Monday June 18, 2012
In time for a kampung wedding
By Gudrun Nienaber
IT IS good to be back in our “first home”, Malaysia, although I enjoyed our trip to Germany a lot.
Even the weather was great this time, up to 27 degrees Celsius which is quite warm for the spring month of May.
Two years ago when we were over there at the same time of the year, it was only around 15 degrees, rainy and miserable. We were lucky this time!
A lot of things are very expensive in Germany, and in Europe in general, such as the cost of labour, electricity and fuel.
For example, fuel costs up to ‚1.70 per litre which is about RM6.80.
This is too much even for many people in Germany and as a result a new business has emerged called ‘Share a Car’.
Wow, Germans who are really car crazy, have a powerful car lobby (German car manufacturers) and who so far have prevented the introduction of a speed limit on their ‘Autobahns’ (German word for highway), do share cars now. This a remarkable example of how things are changing in Germany.
On the other hand, we also found a few things really cheap, cheaper than here.
The months of May/June are the season for some very delicious fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, strawberries, blueberries and all sort of other berries. We bought half a kilo of strawberries for ‚2 (RM8) and a small container of blueberries for ‚1 (RM4) which I saw in a KL super market for RM16 (same size of container).
Sometimes you wonder how things work and why prices are so different.
Anyway, we had a great time with family and friends — shopping, sightseeing, eating and drinking.
As soon as we were back in Malaysia at the end of May, we received an invitation from our dear friends Syed Badlishah and his wife, Fazlyn, to attend her brother Fazwan’s wedding in Alor Star.
It was perfect timing, since we had planned to go back to our boat Edu-Cat in Langkawi and take our from car there.
So, we drove to Alor Star on a Sunday morning, arriving in time to attend the wedding party in the afternoon.
It is an easy four-and-a-half hour drive from KL and we arrived in Alor Star at about 12.30pm.
We wanted to check into the hotel, get dressed and then go to the wedding. But, as it turned out it was not that easy! What happened then was really comical.
I had booked a room at a hotel where we had stayed before.
It is a nice three-star hotel, clean, comfortable, good value for money and is located a bit outside of the city, opposite a huge Tesco mall.
I put the address into our navigator and thought we would easily get there. Our navigator did not allow us to enter a house number, only the street name, but I did not think that would be a problem since I was sure we would see the big Tesco mall.
We drove up and down the destination street three times but there was no hotel, no mall.
We found this very strange indeed. We eventually asked at a service station for the Tesco mall. They happily helped us, drew a little map and we easily found Tesco, but no hotel nearby.
By then, we started to think we must be going crazy. What was going on? Then we asked at a tyre shop about that particular hotel. We gave them the address and again, they nicely explained to us how to get there.
It was the same place which we had passed three times earlier. I could not believe it.
All of a sudden I saw a hotel called the ‘Zen’ hotel. Looking around a bit further I noticed a flag with the name of the hotel we were looking for, but there was no Tesco in sight.
The gist of the story is that there are two Tescos and two hotels with the same name in Alor Star (one of them previously called Zen).
We burst out laughing, glad that we had finally arrived after one hour of total irritation.
Now, we had to hurry, get dressed and rush off to attend the wedding. I got into my traditional Malay attire and David into his silk batik shirt, which he wore for our own wedding a few years ago.
We arrived at the kampung just in time to see the bride and groom, Fazwan and Anne, arriving at the reception accompanied by their entourage.
How beautifully they were dressed and as a woman, I immediately noticed that Anne’s makeup was nothing short of perfect.
After we had enjoyed some delicious Malay dishes, including my favourite, home-made beef rendang, we were invited into the house to congratulate the newlyweds Fazwan and Anne and have our photo taken with the couple.
Before we left later in the afternoon, Syed Badlishah organised another wonderful little surprise for us. Anne is a very good singer and she sang Quando, Quando, Quando especially for us. Ooh, not only was she beautiful, she also has a stunning voice. Lucky Fazwan!
We really had a lovely time with our friends, Syed Badlishah and Fazlyn, their family and friends and we are proud to have been invited to this special family occasion.
We found our way back to the hotel safely, no drama this time and next morning we put our car on the barge and ourselves on the ferry to Langkawi. Happy to report that we are now back home on Edu-Cat in Kuah.
Gudrun’s love for Malaysia brought her back from Germany three years ago, after a nine-year absence when she resided in KL holding a senior corporate position. She and her husband are serial entrepreneurs and are passionate about staying fit and healthy, and promoting an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.