Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Trippin' Mangalore

"Mai? Asian chick, likes to kick people? Yeah, last time I saw her she was at the bottom of an elevator shaft with an SUV up her ass."

Bruce Willis as John McClane,
Die Hard 4.0 (2007)

The best quote evar.

Last Saturday, I've decided to get out of my lonely hermitage and join Shaki's (and his missus') day trip to Mangalore, a city situated about 2 hours away from the town of Manipal - the nearest place with a mall (albeit a really tiny one) and a cineplex.

This was my To-do List;
  • Watch Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
  • Watch Ocean's 13.
  • Get myself a messenger bag.
  • Buy more books (ideally, Terry Pratchett's Wintersmith and Neil Gaiman's Coraline) - I've finished reading the 19 novels1 I bought during my last holiday in Malaysia 3 months ago. Here's a couple of links if you're interested in finding out what that 19 novels are; click HERE and HERE. That number does not include that two novels I bought here (Agatha Christie's Three Act Tragedy and Robert Harris' Imperium, which I reviewed).
To be perfectly honest with you, my reading habit scares me sometimes.

The three of us arrived in Mangalore at about 11.30 am. I was told en route by Shaki that Ocean's 13 was no longer playing at the theatre, which caused me to swear rather loudly. Mrs Shaki was pretty peeved about that too because the only reason she came along was to ogle at an enormous George Clooney splayed across a very large screen.

There's no accounting for taste, y'know.

Bharath Mall.

So we ended up paying for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (which the critics ripped to shreds) and Die Hard 4.0 (which Shaki insisted would totally kick-ass). I am not a big fan of action-packed blow-'em-ups, but what the hey - it's either that or some Bollywood flick. I rather take my chances with a movie I can actually understand.

Look at the picture above carefully - they had their box office outside the mall. How rad is that?

A billboard I saw opposite the mall.

The interior of Bharath Mall.

What you'll notice immediately when you enter the mall is that they only have escalators going up, and none going down. I thought that was pretty shrewd of whoever-designed-this-place. I mean, shoppers might not bother to climb the stairs to reach the upper-floor-shops (yes, such displays of laziness is not unheard of), but once they are moved up there, they must come down sooner or later, right? Brilliant. They managed to save 50% of the cost of constructing and maintaining the escalators just like that *snaps fingers*.

Oh, in case you're wondering, there's a dingy, poorly lighted stairwell situated near the side of the building.

Bloody capitalistic skinflints.

Anyway, moving on,

In the interest of keeping this post as short and as readable as I possibly can, I shall just briefly review both the movies I watched in three sentences each, and award my personal score for them on a scale of ten;

F4: Meteor Garden
  1. This is the worst superhero flick I ever have the misfortune to sit through.
  2. Jessica Alba looked like an anorexic model zombie bitch, the CGI sucked semen through a straw, the plot had more holes in it than a cut-price prostitute's fishnet stocking, and the lines spoken throughout the flick were so incredibly corny that they nearly made me drown in the Pepsi I kept snorting out of my nose in disbelief that someone not living in a retards' institute wrote them.
  3. The Silver Surfer totally wiped out, dude.

My rating: negative 2 out of 10.

Big, Bald, One-liner-spouting Machine (Live Free or Die Hard is the flick's North American title, by the way).
  1. Probably the best movie I've watched this year aside from 300 and The Pursuit of Happyness (not including those oldies I've been downloading, of course).
  2. This is basically a series of very loud explosions connected by a flimsy plot about some hackers-come-terrorists, and one-liners so good that the folks in the theatre actually clapped their hands out loud (is there any other kind?) when they are spoken.
  3. Absolutely mindless, and that's a good thing in this case.

My rating: 7.5 out of 10.

The Dollar Store where everything costs 99 rupees. Am I the only one who found this funny?

The newest additions to my library.

The bookshop in Bharath Mall was a complete package of disappointment tied with ribbons of utter devastation. There was not a single Terry Pratchett2 or Neil Gaiman novel to be found in the entire sorry establishment. Why, I was so desperate that I nearly bought Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist and Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie (which I ultimately returned to the shelf after Shaki laughed at me).

After a fair bit of rummaging, I managed to uncover Stephen King's Cell (which I've contemplated on many occasions to purchase but never did till now) and P. G. Wodehouse's Imperial Blandings, an omnibus of three shorter novels (Full Moon, Pigs Have Wings and Service with a Smile). I've always been meaning to start checking out Wodehouse's work ever since I found out that my favourite TV actor, Hugh Laurie, once acted in a series called Jeeves and Wooster based on Wodehouse's Jeeves stories. There you go; an insight into my methodology of choosing which book to buy.

If you don't already know, P. G. Wodehouse is one of the (if not 'The') most popular English comic writer in literary history. He lived between 1881 and 1975 - so yeah, he's dead.

My latest attempt at remedying my woeful lack of fashion sense.

I'm at an age when I consider schoolbags to be too childish for me, and that I should be carrying around something more appropriate for my age. I'm coming of age in less than 2 weeks. I will be able to vote for the next idiot we put in parliament, steal candy from my sister and tell her that it's for her own health, and pull faces at my father if he tells me not too stay out too late.

I digressed. The bag cost me 750 rupees, by the way (which is about RM 64) and I got this nifty guarantee card that says I can get any part of the bag replaced or repaired within a period of one year.

I'm amazingly gifted in spoiling things. I'll see what I can do.

The place where every Chinese Manipal student on a trip to Mangalore invariably ends up.

For dinner, we headed to this famous Chinese restaurant in Mangalore called Hao Ming which was openned by a genuine Chinese bloke. I asked myself; why would a Chinese guy come all the way down from China (or whatever oriental country he originally migrated from) to run an eatery in a small, out-of-the-way city in the middle of India?

That question ranked up there in the list of Life's Greatest Mysteries of the Universe along with how-the-heck-they-made-Jessica-Alba-look-ugly-in-the-Fantastic-Four-flick.

Fun with Engrish.

I saw the sign above in the stairwell leading up to Hao Ming. Now that's something I'd definitely sign up for. A guy needs all the help he can get in trying to understand women, I can tell you that.

Indian letterings on a Chinese restaurant's signboard. Now that's novelty!

The China indoors.

I've been here last year with my ex-girlfriend but it wasn't nearly as crowded as it was last Saturday. Who would have thought that Chinese food would be such a hit with the locals?

We ended up eating with the rest of the Angel's Court Apartments gang (Fu Yew, Yu Wei, etc). They did the ordering and I did the eating. I figured that it wouldn't matter since I've only tried about three dishes in that place before.

Shark Fin Soup? Riiight...

Sometime back, I swore off Shark Fin Soup because;
  1. It's inhumane the way the fishers slice the fins off sharks and then dump them back into the ocean. Yada yada, and all that save our wildlife jazz and orchestra.
  2. It's not like shark fins have any flavour anyway. Plus, they always reminded me of strips of rubber or plastic. I mean, what's the point of eating something that tastes like crap? Sheesh.
But somehow, when they were ordering the stuff, I wasn't paying attention and said "yes" when they asked me whether I wanted a bowl or not. So I was compelled to finish it (and pay for it as well, ouch!). However, I didn't feel any guilt whatsoever for participating in this cruel and ritualistic tradition of feasting on these magnificent man-eating beasts of my kinsmen. No remorse. Uh uh.

That's because there wasn't any bits of these 'magnificent man-eating beasts' in my soup! It tasted more like Chawanmushi3 actually and had the consistency of of something someone vomited. No shark fin. Nothing. What a sham.

I'd take pictures of all the other dishes too but I don't like doing that when I have company. They would think that it's a pretty ridiculous habit - the same way I did, before I started writing in this weblog. It used to really irk me too when people whip out their fancy digital cameras and start to document every mundane detail of everything that can possibly be captured in digital technicolor so they can put them up in their blogs or Friendster page.

Ah darn, I can't breath. Too much irony sitting on my back and crushing my lungs.

Anyway, dinner was concluded two hours later and we headed to the bus station to catch a ride back to Manipal. I've already described it in all its tedious, minutiae-choked glory HERE.

So long, good day and thanks for reading. Ciao.

P.S. I might have to repeat that unspeakable journey in the Bus of Terror this coming weekend if I decide to catch the Transformers flick with Shaki. Ugh.

Hates travelling with a passion,
k0k s3n w4i

1 Except one; Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. I'm trudging ve-ry slowly through it.
2 I've acquired a taste for his books after reading his Tiffany Aching/Wee Free Men children novels and Going Postal (which wasn't nearly as bad as I initially thought it was).
3 Japanese egg custard.


gaL said...

wei u... i damn feel like having one hot bowl of chawanmushi now. WOuld u mind making one for me since that u've mention it and i'm pretty sleepy to drive away to get one? ^^

ps: i'm very amazed now by the number of novels/books u've read. Shy on me.

sXydeViL said...

go check out Hao hao next time u go there.

Innocent^^Guy said...

hey, nice bag! I like it..but I reckon it will look better if the sling isn't this type. I prefer a thicker and broader material for the sling.

michelleg said...

yea, agree with innocent guy. haha. but it's quite cheap if the quality is of the good kind.

was fantastic 4 that bad? haha. it was alright for me, not excellent but average. so diehard 4 was good? will catch it this week.

think im gonna watch oceans 13 tmr.. :P

Elaynne said...

MUST watch tRANSFORMERSSS...no matter how terror the bus ride is... its worth it.. yup!

And how come the restaurant so dark one.. hehehe

k0k s3n w4i said...

if i am capable of making any chawanmushi now, be assured that you will not get any. I'd rather eat them myself. you have no idea how terribly lucky you are to be able to drive out and get any food you want anytime.
p.s. not reading that much is nothing to be ashamed of. only people with no life read that much.

i heard Hao Hao's food not as nice as Hao Ming's wor. You sure wan or not?

@shi han
it's pretty tough for me to even find this one. can't be picky there (tho' i'd prefer a coarser strap too). there's actually another one that's much better looking, with a lot of cool metal bits - but it's more than twice the price.

I don't know about quality, but it looks pretty cool. plus, if it got torn or anything, I can always exchange it for a new one.

it depends whether it would open in the cineplex at Mangalore. they were known to delay screening of big blockbusters from Hollywood in favour of some Bollywood flick.
I don't like to use the flash when I have company. attract attention only.