Motion sickness is a very uncool thing to have when traveling. It is the enemy to any traveler!! Having said that, it's pretty obvious I was one of them. So how did I combat that devil while going through another 3 hours to Sabak Bernam?
Sleep. (Prays to God no one took picture of me sleeping in the bus)
I had to force myself to sleep, which is unfortunate because Gilbert, our resident driver drove along the coastal road (that explains the extra long hours journey) and I missed out on the many paddy fields scenery throughout the journey.
So anyway, when we finally arrived at Sabak Bernam .. we were dropped off at the Dorani Home Stay. The event I was patiently waiting for because home stay being home stay, it means all of us will have to stay with our foster families!
Secretly, I was also waiting for this moment because with the kind of treatment we had given by Resorts World Genting, I wouldn't know how some of them would react to this. Wanna know why? We're literally put in the middle of a kampung (village) area so far out from the city, our only option is to adapt.
Oh yes, I was soooooo looking forward to this stay indeed!
It has been like what? A decade I believe since my last visit to this place (or was it Kuala Selangor?).. one day my dad drove us to a place similar to this during raya to visit someone. I couldn't recall who or where but I knew it was in Selangor and the house was built around the paddy fields. Imagine the look on my face at that time when I saw the long lushes green paddy fields. Wished I took a picture of that.
Anyway, back to MySelangorStory..
as we got down the bus, we were welcomed with kompang and bunga manggar. Now, this particular custom is usually associated with Malay weddings or something more formal. Naturally, I thought we were going to a wedding ;)
Boy, we were celebrated alright.
On top of that, we've got the youngsters performing a traditional dance called Kuda Kepang. And wouldn't you know it, yours truly with 5 other girls and 6 other guys were taught to do this dance too.
During this perfomance, I was sitting next to Alid and he told me about the cult life of this particular dance back in Java where he lives. He explained to me in detail the rituals done such as eating live stocks alive and other mystical related things. It was pure gore to know where this dance had originated from. This dance was then introduced in Johor back in the days and the story behind this dance was based from the battles illustrated from the Quran. It was one of the methods used to attract people to Islam long long longgggg time ago.
However, considering we all are humans. We tend to misinterpret things.
As Alid and I discussed further of this dance, it reminded me of another traditional dance called Ulek Mayang, which in certain part of Malaysia is made into a cult dance that has a similar effect to the one in Java. What kind of effect you might ask? One can be possessed by "something" even without one's knowledge. Actually many of our dances which originated from Java have their own stories to tell, one many of us might not be ready to hear.
If you want to know more about it, make sure you're spiritually strong to absorb it :)
After Kuda Kepang, we were introduced to the Barogan dance. It's a folk dance based on Nabi Sulaiman a.s life as he could talk to animals. When I saw this dance, it immediately reminded me of the Barong dance from Bali. Do not be mistaken with these two dances, although I must admit there were characters/parts that were similar. Barong is a mythical character and is wrapped around Hindu characters. When I compare both of the dances, I can see how even the most trivial things in life has it's own history background. I couldn't think of anything better to learn history than to watch these dances. And I was lucky to be able to watch two different dance with similar traits from different cultures.
It simply spoke volume.
Got me thinking how come some of us could act so low against other people. After all, we came from the same source.
As soon as the show was over, we were all teamed together for the home stay program. Nicole and I were room buddies again! Our foster sister who met us was Kak Ani.
Now, this was when the conflict occur. See, I'm 25 and I look nothing like one. Kak Ani is also 25 and she looked matured for her age. Because she was referred to Kak, automatically my brain was programmed to call her that yet I couldn't comprehend it. How did I managed to fix this glitch in my brain? I made myself assumed she was born in January, a month earlier than me so that the title fits. Problem fixed!
Thank god our bags were able to fit in her Wira which were loaded with plates (we later found out that she does catering) when she initially wanted to send us one at a time. Oh no no, we made ourselves fit in it rather than making her go back and forth.
Since my dad's kampung in Kampung Sega, Rantau is the perfect image of what kampung life is about, with wooden house to add.. I was at ease being here. Only this time with paddy fields to envelope us throughout our stay.
The moment her car was parked next to her house.. I saw THIS.
What one earth was that? That my friends is how ketupat (packed rice) looked like when it's boiling in a pot.
YES FOLKS, my (yet another) dream is about to come true..or at least I made sure it would. Being the person that I am, I asked Kak Ani if she could teach us to weave ketupat. When she said yes, I swear the sun was shining with me. No kidding.
Can you imagine the (already silly) smile that she managed to carve on my face? Sorry, no photo of that tho :P
We quickly took our bags and went into our designated room. Chucked it at the corner, went out and met Kak Ani's mum, Puan Haliwati.
Maybe God was having so much fun that he decided to amp the mood one notch higher.
There on the floor laid a bundle of palm leaves calling us out. Sheesh. Talk about temptations.
Yes, I also managed to pester Kak Ani's mum to teach us this dying skill. We were told that Denise and Wen Yi had to stay with us because their foster mum could not make it in time for their stay. Both of them were also just as excited when they went into the living room where we were diligently trying to weave two strands of the palm leaf.
They say the more the merrier right? This certainly fit the description alright. Even Kak Ani joined us weaving.
Now, considering we never weaved a ketupat. It is understandable to see how difficult it was for us to do it. We sat there, Denise even recorded grand master (our foster mum) weaving and still couldn't get it right..until 2 hours later. Yes yes, two incredible hours to weave TWO ketupat. How productive is that? Despite it all, we were very very very very very verrrrryyy proud of ourselves for getting it right (of course with lots of help!). Kak Ani confessed, she too had only started weaving a few weeks back during Raya. But for a beginner like her, the ketupat took form in mere 30 minutes. -_____-
Even the one I managed to weave looked like an alien. :/ Oh well, I'm still stoked the fact that I finally know how to weave a freaking ketupat! Hip hip hurray!
Hats off to two of our most awesome masters for being very patient with us through the whole session. Of course we weren't spared with the witty remarks of having very stiff fingers.
Well, this brought me back to my first few weeks of my guitar lessons. Boy, that was some torture. But I'm sure, if we get to weave more often, we'd manage to pull off a ketupat in 30 seconds (like our foster mum). I think.
During our short stay, I managed to listened to both mother and daughter communicate in Javanese. I don't think I've ever been in the company of one before so this was yet another cool discovery. We were also told of their family background from Java. They were apparently royalty descendant but something happened in Java so Kak Ani's grandfather ran to Malaysia instead.
In just a few hours, my brain was already busy retrieving facts.
After that grueling session, we were served with kampung food which they had cooked for us earlier.
There's one dish I never tried before which is called Pejari and this was cooked with eggplant. It's a certain dish that tasted sweet but I wasn't sure how it was cooked even though it was already explained. Not bad at all.
Right after dinner, we had to rush to see the Firefly at Kuala Selangor.
In one of my previous post, I had mentioned about being able to do many things listed in my to-do list. This was definitely one of them. I think it has been 5 years since I wanted to check this place out but never got around to do it.
Now that I was able to, I was pretty damn excited indeed!
This is yet another dying breed. So to protect this species, we were not allowed to take photos with flash or make too much noise. Fireflies love mangrove area and the only way to see fireflies, we have to sit in a boat.
Before we got into the boat, I had learned yet another lesson in life.
To set the camera settings to Auto so other people who aren't familiar with it could take our photos. So this was what happened when I didn't set it to Auto. Let's just assume it's an artsy fartsy thing ok?
One boat can only fit 4 adults. If I'm not mistaken, it's RM10 per person. So Citra, Victor, Spectre and I got to share this once in a lifetime experience together.
I already knew about this particular fact - that it is hard to take a photo of a firefly with a steady hand or tripod (in a boat no less). So I wasn't so disappointed with the outcome, I much rather enjoy this moment I have watching with my eyes instead of behind the lens.
This little amazing godsend creatures are something I tell ya! When you have a glow on your finger moving about, you won't remember anything else but the little fella. It could just zen you out in an instant!
See the yellow/green glows in the photos? Those are the magical creatures. I really don't know why every firefly preferred to hang out on my steel strap watch. What is it about this texture that they like so much anyway?
Be careful not to pinch them. They're very delicate. Killing one of them is like killing one of your own family.
Since Optio P80 doesn't have long exposure, I managed to record a video of my experience :) A short clip actually.
Amazing isn't it? The feeling I got when a firefly lifted off from my finger was nothing short of magical. I just felt like one of Disney princesses in the old movies. Yeah that was a lot of fun indeed. We were laughing sitting in the boat as we did our best to attract the fireflies.
After the boat trip, we were briefed about fireflies in the auditorium room. See, I never told anyone about what I discovered when we entered the Firefly park which was sponsored by TNB. You see all these artworks plastered all over the park? These were the very work I had to help Erman, my Art Director in my first advertising company 5 years ago (who is also my mentor, one of the few people I look up to). That very year, TNB was going all out with campaigns regarding fireflies, spreading across Hari Raya, Deepavali, Chinese New..everything from tv commercials, press ads to billboards. This was his brainchild from the very beginning and I was very lucky to help him when I did my internship and then absorbed in as a permanent employee.
Every firefly brief by TNB was strictly Erman's, up to a point we ended up calling him Man Firefly. So to actually see the real work being displayed for the public to see (and hopefully appreciate) was an added bonus to my visit. Didn't know it was still there after 5 years! And it still looked just as good as it was first printed. Bravo Man!
We left the park around 10.45pm and was immediately told by Mr. Hafeez that there was a surprise waiting for us. Turns out to be Satay Hut at Tanjung Karang. The effort we Malaysians make to get good food. It didn't matter if we had to drive to the other end of the world, if it's good, it's worth going for.
They were delicious indeed. Succulent. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. But I'm a beef satay fan and I'm sure the beef must've tasted delicious. This place supposedly serve satay twice the size compared to the normal satay. There's another place synonymous with satay in Selangor too. It's in Kajang.
I don't know how we managed to finished two rounds of satay but we did anyway and was also late to arrive back to our foster family. We arrived at Sabak Bernam around 12.30AM. We apologised to Kak Ani for waking her up so late at night to drive us back.
Our Saturday was an eye opening experience indeed and I enjoyed every minute of it too.
With tired mind, body and eyes, we slept on our queen size bed at the same time wondering what Sunday will offer us next.
Day 3 Part 2 comes to an end.
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