Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Saturday in the Park with Trien

The day started with Trien and I going to the roti stand, for our usual Saturday breakfast. Afterwards, I asked her if she wanted to take a walk through the Lake Gardens, and she agreed. she wanted to go to the playground, and pose for pictures.

When she saw the pictures on the cameras LCD screen, her first remark was that her face looked really fat, but the background looked nice. Then she asked me to forward the pictures to her e-mail, so she could send them to her friends.

We were going to walk back, but something was happening ahead. It looked like the bi-monthly orchid show, and so it was. That was definitely something we had to check out.

Delicate OrchidsDelicate Orchids Hosted on Zooomr

Orange and White OrchidsOrange and White Orchids Hosted on Zooomr

The guy who runs the nursery near our place was selling some of the orchids we'd seen the other day, along with other plants. There were a couple of other vendors selling orchids, charcoal, and fertilizer. We didn't buy anything, though, because Trien said she wanted to see how the ones we have do first. Fair enough. So while she sat down taking a rest, I went around taking pictures of some of the orchids entered in the competition.

More OrchidsMore Orchids Hosted on Zooomr

Pitcher Type OrchidsPitcher Type Orchids Hosted on Zooomr

I would have liked to buy a couple of them, if they were for sale. At first I thought they were, mistaking the entry number for the price. It wasn't until I saw numbers in the single digits that I finally realized they couldn't be selling them that cheap! If they were, then I was going to quit teaching and immediately go into the orchid exporting business!

Taiping OrchidsTaiping Orchids Hosted on Zooomr

White OrchidsWhite Orchids Hosted on Zooomr

After I had finished taking all the pictures I wanted, we headed over to the swings. Trien was able to fit into the swing, but these things were obviously made only for kids, or Asian women. I got up after having my testicles squashed. Trien wanted me to take some more pictures of her pregnant self. This is the one I forwarded to her:

I like the picture. Again, she made all sorts of sounds of disapproval, said she looks fat, and look at how her face has broken out, look at her tummy, etc. The next day she emailed it, and the others, to her friends and family.

After that, we walked past all the guys playing Takraw. There must have been a competition going on. I didn't take any pictures of them standing in circles kicking it around like a bamboo hackysack, because, well, sometimes you just have to respect peoples privacy.

After that, we decided to start back. We started walking toward the fountain. There is a little island in the one of the lakes near the fountain. I suggested we go there to get out of the sun, and get a little hug time in. She said that this was Malaysia, and that we couldn't hug in public. I replied that we weren't going to start screwing and putting on a show, we were just going to hug a little bit. So we went to the island, and sat and talked.

This is the bridge to the island.

We discovered that it's the perfect place for a group picnic. There's parking close by, It's large enough to hold a group of about a dozen people, and there's plenty of tree roots and crumbling masonry to sit on. It's near enough to the playground that the kids can go play, but small enough that you can watch them if you don't want them running away.

The time went quickly, and we spent who knows how long talking about things.

We had a couple of visitors while we were there. The first visitor was a woodpecker. This was the first time I had ever seen a woodpecker in the tropics. I didn't even know there were woodpeckers in the tropics, but sure enough, there he was, with a crested head, pecking away at the wood. Unfortunately, he seemed to be expert at hiding just as I clicked the shutter, so I couldn't get a clear shot.

Another visitor was a bright blue kingfisher, which is pretty common around here.

Being the curious sort, I decided to take a trip around the island. I found a little landing with a bench. Trien and I were sitting there when we heard a large splash.

Sure enough, it was a large monitor lizard going for a swim.

Before, Trien would have been terrified, and would have gotten as far away as possible from it as her legs could take her. Now, though, we just sat there and watched it as it took a nice leisurely swim beneath the brush overhanging the lake.

(You can't see him here, as he is hidden underneath the brush. He is there, though)

After that, It was time for lunch. We headed to the hawker stalls across from the Lake Gardens. I took pictures of things I found beautiful, but that Trien was too hungry to notice, or care about.

Because of her impatience, she ended up walking ahead of me. I saw her standing at the edge of a different lake, watching something. When I got closer, she said, "Look Honey, it's a big monitor lizard." And so it was. It was swimming close to her, it's head held high out of the water, proudly exhibiting itself to her. That was, until I got close enough to see it, and answered her. Then it dove down in a panic, and disappeared. People from out of town see large monitor lizards swimming in the lake, and they think that they are crocodiles. They are harmless though, and very shy. They usually run away, or dive out of sight, at the first sign of humanity. That's why it was so unusual to see one swimming so near to Trien. I guess it knew that she's just a sweet woman who would never do it any harm.

Then we went around the main lake, past the grandfathers waiting on the bridge, and to the hawker stalls in the picture above. We had the Nasi Ekonomi, literally, "economy rice", which is a plate of rice, and a buffet of different food to choose from. For drinks, we both had iced tea, from leaves that are grown nearby in the Cameron Highlands.

When we walked back home, Trien looked so tired that I thought I was going to have to carry her back. I had been asking her during our time in the Lake Gardens if she was ok, and she kept saying yes. Now she explained that it wasn't the exercise that was bothering her, it was the heat. The next time we went, it would either have to be earlier in the morning, or later in the afternoon. After taking our "showers", which means pouring scoops of water over our body from a concrete catchbasin, it was time for our afternoon hug and nap.

It was the perfect ending.