Friday, September 28, 2007

Smacked by an Italian


All refreshed from our day off, a lil tired from the lack of sleep, but we made it to work on a wet Friday morning. We headed off to Verona yesterday, on a 2hour train ride there. Passed by many interesting landmarks. Overall, we had a blast away from Venice and work altogether. Time to stretch our legs and do some walking.

We dozed off couple of times in the train tho, bobbing our heads (sorry ryf…not deb) frantically sideways on other passengers. But train ride was rather comfortable and exciting. One mistake that we think every tourist makes is stopping at Verona Porta Vescovo, a stop just before Verona Porta Nuvo. We got out and made or way to the train station, wanting to buy a ticket when we observed, where are all the tourists?!! We checked our train tickets and it said Porta Nuvo. So we waited for the next train, Toilet at the stop was good tho! So it was kind worth it…I think. Lol.

We reached Verona, and decided to walk down to the Arena. We could recognize the place, as it was swarming with tourists. We were drawn to the Arena instantly. Also because, there was this dude dressed in Roman Uniform and ushering the people in. We took a video and a photograph of him and he came up to us and smack our bottoms. Deb thought it was cool that a Roman / Italian hottie smacked our butts…lol. The arena was “ok” lah… nothing spectacular as we expected it to be. There was a concert being held there at night, so they were testing the sound system there…Sound system was excellent. We climbed into the arena and there were loads of people inside. Mostly all tourists. And then it started to rain… it was freezing cold, and the wind kept blowing our umbrella shut.

Then we made our way down to Casa de’ Giulette, where the story of Romeo and Juliet unfolded. We sought to see the famous balcony where Romeo and Juliet meet. Again, we were welcomed with hordes of people. Think he school let the kids out early today. There was this broze sculpture of Juliet and people were taking pictures of her while touching her boobs. It was elieved to give those that touch them, good luck in their love life. Other than that, nothing spectacular with the balcony, I believe they have capitalized on the Juliet story to a point where it becomes very overrated. Although there were nice fridge magnets there…lol. Anyways, we made our way to Castelvecchio bridge, where this massive bridge spans across the Verona river. It looks amazing, like in a fairytale where castles and knights rule. Deb met with a puppy there which she found totally adorable.

We then started to head down to the train station, not wanting to miss the 6pm train. As we head back, we passed by this toy store selling Trudi stuffed toys. You see… I have this bunny toy foofoo, and hes a Trudi toy. And we decided when we embark on this journey in Italy to find a replica of foofoo, as Trudi toys are made in Italy. We wanted to get foof a female partner… yes..WE ARE CRAZY….In any case, we went In the store to find if theres anymore foofoos, but there was none. Although, the owner of the store informed us that there was another Trudi store back at the Arena, so guess what we went on a hunt for foofoos the remaining of the day. Haha. But sadly, even that store did not have foof’s model (.. foofs quite old actually…shh). So we headed off our 2hr journey back home…

Splendid day out of Venice, I might say. Its very refreshing actually … oh wells, here we are at our desk again. 2weeks have passed, and how fast time flies when ur having fun!

-ryfus / dubbs

1. Italian dude that smacked our butts
2. Introducing Foofoo.
3. Picture taken with Castelvecchio bridge at the background.
4. The famous balcony of Juliet
5. The Arena in Verona.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Scissors-Paper-Stoned !!??


Its been a bad day sofar… been raining like crazy. And we started out our day storming the heavy rain to get to work. Darn Venetian buildings that have no sheltered walkways…lol. We got to work today soaking wet, and with wet shoes and socks!! And now all our toes feel like icicles..Brrr.. Also the morning was pretty slow, as there weren’t much people due to the rain.

Last night, after work, the both of us took a walk down to the Billa near to Rialto to stock up on our food supplies. It was a pretty nice stroll back, discovering new things each time. This time, we discovered the Venetian version of Daiso (the 1 Euro shop, though some stuff were 2 Euros). On the way back, we (although Ryf claims it was juz Deb) couldn’t resist the incredibly seducing Chocolate & Banana Crepes. We also made a quick stop by the café/bar near our apartment to grab a hot slice of mozzarella pizza (according to Ryf’s words, it was “ DAMN SHIOK”). However, when we got back to the apartment, Ryf seemed somewhat full. So we debated over who should eat the last bite of the ever so fattening pizza, and figured after awhile, arguing didn’t work. We decided to resort to the most civilized manner in solving disputes, (one of which I feel most countries should adopt to stop wars)……We “scissored-papered-stoned”. That, my friends, is how our day pretty much ended. (Ryf lost)

Nevertheless, it is after all a Wednesday, and tomorrow comes our day off! We shall again attempt our escape to Verona.

OH OH OH!!! Mr. Phils Skyped us today! We miss prata plaster! And laksa, and nasi lemak, and nasi padang, AND BBQ STINGRAY!!!…..the list could go on forever.


Monday, September 24, 2007



Its been a hectic Sunday. Apparently, news ships have taken dock and there have been a swarm of people coming into the exhibit. Counted altogether 587 (refer to count sheet…haha). Many interesting people we have to say, theres one in particular, an art praticioner from Cyprus, Patricia Pitts. Born in the US, she chatted with us quite a bit. Being retired, she and her husband Bob, took a long cruise down various places, including Greece and Venice. She mentioned how she feels that artists are a lil more sensitive to the surroundings and materials and how they’re (artist) are always a step ahead. She told us about how she does ceramic paintings, and that she has two children whom she’s proud of, practicing art. She sounds so excited to have seen works form the Singapore Pavillion. She mentioned also that she would be stopping in Singapore sometime in January.

Other interesting happenings during work included our separate count sheet to count the number of people who trips as they enter the exhibition. Believe me, many people do not read notices. Although its quite an amusing sight, but we sympathize on those elderly ones. For Dawu’s works, several gave good feedbacks about how it reflects strongly the Asian culture, although but his banana leaves on the table are drying up. He’s coming down on 29th of September, to install more things I believe…oh yea and bringing us curry powder (I hope)….yey! Zul’s dome, is ever so meditative, many people were snoozing and rolling about in the dome. There was someone who even thought that the people rolling about were robots, which are part of the artwork, lol. Its very amusing, but the smell of the dome is getting a bit more unbearable, somehow it smells of bad fish, maybe it’s the smell of people’s feet..haha. But we aired the space when we close for the day, so its getting better… hopefully. There was also one occasion that the window to the balcony was opened, think someone actually opened it to take photos. It actually intrudes the artwork, so we are doing more frequent rounds around the space.

We have been busy cooking and conjuring up new recipes, although its been rather painful swallowing some of our experimental works. EXCRUCIATING… Lately we made Tiramisu, recipe from Aaron which is rum-free. Incredibly delicious, and FATTENING as well. Lol. While we were eating, Deb made a comment, which is shockingly true, since we didn’t bake the Tiramisu, it means we are actually eating RAW eggs. Ewww…. Well, on the brighter side, it didn’t taste of the raw eggs at all. (just FYI, we tried the Tiramisu about 4.30am this morning, when Ryf had to have his breakfast as he’s fasting).

We have discovered a cheaper way of indulging in gelato, Ryf made a trip down to Billa Supermarket and bought back this sinful tub of cacao gelato which was on a special offer 1.99 Euros!! But of course, the gelato at the Gelateria shops is nicer.

With the ice cream treats and sometimes a little chocolate chip cookie or two, we can now enjoy a nice little supper, sitting by the television watching cable TV. However, everything we watch is either news, weird bollywood stuff, occasionally happen to flip by what seems to be a low class sleazy channel…but among all, I must say that the only entertaining channel seems to be the cartoon channel….in GERMAN. We watched a Tim Allen movie, and they had dubbed his voice in German, it sounded sooooooo weird. Ryf fell asleep watching it. I decided to watch Pooh & Friends instead (it was still in German). So on the overall, We’ve both been watching a lot of German channels, cooking almost everyday and meeting all sorts of people and answer occasion weird questions.

Ryfus n Dubbus.

1. Tiramisu for Dummies. Instructional images
2. Count Sheet. (587 visitors on Sunday). record high!
3. The bridge of Sighs, reputedly named after the sighs of condemned prisoners
4. Statue of some dood on a horse at piazzetta St Marco (will get back to u on
5. Very nice cosy, romantika Ristorante at St Marco Pier.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wobbles Gobbles

Hey Guys,

It’s the start of a new working day after our first official day off. (not that we do take unofficial day offs …but u know what I ). Aaron, was leaving for London on Thursday morning, so we bid him farewell, and thanked him for his great hospitality and his cooking recipes, ESPECIALLY the tiramisu ! And also his excellent recommendations on the places he found interesting. Yesterday, we attempted to take a trip out to Verona and Padua, but we missed the 10:51 train and we had to wait for another hr to take the next 1. We decided that we rather spend that time, exploring Venice, as our 1st expedition. We went around ala’ Amazing race with our backpacks, tripods and cameras, and went on a hunt for all the other exhibitions / pavilions.

We came to the Thailand exhibition, and was kinda disappointed as it was closed at 11.30am. So we took a peek at the key holes in an attempt to see a brief view of the works. We then moved on to Slovenia, Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Australia, Luxemburg, Moldova, Iceland. We were impressed with the artworks from Patrick Mimran, from NY, with his giant sized images of parking spaces in NY. Its amazing to see that there are a lot of text there that serve to assist you, but it seems to confuse you more. When asked if the images are ‘Photoshopd’, the gallery sitter, said the artist claimed that its an original photograph, not retouched at all. The colors are brilliant. There was also this artist Susan from Australia, who did a video piece of the East Java (Havoc), and addresses the issues that they are facing with the mudslide. I did not realize the issue, until it was showcased. Its very sad to know that your neighboring country is in this dilemma, and also realize how fortunate we are to be living in a place such as Singapore.

We went walking and walking and walking, and we went took the time to shop around and marvel and drool at their amazing chocolate selection, as well as their giant pizzas, which are about 2euros/slice. There’s also this artist we discovered, a local delight from Venice himself, Livio De Marchi. He does remarkable works of everyday objects, from JUST wood!!! Works ranging from raincoats, underwear, dirty socks!!! Its simply breathtaking. We went to his workshop, but he was not working today. Deb would’ve loved to meet and probably learn a thing or two from the great artist.

Past few days working has been good, we met with many people, as usual, but one I particular surprised us. LITERALLY !! Theres these 2 arab looking guys, who came up to us to enquire bout the price / rates of the artworks, if say he was interested in buying the artwork. We told him we didn’t have the list of prices and that he could contact NAC or the artist directly to enquire in purchasing the artworks. So we were curious and asked him which piece he liked, and thought of buying. He flipped through the catalogue, macam (IKEA catalogue like tat ) and opened up to Zul’s page. He pointed out and said he wanted to buy the Sonic Dome. When asked if he’s for real, he said casually, yea… why not… (at this moment we were flabbergasted). The Dude is only in his early twenties, and he has the cash to buy a Sonic DOME…..!!!... Must be an oil tycoons son. Lol…

So its back to work for us. Enjoy the images…
-ryf / debs


1. Livio De Marchi' jacket
2. A bar, with BRAs as their ornamental decorations.
3. Home-made Ciabatta loaded with Turkey ham, chicken, egg, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese. A mouthful, even to describe…lol
4. Debb, immersed in a garden of GIANT FRUITS.
5. Panoramic picture of the sunset at Fondementa Zattere Ponte’ pier

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A wet weather program

Hey guys,

It’s been a wonderful almost 6 days in Venice. The weather is getting colder as the day pass. It has rained the past 3days. And you can see people running about seeking shelter, as there aren’t any covered walkways. Kind of an exciting sight to see people scampering around Campo Santo Stefano. We took our 1st walk in the rain yesterday, on the way to the supermacato. REALLY REALLY cold… brrrr… And all our clothes that we have put up 2 dry, needs yet another day, as the weather keeps pouring.

We have been having hot meals at home, cooking pastas, grilled fish, omelets with mushrooms, onions and potatoes, not forgetting OUR local delicacies which we miss so much, such as fried rice (thanks to mum for packing those instant sambals….lol). The dreadful thing is that, this is the month of rahmadan, and im fasting, so im waking up like 4am in the morning just to eat, and deb has graciously accompanied me in all of my meals and cooking them with me. It was pretty hard to get used to, but I think now we are slightly better at waking up. And the plus point is that we save money. Lol. We took some excellent pictures, and specially love the night shots, lugging around to different bridges and alleys with our tripod, camera and remote.

Seems that we are nearing to a week of our internship, and we have not gotten bored of it yet, seems that its going well… and work-wise, we try to occupy our time, doing rounds, and chatting up with interesting people. Its an excellent experience, interacting with an international audience. They have many things to say, view or even witness that we cannot even do in our lifetime. We met Josephine, a musician that frequents his trips from Venice to the greek islands via a cruise ships, enlightening audiences music from his saxophone. This Russian guy, whos visiting Venice, and insists that we visit Pardua, since its such a lovely place. And Erica Tan, who was from Singapore and now based in London, that thinks that the exhibition is a wonderful display of local talent. She came here 2x, one with her dad and showed him around.

There were also feedbacks from people, one about Jason’s chandelier’s 2000 lotuses. Hisayuki Amae, a graphic designer from Japan, commented that the lotuses that Jason is selling would probably be more effective if he created 2000 lotuses and crash them and another 2000 for sale, to emphasize the death and rebirth, if the work revolves around Buddhism. And few also loved the sonic dome where they feel the tremors and the bass of the sound that they are experiencing. Many have dozed off to its meditative sounds, and many couples were caught coupling under those romantic lights. Haha.

It’s a worthwhile experience and we both are enjoyn ourselves so far.
Tomorrow: day off, we’ll be heading to Verona and Pardua for a day out of the city and probably island hop around Murano, Burano.

Catch u soon!
-ryf n debs

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The new interns signing in!

Hey guys, its ryf and deb here.

Its our first solo working day, totally independent and on our OWN.

Its been great to be immersed in the gorgeous scenic and densely tourist-populated St Marco. It seems that people of all cultures emerge and share with one another, creating a whole unique experience, you’ll never know what language the next person u meet, might speak. It’s a whole different atmosphere, where streets are indulged with cafes that patrons are enjoying and savoring their meals while basking in the company of people they love. Alleys that u’ll never know where it will lead you, drawn by the flicker of lights to the beautiful but melancholic sounds of buskers playing the violin. The lovely and obedient dogs that Deb absolutely loves. Oh… and not forgetting the abundant gelatos available…and what a wonderful selection too! And what wonderful picturesque scenes unraveling that aptly suits the romantic ambience.

Having settled here for 3 days, we quickly got adjusted to the environment, and the food. Basically we would make frequent trips to the supermarket to buy groceries and cook them ourselves. Pretty good stuff. We went out for our first dining with previous interns, Aparna and Arron. Food was great, although, needs a lil adjusting to. A bit of a drawback is that we do not drink, so we are missing out on the finer side of being in Italy. Oh well, theres always the gelatos!!

Working wise, its pretty straightforward, but its been a blast meeting new people from all around the world. Its amazing how sign language is an internationally recognized language. Haha. Lots of feedback, and many bravos were given for the exhibited works. Its so good to have this response from an international audience, resonating encouraging feedbacks. Truly amazing.

Well done artists.

Friday, September 14, 2007


on wednesday the new interns, ryf and deb, arrived.
we've been overthrown!!

gracefully though...

today was their first day of work...
we showed them the ropes.
... and the view from the palazzo.

planning a big feast tonight.......siccilian sword fish with rigatoni.
...aaron is cooking.
i'm gonna bev it up...

and have crowned myself now the new pavilion drunk.

ciao venezia, till carnevale!


Monday, September 10, 2007

how sweet it is to be loved by you

yah it worked!
so this was the opening boat event...
i wanted to put a pic of aaron up watching from our balcony in the palazzo but he said he'll just take it down...
he's a little shy.

there have been some pretty big names in the pav...
likke the director of the Ufuim Museum in Japan...
and someone wrote in the guestbook that she's a princess...
>translated< (she wrote in italian)
"i am a princess of the city castelo.
very beautiful.
a kiss for everyone.
helena the princess"

... not so sure about the authenticity of this one..

there's quite an intense influx right now of french students i think....
will be back shortly.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

frozen fruit danger

... that was aaron's last search on google.
he's a little ridic.

we are in our last week of working here in the pav!
... the time has gone by ridiculously quickly..

last sunday was the regatt a storica!
it was just spitting images of how one would cariciture Venice....
the colours, sounds, an d throngs of people just added such grandeur to the whole experience!
becuase we had to close early,
aaron, Dawu, and I managed to have the balcony to ourselves!
...looking out onto the grande canal... quite spectacular...
aaron and I like to call ourselves the king and queen of the palazzo.
... we are quite appalled we are going to be overthrown soon.

... anyway, back to the regatta,

there was a private party downstairs int he garden of the palazzo...
where during quiet moments of the race.. aaron and i would casually stroll downstairs,
and schmoooze our way towards the drinks... juice.
we waited for about an hour for the canapes...
they finally arrrived with prosseco and rossinis (like a bellini but with strawberries... i love them)
it was the grandest entrance made in that party.
people ruuushed towards them.
aaron and i may have over done it a bit... we ate about 50 canapes each.
you knnow how one gets carreied away with things....

so the regatta lasted about 4 hours.
first was the big procession
with all these amazing ornate gondalaz with teams of people in matching outfits rowing down the grand canal in unison,
other gondolas had the gondoleer and then a couple dressed in victorian dresses waving to the crowds like the queen of england. ..
and then there was the odd regualar gondola with overwieght toursits.

it was really quite a sight...

something is up witht he websuite and i cant' upload a picture!
will do i t as soon as poss.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Portrait of a pizza, Da wu's arrival, Regata Storica and Film Festival

This is what a bored intern does when confronted by the remnants of what was lunch a minute ago - tape it onto the glass window overlooking the courtyard of the palazzo and admire how the afternoon light filters through the patches of grease.


Speaking of culinary pursuits, a recent discovery of soya-based gelato at Il Doge(modest selection inside the shop at Campo Santa Margherita) has got my asian lactose-intolerent bowels all revvvvved up with creamy delights of
Cioccolato al peperoncino, pistachio, and vanilla-riso... Rumour has it that an amazing gelateria has opened up at Mestre(mainland) and locals have proclaimed it the best ever. Address/Review to be confirmed upon pilgrimage.

Da Wu popped in yesterday after our initial surprise upon opening shop and discovering to our delight that a new performance in Little India has been added to the video loop, and other additions to the setup like banana trees arranged askew and an animation projection across the section of the floor where the steel cutout lies. It was great to finally meet the man behind the seminal 1980s artistic initiative The Artists Village, whose unassuming joviality belies his stature as a founding figure in Singaporean contemporary art practice. We had a discussion about his alma mater Goldsmiths College, where he had a classmate called Mark Wallinger, and critical dialogues/forums were recorded on tape and marked by tutors (instead of the now requisite essays/thesis). The same school today is plagued by encroaching institutionalisation and increasing student-teacher ratio, and it is hard not to romanticised its past glory.

Regata Storica, which is the annual gondolier race across the grand canal is on this sunday(first sunday of september). We are all psyched because
1)We get to close shop early (a cautionary measure by the Institute to prevent tourists from pilling into the balconies of the palazzo for a magnificent view of the race.
2)We get that magnificent view to ourselves! Some prosecco and good company... Perfecto!

Also, the end of the August heralds the start of the Venice Film Festival, where we, lowly interns, will attempt to wiggle our way into parties and openings in a bid to catch a glimpse of Woody's bald patch or Keira Knightley's bag of chicken bones. Wes Anderson is showing, and Taratino curating a Spaghetti Western retrospective... woohoo!

*Aparna is currently being interrogated by a flashy Dior-wrapped Argentinian who thinks this is the reception desk for palazzos in venezia 101, and that this little Indian girl is actually in the guise of a venetian real estate agent who can give house tours to other similar palazzos (in the same baroque interior style) at a very goot price! I have to rescue her.

très chic