We've been back exactly 3 weeks and we're off again tomorrow. To be honest, I really don't need a break from Palembang yet. We were just getting into the swing of the daily routine and Aaron had finally accepted that there are no beaches or parks here.
However, Chinese New Year is a week away and we're heading back to Ipoh for the annual family reunion. This get-together is extremely important to the older generation. My grandparents will probably understand if I can't make it back but at the same time, I know they will be disappointed. In a way, they rate how much they are loved and respected by how many of their children, grandchildren, extended family and friends show up at their house for the reunion dinner on the eve of the new year. Or maybe, it is the one time in the year that their house is filled with people who are there to pay attention to them. In any case, it is a tradition that I would like to protect.
Ipoh is normally a small city but swells tremendously during Chinese New Year. There aren't too many attractive jobs there so many (if not most) of the younger generation have moved elsewhere, leaving parents and grandparents behind. So guess what?! They'll all be back this coming week and the traffic is going to be horrendous. To give you an idea of the traffic that will be on the roads, last year, when we were leaving Ipoh on the return journey, it took us 5 hrs to get from Ipoh to KL when it normally takes 2.5hrs. There were others that claimed 6 hrs and I believe them!
Its not only the roads that will be crowded. Many of the families today no longer cook their own meals during these festive times. There are too many people to feed and they have grown used to the convenience of eating out. So, ALL the restaurants will be bursting with people. In the past, the restaurants close for their own family get togethers but these days, there is just too much money to be made.
My mom is already starting to cook and freeze food because she's not one to face the crowds. I'll eat her food for lunch and dinner but I'm prepared to brave the crowds for some of my favourite breakfast foods.
I make it sound like a horrible holiday, don't I? Its not really. When I get back, meeting up with family and friends will undoubtedly erase any of the frustrations I may encounter.
OK. Stay tuned for the occasional post from Ipoh, Malaysia.