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Archive for the ‘Outside Becklee’s Coconut Shell’ Category

I read about the forest fires in Victoria, Australia today.  Paul Kiah tells me that it is really hot in Melbourne but where he lives, there aren’t any fires.  At the same time in Wales, my best friend Helen sent me some pictures of snow in Denbigh Moors which is about half an hour’s drive away from where she lives.  It’s freezing out there! These pictures were taken yesterday.

My best friend Helen and her husband Steve

My best friend Helen and her husband Steve

Children tobagganing in the snowfield

Children tobogganing in the snowfield

Snow everywhere

Snow everywhere

Brrrrrr!

Brrrrrr!

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On 2 February 2009, Irene and I drove down to Malacca to meet up with Jen who is back here from Melbourne to visit her family for the Chinese New Year as well as to attend a relative’s wedding in Singapore.   We bunked in with Jen and her two children at the Mahkota Hotel Melaka.  She had booked a two room deluxe apartment and we had a comfortable stay there.
Mahkota Hotel Melaka

Mahkota Hotel Melaka

After unloading our bags into the apartment, we walked to Mahkota Parade which is right across the road from the hotel.  The mall was brightly decorated…
Inside Mahkota Parade

Inside Mahkota Parade

Little red lanterns

Little red lanterns

We went to the food court to have our late lunch.  I had chicken rice and so did Jen’s two children.  Irene had fried koay teow and Jen had some spicy chicken rice.  We also shared the popiah and ice kacang.  The ice kacang was delicious because of the “gula melaka”.

Popiah

Popiah

Ice kacang

Ice kacang

Jen and her kids did some shopping but the three of us were so engrossed in talking inside the shops that her kids disappeared on their own without our knowing.  Anyway, we then decided to go back to Mahkota Hotel to continue yakking.  Jen, Irene and I have been best friends since we were classmates from Form 3 to Form 5.  Even after we left school to pursue our further education and careers, we kept in touch through letters and in recent years through emails. 

That night, we joined our former classmates for dinner (that’s a story to be told in my next posting).  After dinner we continued yakking until nearly 1 a.m. before going to bed.

The next morning, after breakfast, we decided to explore the facilities at the hotel.  Jen had scouted around early in the morning and had done some work-out at the gym while Irene and I were still in bed. 

First off we went to the spa which was next to the swimming pool.  Both Irene and I didn’t bring our swimming suits so we thought we could try our luck by jumping into the spa pool with our shorts and t-shirts.  But luck was against us and the pool attendant said no, we couldn’t use the spa and that if we wanted we could use the kiddie pool.  So we left and tried our hand at the mini golf.  This was the first time that Irene and I held a golf stick and hit a golf ball.  My first hit sent the ball flying out of the mini golf course but after a few swings, it was okay.  Then we walked bare-footed on the reflexology path.  It was good but Irene gave it a skip.  We saw this model of a kampung house ….

Model of Malay kampung house

Model of Malay kampung house

 and trishaw…

Trishaw

Trishaw

After that we decided to explore outside the hotel.  We walked to the Jetty.  This jetty connects the Mahkota Hotel to the Holiday Inn. 

The Jetty connecting Mahkota Hotel and Holiday Inn

The Jetty connecting Mahkota Hotel and Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn

As we walked along the Jetty, we could see the Straits of Malacca.  It was almost mid-day but it looks hazy,  is the place polluted or what?  There are pubs, karaoke, cyber cafe, massage centre, cafes and shops along the Jetty.  It was quite deserted in the day time, maybe this place would come alive at night.

Straits of Malacca

Straits of Malacca

The Eye of Malacca is here now.  This ferris wheel used to be in Kuala Lumpur for one year before being relocated here.

Eye of Malacca

Eye of Malacca

Best friends forever… and thank you for being a friend, Irene and Jen.

Beck, Irene and Jen

Beck, Irene and Jen

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Recently, Ah Loot and her former classmates went on a two days one night adventure trip to Kampung Geruntum, Sungai Itik in Gopeng, Perak.   
Turn off to Gopeng

Turn off to Gopeng

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They stayed at the Adeline Rest House.  Below is a picture of the hut where they stayed.  There is no air-conditioning nor hot water bath.  The accommodation is dormitory style and they slept on mattresses on the floor (could be hard on your back if you’re not used to this).  Also, there’s no mobile phone coverage in this area!
Adeline Rest House

Adeline Rest House

 When they arrived at Gopeng, they went caving at the Gua Kandu.  They are all geared up for the adventure.

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Inside the cave, there are some nice formations resembling animals.  Ah Loot said that there is a lot of climbing to be done.

 

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 They went to the waterfall for a swim.  Poor Ah Loot, she can’t swim, so she had to be coaxed into joining them in the water.  With some help from the guys, she managed to throw caution to the wind. 

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Wah, so exciting….

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Can you imagine all these fifty something guys and gals enjoying the white water rafting?  Ah Loot wanted out at first but here she is…. can you spot her?  She’s the one holding on to the the paddle for dear life instead of helping to row the raft.   Oh, and she got thrown out of the raft together with another guy but she had earlier been briefed by the guide on what to do in such a situation.  So she didn’t panic.

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She had a great weekend with her former classmates and I’m sure she wouldn’t have been so adventurous if not for them.

The website to the Adeline Rest House is here in case any of you are interested.

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Before we left Kuantan, we went to Jalan Besar to buy the keropok, preserved oysters, dried prawns and anchovies and lekor. 

A barber shop in Kuantan.  They still do exist here.

Some of the buildings in downtown Kuantan.

We finally found the shop that was recommended by Ah Loot’s friend who is from Kuantan.  We bought all our stuff from here.

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We made a trip to the Turtle Sanctuary at Cherating Beach, Pahang on Merdeka Day only to find that it was closed.  We were disappointed because we wanted to see the baby turtles.

The sanctuary is right next to Club Med Cherating.

We looked into the hatchery but there weren’t any turtles there. 

We spent a few minutes on the beach but it was too hot, so we decided to go back.

Along the way, we could see coconut trees and kampung houses. 

While enjoying the scenery outside the car, Paul Kiah suddenly switched on the car air-conditioining full blast.  Then we smelt something foul like rotten eggs and we thought it came from outside.  Then Paul Kiah started laughing when we tried to figure out where the smell was coming from…. could it be the smell of manure in the fields, or the salted fish and keropok from the stalls on the streets.  As it turned out Paul Kiah had farted, really celaka lah.  He said he had given us a warning by turning up the air-conditioning.

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Batik painting

Right next to the batik shop that we visited in Kuantan are several shops selling batik paintings, and knick knacks for the home.  The paintings here are beautiful.  Peta bought a couple of paintings.

The weather is very hot in Kuantan, but fortunately we managed to get cold drinks from this shop.

Is this a dragon fruit tree or what?

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One of the places that we visited while we were in Kuantan was this batik shop which was just a stone’s throw away from the Swiss Garden hotel.

 

As we wandered around the side of the shop, a lady asked us whether we wanted to see how batik printing was done and we said, “yes”.

This is wax which is one of the ingredients used in batik printing.

A man demonstrating how batik prints are made on the materials.

The different moulds for batik printing.

This is used to outline the batik prints.

Some batik designs.  The materials used are either cotton or silk.

This is where the materials are washed to remove the wax.

After the washing, the materials are hung out to dry.

This shop sells a lot of beautiful batik clothes, t-shirts, home furnishings and souvenirs.  The guy told us that many surrounding hotels purchase their hotel furnishings from them.

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