Friday, February 22, 2008

Khota Bahru

(guest spot by Marla)
After a night back in KL, we took a 9 hour bus ride (a luxury "tourist" bus, no hogs tied to the bumpers or bags of rice in the aisles) to the far north, staying over in Kota Bahru one night. The bus ride was filled with sights as we travelled throught hills and jungle. To say that everything is lush and green is a total understatement: a whole range of greens, plantations of palm trees, banana trees, and pure thick waves of ferns up and down the hill sides. Trees seem to struggle up toward the sunshine breaking free of the thick foliage below, but other plants, vines, ferns, grown right up the tall trees, actually rooted in the trunks. I was glued to the window the whole 9 hours. In contrast to the greens, most of the houses are bright colors - pinks, and yellows, with red and blue tile roofs. Even the average, low-scale areas are so colorful.
One night only in Kota Bahru, but we packed in a festival, an elaborate parade, and dinner at the night market. Before leaving on Saturday we shopped at the central market - an amazing 4-story complex in the round. Open in the middle, the produce sellers on the ground floor. The other 4 stories held everything imaginable from textiles to hardware, dried fish, baskets, all the essentials for life. From the upper floors we could look down through the center to the produce market below - everything fresh, colorful, and delicious looking. Mia and I bought some batik pieces of cloth to use as sarongs alternating as beach mats.
The photo does not do the parade justice.