Thursday, September 18, 2014

Penang

We had a holiday on Tuesday (Happy Malaysia Day) so we decided to take off Monday and go to Penang for a four day weekend.  We drove four hours, it was a breezy easy drive.  The traffic was fine and the highway was gorgeous.  It was really cool to see the countryside.

We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel on Penang in the area of Batu Fenenghi.  It was a really good family hotel.  Pool: check.  Waterslides: check.  beach: check.  We were set.

The food was amazing, even at the hotel.  I had nasi lemak for breakfast every day.  I am giving up Western breakfast for now on and just going for rice, curries, and noodles.  Malaysian food is too good to not eat at every meal.

We spent a day in Georgetown and found ourselves in the middle of a race and some kind of festival.  Then we meandered up to the area of town where the street art is located.

 It is a very historical, slightly dilapidated old UNESCO heritage site of the old British colonial Penang.  They commissioned street art to raise awareness of animal cruelty and it was great to go check it out.
PLEASE MOM!  I don't want to go on a bike!!!
I wanted to rent bikes to see the street art but both kids went into a panic attack at that idea.  Stella, because she has never ridden without a helmet, yay for me and boo for me and Tiger because he was tired and cranky.

We persevered and forced them to ride, helmetless, through the streets and they actually had a great time.

For some unexplainable reason everyone thought Seth was a celebrity and got their picture with Seth on a tiny bike with Tiger in the back.



The next day we went to Escape Adventure park which is like a jungle outdoor amusement park but instead of rides you have ropes and carabiners.  We all had a lot of fun and sweated buckets

 My only complaint about Hard Rock was that they tried really hard to rock hard (and never gave us enough towels despite my please).   There were parties until 1 am our last night there complete with fireworks and fire breathing dancers.  It was nothing less than amazing, although not the right time or frankly the right decade of my life.

The next day we went home.  Stopped at a few of the R&Rs which have little local wet markets and squatter toilets.  It was good to be home.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lunch with the Ladies, Monkeys Attack, and a Poison Cloud

Last week I went out with some friends to look at Indian tapestries.  I got some great quilts that were handmade out of old saris and support jungle women who were kicked out of the jungle to protect the Indian tiger.  After tapestry shopping I went to lunch at the beautiful Tamarind Springs.  This place looks like paradise.  Unfortunately our path was blocked by these guys.


See that big monkey above?  He wasn't letting us go anywhere.  When we tried he attacked my friend Eileen's purse.  So, I threw a rock.  He caught said rock, looked at it disappointed that it wasn't food and then looked super mad.  



 We eventually got through by hissing and stomping our feet.  Lunch was delicious.











 On the way home we were escorted by a woman who was an old pro with sneaky monkeys.


After lunch the kids got home and I took them to the pool.  Then a cloud of poisonous mosquito fog came over us and we started coughing.  So, we left.  We came back 30 minutes later when said cloud of poison was gone. 




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

PLS GLM

The title of this post was the SMS I got the other day.



At first I thought it was related to Girl Scouts.   I just started as the Brownie troop leader and read GLM as gym.  I thought they needed me back at the school in the gym.  But wait, there isn't a Y.  Hmm, not school.

I thought, GLM?  Gilm?  Gleam? Glam?

And then I realized it meant: Gall Me, or Call Me.

So I did, and that convo was about as clear as the text.


Saturday, September 06, 2014

Fabrics, Saris, Batiks, Oh My!

This has been a crazy and fun week.  I am finally getting used to the kids being at school all day.  It is surprising how busy I find myself and how many excuses I have to not go to the gym.  I resolve to change this.

The kids got to pay $2 for charity and they got to wear normal clothes to school.  This is what Tiger picked as his outfit.


Then I decided if I looked at any more shades of brown, beige or taupe from my embassy issued furniture, I may go crazy a la The Yellow Wallpaper.  So, I went with some ladies to Little India and bought fabric.  The unfortunate/fortunate thing about shopping for fabric is that I had no idea how much to buy so I guessed 1 m per chair (wrong).  I ended up buying 13m of batik fabric.  The good news is each meter of fabric was only 13 RM or about $3.50 a meter.

Step 1.  Take screws off chair and take off cushion

Step 2. Use stapler to staple fabric to bottom of cushion.
After and Before
My new regal set of chairs.  


  If you are covering 8 chairs you need maybe 6m if depending on how cut it.  I needed only the bottom half because the print was different from bottom to top so this required more fabric.  The good news is I still have enough fabric for matching table clothes, pillow covers, and perhaps fabric wall paper.  

Gorgeous fabrics

It was a lot of fun going with the ladies to the fabric store but I needed more. I had ideas churning in my head, kids at school, and a helper that speaks all the languages in Malaysia.

I went back to Little India the next day to shop for fabric to have a sari made for a Bollywood party I am going to later this month and to see what I can do for the Marine Ball.  

It was super exciting.  

Before I came to Malaysia I was not aware of the very large diversity.  The Indian Malays add so much to this culture.  The food alone is love for me but the fabrics, music, colors.  I am in love.  

The colors in the sari store were to DIE for.  And they were all CHEAP.

I went and tried on lots of saris with my helper/cook extraordinaire translating for me.  

Maroon is not for me

Loved this but decided if they think you look like Barbie...
Own it.  So I bought a Barbie-esque Sari.
And a Sari fabric for the Marine Ball.
Then I was taken to a back alley up some stairs and past some durians and roaches to a tailor who specializes in saris.

Through translation we discussed what I wanted (I didn't bring a picture, whoops).  We shall see what turns out.  The tailor was livid that I was destroying this gorgeous sari to make a GOWN.  The shame. Cost for making a sari and a gown $65.

I also bought Seth an Indian formal shirt and a Malaysian silk batik.
Malaysian silk batik.
Seth's Bollywood clothes.
Stella annoyed her new clothes are scratchy
Stella in her new clothes.






















Seth and I were able to get out.  I went with him to a work event held by the Indonesian Embassy celebrating Indonesia.  It was super cool.





In other news, my new favorite drink is this Gatorade-esque isotonic soda that tastes like Squirt.  It is delicious.

My friend Tamar and I were dumb/smart enough to jog at 10 in the morning together.  I forgot water.  Afterwards I had two of these.  Love.