We went to the little town of Nibong Tebal knowing little of it. What we did know was that our second Couch Surfing experience was to be here. Our host David is a bicycle enthusiast who has travelled all over the world on his bike covering Asia, Europe and America and next on the cards is New Zealand and Australia. He has hosted about 400 people over the last 8 years, mostly other bicycle riders but we were to be his first motorbike riders! The first night we went to a 24hr Indian restaurant for some Naan and Roti Canai which was so cheap it is hard to believe they can actually make any money from it. One night we bought dinner for five, one desert and three drinks and it came to a total of about five bucks! Going to hate coming home to Australian restaurant prices after this... After sitting up late talking about our travels we awoke the next morning to hit the road for a bicycle ride, the first bit of exercise for us in ages. We rode through several little villages and it was a lovely, relaxing way of observing daily life in small-town Malaysia. Around lunch time we stopped for a food and drink at a little road side stand where for the first time we tried some freshly squeezed sugar cane juice (delicious). When we were about to leave a man came over and mentioned to David that there was a Malay wedding happening just down the road and that we should stop by. Both of us have crashed a few parties in our lives but never a wedding, but hey, there's a first for everything! We made our way to the house where the wedding party was at and the father of the groom whose house it was invited us in with open arms. We were just in shorts and t-shirts, really not wedding attire, but no one seemed to mind one little bit. We were given a little gift bag (a tradition at Malay weddings) along with food and drinks while waiting for the bride and groom to arrive. When they arrived they looked so young and sweet and very beautiful in their traditional outfits and we were surprised at the figure hugging dress worn by the new bride considering it was a Muslim affair. We felt so lucky to have witnessed a traditional Malay wedding and to have experienced such friendliness and hospitality from complete strangers once again.
Of all the things we did while in Nibong Tebal one of the funniest parts was getting drunk with some of David's Chinese friends. We stopped by a house of one of his friends and it turned out there was a bit of a party going on! Before we went in David warned us about the drinking etiquette of his friends and told us to just take small sips and to never let our glass be empty as it would duly be filled up again and this scenario could obviously get you drunk very quick! We soon learned what he was talking about. A man with the worrying nickname 'Mafia Boss' and with the hoarse voice of (no kidding) Don Corleone was clearly the leader of the pack and we didn't stand a chance! With every lift of the glass he would yell out 'FINISH' as a sign for us to skull down our glass of beer. We had landed smack bang in the middle of a Chinese drinking party! Trying to take it easy was clearly frowned upon and so we bowed in to group pressure and started skulling down beers like our lives depended on it! Throughout the night we learnt different ways of opening beers without bottle openers where Mark impressed everyone by being the only one there to be able to open a bottle with a newspaper, besides Mafia Boss of course! With each opening came loud cheers, high fives and hugs. It was hilarious. The host that night was a bit of a maestro and brought out his Chinese 2-string guitar and his accordion and started belting out Chinese songs and both Mark and I were pulled up to dance with Mafia Boss. Before we left he insisted we come to his son's wedding on the 1st of December which was going to be a grand affair with over 2000 guests. After saying goodbye to our many new friends David whisked us off to our next destination: Chinese Opera! David told us he hoped not to find more of his beer guzzling buddies here but of course they were here and we were straight back into it. Again the word 'Finish!' seemed to be the order of the day and we were steadily getting more and more drunk! No one would take our money for drinks but seemed to take pride in making sure our glasses were never empty. We didn't have much of an idea of what the opera was about but the costumes and performances were mesmerising, although by this point it could very well have been the beer goggles taking affect! Sometime after midnight we stumbled back to the car for a hazy drive home. Awoke the next day, about lunch time with a nice hangover to boot. David sitting ready and waiting to show us more of his home town. As if we hadn't had enough alcohol the night before he took us to a coconut wine plantation where they produce the Toddy as they call it. We drank some straight out of a bucket out of politeness, but it was warm and we were hungover so a sip was really all we could muster.
When we said goodbye to David the next morning we felt that we were saying goodbye to a new friend :) Meeting David was such a positive encounter and we can only hope that we keep meeting such wonderful people as we continue our travels.
Doing our first bit of exercise in a long time
Our host with the most, David
This lady makes about 100+ of these palm frond roofing sheets per day at a measly rate of RM0.50 each
A beautiful example of a traditional Malay home
This family were so generous having us try local fruits from their home gardens
A typical road side store
Pisang Goreng anyone? (banana fritter)
Sugar cane drink, tastes better than it looks
The beautiful newly weds whose wedding we crashed
Still happy to pose for a couple of foreigners
The proud parents of the groom who so graciously invited us to join in on the celebration
Working my magic on the potters wheel
Hindu ceremony in the making
Outside the temple
Don't ever try to out drink the Chinese, they are piss heads!
Me and the 'Mafia Boss' having a drink, I thought this style was meant to be between a man and woman?
Our host for the evening
Sanne dancing the night away with our new friend
A Chinese Opera play that runs over 4 days
We managed to catch the last night, had no idea of the story but was great to sit back and watch
More new friends and drinking buddies
Hungover and trying the local Toddy (coconut wine)
A much needed swim to snap us out of our hangover
Me, David and his twin boys