Sussing the supermarkets

Depressingly, there are several giant Tesco stores in KL.  They look similar enough to UK stores, although their everyday products make ours look a tad dull.

But I haven’t come all this way to shop at Tesco, so I looked elsewhere.

There is a giant shoppping mall – fourth largest in the world, actually – within walking distance of my new condo and it has two supermarkets, so I decided to give them a try.

The first one, Aeon, has a baffling layout.  Some aisles have what I would consider to be sensible combinations of products.

Whilst others are frankly bizarre

 

or lead to unfortunate associations in the mind of the shopper

 

It certainly worked in my case, and I went scurrying off towards the relative safety of the bakery department  –

 

– Irish Patisserie??

 

Supermarket number two is the rather unattractively named Cold Storage.  I left it until last because it sounded like a Malaysian version of Iceland, but how wrong I was …

It’s not totally Waitrose, but then again, I haven’t come all this way to shop at Waitrose either.  So I skipped home happily with my tea and marmalade plus some coconut buns and Uncle Saba’s Lentil crisps, and felt that I had the best of both worlds.

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Toad Hall

Mr Toad has finally moved to his elegant new flat, and can be seen here relaxing on his king-size bed, charmingly furnished with imported French cotton bed linen.

And relaxing with an aperitif on the balcony before dinner –

 

The new Toad Hall is on the fifteenth floor, with a somewhat vertiginous view of one of the swimming pools

and a view from the balcony of the city skyline –

 

– which I prefer at night.

It’s a far cry from the bucolic charms of Holt, where the only things lighting up the sky at night are the illicit cigarettes of a hundred rebellious teenagers.

What I like best about the flat is the walk-in wardrobe.

Although it’s slightly galling that – for the first time ever – I have enough wardrobe space, with four double wardrobes all to myself … but only one suitcase-worth of clothes to put in them.

Likewise the living area

and the kitchen

are all full of empty shelves and drawers.

For the first time ever, I feel truly minimalist.

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Sexting pandas and my new alter ego

Have really taken to my new role as a drama teacher, and put in a stellar performance – though I say so myself – as Professor I C Stars in the Space Mission role plays last week.

Any resemblance to Worzel Gummidge is entirely coincidental.

 

Another role play involved a cocktail party – not sure they quite got the hang of the ‘cocktail frocks/lounge suits’ dress code –

And then there was the shocking discovery of the panda’s favourite pastime.

After a lesson researching pandas for a piece of writing, my class of 8 year-olds had to produce a report on ‘My Life as a Panda’ and one girl had obviously gone to a great deal of trouble to plumb the depths of panda depravity in the 21st Century.

So much for the panda’s reputation for extreme fastidiousness in the bedrooom department.  Am wondering whether to contact David Attenborough.

 

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Pitch Perfect: The Sequel

I have a vomiter in my class.

Her mother – armed with plastic bags and a worried expression – explained to me that when this child feels stressed, she vomits.  With one eye on said child and another on my possible escape route, I tried to look sympathetic and caring, instead of repulsed.

Normally she walks into class, takes one look at me, and chunders. I try not to take it personally … after all, I’ve taught hundreds of children in my time, and not a single one – up until now – has felt the need to deposit their partly digested breakfast at my feet.

I’ve taken to eyeing her very warily if she comes anywhere near me.  Thank God for my extra-wide female peripheral vision, which I make full use of, scanning the classroom as though I’m manning a watchtower in Colditz.  I’ve also mastered the art of pushing the bin surreptitiously in her direction with my foot whilst readying myself to leap backwards out of spattering distance at a millisecond’s notice if necessary.

Who needs exercise classes when you have your own personalised dodge-the-vomit routine to keep you nimbly skipping round the classroom on a daily basis?

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Petronas – and I’m not talking Harry Potter

Having been here for a week already, I was slightly embarrassed to have to admit that  I hadn’t seen the Petronas Towers yet.  It’s bit like spending a week in Paris and failing to spot the Eiffel Tower.  So a trip downtown on my day off was a must.

Feeling a bit Ubered-out, I decided to take the train to the city centre – they have a sort of overground underground here, called the LTR – and the single ticket cost approx 50p, with a train every four minutes or so … Transport for London, please take note.

And here they are, viewed from the base –

– where I felt rather overwhelmed and insignificant.

Particularly after I learned that: The towers are ‘intelligent’ structures, built with a system that seamlessly coordinates telecommunications, environment control, power supply, lighting, fire and smoke control, and building security.  I have yearned for seamless coordination for years – how come a building can manage it when I can’t?

Nestled at the foot of the towers – think Alpine village but with much less snow – is a giant shopping mall.  This is a city that views a day without retail therapy as a day wasted.

 

There are five floors of retail therapy here, including Marks and Spencer –

– which has lots of clothes and a tiny food hall selling nothing but biscuits.  If you ever come across a Malaysian who’s convinced that the British diet consists entirely of shortbread, you’ll know why.

The security guards look endearingly like British policemen with their caps  with checked hat bands … not sure if that’s a truncheon or a gun he’s holding behind his back.

And I was rather taken with this fruit stall in a nostalgic-for 80s-synth-pop sort of way.

I popped outstide to see the fountains, which are a prime photo spot.

Two men offered to take a photo for me in front of the fountains, but I declined.  I’m not sure whether I was more worried about them running off with my phone, or the possibility that I might turn into a narcissistic selfie-taker, with my face bobbing up in front of every tourist spot I visit … Mr Toad would not approve.

 

 

 

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In which I decide not to become David Attenborough …

Mr Toad and I were relaxing poolside on a sunny afternoon –

–  when suddenly I heard a thud … a tiny little squirrel had fallen out of a large palm tree and landed next to me.

He gathered his wits, turned his head and then saw me and started scrabbling wildly, trying to get his footing on the smooth tiles around the pool. He shot behind another tree and hid there, peering out at me from time to time, obviously wishing I’d go away so he could scamper back to his family somewhere in the trees behind me.

I got up and started nosing around the tree, so he climbed to the top and hung upside down, staring at me.  This went on for some time –

–  until I got fed up with staring back at him, waiting for him to do something, and went off for a swim instead.

These squirrel pictures were taken by someone who goes out squirrel watching armed with a camera, rather than someone like me who is randomly suprised by squirrels whilst doing something else entirely.

 

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