Sunday, January 29, 2012

Camping IN

Camping OUT can be so much fun especially somewhere like Kapas Island. Over the Chinese New Year holiday week the monsoon seemed to disappear and the days and nights were balmy and beautiful. But the islands are still closed (yes, the monsoon will come back again yet, they assured us), so we relaxed and went for lots of walks on the Kuala Terengganu beach instead - no swimming though!

About 9pm on the Friday evening, with one more day of freedom before going back to work, we were relaxing in front of a good movie ... and it came back (the Monsoon!). There was a loud 'bang' that reverberated through the building, as the wind blew in through our bedroom window, caught the door (somehow shifting the rubber wedge out of the way) and slamming it shut.

No big deal - we hear doors slam in other people's apartments all the time, ay? But somehow it LOCKED itself. We never close that door (even when Bea stayed with us), have never locked it, and had no idea where the key was. We sorted through all the keys we had - 2 for each of the other two bedrooms and front door, but nothing for that room.

Peter drove into the main street to our (non-English-speaking) landlord's shop in the vain hope that he would still be there. Not. He found a general shop open and bought a chisel ...

In the movies it's always so easy!

We thought we would be able to remove that little bit of wood from the door-jamb, and then poke something through to push the tongue back. Well, first of all, the door frame and door jamb were not separate pieces of wood - it was all one piece of hard, hard timber. But with drilling and hammering and chiseling Peter did manage to remove the appropriate section of wood, and we could peer through and see that 'tongue' poking into the door frame.

A neighbour dropped by to complain about the noise (10pm), but he didn't speak English and I couldn't manage enough of his language so he wandered off muttering but without helping.

All that stuff with just poking a credit card in to open a lock - rubbish! We tried knives, we tried the chisel, all sorts, but nothing would persuade that door to unlock.

So, tired and frustrated, we realised we would have to camp in in one of the spare rooms. We chose the least mouldy-smelling one, and grabbed a couple of the less mouldy-smelling pillows, and tried to imagine we were sleeping on Kapas Island on the sproingy-springed mattress. Fortunately we also have a second bathroom, although there is only a cold shower.

The wind howled some more, and then it poured with rain all night. Remembering the open window that had caused the problem, we had visions of a flooded bedroom and all my clothes on their rack near the window being soaked too.

In the morning about 9am Peter went down to our landlord's shop again ... but of course the shop didn't open until 10am. However, once he did arrive, and one of his young shop assistants translated for us, he came around straight away with a spare key and let us into our bedroom.

What a relief! The window was still open - but no water had come in. It was lovely to get back to our pillow-top mattress, and our warm shower. The little things can give so much pleasure!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Eating Again - :)

Back at work. And it's the first week of the year, so there must be eating to do.

There was a birthday - so food had to be shared. And someone is celebrating a promotion - more food sharing. And then it's just good to be all back together again after the holiday, so it's good to sit down together and partake of something tasty.

Today's treat was delivered to us as a packed lunch.

We've been here a year, and already this seems very normal. But you may be wondering what to expect inside one of these packages.

I'm sorry I can't give you a taste, but I will open it up and give you a peek.

There's some sauce (in the bag), and a couple of pieces of chicken - unfortunately with tiny pieces of burning chili all over it (so no good for me!), under the chicken there is half of a salted egg in its shell, and then there are some vegetables (leaves, and something that looks like cucumber but is bitey hot), and of course there is rice.

Lunch, a little bit special.