The Great Kapok Tree and the Little Girl

As my oldest daughter got an upset tummy and this was the last day we had the rental car, we decided that my wife would stay at the hotel with the children, while I took the car for a last drive. Driving around on an island, without any particular destination is really nice. Langkawi is not bigger than that you can drive around it in just over an hour. You can pretty much drive in any direction and still end up where you started, within a reasonable time frame.

When exploring the island I drove past an old couple and their grandchild, that were involved in some kind of activity a couple of steps off the road. When looking through the rear-view mirror it looked like they were standing in ankle deep snow, bending down to pick up some of this snow. Yeah, I know it’s a weird thought to think there is snow in the tropics. I guess that the image in my mind was a result of me coming from Sweden, where white stuff lying on the ground, in most cases, is snow.

Curious as I am, I immediately pulled over and walked over to see what it was all about. I asked the grandfather and he said that it was a kapok tree that was releasing seeds and seed fibres. It releases the seeds and cotton from pods that are around 30cm in length. The pods are at first green but after a while they get brown and dry, until they break open, releasing the seeds, with attached cotton, to be dispersed by the wind. They were there picking it to use it as filling in pillows that they had made for themselves and their grandchild. The grandmother came over and joined the discussion. She was curious about me, so she asked me where I came from, where my wife was and how many kids we have. This is what I like about the Malaysian way of small talk. It is very personal and the interest they show in you are mostly for real. The lady said that I should pick a bag full of kapok cotton and bring back to Sweden, so my daughters would have decent pillows. I kindly rejected the idea and thanked for the chat, and then I continued with my island exploring.

Little girl and grandfather gathering kapok fibres in Langkawi, Malaysia.Layer of kapok fibre on the ground, Langkawi, Malaysia.Little girl standing in kapok fibre, Langkawi, Malaysia.Kapok fibres on bushes under a kapok tree, Langkawi, Malaysia.Child and grandmother gathering kapok cotton, Langkawi, Malaysia.Kapok fibres accumulating under a kapok tree.Kapok seed pod, Langkawi, Malaysia.Little girl in Langkawi, Malaysia.

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