Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Week in the Life, and More Kitty Drama

27 November 2014

It has been a pretty mellow week, with not much to blog about, just sort of our normal day-to-day kinds of things.  But, since we're in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, well - those normal day-to-day things become adventures.

For example, Richard bought flowers for our anniversary, a lovely light purple rose with the usual greenery and some little berries.  Very pretty.  The people in our restaurant downstairs gave us a beautiful glass to use as a vase.  And it made a really lovely flower arrangement in our hotel room.

But roses don't last long in tropical weather, even with AC, and the rose wilted.  We decided we need more flowers.  Which turned into a night visit to the Petaling Street Market in Chinatown, even crazier and busier than during the day, with mobile stalls and carts crammed into the road and vendors hawking their wares.  We found the flower section, and wandered around.  I finally found the orchid section, and bought two packs of orchids (dendrobiums), each pack having five stems and priced at 5 ringgits.  So for 10 ringgits (about $3.30 US) we ended up with a gorgeous bouquet of orchids!  As I walked back through the market, the same vendors who wanted me to buy their watches/purses/hats/etc. kept asking if the flowers were for them.  (I think they think any kind of conversation will draw in buyers, I'm not sure.)

Another day, I found some great plastic and suede sandals - FitFlops, because supposedly they exercise your feet or legs or something.  I just liked the rosy red color and the girly suede flower embellishment.  Nothing major, but of course it took forever to figure out the size, and to make the transaction, and the guy at the store wanted to hear all about where we're from and where we've been.

So, the salad - isn't that a beautiful presentation?  We found the Trattoria Cucina Italiano, the same great Italian restaurant we enjoyed in Bali.  Had dinner there for our anniversary, and again the following week.  A bed of arugula tossed with olive oil, sliced pecorino cheese triangles, sliced pear drizzled with honey, chopped walnuts, on a platter drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction.  OMG so good!!!!!  

But of course, while we were at the restaurant it started raining.  As in tropical downpour raining.  And rained.  And rained.  We finished our dinner, enjoyed the complimentary chocolate cream liqueur, waited another hour, and it was still pouring.  We finally went outside, under the overhang, and tried to get the attention of the taxi (teksi) drivers on the road, so that someone would drive up to the front of the restaurant.  I ended up jumping up and down, waving my arms, in sort of a hysterical and disjointed kind of jumping jack, trying to get a taxi to notice us.  Someone finally pulled up, we shared the taxi with a nice French guy, and managed to get back to our hotel without getting soaked.  But seriously, it was crazy.

Then we went up to Genting Highlands again, with the horrible trip on the gondolas, all 4-point-whatever kilometers of hanging in the air and swinging in the breeze.  As we went uphill, it became more and more foggy, or maybe more cloudy since the hills really are that high up.  By the time we got to the hotel and casino complex on top, the valley was filled with clouds and the opposite hill was invisible.  And it was COLD!  Richard spent time in the casino, I wandered around, we had lunch, we headed back in the late afternoon.  I looked for animals from the swinging gondolas, and saw some small bright red and bright yellow birds; I think they may be scarlet minivets (the male being scarlet, the female bright yellow - both with black heads and wings).  I also saw a monkey on our way up, trying to get a coconut that was on the road; and another monkey on our way back, sitting on a rock by a roadside café.  I guess a large part of monkey life is spent on food.

Today is Thanksgiving - Richard has his teeth all repaired/replaced, and he really wanted to test out the new teeth.  So Thanksgiving dinner was at a burger place.  (I know.)  Lunch was chicken briyani at the banana leaf place, so I'm thinking of that as our holiday dinner.  The burger, not so much.

So, the latest kitty drama.  At breakfast, I often hear a cat who visits the kitchen, where the chef and crew feed her.  Today, though, I heard a tiny kitten - and with walking back and forth to get my tea refills, I realized the little kitten meows were coming from inside the huge pillar surrounded by banquettes that is in the middle of the dining room.  I talked to a couple of our serving people, and they all said they heard the kitten, it's been living between the floors, there are several cats who seem to live in various openings in the building.  Two of the kitchen ladies sat down on the floor, talking to the kitten through the electric outlet, meowing and talking in Malaysian to little mewing kitty.  Another lady called maintenance, and two guys showed up - after a long discussion, they took off the electric outlets and everyone was jabbering and shining flashlights around, trying to find little kitty, who couldn't be found and had stopped meowing.  I figured little kitty was scared and hiding.  So they eventually closed up the outlets, and maintenance guys left.  The ladies kept tapping on the hollow pillar and meowing, trying to hear if the kitty was still in there.

I checked back in the afternoon, and the guy in charge said if the kitten talks, they'll open the outlets again and try to get it out.  (Really, they called it talking!)  But he reassured me that the mother cats go in and out of the building crawl spaces, and that the mother cat most likely came and saved the kitten.  I explained that I really like cats, so I wanted to make sure this kitty was saved, it sounded so little.  He said he likes cats too, he has a cat at home.

So it seems as if the kitchen, dining room, and maintenance staff are all on top of things, they like kittens and cats, and they'll do their best to make sure this kitty isn't stuck in the pillar.

On a side note, there has been much to-do in the newspapers and TV news about a program someone tried, to introduce Muslim people here in Malaysia to dogs.  Apparently there's a belief amongst the imams here that dogs are unclean.  (They've said this is a Muslim belief, but I've never heard of it elsewhere, so I'm not sure if this is a Malaysian belief or true for all Islamic people.)  Anyway, it has been a huge scandal, with some people calling for the organizer to be punished, others saying it wasn't a big deal since they included ritual handwashing after touching dogs.  The only reason I'm mentioning it here is that after hearing all about the dog issue, I wasn't sure how people felt about cats.  But it seems maybe cats are the house pet of choice, since dogs are considered unclean.

Anyway, it makes me hopeful for little stuck kitty, and I'll try to find out what's going on and keep you posted!

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