My home group and I pause for a photo op on the last day of school.

Actually, school has been out for over a week now. We’ve been sticking around Malaysia, teaching fun activities at summer school during the mornings, and then getting into shenanigans in the afternoons. The following are a few anecdotes to give you a glimpse into our lives as of late.

The trip to the car wash

We pulled the Swif into a local car wash. Ten men immediately started hosing it down in water and soap. It only took 15 minutes and the equivalent of $3CAD for a thorough inside / outside wash. A few minutes in though, one of the workers asked Shaun to come over. It seems another costumer had left them the keys to move his car. The car was a standard  and no one there knew how to drive it so they called Shaun over to help out. Unfortunately, Shaun didn’t take me up on the chance to learn to drive stick in my 1984 Hyundai Pony all those years ago. So he told the men this and surrendered the keys to me. They all watched in amazement and laughter as I moved the car for them. When I gave them the keys, the worker responded with “Thank you, sir!”.

Game of Thrones Night -Ramadan Style

This is what our street looks like from 3pm onward as people park everywhere and anywhere to zip in and pick up food from the Ramadan Bazaar in preparation to break the fast.

For the entirety of Season 6, we’ve been getting together with a few friends for potluck and watching all the newest episode of Game of Thrones every Monday night. Never mind the fact that I haven’t watched a single episode of the previous 5 seasons, I enjoy the company and the good food. This past week, we decided to check out the Ramadan food stalls. Hundreds of stalls have sprung up in the streets for just the occasion and families stop by all day to pick up food for their evening meals.

Ramadan is the fasting month in the Islamic calendar which marks the conclusion of the Islamic year and the ends with Hari Raya, a celebration at the end of the year. During daylight hours, Muslims refrain from taking in food or drink. When the sun sets (around 7:30pm here), it’s time for iftar, the breaking of the fast which coincides with the call to evening prayer. Every night is truly a celebration with family and friends as they break the fast together.

We were intrigued to see the full event in action and to sample lots of Malaysian Ramadan Food (click on the link for lots of examples of this delicious food). However, we were disappointed to find that by the time we sauntered down at 8pm all the stalls of the bazaar were packing up. It seems we underestimated just how important adhering to the timeline was when you’re fasting. Luckily, there are still 3 weeks in which to partake.

Watching a Malaysian Movie

Set in 1980, Ola Bola is about the struggle of the Malaysian national soccer team to qualify for the Olympics. This movie has all the Hollywood style sport’s movie clichés including the obligatory training montage. However, you can look deeper in this film to see much more about Malaysian culture. The film includes four different languages, and subtly addresses issues of race within the nation as it looks into the grit, determination and teamwork that it took for a team made up of all three Malaysian ethnic groups (Chinese, Indian and Malay) to become victorious.

Receiving training tips from a local

When hiking in Fraser’s hill area, we were accompanied by a friend of a friend who not only helped us to find a trail that was off the beaten path but also gave us many tips along the way.

  1. When you stop hiking, change your shirt and hang the sweaty one in the bush. The sweaty shirt attracts bees.
  2. The best drink you can have for muscle recovery is Essence of Chicken which is as far as I can determine is like chicken broth. People here swear by it. It was even given to the players in the movie Ola Bola and Shaun’s co-coach for cross-country and track Coach Nada gives it to his athletes.
  3. The best way to carb load the day before hiking is to drink 7 or 8 beer. During the hike, you might want to have one beer or a shot of whiskey for pain relief. Finally,  a good pint or two after the hike will help you to hydrate and recover. Who knew the magic of beer?

Looking forward to more shenanigans in the coming weeks of summer.