Kota Bharu is the capital of Kelantan, a declared Muslim province. Many business signs have Arabic writing. There is no movie theatre. I was told there used to be one, but the higher powers feared a dark cinema would lead to too much hanky panky by unmarried couples. So after a brief, unsuccessful attempt at movies with the lights on, it was closed. It is also Ramadan so most restaurants (except Chinese) are closed during the day.
|Our typical breakfast|
|Dinner = Blue rice with herbs, fish, rice crackers and pickled garlic. RM 3.5 (US$1.10) in the night market|
One big attraction in Kota Bharu is the Central Market. The tourist literature claims that this is “the most photographed market in Malaysia” though I am not sure who is counting camera clicks in markets around the country. It is quite large, but not packed. We enter through the vegetable area, buy some fruit and cut to the fish area. Mika’s stomach is already a bit queasy from our dinner last night at the night market so she bows out quickly from the smell. I am not sure why, but I love walking around markets. So I return early the next morning to see them setting up.
|Showing off a catfish|
By tradition the vegetable sellers are women. I notice that the chicken sellers are also predominantly women. They have piles of raw chickens and are disassembling them using knives and hands with incredible efficiency. Behind the chickens is coconut. Machines are grinding coconuts non-stop. Coconut is used in cooking in Kelantan much more than other parts of Malaysia due to the proximity to Thailand. Steps from the coconut area are the beef butchers. Only men here. They are busy hacking through beef with deadly sharp knives, while some chop through bone with hand axes. One hanging leg is like a mini butcher shop. There is one after the other. I am not quite sure how a customer chooses from whom to buy.
|This woman could take apart a chicken every 30 secs.|
|Boys from Kampong Laut hanging out with us as we wait for the ferry|
|Forget Paris or Milan. Kota Bharu has all the latest fashions from Istanbul and Nagoya, Japan.|
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