Randal and I are just really relaxing here in Miri. We ride our bikes, read, I paint, Randal watches his Discovery DVDs and watches the late night shows on his computer the following morning while I follow the Red Sox. Just a couple of retired people! I have been to the library twice. Randal is also spending lots of time doing boat chores and also researching where and when we’ll go to have the boat pulled and the bottom painted. We’ve decided that we’d both like to stop in India on our way to the Med.
We’ve only been here in Miri for about 2 weeks but it feels like much longer. I know my way around the city and can’t remember what it was like to feel unsure. I know the library and the bookstore and where to buy enough fresh veggies to keep me happy. There are large supermarkets too when we need them.
The local people are very friendly. During Hari Raya Muslims go to the cemetery to honor the dead. We were biking past and slowed to let a group cross the road. They said a quiet hello. I said Salamat Hari Raya! Then they all smiled and gave us a huge hello. I think they appreciated that I had acknowledged their holiday. We have found great apple crisp and ice cream, chicken pot pie, macaroni and cheese, homemade banana muffins and yogurt all at Pete’s Deli just up the road from the marina. Pete’s Chinese! The longer we stay the more we discover that we like.
I’ve written a story about having some pillow covers made here in Miri. It’s just typical of the cruising life although it is amazing the number of cruising women who have sewing machines. I wouldn’t mind having one. Maybe one day.
Ever since we left China I’ve wanted to replace the pillow covers on the 3 small pillows we keep on the settee in the saloon. (In landlubber terms the pillows are on the built in couch in the living room. I didn’t grow up with anything called a settee or a saloon so they’re just not terms I would choose without feeling that I had to explain what I meant requiring an entire paragraph practically.)
Anyway, the Chinese pillows were bought in a mini-mart store just across the way from where Bill and Stella had their lovely condo in Baijiao. We were waiting for Stella to meet us at the car. Sorry Bill, but I never liked the material, the pattern, the colors or the tassels that started falling off immediately. We lived with those spur of the moment purchases for two years until we got to Kuching during Sail Malaysia. I didn’t love the ones I bought there; I just liked them more than what we had and they looked better in the store…. I had tried to buy some in the Noor Arfa batik shop in Terengganu but they had none and neither did the public market cloth shops. Since the time we had left China I hadn’t seen pillow covers anywhere when I actually took the time to look. What I had seen was a long red, gold, green and blue skirt with an elephant and Indian motif while I was wandering through Chinatown in Singapore. Had to have it even though the elastic waistband was sized for tiny Asian people. I just really liked the material. Something about red and elephants made it irresistible to me as I was in my elephant phase. Well, I never wore the skirt; waist too tight, skirt too long and the occasion never arose.
While in Terengganu I told Ruth from Icicle One about the skirt. She said the waist band could come off and be replaced. So impulsively I took out a scissors and picked out the stitches and took out the waistband and that was the end of that skirt. Oh well. I put it with the sari cloth and the other sarong cloth we had been given and hoped someday to find someone somewhere to make me pillow covers.
Several days ago Randal and I went out looking for the second book store in Miri. We never found it but we did find a huge shop that sold fabrics, yarn, notions, and even a few paint brushes. I noticed that they had women sewing too. So Thursday, when the library had reopened after Hari Raya, I took one “Chinese pillow cover,” the long, now useless skirt, and I went back to the shop which was on the way to the library. Luckily Annabel Aurelia was there. Not only did she speak English, she spoke pillow and knew exactly what was needed to transform my no longer wearable red skirt into 3 pillow covers. Annabel has a hearing problem so we had to write to each other. Annabel reads and writes Bahasa Malaysia, she reads and writes English and she signs and I think she also might have been reading my lips. Pretty accomplished. She measured but found there wasn’t enough skirt material for front and back so took me to the shelves of fabric. She instantly picked out the perfect fabric though I had to keep looking before I saw she was right. Then she picked out the perfect zippers to match. She just really knew what she was doing.
Randal and I rode back today to get them and I really like them a lot. The shop was busy so I only had time to get the covers, say thank you and take a quick one chance only photo of Annabel. And I gave her one of our flag bandannas too.
In US dollars each cover cost about $3.60. I certainly think I got great value for my money. Can’t remember what I paid for the skirt in Singapore but it couldn’t have been very much or I wouldn’t have bought it.
Pillows front and back.
You can see the elephants on the bottom and the red. Can you imagine this as a floor length skirt? Interesting fashion statement I’d have been making since though the waist was small it billowed out around my hips making me rather giant. But I really like the material.
They add a bit of color to our tan and teak.
Annabel made sure the same pattern of the skirt was used on all of the pillows.
Annabel Aurelia in the shop where she works.