Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chronological account of our trip to Ipoh-Lumut-Pangkor

Every year, the school third term holiday falls in mid August. This year, however, the one-week holiday was a bit later and coincided with Hari Raya and National Day (first day of Raya was also Merdeka day). On the first day of the school holiday on Saturday 27th August, we drove to Ipoh to attend E's cousin's wedding dinner.

As it was the school holiday cum 'balik kampung' rush for almost all Malaysians, one would expect the highways to be congested. Our initial plan was to leave home at 6am to beat the jam and arrive in Ipoh for breakfast (tasty Ipoh dim sum!) but alas, it was not meant to be. E got home late the night before and hadn't packed his bag yet. I had packed mine and C's. I don't pack E's bags for him for travels as he's one picky guy. Unlike some husbands who happily leave it to their wives to pack for them, be it for business or leisure trips, E being the vainpot that he is (ha ha ha, hubby bashing here) seldom agrees with my choice of clothes for him. If I pack for him, he'll re-pack so what's the point? So it was only that morning before we left that we waited after breakfast for him to pack and then we left home at around 10.30am.

Traffic was smooth at first until we came to a point where the highway narrowed to two lanes with undulating terrain. That's when we started crawling. Thankfully, it eased up when we were nearing our destination and the usual two-hour travel took us three hours -- not too bad.

After lunch, we checked into the hotel that we were to spend that one night in and rested for a bit before getting ready to attend the dinner.

The following day (Sunday), after a sumptuos lunch feted by the bridal couple again, we left Ipoh for a short two-night holiday at Swiss Garden Damai Laut near Lumut. It rained all the way there and what was left of the evening after checking in was too gloomy and wet to go frolicking around the pool or beach. We decided to drive out to Lumut town where the waterfront and jetty to Pangkor Island is to forage for dinner. We ended up in a small Chinese non-airconditioned restaurant and had a simple dinner of fried rice and oyster omelet. C the city girl hates non-aircon places and wasn't too happy with our choice.

We then took a short stroll along the shops selling dried seafood products (Pangkor Island and Lumut are famous for these) and bought a set of beach toys for sandplay for our grumpy kid who had insisted that a beach holiday must include such paraphernalia to make sandcastles.

The next morning, we took a day trip to Pangkor Island. It was C's first ride on a ferry. She enjoyed it very much, standing out on the open deck all the way there. At Pangkor, we rented a car for three hours and visited a Chinese temple popular for its mini Great Wall of China. Then, we visited the Dutch Fort. After that, it was time for lunch.

We ended up in another non-aircon shop which sold chicken rice. Many of the coffee shops and eating places in Pangkor that day were packed with tourists. You can hardly find any air-conditioned place in Pangkor Island as it is still considered a small fishing village with narrow roads and old shops apart from its popularity as a beach/tourist destination. Being holiday season, the island was swarmed with visitors and the chicken rice seller was laughing his way to the bank. We found a table but his supply had run out so we had to wait awhile for a fresh batch of steamed chicken to arrive. Soon after we got our cold drinks, a motorcyclist arrived with a plastic bucket in hand. Out came two or three steamed chickens which promptly landed on the chopping board to be served quickly to a number of tables of ravenous people, including ACE. We were served only chicken and rice, no soup, no cucumbers as sides. We couldn't complain as we were hot, sweaty, hungry and what could they do if we did? They had run out of soup and cucumber and weren't going to replenish.

After lunch we returned the rental car and hopped onto the next ferry back to Lumut. Back at the hotel, Miss Grumpy became Miss Happy as she quickly got into her swimsuit to head for the beach and pool with daddy while I headed to the spa for a painful foot reflexology session. I sometimes wonder why I subject myself to pain instead of pleasure at a spa. That night's dinner was at one of the restaurants at the hotel. It was a buffet and the spread was nothing to shout about, not too bad but not great either. Being the first day of Raya, the spread included Raya delicacies like lemang, ketupat and rendang too.

The next morning after breakfast, we checked out and headed back to Ipoh to E's aunt's house to collect a boxful of frozen, boneless roast ducks to be brought back to KL for E's sister who had ordered them through the aunt who has contact with the supplier. Direct purchase from the outlet in bulk (a minimum of 20) gets you a 10 per cent discount. So we carted 18 frozen ducks in a box home (the aunt had taken two). I took four and E's sis took the rest for herself and for distribution to other people.

Upon arrival in KL, we detoured to where Rusty was boarded for the past four nights to take him home. We got home, unloaded our bags and Rusty, showered quickly (all that in under half an hour), and started driving again, this time to Klang for dinner with E's parents who had just returned from a trip to UK/Europe and were not able to attend the wedding dinner. It was the only night available for them to meet the bridal couple who were leaving the next day for a trip to another Asian country. Again, the bridal couple bought us dinner at a nice (this time air-conditioned) restaurant in Klang. It was a very long and tiring day for us that day. Poor E drove almost all day since noon (I drove only the KL-Klang leg) and by the time we got home from Klang, it was past 11pm.

I will write separately about some of the food we had, the places we visited and what we did in another post. It's bedtime now and I'm still recovering from a mild flu I caught after returning from this 'whirlwind' trip. Sometimes I think going on holiday causes more stress!

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