Sunday, April 27, 2008

A harrowing drive with Mr Pacino

Coast to coast - across Sumatra. We made it!
Pic - Chris Wee

The real McCoy

The Indonesian Al Pacino

"Hi, my name is Sleepy Al, and I'll be your driver for the next 12 hrs"
Chris Wee's witty humour at its best.

Our 8 seater "limo" - all to ourselves!

One of the great things about this trip is how little we spent on food, accommodations etc thanks to the strong S$ and low RP prices. S$250 for a week was unbelievable value. Since we were under budget, we decided to hire a newish Suzuki APV 8 seater for the whole 2 of us and our precious steeds.

It was going to be a long and bumpy 350km drive back to Medan from Sibolga, along the notorious Trans Sumatra Highway and a little pampering was in order. It worked out to be S$105 which is about 3 times more than taking shared transport.

The truth really was the thought of spending 12 hours in secondhand smoke. That scared us stiff! Little did we know (silly us) that our driver, who shared a remarkable resemblance to Al Pacino, was quite a smoker too. But at least, one cigarette at a time is better than five.

Problem was that Mr Pacino was up driving the whole of the previous night and kept falling asleep at the wheel. Even the loud but priceless rock music of Deep Purple, Bon Jovi, Bad Company etc blasting away on the stereo could not do the trick. We had to force him to take compulsory stop-naps many times along the way.

Strangely, we discovered later that the only thing that could catch Sleepy Al's attention was the sound of incoming SMS. How I wished I had his mobile no!!!

We left Sibloga at 945am and arrived in Medan 930pm in one piece but pretty stressed and agitated. A complain to his Godfather was in order but Mr Pacino wisely gave me the great Rock CD that earned him a "tip" of $1.50 (generous in light of our experience). That somehow appeased me as those classic songs reminded me of a special time in my life... and bad memories of the endless and harrowing drive dissipated quickly.
You must check out Chris Wee's excellent account of our trip on CGOAB.

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