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Residency, Day 15

Watched Pharoah the Sand Cat amble across the lawn. I haven't seen him in a while, though I suspect he still sits on the ledge next to the white lanterna bush beyond the writing room. I went out to see if I could find him, but I think he's in hiding. I did sit on the sun-warmed ledge off the front porch, which I hadn't done since I got here. Watched some fat honeybees fight over flowers and one of the prolific cream butterflies rest on a leaf as the very slightest air currents pushed at its petal-thin wings. I realize I've not actually done quite a lot of things since I got here. I haven't nearly sat in the garden enough, and I only have two days to do it. I find it horrible I'll be leaving this place, but staying too long in one place makes it sick of you, even though everything here has been lovely thus far.

This morning's tea is Sabah Tea. Tea is actually grown in at least three states in Malaysia, although the one location Malaysians would immediately recognize is Cameron Highlands (the Boh and Bharat Plantations) in Peninsular Malaysia. The other locations I've heard of are in Sarawak and Sabah, in West Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. I still remember being surprised at the bonsai tea plants on the verandahs of grandmothers in the Sarawakian village I visited as a teenager. Sabah Tea is one of those souvenirs people are bound to pick up at the Kota Kinabalu Airport -- like frozen abalone and king prawns. It's a completely organic tea (orange pekoe) grown on Mt. Kinabalu (tallest peak in Southeast Asia and a beautiful national park), with a full, down-to-earth flavour. It's not an elegant tea like Premier's range or Boh's Garden blends. I want to say it's hearty, but it's not nearly robust enough. It is a good, flavourful daily tea. Made right, it also lacks the astringent "stuck to teeth" aftertaste that some of Boh's daily blends have. It also smells quite mild in spite of itself. Unlike a large number Boh's teas, Sabah Tea is a single plantation tea that is not blended with other teas.

Finally met Pharoah when I heard his bell outside while heating up my lunch. The Sand Cat has gotten even sandier, prone as he is to rubbing himself against the dusty, twiggy pavement. Unfortunately, after getting a small comfort in kitty belly skritches and ear cuddlings, I realized both my hands were still covered in Savlon and recovering from my allergic reaction to laundry detergent, and went right back inside to wash up. Pharoah seemed insulted he wasn't joining me for lunch, but I'm sure he has a home to go back to with a food bowl and a water dish, and the reason people have judiciously wandering pets is so that other people can enjoy them without having to do all the caring work.

They are putting up things for the 21st Anniversary on Sunday. I watched Chris put up the shade cloth on the front verandah, and carry over the apricot tree to the plaque-marked spot in front of Katherine's writing cottage. A couple of ladies were in to iron tablecloths and set up chairs for the day. I feel horrible for not going out and offering to help, but I'm trying to squeeze the remnant last out of my days' worth in writing and reading, and am therefore being selfish-er than usual. I'm still recovering from the guests -- I'd forgotten just how much other people can wreck my equilibrium. As a matter of point, after returning home, I should probably take advantage of not seeing anyone for three months.

Magpies are resting outside in the sun. I've never seen a magpie sleep before. I'd always assumed they roosted like other birds, but here is a magpie not 30 ft away curling up with his feet under him like cat. He even withdraws a foot at times to scratch his nose.

Went out for dinner with Chris and wife Margaret. Lovely time we had, and very good Cantonese food too. There was very nice po lei at the end. Po lei is a smoky-flavoured tea, with a smell that Margaret appropriately described as damp burnt wood. It is a strong-flavoured tea without being itself a strong tea. Perhaps a horrible example of the same spectrum is lapsang souchong, which tastes like the bottom of a wok, apart from smelling like one. But po lei is nothing like that, and I haven't had a good cup of it in such a long time. Ah, tea.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 1st, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
As a matter of point, after returning home, I should probably take advantage of not seeing anyone for three months.

Really? o_O
Dec. 2nd, 2006 01:33 am (UTC)
Really. :)
This socializing thing is wearing me out.
Dec. 2nd, 2006 02:26 am (UTC)
Meanwhile, I need more socialization!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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