Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Sleeping Buddha

It's about 40 metres long

The gigantic feet

Most of my weekends were spent in Kota Bharu, Kelantan (my husband's hometown). Last weekend, we visited the famous Photivihan Wat in Tumpat, Kelantan where you can find the largest Sleeping Buddha in Southeast Asia. The last time I went there was about 12 years ago. The sleeping Buddha is about 40 metres long and took six years to build.

When my 7 years old daughter saw the photos which I took at the Wat, she complained that I lied to her that I actually went to Thailand and did not bring her along. I convinced her that I was at a Thai Wat but it is only about 30 minutes drive from the grandmother's house and she didn't believe me at all!

Well, there are hundreds of Buddhist temple that can be found in Kelantan especially in Tumpat area including the Photivihan Wat. Tumpat is near the Thai border and the ethnic Thai inhabitants are mostly centered in this area. That is why there are many Buddhist temples around the area.

A lot of visitors are surprised to see such big temples in Kelantan which is a Muslims majority state but that makes Kelantan very special. The people in Kelantan live together peacefully and would tolerate in any situation despite the differences in religious practices.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Salak The Snake Fruit

Salak fruit has always been my favourite fruit. I love the taste - it's sweet and acidic. Salak fruit is also known as Snake Fruit due to it's reddish brown scaly skin. About 10 years ago, Salak fruit was not really popular in Malaysia and it was very hard to find it. Those days, the salak fruit that we found in the markets were imported from our neighbouring country, Indonesia. However, nowadays it can be found everywhere in Malaysia .

The salak tree in the pictures was planted by my father in law just behind his house. If I feel like eating Salak fruit I can just pluck it from the trees. I found out that the scientific name for salak fruit is 'Salacca Zalacca'. Hmmm..it sounds like my daughter's name, Sarah Zulaikha!. 'Salacca Zalacca' is a species of palm tree and native to Indonesia and Malaysia. The fruit inside consists of three lobes, each containing a large inedible seed which resembles garlic cloves. Just like Durian, Salak fruit looks ugly from the outside but tastes so delicious.

Those who have never taste the fruit should try it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kenyir Elephant Sanctuary

At Kenyir Elephant Sanctuary

A female calf named Suria

Good girl Suria!

Fun elephant ride

Getting down from the elephant is so easy

Up, Close and Personal with Mr. Elephant

Recently, I stopped by at an elephant sanctuary situated in Kenyir and it's only about one hour drive from my house in Kuala Terengganu. I did not know about the elephant sanctuary and happened to know about it when we passed by it that day on our way to Cameron Highland via Kenyir. I learnt that it was newly opened and is a new attraction in Kenyir. When I stayed in Pahang eight years ago, my house was only 30 minutes drive from the popular Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. We made frequent visits to the sanctuary during the weekend and that was when I started to become so interested in elephants.

An elephant sanctuary such as the one in Kenyir places elephants which are trained and used in trans location process of wild elephants in problem areas throughout Peninsular Malaysia. The centre also looks after orphaned or injured elephants to ensure their continued survival. Besides that, the sanctuary also serves to boost public awareness on the need to protect our wildlife.

That day, we only stopped at the Kenyir Elephant Sanctuary for about 20 minutes as we were rushing to Cameron Highland. However, my children were so happy to get the opportunity to be up, close and personal with the elephants again after about 5 years.

At the sanctuary there was an orphaned female calf which attracted our attention. Her name is Suria. She is only a calf but needs more than 100kg of food daily. She eats bread for breakfast, sugar cane for lunch and fruits like water melons, papaya and potatoes while corn is for her dinner. I learnt that the rangers would let Suria roam in the nearby jungle every four days to familiarise her with the jungle surroundings and also to help her to herd with the wild jumbos in the area.

At the elephant sanctuary, we can also enjoy elephant ride. I wanted so much to experience the fun ride but had to change my mind when my husband signalled to me that we had to leave. I would definitely go there again in the future.

Cool and Fun Facts about the life, behavior and personality of Elephants

- The elephant is the largest of all land mammals
- Life Span - elephants can live for up to 70 years
- Elephants normally walk about 4 mph
- Elephants are able to swim for long distances
- Elephants spend about 16 hours a day eating
- Males leave the herd between the ages of 12 and 15
- The elephant's eyes are small and its eyesight is poor
- Despite the size of ears the elephant’s hearing is poor
- African elephants have bigger ears than Indian elephants
- African elephants ears are used to aid ventilation
- One of the softest parts of their body is at the back of the ears, which is called the knuckle
- Elephant trainers, called Mahouts, use their feet to steer or give commands to the animal via the knuckle at the back of the ears. Read more about elephant.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sun, Seas and Beaches

A beach at Menggabang Telipot, Terengganu

A village house in Penarik, Terengganu

Well, I am back in Kuala Terengganu and it's very warm here. I have been here for almost three years now and I am getting used to it. I'll save my other photos in Cameron Highland for my other posts.

Last weekend I stopped by at these two fishing villages to snap some photos. I was looking for fresh fish nearby Menggabang Telipot when I decided to stop for a while, admiring the beautiful view of the beach and having 'beach therapy'. For me, the beaches have always been a source of personal inspiration..

Here are some sea and beach quotes :-

'It's hard for me to put into words why I like beach so much.
Everything about it is renewing for me,
almost like theraphy..'Beach Therapy'

---Amy Dykens

The sea calls - come live in my heart and pay no rent...


Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches

---From "The Princess Bride"-Wesley to Buttercup

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears or the sea

---Isak Dinesen

Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone


Monday, July 6, 2009

A Visit To A Tea Plantation

My daughter, Sarah in the tea bushes

Houses for the workers in the tea plantation

The tea centre made protruding over the hilltop

A smoke house at the tea valley

The breathtaking view of the Sg. Palas tea plantation

Tea leaves

I can't help but posting more photos. It seems I have more photos to share this time around. Last weekend, I made a trip to Cameron Highland which is about 4 hours drive from my hometown Kuala Terengganu. I love Cameron Highland because of the cool weather. It has been very warm here in Terengganu and I felt that I need a weekend getaway...away from the heat...

Apart from the cool weather, Cameron Highland is also famous for the strawberry farms, rose gardens and vegetable gardens. It is also regarded as 'Green Bowl' of Malaysia as it supplies vegetables such as cabbages, tomatoes, lettuces and green peppers to major cities in Malaysia.
I learnt that 'Cameron Highland' is named after William Cameron, a British colonial government surveyor who discovered the plateau during a mapping expedition in 1885. The British later found out that the cool climate of the hill is an ideal and excellent condition for the cultivation of tea. Since then Cameron Highland has become the home to many tea plantations.

What I love most about Cameron Highland is the spectacular view of the tea plantations. The view is really awesome. I felt that I was somewhere in Europe! It's really cold there and the air is so fresh! I haven't been there for years and when I first arrived, I was stunned to see the newly renovated tea center. It has been transformed into a very unique and modern setting. I love everything about it . At the far end of the tea center is an overhanging platform balcony which was purposely set up and made protruding over the hill top. At the balcony, we can stay in the relaxing atmosphere, sipping tea and enjoy the beautiful view at the same time. Awesome view!

Everything was so good...A perfect weekend getaway.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Cooking Competition

Hmm..today I want to share photos of Malaysian food. They were not prepared by professional chefs but my high school students. Well, actually yesterday we had a cooking competition in the school. The students were given an hour to prepare a healthy balanced meal. This means they had to create a menu which has all the nutrition; carbo, protein, vitamins and etc. So, they prepared some very common Malaysian dishes which we have either for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Well I think they have done their job quite well and made me proud. The food presentation was not bad at all. The garnishes and decoration makes the dishes looked attractive and tempting!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Life Is Too Short

Life's Too Short
Grab a Graphic from pYzam.com

This is one of my favourite quotes.

Something for us to think and ponder...

Life is also not a fairy tale and definitely it is not easy...

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