Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another Memorable Experience Riding A Bus

In my ealier blog I wrote why I will never ride a bus again in KL. Read it here if you havent read it. The reason for it can be found at the end of this blog.

It was easy for me to get out of Amanputra that Sunday morning to get to KLCC as my daughter wasn't going anywhere and there was her hubby's car that they could have used. So the Kelisa was convenient to take me to the bus stop in Putra Perdana which previously I had found to be exactly 1,684 steps away from her home. I used the kancil to get to the Putra Perdana Bus stop less tha 2 km from home. Parking the car I walked towards the 3 rapid KL's busses parked some distance away. I asked the bus driver which bus will be moving out first and he pointed to the bus and told me it will be going out at 8.45 am which was just in 10 minutes time and the one that he is driving will be moving out at 9.05 am. Hey I didn't have to ask him to say "Seven Eleven" to find out that he was a Kelantanese and he gave a friendly smile when I immediately changed my lingo to the Kelantanese dialect. His name was Maizaki. Very rare name among Kelantanese in the same genre of Elviza Michele I thought. I asked Maizaki to join me for breakfast at the Indian Shop nearby which he declined saying that he had had his breakfast. I had a tosai which was pretty good by my non Indian palate.

A Metro Bus is another that ply the Putra Perdana - KL route but stops at Kota Raya Bus stand.

This is how it looked inside a RapidKL bus with Maizaki at the wheel.

By the time I returned to the bus stand, the 8.45 bus was gone and I took the ride on Maizaki's almost empty bus and he picked up more passengers along the way and disgorged most of them at IOI mall in Puchong. I observed the place to ensure that I wont miss the landmark of the place when I have to wait for Elviza to pick me up to go to Mee Rebus Tuesday at Kak Ton's Tok Mommy's home. The bus moved on and after slightly more than an hour I reached my first destination of Pasar Seni. There was still the LRT to ride ride on and I was late for my first meeting with Akmal of Wise Up at KLCC. I smsed Akmal about my late arrival at KLCC and since Akmal came via LRT himself he said he will wait for me at the exit to KLCC. It was the first time that I met Akmal, and after a brief 'apa khabar' or something of that kind we walked to the nearest gents as I was at the end of my ability to contain whatever that I was holding up in my bladder. To tell the truth we didn't 'cuddle' up like Akmal said it on the blog on his site. We didn't even hug each other. If he were a girl like the one who sold me the laptop, it may have happened.

Tiffany, the salesgirl who sold the laptop to me.

After being relieved of that burden I was carrying in my bladder then only I managed to size up this young blogger from my own district of Pasir Mas. Akmal in the blogspehere is an older matured person than this 19 year old boy who is even younger than my youngest children. Ask any of the other bloggers who know Akmal via his blog and they will say the same thing of him. Most were surprised after knowing that Akmal is just 19 years old. He even looked the 19 year old that he was.

Yours truly with The Petronas Twin Tower as the backdrop

Akmal had promised to take me to the computer fair in KL Convention Convention next door to the twin tower. Only yesterday he had bought himself a laptop that came with a PCI card that can be used with a phone SIM card to make phone calls and sms at a much cheaper rate using the internet protocol. A common thing you might say, but this one is using your own registerd phone number that the recipient could identify you and call you back with. It was an ASUS weighing in at about 2.8 kg. I was thinking of buying an exactly similar one because I have problem deciding on what to have. All the more so when you are buying at a PC fair where you can be spoilt for choice of laptops in the below RM4,000 range. That is how cheap laptops are nowadays. The same specification could only be had if you have RM10,000 some 5 years ago.

The first stop was the ASUS stall where Akmal bought his laptop. The stall was immediately at the entrance. Akmal must have fallen in love with the ASUS model at first sight. Agreeing that we checked as many brands as possible before I make the final decision to buy my own laptop, we moved on to the next booth selling HP branded laptops after telling the sales person at Asus's stall that we will come back to him afterwards. I told the guy at HP the same thing before stopping at NEC. The NEC brand booth had great looking laptops on display. I would have bought them based on look alone especially those with the superb leather cover on the top casing. We were invited into the booth to have a better discussion on the models that will suit my small budget. I have decided on the set and would have closed the deal then but for the urge to look around more without having to lug a 2 kg weight like Akmal was doing right now with his Asus. After telling them that I would come back later we moved on to the next booth selling Twinheads.

The Twinhead booth displayed a laptop functioning with water being practically poured on its keyborad. Yes, they did just that, let the water from a tap flow on the keyboard. Not that I was impressed with the feat that made me decide that this was the brand that I would have. Its the lightweight and the latest 2 core duo processor and not the older dual core processor. The same processor could cost much more on other brands. The 1.65 kg weight was another plus. Only later that I realized the weight was without the battery. Hahahaha some advertisement. That was quite misleading advertisemnt.

A call to my cousin who had just bought a laptop with about the same specifications confirmed it was a good buy. It was just me not having confidence with my own ability to make a decision. Given the number of possibilities, I guess everybody will face the same problem. The bigger the budget the more difficult to decide as the models available is stupendous. The girl sitting next to Akmal was egging me on to buy as it would be the first sale for their booth and it will be credited to her. We have a special term for such first sale, we call it 'Ghori'. Some Chinese businessman consider the first sale as important as a failure to clinch a deal is tantamount to bad omen and will result in less brisk sale or no sale at all. If you are a hard bargainer as my wife is, you could have got a good price since such believers won't mind to sell at the lowest price just to clinch the first sale of the day. An item may still be sold even at a loss sometimes. The final revealation that buying from them is good when her supervisor reluctantly told me that he lives in Puchong. He thought nobody would even know of Amanputra and how surprise he was when I told him I was from Amanputra too, just a some 10 doors away from him. This is too good to be true as having somebody who knows your computer inside out can come in handy when you have problems with it later.
With all the payment concluded via the credit card, we trudged out to KLCC foodcourt to fill up our now empty stomach. The place was full. Not even a seat for two. We saw a table with the crockery still uncollected. Like a waiter I took all of them to the person who was washing the dishes. He was happy that I did the job for him and I was happy we got a table.

Shoving some money into Akmal's hand, he was given the task of deciding and buying what food to have for our lunch. I was to look after our precious computers the total price of which could easily pay for the price of an old car. It took him quite a long time to come back with two bowls of laksa sheikh or something and a glass of drink for himself. As for me, I wanted fresh orange juice. It took him another long while and by the time he came back I have swallowed all of my delicious bowl of laksa. That was how I managed to take a photograph of him drooling over his laksa. There wont be such a chance if we were to start eating at the same time.

Akmal drooling over his laksa sheih. I have finished mine by then.

We went down to the surau for our Zohor prayer taking turns to do it so that our valuables were safe. Who knows somebody may want to kill two birds with one stone, praying to God and at the same time steal something. Just to be safe. Most of those doing the prayers were quite young. Only a few of them sported the white colored hairs or at least a mixed one with some whites showing in between the blacks. Non were baldies. How come? Ain't the probability of the older ones meeting their maker is higher than the younger ones like Akmal for instance?

Spacious male prayer room at KLCC. No excuse for you to miss your 'solat'.

We went early to Coffee Club above Kunikuniya Bookstore and had coffee. It was another hour before the others and Awang Goneng with his lovely spouse Kak Teh came for the signing of GUIT.

The Twinheads.

We chit chat among the bloggers and get to know each other more since it was the first time that we met each other. This went on till 6.00 before we break up and headed for home. Akmal and me stopped at the surau again to perform the Asar prayers. Before we reached the surau we saw the Nandos outlet which we failed to locate during our search for our lunch.

It didn't take us long to board the LRT and in no time I was at the Klang Bus stand. Here my nightmare with RapidKL bus begins. No RapidKL 69 was insight. The only one that goes to Putra Perdana near to Amanputra. Bus after bus came. There was a scuffle where I saw a man was manhandled, probably a pickpocket being caught by palin clothes policemen. The bus stands are where the pickpockets are active and there are signs asking bus users to beware of pickpockets. Another man was seen trying to sell bus tickets but was warned by a bus worker not to buy tickets from him. The guy selling the ticket just cooly walk away. It was only at 8.30 PM after a wait of more than an hour's wait that bus 69 came. The many passengers waiting to board jostled each other to rush for limited seats. It was packed tight. Smelly bodies standing so close together with shouts of requests for the aircond to be turned to the highest level of coldness and replied back by the driver that it was already at its maximum level of coldness. More stops to pick up more passengers with some potential unable to board due to the lack of space and the driver insisting that those inside try to move even further inside to enable more passengers to board. No fare was collected as the driver was now bent on helping the people to get home. The jovial driver helped by being a comedian by imating the voices of any ethnic groups to cheer up the half suffocating passengers. In one moment he was bantering in Chienese bazaar Malay, another time in Indian Bazaar Malay and yet another time in impeccable Indonesian lingo. The only language he seemed unable to immitate is the Afrikaan or the Bangladeshi language that make up the many ethnicities of the bus passengers. Only after reaching Puchong were there a noticeable number of reduction of the bus passengers. One seated passenger alighted and I grabbed his seat after more than an hour of standing. My legs were then in a state of cramps. Being able to sit down was bliss. Less passenger means more air to breathe and the aircond was feeling cooler and more comfortable.
We reached Amanputra and an Indonesian lady passenger told the driver the destination she was going. Mimicking an Indonesian accent the driver told her that she was on the wrong bus and that she had to backtrack to Puchong to take another bus to her destination. She was lightly ridiculed for not telling him earlier so that he could had helped her to get to her destination, all done in jest. A lesson well learnt by her that if you dont know your destination, ask the bus driver. He was really helpful and didn't charge her any extra for the extra trip.

I alighted from the bus in a state of shock to find the place where I left my daughter's car was actually a night market where tents were used as shelter for the goods being sold. How on earth am I going to drive out of the sea of tents. Luckily I didnt have to wait long as it was raining and the night market was at its tail end since not many customers would be out by then. By 10.30 PM I was able to drive out of the night market area for my daughter's home less than two kilometers away.

The bus ride gave me an insight of how the ordinary people had to endure daily on their return trip home from work. How lucky I am that I don't have to endure this discomfort daily. This was just a once of a life time experience as I will never ride in a RapidKL bus again, at least not at this hour of the day.

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