Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Patch

Walking the streets of Kuala Terengganu in not a pleasant experience. For one thing, it's quite hot (this is the tropics, pretty much on the equator) and for another thing, it's a bit of an obstacle course.

That is the pavement/footpath, and a relatively good section of it. This man is not (necessarily) crossing the road, he is walking in the safest place. There are open drains/sewers all over the place (sometimes, but not always, covered with a grill) and all kinds steps and stairs.

The other day (on a weekend) we wandered out the back of our place, along the winding tracks of the little village there. Looking back, there is our building again ...

... and the horrible yellow stain (which is not really there) is our little piece, the three windows of our apartment. You'll notice there are a lot of floors above us.

Inside the building, when we come out of our (front and only) door, we can see right through the front of the building, and there are little sitting areas as well as the light/air well where people hang their washing (over the abyss).

At the front of our building is a street with lovely shady trees ...

That's one of the little rickshaw men from China Town riding through (there are only a handful of them - tourist option.)

Looking around the side of our building, you can see that the higher floors have a different format to ours ... and possibly some interesting views, we realised, so we hopped back inside and up the lift to the tenth.

Now we can see right down our street, over the top of the little shops, and out to the river mouth (that's the 'Kuala' in 'Kuala Terengganu'.)

What we had thought was a boat harbour when we were in the hotel, is obviously the river mouth, and it's about time we went down to have a closer look.

So we wandered out along the groin on the south side of the river. Hidden among those rocks on the left are quite a lot of fishermen. Some of them have constructed little temporary shelters with sticks jammed between the rocks, and they usuallyhave their motorbikes parked nearby.

We can see this thing sticking out over the top of the groin even from our window, and had always presumed it was a beacon, or maybe some sort of winch. Then we thought it might be a sunken ship, or maybe the thing they used to build the groin with.

And looking back at the city from the end of the groin - that's our square white building in the middle.

The Realities of Life

We don't get a lot of time to wander on the groin or beach, or even through the village backstreets, because we are working! Yes, really! Five days a week we get up at 5.30am, and leave home in the pitch dark (before 7am) when the streets are full of poor little school kids off to school for a 7.30am start. The little girls all wear white head scarves and look like little penguins. We don't finish until 5-ish, and then drive the 20km back to our apartment.

The other day they had a staff meeting - well you expect that - of all the faculty, not just English Department.

So ... of course it was all in Bahasa Malaysia. We had to be there because we were going to be formally introduced (to everyone, again)... not that we understood anything they said about us, other than our names (they called me Dr Ruth :D)

The men all sat on the left - that's Lloyd, our third fellow, by the way. They all prayed, and signed a pledge, and sang their national anthem (quite nicely).

The rest of the two hours - we have no idea. Yes, I had my iPad, so I was playing a game.

And that's Nazeri sitting behind us, finding it all very amusing.

A Holiday Already

I have had a very long day today, and I'm ready to fall into bed ... with the windows open, the fan on '1', and the mozzie thing plugged into the wall. The man in the mosque seems to have finally finished for tonight so I should be able to sleep.

Tomorrow is the prophet's birthday. I don't know what that 'means', except we get a day off, I get to sleep in past 5.3oam, and I'm guessing the shops will be mostly closed and the man in the mosque will once again get on his microphone and burble on for hours as he does sometimes. (I can't actually understand what he's saying and so I don't need to listen.)

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