We’re going to Fahim’s work again today, but this time, we’re going on Fahim’s motorbike. This is where I insert comments about how I’m scared of motorcycles. I’ve ridden them a couple of times before. The first time, the guy drove so scary I fell off. The second time, again, the guy drove really scary, but I hung on tighter. I swore I’d never get on one again.
Fahim claims he drives very gently, and will be especially gentle for me. I won’t get on unless I’m wearing a helmet, so he lends me his, and he goes without. Neither of us like this, but work is a five minute drive away. Well, maybe more like three.
In either case, it’s 8 am because we want to get there before the network becomes congested. He has my laptop on his back – I’ve had a laptop bag for years that was also a backpack and doesn’t look like standard laptop bag – theory being, less likely to be stolen. Being a backpack as well has also had its advantages. I climb on behind Fahim.
True to his word, he drives gentle. He’s not used to riding double, and I’m worried a few times that he’s going to lose control, but we arrive at his work before it happens, and I’m happy. Yippee.
While at his work, we check email, update blog, and transfer pics to my domain so people reading my blog can actually see them. We continue having problems retrieving and sending email. I can’t send any email, but it appears as though I’ve retrieved all. We try for an hour or so, then give up. We have other things to do with our day.
Fahim goes to his parents place to get clothes, books, movies. His parents house is about a fifteen minute drive from here, so not far at all. He’s back in less than an hour with two suitcases and a stack of books. (Fahim says: it was one suitcase :p) He’ll have to go in another trip for the rest. But next time, we’ll have to pack books in boxes – he’s got hundreds.
For lunch and supper, I made Modified Ratatouille. I’m calling it Modified Ratatouille because it’s so modified, it doesn’t even seem to resemble the original version anymore. See, here, canned tomatoes don’t exist, which I normally use. So I have to buy fresh tomatoes and use those instead, and there isn’t a huge variety of tomatoes to choose from. Tomato paste is extremely expensive compared to the cost of fresh tomatoes, so ixnay on that as well. European spices and herbs are difficult to come by, but our local little Food City at least had marjoram and oregano, so that’s what we’ll use. Plus, our eggplant is not the huge honking eggplant we’re used to in North America, but the ones that are closer to Japanese eggplant, four or five inches long and one to one and a half inches in diameter. And Fahim wants beef in it. So, no go on the vegetarian aspect of things.
Modified Ratatouille – Bombay onions, sort of close to Japanese eggplant, tomatoes, beef cubed, oyster mushrooms (no white or brown button mushrooms – oyster’s all I could find, and even then, Fahim had to point them out to me – I’d never seen them before, and I didn’t even know what they were), garlic, marjoram, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Oh, and this is where I mention that Fahim really doesn’t like eggplant, so he ixnayed the idea of putting them in a curry. But here, he couldn’t even tell where they were, so tough. He ate them anyway. (Fahim says: I could tell that they were there but Laurie made such a great dish that I didn’t mind eating them :p)
And he even liked it.
Of course, Modified Ratatouille was served over the – yes, you guessed it – red rice.
We also headed down the main street of Pelawatte late this afternnoon and headed to the bookstore. Turns out, it’s mainly technical books – a tonne of computer manuals, which, although I couldn’t care less, Fahim drools over. Geeks. Yeah. A lot of books were in Sinhalese, of course, and while Fahim asked if they had any on learning Sinhalese in English, they didn’t have any. However, I did buy a history book on Sri Lanka.
On the way back, we stopped in a shop that sold motorcycle accessories and bought a new motorcycle helmet. Fahim, of course, in his infinite wisdom, gets the new one. Me, being the less than occassional rider, get to use the old one. Drat again.
We also stopped at the local vet on the way home and enquired about kitty litter. This is something you probably really don’t want to know about, so if you feel like skipping the next paragraph, neither I nor my cats will be insulted.
We’ve been using sand. Kitty litter doesn’t exist in grocery stores or department stores, and we had to use something. I couldn’t expect the cats to hold their bladders and bowels indefinitely, so we got sand. Problem is that there are no odor fighting agents, and it doesn’t clump, so it has to be changed fairly regularly, and quite honestly, it’s a pain in the butt.
You can start reading again. The vet had kitty litter, but only two types, one manufacturer, and priced the same as it would be in Canada. Expensive for Sri Lanka. Oh well. We buy a box anyway. Fahim will probably decide it’s too expensive for our budget and let’s go back to sand. I want to toilet train the fuzzballs first, then we won’t need anything. We need to get moving on toilet training.
I also ask the vet a few other questions, like about the grass and kitty puking. He said that cats eat the grass because there’s something lacking in their diet, and when they’ve had enough, they stop eating it, and they naturally stop puking. I didn’t understand everything he said – Fahim did some translating later at home. I still have a hard time with accents. Yeah, I know, I’m the one with the accent here. Nevertheless, I still have a hard time understanding people.
The vet also mentioned that our neighborhood has a lot of expats. At least one trishaw driver has also mentioned this. There is the OSC, Overseas School for Children, (Fahim says: It’s actually the Overseas School of Colombo :p) nearby, and it would seem that teachers for that school, among others, live in the neighborhood. Cool.
He also doesn’t seem to charge a whole lot for visits. He said a consultation was about 100-150 LKR, a rabies shot 500 LKR, but he charges depending on why the cat is there. Still, it’s really cheap – from my North American perspective. I take one of his business cards and brochures and we leave, kitty litter in hand.