One thing dominants this Paris Hilton photo is the big green leaves. Even bigger than the red rose!
So much to a brown summer’s hat. We can only focus on the big green leaves for now. Is St. Patrick’s Day coming early this year?
One thing dominants this Paris Hilton photo is the big green leaves. Even bigger than the red rose!
So much to a brown summer’s hat. We can only focus on the big green leaves for now. Is St. Patrick’s Day coming early this year?
We haven’t been here for a few days.
We are busy at our new website!
Our new website: A Midnight Visitor is now up and running. Check it out.
Well, actually the new site hasn’t totally ready yet, but we are working on it.
We will be updating the new site from now on. So please come have a visit when you have time.
Good morning, how are you today?
Welcome back to the Midnight Visitor Quiz. We have been so busy and haven’t run the Midnight Visitor Quiz for a while now. This will be the first quiz for 2013! Hurray!
And since Valentine’s Day is only a few weeks away, why not have a Valentine’s Day Quiz.
Yes, for this week’s Midnight Visitor Quiz, we will have a Valentine’s Day Special!
So here we go:
Have fun and happy Valentine’s Day.
What a week in the flooded Jakarta! Even Pope Benedict XVI is alerted and has offered his prayers to the victims of floods in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Pope said “no one should go without the necessary aid.”
As we heard, every 5 years, there is a huge flood in Jakarta. Last year, we were lucky. This year the flood has affected a total of 74 urban wards in 31 sub-districts in Jakarta’s five municipalities. More than 97,000 houses as well as some of Jakarta’s main roadways were flooded.
Let’s see the Indonesia ordinary people affected by the Jakarta Flood in our Jakarta Snapshoots.
Our flag bears the stars that blaze at night
In our southern sky of blue
And that little old flag in the corner
That’s part of our heritage too,
It’s for the English, the Scots and the Irish
Who were sent to the end of the earth
The rogues and the schemers and dreamers
Who gave our Australia its birth.
And you who are shouting to change it
You don’t seem to understand
It’s the flag of our laws and language
Not the flag of a far away land
There are plenty of people who’ll tell you
How when Europe was plunged into night
The little old flag in the corner
Was their symbol of freedom and light.
It don’t mean we owe our allegiance
To a forgotten imperial dream
We’ve the stars to show where we’re going
And the old flag to show where we’ve been
It’s only an old piece of bunting
It’s only an old coloured rag
But there are thousands who died for its honour
And fell in defence of our flag.
This poem was written by an anonymous Australian about the Australian flag debate, where Advocates of change in Australia, believe that another design would be more effective in representing Australia.
✫ ✫ ✫
by unknown author
Happy Australia Day today January 26! This year’s Australia Day is a Saturday, but if you are in Australia, have a happy long weekend anyway.
How’s the weather like in Sydney? Hope it is a nice day.
We will enjoy another Lazy Sunday joke by the pool. Wanna join us? Read on…
A couple going on a sweet weekend away on St. Valentine’s Day. The wife went first because her hubby had an important business meeting. They planned to meet first thing on Saturday morning.
When the wife reached her hotel, she sent a quick email to her husband.
As fate had it, she made a typo and missed one letter in her hubby’s email address. So instead, the email was sent to an elderly grieving man whose wife had passed away only the day before.
The grieving widow checked his email that night. He took one look at the email, let out a piercing scream, and drop down on the floor.
His family was alerted by his sound and rushed to his side. There, they saw this email on the screen:
Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.
P.S. Sure is cold down here.
Good morning, Salamat Pagi.
How’s the weather like in your city today? Hope you have a nice day!
We have done an interview with Ana from Stumbleabroad recently. Stumbleabroad is a fabulous blog about expat life in Jakarta. Ana has a regular column on Friday about real people living and breathing in Jakarta, both Expats and Jakartarans.
You might want to head over to Stumbleabroad to meet some of our own Jakarta people? To read our original interview, click here.
Or you can simply read below. Hope you like it.
Tell me more, tell me more
1. First, tell us a little bit about you. What’s your background? Where did you grow up? How long have you been living in Jakarta for? What does your family look like?
We are Anna (aka Miss D), John and Sarah from Sydney, Australia. We are an expat family of three. We lived in Melbourne where Sarah got her MBA in Monash University and John worked in a multi-national company.
When Miss D was a baby, our family moved to Sydney and has been living there ever since. We actually fell in love with Sydney because of its beautiful beaches and warmer weather. Sydney is also closer to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, which are our favorite holiday destinations during winter time.
One day, after we move back to Australia, we might move back to Melbourne when we retire to join our extended families there.
2. Is Indonesia your first post abroad? What’s the hardest thing about being an expat in Indonesia? What did you struggle with the most?
Indonesia is our first post abroad, although we have traveled often in both of our working lives. We never thought we were ever going to visit Jakarta as a tourist spot back in Australia. Bali is much more well- known in Australia. Many of our friends have visited Bali before, not Jakarta.
The hardest thing for us as expats in Indonesia is being away from family and friends. Other than that the language barrier, the traffic jam, and the pollution all take their tolls.
We raised 4 beautiful chickens back in Sydney. Leaving them behind to come to Jakarta is one of the hardest things for us, especially Miss D. You can read our chicken story here.
Some days, on a gloomy rainy day like today, we wonder why we are here, in a strange city in Jakarta. But, most days, we try to live a normal, balanced life.
Do you want to see our emotional feeling about the city of Jakarta? Have a read of this poem we wrote: our city.
3.I love your blog Midnight Visitor! Why did you decide to start a blog? What’s the best thing that has come from blogging?
Chocolate is always a hit on Valentine’s Day. A heart-shaped chocolate cake is easy to make and with Valentine’s Day getting closer by the day, it is time to make sure we have a decent Chocolate cake recipe in hand.
Preheat oven at 160 ° C.
Make chocolate sauce by melt 5 chocolate beans and unsalted butter together
Photo credit: howtocookgourmet
Welcome to “The Top 5 of Anything and Everything”! Yep, this is a regular column on Midnight Visitor’s web. Top 5 cats, top 5 dogs, top 5 songs, top 5 movies, top 5 fashion, top 5 beaches, top 5 restaurants, top 5 celebrities, top 5 Christmas songs, top 5 Valentine’s Day gifts …
What you are seeing on this Top 5 column is Midnight Visitor’s very own personal opinion of what makes the top 5 of various things, pictures, humors, fashion and products. They are random and we only write about anything and everything that comes to our mind. We are Mad Hatters after all.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a serious poll or official list. They are things that can put a smile on our faces, and items we love, places we want to go.
Nothing more, nothing less.
So read on and enjoy!
Look at that charming cat purring and maybe even rubbing her face onto the side of your laptop or screen, so cute, so adorable. Do they know that this is our Cat Hat day and have come to read it with you? Cats are such great companions and very understanding indeed.
We are mad hatters and we are mad about hats. So is our cat Rani. Yep Midnight Visitor has an adorable white Persian cat. Rani means Princess in Indian, if our memories serve us right. Rani loves a hat or two, so let’s bring on today’s World’s Top 5 show:
To see all of our Mad Hatter’s Hats, go to A Hat Day website here =>>
A Red Heart on a Cat? Hint, hint… Valentine’s Day is coming!
Why are you so grumpy, princess?
No Valentine’s Date YET?
Oh, it’s such an ugly Love Heart Hat and too big for your head?
It is almost Valentine’s Day! Ready for a fun night out? Make sure you have your tuxedo and Black hat ready! Cats are so understanding animals and such a gentleman. A romantic night waits ahead… (source)
Taobao.com is such a hot online shopping mall for young people in China. Everywhere we went, we heard about how prices are cheaper on Taobao, and how everything can be found on Taobao.com.
Sure enough, we tried our luck on Taobao.com and found a few items. Check out the black dress we bought here.
Curious as us, we did a bit research about Taobao.com and found:
Approximately 90% of online transactions in China are executed on Alibaba-owned Taobao, frequently described as the “eBay of China.”
According to a research did by Goldman Sache, Taobao will take over EBay to be the biggest online shopping website in the world by 2015.
2015 is fast approaching. Estimates and studies often get themselves wrong.The Mayas had their fair share about the end of the world in 2012. How will this 2015 prediction pan out? Let’s wait and see.
Do you know what it is?
This is a Indonesia specialty and it is very popular here.
It is called Tempe and is a soybean product. Local Indonesians eat lots of soybean products to get their daily protein. Meat is pretty expensive for them.
We are going to share a recipe for how to cook tempe the easy way.
We are approaching the end of January very quickly and coming Feb, the Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. What love story do you have in mind this Valentine’s Day?
We have just seen 86 year’s old Hugh Hefner married 26 year’s old Crystal.
Now, meet Dana Jackson:
Dana is one special bride.
Because she was 99 years old and she married her boyfriend Bill on her 100th Birthday. What a great Valentine’s Day story!
Would you still marry your partner if you met later in life? Do you know any inspiring older person’s love story?
Why not make this Valentine a special time and treasure the love in our lives, young or old.
Photo credit: Alex Slitz/Daily News
Flick through the gallery to see this year’s Golden Globe red carpet arrivals. The dresses are gorgeous and everyone on the red carpet are dressed at their best. Which colour do you like most? Red dress, gold dress, black dress, blue dress…
Photo credit: Yahoo.com
But as our dear readers, of course you get to read it from our own midnightvisitor website.
What do you think? Hope it can bring you a somewhat complete picture about schools in Jakarta and we will be very delighted if it helps you in your school selection process if you are an upcoming expat to our great city of Jakarta.
For Indonesians, compulsory education lasts for a total of nine years. This includes six years of primary school education, known as Sekolah Dasar, which begins when a child is six or seven. This is followed by three years of secondary school education, SMP or Sekolah Menengah Pertama, which begins at the age of 12 or 13.
After that students have a choice to either enrol in high school, SMA or Sekolah Menengah Ata, for another three years. Alternativley, some children choose to find a job and start work.
In general, students who have graduated from SMA will go directly to university, Universitas. However, due to either financial constraints or academic stress, some students drop out and opt for pre-university or associate degrees.
Within the Indonesian local compulsory education system, there are two kinds of schools: national schools and national plus schools.
In national schools the teaching language used is Indonesian. Every subject is taught in the Indonesian language by Indonesian teachers. Even English itself is taught by Indonesian teachers who speak English.
No dialects such as Javanese are offered in any of the schools in Indonesia, at least not in big cities like Jakarta.
These local languages are still used in remote parts of the country. The language barrier is one of the main reasons why expat children do not attend national schools in Indonesia.
National plus schools in Indonesia offer some international curricula and classes are generally in English rather than Indonesian.
The majority of these schools cater for Indonesian students with expatriate students often making up only a small proportion of the school’s student population. They do however accept expat children and are a good alternative for expats who work for companies that do not cover education fees.
Most expats in Indonesia send their children to international schools. This is the best option for those working for a company that makes a provision for school fees within an expat employment package.
There are many good international schools in Jakarta. The most popular international schools include Jakarta International School (JIS), the Australian International School (AIS) and the British International School (BIS).
This is how we feel when we saw picture below of Kids swimming in Jakarta Flood. So far, over 18,000 people are homeless, 11 are dead.
Let’s pray and put the sunshine and smile back on.
photo credit: Reuters
Hi, How are you today?
A great Sunday without the rain, so far.
How about a lazy Sunday Joke by the swimming pool?
We love jokes. Enjoy.
A little girl asked her mum: ‘Mum, why are your hair turning grey?’
‘Good question, darling.’ Replied the mother.
To use this occasion to teach her little girl, she added,
“Every bad action of yours will turn one of my hairs grey!”
‘Oh,’ The child nodded innocently: “That’s why gran has only grey hairs on her head.”
In a little district west of Washington Square the streets have run crazy and broken themselves into small strips called “places.” These “places” make strange angles and curves. One Street crosses itself a time or two. An artist once discovered a valuable possibility in this street. Suppose a collector with a bill for paints, paper and canvas should, in traversing this route, suddenly meet himself coming back, without a cent having been paid on account!
So, to quaint old Greenwich Village the art people soon came prowling, hunting for north windows and eighteenth-century gables and Dutch attics and low rents. Then they imported some pewter mugs and a chafing dish or two from Sixth Avenue, and became a “colony.”
At the top of a squatty, three-story brick Sue and Johnsy had their studio. “Johnsy” was familiar for Joanna. One was from Maine; the other from California. They had met at the table d’hôte of an Eighth Street “Delmonico’s,” and found their tastes in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves so congenial that the joint studio resulted.
That was in May. In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy fingers. Over on the east side this ravager strode boldly, smiting his victims by scores, but his feet trod slowly through the maze of the narrow and moss-grown “places.”
Mr. Pneumonia was not what you would call a chivalric old gentleman. A mite of a little woman with blood thinned by California zephyrs was hardly fair game for the red-fisted, short-breathed old duffer. But Johnsy he smote; and she lay, scarcely moving, on her painted iron bedstead, looking through the small Dutch window-panes at the blank side of the next brick house.
One morning the busy doctor invited Sue into the hallway with a shaggy, gray eyebrow.
“She has one chance in – let us say, ten,” he said, as he shook down the mercury in his clinical thermometer. ” And that chance is for her to want to live. This way people have of lining-u on the side of the undertaker makes the entire pharmacopoeia look silly. Your little lady has made up her mind that she’s not going to get well. Has she anything on her mind?”
“She – she wanted to paint the Bay of Naples some day.” said Sue.
“Paint? – bosh! Has she anything on her mind worth thinking twice – a man for instance?”
We had a lot of fun watching the China Reality Dating Show ‘If you are the one’ during our China trip. We were more interested in watching what the young people are wearing in China, and this dating show gave us a glimpse of that.
Reality shows are very popular in China these days, many copied the popular reality shows from the US. In the US, we have so many reality shows, for many things.
Kim Kardashian even has a reality TV show while she is pregnant. Having a baby while working under the spotlight, that must put some stress on the baby in the tummy? Kim should get her nursery rhymes ready instead, don’t you think?
Anyways, that’s how Kim Kardashian gets famous. BTW, we love how Kim dressed up as Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt last Valentine’s Day. She looks stunning.
So back to the dating business: what are your wearing to a first date? What are people wearing to a date show in the USA?
Let’s see the differences between the China dating show and the USA dating show, shall we?
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR MORE!
It has been raining, raining, and raining.
This year’s wet season in Jakarta is a monster.
So far, over 9,000 people have been forced out of their homes in Jakarta. Some have lost their lives.
The place we stay, south Jakarta is safer. But the center of the city, and the northern Jakarta areas are hard hit. Even the Presidential Palace is flooded.
We feel so sorry for the local Jakartarans, especially the kids.
Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
Rain, please go away.
Ever since Mr D’s cousin had her baby boy, waking up at night and rushing to the baby’s bed side becomes an everyday job. It is quite tiring.
The good people at NY Daily News said:
“By six months of age, most babies sleep through the night, awakening their mothers only about once per week,” said Temple psychology professor and study co-author Marsha Weinraub. “However, not all children follow this pattern of development.”
Let’s test this theory on our new baby, see if it works…
During our China trip, we noticed many peculiar things about China. Some are similar to what we see here in Jakarta, others are different, and more dramatic.
These are our findings, let us know what you think. To read 5 Peculiar things about Jakarta, click here.
We were in Hangzhou when this happened. And ‘horrified’ will be an understatement of what we felt.
It was one early crispy winter morning, we had just woke up in our nice hotel in Hangzhou, China. All was fancy and lovely. Then we turned on the TV, and saw this:
OMG, a residential building in Ningbao, a city near Hangzhou where we stayed, had just collapsed. A 6 floor tall building built in about 1987? Only 20 odd years old, and it collapsed, right before our eyes on the TV screen!
It was like 911 happening right in front of us. What happened to the people living inside?
How much money do you earn when you are 22? We might still study and doing part time jobs by then!
How does $34.5 million sound?
That’s how much Kristen Stewart earned between May 2011 and May 2012 according to Forbes Magazine. Most of that money came from Twilight where Stewart stars as Bella Swan.
But she also earned big buck for starring in Snow White and the Huntsman.
We love the way Kristen dresses. Let’s see how we come up with some similar outfits the Kristen Stewart way. Why not click on the picture below and shop her style!
Opps, soz, the click doesn’t work, did you notice? Just testing if you are seriously love our Midnighter’s. 😀
But hey, Kristen wears some cool hats too. How about this one? We are still collecting hats this season. To check out all our hats, why not go to A Hat Day?
Image credit: getty.com
February will be a very happy and busy month. We can see it is coming! There are 30 days to go to Valentine’s Day from now on. Four days before the Valentine’s Day, there will be the Chinese New Year, which falls on 10 Feb. Let’s celebrate in style, shall we?
While in China, we found the biggest fashion treasure hunting place! Taobao.com seems very popular for young people in China to shop for their wardrobes and for good reasons, too.
We had a look and there are virtually every brand under the sun in taobao.com. For the next 30 days, we will show case some nice clothes from taobao.com. There are many Australian, Asia, and USA brands there. So many that we lose count!
We love sportsgirl, cotton on, Jacquie, basque, wish, witchery, David Lawrence and many more brands back in Sydney. We have picked up a nice Basque dress during our China trip. A little black dress on taobao.com.
Mrs D wearing her new little black dress. Very happy girl.
It’s a full length black dress, quite formal, so you won’t find Mrs D wearing this at any Jakarta shopping mall for sure. 😀
Taobao.com not only serves the China, Hongkong area, it also has started its Singapore market, and some other Asia markets. Their ambition is to expand to the rest of the world, like EBay.
So if you are in the China and great Asia regions like us, you might want to check taobao.com out? But first, find a friend who knows Chinese, one of the most difficult languages in the world!
Good luck, taobao (means treasure hunt in Chinese). 😀
For an easier task (minus the difficult in learning Chinese), to see all the brands we are interested in, why not head to our very own midnightvisitor’s fashion online guide? This is another project we have been working on, and it will be updated over time to show you all the goodies we found in the fashion department!
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR MORE!
Can you tell what’s wrong with this Jus Alpukat? Jus Alphkat or Avacado Juice is one of our favorite drinks in Indonesia. We even have our very own recipe for it. But can you tell what’s missing with this Jus Alpukat?
Mrs D went for a quick lunch last week after shopping for Miss D’s coming China trip. Yes, Miss D is now in China again! Two China trips in less than two months. Miss D is sure a very busy 12 years old.
So after shopping, Mrs D had a quick lunch at Citoes (a popular expat shopping plaza in South Jakarta, where many working expats have lunches). She loved her drinks and ordered her favorite Jus Alpukat and Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice).
After ordering, the waiter came back with a large glass of Jus Alpukat, and said sorry that they had made the Juice but found out they had run out of Chocolate milk.
‘Do you still want it, mama?’ the waiter asked, holding the glass and offered a different drink if Mrs. D didn’t want it.
Of course, Mrs. D took it, she hates waste. The Jus Alpukat turned out yummy as usual.
Maybe next time, we will ignore the Chocolate milk part when we make the Jus Alpukat at home. A more healthy version, Yeh!
Hi, how are you today? Has it snowed in your city today?
Miss D really wanted to see snow during our trip to China. But during the time we were there, it only snowed a tiny bit while we were in Shanghai, the biggest city in China. It was so little that Miss D was quite disappointed.
But it was very cold in Shanghai, and we saw this:
Miss D was lucky. On the last day of our trip, prior our boarding our airplane, we finally saw snow. Miss D was so happy.
Look at the first hand print she made on the snow at the airport.
And here’s Miss D with her first snow ball!
The D’s New Year’s resolution list goes on…
Have you got your New Year’s resolution done?
Credit: Miss D
We were on the bus in Hangzhou, China when Miss D asked if China was a developed country or developing country.
When Mr. D asked Miss D what she thought the answer might be. Miss D told us that China looked like a developed country to her.
Well, we were only in China for two days at that time, and admittedly we had pampered ourselves a bit: living in a nice hotel, and eat in nice restaurants, so yeah all were pretty fancy in Miss D’s eyes.
But, what made Miss D thought China was a developed country was this:
‘There are so many elderly people in China, mama. Japan is a developed country and Japan has many elderly people. Does this make China a developed country?’
‘Besides, there are lots of rich people in China.’
‘And people here wear nice clothes, too.’
There you go, these are the 3 reasons Miss D thought China is a developed country.
Our experience in China later on soon changed her mind. Miss D agreed very quickly that China is a developing country. We will tell you the story in ‘5 Peculiar Things About China’ soon.
Decorate with shallot and serve.
With a curious soul like ours, we have to dig out the dirt now that we have started this Hugh Hefner married Crystal business. Why did Crystal Harris called off the marriage to Hugh Hefner the first time? Don’t you want to know?
Here a look here:
(CBS) Crystal Harris says she called off her wedding to Hugh Hefner, which was to take place on Saturday, because the Playboy founder’s lifestyle wasn’t for her.
“Hef’s lifestyle isn’t the most normal lifestyle,” Harris, 25, told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show Wednesday. “This isn’t the lifestyle for me, multiple girls around all the time, the Playboy lifestyle. I don’t know. I just wanted to be true to myself.”
“For a while, I’ve been having second thoughts about everything,” she said. “It all happened so fast, and they were going to air a show on it. It was all happening too fast for me.”
It was initially reported that Harris, a Playboy Playmate who appeared with Hefner on E!’s “The Girls Next Door,” called off the wedding after the couple had a “nasty argument” on the phone, but she told Seacrest that was untrue.
“It was mutual between Hef and I,” Harris explained. “There was no fight, we sat down and we talked about it.”
“We both agreed that it wasn’t the best idea to get married. He kind of told me that he was doing this wedding for me because he thought that’s what I wanted,” she said, later adding. “We were both kind of relieved.”
Read more here.
Interesting, Crystal called off the wedding because Hugh Hefner’s lifestyle. Isn’t the lifestyle what she wanted in the first place? And how long has been Hugh leading this lifestyle? As a playmate herself, sure Crystal knew this very well?
Oh, BTW, the argument reported earlier, was rumored about pre-nup (which Crystal 100% denied), of course. 😀
To enter out into that silence that was the city at eight o’clock of a misty evening in November, to put your feet upon that buckling concrete walk, to step over grassy seams and make your way, hands in pockets, through the silences, that was what Mr. Leonard Mead most dearly loved to do. He would stand upon the corner of an intersection and peer down long moonlit avenues of sidewalk in four directions, deciding which way to go, but it really made no difference; he was alone in this world of A.D. 2053, or as good as alone, and with a final decision made, a path selected, he would stride off, sending patterns of frosty air before him like the smoke of a cigar.
Sometimes he would walk for hours and miles and return only at midnight to his house. And on his way he would see the cottages and homes with their dark windows, and it was not unequal to walking through a graveyard where only the faintest glimmers of firefly light appeared in flickers behind the windows. Sudden gray phantoms seemed to manifest upon inner room walls where a curtain was still undrawn against the night, or there were whisperings and murmurs where a window in a tomb-like building was still open.
Mr. Leonard Mead would pause, cock his head, listen, look, and march on, his feet making no noise on the lumpy walk. For long ago he had wisely changed to sneakers when strolling at night, because the dogs in intermittent squads would parallel his journey with barkings if he wore hard heels, and lights might click on and faces appear and an entire street be startled by the passing of a lone figure, himself, in the early November evening.
On this particular evening he began his journey in a westerly direction, toward the hidden sea. There was a good crystal frost in the air; it cut the nose and made the lungs blaze like a Christmas tree inside; you could feel the cold light going on and off, all the branches filled with invisible snow. He listened to the faint push of his soft shoes through autumn leaves with satisfaction, and whistled a cold quiet whistle between his teeth, occasionally picking up a leaf as he passed, examining its skeletal pattern in the infrequent lamplights as he went on, smelling its rusty smell.
“Hello, in there,” he whispered to every house on every side as he moved. “What’s up tonight on Channel 4, Channel 7, Channel 9? Where are the cowboys rushing, and do I see the United States Cavalry over the next hill to the rescue?”
The street was silent and long and empty, with only his shadow moving like the shadow of a hawk in midcountry. If he closed his eyes and stood very still, frozen, he could imagine himself upon the center of a plain, a wintry, windless Arizona desert with no house in a thousand miles, and only dry river beds, the streets, for company.
“What is it now?” he asked the houses, noticing his wrist watch. “Eight-thirty P.M.? Time for a dozen assorted murders? A quiz? A revue? A comedian falling off the stage?”
Was that a murmur of laughter from within a moon-white house? He hesitated, but went on when nothing more happened. He stumbled over a particularly uneven section of sidewalk. The cement was vanishing under flowers and grass. In ten years of walking by night or day, for thousands of miles, he had never met another person walking, not once in all that time.
He came to a cloverleaf intersection which stood silent where two main highways crossed the town. During the day it was a thunderous surge of cars, the gas stations open, a great insect rustling and a ceaseless jockeying for position as the scarab-beetles, a faint incense puttering from their exhausts, skimmed homeward to the far directions. But now these highways, too, were like streams in a dry season, all stone and bed and moon radiance.
He turned back on a side street, circling around toward his home. He was within a block of his destination when the lone car turned a corner quite suddenly and flashed a fierce white cone of light upon him. He stood entranced, not unlike a night moth, stunned by the illumination, and then drawn toward it.
A metallic voice called to him:
“Stand still. Stay where you are! Don’t move!”
“Put up your hands!”
“But—” he said.
“Your hands up! Or we’ll Shoot!”
The police, of course, but what a rare, incredible thing; in a city of three million, there was only one police car left, wasn’t that correct? Ever since a year ago, 2052, the election year, the force had been cut down from three cars to one. Crime was ebbing; there was no need now for the police, save for this one lone car wandering and wandering the empty streets. “Your name?” said the police car in a metallic whisper. He couldn’t see the men in it for the bright light in his eyes.
“Leonard Mead,” he said.
“Business or profession?”
“I guess you’d call me a writer.”
“No profession,” said the police car, as if talking to itself. The light held him fixed, like a museum specimen, needle thrust through chest. “You might say that,” said Mr. Mead. He hadn’t written in years. Magazines and books didn’t sell any more. Everything went on in the tomblike houses at night now, he thought, continuing his fancy. The tombs, ill-lit by television light, where the people sat like the dead, the gray or multicolored lights touching their faces, but never really touching them. “No profession,” said the phonograph voice, hissing. “What are you doing out?”
“Walking,” said Leonard Mead.
“Just walking,” he said simply, but his face felt cold.
“Walking, just walking, walking?”
“Walking where? For what?”
“Walking for air. Walking to see.”
“Eleven South Saint James Street.”
“And there is air in your house, you have an air conditioner, Mr. Mead?”
“And you have a viewing screen in your house to see with?”
“No?” There was a crackling quiet that in itself was an accusation.
“Are you married, Mr. Mead?”
“Not married,” said the police voice behind the fiery beam. The moon was high and clear among the stars and the houses were gray and silent.
“Nobody wanted me,” said Leonard Mead with a smile.
“Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to!”
Leonard Mead waited in the cold night.
“Just walking, Mr. Mead?”
“But you haven’t explained for what purpose.”
“I explained; for air, and to see, and just to walk.”
“Have you done this often?”
“Every night for years.”
The police car sat in the center of the street with its radio throat faintly humming.
“Well, Mr. Mead,” it said.
“Is that all?” he asked politely.
“Yes,” said the voice. “Here.” There was a sigh, a pop. The back door of the police car sprang wide. “Get in.”
“Wait a minute, I haven’t done anything!”
He walked like a man suddenly drunk. As he passed the front window of the car he looked in. As he had expected, there was no one in the front seat, no one in the car at all.
He put his hand to the door and peered into the back seat, which was a little cell, a little black jail with bars. It smelled of riveted steel. It smelled of harsh antiseptic; it smelled too clean and hard and metallic. There was nothing soft there.
“Now if you had a wife to give you an alibi,” said the iron voice. “But—”
“Where are you taking me?”
The car hesitated, or rather gave a faint whirring click, as if information, somewhere, was dropping card by punch-slotted card under electric eyes. “To the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies.”
He got in. The door shut with a soft thud. The police car rolled through the night avenues, flashing its dim lights ahead.
They passed one house on one street a moment later, one house in an entire city of houses that were dark, but this one particular house had all of its electric lights brightly lit, every window a loud yellow illumination, square and warm in the cool darkness.
“That’s my house,” said Leonard Mead.
No one answered him.
The car moved down the empty river-bed streets and off away, leaving the empty streets with the empty sidewalks, and no sound and no motion all the rest of the chill November night.
While traveling in China, we used the scale provided by one of the hotels we lived in. Look at this BMI chart, interested?
Hopefully you haven’t put on much weight after the holidays. A few weeks in the winterland with family and friends, umm… wonder how the weight is pumping up.
Does this BMI chart scare you? Are you within the healthy weight range? We are now back to our daily routines and some hot yoga, fitness workout and fun swim are in order.
We have to keep our self-esteem high and fit back into that favourite dress of ours, don’t we? 😀
According to this BMI chart, everyone’s body weight should naturally preprogrammed to remain around the weight on this chart.
Knowing the ideal weight for you can actually help you to set your goal and maintain a healthy weight.
Want to know some tips about how to eat well but still keep a healthy weight? Well, here they are:
Basically that’s the real secret for not getting over weight.
No over eat, no over weight.
But if you insist on having a few more tips, here they are as well:
Good morning and finally we have some sunshine for today. How long will this last? Let’s wait and see.
You might have noticed that we are quite interested in Nursery Rhymes and Lyrics lately. It is a new year, and guess what, we have new babies.
Will and Kate have a Royal baby on the way.
Our eBook baby is ready and will be met with you all on our brand new website.
To add to this baby business, Mr. D’s cousin has given birth to a baby son last year. A dragon baby according to Chinese zodiac! Almighty and powerful just like Miss D. Miss D is a dragon, too, do you know?
To celebrate all these good news and give a gift to Mr. D’s nephew, we have collected some wonderful Nursery Rhymes and Lyrics. Miss D has grown up with these nursery songs and we always had a great time singing together.
Want to have a peek of these nurseries? Below are 10 of our favourites:
We love a bit of gossip every now and then. We were shocked to see the picture below. Do you know what it is?
Well, this is the first home of Crystal – Playboy boss Hugh Hefner‘s new wife. As you know, Crystal married 82 year’s old Hugh Hefner at a tender age of 26 in the new year.
Glamorous girl, humble beginnings.
If she were Paris Hilton, will she marry Hugh Hefner? Maybe it is not only money that attracts Crystal to Hugh, but it certainly plays a part. Quite a big one, we guess…
We were shocked even more to see the picture below. This could be in Jakarta. Looks so familiar and run down. No, sadly, it is the surroundings of Crystal’s first home.
Now, we start to understand why there are so many Indonesia boat people risking their lives.
Don’t believe it? Have a look at the rubbish dump in Jakarta we took a while ago.
Even worse one below:
To see more daily life in Jakarta, read the D’s Snapshots here.
We love gifts and Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the Gift Business. So do your kids love your Christmas gifts this year?
We were thinking of doing a 2012 year in review as it is the most proper way to end the old year and begin the new. Somehow, we end up creating this gifting problem cartoon. Hope you like it!
Modern day gifting can be a tricky business.But don’t worry, in the olden days, Christmas gifting also can be very, very dramatic. Why not have a look at this short story?
We will do a new column on the new Midnightvisitor site (Yep, the new site is still in progress, we haven’t forgotten about it :D). We will put up a new short story every weekend. Hope you like them. We certainly love to read in the D house.
BTW, have you got your Gift list ready on Amazon yet? We are preparing for next year’s Christmas gifts already, haha. 😀
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”
The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pierglass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”
“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.
“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”
Down rippled the brown cascade.
“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
“Give it to me quick,” said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”
At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”
“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”
Jim looked about the room curiously.
“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”
And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”
The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
Playboy Hugh Hefner married again in the New Year!
No more lonely nights! Hugh Hefner is officially off the market, again.
86 years old Hugh Hefner married 26 years old Crystal during the new year holiday. The marriage was called off once half a years ago in June last year. What was going through Crystal’s mind at that time?
Is this true love?
Guess what, China has a very similar story back in 2005. The then 82 years old Dr. Yang Zhen Ning ( A Nobel Prize winner in Physics in 1957) married his 28 years old wife.
It had caused a huge social debate that year and is one of the hottest press in China even today.
Good news is Dr. Yang and his wife are still happily married until now. Eight long years, marriage brings longevity for sure. We will see if Hugh can do the same. 😀
Oh, BTW, it rained again today. When can the rain go away? Here’s another raining song. Hope you like it.
Early in the morning,
The sun was up and the sky was very blue,
Without a warning,
As I looked out,my thoughts returned to you
A noise in the city made the children run,
And hide themselves away,
And thunder boomed and lightning filled the sky.
Looking from this window,
A thousand rivers running past my door
Standing on an island,looking for someone
Upon the shore,
I can see it very clearly nothing’s really changed,
Then lightning strikes across an empty sky,
Ooh-the rain is falling,
Ooh-the rain is falling,
Ooh-the rain is falling,
Will it wash away the lonely tears,
With their brand new time transporter,
They’ll think maybe I fought to get away,
But with all their great inventions,
And all their good intentions here I stay,
Down on the corner where the sun had shone,
The people gathered ’round,
Then scattered as the raindrops hit the ground,
Miss D is an awesome kid. She does lots of amazing things that surprise us. She can sing, she can draw, she can write; she is a great student at school, she is quite athletic as well. We love her with all our heart.
Miss D is awesome, but she is still only 12 years old. Her most asked question during the day are more like these:
What’s for dinner?
What’s for dessert?
Can I have that game?
When can I have a sleepover at …?
All my friends like that toy/game, why can’t I have it?
You get the picture. 😀
So when Miss D asked us a thoughtful question during our China trip, we listened and think you might want to know as well.
We were on a bus in Hangzhou to the West Lake. It was a week day at around 11ish, so the bus was half empty. The bus had just stopped at a stop, and a few elderly Chinese ladies boarded the bus. The bus drove on, and that’s when Miss D asked:
‘Is China a developed country, mum?’
Gee, Mrs D was surprised. Miss D had never asked anything like this in her entire 12 years life. Mrs D was about to answer Miss D, when Mr D asked:
‘What do you think, Honey?’
Mrs D was curious to know as well, actually, what Mrs D wanted to know was: why did Miss D ask such a question?
You know, Miss D is not a dumb kid. She was pretty good at social studies at school. And sure at 12 years old, the school must have taught Miss D a few things about countries already. China is one of the biggest countries in the world. Miss D sure should know by now what country China is, shouldn’t she?
Why don’t you ask your 12 years old the question and see if they can answer straight away. 😀
Anyways, while Mrs D’s mind was running with all these thoughts, Miss D gave out her answer. Being a logical kid, her answer was like this:
‘Well, China looks like a developed country to me, but isn’t China a developing country?’
What? Why? Now Mrs D couldn’t help to ask Miss D:
‘You’re right, honey, China is a developing country. But why do you think China is a developed country?’
Want to know how Miss D replied, please come back next Monday, and we will publish her answer.
Meanwhile, why don’t you ask your kid a few questions about the countries you have traveled to, and see what their answers are. The kids might surprise you as well.
Good morning and welcome to the New Year!
It is hard to believe we were still in China yesterday, watching snow falls and we are now back in Jakarta and watching the rain again.
It has been a great holiday, and the weather is on our side. Miss D has finally seen the first real snow fall in her life! She is beyond excited. Stay tuned for some snow pictures we took very soon.
Beside the snow, we have many other stories to tell. Gosh, where should we start? Below are a few stories we are going to write about our China trip.
Interested? These are only a tip of what we will write about our China trip.
Be patient, we will need some time to write quality articles. 😀
For now, we will just put up a good, old nursery rhyme about the rain. The raining season in Jakarta this year seems quite different from last year. It rained almost everyday. Dark skies, and bad traffic, how long will this last? Rain, please go away…
Rain Rain go Away
Rain rain go away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play;
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again!
To read more nursery rhymes and lyrics, click here.
Normally you won’t see a title like this on midnightvisitor:
Of course, we are in Jakarta, hence our blog has a certain Indonesia touch. But ours is a fun oriented blog, has nothing to do with any system at all. Even if it is the Education system!
But wait, we can write, and to prove that, we write in many styles. And we can write in a formal tone, very formal indeed, OK?
You are not reading this article yet, ‘Indonesia Education and School System’, that is, because it will be in tomorrow’s newspaper ( or more exactly, a future post in someone else’s blog).
We thought it might be good to let you know first. So stay tuned and we will publish the ‘Indonesia Education and School System’ very soon.
On a more serious note: if you are moving to Jakarta, with a kid, then please come back to read this article. It gives you a detailed view on how the Indonesia education system looks like, and how to pick a good school for your child.
Very important topic, right? Hope you will like it. It is educational, indeed.
Good evening from Hangzhou China. We had a great day today riding bikes along the West Lake, which is the most famous place here.
It was 4 degrees here so we bought some gloves to ride our rented bikes. Miss D loved her new pair of gloves, they look nice, aren’t they?
Oh, there are lots of hats shops here, too. We were thinking of buying some, but our coats already have got hats of their own. So not to be a Mad Hatter, we gave it a pass.
We also bought something special which Miss D loves. Have a look, do you know what it is?
This week’s MidnightVisitor’s Quiz is:
What is this thing we bought today?
Hint: people used it in ancient China for entertainment.
Good luck and the answer will be revealed next Monday.
We have seen so many interesting things here that we want to tell you about. Stay tuned.
Good morning, dear readers,
How are you today? We are in China by now and this is a scheduled post. Hope you like it.
So what are these children doing in the photo below:
These children are very excited. But no, they are not rushing for the red ribbon-ed Christmas gift boxes. No, they have more exciting stuff to chase.
Such a happy girl, what are you staring at?
See that silver machine in the center of this photo? See those oozing white bubbles coming out this machine?
Yes, you are right. It is a bubble machine. It has created such a festive moment for the kids. They are chasing around like mad. Childhood memories, magical and unforgettable.
Do you have any childhood memories that keep you warm this Christmas? How about create one for your children now before they grow up too quickly?
Bye for now and see you soon.
We are going to chase our own bubbles now…
For rambling blogs
Or no blog
Or blogs we put up and then lost in transistion
Or blogs we delete/heavily edit
Or maybe, just maybe
if we are lucky, and everyone else is lucky
business/blogging as usual.
We are going to China.
At least that’s for sure and we are excited.
Are we continuing to blog while we are there?
We are not sure.
Time, we guess
Time will tell
Last day before we fly out to China, we haven’t packed yet. And why we are still typing here?!
Because we are so excited, our first e-baby:
‘A Piece of Jakarta – 31 Days in Jakarta’
is now officially completed!
A big thank you to Miss D, who worked till 10pm last night to help out with the final editing, without you, the eBook won’t be as beautiful. You are a star!!!
You might have noticed that we changed the eBook cover a bit. Is it better this way? We like it because now that it suits the contents better. You will see what we mean if you read our eBook.
Most of the photos in this eBook is actually taken by Miss D. Even the photo on our eBook cover is taken by Miss D. We love it. How good is that! Plus she has a few articles there, too. We love the ‘5 Peculiar Things in Jakarta’ she wrote, which is included in the eBook.
Actually, while editing, Miss D came up with another great idea.
Miss D has been working in her Grade Ambassador Club in the past semester, and has grown a keen interest in organising events and activities.
We were thinking of launching our new eBook on a new website. But Miss D got a better idea: she wants to do a fundraiser at her school and give out the eBook for free. There are lots of unfortunate kids in Jakarta, and hopefully our eBook can help a good cause.
So after our holidays, she will talk to her adviser in school and see if she can do this. So excited! Maybe we will just throw in A Hat Day at her school, what do you think?
Wish Miss D luck!
Have a look at this Cat! This is no ordinary cat.
This is the original Batman Cat!
Have a happy day today.
Have A Hat Day!!!!!
They even have a Mad Hatter Hotel in London, England! Have your heard about this hotel! Sounds like a fun hotel to us. 😀
Have a look at the Mad Hatter Hotel at A Hat Day today. 😀
You might want to check out the Mad Hatter Hotel next time you are in London?
“You were told that I was a secret agent, a spy, dealing in espionage and danger. You wished to meet me because you are a writer, young and romantic. You envisioned mysterious figures in the night, the crack of pistols, drugs in the wine.”
“Instead, you have spent a dull evening in a French music hall with a sloppy fat man who, instead of having messages slipped into his hand by dark-eyed beauties, gets only a prosaic telephone call making an appointment in his room. You have been bored!” The fat man chuckled to himself as he unlocked the door of his room and stood aside to let his frustrated guest enter.
“You are disillusioned,” Ausable told him. “But take cheer, my young friend. Presently you will see a paper, a quite important paper for which several men and women have risked their lives, come to me.
Some day soon that paper may well affect the course of history. In that thought is drama, is there not?”
As he spoke, Ausable closed the door behind him. Then he switched on the light.
And as the light came on, Fowler had his first authentic thrill of the day. For halfway across the room, a small automatic pistol in his hand, stood a man.
Ausable blinked a few times.
“Max,” he wheezed, “you gave me quite a start. I thought you were in Berlin. What are you doing here in my room?”
Max was slender, a little less than tall, with features that suggested slightly the crafty, pointed countenance of a fox. There was about him — aside from the gun — nothing especially menacing.
“The report,” he murmured. “The report that is being brought to you tonight concerning some new missiles. I thought I would take it from you. It will be safer in my hands than in yours.”
Ausable moved to an armchair and sat down heavily. “I’m going to raise the devil with the management this time, and you can bet on it,” he said grimly. “This is the second time in a month that somebody has got into my room through that nuisance of a balcony!” Fowler’s eyes went to the single window of the room. It was an ordinary window, against which now the night was pressing blackly.
“Balcony?” Max said, with a rising inflection. “No, a passkey. I did not know about the balcony. It might have saved me some trouble had I known.”
“It’s not my balcony,” Ausable said with extreme irritation. “It belongs to the next apartment.” He glanced explanatorily at Fowler. “You see,” he said, “this room used to be part of a large unit, and the next room — through that door there — used to be the living room. It had the balcony, which extends under my window now. You can get onto it from the empty room two doors down — and somebody did, last month. The management promised to block it off. But they haven’t.”
Max glanced at Fowler, who was standing stiffly not far from Ausable, and waved the gun with a commanding gesture. “Please sit down,” he said. “We have a wait of half an hour, I think.”
“Thirty-one minutes,” Ausable said moodily. “The appointment was for twelve-thirty. I wish I knew how you learned about the report, Max.”
The little spy smiled evilly. “And we wish we knew how your people got the report. But no harm has been done. I will get it back tonight. What is that? Who is at the door?”
Fowler jumped at the sudden knocking at the door. Ausable just smiled. “That will be the police,” he said. “I thought that such an important paper as the one we are waiting for should have a little extra protection. I told them to check on me to make sure everything was all right.”
Max bit his lip nervously. The knocking was repeated.
“What will you do now, Max?” Ausable asked. “If I do not answer the door, they will enter anyway. The door is unlocked. And they will not hesitate to shoot.”
Max’s face was black with anger as he backed swiftly towards the window. He swung a leg over the sill. “Send them away!” he warned. “I will wait on the balcony. Send them away or I’ll shoot and take my chances!”
The knocking at the door became louder and a voice was raised.
“Mr Ausable! Mr Ausable!”
Keeping his body twisted so that his gun still covered the fat man and his guest, the man at the window grasped the frame with his free hand to support himself. Then he swung his other leg up and over the window-sill.
The doorknob turned. Swiftly Max pushed with his left hand to free himself from the sill and drop to the balcony. And then, as he dropped, he screamed once, shrilly.
The door opened and a waiter stood there with a tray, a bottle and two glasses. “Here is the drink you ordered for when you returned,” he said, and set the tray on the table, deftly uncorked the bottle, and left the room.
White-faced, Fowler stared after him. “But…” he stammered, “the police…”
“There were no police.” Ausable sighed. “Only Henry, whom I was expecting.”
“But won’t that man out on the balcony…?” Fowler began.
“No,” said Ausable, “he won’t return. You see, my young friend, there is no balcony.”