Ice Cream Expo
12/28/2004, Malaysia trip day 2: Kuantan
We took a little while to get going and figure out where we wanted to go. Finally, we settled on a small city on the east side of the peninsula called Kuantan. We didn't want to go to a place affected by the tsunami, but we wanted to be on the coast. Looking at the map, Kuantan looked relatively sheltered. We took a plane for about $35 (≈¥3500). The ride was about an hour on a medium sized Airbus commuter jet with maybe 200 people.
|At the airport in Kuantan, we had some hot sweet corn (a common snack in Malaysia) and this yam ice cream.|
When we got to Kuantan, after checking into the hotel, we set out to find dinner. As we walked down a main street, we saw no other foreigners and many of the Malaysians were staring at us. I guess they don't see many foreigners there. Kuantan is near a big tourist town, but Kuantan itself is known more as a religious place. As we walked, we saw a man with an assault rifle hanging over his shoulder. Not a machine gun, but alarming, none the less. We went in a couple shops to buy small things and felt very much distrusted. The clerks followed us around the stores carefully watching our actions.
We ran into some kids around 9 or 10 years old. They were pretty friendly. One of them showed us a gadget he said was his phone. (It looked more like some kind of game, but whatever...) First, he showed me a cartoon with George W Bush. It was a photo of Bush, doctored up so the mouth moved. He said something in Malaysia. I'm not sure what he said, but I'm sure it wasn't nice. Then, he showed us a little video. It showed a caucasian (perhaps, an American) with a big knife slicing into his neck. It was really disgusting. We thanked them for sharing their videos and wished them a nice night. Wow. Needless to say, that was a shocker, especially on a 10 year old kid's cell phone. Yikes. Suddenly, I realized just how deep the anti-American sentiment runs in some places. Malaysia is definitely not known as an anti-American country. And, although the majority is Muslim, it is very diverse with strong Buddhist and Hindu minority populations. So, seeing something like this was a shocker. We seriously considered grabbing some quick food at a convenience store, retreating to the hotel, and leaving Kuantan the next day. But, it didn't work out that way.
We ended up at a really nice seafood restaurant near the sea. We had ginger fish, ginger prawns, hot tea with condensed milk, and a spicy salad (Kurabu, I think). The seafood was fresh and delicious. The whole thing cost us about $8.33 (≈¥833 or 30 Malaysian ringit) plus a small tip. Best of all, we met a really nice guy named Anwar. His family owns the restaurant. He speaks decent English and has an interest in Japan. So, he sat down and talked to us for a long time. When we left, he gave us his cell phone number and told us to call him if we had any problems in Kuantan. A really sweet guy.
It's notable that we went back to the same place and took some photos of food and people on our last night in Kuantan, December 30.
We stayed in the Classic Hotel, which cost us 65 Malaysian ringit per night, which is ≈$18 or ≈¥1800.
|Here's a photo Akemi took of me in the hotel.|
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