September 26, 2007

We be Chiffin'

This is Cif.
Cif is wonderful!
"C"'s are pronounced with a "Ch" sound here.
So when you say "Cif," it should sound like "Chif"

Cif is like my wonderful Clorox brand "Soft-scrub with Bleach"
but with a milder, fresher lemony smell.
Except here, Soft-Scrub costs about RM15.00 and Cif is RM2.00.
RM2.00 is like .58 cents.
$0.58 and it gives you these kinds of results...
That's no shadow on the floor in the upper part of the picture.
This is not a doctored photo.
This is a chiffed photo.
This week we and Justin and Daniela have been cleaning our office/guesthouse.
Justin and Daniela were the ones that revealed Cif to us.
Thanks guys.
The Off-House gets cleaned... but it was in need of a deep clean.
A Cif clean.

Here's a light switch crying out to be chiffed.
Incredible. Took off layers of paint and grime.
I have no idea if they sell this in the states.
But if you see some, buy it.
The we can all be chiffin'!

September 21, 2007

Kraf Day...

We decided to take a field trip to the "Institut Kraf Negara" (the National Craft Institute) the other day. We were hoping to buy some batik cloth pieces- for cheap! Turns out they only sell the items the students learn to make in November at their graduation...but it's sold "at cost" so we've marked our calendars to go back then...

The students are there for 3 years studying a particular traditional handi-craft. The school was amazing and the things the students make are incredible. Take a look!
That's a REAL a "Coyote and Roadrunner Acme Anvil" weaved all of that, thread by thread...This is how they apply the wax to make "batik"... how cool!And here's an almost finished batik piece...We call 'dibs' on this one come November!!These girls from the "Rattan School" made me a little souvenir butterfly! Yay what a fun day at the Kraf Institut...

September 16, 2007

Waiting for the dinner bell...

These pictures were taken on a couple different nights. The fasting month of Ramadan has begun . Kakak and Abang (and their older daughters) will fast from food and water from sunrise to sunset everyday. The sun sets around 7:15 here so about an hour before folks just ride their motorbikes around waiting for the 'tone' (from the TV or the local mosque) to indicate when they can eat.

Here's Kakak and Abang's kids waiting at their grandparents house for the dinner bell (the kid in the orange shirt is Kakak's youngest brother).
Even though we don't fast, Kakak and Abang still invite us over to eat or "open the fast" with them. We don't mind at all...we've decided that Kakak is one of the best cooks in the country. Abang LOVES good food and so his wife's cooking reflects his taste for the best. Here are Kakak and I with a salmon that she broiled all day... (Kakak looks a little rough, but that's actually the face she likes to make in pictures...I call it her 'supermodel' face...that and she was a bit hungry in the picture)

If you're an avid "Anthony and Sharon Blog" reader then you may remember last year we played with fireworks and sparklers every night after eating. (And one night I made a trip to the clinic after a mishap with one of the sparklers).

Well this year there are no fireworks or sparklers. So what do we do after eating without them?
Fireworks are illegal here (like they're illegal in Florida but everyone ends up with a bag-full from Tennessee one way or another). Turns out the 'fireworks guy' Abang always buys them from got caught by the police. Oh well...the food is good and we love hanging out with our friends!

September 11, 2007

Cultural Lesson #82

Many times here we miss home...we miss the familiar. New cultures can be frustrating when we don't know exactly how to act, or why people do things the way they do. We think "Grrr. If they would just do it this way or like that it would be so much easier!"

But sometimes things come up, like a question from our host out in the village this week, that make us realize just because something from home is familiar, doesn't mean it's easy to understand.

We were asked this question:
"In America do you really walk inside a house with your shoes on?"

American Culture: The Rules of Footwear in a Home

1. If you are visiting someone’s house for the first time and are not friends with the person, do not remove your shoes unless the owner insists. This is usually done inside the home or at the doorway.

2. If you are visiting a friend or relative’s house, you may take your shoes off if you are staying for a while, but its not necessary if the visit is only a few minutes.

3. If you own the home, you can do whatever you want. You can wear shoes anywhere in the house and take them off anywhere: in the garage, your bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, wherever you like (but wives usually appreciate them being stored neatly in the closet).

4. Children may wear shoes inside or leave them outside. Some parents allow their kids to leave their shoes anywhere. Normally, shoes must be put in a closet. If a toddler is wearing the shoes (and so requires help with them) parents may leave the toddler’s shoes on as it’s more convenient for a quick trip to the grocery store or if the kid decides he/she wants to play outside.

5. If your shoes are messy then it is understood that you would have the decency to remove them before entering.

6. Flip-flops, easily removable sandals or shoes that slide on without laces have a set of rules all their own. You may take these off in any person’s house, provided you are sitting down. If you get up, the flip-flop/sandal/slide is usually put back on. If your feet or flip-flops/sandals/slides are emitting an odor, leave them on at all times. If you are at a friend’s house, you can take them off wherever and put them back on when you leave...but it's still understood that leaving them at the door is the best place.

7. Of course, there are some people who wish for everyone (family and all visitors) to take off their shoes before entering - only by experience can you know who these people are. Good luck with that.

What is implied:
* Taking off shoes indicates familiarity with the owner of the house. If you are not on familiar terms, you do not take your shoes off. Included in the instructions “Make yourself at home” is the act of taking off your shoes. A good friend wouldn’t think twice about whether or not he could take off his shoes while visiting, but an Avon Saleswoman would.

* The floor is dirty (even if it’s been vacuumed or mopped twice) and is used for walking on. The floor in the living room is usually open for sitting on while watching TV, but a sofa or recliner is preferred, and the possibility of having to sit on the floor increases if there are a lot of people watching TV. Also, if you are a sweaty kid your mom may instruct you to not sit on the couch because you are dirty…you belong on the floor.

Note: Some of you may be thinking..."wait, that's not how I grew up." Which just proves our point even more...this part of our culture doesn't follow an EXACT rule and many of them are just picked up on the way...outsiders would go 'Grrr!" trying to understand it.

Asian Culture: The Rules of Footwear in a Home

1. Always take your shoes off before entering any home.

What is implied:
* The floor is clean and is a place to sit, eat, and lay on. Shoes are dirty. You have no idea what you’ve stepped in and by taking them off you are showing respect to the owner of the house (and his wife who cleans it).

September 07, 2007

Village People for another week...

So we decided to visit our friends again in the village about 3 hours from the city.
The village is next to Mt. Smile. We talked about "Mt. Smile" in the previous posts, but we figured we'd post a picture so you could try and see why it's named that...
Look carefully... it's like a man is laying down and you can see the profile of his face. The nose is obvious (big part right in the middle)...but you may have to click on it to see it better. OR better yet, come visit us and you can see it in person!It's kinda like the man in the moon...I think everybody sees the face a bit differently.

We also visited a wooden-craft school where students learn to make things out of wood. Very cool! (the guy's mullet is pretty sweet too)Even though we're staying in a village way out of town, the family we're staying with has got a gorgeous home. Complete with a Coi Pond!

September 03, 2007


Sunday evening was the conclusion of an International Fireworks Competition. Several countries had been competing for the last couple weeks and Sunday was the culmination (and I think combination) of the countries' efforts (Australia, Japan, and a couple other countries)We went with Justin and Daniela and got great seats. It was fun and a perfect way to conclude the Independence Day weekend (or celebrate the Labor Day weekend...depending on what way you look at it!) ...sorry they're not the greatest was fun nonetheless!