A week after my Ipoh trip, I traveled to Hainan island alone to help my extended family in the preparations of the clan's ancestral worship ceremony which was to be held on the 16th day of the Lunar New Year.
My brother-in-law is quite adamant on preserving our family traditions when it comes to ancestral worships. Exchanging messages with him through our numerous wechats, I expanded my knowledge on the Hainanese culture and traditions. When he invited us home for the Lunar New Year and to participate in the annual Ancestral Spring Worship, I decided to go back earlier to learn how to cook our traditional Hainanese dishes and snacks.
It was a sunny afternoon when my brother-in-law and elder nephew fetched me from Haikou Meilan International Airport. It was an hour's drive from the airport to our village. We have just completed the building of our new house and kitchen a few months back. We held a huge housewarming last Christmas Eve, inviting 500 guests comprising the whole village, relatives, business associates and friends.
I finally have a room to come home to. My second nephew and his wife took great pains to furnish my bedroom .... it looks like a honeymoon suite. LOL
After a quick wash up, I was ready to enjoy a home cooked meal of Hainanese poached chicken and stir-fried vegetables from our farm.
After a sumptuous lunch, it was a fun-filled time distributing gifts to the family members. At the request of my brother-in-law, I bought 1 kg of Brazilian ground coffee. I also bought him a coffee brewer. Not knowing how to use this coffee maker, he asked a neighbour who works in a hotel coffee shop to show him how to operate the machine.
My brother-in-law also asked for a carton of a premium China brand of cigarettes from our duty free shop at Singapore Changi Airport. I was surprised to see many China brand cigarettes being sold at our airport. Apparently, the prices of cigarettes is cheaper here compared to their retail prices in China.
It was customary in China to take a nap after a mid-day meal. I woke up at 4 am to board my flight that morning, so I was grateful for some snooze time.
I woke up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and was greeted by a few villagers who came to "visit" this guest from Singapore. Brother-in-law treated them to coffee and snacks which I brought from Singapore. He gave out cigarettes to the men.
Before my trip, hubby has already briefed me on the tradition of giving ang pows to EVERY villager who comes to visit me. He even prepared the red envelops and cash for distribution.
I could only manage a smattering of Hainanese dialect with the visitors and brother-in-law would come to my rescue. It was tiring to keep smiling and make small talk. The following days, I was subjected to more of such visits daily.
二侄子和他的老婆为我布置卧室, 我终于有了自己的房间。像一间蜜月套房 。。。 哈哈 。。。
大伯要我从新加坡带咖啡粉和一条香烟回去。原来新加坡机场免税店有卖中国名牌香烟, 价钱比国内买还便宜。我买了现磨的巴西咖啡粉, 也带了煮咖啡机。乡民们来串门时, 好奇的研究我带去的煮咖啡机。
回来那几天, 有不少村里的乡民来看我。我不认识他们, 海南话也说得不流利, 每天这样应酬实在有够累的。回乡之前, 老公有交代每位来探访我的乡民都要给个红包, 这是海南人的习俗。