Thursday, September 05, 2013

Country Living

I've been spending time with my parents in their new home, across the Straits of Johor.  It's a spanking new development located on the Eastern coast of Johor in Malaysia so close to Singapore that you can actually see the country from the waterfront boardwalk which is part of the community.  Marshland forms a part of the landscape of this ambitious development.  Hard to believe that swampland can be beautiful, but it actually is....

Today I just saw a sea otter swimming along the coastline then scamper onto shore & into the mangrove swamp.  A monitor lizard almost came into the house as it chased its prey (the largest gecko I've ever seen!!!), which did come in, scaring me to bits (I have herpetophobia - thanks Google!).  To be honest, I can do without the latter kind of wildlife!

The town nearby reminds me of the city I was born in...especially the shop houses with hawker stalls selling delicious local foods!  The difference between Johor Baru & Singapore is quite astounding, really, given the fact that only a narrow strip of water separates the two.  It's hard to find the rustic feel of country living in the rather artificial environment that is Singapore.

Yesterday, my folks brought me to eat seafood at a restaurant located on Orang Asli land on the waterfront.  Certainly not a five star restaurant.  It is located on stilts above the water, with a rather rickety bridge that leads to it from the "mainland".  Planks of dubious strength make up the bridge, but the food! the food!  Fresh crabs & fish & prawns & clams!  From the restaurant, one can see the farming areas where the seafood is cultivated by the Orang Asli.  The restaurant is run by ethnically Chinese Malaysians.  This symbiotic relationship between the two groups makes good business sense, as evidenced by the healthy crowd of customers present in the restaurant even at the odd hour of 3 pm.

Seafood is farmed by the Orang Asli (above)

Orang Asli homes on stilts by the water

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