Friday, April 9, 2010

3D2N Around Malaysia By Train (Almost) - 2nd Leg

Tumpat – JB, Jan 30, 2010, Departure 2030 ETA JB, Jan 31, 2010, 1045.
Travelers: My Wife, Kak Cik, Mar and Me

We were eager to be on board again. I told my family, once I was inside and the train moved, I was going to sleep straight away. Which I did. The day was hot and humid and with lack of sleep the night before even if I would want to stay awake I would not be able to. So I just followed what my body naturally told me to do. With the train movement rocking me I went into a deep sleep. I stirred once in a while but most of the time fast asleep. While sleeping I could feel that the train was actually traveling very fast. I felt like I was flying through the dark cold night. I woke up around suboh and called my wife to get up and we decided to take our bath. It was the first time experience taking bath in the small bathroom for my wife. I coached her on what exactly to do and she went first. Actually it was not that difficult after so many years doing it I could claim that I am an expert at it. Ha ha ha. Well my wife came back smiling and when I asked her how it was she said she did what I told her to do and she was fine. I followed suit and had a good morning bath. Since the Tumpat JB train did not provide a surau we said our prayers on our bunk.

Just after suboh we slowly rolled into Gemas Station and this time I went down on the platform with my camera. My camera clocked a time of 0708 on the first photo I took of the station. Still, in that early morning I could not help being so nostalgic. The train however did not stopped long at Gemas but enough for me to see the hand over of responsibility to a new engineer/driver. My guess was that the new driver would take the train all the way down to Singapore and later in the late evening would take the train back up to Gemas or maybe all the way back to Tumpat. Whatever it was soon everyone was awake and ready to have breakfast. Just like the day before we walked to the buffet car to have a breakfast of almost the same things we had on the train from KL to Tumpat. But instead of the morning scene of inner Kelantan that morning Buloh Kasap and Segamat were our views for breakfast. At 0814 we arrived at Labis a small station but very much alive with passengers embarking. I really was surprised with this

We sat in the buffet car for awhile trying to kill sometimes and for me for something interesting to capture. Eventually the usefulness of the buffet car as much as for us to use it to extract something special reached its maximum. We walked back to our coach and do nothing but just waited for JB to show up. The waiting was so unbearable especially for Mar. With the almost empty coach we joked and messed around with one another.

At 1050 we were standing in front of the JB station signboard to take our pictures. Another phase of the adventure completed and we had about 3 hours to kill in JB before we board another train back to KL. Since we had taken our bath and breakfast on the train the only next logical thing to do is explore what the vicinity could offer us. The JB train station was connected to the new mall opposite the road so we climbed over the pedestrian crossing and entered the mall. Of course it was already opened and we walked around. The usual outlets were there but all of us were not in a mood to window shop let alone do a serious shopping.

After awhile the mall lost its notoriety with us. Our feet suddenly were heavy and refused to comply with the instruction coming down from our brain. Yes, we were tired but it was not really because of that. Our brains were like saying after KB is this the best JB could do? We walked out and decided to explore beyond the mall. We walked down to the road and crossed the old main, famous main street of JB, road to the other side The other side were Sikh Temple, Puteri Pan Pac, a mall with Kamdar in it and resemblance of the old JB that I was familiar with. It was actually a futile effort as the ‘other side’ proved to be a disappointment for all of us as well. We lazily, with faces of almost disdain, walked back to the first mall to wait it out before we take our train home.

While walking back looking around to find something interesting to shoot an interesting realisation struck me. I saw around me the dichotomy of the old and new JB that forcefully staking their claim in the city. Clearly I could see a very old building sandwiched by new modern office blocks and hotels. Not only that within these old buildings or blocks lifestyle was preserved like it was then, lazy, what do I care and couldn't care less attitude. Observing and absorbing it made me somehow agree with their statements. It was by no means political but a statement of intent none the less. ‘Leave us alone we like our lives the way it is.’ I took some shots to immortalized this statement.

While walking on the other side of the road I saw what I was looking for all this while. Across the road on the ground floor of the first mall we entered was the Starbuck. We bought some coffee and tidbits and parked ourselves in there until almost an hour before our boarding time. We just crashed, I guess due to lack of proper sleep the night before.

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