We don’t get tornadoes here like in Kansas, but we have been getting some CRA-ZY storms recently.
The area that we live in and the school where I teach at is built on old tin mines. That’s right, the stuff that they use to make lightening rods because lightening loves it so much? Yup, it’s basically all around us. Whoa Mama.
So that means we get the most spectacular lightening shows I have ever seen. And the loudest thunder known to man.
So any good weather stories from where you hail this week? (Did you get the weather pun there? hehe) Spring storms with a side of tornadoes? Unseasonably warm for a trip to the pool? Cold snap complete with lugging out the sweaters you already put away? Do tell.
Some might be gearing up for the Thanksgiving season or others looking ahead even further to the Christmas season. But here in Malaysia, we are in the beginning of the monsoon season. It has rained here every day this week so far. Yuck.
I took this just as I literally ran home from school hoping I wouldn’t get caught in the storm and be trapped at school. This storm came with copious amounts of rain, lighting and thunder that shook the entire building, and even a rainbow at the end.
This is the view about an hour after I took the first picture, standing on the balcony of our condo.
On this day, I made it home in time. Other days, not so lucky.
Tis’ the season!
Before we arrived here, we were warned by multiple sources that the KL weather was just oppressively hot and humid, so BE READY. As southerners, we knew what hot and humid meant, so we tried to prepare ourselves for something like what we were used to in our summers, or even worse…and to have it year ’round.
Records say the temperatures here will range from about 21-33C (or about 70-92F). But it’s the humidity that really gets you. Much to our surprise, when we arrived a few days ago it was actually quite nice. Yes, you can feel the humidity as it is a tropical climate with frequent rain. Yes, it is sunny and hot. But thankfully it wasn’t quite as bad as we expected. We were often prodded by locals wanting to know how we were adjusting to the weather…the heat…the humidity. There almost seemed to be a sense of pride on their part in acclimating to the environment, that shifted to disappointment upon learning that we were actually comfortable and used to even less comfortable conditions.
Have you been to Georgia or Tennessee in July or August? Okay, and did you go outside? For how long? That’s where we spent our last few weeks in the US leading up to our move. We stayed with Jenny’s family in Alpharetta just north of Atlanta as we sold our home, cars, etc., and just look at how hot these pups are there:
And we lived in Chattanooga, TN for several weeks while working a rowing camp just before leaving the country. THAT…was hot, especially being outdoors 5-6 hours a day (just ask our coaching buddies, especially the Nor’easterner, Rachel – see below). Even in the shade it’s hot, muggy, and you are instantly sweating just from breathing.
One other thing that’s different to us here, there’s a breeze! Didn’t enjoy that little lap of luxury in TN or GA before we left. So most days so far it’s been about 80-85F during the day with a breeze, and here lately it’s been warmer for several days, probably 90 or so. To me it’s like mid-late May/June weather, or perhaps September-ish.
Don’t get me wrong, after being outdoors…you long for the “Air-Con” (as it’s called here), and if you are walking around a lot outside, especially with a backpack, you will get sweaty. But as we called and wrote home and learned that there had been several days of 100+ degree temperatures and 100% humidity with heat indexes approaching 110, 90 feels pretty good. Plus, it’s nicer than we expected and we will continue to enjoy the breezes. In fact, the school and even our apartment are airy and open to the outdoors so at night it’s possible to turn of the A/C and open doors and windows to enjoy a natural cooling.
With all the said, if you are moving to a climate near the equator as is the case with KL, I suppose it’s less of a shock to move from Georgia during the summer. Since it is 70-92F here all year, ask me in December how I’m adjusting to the weather and I might have a different answer. I do enjoy spring and fall very much in the south, and here in KL it will pretty much be perpetual summer for all 12 months of the year. For now, though, I’m enjoying the resort-like tropical climate. Pass my mojito!
(continued from “The (Missed) Flight to Malaysia (Part II)“)
At this point in our journey we were just completely depleted and devastated when we made it to baggage claim and could not find our bags. Given that we had missed our flight from Singapore, it was not a surprise that the bags did not catch up with us (especially after the additional plane/gate change). Nonetheless, it was a low moment being in a foreign country, exhausted, without our stuff and not knowing if we still had a friendly face waiting on us or if we had to fend for ourselves to find the hotel.
So, across language and culture barriers, we filed a lost luggage report with the offices in the airport, but we weren’t sure who was responsible. Remember, we started on Delta, changed to Singapore Air, was slated to finish with Malaysia Air but actually took the final leg on Silk Air. So who had our bags?!? For good measure, we made sure multiple offices had our info and knew about our bags. Finally, around 11:15 (3 1/2 hours after our schedule arrival), we made our way out of the terminal to find a cab and begin the search for our hotel, when we heard “McNair!”
Our driver had waited! Slash, didn’t get the message…yikes! Double yikes, because our “driver” turned out to be Mr. Walt Morris, the Head of School and Jenny’s boss! “Oh my gosh, Mr. Morris it’s so nice to see you and hear English but we hope our messages made it to you somehow and you didn’t have to wait too long.” Humbly in a Canadian accent he replied “Oh, you know, I was here a-boot 7:30 or so but no worries. I like to be here when our new folks arrive.” So we were off to a great start with Jenny’s employer!
Mr. Walt was great. He dropped us off at our hotel (about 45 minutes or so from airport), got us set up with some local currency and tips on getting around. After copious amounts of sleep, our first priority was shopping. Ask Jenny about why carry-on bags are good for packing an emergency change of clothes : ) I wasn’t much better having changed into my only back up outfit halfway through our flights. Thankfully I had some fresh running shorts and T-shirts. But just in case, the next day we ventured off to a local mall to find some clothes because poor Jenny was working on day 3-4 on the same outfit!
Travel Tip: Always, always, always pack a couple extra outfits in your carry-on luggage, especially the further away you travel. We re-learned a basic rule the hard way.
But it led us to an interesting experience – Malaysian Malls. It’s so hot here they love the malls because of the Air-Con. People take advantage of being indoors and cool, though there’s not a lot of buying going on. I don’t know how the shops stay open but we were glad they were and we say many interesting new things. We saw sports events, music shows, different mannequins, and all of the food shops that would make you “proud” to be an American (e.g. KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, TGIF’s, and of course the ubiquitous McDonald’s and Starbucks — but no Chick-Fil-A!!!!)
Actually it’s a little embarrassing to see the golden arches and little green Seattle coffee logo everywhere you go. Plus, I cannot get over how much they LOVE KFC here. Anyway, good news was, we could a lot of familiar items including a change of clothes or two.
We ended up visiting two malls that first weekend, because on our first visit we only purchased 1-2 items thinking our clothes would be there any minute. After one, two and finally three days of no luggage we went back again for more substantial shopping. After all Jenny had to work the next day and she wouldn’t make too many new friends wearing the same outfit from the 30-hour flight. Finally, about 72 hours after made it to our hotel, our bags made it, too…and just in time for the first day of school.
It was quite an ordeal finding our bags. Thanks to help from Mr. Dennis (he’s great at yelling at people while pretending to be you) and Ms. Martha (who’s tenacity knows no equal, especially when fighting customer-no-service) on making numerous calls to the US offices of multiple airlines, they finally arrived. But we learned that they were not delayed because of our missed flight. In fact, apparently at least one was still in Atlanta, and others in Houston after we already arrived in KL. We couldn’t seem to get a straight answer on where they were and when they might arrive as no one wanted to claim responsibility. There was definitely no urgency on the part of the airlines or our hotel (read more here on “Malay Time”). Needless to say, it was happy moment when our stuff arrived!