On this day, we left Cherating to continue our trip North.
To recap, we had arrived from KL at about 4.30 pm the previous day spending time in the evening and the next morning walking on the desolate beach. There was not much else that we could do anyway. Red flags were up all along the beach indicating danger.
My sarong non-kebaya flapping in the wind
We wanted to play some ping-pong to help digest a sinful dinner. We were quite willing to pay the RM5.00 per hour, unfortunately the Suria Resort where we were putting up, had only 2 battered bats and they couldn't find any ping-pong balls anywhere!!! I mean... had someone mistaken them for turtle eggs? Or worse, did someone replace the eggs the turtle laid with the missing ping-pong balls?
The only saving grace for the resort was the free kejap-ada-kejap-takda wi-fi that was available only at the lobby. Which was better than the RM10 per hour and RM35 for 24 hours usage, that the Grand Continental in Kuala Terengganu offered . We did not take it up due to my hunch that it might have connectivity issues; which turned out to be correct because we heard another guest complain about not being able to get his Firefox to run.
Oh yes, the sinful dinner - hubby fully focused. Me, right-hand saying yes,yes and the other clenched saying don't! Right always wins:
The place - hasn't changed in 20 years:
Anyways the drive up was a sentimental journey of sorts for hubby. A quarter of a decade ago he was with an Oil & Gas company and had been assigned to a project in Kerteh for about a year. I was working in KL and he used to commute at the weekends to see the children, ahemm. Kerteh has really changed and we saw how run-down the officers' quarters where he used to live, are now. Actually they have left the houses unoccupied as they were only temporary housing at that time. Paka is also very built-up now when in those days the road passing through the town was not even lit.
This he clearly remembered because of an incident that might make an old pirate snigger. It was a hot sunny day sometime in May and late in the afternoon hubby thought it would be nice to cool off by swimming in the sea off Paka. Hubby loved swimming and still does, and as always he swam a short distance away from the beach. When he was ready to swim to shore, he found the current very uncooperative and he was in fact just swimming in place, not getting anywhere. Exhausted, he decided that all he could do was to just lie back on the water spread-eagled as a starfish and let the current deposit him on shore where-ever - it turned out to be at a nearby bay. "Nearby" was a few kilometres away from where he had parked his car - it was already failing light and so he had to make his way back on to the road and walk all along it in darkness in his sexy swimming trunks to the car. He felt cold and passing cars were few and far between but none stopped nor did he hail any - the drivers probably thought he was a crazy person anyway. He felt tired and hungry, but happy to be able to walk even though bare-foot and half-naked. So yes, the current off the east coast waters are treacherous even in the non-monsoon season and the sea is calm, and you really need to keep your head when you are caught in a current like my hubby had.
Those days too, the river near where hubby worked was also very clean and calm. One day it looked so inviting he decided to go for a swim. It was a deliciously refreshing swim which he enjoyed thoroughly. Some boys were watching him from a bridge on the river. He beckoned them but they kept on watching him. When he got back to his car that he had parked near the bridge, he told the boys about the nice time he had and asked why they did not jump in with him. They calmly said "Ada buaya".
And they were waiting for some kind of action in the river! I think it was hubby's luck that the crocodile was not hungry that day.
All these tales made us hungry as crocodiles by the time we got to Dungun. And there I had my first taste of Nasi Kukus - steamed rice served with freshly-fried spicy chicken, acar, popadoms and a curry sauce, all of which is set on a piece of banana leaf and served wrapped up in brown paper. It was delicious and I loved it.
We had it here:
Continuing on, we soon arrived in Kuala Terengganu. Checked in at the hotel and then went to check out the famed Crystal Mosque. We followed our GPS Garmin's navigation and you'd think that the gadget would take us to the right place, but we ended up traversing the narrow lanes of Pulau Duyong instead. Here's the Pokcik who told us where we actually were and that he has an anok ka' Bangi.
These pictures were taken at the newly-built jetty area on Pulau Duyong.
That night we set Garmin's destination to Taman Tamadun Islam on Pulau Wan Man where the Crystal Mosque is actually located, and where we had so-so Arabian food for dinner. The Crystal Mosque at night is a splendid display of lighting in changing colours.
We rounded off the night at the home of a friend who served us superb curry-puffs just off the kuali and hot tasty black local coffee. Complete satisfaction...