Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Day In Nibong Tebal

I planned to blog about this entry some time later, but after being requested by Kae Vin, I will put aside all the entries about my KL tour with the Japanese for a while, and blog first about my short trip to Nibong Tebal, the hometown of Kae Vin a couple of days ago. I dropped by this town on my way back to my hometown after paying a visit to my aunt at Penang island for one day.
I took a short bus ride from the ferry's jetty at Butterworth and Kae Vin picked my up straight away at one of the bus stop at Nibong Tebal.
One of the main road in Nibong Tebal.
I spent less than twenty-four hours in this town, because Kae Vin said it is just a very small town with has nothing much but good food, some interesting places and leng zai (referring to himself). Yes, this boy can be as serious, as well as lame to the maximum, depending on his mood. Anyway, he took me to quite a number of places and at the I will breaking them into two entries - places of interest and food around the town. As for this one it will be about the places we went around.
The first place we headed to was a so-called haunted mansion, in the middle of an oil palm estate, just a few kilometers drive from the town. The sun was setting very soon by the time we reached the estate, but we picked up some courage to walked into the mansion because it was still relatively bright. Otherwise, we two chickens would not be that brave to step into the haunted mansion. Being someone who is never a fan of horror movies, I began to have that eerie feeling when we started to walk into the oil palm estate.
The path that leads to the haunted mansion.
Perhaps I was just being paranoid.
The 99-door mansion.
Front view.
Known as the 99-door mansion, this mansion was used as the administrative office of the British during their occupation. However, the Japanese made it into a place to keep all the captives and communists who went against them when the Japanese invaded our country. Apparently, many lives were lost to the hand of the Japanese in this mansion, which explains why it is said to be a haunted place.
The front balcony.
The section behind the mansion.

It is called as the 99-door mansion because legend says that it has 99 doors, and some are locked and could not be opened until today. Those doors are remained locked because it is to keep the spirit of the Japanese war captive inside.
One of the locked door.
Kae Vin was doubting whether there are really 99 doors in this mansion while we were walking inside the place. I roughly counted on the doors and the two main rooms at the ground floor itself already have thrity-two doors. So, I suppose that it could be true that this mansion has 99 doors in total.
Ninety-nine doors.
We took a tour around the mansion, went up to the first floor, walked to the balcony, the corridors and even into the bathroom.
Trying some vintage effect on the picture to suit the mood.
Guess who took this picture for us.

Making sure each steps are safe.
At one corner, we spotted a dead owl on the wooden floor.
Kae Vin thought it was an eagle at first.
Just when the two of us were going to leave the place, a plump Indian boy came and asked us if we had gone to the Signal Room.
Signal Office.
The little boy, standing proudly in the Signal Room.
We were curious about the room and asked him what is it about. According to this little boy, this is the room where the British soldiers received radio signal from helicopters in the past. The family of this boy actually lives in this mansion, but what impressed me the most is that they even have Astro installed there. Still, one of the old grandma staying there could afford to ask us from RM 5 when we were about to leave the place, saying that she need that money to but some food.
Logically, if you can afford to fix Astro at your home, you can't be that poor, can you?
Saw the Astro dish in the middle?
Kae Vin then drove me to the river mouth of Sungai Kerian to watch the sunset.
Pulau Jerjak on the left.
New mangrove trees are planted to replace the old one.
Penang island in the background.

There are fishing villages around the muddy mangrove swamp, besides ponds being set up to rear fishes. On our way there, we came across a few groups of monkeys and I was told that there is a tree where the monkeys always have fun diving from the tree into the muddy river.
The tree is on the left.

Too bad that the sky was cloudy, and we could not watch the sunset. The Penang island is visible though, just opposite from where we stood.
Despite the fact that it is just a small town, there are sightseeing activities, even at night. Normally, we will relate fireflies seeing with Kuala Selangor, but there is a place here which offers the same experience as the one in Selangor, according to Kae Vin. We went there after having our dinner with Kae Vin's little younger brother, Kae Min and another friend of mine, Ming Chong. The fireflies sightseeing is the time when I came across one of the funniest moment during my short trip to this town.
This is the legal operator, which has a booth.
And a nice boat.
Basically, there are two operators there - one has a legal license, the other is an illegal one, in which they offer a ride at RM12 and RM 8 per person respectively. The legal one approached us at first, and just when we were going to take his ride, one middle-aged lady surged towards our direction and gave us a better offer. Both showed us their business cards to prove their validity. The legal man countered her offer, by claiming that their ride includes insurance, just in case anything happens. Both were involved in a mild war-of-words, with the four of us stuck in between the two. Since both of them will be taking us to the same spot, we decided to take the illegal one, and that is when we saw two totally different facial expression from both of them. The man looked really dissatisfied, while the lady was smiling broadly.
It did not rain earlier that day, and we could not see as much fireflies as usual. The light pollution from the factories nearby and the island across the sea did not help either. Nevertheless, it was an exciting experience because not only we got to see the fireflies, the boat ride was fun as we could feel the cool breeze along the river at night. The man who took us there asked us to catch the fireflies with a net provided to prove that they are genuine flies, not battery operated light bulbs. In the end, we felt more comfortable by catching the flies with our bare hands and put them into the bottle, which we later let them free once again. Even though we took the illegal ride, we came back safely, and noticed that the legal operator was not there anymore. I suppose he must be fed-up already.
The last spot we went was the local pasar malam.
It stretches more than 400-meters long.

Personally, it has been some time since I last go to any pasar malam. The only thing I could recall during our walk around the place was that I kept on inviting weird stares, and that made Kae Vin walked some distance away from me at times because standing by my side will make him look tiny.
On our way back, we stopped to catch a glimpse of an Chinese traditional opera show.
How modern technologies are fused with traditional customs. Digital board for subtitles on the right.
Chinese Santa Claus.
I used to asked my mum to take me to watch this shows when I was young, but most of the time, my mum would say we could not watch it because the first few days are meant for the viewing of the Gods. I do not know why, but I have a liking on it when I was young when most of the time, it would be the old ah peks who would watch these shows.
One thing I could not understand about Penang, especially Butterworth is how bad the condition of the bus station is, despite the number of development projects going on around the state. Not only it does not have proper platforms for the passengers to board the bus, the bumpy road condition is only next to those rural kampung areas.
Butterworth's bus station.
Parit Buntar's bus station.

How the two bus stations have a stark difference.
I stayed one night at Kae Vin's house before I went back to Taiping the next morning. Just when the bus was about to leave the Parit Buntar bus station, I realised that I left my camera in his car, and he had to returned to pass me my camera. Lucky thing that he still have not enter the highway when I called him. That is the second time I forgot about my things in as many days, because I left my camera charger at my aunt's place the day before. For that, I was called 'nga thou' 'ha thau' or 'prawn's head' in Cantonese, which means someone who is forgetful.
The Red Omnibus.
By the way, I went back by this Red Omnibus, which has been around the town even before I was born. If my memory serves me correctly, I have taken this bus in only two other occasions, and that when I was about five-years old. That might be a long period back, but I could still remember that the bus conductor would use a puncher to punch on the tickets. That practice still lives until today.
They even have a drawing of a clock at the bottom of the ticket.
I shall end this entry with a sequel pictures which show an incident inside the bus.
The bus condustor seems to be having constipation.
"I am going to the jamban lah now. What see see harh?"
Hah! See lah, simply scold at passangers. Now kena scolding by boss
I know it is not funny, but laughing for two seconds will be good enough.
P/S: Here is an entry about my trip to Nibong Tebal, by Kae Vin in his blog.


stevelee67 said...

like the mansion...

Anonymous said...

nga thou... wrong la... ha thau

syaza said...

my kampung kat parit buntar btw...

Anonymous said...

I m not little... lol... haha

Endoru said...

The food at your friend's blog is making my stomach growl. Anyway, the mansion's definitely not a place to go at night. Dead owl, bad omen ?

calvin said...

@ stevelee67:
i wonder whether you will still like the mansion, after trying to stay a night there xD

calvin said...

@ kh:
told you my cantonese never improves. that day 'hak kai', now 'nga thou' lol =P

calvin said...

@ syaza:
too bad i will be back before raya. otherwise i will surely visit your atuk in parit buntar =P

calvin said...

@ anonymous a.k.a kae min:
but your bigger brother always refer you as his little brother, which i find that it sounds very wrong lol =P

calvin said...

@ endoru:
you shall droll more when i post up the food entry for this trip soon. don't have to be night, i will never go to the place even when it is going to be dusk.

bad omen? i am not very sure >.<

Endoru said...

Yes, will drool more. :)

Tau Sar Phneah said...

u are brave anough to capture some photos...wht if...something extra pops up...hehe..

neway, nice knowing nibong tebal..haha..

=chuan guan= said...

show bout food...it is better..hahaha...food!!!!!!!!!

calvin said...

@ endoru:
entry on food is just up. it would be better if you cover you keyboard now first before reading that entry xD

calvin said...

@ tau sar phneah:
well, it is because it was still quite bright that time. otherwise, we would not enter the mansion in the first place.

you are from penang, but i suppose you have never gone to nibong tebal? no worries, i have never been to pangkor either =P

calvin said...

@ =chuanguan=:
yes, i have just posted out an entry about the food we had at nibong tebal :)

mg said...

so scary... i wont go there in the first place..

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
i thought you are a brave person? xD

Kae Vin said...

Actually the bus station in Butterworth was a decent one. Some years ago a fire burst out and wiped out the whole building and apparently no one did anything about it.

Joyce said...

Haunted mansion.....cool but, scary.

Never knew Malaysia has such cool places. I Should really explore Malaysia more.

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
you should make yourself as a candidate in the next general election, and promise the people that you are building a new bus terminal there if you are elected.

then i am sure you will win the people's vote.

after the election, just tell them that insufficient fund made you unable to carry out on the proposed plan.

calvin said...

@ joyce:
yes, you really should go to such cool places when you are back again next time ;)

Anonymous said...

awesome blog, do you have twitter or facebook? i will bookmark this page thanks. lina holzbauer

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
thanks for visiting my blog. hope you will enjoy my other posts as well =)