Today is August 9, 2006 and is a public holiday for all of us in Singapore. It is the nation's 41st birthday. It is also a good opportunity to visit our old classmate, Tan Ah Ee's durian and dragon fruit plantation.
Yuet Ngor and myself left our house at 7.05am, driving leisurely along Sembawang Road, Upper Thomson, Thomson, Adam Road, Farrer Road, Queenstown and then hitting Ayer Rajah Expressway. The sky was overcast, ready to pour anytime but traffic was light, as it is a public holiday, so most of the folks were still asleep.
We had to exit the expressway and turned into Yuan Ching Road, where Choon Foi and Pak Chong were waiting at the Fairway Club's car park.
It was already 7.45am, but better pay a courtesy call at their toilets before setting off, just in case we had to join a queue at the immigration. They hopped into my car and as we departed the carpark, rain fell.
But against all expectations, there was no queue at the Singapore as well as the Malaysian side. So it was a breeze driving through the Singapore Immigration, the custom officer checked the petrol for at least 3/4 tank (so that we won't run out of petrol along the way), the 2nd link and over to the Malaysian Immigration and then the Malaysian custom officers waved us off and we headed north.
It was early, so the drive was leisurely; light traffic on the North-South Highway all along.
At the 78km mark, we drove into the Machap R&R for some breakfast.
After breakfast, we continued our northward journey. We exited the Air Hitam exit and headed N-E direction to Kluang.
We arrived Kluang Railway station early, at 10.10am as the appoinment with Ah Ee was 10.30am.
The Rail Station canteen was filled with people, otherwise we would like to have teh-tarik and kaya toast at the canteen, but was too crowded, so we had to forget about it.
Ah Ee turned up at about 10.30am, so we followed his SUV all the way to the plantation, about 30 minutes drive away.
We arrived at the durian plantation at 11.00am, and lunch was served: durians. Pak Chong doesn't eat durian, so he has to forego this 'lunch'.
This was our 'lunch".
From left: Choon Foi, Pak Chong, Ah Ee and Yuet Ngor at the durian plantation house.
We arrived at the Dragon fruit plantation in his SUV. The plantation is about 2 km away from the durian plantation. The sun was out in full force, so we need hats to protect our heads from the hot sun.
Here are the city-folk farmers, member for 1 day, no subscription needed, standing in front of the dragon fruit plant, actually a cactus.
So, this is how the fragile plant is supported.
and this is how artificial pollination is done, if the insects are sleeping on their job. Pak Chong, our agriculture expert making sure there isn't any nonsence in the explanation. Then he gave us a lecture on organic and inorganic fertilisers.
We left the dragon-fruit plantation at about 12.15pm for the durian plantation, picking up my car as well as dragon fruits and durians and left for Kluang town so that Yuet Ngor can do her banking at BSN and Pak Chong will need to take his lunch.
It was a very interesting journey with philosphies, politics, careers being discussed along the way back and finally reaching Singapore at about 4.00pm.