Tuesday 31 July 2012

Traipsing Trengganu

From Kelantan we continued our road trip down the coast to Trengganu, also a first time for me! We had friends in Kuala Ibai who kindly put us up at their home by the beach, and introduced us to authentic nasi dagang - delicious breakfast fare, I must say.

In the capital Kuala Trengganu, Pasar Payang beckoned, also Pantai Batu Burok. There was also our quick foray to see (and buy) batik at the Nur Arfa Batik factory/showroom. The quality of batik in Trengganu is said to be better than its neighbour Kelantan, and I fully concur.

B in the vicinity of Pasar Payang, KT (CNB 1991)

Pantai Batu Burok (MN 1991)

But the highlight was our stay at the Tanjung Jara Beach Hotel (now Resort); the beautiful Malay style timber buildings that won the Aga Khan Award for architecture. The setting was wonderful, and the golden beach, quite flawless.

Welcome to TJBH (CNB 1991)

A & cousin Hazwani at TJBH (CNB 1991)

Awaiting breakfast at the TJBH (CNB 1991)

An early morning pose at TJBH (BB 1991)

Posing with the Aga Khan award (CNB 1991)

The golden beach at Tanjung Jara, Dungun (CNB 1991)

One very dark night, from the TJBH, we were taken to Rantau Abang, to see the giant turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. We were lucky to come across a beautiful one that had just laid her eggs, and watching the behemoth creature haul itself herself down to the sea was a sight not easily forgotten.

A giant turtle heading back to sea (CNB 1991)

We also made it to Tasik Kenyir. It was just a look-see really, as we did not have the time for a house-boat stay on the lake. This largest artificial lake of South East Asia borders the states of Pahang and Kelantan and is a haven for freshwater fishes.

A, Hazwani, Bro AW, B and moi at Tasik Kenyir (QA 1991)

We wanted to spend a night in Pulau Kapas, but we missed the last boat and so had to stay at a nearby lodge in Marang. Believe me, I can still remember the katak (frog) in the toilet and the putrid smell of the pillows. No doubt from the sweat of a thousand backpackers! But Marang beach is picturesque, the locals very friendly; only we were quite sad to come across a dead turtle there, strangled by the fishermen's nets.

B & A (very serious) & the pretty boats of Marang (CNB 1991)
The local children on Marang beach (CNB 1991)

A really sad end to a very beautiful creature (CNB 1991)

In Kelantan, the Moonlight overcame Passionate Love

This was our first time in Kelantan! And me already with two kids! I do not know why I never made it here before. We stayed in my eldest brother's home in Kota Baru, from where we went for the wedding in Kg Pek, Machang.

And ... when in Kelantan, Pantai Cinta Berahi or the 'Beach of Passionate Love' beckons. Only now it is boringly called Pantai Cahaya Bulan or 'Moonlight Beach'. So no more passionate couples hanging out there, I guess. Or are there?

At the PCB (AW 1991)

There was also Rantau Panjang to go for shopping, in addition to the shopping in KB, including at the main market or Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah. Formerly the Pasar Besar Buluh Kubu, the octagon shaped four-story market building is where the fairer sex dominate the business.

Siblings & cousins at Rantau Panjang (AW 1991)

The ground floor of the PBSK  (CNB 1991)

On the steps of PBSK: Little Hazwani grins, A
puts on a smile, while B exudes a sombre mood
(diarrhoea punya hal). (CNB 1991)  

B and A both came down with diarrhoea, a rather expected thing to happen in KB. It must have been the food at the infamous gerais in downtown KB. Was it the ayam/ikan percik, nasi kerabu or laksam? Or was it the tahi itik? (duck's poo! - actually an inaptly named Kelantan kuih/dessert).

Kota Baru, Kelantan (BB 1991)


Wednesday 25 July 2012

West-East Road Trip

Federal Route 4 or the East-West Highway was built between 1970-1982, cutting across the Titiwangsa Main Range, and connecting Grik in Perak to Jeli in Kelantan via Banding Island in Temenggor Lake. It was built then as a defence related highway and during the Communist Insurgency (1968-1989), there was military presence every kilometer.

There was no more military presence in 1991 but be sure to
make way for the elephants! Pic taken on our return journey
(AW 1991)

In May 1991, we made a road trip from Pulau Pinang to the East Coast of Malaysia through this highway to Kota Baru (to witness the wedding of our youngest sibling to a Kelantan lass in Kg Pek, Machang). My brother AW drove us from the island to Kulim, Baling in Kedah, then Grik, Perak; via the East-West Highway to Jeli, Tanah Merah and Kota Baru, Kelantan. 

We stop for a bio-break in a little town along the way (BB 1991)

Along the way we crossed the bridge over Lake Temenggor (a hydroelectric dam) and Pulau Banding, an artificial island created because it is the highest peak in the Temenggor Basin when it was flooded for the dam. This East-West route is very scenic due to the hilly terrain and sunken valley. Dead trees protruding in the waters also gave the place an eerie feeling.

We stayed a few days in Kelantan for the wedding and some sightseeing; then we went on to Trengganu for another few days to complete our East Coast sojourn.

The groom & the wedding party from PP (AW 1991)

The newly wedded couple - Bro MM & Zaleha (CNB 1991)

May-June 1991

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Salam Ramadhan

It is the 4th day of Ramadhan... may you have a blessed month. May this ninth month of the Muslim calendar be meaningful for you and family in observing one of the five pillars of Islam.

On the light side; enjoy Lat's take on the Ramadhan of yesteryear ... I remember that in Alor Star where I spent part of my childhood, the big blocks of ice came from boxes lined with gunny sacks and sawdust. Since only a small block was needed, they cost only 10 cents. Or was it 5 cents? I was sometimes sent to buy the ice block for our iftar, and yes, sometimes there was not enough sawdust because the shop man was kedekut!

Tuesday 17 July 2012

One Year ago Today

After a short hiatus from blogging, I realise that one year ago today (17 July/17.7) I started my blog, and this will be the 177th blog post (I like the number 7, ha!). It has been an interesting writing (and learning) experience. I racked the far recesses of my heart and grey matter for my memoir snippets, and looking back nostalgically; I went through a slew of photographs in my collection, I looked up books, dictionaries and encyclopedias for a greater understanding of words, facts and even fiction. Of course I trawled the Internet for information new and old (and authentic). I reminisced  a lot (err.. when you are my age you can't help looking back often), and was self-indulgent often times.

I have spent quite a bit of time writing, editing and 'tweaking' my blog posts, sometimes at the expense of other matters. But the initial great enthusiasm seems to be waning and I realise that many blogs 'die' after a while, but I do wish to continue writing here, if only to understand myself and the world around me a little bit better. Meantime, I will be appreciating every sunrise... while writing into the sunset... Syukur and cheers!

Thursday 5 July 2012

Port Dickson, N9

While at boarding school in Seremban in the 60's, we had the occasional outings to the nearest beach - at Port Dickson. It is a mere 32 km away and I remember we thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the beach and the sea too. I guess being young and in the company of good friends helped to heighten the senses in the appreciation of the natural environment.

A b&w photo of PD

From Kuala Lumpur, PD is 90 km away; an hour along the North-South highway. It is near enough for a weekend retreat, but you do have to brace yourself for the traffic jam on the way back. The 18 km beach front from Tanjung Gemuk to Tanjung Tuan seems to be a popular holiday destination. There are many international standard hotels and good seafood restaurants, though you cannot compare the beauty of the beach now with that in the (good) old days!

My sister-in-law's kampung is conveniently located in PD, with the beach just across the road. We have visited and stayed with her family and would all go down to lepak by the seaside and take dips in the (not so clear) waters. During a couple of Christmas breaks too, we spent the time at a nice beachside resort in PD (can't recall the name, its been changed), and dined at sumptuous seafood restaurants (can't recall names again; must be getting nyanyuk!). Anyway go to PD for the nearest beach getaway/holiday. 

The mangroves at PD, previously called 'Arang' 

You may or may not know this fact - this port town is also an 'army town' (officially), with a few camps of the Malaysian Army stationed here. So if you need a break from the beach, then visit the Army Museum!

Note: The above re-photo'd black & white photos of PD by Gary Q were a gift from a friend during X'mas 2008.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Pantun Melayu 3

                                                          Bunga melur bunga melati,
                                                                Ketiga dengan bunga kertas;
                                                          Dari telur lagi dinanti,
                                                                Inikan pula sudah menetas.

Dipetik dari Kurik Kundi Merah Saga; Kumpulan Pantun Lisan Melayu. DBP, 1990.
Ex Libris CNB 0109
Gambar Bunga Melur di Taman Seri Aryan oleh CNB, 2012.