Disillusioned, Disenchanted…

and a little Disgruntled…don’t worry, I’m not ready to go all postal or anything, but let’s say that I’m feeling a bit unsettled.

I suppose I am slightly naïve when it comes to expecting people will do the right thing. And I suppose I’ve been like that my whole life. I expect people not to lie; to say what’s so, and I’m extremely disappointed when I find out that I’ve been lied to. It happens to me time and time again too. I think the part of me that feels dissolutioned, disenchanted and then disgruntled is there’s actually a piece inside me that is hopeful most people aren’t really liars. And when I find out differently – hope withers up and dies; taking that piece of me with it.

And just why is my expectation so unrealistic?

I suppose it should come as no surprise to you that I do not fit what the typical corporate America model looks like: blond/black hair, flip-flops whenever possible, opinionated, porn-writer, oh and I’m a liberal. Suffice to say, I’ve struggled with my new, corporate job since day one. I’ve tried to balance out the institutionalized forum with things like 2+ mile walks to and from work, a view of the Lake, taking pride in liking most of the people I work with, and most recently a trip to Malaysia – a nice perk, wouldn’t you say? When I think about the perfect corporate America model, I wonder what that looks like – and shouldn’t it look a bit more like me? Shouldn’t corporate America be a bit more gentle and honest and much less disappointing? I can’t help it, but I feel badly when people are mistreated. I hate bullies, control freaks and show-off, blow-hards.

I’ve been back to work for one week after my trip to Kuala Lumpur. If you stop on my blog postings, you’d noticed I posted a lot of pictures about food and the fantastic places I saw, along with myriad of different people I met, but what I didn’t really touch on with you is the purpose I was sent down there –

You see my company has been having some productivity issues with our team in Malaysia. I was sent along with my manager and two other people to sort out what the issue or issues are – it didn’t take too long to figure those issues out either – and our assessment was right on, but what I’ve learned upon my return is the company doesn’t necessarily want to know what the real issue is – why? Because doing something about it would expose their lies – and fixing those issues comes with a price that’s too high – so instead, let’s just smoke a mirror everyone, shift things around a bit and make it look like we’ve actually done something about what the real problem is – welcome to corporatefuckingamerica, Neve.

I was devastated after hearing that the company doesn’t have any intention of stripping away the veil and getting down to the raw, meat of what ails it; protecting what is the most valuable of all assets – human capital. And once again, just like that, hope died inside of me today. I felt nauseated and depressed. I know this news may sound trite to some of you, and maybe you’re not surprised at all, after all, what did I expect, right? It’s coporate America. But things like this really bother my sense and sensibilities. It rubs my fur the wrong way and it makes me feel horrible inside. Call me crazy, but I  like to contribute, and make a difference – I was really excited when I discovered the root of evil and was hopeful the company would make a change for the better – to be honest; to do the right thing.

And just why is my expectation so unrealistic?

After a peril of a day today, I didn’t want to pop open a beer, or pour myself a heavy shot of tequila, even the wine is still sitting in its respected bottle on the baker’s rack shelf. Instead, the writer in me wanted to come out. The writer needed to come out. I needed to write this out of my system. I needed to speak the truth here, if not for anyone but for myself.

The reprieve for me is that this job has a time-line attached to it – I won’t be here forever. God I will kill someone if I didn’t have a goal I was trying to achieve, but what happens to all the people that don’t leave? That can’t leave? What’s worse, what about those that don’t think it’s really that bad – and they start to believe the lies? Drink the kool-aid, eat the shit and say it tastes really good….aaaah, jeez, there I go, feeling dissolutioned all over again.

Okay, so I vented. Now tell me, how’s everyone else’s Monday been?

Neve Black

Malaysian Trip Notes: empat (part four)

Day 6-7, the weekend:  Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? Um…I do!
You know what they say about best laid plans, right? Well, I decided to NOT catch up on my sleep over the weekend, so I could finally see KL during the daylight hours – let’s face it, even a batgirl needs a sun break now and again.


So, about those plans… I ended up sleeping my way straight through Saturday day and didn’t wake up until Saturday night…yep, just like that, the daylight hours eclipsed into darkness. I was exhausted. The good news is I did hang out in downtown KL amongst the hip-hop, happening night life scene. And it was raining a bit, but when it comes to rain, there’s nothing a Neve Black hat can’t cure:

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Oh, and for dinner that night, I slipped out of the rain and into a little place that had tempted me with the smell of garlic, which in my opinion is an aphrodisiac. I followed my lust for food to a Middle Eastern place and I discovered a brand new favorite: creamy and scrumptious hummus mixed with eggplant, garlic, drizzled with tahinni – all served with fresh, hot flat bread. Sorry, I gobbled this up so fast it was gone daddy gone before I could snap a picture and share with you.


Kuala Lumpur
City Center, the city that never sleeps, gets a new Neve Black name…


The city buzzes with music, traffic, lights, vendors, restaurants, clubs and gobs of people all quickly on their way to eat, drink and yes, be Malay-merry. As if the area isn’t already chock-full with things to do and see, the FIFA World Cup series is going on too – and you can’t help but get caught up in the fever. It’s been very exciting to sit and watch some of the games being played amongst a plethora of cultures. I love being exposed to all the various types of people; all intermingling together as they watch one country beat the shit out of another country… and in my not-asked-for opinion, doing it the right way, on the playing field.


The best way to describe downtown KL for me was imagining that I was in London, because the geographic size of both cities was very similar to me, as well as the right-sided driving, the European street design, to include round-abouts and yes, even the architecture was English cottage-esque. Oh, and as mentioned, the huge multi-cultural element that I found in both places is very similar also, however I don’t recall seeing nearly as many monks in London (okay, I never saw any in London) as I’ve seen in KL. The obvious glaring difference between the two cities is the weather – London is always cold, gray and drizzly, whereas KL is balmy and tropical, with the occassional monkey jumping about. Replace the English Channel with the Indian Ocean; add a few palm trees, and other lush, green foliage types and Voila! You’ve stepped into what I now refer to as…can I get a drum roll, please…? Malay-don.

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Later that night, I ended up at an interesting nightclub called Skybar. Skybar sits high above the city’s skyline; with floor to ceiling windows – and curiously, a large lap pool that runs down the middle of the club. Don’t ask me why there’s a lap pool in a club, and the first thing I thought was, holy crap, that’s gotta be a liability…no, I didn’t go for a dip and I didn’t see anyone else swimming laps either.  If you’re lucky to find an open seat, you step down from the teak floor and into the cushioned window seats and take in the phenomenal panoramic views of the city – Twin Towers at night shown below.

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The DJ spins loud, techno music, and I scratch my head with more curiosity, because instead of everyone dancing with their bad selves, they attempt to have intimate conversations amidst the peaceful views and the loud thumping music. So, like a good batgirl, I ordered a Tiger and try and blend in. No snickering please. ;-)

 

Oh. My. Got! Look the sun! I’m melting, melting, melting….


It’s Sunday MORNING, batgirl, rise and fucking shine, you pale skinned, creature of the KL night!
I’m headed off to eat breakfast and drink coffee, instead of drinking my normal KL mainstay, breakfast with a Tiger beer, before heading back downtown today. The plan is to see the world famous Petronas Towers; and walk across the bridge that ties the two together. I’m also going to do a little more shopping. Oh, and by the way, I haven’t really touched on how absolutely ridiculous the shopping is here.

The cost of a Kuala Lumpur ringet compared to the U.S. dollar equates to about 70% more buying power. And there are more malls here to spend your hard-earned money on than I’ve ever seen in my life.

There’s nighttime street shopping:

 

 

 

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Indoor malls with so many floors, you wouldn’t get through all of them in a lifetime, and middle malls, which are somewhere between the street vendors and the gigantimus multi-storied malls that have roller-coasters inside (not kidding):

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And if that’s not enough, I went to Little India, and visited China Town too and none of these places are really very small townish at all.

China Town:

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Litte India:

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Suffice to say, Malay-dons love their shopping. I’ve never seen so many shoppers shopping all the time. I wonder if people do so much shopping because the malls are filled with the cool ambrosia of air-con. It’s fucking hot down here – hot and humid is Malaysian heat. I’m personally not much of a shopper, so for me, just watching everyone shopping is exhausting for me. I’m the girl with her trusted note pad, off to the side, jotting down notes, or asking lots of questions as to what, why, who and where? And then, there’s always more food to be eaten…beer to be drank…hey, it’s hot, what do you want from me?

Days 8-11 and week two in KL:  Petronas Towers…oh why do you thwart me so…?

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Okay, so three times really is the charm. It took me three times to actually get tickets and walk the sky-bridge that attaches one of the towers to the other of the world famous Petronas Towers. One day they simply were closed. Closed. How rude of them not to slip me a note and give me the heads up. Umph. I swallowed my wounded pride and decided to try again…I hauled my cookies downtown, staving off much needed sleep to get a ticket… not all bright-eyed and bushy tailed I didn’t get there in time and all the time slots were poof, gone. Those lousies! I waited a day to get over my feelings of rejection by Petronas before deciding to make one last attempt. This time, batgirl checked the website to ensure the towers were going to be open…and I got there three hours before the glass and steel doors opened; sitting Indian-style on the cold, but beautiful creamy marble floor, I watched the masses of people line up behind me…we waited and waited, until finally…score! I got my ticket! Ticket in hand I had just enough time to eat…so I hit the food court. Now, I don’t eat food court food, well, that’s until I visited this food court. It’s delicious food. Here take a look at this dreamy plate of roti, spicy curry for dipping, a side order of spicy greens and multi-colored spicy squash:

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Back to Petronas: how can I describe this incredible structure to you in a way that highlights it’s strong and mighty force? The towers rise above the city like a God that wields strength onto it’s people. Here’s a few shots taken from the ground looking up and also from skybridge looking out – spectacular!

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So, I’m headed home very soon, and this concludes my Malaysian trip notes. I hope you enjoyed reading and experiencing Kualu Lumpur from my eyes and well, from mouth watering food experiences. I would recommend this place to any travelers that are looking for something remarkable, magical and very exotic.

 

Neve Black 

 

Malaysian Trip Notes (Part III)

Day 3 -4:
It’s me and the vampires that keep these types of hours…


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention working the graveyard shift is something I think everyone should try at least once in their life- and hey, why not try this grueling recipe while traveling to a foreign and exotic place too? I’ve been keeping the vampire hours, so I call myself batgirl now. I wake up while most people are coming home from work and work while most people sleep – I wake up around 4:00 -4:30 p.m., shower and get ready for work – slipping into flip-flops, and a sundress I shove my laptop into a bag and trot into the morning darkness in search of breakfast, or is it dinner…?  

 

I’ve been trying to make the most of the free-time I have, so I plan what I’m going to do before I go to bed in the morning, and then head in that direction before starting work at night, which is about 9:00 pm. Are you with me so far? It’s confusing, isn’t it? I find myself saying, “selamat pagi” (good morning) during the p.m. hours and, “selamat malam” (good evening) during the a.m. hours, because I’m really screwed up with time. I think I might be really confusing people with my good mornings and goodnights, because I get disturbing looks – especially after a long, hard night of working, and I want breakfast food and instead of coffee, I fancy a Malaysian mainstay…Tiger beer. After all, it is the year of Tiger, you know. Meow.

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 Day 5
Mission Not Impossible…
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So, my trip to KL is not for vacation, although I would highly recommend this place to anyone that’s looking for a great bargain, set in a cosmopolitan city that offers fantastic food (I know. I sound like a broken record) and warm, friendly people. My trip here is for business, hence my vampire hours. I came here to learn more about my team; to gain understanding about what they know and what they don’t know; to observe and to offer my support. What I didn’t know was how much I’d quickly bond with my teammates and learn all about their lives. I didn’t expect to like each and every person so much.  I didn’t know that my trip would prove to be so enriching and prosperous – this is a gift that has been giving to me and it is without question something that I will treasure forever.

 

Okay, so onto more of the food, baby….

 

Kuala Lumpur is very culturally diverse, which always translates into scrumptious food…just in case you didn’t catch that…. In the short amount of time that I’ve been here, I’ve had Thai, Malay, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Indian and no less than 10 different types of curries (and there are more to be tasted too). It’s a foodies dream down here – I cannot begin to describe all the wonderful and fresh flavors that my mouth and tummy have experienced. I’m afraid they both might walk out on me once we all return back home – they’ll leave me out of sheer food boredom after everything we’ve tasted.

Here’s a sampling of some of the tasty treats I’ve had, thus far:

 

Thai garlic sauce with baby asparagus spears and cooked rice. Hot, spicy and the asparagus was fresh and not at over-cooked. This was absolutely fantastic!

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 Fresh tilapia (correct spelling) found at a local eatery in KL’s China Town:

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Fresh tilapia from the tank above on my plate…along with noodles, rice and sweet potatoe veggies. Seriously. The. Best. Chinese. Food. Ever. Yum:

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Okay, that’s enough for one blogging episode. I have to keep you dear readers hungry for more, more, more, right? Oh, for crying out loud, just agree with me, will ya’? Next trip notes highlights: Twin Towers, yes, of course more food…shopping, shopping, shopping, and my new love affair with all variations of roti (long version pictured below). Oh, and just as a pondering thought…I would imagine roti could also be used as a marital aid…but then again… I’m not sure about all those crumbs…hmm…let me continue to ponder on this for awhile:

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Aku akan merindui kamu -
Neve Black

Malaysian Trip Notes, Part II

Day 1:

Oh, fuck…I’m really sick….

I had been ridiculously sick on the days leading up, as well as the actual day of my trip – so much so, that I was puking my brains out. Nice. I know.  It must have been the large doses of travel shots I had, combined with “Oh. My. God…I’m going to Kuala Lumpur in a couple of days….” anxiety, because fortunately the nausea subsided and I wasn’t sick on the plane. 

After traveling for I don’t know, 20+ hours, I landed in Taipei, with another five more hours to go before reaching my final destination. Groggy and a bit disoriented of exactly where I was, and honestly who I was, I stumbled into the only place open at the airport: Eva Air’s Evergreen Club. And who would have ever thought the airliner’s club would have such delectable treats at 4:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning?  But Gods, and thank Gods, they did. For those of you that know me know that I love food. I love food as much as I love sex, so with my stomach finally getting with the travel program and cooperating, I began my Malaysian adventure with food:

 

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Day 2:
I’ve found new meaning to the phrase – you can sleep when you’re dead….

Hello, Kuala Lumpur! The airport is some 40 minutes to the hotel, so I can take in the surroundings a little bit while the taxi whisks me away. It really feels like I’m very far from home…tropical, hot and humid best describes the climate here – and everything is lush, green and flowery. I arrive at my hotel…WoW!…fancy-schmancy barely begins to describe the One World Hotel: huge glass doors are opened by white gloves, which are attached to dark-skinned men wearing tanned linen uniforms, with big grins and flashy white teeth. Once you step into the foyer, you’re walking into the much needed beauty of air conditioning. I also notice that I’m walking onto a sheet of golden-hued marble, which spans ½ way up the walls and wraps itself tightly around huge pillars that stand 30′ high. Above me is very large glass chandelier that reminds me of rain drops falling – spectacular. Large, floor to ceiling windows line the back of the hotel, making it easy for a weary traveler to peer outside and take in all gorgeous shades of greens, blues and reds from the myriad of fauna that grow in abundance here. It feels sexy and very exotic.

Because Malaysia is exactly 12 hours ahead of Cleveland, and to continue to work with my client in the states as well as get to know my Malaysian team here, I’m working the night shift. So, even though I’d been up for a gazillion hours, I headed off to work. I was draggin’ my tired ass, but I was also excited to meet the team, so I quickly checked into my room, showered, changed into fresh clothes and headed back downstairs to grab a bite to eat before the taxi service came to pick me up. Curiously, the lounge was rocking for a Monday night. There was a very small band playing really bad choices of music – normally I would just tune it out, or not and bolt the scene entirely, but I also noticed the band had three female singers; each scantily dressed, wearing short, black numbers as they swayed there hips in front of their respected microphones, while they belted out the lyrics to songs like Caribbean Queen and the Pina Colada Song. It was so wrong, but like a moth to a flame, or a rubber-necker slowing down to see an accident, I was pulled into the cheesy lounge act. I asked for a bar menu and settled on a bowl of curry laksa and a mineral water. The service was very quick and within a manner of minutes, I was eating a steamy bowl of rich, savory and spicy, and tapping my foot to the cheese-beat.  Delicious:

 

 

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Thanks for tuning into my Malaysian adventure, thus far. Stay tuned, more trip notes to follow soon…here’s some highlights: meet my Malaysian team, night market shopping, multi-leveled malls with the added roller-coaster inside, where am I? Twin Towers…Times Square?  Downtown KL gets a new Neve Black name…more delicious food and pictures! I’ll post more as time allows and the internet service cooperates (grrrrrr….).

 
Neve Black

 

Trip Notes (Preamble)

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Greetings from Kuala Lumpur! I’ve seen these fellas picture above fluttering around and I snapped this while having a little breakfast earlier today. I think he/she is magnificant!

I’ve been having a fabulous time and taking a lots of pictures, while also journaling my travels to this glorious place, to include food notes of  dishes that have made my mouth water with delight. And of course, I have very little time to post this a.m., but I promise, I’ll have more to share with you soon. Please stay tuned.

I hope all is well in your part of the world -
Neve Black

Kumquat…

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…used to be a code name for s-e-x. What can I say? I was shy girl; raised in a strict-Catholic household and rewarded for not speaking about the sins of the flesh.  And it should come as no shock to learn that my flesh was burning on account of all my impure thoughts about kumquats, so I had to improvise. I came with a name that best desribed the oooh, la, la, without my parents knowing. I thought the name kumquat dripped with sexiness and the forbidden. I also learned that when eating a sex fruit, you bite into the skin, and devour the whole thing; stopping only to lick your fingers afterwards. Perfect little kumquat.

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I bring my kumquat story to you for good reason. As I near my departure for Kualu Lumpur, I’ve been once again reading up on all the delectable dishes of food found in Malaysia. Dishes with incredibly exotic names like, nasi lemak, char kway teow, asam laksa, or cendol. My stomach is growling just thinking about the sweet and tangy, the spicy, the rich and the tempting.  Here, just take a little peek for yourself of the yum-asam yum-laksa pictured just below:

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And guess what? As luck would have it, even though I’m traveling more than 1/2 way around the world, I just found out that one of my old and dear friends, kumquat has been living in KL for years now. And my sexy and forbidden friend apparently sneaks into many of the Malaysian dishes. Suffice to say, I can’t wait to pay a vist to kumquat. We have lots to catch up on.

 

Kumquat Countdown to Kuala Lumpur
Neve Black