I woke up on Sunday morning having partly forgotten the foul mood I was in the day before. I actually had the spirit to pack my things quickly and get ready for my journey alone to Penang.
As I started the engine, my emotions changed. I was beginning to feel excited. Furthermore, the Top 30 chart from HotFM was on at that time, and they were having an interview with Edry! What a better companion to a journey which would have been quiet otherwise?
By 10am I was in Bukit Jelutong. Nice songs and jokes and more nice songs played in the air. Hey, it was nice to drive in the highway with my new, flashy….emm….BMW-at-heart-Saga-in-reality.It was clean and smells fresh, it sure was a comfortable drive up. The road was not too busy, slightly less than I expected. Luckily it did not rain too heavily along Perak. When it does, Melly Goeslow’s album Ada Apa Dengan Cinta was a great companion. Tragic. Dark. Cold. Romantic.
After three stops, I arrived in my favourite island at around 1345hrs.
As I drove into Jalan Masjid Negeri, this elated emotions overcame me…wow…with the background music of Glen’s When I Fall In Love, I drove happily, smiling to myself, looking around occasionally for changes or old places.
The street where Harris and Tasha played ‘Sinus and Bahgon’. Not to forget the bahgon that’s always parked in front of a shoplot.
The road we passed through every morning when we were attached in Bukit Mertajam or Seberang Perai Hospital.
Those days when I used to drive at 9pm, listening to Sheila on 7’s Dan, Sheila Majid’s Aku Cinta Padamu, fetching Rathi from the bus station. Or when she sent me to the airport, with the price of her having the car for the whole weekend.
McDonalds. And Shell next to it.
The huge trees lining the Greenlane, their shadows cooling the hot Penang air.
And the skies….wow….the blue skies…
So I checked in the hotel in Gurney Drive. I stepped into my hotel room, all by myself, but still excited, like a little girl who’s travelling the first time. The bathroom! The huge TV! The huge bed! Wahhh!!!
With three hours to go, I did not have anything to do. Should I jump into the swimming pool? Or just the bath tub? Or watch TV? Or sleep?
As if on cue, my stomach grumbled. Ok, decision made. A small lunch for me.
After a huge chicken sandwich, I closed the curtains and get into bed, hoping that I would wake up in time to get ready for the wedding.
Somehow my sister appeared. Somehow she was going to follow me to the wedding. Ok. We’ll go.
The hugs. The questions. The smiles. Catching up. The music. I looooove the music. I’ve always loved to go for Indian weddings for the music. Sitting next to Mel (Nunu) talking about this and that. Getting to know cheerful and friendly Bryan. Tasha and Jess’ smiley faces. Kuhan and Sonia’s quiet jokes. Mel Chin and Tim as lovely as ever.
Sylvia looked so pretty in her turqoise saree. I loooooove the saree. Sashi ever proud and happy. The yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamm seeeengggggggg from all of us!
Really had fun there. Yes, there’s only two tables of us. Yes, we may be more sober than we were four years ago. But it was nice to be there. I admit I was nervous, I didn’t know how I would feel. When I sat down at the table, I felt right at home. So familiar. Comfortable.
We finally left the hotel at almost 12midnight. We were among the last ones to leave. I was glad I came. I just wish there were more of us that night.
The next morning.
I woke up at 6.45am. Then I brought my sleepy little sister along to Rawther for a roti canai. We had to leave early to get a parking space. It’s horrendous in Penang GH! When we were searching around, we noticed that there was a new multi-storey car park where the mortuary was before. Right, we could park there later in the afternoon.
Uncle was not there, and I knew no one. We sat at the back of the small shop, a 70+ year-old uncle with high stepping gait and tremors served us. Poor uncle. I wondered what made him work at such age…
By 8.30am we were already back at the hotel.
The swimming pool. Wow…it was empty! It was blue! I stepped down and swam on my back, the clear water supporting me, enjoying the bright blue sky, and the morning breeze. It was peaceful. I was quiet. It was heavenly. It was sooo worth the few hundred ringgit that I spent for the journey.
We were there for an hour, me and my little sister. We played. We laughed. We had a chat. We sunbathed.
We then went up to get ready. I had to go to the bank, and the hospital again.
I managed to park at the multi-storey car park in the hospital, excited as I was when I arrived in Penang. Guess what? It’s FREE!!
The Chest Clinic appeared to be busy. I have finally forgotten which day is scope day, which is clinic day.
Dato’ was with some students. I came in after they left. As always, he showed his fatherly concerns about what has happened in my life, and my future too. He was concerned about me taking just MRCP. “Apply for masters lah,” he said. “If my boss and my seniors could do it, I could do it too,” I said. “Well then, get focused. Try not to go out too much.” Hey, that’s in contrary to the advice he’s always given me before – have as much fun as you can, before you get tied up to another person! Haha!
I guess it’s the nature of the professional exams. True, I do need to be more focused.
We did not manage to go out for a lunch as he was quite busy that day. He bought two small boxes of pizza, and gave me one. I finished those in the car.
Next stop – Sungai Petani. To fetch Anis. It was already 2pm and I was extremely sleepy. I stepped into the house, and without looking around, I said to Anis, “I’m going to sleep for a while. We’ll go after that.” Zzzzzzz….
The ride home was longer than the ride up. The traffic was much heavier, especially after Tapah, where those from Kelantan joined the crawl. It was raining cats and dogs, and we had to use the bathroom a few times.
That day Monday stretched so long that I felt like it was actually two days! I have yet to encounter such a day but that was the one…
I think the next trip out of the state would still be Penang, by the looks of it. Probably we’ll try staying in a hotel in Batu Feringghi