Journey to the Chinese Cemetery

Wow. What a Saturday afternoon. First, I was bitten by a dog. Then I was almost eaten alive my mosquitoes. And on our way home, we ended up on this road with a whole bunch of military guys with large guns giving us dirty looks. I really should have just stayed home.

Shortly after noon on Saturday, Troy and I decided to walk down to the Chinese Cemetery to take pictures. I was excited to try out my new backpack that I bought in Langkawi. Troy usually ends up carrying all of the water bottles, snacks and camera gear when we go out and I wanted to help out. I can’t carry a lot of weight on my back, but I can do some. We found this perfect little backpack in a military-style shop and we haven’t really gone on a picture-taking outing since we got back. The backpack is small, but it fits four water bottles, a couple of apples, some oranges, a big bag of peanuts, some small cracker packets and a few misc small things. It’s not too much weight on my back and doesn’t feel too uncomfortable. After loading that all up and making sure it wasn’t too heavy, we hit the road!

We didn’t really map it out any concrete directions to the cemetery before we left, so we just headed out in the general direction of where it was. We had looked at the map online, so we knew where we could cross the river and which direction to go to get there, we just didn’t pick any particular route. So, we ended up going a circuitous route, which was fun. We went down several roads that had interesting buildings and got to see a little more of how the true Malaysian lives. It quit being so fun when we wandered down a little dirt road that ended at this house where 12 dogs came barking out at us. Seriously, there were a ton of dogs. I quit counting at 12. Most were at the height of or just above my knees.

When I was really little, I got bit in the face by a dog and I have three little scars from it. You can’t really see them unless they are pointed out. I’ve actually been bitten in the face by other dogs, but that one is the only one that left a scar. So, I get a little scared when I’m around dogs that are barking and growling.

I remember when I was around 9-10, my dad was driving me around to deliver newspapers and when I got out at one house, these two HUGE dogs came barking down the driveway at me. I freaked out and ran behind the truck and they chased after me. My dad, my super brave dad, jumped out of the truck and just started yelling at them and waving his arms like a crazy man. I was so scared they were going to eat me, but my dad made them go away. He came behind the truck and very sternly told me that whenever a dog runs at me to just hold my ground and don’t run. He said most of the time dogs run and bark to intimidate, so I need to show them I’m not afraid and yell at them. Then he gave me a big hug and told me that I would be okay. He had me walk up the driveway to put the newspaper on the lady’s porch and he stood by the truck, watching and making sure I would be okay.

When these dogs were running at me yesterday, all I could think about was my dad standing next to the truck and telling me not to run or show that I was afraid. As soon as I saw all those dogs coming, the only thing I wanted to do was bolt back down the road. I was so scared. All I did, though, was say Troy’s name and take a step towards him. I’m sure I sounded really tiny and pathetic. Troy, though, just stood there amid all those barking dogs. He didn’t look scared at all. When the owner came out and after not really being able to understand what he was saying, Troy just turned around and calmly walked back down the road. That’s when all the dogs swarmed me. All I could think about was not making any sudden movements or running. I walked slowly down the road, which was about all I could do with all those dogs barking and running in circles around my feet.

I still don’t understand why, but one of the dogs decided this was the perfect time to try to take a chunk out of the back of my leg. I didn’t step on him or move quickly or anything. I was just walking and he bit me! The owner started yelling and waving his arms after the dog bit me. I stopped walking for a few seconds because that dog just sat there growling at me and I was afraid he was going to bite me again. After the owner came up and swatted all his dogs away I started walking again and the owner stayed behind me for a little while. He ended up having to stop the dog from lunging at me two more times.

When I got down to the end of the road, Troy asked me what took so long and wanted to know what the guy said to me. I told him what happened and asked him to look at the back of my leg. Thankfully, I’d been wearing capri jeans and had flipped the bottoms of them up. Because of that, the dog bit on two layers of jeans and it didn’t go through. One took hooked under my jeans and I have a quarter-sized bruise there, but that’s all the damage, thank goodness. Several times while we were walking after that, Troy checked the back of my leg to be sure there wasn’t a small break in the skin or scrape or previous cut nearby.

And for those of you who know me, yes, I cried. lol. Just a little bit. I felt like such a nerd, but I was scared and it hurt and the bite had shocked me, so when Troy was doing his initial check of my leg, two little tears snuck out. Troy asked me if I was crying and then gave me a hug (while chuckling) when he realized that I was a little. I didn’t used to cry so much. I feel like such a baby because I cry at the stupidest stuff now. Somehow, I’ve gone from being a solid non-crier into some sort of pansy crybaby.

Anyways, after that whole experience, we were a little more cautious about the roads we went down. On the last road we went down before we reached the cemetery, a really nice young man stopped his scooter and told us that if we were looking for the Buddhist temple, that it was on the next street. He told us where we could turn to get over there and how we could get back to the main road. Both Troy and I thought it was very nice of him to stop because he thought we might be lost. When Troy thanked him and told him we were looking for the Chinese Cemetery, the guy gave us a strange look and verified that we were wanting to go to the cemetery. We said yes and he told us to just keep going down the road we were on and we’d find it. It was funny. I guess Westerners don’t visit that cemetery very often.

When we got to the cemetery, we were both very surprised at how vast it was. Seriously, this place is huge! I wish we’d been able to spend more time there, but after about 10 minutes, we were both being eaten alive by mosquitoes. We were wearing mosquito patches, but they weren’t helping at all. At one time, I had four on one arm and three on the other.

Now, they weren’t the full-sized monster mosquitoes. These were just the tiny ones that are about the size of or small than a pinky fingernail. Not big at all. But very annoying and EVERYWHERE! Troy walked ahead of me several times and I could just see them swarming his legs and backpack. It was kinda creepy. He took his mosquito patch off waved it around, but that didn’t do any good. They stayed a couple of inches away from the patch, but that’s about it. So we decided to get out of there and get some actual mosquito spray so we could go back today.

We didn’t end up going back today because neither of us really felt like going anywhere after we got home from church.

After we decided to leave, we walked along the edge of the cemetery, taking pictures and checking out interesting things. We didn’t ever stop walking for long because as long as we were moving, there weren’t too many mosquitoes on us. We both looked like we had chicken pox or some sort of skin disease because we had all these bumps from the bites and we also had all these red marks from where we’d killed the mosquitoes as they’d been feasting on our blood. Ew. That just sounds gross. lol.

Once we finally got out of the cemetery, we just wandered in the direction of where we thought home was. It ended up being the correct general direction, but this one street we went down was not the right street to be on. We were just walking and talking and not really paying too much attention to where we were going other than heading towards some tall buildings that we thought were near our apartment. Once we turned down this street, we quickly realized we did not want to be there. Not too far in front of us were several guys in military fatigues carrying very large rifles and blocking the road. I wanted to turn around and go the other direction. Troy thought this was the perfect time to stop, pull out his phone and map how to get home. *sigh* After the military guys glared at us for a bit, I finally convinced Troy to walk back down to the end of street and do his mapping there. Whatever was going on down there, I didn’t want to get in trouble for being where we weren’t supposed to be.

Thankfully, when we got to the end of the road a cab drove by. Troy flagged the guy down and agreed to pay his insane price to take us home. We just wanted to get out of there and get showered. We had taken showers when we woke up, but we were all sweaty and gross from our walk and the humidity and we also had tons of mosquito goo on us. That shower when we got home was the best one I’ve taken in a long time. lol.

We ARE going to go back to the cemetery and get better pictures. It was all overcast and low light when we went yesterday, so the pictures we did take aren’t all that great. Well, mine aren’t. Troy takes amazing pictures in all sorts of light, so he probably has some good shots. That’s a perk of having thousands of hours of practice: you know lots of tricks and settings to get good pictures in any type of light. I do better than when I first started using his camera, but I still have a long way to go to get shots like he does. And I still have to learn how to use photoshop to edit out flaws and bring out colors. Troy installed photoshop on my computer and calibrated my monitor so I can start doing that, but I keep finding other things to do because I’m afraid the pictures aren’t going to be very good. That’s part of my perfectionism OCD. I am really hard on myself and get pretty down when I mess stuff up or don’t do things well. That’s one of the things I’m working on. I need to stop expecting myself to be perfect at everything.

Anyways, once I get my pictures edited and if any of them are good, I will post them.

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