Friday, January 21, 2011

Integrating into the Culture

Finding a home

We have been shown a few places to rent ... but the gap between our expectations and theirs was too great!

Not that we expect to find somewhere totally "Western", but just closer than what we had been shown. Especially a kitchen that I can work out what to do with ...

From our hotel window we noticed a big white building near the city centre, and thought that might be a good location if we had a choice.

We were finally put in touch with a Chinese agent, who said she had a furnished apartment available - and it turned out to be within the big white building!

From our (3) windows on the fourth floor we can look out over the sea, and there is our old hotel.

Inside the Apartment

It's bright and spacious!

Looking back the other way from the sitting area:

Lots of wide open space ... lots of tiles to clean (but at least no carpets, some places we looked at had grotty old carpets.)

Big bedroom, with an ensuite. There are 3 bedrooms, and two bathrooms. The bathroom, though, is the local style. The toilet and shower share almost the same space, everything gets wet (like we had in China) - but at least this bathroom is bigger than some of the ones we looked at.

So, all in all we quite like it.

People Good and Bad

One thing about the apartment block - it's owned and inhabited by Chinese, who are generally not Muslim ... and whose ways we are familiar with.

We went shopping - although the apartment is "furnished", we needed a lot of stuff from sheets and towels, to kitchen appliances and utensils, and then food as well. We returned to the apartment with a carload of stuff, and the unenviable task of getting it all into (and out of) the lift up to our fourth floor apartment.

The lift is nerve-wracking at the best of times with a fast-closing door that slides shut onto any unwary visitor.

As we stood by the lift with our goods heaped on the floor, other people turned up also wanting to use the lift. When the lift arrived I jumped in and jammed my finger on the "door open" button, and to our surprise all these people started loading stuff in for us. And at our floor again they helped us unpack.

Nice people!

Then this morning (Friday, religious day, most things are closed) we found a fresh foods market (in the Chinese quarter) and were wandering through.

Suddenly we heard a man shouting - and it wasn't "fifty percent off" or one of those market shouts. We couldn't understand, but he was obviously angry.

All the women in the area where we were started ducking down behind counters, so I joined them.

Shouting man marched by with a pistol in his hand, ready near his right ear.

Bad man!

He passed by, and the women giggled and reappeared. My knees were a little shaky though!

Everyday Chores

Chinese buildings usually have washing hanging all over the outside. Our building has an internal air/light well, and everyone has a place to hang their washing.

Align Center

Our apartment comes equipped with a twin-tub - haven't used one of those little beauties for a few years! The modern front loaders do a load in an hour and a half or more, but with a twin tub you stay in control and can do it as quickly as you like.

So I did a load of washing - it had become fairly urgent after a week and a half in hotels.

I found the stick with our number on it, and dangled our stuff out over the abyss!


The weekends are a bit back-to front (although Terengganu is not the same as the rest of Malaysia, being more Muslim). Friday is the first day of the weekend, with everything closed. Saturday is the other weekend day - and we are hoping that (tomorrow) everything will be open, because we have a lot to do.

On Sunday we have to work, first day of the working week.


  1. Oh my god~ what is that guy doing with the pistol? Commit suicide?

  2. We never found out, and we never saw him again. He seemed very uncharacteristic for Terengganuans.