Sunday, 31 July 2011

Bussing It Home

My youngest daughter Syirah and I had made an unplanned trip to One Utama by bus, the longest journey we have ever made on RapidKL including the 20 minutes "transit" at KL Sentral.

What was also unplanned was the damage to my purse incurred at Mark's and Spark's but thanks to years of preventive instincts it survived being completely totaled.

Unfortunately such instincts are not applicable for bus routes. We emerged from OU's old wing with no inkling where to catch the bus back to Pusat Bandar Damansara and Kl Sentral.  An OU general worker told us to wait at the cross-roads across the LDP viaduct, on the TTDI side. An Indon sweeper also said the same. Don't worry about there being no bus-stop, she said, the KL-bound bus will stop for you at the corner after the traffic lights.

Hello? No bus-stop? Isn't that not proper and dangerous?

Oh well, let's just experience this, I thought. So we trudged over to the said corner looking dead green under the hot sun anyone could take us for a ride.

Several other people also came over to wait so that was a relief in a way.

The  U88 Kota Damansara - Pasar Seni bus soon pulled over. Syirah used the debit card for her fare and paid cash for mine - RM5.00 altogether.

When the bus u-turned into Damansara Utama commercial centre and then into SS2 after that, I knew we were in for the long haul, as it were. The route goes through Sea Park, Paramount Gardens, Section 14, and Asia Jaya before it hits the Federal Highway and then on to Bangsar, KL Sentral and Pasar Seni. Very, very long way - it took about 60 minutes but it wasn't unpleasant and it took us to KL like the OU man and Indon sweeper said. Only we hadn't mentioned via Pusat Bandar Damansara.

But we had ample time to catch the U63 back home before the rush hour. For this we had to wait at the bus depot adjacent to the Pasar Seni LRT station. In my school days it used to be known as "Klang Bus Stand". It  was hot and stifling inside, littered with paper and plastic bags and it seemed like ages before the bus came along. This is the part of KL which probably has changed little.

Thankfully the air-conditioning in the bus was working, just about, because now we get whiffs of BO from someone at the back, mixed with the aroma of jackfruit a lady was enjoying in the seat across the aisle. So just tahan lah…

The passengers seemed more chatty too although their tongues were foreign… some Tagalog, some Myanmar, east Malaysians, and the loud ones shouting into their handphones were from the sub-continent, unmistakably.

As we approached home territory on Persiaran Kewajipan in USJ, the bus circumnavigated Taipan, USJ 11, and USJ14 taking us on a local tour before finally terminating at Subang Mewah. We had actually travelled the route from it's starting point at "Klang Bus Stand" - a journey of 60 about mins.

So that was our day out on the busses - a learning experience on the whole, which made us really earn the teh tarik and mee goreng we had at Richfield Banana Leaf Curry House before going home.

Should we try the early morning Route BET3 next?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Bussing It

Last Tuesday my youngest daughter Syirah and I rode into KL on RapidKL's bus service. Specifically we wanted to check out the ride to Pusat Bandar Damansara from our area in USJ, a distance of about 25 km.

Syirah will be starting college there in September and we are considering RapidKL as a possible mode of transport, other than her driving or be driven. There are considerable savings cost-wise if she were to use the bus on a daily basis as the student pass is only RM50 a month for unlimited travel.

That morning we boarded a spanking clean bus plying RapidKL's route U63 Subang Mewah to Pasar Seni (Central Market) at it's starting-point opposite the Jati apartments. It helps that this place is only a stone's throw from my house and thus is quite convenient, also boarding from there meant we are practically assured of a seat each

The driver wore a cheerful smile when collecting our fares of RM2.50 per person and was also helpful when we inquired about an express service route BET3 that we had really wanted to use. We were two and a half hours too late for that one though, the last bus being at 7am serving mainly people going to work in KL. So we had to make do with the normal one instead.

The ride was quite enjoyable. The bus was air-conditioned, and it moved at a fairly decent speed as the usual peak-hour traffic had already begun to ease, only stopping now and again at the stops for passengers to alight or board. No untoward incidents except once the driver had to stop and get down at a tight corner to push a stalled car out of the way so he could negotiate the bus round the turn. Kudos to him, he did it as a matter of fact, and I heard no swearing nor complaint.

This is link on the RapidKL site for the route:

It took about 45 minutes to get to KL Sentral where we had to change to the U83 for Pusat Bandar Damansara (PBD). The bus stop is actually on Jalan Tun Sambanthan and and it was a good 20 minutes or so before we located the onward bus terminal at the ground level of the KL Sentral complex, partly because  I had decided not to use the shortcut because of the construction going on around there - an unwarranted fear it turned out to be.

Anyway, when we got to the terminal, there was a U82 bus to Bandar Utama already waiting and another one driving in soon after. Apparently U82 also stops at PBD so we boarded it. The driver couldn't accept cash as fare as the ticket printer was faulty. He suggested that we buy the company BIT debit card instead and load in RM10 which is enough fare for two persons. And so we did and off we went. Less than 10 minutes later we were already at PBD but decided not to alight there because the place was teeming with foreign workers taking up the government's generous legalization offer.

What better reason then to go on ahead to One Utama (OU) for a little retail therapy!

However it was a very convoluted way to get to OU, passing through Damansara Utama and the streets of Taman Tun Dr Ismail. It took nearly 40 minutes even though very few people got on or off along the way. The fare displayed on the reader passengers have to touch their debit card with before alighting was RM5.00 for two persons.

Here's the link for the route:

We had lunch, then stopped by at Mak's Spenders… ooops Marks and Spencers, to buy  a couple of slacks for myself. It's the only place with apparel for my Mat Salleh-like proportions. And we can't go to OU and return empty-handed, can we?

After afternoon prayers and buying a casing for my Nokia C6, we started on our  journey home.

(To Be Continued)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Back In The UK

If there's one thing that I must be grateful for thus far, it's my back. It's probably a gene I have inherited from Mom. All my life I have not heard her ever complain of sakit pinggang. Even now when she has spondylosis, the discomfort shows up elsewhere.

Recently, on a nine day trip to the UK for my son Azeim's graduation, we all ie. hubby, our two daughters as well as Azeim who planned the holiday, had to put our backs to the test.

Of the 7 nights on terra firma, we had the luxury of beds on only three.  2 nights on  coach seats in the Glasgow-to-London sleeper train and back, and 2 nights in a rented car on a marathon Glasgow-Land's End-Andover(Stonehenge)- Brighton-Dover-Glasgow road tour.

Which made the three nights at an inn near Inverness, a hotel in Glasgow and a B&B in Andover like god-send and thoroughly appreciated.

I had wondered loudly if I would ever get to go on a luxurious holiday,  flying first-class sleeping on recliner seats, checking into a classy six-star hotel, being chauffeured here, there and everywhere in limousines and eating  the finest cuisine.

 BUT...  that'd be the  kind of holiday  that spoils you rotten, that might actually weaken your muscles and may even make you suffer back pain actually.

And you learn nothing from not getting lost and finding your own way around a megapolis like London.

You might not quite feel the exhilaration of looking onto a beautiful Atlantic Ocean at the south-western tip of England they call Land's End, after a long overnight drive that is.

What more negotiating  the scenic route along the sunny southern coast all the way to Dover and walking on it's white cliffs overlooking the majestic ferry port where in the distance you  can even see France.

And how tremendous it was on the morning of your flight home which was at 1400 hrs you had your final shower at the motorway rest area outside Glasgow

and then you limited yourself to only one and a half hours shopping for summer bargains, which did not include kilts

Alhamdulillah, the old back held up.

Then again, a luxurious holiday might be very nice indeed.


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Amin and Hanis

She was giggling sweetly like a schoolgirl when Amin put Hanis, his wife, on the phone. My guess is all is hunky-dory in their 2-week old marriage.

The first nine days were spent in Terengganu and KL and now they are settling into their new life as husband and wife in Tongod, a remote little town in the wilds of Sabah.

And incidentally, they also function as a husband-and-wife MO team at the district's Kelinik Kesihatan.

I am not denying any nervous apprehensions with this arrangement….  you know, having a spouse around you 24 by 7 by 365. But I believe they both are strong and committed to face their future together, Insya Allah and what better way than this to really get to know one another.

You see, like my mother and late father, Amin and Hanis had never dated before they married, preferring to stick to Islamic principles. They had only "met" briefly when they were house-officers in the same department at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital in Kota Kinabalu.

Obviously the attraction was mutual and through the help of a common friend, contacts were made with the various elders to facilitate their union plus Hanis's subsequent posting to Tongod.

Alhamdulillah after a six-month engagement the betrothal took place on July 1st in Rusila, Terengganu. It was a pleasant, straight-to-the-point affair. A short sermon was read by Ustaz Mujahid who was Amin's good friend when they were both studying in Jordan.

The ijab was performed by Hanis's father himself, and Amin's qabul was a simple statement of acceptance "Saya terima nikahnya seperti yang tersebut itu".

The following day the reception was held in honour of the newly-weds. This time we brought along the trays of gifts on the proper day (unlike the previous do).

As is traditional on the east coast, kith and kin were feasted earlier before the rest of the guests arrived after mid-day. I think it is a good idea to adopt for logistical purposes. Before zohor prayers we were ready to make our way back home to KL, leaving Amin to his own devices, and his dad's yellow alfa.

Amin's reception have had to be postponed till after Eidul Fitri as we had to fly to the UK  to witness his younger brother's graduation ceremony. Also Hanis would have to start her posting in Tongod a.s.a.p

With her sounding so happy on the phone yesterday, I can't help but feel that they both have started this phase of their lives on a sound footing. May Allah bless their marriage with love and understanding for all time, Ameen…

ooops... and many children too... *winks*