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Sunday, May 29, 2005

East Coast Escapade (Part 2: Chagar Hutang)

We were volunteers at Chagar Hutang from 15-22 May 2005, 8D/7N.

Chagar Hutang is an isolated beach on the north of Pulau Redang. It is no ordinary beach because it is off limits to visitors except for staff and volunteers of the Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU) of Kolej Universiti Sains dan Teknologi Malaysia (KUSTEM) (update: now Universiti Malaysia Terengganu) in Terengganu. It is one (and the 'busiest') of three turtle nesting beaches on Pulau Redang.

What did we do there? It's all about turtle conservation...

At night, we watched out for turtle landings and nestings. During our stay, 10 turtles landed and 5 of them nested. We assisted in the measuring of the size of the turtles, checking the turtles' tags, and noting the time of the turtles' nesting activities. We also observed markings on the turtles (if any).

[Turtle eggs: The green turtle lays about 100 eggs on average in each nest]

In the morning, we surveyed the new nests, i.e. measuring and marking the location of the nests and covering them with protective wire meshes.

[What's the distance? Fong Peng (one of SEATRU's research assistants) and Angie measuring the location of the nest]

During the day, we patrolled the beach to ensure the nests are not disturbed by monitor lizards or crabs. We also ensured that the beach remained off limits to human visitors.

[On our patrol: Halt! Who goes there?]

What else did we do? We snorkelled to our hearts' content, cleaned the beach, visited the Marine Park and the village, and hiked up Turtle Rock (a precariously perched rock on one of the hills surrounding the beach). There were lots of wildlife, too. We saw many turtles mating, monitor lizards, hermit crabs by the hundreds, squirrels, tree shrews, butterflies, flying fish, black-tipped sharks, a mousedeer, monkeys, gecko lizards and mosquitos... lots of them *itch*.

[Mating turtles taking a breath: Mr. Turtle appears to 'float' on the water while Mrs. Turtle's head just barely breaks the surface in front of her hubby]

Facilities at Chagar Hutang is basic but complete. No electricity (i.e. no TV, radio... ahhh... *bliss!*) and no handphone reception (*double bliss!*). There's piped stream water (i.e. we're bathing, cooking, doing the laundry and washing our *censored* with mineral water *kih, kih!*) and plenty of food (and lots of opportunity to learn new dishes).

[Our living quarters for the week viewed from the kangkung patch]

The stay was memorable and the experience was priceless. Do visit the SEATRU website for volunteer information and slot bookings.

[Turtle watchers: Staff and volunteers at Chagar Hutang, 15-22 May 2005]

Thursday, May 26, 2005

East Coast Escapade (Part 1: Kota Bharu)

We were away from 12-23 May 2005 on a holiday to the East Coast. On 12 May, we drove past Kulim, Pengkalan Hulu (for lunch), Gerik, Jeli, Machang and finally put up the night in Kota Bharu. The leisurely drive took seven hours. We stayed at Crystal Lodge (the room was small but cozy and clean).

The basic idea was to see the sights and devour the delicacies. At the Buluh Kubu foodcourt area, we ate flattened and grilled cuttlefish (RM1 each) and an assortment of colourful Kelantanese kuih; at Pantai Cahaya Bulan, we ate deep fried squid (RM6 each); at Pantai Sabak, we tried satar (RM1 for 4 cones); in town, we had satay jawa (RM1 for 3 sticks); and at the ourskirts of town, we tried keropok losong a.k.a. lekor rebus *ewww!* (RM3 for about 12 worm-like pieces).

[Kuih of all shapes, sizes, colours and names: Fancy eating some 'tahi itik' (duck dung)?]

[Satar: A grilled mixture of fish, coconut and spices]

[Siti Khadijah Market: You can buy almost anything from clothes to turtle eggs]

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Encounter with the Engaged

The 56th Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend was held from 6-8 May 2005. We made our debut as one of the presenting couples alongside Chris and Lina Baptist. Fr. Ambrose Vaz was the presenting priest.

[56th weekend Presenting Team: (L to R) Chris, Lina, Fr. Ambrose, Angie and Bart. Photo taken by Peter Liew]

For more photos, visit CEE Penang's photo page and Peter Liew's post.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Mutiara Brew 2

Today is a holiday. So we took the opportunity to have some fun.

First, we tried a new recipe for lemon muffins. It came from a recipe book given by Chui Ying. Result: SUCCESS :-) Thanks, Chui Ying! For that, you get four muffins ;-)

[Lemon Muffins]

Then, we embarked on a "long-term" project. We decided to brew perry. For the uninformed, perry is 'drink made from the fermented juice of pears' - Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. It is the sister of the cider, which by the way, is made from apples. This time we plan to wait for four weeks. We'll see how our mould goes...

[Mutiara Brew 2: Another wait begins...]

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Our 1st Anniversary

Today is our first wedding anniversary. Time really flies.

We celebrated our anniversary with dinner at Ingolf's Kneipe in Batu Feringghi. They serve German cuisine. We ordered a Cream of Escargot soup, Pork Goulash, a pair of Pork sausages and a glass of Irish Coffee (coffee, cream and whisky... quite strong).

[Dinner at Ingolf's Kneipe: All the way in Germany *acah aje*]

[Ingolf's Kneipe Batu Feringghi]

After dinner, we came home, lighted our unity candle and said an anniversary prayer together.

[Our Unity Candle: First lit a year ago]