Saturday, 6 March 2010

the diary ends

ipoh town hall

our last full day in malaysia begins with yum cha in ipoh. as we drive i admire some of the colonial architecture and the kids laugh. shopping is suggested and having enjoyed a thai massage a couple of days back i see my chance for another and request a visit to the same shopping centre. my foot is a little bit troublesome so i try to sit quietly as everyone shops. liam acquires a wallet and a shirt, the girls buy some girly knick knacks and keaghan fancies a tee shirt. i am briefly but seriously tempted by a net book.

we go home to shower and change before a farewell dinner with the family. the seafood menu doesn't impress the girls and all attempts are made to please them. we start with a chinese new year specialty: noodles, coriander, ginger, cucumber, pomelo and a few thin slices of raw fish are placed in little piles on a platter, plum sauce is poured over and everybody stands together and uses their chopsticks to toss the ingredients together. that is followed by some delicious tofu, fried rice, stir fried veggies and a whole steamed chicken.

after dinner the night passes painfully. i have the worst insomnia i have ever experienced. my mind wont stop and i try to slow it but cant. at 3am i nearly jump out of my skin when the phone rings. the bus driver wants to know why we arent on the bus to kuala lumpur. we had planned on taking the 3Pm bus. i toss and turn a couple more hours and drift into delicious sleepy peace at sunrise. a few short hours of sleep are interrupted as family come to report to me on what is happening and a new booking for the bus is organised.

i want my last malaysian restoran beakfast and we go to get it. i am interested to see that as new year celebrations come to their end the customers at breakfast consist less of noisy family groups and the usual routine is returning. one man in dirty work clothes lingers over a pot of tea, there is a young man from the tyre service opposite and a young woman sipping coffee.

my dream for this breakfast was to have watermelon juice but in my state of numb tiredness hot, sweet coffee becomes my choice. for genuine sustenance i order a new discovery, a wonderful bright green soupy concoction called lo char (?)
we head home to some last minute packing, share lunch and go to catch the bus. the trip home is gruelling but uneventful and soon we are back to our normal lives. until next time malaysia will be an other reality mirage.


  1. This was start-to-finish fantastic. Thank you so much for letting us come along.

  2. thanks leah!

    i had a more detailed final diary entry but i am getting tired of it, time to move on :)

  3. It may be colonial but Ipoh town hall is staggeringly beautiful. The proportions are perfect. I do sympathise over the insomnia, my own sleeping patterns have been totally erratic for years, I often wake at 4 or 5 am.

    You certainly had an amazing variety of taste experiences while you were away. Has that inspired you to new culinary experiments?

  4. hi nick,
    there are a lot of gorgeous buildings around ipoh. some of the better maintained shophouses, the convent and a whole lot of public buildings the purpose of which i dont know.

    i'm not much of a culinary experimenter but i was fascinated with the lo char. i tried to get the recipe from my mother in law but my husband seemed unwilling to translate. or maybe the veggies used are ones i dont know and he thought it was all too hard?

    i have to say that a week after getting home i am missing the food horribly :)

  5. I am behind with my annoying people on their blogs, but I wanted to that you for the whole great diary series!

  6. mike! hi and thanks for dropping by to annoy me, it must be one of the only times i have enjoyed annoyance


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