Two weekends ago, in order to cheer the children up after my husband being away for a week and pass the time to his return, I drove them up to the former state administrative centre of Taiping. This is about an hour north of Ipoh on the road and has some beautiful water gardens, old colonial buildings and, most importantly from the children’s point of view, a zoo with, much to our older daughter’s joy, a clouded leopard (her favourite animal). Following the wander round the zoo in scorching temperatures and the inevitable stops for people to hug the baby (I think she was the most popular exhibit in the zoo that day) we popped over to the local mall for a sandwich and then drove home.
|Water gardens in Taiping|
By Friday, we had the family car back, steering fixed and all well – it turned out there was a nick in the lines that caused the fluid to leak out, not quite sure how that happened but thank goodness it was not more serious. So, to celebrate the return of the comfortable car we decided to explore the coast on the Sunday with my husband driving to give me a break. We enjoyed looking at the coastal town for Lumut and got the timetables for the ferries to Pulau Pangkor. After that we drove up the coast looking for a deserted beach to which we could take the dogs in the future. Out of luck with that we decided to drive up to Taiping so my husband could see the water gardens. Following that back to the same mall to grab a sandwich and then home.
We left the car park
ok this time but just after getting on the motorway the car started to judder
very badly. We slowed it right down with the hazards on and
lucky we did because the next thing we knew we heard a big bang and the car was
dragging along on its rear nearside rim.
Lucky again we were in the slow lane with nothing behind us and my
husband was able to stop the car without us going off the road (in a similar
situation on a much slower road in the UK we went off road and into a tree
writing off the car). We had all the children on the verge behind the barrier in record time. Our middle
daughter was very frightened but our son, who had been sitting right over the
wheel and had been convinced the car was going to flip took charge of the two
girls so we could start to look at the car.
A local man had seen the accident from the parallel road and came straight
up to help, it turned out that we were less than 1km from a service station
and, just as we were deciding to drive the car there the road police turned
up. They put the children in their car while
my husband drove and I walked to the station.
|Enjoying the Zoo|
They were very good natured and incredibly helpful but rather bemused at the fact that we had taken the kids out of the car – being conditioned to English roads with the heavy weight of HGV traffic the last thing we would do is stay in the vehicle but they said it was more than ok to do that here. When I got to the service station another driver had picked up the baby and was fussing her while our son was cheering up our daughter. I sent him off to get some fruit and the pair of them were able to sit down close to us and munch on mango and watermelon while we set about changing the tyre. Unfortunately this was the one time we left home with only my keys and it turned out the release for the locking nuts was on my husband’s key ring. We were just about to call a taxi when the man with our baby said he was driving our way and gave us all a lift and, brooking no argument, took us straight to our front door.
|Our poor tyre....|
We still do not know what caused our tyre to blow like that – perhaps whatever nicked the power steering lines caught the side wall of the tyre and it showed up the first time we drove the car at motorway speeds. Following our English accident all those years ago I am red hot on tyre safety – always buy as close to top of the range as I can, check the pressure once a month and before all long journeys, do regular visual checks and change them a long time before they reach their minimum. In any event we were very lucky that we were going as slowly as we were and that the motorways were reasonably empty. We were also so touched by the kindness shown to us by so many complete strangers. We always stop and help people but not everyone does (I remember being stranded by the side of the road age 4 when my 8 month pregnant mother was ignored by all passers-by and left to change a tyre by herself and get it back to a garage for tightening, the country shall remain nameless but it was a typical experience of the posting). On Sunday night we saw Malaysia at its best.
I do know, however, that if and when we go back to Taiping again we will absolutely not be going to the Subway at Aeon Mall, trips there seem to be cursed for me!
Written as part of the My Expat Family monthly blog link up.
Written as part of the My Expat Family monthly blog link up.
Sorry about your trouble, but i always like hearing stories about how hospitable locals are to strangers. Glad no on was hurt and you still got to enjoy your trip.ReplyDelete
Thanks Laura - we were very lucky on an awful lot of counts.Delete
What a run of bad luck, that sounds very scary but also very heartwarming to hear about all the help you received from strangers. Thanks goodness no one was hurt.ReplyDelete
After our last tyre mishap we know it could have been much much worse. In that one we were only going at 40mph but it sent us off the road and into a tree, writing off my much loved first car. :(Delete
Oh my goodness that car park is definitely cursed for you!!! What an absolute nightmare and so scary! Sounds like you had some wonderful help from strangers though. Sometimes the kindness of strangers is truly unbelievable!!ReplyDelete
I can't believe that story of your poor mum when you were little having to change a tyre at 8 months pregnant that is absolutely awful!!!!
Thanks for sharing this post for #myexpatfamily lovely x
I remember my dad being furious when we got home, it was a very insular country and unusual in our experience as in most countries people will be happy to help.Delete
A scary moment but one of those times you get to see the beautiful side to humanity. Glad you got so much help and it wasn't more serious. Thanks for sharing! NicoleReplyDelete
It was scary, mostly because we had the children with us, we were lucky on so many levels.Delete
So glad to hear that you got so much help. Your experiences certainly made for an interesting story - thank you for sharing :-)ReplyDelete
One of the real positives of living in Malaysia - people are not afraid to talk to eachother and offer help when needed.Delete
Despite all your troubles, and car trouble is a nightmare (although your last sentence did make me chuckle), how wonderful to have seen so much kindness from strangers. That made for a very uplifting read xReplyDelete
Yes I am NEVER going to that mall again. The universe is obviously trying to tell me something. Now if it happens after a visit to any other Subways I am in real trouble (there is one near my husband's office where we sometimes meet for a quick lunch).Delete
My goodness such bad luck! I would have been petrified, especially with the kids in the car but it sounds like you all held it together well. It's so heartwarming to hear people helped you. My biggest fear about living abroad is finding myself in an emergency and not being able to navigate the local language and systems well enough to manage it. Help from others is so crucial in this situations and I'm so glad you got it!ReplyDelete
People really were wonderful. I have the same fear about foreign emergencies, one time my husband and I were the first on the scene at an accident on a Swedish road where a car collided with an ambulance. As we ran to help I called 112, luckily they spoke English but I could not give a detailed enough description of the location, I threw my phone at a bystander. Then we had to get the driver out of the upturned ambulance and the paramedic and the casualty and the driver of the other car all the time not speaking the language or really understanding what people were saying. It was a relief that other people turned up fairly quickly as we were frightened of doing something wrong by dint of language confusion (had we moved the oxygen from the ambulance as far away from the vehicles as we had been asked to etc), when we first got to the driver we did not realise he was telling us that there were people in the back of the Ambulance (Duh!) and to get them first before him. One of the most frightening experiences of my life, we had been meaning to camp that night but splashed out on a fancy hotel, the receptionist had seen the footage on local news and stood us a brandy!Delete