KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
It was great to get back to Kuala Terengganu and to check into the hotel we had stayed in a week earlier. The rooms were comfortable and there was good Internet access, but the food in the lobby restaurant was only borderline edible. We were happy to have discovered a branch of a Malaysian chain restaurant called ‘Secret Recipe’ just across the street from the hotel.
Anil and I had first eaten at a Secret Recipe when we visited Malaysia in 2007. We had walked from one town in the Cameron Highlands to another and wanted something to eat. Anil had spotted Carrot and Ginger soup on their menu and had a heaping bowl of the steaming soup along with a fresh bun. He talked often of that particular bowl of soup and so he was drawn to the restaurant when we returned to KL.
We spent our last day in Kuala Terengganu visiting the State Museum, the largest museum in all of Southeast Asia, or so we learned from our guidebook. The museum sits on a large 26-hectare complex and contains several preserved traditional wooden houses along with a maritime museum and several outdoor vessels that can be explored on dry land.
The large concrete buildings, constructed to resemble the traditional stilt homes, houses a fascinating array of textiles and royal regalia, but it is the detailed displays of various techniques used to produce the batiks and kain songket (fabrics with gold threads), that kept me enthralled. Anil and David enjoyed the woodcarvings and some of the armaments.
We were tired from walking around and looking at all the displays and climbing the stairs to the different levels, but when we came outside to see the traditional buildings, we were delighted to find that there was a small tram that would take us around the extensive grounds. The driver wound in and around the various gravel paths so we could have a good look at the buildings, and would even stop and wait for us to get down and take some photos. We were the only visitors on the grounds that afternoon.
We ended up passing by the boats and stopped to have a look at the very interesting maritime museum situated right along the river. Well worth a visit, overall a state museum that would make any capital proud.
Our next stop was the nearby Crystal Mosque. We had seen it on the drive in from the airport and I wanted to take some photos. I was surprised that they would let non-Muslims enter the prayer hall. I donned a long robe and a headscarf quite willingly, and was happy that I did because the inside was as beautiful as the outside.
We realized that we were only a short distance from the airport, so we made a trip out to be sure we could find it easily the next morning. We had to drop off our rental car before our flight and we didn’t want anything to go wrong and cause us to miss the plane, or face extra charges because we left the car in the wrong location.
I was energized by the beauty of the buildings we had seen that day, and would have loved to drive across town and visit the Floating Mosque as well, but Anil and David had seen enough and all they wanted was a cold beer and a hot meal. The description of the mosque was intriguing, it doesn’t really float as it was constructed on a small island, but it is pure white and is said to look fabulous when the setting sun shines on it.
I gave into Anil and David; they had been very cooperative with my desire to visit the museum and the mosque and I knew they were tired and hungry. I’m sorry to say that we weren’t very creative, we headed back to Secret Recipe and had a great feed of vegetarian lasagna. We had no luck finding any cold beer for David in this ‘dry’ city, but he handled his disappointment well.