Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hari Raya Haji

So for Hari Raya Haji  I had Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off from school. Wednesday I went to the spa and slept. Thursday night I went to the Air Supply concert and Friday I went to a co-workers bersanding and kenduri after her wedding. It was out in her Kampung. The school driver, his niece, another teacher, and myself all went in the owner's car. The school's house keeper, secretary, and owner's house keeper at home followed us in another car. It was only supposed to take 40 minutes to get there but we got a little lost and had to do a couple U turns and back track and take another road. I didn't mind since I wasn't driving. Even though they were speaking in Malay I could tell by their tones and gestures that they were getting kind of frustrated, and I just laughed. When we go there the bride (my co-worker came out from the house), and we ate food. I had rendang beef with rice and mung bean porridge. It was good. I only had one serving though because it is very filling. We ate out side in the share of the building under canopies. It was hot. I was wearing a long skirt and camisole and batik top, and I was sweating. I felt sorry for the bride because her outfit was really hot and sweat was dripping down her face. Then her new husband came over, and I got to meet him.  Even though they all speak English they all conversed in Malay so I had no idea what they were talking about. Oh well. I need to get better about trying to learn Malay as I felt left out but I am in a foreign country, and they don't have to speak English just because I do. After that we went up into the house and took pictures. We did one with the bride and groom and all of us except the driver and his niece. I think they were still eating. It has a really elaborate backdrop and this fancy bench that is called the throne. They are King and Queen for the day. Then they took pictures of just me on the bench holding the bouquet of flowers. The school house keeper said that the bride should do like Americans and throw the bouquet for me to catch. After that we took a picture with the bride and all the ladies in the group. Then I got one with just the bride and groom. After that they handed us these goody bags. While we were waiting for the driver and his niece to finish eating these two little boys were standing under this tiny shelter thing and they were speaking to me in English. I don't think they knew much but they were excited when I would speak back to them. They kept giggling and conversing in Malay before they said the next thing. They asked me like are you going to eat, what are you doing, etc. I asked them in the watch the tv that was sitting under the shelter and they said yes and then asked me if I watch tv. I told them no I don't have a tv. They couldn't believe it. After that we left. While it was interesting to go there I thought it was a lot of driving for most people and not much time is spent there. I didn't have anything else going on, so I didn't mind. It did not take as long to get back and it seemed like we went a slightly different direction. On the way back I played with the driver's niece. She was sitting in front,  and I was sitting in back. First, it started with playing peek a boo kind of because she would look at me from one side of the chair and then I would catch her so she would peek out from the other side. Then she had this sachet with beads that she started tossing at me. I would take it and trick her as to what hand I had it in. Then it became a couple of receipts that she found on the floor or something. She was giggling and having lots of fun and was not bugging the driver. She tried to talk to me in Malay but I told her I only know English. The driver and other teacher just laughed they didn't try to translate at all. At one point she threw the receipt at the other teacher, and I was like uh oh, I don't think she is playing. The other teacher threw it back and then she resumed playing with me. There was a few times when she rolled down the window and the driver didn't want her to do that since the air con was on. She tried to open my window when she was turned around once but couldn't quite reach it, and I covered it with my hand.  Another time she rolled down the window and threw a wrapper out of the car. I don't approve of littering but it was too hard to not laugh since she was so cute about it. The driver did not approve of my laughing, and he scolded me (not too harshly though because I think he also found it funny even if he didn't approve either).

Air Supply

On Thursday November 18, 2010, I went to the Air Supply concert at the Sukpa Indoor Stadium in Kuantan, Malaysia. They had been doing a world tour and this was their last stop before they headed back to Australia. They said that they wanted to make it super special since it was their last stop on this tour. It was the Love Never Ends tour celebrating 35 years. I was with a group of ex-pats that I have met. I was with Jenny and her husband Mike and Meromie and her husband Garth. I had not met Garth before. We were behind the other group of ex-pats that we know. Bettina was there with her children and friends of theirs, I am not sure if the one guy at the end was her husband or not. Then Terry was there with her son. Then a guy who works at the same place as Terry was there.
We got a little lost on the way there. They had used google maps for directions and their Garmin but it was off slightly. We went by this place that we thought might be it, but weren't sure. We thought there might be another entrance but there wasn't so we did this huge loop, but that was ok. Then, we had to park on the street past the place and walk back. I didn't mind. Even though there is lots of seating there is not lots of parking spaces. When we got there they were selling water, and I was very glad. It was hot and humid, and I figured I wouldn't be able to bring water but hoped that they would sell some. They checked our bags to make sure we didn't have food or drinks. I showed them that I had just bought a bottle of water. They confiscated water bottles if it wasn't bought there and food. They didn't check to see if we had camera's though, and I didn't see any signs that said no cameras. They were giving free glow sticks out. Some were really big and then when they ran out of those they had smaller ones. I got a smaller one, but that is ok. I am actually going to give it to the little girl of a friend. Then we went up to our seats. They only had one narrow staircase for us to go up or down to get to the upper level. We were in the balcony section but direction in front of the stage so we could see clearly what was going on and they also had two jumbo trans.
To open the show they had this young Malaysia guy sing a song. He reminded me a little of a young Michael Jackson with his outfit and dancing. Then a Chinese young lady came and sang a song off of her album, and then an Indian lady did a song. The Indian lady reminded me of Shakira. They music sounded the same. Plus, she danced like Shakira. After they all did their individual songs then they came together and did the 1Malaysia song, that they play on the radio all the time. After that it was Air Supply.
It is all love songs, but that is ok they are really good. They did all their hits and then four from their album that came out last spring. They still have it 35 years later. They had their voices and playing and energy. They wanted us to sing with them and clap and wave our glow sticks. The two other guitarists, keyboard player, and drummer are not original, but they seemed to have just as much energy and as excited to play as the two main guys( Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock). The two main guys have always played with different groups on tour.
During one of the songs the two main guys went down on to the floor. They walked around shaking hands and letting people take pictures with them all the while singing and playing. They didn't miss a beat or a note. Graham Russell got up on one of the chairs that had been vacated when they came on to the floor and played. Then they went back up to the stage. The security followed them, but they didn't really heed them. One they got back on stage and finished the song they let people come up to the fence in front of the stage. They thought that everyone was too far away. When people came up there was a group that bought lots of bouquets of flowers to give to Air Supply. The guys comment that they were going to have to open a flower shop they didn't know what they were going to do with all of the flowers. People came up for a few songs and then went back to their seats. I am sure it got really hot up there. They played for over and hour and then came back and did an encore of several songs and then came back and did an encore with just one song called "Good-bye".
It was hot up in the balcony. I got really hot and sweaty and was glad I had the water. I could feel the air con sometimes. I think it would have helped if the person on my right would have been someone else. This guy had his legs crossed at the ankles but his ankles were pulled in so that his knees were open really wide. His leg was pushing my leg over, and I didn't have my legs spread at all. I wanted to tell him to close his legs, but he looked Chinese and wasn't sure if he spoke any English. The seats don't fold up and are just a hard molded plastic. If someone wanted to go in or out of the row the person they were trying to get around had to stand up but they couldn't back up since the bottom of the seat stuck out. Luckily I didn't have anyone that needed to get out.
I am really glad that I went. It was awesome, and I still can't believe that I am living in Malaysia and this is my life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Swiss Garden

Decorated for Deepavali

Last weekend I went to the Swiss Garden hotel. One of my fellow teachers plays the piano there Friday and Saturday nights. She invited me to go along with her. The Swiss Garden is much larger and nicer than the Hyatt. It is farther out of town and along a different stretch of the beach. I went both Friday and Saturday nights from 8:00p.m. until 11:00p.m. I really enjoyed it. The lobby is open air, so they have no doors. I went and sat on one of the couches near the piano when she first started playing to listen to her play. She is really good. Last weekend was Deepavali, so they had colored rice is a design on the floor in front of the piano. The piano is set on a platform surrounded by water. Past that one can look down to the pool area. I was able to walk around and went down to the main level. The pool is huge there. I was also able to walk down to the beach. Since it was dark out I didn't stay down there long. I also went and checked out the spa that they have there. It was pretty nice, but I thought pretty expensive. I like the place that I can walk to just down from where I am living much better. This place was more rustic. The rooms were also smaller. After I checked that out I went to the restaurant and had dinner. I had lamb with vegetables, a potato. It was really good. My friend came down on her breaks and visited with me. I read a book while I was waiting for my food. They also have a buffet of sea food, one of crackers and cheese and fruit, and a chocolate fondue fountain. Both nights I forgot I wanted to try that. With the seafood buffet they even had like a manta ray.

The second night when I was there I had to move couches because this guy on the couch in front of me started smoking. Since there was a breeze that night it was blowing right back in my face. I moved to a couch on the other side of the piano. This couple occupied the first couch that I had abandoned. The guy pulled out his cell phone and was watching some video with this annoying music. I was staring at him hoping he would get the hint that it was annoying. He didn't. Eventually it came to the end. The second time he pulled it out to watch probably about 15 minutes later my friend decided to take a break, and we went down to the restaurant. She said she didn't care that they didn't want to listen to her but the music was so annoying that it was distracting. I just ate a caesar salad that night since we were going to go out to this restaurant afterward for lamb. I stayed down there the rest of the time because I didn't want to listen to that annoying guy's cell phone. If my friend hadn't taken a break when she did I was about ready to go over and tell him to go elsewhere because I was there to listen to the piano music and not his annoying cell phone. While we were down there someone hopped on the piano and started playing. We couldn't see them since we were down below but I bet it was a kid.  I look forward to going back there again. It was really nice. It definitely is Paradise.