Monday, February 26, 2007

CUTI CUTI MALAYISA 4: June 3, 2006 (Saturday)

Kuala Terengganu

I would like to start our day a bit early and started to call the children room to ask them to get ready. Intan and Tareq were already outside by the pool waiting. As usual I went to the Ranger first to warm-up the engine. I was expecting to find the Ranger a bit hard to start just like yesterday but instead it got worse. Just like yesterday I needed several attempts to get it going but that morning I just let it ran on its own and soon the engine just fluttered and died on me. I tried to restart and by the sound I knew already I would not be successful so I waited for the kids to arrive for them to push to jumpstart. After one push I realized there wasn’t any contact at all and I knew then it would need something else. We discussed about it and few arm chair mechanics joined in trying to solve our problem. Just like in any breakdown these kinds of ‘mechanics’ would gather around the engine and started to have what they presumed as a good conversation. Of course the usual questions like, ‘Is it not the battery, right?’, ‘Have you tried looking at the fuse’, or ‘Let’s try to give it another push maybe the last one was not fast enough.’ I knew they meant well but before someone started on his own version of breakdown story we decided to find a jumping cable and Tareq drove out to search for one. Tareq came back alone and told us that a mechanic would soon follow suit with a cable. After a few minutes of waiting the mechanic showed up and started to diagnose the Ranger. I was not convinced but relented as long as he got to get the Ranger started. All the while I had been in contact with Azizi to get advice and I tried few things and convinced me it was not a battery problem or anything else but a wiring problem. We tried to jumpstart using another 4X4 owned by a good young, I presumed, engineer and still the Ranger failed to start. In the end the mechanic decided to get another big battery so off he went with Tareq. This time they were gone for longer time that prompted me to advice my family to go and wait in the room.

Still I was skeptic as I was very sure it was a different problem but eventually he managed to get the engine going. I prayed that Ranger would hold up for the reminder of out holiday so that I could send it back to Azizi for proper check-up. If you did not realize it by now Azizi is a good friend who happened to be a mechanic. So, he is sort of our personal mechanic. This time I rammed the engine a bit and let it ran longer. While doing that I actually was serious of cutting short of our holiday and to go home that day. In the end I decided to gamble a bit and make the best of the holiday and to continue as planned. I reasoned that there must be something good going to come out of this and stayed positive through out. So the next morning would be crucial.

I volunteered to send the battery back for the mechanic that was at a motor boat engine workshop in his kampong. At that workshop then I discovered where e the battery came from, a very old pickup truck. He refitted the battery to the truck. I got him to talk to reveal few things to understand him and the kampong better. The good thing that came out of that was he showing us, according to him, the best keropok place in Batu Rakit. It was not far and it was beside the main road to Penarik. I was interested to stop by not just because of the keropok but more for an opportunity for my children to see and learn about keropok making in real place. Of course it presented me with a good reason to record everything in stills. I encouraged my children to observe and ask questions. The mak ciks obviously used to people observing them at work played along with us.

I thought of taking everyone to the Merang jetty to find something to eat as well as doing a tourist thing but I missed the turn and sped ahead towards KT. Along the way, just before Balqis Poliklinik, we stopped at a place to have our lunch. The choice was perfect for everyone. Not only were the dishes good the selection was apt for everyone as well. I mean everyone almost ate like a mad hungry man that had not eaten for several days. I do not remember the name of the place but it was the biggest eating place in that area. With our stomach full we pushed towards KT. I purposely detoured the other way to KT as I wanted to check out the KT Airport for decent t-shirts. The last time I was there they had quite a few good designs. However, as I approached the airport area I found out it was under going a massive renovation and it was not convenient to stop considering the heat. We made a round and proceeded towards KT via Seberang Takir. Around 1230 we were at the edge of KT and just about get onto the bridge when I decided to detour into Pulau Duyong. It was my first time there as well so we drove around to explore the place. As expected in any small island, the houses were smack right next to one another with just enough room for one car to pass through. I knew there was a traditional boat making industry there but to my dismayed I missed it completely. I only saw where it was when we were already on the bridge going into KT.

Based on a TDC outdated KT town map we tried to find our way to the State Museum at Losong. The old map didn’t help at all, in the end out instinct got us to the main gate of the museum. Again I had personal objectives or motives of going to the museum. Top on the list was to instill sense of appreciation to history and learning, and museum in general to my children. Thanks goodness the displays were engaging enough for them. For the record Fatah actually ‘belanja’ us or paid for our entrance fees. We stayed almost three hours inside the museum as it was almost closing time when we came out. That and other indicators told me that I had achieved my objectives. I just hope other state museums would be like that or better.

The weather was really hot even for us Malaysian and it affected everyone. As I predicted Intan wanted to go to Pasar Payang again and that was where we headed from the museum. I took them through Jalan Losong and detoured to the Losong’s Keropok Lekor area. No body else seemed interested so I just bought two packs for us to eat. I passed one to the other car but when we opened the package I discovered my mistake. I bought two packages of uncooked Keropok Lekor. Well actually they were already boiled and good to eat but I knew the rest were not used to eating them that way. I ended up with both to eat on my own with Baqi’s help once awhile. I did not have anything else to buy at Pasar Payang but decided to pray there. We parked at the park near the waterfront and walked over. The kids decided to stay back and do their own things while waiting for Intan to shop. After I said my prayer I lingered a bit to see if I have missed anything. I met my children and their cousins at the Pasar Payang that was when I decided to walk back to the Ranger and to try to get some z’s as I was a bit tired and sleepy.

I think I was up after about ten or fifteen minutes of a good nap. By then all of my family members except for Intan and Tareq were sitting at the park enjoying Rambutans and talking. I needed caffeine (of coffee nature) shot but did not want to tell them that so I grabbed the opportunity presented by Mar when she asked to go to the restroom. There was a waterfront café near the restroom so we adjourned there and ordered our drinks. I called my wife and told her where we were and she eventually walked over to join us. The evening sun was shining over the water behind me that created a nice evening feeling. My thought was thinking that there must be a good shot somewhere. I walked over to the edge on the stonewalk by the sea to find good shots and decided on boats and a bicycle locked to the railing. On seeing us there Tareq and Intan joined us for a drink.

We left the area eventually and I knew just the place to go, Batu Burok’s KT Carnival 2006. We arrived at the carnival when it was about to get dark. As we were musafir we just continued to walk to check-out the place. I was expecting for less people to be there but instead it was as many as during the day. Nothing much to look at after walking the length of the carnival we ended with just maggi mee…LOL. That just to indicate that there was nothing special about the carnival just the usual cheap goods from the border and few indigenous products. A disappointment I would say. Finally after buying a bit of dinner we drove back. The boys were really pushing for us to go back to the hotel as England was playing a friendly in their last warm-up game before the final. In the end that was what we did and officially ended another day in KT

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