I’m embarrassed to say we got lost finding our way to our aunt’s house. No, it hasn’t been that long. But none of us has a reliable sense of direction when it comes to driving at night. We spent an hour driving at the wrong side of suddenly-seemed-vast Kota Belud ending at the same junction over and over again. It got to a point where it became spooky. The one villager we stopped to ask direction turned out to be a stranger himself and couldn’t help.? We had to retraced and start back from the hotel.
Anyway, arrive we did, fashionably late. Malam Berinai party went on till 12.00 pm. There was a late instalment of traditional dances by a group of kids that was scrapped earlier for sensitivity reason and then reapproved later after an appeal meeting with the village elders. There was even supposed to be a karaoke session but that didn’t get the reapproval. All because a few days prior, there had been a funeral in the neighbourhood. The elders insisted, that out of respect, there ought to be no partying, dancing and singing aside from the customory ceremony. The kids had prepared, had practiced and donned their pretty new costumes so they were looking a sad, disappointed lot when told to cancel. In the end the kind old people relented and let them party.
Next morning I got up early, ( I could never sleep well at a foreign place), and when my sister and daughter (we shared a room) got up too, we took off to the beach. There was still the kenduri kahwin to attend but we planned to go around 11 am so we had a good 2 hours. There is only one attraction in this town, the Kuala Abai. Because the place is well known, the road signs and directions are good and things do seem a lot clearer when you drive in the day, so. It’s quite a distance (about 30 min) even with me stepping on it to go faster than my sister does (god..she drive so slow). You do have to be careful with cows and its droppings all over the road, all the way though.
There are several routes to reach the beach because I didn’t get the same view I remembered when my cousin last brought me there few years back. Before , we came right to the chalets and jetty. This time around, we followed a direction to a lodge, (which seem popular) and we came to ..well the lodge , overlooking a beautiful beach I didn't remember seeing then.
The paved road down to the lodge is beautiful. There is a sense of quaint, laid-back, unventured territory about the place.
You could have missed this turn and gone down a bad, horrible road filled with volcano-sized holes like we did, which you could no way reversed out (because it's one way and going downhill) except drive on to where it leads, which is to a fishermen dock littered with rubbish, still overlooking the beautiful beach. Thankfully we found a better alternative.