Dear Leicester Ladies, my heartfelt apologies for the long, long delay in concluding the episode on the rise and fall, and fall of Jackie and Julia. Since you left we have had no end of visitors from Japan, New York, Tung Shin Hospital, Putrajaya, Petaling Jaya and UM - and the mandatory meals.
By now I hope you have been fully rehabilitated into your cultural and culinary milieu. We expect to see the ole familiar J and J when we get back in a few weeks' time.
Let me now recall your adventures just for the record and perhaps after this you can submit the whole series for publication in our Leicester Mercury.
I do hope the following revelations about the two of you will not be too salacious for some of the conservative folks in the East Midlands - though I do believe these little stories will not jeopardise your standing in the NHS (for Julia) and in Animal Rescue (for Jackie). Well, at least we hope so.
Taking the water : During the 18th and 19th century the Brits would partake of the waters in the spas of cities like Bath. It was supposed to detoxify the body from all the nasty effects of a rich and lazy lifestyle - to improve the circulation, so to speak.
Well, when Jackie and Julia came to the Tropics they made sure they took to the water - this time in Pulau Kapas.
|Taking to the lovely warm tropical waters of Pulau Kapas|
Indeed, the experience improved their circulation and more! (The spouse says it improved the circulation of the sharks too - he saw half a dozen circling the two ladies!)
The subsequent events were almost like watching the transformation of Eliza Doolitle ( My Fair Lady) in reverse: from high society lady to a Cockney flower seller!
Cor Blimey.....they started eating with their hands! They threw caution and their cutlery to the winds and tucked into Malay food, lock stock and barrel using their hands.
|Tucking into Terengganu fish, fish and more fish under the tutelage of Nulan.|
|Wot! no teapot? no cups and saucers! And wot's that rainbow drink? I think it's Terengganu ABC Margharita - J & J could not resist it.|
Besides that, they became quite adept in disembarking from a ferry, Terengganu style. No jetties, just a step ladder - but still clutching on to a Leicester CO-OP shopping bag. You can take Julia out of Leicester but you cannot take the CO-OP out of Julia.
|Barefooted belles from Linden Drive, Leicester|
By now, J & J are familiar with the habit of taking off shoes when entering a Malaysian house. And they naturally did it when Nulan took us to a heritage kampung house at Pulau Duyung (see the above image on the right).
There was a lot to learn (and appreciate) from this visit to Kota Lama Duyung.
|A synopsis of Kota Lama Duyung.|
|From top right clockwise: the bedroom, the well and the kolam, the para or kitchen and the front of Kota Lama Duyung.|
Sorry. It's just AsH being a cynical old git!!
Our last day in Terengganu was spent driving all the way back to the Muddy Estuary (KL). On the way Nulan stopped at a beach with an amazing rocky outcrop. Iain and I tried to recollect our lessons in geology from decades ago to figure out the rock structure but to no avail. Still, it's a beautiful formation.
|Most interesting are the two lower images which show the symbiosis(?) or struggle(?) between vegetation and an eroding top soil.|
While the beach looked spectacular we were a bit perplexed. Why did Nulan make this stopover? Uh huh, is there some mischief afoot? Is our guide and leader finding us too much of a handful - three women who never stop talking in the car and won't allow him to switch on the radio. As for the other male, all he does is fiddle about with the aircon knobs in the car and says a lot of "yes dear", "no dear" . Oh dear!!!
But all was well. Nulan was just chatting to two middle aged men from Kedah who were cycling in the Semenanjung in preparation for their journey on the Hajj - by bicycle - next year! We had a chat with them and were quite overwhelmed by the dedication and tenacity of these two ordinary and brave men from Kedah. May Allah keep them safe.
Through a heavy rainstorm along the Karak Highway, Nulan drove us safely home to Kuala Lumpur.
Before the ladies flew home to Leicester, Din (the man who facilitated our holiday in Terengganu) arranged a reunion of the Magnificient Five and a meeting with Nulan's family. It was good because we got a chance to thank his lovely wife and daughter for 'lending' him to us so that we could have a safe and wonderful holiday in Terengganu.
|What a lovely Finale.|
Back in KL we left them on their own to do the usual tourist trips to Batu Caves, Pulau Ketam, Twin Towers, jumping on the hop-on and hop-off buses. (A disclaimer: We are not responsible for what they got up to during this time!)
But, just to be on the safe side, Iain wrote them a warning note when they got back home.
"How are the folks at LAR (Leicester Animal Rescue)? Do give them our love, and we shall see them at the Christmas do - unless you manage to twist arms and have us banned. If you do, we shall tell them all about your clubbing nights in downtown KL. I know you don't remember, but it was really difficult carrying you both from the taxi at 4 am. And not just one night!"
They flew home to their cat Minx and their lovely garden on 5 October.
It was not easy to say good-bye.
|Taraa me duck!|
We've grown accustomed to their ....