After waiting for 30 minutes, there was no call from him. Knowing that Lubuk Jong was less than 15 km from town, I thought the fit as a fiddle Zaharan Razak whose chronological age is coming to 63 but whose physiological age is barely 50 years should be in town by then. Could he have missed my SMS and not respond to it? I decided to act and rode my Honda Cub to meet him in town. Failing to locate a cyclist with a full biking gear in such a small town as Pasir Mas was an impossible thing. So I decided to go farther to meet him by riding toward Lubok Jong along the road to Rantau Panjang.
Another SMS asking for his location failed to get any response. I stopped by at a stretch of straight road and looked hard down the road. It was impossible for a biker not to have reached the spot where I was waiting by then after such a long lapse of time from Lubok Jong.
Finally the sight of a small red flag at the tip of a small rod caught my attention. The rod was attached to a low tri cycle with who else but Zaharan Razak astride it! I called his name and he acknowledged me but later I found out that he didn't recognize me with my helmet on. Though we have never met, I know how he looks from the pictures in his blogsite. I rode my bike to his side and we shook hand while we were on each others bike. Since there was a slight drizzle falling and Zaharan started to open up his umbrella, we agreed to meet farther up for 'roti canai'.
The drizzle was getting heavier so I found an eatery where Zaharan could park his tricycle and I waited for his arrival. His arrival invited amused stares from onlookers due to the peculiar shape of his tricycle.
As the rain had abated and time for the Friday prayers was near, I offered him to stay the night at my home which he accepted. After telling the where about of my home, I asked him to proceed so that I could rush home to get my camera which I didn't bring. A man on an ordinary bike wont make much of an impression. This time he looked very special indeed riding his tricycle almost lying on his back with his feet pedaling in front of him. I needed to photograph him the way he was as the slight drizzle would make him use his umbrella with the Malaysian flag clearly emblazoned on it.
Kg. Mekasar where I live provided the best backdrop for him to be photographed as there was a shop displaying second hand bicycles imported from Japan.
My SMS and calls to Mat Cendana has failed to bring a response and Zaharan was intent to meet Mat Cendana who had agreed to meet up with him via sms communication between the two of them. His phone rang but there was no answer. I was worried about Mat, so immediately after the Friday prayers we proceeded to his home in Kampong Kenjong in in the same district of Pasir Mas. We rode in a car this time as riding bicycles could take up too much time.
Since no one answered our salams and call at his house and his mother in law who lives nearby couldn't shed any light on his where about, we left for home disappointed but hopeful that we could meet him sometimes before Zaharan left for Kuala Terengganu the next day. On the way back we stopped at the place where the second hand bicycles were being sold. Zaharan was surprised to find that the dealer had so many things that he requires for his bike in stock. Those that the guy didn't have could be made available the next day. He found Nexus dynamo, headlamps, Bridgestone branded rear gear hubs, umbrella brackets and a few other parts that he would otherwise have to buy online from overseas at exorbitant rate. Since we have other things to do, Zaharan promised to come back the next day to look at things he requires.
The two friends had a great time talking to each other. Being an ex classmates at MCKK where our good friend Mat Salo was a junior there, there was always the stories of old MCKK cropping up.
Tea was a filling affair as we were served with Laksa Penang (which I had a second helping), tasty murtabak made by who else but Kak Wan herself and some fried popias with grape fruits which I found to be difficult to stop eating.
Failing to meet Mat Cendana, Zaharan did the next best thing he loves. Zaharan clicked away happily on his newly acquired Panasonic Lumix to record the beauty of the place. He even posed for a picture of himself with the yellowish Kelantan River as a background. There were two large bamboo clumps growing near the river bank. If it was in Thailand, the place could have become affordable homestays with cute little huts made of bamboo and attap roof where writers like Zaharan or even Fauziah Ismail would happily pay to stay to read books or write their masterpieces. Hey that will provide gainful employment for our friend Mat Cendana while creating jobs via local tourism.
On the way back we stopped at another bicycle shops where Zaharan again checked out things he could purchase to fit on his bike. At another place we found another tricycle with articulated section between the rider and the rear wheels. As such on a banked corners, the body of the rider will tilt sideways while the two rear wheels will remain in contact with the road surface resulting in stability even though the bike has a high center of gravity compared to the one Zaharan was riding.
The articulate tricycle.
We returned home as Zaharan had to pack up. Meticulously he packed his things into the two dry bags which he clipped to the side of the small carrier at the back. Everything was finally securely tied down with rubber straps.
Giving the Tribike a try. I could do with a headrest.
It was time for him to move on with his next journey to his place of birth Jertih where he will put up the night. It was sad to see this new found friend leave. He vanished from view when he turned the corner.
Zaharan starting off for home.
He went out of sight as he turned the corner.
In my heart I know it won't be the last sight of him. If he were to pursue the heart of the lady who came a visiting earlier in the morning, he will be coming again. It would be nice to see these two lonely persons unified in marriage. I will play matchmaker. Nothing is impossible!