Wednesday 22nd June
Monday afternoon we arrived back in KL or more exactly Putrajaya where we will be for the 4 days before we fly out to Mauritius on Saturday lunchtime. We are staying with the Baker and Kylie whose condominium is around 30 min from the airport. (Downtown KL is about another 30-40 mins away depending on traffic)
These 4 days will be taken up with packing and final prep for our month in Africa and at the moment the apartment looks like a bomb site with items spread everywhere.
We have some new characters to introduce to the narrative who will be part of our travels during this time……….
The Baker (Harald)- An Austrian mountain baker who used to cook bread onboard the cruise ships we were on.
Kylie – An Australian from WA and the Bakers wifey
BG – Their 10.5 year old son who is so similar to BB in activeness, fearlessness and attitude that you could be forgiven thinking they are identical twins. It has been 5 years since they last saw each other but you wouldn’t think so
Kylie, the Baker, Noelle and myself worked together on a number of cruise ships for Star Cruises and together we were based in Germany undertaking two new buildings for them. They are domiciled these days in KL where Harald works for an international bakery firm which has a business interest in NZ. They have a semi-retired English couple as neighbours so I have been hearing about how good the English rugby team is and how much of a cheat the G.O.A.T was. After the dismal English draw in Euro2016 the other morning I told him if they had Mr McCaw in the English football team they may have a chance of getting the ball and scoring with it.
The baker has actually taken off to South Korea returning Thursday night so the rest of us are getting things ready. Hopefully we don’t forget anything as he almost missed his flight last night as he left his phone at home……but thats another “funny” story.
The kids have all integrated well and are updating and preparing their journals for the next part in between going for a run, swimming or biking around the complex. They are oblivious to the extent of preparations taking place.
Today we braved the public holiday crowds to shop for some last minute items that we think we may need. Crowds and shopping centres are not my thing so there was “some vocalised” lack of enthusiasm on my part and trying to manage 3 kids with all the temptations of food and every imaginable product under one roof it would have given me grey hairs had I have any. The biggest bonus today was that the traffic was lighter around 5pm due to the public holiday so we had an easy run home. The highlight was purchasing some dinner items at the funkiest supermarket I’ve ever seen. There is certainly nothing like it that I’m aware of in NZ…not even Moore Wilson in Wellington or Reward Fresh in Qtn comes close. It was set up to cater to the expat community around the Mont Kiara area.
In terms of food, scale, cost and the population demographics you can certainly notice the differences between KL & Penang. With Penang being contained to an island it is relatively easy to get around and navigate….KL on the other hand is a spralling mass of roading networks that can at times make no sense.
Arriving in KL the other afternoon we asked the question of “what are 3 things you miss from home?”
KK – friends lego, Striker and animals??
BB – Striker, Skiing, lego
Mum – Snowboarding, eating healthy food, her guitar
Dad – Bike, snowboard and Jaffas (the sweets…not to be confused with the population of that other island)
To quote Guy Delisle “I realise that I’d remembered only the good things….how exotic it was…….because with time blocking out the bad , memory is always bound to be a bit naive and stupidly optimistic”
So given those answers Striker, lego and the ski fields seem to be the main reasons for coming back. Work has been re-entering my mind recently with thoughts as to how to seamlessly reintegrate myself back into it without disrupting the great job those in my absence have been doing.
Tomorrow being Thursday will again be spent getting ready. Given that we are returning to the southern hemisphere and it is winter we are now pulling out some of the warmer clothing that we brought with us. It seems the average temps where we are going can be down to 0 degrees at night and as high as 25 degrees during the day. Our days of balmy 30 degrees (at night) are coming to a close.
Although we have been travelling light, we have accumulated a few extra things along the way so we have had to purchase an extra bag which we will keep in KL until we fly back to NZ at the end of July. One of the things we are very happy with is the quality of the packs we purchased to use. These have been fantastic and have stood the rigours of our travels so far….they do have a lifetime worldwide warranty on anything that breaks so the value is exceptional.
Although these 4 days seem to be a little fluid and not a lot is happening (or are being lost?) we have looked at it as a reward for what we have achieved so far. Like sometimes in life we have not celebrated our successes so some downtime helps us reflect and refresh not so much physically but mentally.
We have advised the Doc (another ex-colleague of ours from Asia…and a real Doctor) of our arrival time into Jo’burg next week and to have the braai hot and the beers cold. Lydenburg here we come!
The aim will be to get another update in before we leave on Saturday.