Our time in Malaysia started in the comfortable environment of the Kelantan Golf and Country Club, where we met Uncle Nayagam. We enjoyed some cold beer and dug into some yummy mee goreng. As we started to relax after the trip from Bangkok, we were introduced to friends of Uncle Nayagam. He had also asked his good friend Ingrid to join us at the club. Ingrid is a German expat, who has been living in Kota Baru for over 20 years now, and when I asked where she was from in Germany the answer is unexpected. She was born in Hof, my hometown! So I have to travel 15,000 kilometers to meet a fellow Upper Frankonian.
The other person we get to meet is Anand, and old childhood acquaintance of Anushia’s (although they both didn’t seem to be quite sure of that) and a good friend of Uncle Nayagam. He invites us to go out with some of his friends later in the evening and we do not think twice at the temptation of some good Mamak food.
Anand picked us up a little later and we head out to the Mamak shop, where we meet some of his diving buddies from Germany, Korea and Canada and Kota Baru of course. We have a good time chatting and catching up on the latest news on Malaysia and the islands. It’s high time to go out and do some diving again! By the time we have had another drink at the new riverfront area it is time for a good rest and Anand drops us off at Uncle’s place.
Only the next morning, in daylight, do we realize at what beautiful place we are staying. We have breakfast on the veranda, which overlooks a little river and the rest of the garden with mango, mangosteen, ciku and passionfruit trees. The house is a real little oasis of calm at the edge of the jungle.
Good morning …
After filling out stomachs with a delicious meal of nasi lemak we head out to town with Uncle Nayagam and try to sort out our tickets for our last leg of travel to Seremban. Unfortunately, however, it looks that we will be stranded in Kota Baru for a little longer than originally planned. It is a holiday and all the train and bus tickets are sold out. The best option we have is a night bus to KL the day later, which lets us enjoy another day of Kelantanese Hospitality.
We meet up with Anand who takes us for a good Kopitiam (old Chinese Cofeeshop) Lunch before dropping us back at Uncle’s place, where we rest for the afternoon.
For Dinner we were invited to a treat at Ingrid’s place, where we meet up with the others from the Club. There’s a “Freistaat Bayern” Sign in the entrance area and pictures of Wunsiedel and the Fichtelgebirge around the house, making it feel kind of familiar. The dinner of Quiche and Gulasch with Pasta is delicious and the round up with Christmas cookies on the terrace under palm trees reminds us that its only a couple of days left until Christmas. We all chat long into the night and when we leave we are sad to have to turn down Ingrid’s invitation to come back for the Christmas dinner. We head back home with Uncle Nayagam and have a last beer sitting in the garden under the full moon.
Ending the day as it had started…
The next day starts with some gardening work just after breakfast – after all we have to earn our keep somehow. We help Uncle with getting the lawn back into shape, open some of the fallen coconuts for the chicken and take the overly excited dog for a walk around the garden. Half an hour later and we are sitting outside and having a beer. Anand drops by with a Kelantan specialty of Nasi Kerabu for lunch. As we still have the whole afternoon before our bus for KL leaves, he suggest going out to the beach. Although the beaches and the water are not all that nice during the monsoon season, there are still things you can do at the beach. Anand knows of someone who has set up a little surfing school at the beach and we decide to give it a try.
Teaching the chicken how to open their own coconuts
Taking out Fiver
We pick up Madeline, one of the dive buddies whom we met on our first evening in Kota Baru and take Yani, Uncle Nayagam’s helper, and head for the beach. The Surfing “school” is a little smaller than expected and there are only very few instructions from the young chap running the shop. Although the boards are not made for beginners we give it a try. The success is very limited and have difficulty getting two feet on the board and standing but it’s a lot of (exhausting) fun – spare the bruises on the leg and the occasional wack from the board swung against you by the waves.
First surfing attempts…
Then it is already time to think of leaving for our last bit of travelling and we head back via the market, where we pick up dinner. At Uncle Nayagam’s place we pack up, eat and say our goodbyes. It was a great time we had in Kota Baru and a really nice welcome to Malaysia with all the people we met there. [Thanks so much Uncle Nayagam and Anand, for having us and showing us around KB! We look forward to seeing you in KL sometime soon!]
Night market and full Moon in KB