Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Old Roads to Home

Apart from the food and the people, when I am away from my hometown, there are a couple of things that I kind of miss from my hometown. Things that I used to do or enjoy or appreciate when I was young. For instance, nothing beats the smell of the early morning air at home. It just smells different. I mean, nothing is more memorable than a smell, is it? On top of this, I also like observing people already so busy doing their work when others are probably still curling up in bed. Occasionally, I also enjoy the morning brisk walk around the neighborhood before the sun rises.

Once in a while, I take my morning walk with my Mom. The usual drill for us would be waking up at 4.30am, trying to leave the house before 5am, taking a stroll around the residential areas where we used to live, going to the traditional market nearby while doing some shopping too then going back home again by becak. Waking up before 5am is indeed a challenge but this is the price for the morning view and its fresh air. Unlike Singapore and Malaysia, at 4am or 5am in my hometown, we could already see busy street and hear people chattering. The sky is not that dark anymore as the sun usually rises at 5.45am.

So, one morning when I was in my hometown last month, my husband and I made the effort to wake up at 4.30 am then we woke my Mom up too so she could join us for the morning walk. My Dad had a terrible sore throat then, thus he could not join us. Three of us left the house kind of late, so the sun was already risen and we missed the 'morning darkness'. Off we went and we took the same old paths when we used to do our usual morning walk.

First off, we walked towards the direction to our old house. The house where my family lived until I was about nine years old. This means we've sort of left this neighborhood for more than fifteen years by now and things in the neighborhood have dramatically changed. This area seems to be literally time-worn as the years go by. I saw quite a number abandoned houses and houses with severely cracked roofs. Some neighbors I could recall still reside there and some already moved out or passed away.

Greeted by grief: This flag is a sign that someone in this particular house has passed away.

The house that we once lived at. More than 15 years ago. 
Nothing much changed except the color of the fence. Ours was dark green.

Done with observing our old house, we carried on with walking around the neighborhood. Noticing every small little things that have changed and have not changed thus far. Recalling memories.

Pasukan Kuning  (Public Cleaning Service Employee) pulling the rubbish cart.

We then made a circle walk until we found the street that led us to the local wet market where my Mom habitually shops. This wet market is our last stop when we do our morning walk routines. Two birds with one stone. And hey, I still saw some familiar faces of the sellers in this market. They still sell the same stuff and all of them look much older, of course. Years ago, my Mom used to tag her little girls along when she went to the market so I am quite familiar with some of the sellers' faces though never dealt with them directly.

This is the look of Blimbing Traditional Market at about 6am. 
Already so packed with people.

The vegetable stall inside the market.

A stall selling two types of salt for cooking: Table salt and salt bricks (garam briket).
Some people still use garam briket for cooking but 
it also has significant use for Indonesian Shamans (not sure for what).

Through with circling the wet market and groceries shopping, we headed home by becak because we sure got lots of bags to carry now. That morning, I also noticed that nowadays, some tukang becak (pedicab riders) have improvised their vehicles to increase work efficiency. They have come up with the idea to create a hybrid of motor bike and becak which looks like the following photo. However, in the whole market, I could only see this man (below picture) using this kind of motor-becak while the rests are still using human-powered becak. This way, he could reach the customers' destinations faster and he'd be less tired by the end of the day, yet he still charges the same fee like the other pedal-driven becak riders. Smart, huh? Interesting.

My mom got lucky. She rode the hybrid becak to home.

The old roads to home. Maybe old, left behind but not forgotten. 
Everybody needs his memories.  They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.  
~Saul Bellow~

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