hey people! miss me?
been deprived of a decent internet connection for the past few days - but now i'm back, reporting happily on my trip back to mr. khairul's kampung - kuala kangsar, bandar diraja. thanks azot hoho!
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even as a kid, abah used to bring us to kuala kangsar to relive his teen years roaming around the town as a boarding school kid from one of the more prestigious schools in malaysia, the malay college.
now, married to a more obsessed old boy of the malay college, i still get to visit the town everytime we balik kampung - be it for hari raya, or casual weekends, often passing by the usual stops and makan place for him back when he was going to that school.
one of the must-go places is the medan selera near the perak river. in fact, on our wedding day here in kuala kangsar, my aunts and uncles stopped by here for a taste of their famous laksa and cendol.
the place is just a huge roofed area with food-court-like tables and chairs, with stalls at the end of the hall. once you enter, you are immediately faced with the choice of food to devour.
the most famous, as i mentioned previously are the cendol and laksa. in my personal opinion, it is a really simple laksa without thick gravy or fish chunks. the kuah is light, transparent and almost unpleasing to the eye - orang mungkin ingat tawar - but one slurp will tell you why it survives the test of time, to become the beloved laksa of kuala. have it with or without boiled egg - it's yummy all the same!
kalau dah order laksa, kenalah order cendol sekali!
mr. khairul is a more cendol-freak and he loves this one. cukup santan, cukup gula merah, cukup lembut cendolnya. another simple fare of hawker food, a great thirst quencher to accompany the spicy laksa.
wanna try some? just look for sungai perak. you'll see rows of souvenir shops selling handicrafts. right next to it, is the medan selera. tersergam - sure nampak!
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speaking of the kuala kangsar, i'd like to take you guys on a tour around this royal town!
it's called the royal town of perak (my homestate!) because the sultan of perak officially resides in kuala kangsar, and the present one is no doubt the most handsome of all sultans - sultan azlan shah! i met him once at the clearwater sanctuary golf club in batu gajah - bodyguard dia sibuk suruh kita berdiri out of respect (we were waiting for abah to get the car) then we went inside the gift shop, and he went in too! i was too much in awe of his presence not to stare. truly a regal sight!
one of the main attractions of kuala kangsar is the quaint, uniquely designed mosque, the ubudiah mosque. the unique part to me are the minarets - diagonally striped black and white. it stands with all the grandeur of a mosque in a royal town - atop a hill, visible from the corner of the road leading up to it.
another top attraction that you shouldn't miss is the incredible old palace of yore - the one claimed to be made without a single nail - the amazing istana kenangan upon bukit chandan.
built in 1926, from above it bores the shape of a keris (a type of malay dagger). now it is open to public as the royal perak museum, housing old kitab used by previous sultans, their royal clothing, potraits and write-up of historical bits.
you need to take off your shoes upon entering but i suggest bringing a plastic bag to store your shoes. a step up the stairs would bring you face to face with the grand, yellow balairong seri - the royal throne where the sultan sits as he receives his ministers and guests.
honestly i expected more display of the furnitures or cutlery used by the sultans, or at least a short write-up or description of what this and this rooms represent. it would be interesting to know whether the small room at the back of the palace was used for the dayang, or one of the rooms for the younger princes and princesses.
drop by if you want to be swept away to the zaman kesultanan melayu lama...
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..ah, you didn't think i forget to add a bit on this boarding school? much has been said about this great school, and if you're not familiar, just google 'the malay college kuala kangsar'.
an old picture taken with a very wittle baby khaleef on a visit to this school.
we drove inside, savouring the soul of the place which had housed many royalties, now ministers and big names in their respective fields. we went inside one of the buildings, and saw few students walking pass us.
with hands clasp behind his back, in a manner of a headmaster, mr. khairul said, "sorang pun tak bagi salam." and went on to tell me how different it was during his time when they would greet any visitor of the school - from the vip to the pemotong rumput. there was humility, there was respect especially when faced with any old boy that decides to drop by.
and just when hope fails, a boy walked passed with books upon his arm, looked sheepishly at us, and with a warm smile, greeted us with a soft but audible salam. ha, ade pun yang bagi salam! sejuk hati! all is not lost!