This year we have decided that we need to make a real effort to see more of our adopted country and to gain a better understanding of the culture.  This has been a challenge without a vehicle as public transportation takes you to a specific destination efficiently but does not allow you to experience much along the way.

We learned from our visit to Fraser’s Hill, that outside of the cities people are much less apt to understand English and sometimes the cultural differences mean that what seems obvious to us is not necessarily obvious to others.  We had lunch is a local restaurant, where Steve and I both ordered Chicken Fried Rice and Gary and Kveta each ordered Chinese Fried Rice.  The waiter misunderstood and bought food for only Steve and Gary, clearly not finding it the least bit unusual that only the men were eating.

Anyway, we have now begun spending a half hour each evening in language study and it is evident that our ability to memorize is not what it used to be.  It has taken us a full week to master the numbers and the days of the week.  Fortunately, we hear that Bahasa Malaysia is not a difficult language to learn.  The big challenge is the fact that they build on nouns and verbs to derive new words, so until you are very familiar with the root words, the language looks very confusing.

Additions can be made before, after, in the middle off or even around a root word.  So masak (to cook) becomes memasak (is cooking, memasakkan (is cooking for), dimasak (cooked), permasak (the cook) or masakan (cookery) and the list goes on.  By the time I figure out what the root word is, it is way too late to follow any conversation.

Oh well,  I figure that if I am not learning something new, it is probably time to pack it in.