Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kuching from A to C

Kuching waterfront and sampans, Sarawak River

Kuala Lumpur, 10–11 March

JB and I took the train across to Johor Bahru from Singapore and on up Peninsular Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur. It was a rickety old train but a nice change from flying. Loved our old Chinese-style boutique hotel, The Anggung, and will definitely stay there again. Had dinner with my very good Kuching friends Min and Sam, Sara and Sean, Sam's brother, and their friends Brian and Rita, at KLCC. JB got to see the Petronas Towers in all their lit-up glory.

Up at 3 am for a rendezvous with Min for the Brooks half marathon. Sam and the kids did the 10K event. JB was support crew. We started and finished in the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, which was fun. Very atmospheric at the start with drummers and music playing, and a wonderful surface to finish on. Min and I ran the first 9–10K together. It was a very hilly course, and very warm despite the 5 am start, so I walked most of the hills in the last 6K or so. I still had chest congestion, so I didn't have any time goal.

Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur

We had a late breakfast with my KL friend Siham and her husband and new daughter, Nahla, whom everyone fell in love with.

Back at Anggung Boutique Hotel I did some work while JB went for an express massage nearby. Took a taxi out to the international airport only to learn our Air Asia flight was leaving from the budget terminal, so we had to come partway back into KL. It was unexpected (I didn't even know there *was* a budget terminal), but it's useful information now to have tucked away...

Kuching, 11 March

Main Bazaar, Kuching

So happy to arrive back in Kuching (my fourth visit) and to check into the Batik Boutique Hotel again. I'm in the purple room...

We had a very busy week before JB left yesterday. Lots of catching up with Min and Sam for runs/meals/manipedi; with Emily, Rita and Ka Yee for dinners; and with Belinda and Eng Hooi. A once-in-12-years firewalking ceremony was held on Temple Street during the week, followed by a huge procession along our street (Jalan Padungan) the next night to celebrate a deity's birthday. We followed a truck with some fabulous young drummers performing formation drumming and found ourselves part of the procession. Called in to see Ramsay, but he is away in the UK. We had two early-morning walks along the waterfront, took a river cruise and visited the Cultural Village, and made a quick visit to the museums. I introduced JB to the Malaysian dessert known as "ABC", with shaved ice, sweet corn, kidney beans, agar jelly, carnation milk and syrup. She's a convert: We had two each on her last afternoon at a food stall place by the City Mosque.

My workload has been full on, so my days have been starting at between 3 and 5 am. I slept in today (no alarm) until 6.15, which was blissful. Now I need to recharge my batteries and get my groove back.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sultry Singapore

I flew up yesterday from Melbourne to meet JB for the start of a quick mini-Asia tour of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching. My work pressure hasn't lessened; in fact, the ante just got upped...

I was able to put in a full day's work today, then went for an early-evening run along both sides of the Singapore River through the restaurant/bar precincts. I still feel very congested, so Sunday's half marathon will be a challenge.... I had a run in Albury a few days ago with Di, Robert and Rose, my first since Venice Beach a couple of weeks ago. Time goes so quickly...

Albury was quite a different experience than I'd anticipated. There was some quality time with people I love, but being sick made it difficult to stick with plan A, and that made it very difficult for my sister.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wet Wet Wet

I've arrived in my Oz home of Albury during a "long wet". The first few days it was warm and wet, like monsoon rain in Asia; but now it's cold and miserable. I've also been sick since the day I arrived, so that and the weather have really impacted on my plans to be out and about and catch up with people while I'm here. I have bronchitis, which feels worse each day, not better after five days on antibiotics. I can't run, and I'm collapsing into bed at about 8 pm. But I'm still ploughing through my work in-tray... I've seen a few pals and family, but I'm not great company!

I had a night in Melbourne at Barb and Bill's after flying in from Los Angeles. Martyn picked me up from the airport. There was immediate pressure to deal with an urgent job that had been sitting in my in-tray for 16 hours, which was a bit stressful. Martyn and Joanne joined us for dinner. I'll be back staying in the apartment for about five weeks at the end of the year, which I'm looking forward to.

I loved staying on Venice Beach as a break between Texas and the long flight to Oz. Had a fabulous run the only morning I was there, south to the Venice Pier, back along the Grand Canal, then north to the Santa Monica Pier and back. About 80 minutes on a stunning morning with a clear blue sky. A film crew was setting up a couple of blocks from where I was staying.