Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weddings and Some More Reporting

I've had a terrible migraine for the past two hours. I should've postponed my self-done manicure because the nail polish fumes have made it much worse. Ouch!

I'm working at the hotel this afternoon and tomorrow I'll be getting to report again.  After my shift I'll be running off to attend an Indian wedding reception.

The bride went through a lot of Hindu pre-wedding rituals last week. Unfortunately, I don't understand most of what it means but one day I intend on finding out. All I know is that the traditions are all very symbolic. I've given up on asking my elders about it as they're unable to give me a clear, comprehensive response.  They don't always have the answers as they grew up with these traditions - so some things just are because they are.

Here are a few random pictures from the bride's pithi (pre-wedding cleansing ritual).

Friday, July 30, 2010

Gay Pride Week is Here!

I LOVE hearing good samaritan stories. Here's an article link from the Montreal Gazette that brought a smile to my face this wonderful Friday morning.

My workplace is full of gay, happy and proud clients here to celebrate Montreal's Divers/Cite Festival (Gay Pride Week). Everyone checking in for the week-end is ready to party.

The celebrators who came earlier in the week for the festival are a bit disappointed; apparently there's less hype this time round compared to past years. The strange part is that there'll be a second Gay Pride week from Aug. 10-15. Some clients have argued that it would've been nicer to combine the two celebrations. I'm not sure why the City's hosting two seperate celebrations anyway, politics!

For now though, everyone's quite chirpy and it's getting infectious. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Montreal is Happy!

According to the Lonely Planet travel guide, Montreal is the 2nd happiest place in the world.  Their list actually came out in May but was only picked up by local media this week. I wonder what the couple from my "Is Montreal a Depressing City?" entry would have to say about this!

I'm adding some pictures from my last evening shopping at Ahmedabad's Teen Darwaja market.  I had the time to make some funny observations while I waited for my aunt to finish up her 45-minute long bargaining process over a house piece!

I caught this snack vendor dozing off every few minutes. All his competitors were busy with clients but he slept through the noisy traffic. Mind as well just close the shop for the evening. The fuzziness at the bottom is from a scooter whizzing by.

This little item was a big hit in the market. I found the doll backpack kinda creepy-looking, but to each their own.

This store-owner named his mithai (Indian sweets) shop after himself. Ratndeep Patel Shankarlal Maganlal Chansmawala. Since there are so many common names, details about one's trade are added to the actual name itself. Chansmawala literally means "eye-glasses guy."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lots Got Done - Lots More to Do!

I did my first brunch interview over the week-end. Once I got past the original nervousness of sort of winging it for my first time, it was quite fun. The owner of the restaurant really appreciated the marketing that'll be done for him.

Aside from the brunch list, his menu is quite health-oriented. He only buys organic and locally. His young daughter developed quite a few allergies in the last couple of years, which he now believes are disappearing through eating organically. It's pretty amazing how our bodies react to things and try to send us messages - even more amazing when we actually get the message and do something about it.

I start apartment-hunting this week. It's time to move out of the family nest. I'm both psyched and impatient. The sooner I can find my own place and glam it up, the better.

My next few weeks will continue to be busy. I've got birthdays and weddings to add to my list. I'm actually going to be a bridesmaid for the first time. I picked up my satin gown over the week-end!

I've snagged one more reporting shift for next week-end. Everyone's asking me what my story will be. But once again, I won't have a clue until I actually walk into the newsroom and review the headlines and what people are talking about for the day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wanted - Scheduling Coordinator

I'm getting so busy again, this time with a bunch of side projects. I'm doing interesting things, but seriously have to prioritise my time now. For starters I'll need to come up with a proper schedule! Right now, I'm all over the place.

I keep pushing the date for my photo and art exhibition. My painting request from friends and family is also piling up. I haven't worked on my fiction-writing for the past month.  Yoga sessions have been a bust since Miami. There are plenty of other incomplete projects left on my plate, tweaking this blog being one of them.

And now, I've agreed to blog about a friend's dinners. He's a chef who's opened up his own restaurant on Parc Avenue. I love the food there, but he comes up with even more creative meals at home. His girlfriend suggested I come over once a week to sample the food and write about it. I can't say no, I love everything food.

I have this other friend who's a brunch reviewer/blogger. We got to know each other while I was planning my trip to India, he'd travelled there on his own already. He wants to spice up his blog with video interviews; I get to be the host. I don't have much on-camera experience, I usually stuck to voice-overs during my news reports. But it'll be a learning (and hopefully fun!) experience for both of us.   

Oh, my Friday news pckg went well! I had the nicest cameraman to work with. And I was happy with how my script on Construction Holiday turned out. Everything just fell into place that day; I finished an hour ahead of schedule.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Tourists & Another Reporting Shift!

I've been called in to report tomorrow -  yay! I am a bit nervous though - I really have to step up my game after last Sunday's pack!

Working with clients this week hasn't been so bad. A lot of American tourists have come to check out the Nuits D'Afrique music festival (July 13-25) as well as the Just for Laughs comedy festival (July 15-25). They're being really nice to me, especially the older gentlemen, they treat me like royalty.

None of them are complainers. There's one man who had to change rooms three times. First the air-conditioner wasn't working. On his second try the tub wouldn't drain properly. He was a bit annoyed about shifting around but was still so nice about it. Now that's what I call class.

There's this cute older Chinese man staying with us. He's really sweet but keeps complaining about the heat. Actually, some of the American tourists complained about the heat as well; they were expecting Canada to be colder than the US and arrived here with fleece jackets!  In their defence, we are having a hotter than normal summer - another full week of 30C weather.  So back to the Asian tourist, he was annoyed by all the French signs in Quebec. He claims he's being exposed to the French language all around him, which gets tough since he doesn't speak a word of French.  His observation - Montreal is more of a French city than a bilingual one.

I'm making a lot of side commision by selling bus and boat tours to guests. And since I'm working solo shifts, the entire commision goes to me entirely. Never thought I'd say this but I'm loving my front desk gig right now!

I took a picture of these guys playing chess outdoors. While most people tried to find a place to cool down from the humidity, these men patiently strategised their next move.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ran Out of Time..Again!

My news story yesterday wasn't as good as it could've been. The reason - I ran out of time. I'm so disappointed in myself. But sometimes things happen that're simply out of one's control.

I needed to get back to the news station by 4pm latest to complete my script, get it approved by the producer, voice my story, and then edit the clips and images with the video journalist, and finally, upload the file so it's ready for the 6pm news.  Our shooting location was an hour away from the station though.

I did get some decent interviews, but there was one key person that I absolutely had to speak with. She was supposed to give a speech at 2pm, the cameraman and I wanted to leave before that time though. We waited in the parking lot where she did pull in by 1:30pm and I urged her for a quick interview.  But she refused for personal reasons, explaining the speech was all we would get.

So we waited for her event to start.  To our disappointment 2pm turned into 2:30pm. And there were five people speaking ahead of her; still, we waited patiently. Three o'clock was our cut-off time, the lady had still not spoken, at which point we had to get up and leave. It was crunch time. Without any comments from the key speaker, the entire angle of my story had to be turned around.

I want to get better at writing under pressure, to the point where it doesn't even feel like 'pressure' anymore. Hopefully I'll be given more opportunities to work on this.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

4 Days of Reporting!

Wow! I nearly got a full week of being a reporter! I worked Monday, Thursday, Friday and now, I've been asked to report tomorrow as well! The shifts are still a bit stressful for me, but overall I'm getting better. My voice has apparently become stronger which is good for voice-overs. I think that's because of all the yoga I've been doing, it encourages breathing from the stomach rather than the throat.

I never have enough time during the day to write a proper lead (the part the news anchor reads out to introduce the reporter's story). The news director doesn't like hearing me say, "I wish I had more time," but that is exactly how I feel. Every single second counts during the day, though I hear radio reporters have it much worse with their even tighter deadlines.

To be living my dream right now is indescribable. Sick or not sick, I'm loving this! I'll try to do a stand-up tomorrow (actually speaking in front of the camera as opposed to voice-overs), as everybody's been bugging me to do, but that'll only be possible if I figure out my script in time.

Hope tomorrow goes well! Let me rephrase that, tomorrow will go quite well!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Montreal in Heat Mode

I guess I can't complain about missing the warm Miami Beach weather because Montreal's in the midst of a heat wave! We'll continue to be in the high 30Cs for the next few days. It's taking a toll on some elderlies...

Bad news - I'm pretty sick, have been experiencing flu-like symptoms, so when I'm not working I'm sleeping. Just standing up is hard to do. Do miracle energy pills exist? I would love one right now.

And the great news - I was called in for two more shifts at the station! I must pull it together for tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Smoking in Non-Smoking Rooms - Don't Do It!

I'm back! Miami was a blur of a week-end. It was beautiful but went by too quickly.

It was great to work back at the news station upon my arrival yesterday. It was a stressful day and quite the challenge keeping up with the fast-paced environment.  All things considered, I pulled off my report pretty well.  What an adrenaline-rush it was! I'll write more about it later.  

Today I'm back to working the front desk; it's a drama-filled morning. There's a 250$ fine charged to guests should they smoke in any of the smoking prohibited rooms. Well, a lot of the clients smoked in the rooms anyway over the week-end and since I'm the one doing the check-outs, I get to be their bearer of not-so-good news. One client has already yelled at me over the charge, he thinks I'm a thief. 

A "no-smoking" sign is clearly posted on each room door. There's also a warning about the smoking fine on the registration forms clients sign prior to checking in. We also warn the clients verbally that smoking is prohibited on the premises. So then why the big fuss on check out?

Some clients think the charge is exaggerated. But it's not. The stench of the smoke lingers on the carpeting and in the air for weeks. There are non-smoking clients who simply ask for their money back and leave if they get the slightest whiff of smoke upon entering.  The non-smoking signs are put there for a reason.