10 April 2016

For long hiking trips across the country I would usually carpool with a fellow hiker. I don’t have a problem with driving my own car but since I only have one and my wife is using it for work and other errands, I couldn’t possibly leave her stranded without any mode of transportation. So carpool it is. I have been pretty lucky so far, had no problem getting people to offer me a ride in their cars. I would ask around a week in advance and book my place for the trip. I did the same for my Yong Belar trip but this time the driver has set the fare in advance. 50 ringgit for the return trip to Kampung Raja in Cameron Highlands. Normally we would discuss about payments during the trip or on the way back. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. It’s his car so he set the rules. Perhaps he had had a bad experience with his previous carpoolers or something who didn’t agree with the cost set. I wouldn’t know. As far as I know, we would just agree with any price set by the driver, no question asked. As long as they are reasonable of course. So far that had been the case.

My driver (ahem) picked me up at the Sungei Besi LRT station. In the car there’s already another fellow hiker who he picked up near his home in Kajang. I was notified in advance that there’s going to be 3 passengers at the back so like it or not we had to be cramped in the old Proton Perdana back seat for the duration of the 3 hours journey. Ideally I would have preferred more leg and arm room in the car. Realistically, beggars cannot be choosers. We could barely fit 44 people into enough cars for that trip so we had to accommodate everyone into all available cars. That means some cars would have to carry 4 passengers excluding the driver. Fine by me. As long as we get to our destination. If I can endure a 5 hours trip to Merapoh in a tiny Kancil before, this is nothing in comparison. I digress.

From Sungei Besi, we detoured to Pantai Dalam in KL since the driver had to pickup another passenger. This one happens to be his long lost school/college friend or something. From the beginning he was accorded special treatment from my driver. He was picked up right in front of his doorstep. Our other passenger was relegated to the backseat because the driver would like to chat with his long lost friend. I doubt he even pays anything for the trip. That’s his prerogative I know but already it sucks. From Pantai Dalam we finally made it to the Gombak LRT station. There we picked up the final passenger to make it 5 in the car.

My driver must be in a real hurry to reach Cameron cause he only stopped briefly once to fuel up and the second time to buy some drinks. Although I’ve had my dinner earlier that night, my tummy was grumbling again by 1:00 am that morning. I wished he would stop for supper at one of the R&R along the highway but to my disappointment he just kept on driving. I can’t remember a single trip where we didn’t stop for a drink or supper along the way so again I was kind of disappointed with my driver again.

Thankfully we reached Kampung Raja safe and sound. I didn’t have much sleep in the car. It was hard trying to sleep with all the chatter going on in the front seat (wish I had bring my earphones). Plus the fact that there’s too little leg room at the back. Nevermind that. At least he drove pretty fast and it’s only a 3 hours journey.

After the hike, we assembled again at SK Kampung Raja where we parked the car. Did I mention how we had to collect 2 ringgit each to pay for the parking fee? I mean we already paid 50 fricking ringgit for the ride and you just had to ask more money for the measly 10 ringgit parking? Ok maybe you’re just really poor. Fine. Anyway I managed to get into the middle pack of the hiking group on the way out. Still we didn’t get to the school’s parking lot until well after 9:00 PM. My driver and his best friend were from the leading pack so they were already cleaned up and ready to go. Unfortunately one other member of the car pool was in the last group that came out of the jungle. After finding out we had waited long for him to arrive, my friend here decided to skip shower altogether much to my horror. I actually coerced him to have a bath and clean up first be he insisted that we leave straight away. That’s how I end up sitting next to that stinkbomb for the 3 hours journey back.

As always my driver didn’t stop anywhere for dinner. He and his buddy already had dinner earlier in Kampung Raja but it never occurred to him that his fellow passengers are thirsty or starving after an exhausting day hike. It’s only after I asked him to stop to buy a drink that he stopped at one R&R. Before we leave Cameron that evening, he was quick to warn me that he’s not going to send me to my place. Yes he’s going to leave me at the same LRT station that he picked me up. He does in fact knows that the train doesn’t run anymore at 3 in the morning but that’s not his problem apparently. In the end I negotiated and asked him to leave me opposite of the Serdang commuter station instead. At least I can wait at a mamak there while my wife comes to pick me up. I know it is late it is entirely his prerogative whether to send me home or night. But we have this unwritten rule that if it’s late, the driver usually sends us right to our doorstep. He either had never heard of this rule or he’s just real selfish and unreasonable. I mean I had to bother my wife at 3 in the morning to pick me up.

What really pissed me of more is the fact that he readily and voluntarily send his best buddy right to his doorstep in Pantai Dalam. That’s a far longer detour than stopping by my place in PUJ. I know I barely know him in 2 days but that’s so fucked up man.

I don’t usually bitch about people I hardly know here but this guy totally deserve it. I know I might just be bitter but he’s kind of a jerk and riding in his car is one of the reason my hiking trip to Yong Belar suck a little more than usual. I know I shouldn’t demand a 5 star treatment when carpooling but the least any driver could do is be reasonable with his passengers. Surely that’s not too much to ask?