Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wasting away in Marg.. err George Town
Yes, we are still in George Town, learning what it's like to be an expatriate from those around us. We've spent several days at the beach, read a bunch of books, sat on the veranda of our guesthouse chatting about life with the long-term and the rotating housemates, and taken up... bowling (see attached video of Bernie demonstrating proper technique). Alan from Manchester, Bernie from Bali by way of Baden-Baden (so nice, they named it twice), Colin, and I have spent a couple of hours several days over the past two weeks at the bowling alley improving our game. Dad, you would be proud-I finally crested a three-digit score today!
We also went to see the absolute worst excuse for a movie of all times, Case 39, starring Renee Zellweger (she must have a serious gambling debt to pay or the collections department from Fingerhut to get off her back- there is no reason for such lame drivel to be made otherwise). It's apparently so bad, they won't even release it in her home country. But it only cost us a couple of dollars and an hour and a half of our lives that we can never get back... .
Yesterday we went to the national park for a hike to the meromictic lake, which is one with both fresh and salt water sources. The salt water is denser and forms the lower layer, with the fresh water on top. It's the only one in Malaysia and one of few anywhere, and they get Ridley and green sea turtles nesting there each year. Unfortunately, we saw no turtles, and the lake is a smelly mud-clay puddle at this time of year due to the lack of rainfall. We, of course, had to explore and see exactly what there is to see in a sort of dry lake bed (tons of empty seashells, lots of mud, and mudskippers was our conclusion). Oh, and mud. I tried to blaze a trail from dry spot to dry spot, and quite thoroughly missed, resulting in about 5 pounds of really stinky mud on each shoe. Colin, thinking he could do better, chose an alternate route and encumbered himself up to the knees in a different patch of smelly mud. I of course, had to laugh hysterically, not realizing at that point that he had lost both shoes and really was in a bit of a twist. Alas, there was no help for me to offer (besides moral support in the form of giggling, pointing, and picture-taking), and he eventually extricated himself. Things got even better when we were washing said shoes in the ocean to clean off some of the mud, and Colin apparently ran into a jellyfish with both feet. Fortunately, it wasn't one of those anaphylactic reaction causing ones, just super-annoying. I didn't have the Benadryl stick with me, so we used...Blistex (its stated purpose is as a topical analgesic for one's lips, and if you can put it on your mouth, surely it's okay to use on one's feet). I'm not sure if it helped, but it did no harm. The hike back was long, hot, and hilly, but we did see monkeys. And I've determined that not all monkeys are scary- the really cute ones up in trees are quite nice. We saw two types: long-tailed macaques and silver leaf monkeys (langurs). I tried to get some pictures, but the ones of the langurs came out kind of blurry.
Tomorrow is the start of Thaipusam, which is a Hindu festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Murugan, one of Shiva's offspring. It's a time of thanksgiving for everything from the birth of a child to a new motorbike, and people say "thanks" by piercing themselves with spears and hooks and performing amazing feats of endurance. Since there is a large Indian population here in George Town, the festival is a big deal. We will be watching the festivities and expect to see some pretty interesting stuff. (hmmm...I see some freaky photos in your futures).
PS- we have added a few more pics to the Georgetown smugmug file.