Friday, March 31, 2006

My Mini Breakaway With Mom

The Kelantan 4D/3N trip last week went well.

Both my mom and I were treated like queens, being chaufered all over the place by Paul, one of my good friend's husband. They gave me more surprises than anticipated and as a matter of fact, the roads are more organised and developed not to mention cleaner and bigger than Penang Island which in my heart, is a disgrace and no longer deserve the "Pearl Of The Orient" honour. The Kelantan and Thai border food were just simply, one of a kind experience that one must simply try out in one's life time.

Mostly, we spent our time looking at different shops of batik, pasar... mini market... those like Haatyai style, and all that. We arrived at Kota Baru on Thursday afternoon, checked into the hotel first (June traded a free voucher from her friend for RM100 - rack rate would have been RM360), then went to the Kota Baru beach and visited a nearby Beach Resort. The sands were not as fine and shimmering like our Batu Ferringhi ones. They were rough actually, and not as comfortable to walk on. My nieces and nephews would probably cry if they had to stand on it. The next morning, Paul came to pick us up, went for their KB people style breakfast which was a heavy curry rice, then their pasar which papa insisted is a compulsory visit but to our bits of disappointment wasnt so special anymore as there are now guys instead of just girls in the earlier years, except that the girls still wear a row of gold bangles on their hands. They sit on a table together with their produce surrounding them. We were more eager to shop for their local batik dresses and sarong. We left after an hour with mom securing 3 really nice sarong.

As we continued our journey to Rantau Panjang, (June's hometown, had a nite stay with her family), we stopped by a big batik shop where I found my batik dress, the print looks like those Empress Dowager style with nice sleeve up to my elbow. Mom chose a nice shirt for Kenzu. Along the way, Paul got us some local apom (cant recall the name). We also tried out their local Kelantan dish, I think it is nasi dagang, mixed with thinly sliced mixed vegies. In the evening we went out to the local stalls but had to leave after an hour due to more rain. For dinner, they tapao from Golok, Thailand. Rantau Abang is at the Thai border only. Genuine Thai cooked food are very much different from those I tasted from KL Thai restaurants.

The next morning, after an interesting feast of Golok kuih-muih for breakfast, we went back to the stalls in Rantau Abang again to get more batik sarong and batik shirts from June's uncle's shop. He doesnt sell those batik dress tho. Then we left around 12.30pm to come back to KB. Sent the sister off at the airport back to KL, then picked up Paul (who was staying at his parents' home in KB), went for lunch, tried their Kelantan laksa (lemak, nice but different from our asam laksa), then continued with my 3 temples visit, coconut water, n finally the grand stop at a final Batik Shop where mom frantically and mercifully scanned through their products and made her pick for Marita, Hooi Yie and Liew Yang, as well as for James. It was rather comical seeing mum shuffling in and out the stalls searching for her batik dress under a stressful and tensed situation. We managed to keep the little girl occupied by dressing her with a couple of blouse. She looked like an angel flying and zooming all over the shop, playing hide and seek with me once in a while. Even June decided to indulge herself in a couple of purchases and selecting some for her staff. I saw some nice decent blouse with butterfly sleeves and picked up 5 for my staff. The lady boss must be pleased with our contribution, after more than an hour of browsing activities. Paul was all the while sitting at the front and keeping himself busy. It is incomprehensible that guy shirts are, comparatively speaking, more than twice the price of a lady's dress. Very strange, indeed.

The Sleeping Buddha (longest and biggest in South-East Asia), Standing Buddha which is pretty, built with some white colored granite/marble (only had a pit stop, 5 minutes for photo shoot), and sitting Buddha - the latest addition which seems like made of bronze or sth, very pretty indeed, with his ear lobes above his shoulder. The pillars were mostly carved with mosaic glasses and tastefully done. I remember years ago when I attended a day trip for a collection of Buddha sculptures, the artist taught us that the shape and length of the ears define where the Buddha came from, but I cant recall much now. Too bad there were lots of stray dogs in the temple and they stink due to skin disease and no proper care.

We left quickly to meet Gary (who happened to be my Uni friend but different year, and whom I have not met for than 10 years) who was also meeting up with their 2 old high school friends. Gary, Paul, Wei Ai and the 2 friends are all old school friends. Gary treated us another Thai dinner.

We finally checked in around 10pm with another discount voucher (RM180 after 60% discount) while June borrowed the bathroom to bathe her daughter and changed her pyjamas so that she could sleep in the car on the way back to Rantau Panjang. Too bad Snow White dint follow us otherwise the two will have a fabulous time playing together.

The next morning, we woke up around 7am. Mom went down for the breakfast, while I prepare to check out. Our prearranged cab waited for us around 7.45am for our flight back to KL about 9.15 am.

Now that no frills flights are directed to another airport, it is actually more convenient for me (tho about 15 or 20 km further away from KLIA). I could practically grab a cab (about RM10 one way) or get someone to drop me off at KL Central station, then take an AirAsia SkyBus to LTCC (Low Cost Terminal Airport) for a mere RM9 one way. The ride is about an 1.15 hours (as compared to a cab which is about 45 minutes from our Sri Hartamas home). They also sell the skybus tickets in the plane as well as the arrival hall which is quite small, and easy to navigate about. Nevertheless, I would just to warn you that the skybus I took wasn't in the best condition, and not well kept too, just decent for a short trip.

Verdict, Kelantan is worth a visit.


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