Sunday, June 24, 2012


 We were at Kota Bharu for thirty six hours having arrived past midnight on Thursday morning and returning at noon on Friday. The drive from Alor Setar to Kota Bharu via the East West Highway is not one you would like to repeat immediately. Nevertheless you would not decline to drive on the North South Highway if ever invited at any time.  For one it takes no less than six hours and driving at night especially would not be a pleasant venture. Mind you we also came across an elephant that was retrieving some shoots by the sides of the road.Thankfully it was not misty as well as there was less heavy traffic. If you would like to test the idiom 'sleep like a log' then the drive would give a good answer especially after the arrival.

The sudden visit was for a 'ziarah' to my sister's home for the bereavement of her husband's sister. In moments of loss such as the departure of a loved one, a visit would no doubt be a consolation. 

However my visit for all its timing, insists that I paid a visit to the barber as some grooming does call for it. Wow. How could you look for a barber shop in the town unfamiliar to you? Leaving it to my son to find his way, we came upon one, however not in the centre of the town. Now I have had hair cuts in several places before and especially preferring to choose one you are familiar with.  

I would place this experience on Thursday evening at Wan Shukri's barber shop an extraordinary encounter. I had noticed the name 'Wan' on a mirror and asked for his full name.Thus his other name.

Upon entry into the small yet comfortable room, I found myself in the queue with four others waiting for their turns. Only after serving five customers, it was my turn as the barber ushered me to take a seat on the barber's chair. I had casually observed how he had performed his service, fast and speedy, quite professionally. Neither would he lose time talking to his customer. I did not tell him my liking for the hair cut, allowing him to do the necessary believing that he would know the correct style and necessities. Indeed he did what was best. Thus this special write-up for an unexpected discovery.

Wan Shukri's attire struck me as here was a professional yet he told me that he never attended any courses but picked up the knowledge of hair-cutting and grooming from observations and experiencing from cutting and trimming hairs of his friends initially. Yet here was a young man with a gauge over his mouth and nose and a jacket as his attire. He projected a clean image himself. Particularly he held a blower rather than a brush to clear the hairs off , an approach I have never seen used by other barbers excepting lady barbers in the hair dressing saloons.    

 The barber in action. I was told that he works from 2.00 pm till midnight, clearly showing that he has a full number of customers.

           Realizing a good story to be told I asked my son to snap the photos.

Satisfied to see a young man at work and an entrepreneur at heart, it was a hair cut I would gladly come for a repeat if ever I am at Kota Bharu again. Anyway I mentioned  about this discovery to Hj Omar Ismail, a friend from our Kirkby days who lived a stone's throw from the barber shop. He was not aware of this special service near his home. Hopefully Hj Omar and other friends at Kota Bharu will find their ways to this barber shop.

B.   Breakfast ala Nasi Bungkus Daun Pisang

Two old friends were notified of our arrival and early Thursday morning they were at the hotel we were staying inviting us to have breakfast. Away from the normal breakfast served at the hotel, an invitation in Kota Bharu would surely promised a delicious change.  It was indeed one. We were at an establishment called " Selera Daun Pisang'.We sat down for a delicious 'nasi dagang' , a breakfast dish served in the eastern states of Kelantan and Trengganu specially. The dish at 'Selesa Daun Pisang' was special because it was served wrapped with banana leaves. The aroma and the rice with the 'gulai' and 'acar' made me wonder why 'nasi dagang' never gets to replace 'nasi lemak' another popular breakfast dish on the west coast. Chefs and restaurants all over the country go all out to serve ' tongyam' and other Thai styled dishes. Now why does 'nasi dagang' remained put in  the east coast. If any it would be sold only by Kelantan women folks who moved outside the state.  

The friends all enjoying breakfast at 'Selera Daun Pisang' and of course the babbling took its precedence when old friends met and continuing later in the hotel lounge..


Wan Sharif said...

I enjoyed your compliment to that enterprising Wan blessed were you to have two oldmates to enjoy your stay in KB.. Ah meeting with friends..exquisite

kotastar said...

Sdr Wan,

Thank you Indeed it is great to be able to call on senior friends when ever we are in town. The links continue to keep not only us but our family too. However we must try to call upon them however. I would call upon you too if ever I am at that part of town . Salam sejahtera.

MamaTim said...

Never been to KB before but we've made plans for a short visit maybe next year insyaAllah. The selera daun pisang place is very appealing, would love to try the food there. Thanx for the review. What abt the hotel Pakcik stayed at? Good service? Would u recommend it to others too?

kotastar said...

Sdri MamaTim,

Quite a surprise that you have not visited KB. Bukan jauh pun dari AS. Yes sdri elok segera ke sana kerana mendekati sausana hidup yg berlainan. Lagi pun you will be surprised to find visitors and tourist liking the place and it certainly leaves lots for Kedah and esp AS to catch up with particularly as a tourist attraction centre. We stayed at the Renaissance one of the many fine hotels at KB. You will enjoy the choice of dishes and kuih available in town. Does that put you to get in the car with the family to touch the East West Highway? All the best.

Al-Manar said...

For almost a similar reason I rushed westwards, your reverse direction, traveling in unesrthly hours.

But I did not have the joy of meeting old friends and the good food of KB.

kotastar said...

Sdr Al Manar,

Now that we have an idea where you are located thanks to friendly birds at KB, we will find our way there. WE would love to move down from KB but the call of Langkawi for an uncompleted job halted the idea. BTW we will trace the connection at Dong. You will be happy to know that from 29/6 - 1/7 there is a Kirkby Reunion at Port Dickson. We understand there is already a registered attendance of 200+. Another opportunity to connect with senior friends. Salam

Uncle Lee said...

Hi KotaStar, I enjoyed reading your KB trip.
I used to travel the East West H'way back in the early 80s when there was a curfew from 5pm to next morning 6am.

I would arrive from either Alor Star or Ipoh/KL often just before curfew, they roll the barb wire across the road at outskirts of Grik town.

And then I practically had the new h'way to myself and driving my modified Alfa Romeo, let loose all the horses....hearing the echos of the beautiful sounds my car made off the mountains.
Till today never again experiencing that thrill.

That is sure one of a kind barber you experienced...
Must be fun exchanging formalities, and two different accents too, ha ha.
The food in KB is really something too. Their ayam perick, ikan percik,
Best regards,

Zeenat Mujeeb said...

Sir, by any chance do you have the telephone and location
for Mr. Wan Syukri?
Thank you.

chef zul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chef zul said...

Thank you for sharing with us