Sunday, May 06, 2007

Stuck In The Middle of Nowhere

What? Larian Bendang Kedah 2007 (Kedah Rice Field Run 2007)

Where? Alor Setar, Kedah Darul Aman

When? Saturday, 5 May 2007

How far? 21km

“Ini Alor Setar ke?”

“Bukan! Ini Kuala Nerang.”

“Apa?” My jaw almost dropped to the ground.

“Alor Setar dah lepas!”

I rushed back to the bus, which was about to leave the bus terminal. The driver confirmed my horror. Alor Setar was already passed, some 33km ago.

4:40am. Stuck at a bus terminal with no one to turn to. The two couples who disembarked with me had already been picked up. I didn’t know how the hey I ended up in Kuala Nerang. The ticket I bought was for Alor Setar. No one told me that the bus was going to Kuala Nerang. I didn’t even know if the bus did stop at Alor Setar. I was deep asleep.

My plan was to board the night bus to Alor Setar and arrive in the morning, just on time to go to the Stadium for the Larian Bendang. I tried calling the taxi station but no one picked up. I still able to make it if I got a taxi on time but there was not even a soul there. So, I just sat on the bench at the bus terminal, helplessly in the dark trying not to cry. (Just kidding!).

Suddenly, my tummy growled. I remembered my Turkey Ham Sandwich. As I was about to take a bite, a cat appeared out of nowhere. Followed by another. They sat and looked at me with their large beady eyes. Mewed softly.

I supposed they where hungry too. I took out bits of the turkey ham and feed it to them. The cats kept me company throughout my “ordeal”! If there is someone to mug me, I think the cats would make good weapon. I just throw the cats at the attacker, eh? Heheh! Nah..I would not do that. Cruelty to animal!

I sms Haris who was supposed to meet me at the Stadium about my predicament. He was on his way to the stadium already. I told him that I cannot make it for the run and I would only meet him after the finish.

I continued waiting. Time goes by so slowly, so slowly..….(Insert Madonna Hung up here).

About 5am something, the silence was broken by azan (prayer call) from the local mosque. I felt a sudden calmness. It is as if someone was there to comfort me. It is just a run. It’s OK to miss it this time around. There will always be one next year

It was about 6.30am when I saw the sky beginning to light up with hues of orange and yellow. I was still alone at the bus terminal.

Then…Human! Sign of human! Heheh! I saw a man walking toward the bus station. He was the bus conductor! He told me that the earliest bus to Alor Setar is 6:45am. I know it was too late already for me to join the Bendang Run, but I still need to get to Alor Setar. 6.45am passed without the sign of the driver. The next bus – 7:30am.

By 7:00am, the Kuala Nerang town started to become alive. There was a Pekan Sehari (One Day Market) going on. Stalls were being set up not far from the bus terminal. I was too groggy to check the place out anyway, my aim was to get out of this place as soon as possible.

I left Kuala Nerang at 7:30am. The bus was kinda old. It “coughed” a few times when the driver tried to start it. No air-con. So, I get to experience the country fresh air…direct from the Bendang (rice field). The bus traveled at a very slow speed, stopping every 500meter or so to drop and pick passengers. I was doing “the fishing” inside the bus. (Nodding due to sleepiness).

Agh!!!!!! That could have been me running there! I saw a bunch of runners on the road from the bus as we approach Alor Setar. I got very excited but then again very “kek sum” (disappointed in Cantonese).

I arrived safely at the Stadium Darul Aman. The atmosphere was like a big fiesta. They have food stalls, they have extreme games, they have fun fair with imported stuntmen from China. I whizzed by those attractions and found Haris busy taking photographs of the runners at the finishing line.

Later I met up with few more runners friends who where there. They flew in yesterday via AirAsia. I should have taken a day off and did the same. Anyway, it was a lesson learned.

Before I left the Larian Bendang ground, I went to the Official tent to ask if they could throw me a medal. I gave them this face:-

HEHEH! I guess the face that I learned from the cats worked! Muka kesian. Heheh! I got myself a shiny medal. I would have completed the run and gor myself a finisher medal anyway if not for the misadventure I had earlier. It was a memorable experience. I will definitely be back to take pictures of the lovely green rice field Kedah is famous for. Kedah is the Rice Bowl of Malaysia.

See you next year! I will ensure I land in Alor Setar and not anywhere else. (Insert crossed fingers here).


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