13 March 2012

Dried fish and cow head for dinner, dear?

Food markets in Asia, it has to be said, are somewhat different from those in the UK.  Louder, messier and with a much higher yuck factor - a real assault on the senses.  Yesterday, as part of an outing with a photography club, I was at Chow Kit market, a traditional "wet" market.  (Wet as in the floor is wet, though you wouldn't want to know with what, and hopefully because it can also be hosed clean.)

 The usual and somewhat more unusual fruit and veg were there in abundance.  

As were dried fish.  Whole dried fish, tiny and much larger; bits of dried fish, huge slit-vertically-head-to-toe-from-the-belly-then-flattened-out fish.  There were a few very lively fish too, splashing about in pitifully shallow water, trying to ensure they got some cover.

Chickens were plentiful too.  Some with heads on, some without.  Virtually all with feet - after all, chicken's feet are quite the delicacy here. The most grim sights were those of the cow meat though - big chucks of anonymous looking beef, next to hairy hooves in buckets or on hooks.  And on one particularly aromatic stall, a row of cow heads. 

But in many ways, the market was also surprisingly similar to that in my home town of Leicester.  Cheery stall-holders presenting their wares as best they could (an interesting challenge in some cases!), and bantering with customers.  People hunting for fresh, cheap food to feed their families.  And, on the whole, an overall feeling of bon homie.  Of course, Leicester market might not be like that any more, but it's how I like to remember it! 

As for how I'd like to remember Chow Kit market, while the sight of the cows' heads will undoubtedly stay with me for a good while, I hope I remember the people there for much longer.  They were so friendly, asking where we were from, welcoming us to Malaysia, and volunteering either themselves or their workmates for photos.  The photo below, despite being out of focus, is my favourite for the sheer character and humour of the stall holder.

1 March 2012

Documenting the little things in life

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things."  Robert Brault.

Wise advice that is well worth following.  Sometimes, however, even us scrapbookers forget and focus instead of layouts about the big things - holidays, birthdays, Christmas, etc.  So when I found out about an iPhone app called Project 365, which reminds you to take a photo each day and handily composes them into one big round-up of the month, I decided to give it a go.  At first, I was still somewhat taken up with the idea that the little things were boring, but then realised that no, actually, they were just as important as the big things.  Looking back at the layouts I produce with this app will probably produce far more memories, conversation and laughter, than those showing a gorgeous beach somewhere.

And as I typed up the journaling notes from each day - for the stories behind the photos are just as important as the pictures themselves - it occured to me that the month's events would be worth sharing on here.  So here you are - the often small and insignificant things that have happened to us this month.  If you don't want to read about the excitement of our new kettle (!) or why I was so chuffed after going to the dentist, skip this post - maybe the next one will be about something bigger.  But if you'd like a snapshot into life in KL, read on.....

Oh, and although I am still enthusiastic about this project, and fully intending to keep it going all year, it might not happen that way.  I might be getting on with life and just enjoying the big and the little things without stopping to document them ;-)

1.      Alex with one of the 147 United Buddy Bears – the UK one of course! – outside the Pavilion mall.

2.      I’m trying to walk and/or run 5k five or six times a week as I need to shed a few pounds.  Listening to audio books helps to relieve the boredom – a little.

3.      A new kettle.  The old one was threatening to burst into flames this morning, the plug was smoking and melting!

4.      Dish upon dish of cooked meats – curries? – on sale in the market near Masjid Jamek today.  We thought it best not to indulge...

5.      Even on a holiday weekend Sunday, there is still – always! – masses of laundry to wash, dry, sort and put away.  Thank goodness I don’t have to iron it as well!

6.      A trip to KL Tower, including lunch in the revolving restaurant and a close encounter with a hair-eating parrot!

7.      Raffles Hotel, Singapore.  Lots of colonial types hanging out in the bar, and very good – and very expensive – Singapore Slings.  Hic!

8.       View from the riverside cafe in Singapore where we had our dinner.

9.      At the end of a day in Singapore packed with exhibitions, shopping and the night safari, some yummy milkshakes.

10.   Our plane, immediately after landing in KL from Singapore.

11.   Spending far too much time playing Jewel Quest at the moment!

12.   A scrappy day!  Two nostalgic, summery layouts :-)

13.   Will struggles to wake up without an early fix of Red Bull – his equivalent of a strong coffee!  Not easy to find in KL though, so if I ever spot a tray full I’ll snap it up!

14.   A long drive to Alice Smith School and back, with a dull parents’ meeting in between, turned a slight headache into a migraine :-(

15.   Searching for somewhere to go on holiday in the summer! (Note – we ended up deciding to wait till November.)

16.   “Super duper clean.  I am quite jealous lah!”  That was the dental nurse’s verdict on my teeth today, the dentist was also very complimentary.  That is the first time I have ever had someone say they were jealous of my teeth!

17.   Trying to get used to Will’s new haircut!

18.   The Maxis Annual Dinner, theme Fairy Tales.  Alex went as a knight and won second prize!  I went as an Indian princess.

19.   I’m cheating and using another photo from yesterday!  Alex on stage last night.

20.   My Fit Flops rarely leave my feet!  They are soooo comfy!

21.    A clean craft desk – a rare sight!  Only because Beth & Dave were coming to stay, and the craft room had to become the guest room!

22.   This tiny Batman (about 2” tall) gets hidden in all sorts of places by me and Will!  We take it in turns, the only rule is that he always has to be visible.  This new tradition started last year shortly before moving to KL, but I can’t remember why!

23.   Clearly the tube of superglue wasn’t entirely glue-free!

24.   Storms this afternoon.  It was really windy just before they hit!

25.   Eating in China Town with Alex, Beth and Dave.

26.   That third green light, for the internet, is very important in this household.  Unfortunately it was missing for most of the day.

27.   Beth and Dave at Batu Caves.

28.   Took Beth & Dave to Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary – they declared it the highlight of their trip!

29.   The first loaf from the new bread machine!  It was OK, but I need to tweak the recipe a bit.