Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Disruptions

While I am still sorting the photos (of the children), I thought I'd write about something a little different. Over the Lunar New Year holidays last week, we experienced a few hiccups in our plans, which were minor enough not to derail our activities but major enough to cause quite a lot of inconvenience. Richard said that he had heard or read somewhere that the Year of the Snake is a "disruptive" one. As an illustration, he pointed out that the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center building in New York City took place in a Snake year. Of course, we did not experience anything near that magnitude. Our "disruptions" were inconveniences, at best. Anyway, for some fun, I did a search on google and I came across a feng shui article which said:

"As the Snake is a Travel Star symbolising the need for change, travel, new adventures, a new job and restlessness, the Year of the Snake will be very active and full of change. The Snake forms a Fire Penalty with the Tiger (February) and the Monkey (August) so these months could see disruptive or dangerous incidents relating to travel."

I have no clue what most of that paragraph means (I don't know anything about feng shui). What I did gather from there is that travel in February and August may not be smooth. That certainly was the case for us last week.

Driving into Malaysia on Thursday night was a breeze. Literally, it was a breeze. That was because the aircon in the car quit on us and we had to crank the windows down (a little). Richard and my brother spent almost the whole of Friday driving to and from the service centre (twice) to sort things out. The service centre took the whole day to diagnose the problem. At the end of the day, they told us that the compressor had failed and had to be replaced. The problem was that their supplier was closed for the holidays and they could only check the following week if the parts were available and, if there weren't any parts, they would have to order in from either Singapore or Germany which would take time to reach KL.

It was a terrible time for us to be without our car. The hassle of getting around the city with two children without a car would be bad enough but we were supposed to drive up from KL to Ipoh on Monday. We needed wheels!

We were extremely grateful when Richard's sister Margaret let us borrow one of her spare cars, a very zippy BMW X1, which we used for a week, including driving to and from Ipoh. When her husband, Jimmy, found out about our predicament, he made a few calls and found a car workshop near his workplace which had the (genuine) parts and could replace the aircon for us at a fraction of the price that the service centre had quoted us.



So, it was a disruption in our plans but, fortunately, one that was resolved quite smoothly, all thanks to the help of various people - my brother, Richard's sister Margaret, and her husband, Jimmy. We are truly blessed to have these angels helping us and looking out for us.

There was another incident which I was quite upset about but, in the end, I decided to chalk it up to the power of the Snake and just shrug it off. It was on the Saturday after we had got back from Ipoh. We had met up with some friends from out of town and we were all headed to have some bak kut teh. Richard and I were leading the way in one car, while our friends followed us in three other cars. Normally, getting to the restaurant is super easy - just one turn off the highway and you're there. For some reason, we took an earlier turn and landed in the middle of a dense suburb. We were lost and the GPS wasn't helping. We had to stop and ask for directions a few times and the people we asked were not much help. We knew the general direction to head in but all the streets we turned into were one-way streets, extremely narrow and hilly. The nifty X1 was quite nimble but two of our entourage were Mercedes-Benz sedans so I imagine it must have been quite harrowing for them.

Another small disruption in travel? Well, if it was, it was resolved - just when I was about to give up, we found the restaurant and, of course, getting out of there was no problem at all.

So all's well that ends well and, hopefully, it will be smooth sailing from here on. What about you - have you experienced any "disruptions" in your travel in February?

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