My eyes were getting heavy, the impact of sitting under a tree for too long, of course still in the Padang Maziah complex. Now and then the sound of car horns gave a pulse to the deserted palace garden. However, my reason still said “no”, when the heart’s intention persuaded it to immediately go to the beach.
What could I do, my eyes preferred to continue their sleep, “Who wants to be hit by the hot sun”, my reason was determined to stay for more moments in the coolness and beauty of Padang Maziah. Because of that, I was more and more confident leaning against a concrete wall that has functioned as a giant pot in that palace park. This was the first time I could sit and relax in a park out of my country.
The blink of my eyes grew tighter as the sun slowly slipped to the west. Almost half past three in the afternoon, I finally decided to get up and walked again.
I headed back down a four-lane and two-ways road heading west. Ahead there was a large city gate. Through the left side of the road, slowly but surely I was getting closer to it. The gallant city gate, straddling Sultan Zainal Abidin Street.
“Sovereign My Sultan – Hope God Keep Terengganu’s Sultan and Sultanate”, was the three-line sentence plastered above it. “Terengganu is Islamic,” I quietly thought as I stood still looking at that sentence from below.
After the gate, only a row of four-story shophouses could be seen which be built parallel to the road on its right side, while on the left side was acquired an expansive green area titled Dataran Shahbandar. It was a community park complex combined with gathering & events venues which will usually be crowded at important moments such as Ramadan, New Year, and national holidays.
Dataran Shahbandar itself covers an area of ten hectares with three main sections, namely parks, plazas, and piers. From the naked eye, I could estimate that the park dominated up to 60% of the total area. Meanwhile, the plaza used for tent areas, car boot sales, or food trucks took up 30% of its portion, while the remaining area was used as the Shahbandar Jetty, which was a wooden pier used for the transportation terminal to Redang Island, which was 40 kilometers offshore.
I leisurely walked through a pedestrian path in the middle of a lush park to reach the plaza area. The spacious but quiet plaza was decorated with a signboard that reads “Bandaraya Warisan Pesisir Air”. The day after tomorrow this place would be filled with local citizens to celebrate New Year Countdown. Meanwhile, at the same time, I would be in Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile, the focal point of the New Year’s celebration the day after tomorrow would be on iconic bridges on the right side of the Dataran Shahbandar complex. It was the Terengganu Drawbridge that had become the sea gate of Kuala Terengganu. That lift bridge perfectly stretched connecting Seberang Takir Village on the north of the bridge and Ladang Padang Cicar Village on the south.
This was the first lift bridge in Malaysia, even in Southeast Asia which was only 2 years old. So I still had time to enjoy its new face that afternoon. With a length of more than 600 meters, the bridge proudly fenced off Kuala Terengganu from the vastness of the South China Sea.
And you needed to know that all of the Terengganu Drawbridge complexes, Dataran Shahbandar, and Kedai Payang Market were tied together in a management area nicknamed Pesisir Payang.
Now I was at the beach and trying to take the best picture of Terengganu Drawbridge. On the other hand, residents often came to capture themselves in various Pesisir Payang spots. I even occasionally volunteered to be an impromptu photographer for several families who wanted to capture all of their members in a picture. Of course, I was happy because I got to know so many very friendly families, and didn’t even hesitate to talk to me for a while after they found out that I was from Indonesia. Of course, my accent was easy for them to guess. In that conversation, some of them gave many references to tourist attractions that must be visited in Kuala Terengganu.
It could be said that I spent my afternoon hanging out with residents. At the end of the session, I decided to rush toward the Terengganu Drawbridge and as a result, I managed to enjoy that architectural beauty from a hundred meters away.
Around the Terengganu Drawbridge viewpoint, five young Malaysians of Indian descent were very busy. I dared to approach them.
“Hi, I can help you to take a photo, so everyone can fit in a photo”, I offered myself with a small smile.
“It’s okay….Thanks. In a moment, let me adjust the lens setting firstly”, one of them approached me and was busy adjusting the camera settings, occasionally he peeked at the iconic bridge from his camera hole. “It’s ready”, he handed it to me.
For a while, I adjusted their positions, swapped short positions for taller ones, ordered left and right, and asked for some styles. I showed some photos to the owner of the camera until he said enough.
And as a reward….They turned to take my photo….Get ready, check it out…..Snap-Snap……..