Waiting in Kemaman

October 22, 2008

Kemaman feels like a frontier town, not one that we recognise from movies to have wind-swept barrels of tumbleweed rolling about, a one-horse question mark and every corner a potential steve mcqueen type action maybe-or-maybe-not something might happen.  It seems that all Malaysian towns on the east coast has this laid-back, by-gone era feel to it, probably because of an apparent lack of menace

Map of the Kemaman area

Map of the Kemaman area

Predominantly muslim, it is an orderly way of life.  Girls in Hijabs dot the landscape, only because they are easy to spot, and a constant reminder to conduct yourself in proper decorum. The main mosque is less the center of town though, unlike many other cities, notably Kuantan, where it dominates the skyline, but the Kemaman mosque does announce its intentions 5 times a day, calls to pious prayer, a haunting and beautiful chant.  

A river meanders through it, and life on its banks have tried to modernise. Somewhere, there is a KFC and an A&W’s, but no big macs.  Taxpayers have paid for some tasteless sculptures in town center, and a giant LED screen shows the time, date & temperature. But otherwise, the mood is decidely sleepy.   I breakfast at Hai Peng, deservedly famous for home roast coffee and toasted bread.  The best deal is the peanut butter and banana toast sandwich. I have read recommendations on stuffed crabs by the river. I have yet to try them.


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