Cherating was indeed a nice little break for me, I spent days in the hammock and on the beach, I finished two books, and I even managed to make local friends. All in all, it was a very relaxing and successful four days. Yes, I only managed four days before I got too restless. But it was a valiant effort at making it a week! I actually would have liked to stay another night or two but the budget isn’t allowing it (ha! Like I budget. I try….but the reason I had to move on to cheaper pastures is because past budgeting has somewhat failed. At least I’m having fun). Anyway, my third night there turned into a rather unexpected adventure of sorts.
When I first entered what I thought to be the ghost town of Cherating, I had met a local who not only pointed me in the direction of a cheap guesthouse but also invited me to join the nightly run to the market. I didn’t get around to going back on their side of the road until the third day and he again invited me, so I took the chance to get out of Cherating and grab some fresh local food. I was to meet him at the guesthouse he was managing at 5ish.Upon arrival I was informed that he had to take over the information booth but I could still hitch a ride in with his son who was going with some friends. I ended up in a car full of people around my age, and the guys son (who’s name is pronounced like owie but I have no idea how to spell it) invited me to break fast with them. I told him I wasn’t entirely willing to beak into a family event but he assured me not to worry about it, it was just him and his dad and the more the merrier. We bought a ridiculous amount of delicious food and made our way back to Cherating, excited for dinner (them obviously more so than me, seeing as they were fasting and I had been snacking off and on throughout the day). The best part of Ramadan, as explained to be in the car on the way back, was at the end of the month when kids shook hands with their parents and asked forgiveness for everything they had done wrong in the past year. Personally I would find 730pm every night the most exciting part about Ramadan.
We got back into town and set up the table for dinner, food flowing in abundance. At 730 we all dug in, and I found out very quickly that my bringing forks to the table was pointless, everyone began digging in with their hands. Correction, their hand. Right hand only. Without hesitating I abandoned my fork and joined in, scooping up rice, fish and various curries into my hand. I felt like a child playing with my food…if was awesome! I had established a friendship with this group and we ended up going to the midnight showing of Pacific Rim later in Kuantan and I had the chance to learn a bit more about Ramadan and the Muslim way of life in general by talking to them. Gaining friends like them was one of the many reasons I was sad to leave Cherating, but as I said before, my budget wasn’t allowing for it. I decided to make my way up to Kuala Terengganu for cheaper accommodation.