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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Pengerang Lobsters and Ostriches

Just the week before, we were all gearing up to make a day trip to Pengerang. But A had forgotten L's passport and we had to cancel the trip. This week, D had her piano lesson cancelled with her student and it was timely opportunity to make the trip again. Also, Sunday was father’s day, and what better way to celebrate.

Quite empty custom at Changi Ferry Terminal. Only a group of 7 waiting. 

Boat fare to Pengerang.

Finally cleared custom. We are on the way!

It was a fairly easy trip to arrange. Just bus to Changi Village, hop on the ferry heading there with your passport. But the ferry timing was a tricky business. The ferry would only go if you have 12 passengers. When we arrived, there were 6 of us. (R was counted despite only being 2 years old). Free baby travel was for 1 year and below. There was another group of 7, so we missed adding to 12 squarely, being 13 in number. We had to wait for another group while the first group went ahead. However, it wasn’t too long a wait. My guess was around 15 minutes.

Tracks from my Strava.  As can be seen, Pengerang is pretty near. 
All excited!

Excitedly, we all headed towards the boats. D started taking pictures, even though we were all still in Changi Village, with all the usual landmarks that we had seen a hundred times. Ferry trip was estimated to be half an hour. Pretty fast as were were on speedboat. The cost for that was $14 per pax. Usual was $13 but we had to top up for another missing pax as our total count was only 11. In total, the one way trip was $84 for me.

Reaching the Pengerang Ferry Terminal

We are here!

Taxi driver told me that they are catching yellow tail fishes.

Hey, nobody at the custom? This is a first.

Dark and creepy, like from a horror movie. 

We arrived around 12pm, and to our surprise, not a soul was in sight at the custom. We could easily have wandered into malaysia “illegally”. I went around to look for anyone official and finally found a guy wearing uniform. He went to get the checkpoint staff to attend to us.

First thing after that to do was to get a taxi. The terminal was far from any village and pretty much just an isolated building. There was a group of taxi drivers waiting for passengers, probably waiting to fleece us. After some enquiries, we were informed that the trip to the Ostrich farm was RM40, and gosh, we need 2 cabs as there were 6 of us. I said ok, as there was nothing much to do, being at their mercy. But later, the driver came back and said, oh he made a mistake, it was RM45 instead. The trip was just a mere 26km away, but we had no choice. We were later to find out that it was quite a high price. (should be only around 35RM-40RM).

Queueing for tickets. Quite a sizeable group ahead. 

Can't miss the sign. 
Got our tickets. 

Uncle teaching us all we wanted to know about Ostriches. 

Wah, this egg-egg is huge!
This Ostrich quite friendly. 

Uncle showing that Ostrich eggs are one tough nut.  Need a drill to punch open. 
Finally got the delicious yummy egg yolk out. 
We got our order of Ostrich Omelette. 

This is really to be made into a Gucci. 

Arriving at the Ostrich farm, it was starting to be familiar to me again. I had been here like some 7-8 years ago by driving. Now, it looked a bit old and broken down. Nevertheless, there was a big crowd of Singaporeans tourist crowding round the ticketing. They were pretty annoying and were lathering themselves with the insect repellant, so much so that I worry if the Ostriches would get poisoned. These things contain DEET and were quite harmful to humans as well. They could spray until the can was dripping with the liquid.

Raiden having fun feeding the birds. RM2 per handful of veggies.  

All the curious birds behind me. 

These looked like zombie chickens. 

Mummy, I "tat tat". 

When I grow up, I want to be a garbage collector..

I love sweeping floors..

At one time, this was a popular attraction. 

Group pic at the exit. 

Ostrich Omelette! Quite tasty.

All sort of food from Ostrich meat.

Ostrich Satay.

To our surprise, R wasn’t too frightened of the Ostriches and in fact, he had a good time. Must be an eye opener for him. He was chuckling away when we bought some vegetables to feed the Ostriches (2RM per handful), who would peck at it hungrily with their long slender necks. D and L (and our maid) all had a good time. I forced D and L to touch the smaller Ostriches to experience the feel of it. L was scared that they would peck off her hand but at some encouragement, managed to do some petting. To top it up, we ordered a plate of Ostrich Omelette (RM10) and some Ostrich satay (RM3 per stick) to try it out. D was squeamish about it and said that how could we eat it when we were just petting it. The egg was pretty tasty. The guide was saying that 1 egg was equal to 10 chicken eggs, and had the lowest cholesterol of them all.

Daddi...I scared they bite me...

Next stop was then to the lobster shop. I spoke to the Ostrich farm boss who kindly helped to arrange for a cab. Since it was nearby, (2km) he said we could all squeeze into the taxi. It only cost us RM20 to get there. I talked to the driver and he seemed an honest chap. I asked if he could pick us at 3.15pm to bring us back to the ferry terminal. He agreed and said it only cost 35RM, and yes, we need 2 cab as the trip was quite a drive away. I said ok, no problem.

I overheard the Ostrich Farm owner saying that the locals here prefer this shop. So I came here. (There are quite a number of shops selling lobster meal. )

Nice and clean. Not crowded, considering that today is a Saturday.

Mummy, what is a lobster? (He didn't like it)

Finally, the mun tohs are here. (L is starving)

A strange looking truck went by...

Yummy! Picher, Picher...

Each of us got half a lobster.

Found the tau sar piah place..

Total bill for lunch.

Reaching our lunch destination at Super Lobster, we were all quite hungry by then. I was a bit worried that I may not have enough to pay for such an expensive spread. A suddenly swiped out a bunch of RM400 and said that she would pay for father’s day treat. Well, we went ahead to order 3 lobsters, 1 veggie, 1 3-style egg, and 10 buns (mun tao). It was a nice meal. I hadn’t eaten much of lobsters before and it was a nice change. A friend was asking for me to get him the tau sar piah that is famous here. I asked the shop lady and she told me it was a 5 minutes walk away. I finished my food quickly and while the rest were still eating, I went in search of the tsp.

I finally found the shop around the corner, selling all sorts of pastry. I bough some chewing gum for the kids too. ON the way back, I saw that the taxi had arrived and I hurried the still-eating D and L to hurry up to finish their meal. Lobster meal came to RM320 and was reasonable. The driver said that he couldn’t find another cab, and we could all squeeze into his cab to the terminal. For his kindness, I paid him RM50 at the end of the drive for his trouble.

No boat! Not sure how long we have to wait.

Yay, can go back liao.

So fun to sit speedboat.

D dozing off, unglamorously.

TSP (Tau Sar Piah) from overseas.

Hmm....quite nice!

At the terminal, an uncle in uniform came over and collected our passports and disappeared somewhere. Apparently, this was a normal thing here. I think we had watched too many horrors stories of tourist who had their passport taken away and then killed later. We were a bit worried. But the uncle was quite nice actually. He came later to tell me that the last ferry had left and he had arranged for a ferry to come from Singapore to pick us and another group up to return. There would be some extra cost and I had to settle with the boatman. At first I was worried that I had to pay double. But it turned up ok, just had to top up for another missing pax. The return trip was $85 this round. Still within budget.

So we arrived back at Changi Village around 5.30pm. On the way through the custom, L was caught for possession of 2 bottles of chewing gums. I had bought 1 each for D and L, but L had another bottle from a friend in her bag. The custom police said that 1 bottle is fine, but more than that, they would confiscate. L had to sign some papers and had her chewing gums taken away.

All in all, an enjoyable trip and it had been a while that the family was having fun together. However, Pengerang had been undergoing a lot of economic changes and most likely, it would cease to be attractive to Singaporeans with so many constructions works going on, especially via the ferry way. I heard from the taxi driver that it was to be changed int a petrol processing area. First to go is the fishing for sure.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trip to land of yellow fruit and tall mountain

Two years have passed since I have written my last post. How time had flown. Work had been quite stressful lately and I had promised my team that I would bring them for a durian trip to share with them my annual trip to Segamat for good stuff. As usual, we would drop by Gunung Ledang for the little ones, to visit a real waterfall in malaysia. Waterfalls in Singapore are all fakes and quite far from the real thing. We had waited for this moment patiently since March 2012, and finally the time had arrived.

The turnout wasn't that bad at all and there were actually 3 cars that would be heading up for the trip. At first, logistic was pretty challenging as most were afraid to drive to JB, much less to Segamat. I wasn't too hopeful and if people were not interested, I would have done it with couple of people in 1 car anyway. But turned out that the gathering was quite decent.

Rest stop at Gelang Patah R&R
We all arrived punctually at Satinah's place around 8.30am. However, once we were passed the checkpoint, Aisah said to stop at the reststop at Gelang Patah as some had to visit the loo. Hmm, we were just out of Singapore and already people cannot hold it in! We stopped there and decided then to have some light food and drink. But unfortunately, a few tour buses arrived and the place got crowded pretty fast and it was warm and not very pleasant. Then it was to head for the proper R&R at Machap. On our drive there, the expressway suddenly became one laned due to road works, and I was trying to filter into a lane with a long convoy of Lamborghinis. For a while, I could pretend to be driving a Lamborghini. :)

At the "Ya-Kun" style coffee shop at Machap

Upon our arrival at Machap, Satinah's car was no where in sight. Aisah said that they were up at Yong Peng R&R and were waiting for us there as they not eating. We rested a bit and had a good breakfast at the coffee shop. By that time, we were already running late. Upon reaching Yong Peng R&R, we couldn't see any of the other cars. I had forgotten that my phone had turned off the automatic setting for my carrier and I did not have any Telco service. Unknowingly, Aisah had been calling me frantically. But luckily, she managed to get to Edmund phone and we were to learn that they were actually at the Yong Peng Toll itself and waiting for us. As we had already drove past the turning, it was impossible for us to "U-turn" back. For lack of a better plan, we then decided to meet together at Segamat Town itself. I had been reading about Segamat the night before I remembered that there was a famous coffee place "Nanyang Cafe" and I said to meet there. My GPS has the POI (Point of interest) and I should have no problem to route to it.

Segamat Town

Best in Segamat, and some say Batam

More Authentic than YaKun

Satinah lost no time to go for coffee break

But the detour was quite a long one, and our plan to have durians by 11-12pm was over-run. After a long drive and some busy city jam, we finally picked up the lost chickens in front of the Nanyang Cafe around 1.30pm. Since we were already here, Edmund packed some of the famous coffee for us to try it out. But Darren had to order "teh-O". Hmm. From there on, anyone running the trip on their own will be shot and deep fried. The cars now dutifully follow my route to Kampung Teratai, which was about 45 minutes away. We finally arrived at Mr Gan's place. At first, I have thought that we would be eating the durians at the temple hall, but I drove past a tentage of people feasting on durians at the farm itself. So, this year, the location was changed again. But this time round, the flies were not so abundant and it wasn't much of a problem.

Old Mac Gan, had a farm

His is a popular one

Training Shed style

It's raining durians!

Durian makes people happy

What we came 200km for

Don't wait liao. Quickly Tapao.

Edmund ordered by the car load.


Novia frantically counting money to buy more durians

So happy. I finally got my Hello Kitty

There already was another group and with our numbers, it was quite a fish market crowd. The sky seemed a little dark and some light drizzle came about. But it went away quickly and the weather was dry again. We quickly dug in and the helpers brought out one after another type of durians for us to try. After a while, I couldn't keep up with all the numberings and just eat to my full. One by one, we dropped out from the feasting, and then the challenge of the best durian eater was between Aisah and Edmund. Aisah turned out to be the winner and was duly crowned the Queen of Segamat. We also discovered that Darren is a connoisseur of durians as his uncles used to own a durian farm. Indeed he was very knowledgeable on what is a good durian and how to choose one. If there were to be a Durian Idol, he would be a definite judge.

Meanwhile, the 2 persons, Jason and ZhenLong that came despite not wanting to eat, were already queuing to pack durians back to Singapore for their parents and friends. I think all in all, Some thousand of RM were exchanged for fruits with thorny husk, especially of the hello-kitty type. Edmund with his CSD good bargaining skills, managed to talk some freebies from Mr Gan. After meeting our primary objective, it was then to play water at the foot of Gunung Ledang. The place itself was quite near, and we were there in about 20 minutes.

For non-swimmers, better get a rubber duckie

Orr_ye_Orrr...Tarzan no wear pants...

Scene from Pontianak III

Ooh...the water is so deep

Jason with his hairy legs, test out water

Uncle, this is my replica of NPPK

OMG, here comes the naked men in "red" underwear!

Alamak..dropped my contacts

They just came out from some bushes

Aisah and gang shooting shampoo advertisement

After parking, we walked in, and managed to find a good spot for the children to play with water. Some of the bigger ones, also came prepared to take in a dip into the icy cool water. Indeed, the water was very refreshing, after a pretty hot day. It was clear that the folks enjoyed themselves. Some even bared their bodies sportingly. Edmund, Winston and I, tried to get a good photo shot at the waterfall. But after climbing a good distance, it seems that the real foot of the waterfall is quite out of reach. But it was a good climb and I actually remembered some of the steps that I had taken previously some 20 years ago.

At Bukit Indah Jusco

Aren't you hungry?

Alamak, come here got reminded of SIP/TLS

We decided to wrap up and start to head for Jusco. Actually we were running late. I had wanted to avoid driving in the dark, but already, we were passed the proper time. Sure enough, the drive back was quite tiring, especially in the dark. It was a 180 km non-stop drive all the way marathon. We arrived at Jusco around 9pm. We quickly settled down for dinner. The guys said to try out A&W as we don't get this at Singapore now. While Satinah and her family went ahead with their shopping, we sat down to have a good A&W rootbear and coney dogs. Then, it was a quick shopping before all the shops closed. Still, when we met up again at the supermarket meeting point, most of us were already carrying bags of goodies for the folks at home. We Singaporeans are really good and fast shoppers.

From there, we parted our separate ways, and after a final petrol fillup, we were headed back to Singapore, home sweet home. All in all, a good trip, despite some detours. Now I know what good coffee awaits me at Segamat.