Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lao Zi Temple (Dragon Temple) [updated]

The Lao Zi temple is otherwise known as the Dragon Temple and is one of the must-see tourist hot-spots on a visit to Kuantan. The Lao Zi temple is located on Jalan Sungai Lembing, about 13km from Kuantan town. It is accessible by taking Jalan Bukit Ubi from Kuantan town, crossing the Indera Mahkota junction, and proceeding onto Jalan Sungai Lembing.

The entrance to the temple is barely noticeable on the left hand side of the main road. There is just one small sign. As long as you have your Maps & Navigation app and drive slowly, you should be fine.

Upon arriving at the Lao Zi Temple, we were greeted by absolute silence which pounded our eardrums. The scene was set for a reverential journey through the dragon.

The whole journey starts at the dragon's tail and continues twisting and turning for 823 metres - reputed to be the longest man-made dragon in the world.

A quick tip: there was no-one at the entrance booth but we ended up paying the entrance fee at the end when we came out of the dragon's mouth. 

The yellow walls on the interior shone brightly in the dazzling sun as we made our way through the tunnels of the Lao Zi temple constituting the dragon's body

Words of Taoist scripture were displayed periodically along the walls of the Lao Zi temple

Since our first visit back in 2010, the dragon has been updated considerably. It has a new coat of golden paint, and lovely pictures on the interior.

Trees towered above the dragon...

...as well as a somewhat stony walkway...

After a long journey under the sun, over stony ground and with the looming danger of hanging durians, we eventually arrived at the end of the pilgrimage - by exiting out of the dragon's mouth!

The freshly painted golden dragon's mouth in September 2014

Upon reaching the destination, we were met by a beautiful plaza decorated with statues, ponds and flowers. A dozing Rottweiler did alert our senses, particularly as we were the only visitors there, but thankfully it didn't pose any threat. It turns out that the Lao Zi temple is more than just an 823-meter long dragon!

A mosquito-infested flower nursery drew our attention...

...and Lauren's too

We then took a rest with the Lao Zi temple owner in the actual temple which is located on a hill above the entrance at the dragon's tail. He allowed me to take a picture inside.

The 'dragon' theme is prevalent in the vast majority of Buddhist and Taoist architecture

We did find a toilet sign that seemed to lead to nowhere. Luckily our bladders were not full...

We enjoyed being here and would recommend this Lao Zi Temple to all who may be around Kuantan.

As the car engine cracked the profound silence of the atmosphere, and we made our way out of the Lao Zi Temple grounds, I knew that very soon we would return to all the familiar noises and hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Silence is, apparently, golden, and we sure have golden memories of our time spent here in the middle of the forest at the beautiful venue of the Lao Zi temple, alongside the longest man-made dragon in the world.

Monday, June 28, 2010

England 1-4 Germany

Apart from a 10-minute spell in the 1st half, England were murdered by a wonderful Germany performance in which their three strikers finished neatly from accomplished attacking build-ups. The German's two 2nd half goals came as a result of thrilling counter-attacks the English would have been proud of.

David James wasn't given much of a chance although he still managed to cock-up the 3rd goal. Gareth Barry's awful lack of pace was cruelly exposed for the German's fourth. Comical defending was on display for the opponents two goals in the opening half an hour. I stood in disbelief when Capello brought off James Milner and replaced him with the ineffective Joe Cole. Milner was our only player providing width out on the right flank and was having a great game. As soon as Joe Cole came on, the Germans caught us on the counter-attack in two lethal moments down that right flank as the substitute failed to cover back.

Glen Johnson was a continual liability at right-back whilst Terry looked insecure throughout. (At least Matthew Upson managed to score with his face which about knocked him out!) Ashley Cole struggled along too. We had a painfully familiar empty left flank as Gerrard, playing out of position on the left, continuously gravitated inside, leaving our attacks far too narrow and almost always breaking down.

Another mystery was the introduction of Heskey who poses no goal threat whatsoever and touched the ball once in 20 minutes. I find it an absolute travesty that Peter Crouch was only given seven minutes in our four matches. The extent to which he has been overlooked can only be explained by the manager. Rooney had a wretched world cup in which he barely managed a shot on target, let alone control the ball properly.

I'm really sorry to say this about the manager, but I think he's got everything completely wrong. He chose the wrong 23 players, played certain members of the squad in wrong positions, and made mind-boggling substitutions which have totally defeated us.

Why are Adam Johnson, Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor sitting at home in England? Why aren't they terrorising defences in South Africa? Are Joe Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Emile Heskey really better than them? Unfathomable.

It's time for a complete clear-out. This entire World Cup performance has been wretched at best, a horrifying attempt at passing a ball, a complete disaster of a formation, and a vivid display of tactical naivety. We are simply not good enough in all departments. Our players lack skill, tactical awareness and basic ball control.

What was I saying about a bunch of monkeys?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

England versus Germany

And so our old foes Germany wait in the wings for tonight's last 16 clash in Bloemfontein. Everyone is fit and ready, I'd like to see Peter Crouch given a chance alongside Rooney. I'm refusing to get too carried away however, because I've still not seen anything that suggests this England team are any good. So let's calm down, don't get our expectations too high, and just hope that the lads put in a good performance, which is severely overdue - and hope it doesn't go down to penalty kicks!


P.S. Oh yeah, I'd just like to extend my congratulations to Ghana for knocking out the U.S. of A last night! Well done! In the words of Landon Donovan, good things do happen! Great things!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Teluk Chempedak Shells

We had a jolly time at Teluk Chempedak on a warm overcast afternoon earlier this week. Gaz and I came equipped with our cameras and immediately got to work as we reached the shore, where a collection of broken shells and complete ones laid idly on the sand.

Lauren found this delicately designed specimen and came racing over to us to have us snap pictures of it!

Gaz taking a picture of one of the plethora of sea shells strewn across the beach

Love the hand-shaped shell to the right

The views of Teluk Chempedak

Living a short 20-minute drive from this paradise is a luxury for which I grow more thankful each time I visit this place. There is a relaxing atmosphere at the beach, seeing the waves lap up to the shoreline, feeling warm sand beneath ones feet, and looking out to the horizon. It's good to be living in Kuantan!


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