It's been a week since I moved back to Penang and today marks my 4th day at work. Before I started working officially, I went to get 2 rolls of Fujifilm Superia 200 developed at the lab. Some of the photos came out light-coloured (which didn't happen to my Kodak Gold 200 photos) so I did some tweaking in Photoshop.
During my college years I made friends and became close with 2 girls in the same course as me - Susan (let's call her by the name Sosh) and Jiayih, whom I can't thank enough for their endless help. After graduated, while still hunting for a job, the three of us thought it would be fun to visit each other's hometown. Like myself, both of them grew up in Perak state. They came to Sitiawan (where my family reside currently) to visit and had a sleepover at my house last December, similarly I visited their hometown in January.
Sosh grew up in Kuala Sepetang, Perak and recently moved into (not entirely yet) a new house in Simpang, Perak with her family. Jiayih and I attended the housewarming buffet (all prepared & home cooked by her eldest sister) on 17th at her new house and stayed for one night.
In the next morning, after stopping by Perak State Museum in Taiping, Sosh drove us to Kuala Sepetang to visit her parents' convenient store and her grandparents' house. Kuala Sepetang is a seaside village in Perak like Pantai Remis (where I grew up in) where fishing is a major industry. It's definitely worth mentioning that sea view is literally what you get when looking out of Sosh's grandparents' back kitchen! A big fishing boat was even seen resting by the wooden port platform! Her grandfather was kind enough to treat us to a seafood dinner at a restaurant by the port and told us the tales when he was a fisherman.
When we made a visit to the famous charcoal kilns in Kuala Sepetang after dinner the sky was already turning dark. It's a complete darkness (and a sauna!) inside the kilns so I, having not possess the technique, had wasted a good couple of exposures shooting with ISO 200 in there. All the workers were off work but we were lucky that the keeper in charge was willing to be our guide and explain to us how the kilns work.
That very same night, we packed and left for Jiayih's house in Kuala Kurau, Perak without Sosh as she couldn't tag along - it's not like she hasn't been to there anyway. According to some friends who have been to Jiayih's, her neighbourhood Kampung Lian Seng is like located at another end of earth. I now knew what they meant, as the road was narrow and dark without street lamps and it most seemed never ending!
I must be so tired that I wasn't even aware through the whole journey that I left my vans back at Sosh's house and it was her slippers that were on my feet until I had to take off my shoes to get into Jiayih's house.
The next morning at 8am I actually had to drag myself out of the comfy bed. Jiayih's house is surrounded by all kinds of plantations, so are other houses in Kampung Lian Seng, and I must note that the morning breeze there was so chilly as if a highland's. Picking up my camera, we headed to the market at a nearby fishing village, Kuala Gula in our pj's. Fields of palm tree plantations and herds of cows (often accompanied by white Cattle Egrets) came into our sight along the road from Kg Lian Seng to Kuala Gula. When we arrived the market place, we were greeted by a grant temple gateway with traditional carvings and suddenly I felt like I was in Taiwan??
During our brief stay we had koay teow th'ng (粿条汤 guǒ tiáo tāng) for breakfast and I managed to take some pictures of the place. While on our way back Jiayih pulled up her car so I could get better photos of the relaxing cows. We also passed by a giant umbrella-like tree which is said to be more than 100 years old, standing tall by the road side, its branches bending so low in reaching the small stream that divides the tree and the vast field behind, such nature patterns formed a really magnificent view.
Jiayih showed me around when we were back in the neighbourhood. I then spent the afternoon playing with the puppy, going to the chicken farm and taking a nap. At around 5pm we started for Penang to have a dinner with other college friends, stopping halfway at a bigger town nearby called Bagan Serai to try its Hokkien mee (福建面 fú jiàn miàn), we got back on our track.