Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Morning, Taman Gelora, Part 2

But enough of politics.  I find Taman Gelora to be a delightful place to spend an early morning walk.  One must get going before the 10am heat hits, however.

The early bird gets to enjoy a near-vacant beach...

...with which you share with joggers and sand-castle-makers....

Taman Gelora beach, low tide

There are sea eagles flying above...

and assorted shells below...

Walking down the beach to the Kuantan River estuary, one can watch the fishing boats coming back from their early morning harvest.

Heading Up the Kuantan River Estuary
Peeking around the corner, you can see the new Zenith Hotel which brackets the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Convention Centre, Kuantan's newest skyline icon.

Zenith Hotel, Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Convention Centre
As a scientist of sorts, I am also interested in "little things", like the black water that emits from Taman Gelora and its assortment of ponds and food stalls.

And the water flowing from high tide pools back to the ocean.  These streams are examples of braided rivers in miniature.

Braided river in miniature
The shallow, sandy soil of Taman Gelora releases water quickly following a rain...

Water being released from bank storage
...and requires the Casuarina trees to have buttress roots to stand up against the wind in such poor soil.

'Tis truly a bucolic setting, Taman Gelora...

Where one can have a glass of milo tarik...

And share it with new-found friends.

"Adik!  Nak milo tarik?"

Sunday Morning, Taman Gelora, Part 1

Living close to Kuantan's premier park, I rarely take the chance to take a morning walk there.  However, last night's rain and this morning's "thumping" from the park gave me impetus to enjoy the morning coolness and see what was thumping, errr, happening over yonder Taman Gelora way.

Thumping in the park usually means that some group has booked part of the park for a family day.  And thus it was that I discovered not only overcrowded parking lots (more so than normal) ...

Overcrowded Parking
but also lots of police, FRU (Federal Reserve Unit) and RELA.

Federal Reserve Unit trucks
There were police checkpoints on the roads leading to the park.

Police Checkpoint, They Let Teak Pass
Being able to speak Malay, I asked some police why the heavy presence this fine morning in the park.  Well, it seems that the local city council (Majlis Perbandaran Kuantan, aka MPK) was hosting an all-departments Family Day.  And sure enough, there were the usual Family Day activities: like aerobics...

MPK Family Day aerobics class

and net-ball...
Netball at Taman Gelora

and volleyball...

Volleyball at Taman Gelora (Green Team vs., Well, Another Green Team)

and a futsal court surrounded by food and beverage vendors...

Futsal court surrounded by vendors

...and food for those en-hungered by the aerobics....

Come and Get It!
I was interested in some of the exhibits displayed by the various MPK units.  Here, a fashion design group was neighbours to the coastal police, who showed off one of their outfits.

And the fire department.

Fire Ladder
And some government employees showed us how they most likely spend their work days.

Checkers In Large
And the stage where the rock-n-roll group produced the thumping that drew me into this party.

State Agency Recreation Program
Meanwhile, at the other end of the park there appeared to have been a different group meeting.  By the time that I got there, most people had dispersed, but there were still police and FRU members hanging around.  They were, apparently, more interested in this gathering than the one put on by MPK.

Police or FRU, enjoying the view be continued.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November Neighborhood Wedding

With school vacation beginning this weekend, it is time for the wedding kenduri season to heat up again.  Typically, wedding kenduris occur in June, September, and December, when schools let out for break.  The November/December season is notorious for clashing with the beginning of the monsoon season, and rain is not unknown during this most of festive family occasions.

Once again, a neighbour on our block hosted a kenduri for the wedding of his daughter.  This kenduri was unsual in that it contained some elements not common to other wedding kenduri.  To start with, rather than block just half of the street in front of his house, the canopy used in this kenduri was quite large and blocked the entire street.

Entire Street Blocked
As a result, those of us living on the other side in the photo had to use the alley behind the houses to the right side of the photo, since we are on a dead-end road.  This is no problem, however, for we were all invited to this neighbour's kenduri (for free food!).

Another oddity (or better yet, nicety) was free ice cream!!

I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ICE CREAM!!
Malays typically don't seem to go after ice cream, but this stop on the kenduri tour was popular especially with the children.  Of course, the servings were Malaysian size, not the humongous scoops that I remember from my (skinny) youth.

Another nice touch was the colour photo announcing whose kenduri we were attending.  I scrambled the words of the address so that Teak's fans will not know where he lives.  Anonymity is nice, but I am sure that I will be uncovered someday.

Where is it?
There was also, of course, the usual entourages of the groom's family marching in to meet the bride's family to the beat of the kompang (drum) group.  I caught the tail end of the lineup as they marched through the eating area under the canopy.  At the end of the line was a man who was, basically, giving a running commentary like a futbol match.  My neighbour told me that he wanted a traditional Malay wedding, so I guess that a commentator is needed.

Commentator Follows the Kompang Group

Additionally, there was a Lady-in-White who appeared to be directing the proceedings, running back and forth and motioning with her hands.

Lady-in-White Giving Directions

After meeting, marching in, and getting seated, the bride and groom were entertained by first a silat group, three sets of boys.  I caught the youngest pair in their faux sparring.

Youngest Silat Pair

And then, the bride and groom (along with the crowd) were entertained by a group of young ladies doing the Zapin dance.

Zapin dance

The young couple seemed quite pleased with the kenduri, as was I and the rest of the crowd.  After attending multitudes of kenduri in my years in Malaysia, this one has to be near the top of the list for most entertaining.

Happy Couple

And, it was especially nice for the fantastic ayam berempah, prepared by Asa Caterers, reknown for their wedding meals, and for the fact that the kenduri was right in front of my house, entailing a walk of, oh, 3-5 seconds!

Unfortunately, this being November and on the verge of monsoon season, the kenduri was visited by a team of Cumulonimbus, which piled up and then broke forth.  As I type this now, the kenduri is breaking up under a steady rainfall.

Here comes the rain!!