Monday, December 11, 2006

Jetlagger's Narrations

I survived a 18-plus hour flight, finally arriving at Minneapolis for a connecting flight to Milwaukee, a place where birds don't lay eggs (because there are no birds, you see).

I had about two hours to while away during the transit and took some time to browse the airport stores. Then, I saw something that reminded me of my home, far far away. :(

Okay fine, I know some of you folks out there are sniggering, thinking that the word "Toto" can be found easily anywhere, for instance, on the smooth porcelain toilet surfaces. Yes, I know that, thank you very much. But, to have it in large, lighted letters on the store front is just heart-wrenching. Oh, I miss warm furry Mister Toto already!

Now, just how dependent is the nation on ipods to render it necessary to obtain them via a vending machine. It is as if one would walk pass and decide "Oh, hey, guess what, let's get some cover for my ipod. I think it is feeling cold." Duh.

Oh yes, the first thing I sniffed out for upon reaching USA is my ever-familiar comfort beverage.

Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider! For the last time, would someone please tell Starbucks Asia to bring that damn drink (which I deemed as heavenly nectar) to Singapore already?

Anyway, I finally made it to Milwaukee and was horrified to see the barren landscapes of snow from the plane. When the pilot made the announcement that the temperature was -8 degree celsius, I thought he was referring to the temperature at that altitude.

Obviously not. As I stepped out of the airport to walk like, 10 meters to the shuttle bus, I felt the cold blasted in my face. You know, sometimes after a run or a walk in the hot sun with Mister Toto, I come home and stick my head into the freezer for a few seconds. No kidding. Now, it just feels I am in the freezer that is working overtime and over-zealously.

The scene outside my hotel

Anyway, Saturday was a whole exhausting day of work, starting at the ungodly hour of 7 am. Workshop, presentations, conversations, blah blah. 'Twas a day gone in a flash.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you know?

Workshop gifts!

I am not someone to rave about stuff given out at academic conferences and workshops because they are usually extremely boring. However, this time, I was delighted to receive, among all other *cough* useless *cough* stuff, a pen that functions as a thumbdrive and a laser pointer. Finally, a useful tool!

The workshop dinner was held at this restaurant known as the Chinese Gourmet. However, if those food can be considered gourmet, then the food I cook must be heaven god-send. Uh huh, that is how bad it is.

Here I am, at a table of Taiwanese professors, who kept trying to convince me to visit Taiwan. I tried to think of something Taiwanese that I adored and I came out with 'Jay Chou', much to their disgust. Ha ha.

Sunday was more interesting, since it was the day of relax and recreation. Together with 3 others from my university, we proceeded to explore the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory Domes.

The sun was out, thankfully, on the pretty Sunday morning. We spent time utilizing the sunny times (which brings the temperature up to about 1 degree) to explore the snowy landscape surrounding the domes.

Here is CH, trying to see if the lake is hard enough for ice-skating, by throwing a snowball.

Anyway, the domes function like a sort of greenhouse conservatory for different sorts of plant around the world. Just look at the strangest names of the various plants!

We have the Peanut Butter Plant...

...Chocolate Pudding Plant (I will export it to Singapore if it actually bears the fruit of chocolate pudding I can harvest.)

and the Sausage Tree...

Now, does this mean that by chewing on this plant, Zebras get to beautify themselves with scarlet lip stains? (The Zebra Lipstick Plant)

See lah, what happens when bird nest fern gets harassed.

The Arid dome breeds a large variety of desert plants. Sometimes, I think it is wonderful how mother nature can produce such patterns of regularity automatically.

Okay, this picture does not justify the size of this hugest roundest cacti i ever seen in my life. They look like large, thorny watermelons.

The view of the dome from within.

Then, we were off to see the Harley Davison Production Factory because Milwaukee is supposedly the main production line of the vehicles. The visit was pretty much boring and the only highlight was that I got to ride on pretty much any Harleys that I wanted. Ho ho.

We spent a good part of the afternoon at Mayfair Mall where I went sniffing for good deals.

The evening was spent at the conference opening reception at the Milwaukee's Art Museum.

It looks pretty cool, except we were there at night in the freezing subzero temperatures, and spent a good part of the time inside instead.

Food, food and more food.

Inside the museum...

I subsequently concluded the tiring Sunday with a long hot soak in the bathtub. Somehow, no matter how exhausted I am, I am sure to awake at the ungodly hour of 4 am. Damn you, jetlag monster!


Anonymous cs said...

Wow... the design of the art museum looks cool. So does the landscape, i.e. the ice and blue sky.

This city is famous for their NBA team too, if you have time to soak in the terrific atmosphere.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous s said...

Ahh... at least there is sun..

BTW.. i think you miss Toto too much..

the shop is called PLUS ZEOR PLUS ZERO


8:23 PM  
Anonymous jacey said...

the museum is sooooo cool! Shame on me. Never been to Wisconsin before, though it's so much closer when I was in Iowa :( ah well...

sticking ur head into freezer?? You are not alone! I did that whenever I headed back home to KL... hahahahahaha...

8:29 PM  
Blogger jellybeano said...

cs: oh okay, no money to pay for the tickets. haha.

s: like that one meh... then taco bell is plus aro bell, kentucky is ken plus ucky... wah...

jacey: oh yay! another stick-your-head-into-freezer freak like me! Ha.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Toukarin said...

Wah... nice photos. I miss the snow in US. =( Can Fedex some snow back? :P

Thumbdrive + Pen + Laser Pointer sounds good... got any extras? =P

The view of the dome looks disturbingly similar to the dome pattern at Hotel Rendezvous in Singapore though, maybe it's a copy of that design?

Anyway try to sleep a bit later if your jetlag monster is still working... Once you force the body to adjust to the timing once it should be fine later on.

2:19 AM  

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