malaysia malarky 2011 travel blog

Our home on the beach

Cultural center, Kota Bahru

We made This!!!!

Our Malaysian hosts

We've called this cooking in KB for 2 reasons, 1),it's absolutely baking hot ,and 2) we've been shown how to do proper Malaysian cooking.

We very nearly didn't come to Kota Bharu, but I'm so glad we did, because we've had an amazing time here. It's 1 and a half hours in the opposite direction from the Cameron Highlands, which is our next stop where we're meeting Eva and John, so I was still a bit undecided when we got off the boat. I nipped off to the loo and when I returned, Theo had negotiated a price for a taxi to KB. That seems cheap I thought, then I saw the Taxi and understood why. No A/C, no seatbelts, and both driver and cab looked about 125 years old!

We got here about 3, and oh boy, what heat! It's about 37 and getting hotter all the time.

Off we went for a walk to explore, but very quickly dipped into the tourist office for a bit of cold air. We were immediately descended upon by a crowd of young laughing Malaysians, desperate for a tourist to help.Several of them were training in tourism and needed someone to practice on. They were like a flock of noisy tropical birds in their brightly coloured sari's. They herded us along to the cultural centre to see batik painting, fighting with sticks, Malay music and dancing etc. (By now, they'd found the other tourists in Kota Bharu, so there were about 8 of us)

Today, we went to the war museum-Beth do you remember when you suggested going to the war museum in Denmark? It was really interesting, so that's what made me want to go to this one. It was odd to see the pacific aspect of the war, we're used to seeing the European story, Dunkirk, Germany in France etc. This was all about the Japanese, Pearl harbour and invasion of Singapore.

We walked around the huge central market and got some food at a street cafe. We were brought a small bundle wrapped in newspaper with an elastic band around it, inside was a marinaded piece of chicken and a dome of rice, with curry sauce over it. Theo thought he'd died and gone to heaven and got stuck in with his fingers. I did try, really I did, but dropped rice and curry all over me and the table, and really couldn't see how I could get at that chicken with only one hand. Feeling very guilty I asked for a fork and spoon.

This evening, we've been to the home of an old Malaysian man, had a cooking lesson, and been served a 4 course meal. He works at the tourist office and obviously has a nice little sideline taking tourists to his home. He warned us he lived in a typical Malaysian house, but we were unprepared for the old wooden house he took us to. The floor planks had

2 inch gaps between them and you could see the earth underneath.

The house was basic and very poor by our standards. The food however, was amazing. Rosamund (the old guy) made us chicken curry cooked in coconut, with ginger, onion garlic, galangal, kaffir leaves and stacks more ingredients. He also made us Mackerel in soy sauce, stirfried vegetables and a pudding made of fresh mango and honeydew melons. He cooked it with us, Theo did the chopping, and I took notes. Later on, all the young students from the tourist office turned up, they were all laughing and joking and were really friendly. The girls asked for our face book address-they must collect them from the tourists.

Anyway, you're all invited over to Canterbury so we can try our new cooking skills out on you, that's Janice in Australia and Jo in Plymouth as well!!

Tomorrow we've arranged a pick up from our hostel at 8 am, and have a hard days travelling ahead, arriving in the Cameron Highlands about 4 pm. I'm looking forward to the cooler temperatures, and want to get some tea and scones.

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