Sunday, April 29, 2012

Elephants in Malaysia.

Have you seen the movie "Water for Elephants?" We watched it and really enjoyed it. This reminded us that there is an elephant sanctuary just outside K.L. which would be fun to take Joshua to.
We packed up a picnic lunch and headed of to Kuala Gandah Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary.
Gandah is the Bahasa word for elephant.
It took nearly two hours to get to the sanctuary and we had to time it that we were there before two o'clock as that is when the "show" takes place.
The sanctuary is home to about eight Asian elephants and these elephants are trained to do a couple of tricks and entertain the crowds. One of the main purposes of the sanctuary is to educate the public and to encourage an understanding of these magnificent creatures.

 A few notable differences between the Asian and the Africa elephant is:
The ears....the Asian elephant has small pointed ears and we think it looks like the map of India whereas the African elephant has rather large ears and is more like the map of Africa.
The African elephant.

Asian male elephants grow tusks unlike African elephants where the bull and the cow have tusks.
The African elephant has wrinkled skin whereas the Asian elephant has smoother skin.
The African elephant is much bigger  than the Asian elephant with a shoulder height of 3 to 4 meters whereas the Asian elephant is only 2 to 3'5 meters!
The elephants at the sanctuary are lovely and everyone is encouraged to purchase a packet of shelled peanuts and to feed these friendly creatures. A great experience for the public, especially the children.
Imagine touching the eles in Kruger.

It was a HOT day and standing watching the show was difficult. Joshua was more interested in running around the magic garden and playing with a stick he had picked up. However, for those who did stay, they were able to feed the elephants and play on the elephant's back when they go into the river, to take a bath and cool down. A wonderful opportunity for the public.

 It did not take much encouragement for us to climb  into the air conditioned car and come back to K.L. for a swim and a bit of cooling down ourselves.


Time to get quilting!!

Days whiz by and I get that panicky feeling about there being so much to do and not enough time! To an extent, that must indicate that I am in a good space and enjoying life which I really am. I needed to get on with some of the projects that I have taken on. I have caught up on my blog so now it is time to get....Quilting.

Going through the many magazines I have collected I found a delightful pattern and went off to the local fabric store which has miles of fabrics in every colour and shade but just a small selection of "cottons". I played around and auditioned and eventually chose five coordinating fabrics. I was set to go.

My co-ordinating fabrics!

This was the pattern and quilt I set out to make.

what do you do when the ruler, the tape measure and the cutting board all differ in measurement? Who do you believe? Needless to say there was much fiddling and ixing. My unpick is my best friend!!Once the first draft was put together I stood back and thought I had lost my mind...this would NEVER do for a  delicate new born baby. Plus the joining fabric is just too busy.
Back to the drawing board. Now I have my own version of the "Gypsy Rose"!! 
Nothing like the original but I do like it!
Now to quilt it. 
Here is another little quilt I helped put together. Moira had started it and I have just got it ready to quilt. The lovely turquoise fabric is from Indonesia.
While I am at it I thought I should show off some of the lovely pieces I bought in India. I love to take them out, give them a little stroke, ponder over them and then put them away!!
I have LOTS to do but first to find an appropriate pattern for a BABY quilt!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I - City

I love weekends when we get to do fun things with the family. This weekend Moira had a "surprise" for us. We were given strong warnings about dressing warmly and wearing closed shoes. Where on earth would we be going if we have to dress warmly? I had to raid Nick's cupboard for jackets and put on socks and ,my running shoes and together with friends, Perla and daughter Celine, we were off to the "ICE" city that Joshua spoke about.

This is the most amazing place ever. It is a digitally lit up wonderland. There are two sections, the Prosperity Park outside and Frosties Wonderland inside. The outside section is a magical forest beautifully lit up and lovely for the children to play in. As it got darker the lights got brighter and more fascinating. In between the forest of trees there are activities for the children to take part in.

Inside the hall EVERYTHING is made of ice. It is an entire village including castles, statues, igloos, toboggan runs, slides etc. It was FREEZING! Despite all the extra clothes, I was freezing cold. I even developed a pain in the back of my head. The little ones had a wonderful time and did not seem to notice the cold until they left the hall and Joshua said he cant feel his nose.

The entire set up is amazing and has to be one of it's kind. When Malaysia does something they do it well. It is another highly recommended attraction for anyone living here or visiting here.

Back in Kuala Lumpur.


It is always good to get back to base. We are staying with Nick in his apartment in a suburb called Mont Kiara. I would describe this suburb as “Flat land” as there are so many blocks of flats about and no single standing houses.  Within a stone's throw from our block, is a “kampong” which can be described as an urban village or a traditional village. It is in total contrast to the surrounding high rises.  I love looking out from the twenty fifth floor of our "condominium" as it is known, to the kampong and watching the activity down there. 
The Kampong squeezed in between the condos.

The condos in K.L. are really great places to live as there is usually a swimming pool, gym, functional room and we even have a little shop selling an array of things. A park is provided with equipment for children and a large play room with a selection of toys is available. This is where the child minders or “kakas” as they are known, gather with their charges most afternoons! The pool is totally under used during the week so I have much fun going down in the morning and swimming my lengths.
We live on the twenty fifth floor.

Joshua spends a couple of afternoons here and he has enormous fun in the pool as his dad tosses him in the air and he tries to catch clouds!!
Joshua catching clouds.

The only negative is that we do not have easy access to the LRT (public transport) but there is a bus which Warren took into the city and it took  a whole one and a half hours….so I am not sure he will do that again!

Last weekend, Moira, Joshua and the two of us went off to the Lake gardens for a breakfast picnic. Because of the intense heat, one needs to get out as early as possible. These gardens date back to the 1880’s and are built around an artificial lake. It is an amazing place and has many different things to see and do.

We were so impressed at how beautifully the gardens are maintained and the selection of things to do.

The gardens are really worth a visit when next you are in K.L. I know we are going back!

India has the last word.

India always has the last say!!

I have just finished reading “Slowly Down The Ganges” written by Eric Newby.  Eric Newby and his wife Wanda, take on the challenge of a twelve hundred  mile journey down the Ganges, starting at Hardwar and finishing at Calcutta, in 1963.  By the time day six arrived they had run aground 63 times!! They never gave up!

 One of the phrases from the book that I think is true is that “India always has the last say!! This was so true for us as we checked in a the airport at the end of three wonderful weeks in India. Warren had bought two cricket bats for two grandsons. One fitted into the suitcase but the second would not. Oh dear….What to do. Will we be able to take it on as hand luggage or not? The check-in officials shake their heads firmly…oh no now what. No problem. The official found a roll of  tape and Warren managed to tie the bat to the outside of the suitcase. I even offered the long scarf I was wearing. The officials all had a good giggle and once it was checked in I really did not believe we would ever see the bat again!   Oh ye of little faith, this is India not Africa…..there it was, a few hours later on the caravelle in Kuala Lumpur all intact and fine!! Thank you India, your final message is a good positive one. We will be back!!

The Rickshaw Run.

During the last few days we had left in Cochin,  I noticed a great deal of activity on what had been an empty piece of ground, just along from our Homestay. Then a “welcome” sign was erected over the entrance which I took as a welcome to enter the grounds. It is was not meant for me but for the seventy teams arriving from all over the world to take place in the The Rickshaw Run from Cochin to Shillong. The vehicles that were to be used have 7hp.engine, three tiny wheels and the top speed is 55kmph!!

The entrants are  a bunch of very brave or maybe a little crazy people! The person who told me all about the race was a Dawn. Her and a girlfriend (heading for fifty) were from England and had taken on this challenge as they wanted to have some adventure in their lives. Their team was called 2posh2push. Each team pays an entry fee plus they are all asked to raise a thousand pounds, which goes to Charity.
Dawn before her rickshaw was "pimped"!!

 In total fifty thousand pounds was raised which will go to Franks Water programme which supplies fresh drinking water for villages in India!

Everyone is encouraged to pimp their rickshaws so they blend in with the  vibrant colours of the country.

A crazy thing to do but loads of fun. I am so pleased to know that Dawn and partner Flo won the race according to the blogs I followed. 

Our South African boys in their Golden rickshaw.

The next adventure planned is a cheap way to get to the moon!!

Anyone wanting to know more about this adventure will find info on

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wandering around Jew Town in Cochin.

There are many wonderful shops put there specially to tempt ME!

They are filled with beautiful things just waiting to be snapped up. Clothes, quilts, carpets .....just lovely, lovely stuff.
More silk!

Charming salesman wearing tea cosy!

Stunning silk!
A divine little  jewelled carpet.

Enough to drive my husband crazy!
Tree of life design.

I Just LOVE this piece.
Fun things to buy for gifts.

There is no doubt that Cochin is the perfect place to do some serious shopping or just to feast your eyes!!

Jew Town.

A visit to Jew Town in Cochin is an absolute must. To get there we take a tuk tuk and enjoy winding down the narrow streets dodging the big trucks unloading or loading  of goods. This is where the real business takes place. Cochin was the centre of the Spice trade for India and is still very busy!

The Paradesi (meaning foreigners)Synagogue was built in 1568 to serve the needs of the early traders who settled in this area. Most of the Jewish settlers have moved on or converted but there are reputed to be three Jews living in the area. I have tried to get into the Synagogue three times without any success however it is reputed to be lovely inside with a floor created from Chinese tiles.
The area is filled with wonderful antique shops where one is welcome to spend time browsing. One of the"best buys" for us were door knobs which we installed on our Toti flat. A lovely reminder of a lovely place!

Jew Town

and the old and not so colourful.

The narrow winding roads are lined with buildings which have bright, colourful doors and windows to add to the charm of the area.