We had set out for the Taman Negara National Park from Kuala Terengganu after picking up our rental car and getting a little lost in the city, trying to find the highway that led away from the coast and into the interior. I won’t go into any detail here, but I will admit that I’m a nervous passenger, and sitting in the back seat trying to be the official navigator wasn’t the easiest role imaginable.
Once we were out of the city, we were on a narrow highway with tons of oncoming transport trucks, no shoulders to speak of and a speed limit of 100kpm. Just then, the skies opened and we were fighting our way through a torrential downpour, on the left hand side of the road. I was a nervous wreck.
Poor David, he felt the need to hold to the speed limit to avoid holding up the traffic behind us, but I was freaking out that we were going too fast, considering the weather and the fact that David hadn’t driven left hand drive for some time. We had a bit of a sibling rivalry breakdown, and both of us were anxious and angry.
Because of the rain, we weren’t able to reach Taman Negara before dark so we pulled into the little town of Jerrantut and decided to stay for the night. Thank goodness there was an entry for the town in our Lonely Planet so we were able to find a decent little hotel. We asked the receptionist where we might get a meal and she directed us to a nearby Chinese restaurant. We had a surprisingly good meal there, one that David praised for days to come.
It had been a tough day, and we had to do a little debriefing in order to get David to agree to continue driving. I had stressed him to the max, and he had stressed me equally. Suffice it to say, we worked things out and the rest of the week of driving went smoothly. You’d think that all the battling that happens in childhood is behind you when you’re fifty years down the road, but it seems it doesn’t. We love each other dearly, but getting along in stressful situations is still – stressful.