Saturday, January 05, 2008

WAWAS! - The Journey to KL, and The Trains

--1 of 19--

(This is the first of many posts to come on Sang Singa Purba's trip to KL in December 2007 for a performance called Wawas. Read on!)

In exactly 23 minutes we are leaving for Kuala Lumpur!

The whole group of us rushed to the KTM station thinking the train would come at 11pm. Upon asking the guard, however, it was found out that it would come at 11.28pm.

We were very much relieved! Aizat was feeling happy--"Woohoo!" he cried out, adding that he "missed his mummy". Hadis was "so excited, going to KL after so long!"

Suzana praised the hipstrap on her backpack for relieving the strain on her back. A good investment, indeed!

A somewhat muffled announcement declares the opening of the gates. We do a quick roll call and pass through them. Asmida is quite eager; this is her first time boarding the trains. As far as I can remember, this is my second time! The last time I rode on a KTM train was when I was 7, coming back from KL after 3 months there. (My family wanted to apply for Malaysian citizenship but was unsuccessful.)

There is a prolonged photo-taking session on the platform. All of us are extremely energetic, though some felt after some time that the multi-burst pictures were quite tiring to take. Shamil chose to conserve energy by standing still throughout one whole series of pictures.

A headlight appears in the distance. Our train is here!

There is a dining cabin somewhere in the middle of the train. On either ends are the sleeper cabins. Ours is L5. I am to occupy bunk 29, an upper bunk.

We climb upon the cabin. The other passengers already inside peer though their bunk curtains, looking at us as though we were aliens. Sang Singa Purba advances through!

It turns out that most of us get the upper bunks, except for those with smaller numbers. Upper Bunk 2 is designated as a luggage compartment, and everything else which wouldn't fit there may kindly be arranged along the aisle near your bunk. Aidil and I, in the last two allotted bunks, ended up doing the latter.

Some of us cannot contain our excitement and burst into a chorus of various Malay songs in the space between the cabins. Over there is a complete ruckus--thuds, creaks and screeches! We add to the din.

Human waste is deposited straight onto the tracks from the train's toilets! I sit pondering this appalling thought for a few moments. The waste is left to rot on the tracks. Not very appetizing, isn't it?

We cast our eyes gravely over Didi on his bed. The whole scene looks like a hospital, with his bandaged knee (a healing injury), crisp white bedsheets and the metal railings. There is nothing much to do now. The rest are still awake, having idle conversations. Aidil begins to snore. I'd better join him as well.

The train roars and lurches through Malaysian terrain! I sleep.

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