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Name: modgurl
Location: Singapore

New mom. New woman. Born in Singapore. Raised in the World Wide Web.
Friday, January 24, 2014 @ 10:56 pm
City Girl In A Kampung

Dear Blogger,

For the first time ever, we're going to a village homestay in Malaysia for a holiday. Me? In a village? With no wifi? The horror! I know right. I've never lived in a village. I've never seen a village. I'm a born and bred city girl. So I was curious if I'd be a fish out of water in this homestay.

Homestays in Malaysia have been gaining popularity over the years, especially to city folks like me. There are those who wanted to relive the village life, in a moment of nostalgia. We thought it would be a different holiday from the normal hotel and shopping experience. When we told the children that we were going on holiday, the first thing Sarah asked was, "Are we going to stay in a hotel with swimming pool?"

I didn't want to go to another city. I wanted to do something that Singapore doesn't have. At first, village life seemed daunting. How can I live 3 days without the internet? What am I going to do at night? Will I get a heart attack when my mind and body are forced to slow down with the slower pace of life in a village? Don't laugh. Those questions really did cross my mind.

So this homestay would be good for my children and I. After extensive search on the internet, we chose to stay at a homestay in Kampung Lonek, Negeri Sembilan. This homestay had won "most beautiful kampung" for many years. From the pictures, it looked good.

We departed at 4a.m., anticipating delays and breaks as we drove. The directions given on the internet were very vague, so we put our faith on our GPS. From the get go, it was a good drive. No hold ups at Tuas and Johor checkpoints. Light traffic conditions. Good weather. What more could you ask for?

The GPS said we should exit Tangkak from the North-South Highway. Tangkak is no where near Negeri Sembilan (it's still in Johor, 2 states away from destination). Common sense told me we should exit Seremban, which is Negeri Sembilan's capital. But we put our faith in the GPS and exited at Tangkak.

That led us to the Seremban highway, which is an old highway heavily used before the North-South Highway opened. We just followed the GPS that led us different towns along Johor, Malacca and finally Negeri Sembilan states. We passed the town of Gemas where we stopped to have breakfast, Tampin and finally we saw Bahau. That's where our homestay was.

We really did find the homestay, at about 11.30a.m. There were adequate signs that led us to it. We were greeted by a very nice lady, Mdm Badariah, who was a retired teacher. She was very accommodating to our needs and willingly shared information about her house, family, village and everything under the sun. I guess a teacher will always be a teacher. She was also committed to the homestay programme and wants to see more be done about it to ensure its longevity.

Nice house isn't it?

The first thing we saw was chickens. Live uncooped chickens! The children got excited chasing the chickens. Hubby and father-in-law washed up to go for Friday prayer at the nearby mosque.  While they were at the mosque, Mdm Badariah took us around her garden to look for rambutans. She said there were many ripe rambutan the week before, but we might find some left. We found a few and the children gobbled them up. Their first fruits from a tree!

Rambutan anyone?

 After washing up, lunch was prepared for us. I was looking forward to this. As part of the homestay programme, meals are provided by the host. Negeri Sembilan's specialty is "Lemak Cili Api" (bird's eye chilli cooked in coconut). I love lemak cili api. In Singapore, we usually cook it with chicken or fish. So our lunch was lemak cili api cooked with duck eggs and young mango. We had it with steamed white rice and omelette. It was DELICIOUS! The only time I've tried duck egg was when it was salted. Never freshly cooked. Eat sparingly though because it's a very rich egg. I had about three. Hey! I'm on holiday!

After lunch, everyone had a long nap. I'm not used to having long naps. So I waited eagerly for everyone to wake up so we can go somewhere. I tried reading a book while waiting but that didn't last very long. I tried to watch a movie on my iPad but only managed to watch a quarter of the movie. There was no wifi connection or even 3G, so there's that.

Everyone woke up about 5p.m., a bit late to go anywhere I think. Kampung life doesn't actually bustle with activities after sunset. We had late tea with "Pengat Sago", a sweet light dessert which went very well with tea.

After that, Mdm Badariah brought us to the river nearby. The children had never seen a river, so they had fun splashing about. We saw padi fields along the way. First time I actually saw a padi field for real. We saw more houses and fruit trees.

Dinner was served. We had a different lemak cili padi, sambal chicken and sausages. Another delicious meal. After dinner, we sat at the verandah and chit chat while the children played hide and seek all over the house. So that's what kampung people do after sunset. They just talk to one another until it's time for bed.

This shows that this house was registered with the Malaysian Tourism Board. Good to know!


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