Thursday, February 25, 2016

On The Train - The End Of  A 13-Year Ride
Feb. 25, 2016

I walked consciously out of my office as the last act as an official of the Organisation. Mixed feeling of deep happiness and sorrow. After 13 years I have to feel something whether I like it or not. Especially leaving the building where I was involved from the conceptualisation, construction, completion to the actual moving in occupying major part of the space. A lot of efforts, brain powers and late nights to achieve the dream. 

As I walked down a good samaritan, a staff and a good friend, stopped to offer me a ride to the station.

Honestly, I did not feel anything different when entering the Bank Negara train station. My last ride home, I arrived when the 8.30pm Seremban train arrived at the station. Boarded and my favourite seat available waiting for me to sit. 

This long journey ends here

The decision had been taken months before with only the green light given very recently. Really unexpected to some while seeing it coming by others. For sure more interesting things that I love to do coming my way.  The list can be long and not necessarily in this order.

  1. A football coach
  2. Charity worker
  3. Husband and Dad
  4. Chef
  5. Teacher
  6. Conference and workshops facilitator
  7. Photographer
  8. Cyclist with a wish to cycle around Malaysia
  9. Backpacker boarding a continuous train ride 
  10. Writer
  11. A kid growing up within nature

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Around Malaysia by Train. Again!!!!, Dec 24, 2012, Slair, Padang Besar, Kuala Perlis, Arau - KL Sentral - Last Leg Home, Day 5

We are really tired but as usual we are awake for our ritual. Soon after both of us pull over our blanket to sleep again ha ha ha.

We are awake again at mid-morning and miss our breakfast at the hotel. Expecting another long train ride that night we layan ourselves. Then, suddenly I am in a need my chappati fix ha ha.

Oh my chappati he he he

Outside the hotel I decide to walk right and try my luck. Observing the area I can see government offices and the day being a holiday (I cannot remember what holiday) I am expecting less opportunity for kueh sellers to be around. I walk further anyway until I can see a warung open across the road on my left as I walk. Initially I like to continue walking but realising I do not have much time I cross the road to check the warung. When I am about ten metres away I am comforted at least I can get few kueh and nasi lemak but as I walk nearer I am very glad to read their banner to say Chappati. I ask the lady seller and indeed they have Chappati and as original as any chappati by any Bengalli. I ‘tapau’ about 5 pieces as well as several kueh. Yeah too many for my own good but that is the first chappati after several days ha ha ha. I walk back to the Hotel fully satisfied and accomplished ha ha 

Slair call at 1125 when I am about halfway through my 5 pieces of chappati. Earlier, I left a message early to inform him that we are coming his way. I was not sure whether he is in town. Slair ask me what is our plan for the day so I say we are going to check out at 12.00pm take a cab to Kangar to lepak there until our next train to KL. ‘Ok’ Slair says ‘we will come over to pick your guys at the hotel.’

Slair and Jun walk into the lobby at 12.15pm as we are about to sit waiting after we checked out. 

Salir : What time is your train home again?
Me: Around 7 pm
Slair: Ok what is your plan
Me: Just lepak around Kangar
Slair: Ok. you want to go to Padang Besar?
Me: Whereever you are going to take us Slair. We are fine.
Slair: Ok. let us do that. Ko dah makan?
Me: Just had 5 chappatis ha ha ha
Slair: We will stop to have lunch on the way to Padang Besar anyway ha ha ha

That is more or less our conversation.

We drive slowly along route one to Padang Besar. Just going with the flow of s very good host. I have no intention of buying anything at Padang Besar but then if something I fancy it would not stop me from spending. Any distance you travel will become very short if you had great conversation with your buddy This is true as we cruise to Padang Besar. 

As suggested earlier by Slair we stop at Warong Pokok Sawa for lunch. It is not a warong at all more like restaurant. Although it is already 1.36pm I am still full thus I pick few ulams, fish and fruits. Apparently this place is one of the main eating place in Kangar or Perlis. I can see why. Not only the choices of food and recipes but most importantly the taste is good.

Warong Pokok Sawa

We reach Padang Besar at 1420 and bless straight away with a good parking spot. We walk with no particular reason and direction. Eventually, being a football fan, our natural instinct lead us to the first triple A imitation sport store. I am sold when I see the old design Liverpool jersey, the one with Candy as the sponsor. We walk around the food and fruits area as well and at around 3pm we drive out of Padang Besar for Slair’s place. The best part of the walk around Padang Besar bazaar is actually not the shopping but chatting with Slair along the way. Both of us lament the non existent of Grand Sport there ha ha ha.

Along the way back we talk about interesting places in Perlis and one of them is the lake on our route. As we near the lake Slair turn the car right into the lake parking area. We stay there enjoying the place for few minutes before we move out ( 3.44pm stopped at lake)

Back at Slair’s place we charge ourselves as well as our gadgets. After our prayers Jun serves us the mangoes she bought at Padang Besar and it is really delicious. Our eating for the day does not end there as Slair has one more dish to serve us -Laksa Kuala Perlis. 

At 5.54pm we drive out to Kuala Perlis. Along the way Slair keep saying do not worry we still have time. Slair takes us to Laksa Kak Su and we order in a splash and finish the laksa in a flash as well ha ha ha. This is because not only we are trying to save time but the laksa is really good and I have to finish it in record time.

Kuala Perlis floating masjid

Slair, Jun and Sam

We arrive at Arau station at 6.55pm 7 minutes to the arrival of the train from Padang Besar. We quickly thank Slair and Jun for their hospitality and walk to the make shift station. Most of the station in the north are under renovation and Arau station is one of them. There are a lot of people waiting on the platform already and since Perlis is fast becoming an academic state a lot of students either going home for the semester break or just for a few days leave. Sam sits next to one of them and start to chat. The girl is from UUM and going back to KL. She tells Sam that she has only a ticket to as far as Taiping and will gamble to find another ticket at BM when she gets there.

Sam sits next to the UMM Student and start a conversation

Surprisingly the train is on time (7.02pm) all credit to KTMB and because there are a lot of passengers boarding we depart a minute off schedule (7.18pm). Also with full capacity means no chance for us to upgrade to another class due to no turn-ups.

We had a good rest at the hotel and now we find both of us not really tired to sleep or whatever. WhenI look around me I can see all sort of travelers. I am sure many of them are wishing they are in a car now driving where ever they are going. But there are also people like us. The ritual of riding Malaysian train is sometimes amazing to witness. There are those once on board would straight away make themselves as comfortable as possible to have a nice sleep. There are those that come on board with all sorts of food and snacks. They just start to arrange their stuff and start to munch. A lot of younger generation that come on board with their ear plugin with something already and stay like that the whole journey. There are also that straight away make a beeline to the buffet car to lepak.  Those that are traveling with family will rearrange their seats assignment as if they are going to be on the train for ever. Not many with books though. For us just travel very light and chill with the motion ha ha ha.

The paddy fields outside are getting darker as we move on. From a yellow evening beautiful sunset to a very beautiful reddish sky and a complete night forming. A beautiful soul touching moment.

Alor Setar arrives at 7.46pm. After a while on the train sometimes you feel you are not moving but everything else outside that do. Everything come to you in sequence.

When Bukit Mertajam (BM) arrives at 9.26 pm we walk to the buffet car to have our ‘dinner’. BM station is still in heavy renovation and there are a lot of activities outside. We just order coffee, nasi lemak and burge to eat. Now this train do not enter Butterworth like it used before (KTMB changed it again years later) so the stop would be a bit longer simply they have to turn the train around and wait for another train to pass. What I mean by turning the train around is this. Any train from the north normally has to through BM and turn at Butterworth. Turning hear means to cut the engine car and reattach it at the other end so that it can pull the train down to KL. The train line was built that way and not a straight line from North to South vice versa. So the turning for this train is happening at BM station now. 

While waiting and eating we chat. There are a lot of travelers in the buffet car and most of them have tickets without assigned seats. They either short distance travelers or those got on the train somewhere and pay for their passage on board. Maybe out of kindness KTMB allow this to happen. One of those travelers is a blind couple with their small children occupying the table beside us. We overheard they are discussing their options and after a while leave the car. Amazing that hey can manage the situation with the children.

One of the topics of our discussion is that there is a different culture on different train lines in Malaysia. I explain to Sam that in the east coast the train line is a daily necessity to most so they treat the train as their guest room, family transport, kitchen and business place. They do not mind not having a seat as they just lay down the matt and sit in group on the floor. They are friendly and seem to know everybody from the train service. When lunch or dinner time comes the food packages or tiffin will come out and you’ll have a picnic. The best part they would have enough for the others in the coach. In the west coast they are a bit ‘proper’ and even more if you go down south.

The station master blow his whistle and the train slowly move on towards KL at 10.26pm. We also get up from our seat and walk back to our coach. 

I put on my sweater, sock and go to sleep.

We arrive at KL Sentral at 5.28am and another train adventure almost come an end.

The final leg is actuallly the 7.03 am Komuter train from KL Sentral to Bangi.

Home sweet home at around 8.00 am.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Around Malaysia by Train. Again!!!!, Dec 23, 2012 - KB (0930) - Arau (1700) on the bus, Day 4 KB - Kangar, Transnasional Express, Skydeck Seta 2A, B, RM38.50

We are awake as usual. Our room being in the middle we do not have the window looking  outside but into the atrium of the hotel. So we keep our window with the curtain drawn down all the time.

I am first to use the bathroom and once we are ready with our morning ritual we start to pack.

At 7.51 am we are sitting at the dining table to have our breakfast. No one else in the restaurant except us and I assume the service going to be very fast. Yes, it is the standard buffet breakfast but we need to order our drinks. Then I realise it is a one-man breakfast operation. No brown bread so I settle for local food and a lot of eggs. We take our breakfast slowly anticipating the new experience of taking the bus to Kangar. 

It is 8.15am and we are walking out of the hotel to the bus station. We take the walk through the place where we had nasi ulam lunch yesterday. Passing the covered area in front of the Kraftangan’s entrance. It is drizzling and getting heavier but we press on. I make a good use of the rain jacket I bought yesterday. My dear Sam is walking slowly behind me and I worry about her. A strong and committed girl she is.

We arrive at the bus station at 8.30 am. I walk into the Transnasional ticket office and ask the gentleman at the counter where we suppose to wait for our bus. The man, his look and behaviour is not the least gentle at all - the fallacy of service industry in Malaysia, says to wait at the end of the block of the next building. When the bus come there will be an announcement made. We wait out side of the office where there are a lot of travellers waiting already. By the look of them I am pretty sure they are not our fellow travellers. After awhile no sign of our bus and I am getting bored waiting. The rain persists and I am not complaining just worry a bit about our journey. Looking out in front of me is the Suria Hotel and I wonder aloud to Sam we could have stayed there and we can wait for our bus siting in our room ha ha ha. Alas Suria Hotel is not with Agoda. 

After awhile and needing a new perspective we walk across the road to wait there. There is a bakery called Bread Home there and I walk towards it as I know we need few supplements for the long journey across Banjaran Titiwangsa to the west. 

The first perspective I have when I look at the bus station from where I stand is RED. Red color everywhere around us. Being a Red fan I am happy. I can see behind the station is the shopping complex where we were yesterday where Parkson is. It is another wait for us and I do not see the bus coming anytime soon either. 

It has been awhile waiting and thinking the bus will arrive soon we cross to the other side where the bus will stop. The crowd is building up expecting their buses will arrive for the journey where ever they are going. Buses for destinations like Kuantan, KT, Ipoh, and JB start to show up. Finally at 10.08 am our bus show up and we get onboard. Out seats are at the top deck and it is a big let down. The front part of the top deck is a mess even the seat numbers are not right. Knowing that there will not be many passengers we just pick our fancy. The bus is a let down. The front part of the top deck not only a mess but, as they say in Kelantan, tirih (leaking) as well. Water from the rain outside is seeping in and the floor is already wet. The first two rows are left vacant. This is Transnasional Express and going to traverse the mountainous East West Highway. I am worry a bit there. Luckily we are traveling from a wet region to a dry one in the west. 
Seven minutes later we are on our way. One hour off the schedule.

As usual the air-condition is switch on full blast. With heavy rain outside now the bus is a big industrial fridge. Mist and water particles are getting thicker on the window panes now and I am only protected by the rain jacket I bought yesterday. I have to pull up the hood to be a bit comfortable. Initially I thought the bus was going straight to Jeli but now it is moving towards Pasir Mas. Must be picking up few more passengers there. I suppose I have to expect the bus will be going to Tanah Merah and other towns to pick up passengers as well. Meaning we are going to be late even more. Now I know we are not going to reach Kangar at 5.30pm. 

The bus slowly move into Pasir Mas town at 10.49am. Nothing much has change in Pasir Mas. The town where I lepak for almost two years doing nothing. We circumambulate the town to enter the bus station. Surprisingly a lot of traffics. 

Moving out of Pasir Mas I doze off. 

We are entering Tanah Merah and somehow I am awake. The clock tells me it is 12.02pm. We pick up two more passengers at Tanah Merah. I am bored a bit so I move myself to the front to sit watching the road and whatever else happening in front of the bus as it move on. I feel like sitting on the top deck of an open tourist bus with my camera. The ride going through Kelantan inner road. It is scary sometimes as you would see that the road is too small for the bus he he he. In no time we turn into East West Highway and as I expected the driver, in order to make time, drives a bit too fast for a double decker. I have a first class front seat experiencing him maneuver the corners and passing long haul trucks. Interesting as well as a bit scary at times.

At 12.51 pm we approach Bukit Bunga. Bukit Bunga is of course famous for its road-side Thailand’s products shopping area. A lot of cars park by the road side where barang-barang Siam on sale on both sides of the road. Familiar sight for me as I passed this way at least four times already. Really, nothing new to see. Since this is the first time I am doing it by bus I force myself to stay awake a bit ha ha ha. Soon we will be in Jeli.

I always thought Jeli was a one main road town until the bus turn left into a small town at 1.20pm. We stop at the bus station at Jeli town to pick-up more passengers... no, no one actually ha ha ha. Seeing no one board the bus I quickly ask the driver if I can go out to relieve myself. Cannot tahan woo.. All the while I thought there was a restroom onboard. Suddenly few of the passengers are also running behind me for the loo ha ha ha. 
As I walk back to the bus I see the driver smoking beside the bus. 

‘Kita berenti tak mana-mana nanti untuk solat dan makan?’ (Are we stopping anywhere later for prayers and food?)

‘Grik.’ the reply from the driver

It is two hours away from Jeli. I continue to sit at the front seat of the top deck until we start to climb. I feel I have enough of observing the road ahead and getting worried for nothing I walk back to my original seat to sleep. 

At 2.28pm I am nicely awake as we are crossing Tasek Banding bridge. I stay awake from there taking in the picturesque mountain and green around me. I am not that hungry but really looking forward to the rest stop at Grik. Initially I was imagining that the stop would be a Medan Selera type place but when we approach the Grik Baling junction at 3.07pm I know it is not going to be. Police roadblock greets us beyond the junction and few meters after that the bus turn to the left where what it seems a new RnR restaurant. Several Transnasional buses already parked there. For what it worth by the look of the place a new dedicated RnR for them. I do  not expect much. As long as we can say our jamak prayers we are ok. That is the first thing we do while the rest busy eating.

All the food look good and tasty. I pick up few dishes in small portion to start with and I am glad I do that as all of them are too sweet for my taste buds. They are really sweet even by Kelantan standard. 

At 4.00pm we depart Grik moving steadily high above the ground in between hills and terrains towards Sg Petani. The lunch beginning to take an effect on me and slowly close my eyes to sleep.

I am awake again as the bus entering Sungai Petani at 5.45pm. I cannot really figure up where exactly the bus stop but the station is almost deserted and the bus only stop for awhile to let a passenger to disembark. 

I move to the front seat when we are on the highway after Sg Petani for the rest of the journey. The view is quite breathtaking with the evening sun setting across the plain yellowish even more by the paddy fields. The double tracking of the train line is in progress parallel to the highway. Soon I would be able to take a fast or commuter train to Padang Besar. I just wish it is sooner.

At Changlun the driver takes off out of the highway into the inner road, a shortcut to the Changlun - Kuala Perlis highway. The effort is commendable to me but not enough to make time as I am sure we will arrive of schedule. As we enter Kangar the driver stop at the Petronas gas station to fill up for the next day trip back to KB. We can hear the azan from the nearby mosque or surau indicating it is Maghrib. 

The bus pull into Kangar bus station at around 1943. I look around to see what is the best way to Putra Palace Hotel. Of course I would prefer to walk so I ask a lady at one of the express bus counter if I could walk to the hotel. She strongly advises me to take a cab there. Thinking about Sam and our luggage, although not that big, I ask her where I can get a taxi and she points the direction which actually just behind her counter. 

The taxi driver is chatty as any taxi driver in town like Kangar. He shares with us that we are his last fare and he is going home after sending us. He lives with his family somewhere in Padang Besar. Everyday he would leave the house after suboh to start his daily routine. He is getting by with what he makes everyday which I do not ask him to elaborate. 

Once at the hotel we check in and up into our room. Not that really tired but in need of proper food we decide just to pray first and go down for our dinner. We do not want to go any further so we walk into the hotel’s restaurant. Once we are in I like it straight away, primely, because the music duo at one corner of the restaurant is playing old songs especially the Bee Gees. We choose a table nearest to the musicians. Not many people in the house which is fine for us. I order mi goreng and Sam something that I could not remember we enjoy both the food and the music. In fact I start to sing along to the delight of the lady singer. By the look of them and the way they converse they are locals. We chat about our adventure so far and what to expect tomorrow. Our plan is to just lepak at the hotel, check out at noon and go to town for lunch before going to the station. 

After a while Sam feel the need to recover from the long bus trip from the east. We walk up, take our hot bath and kiss each other good night. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Around Malaysia on The Train. Again!!!!! Dec 22, 2012 - A Very Wet KB, Day 3

Shoot! I am up and blaming the phone alarm again for not doing its job. The truth is I went to bed late last night and slept through till day break. We make the best of the situation and get ready to go out. The plan is to walk to Pasar Khadijah to have breakfast and have fun exploring again. Then come back to our room to check out exactly at noon. 

Going into a wet market exploring has always been my thing during my travels. Pasar Khadijah definitely high on my list of wet markets simply because I can expect a lot of unexpected. Different kinds of kueh, vege, fruits, stuff and of course foods. We starts with a quick march pass along the corridor of kueh-kueh and continue walking up to where we had laksam yesterday. Today the mission is nasi dage for breakfast. Yes, I must and I do not care LOL

Surprisingly not many stalls selling nasi dage and we decide on one that already serving few ladies. Most of them are having nasi belauk the staple breakfast for the state he he. I have not learnt the art so I stick to a slightly heavier stuff. I order my usual drink and once again the lady stall owner reconfirm with me that I do not want to have sugar in my drink. In the land of sweet things it is a shock to their systems I guess. We take time eating and I, as always observing things around me. 

I am eating my nasi dagang slowly to make sure I taste the full flavor. Then I look up for awhile and see a cat climbs into a sink across the isle in front of me. WIth its head just popping up I wonder what the cat is doing until I see the expression on its face. Ha ha ha the cat is pooping there. I nudge Sam and ask her to look ahead and ask her to guess what’s the cat is doing. ‘Berak’ she says, not too loud and enough to make both of us laugh. Amazing cat of Pasar Khadijah toilet trained but the wrong toilet LOL.

Although the food is good, I have and know my limit. We continue to sit, but to be fair to the owner, not too long as the design of the place would not allow us to stay longer. We start to walk around again, not exploring, enjoying the surrounding and the atmosphere. From stall to stall we walk. Enough with the top floor we go down again to the floor where they sell the vegies and kueh-kueh. Walking and looking at things slowly. The ladies must be amazed to see me photographing almost all items on display. When we are at the end of the long table like structure where they sell their kueh-kueh we just walk out. We have a bit more time before we need to walk back to our room to check out.  explore a bit more of the area outside Pasar Khadijah.

 As I walk on the pavement near a local shopping mall I notice a pile of rain sport jackets on sale. Realising that I need one for the rest of my travel I step in to check. I see what I want and within the price range. Sam decides she does not require one. We continue to walk and now with the intention of going back to our hotel but via a different route. We walk the length of the block and turn right at the end to walk towards the hotel. As we walk we see a Chinese Muslim Chicken Rice restaurant and I say to Sam we have to try this before we leave KB. Unfortunately we never did.
Once at the hotel we collect our luggage in the room and check out. We walk out where there are a lot of people checking in so I guess the hotel must be popular with tourist. Being at the centre of the town it has its advantages. The room although a bit shabby is acceptable to most. For this kind of trip I am just using a small rucksack with few clothes inside so I just sling it on my back and walk out of the hotel with Sam. It drizzles a bit but nothing that’s going to stop us from walking. I do not know exactly where Royal Guest House is but my sense tells me where I should walk. I just follow my instinct with Sam close behind. By now the rain gets a little heavier. As we pass Pasar Khatijah I walk ahead a bit unitl I can see the signage to Kraftangan and I know we are on the right track. The Kraftangan is on our left. When we reach the sign I see a lorong like entrance and I can see more interesting things. One obvious thing there is the entrance to the Kraftangan and another is the Nasi Ulam place. I know straight away where we are going to have lunch. We walk in expecting at the other end will be at least a short cut or the right way the Royal Guest House. As we pass the Nasi Ulam place we can see a lot of ulam-ulam and food that we really fancy. Lucky that we are still full after breakfast if not we would have sit down to eat ha ha ha. 

We are almost reaching the other end when to my delight I see the Royal Guest House. Not that we are only on the right track we are spot on. We are very early to check in and I approach the counter to try my luck. The room is obviously not ready I can check in first but wait for the room to be ready. The girl at the counter reminds me that check in is at 2pm. I reply to her, yes I know I just trying my luck if there is a room ready for us. With that we store our luggage there and walk out towards the Kraftangan to explore the place.  

It is drizzling when we walk in the compound of the Kraftangan and we choose the left side of the place where there are souvenir shops as our launching pad to explore the space. Nothing much or interesting there just normal souvenirs. We walk up the stairs to explore the upper level and we walk pass the main entrance to the museum but nothing interest me to pay the fee to go in. One main deterrent is no camera allowed. Fine, still old world thinking and old logic to me. Who in the world today do not carry a camera. Such places might as well stop everyone carrying handphone or iPad. We walk to the other side where I can see art class in progress my interest perk and walk faster to enter the class to have a look. Where there is art class there must be art studio or shops somewhere. True enough they are at the ground level. We stay up at the corridor watching the art class and admiring the compound from high level a bit longer. We stand there soaking in the environment. I must say that the place is not well maintained. Even so, it is a nice place to be. After a while we walk down to check out the arts. I am expecting to see good paintings and maybe one of two worth taking home ha ha ha. There are two studios there and basically open for artists in Kelantan to use to showcase as well as creating new beautiful arts. 

Try as I may none of the painting on display is to my liking. Too amateurish as well as old. We continue our walk to the other side and the sky suddenly really open up bringing down water like waterfall. The rain is so hard so much so we cannot move without getting wet. We inch ourselves towards the other end passing through another nasi ulam place underneath the museum. We decide to wait the rain at the corridor on the upper level we first entered. The rain is really pouring now with no indication of stopping anytime soon. Sam starts to update her diary and I messing around with my camera.

As I am standing looking out at the rain two ladies under an umbrella approach the staircase. Someone from the top of the stairs usher them in and I can see the lady wearing high heel. I can not stop myself from saying, ‘high heel in this rain’. I mean the ‘heel’ is really high man!. So much so she has to take it off to come up the stairs. I just do not pay much attention to the lady until I see a camera crew waiting for her. Must be a model shooting at the place maybe. I walk to where Sam is sitting trying to find other interesting things. In between finding nice objects and angle for shots Sam remark to me something about Misha Omar. Striking a conversation I say, ‘Yes she is from KB. Ibu dengar lagu dia ke?‘ ‘There she is, sitting in front of the museum counter.‘ ‘Where!?‘ ‘There’. Ha ha ha it is the high heel lady. Since I do not have my long lens with me the 17-55mm suffice he he he. Whatever it is, it is not a big deal for me as celebrity has never been my thing. 

The rain ceases a bit and we decide to dash across to Tengku Anis Complex next to the Kraftangan to explore. 

Walking around the complex I cannot but feel disappointed as well as sorry for the tenants there. To me, nothing there that is different from what we can get anywhere else in KB. No speciality or peculiarity that makes the place unique. It will be another ghost building soon. Well, I sincerely hope not but all indications are pointing towards that. We walk around nevertheless and try our best to enjoy it ha ha ha. As we are going around it starts to rain again. Nothing else to do so we just wonder around. It is a multi floors complex but I just do not want to disappoint myself further by finding nothing on the upper floors. We limit ourselves on the ground floor. We decide then once the rain cease a bit we are going to dash across to have our nasi ulam and then retire back to our room. 

The nasi ulam place is packed with people. The place is really popular by the look of it and because of the variety being served it is even more popular I guess. The trick is to get a table first. We manage in the end to secure one at the end close to the road of our hotel. It is a self service place and the process is for you to pile in whatever you wish to eat and drink and later the waiter will come over to ‘kira’ and present you with a bill. I take a lot of ulam and fish to our table and we have a feast. For sure the place and the food worth coming back for again. The next train ride to KB then.

The rain is still dripping away outside but not as heavy as before. We just walk across to our hotel from the ‘nasi ulam’ place. All the rooms in the hotel had just been refurbished and ours is cosy and nice. It is not that big and enough for what we paid for. Just nice for those who want to just relax and sleep off the tiredness. After the big lunch that what exactly we need 

The nap do us good, refresh and raring to go out again. Azie, my niece, and her husband are coming to pick us up to take us around. We get ready quickly and go down to wait for them at the lobby. It is still drizzling outside and we just sit at the lobby waiting. Together with us is a family and Sam start a conversation with the lady next to her. They are visiting from Singapore and first time in Kelantan. The conversation initially evolve around their visit and inevitably move to the topic of the day, the wet season. They are here in KB at the wrong time. I wonder what they think about Kelantan. I do not ask.

Azi arrives but not after she mistakenly entered a wrong building. It is still drizzling outside .
‘Pak  Ngah dan Mak Ngah nak pergi mana ni?’ Azi’s husband, Nasir, asking us in a polite tone if there is anywhere in particular we want to go. 
Pak Ngah tak tahu, mana-mana pun ok tak de mana-mana nak pergi. Bawa je la mana pun.’ 

‘Ok la kita pergi KB Mall la.’
‘Ok juga Pak Ngah pun tak pernah pergi sana.’

A three story building, KB Mall is just like any common mall you have in any city. Well at least it is good getting out of the rain for a while. While Nasir go for his maghrib, I decide to jamak mine later, I sit down at the Mc D to have my coffee fix and we chat a bit.

Since I do not bring a long pant and with the possibility of meeting my friends up north I decide I need at least one to match the sweater I bought the day before. I walk into one of the outlet and walk out with a loose cotton pant that I always wanted to have.

Sam mention she never been to Kubang Kerian and with that remark we are on our way there. It is about 20 minutes drive there and Azi and Nasir start to share more information about the places we pass through and Kubang Kerian. When we reach the area it is still drizzling and a lot of cars.  Nasir pop out his instictive question whether or not Pak Ngah and Mak Ngah wish to stop and explore. I let Mak Ngah to answer and she says no need.

Cruising back towards the city Nasir ask us what do we wish to have for supper. We are not that particular and game for anything. Nasir takes us to Wakaf Baru near their place to eat. 

We chat more than we eat. Azi is thinking of going into food business and she share with us her intention. I fully encourage her to do that. In fact doing that in KB or Kelantan for that matter would be easier. Kelantan is a business friendly for women. Nasir come from a family of business people so it would be even easier for Azi. The rain keep pouring and a very good reason for us to continue to chat.

We are back at the hotel after two hours of chit chatting with Azi and Nasir. I thank both of them and they answer by saying that the next time we are here on the train do not waste our RM taking a very expensive taxi. I smile. I told them before we took RM25 taxi from Wakaf Baru Station to town the day before.