May day

May day

Happy May!

Spring continues to rush by and now we hit May. Nanjing continues to heat up: it is reliably in the 80s now. The flowers have been replaced by abundant green leaves. The sky has been lovely and blue lately, which is delightful.

It is Sunday and I completed my first make-up days ever today. In China, when there is a public holiday, work is not cancelled. It is moved around. May 1st is International Workers’ Day, so there was a public holiday from May 1 to May 4. Wednesday classes were cancelled but Thursday and Friday classes had to be made up over the weekend. I did feel bad for the students, inside on such a perfect day, but I am sure the pleasure and joy of learning was worth the disappointment!

Last weekend and at the start of the week, my flatmates and I dashed off to Malaysia. You may be wondering, why did we go before the holiday? Because the dates of the holiday were recently changed. We purchased our tickets months ago to save money and therefore also accidentally beat the rush of tourists who left for the actual holiday.

Kuala Lumpur is a wonderful city: filled with parks and greenery. We walked mostly and also used Grab, the regional competitor to Uber. KL itself is actually just a few (large) neighborhoods, but it is surrounded by development. These developments used to be separate but grew into Kuala Lumpur. We spent the most time to the southwest of the center, in Petaling Jaya.

While in KL, I greatly enjoyed the chance to learn. I did not know much about Malaysian history or culture and am no expert now, but did learn lots. My flatmates and I went to two wonderful museums: the Islamic Arts Museum and the Textile Museum. We also went to the bird park and a botanical garden, along with a tin factory and several Hindu temples. The most beautiful was just north of the city in the Batu Caves. I will include a photo below.

The food in Kuala Lumpur is a mix of Malay, Indian, and Chinese. Nesi lamak is one of the “national dishes.” It is comprised of coconut rice, dried sardines, peanuts and a pepper sauce. Proteins such as fried chicken are optional. Malaysian coffee is also excellent and very sweet, similar to that iced coffee that I tried in Vietnam. I think both use condensed milk.

Interestingly, KL also a vibrant burger scene. One afternoon I convinced my very patient flatmates to venture to Petaling Jaya with me, to find a burger truck called Jackson’s. I had one address, though the truck of course moves, and we set off. As we drove through the neighborhood, someone spotted the truck in a front yard. We called out, alarming the Grab driver who then stopped. The burgers were excellent! Photos below. Afterwards, we had to walk for miles looking for transport but I think it was very much worth it.

This burger included cucumber!

This was the last of our international voyages and it was a wonderful end. With two months left in China, I know the time will fly!

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