*Picture courtersy of Pangkor Laut Resort*
“It’s the Matta Fair today!” I exclaimed excitedly as I opened my eyes last Friday morning. My husband was still deep in sleep. He groaned loudly and pulled the duvet over his head. Apparently, this one person will not share my excitement over the Matta Fair.
“Today is a good day…” I said happily to myself in anticipation of going to the famous holiday exhibition with my two good friends; Tengku Iesta (his title is genuine and definitely not self-proclaimed) and Surayahani. I rudely sent them a text of “Wake Up People!” at god-forsaken-hour in the morning. They must be cursing me.
Let me digress from the Mata Fair for a while to inform you about this important news. To all of the avid readers out there, please be informed that I found another bookshop at the Mall. With the exception of the Big Bookstore selling Rehman Rectum’s The Malaysian Journey (you have to forgive them you see, they are running a business after all), everything else is fairly priced and the collection is huge. I bought a copy of travel book by Alice Steinbach at RM22. That was a steal.
The match made in heaven arrived and waited for me at the then Pan Pacific Hotel. After paying the entrance fee of RM3, we marched ahead to Hall 3 of the exhibition. Okay, I confessed, if the air tickets to South New Zealand cost less than RM2500, I will buy it without further ado. At Hall 3, Iesta, Sue and I were like Alice in Wonderland. At 11.30 am, the crowd was already wild at the Matta Fair. Iesta and Sue already have a fixed destination to buy – Brisbane & Gold Coast. As the woman at Discover Australia’s booth prattled away to both Iesta and Sue, I wandered alone aimlessly.
Much to my disappointment, close to all of the booth attendants had little or zero knowledge on the holiday packages they were selling. One of the attendants at Reliance’s booth didn’t even know the difference between North and South of New Zealand. I mean, come on! You are in the traveling business; a little knowledge of other countries wouldn’t hurt you right?
As I was patiently waiting for them to check the cost of my intended travel itinerary, my eyes wandered around. I was impressed. These Malaysian people are rich. They bought expensive holidays like there is no tomorrow! Finally, the moment I have been waiting for was here. The Chinese lady placed a piece of paper in front of me and said –
“Ah, you tak boleh pegi situ Christchurch terus dari KL, mesti kena transit tau!” she said loudly in her halting Malay. I read to the travel details myself. In order for me to go to Christchurch, my return flights via Qantas Airlines are as follows:-
Kul – Singapore – Sydney –Christchurch;
Christchurch – Sydney –Singapore – Kul.
Fabulous. I thought. At least I can enroute to Sydney and perhaps stay there for a couple of days. Then, my eyeballs almost popped out as I looked down at the price of the tickets. It was RM3725 minus tax! My heart sank. Forget about it Elviza, there is no way in hell or heaven, that you can afford this. I left the booth in a lurch. By the time I found both Iesta and Sue, they had already spent RM5,000 on return tickets to Brisbane. Iesta looked positively dumbfounded. The aftermath of spending too much money.
We had lunch next door and lamented on the money we spent. I left the Matta Fair alone as Iesta went off to spend couple of more thousand ringgits on his digicam. To console my broken heart, I bought a honeymoon package at Tanjong Jara Resort. My husband and I have this thing with YTL resorts. Our first honeymoon was at Pangkor Laut Resort and words could not describe the beauty of this paradise. Here we come Tanjong Jara. As for you South of New Zealand, you just have to wait for us.