Before continuing with our Malaysian Adventure there is something that I would like to explain. There is a term that Chinese often use to describe a foreign man, particularly a Caucasian from Europe or North America. The term is Qwai Lo (or Qui Lo), meaning variously “ghost person” or “white devil”, but referring to the pale complexion, sometimes blond or red hair and blue or green eyes of Caucasians. The term is utilized in similar forms in both Mandarin and Cantonese (Mandarin is the primary Chinese language in Malaysia and Singapore). Sometimes it is spoken in a derogatory form, however more often is it more a description than anything else. I was introduced to the term when I first met Kim in 1997 and I often use the term when referring to myself as do my friends and family.
In the last posting we traveled by car from KL to Melaka (also spelt Malacca). Now, as a Qwai Lo, I tend to be larger than most Chinese and therefore all insist that I sit in the front passenger seat of the vehicle whenever we go anywhere. One of the things that I did not mention was that the front passenger seat in Cynthia’s car is defective, the seat back is permanently at about a 45 degree angle, which makes for a rather unique seating position. The solution is that as I enter the vehicle, two pillows are placed behind my back by the driver and then I am able to sit reasonably vertical and put on my seat belt. Of course this took a while to figure out so the initial travel (the trip to Melaka) was a bit interesting to say the least.
Once we arrived in Melaka we picked Cynthia up from work (and yes, don’t know how we did it, but we got another person in the car with all the luggage), swung by their apartment so that she could shower and change and then headed over to our place of residence in Melaka. Kim’s brother Ming has a house in Melaka where he stays when visiting and that’s where we stay as well. Right next door is Kim’s sister Hong and her daughter Ah Kim as well as her son and his family. To my great relief, Cynthia greeted me almost as a long lost father and Hong greeted me as a long lost brother. It was quite a feeling.
We had no sooner done some serious greeting, and gotten our bags into the house, when we were off to our first night market. Well, not really. We were off to where a night market was getting set up so that we could have some food. In the photos you can see the night market getting set up, a couple of food vendors (called hawkers), Kim and Cynthia picking out some food for us to eat and Kim, Cynthia and Henry getting ready to eat. As is the case with most of the photos you will see in these blog posts I am behind the camera, however I do sneak around in front from time to time.
After dinner we returned to the house and continued with some serious visiting finally getting to bed on our first night in Malaysia around 11 pm. I figure that was pretty darn good seeing as how we landed in Hong Kong around 6 am after a 13 hour flight from Vancouver and then landed in KL around 12:30 pm and arriving in Melaka about 4 pm. One might say it was a longish day.
Stay tuned, there will be more to come as we get caught up on our Malaysian Adventure.