3rd Day, Sunday
Since we have nothing else to do in Rompin I decided to check out early and hit the road down south. We skipped breakfast at the resort and stopped to have breakfast at the eateries that we bought our breakfast the day before.
My plan was to drive down to Mersing and cut in towards Kluang at Jemaluang and eventually take the north south highway back to Bandar Seri Putra. However the journey home was about detours and incidences. Just before we reached Mersing town I saw on the left a sign indicating a popular beach area. Instantaneously I gave a signal to turn left and made a turn towards the Air Papan Beach. It was quite a distance getting to the beach, roughly around 5 km, and when we got there, there were already a lot of people and activities on the beach. We maneuvered our cars through the crowds and parked cars and managed to find a good spot park. I knew some of us were tempted to jump inot the sea but looking at the waves and the strong sea breeze I preempted the desire by announcing that we were not staying to bath. We explored the place first by checking out what on sales. There were the usual souvenirs stuff that you can find on any beach resorts. Sadly I could not find a decent t-shirt to buy. I discovered there were quite a few cheap chalets and lodging that could be useful in the future. Later I got to know that every year on May 1st they organize a Pesta Laut or Air at the beach. According to the report on that day the beach would be packed solid with holiday makers and all the chalets would be fully booked. I do not know when we would be there again but then again being me all things is possible.
We bought one or two things and had air kelapa muda before we continue our journey towards Mersing. We drove into Mersing town at 1222 hr and with no specific place to go we drove around until we could find a aby to park in front of the building next to the Jeti Penumpang Jabatan Laut Mersing. We stayed there for almost an hour just to absorb the place.
The last and first time I took the Jemaluang route to Kluang was in 1996 or 97 and I remember I drove our Nissan Venette through and across forest reserve, palm plantations and rivers. The road then was narrow and at certain area full with potholes. Now I did not know what to expect so I we reached the junction I just drove fast and fast leaving Tariq behind. Since it was basically a single route and only after awhile only we would reach a small residential area I was not worried for them being lost. I pressed on hard until when we about the reach Kg Kahang Baru that kakak started to cry. Of course we thought it was due to my driving making her dizzy but when I stopped beside a mosque when we almost at Kluang I sensed it was something else. It seemed out of a sudden she just felt sad and started to cry. I asked her to get down and rest at the mosque. Sure enough she ok after that.
My plan was to drive straight on to Kluang, explore the town a bit and find a good place to have lunch. We managed the first part ok but a good place to eat proved to be elusive. After awhile we just chanced upon a mamak restaurant and we settled for that. I thought of sampling Kluang cuisine but what I got was mamak food and to make things worse it was a bad mamak food. It was 1521 hrs then which means a late lunch for us. There was nothing much to do after lunch so we were on the road again. The traffic was quite heavy going out of Kluang indicating people on leave for the Chinese New Year weekend were on their way back. At 1600 hrs the weather was a bit hot in Kluang prompted me to stop at the next Petronas station to say our prayers.
Of course form Kluang the most logical entrance to the North South highway was at Air Hitam interchange and Air Hitam being a famous for shopping area, for Intan’s and Tariq’s sakes (he he he) I was not about to miss it. As we approached Air Hitam immediately we could see a long crawl and with that I decided not to go all the way in town suffice to shop on the outskirt. Even that there were now a lot of new outlets in new buildings selling dry food, fabrics, crafts, potteries and stuff like that. I would say you are not going to miss anything by not going into town proper nowadays. Just like any other times we were in Air Hitam we bought almost the same things.
On the day when we left Bangi for Kuala Rompin I was really praying hard that our Ranger would hold up and last the distance. But by then I should have known the days of our beloved Ranger were coming to an end. As I was pressing for Pagoh and a constant decent speed a familiar sound came out of the hood. I was pretty sure the turbo turbine was busted once again. Not taking any risk we entered Pagoh R&R to pray and rested the Ranger for awhile. Confident that we would be ok if I were to drive slowly, slow means 120 km/hr, I encouraged Traiq to go first and not to wait for us. Furthermore it was the Plus highway what chance was there for them to get lost LOL).Along the way they called us to check if we were ok and I was glad they did as well so that they could tell me they were not lost :)).
We were safely home around 2300 or 2400 and the end of another chapter in our Cuti Cuti Malaysia.
Note: When I took our Ranger to our dear friend the mechanics he diagnosed it to be a busted gasket. I was sure then we need a new ride for our next Cuti Cuti Malaysia