I don't remember anything from the airport formalities but I do remember that passengers were not able to meet friends/ family inside the building, Instead we spilled into the tropical sun through automatic doors and were faced with a crowd of faces.
My boyfriend was there to meet me and my western habit of kissing immediately was, I suppose, a bit of a spectacle. I think he was embarrassed.
Kent had set himself up doing electrical work, he had a completely empty office where he employed a girl to answer the phone during the days and he slept on the floor at night. Ashamed to take me to the office he had booked us a room at the YMCA. I still remember the sign on the door forbidding men and women to share rooms. The facilities were basic but better than sleeping on the floor of an empty office. I think there were chenille bedspreads.
We ate hawker food that night and in the morning we went shopping in a mall. The mall was not quite like anything I knew from home but it was the closest thing to home that I had experienced so far.
|This comes from google images but I think it is the building we stayed in.|
A lunch of chicken and rice went down nicely and we did a little more shopping with a plan to head off to Kent's home town, 200km to the north. As we shopped I started to feel unwell and assumed it was because I was unused to the heat. It was all a bit odd, given that we were in an air conditioned building. Just as we opened the car, ready to make the trip north I suddenly understood why I felt odd and vomited violently into the gutter.
The road to Chemor was, at that time, a two/ three lane highway on a mountain road and in heavy use by logging trucks and a variety of slow old lorries. Kent would drive patiently behind a slow vehicle, waiting a long time for the opportunity to pass and almost always, I would need him to pull over soon after. It was a slow trip.
Eventually we arrived. Kent's mum and grandma met us at the door, I shook hands and smiled, willing myself to stay on my feet. This was my first meeting with his family and it was hardly ideal.
Kent made apologies for me and ushered me away to bed. Grandma came upstairs to "chat" though we didn't share a language and as she perched on the edge of the bed my stomach churned again. I was going to try running to the toilet but I wasn't going to make it and grandma's cupped hands caught my mess.......