My vacation continues! This time we went up north to quaint little Ipoh to visit the in-laws. As always its a cultural barrier cause they hardly speak English and I don't speak Hakka, Cantonese or Mandarin. We went ther on Monday Morning and as usual I get bored pretty quick because I've been to all those interesting ancient caves that house Buddhist shrines many times over. Anyway, once we got there we sat out front in the porch as always cause it's just th thing to do. All the family was there with one more of my wife's sisters coming from Sekinchan a little later. A little while into the conversation of which I was fooling around with my phone the neighbour called my mother-in-law over to give her a sack of freshly plucked corn from their farm somewhere. So my sisters-in-law waste no time in shucking the husk and pretty soon it's sen to the kitchen. There was a sudden downpour and then the hot steaming corn came out and we dug in. It was truly fantastic especially with the mist of water from the cold rain that ever so gently sprayed us. Even the little one enjoyed tucking in too. There was plenty for everone. Before we were done with that the mangoes came out. Expert fingers deftly carved into the juicy fruit and we enjoyed that too. Soon the rain subsided and the sister-in-law from Sekinchan arrived and brought more mangoes and Jambu Air. We had that after dinner together with some Rastali bananas. The little one loved the sweet sour mangoes and even finished a whole banana which is achievement for the finicky eater.
The next day was a little less boring. We had breakfast at my father-in-laws favourite restaurant which has a huge tree thatshades the front of the place. We all ate Wantan noodles and Yong Tau Foo which is the speciality of the area. I had the best iced white coffee there. So good that I had a second glass. Even the little one enjoyed her Wantan noodles and fish balls which wifey dilligently cut into bite sized pieces. The best part was there were about fifteen of us including the kiddies and the entire meal with drinks cost an unbelieveable RM45 only. After that lovely meal we headed down to the little wet market down the road to walk around and take a look see. We found an adorable pair of "Buayas" (local Crocs) which has little clip-on star fish and ladybirds for the little one for only RM8. Her little "Geen" (thats how she says green) shoes. Dad-in-law bought a huge pile of durians and duku for later too.
In the afternoon we went over to my bro-in-laws new house. He was having a house warming party that night but had to do some traditional Chinese rituals to cleanse and bless the place. Now that got a little hot because it was in the afternoon and the sinseh had to burn some stuff and that meant the fans had to be put off and well you can imagine. The tents were up but somehow only managed to magnify the heat. We quickly found excuses to leave and headed back to get down to business....
Hmm...business is actually a mahjong session. Now this is where the fun started and the boredom ended. During my last visit I learnt how to play mahjong so in actual fact this is my favourite part of the trip to the in-laws. Yup, even with all the communication barriers I play and we manage to always have a good time. Can you imagine me with three of my sisters-in-law at the mahjong table. What a sight! The durian and duku came out to add to the moment. My wife's neice went over to my wife's aunt's (not very close due to minor family fued) place down the road to buy some guava that they grow on their farm. At RM2 bucks a kilo it was a steal. We ordered five kilos to bring back to to my family here. Anyway, I think more mangoes and some pineapple came out too. Now before you think we were negligent parents let me add that the little one was having her afternoon nap at the time. When she got up she had a tough time communicating with her cousins but that was fixed with a universal go between. A ball! And she had a ball too after that! Of course she was curious as to what mummy and daddy (we took turns so that we could also keep an eye on her) were doing with those little white tiles every now and then but that didn't stop her play time.
Later we headed for the big do at my brother-in-laws place. The food was great but I stood out like a sore thumb! Of course I'm used to that because this happend the last time we were down too when we attended a niece's wedding and there was a much larger crowd. He had invited some of his new neighbours but I guess they either came earlier or later or maybe didn't want to get sore thumb syndrome..hahaha
The next day it was mahjong in the morning after a brief trip to the breakfast place and more wonderful white coffee. We moseyed over to the market again for a quick walkabout but because it had rained earlier not all the knick knack shops were open. This morning was lucky for me because I got on a winning streak. Ms eldest sis-in-law brought white coffee from her place in Bercham saying that it was the best but I somehow preferred the white coffee at the breakfast hole. A yellow watermelon somehow found it's way to the mahjong table. The little one who was my lucky charm that morning because she wanted to sit on my lap enjoyed tucking into a small slice of that too. Believe me it's not easy playing mahjong with one hand...hahaha...good thing wifey was helping. The little one didn't want to play ball so to speak but it was okay. I think she was getting tired from all the past activities.
Soon it was time to head for home and bid farewell to everyone and plans were made to meet again at Chinese New Year. The drive home was uneventful although it was extremely hot outside. The little one slept through the whole journey home so we didn't have to stop. On the way back we heard the good news about Pak Lah! So ended the trip to Ipoh!
My belated condolences to the family of the late great Loga...you touched many with your music and your legacy will live on in us all!