Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On The Train (Alahai KTMB), July 13, 2008

I had to send my wife to Seremban as usual for her class and since I was a not better I decided to take the train to Rawang just to pass the time. Well it was not a working day as I wish but that would not stop me from wanting to do it. So as soon as I parked the car at Terminal One we walked down towards Seremban Station.

The Majlis Perbandaran Seremban had just completed the walkway which include the underpass form terminal one across the street and as it was new it was still very clean. I just dreaded it if I were to be using the same walkway in a few months.time as I would probably see a messed walkway. I hope for once I would be proven wrong. Immediately when we came out of the underpass we crossed a small river, I can’t remember the name of that river, but now more like a monsoon drain. I knew it was a drain because as soon as we came out the strong unpleasant smell just bombarded our nostril. It was worse for my sick nose. The sight was as unpleasant as the smell making the new walkway a sore thumb among all these. I could not help but remember when I used to walk there with Lat on our way to her house at Chemara Research Station. As we progressed I knew they had to build the walkway with security highly in the agenda and true enough at strategic place was a police beat and further along a sign stating the walkway being monitored by CCTV. I do hope both would not end up as monument and merely signboard. The place has it’s black history it would make a bigger public outcry if the same thing happen in the future.

I paid around RM28 for three adults and a child to Rawang and boarded the train which was already on the platform (1050). My original plan was to read all the way to Rawang as I always do not have enough time to read during my daily commute but unfortunately I forgot to bring my book. I did the obvious, typing this.

It was the new refurbished train and as I said before not ‘seat friendly’ for most Malaysian and long distance travel. The weather was quite gloomy when we pulled out of Seremban and stayed that way until we were somewhere at Kajang.

At 1117 we arrived at Nilai station and the commuters really picked up then. Kak Cik and Mar long had decided to sleep through most of the journey but again the seat was not that sleep friendly either. I was so engrossed typing and missed most of Bangi until we stopped at the station at 1130.

The train was really solid packed with weekend trippers at Kajang and Kak Cik started to snore next to me and I nudged my elbow to wake her up. We need to get her to see the specialist. Mai, on my left, started to get bored and was her normal self pulling and having her hands all over me. Ain looked really bored as if to say I wasted my weekend for this. As it was Sunday most of them I presumed right were either getting off at Mid Valley or KL Sentral. We were at KL Sentral at 1220 when a thought did cross my mind to break the journey there. Seeing Mar was not that restless anymore we continued.

Up until then if I am not mistaken we had taken the train twice to Rawang and certainly not that familiar to us. Still it was not new. The only different probably the new Kepong Sentral station. The train started to get really empty at Sungai Buloh with that Mar started to be lively. She ran and jumped around the train just like on normal ground. I let her be with her antic as long as she was not a nuisance to others. I did not realize it that after Sg Buloh there is only Kuang station before we get to Rawang..

We arrived at Rawang station at 1255.

We have been to Rawang a number of times already at least twice by train. It was the same Rawang and walking around I saw the same things in any small town now. Street side hawkers, public transport users and people on the street were mostly foreigners. The locals were on cars and in shopping malls. It a bit hot and since I just got back form a serious downtime I made a beeline towards Parksons. Relieve to be there we window shop, I thought, and Mar and Kak CIk were successful to coax in into paying for an item each.

We took the 1420 train back and our new destination was Bank Negara or Bang Negara according to the driver. I realized that we did not have enough time only enough to have lunch. We decided on Manhattan Fish Market purely because there were less people there. I honestly think now there is something fishy, no pun intended, in Sogo. Continuous Cheap Sales and throngs of people within the complex. Today as if all the KL residents went berserk there. Of course we had fish which was not the palate for the rest. After we said our prayers we headed straight for the train and boarded the 1645 train to Seremban. I knew it would be packed but for season commuter I had a perfect strategy that straight away materializes at KL Station. This perfect strategy was render irrelevant later.

Just after leaving Bandar Tasek Selatan the train stuttered for several time. With 5 years of train time under my belt I knew straight away that was a sign of trouble and we were going all the way to Seremban. My assessment of the situation was either there was a disruption in the power supply, which could be disastrous for everyone, or the train power system was malfunction. The driver tried to start and restart the train and managed to take it to Serdang station. The same thing happened when we were to pull out of Serdang and the driver pushed the train towards Kajang. On reaching Kajang the worst happened. One of it’s wheel section went up in smoke and we were made to wait inside the train. The driver with the help of the station master tried to solve the problem but the obviously couldn’t and I knew we had to get down and board another train. At that point in time we were late already. I could not stop cursing KTMB inside. For what it worth do not ever bet your life on KTMB services. Again the worst part we were kept in the dark the whole time until they us to disembark to board another train. Of course by that time the service on the Seremban line was in a total mess. We could not make it to the first two trains that came as both were solid packed.

We reached Seremban at about 1915 which was an hour off our schedule. So my objective to have a nice pleasant ride on the train did not materialize. Instead of getting relaxed I was pissed and with that we left for Melaka to send Ain.

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