We started at 7 a.m. in the morning. It was Sunday and the traffic in Kuala Lumpur was minimal. From our home in Petaling Jaya, it took us a mere fifteen minutes before we reached the toll plaza at Kepong.
My father gave 50 sen to the girl manning one of the booths and we continued on our way up north. We were actually going to visit my mother’s parents in Ipoh. My father decided to use the old trunk road so that he would not have to pay a toll for using the expressway. We only had to pay 50 sen at Kepong and that was it. I sat at the back of the car with my younger sister while my parents sat in front.
The scene after the toll plaza was quite different from what we saw in K.L. High-rise buildings gave way to tall limestone hills. My father mentioned that Batu Caves was somewhere on our right as we passed by the Selayang wholesale market. Indeed we could see outcrops of limestones and signs indicating the direction to Batu Caves.
Swiftly we passed Selayang and entered a twisty section of road that led us past Templer Park and on to Rawang. All the time the red morning sun shone on our right-hand side lighting Up the beautiful scenery of the countryside.
Rawang was just a small town but there were signs of impending progress. Anyhow, we carried on past the town and further north. My father said that the road was normally congested. Fortunately, we chose Sunday so we moved along relatively fast.
It was not often that we traveled along this road so we had plenty of new things to see. I noticed the names of the small towns we passed by. There were Serendah, Kerling, Batang Kali, Kalumpang, and others whose names I have forgotten. All were practically one-street towns and I wondered what it was like to live in one of them.
At about 9 o’clock we reached Tanjong Malim. We did not actually enter it because the main road bypassed the town. Still, I could see the town from a distance as we passed the traffic lights near the town. We had just entered the state of Perak.
Tanjong Malim to Slim River, the next town, was very quick. The traffic was not heavy and my father made short work of the short stretch, but he made sure he kept within the speed limit of 90 Km/h. Sure enough, his caution was a good thing for along the road we could see some cars who were stopped by the police. They obviously had been speeding.
After Slim River, I felt sleepy and my interest in the scenery decreased. So I took a short nap. When I awoke my father had stopped the car to buy some jambu at Bidor. After eating the fruit, I felt revitalized and took a renewed interest in the surroundings.
We then passed by Tapah, Kampar, and some other smaller places before we finally came within sight of Ipoh. Traffic conditions worsened as we entered the town, but as it was Sunday it was not too bad.
Ipoh was a big town, not unlike, but there were very few high-rise buildings. Anyhow, we were there for a purpose and after a short, while traveling on the streets of Ipoh we arrived at my grandparents’ place. I looked at the clock in the car. It read at 10.45 a.m.