Monday, June 07, 2004

Have Book Will Travel (2)

Have Book Will Travel (2)

Woke up late today to a morning thunderstorm. When it stopped, I sauntered to the Starbucks on Langsuan Road to have my brunch. I'm not exactly a fan of yuppie cafes like Starbucks but it's the nearest place that's comfortably quiet enough to relax with a book. I managed to read some technical papers too, in preparation for my meeting tomorrow.

Reading outdoors is great fun. I've had this habit for as long as I can remember. I recall spending a lot of time reading at Chinese coffeeshops all over PJ and KL. In Jakarta, Phoe Nam cafe on Jalan Wahid Hasyim was my favourite reading spot; when I was working in Singapore, I was the resident bookworm at the foodcourt on Street 22, Bishan.

I've written about this in a previous blog entry--when you do your reading at different places everytime, you tend to remember what you read better. For example, I can still remember reading a particular passage of Albert Camus' A Happy Death at a Malay restaurant in Subang Jaya, Paul Theroux's Riding the Iron Rooster at the Chinese coffeeshop opposite the Nouvena MRT station in Singapore, CS Lewis' A Grief Observed at an Indian restaurant in Palo Alto and Chirstopher Wilkins' The Horizontal Instrument at a park in Geneva beside the statue of Rosseau.

I can't imagine ending up at a foreign place without anything to read. Once on a trip to Guangzhou China, I found myself in the dreaded situation of having nothing to read when I finished the book that I brought with me. There I couldn't find a bookshop that sold English books. After scouring the streets for a while without much luck, I had to settle for a miserably outdated guidebook on China in English from the hotel store--it was still better than having nothing to read.

To me reading is an integral part of the travelling experience. Ah, reading and travelling--are these not among the greatest pleasures in life?

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