There are so many things that I love about the Australian culture. Not that it is all that different from my American one, but different enough to seem oh-so laid back, clever, and quirky. I adore the Aussies’s love of dogs, beautiful outdoors, fish and chips, meat pies, cheeky television shows, good wine and the fact that they shorten just about every word known to man. I could go on and on about my love affair with all things Australian, but I’ll save that one for another post on another day. One of my most favorite things about Australia is the fact that they love their fascinators. Now, if you are an American you might have no idea what I am talking about, but I know you have seen them before. According to http://www.squidoo.com a fascinator is described as:
A fashionable hair accessory worn on the head. It may resemble a small hat but is held in place by a band, clip, pin or comb. Fascinators are usually worn by women, along with formal attire. Fascinators may be made from a variety of materials including sinamay, feathers, grosgrain, swarovski crystals, satin, silk, and tulle.
Are you with me now?
It seems like something girls from the south should have been doing all along, and I’m telling you right now, I’m bringing the trend back the the ATL when I come in a few months. Give me two football seasons and everyone will want one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
But, back to the fascinators. Our friend Jenn is getting married this summer, (she isn’t Australian, but rather Canadian and marrying an Irishman, so I’m not really sure how we connected this to the Australian fascinators, but…) but we managed to merge our love for fascinators and our love for Jenn and her upcoming marriage. We decided to make our own fascinators because as my friend Rebecca will tell you (she actually is Australian, owns real fascinators, and is a wealth of information concerning all things Australian) the real ones are quite pricey. Who knew?
My friend Andrea and I headed out to Chinatown to find our supplies (no JoAnn’s or Michael’s here!) and were super pumped when we found these bad boys. Or girls. I’m not sure which one they are. Either way, every proper fascinator needs a bird, or at the very least feathers, right? Along with a bunch of fake flowers, oddly shaped sticks, tulle, glitter, and of course a glue gun, all the elements of a fascinator party were shaping up nicely.
On the day off the party, we donned our dresses, applied make up and even did our hair for the event. (All make up was melted off, hair was up within ten minutes, and I’m pretty sure I had sweated my way through my dress by the time I got to the cab, but the effort was there initially.) We had some lovely scones and tea sandwiches, along with some refreshing beverages that you have to be of a certain age legally to drink. We fired up the glue gun and started pulling out our inner Martha Stewart/Kate Middleton. After we were done making our custom made fascinators, we (of course) posed for pictures and headed on over to the local watering hole in our new creation, causing a few to stop and stare along the way. Ok, tons of people stopped and stared-seven white girls in Malaysia in fascinators, heels and dresses? I would have stared too. We even had people come and take pictures with us, which totally made us feel like the Queen of England, who, on occasion, has been known to wear a fascinator herself. Check out our awesome fascinators and tell me you don’t want one!
Dan has been out-of-town for the past three days doing his triathlon in Singapore (round of applause), but since we just got back from Australia (more to come on that amazing trip soon) I thought I would stay here and get settled again before I go back to work on Wednesday. (Tear(s)!) But no one is really back from summer vacation yet, so there hasn’t been a whole lot to do. Read: I’ve been inside for 2 days and was about to go crazy. So, this morning I decided to make my way to the mall. I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but Malaysians LOVE their malls. They are huge and always crowded. Like, the week before Christmas crowded at all times. So, I generally avoid them because nothing really fits me anyway (too largey size) and I like my personal space.
But, of course, I had a plan: I thought if I got up and went “early” (11ish) that I could maybe have an hour or so to walk around before the malls got too crowded. During this time I could use my Border’s gift card, eat a quick lunch in the food court and then go see Harry Potter. Perfect. First step of this plan involves me catching a taxi, which I don’t mind the actual hailing, but rather the bickering that sometimes goes on after the cab stops. All cabs in KL are supposed to use the meter to get you wherever you are going, it even says it right on the side of every cab. But, this is not always the case, especially when you have a pale complexion and blonde hair. Then they like to give a price that is 3, 4, 5, 6, even 7 times higher than what it should be! Then when you tell them you live here and you know that it should only be 10 RM instead of say 40 RM, they make up some excuse about the jam or the highway or something and then I usually slam the door and walk away. See what a production this is? But luckily, my taxi driver says he will use the meter and can take me to the mall with no argument. Oh, small pleasures!
My taxi driver, whose name later I find out it Zun, is a very nice man with four daughters and one son. The son was born last. Shocker. He guessed I was from Australia, which most people here do, but when I told him that I was from America, he said, “Obama!” and then shook his head, but I couldn’t tell what that meant, nor did I ask. He wanted to know what part of America I was from, (I always say “near Disney World” because it is a reference that all people understand) how long I had been here (too long, I thought, but didn’t say), and what my name was (when I told him it was Jenny, he asked, “Like Jenny from the Block?” Yes, just like Jenny from the Block.). He doesn’t complain when I give him a 50 RN note for a 11 RM fare, so I give him a tip (usually no tipping in Malaysia) and am off to the bookstore.
I find the bookstore no problem and head to the magazine racks, as books are super expensive here and I can get most of them on my kindle much cheaper, so I figure magazines are the way to go. After I make my selections, (Better Homes and Gardens, Fresh Cottage, Digital Camera Magazine, and Lonely Planet Asia) I head to to the check out counter to try and get as close to my 50 RM gift card amount as they won’t give me any change, I’m pretty sure. $49.40 is my total, which I was pretty happy with, considering the clerk said that she couldn’t give me the 60 cents in change. A store that is going out of business has to hang on to every penny, right?
After leaving the book store, I head to buy my movie ticket for Harry Potter, which I have been dying to see since it came out a few weeks ago. We were in Australia at the time, but thought we might go see it anyway, but when we checked on the prices we changed our minds pretty quick because it was was $17.50 AUS (about $19.30 USD) and it is 9 RM to see a movie here (about $3 USD). Yikes! I did feel a little bad about seeing the movie without Dan, but I justified it by remembering that he hasn’t even read the books! I, on the other hand, almost didn’t get my thesis finished in grad school because I had discovered the Harry Potter books. Seriously, I had my roommate hide my Harry Potter book until I had turned the paper in. True story. So, I, in other words, am a true fan and deserve to see the movie whenever the fancy strikes me. (I’ll see it again with you next week, honey.)
Before I went into the theater, I remember how cold it is in there, so I bought a chai latte from Coffee Bean (not from Starbucks, because they don’t any carry them here. Malaysians say they are “finished”). I thought that I would try to bring in the latte to the theater to keep me warm, even though outside food and drinks are not allowed. Luckily, the teenage boy working at the counter was smitten with the American, so I got to bring in the drink. That wouldn’t usually happen at home where everyone looks like me, so I’ll take it when I can get it. 🙂
I head into the theater and go to my assigned spot, but notice right away that I am sitting beside two talkers. So, no problem, I move to another seat and settle in for the movie to begin. To make a long story short(er), the talking didn’t stop. In fact, it continued. And I’m not talking whisper movie talking, but full on conversations for at least 30 minutes of Harry Potter. And if this wasn’t enough, people continued to come into the theater 45 minutes into the FINAL HARRY POTTER. LET’S HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT PEOPLE!!!!! I was beside myself. And don’t think for a minute that I didn’t shhhhhh several people during my time there. It had to be done.
After the movie, I headed out of the freezing movie theater and got a cab home with a driver that wanted to discuss the merits of Hinduism and Christianity. Sure, might as well.
When I got home, our condo was still really quiet, but I put on another movie and not a single person talked through it. Just the way I like it.