Sunday dawned, bright and hot. The travel case was filled, and we headed down to KL Sentral for the Swap meet. I had received an SMS saying that 3 earlier confirmed attendees were bugging out. So I sat, and waited, to see who would turn up. And so, after some waiting, the following people showed.
Chiq brought peppermint candy canes for everyone, and I brought a box of chocolates, the remains of which disappeared into the depths of graceshu's handbag, ostensibly for her brothers, but we all know she needs a sugar fix now and again. Lots of coffee was drunk, and Dan and I only took one cigarette break. In a city full of coffee places which have smoking sections, Graceshu has managed to find the only one which is non smoking. Dan and I discussed this, and we will be conducting a search for a suitable location for the next swap meet.
The travel case was opened up, and several columns of books emerged. Ted took 9 Discworld novels, and was rather disappointed that they were not in sequence. I just pulled a random sampling from my shelf. Other books were also on the table, including some books with rather weird titles, courtesy of my library. Ted ended up buying a new bag just to take the books home.
Which became a topic of some discussion, with swap meet attendees saying that the title of the meet should be changed to xXx's mobile lending library, or something along those lines. Gossip crossed the table that I was in fact a preferred customer of Pay Less Books, and had my own private account. I wish to deny any and all such rumours, and also deny the fact that Pay Less rolls out the red carpet whenever I grace their premises.
It was a rather good meet this time, with lots of news about mutual friends, and holiday plans being exchanged. Aliya also shared some very good news with us, and we give her our heartiest congratulations, and look forward to attending the party in 2006. We are all planning on attending dressed in Malay traditional dress. xXx # 10:03 AM
Sunday, December 19, 2004
City of Djinns by William Dalrymple
Invisible spirits co-habiting with humans, a taxi company called International Backside Taxis, elderly little Anglo-Indian ladies with cobras under their beds, Shah Jehan's great great great granddaughter working as a librarian. This is the city of Delhi, a tattered remnant of India's majestic moghul past. I have many travellers' tales about India and Delhi, not many of them good. But William Dalrymple spent one year in old Delhi to explore its history and get to know it at a personal level; and he loved it. City of Djinns is Dalrymple's account of his time there, the characters and friends who he came to know and the magnificent past of an empire that is now no more. He pursues his knowledge through the narrow alleys and palatial ruins of the old city, meeting with dervishes and holy men in his quest. His research is absolutely thorough but without the boring and stern academic style so loved by many historians. This is essentially a travel book, but with a rich well of historical knowledge woven into the travel adventures.