July 26, 2014

An Epic Balik Kampung Story - Ever

This year, it is the turn to 'berhari-raya' di Tanjung Pinang. Luckily, i said LUCKILY, because you will know later, that I've sent my wife, daughter and son and the maid a week earlier so that my wife can help with the earlier preparation for the hari raya. Not much I guess but at least she's there because I'm so going to work till the last day of the week before the hari raya.

Thursday and Friday I've gotta be working on noon shift. Ironically my train ticket is at 11:50PM from Seremban. It mush have been much earlier from KL so I'm a lot lucky to be able to depart from Seremban. Thankfully the boss was so kind to let me work from home on Friday so I don't have to rush back or leave early to drive down to Seremban.

So my journey actually started on Friday morning. After the weekly review with the Americas over the conference call on that late Thursday night, I drove home, intending to be able to drive down to Seremban the same night but what happened was, I was busy tidying up the house, keeping things at their places while finishing up my Hackintosh build. It was never completed as I'm stuck at my most successful Maverick install but it keeps hanging at any time the OS is running, of which I found out it was due to Graphics card but never mind.

So, the drive down on Friday was breezing smooth. No traffic. I drive like crazy trying to get rid of my gas so that I can finish off my last ever gas allocation with Petron for August, and forever, as the company switched to Petronas instead. What happened was, I managed to get to Senawang in 28 minutes from home but the gas level didn't move a milimeter even!

Anyway, driving around in Senawang helped. Drove around to find things, envelope for duit raya and also in the quest to finish off another RM150 value of voucher for Bantuan Buku 1 Malaysia. Mother was also asked some favors of which finally I managed to make way for the balance of RM80 of gas for my car.

Managed to get the report done before time but after berbuka, I was having good time finishing off with daily routine of updating the files and so on. Managed to get things done at 10pm and left home at around 10.30pm worrying that the traffic is going to be bad in Seremban.

The fact is, the traffic was easy. We reached early and waited for long, but good thing was I was able to run around to buy some food for myself in the train, in case there's none on the train. The train departed ontime at 11:48. Izzat and Pye sent me off to the train station. A little bit of grief, for leaving all the loved people behind but I just can't wait to see both my children.

I think I did a mistake for saying hello to the passenger sitting next to me, as I was unable to secure myself a bed for the train ride. There he goes talking and talking and talking up to 3.30 am until I really have to excuse myself for not being able to hold myself from sleeping. He was a nice Chinese guy travelling with all his family members, going down to Singapore for holidays. Should be one of the longest night. Haha. 

It was 7 HOURS on the train.

The train managed to reached JB at around 6 something that I spent a few minutes for morning prayers before getting a cab to Stulang Laut. I was blessed with a nice taxi driver, who charged me accordingly to the meter. Then I walked slowly to the ticketing counter, took the lift up and walla!

It was like almost 60-70 meters from the counter back to the entrance and the double line queue had already reached the entrance steps. I rushed to the toilet before able to get back to the line to queue.

6.45 - joined the fun
7.15 - made friend with one older lady from Pahang and another indonesian lady married to a singaporean but staying in Johor. It's good that I finally able to talk with people.
7.45 - moved to almost half
8.45 - not moving at all. I and the older lady and the indonesian lady decided to stay together and whoever first reached the counter shall be purchasing the ticket for others too.

It was actually people beginning to cut the queues. We were fortunate there was one security officer who was kind enough to chase these people away. Quite funny that these people attempted to cut queues from left, right and even from between the lines. 

9.00 - People shouting announcing that the seat for the ferry going to Tanjung Pinang at 9.30 had been sold off. We've been thinking to get the ferry to Batam first and only going to Tanjung Pinang as the next ferry will be at 1.30 pm.

As these people were chased away, then we're able to move and finally at around 9.45, we reached the counter and finally decided to get the earliest ferry to Batam which is at 10.30. We checked in and cleared the immigration once tickets purchased. 

That was 3 HOURS of standing in the queue!

Exactly 10.25, the ferry departed and reached Batam at around 11.45 and to our surprise, there's another wave of people queuing up from the counter straight to the ferry dock!

And they segregated Indonesians with the foreigners. Of which, foreigners who needs to obtain Visa On Arrival gets the privilege to go straight to the front as they're paying. In USD!

It was actually speechless. I was cursing all the way. The authority seems to be unable to manage the peopel properly. They were very offensive and irritating. It was hot and salty, as we're queuing at the connecting bridge from the ferry docking to the immigration plaza. The same issue, people cut the queue in the middle, and pity some people who were wrongly queued at the Indonesian line chased away to be in the foreigner line. Anyhow, I and the older lady and the Indonesian lady promised to wait for each other once we've cleared the immigration.

That was another 3 HOURS of standing in the queue!

I finally cleared with the customs at around 2.45, being the last of the 3 people and to my surprise they're still waiting for me. We took a cab to Punggur and finally managed to get the 3.30pm ferry to Tanjung Pinang. Anyway, we're the last 3 to be on board that they put us in the captain cabin. It was again hot and there was one crazy lady smoking in that cabin. I managed to sleep and woke up just nice before the ferry approaching the Tanjung Pinang's port. 

At exactly 430pm, I reached Tanjung Pinang but all my frazzles were all worth it when my daughter greeted me by saying,

'Afya rindu abah!!' 

7 hours on train, 2.5 hours on the ferry, 6 hours of queuing and an hour on the cabs, all paid in cash!

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