Pure Randomness!

Pure Randomness!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In a Sunburned Country

I liked the book 'A short history of nearly everything' and liked the author's style. So when I asked for recommendations on any other books of his, my friend suggested 'In a Sunburned Country', a travelogue on Australia. I didn't waste any time in ordering it and got the book in 3-4 days time (thanks to Flipkart). This is the book through which I fell in love with Bill Bryson and his humour.
Of all the types of humour, I like the self-deprecating type. Bryson scores there, hands down. Here is an excerpt about his jet-lagged self falling asleep on a trip to see the city of Sydney.
"I am not, I regret to say, a discreet and fetching sleeper. Most people when they nod off look as if they need a blanket; I look as if I could do with medical attention. I sleep as if injected with a powerful experimental muscle relaxant. My legs fall open in a grotesque come-hither manner; my knuckles brush the floor. Whatever is inside - tongue, uvula, moist bubbles of intestinal air - decides to leak out. From time to time, like one of those nodding duck toys, my head tips forward to empty a quart or so of viscous drool onto my lap, then falls back to begin loading again with a noise like a toilet cistern filling. And I snore, hugely and helplessly, like a cartoon character, with rubbery flapping lips and prolonged steam-valve exhalations. For long periods I grow unnaturally still, in a way that inclines onlookers to exchange glances and lean forward in concern, then dramatically I stiffen and, after a tantalizing pause, begin to bounce and jostle in a series of whole-body spasms of the sort that bring to mind an electric chair when the switch is thrown. Then I shriek once or twice in a piercing and effeminate manner and wake up to find that all motion within five hundred feet has stopped and all children under eight are clutching their mothers' hems. It is a terrible burden to bear."
I haven't laughed rolling on the floor reading a book for a long time. With this book, once I started I couldn't stop. So when my neighbour called up and menacingly told "satham podathe" (don't make noise), I really thought I was laughing too loud. Only after a few seconds it occurred to me that she was telling the name of the movie which we were planning to watch the next day.
The conversation which followed after the author was asked to take photograph while looking at a 56 feet giant lobster perched at the side of a highway:
'You can tell people it's an engagement photo,' I suggested.

He liked the idea. 'Yeah!' he said keenly. 'Meet the fiancee. She's not much for looks or conversation, but jeez can she scuttle!'

'At Wauchop there's a Big Bull,' he added.

I raised my eyebrows in a way that said: 'Oh yes?'

He nodded fondly. 'It's testicles swing in the breeze.'

'It has testicles?' I said, impressed.

'I'll say. If they fell on you, you wouldn't get up in a hurry.'

We took an extended moment to savor this image. 'It would make an interesting insurance claim, I suppose,' I observed at last.

'Yeah!' He liked this idea, too. "Or a newspaper headline: "Man crushed by falling bollocks".'

'"By falling bullocks' bollocks",' I offered.
I can keep writing more from the book, but then that's not the idea. So go ahead, get it. It is worth having in your library. Or call me up and come over and you can borrow my copy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The best pizza ever!

So Naples is off our list of places to visit after some deliberation. We read in various reviews that the place is still filthy and the garbage problem is still not taken care of. But fate would have it that we land up in Naples for our connecting train to Sorrento on a day of strike and we were stranded there for a few hours. So we decided to make use of the time as effectively as possible. 
After dumping the luggage in lockers we decided to go in search of pizza. Our guidebook suggested Pizzeria Sorbillo Antonio E Gigi as the top one. We decided we didn't want anything lesser than the top one. We found the place in the map and started walking. It was a pretty long walk from the railway station and after asking 18 people for the way, we ended up in front of the place. We were tired after the long walk. The place was densely packed, with a lot of youngsters making merry over pizza and beer. 
Live band inside Gigi Sorbillo
Eating out with 2 vegetarians and one pseudo non-vegetarian is painful. I decided to order a pepperoni pizza. That means I have to eat the whole pizza. Once we started eating I realised, the whole walk, the wait and the ordering of the whole pizza was indeed worth it. I not only enjoyed the pizza (look at the size of it), I enjoyed even the last bite, though I knew I was eating more than double the amount of food I usually eat. I told my friends that it was the best pizza I have ever eaten in my life and I had to tell this to the chef. So while walking out we watched the handsome duo in action. One stretched the dough, made the base, filled the sauce, toppings and cheese. The other moved each of the prepared pizza into the wood oven and out of it. They posed for us and with us and I also told them that it is the best ever pizza I have had in my life. I could not have been the first one to tell them that, but that made them happy still. 

I did the walk back to the railway station in a dream and promised myself that I am going to come back to Naples to eat pizza again. So if you ever end up in Naples you know what to do. We indeed saw garbage piled up sky high on the streets of Naples. But when you can eat the best pizza ever in the world, you forgive and forget.
Here is the address:
Antonio e Gigi Sorbillo
Via Tribunal, 38 Napoli,
80138 Italy

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions those were not meant to be!

It is another new year. Another resolution time. Long time back I have taken the mother of all resolutions that I will never make any new year resolutions. It had made life so much easier. But this year suddenly I felt like breaking the old resolution and making some new resolutions. What do I want to change! Hm, good question. Let me think.
1. Refurbish the house. I moved into my new house in 2003 December. May be it is time I furnish it properly, put up proper drapes, make the under the staircase aquarium. Phew! That indeed sounds like a lot of work. Let that wait.

2. I used to read a lot of books earlier. But it has fallen over the last couple of years. May be it is time I made sure I read at least 15 pages every day. That way I might finish all the books I have bought and kept in the next 4 to 5 years. Too much work? May be not. What if I ended up travelling again, can't commit. Let that wait too.

3. Too long since some wax has seen my legs and a thread has seen my eyebrows. My friends with whom I have traveled Europe have told me after seeing my hairy arms that, it is sacrilegious to being a woman to have hair on arms. Oops, I really didn't know that. May be I should start waxing my arms too. Ooh, that really sounds like too much work again.

4. Half my garden is empty. May be I should fill it up with some really beautiful flower plants. Ooh, too much work.

5. I should finish up the half finished painting, the half finished bead and thread works. Now you sort of get the point. Too much work.

6. Stay away from the laptop after reaching home. Really? Should I?

7. Exercise. It seems, this is the second most popular new year resolution. I am surprised, I thought this would be the most popular. Anyway, after my badminton partners have started showing "attitude", I have stopped playing regularly. It is not that I am bad, I do beat them once in a while, but then they are, you know, "men". There went the only exercise I could do without feeling I am exercising. Finding another one, again looks like TMW indeed.

8. Have a baby? TMW.
9. Start the school. TMW.
10. Dulce Cuppy Cakes? TMW.

I think, the lazy bum I am, is better off really just continuing how it is now. The mother of all resolutions will stay. May be let me go through 2012 like this itself and if the world doesn't end on December 21st, I will think up a list for 2013.
I always say "When the pain of not changing exceeds the pain of changing (read TMW), you will automatically change".