We (Doug, kids and I) arrived in Kota Bharu yesterday. We flew in from Sibu (after a 2 nights stay there) to Kuala Lumpur and then onwards to Kota Bharu.
Zawi was on hand to greet us on our arrival. We had so much luggage (all of 91 kgs!) that we hired a taxi just to transport our luggage while Zawi drove us in his car to the hotel.
The last time I was in Kota Bharu was in 1981. I do not remember much of the city except for the old market which happens to be very close to the hotel we are staying in. One of the first things that struck me this time was the large number of swifts flying in the sky in the evening and the sounds of the birds. Later I discovered the loud bird noises were actually recordings. I don't remember where exactly I heard the same kind of recordings. It seems that some shop owners in Kota Bharu are using the top portions of their shop lots as places for the swifts to build their nests. A coffee shop owner told us this morning that there was much money to be made from the bird nests that the birds built on their property.
The other thing I found quite amusing was when I left Doug and the kids in the hotel this afternoon while I went out for a shampoo. I first went to a salon that I had seen earlier in the day but only to find out it was only a beauty salon. I asked the lady in the shop where the closest hair salon was, and she told me there was one in the next block. I walked along the kaki lima and looked up for a sign that showed a hair salon. I didn't see any. Then I asked a hardware store owned by a Chinese couple, and they had to think long and hard for the location. :-) It was actually a few doors down on the third floor. I had to ask some men sitting at the entrance of the stairs if there was a hair salon upstairs, and they all told me there was one on the third floor. Salon is too fancy a word to describe the place. It looked like a barber shop - the kind my father went to! I did get my shampoo, nothing liked what I got at the hair salon in Miri! The hair dresser did her best to style my hair the way I wanted it, and she told me most of her customers didn't bother with any fancy styling because they would put their tudung (head scarves) back on after the shampoo! The price of my shampoo today can't be beat! It only cost me six ringgit!
This morning we took a taxi to Kampung Kraftangan and then walked to the other museums close by like the War Museum, and an old palace. Er, can't remember what's it called! I enjoyed looking at the architecture near the place.
The wi-fi connection from our hotel room is not very reliable so I won't bother trying to upload any pictures just yet. Stay tuned for the next installment.