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Heading Home - An Adventure

This post may come a bit late but I wanted to write a short experience on my most recent trip back to Ipoh before it faded from my mind. The effort that went into the trip was not one that I feel should go unwritten.

Typical expression of the day. When you are busy, you tend to push yourself to the ragged edge.

On 14th March 2014, I made a decision to return to Ipoh to visit my girlfriend. As a boyfriend, it hurts to see your girlfriend in the hospital and in pain. So, at the end of a long and strenuous 4 hour class at 6.00 pm, I grabbed my heavy luggage and proceeded to the bus-stop. Fortunately, my friend Shaza was kind enough to offer me a ride to the train station. 

"That's what bros are for. We are there in your time of need," I remembered him telling me. 

He was definitely right. If it were't for him, I would have fell asleep on the bus heading to the train station. Buying a MYR12.50, ticket for the express train, I soon found myself rumbling towards Kuala Lumpur Central Station (KL Sentral) at flank speed. I heaved a sigh of relieve as the train approached the station. I could visualise it now. Within 3 hours, I would be back in Ipoh with my family and surprising my girlfriend at the hospital. Confidently, I walked up to the ETS Train counter (intercity train service from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh) with a MYR 50.00 ticket in my hand. Then, the worse news hit me.

(All tickets to Ipoh for today have been sold out)

I went to the counter asking them for at least one more seat. I didn't mind if it was next to the toilet or even in the toilet. All I wanted was a ticket to go home but to no avail. The lady at the counter shrugged her shoulders with empathy in her eyes. 

"Minta maaf, boy. Kalau ada cancellation, I akan beritahu anda," she assured me.
(I am sorry, boy. If there is any cancellation, I will let you know)

I smiled and carried my heavy luggage off. Stopping at the nearby Subway, I bought dinner with my las MYR50.00. Should have stopped by at the ATM machine earlier. Thank goodness the food isn't overpriced. I waited eagerly for that call. I prayed, hoping that perhaps, a last minute cancellation would occur. That call never came. Perhaps God wants to see me steel myself.

Running low on cash, I took a packed commuter train back to Nilai. My legs ached as I was left standing with a 12 kilogramme rucksack on my back for the next one and a half hours. Reaching back at about 10 pm, I was indeed fortunate enough that Shaza came from the local night market to pick me back to the university. Was indeed grateful so I got him and Johnson a drink at the local mamak before heading back to sleep.

My alarm rang after a few hours of rest. The clock showed 5.00 am. I showered myself and forced myself awake. Sipping on a cup of strong American black, I reviewed my luggage load out. It became clear that there was no opportunity to take the train back so the last option was to drive back. Looking at my car tyres, I questioned whether it was the right thing to do.

The threads on the tyres nearly bald. The left tyre was losing air. It was deemed unsafe to drive in any condition. And yet, there was a 250 kilometre journey back to Ipoh. No one in their right mind would take a car that far with this condition of wheels.

"What am I doing? This is insane. But I know you can do it," I thought to myself.

Loading up my car and firing up the engines, I began rolling my baby rocket on the road. This was when I realised that something was terribly wrong. On the open highway, the roads were very clear. Not a car to be seen for miles. I maintained the cars speed along the middle lane, fighting exhaustion and drowsiness with all strength remaining. I began to hope for some people to be on a highway. Suddenly, a traffic jam seemed like a good idea for at least there was someone there to help should anything go wrong. However, aside from the usual "short distance traveller", there was no one else in sight. After 50 kilometres of a seemingly boring drive, I caught up with some vehicles.

Strangely, despite travelling at a mild 100 km/h, these cars all slowed down to let me pass. It became clear as I overtook them. There was a thick fog up ahead, bringing the visibility down to 50 meters.

Can you imagine driving through this at 6.00 am in the morning? Visibility was down to 50 meters and there was not a single car ahead of me. Steel yourself, shift the gear and throttle on. Into the hands of Fate.

With no other vehicles ahead, there was no reference points. All I had to rely on were the headlights on the front of my car and the skills in driving I had amassed over the years. The fog seemed endless but after 100 kilometres, the fog thinned out and the sun was peeking over the horizon. Changing gears, I continued to rocket down the highway. The front tyres began to wobble, signalling imminent tyre failure. I brought the speed down to 90 km/h in a desperate attempt to maximise the range. Finally, I turned off at the Ipoh exit with a sigh of relief. I'm on the home stretch. 

Pulling up into Pantai Putri Hospital, I ran up and down the building looking for the ward. Stumbling into the ward, I managed a smile across my tired face with the words, "What's up, troublemaker?" Can you imagine her expression?

Troublemaker girlfriend with Woof Woof. He has accompanied me to give me a sound sleep but I hope he will bring you comfort and solace when you sleep.

Wasn't really particularly sure if the surprise managed to work but I was indeed glad that her mum played along with the surprise. After spending some time talking, I decided to head home. Managed to have a nice breakfast with my parents.

After breakfast, I took my dads car to the workshop to have its usual check and overhaul. Nothing really eventful but I also managed to roll my baby rocket to the nearby tyre shop to get it replaced. The repairman's eyes widened after seeing the condition of the tyres. After searching through a few tyre shops, they managed to track down a pair of Bridgestone Potenza tyres for the baby rocket. Made in Japan, they made the car significantly more grippy and comfortable at speeds.

New Bridgestone Potenza's after installation. The deep grooves and intricate linings allow for a smoother and much more controlled ride. 

In addition to the tyre change, they also did a full cleanup of the brake discs and tuneup for the brake pads. Best part was it didn't really cost anything which was a kind gesture considering I will need the brakes to operate at optimum conditions for the long drive back to Nilai.

The tiny looking disc brakes while undergoing servicing.  Don't judge them by their size. They can stop a 1 tonne car dead in its tracks. 

Later, I took some time to get a haircut which did not really turn out right but definitely lightened the load on my head. Also managed to take time off with my family to familiarise myself with Ipoh. Dad took me to a vantage point that offered one of the best views of Ipoh.

Well, this isn't really the city but it offers the scenic view of the mountains that border the Kinta Valley. It gives me a sense of appreciation for the undisturbed beauty of nature that still remains in Ipoh.

On Sunday, I received news that my dear was discharged from the hospital. Managed to spend the day at home doing assignments together. My mum cooked some of my favourite dishes for both of us to eat and later at night, we went for a movie. Need for Speed is totally awesome. Check out my Facebook for the review. Even though the night didn't end with me sleeping early due to unforeseen circumstance, at least I know I swore my loyalty and sincerity. (I hate assholes who try to f*** with my personal life). By the time I fell asleep, I had less than 2 hours before I needed to head back to Nilai.

Movie and home cooked dinner with my dearest girlfriend

On Monday early morning, before the sun had risen, I was already on the highway heading back for INTI. Had to reach back in time for my 10.00 am class. Fighting sleepiness and exhaustion, I managed to travel the 250 kilometres back for 6 hours of classes. During lunch, I looked into my pocket and realised that I burnt up much of my money. No matter, Maggi noodles make a good substitute. 

Money aside, people asked me if it was worth travelling all the way back. Questions like is it worth putting your life on the line. Is it worth sacrificing your sleep, your brain cells and your youth? Will you ever be taken for granted, made use of or just treated badly? Will you revolt with the fighting spirit you crush your enemies with? I laugh at these questions posed by the masses.

My answer was pretty simple. All I need to see is the smile on her face and I will know that everything is alright. 

I write this post not to gloat or to hate. For should this memory ever be forgotten by anyone, let this post be a testament of the adventure I had trying to pull a surprise. Let this post be a testament of the lengths that I will go to prove my sincerity (God I sound pathetic).

Stay tuned for my next post and apologies to my fellow readers for the delay. Cheers

"I do not seek for the appreciation of many but the appreciation from myself would suffice"


Melissa Tan said…
Ngaww. A really good read in the morning, before going to class for presentation. ^^ Thank you for coming back that weekend, boo boo. I wonder if you did not, how long more will I be in the hospital. Heh! Heh! I was definitely surprised because I was 'disappointed' the night before, remember what I told you about it? Ngek Ngek! But it was definitely great to get to see you first thing in the morning. Sorry I look like a piece of shit when you came to visit me :P Heh!! Take good care of yourself, and I love you always ^^ mwahhhhh! <3

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