Pit Stop

Is easy not to notice the flashing low fuel warning when you are driving on a country road with such breathtaking scenery. I pulled into an unbranded gas station at the kampung.

Petrol pump attendant Ahmad Burhani asked me if I want the fuel in a ketchup bottle, cooking oil bottle or a mineral water bottle. Only RON 95 grade is available and it starts at RM 2 per bottle.

Ahmad, who is autistic, makes a decent and honest living catering to local motorcyclists who find it inconvenient to ride all the way to town just to re-fill. His father buys the fuel for him.

The affable guy suggested I take all bottles, thinking I was planning to drive all the way to Pahang.

I didn’t even know the Orang Asli kampung and jungle trail can lead to Pahang. Another adventure for another day!

The petrol station’s security guard is a goose and it needs to go for anger management. It kept charging at my knee.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f5, 1/80 sec.

There’s A Lesson In Here Somewhere

At the turning into Kuala Kubu Bharu town, I stopped to fill up and friendly pump attendant, Mr Rajamani, assisted me. Since he is KKB born and bred, I asked him if that’s anything interesting to see inside. He thought about it for a few seconds and said: “Not, really. Mostly government offices”.

Familiarity breeds indifference or nonchalance, I guess. It turned out to be the town with the most things to see, so far. Glad I went ahead and explored it, running into so many interesting people and places.

A former government servant, Rajamani has worked at this Shell station for the past 20 years after retiring from civil service. He is now 78, fit and sharp.

I am here again to refill before continuing north on Federal Route 1. Jaded as he was, his face light up when I showed him pics of some of the KKB residents I captured. He smiled broadly as he identified each by name.

Before I drove off, I asked him a question that was bugging me:

Me: “Were petrol stations, such as this one, affected when the highway opened up and transit traffic by-passed the small towns?”.

Rajamani: “Not, really”.

Me: “How is it?”.

Rajamani: “Locals have cars too lah”.

Photography Tip: On a road trip, pack along a small low-light lens but not for bokeh or stylo-mylo purposes. I put it to good use here where twilight was fast fading.

I normally click as I converse, composing with the rear LCD screen so that my face is visible to the subject. With the Sony Zeiss Sonnar T, I was able to dial a fast enough shutter speed to hand hold with one hand and also to freeze a very animated subject.

Goodbye KKB, thanks for the friendships and memories.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f1.8, 1/250 sec.