holding hands, acrrying umbrellas.. I mean, if you think that city people in Finland or Lithuania has lost touch with nature, you should see these guys here. Any of a Finnish or Lithuanian city-person would survive in the forest longer, somehow the people here don't seem to have much of common sense when it comes to nature...


It seemed to be quite an established routine for the boatmen that brought the tourists there. They all came at the same time, took out their chess boards, lit up cigarets and enjoyed their waiting.. I wouldn't be too sure that all these tourists fit on those tiny rocks next to the "waterfall". Scary! Thanks god we came half an hour early, so we were leaving when everybody came.


Once again I was amazed how different the boats were from any other boats in the region. The boats in Taman Negara are made to travel in shallow rivers where the stream is strong. There's also lots of huge tall trees around. So the boats are wooden, very very long and narrow. You wouldn't believe how swift they were and we could climb the rapids quite well. A boat is the most amazing evolutionary instrument that a human mankind has invented. It takes such a multitude of shapes, serves thousands of purposes and is designed from the materials found in the environment to perfectly fit that particular environment. Remember boats in Philippines?


We were caught in tropical rain in the forest, walked some 25km in the jungle and in general, quite enjoyed our trip. Just that you need to take another holiday after this kind of holiday...

Posted by gkligyte at 08:35 PM | Comments (2)