Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cuti Cuti Malaysia 1

I was in between jobs in 2002 and had a one month to sort of uninstall from the past working program and preparing for a new one. Within that month I decided I needed a holiday with my family as I had not taken a long one for a while. Since I did not know where to go I just followed my instinct and as I traveled I wrote my experience and emailed the piece every night to my old colleagues in the office. So this is also sort of a night conversation with them.

Oct. 13, 2002 SUNDAY – DAY ONE

I know you guys are on holidays already until the end of the month. Do not try to deny it I know you guys...LOL. As for me I am finally on the road 'Cuti Cuti Malaysia' when opportunity presented it self over the weekend. Well I am not as lucky as some of you who gets free holidays to Bali (or maybe that person is not so lucky now as a bomb blustered Bali yesterday) or any exotic places ..LOL but I take my chances. Just imagine when the odd of getting a price was 1 to 10 I was still unlucky last Friday.

We just dropped Baqir at his school for his soccer training on Saturday, he aspires to be the next Beckham of Malaysia earning RM 45,000 a week salary, when I realised that the Education Ministry of Malaysia presented me with the best opportunity for me and my family to go for a holiday (at last). Ghazi would be on leave for one week this week due to the PMR and the others had just finished their exams and I played the Education Minister for them by granting them a week leave from school. You all should look at their faces when I made that announcement especially the would be Beckham. LOL.

The only thing that I have to decide is where to go and just basically took out the map and point at the east coast. After consulting the weather man who specializes on certain state in the east coast (you know who you are) I decided to tour the east coast from bottom to the top...well almost. We left the house at 8 am and drove down south, ( sorry Zie not to the Airport for Langkawi. Lagi pun kalau I pergi sana you boring plak tengok muka I asyik tersenyum lebar je…LOL. Raya la katakan) got off the highway at Senawang and headed for Kuala Pilah, Mas I did stop at the royal palace and museum to take some photographs. Well after so many years I finally did it. After years of hearing my jokes on Kolo Pilah it was a discovery for my children. It is bigger then Raub! Ouch! That’s hurt!...LOL. Anyway, I pressed on the accelerator straight to Bahau and we got there around 10.45am. Unfortunately, Bahau was non issue for my kids so I pressed the accelerator harder. Oh yeah, when we reached Bahau I got an SMS from somebody advising me that the bowling session had moved from Endah Parade to IOI Mall. I asked Ghazi to reply Cuti Cuti Malaysia.

I have never been to Central Pahang so we headed for Muadzam Shah from Bahau. Before Muadzam Shah the place was famous as Bukit Ibam and when we got there at 12.10pm I was a bit disappointed as the town survived now because of UNITEN. I could be wrong as I was just a passerby for a day. Yes just passing by. But one thing I like was burning the rubber of my Ranger as the road since Bahau was made for speed and the roads are practically empty. After twisting and turning we finally arrived safely at Summerset Colonial Hotels and Villas, Rompin at 1.25 pm. This is where I am now, everybody already in never land and I am at 12.08 am Rompin time typing this uninvited piece for all of you. So far we love the place because only less than 10 families are here now, we have the pool to ourselves, we played beach soccer this evening – me against the rest and we planned to do a lot of things tomorrow. There is a ‘Penyu’ hatchery farm next to the resorts and we are going to walk over there tomorrow. One of the hotel staff recommended a “Ikan Bakar’ place call Hidayat Seafood at Kuala Rompin for dinner. We went there and it was not too bad – a1.5kg steam saikap, two ikan aji BBQ, big prawn (Baqir’s favourite) sambal, a bowl of vege soup, two nasi goreng, a bowl of rice and few drinks for RM 85. Is that cheap? I do not know but we were famished and no complaint. The rate per room at Summerset at the moment is RM80 - weekdays rate. We are going to play it by the ears, if we enjoy ourselves tomorrow we may opt for another night here. If not we are driving up along the coast towards Nenasi, Pekan, Kuantan and who knows we could ended-up doing a complete circle around Malaysian peninsular. I am open to ideas if you have any. If you like I could keep my travel stories coming If not good nite from Summerset Rompin and thanks for reading.

OCT. 14, 2002 – MONDAY – DAY TWO

I managed to do some work on my Ph D last night after I typed my travelogue and eventually went to sleep at approximately 1.10 am. Before dozing off I set the wake up call at 6 am as we planned to jog along the beach early the next morning.

I felt I just slept for few minutes when the phone went off to wake me up. I immediately called the next room where Along, Kakak and Baqir were sleeping and Baqir picked the phone after my second attempt. I asked him to wake everyone up for Suboh and get ready for our beach combing. We finally took the beach at 7 am and everyone immediately did their own thing – my wife started to jog slowly upwards and I followed with a fanny pack strap diagonally down my shoulder and my trustworthy Nikon F50 sling across the opposite direction. The sands were different, as they were quite loose when wet, and made our jogging more challenging. Baqir already playing with the sands, Kakak was struggling pushing the pram with Mardhiyah sleeping inside along the beach, Along is nursing his uncooperative stomach and Taherah was playing with the water. I purposely dragged my jog as I was planning to capture certain moments on the beach. When I looked back to check on Taherah she was staring across the ocean for something. She was staring hard and then I noticed the beautiful sunrise. I took few shots and asked Taherah to become my model jogging across the sunrise slowly. I was so tired I knew I could not jog properly that morning so I just enjoy my photography. After an hour on the beach we decided to play something. Baqir and Along decided to play basketball and the ladies badminton. The courts were next to each other and I played basketball with the boys first. Since we forgot to stash the basketball in the Ranger when we left home we used the football as basketball and it worked. My wife played badminton in between trying to breastfeed Mardhiyah. After half an hour bullying the boys at basketball I let Kakak bully me on the badminton court and I was drenched with sweat. When we were still enjoying our game Taherah decided she had enough and demanded breakfast. She forced everyone to comply with her decision which we reluctantly agreed. I know she will grow up to be one tough cookie to deal with – not to me but to others who think that they could take her lightly.

We enjoyed our breakfast at the hotel and since there were only three families eating we took our time. At this point in time Taherah was already pestering me as to where we were heading next? Good question I said as I honestly do not know where to go yet. While having breakfast my wife opined that we should checkout and enjoy the journey to other places. There’s so much you could enjoy at one place but staying for another day would spoil it and I agreed with her. But, where next?

We took to the pool once again after breakfast and checkout at 12pm. Quietly I narrowed down our options to two – one to cut back inside central Pahang and spend a night in either Tasek Bera or Tasek Cini or two to drive up to Kuantan and stay a night there before deciding what to do next. However, when I got to the junction of the main road the second option was best and we drove up towards Pekan. It began to rain scatteredly along the journey and the rain completely stopped before we reached Nenasi. When I was small living in Kuantan I always remember looking at the black and white stripe bus that had Nenasi and Pekan as their destinations. I was even curious then as to how Nenasi really is as a place and I never took the bus to see Nenasi or even Pekan until now. The anticipation brought out the nostalgic fool in me and I began to talk about the surrounding to my children and how the other people really live on that part of Malaysia. The Ranger was quiet when I talked and I thought they must be listening hard and I continued talking and narrating some of my old war stories. When we were about to reach Nenasi I said quiet loudly that we were approaching Nenasi and I want to make a photographic stop. Still quiet and then my wife said, ‘Huh! Kita bawak bejalan nak tunjuk dia tempat and cari pengajaran dia orang bantai tidur pulak’. I could not help but to smile broadly..LOL. I was talking to myself!! LOL.

I did stop at Nenasi, it was just a small fishermen kampong/town, and drove out to the river basin to take some photos. By the time all passengers were awake already..LOL and Baqir gladly became my model. One thing we love about the place is it was calm and serene. We drove ahead towards Pekan after ten minutes at Nenasi. Before we reached Pekan suddenly I felt hungry and went around town to get something to munch and I also stock up extra films. Even before reaching Pekan I had decided to detour from the main road to Kuantan and take the coastal road passing Tg Lumpur. I tell you it was a good decision as we enjoyed the journey more and the surrounding presented me with education tools for my children. They may not be in school but I gave them something that they could not get by going to school. It is more fun and you tend to learn a lot more by taking ‘the road less traveled.’ I fully recommend this. Along the way we witnessed the live that was absent from our daily routine. Mainly Tg Lumpur was still a fisherman village when you can get fresh fish and all sorts of fish products. There were a lot of Seafood Restaurant as well now and one of the best area in Kuantan.

When we got to Tg Lumpur I stopped beside the road before going over the Tg Lumpur bridge. I called Tanco Resorts as I planned to use my points by staying at Duta Village or Duta Sands. I was so confident that there will be rooms for us as it was weekdays and with not special holidays in between. You could imagine my surprise when I was told ‘fully booked.’ In fact most of the resorts around the area were fully booked. I was stunned and wondering aloud as to what going on in Kuantan. At least it made our Cuti-Cuti Malaysia more interesting LOL. We decided to drive up east and check out few places to stay. Before we did that we stop at Beserah to have lunch and I was about to eat when a certain Mak Cik Cun from MDC called me to ask about IAP minutes. After lunch we stopped to check De Rhu Resorts – no go, not interesting enough and then Residence Inn in Cherating – even worse compared to De Rhu. We were going to stay for a night and I was very confident they would be room for us somewhere. We drove a bit further up and turned into the resorts and true enough they have family room available.

It is now 1.01 am and I am typing this facing the sea in room 211 Impiana Resorts Cherating. I have stayed here before in late 1994 and the place is as good as before, a bit old maybe but the beach is still excellent. The family room rate is RM260 per night and it is big and worth the money. Everyone is sleeping now as they are tired but for me no matter what always typing something. My plan tomorrow is to enjoy the beach and the resort and hit the road again after 12pm. I have made up my mind but I am not telling you. Even my family does not know where we are heading for tomorrow why should I tell you.

We went to have Satar and Otok-otok at our favorite place in Kemaman just now. After that we stopped at The Store in Chukai to buy something. On the way back to the resorts we stopped at our old friends place in Kemaman and got to the resorts at 10.30 pm.

Azwari, apart from the scattered rain that I have got on the road it has not been raining here. I am counting for the weather to hold up for the next few days.

Mas, that’s an example of something that I do not want to do as it takes away a lot of our time from our real deliverables and family.

Zie, have a safe flight and don’t just enjoy the shopping. Langkawi presents you with a lot of opportunity to learn and teach.

OCT 15, 2002 TUESDAY – DAY THREE

‘Maah Cek, laing talipong rosok!’ Shit! I was cursing at no one in particular but annoyed no doubt that I could not access the Internet from my room and send my usual piece to all of you. Maybe when you read this I’ll be home already. Then again may be not LOL.

As usual I was awaken by the wake-up call at 6 am and managed to sneak in extra 10 minutes before I actually dragged myself to the bathroom. I was still tired of the day’s activities not to mention the Schumacher like driving along the Rompin Kuantan coast. After saying my Suboh I put my ‘Komander Muda’ experience to good effect and yelled everyone up in five minutes. Precisely at 7 am we were on the beach already. Today, Along decided to sleep in as his stomach was still troubling him. Also, I discovered I was already running a little fever due to my burning throat. The kid joked that, just like Along, I have reached my puberty when they heard my voice.

I jogged along the beach anyway as it was too tempting just to leave it alone. I continued to jog until the end of the beach and left behind the others strolling at their own phase. Baqir was again pulling rather than pushing the pram with Mardhiyah sleeping with the morning breeze blowing at her face. It was a bit hazy but definitely no sign of pending rain. While jogging my mind ran wild from one place to another. The crescendo of the waves hitting the beach was therapeutic helping me to relax as I jog. Memories of old about Kuantan and my early days of schooling dominated my thoughts. The adventure in Kuantan began in 1968 when we transferred from Ulu Kinta and made it home for 8 years. How can I forget those years the running around, fishing, camping, friendships and or course my puppy love Yah. A love story fit for three hours Hindustani adaptation. Nah! I don’t think you want to hear that story LOL.

After half an hour on the beach we walked up the stairs to have breakfast. Again not many people at the resorts accept for few Mat Sallehs laying around waiting and looking for the sun. The breakfast was disappointing – the spread was not professionally done and the selections were poor. No wheat or wholemeal brown bread, no proper juices, and the eggs were done not to specification. Am I getting particular and difficult now? Actually no, we are suppose to be operating in a knowledge based economy where services or service industry is the key to the nation well being. If we cannot have our eggs cooked properly we are no where near the competitors. In fact I have stayed there before and they did not have my records. There was a reason why I decided to stay there again but I guess they didn’t care. They did not want me to come again. The government is trying hard to get Malaysians to travel local and stay at local resorts but these people are trying their hardest to send people away. Malaysia has a lot of interesting places to visit and see and I do not think all those jetsetters, like Rinee LOL (Rinee jangan mare ah joke only), know about these places.

I was not even ten minutes in the room Baqir, Kakak and Kak Cik were already pestering me to go to the pool. I stalled them for a few minutes than finally I grabbed an article that I wanted to read and walked down to the pool with them. I picked a good spot beside the pool and let the kids on their own. I am not as worried as before as all of them, accept Kak Cik, know how to swim now. Of course Baqir is like Dugong in the water LOL. I was a bit tired and started to read but the breeze kept blowing and pestering me to sleep. I dozed off beside the pool about ten minutes. A bit refreshed I jumped into the pool to join Baqir and Kakak.

We checked out at 11.41 am and left Impiana five minutes after that. The weather was good so I decided to drive up to KT. So, I pull out the map and explained to Baqir, who seated in front, my planned and deputised him as my navigator. I warned him not to go to sleep because I needed him to tell me which corner to turn and so on. My planned was to take the state trunk road after Chukai to cross westward to route 14 North (Kuala Berang route). Trust Baqir to be your navigator after five minutes in the Ranger he was already in never never land with the map in his hand. The route 14 North is well maintained, there isn’t a lot of cars but as I predicted a lot of lorries. So, I was passing them one after another until we reached KT. We reached KT town at 2.10pm and stop for lunch. This is an amazing fact, we have been to KT so many times already but as long as I could remember the moment we got into town this Miza Restaurant has always been the place where we had our first food in KT. The food is just ‘biasa’ nothing that I would recommend to anybody but somehow Miza Restaurant has always been our first stop. I do not know on which road the restaurant located at but it is in front of the Maybank (cawangan Perbankan Islam). During lunch I felt really tired and knew instantly I needed to crash to rest my body, the flu was taking effect and I called Tanco Resorts office in KL and asked them to check whether Gems Resorts was available. Yes, they have rooms for me and I decided to take them. Before we drove there we stopped at Pasar Payang (Kepayang) to buy few things and pray.

Gems Resorts was at Batu Rakit, about 20 minutes drive from KT, and we have stayed there before. Along the way my wife asked me to stop to buy some fruits and while waiting I dialed the number of our designated koropok lekor expert in KMIT for advise and direction. Unfortunately I missed them all already and koropok lekor Batu Rakit would do for us. We checked in at 5 pm and decided to stay in as I bought enough koropok lekor to last until morning. I straight away lied down and went to sleep until maghrib. It was amazing that ever since we were in Ganu Kita there was not a single drop of rain. I asked the resorts staff whether it has been raining lately and the lady said every evening. Now, we even have a full moon.

Zie, three resorts and three amazing times already LOL if you know what I mean LOL.

Ghaz @ Gems Resorts

OCT. 16, 2002 WEDNESDAY – DAY FOUR

At 5.59 am I stirred up as if somebody was saying sweet voices to my ears to wake up. Immediately I heard the sound of the waves outside softly pounding the beach. Our rooms were just about 20 meters from the beach. I am used to the sound now but this one was different and a bit soothing. It could put you to sleep again but I resisted the temptation. However, the bad news was I was really sick; the good news was I was still jovial and enjoying things. With that perspective I have decided that I am not going to jog but to just walk the beach.

As usual I woke everyone up one after the other and purposely left Kakak the last. We didn’t care whether we were going to disturb the other guests within the resorts. We gathered around her bed and sang together loudly, ‘Happy Birthday To U, Happy Birthday To U, Happy Birthday To U Kakak, Happy Birthday To U Kakak.’ She opened her eyes and sheepishly smiled at all of us. Kakak is 12 today and dah jadi anak dara Ghaz. We had planned a lot of options of how to celebrate her birthday but in the end her Abah’s present and way to celebrate was to tour Malaysia. LOL. Kakak’s birthday also means I’ll be a year younger tomorrow ROTFLOL.

When I told everyone that I am going to walk the beach only two persons would like to go. The others would either go back to sleep or just stay in for a day. So, the three of us, Baqir, Kak Cik and my self, walked down towards the beach. As we were approaching the beach Baqir said he wanted to go back, ‘Abah sakit perut la’. I turned and saw him walking like a pregnant mother holding his pant. He must have been holding one nasty motion to be walking like that I said to my self. Little did I know that he actually passed motion (berak) in his pant already ROTFLOL (I was told later). So, just Kak Cik and I walked the beach. The beach comparatively was the worst among the three so far but long enough if you want to have a good jog or walk. We walked until Kak Cik has had enough and we turned back but this time we ran the waves as well. You could imagine a father and daughter running like kids playing with the waves. One thing I like walking with my daughter is that she kept asking questions. I like that very much and of course I did a fatherly thing by answering all albeit some beating around the bush or simply I do not know. The truth is no matter how educated you are when times to answer some questions from your kids some you just can’t. The worst part is that you think you have covered everything but somehow they managed to pull out a gem for you. May be kids are born with a bundle of ‘soalan cepu mas’ to embarrass their parents.

I have mentioned to my family that we were checking out early today as I have a feeling we were about to take a long journey. So, when I walked into the room with Kak Cik everyone else was about ready to go. So I cleaned up a little and we checked out at 8.48 am and eventually drove off from the Gems Resorts five minutes after that. My designated navigator was Along and I showed him the road map and explained to him where we were heading up to a point and showed him the routes that he has to be aware off. The Gems Resorts is at Batu Rakit and my option was simply to stay on the coastal road and drove up to Pasir Puteh. We took State Route T1 from Batu Rakit and started to pass few beautiful coastal kampongs. Kg Ru Tapai was the first one where actually located Petronas Research Centre and also one secondary school named Sek. Kebangsaan Pagar Besi simply because the fence is actually made of iron. I guess so there is no other explanation that I could think off. We passed Kg Merang, Kg Bari Besar and Kg Penarik before we made the turn towards Bandar Permaisuri. In between those kampongs there were Sutera Beach Resorts, Nelayan Resorts and Aryani Resorts that was designed by Raja Bahrin. Kg Penarik was a surprise for us it was actually a small peninsular by itself. I missed this when I looked at the map but when we drove into the kampong to check it out we saw sea on both sides of the kampong and realized it then it is a peninsular. Another surprise we discovered was a beautiful designed Malay house blended with modern elements. My first impulse was to take a photo of it but somehow refrained my self as I did not want to disturb the peacefulness of the kampong. My wife and I discussed on who could be the owner and concluded it could be one of the kerabat. But now in writing this piece I am sure it could be Raja Bahrin’s as no one else could possibly designed such a house. Guys, you should take a visit there to discover the place yourself.

We reached Bandar Permaisuri at 9.41 am and stopped to have our late breakfast. From Bandar Permaisuri we were already on the National Interstate Route 3 going north and up until then our destination was Pasir Puteh. While having breakfast I already declared my intention to cross over to the west taking the National Interstate Route 4 from Pasir Puteh to Gerik, Perak and then take State Route 76 South to Kuala Kangsar. Why Kuala Langsar? Would you believe because of Laksa KK and Kukur Kelapa LOL. Well, that was the plan but what actually happened was something else, read on.

So we were on Route 3 North going towards Pasir Puteh at 10 am passing Kg Tok Dol and Kg Jabi. I made a pit stop at Jerteh at 10.42 am to give Badang (my Ranger) a drink. With the tank full I was confident to take new challenge to the unknown. I have never crossed the West East or East West highway before and I have heard a lot of stories – good and bad – about it. All I was praying was for a good weather. So far since Batu Rakit it was sunshine all the way.

We eventually reached Pasir Puteh at 11 am and I decided to drive around town before proceeding to route 4 west. The town is small no doubt and a good indication for my children as to the other towns in Kelantan. After one round in Pasir Puteh I took an inner route going to route 4 because I wanted to show to my family how people in inner part of Kelantan actually live. Now, they have seen it for themselves and they can make their own judgment and perspective. But I warned them seeing is not everything; you have to be there to know the reality. I have been fortunate enough to have lived in Kelantan before so I know a little bit about live there.

Route 4 was nice and adequate – not big but enough and comfortable to drive on. The only problem I had was Kelantanese drive too slow LOL. Carefully I maintained a constant speed navigating Route 4 and we passed road signs indicating directions to places with familiar names – Macang, Tanah Merah, Kusial, Pasir Mas and even Rantau Panjang. I was tempted to detour from the route to these places but being the first time crossing to the West from East I for once stuck to the original plan. I explained to my children that we are going through Jeli , climbing several mountains and crossing and island before we got to Gerik. Of course my children thought I was joking, what an island in the middle of mountains and jungles. So, as we drove I as usual narrated to them the area. Being first time myself I did not know what to expect but once in Jeli we could now make the association of the place with the news that came out few weeks back. The news of the man eating tigers and I somehow associate the place with Datuk Mustapha. I can understand why the tigers are getting restless in Jeli. The areas have been encroached by human and developments. In Jeli my children started to wonder aloud when they started to see cars with Thai’s number plates, signboards indicting the direction to Thailand and Thai’s goods stalls. I told them Thailand is just over the mountain and they were amazed. Along was practically excited when we cross a river known as Mekong. He jokingly said to the others that this is the famous Mekong Choa Praya river of Thailand and it originates from Jeli. At least I know he knows his Geography LOL. Soon enough after Jeli we began to climb and I thought it would be a usual climb – up a mountain and down a mountain and that’s it. The east west highway is actually climbing and crossing several mountains at one go and meaning I would have to drive at high altitude for quite a while. I realized it then that I somehow would have to experience a small discomfort. It was true, since I had flu, the high pressure because of the altitude effected my sinus and ears. It was not bad but I became semi ‘pekak’, my children said Abah dah pekak, and they started to yell at me jokingly. The excitement was further enhanced when they saw signs on the road side that read, ‘Awas Gajah Melintas Jalan’. Baqir, was actually worried and started to ask me if it is for real. I said of course if we get lucky one will start to charge at us – he kept quite for a while LOL. After an hour or less of climbing up and down we finally started to cross the first bridge to Banding Island and once we were on the island I pulled over at the resorts area to have R&R. There actually was a small restaurant by the lake and on top of it the Banding Island Resorts. We got there at 1.05pm and ended up having lunch and an extended R&R. We just practically enjoyed ourselves there, the children even more as they could yell at me LOL. My head was ‘buzzing’ and my hearing impaired. The food was just passable; nevertheless, Baqir went for a plate of nasi goreng and a burger. Before we left the area we drove to the Resort to check out the place. My verdict – if you really want to relax and do some writing it is the best place. Also, if you the adventure type there are a lot of such activities there but bring enough cash as no credit card is accepted. Finally we proceeded with out journey by crossing the second bridge. Oh yes, while eating , after checking the map, I made an announcement that we were heading for Kulim to stay a night there. My children started to say hip hip horray! Well not really but they were glad of that decision. Kulim means staying overnight at my sister’s and they could meet their cousins. I have already debriefed my navigator of the new routes and by this time everyone wanted to be one. Baqir swore he’s not going to go to sleep, due respect to him, he in fact was getting better at it. Reading the road map I mean LOL.

We stopped at one rest area as we were going down to say our prayers and Baqir to pass motion as well. After ten minutes of driving down we reached Gerik. Gerik to me has always been a secluded cowboy/ghost town with not or few activities only. I was wrong it was not bad at all somehow the stories that I have heard gave me an impression that it was a gory place. We drove on without stopping until we got to Pengkalan Hulu. We were not suppose to stop but the sign board indicating the availability of Duty Free Complex made me to turn back and search the town. My initial guess was right as I presumed it has to be near the border. But I didn’t pursue instead Baqir’s request for toilet stop – another big motion – decided the whole thing. While waiting for Baqir to do his business I called my sister in Kulim and informed her that we were on our way there. I asked her about the duty free complex she said there was none there. (She was wrong as her husband later on said there is one near the border). We arrived at Pengkalan Hulu at 3.30pm and after 20 minutes we departed from there heading straight to Kulim.

Another town that I really wanted to look at along the way was Baling. When we got there my association with Baling was the student riot and Chin Peng. I could see the logic for the later but the student riot did not make sense to me. Again, I was a just a passerby for a moment I did not see the whole thing.

We eventually reached Kulim at 4.15pm, stopped at one pasar malam to buy few things include a chocolate cake and that night we had a nondescript birthday party for my daughter. Ever since, the day we left home for this unplanned trip we were expecting a lot of rain in the east cost and we got none. The irony was it really poured in Kulim and we slept like a log, again.

Ghaz @ Kulim - not a resort but my sister’s place

OCT. 17, 2003 THURSDAY – THE FIFTH DAY

Kak Cik was the first one to sing Happy Birthday to me and the rest followed. That’s how my day started in Kulim. I did not plan anything but to rest my 41 year old body for the trip home. We just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s companies. Of course, thanks to my sister, our exploits for the past few days was a story back in Raub. Actually, I was so tired and a bit sick so I slept early last night. Just like the weather in Kulim my flu got better in the morning. By mid-morning, jokingly, my daughter asked me what time we were checking out and I said wait until their Aunt to get back from school. My nieces and nephews were at home as I did a ‘Minister of Education’ on them and declared Kulim as no school day for them LOL. My sister and brother in-law, both teachers, could not say anything to their children’s request. The big and powerful uncle was in the house LOL.

We said our goodbyes at 1.07am and ‘checked out’ from Kulim. The journey was easy as we have done it for so many times already and my kids didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. As for myself I had planned to stick to the National Interstate Route 1 South and stop at KK. However, practicality made me enhanced the plan slightly. We started the journey home by taking the Junjung route towards Sg Bakap and Jawi but when we were on Route 1 there were a lot of trucks and busses so I entered the highway at Jawi. At 2.11pm we entered Taiping Utara tol plaza and proceeded towards KK. On the way to KK I realized that I was driving with the tank at the minimum. After thinking and doing mental mathematics on it I decided to drive on and fill the tank at KK. Honestly, I was quite worried as I failed my maths during my school days and we could end up stranded halfway. It was raining when we were approaching KK and immediately the Ranger was filled with frustration. ‘Tak syok la macam ni kita nak makan Laksa dengan cendol.’ Alhamdulillah it was not raining when we got to KK town and the first thing I did was to fill the tank at BP KK, then, we filled our stomachs LOL. After laksa and cendol we went strolling looking for ‘kukur kelapa’ at the bazaar. We found one and bought it for RM10 – I do not know whether that is cheap or expensive. You may wonder why we actually went around Malaysia to find this ‘kukur kelapa’ – one, nostalgic and two because my wife really need it to cook good food for me. While window shopping we were enticed as well by the good looks of the ‘labu air’ and decided our house need few of them LOL. But, knowing it would be a bit expensive there and the ‘factories’ were actually close by we decided to be a bit adventuress and went to Sayong. It was already around 4.45pm when we were there and most of the ‘factories’ were closed for the day. Well, the second best option was to check out the kampong stalls and hope for the best. I stopped at one and after looking at few and pretending to be expert at it I bought two, one glazed under fire with ‘sekam’ and the other one normal ‘tanah liat’ look. They were RM 9 and RM 8 respectively, reasonably cheap and I planned to buy few more during our next Cuti Cuti Malaysia II.

Since, it was already 5 pm I was undecided whether to drive on using Route 1 South or to continue the journey using the highway. Finally, after some thoughts I decided to stick to Route 1 for a simple reason that we have not taken the route often enough. I could not remember the last time I drove through the route but it was after a long time. I knew we would be passing Salak Utara, Samy Velu’s town Sg Siput and Chemor all have their own significant to us. Salak for the obvious, Sg Siput the ‘Tol Man of Malaysia’ and Chemor because of the handphone advertisement that my kids loved so much. Finally, they know where Chemor is and now their joke would have a proper association to the real place. We reached Ipoh around 6 pm and decided to make a short stop. The lucky place is none other than Ipoh Parade LOL and we were there at 6.15 pm. We spent quite a bit of time there and only stop window shopping when we realized it was dark already outside. Oh yes, while we were in the Parkson someone SMSed me to wish happy birthday and to remind me that it was ‘Malam Jumaat’. Well! I had a lot of Malam Jumaat already at every States, Hotel and Resorts ROTFLOL.

We continued our journey home by entering the highway at Simpang Pulai. From then on the journey was a bit quite and straight forward fast driving. We only stopped at Tapah R&R to have dinner and pray. After five days of traveling and holidaying we arrived safely home at 11.15 pm. Home sweet home and all of us slept like a log until morning.

SUMMARY

The Cuti Cuti Malaysia (I) was unplanned and impromptu most of the time. We loved it that way so that we are not so structured and opened to ideas and options. Knowing their Abah the kids expected a holiday of a different kind with a lot of side tracking. I knew from the very beginning the journey itself would be a holiday and learning experience for everyone. Thus, we should enjoy and learn from it all. The places that we have been most of them I have not been to myself and they were pleasantly enjoyable. All in all Cuti Cuti Malaysia (I) we covered seven states and a lot of districts and towns – Selangor, NS, Pahang, Ganu, Kelantan, Kedah, and Perak. All of us got sick when we got home due to the journey itself and mostly due to the sudden change in the weather. However, the irony was we got a lot of sunshine in the east and rain in the west instead of the opposite as expected. It worth all the trouble and that is what Cuti Cuti Malaysia is all about. You may have noticed that I used Cuti Cuti Malaysia I to describe this excursion because we know this is not going to be the last. In fact we are thinking about Cuti Cuti Malaysia II during the Deepavali weekend already LOL. We have not decided where to go or what to do yet but it would be fun, I can guarantee that…….

Anybody would like to join us?

Ghaz @ Home recuperating

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