Monday, February 5, 2007

Cuti Cuti Malaysia 3: To The North Again, Melaka-Kulim-Alor Setar-Penang-Ipoh-Tapah Road, Dec 22 – 30, 2005

Dec 28, 2005 (Wednesday), Kulim, Ipoh, KK, Ipoh

We had breakfast first and then loaded the Ranger with our luggage and ready to go. I did not pull into the highway like usual but instead stuck to the trunk road route 2 south. We mentioned, well I think we may have been talking about it loud enough for everyone to hear about wanting to buy a comforter, toto or whatever you called it and was recommended to buy them at Bagan Serai for a better price. So, we braved and endured the slow traffic down south. My first stop at Bagan Serai was to meet My Friend (Kawan Ku) at the Maybank. Bagai Serai is one stretch town so it was not that difficult to locate the recommended shop. We found the exact shop but there wasn’t any comforter there. But it was not a total lost though as Baqir found the brand that he wanted for his school uniform. He straight away bought a pair. Figuring we had noting to lose we went to our favorite shopping complex in Bagan Serai. It uses to be a Looking good shopping complex but now known as Venetton or something. All in all I bought a pant and a shirt and at least all of us got something each including 3 year-old Mar who was on a shoe buying craze. Who ever thought that we cannot do our major shopping in a small town like Bagai Serai. Hey, you should try it sometimes and you could be in for a surprise.

Once we had satisfied ourselves we drove down route 2 again and decided to take the highway. So at the Gunong Semanggol junction I turned right and sped towards Bukit Merah. In about 15 minutes we were on the PLUS highway going south and I floored the pedal as usual. I stopped at the Sg Perak rest area to pray and while wondering in a shop selling a pottery and only then I realized I made a mistake not stopping at Kuala Kangsar. I took to liking one particular pot and took sometimes deciding whether I should buy or not. In the end I did not but it was a birth of my craving to buy one. I told my wife so. As intended I exited to Ipoh but instead of turning right I took a wrong turn and realized that we were heading back north towards Kuala Kangsar. It was around 4 pm and I decided it was still early and continued to drive up north. It was my mistake but my family, when they saw the road sign, decided that was what I intended to do and they knew instantly what I had in mind. No complaint from them and I knew they were enjoying the consequence. Of course they also thought I was crazy. As we were passing Sg Siput I saw the Pusat Kraftangan sign on my left and immediately made a stop to check out the place. The display looked promising and we walked around admiring the handicrafts. I saw something that I like but unfortunately there wasn’t a pair. I complaint to the sales girl and she insisted that I would not find anything that is identical as they were made to be unique. I asked her can I get the pot cheaper and better in KK. She doubted it as she claimed all the potteries came from a place like hers. She was nice we thanked her and continued our journey to KK. I purposely took the old route to the new bridge as I intended to locate and stop at various pot making ventures along the way. Unfortunately we only came across one on the way to the bridge. We stopped and we were not disappointed. We looked around and managed to find something that we like. Also my kids managed to learn a thing or two on pottery as we can observe them making it there. We lingered on for a bit there chit chatting with workers. As we sat there waiting for our pot getting wrap a bus stop near the curb. On the side of the bus proudly says Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia and came out smiling a group of madams and mak ciks. My take was that they were on a critical study mission to ensure the pottery industry in KK successful by contributing their precious time and money buying a bus load of handicrafts. Am I being sarcastic? Yes, I think I am and I am stating the fact of life. Actually there is nothing to be a shame about as almost everyone is doing it. We left the place and headed for KK town where as usual our firt stop was the laksa place. After that as usual as well we went around window shopping for handicraft and I was disappointed on not finding something that I want. We got into the Ranger and headed towards my favorite shopping mall, FAJAR, but could not find any parking spot. I backtracked and found one further down the road. As we started to walk the ‘kaki lima’ unexpected ly we came across a shop that was selling the one thing that we could not get at Bagan Serai – Comforter, TOTO or whatever you called it. It was cheaper than we expected as well so we bought four, yes 4, of them. At least we had accomplished something unexpectedly and we were satisfied. Wrong! I thought I was but I had not been able to find the kind of pottery that I wanted and I decided to drive through Sayong to explore. My hunch was right as there a few cottage industries at Sayong and began to visit one of them. The first one was just ok and nothing that really interest me. I drove further and came to a small kampong’s junction and saw about three signs indicating there were three pottery making place inside. I turned and enter the small kampong road and stop at the first one I saw. It was a choice that had a surprise beyond our expectation. As I was looking around a lady owner came to assist me and from a far my wife looked on. She suddenly came closer and after a while braved herself by asking the lady whether her was so and so. To my surprise she was my wife’s cousin from Tg Tualang who has been residing and making pot there in Sayong for quite sometimes now. Small world and by the grace of Allah my persistence of wanting to satisfy myself had actually been the blessing of my wife meeting her cousin. So, instead of a buyer and seller dialogue and atmosphere it became a family reunion. Unfortunately it was getting dark and we could not stay long. We departed for Ipoh after saying goodbye and was gifted with a big tembikar of our choice.

We arrived in front of Ipoh Seri Malaysia just after maghrib. Actually I was not sure of my direction I just followed my instinct and my instinct took us around Ipoh twice. LOL. We checked in and everyone seemed to be tired and ready to retire. Fortunately or unfortunately somebody still had got to eat. I went out with that somebody, Baqir, to eat and ‘tapau’ few things.

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