Monday, April 30, 2012

Back to Janda Baik with Dad - pictures tell stories

Yesterday late morning, me and my dad made a short lunch trip to Janda Baik. Remember the place? I went there earlier this year with my pal, Moses (See below for earlier postings). It was a gentle drive on a hot day, so no hurry to get anywhere on time. The road was not too heavy with traffic because it was not a long weekend, and in less than forty minutes we were disembarking at the small town of Bukit Tinggi, Pahang, which sat at the foothill of Janda Baik.

Bukit Tinggi used to be a 'very black area' my father noted. This was during the
Communist insurgence era in the 60s-70s. There is still a sizable police contingent
based in town, although the days of the Malayan Communist Party is long gone. The town
is predominantly chinese and on weekends there is normally a large crowd of visitors, coming
here to buy fresh fruits and veggies (especially ginger). A couple of seafood restaurants here
do brisk business serving the day-trippers. From Bukit Tinggi you can see the hills of
Janda Baik up there.
We made a pit stop for water and fags. I have learnt to time what I do with my father
according to his speed now. He is still a very proud man and fiercely independent and
will only accept a helping hand if absolutely necessary. So this is what I normally do,
keeping a close but not too close orbit near him. We bought our needs and were soon
on our way up hill.
This is in fact our main but modest objective for our drive. To have beef and bones soup
in a very small stall along the main Janda Baik road. We arrived nicely for lunch and the
soup was piping hot. We also had some freshwater fish cooked in tumeric herb and the
infamous Durian fruit. The dish is called masak tempoyak. It is very savoury.
The stall partly stood on stilts over a small pond which is full of talapia freshwater
fish. You cannot actually see them very clearly in this picture, but there are so many
of them in the murky water. As you eat you can hear the talapia jumping in and out
of the water, happy and contented. I love the fishy rural leafy ambience of the stall. 
Cat: Hey cityboy.
Me: Hullo there.
Cat: I see you have some boney scraps of meat leftover on your plate.
Me: Indeed I do. How observant of you.
Cat: Gimme some, will you?
Me: Sure, why not.
This tree fell over after a heavy downpour the night I was last in Janda Baik.
I wish the authorities would do something about it. Or are they waiting for
the telephone lines to actually break or the telephone poles topple over?
By one of the minor roads, We passed by this abandoned construction site. Someone
wanted to build a small house by this beautiful part of the stream that runs through
Janda Baik. How sad they never got to finish their house.
I actually stopped at the site and asked my dad to wait a while. Because I saw
something which disturbed my picturesque view. Someone or something had
broken a framed verse of the holy scriptures that was originally there. I tidied it up and place
the famous  Ayatul Kursi back properly against the wooden shed wall.
I like things to be 'just so' you know?
Our last stop was to look for the house of our former help, Kak Dah. After much
slow-driving and looking at the houses, my father suggested we try this house. I made
my way through the compound and found myself watched cautiously by a watch-geese.
These big (and strong) fowls are well known for being ill-tempered and have a reputation of
chasing strangers away. But this geese was contented just to observe me and make sure I
was not up to some thievery. 
As it turned out, it was not Kak Dah's house. But the kindly gentlemen who lived there with his wife (who coincidentally was also named Zaidah) tried to help us. Haji Aziz (for that is his name) made a few phone calls and found out that Kak Dah is not staying here, but her brother is. Alas, both her mother and father, who were my parents' good friends, have both passed away. Haji Aziz gave us directions to Kak Dah's house but we couldn't find it. Why didn't I take his number? But never mind, because we made a new friend in Janda Baik. Which is always a happy ending for a day's outing however way you look at it.

Thank you for keeping me company, sunshine.

Janda Baik Earlier Posting:
* A Village of Good Widows - Pictures tell stories
* Tao of Banana - a berryful contemplation of gratitude

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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