Tuesday, April 29, 2003


Today is a full day of travelling. From Amsterdam -> Brussels -> London -> Toronto. Full 26 hours en-route, in-transit. Why am I going home so early, you ask? To surprise Evelyn :) She thought I was going to Italy, when in fact I have changed my flight so that I could see her a few days earlier. HEHEHE.. hope it works out!

Monday, April 28, 2003

Amsterdam Day 3 - Daytrip to Utrecht

Took the early train to Utrecht to meet with Tzeo-Inn. This whole trip is draining me out massively. Utrecht feels like Waterloo, just a small town in the middle of no where. :) Apparently it's a really big city, but I suppose all European cities look like this when they are not the big metropolitans like London or Paris. Tzeo-Inn and I went to have Chinese dim-sum for lunch. (funny how I eat so much Chinese food while in the Netherlands, I guess they really don't have a national food). The food was excellent! Haven't had such good food since leaving London.

Speaking of food, they have these vending machines here that sells hot food. Burgers, fries, this fried-pastry-type-thing they eat. Hot food and vending machine just doesn't go. I think the store is called Fabu or something like that. Ugh.

After lunch Tzeo-Inn took me around town to see where she works, and nearby her work there was a windmill! A real one! I quickly took the opportunity and snapped some pictures with it. I was so excited to see one. To this day, I don't think any of you have any clue why I am so excited to see windmills. Ahh.. long story. Maybe I'll elaborate when I have a little more time.

Tzeo-Inn actually lives in a town about an hour away from Utrecht (yes, she commutes an hour everyday to go to work). Her parents invited me for dinner and I gladly accepted, seeing I haven't had a nice home-cooked meal in four months (possibly more). Her town is REALLY small - we biked around the town centre, visited the local windmills (YAY!), and even stopped by the town hall and the castle that *was* the town a few hundred years ago. It is exactly how I envisioned Europe to be, small roads, everybody knows each other, it was SO cool. There was even a water pump that supplies the locals with drinking water! :) Tzeo-Inn's father drove me around, showing me different houses and how people live in the country. One thing about the Neterlands is - FLAT. I could see miles and miles and beyond. It's so crazy! We also took this boat for cars.. sorta like the ones in HK, where you park your car on a boat that carries you across the river. Dinner was tres fab. :)

After returning to Amsterdam, I prompted went to bed.. as tomorrow will be a full day of travelling.. LITERALLY.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Amsterdam Day 2

Since I have decided to visit Tzeo-Inn's town on my last day in the Netherlands, I only have one more day to spend in Amsterdam. To start the day off, I visited the Heinekin Experience - where the Heinekin Brewery used to stand. Although no beer is actually made in the brewery (since it's now a tourist attraction), plenty of beer is served through three 'bars' throughout the tour. There was an opportunity to buy tons of Heinekin merchandise, but I had to resist the temptation to bring home lots of stuff because my backpack is approaching the critical mass of explosion. At the end of the tour we even get a really nice glass.. Definitely worth the price of admission! :)

After getting all tipsy at 10am in the morning, I met up with Tzeo-Inn and visited Anne Frank's House. Even though it was raining, the line-up extended past the front of the building towards the side. It was the original house when Anne Frank and her family hid for two years during the Nazi occupancy of Holland. The bookcase, where the secret entrance was hid behind, was there in plain sight. It felt so chilling to walk through the house, to their living areas, and even the bathroom and the original posters that Anne had put up on the wall herself. By the end of the tour, I was almost crying from listening to the excerpts from the diary and all the videos of people that knew the family. I think it's time I re-read Diaries of Anne Frank...

Right outside of Anne Frank's House is the Homomonument. Literally, it is to remember all those who have been prosecuted and mistreated due to their sexual orientation. It was three triangles, formed in a.. triangle, on the ground.

Despite the rain, Tzeo-Inn and I decided to visit the Museumplein, where the museums are centralized in Amsterdam. Riksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum were on the list that I really wanted to visit. The admission fee to Riksmuseum was outrageous, and since the only things I really wanted to see was Nightwatch and The Milk Maid, I passed on the opportunity and visited the Van Gogh Museum instead. Seems like people in the Netherlands don't mind the rain, as we had to wait in the rain for a little over an hour just to get in. Just goes to show that Van Gogh is still regarded as one of the greatest painters. Three floors of paintings, sculptures, and other art forms that Van Gogh attempted throughout his life is displayed here. The famous Sunflower, is one of the more prominent pieces that attracts thousands of visitors every year.

We stopped by the Van Gogh Cafe (no relation to the museum) as we wandering around, and they hung several replicas of Van Gogh's paintings on the wall. Mmm.. it felt like I was a cafe in Paris, sipping my latte and chatting with an old friend. :) We ended up walking around Leidesplein, an area filled with nightlife and dance clubs in Amsterdam. Even at 5pm, the place is already buzzing with people. We stopped at Wagamama (yes, there is one in Amsterdam), had some udon and dumplings, before walking back to the Centraal Station.

Near the Centraal Station there is a Sex Museum - literally. All things about sex is there. From sculptures in ancient times depicting sexual acts, to the modern day pornography, it's all there. They even have a giant penis for tourists to take a picture of (I got Tzeo-Inn to take one with the penis, hehe). It was an interesting experience, as I had NO IDEA that even in ancient Roman times, pornography was already so.. explicit! :)

Tomorrow I will be leaving Amsterdam for Utrecht for a day trip. Should be fun. I can't wait to see windmills!

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Amsterdam Day 1

To maximize my day, I took off from the Brussels-Midi station at 8:00am on the Thalys to Amsterdam. The train is really comfortable - almost comparable to the Eurostar. Paying the extra little bit is worth the comfort. It took a little less than three hours to arrive at the Centraal Station. The station was a very busy place - bustling with passengers and commuters to different parts of the Netherlands.

The first thing I had to do, of course, is to locate my hotel and drop off the backpack. It wasn't very far at all! It took me about fifteen minutes to walk from the station to the hotel. They are not lying when they say the stairs are STEEP - I looked up and it seemed like it was 30 floors up. The story is, residents had to pay property taxes based on the width of the lot - so they built their houses as narrow as possible, resulting in long steep staircases.

I eagerly ventured to Dam Square, the most famous meeting spot (and people-watching spot) in Amsterdam. There, it stood their national monument which is phallic shaped. Not surprising. In fact, a lot of things in Amsterdam is phallic shaped. Hmmm..

What trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to the red light district?! It was still in the afternoon, so I didn't expect to see too much. How wrong I was. There I was, strolling along the canal, when I noticed the streets that are lined with windows with doors. Inside those doors, women are dancing and 'strutting their stuff' in skimpy clothing. Nothing could have prepared me for this. Sure, we have all heard stories about how Amsterdam is famous for this, but it's one thing hearing about it. Experiencing it firsthand is definitely a shocker. It is such a contrast to the calm and peaceful canal that surrounds the streets.

Strolled along the main streets and the shopping area for a little longer, and Tzeo-Inn called me to let me know that she's on her way. She's a friend I met from the 'Baby Boat' trip a couple of years back. Of course, I wouldn't miss this opportunity to visit her and reminisce the good times we had in Taiwan. We went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner (of all places in Amsterdam), and it was surprisingly good. From what she told me, the Chinese population in the Netherlands is larger than I thought. Although it's nothing compared to major cities like Toronto or New York, the influence of the Chinese community is still significant.

After dinner, Tzeo-Inn took me to walk around Remebrantplein, the central clubbing/coffeeshop district. She said that although there are tons of coffeeshops around the red light district, they are geared more towards tourists. It is here where you will find the 'good stuff', if you catch my drift. :) It was only 8ish and the area pulses with action. We visited a Bruin cafe, which the name suggests that it's quite brown inside. The name is coined from the fact that tobacco smoke stained the wood and ceiling over the years, and now they are permanently brown. We had a couple of drinks before walking around to explore more of the area.

It was getting rather late, and we were planning to meet up early the next day. So she took the train to Utrecht where she's staying with a friend, and I returned to the hotel to write this up. :)

Friday, April 25, 2003

Brussels Day 2

Second and last day in Brussels before heading to the Netherlands. Early in the morning, I checked out of the hotel (oh yeah, I could only book the place for one night), headed back to the Tourist Information Centre, and found myself another place to stay for the night. It was a little further, but at least I don't have to sleep in the train station. Walked through Grand Place again, and found the place has a special charm in the early morning. The glittering gold on top of buildings gives the square an aura that is not explained in words. It seem to glow and light up the entire square.

Took the transit and visited the Atomium and the EU buildings. The atomium is an iron crystal structure model blown up, and built as the centerpiece of the World's Fair that was held in Brussels one year. Being a big science geek (yes, yes), I was very amazed how closely they calculated the angle between each iron atom. Not far from the Atomium is the HQ of the European Union. Brussels, being the capital of EU, has numerous buildings that acts as the central government. I swear they must have spent all their money on building their nice shiny metal buildings! It was very glamorous.. no wonder the EU is suffering an economic crisis. :P

Walked around the city a little more, had more waffles (this time with ice-cream.. mmm), and went to taste the beer at the Beer Temple. (I have a picture) Of course, another famous product from Belgium is their chocolate. I bought boxes and boxes to share with friends when I return home. (Evelyn got a HUGE box of handpicked ones, I had to taste each one before buying, oh the pain, oh the horror) The beer, of course, was as good as ever. Belgium beer *IS* different. Now this is something I didn't mind spending hours trying. I was literally in the Beer Temple for hours. Looking and trying out different kinds of beer, from lagers to ale, from dark to light, heavily-bodied to light-bodied.. everything! Are you jealous yet? :P

Headed back to the hotel to relax a bit before a night in the town, and met these few girls that were in town for a field trip. They were originally from the US, and went on exchange in Italy to study the EU and government policies. I guess they are all Political Science majors? Anyway, they seemed to be in high spirits, reading Cosmopolitan and Glamour. We chatted until they had to leave for their evening seminar. Luckily I'm not them :)

Went back to the Grand Place area for dinner, ended up wandering into an Italian restaurant and had some amazing pasta. Of course I tried out another kind of beer, and some amazing chocolate waffle. Mmm.. makes me salivate just thinking about it! Spent the entire night talking with the concierge that worked at the hotel I stayed at. He and I shared some pretty similar views on the whole war issue, people in the US in general, and girls. HAHAHA. He treated me to a coke and an espresso.. and offered me several bottles of Evian water (which costs 3 euros) throughout the night when we chatted. He was a really nice guy - too bad I didn't get his contact detail. He said the next time I go back to Brussels, he'll take me around town. :) I'll hold him to that.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Brussels Day 1

This is the beginning of my last trip before returning home. Since my Eurostar to Brussels departs at noon, I had the morning to run some errands. After putting my suitcase in the storage, saying goodbye to my housemate, I headed off to Waterloo station for one last time. The train ride to Brussels was quite short compared with my recent trip to Scotland, as it was only three hours long. Had a bit to drink on the train (they were serving, I am not going to decline that), and arrived at the Brussel-Midi station near 4:30pm.

Task 1 : Find a place to stay. Yes, once again, yours truly did not arrange for a place to stay. Brussels, I thought, shouldn't be a big tourist spot in Europe and thus, shouldn't give me too much trouble. I was wrong. A trip to the Tourist Information Centre was all I needed to secure one night's stay.

After unloading my backpack, I embarked on my quest to find the peeing kid statue. Tracing my way back from the hotel, I wandered into the Grand Place - a huge square surrounded by beautifully built 'guild halls'. These guild halls were (and some are still) owned by merchants that traded on the square, and this is where their offices are. Some of which have been converted into museums, other still remains a place of business. The square is filled with people, especially at 6pm. Many street-artists are asking tourists to get their pictures drawn, others are selling flowers. It was very dynamic and yet, the square felt so grand.

Following the signs from Grand Place, after twirling around many streets (who designed the streets in Europe!?), I found the peeing kid statue. Manekin Pis, one of the most giggled-at sight in Brussels. It is a sculpture of a little boy relieving himself into a pool of water. Legend has it that this statue is to commemorate a little boy who saved the king by defusing the bomb, you know, doing what he's doing perpetually now. Although there is no historical evidence that it did happen, it is a nice story to tell people. The store near Manekin Pis has a 'Evlis' Manekin Pis in the window, twirling on a platform. It was quite a funny sight.

Further along I discovered yet another internet cafe (and hence I'm posting this), and several other shops and restaurants. Being in Belgium, the first thing I had to eat was - WAFFLES! Fresh off the street, I ordered one and bit into it.. mmmmm.. it was SO good. I can never have another waffle back home. Belgium Waffles at home just cannot compare! :)

The rest of the night is rather uneventful, as I returned to the hotel early to ready myself for one full day of excursion tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Final Day in London

Waking up at 8:00am is hardly unusual now, given the way I have been traveling. Running errands suck, a lot. It doesn't help when everywhere I went, there were millions of obstacles. For example, I wanted to close my bank account today - the entire computer system at the bank was down for the whole day. I went to pick up my dry clean, they hung all my shirts on hangers instead of folding them. Huh? I asked for them to be folded so I could just put them in my suitcase. I didn't pay them to make me do the work of folding!

I spent a good chunk of the day just wrapping things up in London, since I won't have another day to spare between my excursion and my flight home. It's been an interesting four months - I will not forget London. Oh yes, I do intend to return sometime in the future, whether it be a vacation or a short-term job placement.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Returning from Scotland

Today is pretty much a en-route day, since I left the B&B as soon as breakfast was over. This breakfast was pretty sad compared to the one in Edinburgh, but I didn't expect too much from the way my room looked. After roaming Glasgow a little longer, I decided to visit the famous Willow Tea Room. It was designed by the famous Scottish designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. He is a really famous interior designer with some rather interesting ideas. His most famous Mackintosh Chair is seen everywhere in Glasgow. At the Willow Tea Room, I had the High Tea. It is literally a meal, complete with sandwiches, pastries, scone with cream and jam, a slice of cake, and of course, tea. It comes in this tower of plates, held up by a metal frame. I barely finished all the food on there!

On my way back from Edinburgh to Glasgow I met these three young people on the train. Two of them are supposedly engaged (or so I gather from their conversation). It was quite entertaining indeed, listening to their conversation. At least it alleviated the boredom from the eight hours I had to endure on the train. They were reading OK! and New Women, listening to Justin Timberlake, chatting about sex and what not. Seems like some things are common around the world. :P

Monday, April 21, 2003

Glasgow Day 1

After another fabulous breakfast at the B&B, I reluctantly packed up my belongings and checked out. I was starting to get really comfortable staying at this B&B that I didn't want to leave. I headed for the train station again, and bought a return ticket to Glasgow. I suppose it was still early in the morning (if I recall correctly it was only 9:30am) so there were not a lot of people on the train. The train ride was very short, only about fifty minutes or so. The train arrived at the Glasgow Queen Street Station, and I started to walk towards the two-star hotel I had booked.

Glasgow is literally a steep hill towards the north, with streets designed in a neatly grid-shaped pattern. On my way to the hotel, I walked past many interesting architecture and buildings, including the Royal Academy of Arts. The hotel was not as nice as the B&B I stayed at the nights before. What can I expect when I found everything last minute? The city itself is actually quite small - the interesting parts that is. There is a relatively large section of pedestrian-only road, lined with shops and shopping arcades. Buchannan Street houses one of the fanciest mall I have ever seen - Princes Square Centre. It comes complete with a variety of shops that I cannot afford to even walk in.

The architecture of Glasgow is very different from Edinburgh, in that the buildings all look individually designed and none of which looks like the typical 'North American' building. Everything is sculpted! In the earlier part of its life, Glasgow was an industrial city and thus, the buildings were all covered in dust and dirt. They initiated a project to clean up all the buildings, but left one just to show the contrast - and contrast it is. I have a picture of a building that is covered in black. Ugh.

In the evening I met up with Vincent for dinner - it had been quite a while since I saw him. Seemed like nothing has changed, except we both aged.. and matured a little. We had a bit to eat, then chatted for a good portion of the night. Too bad he has a surgical exam coming up, so he dropped me off at the B&B and went home to study.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Edinburgh Day 2

Shower noises from next door woke me up. Who showers at 6am in the morning when they are on vacation!? Luckily breakfast was served at 7:30am, so I would have gotten up in a little bit anyway. I thought breakfast was going to be the usual hotel ordeal - continental, with the usual cold cereal, milk, juice, croissants, etc. Sure enough, these were all there. I sat down at the table next to a man and his daughter (I presume), and began eating my bowl of cereal. The host shows up, ask if I want coffee or tea. "Tea please," I quickly said. Then he proceeded to bring me more than just tea - a full English breakfast was served as well: Bacon, egg, hash brown, sausage, and toast! That certainly caught me by surprise. Also talked with father-daughter pair and found out they were from Australia. Coolio. The man is en-route to a conference in Dublin, and decided to take a vacation while on this side of the world. I think he's a PhD candidate for Information Communication Systems.

After a very filling breakfast, it's time to explore Edinburgh to the fullest. First stop was the Royal Scottish Museum - as Evelyn requested. She wanted a picture of Dolly, the first cloned sheep. Surely there were enough signs pointing to her - all stuffed up and standing in a glass case. There were also a lot of children around, asking their parents why there is a sheep in the glass case. Imagine explaining DNA to kids! Luckily there were exhibits set up to simplify the explanation, thanks to the students at University of Edinburgh. I also saw the Millennium Clock, which consists of some weird looking figurines chiming every hour.

The next stop is Edinburgh Castle, probably the most well-known tourist attraction here. Obviously there were several long queues in front of the ticket offices. After half an hour under the sun, I finally paid a huge amount to enter the castle. It was really amazing, since this castle looks more 'used' than the one in Windsor. You could see the battered towers, cannons placed at strategic locations, and even ruins of previously destroyed structures. The most amazing view was the crown jewels (Evelyn would have loved it), unfortunately I couldn't take any pictures inside.

I could have spent another hour at the castle, but I figured that two hours was quite enough. There are still many sights to see! As I was leaving the castle, I walked into a kilt shop - was very tempted to get one for myself. :P It would have been really cool to wear (with shorts underneath, of course). Or I could have gotten myself a cashmere blanket. However, looking at the state of my backpack I decided against it. It was bursting at the seams with my own clothing, I don't need to break my backpack in the middle of my trip!

What trip to Scotland is complete without some Scotch Whiskey? I went for the big tourist trap, the Scotch Whiskey Experience, since they served plenty of whiskey and I wasn't going to decline them of that. Met two girls on the tour, one of them is studying in Ireland and the other was just visiting. The whiskey experience was nothing but a blur, but I did get plenty to drink. I also bought some whiskey for my own enjoyment. (ended up giving that to my brother since he enjoys drinking more than I do)

The girls I met (Dee and Lynsey) had not been down the Royal Mile yet, so we decided to walk the entire mile ourselves. The Royal Mile stretches from the Edinburgh Castle to the Hollyrood Palace, and it's approximately one mile in length (hence the name). It lines with many shops, and 'kirks' - the Scottish church. There is a heart-shaped rock embedded on the sidewalk, and the locals that walk by all spit on it. Apparently legend has it that if you spit on the heart-shaped rock, you cannot be hung in the square next to it. I did my own share of spitting - hey, it's better to believe it than to be hung. :P

We also walked by the cemetery that Adam Smith was buried, the house of John Knox, and the Childhood Museum. Took us the whole afternoon to walk down the entire Royal Mile, by the end of the day we were exhausted. The girls headed back to their hostel, and I returned to my B&B to freshen up. We met up for dinner later, and we went clubbing that night. It is true when they say that Edinburgh has the highest pub-to-person ratio - there's one around every corner. We settled at The Three Sisters, a very typical British pub/bar/dance club.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Edinburgh Day 1

Thankfully Evelyn called and woke me up at 5:00am to catch my train. Unfortunately, due to my lack of foresight last night, I ended up getting two hours of sleep after visiting the toilet several times throughout the night. Left the house at 6:00am and arrived at King's Cross Station with ten minutes to spare. Whew. Hopped on the GNER train to Edinburgh, and noticed how much nicer it is compared to the local southern England trains. I suppose this is the difference of paying almost �90 for a return ticket.

The ride to Edinburgh was rather noisy, as the kid behind me just WOULDN'T SHUT UP! He kept crying and screaming and trying to talk. Give it up, you're not talking for another four months. I can almost vaguely hear Evelyn say, "Now don't be so harsh, the baby is probably going through the phase where.. " and she would go on for ten minutes explaining why the baby is acting up on the train. Hehe. I just wanted the baby to sleep so I COULD!

Upon arrival at Edinburgh Waverly station, I dashed to the Tourist Information Centre hoping that I could find a place to sleep. Seems like the only vacancies available are in hotels or B&Bs that are on the outskirts of the city. I quickly snatched up a room for two nights about half an hour away from the city centre, and headed there to drop off my backpack. It turned out to be a lovely home, and the atmosphere is most comfortable. My room was a single room, with a shower stall and a wash basin inside. It was quite decent.. almost like a hotel!

I wandered around the city centre but it was getting rather late, so I bought a ticket to the hop-on hop-off tour buses. These buses runs across the city to various tourist sights, and you can get off to look around if you like. Once you are done with that particular area, you can hop back on the next bus and continue your journey. Saves me the time and effort to walk. (ha, I'm just lazy) The first time around I just sat on the bus and looked at all the buildings and sights the bus takes me to. I made note of the ones I'd like to explore a little more, and took a lot of pictures along the way. After one round (which was about 1.25 hours) it was getting rather late, so I had a quick dinner and then headed back to the B&B for a nice comfortable rest.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Final Day!

All good things must come to an end! Today is the last day of my internship, and my boss decided to take me and the other intern out for lunch. Little did we know it was a lunch that will prove to be very memorable. We ate at Ubon by Nobu - yes, for those who have been reading my journal, it's the same Japanese restaurant that the brokers bought the entire desk sushi from. So I have heard stories about how expensive this place is, but it is a whole different story to actually experience it.

We racked up a �210 (that is $500CDN) bill between the three of us. What on earth did we eat, you ask. Two appetizer dish, yellowtail and beef sashimi. Then two cut rolls of salmon and California roll. Plus three pieces of scallop sashimi, and three pieces of tuna sashimi. The main course was black cod (which may I add, was the best tasting fish I have EVER had, no exaggeration there!), and chicken teriyaki. For dessert we had a chocolate bento box, which is a chocolate pudding with hot chocolate sauce inside, with a scoop of green tea ice cream. Okay we also had a glass of champagne each before the food. That's it. Now that was expensive but leaves me hanging for more. One of these days when I have the money, I will definitely return for more delicious Japanese food.

After work we were invited by my other boss (Jeff) for a drink. It was such a warm day! The sun was shining and the dockside was filled with bankers, celebrating the long weekend to come. It must be fun to work here in the summer! People standing by the pier, drinking and having a good time. Some other co-workers joined us to celebrate a work term well done. (or they could be celebrating that we're leaving.. mm.. come to think of it, it's probably the latter not the former)

My housemate and I decided to end the term with a well-deserved dinner at Chili's (seems like the day revolves around eating and drinking). Of course that turned out to be a bad idea, as I think I ate a little too much and threw up the whole night. Ugh.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Counting Down..

This will be the last week of my official internship period in this company. It's been great - despite the stereotypical jobs of an intern (you know, the food serving and photocopying I had to do), it has been a very rewarding experience. Having worked in this kind of environment made me realize how much there is out there that I don't know. At the same time, I should not take my knowledge for granted either. Surprisingly, a lot of what I had learned in school was useful in many situations during the past four months. Plus I got to see a lot more of the world - which is the biggest perk of the whole deal.

How I wish I could take the next four months off to really travel Europe..

Sunday, April 13, 2003

We Love the Iraqi Information Minister!

Hahaha.. I saw this on Wednesday and totally forgot to share it with you.. :)


Another quiet weekend

Decided to take another weekend off for myself. Also the fact that as my term comes to an end, this work report is looming over my shoulders. Went to the office today to research on a topic suitable to write, and then went home to cook. Made some pasta tonight with meat I bought at Waitrose. It's funny how they sell meat here. I'll post a picture soon, but they are all pre-packaged. Also bought some white chocolate cheesecake for dessert.. mmm.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Busy Week

Haven't updated my blog for a week, and this time I am not joking when I say that I am swamped with work. A trader went on holiday for the week and guess who got to trade this week? ME! Although I made my fair share of mistakes (confusing buying and selling is NOT funny), and almost lost the bank over 40,000 EUR, I learned so much more about the business this week compared to the whole term. Hands-on experience, ladies and gents, is definitely worthwhile.

So here is a summary of 'experiences' I had during the course of the week:
- Instead of 'selling' to hedge the risk of a 10 million bond I just bought, I pressed the button and 'bought' a whole lot of future options. Reminder: Do not press the wrong button. Luckily I sold all of them at the same price I bought them.. whew.
- Sold 15 million of a bond that I didn't even hear the name of. The sales person came over the speakerbus and asked for a price. Of course, I was a little slow on looking for the bond on the screen so my boss helped me. Afterwards the deal was done, and my boss asked what bond I sold. Uhh.. I hate these accents. Combine that with static over the speaker spells trouble.
- Made some excellent trades where I bought at three cents below the mid-price and sold them right after at two cents above the mid-price. Made the company a good chunk of money. (like 4,500 EUR each trade?)

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Racial Discrimination

Just shows you how deeply rooted this racism is in our society, I found out that some women left a voice message on a Chinese community centre answering machine, saying that Chinese people are like rats and eat like pigs. She continues to blame that Chinese people brought SARS into the country, and that Chinese people are dirty. You could imagine how fuming mad I was after reading such nonsense.

To start off, SARS is not a racial disease. It doesn't matter what the race of the person is if you come into contact with SARS. How ignorant do you have to be to say something like that? Just shows how uneducated and uninformed these people are.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Trip Planning Adventure

To start off, no I do not have SARS. It is merely a stomach flu of some sort. I better not get any cold/flu symptoms when I return to Canada, as they will not allow me into the country because (a) I have the symptoms of SARS and (b) I am Chinese. Great.

It can get very frustrating planning trips, especially when you know that there are millions of things waiting for you to complete before you return home. For example, there is this plague I call the "Work Report" which keeps coming back to haunt me. A new epidemic called "Fourth Year Design Project" had been occupying much of my time lately. This two-pronged attack (been watching the war a little too much now) is certain going to cause some pain. Combined with the "Shock and Awe" effect of 'jetlag', it is simply dangerous grounds that I am stepping on.

The two most important issue to any traveller: transportation and shelter. How to get there and back, and where are you going to pass out after a night of partying. Often times you can satisfy one but not the other. On the rare occasion that you do find both, it takes you fifteen hours to get there and you sleep in a hole. Isn't life grand?

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Still sick..

I'm still stuck at home today - actually, sent home from work by my boss. He very kindly informed me that I "looked like shit" and should go home. Hey, I'm not going to argue with him. :D

Honestly though, I still feel a bit out of it. Stomach hasn't been treating me very well, always turning and causing me much agony. All I could hope for now is to get well soon enough.. I still have to visit many places before I go back to school!

Oh, and I was quite saddened by the death of Leslie Cheung. He was a legendary performer, and I remember growing up with his songs stuck in my head. The first song that I recall learning to sing as a child, was in fact one of his songs. Depression is not to be ignored - just ask Evelyn. She can tell you *ALL* about it. Haha.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

April Fool's Day

No jokes this year, I'm sick and been throwing up everything that I have eaten in the past 24 hours. Very very sick. Will write more later.