View from right side of cove. The Hotel is on the left, facing the lagoon.
Note the white sand and clear-blue water! Photograph by iKelah
I was at Redang Island from the 19th to the 21st, attending a medical workshop, "Applied Rheumatology Made Simple" or ARMS, sponsored by Pfizer. It was held at a 5 star resort called Laguna Redang Resort, thus the accomodation was simply smashing. From the speckless white sandy beach and the crystal-clear turquoise-blue water to the exquisite hotel structure, enriched with malay-timber architecture. Everything was heavenly. Not to mention the sumptuous array of buffets three times a day! There was a gastronomical variety of dishes: Malay, Cantonese, Indian and western and if I were to follow my 'nafs', I'd probably end up bloated but alhamdulillah, I managed to exercise prudence and frequent walks on the beach and climbing up rocks helped in burning those unwanted calories. The workshop was incorporated in a 3 days-2 nights package (sounding just like Pycnogenol's 3 hari-2 malam trysts, eh?) which carried a fairly steep fee per person, inclusive of accomodations, meals, ferry fares to and fro plus three snorkeling trips.
We pushed off early, so as not to miss the appointed 12.00pm ferry ride. After sending the kids to school we took the Jerangau route to K. Terengganu which is known to be faster by an hour as traffic is usually lighter than the coastal road.The downside of this route is that the roads are narrower and gigantic lorries and trailers are its main users. In view of the recent car-crash of our late cousin, my mental status was not prepared for the endless over-takings of cars and lorries and I was perpetually reduced to a bag of nerves! Alhamdulillah we arrived safely albeit with a driver who was overly irritated with an extremely, extremely apprehensive co-driver! We reached Merang jetty very much earlier and the organizers were very kind to put us on an early ferry so as not to waste time. Popping a tablet of Stemetil, (with a plastic bag at hand for vomitus) I prepared myself for the worst. Yes, I suffer from sea-sickness of the ultimate kind. Two years ago, on the return ferry trip from Tioman, I was essentially throwing up orally and rectally (sorry!) and by the time I reached land, I was a dried vegetable! But Alhamdulillah again, this time, both the ferry trips to and fro were uneventful and I hereby now declare myself free from sea-sickness. Yeah!
On arrival we were transfered via a 'tram' to the main building where we were served with 'welcome' drinks , half-filled glasses of whitish suspensions. The sad part was that the drinks were prepared at the bar which also served a multitude of alcoholic drinks and worst still, the bar-tenders were Malays! Astaghfirullah! "Air apa ni, dik?" iKelah asked, worried. "Air asam manis, bang'. Suddenly feeling all thirsty, I gulped down the sweet-sour concoction and found it pleasant. Apparently, sourness helps to cure someone of sea-sickness, thus the drink on arrival.
Our room was very spacious (termed as Quad), consisting of a king bed with 2 single beds. The moment I sat eyes on the polished parquet floor and the extra 2 single beds, I gasped, "If only the kids were here, what a waste!" The room was perfect for a family get-away. As the first talk was only scheduled at night, we had ample time to explore the grounds. I decided to pamper myself for a full body massage (which I missed during the Jogja trip) and iKelah eagerly left me for his photography spree. The masseur was a young Chinese girl who did a combination of Japanese shiatsu and Chinese massage on me which are definitely different from the traditional Malay urut. Her maneuvers were more accu-pressure-like and she worked by applying hard pressure to various points. At one time, she even applied her whole body-weight on me by kneading both her kness on my back! It was certainly a first for me.
The hotel is situated in a very strategic bay which probably is a lagoon with 2 hills on the tips pf both horns. The left hill is most probably a small island, joined by a stretch of land arising from the bay. On the left is another large cove. Along the beach of both bays, you can find many resorts with scattered chalets offering similar packages of almost the same price. At night, the whole place turns into a small city of lights with holiday-makers thronging it. Various joints put on loud disco music blaring into the salty sea air and this makes me wonder why would someone go for a holiday far away on an island but only to be disturbed by the same loud music they get in the noisy city??
As usual, iKelah was trying to capture the magnificent rays and changing red hues of the morning sun on the island. Unfortunately, the weather was rather cloudy that Saturday morning thus the scene was far less spectacular compared to the breath-taking image of sunset at Parangtritis.
The work-shop consisted of lectures and case-studies, presented by 6 speakers and spread over 2 days. 4 of them are women doctors who sub-specialiazed in Rheumatology: Dr Hazelyn of Putra Jaya Hospital, Dr Gun Suk Chyn of Hosp. Seremban, Dr Ong Swee Gaik of Selayang Hosp., Dr Esha Dass Gupta of IMU. Incidentally Hazelyn was a school-mate of mine in SIGS JB and we had some time catching up. She is also the president for the National S.L.E. Organisation which will be organising a 2 days camp at Suria Cherating Resort this coming weekend. A public forum on 'Managing SLE patients' will be held there on Saturday at 10 am. All are invited.
This is for those who are studying medicine (and those interested)
Categories of Rheumatic Disease:
-Soft tissue rheumatism
3)Chronic rheumatic diseases
4)Serious rheumatic diseases
Management of Rheumatic Disease:
3)Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic agents a.k.a. DMARDS
On Sunday we managed to squeeze a boat-trip to the marine park for a short bout of snorkeling. Mind you, the ride and rental of snorkeling outfit was not cheap. They even charged an extra 20rm for 'powered' goggles used by short-sighted people like iKelah. But it was worth the money to be able to see those colorful fish swimming close by. And the corals were a great sight to behold. It was sheer fun to see the fish come in droves as you drop bits of bread into the water. But it was even more fun to see iKelah do his free-style, :)). By the way, the marine park has banned the use of flippers as their usage tend to destroy the corals.
All in all, it was a truly fun-filled and educative weekend get-away, meeting people of the same fraternity and rekindling old friendships. I mingled with young doctors from various hospitals including those from Has's institution. I got to know Datuk Dr Yeow (who was iKelah's family physician in his childhood days) better, during our meals and listened as he rattled away his vast experience. As always I pray that Allah swt has blessed the trip and may the new-found knowledge benefit me. Special thanks to Ho of Pfizer for kindly inviting me.