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Wednesday 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

As the song proclaims: “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!”, and we couldn’t agree more. By the time you read this we will be on our way to my hometown, and Brendan’s place of birth... Kuala Terengganu. My father and his father before him came from the ‘Turtle’ state, and it does feel like Christmas this year knowing that we’ll be spending it at our hometown (Cat’s from Kota Bharu, Kelantan which is just a state away).

I'm grooving to Bobby Sherman's 'Jingle Bell Rock' as I type this, and while my body is in Kuala Lumpur my soul is already in Kuala Terengganu where I grew up. Life was simpler and sweeter then; I am harking back to the time when I would ride my red racing bicycle absolutely everywhere with my best buds; tennis practice every evening with Vinodh, Krishen and Deva at our school courts; attending Mass and Catechism classes every Friday morning (the weekend here) at our quaint little chapel at St. Teresa's; 'visiting' (read: raiding) an orchard and enjoying our pick of durians, rambutans and purple mangosteens, and then getting attacked by humongous kerenggas (weaver ants, I shall not trespass again); snug at home having fried fish fritters with Kopi O (regular black coffee with sugar) while watching the rain through our window; football on the beach at Batu Buruk (running on a sandy beach saps your energy in no time, believe you me); riding pillion on Francis’ cub motorcycle going just about everywhere; my first puppy love in Form One with a cute girl (I still remember her name, sorry Cat) from Chendering who gave me an ashtray for my birthday!

A bittersweet longing for things or situations of the past, nostalgia is interestingly enough made up of words that bring the meaning homecoming (nóstos) and pain/ache (álgos), and it sums up what I’m feeling at the moment... sigh.

batu buruk beach beckons
something new...
.. and something old
Kuala Terengganu at night, a sight to behold

Memories of going around with our church carollers are still fresh in my mind, and made even more memorable by the erratic weather during this time of year. And speaking of weather, we hope that the worst is behind us (flood-wise) though we would welcome the occasional ‘showers of blessing’ since it (the rain) is etched in my psyche as being part and parcel of Christmas in Kuala Terengganu.

The photos below will serve as a sneak peek into what we'll be featuring on our photo-blog in the days to come:

kueh (cakes) found only in KT
deep fried delicacies
our routine lunchtime destination every Friday
still the best Minang/Padang shop anywhere to be found
Chinese cuisine east coast style!

I hope I don’t gain too much weight while we’re in Kuala Terengganu, since our itinerary will be filled with visits to our old favourite ‘Makan’ places! We will try to cram as much Terengganu cuisine as we can during our short stay (3-4 nights) and hope that we are able to do my hometown justice where the everyday food for the everyday person is concerned.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

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