Kijal, Kemaman is where my grandparents and an uncle (mommy’s brother) used to live. They’ve been living there for the past 20 years, going in and out to the city only if required. It’s a district in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia bordered by Dungun district slightly north of the state of Pahang.
We’ve been visiting them for the past few years, about 3 times a year. Last year, I visited them 4 times; breaking my record – twice with my parents, once with my sister, Elaine and her husband, Kevin and the last in December with my kids and Jud’s friend.
The reason why I titled my post as it is; it’s because my uncle passed away 2 months after our last trip to Kemaman. And you know what’s tragic? We left Kemaman on December 8th and he left us on February 8th. That’s exactly 2 months! The coincidence is just too overwhelming.
Since then, PoPo & Gong Gong have moved out of Strawberry and back to Kuala Terengganu to my other uncle and his family. They will now take the responsibility of caring for my gramps. Gramps prefer to stay at the countryside than the city because it’s much more convenient to visit the doctor due to less traffic congestions so that’s why bringing them down to KL wasn’t in the plan.
We are on our way from KL to Kemaman!!! It’s going to be a four-hour journey (+/- does not include the pee stops I take). Judith gets really annoyed when I take stops after stops.
The largest and quietest Perasing R&R stop which we love to patronise – kinda freaky since the road through here is far from the highway
The usual being greeted by food when we arrived at Strawberry. Our stomachs never go hungry and PoPo has never failed us.
The delicious ‘Malai-Kou’ which was ordered specially for us. Guess how many did PoPo ordered. Freaking 50 pieces! And guess how much they cost. Freaking RM15.00 only!
There were many of us on this trip, my parents came along, my brother, Edmund, his wife, Stephanie and baby Evangeline, therefore we decided to stay at Al-Safina Resort. A mere 5-minute drive away from Strawberry Kijal. The resort isn’t locally owned but its standards are of a respectable Muslim state. No alcohol inside the premises and no skin tight suits are permitted in the pool (small pool). No unmarried Muslim couples, no other extra-curricular activities, etc.
Room was cosy however the air-condition wasn’t good enough and I’d prefer a room with better lighting.
That’s Judith and me by the pool area. We ordered some snacks while we waited for the arrival of my parents. I know, we ate a lot but Judith saw French Fries on the menu and I saw hummus. OMG, do you know I love hummus? I freaking can just have hummus with bread as a meal. A good hummus is something not be missed!
See? That pretty looking slab of mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt? YUMZZZZ> I feel like having some now
After dinner in town, Judith said she wanted to check out the beach at night, so we went and it was total darkness except for the walkway. Wayyyyy too creepy for me. We retired back to our room for some cool down + facial mask.
Zzzz.. up and early because somebody wanted to catch the sunrise
When the sun has risen, it’s time to bid farewell and head back to Kuala Lumpur to the boys at home
That’s my dad with Judith.. chilling while we check out
For this trip, I took the boys along as they have never been to Kemaman and it has been years since my grandparents last saw them. It’s also a good time for them to rest and relax, away from the hustling bustling of city life. I know they are going to get really bored without their PC’s and data coverage as the connectivity here isn’t very promising but outskirts….. here we come!!!
We arrived to abundance of food and it wasn’t even lunch time yet! We just chow-chow down. Nasi lemak, nasi kunyit, nasi lauk, nasi dagang and PoPo added her homecooked chicken curry. PENGSAN! I always put on weight with these trips.
After checking in, into Al-Safina Resort, we headed to the beach as it looked like the weather was turning gloomy. Best to head to the beach while the sun is still righteous.
To the beach we must!!!
All kinds of poses but this was the best!
We stayed at the beach until the sun was starting to set then we headed back to Strawberry Kijal for dinner
….and the next day as usual watching the sunrise is a must. It rained pretty heavily the night before and if it rains in the East Cost plus we are staying by the beach.. I get really phobiatic. I had a restless night, kept peeking out the window hoping it’s not flooded outside while watching the door making sure there’s no water rushing in. I can’t swim that’s why. My kids can so I need to be able to wake them up on time to help them save ME. Grrrrr…..hahaha
As usual for first timers, my uncle would suggest the hidden beach so off we went for an adventure. A place where no one can trespass except for wild boars and beasts which I won’t described furthermore. Proof of paw prints are visible so shhhh…
Uncle Hong paving the way for us because the ‘lalangs’ have overgrown and who knows what sneaky crawlies are in those bushes.. another grrrr for me.
Hop hop hop hippedy hop! Judith way back with YueKa at front
Okay we came from there and now we are here
Beautiful isn’t it? Check out those clouds. What do you see? This will be the last time I will see this part of the coastline. Only Uncle Hong can bring us into this restricted area.
Javier found a part-time job, not sure if he’s doing a javelin throw or practicing how to spear a fish.
Move on next job -> random object knee juggling (a boy gotta do what’s he gotta do to keep himself sane without WiFi)
While we watch the monkeys fooling around, Uncle Hong went MIA because he went and find this piece of wood (old door) for us to sit
Ma’ big boy and Me, our makeshift beach flatbed founded and cleaned for us by Uncle Hong! <BLESS HIM>
While he made us a nice place to sit, he took his seat on an old tree bark. I knew he was already in pain and wasn’t feeling well then. He wasn’t talking much and wasn’t annoying me which I felt really weird. I didn’t pry because I know he’s not going to tell me things if he doesn’t want to. Deep down I know he’s hurting both physically and emotionally. He just wants company and someone to listen and talk to so I’m all ears until I hear him no more.
After going to the beautiful beach, I took the kids to the other side of town to Mesra Mall for some ice cream. It was mine and their first time at this single storey mall. It is owned by the same company of Suria KLCC. Kids were delighted because there was Baskin Robbins. I got myself a cappuccino from Starbucks (that’s the only cafe I can found – beggars can’t me choosers) and we got some cake slices to share with the folks at home for dessert. On our way back, we stumbled upon Pantai Kemasik. Another pretty beach with a decent crowd.
Best Friends since primary
From left: YueKa, Judith, Me and Javier (Joe stayed in the car protecting the cakes)
This is ‘after a hard climb, they made it up to the top’ their POSSE
The next day after having generous amount of roti telur and teh tarik, we headed back to Kuala Lumpur. The drive was tiring but well worth it.
We had fun, ate a lot, sweat a lot and most important of all I got to see my uncle before his passing. I got to see him happy and smiling as how I’d remember him.
R.I.P. Red Egg, missed but not forgotten ♥