Dances Of The Clouds

31st May, 2004 - Monday

Rain has been falling from time to time. Sometimes, lightning and thunder preceded the shower. A constant stream of cooling breeze blows throughout the day. This weather should be a great relief from the discomfort of the hot and humid conditions I have been experiencing for the past few weeks. The lethargy that had dogged me for a good part of those unpleasant weeks has been washed away, only to be replaced by bouts of melancholy.

Last week had not been a productive one. Nothing much was accomplished. When my mind is troubled, insomnia sets in. Many nights of sleep were lost to playing online games right into early mornings. When the surau opposite called the Muslims to their first prayer of the day, that signalled bedtime for me. When I do not get more than ten hours of sleep daily, I would get all prickly and withdrawn. And the cycle continues.

Sunlit hours were whiled away surfing, reading blogs and napping. To some, this may seem like having an easy and relaxed life. I tell you, this is absolute boredom. There are an assortment of chores that needs to be done but I am mentally too lazy to perform any of them. Melancholy is more destructive than it sounds. It saps the body of its physical energy and drains the mind of its optimistic outlook.

Like everyone else, I can be beleaguered by depression and mood swings. Luckily for me, these mood swings appear and leave just as fast. For this current melancholic episode, I spent long hours looking out the window. The view is still as fascinating as it was when I first saw it five years ago. What mesmerized me most were the cloud formations that drifted by. Large fluffy white masses that constantly changed shapes and direction.

Life as clouds must be carefree. They go where the wind takes them. They are yielding. They looked serene bobbing about in the blue sky. Somehow, spending those time observing these little droplets of water in their unsynchronised dance in the heavens lifted my spirits. Problems floated away and were soon forgotten. Daily struggles with my disabilities did not seem that gruelling anymore. Life did not appear that gloomy after all. Cloud watching is therapeutic indeed. I recommend it to anyone who is being encumbered by the drudgery of everyday living. It worked wonders for me. I am sure it will work for you, too.

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Durians Durians Everywhere

20th May, 2004 - Thursday

There is a bumper harvest of durians in Balik Pulau. That translates to good durians that are cheap and delicious. Wuan made a quick trip to Penang yesterday. We went to Balik Pulau this afternoon with Peter for a feast of the thorny kind. Peter took us there via the old windy road from Bayan Lepas to Balik Pulau. All along the way, we could see durian trees with their fruits hanging precariously over the road.

As we turned into Jalan Tun Sardon, we were greeted by makeshift stalls overflowing with durians. I have never seen so many durians before. Everywhere we turned, there were durians, heaps and heaps of them. They were grouped according to size and quality and placed in baskets waiting to be transported by lorries to Perak, Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia. According to Wuan, Jusco in Taman Maluri was selling Balik Pulau durians at RM30 per kilo.

Wuan and I prefer the smaller sized ?old tree? durians. Old tree durians come from some of the older trees in Balik Pulau, if not the oldest, which have smoother textured flesh and gives off the more authentic durian fragrance. Some of these trees are more than one hundred years old and still producing fruits abundantly. The more popular durians now are bud-grafted and their flesh are not as refined.

A good durian must exude a strong aroma that is both pungent and sweet-smelling at the same time. Its flesh must be sticky but not watery. The taste and flavour varies, depending on the tree and locality. It can range from sweet to bitter. Some prefer durians with orangey coloured flesh. We are not that particular as long as its flesh is sticky, its smell pungent and its taste strong. Wuan prefers the bitter tasting durians. I prefer the sweeter ones. We had several varieties that we ate to our hearts? content. That was our lunch. We also bought some mangosteens for dessert later.

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Reggie Lee’s Calendars

18th May, 2004 - Tuesday

These came in the mail on Saturday. Pauline had sent four Reggie Lee calendars that had been personally autographed by the man himself. These were commissioned by Maxis and Carlsberg. Two are for Wuan and the other two for me. Thanks Reggie, and also to Pauline for sending these hilarious calendars.

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