Farmers, kids and turtles.
07.03.2010 36 °C
Highest rainfall in Malaysia in one day - 608mm Kota Bharu, 01-06-1967. That is about Melbourne's yearly average. Just thought it might make you drowning Melbournians feel a little better. I guess the biggest difference is that the heavy rain is normal here so they have built drains to deal with it, as I discovered first hand. Clearly from the photos I have seen, Melbourne has not. I'll get back to the drain in a minute.
This week has not been as eventful as my diving holiday, but I did go to zoo. I have to say I was not expecting much, as the entrance fee was about 60 cents. That's right, 60 cents. What can they afford to show you for 60 cents I hear you ask. A monkey? A tiger? An elephant? Well, all of these and so much more. In fact hey had more animals than i could be bothered to look at in the end, and all squashed into an area about the size of a football field. It is lucky we didn't have to walk far because it was so hot I was melting. And the animals were about as active as a Malaysian security guard. Can't blame them really, I would compare their enclosures to me having to live in my toilet. Seriously. Not actually IN the toilet, but you know what I mean. Throw me some food every now and then, take a few photos and you won't get much entertainment out of me either. I am not sure what the animal in the photo is, but he is a prime example of how stimulated these animals are. Poor things. Where are the penguins of Madagascar when you need them?
The next day Jess and I decided to get a bus to Melaka, because it has to be done. I had heard there was a morning farmer's market not far from the bus stop, so we decided to meet some friends for breakfast. We were informed by the cabbie that walking there was no problem, only 10 minutes. I thought that was a bit strange, because the hospital is a 10 minute walk and EVERYONE that lives here drives because it is too far. So after walking for about 15 minutes Jess was not convinced I knew where I was going. I had only just reassured her that I never get lost and the market is definitely next to the stadium when our friends called to politely tell us the market is AT the bus station. Not only were we walking the wrong way, but we had walked straight through the farmers market and ten block away. I felt very stupid. When we finally did get there, every farmer was more interested in getting a pose on for our camera than they actually were trying to sell us stuff. Very, very amusing. So as it turns out, a 10 minute walk in Malaysia is actually a 50m stroll through a building. I really don't understand how these people stay so skinny while we are the fattest country in the world. We walk more. Maybe it's because they live in a sauna.
If any of you med students out there were wondering if I am actually doing some study, I am doing some medical stuff, yes. On Monday I got to visit a school about half an hour out of town, to do some medical checks on little kids. That was pretty cool, but my stethescope has never had such a workout. At lunch time the school put on an amazing spread for and the teachers, whilst all the kids sat on huge long trestle tables outside. I wandered out to take a photo and got a lot of strange looks from the kids. But no sooner had one girl came up to me and asked my name and I had a swarm of 200 kids following me like the pied piper. I am convinced that some of these kids had never actually seen a white person in the flesh before.
Oh yeah, the drain. This week, my short-lived friend Jess actually flew back to Australia. She entrusted me with her two new pets, little green turtles. She was already upset that her family pet had passed away, and now she was entrusting her new pets to the grim reaper! Go figure. Anyway, I was determined not to let the little fellas die, so I carried them with the utmost care the 500 metres from her apartment. I remember saying "just going to get some bread" before disappearing down a drain and smashing the turtle's home on the ground. Turns out that the wooden manhole cover over the drain isn't actually meant for walking on (even though it is right out the front entrance of the shop as you can see in the pic). I did only lose one leg down the drain, but it really happened fast and I wasn't really sure what was going on for a few seconds. For all the splintered wood, jagged concrete and protruding reo I was very lucky to escape without even a single cut. The guy in the shop claims they park cars on that drain and I must weigh a ton. I told him to shut up or I would sit on him. I mean, just because the average weight around here is 40kgs doesn't mean they can design a cover for them only. They should put a sign up "WARNING: do not walk here if you are Australian." They have since replaced the cover with yet more dodgy looking wood, possibly upgraded to a 50kg limit (see the "new improved" cover in the photo). As for the turtles, well as much as I am sure they are now petrified of their new owner, they are still alive. For now.
I really am enjoying Malaysia but I am a bit sick of being stared at for riding a bike, stared at for carrying a fish tank on the bus (they actually didn't let me on 2 buses can you believe) and stared at for being white. I am also amazed how rude store owners can be here. In Australia you would flat out refuse to buy anything off some of these people. Here, you would be left with very few options if you don't just live with it. The strangest thing is, just 1km over the water into Singapore and it all changes. White people, bikes and good customer service all become standard. I don't really understand.
Anyway, enough stories for now. Going for a swim, in a pool, not in Bourke St. Haha. Sam.