“Chinese New Year doesn’t feel like one if we didn’t make an outstation trip.” Lena said. So off we went for a travel destination trip to Kuantan, Pahang on the first day of Chinese New Year with Lindy and my parent-in-laws in tow driving in our Toyota Wish which would provide a comfortable trip. Our Uncle Tee has invited us to stay over because they have won a new LCD TV / Theatre home system set plus a new sofa settee from some lucky draw. Well it was a good excuse to ask us over, and a good excuse to make a trip to Kuantan. With the sun shining bright and hot in the morning, Lena and I also took opportunity to do some laundry and housekeeping. Before we made our trip, we had to drop by Uncle Michael house for a CNY lunch. They had organized a Lion Dance as a symbol to usher in prosperity for their business. So the balance journey time to Kuantan was rather tight. By the time we were ready to make our departure it was already four o’clock.
The route to Kuantan still requires travel using the Karak Highway, passing by the road to Genting Highlands and Berjaya Hills Colmar Tropicale. With the sun shining bright and hot, I wished we were up in the highland hills for some cooling off. Kuala Lumpur is such a hot humid place in comparison with other parts of Malaysia. Presumably the Klang Valley meant that Kuala Lumpur sits in valley where humid atmosphere do not easily get blown out from the valley making the hot humidity intolerable. However the world weather is changing and Chinese New Year is no longer just hot weather, it now pours during the night. Could also be a natural phenomenon when all the ground moisture has fully saturated the clouds before it all comes crashing down in late evening torrents.
It took us about an hour of driving from our house in Bandar Utama to reach the new highway that joins from Karak highway; from there an additional two more hours of easy driving through beautiful landscapes with rolling hills. Dark clouds formed as we traveled which meant rain along the journey. It was good as it helped to cool down the trip. Halfway through we made a stop at one of the R’n’R rest area, and Lena took over the wheel while I took the rear most seat and doze off for the rest of the journey. All in all it took us about 3-1/2 hours to reach our relative’s house in Kuantan. So the information given that it only took 2 hours to drive from KL to Kuantan was a total PR gimmick. The actual time took much longer.
Celebrating CNY in Kuantan was nothing new. We did it last year too. Kuantan is quite a quiet place, with most shops closed during CNY, though we could still visit shopping malls like Kuantan Parade. In comparison of course, their shopping malls size is nothing like those Hypermarket malls in the Klang Valley. We wanted to get some groceries and sauces to prepare for a steamboat meal. The malls were busy with shoppers and a sale was going on in the departmental supermarket called the Store. While the missus shopped, I checked out the place. There weren’t really much for me to see, though I did drop by a couple of DVD Movie shops but didn’t buy any of the pirated DVDs on sale. The prices were similar to that of Kuala Lumpur going for RM10 per movie. Heard the Penang prices were much cheaper going for RM4 per movie. I could get them for RM8 in SS2, PJ. I’m pretty fussy when getting any movies being particular about the quality clarity and would prefer to deal with my regular shop as I could return for an exchange if I was not satisfied.
On our return to Uncle Tee’s house we happen to spot a Mamak shop selling ABC and Cendol. They were doing quite a brisk business. Usually how we spot a good outlet was to see the crowd and this one has lots of them. With the hot sun beating down on us, a nice cool bowl of ABC and Cendol would be a welcome relieve. And so we were waylaid by grub. Parked our car and made our way to a table. We had a relaxing time there. The Kuantan atmosphere is nothing at all like KL. Though it was hot, it was not humid. The breezy sea wind adds to the easy going mood as we settle down for some cool chow. Kuantan’s pace of life is so much different from the hustle and bustle of KL life.
Back to Uncle Tee’s house, it was time to prepare a steamboat dinner. Aunt Tee had a bright idea and decided to have an outdoor garden steamboat. With good weather holding, we brought out all the grub and utensils. With a breezy Kuantan sea wind we had a riotous steamboat meal throwing all those yummy grub into the steaming electric steamboat pot. Nothing like a happy family gathering around a steaming hot steamboat meal.