|Typical view while driving along Route 3.|
Route 3 is the largest road that runs down the eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. To be exact, the highway starts in Kelantan (the northern most state of Malaysia) and runs down to Johor Bharu, a large city in Johor, which is near Singapore.
Route 3 was near and dear to the Terengganu ETAs’ hearts, because it allowed us all to stay very well connected despite the miles that separated most of us. The Fulbright ETAs were placed in districts that extended down the coast, and Route 3 allowed us to drive and/or take bus trips from one place to another. Route 3 connected Christina, Michael and I in Besut to Jordan and Nick in Setiu, to Hannah, Nazeeha, Chelsea and Jonathan in Kuala Terengganu and Julie and Marquitta in Marang down to Kamayani, Katie and Kate in Dungun and finally to Melissa and Morgan in Kemaman. To give you an idea, to travel from Besut in northern Terengganu to Kemaman in the south took about 5-6 hours.
|Melissa, Michael, Jonathan and I with the Malaysian|
McDonald's clown. I've always thought that he was
a creepy guy, but it was elevated when he started speaking
in a heavy Australian accent with creepy faces.
I always looked forward to the quick trips down Route 3 to visit friends in other places. I especially looked forward to spending time with my fellow friends. A ride down Route 3 passed through beautiful mountains, interesting ‘kampung’ (villages), beautiful coastline and even one McDonalds, which was a big treat at the time.
Ironically, one of my favorite memories of Route 3 was in February, at the beginning of our Fulbright experience. Nick and Jordan’s landlord was nice enough to offer them an SUV to use, so Christina and I piled in and we headed to Kemaman to meet up with other ETAs. On the return journey from Kemaman, we stopped at McDonalds to enjoy one last bite of somewhat American cuisine before heading back to our villages in the north. When we went to start the car after enjoying our meals, it would not start. In addition, we could not get in touch with any of our mentors and contacts in Malaysia. So, Jordan and I quickly searched for some sign of a car or insurance book in the vehicle. I had never had vehicle issues in USA, let alone abroad before. I found a number to call and tried to explain in Malay that we were stuck and still had a three- hour drive ahead of us. No luck. I wondered what I would do about school the following morning, and I wondered how the heck we were going to make it back. Eventually, Jordan and Nick’s landlord called a friend of a friend of a friend in the area, who showed up in the parking lot to provide help. Although a few hours behind schedule, we did make it back. But honestly, I could not help but laugh. Never did I think I would be stranded in a McDonald’s parking lot in Malaysia calling a Malaysian automobile company for car support.
|The group together in Cherating, Pahang, Malaysia.|
It was accessible by Route 3 through Kemaman in
southern Terengganu. Cherating even had a bar called
Litte Bali and we were able to wear our sundresses and
The bumps, curves, straight-ways and memories of the one and only Route 3 allowed us to build strong friendships, camaraderie and a solid support system. Many of our weekends in Malaysia were filled with little road trips down the coastline, visiting one another, gathering together as a group and enjoying each other’s company. Those were probably some of my favorite memories from my time in Malaysia!
| After months of|
food that bore no resemblance
to American cuisine,
McDonald's was a treat.
|The view from Kemaman, Terengganu in the south.|
|Cherating, Pahang, Malaysia.|
This is a restaurant on the beach there.
It is accessible by Route 3.
|Northern Terengganu near Besut. 6 hours south from here|
were Kemaman and Cherating, Malaysia. (as shown above)
|Melissa and I (with my sunburn) relaxing on the|
|Walking along the shore of Kapas Island. It was|
as if we had a private island.
|The lodge that ETAs stayed in while on Kapas Island.|
It was always a great place to catch some shut-eye and chat.
|Christina, Kamayani and I got enthusiastic about nuts|
we found in Chinatown, Kuala Terengganu.
|Jonathan, Kamayani and I! We loved snorkeling and|
swimming in the South China Sea!
|The Terengganu ETAs hanging out at me and Christina's|
house in Besut. And no, the TV didn't work. We spent our nights
together on the mainland simply hanging out and chatting.
|Terengganu ETAs getting creative in|
me and Christina's kitchen. Julie made
mac n' cheese, with Velveeta cheese
sent to her from America, and Michael
|Christina and I had a neat watermelon ball. To pass time|
together, we sometimes played games in my house. Here,
Jordan, Jonathan, Hafiz, Nick and I were playing four square.
It is remarkable how one can keep herself/himself entertained.
|One of the many road trips in the SUV with Nick and Jordan.|
Sometimes, I got stuck sitting in the back.
|Marquitta, Morgan, Christina and I nice and cozy in|
the SUV! It would become quite hot at points along
|After not seeing each other for a while, it was always|
nice to be reunited with one another!
|The female ETAs hanging out around the fire on Kapas Island.|
|Route 3 allowed Terengganu ETAs to access the Perhentian|
Islands in Besut (north), as well as Kapas Island near
Kuala Terengganu. (central) The islands were a great place
to unwind and relax.