1st Day, Thursday
I took the Ranger out at 0718 and started to load it. I casted my eyes sideways towards Intan’s house and I did not see any life in it. They must still be sleeping I thought and continued with my chore. Eventually Kak Cik and Imah went over to check on Intan and family and they reported back that they were still sleeping. Once everyone and the Ranger were ready to set out I decided not to wait any longer and drove out after instructing Kak Cik to leave instruction that we will wait for them at Seremban R&R.
Still after we had finished our breakfast no sign of Intan and family and I was tempted to continue but decided to be a nice Uncle and waited for them.
I remembered the first time we drove through to Kuala Rompin I stopped at the R&R at the junction to Seri Menanti to ease myself and then we went to look at the Istana. Looked was the exact word as we did not even get down to go into the Istana area. At 0930 we arrived at the same R&R and I decided to stop to ease myself again and then visit Seri Menanti, Kuala Pilah for real. The last time we were there we just stood outside to take some photograph as I did not want to spend too much time there. This time I had time and really wanted to go and explore the Istana. We parked inside the compound and walked towards the Istana. I was already busy taking photos as we walked and did not realized when my wife actually paid the entrance fees. I saw at one corner of the reception a series of historical as well as local theme books on sale. I bought one of the local dishes hoping that someday someone would cook some for me . We explored the Istana starting with the Balai Rong Sri, Dining room, Resting area and the kitchen. We did not climb to the upper level as I sensed something else was or were there. But I had a field day taking photographs of the place.
We took our leave around 1015 and sped towards Kuala Pilah town and Bahau. My inclination was to speed off and arrive a bit early but since Tariq was not familiar with the route and afraid they’ll get lost I contained myself. In the end I was the one who got lost. Actually I was blindsided by the Rompin signboard. Rompin was actually Rompin, Negeri Sembilan and not Kuala Rompin. My wife was right when she asked me to turn left when we saw the signboard indicating direction to Bandar Muadzam but I kept going until I saw the milestones indicating mileage to Gemas. Both Baqir and I simultaneously acclaimed it was another Rompin. Realising that I still drove on for awhile to see if there was anything interesting. We turned back to the junction that I missed and turn right towards Bandar Muadzam and from there on I could not resist speeding away only to stop waiting at junction to make sure we still had Tariq and family at the back. I thought stopping for lunch at Muadzam but when we got there it was pretty too early and I asked my wife who said we should go on. From there on I really sped off as I knew the next junction would already be in Kuala Rompin.
Exactly at 1300 we reached the Nenasi Kuala Rompin junction where there was a Medan Selara that we used to stop and eat. I jumped out and went to ease myself at the restroom which I had to pay RM0.30. I need to say this as I was surprised that it was that much in Kuala Rompin. When I came out Tariq arrived and looking around at the kedai makan I decided to have lunch there. So what else, it was a Udang Galah field day for Baqir. He actually filled-up his plate with udang galah that I could not see anything else in it. If you still do not know it Kuala Rompin is a place for Udang Galah. All of the eateries in Kuala Rompin would serve Udang Galah and in fact you could buy a bundle of fresh one to take home as well.
From that junction RBR was about 13 kilometers away and we drove in slowly. Slowly because I wanted everyone to absorb the environment as not often that they can experience it. Alas, some of them just let the opportunity went to waste. The resort was actually at the beach area of Rompin town and as soon as we reached the town we decided to go and check-in straight away. To my delight the room was spacious enough and would be comfortable for 7 people to sleep in for a night or two. Baqir, Mar, Sam and myself in one room and the rest, seven of them, in another room. The smell of the room indicated to us that it has not been occupied for quite a while. I blasted both the aircons and the fan and walked out to check the beach with Mar and Sam.
The beach was not suitable for swimming. Not only the high tide area strewn with man made rubbish and the surrounding was pathetic. We did not stay long at the beach as nothing to admire. Had not for two young girls flying kite we would have walked away even earlier.
That evening I just let everyone soaked and rested the traveling fatigue by either staying in or cooling off in the pool. The pool was another story and discovery. Because of full occupancy due to long holidays there were a lot of families and most of them were there in groups to celebrate something. Like the group of family from Melaka that took up the chalets around us having their unofficial family weekend in Kuala Rompin. The pool was full with noisy and almost rowdy kids and young adults who refused to adhere to pool etiquettes. They were jumping off the pool which was dangerous to the smaller ones. At least there was space for us at the deeper end but then later two adults came acting the same way. So I rest my case and concluded that they were having too much fun that they did not want to care. Or maybe they were plain stupid.
I did not have a specific plan for dinner but wanted to explore seafood. From our last stop at Rompin, that was 5 years ago, there was one seafood stall by the roadside that we ate at. I presumed by now it has moved somewhere or out of business already. Whatever the case maybe, the roadside up to Tg Gemuk was devoid of stalls. So I drove on to find a suitable place to eat but we were out of luck with seafood. I purposely crossed the Sg Endau bridge and stopped just before the Johor state line. I walked out with my Nikon to the bridge to take few photos. I already saw the new eating place at the new clock tower next to the bridge on the side of Rompin when I drove by but when I looked through my lens I got interested to stop there for dinner. So after I have done with my photography session on the bridge I turned the Ranger around and entered the eating area.
The place was really new and there were only three stalls in business. We decided on the first one and started to pull three tables together for all of us. There were enough varieties for all of us at the two nearest stalls and we started ordering our favourites right away. Since I was in the mood to explore I ordered mee goreng from the first stall and steak from the second one. While I was sitting waiting for the food my mind wondered around and decided so far I was a bit disappointed with Kuala Rompin as after four years I was expecting a bit more. Sadly they could not offer me that. I could see they were trying to improve things but I think it was not fast enough. We ate our food and enjoyed each other companies and conversation. The boulevard like environment of the place encouraged our behavior to be more opened and relaxed. My favourite past time activity in time like that was of course to tease Imah.
On the way back to the resort at 2031 we stopped at Kuala Rompin (Tanjung Gemok) Pasar Malam. I just loved the small town’s Pasar Malam as most of them would have certain specialties and surprises for us. Sadly not this Pasar Malam and we went back to the Hotel a bit disappointed.