I love it when a big chunk of the city population balik kampung for the extended holidays, leaving us transplanted city folks with the rare pleasure of peace and quiet brought forth by deserted streets and shuttered shoplots.
All that Pak Abu and I had wanted to do earlier in the evening was take a leisurely drive around the city centre, and perhaps pop in Kampung Baru or somewhere in the vicinity for a quick bite. We had certainly not bargained for a mini drama, albeit of Pak Abu's own doing, thrown in.
The drive had somehow led us to Wadi Hadramawt in Jalan Ampang where the family had dined in celebration of my birthday last October. Highly popular with locals and tourists alike (Arabs especially), the place was always packed and this time it was no different.
We found a nook by the entrance and sat down. After placing our order of lamb mandey, a mixed plate of fattoush, hummus and tabbouleh for starters, baklava for dessert, and mint tea, we settled in to wait.
That was when Pak Abu looked at me quizzically and asked: "Where's my wallet?" Naturally I had no answer to that because I wasn't in the habit of carrying his clutch bag for him.
[By 'wallet' he had meant his smallish, black leather clutch bag into which went everything; cash and cards, IC and diving licence, bills and receipts, and scraps of heaven knows what else].
A quick search in the car revealed nothing. On top of that, I had very little cash in my purse, for I had not bothered going to the teller machine earlier. Thirty quids was all I had on me.
We knew the clutch bag wasn't accidentally left at home because we had stopped by Petronas petrol station in Taman Tun to top up the tank before leaving.
Then it hit him: "Oh God, I must have left it on the table at Petronas when I was filling in the contest participation form!" [Worse, the table was outside, by the main door, in full view of and within reach by everyone].
There was nothing left to do but cancel our order and rush back to Taman Tun, hoping against hope that the bag would still be there or had been taken for safekeeping by the petrol station staff.
Our fervent, desperate prayers were thankfully answered, Syukur Alhamdulillah. The bag was sitting pretty, untouched, where Pak Abu had left it.
And that was how we ended up eating plain rice, telur bungkus, kerabu mangga and udang masak cili with petai in our Kelantan-Thai regular haunt, Santai. So much for lamb mandey...