Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A thumping headache

Over the road from our building, there used to be a couple of restaurants. We ate there once when we first moved in.

There was a "Snow Wash" there too, and we had our car washed there (for RM12 - or $4) once or twice.

Then they knocked it all down - progress, I suppose.

For a few months it has been a vacant block, and then the blue fence appeared ... I have seen these blue fences around building sites.

Then the monster appeared ... there it is hiding in the corner.

Apparently all of this land used to be pretty boggy - including where our building has stood for quite a few years. I'm guessing (not being an engineer myself) that is why they are using a pile-driver to start this building.

It's one big ugly beast! And it sure can give you a head-ache. We are so glad that we are on the other side of our building!

There they go, picking up another cement pole ready to ram it in. And ... there are lots more still to do!

And here are the ones they have rammed in already. We are so glad that we are away at work most days when they are banging them in. This week, though, is break-time at the institute, and so we are working here at home.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The shell shall be set free

We like to take walks on the local beach. And there is always a 'shell line' made up almost entirely of little white roundish shells. But every now and then you come across something extraordinary.

Like this little collection on Peter's desk.

But - wait a minute ... is that shell tied up? Is it in shackles??

Of course, we always check when we pick up a shell - nobody wants a live-dying-dead-smelly shell on their desk. And this one seemed to be empty and dry.

Except that it disappeared overnight and we found it over by the kitchen door.

Yep. That's what the Australian pet shops used to sell as a "Crazy Crab". So now we need to persuade him to stuff his backside into a different (less desirable) shell.

Well, yes, eventually he did.

And it was time to say goodbye.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Being Jolly Good Fellows

Our job at the IPG (teacher training institute) is full of variety, and we have a lot of fun.

Part of being a "Fellow" for me involves dressing in an acceptable local manner. My problem is firstly that most local women are not my shape, and secondly that their beautiful clothing is generally made of easy-care synthetic fabrics. While this is beautiful, I find I just can't wear that stuff in any climate, let alone a hot sticky one.

So - I buy cotton material (which is readily available), and I sew my own.

I bought this lovely sewing machine right here in Kuala Terengganu just before we went back to Australia for our holiday.

So here I am at work, fitting in.

This was actually during English Week. There were a number of competitions, and we fellows were invited to take part in the judging.

Peter was head judge for the Poetry Recital competition:

This delightful young lady had the task of making sure no one went over time.

And being Head Judge of course has added responsibilities such as giving a speech and handing out prizes.

And then it was my turn to judge the Action Songs competition.

This involved children from the local "Teaching School" rather than trainee teachers.

The entries took me right back to Music Festival days in Rockingham!

Then there was a competition for Skits, and our new fellow Fellow, Will, was a judge.

Yeah, I must admit, I enjoy being a Fellow!

Long Live the Sultan!

One of the things we love about Malaysians is that (just like us Aussies) they love their holidays. Last year a holiday was declared after 'we' won the football - love it!

So this is a long weekend to celebrate the Sultan's Anniversary. (Love the fact that there will be another to celebrate his birthday!)

So ... how to spend the time?

Well that has to account for at least part of the day!

Watching recorded shows on our big TV (cutting out the ads), and playing "Play-and-Pass" Words with Friends on my iPad - that's a holiday.

After a while we felt the need to go out for our walk on the beach. But then there was this:

Raining and raining - like the wet season has returned. No worries, we don't mind getting a bit wet. It's not like it's cold!

But when we got to the car park we noticed that the road below was packed with traffic which wasn't moving at all. Overhead a helicopter was flying low, somewhere a loudspeaker was making incomprehensible (to us) announcements, and there were police everywhere.

That's okay, we've lived here long enough to know the back alleys. We got in our car, pushed our way through the stream of traffic, and snuck into the kampung (village) road behind our building. Winding our way between the old wooden houses, avoiding chickens and ducks, we came across ... a queue of cars!

We were unsure what the hold-up was, so I got out and walked alongside the cars (through ankle-deep puddles) to the front of the queue and found a plastic bollard closing the road. There were police and eager umbrella-wielding citizens lining the road we wanted to cross. The position of the helicopter overhead suggested that the Sultan and his entourage would not be far away.

We managed to turn our car around, pushed back through the stream of traffic, parked back in our building, and set out again on foot carrying our umbrellas.

As we once again approached the blocked-off road, we met streams of damp people, their umbrellas now folded despite the fact that it was still raining, so presumed that the important people had passed.

With umbrellas aloft, we scrambled through sand and gravel heaped in a new construction site to the abandoned beach where we 'played' in the edge of the waves. Coming home slightly damp from rain and sweat, we picked up some KFC (yeah, we get that here!) and settled back down in front of the TV ...

Full Malaysian Breakfast

This one is an answer to friend and colleague Nazeri's blog post.

On weekdays / workdays we are up at 6am, and out the door in the pitch black before 7am to avoid heavy traffic.

But on weekends we get up slowly, and often enjoy our version of a full (cooked) breakfast.

It's not really very Malaysian, but it is what we eat here in Malaysia! The tomatoes are local, and so are the eggs. The hash browns we buy frozen from Giant.

And the place to eat this feast?

Right here in our beautiful airy living room. And on holidays like today (Sunday of Sultan's Anniversary long weekend) in front of the cricket on our big TV.

Now that's a full breakfast!