Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Selamat Hari Raya

Ramadan is finished, and Hari Raya celebrations, lasting for a month, have started. People visit and invite friends, and of course eat eat eat. Just like our Christmas, very long ones. On monday we (CSers) were invited to real malay Hari Raya dinner by Sweetmango, a super nice and kind girl, her mam was cooking for all of us, excellent manaly food, that we served ourselves again and again with short breaks to digest :) After, we sang (ok, shouted out) karaoke, love songs of 80's. But neighbours cannot complain, as it's Hari Raya!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Working in Singapore

I come in the morning at 9, my colleague is already there, for a good while. - My wife starts job very early. I'm leaving at 7 in the evening, my colleague is still there... - you Europeans know how to have fun! I am still here at 8 debugging my experiments that I want to have ready for tomorrow, he's leaving. Wow, finally I am not the first to leave! - I am coming back...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Hari Raya

Hari Raya means "happy day" in malay, and that's supposed to be the celebration of the end of Ramadan - a month of fasting and abstinence of pleasures... from sunrise to sunset.

During the day, not even drinking water is allowed, which is quite tough in countries where you are sweating all the time (if being outside, I happily drink 4 liters or more of water, even get up at night a couple of times to drink... except aircon lab and rainy days, I am constantly soaked with sweat, sticky and stinky :)).

After the sunset, 7pm, hari raya celebrations start. Plenty of food, usually meaty, fried and greasy, many sweats... not so appealing to me, but it's amazing to see how much attention is payed to food (though the biggest complaint is thirst). We went once to a night market in Malay Village, where you can buy special clothes for hari raya celebration, and of course endless amounts of food stalls. Traditional costumes are family sets, for example you can have an orange family, or a pink family (saw it in the show for tourists, and exactly the same in the market later).

It's less noticeable in Singapore, a bit more in Malaysia, but in Kuching where we were it's still crowded with chinese that live as usual. Still, at night people come to life. Once I had to catch a bus before sunrise, there were many foodstalls, market, people just shopping and walking around. My friend just came back from Indonesia, where you see people sleeping in mosques and just in the street during the day time. At night, they prey. And eat.

Haven't got my pictures, but will try to borrow some :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Weekend in Kuching

It was a great trip, full of emotions. Meeting locals in the evening, then getting up early, catching a bus (big challenge!), hiking, sweating, cooling down in a waterfall in the middle of the jungle (dear parents, it's just like a forest by your house! no snakes, no tigers), looking for a beach while it's getting dark and starting to rain, meeting orang-utan (man of the forest, though it was a girl) face-to-face, even visiting hospital...

I went with a French girl I met in CS gathering. Just like me, no sleep, do more, walk a lot... and nice company as well. Last half day I stayed alone (making it longer, got up at 5!), met company on the way - a malay that speeks almost no English, and is not too extrovert to do without it, but still would not leave me alone! Nothing left but to appreciate the friendliness of the locals. Last funny thing on the way to airport - the taxi driver showed the first page of local newspaper... with us!

For now short, more to come... see pictures in picasaweb.google.com/daliadk/http://picasaweb.google.com/daliadk/WeekendInKuchingAndAroundBorneoSarawakMalaysia.

Next weekend for sure Tioman!