Sunday, April 13, 2014

Uncle Mike is very tall

When he's not playing super combat ping pong (ask to see his scar), climbing the office cargo net, or enjoying a happy hour micro brew at the office, my brother, Mike, insists that he really does work at Google. Mike's Google projects sent him over here to Asia this year so he was able to hop on a quick four hour flight from his work site in India to spend a few days visiting in KL before heading back to the Pittsburgh snow. Of course coming off of three weeks of work travel, Mike asked to do a low key visit so we spent a lot of time hanging with the kids, playing games, and relaxing. Tyler and Mike did have a few epic light saber battles in the hallway...

...and Tyler now understands the added value of having Mike's height for in-pool monkey in the middle. Monique and Dave invited us over for game night resulting in a new Carcassone addict in Mike.

Of course Malaysia's #1 pass time is eating the country's remarkably delicious food. Satu Malaysia! So I developed what will now be known as the "Mike Pohl KL Eating Tour." We hit all the highlights day after day, including Korean BBQ and Jalan Alor at Lilian's -- plus sushi -- as I always take Mike to sushi for his birthday which he celebrated in India a few days before heading to KL. We also had durian on the balcony (D24 was sadly a bit dry since it's not in season).

Mike fell prey to the antics of our favorite Turkish ice-cream vendor on Jalan Alor. It took him 4 tries to actually get his ice-cream cone intact!

A huge highlight of this trip was a visit to LaZat Malaysian Home Cooking Class! ( I did a roti cani and dal cooking class back in September with Karen, so I was pumped to go back. Mike and I were joined by our friends Jacqui, Monique, and Zack, plus a few other folks that were from and visiting KL. Ana, LaZat's owner, was a gem and rearranged the normally scheduled menu so that we could learn to cook one of my favorite Malaysian dishes - beef rendang. Of course you can't just learn to cook one thing. We cooked our delightful menu of prawn fritters, beef rendang, spicy cooked carrot/cucumber salad, and sweetened coconut glutinous rice balls, all in the beautiful open air setting of the LaZat cooking school in the Penchala Hills.

Mike -- it was so, so great to have you here. We all miss you and very much hope to see you out this way again next year (Jane, let me know when Mike makes these LaZat-inspired dishes for you! Zack and I just whipped up some beef rendang for dinner this week).

In other cooking fun, my friend Lisa just moved back to Japan after living in KL for nearly 6 years. She really wanted to learn to cook another Malaysian favorite, assam laksa, a fish-based sour soup, before leaving KL. We couldn't get into a cooking class for she left, but Ana from LaZat sent us her recipe. After a run to TTDI wet market for ingredients, we made the assam laksa up in our kitchen. Delicious -- and super fun spending a great day with Lisa before she left. Lisa -- we are all missing you!


In other news, Captain American: The Winter Solider opened here a few weeks ago (kinda fun that it opened here a week before the US). We enjoyed taking the kids on opening night! We got ready for watching Captain American by re-watching the Avengers (like for the 100th time). Just a side note that the telecom building in the Bangsar neighborhood of KL looks an awful lot like the Stark Tower.

Of course we have also stayed busy with Garden International School activities. It was dress in pink day to support breast cancer research. Anne, Aunt Dee Dee, Jen, and all of our friends and family who have struggled with cancer - you inspire us and the kids every day.

Brian, Violet, and I were delighted to see Tyler's Year 1 school play "The Best Place Ever." Tyler even wrote out the entire invitation himself. I'm super proud of him. His role of The Starfish was comic relief for the Under The Sea skit -- "Who are the most famous creatures in the sea? The STARfish!"

Last up, we went out with Rahki, friend/visiting faculty, and her family to the Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon festival. The hot air part was a bit of a let down as the wind and rain kept most of the balloons on the ground. However the kids had fun with bubbles, the hamster wheel over the water thingy, free drink samples (yep - Tyler is double fisting Mountain Dew) and other fun fair activities, like archery (?).

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