Tuesday, November 30, 2004

damn monkey

now you'll never know what was in the post it just ate.

lucky number

the figures are in - 60.5 hours of overtime for november + 7.5 hours double time. december will probably be more. carved carribean dancers today, but was grumpy most of day. tomorrow i will be happier. perhaps.

Found out that the project we are working on is for the infamous Stanley Ho, casino mogul. so that means we are only capitalist running-dogs, not lackeys of the imperialist americans. Kirsteen, designer of the canned can can girls has given up designing as too stressful, and joined us carving.

my foot hurts.

but not badly.

run out of books again.when i get paid i might buy some if i can find any. saw some phillip pullman ones but they looked bad. should i get a computer? mb Y/N

maybe i'll just watch tv instead



told you that already.

other places

why not visit dell at http://dellonearth.blogspot.com
or ronan at http://manohmanohman.blogspot.com

or not.

whatever you want.


I have been mooching and feeling lonely. inevitable really, missing my closest now so far away. I mooched up to the largo do senado, ordered a moochy book; beautiful solitude, at pin-to books, found soft toys of the catbus and totoro in a shop, cheered up momentarily before sinking into deeper mooch and went home and read harry potter (not much choice at elite bookshop) unfurled new cotton sheet (i have had a month of poly-cotton nightmares) saw that it said love all over it. sighed. slept.

i have accrued 55.5 hours of overtime in the last four weeks; that's more than a week of extra work stuck on to the end of my days; one week i managed 24 extra hours inc. 3 thirteen hour days . The other day Rachael and I got to go home after only 8 hours work, it was still light outside; we were running out of the building and laughing, it felt like a holiday. On the other hand, with the sunday i've just worked i will get about $2800 aud extra this month, so i can pay everyone back and get myself a present without feeling spendthrifty.

a client came through and looked at one of the private rooms (moulin rouge theme) and took offence to the can-can girls; bad feng shui; the client was Thai and they did not want any representation of women esp. not indecorous ones. theme changed. two days of annoying carving wasted, a month of design in the bin. deadline three weeks away. people a wee bit stressed...

Rachael has been poached by the painters, who are desperately short-staffed. Dave, head painter, has seen some of her work and knows that she can paint things, as well, of course being charmed by her winning personality... I will miss working with her, she, on the other hand may be relieved...

I am recovering from three days of carving psychedelic swirls. I'm back carving figures tomorrow, more demanding but less tedious; we have done about 50 metres of swirls. mb new flat soon.

mobile phone works. cool.

if i dreamt you dreamt about me...

crazy tokyo traffic- lying on the road as an 18 axle roadtrain hurtled over me

being harrison ford playing indiana jones fighting real nazis in a derelict house with a cricket bat

a beautiful bit in the nazi dream; in a black plastic dingy drifting down long concrete channels, twilight, green-black smooth water, dark moss on banks, forest all around.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

ground daily

started at 8 this morning; it makes the working day look a little longer, although we did finish at 8, which wasn't too bad. there aren't many interesting things that i can say about carving dadoes out of cement (Daddos on the other hand...) i did dream about wanting to kill Jude Law, which almost counts as a celebrity sighting. I am suffering due to the lack of books to read. The ladies No1 detective agency is doing the rounds, going to see if we can get the others in the series. I think i might get the last harry potter book. trashy, but i have read the others and the Elite bookshop is pretty much only King, Clancy and Grisham, gold-embossed titans of the publishing world...

miss match is on pearl tv tomorrow; hotshot hollywood divorce lawyer and part time match maker...Rachael has sucked me in..
might buy a sewing machine.
might not
feel free to visit; sundays are good for me.

ps. don't try the milk tea with coconut drink- like shampoo; blech.

Monday, November 22, 2004

wee beasties

Walked again this Sunday; rachael and I looked for a flea market, each following different instructions (me, lonely planet called lonely planet; bcos guide book get you lost and you have no friends anymore rachael, macau tourist guide) but managing to reach the same place where there was no sign of any flea market. We went back up to the docks, to the royal supermarket (not esp. regal.) across to the red market; a three story covered market with tongues on hooks and skillful men with massive pointy chinese knives that look like they escaped from a Shaw bros. kung fu film. I then walked to three lamps and went to the big stationers, but didn't find what I was looking for. I went to the Lou Lim Ioc garden and watched fishes. I drew a picture of the pagoda at the end of the bridge with seven turns ( stops evil spirits; demons can only move in straight lines, apparently.) I became tired of drawing stopped before I finished, but still felt virtuous for having tried. I walked through the garden and saw a rat running through the bamboo, looked closer and saw

a small coffee-brown chinese squirrel, running along with a nut in its mouth. It ran up to another very cute brown squirrel and then ran up a tree, out to the end of a branch and down a bamboo stalk. It leapt from stalk to stalk in an agile squirrelly way and disappeared from view.

I measured macau on the map; just over 2.5 km e-w. Starting to feel small...

I think that at some point (probably about 1658) the portuguese must have become tired of the inscrutable chinese and their habit of disguising every building as a bank, and passed laws requiring every business and building to be labelled in portuguese, stating exactly the type of business within. this is actually quite helpful. One pleasing aspect of this is that all the hairdressers have barber's poles, a kaleidoscope of whirly spirally things in many different designs, lengths and speeds, i saw a man with just a chair under an awning in an alley, he had a whirly pole, i also saw a really slick place with a little minimalist blue and white pole up next to their sign. there are a lot of hairdressers (as in every other place in the world, it seems) so almost every street has a whirly pole on it somewhere.

My cement skills are improving slowly, starting to feel like less of a lumbering snowbeastie next to the swift and elegant thai carvers. Celebrated Joy's 25th birthday on sunday; went to her, suwan and ed's flat and ate delicious and hot thai food; joy's mother has a restaurant in thailand and Joy is a very good cook. green mango salad, other eaty things. There were fireworks for the grand prix.

late again.
sleepy sleeps.

extended sentence

a new zealander with an oversupply of words arrived the other day. he has not stopped talking since he landed, topics covering; films he's worked on, -lotr, star wars, lion witch etc, w'ever..., NZ - so lucky to come from there, most beautiful, greatest, peaceful, non-freaky place on earth, Macau -crazy, esp scary food. exciting to find NZ product in supermarket, so mb. survive here after all, cantonese- grating... on and on...

overt time

wed 13hr day
thurs 12hr day
fri 12hr day
sat 13hr day
slept in on sunday.

Friday, November 19, 2004

...from my cold, dead hands.


lost keys, left work at 11pm last night, couldn't get into flat, slept on rachael's couch (about 1' shorter than me) I had a ridiculous dream that climaxed with me leaping from a speeding car onto a truck carrying a load of empty beer bottles I was pursuing Charlton Heston, who was old but vicious. As I worked my way up the truck, charlton and i threw bottles at eachother, the truck swerving all over the road. Eventually I got close enough for us to fence with plasterer's trowels. last thing i remember was us agreeing to settle matters like gentlemen, with a duel next morning.

I woke to a short couch and the start of the Grand Prix. did 4 hrs overtime today.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


I have conversations in russian and mandarin going on around me; it's late night prostitute emailing hour. The area across the road from my flat, behind Landmark casino is a small red light district, you walk along a network of pedestrian malls and at the mall crossroad you suddenly come across many very tall blonde russian women standing around, or walking slowly in circles as though they can't quite remember which street they came from. In the late night supermarket there are often women sidling up to me, i think that because i spend a long time in the hardware and obscure plastic container aisles, it looks like i'm waiting for them to make a move (I'm usually trying to find some odd item that can have a new life as a cement carving tool)
I was accosted at nine in the morning last sunday;
how are you?
I love you?
You love me?
You come with me?
I don't think so.
yes, yes.
no, no.

This sunday I went for a walk and suddenly ran out of peninsula; there was a wharf and lots of salty fishes hanging in shops. It smelt like they had lots of other fishes hidden from view. I walked along the waterfront as night fell, and then along the coast road once night was fallen, the crescent moon low and red in the sky, the other islands hazy in the distance. I turned east and cut back through the narrow, winding hill streets to centro, the main touristy shopping area. Now that I have my compass, I only become slightly lost; you can only walk for a couple of hours before you run out of macau and hit either the sea or mainland china.Bought oryx and crake by margaret atwood and went to the arty bookshop and bought a book for Kate (in chinese, but with pictures).

got some fine strong wire today. make good tools. need wood for handles. they have bamboo handled paint brushes v cheap at the supermercado. maybe them. bought postcard of the qing emperor's carved lacquer box of brushes for writing poetry about flowers. there were a lot of brushes in there, i thought of the other boxes of other brushes for writing about trees and whatever else and had a sudden feeling of horror at the thought of such choice, staring at the beautiful boxes and brushes and blank paper and felling utterly empty and trapped.

come to think of it, this is often how i feel, faced with a blank sheet of paper.

true crime

The police here are somewhat profligate with their police tape; today i saw some strung between a tree and a light pole on the pavement, it said police line do not cross, but didn't actually enclose anything; it ran down the centre of the pavement, you had to walk one side or the other. The only way you could cross it was if you pretended you were in a marathon and just ran through it . further down the street there were barriers and tape keeping people from getting too close to a blank wall. Apparently there is not as much crime here as in the late 90's, when the triads were firebombing eachother's cars and generally being troublesome.

i almost bought a set of prints from the cultural centre shop "ten splendid dogs" they were nice looking dogs, like handsome versions of santa's little helper. $150mop though.

went to the art gallery, in the cultural centre, typical 21st C. euro cultural architecture; feels a bit like being in fed square, or the ngv. nice enough. Art not so good, except for beautiful kinetic sculptures by a japanese artist that may live in macau. flower that waves petals up and down randomly, petals finely balanced on pivots with magnets on the ends pointing to the centre, on the stem in the centre two other magnets swinging in circles, the repulsion of the stem magnets meeting the petal magnets pushing the petals up and down. hard to explain but quite hypnotic.

internet bank works. soon give $ back to the poor (kate, andie, parents) from the slightly richer than before (me)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

the horror, the horror,

not really that bad but writing an essay (art and the body) with no reference materials and only my vague memory of the art works, is odd to say the least. I do have Deleuze and Guattari's Mille Plateaux, so if i am cunning, somewhere in that dense theory i can find something to relate to the subject of people making plastic models of people... since ronan has started working at Mme Tussaud's I've got a nice segue from the anecdotal into the historical, looking at the the grotesque; chamber of horrors, from there going to Duane Hansen with his 70's life size figures of fat American tourists, then Ron Mueck, Giant pregnant woman, dead dad etc, jake and dinos chapman, maybe Damian Hirst's Hymn, 10m tall sculpure of one of those anatomical model torsos you see in every high school science room. any suggestions?

going to try to get a new flat - more people are coming, so they might put some other unfortunate in there.

got to get my internet banking happening.

post more when i have time.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

the street of salty fishes

{rua de peixes salgados}
haven't been there yet but i have been to The New Yaohan Department Store Food Court.
Yesterday I discovered the there was a four storey department store just behind our worksite. You might think that i should have noticed it before, but buildings are very confusing here; most things look like banks, but then turn out to be food courts or shopping arcades (or banks), the casinos look like casinos and the new yaohan looks a bit like the research wing of a hospital. They have fresh bread from a bakery in HK that tastes like bread, most macau bread is fluffy and v. sugary. They also have the most grating muzac in the history of muzac; they must have seen the blues brothers lift scene and thought "That's good..., but let's see if we can make that tune a little more upbeat, and, I don't know, just sweeter somehow." five minutes hurts, but an hour was starting to induce psychosis.

wondering what to do for dinner, I thought that i might try the yaohan food court; I think that it may have been japanese owned, at some point because there is a lot of japanese stuff there, including four food court variations on japanese food.

Looking at this i thought that i had wandered into the land of food ordering ease; i know that names of some japanese dishes, there were numbers on the menu, an english desciption of the dish and a plastic model of the food. I happily wandered up to the counter and tried to order. For a while there was no-one there, but i could see activity in the kitchen, eventually a man came out from the kitchen with some food and looked at me suspiciously, I tried to order food and he frowned and pointed at a booth that said "cashier" I went up, pointed at dish No. 546, paid and was given a little receipt ticket. i went back to the food counter and tried to give the ticket to the woman there; she scowled at me and pointed to a number on my ticket. I was No. 4727. I sat down and waited. occasionally someone would appear at one of the counters and call out a number in cantonese over a PA that the store had obviously got secondhand from the edinburgh bus station. I waited until there was a dish that no one collected. after a few minutes i thought it was safe to check. the food was ok, but not necessarily worth the humiliation and confusion. At least the staff in our lunch cafe laugh at us in a good-natured way.

I have been drinking dong gafe a lot; this is basically nescafe, water, uht milk and ice cubes, it is surprisingly refreshing. other good local drinks are hot ginger coke- flat, but tasty and "mixture of tea and coffee", drinks we found at a bar called Sha-la-la; they also have an extensive toast menu, including toast with salty fish.

Monday, November 08, 2004

anonymous comments now admitted

Sunday, November 07, 2004

the kids are alright

although they all seem to have inflatable devil forks and wear very odd (but matching) clothes; strangely the the strength in numbers doesn't make them look any more normal. They do have very serious looks on their faces, so guess it's not as funny as it looks... It does answer the question many of us have asked while shopping here: who the fuck would wear that?, obviously the answer is the yoof, in matching sets of three or four. I tracked the devil forks to a youth fundraising bazaar for caritas, lots of yoof running bingo stalls, selling biros that don't work (macau uni student union), and parents running unidentifiable chinese thing on a stick (salty pig/fish/chicken/other) stalls. It was slightly sinister when i got there; it was twilight and quite windy, the bazaar was winding down and the bunting and stall banners were whipping in the wind, oddly dressed teenagers were running around and distorted announcements kept coming over the PA.

I got so lost today that i bought a compass, it made life easier and life became easier still when i got another one and realised that the arrow on my chinese one points south...I saw the lou lim loc garden; v. pretty, pond full of fish and terrapins, so full in fact that it looked like a carp farm, big trees, winding paths, a victorian pavillion on the edge of the pond, hefty fines for spitting at the fish (i think. the signs are in chinese and portuguese).

i wandered down tiny back lanes with shops selling chinese antiques; "you like? we can make in different colour for you." not antiques quite yet, but they were genuinely chinese, and some were quite nice, about the same price as the same thing from ikea but more chinese and older looking. I saw many pretty buildings; thirties - seventies apartment blocks with ornate balconies, early 19th century buildings, colonial style, shutters and arches. Became tired, bought compass, found myself in the three lamps area, little streets converging on a roundabout with children playing in the middle of it, looked at bad clothes, discovered I had been walking north, bought new compass, went home, had bath for long time.

I have been looking for a pair of trousers since i got here, but have little luck, most chinese men dress like pro golfers, neat casual, polo shirt with chinos, the other option is to look like you have enlisted in the army of a small and highly impractical nation with a fondness for devices that have to kept in separate pockets; "ha, you may have me hog-tied, but you missed the small knife in my left inside ankle pocket.". blue jeans are the only middle ground and they all suck. got to get to HK, I think. I've been scoping out tailoring options, not too pricey, hard to say about quality, will prob. get a good suit made in HK later. Get digital camera next pay.

pink wrinkles

Saturday, November 06, 2004

not starved yet

we normally eat our lunch with the thai cement carvers, who speak some cantonese, so lunch ordering usually goes like this;

us- what's that, (point at food) how do you say that?
thai carver, usually Joy or S
uwan, "Chau Daan faan", but with special intonations our useless western ears miss...
us, to waitress- "chow dan fharn?"
waitress- "eh?", turns to Joy, "blah blah etc etc?"
Joy frowns, asks Nat or Ed something in thai, thai conference ensues, with questions back and forth in english and cantonese, something is ordered usually with many more words used to describe it.
some food arrives, perhaps what we asked for, usually with salty pig, which seems to get into every food dish.

Today I used the international sign language symbol for a big bamboo steamer with chunks of fish being cooked in it, convoluted, but ultimately successful...
Sometimes one of the waitresses will say, in reply to our terrible manglings of cantonese, "mm.fish, rice.", making us wonder if they are just taking the piss.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

capitalist running dogs...

went to dumplingtown today; there was a surprising lack of salty pig in our meal. v good though. The painters came in today and cursed our work; our finishes weren't smooth enough; they should have made this clear before we started, really if they wanted everything prefectly smooth, we should have been moulding in clay and casting in resin or plaster and then sticking the panels to the wall- easier for us and better for the painters. Lack of communication and planning that seems typical...at least they pay us...

we have been working nine to ten hour days and as they want the casino open for new year, it looks like seven day working weeks for us. double time on sundays at least (about $63 aud per hour)...
watched the workers haul huge car-sized air con units up to the third floor using ropes and a chain block. Everthing is being done at once; there are people putting the finishes on the foyer ceiling and counters while the rest of the room is rubble and bamboo scaffolding, and elsewhere they are spraying cement on the walls and putting in ducting. they had to smash off some of the masonry corners around a mural to maneuver an air-con fan unit though the room. Its all very chaotic; the power goes out every couple of hours and looking at the extension cord arrangements I'm not really surprised; the HK plugs are ok; the same as british ones but the sockets on the cords for the macau plugs are designed so that the earth pin just hangs uselessly over the edge of the socket, what with the puddles everywhere it's a bit of a worry...maudie's only had one electric shock so far; pulling a live wire out of a wall she was working on. nothing on this site so far.

getting the hang of the work, having fun, getting tired, cracking the shits. shops are open late, so at least although we finish at 6:30-9:00, there is still life on the streets.

next: beautiful neon and russian prostitutes.

game of death

There are very few traffic lights in Macau, but there are Zebra crossings everywhere. These are a trick; they are only there so that the cars can catch pedestrians more easily. On very busy roads you have to wait until you build up a critical mass of pedestrians and then all reclaim the street in a mob. There are mopeds everywhere, and these are particularly sneaky, leaping out from behind cars that you have persuaded to stop.
I haven't been run over yet.

Monday, November 01, 2004

work is hell

that's probably a little excessive, I'm working in a 15 story building clad entirely in bamboo scaffolding and shadecloth. We are constantly getting lost because the builders keep putting up new curvy walls all over the place, and stealing bits of floor, there are two working toilets in the building that we know of, most of the workers just piss in dark corners. While we busily carve cement, the chinese workers thread cabling overhead, make holes in the walls, eye off our tools, chat, sing and spit copiously. About a quarter of the workforce are women; v. different from Australian Blg site. The workers we are around, mostly the masons, are pretty friendly, but sometimes they have long conversations while watching us work, and i wonder what they are saying...