The ride towards Kuala Terengganu was an uncomfortable one.
“It’s like riding on a galloping fridge!” I told a friend. It was freezing cold that even with my layers of fat, I couldn’t insulate myself. The driver kept on jamming the brakes when taking corners and the suspension were not that “springy”. Hence, we ended up riding on a “horse”.
I was alarmed when I was told the bus we were riding on – its permit would expire in 3 months time. I prayed hard we would reach safely.
Somehow, I managed to snap out from my restless sleep when the bus went over a bump and it was right on when we were passing by Paka Power Plant. It was beautiful. I will never forget the breath taking view of fires and lights illuminating the dark night. On my trips to Kuala Terengganu all these years, I always look forward to this scenic view.
Reaching the jetty, the unfriendly weather greeted us with heavy down pour. Already groggy from lack of sleep, my face was as gloomy as the sky. What is this man? It’s raining in July in the East Coast? The weather is getting crazy these days.
As soon as we gotten ourselves to Lang Tengah Island, we were hurdled into the reception area for a short briefing by the owner of Redang Lang Resort. I couldn’t remember his name, but he was in his early 40s. He looked somewhat unapproachable. Maybe he’s sad over his balding head. He’s probably a scuba diver based on the tanned torso and muscular build. I didn’t really like the briefing as everything was mentioned in ringgit and sen.
Snorkles and life jacket – RM20 for 3 days
Open diving introduction – RM100
Marine Park pass – RM5.00
Internet – RM7.00 hourly
Massage – RM50 per hour
Pool – RM3 per game, etc.
Redang Lang Resort looks fine on the outside. Well maintained. Your typical budget resort. I heard this place is the cheapest you can find on this island (No wonder they charge everything). Sun-tanning lazy chairs with umbrellas, a small volley ball court, scuba centre, canoes for hire, etc.
However, the moment we entered our room, a smell of decay excites our sensory buds. “Gawd!! Something must have died in the toilet!!” my third aunt kept insisting.
It took about 5 flushes before the smell go away. Whenever we were not using the toilet, we would still flush as the smell would penetrate the room when the air conditioner was turned off. I heard other rooms were not as bad as the one I was staying in. Shucks.
Since I didn’t get enough sleep in the “galloping fridge”, I made up for loss of sleep in the something-must-have-died-in-the-toilet room while the rest went to the Marine Park. It’s the same every year – the fish, the Murray eel, the barracudas, the big colorful clams, etc. I am getting a bit squeamish to deal with fishes and mollusks these days. I enjoy eating them so I can’t be friends with them. That is why I never bother to take up scuba diving. Actually, the main reason is, the sharks might mistake me as a walrus if I don on a wet suit. Geez.. I can’t shake the image being gobbled up by sharks off my mind whenever I imagine myself going for a diving trip.
I was lucky to drag my ass up to take a walk on the beach approaching dinner time as it would be the only chance to watch sunset. Other days – it was raining and raining and raining. Even on our way back to the jetty – it drizzled all morning.
On second day, when others went for jungle trekking, I looked at the weather, it was good for a swim. I had to baby sit my two aunts as both of them don’t know how to swim. I taught them a few strokes. But my fourth aunt preferred to just soak in the salty water. Another colleague joined us. I told her, she shouldn’t use a life jacket if she wanted to learn how to swim. Since we have nothing much in our agenda, I built a sand castle – I decided to make Angkor Watt but it looked somewhat distorted. Yes – I was THAT bored.
The sea was very beautiful. Like Redang Islands and Perhentian islands, the different shades of turquoise simply take my breath away. The sand was not white and “sandy” though. It was littered with dead corals washed off from the sea and rubbish can be seen everywhere. It is sad that such nice and deserted place, perfect for a quiet getaway to rest and relax is not well maintained.
A short walk from our resort towards the rocky area were good as we get to see some beautiful rocks formation and animals from the islands. The seabed was filled with sea cucumbers! My aunts were very excited and they almost wanted to harvest all the sea cucumbers to bring them back home to cook a scrumptious meal. I stopped them from even thinking about it.
About 10 minutes walk from our place, there were two other resorts. The Lang Sari Resort is situated overlooking a sea filled with corals. You can even see corals right from the beach front itself. It was that rich! I could see the place is deserted. There were not many people on the beach front. It looked somewhat haunted though. However, the canoes are for free. And nobody actually use the canoes apart from two little local girls.
The other resort is more up scaled to cater for foreigners who wanted comfort and have plenty of cash to burn. I think it’s called D’Coconut Lagoon. It has its own private swimming pool overlooking the calm sea.
Lang Tengah has only four resorts and half of them looking really dead and some even look haunted. It gave me the creeps when I walked past the resort next to ours – the Blue Coral. I think it’s closed for renovation.
Since it rained later part in the afternoon and evening, we were somewhat stranded in the resort. We didn’t fret though. We amused ourselves with karaoke, playing mahjong and pool. This time I learned how to play gin rummy using mahjong tablets. I am glad I picked up a game and hook on it ever since! So anyone game for a gin rummy, let’s hook up!
Even though our room was uncomfortable, we snored till morning. The food was surprisingly good. Good as in the taste and also, nobody got diarrhea after eating.
Nobody give a shit about what you do – we could just walk about everywhere without the slightest care. A friend of ours came across the spot where a turtle came up to lay eggs at night. The people here did conservation of turtles. As soon as the eggs are laid, they would be dug up and sent to conversation centers.
Despite the uncomfortable ride, the smelly toilet in our room and it rained almost every damn day when we were there, I was glad I get to spend time with all my three aunts (Mom didn’t want to go because she has to take care of the three monsters at home).
We spoke of our family matters, the people that passed on, how we wish our mother/ grandmother is still alive, etc. I think no matter how harsh our parents can be to us, we have to respect the way they treated us. They actually care for us. I don’t know. I seem to have this mental paradigm; thinking that my mother expects too much from me and it sometimes drive me to the wall. I think I ought to learn how to communicate better with the person that brought me to this life.
I am fortunate enough to be reminded that I should show appreciation and gratitude to my family when they are still well and alive than only to regret not having done so when they are gone.
I didn’t know this year’s company’s trip would end up a soul searching trip.
Deep stuffs. I would leave this thought to another post.
For more pictures, click here.