So here I am once again in this lovely country with the lovely people - land of sunshine and smiles. When I boarded the flight from Seoul to Kuala Lumpur I could easily recognize the Malaysians - their warm and easy smiling manner. When I got off the plane in Terengganu it was so familiar feeling, and so delightful. Despite the new construction at every turn, I sat back and took in the sights and smells as we drove from the airport to the Sutra Resort. The little restaurants by the side of the road (not much more than a few tables under shade trees and a small kitchen), the colorful fruit markets, the men, women and children on mopeds (imagine a woman clothed in brilliant pinks and reds riding a motorcycle along the roadside with a helmet over the top of her headscarf. Malaysia is a muslim country, and the farther one goes into the country, away from Kuala Lumpur and it's very cosmopolitan mix of cultures, the more traditional the people are -
What a spectacular day! The sun shone, the humidity was low, the water was calm - we were very lucky with the weather today!
After going to the barns to take care of the horses and turn them out in the paddocks for the day, we loaded into 3 vans and headed for the marina, and a boat trip to Puala Kapas for a day of snorkeling and beaching. Lovely day.
The weather has been gorgeous, no rain for the past couple days and things are drying out. The OC had re-routed some of the trail after the previous days of rain which had left some of the track in knee deep water. It's dryer now and the track looks perfect, but they're going to stick with the alternate routes in case there's a repeat of the heavy rains. I went out this morning with Zulu - he was checking the mileage on the ocean side loop, checking water point construction status, and replacing trail markers (colored flags on broomsticks to define the training courses for the different barns - according to quarantine regulations) that had disappeared over the weekend. We saw a few American riders on the course.
We got back for a late lunch, the others went off to the barn and I worked a little, then took a long walk on the beach. It's a gorgeous coastline - miles and miles of sandy beach along the South China Sea - little islands dotting the horizon. I didn't see very many people - it's not a crowded coast - just a few families, a few women sitting in the sand. Beautiful palms, mangrove type trees with long roots reaching out in every direction. Warm warm water. It was low tide so I could walk far out in the ocean, ankle and knee deep water.
November 1 is the official start of monsoon season. Yesterday on my beach walk I watched a huge black cloud get darker and closer - a sheet of rain out over the ocean. I turned around a little early thinking it might just be heading this way. We got a few sprinkles though, and not much more. The riders came to the dining room early, to eat and theget to the barn in time for the night ride - the barns would open again at 8. 2 hours to saddle up, ride, get back, untack, clean the horses, feed for the night and then back to bed. The Americans -Kathy, John, Heather, Roger Yohe on John's 2nd horse, and Hasumi-san (Cameo shipped from California, so she's in the American barn) when out on their training trail, and then Mercedes and Luis from the South American barn on their training trail. Zulu followed the S. American, and I went with Major Rahman to follow the Americans.
Six more horses came in this evening. Three from Dubai's stables and three from Argentina. John and I got clearance to go to the airport and cover the arrival. Very cool!! A military C-130 Hercules - big gray ugly cargo plane (but Azrin said she's starting to think of them as beautiful:) . Since the Terengganu runway isn't long enough for commercial cargo planes, Malaysia is flying the horses from Kuala Lumpur to Terengganu courtesy of the Malaysian Royal Airforce.
Terengganu International Endurance Park Lembah Bidong, Setiu, Terengganu
Terengganu International Endurance Park is the official venue for the Sultan's Cup Terengganu Challenge 2007. With its world class facilities and infrastructure, the venue is set to provide top notch facilities suited to overseas and local participants, officials and visitors.
The trails used for the competition consist of paths that lead along the beaches, wooded areas, several water crossings, through village settlements, plantations, flat logistic roads & tarmac crossings. The trails will be marked prominently at strategic points to guide the riders. Along the trails, there will be designated water points providing drinking water and ice water for cooling at approximately every 2.5km distances. Most of the ride will be done during the night and LED guide lights will be used as guides on the trails.