This two weeks school holidays in June 2011, we have promised Pak Su (my Down syndrome brother) to bring him for a tour with the family since he did not follow the umrah trip together with Tok Abah and Tok Mama. He succumbed to the idea and didn’t give much problem when we sent off the entourage at the KLIA.
Faiz joined the umrah group while Kakak and Adik enjoyed their holidays at home. So the car would be nice to fit everyone comfortably. Although Kakak suffered from chicken pox, it was not so severe and the doctor has given her medication to stop it from spreading. Of course the doctor advised her not to travel but the decision was ours.
Pak Su has never gone on a holiday with us and this opportunity should be a very interesting chapter for us in getting to know him better. All these while, we spent only a few days with him whenever we ‘balik kampung’ or when he came over to our place in the presence of Tok Mama and Tok Abah. We didn’t know what to expect but we tried our best to make sure that everything went on smoothly and everyone could enjoy the trip. We arranged it in such a way that Pak Su gets to do what he likes and he gets to see unfamiliar beautiful places.
The plan was to travel from KL to Kuantan to Pekan to Mersing and to Desaru from Wednesday 1st June and return to KL on Sunday 5th June, which is the World Environment Day. A total of 5 days and 4 nights, covering about 1,000 km from west to east to south and back north of Peninsular Malaysia….sweeping through unfamiliar places, small towns, nice unspoilt beaches and water parks.
Our preparations include research on the best routes, destinations, the costs, the accommodations, good food, and the activities including the condition of the car. These are necessary things we normally do before we take on a very long journey like this. Ibu will normally prepare detail itinerary and make on-line reservations and come up with the estimated budget for the whole trip. When Dini showed her holiday itinerary to her friends, they had a shocked because their parents have never done such a thing when they go on holidays!
On Monday 30th May, we sent the umrah entourage at the airport and later that day we just rest at home after going through a very hectic weekend. We brought Pak Su for naan and tandoori dinner that night (his favourite) before we ended the day. The next day, we entertained him for a 1.5 hours badminton game at Ampang Sports Planet(he can play basic badminton) and later went to watch ‘Kungfu Panda 2’ (very nice movie) at Wangsawalk, although Pak Su prefers to watch movies like‘Karak’!! Ibu had to work that day and could not join us.
Pak Su was already excited about the trip and was ready to take on the tour with us. The kids have also cooperated well and were prepared to entertain their ‘special uncle’. I did not expect anything silly to happen when he is with us and I’m counting on everyone to give their full cooperation. We prayed that Allah will protect and help us all the way and grant us patience of the highest order.
We started our journey early morning Wednesday 1st June 2011, travelling from KL to Gambang via the old road. It was a nice and lazy drive before we stopped at Bukit Angin rest area for lunch. We always eat at Gerai No. 9 although all the stalls there serve almost the same thing. It was a superb lunch with ikan patin masak tempoyak (everyone's favourite except for me!)…Temerloh is famous for that and it is known as Bandar Ikan Patin.
After lunch, we continued our journey on the old road to Gambang, heading towards Gambang Water Park (if we used ECE, we will have to drive back towards KL to reach the place). We arrived at the hotel and it looks good although it is located far from anything else except the jungle and the water park. We checked in at about 4pm and the facilities at the resort and the room are very basic. Our view from the balcony are construction of more apartments…but it was enough for us for just one night.
After settling down, we toured the resort, took the tram to the water park (just getting info as the park closes at 6pm) and then off we went to Kuantan for dinner. Traffic was bad as we approached the new flyover at Pekan junction before we reached Tanjung Lumpur for seafood dinner at the seaside. This time we were lucky since there were empty tables at Ana Ikan Bakar Petai, the biggest and the famous restaurant there. We had Siakap Goreng Tiga Rasa, Sotong and Pari Bakar and Lala Masak Pedas. The food was nice and enough to give us the needed energy. Everybody was already tired and I was the only one awake while we drove back to Gambang.
Upon arriving, Pak Su and Adik wanted to play video games at the in house arcade so I had to entertain them for a further one hour. When it was time to go back to the room, they stopped again to watch movie until the end. When we finally lay our heads on the pillow, it was well after midnight and it didn’t take long before everybody snoozed off….resting and recharging for another hectic day.