Thursday 19 August 2010 was the 9th day of Ramadan H1431. Decided to collect Faridah’s laptop which was sent to Riduan’s computer centre at Pasar Besar, Jalan Gombak. Its graphic card needed attention and replacement. It took Riduan sometime to go through looking for setbacks.
Jun and I decided to leave Subang Jaya around 2.00 pm on NKVE via Jalan Duta toll through DUKE to avoid the messy traffic jam around the city. It was fine all the way until we missed the Sentul exit and have to settle for the Gombak exit, meeting the mess at Taman Berlian-Sri Gombak before entering Jalan Gombak from the north instead of the usual way from the south.
The blame must be squarely addressed to authority responsible for the signage along our thoroughfares. Majority of the road signs and gentries are placed quite close to the point of exit until it is too late to make decisions. The authority must be reminded that the signages are meant for strangers to the surroundings. Most of them are first timers to the areas. The locals and frequent users are not bothered with them.
When we missed the junction we were at a lost as we could not find a familiar landmark, experienced though we were to the area, but decided to drive on slowly to familiarise with the surrounding until we saw the familiar mosque at the T-junction with the traffic light at the end of the road. I was thinking to myself what would a stranger to the city do under the circumstances. No wonder majority of them avoided driving in KL labelling it as “UNFRIENDLY”, stressful and frightening.
With so many vehicles and couldn’t careless attitude drivers on the roads the city is doom to “traffic death”. We are not taking into account potholes and unsurfaced roads. Then there is the case of haphazard parking and lack of proper parking facilities. One can go on and on. These are the areas that the city planners have to look seriously into. The local politicians should cease squabbling and scratching each other faces and manifestos.
There are plenty of empty talks on public transport to overcome the problems. Solutions never seemed to work. Implementations are slow and haphazard. The broadcaster has a term for that: “adlibbing”. Go look into the dictionary for its meaning and you will know how apt the word is to describe the planning in this “one” country.
I have digressed too far. Let me come back to the Gombak trip.
After the T-junction I pulled to the side of the road to make two calls to save time and distance travelling; 1) to inform Riduan that I am stopping over at the Danau Kota Bazaar Ramadan to get the “Buka Puasa” fare there that was highly promoted by my good friend Haji Azharuddin Hussein (the gang anointed him the “mayor” of Gombak), and 2) to asked Din (as he is fondly known) the location at the Bazaar of his favourite restaurateurs “Cik Gu Murni” a character from legendary P.Ramlee’s film. Din is of course the ever popular “Haji Bakhil”. I did not get a direct answer. He just told us to walk along the service road that host the bazaar and look for her on the right side. We did just that and failed to sight her till the end of the street.
At the end, we noticed the last “gerai” (stall) was crowded with customers and conclude that must be the most popular around. True enough the fare from “Restoran Ketumbar” was impressive. So we decided to forget the missing Cik Gu Murni. The “Tempoyak Daun Kayu” displayed on the banner attracted my attention. We were told it was still on the oven and will come a little later. Fighting for time we proceeded on. Jun got what she wanted: akok, ketupat, pengat pisang, some local cookies and the rare “apam daun pisang” (only available in Kuala Kangsar it seem).
On leaving the Bazaar in our car a motor biker stopped us to inform that we had a bad tyre. It was good of him to take notice. I noticed the tyre was badly damaged due to lack of air possibly caused by penetration of a nail. There was a tyre shop directly on the left side and we headed there. The owner of the shop said the tyre could not be saved. It was fated that the “duit raya” I just got from Faridah had to go to a new tyre. That was the besetting part of a cheerful day.
On leaving the tyre shop we decided to stop at "Ketumbar" for one last look and sure enough the "Tempoyak Daun Kayu" was ready for its customer. That made our day.
Before proceeding to the Main Market of Jalan Gombak we stopped by the Sungai Mulia Mosque where Azharuddin was ready with a bagful of “bubor lambok” for us to take home. I am not a fan but appreciate the gesture. We decided our neighbours who like the taste of “bubor lambok” will have an enjoyable “buka puasa”.
Our next pitch was the Main Market our intended target for the journey. We collected the laptop from the happy and much relief Riduan. We had a look at the fares in the market. They are similar to the Bazaar Ramadan but much better organised. It’s a pity the place is not well patronised by the locals.
We made our journey back through DUKE thinking Jalan Duta Toll into NKVE would be an ideal choice. The traffic congestion into the Duta toll was nearly 2 km. We had no choice but to negotiate to the left heading into the new highway that pass through Damansara Height aiming for the Federal Highway. How wrong we were.
It was already 5.30 pm and the after office traffic was getting heavier.
The gentries and signages were again haphazard and not well located. Somehow we missed the intended way and went into a nightmare of not knowing the way we were heading except going into the Pencala Tunnel. We were scared of making the wrong turn to Kepong where worst traffic nightmares awaited but decided to keep left in the hope of getting into LDP. We did. More hassle was to follow but we were on familiar territory.
We finally reached home at 6.30 pm., well ahead of “buka puasa”, fatigued, stressed but relief.