Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wedding, Paddy Fields, Seafood, Firefly, De Palma and Leaning Tower of TI, Bidor, Dec. 8-9, 2007

I just felt I need to get out of town very badly. However before I could do that I had a family wedding to go to at Bukit Jalil’s Fire and Rescue quarters. It was a wedding that I could not and would not miss for family sake. At the back of my mind since I woke up was dominated but the thought of going to K Selangor. Why K Selangor? Couple of reasons actually, we have not been there for quite sometimes now and my recent Treasure Hunt took me through there and the urge to come back built up inside. Furthermore I was, once and for all would like come clean with my earlier promised to go and watch the fireflies of K Selangor.

We have, or rather I have, not done this for awhile now. But I announced to everyone at home to pack their bags for a night over as I may be going somewhere after the wedding. I did not say where we were heading but all except Kak Cik heard me.

The Wedding

The Bukit Jalil’s Fire and Rescue staff quarter was not difficult to locate as it was built on the slope next to the main road. We arrived at the same time as the Pengantin Lelaki. The way the place was architected as we entered the gate was already the fire and rescue station. The quarters however were further down the slope. We did not wait for the Pengantin Lelaki and walked down straight away. The kenduri was already in full swing and after customary welcome from my wife’s cousin, the mother of the bride, we became the statistics under the beautiful canopy eating. For a long time now that I do not have high regards for wedding food. Generally they are all of the same types and taste, not like when I grew up in my kampong. The food could be very simple but since it was cooked by almost everyone in the village and through natural way they tasted heavenly. Due to that I tend to treat wedding as another invitation that I just need to attend without much feeling. In fact I was busy more as photographer, I can’t go to places like this without my Nikon, than anything else.

Kuala Selangor, Tg Karang, Sg Burung, Sekinchan and Hj Dorani’s

Ngah and family were there and since An’s place was not far away they have decided to go there after the wedding. I announced I am not going there and would be heading east towards Klang. Only when pressed I said Kuala Selangor. I decided to take the new Shah Alam- Rawang highway before I turned into the old Kuala Selangor trunk road. Since we have not said our prayers yet we stopped at the Almina R&R.

Since I wanted this trip to be an educational one for Mar, the rest as well, I took the Batang Berjuntai’s route to show her the small town and the Kg Kuantan’s firefly area. Also, to give my family a sense of place, Ijok a place made famous recently because of the by-election. If you still missed it now Batang Berjuntai is officially renamed as Bestari Jaya. Bestari Jaya or not to me it is still Batang Berjuntai the home of some of my closes friends. The bonus of taking this route was that my dear wife got the sense of where UNISEL is. However, when we were at the one street Batang Berjuntai town everyone’s brains started to recall the place that they had been before. Of course they had as I had taken them through there at least twice.

Watching A Small Fish


A Kilo Of 'Ikan Bilis', Please!

Around 1203 we were at Kuala Selangor and I turned into the old town to drive around. Nothing has changed so I continued driving and turned to the Penampang where the wet market and seafood restaurant area were. I did not stop at the wet market as I did not see it to be interesting. I eventually stopped in between two seafood restaurants purely because I wanted to take a shot of Kg Selangor muara of the Bukit Melawati from that side. There were two anglers there that made my wife. Mar, Baqir and Kak Cik alighted from the Ranger to join me. Nothing much to see really and by the looked of the place I would not want to stop at either Seafood restaurants. I decided against stopping at the wet market as well but my wife bought a couple grams of ikan bilis at the nearby sundry shop.

My plan was to try the Hj Dorani’s seafood but I was not sure where the place was. During the last treasure hunt I saw the place along the route and my guess was somewhere around Tg Karang so I drove on. As we approached Tg Karang we saw a Ford dealership on our right and everyone agreed that we should stop to have a look. Since we were making good time I stopped and we eye-balled the new Ranger and Everest. At the same time making a nuisance for the salesman there. Had they known that we were from Bangi they would have not bothered with us. In the end everyone agreed the new Ranger was more enticing compared to the Everest.

We pressed on and passed Tg Karang, Sekinchan, Sg Besar and when we were
Passing Sg Burong I saw the ‘padi’ field on my right and got excited to explore it a bit more for;

1. My family to witness another life that they were not used to, and
2. Nice photography

I swung the Ranger around, stopped at one of the fruit roadside stall to buy mangoes and steam corn, and turned inward towards the ‘padi’ field. I drove in far enough for all of us to enjoy the area and for me to take some photos. I purposely stopped at a junction of four big field separated by an irrigation canal on one side as I saw several kids were playing there. My intention was to take their photograph as well. They were enjoying it and came to me to ask questions like where did I buy my camera and how much. When I told them the price they exclaimed as though they know the standard price for DSLR. I just smiled to them and I told them if they wanted their photos they had to give me their emails. None of them had one :). Actually the reason I asked that question was to gauge the level of their access to such facilities as well as the level of IT awareness of the kampong. It is a pity to me for such a beautiful place their world could be more opened with the access to the whole world available to them.



Yellow Golden Field


Even Better Scene


A House in the Field

I took some more pictures to satisfy my artistic needs while none of my family members interested to come out of the truck to explore a bit more. They were just contented enjoying the environment from inside the truck. Well, at least Baqir was very busy eating the corns.



Before We Eat Them



The Kids


The Road Out

I drove out of the field to the main road and turned right north towards our original destination. By thentit was almost 1800 already. We eventually got to the Hj Dorani’s D Muara Marine Park around 1830 and indeed the place was brand new and beautifully done. The tourist park was not really a park but the place consisted of what I would term as poor men’s yatch club mariner, one storey family apartments, several water chalets and seafood restaurant all built at a cove surrounded by small wetland. It was so obvious the place was actually part of a watergate that used to be where all the small fishing boat ported. The whole place is owned or at least operated by Dorani Bayu Resort and Services. I enquired whether they had rooms for the night and was told the place was fully booked by the Kementerian Kesihatan people from Wilayah Persekutuan. Although I was expecting it I was still disappointed with the answer. We decided to enjoy the place and try the seafood there. We ordered what we normally ordered when we were at such places and was hoping to be served the best. While waiting for the food to be cooked and delivered I decided to explore around and take some photographs. This time Mar was my model and we walked towards the chalet and the management office. My assessment was if you do not have anything else to do there one night stay would be enough for you to experience the place.



D'Marine Resorts


Poor Man's Marina




When I came back to our table the food were already on the table but I noticed my family was not eating like they normally did. I thought they must have been still not hungry or the food was bad, really bad. I thought they were pulling my leg when they said the later but when I tasted everyone of them they were really awful. I just could not believe it with all the hypes they could at least be on par with what we get in BSP but it was really pathetic. Honestly, anyone of us could cook better that that. The tom yam, sweet sour and vege were tasteless. I was robbed, really was robbed by them. But being my nature not wanting to waste I slowly and bravely consumed most of them.

With the day getting dark we decided to say our maghrib there and quickly left the place. I hit the gas hard towards Kuala Selangor and still would want to take Mar to see the firefly. It was make or break for us at that time as I saw dark clouds were forming. The wind was also blowing hard at certain places and I drove on with my head thinking hard on our options that night. I saw the Bukit Belimbing Firefly Park sign on the right on the way up to Hj Dorani that evening. So when I saw the sign again when we were approaching Kuala Selangor town I turned the Ranger to the left. Bukit Belimbing was about 7 – 10 kilometers away connected by a district road. The road was a bit dark due to the unpredictable weather. We were really trying our luck then as I knew the sky could open up any minutes and we had to turn back for sure. I pressed on and got to the place eventually. When I saw two tour buses and at the parking lot almost at capacity my spirit was up a bit. I parked the Ranger and told the rest that I’ll go and check-out the place first. It was all good news for us and I duly asked the rest to come down and we proceeded to the ticket counter and eventually to the river to board the small boat to be taken along the river to watch the firefly.


After Watching the Firefly


Except for the young couple sitting at the back the boat was ours. It was around 2035 when we were in the boat. Mar and Baqir were eager, Kakak and Kak Cik a bit worried, Nurul did not effect any feeling but Ibu was shaking inside. Lucky for us the boat did not shake :). The boatman was a friendly local and we chatted as he slowly maneuvered the boat slowly towards the river bank on the other side. At first it was not that obvious to us and then as our eyesight adjusted to the blackness we could see a beautiful constellation of tiny flickering dots all over a silhouette of trees. The sky was a bit dark indicating the potential rain coming down. But we were lucky. According to the boatman it was torrential the night before and he had actually the unluckiest tourist all the way from Japan. He took us upstream first and then slowly turned the boat to let it drift down river inching closer to the edge so that we could touch the firefly. Despite the dark sky it was a very still night. During one stretch everybody was so quite I did not know what to think of what the others think. But I was thinking of how nice it was if we were to be camping somewhere. We could really enjoy the night away with the nature. I tried my earnest to get a shot of the beautiful gift from Allah but I knew I was working against all the elements of good photography without my proper gear. It was futile effort that I just decided to enjoy it. After one pass I thought the boatman would take us back to the jetty instead he remarked since it was a slow night he would take us back upstream for a little while. It was a good 45 minutes firefly viewing for us when we were taken back to the jetty. Everyone was happy and we drove out towards Kuala Selangor town.

As I was driving I knew I wanted to stay the night in Kuala Selangor and our only logical option was De Palma Hotel. I was ready for the unfavourable answer when I approached the counter but I was greeted by a nice surprise. A group canceled at the last minute and presented us with another gift for the night. I guess after the setback at Hj Dorani D’ Marine Park we were compensated. I took up two joining rooms, make sure we had ESPN on (Baqir didn’t get to see MU play though) and settled for the night. Before I entered De Palma I was expecting the old De Palma but I had a nice surprise and credit to the management. Not only they are building a new wings all the room were refurbished and renovated. They were excellent and value for money. Unfortunately we had to leave early the next day.

Tg Karang, Sabak Bernam, Teluk Intan, Bidor – Dec 9, 2007


The initial plan was to check out very early, visit the wet market of Kuala Selangor, Sunday market in Tg Karang and maybe proceed to Sg Besar and go home. I woke up early as usual but in the end we did not check out early as the others were still sleeping. The four of us, Baqir and Mar were awake already, went for breakfast at the hotel café. Being a three star resort hotel we did not expect that much for breakfast and we made do. Mar had been pestering to go for a swim at the pool so after breakfast Sam took her there while I took a nap. When Mar’s back from her swim we got ready and check-out. It was around 1130 when we drove out of De Palma and it was already late to stop at the wet market. However, I still wanted to go to Tg Karang and see what’s available there. In 15 minutes we were in Tg Karang already and there wasn’t any Pasar Minggu or whatever. But there were a row of warongs that looked enticing and we stopped at one of them to eat. If not anything else we would be able to sample their kind of food like laksa, satay, mee sop and soto. Of course there was one came with less ingredient but full of kuah :). Since our plan had gone haywired we took our time eating. After eating we decided to check-out the row of shops in front of the warong. It always an exciting event going into one of such shops in any small town because we would not know what to expect. I love that kind of surprises. We wondered into bigger ones and Mar and Kak Cik’s got their underpants and jeans from one of them.

We decided, actually I decided; to continue north and my intention was Sg Besar to see if there were any interesting places that we had missed. When we got there I found out nothing of interest and since we were already there I thought we might as well continue to Sabak Bernam. We arrived at the junction to Sabak Bernam town around 1303 and since we had never really visited the town I turned left and headed for the town. As expected it was a small town but I did not expect it to be next to the river. I went one round the town and parked the Ranger at what it seems as the main tourist attraction the waterfront pavilion. It was nothing and since it was low tide the riverbank really looked messy. I took two shots of the place and moved on.


As I got to the main road I realized that Teluk Intan was actually not far and as we always say ‘sekali henjut dah sampai’. We continued our journey there and since we were going there I already knew where we were going next. It was raining when we were in Teluk Intan. Somehow Teluk Intan is a town like Melaka to us. Not much to see or explore anymore but we just love to stop there and our favourite place was Fajar but now taken over by The Store. First I drove around the leaning tower of Teluk Intan to take some pictures. As it was raining we did not get down to climb the tower. We went straight to The Store and spent about an hour window shopping there. It was almost 1530 when we were out and the next agenda was to find a good place to have a late lunch. The restaurant across the road that we wanted to go was already closed for business. The food must be good for them to close that early and we had no other choice there. We drove around and in the end ended at Pizza Hut. Probably Pizza Hut would be the last on my list during any travel but in this case nothing much I could do as it was raining and there seemed to be no decent place to eat that came across.

We came out of the Pizza Hut at 1622 and drove straight to Bidor and we reached there with enough daylights and after Maghrib we took the highway home.

So out of nothing we ended up in two States that weekend. Despite these places not new to us we have learned new things

3 comments:

chilun @ cik pau @ bibimie said...

salam

a nice posting with a great photos. i plan nak duduk di homestay hj. dorani tapi dorani bayu resort pun mcm menarik jugak. de palma pun look nice in their web. donno worth for money or not. do u have any idea what is the paddy field look like in early july? i always wanted to stay in the middle of paddy field. ada tak aktiviti untuk anak2 bawah umur 5 tahun?

Ghaz said...

Chilun @ cik pau @ bibimie,

If you want to stay in the middle of paddy field your only option is a homestay. Sekarang ni padi pun org tanam dah tak ikut musim sangat so July I rasa adala pokok padi nak tengok :)) Tapi bab aktiviti tu I kurang pasti. Maybe you want to check the homestay programme.

Anonymous said...

nice commentary but it would be better if you could write using WORD or run your posting through a grammar checker first. too many grammar mistakes!!!! and wrong use of words ie words that sound the same but spelled differently and have totally different meanings.