Friday, 28 December 2012

Sumatera Barat Part 1: The Ghost of Parapat


Stupid Mistake
Hotels booked. Routes studied. Backpacks packed. We were ready to go. We thought we were. Why? Because at 12:00 am, my instinct kicked in, forcing me to check the expiry date for my passport. It was 17 May 2013. Less than six months. And our flight has been scheduled at 8:25 am early in the morning. 

Dear God, what have I done? Is this some kind of karma?

We took the next flight at 15:30. So I had ample time to renew my passport. This is an honest but stupid mistake. So I deserved the lecture on “responsibility” from my sister for a good 60 seconds over the phone.

Inside Polonia International Airport, Medan



Thursday, 27 December 2012

About Medan



So where do I start? Okay, here it goes. 

It has been a frequently asked question posed to me – why Medan? Some went to a greater extent of ‘you-should-go-to-yada-yada-yada’. Well, my answer would be in two folds. One, it was a sponsored flight ticket (thanks to Abang Eddi). Second, I am an avid traveler who deeply believes in the fact that no matter where I go, there are always stories to be shared, history to be pondered and lessons to be reflected. If I am given a chance, I would love to go to every part of the world. Hence, I believe, a place like Medan has stories to tell.

And yes, that kind of frequently asked question kinda pissed me off at times. 




Sunday, 28 October 2012

Makkah Part 4: Unsung Historical Sites

Normally, many of these historical sites are not listed in the schedule of most umrah packages. Nevertheless, it does not signify that these places are of less significant. Too bad I only discovered some of these places upon my return to my beloved country, Malaysia. 

If you have ample time, do ask for your tour guide to bring you to any of these places:


Makkah Part 5: Final Day on the Earth of the Prophets


Hari akhir di tanah Anbiya’. Aku tidak pernah bosan dengan gambar-gambar Kaabah.




Saturday, 13 October 2012

Makkah Part 4: Daily Routine of Mine


This is how my daily routine in Makkah would look like.



Thursday, 4 October 2012

Makkah Part 3: To the Top of Jabal Nour

"Read! In the Name of your Lord, the Creator. He who created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Bounteous. Who taught by the Pen, taught men what he knew not."
Al-Alaq 1 - 5

In another few minutes, the azan for Subuh prayer would be on air. I was a bit sleepy and tired post umrah activities. One of the tour guides named Fadhil showed me a picture of Masjidil Haram, taken from far. From a higher ground from far. I could see cloud above the masjid, like a big gigantic umbrella providing shelter to the people performing umrah. And the cloud was hanging above the masjid. Only the masjid. Only.

So I asked him, where did he took the picture from. He said: From the top of Jabal Nour. Where Prophet Muhammad SAW first received the revelation of Iqra'

I told him I would love to go. Yes, to the top. 

The next day, 15 of us agreed to join the trip to hike Jabal Nur. 


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Makkah Part 2: Le Tour de Makkah

Places to go in Makkah
Similar to the previous trip in Madinah, the tour guide had arranged for a visit to historical sites in the city of Makkah. We gathered in front of the hotel as early as 8:30 am and patiently waited for the bus. Well, this trip took place more than a year ago, I could not recall its particular order. But I will share as much as I could remember.




Saturday, 22 September 2012

Makkah Part 1: THE Moment

"Here I am at Thy service, Allah, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thy have no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty. And Thine Alone is the Sovereignty. Thou have no partners"


This video was recorded by my dear cousin Fatt Sadri while we were reciting talbiah in the bus together. I saw the mountain, the trees, the earth. I can feel they were praying for our journey to Makkah. They witnessed that we had answered Allah's call.


Monday, 17 September 2012

Madinah Part 6: Farewell Madinah and Journey to Makkah



The journey that lasts forever had ended so soon. We were scheduled to leave for Makkah an hour after Juma`at prayer. The blended feeling of joy and sadness made me realize that I could not have two great things at once. Makkah and Madinah.



Friday, 14 September 2012

Madinah Part 5: Where I Left Worldly Affairs Behind


I had never been to any country where people were dashing to the masjid whenever azan is on the air. Their pace and their steps were faster as they were approaching the masjid. Even faster than girls untagging their ugly pictures on facebook. 



Thursday, 13 September 2012

Madinah Part 4: Quba, Qiblatain and Kurma


Other than Mount Uhud, the tour included other significant places to be visited. 

Quba: By the Hand of the Prophet

The Prophet SAW said: “He who purifies himself at his home and comes to Masjid Quba and offers two rakaats therein, will be rewarded the reward of an Umrah.”
Sunan ibn Majah





Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Madinah Part 3: Uhud - The Forgotten Order


"If you saw us prevail, and start to take war spoils, do not come and assist us. And if you saw us vanquished and birds eating from our head, do not come and assist us."


Order by Prophet Muhammad SAW to the Archers

But the order was forgotten by the archers.



Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Madinah Part 2: Raudhah & Tomb of the Prophet


Prologue
When I was in Malaysia prior to my umrah trip, I prayed to Allah every night and day that He will make the impossible possible for me.





Monday, 10 September 2012

Madinah Part 1: Arrival in Madinah Al-Munawwarah



Invitation to the Holy Cities
To be invited to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah is indeed a blessing from Allah SWT. It did not appear to me that I would be stepping my foot on the soil once stepped on by Prophet Muhammad SAW. From thousands or perhaps millions of Muslims all around the world, it was beyond my imagination that I would be that fortunate to be called by Allah to be here in the name of faith.



Saturday, 8 September 2012

Phnom Penh Part 2: Killing Field of Choeung Ek


I came to pay a respect to the victims of the Pol Pot Regime.



Phnom Penh Part 1: Tuol Sleng Museum


"I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my people"
Pol Pot, Leader of Khmer Rouge

Block A. Tuol Sleng Museum.

What Happened?
For five years the Cambodian people had been facing the bloody civil war. On 17 April 1975, Khmer Rouge was victorious over Khmer Republic of General Lol Nol. The Cambodian people honestly thought their suffering had ended. But what they didn't know is that they were about to face the gruesome nightmare for the upcoming years. 



Crossing Border Moc Bai - Bavet


Second Time | Different Thing


This is my second time of crossing border. The first one was early this year, from Thailand (Aranyaprathet) to Cambodia (Poipet). And it was by six hours train journey all the way from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet and another two hours from Poipet to Siem Reap. This time, by six hours bus journey through Vietnam (Moc Bai) and Cambodia (Bavet). 

Saya bab naik bas yang saya tak senang duduk ialah nak buang air. Kalau bas tidak mahu berhenti saya nak buang di mana?



Ho Chi Minh City Part 4: Discover the Rest


I was told not to miss either one of these two while in Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnel and Delta Mekong. I did visit Cu Chi. Later, I noticed that there are more things Ho Chi Minh can offer to us. 

War Remnants Museum

While American soldiers returning from World War II were celebrated as heroes with glory and pride, American soldiers returning from Vietnam were labelled as "baby killers". Why? 



Ho Chi Minh City Part 3: Cu Chi Tunnel



“My Vietnamese name is Mr. Tung. Tunggg! (mimicking the sound of a Chinese drum). So my English name would be Mr. Drum. I was born in Cu Chi. But not in the tunnel.”

Mr Tung, Tour Guide Cu Chi Tunnel



Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Ho Chi Minh City Part 2: Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market | Operating hours: 6:00 am to 19:00 pm


As the oldest surviving market, Ben Thanh Market marked a symbol of attraction in this 300 year old city. Originally known as Les Halles Centrales, this French-built market housed hundreds of stalls and shops selling various goods that you need (or goods you do not need).



Ho Chi Minh City Part 1: Knowing Saigon


About Ho Chi Minh
Previously known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the heart and soul of Vietnam. 


Useful Tips One: How to Get to Ho Chi Minh from the Airport?
The city centre is located about 8 km from Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Two ways to get to the city centre:



Sunday, 22 July 2012

Langkawi 02: Mangrove Tour (31 December 2011)


9:00 a.m. | Kondo Istana, Kuah
We woke up early. The girls prepared some breakfast in the kitchen. And the guys watched tv. Perfect. At the rate we were going, I was pessimist that we will be leaving the condo anytime soon before lunch hour. I prayed it won't rain or it will cost our Mangrove Tour. Malaysians being typical Malaysians. Tanah tumpah darahku. 



Monday, 16 July 2012

Langkawi 01: Hot and Cold (30 December 2011)

Introduction

2011 was successfully concluded with vacation of the year in Langkawi. The initial plan was to spend the holiday in Sri Kijang, a private resort of Bank Negara Malaysia, situated near Pantai Chenang. But since the resort had already been booked, I was given a condominium named Kondo Istana situated in Pekan Kuah instead. Three bedrooms. But there were 13 of us. Sardines.

Kira okay lah, daripada merempat beralas sejadah tepi kedai Haji Ismail Group. Cuma kena berhimpit sedikit sebab saiz masing-masing bukannya saiz M. Jauh sekali dari saiz S. *Lari.



Friday, 6 July 2012

Malaysia Truly Asia: Seven Legends of Langkawi

Langkawi
Means reddish brown eagle. Lang is a shortened version of a Malay word "Helang" which means eagle. While Kawi means reddish brown. An island of legends and mystique, the folk tales of Langkawi were immortalised as history passed from generation to generation. 



Monday, 2 July 2012

Universal Studios Singapore 02: Tips for a Memorable Trip (22 - 24 June 2012)

Hello. This is a continuation of this entry



Thursday, 28 June 2012

Universal Studios Singapore 01: Tips for a Memorable Trip (22 - 24 June 2012)

Let's get this straight.

Long queue for rides can be really crazy. And we don't have that much time to spend for a day. Spending your 10 minutes to read this will at least give you a rough picture on how to maximise your 8 hours in USS.



Thursday, 21 June 2012

About Universal Studios Singapore

theme park located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Universal Studios Singapore (USS) is the second Universal Studios theme park opened in Asia (after Japan) and the first in Southeast Asia. It is said that this park will be the only one of its kind in Southeast Asia for the next 30 years. 


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Phuket Night Life Part 2

Motorcycle Ride Around Phuket Town


Renting motorcycles is a great way to tour the countryside. The rent price range from 200 baht to 400 baht per day, depending on the types of motorcycle. For daily rentals, it is reasonable to expect that the lessor would require your passport as a deposit. And please do not forget your helmet, because if you did not do so, you may be fined up to 300 baht by traffic officers, who supervised the town quite actively.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Phuket Night Life Part 1

As I have mentioned earlier, this is not a backpacking experience. I was here for a conference. Hence, all the logistic arrangements including flight ticket, accommodation, meals and transportation were arranged by the organiser. 



Saturday, 16 June 2012

About Phuket


Formerly known as Thalang, Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand. It was said that the word Phuket originates from a Malay word of "Bukit" which means hill. Particularly because of its geographically mountainous land. 


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Siem Reap Part 4: Life in Tonle Sap


Tonle Sap the Great Lake
The largest lake in South East Asia, Tonle Sap is actually a combined lake and river in Cambodia, feeding the Mekong River. Geographically, it is unusual for the reason that it changes its flow twice a year. Historically, it witnessed the naval battles (between the Khmer and the Chams armies) and also the tragic death of thousand innocent souls attributable to the vicious and ruthless Khmer Rouge regime.



Siem Reap Part 3: Angelina Jolie Ran Amok


Ta Phrom Temple
There is a poetic cycle to this vulnerable ruin, with humanity first conquering nature to rapidly create, and nature once again conquering humanity to slowly destroy. 
(Lonely Planet: Cambodia)



Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Siem Reap Part 2: Smiling Bayon Temple


Bayon Temple
Its architectural audacity epitomises the creative genius and inflated ego of this enigmatic figure. (Lonely Planet: Cambodia)



Siem Reap Part 1: Angkor "What"?


Angkor Wat - Source of Inspiration and National Pride of the Khmers
Angkor Wat is the world's foremost ancient sites, with the epic proportions of the Great Wall of China, the detail and intricacy of Taj Mahal, and the symbolism and symmetry of the pyramids, all rolled into one. (Lonely Planet: Cambodia)



Monday, 4 June 2012

Cross Border Aranyaprathet - Poipet


Siem Reap
Angkor was discovered in the 19th century and since then Siem Reap began to grow. I was told by a tourist guide that Siem Reap means "Siamese defeated". It is irony since Thailand (Siamese) defeated Cambodia and was in control of Siem Reap and Angkor from 1794 to 1907 (Lonely Planet).

Lepas tu pemandu pelancong tu tanya balik, kenapa nama negara kamu diberi nama Malaysia. Jenuh nak menjawab. Terus keluar fakta pemisahan Tanah Melayu dengan Singapura bagai....



Cambodia | Siem Reap 01: Cari Susur Galur Katanya

"Ascends to the realm of the gods, Angkor Wat. Descend into the hell of the Khmre Rouge at Tuol Sleng. Thanks to a history both inspiring and depressing, Cambodia delivers an intoxicating present for adventurous visitors."

Lonely Planet



Thailand | Bangkok 05: Enam Jam Kematu Punggung


5:15 pagi - Menaiki Keretapi ke Aranyaprathet
Sesudah solat Subuh, kami bergegas ke Stesen Keretapi Hua Lamphong yang berhadapan dengan hotel. Dalam kegelapan Subuh itu, suasana stesen keretapi sudah mulai sesak dengan pelbagai golongan masyarakat. Jelas sekali, masing-masing punya urusan dan hal tersendiri. Kami perlu segera melangkah memandangkan keretapi pertama akan berlepas jam 5:30 pagi dari Bangkok ke Aranyaprathet, di mana terletaknya sempadan antara Thailand dan Cambodia. Setelah membeli tiket di kaunter, kami pun berlari-lari anak ke terminal. 

Seksa tahu, membawa bagasi tarik, abang sering ketinggalan di belakang berbanding mereka dengan beg masing-masing. Kalau nak merajuk pun mampus tiada siapa mahu pujuk. 



Saturday, 2 June 2012

Thailand | Bangkok 04: Malam di Patpong yang Penuh Puaka Itu

Patpong begitu tersohor dengan daerah hiburan di Bangkok, seringkali dirujuk sebagai daerah lampu merah (red light district) sempena pemfokusan industri seks. Tapi sepanjang jalan abang tak nampak pun orang beromen tepi jalan, hanyalah deretan gerai dan kedai orang menjual pelbagai barang. Dan beberapa buah kedai yang menjual alat permainan seks serta DVD gay. Sudah tentu mereka membuat projek kerjasama di kamar masing-masing. Awak gila apa. 



Thailand | Bangkok 03: Grand Palace di Mana Coklatku Cair


12:00 tengahari - Ketiak Becak Mencari Pintu Masuk ke Grand Palace

Mengorak langkah dari jeti ke jalan raya utama umpama mengheret jiwa yang lara kerana ditipu diperdaya. Kami menyusuri jalur pejalan kaki yang penuh dengan deretan warung dan kedai yang menjual barangan pelik, serta deretan kedai kopi usang dan lama. Waima sudah berkelana, pintu masuk ke Grand Palace tidak terlihat di hadapan mata. Di mana?


Sebenarnya abang dan Hazem sudah becak ketiak masing-masing. Bangkok ini kota yang panas tahu?

Kami didatangi seorang pemandu tuk tuk warga tempatan. Ah, ini sudah diduga. Kalau pamer wajah ragu-ragu seperti pelajar bengap matematik yang sedang diajar logaritma, memang akan ada warga tempatan yang menghampiri menawarkan bantuan. Yang sebenarnya penipuan. 

Beliau bertanya, ke mana destinasi. Kami memberitahu kami mahu menuju ke Grand Palace. Mungkin pintu masuknya di hujung jalan nanti, ujar kami.

Oh, katanya Grand Palace pada hari tersebut ditutup bagi memberi ruang para sami beribadah. Tambahan pula, Hazem tidak akan dapat masuk ke dalam Grand Palace kerana memakai seluar pendek paras lutut. Oleh yang demikian, beliau mempelawa kami menaiki tuk tuknya untuk ke tempat menarik yang lain, memandangkan di hujung jalan nanti pun tiada apa-apa.


Abang tidak akan terperangkap dalam jerangkap samar mereka kali ini. Kami menolak dengan penuh sopan dan meneruskan jalan. Cuaca semakin terik, matahari semakin menaik, peluh semakin tengik, sumpah rasa nak balik. Kami berhenti seketika di gerai berdekatan untuk membeli air Coke lantaran kehausan tahap dewa. Semakin kami meneruskan jalan, semakin kami mendapati bahawa seolah-olah tiada apa di hujung jalan, hanyalah deretan kedai jual barang bukan-bukan. Mungkinkah pemandu tuk tuk tadi bercakap benar? 

Namun kami teruskan jua perjalanan. Akhirnya, di hujung jalan, kami ketemu pintu masuk Grand Palace! Ya! Di hujung jalan! Yang dikatakan tiada apa-apa kononnya. Penipu betul beliau. Benci abang. 


Ha nampak itu? Grand Palace dibuka setiap hari, jam 8.30 pagi sehingga 4.30 petang. Dah nama pun tempat pentadbiran dan keagamaan Siam, sah sahlah para sami beribadat setiap hari, tak perlulah tempat ini tutup! Lagi satu, kalian mahu pakai apa sekalipun pakai lah, songket ke, skirt pendek ke, hot pants ke, boleh masuk ke dalam dengan syarat, deposit 200 baht dan ambil kain/seluar yang disediakan untuk sepanjang tempoh melawat Grand Palace. 

Licik tak, tipu helah beliau? Rasa nak tampar. 
 
Kami pun segera ke kaunter untuk menukar seluar. Oh, sebenarnya yang berseluar pendek hanyalah Hazem, tapi abang pun menggeletat nak pakai seluar dengan hasil seni tempatan, konon ambil semangat. Haha. Tatkala kami sedang tekun beratur, abang terlihat beberapa poster tertampal di dinding dan pintu:



Do not trust Strangers who OFFERED tuk tuk and lucky Buddha.

Masuk akal sekarang?


Izinkan abang berkongsi serba sedikit tipu daya kota Bangkok berdasarkan pengalaman dan pembacaan abang yang tak seberapa ini:

1. Warga Tempatan yang Peramah: Orang Siam memang peramah dan mesra. Namun, sekiranya mereka yang menghampiri kita terlebih dahulu serta menawarkan bantuan, berhati-hatilah!


2. Closed Today: Sami beribadah, maka Grand Palace ditutup, oleh itu marilah naik tuk tuk saya dan saya akan membawa anda ke Lucky Buddha dan membeli belah barang kemas. Nampak papan tanda tadi? Grand Palace dibuka setiap hari. 








Usai menyalin seluar panjang, kami menuju ke kaunter tiket. Setiap pengunjung dikenakan 400 baht untuk masuk. Grand Palace akan ditutup jam 4:30 petang. Panasnya Bangkok, awak boleh berpeluh tanpa perlu buat apa-apa.


Grand Palace merupakan kombinasi istana Diraja, pusat pentadbiran dan keagamaan. Dah macam milo 3 in 1, segala fungsi dia ada. Perkhidmatan pemandu pelancong disediakan percuma tetapi tertakluk kepada waktu-waktu tertentu, 10 pagi, 10.30 pagi, 1.30 tengahari dan 2 petang. Memandangkan kami kesuntukan masa, maka kami pun acah-acah jadi pemandu pelancong sesama sendiri. 

Abang memang senang terhibur. 





Beberapa bangunan, terutamanya Temple of the Emerald Buddha berkilauan keemasan. Rasa macam nak kikis sedikit masuk dalam poket seludup bawa balik rumah. Sangat cantik dan halus seni ukirannya. Sepanjang jalan abang dihenyak kekaguman tanpa henti. Cuma. Panas. Hinggakan satu bar coklat Melissa beri semalam (konon nak jadikan bekal jika lapar) cair menjadi air coklat boleh dikocak-kocak. Habis kain pelekat dan passport dicalit coklat.

















3:30 petang - Selesai Kembara Sekitar Grand Palace
Jam menghampiri pukul 3.30 petang, kami sudah selesai dengan pengembaraan sekitar Grand Palace dan sakit kepala kerana kepanasan. Abang yakin abang pulang dengan kulit terbakar. Kami pun segera ke kaunter pintu masuk untuk memulangkan seluar (dan memakai kembali seluar kami, gila, takkan nak jalan pulang dengan spender) dan menuntut kembali deposit 200 baht kami. Dalam perjalanan keluar, terlihat dua pegawai keselamatan sedang melaksanakan kawad tukar syif. Nak tukar syif pun kena kawad, siap ada baca mentera ke, ikrar apa entah. 

Hazem flipped through the map of the City of Bangkok. The next destination was Siem Paragorn mall. Our feet was tired and in need of reflexology massage. Outside the Grand Palace entrance, we saw Tuk Tuk taxis were lined up to devour upon their prey. We negotiated with four Tuk Tuk drivers with regards to the fare from Grand Palace to Siem Paragorn. The price was still 200 baht. I believed that there must be a cheaper fare. We saw some buses dropping by passengers. I was so sure that any one of those buses will bring us to the mall. 
 
So we decided to board a bus. Few buses passed by. And we still did not know which one was heading to Siem Paragorn. We asked all the bus drivers that stopped by and none of them understand English. Not even the word "Siem Paragorn" itself.

 
We were there for 15 minutes. Finally we decided to ask around. Hazem saw two high school kids, who are waiting for the bus nearby. We asked them how to take a bus to Siem Paragorn. Thank God, they did understand basic English. 

 
"You follow us," one of them said. We were lucky that they were also heading towards the same direction. Well, not all local people are bad. Some of them are really helpful. Only if you find the correct one. 


The bus arrived few minutes later. We boarded the bus for only 65 baht! We saved RM18! I didn't mind boarding the bus, trapped in traffic jam for about half an hour, and trying to survive the heat. It was a bus, and not a private jet anyway.


4:30 p.m. - Siem Paragorn

Siem Paragorn is of no difference than the other malls in Malaysia such as Mid Valley, KLCC, Pavilion, One Utama and others. We had our fillet o fish. And our relaxing reflexology.   


Aku lelap dalam urutan telapak kaki gadis Siam.

Till then, adios  

Hairi Tahir

To be continued...


Thailand | Bangkok 03: Menyelusuri Sungai Chao Phraya Sambil Memaki Hamun dengan Riang


Bangun pagi jam 5:30. Solat Subuh. Tidur semula. Bangun awal untuk menyaksi mentari pagi itu tinggal cita-cita semata. Jam 9:00 pagi baru bangun, itu pun lantaran cahaya mentari pagi menembusi kain langsir merah, jika tidak mungkin berpotensi bangun esok harinya. Buruk perangai anak-anak dara bangun lambat.

Kami bingkas bangun dan bersiap untuk kembara di sekitar kota Bangkok. Hanya berbekalkan peta di tangan kanan dan brosur kembara di tangan kiri, kami memilih merentasi Sungai Chao Phraya dengan bot. Walaupun setelah berbincang, berdebat dan berbahas bagai.

Di Stesen Silom, kami kelihatan termangu-mangu dungu mencari arah hala tuju sehinggalah seorang lelaki tua menghampiri dan menawarkan diri memberi panduan di mana lokasi terbaik dengan harga yang murah. Katanya harga termurah ialah 2000 baht satu bot. Selain itu tuk tuk ke sana hanyalah memerlukan 30 baht. Wah, beruntung sungguh ada orang datang menolong. Siap mengiringi abang dan Hazem ke tuk tuk lagi. Karpet merah dengan paluan kompang saja yang tiada.  



Tuk tuk tersebut membawa kami berdua merentasi lautan trafik di kota Bangkok menuju ke jeti yang dimaksudkan. Setibanya kami di jeti yang dimaksudkan, kami disambut dengan penuh kasih sayang dengan sedikit taklimat yang menerangkan pengembaraan bot yang berharga 3000 baht itu. Katanya di jeti lain berharga 4000 baht atau lebih. Abang mengitari kawasan sekeliling. Tiada pelancong lain yang kelihatan. Adakah pengembaraan melalui bot seperti ini sudah kurang popular? Atau kerana harganya yang mahal? 

Usai melaksanakan pembayaran berharga 3000 baht itu, kami menaiki sebuah bot besar yang boleh memuatkan sehingga 15 orang. Bot sebesar itu hanya untuk kami berdua. Dan sepasang suami isteri yang mungkin pemilik bot tersebut. Mahal juga harga pengembaraan sebegini.


Perlahan-lahan bot meninggalkan jeti. Oh, inilah rupanya Sungai Chao Phraya, medium pengangkutan serta tumpuan utama perdagangan dan aktiviti ekonomi di Siam berkurun lamanya. Pada hari ini, waima wujudnya jalan raya berturap, Chao Phraya kekal sebagai medium pengangkutan alternatif.

Kami menyaksikan beberapa bot berlalu pergi, sama ada dari arah yang serupa atau arah berbeza. Setiap bot memuatkan lebih daripada dua orang penumpang. Abang dan Hazem berpandangan sesama sendiri. Sekarang fahamlah abang mengapa tiada pelancong lain di jeti tersebut. Kami telah ditipu. Kami sebenarnya telah membayar harga untuk seluruh bot!

Pengajaran 1: Lakukan kajian sebelum memulakan pengembaraan. Walau sesingkat mana masa.

Dan yang paling mengerikan, abang terpaksa mengukir riak wajah: Maaf, kami bukanlah pasangan gay yang sedang berbulan madu berdua di atas bot ini” kepada para pelancong di dalam bot lain yang memberikan riak wajah Awwhhhh sweetnya gay couple ini!


Wat Arun
Menyelusuri Sungai Chao Phraya mengingatkan abang Sungai Muar Johor (kampung halaman). Terlihat bangunan-bangunan bandar Thailand yang memuatkan ratusan hotel dan pejabat. Jelas sekali rakyat tempatan sangat mengagungkan Raja mereka dengan banner dan bunting yang diletakkan di kebanyakan bangunan.

Wat Arun, sebuah kuil Buddha tua tesergam indah dari jauh setelah 15 meninggalkan jeti. Kami hanya diberi masa selama 20 minit untuk melawati kawasan ini. 20 minit sahaja. Berguraukah ini laki bini? Abang bayar 1500 baht tahu! Sudahlah di pintu masuk juga dikenakan bayaran 50 baht. Turun ke jeti pun kena 20 baht lagi. Kentut pun mungkin berbayarkah?

Memandangkan kami telah bersedekah amal jariah kepada perempuan gila anak saudagar penipu di jeti tadi maka kami tidaklah begitu berwang sangat. Maka, kami memutuskan untuk berjalan-jalan sahaja keliling Wat Arun. Cuaca yang sangatlah panas, dengan ketiadaan krim sun block, abang rasa kulit abang seperti digoreng rangup dek cahaya matahari.




20 minit berlalu pergi begitu pantas sekali. Kami kembali ke bot untuk ke destinasi seterusnya (kalau ada, ya masih bengang). Kami meninggalkan Wat Arun. Pemandangan sedikit demi sedikit berubah daripada pemandangan bandar kepada kawasan pertempatan awam. Beberapa rumah tua masih tesergam megah. Beberapa sampan dan bot kecil di parkir di luar rumah, mungkin sebagai pengangkutan ke bandar. Atau pergi mengumpat dengan jiran sebelah.




Kadang-kala kami disapa beberapa penjual yang menjual buah-buahan dan jajan di atas bot. Kiranya seperti sampan runcit bergerak. Minta maaf ya, pakcik. Kami tak mahu beli. Sila kayuh ke sampan sebelah. 

Menyedari masa yang diperuntukkan telah hampir tamat, si suami segera memusingkan bot kea rah jeti berhampiran Grand Palace. Si isteri segera mengeluarkan brosur kembara wisata ke lokasi lain termasuklah pertunjukkan ular yang berharga 500 baht. Kalian sudah kencing abang tadi, memang tiada makna abang nak pergi oi. Abang belit ular tu pada leher kau orang nanti (walaupun sendiri geli kan).

Saat menghampiri jeti, si isteri meminta tips. Abang tak mahu beri. Hazem berhati mulia nan waja bersetuju memberi 20 baht. Si isteri tergelak jahat dan meminta 100 baht. Orang beri betis, nak peha! Aku terajang juga suami isteri masuk sungai nanti.  Maka kami terus tidak jadi memberi wang upah kepada pasangan yang tidak tahu bersyukur ini.

Ya, tumpang turun di jeti ini pun kena 20 baht. Abang rasa nak menerajang angin.

Kami berlalu menuju ke Grand Palace, merentasi deretan kedai kopi dan kedai runcit usang, meninggalkan pasangan tersebut terpinga-pinga menanti mangsa lain yang tidak peka dengan tipu daya bandar Bangkok seperti abang berdua. Pengajaran buat abang, pengajaran buat kalian semua. Tidak mengapa. Ini pengalaman pertama abang. 


Bersambung… wah macam slot Akasia Tv3 pula.




 

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Lepas Ni Abang ke

1. New Zealand | South Island
2. London | UK

3. Solo & Jogjakarta | Indonesia

4. Surabaya (Semeru & Bromo)
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