Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tropical Smoothie – Erich

When you do a two year trip around the world, you have to remember sometimes that is not vacation. It's life. Often on vacation, you want to cram in this site and that site, and eat this food and then that food. You have to get it all in so you don't miss anything.

We can't live like that for long stretches. Yes, in short bursts, we can do it. We can go see the amazing things to see. We can run, run, run. But eventually your body and mind long for a slow lifestyle.

After enjoying a week of continual travel in Tasmania, and then seeing harbors and opera houses and botanical gardens in Sydney, and then a crazy but amazing one and a half days in Singapore, we were overdue for such a break. So we took one.

We stayed for about ten days in Kuala Lumpur. Sadly, we couldn't get just one place to live while there, so we did have to move in the middle. But for the most part it was a time for relaxation and just catching up on life.

Do you remember the video game "Gauntlet?" I enjoyed that game and I loved the phrases that it would say. "Welcome, Valkrie." "Wizard is about to die." "Eat your food, don't shoot it."

That voice might have had something to say to us when we arrived in KL. "Family needs haircuts, badly."

So we got haircuts. All of us at once. We went to this family owned barber in a shopping center in KL. The girls sat on one side of the room, the boys on the other. Male barbers cut the hair of males and female barbers (or perhaps stylists) cut (and styled) the hair of the females. Meanwhile the music playing included such classics as "Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down." (This was neither a rainy day, nor a Monday.)
Alrica got a new style
Carver did not get a new style. He kept his classic style.
Syarra got a new style too. With a braid.
A very cool thing happened while we were there. Carver and I had finished our haircuts and we were waiting for Alrica and Syarra. A Muslim girl came in to get her haircut. She wore a headscarf. So the stylist sat her in a chair where there is a curtain that closes the area off, much like the curtain that can be pulled around a hospital bed. We realized it was so that no males would see her hair. Then she could remove her headscarf in privacy with only her stylist able to see. I'd never thought about how Muslim women got haircuts before. Now I know.

In the shopping center, there were carolers. They sang "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night" in English, though they certainly had accents. This was surprising in a Muslim country, but welcome. After that they sang a song in another language, presumably Malay, and I have no idea if it had anything to do with Christianity or even Christmas. But it was lovely.

We also got ice cream cones and I got yam flavored ice cream. It was purple, so I would guess it was either taro or Japanese sweet potato, which are both related to but different from yams at home.

The first half of our time in KL we stayed right in the center of the city. Our apartment was beautifully situated between the KL Tower on one side and the Petronas Twin Towers on the other. At night, the KL Tower would be all lit up in white lights. Then, about once ever half hour, it would do a show. All the lights would change colors and make patterns. It was like a silent fireworks display for five minutes over and over each night.

Actually we could see all kinds of lights on the buildings near our place. Then at midnight, everything would turn off.

The second half of our time there we stayed out in Mont Kiara. We stayed in much of the time, but we did walk out to the local restaurants and enjoy amazing foods.

We also took the opportunity of being in Malaysia to see two movies. The movies are presented in English with subtitles. Actually, what is cool is that they are subtitled in two languages. The top line of subtitles is Malay. The bottom line is probably Chinese, though I don't recognize the characters so well that I could swear to that. It was certainly not Thai.

Alrica and Syarra went to a crafting center and took a lesson in making batik. They will have to tell you more about it. But each of them made a t-shirt. Alrica gave the one she made to me and now I have a sea turtle batik shirt. Syarra's shirt shows the Petronas Twin Towers at an angle. She gave it Carver.

And lest you fear that I was lollygagging while the girls were batiking (which I'm not sure is a verb), let me allay such thoughts. I got pictures of fire hydrants. So all is cool with the world.
Surrounded by leafy greens
Like it has on shoulder pads
Besides, the whole point was to lollygag. Because even in the tropics, sometimes you have to chill.

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