Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chinese New Year break

Over Chinese New Year break I went to Besut, Terengganu Malaysia. I went with two friends and their two year old daughter. We left Wednesday night and drove through the night to get there. We arrived at his parent's house at 3:30 a.m. I went upstairs and shared a room with my friend and her daughter while he slept on the couch downstairs. I got up kind of early and went down and met some of the people and had breakfast. Then since there was not much to do until it was time for me to check into my hotel I went back upstairs to try to get more sleep but the little girl kept wanting me to play with her. After I got checked into my hotel and showered and changed they picked me back up so that I could go back and have lunch. After hanging out for awhile my friend, her daughter and I went to a beach not too far away. We got ice cream and took it with us. The beach was really crowded and there was lots of trash on the beach. After that we went back to my hotel room for awhile until it was time for dinner. The next day, Friday, my friend and I got up early and went to a large outdoor market. It was crowded with people. There was so many people that it was hard to get around and hard to stop at the booths so that I could look at things. Plus, then people were staring at me since I really stuck out. I saw some interesting things. I saw fish in bags like they have at the pet store once people have bought a fish to take it home. I have always just seen small fish in the bags. Here they even had like the Koi fish in the bags. They had lots of plants they were selling and fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables they would have sitting on the ground on a piece of cloth. There was one section where we had a small path through a person's vegetables and I thought I hope no one falls on the food and ruins it. They had tupperware and one booth full of all sort of different cutlery.

They had lots of different types of fish and meat. They also had food booths where people could buy food being prepared there to eat. I had satay for my breakfast. I had to find a small place out of the way where even though people still stared at me I wasn't getting jostled so that I would poke the stick through one of my cheeks. I also saw one of those rickshaw things or whatever they are called. Where there is the person on the front that rides a bike and pulls a small carriage thing behind that can hold like two people. The ones I saw where decorated with all sorts of fake flowers. After I decided that it was too overwhelming to buy anything we went and watched a snake show. There was lots of traffic and traffic jams and so I knew it would be awhile before we got picked up. The guy had a python laying on the ground not doing too much. Then he brought out a light colored cobra and after he had that one out for awhile he pulled out a black cobra. My friend was afraid and stood behind me while I took pictures. At one point the black cobra was raised up and holding very still and looking straight at me. My friend was afraid that he was going to come attach me. After we left the market we went back for lunch and more hanging out. Then my friend, her new sister-in-law and I drove to another town not too far away to see what there was to do. All the shops were closed. It was during Friday prayers so we don't know if they are closed for all of Friday or just during that time. We stopped at the local 7-11 and got ice cream. Then she, her daughter and a little cousin went to a different beach. This beach was also super crowded. There was this cave thing that she wanted to show me, but the boardwalk/bridge thing to get there and the lookout area was in poor condition. There was also lots of trash at this beach and in the water. I had really wanted to swim, but I decided not to. We got some food to eat while the kids played for awhile before we headed back. When we got back then we helped some with the putting together of the guest's gift baskets for the Kenduri the next day. This was the one at the groom's side of the family, where the bride's family comes to visit. The grandma's both thought I was really cute. One of them wanted to know if I would be willing to marry a Muslim man, because she had someone in mind. That night was supposed to be a guy's night out, so my friend and I decided to go out to eat with the new sister-in-law. My friend was going to take us to this really great restaurant but they don't open until 8p.m. When we got there at like 8:30 there was already a 3 hour waiting list, so we decided to go somewhere else. We tried this new restaurant closer to where I was staying it. The food and service was horrible. There were other people that we talked to on our way out that said they were never going back there either.
On Saturday it was the day of the Kenduri. I got up and went over and just kind of hung out in the morning. I was just watching them do last minute things and trying to stay out of the way. My job and my friend's was to hand out the guest's gift baskets. I did not do a very good job so eventually one of the sister's took over. They had no guidelines for me, so I didn't know exactly when to hand them out since there was no really set point for me to stand to hand them out. I had to carry a basket, but it was very small and only fit a few at a time. Plus, they had different colored ribbons depending on which side of the family the guest was on, and I didn't know who was who and most didn't speak English. So, then I just hung out inside out of the way on this cushion and watched people go in and out. After the bride's family had eaten their special food made by my friend's husband's cousin, we got to eat the leftover food that they had not touched. It was all really good. Then my friend, her husband, his cousin, and I went out to a place close to where I was at the first beach. We got an ABC drink so that I could try that. We took some pictures there. There wasn't much trash at the beach, but there was lots of trash in the water. After that I went back and got showered and changed for dinner. Dinner ended up being way late and things didn't quite happen like they were supposed to, so I basically hung out and then when I got tired I went back and went to bed. The next day I got up early anyway and got myself packed because we were leaving. I noticed on the way back that even though it was Sunday many of the children in towns were going to school. I wonder if they have another day of the week off, or how that works. We stopped several places along the way so my friends could pick up different things that they can't get in our town. When we were about an hour away from our town and it was about 7p.m. we ran into a traffic jam. It took over two and a half hours for us to get the rest of the way to our town. We also had to stop at one point so they could do their prayers and then it was hard to get back out into traffic. By the time we got back to town I was famished and I knew that the kitchen would be locked, so we stopped at McDonald's so I could get something to eat. They didn't drop me off until after 10:15p.m. I was so relieved to be back. I was very tired the next day for work, but so glad that I went.

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