When We Were Orphans (Kazuo Ishiguro)

ImageFirst time reading this author’s book, find his writing style and narration to be quite smooth.  Though the reminiscing part about growing up in Old Shanghai is pretty long – life with his parents and a childhood friend – a Japanese boy named Akira whom he played with; Relationship between the British and Chinese on opium trading, how his parents’ involvement led up to their mysterious disappearance, followed by the protagonist being sent to study in England, became a detective and despite all the crimes he had solved, there’s one unsolved crime which has always haunted him, and led him back to the city of his childhood to find out what happened to his parents.  I find all these to be interesting read, except when comes to the war, and talks of the Chinese Communist Party and Chiang Kaishek, I skipped.

Beside the above, I’m also quite happy to read about Chapei, which was the hometown of my dad.  Had visited Shanghai 3 years ago, been to a place where my dad told me that’s where Chapei was, yet strangely it’s not anywhere near the famous bund. Probably, it’s like what the protagonist said in pg.352, “The streets, though renamed, are perfectly recognisable, and it’s said anyone familiar with the Shanghai of Old would know his way about there.”

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Expresso? Nope, but Civet Coffee

This is how my Kopi Luwak looks like – the world most expensive coffee.  It looks to me like a bowl of Chinese brewed medicine.  How does it taste?  The cafe staff said it will be better to drink it original without any sugar, so that one can feel the lingering tastes in the mouth before swallowing.  Nothing special, it tastes bitter sour, a little better after adding half packet of sugar, but still bitter sour.  The coffee taste is not strong.  I still prefer those that brewed from Java beans, bitter and strong in aroma.

Will I have Kopi Luwak again?  Maybe but it’s a bit pricey @ SGD$26.90 per cup, size as shown in the image.  The porcelain cup looks expensive to me.

Try it.  It’s really not that scary, thinking the coffee berries are being eaten by civet cats and passed out through their digestive system.  Just like some who dislike the taste of durians or fermented beancured may think it’s smelly, while there are people who love the king of fruits.

Expresso Tales (Alexander McCall Smith)

Did not read 44 Scotland Street, but its Sequel, Expresso Tales was interesting, with all the different characters staying in the neighbourhood.  Pity that poor 6 year-old boy who had to go for all the never-ending yoga, saxophone and psychotherapy sessions arranged by his mother.  Sound so familiar, just like so many parents here who like signing up their kids for extra-curricular lessons and activities so as not to lose out in the educational system.  Anyway, glad Bertie’s father decided to intervene and liberate his son’s freedom.

I was happy for Bertie, and felt as thrilled and excited as him on his train ride to Glasgow with the father.  I was happy for him to be so happy in this trip, yet worried also on his encounter with that swindler Lard.  Wonder will there be another sequel to this Expresso Tales.  Will Lard turn up one day disrupting the lives of the family?  Did they find their own car – where has it gone?  While reading, my imagination led me to wonder whether there’s a phone bug hidden somewhere in that new car so as to trace their wherabout, haha.

What about Gordon and Janis – Is Janis really a gold-digger, preying on Gordon’s money like what his son said?  She seems that to me, what happened in the cafe when she sees Gordon giving the waiter that fifty-pound note, and what’s in her mind.

Then Matthew and Pat – why did the latter suddenly take a liking to Matt when he said his father had given him a huge amount of money – or did she?  Did Pat also like Matt for his money?

What about Dr Fairbairn and his patient Wee Fraser?  I would love to know more.  Or maybe I should go read 44 Scotland Street, to know why in the first place Bertie’s mom like dungarees so much.  Anyway, I find kids look cute and adorable wearing dungarees 😀