Thursday, 25 February 2010

Kazakhstan Is Where I Am

And it's all white, it's frigid, it's quiet. It's eeriely beautiful.

And here I am for about three weeks, keen on experiencing a polar winter.

And where hubby is stationed at the moment - the capital city, Astana - the snow does look permanent, the temperature hovering between minus 30 and minus 20 degrees centigrade.

 The frozen River Ishim

 The Offices Precinct of Astana

Our gracious Kazakh family says "Welcome to the south of Siberia".... ok it's not quite polar, but still.
And to think that one year ago we had showed them Cyber Ria - the apartment block in Cyberjaya when they came visiting (read about it here "From -33 to +33")

From left: Zhanara, Azizali, Yerlan

You DO NOT go outside for no reason.

And when you have one, you make sure you have on over your regular clothing, thick socks (or two layers of tropical cotton ones) and boots, a really warm coat or anorak, with head-cover, and gloves.

 On the river bank testing the chill with my ungloved hand

And then you hunker down and rush off to wherever - you can't stop and chat or admire the scenery for very long, because if you do, the chill bites into any exposed skin in seconds and if you happen to have a runny nose, it freezes in an instant (ok I'm just assuming that because I haven't seen anyone with a runny nose here).

So far, I am enjoying this change from the gruelling heat  of the Klang Valley. Here I do not sweat, and strangely I am not as hungry. I have had no headaches as yet, and I feel somewhat rejuvenated. They say Kazakhstan is where healing cosmic energy from the universe concentrates.

But despite that, if I do feel under the weather, would I be brave enough to try a Kazakh massage? I don't know.

Do click on my Facebook badge from time to time for more updates and pictures.

Till next time.


Friday, 19 February 2010

Where is Kazakhstan?

 This little man knows the world map better than I do!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Hey, that's MY jalopy!

 It took 6 police-cars to stop her. Well done old girl!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A little bit Arabian

We were supposed to go to a Chinese New Year Open House for dinner.

But someone got his dates mixed-up.

And so my two girls and I got to be his Valentine dates instead.
The place - an Arabian joint, The Tarbush.

It looks like something out of Morocco.

The music was loud, with a definite belly-dance beat - pah-papah; pah-papah.
There was no performance but my shoulders got going a little bit.

The food was excellent - lamb kebabs, shami kebabs, mousaka, hummus, laban, tabouleh, lebanese bread, arabian coffee, arabian mint tea, briyani.

Absolutely sated.

The girls monkeying around while waiting for someone at the conveniences.

Going off before the big rush at the exits.

Not a bad dinner after all.
Dates mixed-up, but right dates in the end.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face

 by Jack Prelutsky
Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you'd be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place--
be glad your nose is on your face! 

Friday, 12 February 2010

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Beware of The Snake

I was born in the Chinese year of the Snake.

People are generally afraid of snakes
because they have poisonous bites, 
and they devour whole chickens and even goats.
Some even wrap themselves around objects of  their fancy
literally squeezing the lifes out of them

        The Snake

However,  if ancient Chinese wisdom is to be believed,
 a Snake in the house is a good omen
because it means your family will not starve.

And why is that so?

Because the Snake is keen and cunning, quite intelligent and wise
and has no qualms about sacrificing his/her possessions, 
in order to pay for his family’s food.

But if you stab a Snake in the back 
it is likely you will NEVER be forgiven.(Watch out!!) 
In addition, you should prepare yourself for retaliation 
for the Snake always gets the last word. (Be Forewarned...)

 Not everyone can live 
and be happy with a Snake (KAKAKAKA). 
It takes a patient soul, 
someone ready for the long haul, 
who can calm his/her nerves
and deal with his/her obsessions with skill. (Yeah, yeah)

seemingly an unlikely partnership
But they fit well together…
They share flirtatious natures (huh?)
and zesty outlooks.

Snakes love to vacation
They get a great deal of pleasure out of just being lazy ;)

And they love luxurious things, 
often spending their money on material desires 
they probably don’t need (Where got?)

When a Snake goes on vacation, he/she really goes on vacation. 
Fancy restaurants, expensive health clubs and spas, 
anything in which they can fully indulge themselves. 
(About time for one)

Snakes become easily stressed 
and have to avoid hectic schedules or noisy atmospheres. 
They do not get a rush from adrenaline, 
instead, A HEADACHE. 

They need calm and quiet to thrive and succeed. 

A Snake must have sleep and relaxation
to live a long, healthy life.

So in case this Snake does not wake up
in time for the lunar new year, 
she wishes all Chinamen and China-dolls


Tahun Rimau sudah mari 
Main mercun sampai pagi
Makan limau satu guni


Thursday, 4 February 2010

Melakan, Thai and Russian

Isn't it amazing how learning 3 little things can make you so happy?

Much more so when you also realise the pressure in your head is no more. That pressure you had first felt at your mum's favourite clinic in Kg. Tunku - the clinic with the still pretty late-40's early-50's lady doctor whom she likes so much.

You remember marveling at your 82-year old mum's tenacity after she slipped on a rug and fell, hitting the side of her face on the terazzo floor, when she was all alone at her house.

You wince imagining the difficulty she had getting herself up off the floor, she who would take about 10 to 15 seconds to push herself off the lounge chair, she who had for the last couple of years opted to modify her prayer prostrations by sitting on a dining-chair.

You were proud of her spirit in administering her own first-aid by wrapping ice in a kitchen towel and placing it on her face. But you were aghast at her not informing anyone immediately preferring instead to wait until grandson came over as had been promised earlier.

But you were NOT surprised that she still wanted to make her monthly trip to her kampong house in Ayer Molek in Melaka despite her swollen cheek and bruised eye and cut upper lip. And balik kampong she did, after insisting on cooking a full course meal to take along for the evening's dinner when she and your brother arrived there.

You remember the doctor saying what an inspiration your mum was. Your mum had only decided to see the doctor 5 days after her fall after returning from the kampong, when the bruises had begun to fade, and her cut had begun to heal, and her cheek no longer tender to the touch.

She is an inspiration indeed, you feel proud of her, Alhamdulillah she has taken care of herself quite well:  blood sugar at 4.5 and blood pressure at 135/70 are very alright for an octogenarian.

And you think how miraculous it was she didn't break any bones falling on the hard floor and how she had told you and your sister that she has been taking calcium supplements for the last 18 years - "Makan kalsium, budak-budak oii, engkau orang dah berumur dah!"

And you think would you even reach her age? And you hear her say - "Baki umur kau nak buat apa lagi? Dah tak kerja buat lah amal ibadat banyak-banyak".

And you feel your headache getting worse, with gassy burps building up, and you think should you ask the pretty doctor to take your blood pressure? And you think naah... what if your BP's higher than your mum's, that would be embarassing.

And you start to think of reasons - maybe it was the half-dozen raw petai you had at dinner, which was tenggiri asam pedas with blanched kailan and braised lamb cubes. Maybe that was a lethal combination, or maybe it was the peanut butter sandwich you had for breakfast sans coffee. And you think it'll get better after some coffee at your mum's when you all get back.

And you feel some relief for the rest of the day after popping a panadol with the nescafe.

And then of course you simply can't go to bed early after the afternoon cuppa.

And when you finally do, you get up again after a mere 3  hours with the thumping up there again, and you pop another panadol and go back to bed.

And when you get up after a couple of hours, you decide to go over to the Thai massage place for some deep pressure-point treatment and to be manipulated into a wrestling hold and swung like a pendulum.

And you have a whopping of a time in pleasurable pain being thumb-pressed and elbowed and kneed and kneaded and stretched all over your body from head to toe.

And as you eat your healthy lunch at this place called ZEN, you feel the heaviness in your head slowly lifting.  And then you reward yourself by shopping for new inner wear, partly because there is a sale and also because you need a new band-size from all the push-ups you have been doing of late.

And you feel extremely pleased because in the middle of shopping your "vowels" nudged you for the second time that day and then you realise how true it is that every sickness originates in the stomach, even a headache, and how Thai makes things move.

And that's why you are in a good mood and that's why just learning 3 little new things make you elated. 3 letters of the Russian alphabet:

"Ю" looks like a head severed below the shoulders - it sound's like "YOO" 

"Я" looks like an R viewed in the mirror - it sounds like "YAH" 

"Ы" makes you want to go blearggh - but it sounds like "IH" 

And so Ю Я Ы sounds like YOU YAH IH


And somehow you are reminded of this song:

And you think you must get to bed now - there's pocho-pocho class to attend in the morning and the dentist to submit to in the afternoon. Can't allow a headache tomorrow.