we were already packed and ready to go. my Dad called and came to meet us at about 8.30am. we took a cab to World Trade Centre and went right to book our tickets. we couldn't make it to the 9.30am ferry and of course we had to take the next one an hour later. we went for breakfast at McDonald's. still had time so went to get some chocolates for the little kids at the Kampong :)
we took the Penguin Princess ferry. it's quite alright, roomy and it wasn't fully occupied that day. kids were excited but halfway through the ferry ride they were feeling quite sleepy! they snoozed for abit and we finally arrived at Batam Ferry Terminal! no hassle going through immigration and just have to ensure that they stamped on all 5 passports! ;)
these are pictures of the tiny speed boats. we had to get on one to get to Sekupang Island. Halim, my Dad's brother~in~law(my Uncle!!! first time we met) owns one and he took us there. Dad's been married to Auntie M for several years now. she's from Pulau Belakang Padang...also part of Batam Island. this is our first time visiting their home there. it'll be fun, something different for my kids and i to experience :)
when we arrived, the locals knew we were from Singapore! hehe... everyone was so friendly, all smiles and even though they are "backdated" in terms of how they live, they're still up to date with their fashion trend! :) the young ladies were in jeans and t~shirts and i almost felt as if i was the only one wearing a headscarf!!! and i'm from the city!!! yeah yeah...
we walked from the jetty to the town. it took about 10 minutes for us to get to Dad's kampong house. people came out from their homes and welcomed us! felt like we were Guests of Honour!!! they exclaimed, "finally we see Edleen! oh...and your children too!" hmm..so we've been the talk of the kampong? hehehe... but i felt so overwhelmed and so touched. they are absolutely sincere and the welcome was just so wonderful. only God knows how i truly felt.
we settled in pretty quickly. i wanted to stay at the local hotel but my Dad & Auntie M said no need to. their home is pretty small but roomy enough for kids to run around on wooden planks!!! they offered us their bedroom but i prefer the living room. we can watch TV and enjoy the breeze while we sleep. :) the neighbours were already gathering outside the house and sitting around and chatting. seems like my kids already felt at home! which is great because i wanted them to experience the Kampong Life and somehow no complains...not yet anyway hehe...
after getting to know some of the neighbours, i started taking snapshots of my kids and the atmosphere surrounding us. then one little girl who lives across us, was taking a bath in her yellow "pool" barrel! so cute! but her Granny came out with a hanger and was scolding her for wasting water..hehe. they have to get water from the well and fill up in empty barrels. during the dry season the well would dry up hence the storing of water as to standby. there were plenty of barrels in Dad's toilet! gosh...i am just VERY THANKFUL that their bathroom is modern with tiles! i know that sounds awful but really, i am Thankful. and it was my Dad who made some small renovation to the house that they had running water from pipes from the well. a little luxury for them. most of them have TVs in their home and telephones too. almost everyone has a handphone too! furniture is minimal for some and yes..no air~conditioning! yikes...will we city folks survive??? hehe... but they do have plenty of fans so... can't complain.
well, it isn't that they are poor, but they are so rich with their warmth and smiles. happiness just seems to exude out of them! :) i simply love that! Dad brought us for a walkabout at their small town. and indeed...Kampong Tengah is pretty small. we could already navigate our way around within an hour! ;) there were lots of small shops and i guess they cater to the locals and perhaps foreigners who visits during the holidays. then we bought some drinks and we went to visit Uncle Halim. his wife just had their 3rd baby boy. he wants a little girl but well, they're happy.
the walk to their house was a little scary. we had to walk on wooden planks and there was no railing on each side so my only thought was..."please no one fall into the water below!!!" they practically live on water! i shudder to think of the "what ifs" and i better not. the environment wasn't really clean..muddy waters and plenty of garbage strewn all over. it is an eye opener for me & kids. i wish their government would do something just to get rid of the old old stuff and build proper bridges and walkways. the only vehicles on that island are motorcycles and trishaws. a car would probably wreck the wooden walkways!!!
after our visit, we went back. then came the horror...kids can't accomodate or get used to the toilet!!! well, except for Muesa. he's loving this place already! :) i have to admit, i was quite fearful too...hehe. it's clean but full of barrels and it's that old kind of squat which scares my little ones! and no heater...oh my gosh it was such an episode with Aneesa and Anis in the bathroom! having to pour cold cold water over their heads was just something they will never get used to..hehehe but it kept me laughing throughout!
Aneesa made a new friend, Duwi. she's so cute and pretty. she came to see us at the house and played with Aneesa. Uncle Halim came by and we met Mak Piah. she's so lovely. then we were asked to go visit Citra who wasn't feeling well to come see us. she was in Singapore awhile back and visited us at home. so of course we want to see her again.
that's Osen, their pet cat. cute yeah! :)