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Published: February 20th 2013
I've got a meeting in KL next week and our pre-meeting activity is to reflect on learning we have done in Malaysia. I've learned that I really don't like cable cars and I do like beach holidays 😊 Both of these conclusions I came to last week when a group of us headed off to celebrate our Chinese new year holidays in Langkawi.
It was in fact, my first ever, beach holiday. Obviously, not my first time on a beach, being a kiwi kid and living in southern Italy for 4 years, but my first ever go to a beach, go for a swim, drink some cocktails, eat some food, go to bed, get up in the morning, go to the beach, go for a swim (well ... you get the idea) type holiday! Now that is the Malaysia we all signed up for! 😊
Langkawi is beautiful and can be seen in all it's glory from a great height of 800 metres above sea level, reached by cable cars! And that's the second point. With this particular cable car being my third in three years, I noticed I have a particular "cable car face" in photos. No doubt
Langkawi - Pantai Cenang
brought on by my brother's loving tale of the nuns that crashed to their death, while in the gondolas in Queenstown. I mean, if it can happen to a nun, what hope do the rest of us have?
We encountered all sorts of wildlife in Langkawi. There were eagles, and monkeys. We saw a monitor lizard and fed an elephant (on a healthy, natural elephant diet of bananas and bread!). And then we visited the crocodile park! It's painted in the guide as a bunch of crocs in dirty pools and only interesting for kids ... but we actually got to see a real crocodile fight which made it all worthwhile. We decided that crocodiles are actually mean and have survived their years of evolution by not being nice to each other or anyone else, which alleviated any type of guilt that may have arisen while walking around the crocodile shop afterwards, where you could buy crocodile skin shoes, belts, keyrings etc.
We finished up at the croc park and headed up to a beach in the north of Langkawi, where we went to a small local restaurant, which had fantastic food for almost no money. But there
Helen deciding on breakfast
were 5 of us, and we all decided to order coconut juice, which involved the poor guy spending ages hacking the tops of 5 coconuts and hoping we didn't order another round!
True to form, like the rest of the county, Malaysians were always lovely and helpful. The reaction is always entertaining when I tell people that I live in Kota Bharu. Depending on where they are from, it ranges from delight (if they're from Kelantan) to pity, if they're from somewhere like KL. But either way, it opens up a whole other realm of conversation, which leads to learning so much more about Malaysian society and politics. So, in the short time I've been here, I really feel like I've learned a lot about the country, mainly from waiters and taxi drivers.
So, other wee adventures. We had a long weekend here and Helen came over from KT, so her and Brian and I headed to Thailand for a day. Well, not exactly a day, more like a thai green curry and a thai foot massage! But, it was the first time I'd walked over a border, so that was fun. Then, I was off for a
breakfast on langkawi
week to do some training and based in Putrajaya. Putrajaya is the central govenerment administrative town, just outside KL and is a "man-made" town. I can only describe it as a "luxurious" Swindon! Souless and full of roundabouts! Though the buildings are more glamourous!
Driving continues to be an ongoing theme here. We drove from Penang to KB on a very scenic route, which was beautiful, full of small mountainous roads. We were driving on one of these roads when we came round a corner to discover a bus had slid in the rain and ended up across the middle of the road. There was only just enough space on our lane to get past the bus. And so the cars in front were slowly edging past the bus and trying not to fall in the massive ditch on the other side! The car in front of me was slightly bigger and scraped the back of the bus on their way past. I was adament that there wasn't enough space, I couldn't drive it, but was next in queue. Helen and Dave were very encouraging, combined with a guy standing at the side of the road waving me forward,
just about to get on the cable car face
so I ignored the ditch and the whole left hand side, and kept an eye on the bus, figuring if we were about to fall in a ditch, someone would shout "STOP!". It was only later, I reflected on the fact the guy waving me past had just crashed a bus and that Dave and Helen actually voiced their "falling in the ditch" fears! And these were the two that assured me their was no way the cable car was going to fall! 😉
So, holidays over, I've been back to work this week and it's been a hectic one. It's certainly not a 9-5 job. More like calls and emails might start at 7am, finish at 11pm, weekends and holidays are irrelevant, pretty much always on call. And yet, there are down times, when everything goes quiet and those are the moments you steal to do things like clean up, go shopping etc. It's certainly a different pace of life here and so time passes and it seems like there aren't quite enough hours in the day, despite that work and personal life no longer have seperate hours and my new bedtime is usually around 1 or 2
reunited with orango-tango :)
in the morning, giving me physically extra hours in the day. But, you adapt to your surrounding and I've slowed down too, so it takes me at least half an hour to make a coffee in the morning. Hours may pass between deciding to leave the house to do something and it actually happening! The up-side ... there is very little physical stress involved in life and I'm the most relaxed I've been in all my years of management!
My initial fears that living in a remote place may lead to boredom and lonliness haven't come to pass and with the amount of travelling I do and the people around me, it's no longer a fear 😊Life is content here 😉 (feel free to email if you want to discuss that further!).
Now, surely it's time for Outrageous fortune! I'm on series 3 for the 3rd time and it's just as good as the first! 😉
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