Grace's Farewell Party

It was quite fun. In fact, more fun than my own birthday party, even though both is held at my place.

Grace, my class monitor for 5 years, is finally leaving for Aussie to complete her final year.

*grace and pig. you`ll recognized them as the girl who appear every of our clubbing session :)

There was no alcohol that night. It seems that my resolution of reduce drinking slowly materialized without needing me to put much effort at all. The night was spent with people eating steamboat, cards,mahjong and camwhoring.

What made the party awefully fun and unique was this. The best lou sang session I ever had.

many many hands, extremely messy, and empty in 2 minutes.
That`s the way how yee sang should be eaten :P

Everyone will be graduating soon. I believe in the years to come, there`ll even more people to join us for the Chinese New Year's lou sang.

*4 ex classmates in 4 different state of Australia.

In two weeks time, all of them will be leaving back to Aus. :(

New Year fatigue

You wondered is there actually such a thing.

The past few days has been a repetition of a deadly cycle. Since new year`s eve, it has been dinner-gamble-drink-dota-supper-gamble-drink-dota-breakfast-gamble-drink-dota-lunch-gamble-drink-dota.......... It is potentially fatal especially when sleep is out of the equation.

It has been really hectic. Our schedules are filled to the brink. Have a look:

CNY Day 1

0000 : Kian Liang`s house party
0700 : Breakfast
0730 : Dota at CC
0900 : Church
1200 : Died
1500 : Ressurected for lunch
1530 : Entertaint guest and relatives
1930 : Dinner
2100 : Pool with cousins and uncled.
2300 : New Year party at home

Day 2

0200 : Dota at CC
0400 : Yum Cha session
0500 : Watch anime
0800 : Died.. again
1300 : Head for home town.
1500 : Gamble with uncle and aunties.
1800 : Dinner
1900 : Head back to Kajang for friend meet up
1930 : Yum Cha at Beach Cafe
2000 : Dinner at Chong`s.
2100 : Dota at CC
2330 : Yum Cha/gamble at Beach cafe.

Day 3

0200 : Dota at CC
0500-0700 : dizzy, lost tracked what happened before collapsing and slept.
1200 : Breakfast left-over turned lunch.
1300 : blogging this stupid entry

---> plans to come.

1400 : Visiting at Michelle`s place
1600 : Visiting at Grace`s place
1800 : Steamboat at Sunway
2100 : I-don`t-want-but-probably-end-up-doing-it-any-Dota session
0000 : I realized you can`t plan for every single hour of the day and this is getting ridiculous.

There`s a quite a lot of things left to do in this short period of holiday. I can`t believe that my 4 months of holidays will finally come to and end in another 5 days. I have yet visit my auntie and greatgrandmother (tomorrrow) and buy groceries for Grace`s Farewell party (Friday). Sigh, I would love to skip another sem! :(

A day of reunion and joy.

When your have not start fulfilling your new year resolutions, you have an excuse to start afresh with the Chinese New Year.

The CNY is quite significant to most family. It's the time where you have to do housework regardless what or where you work. It's the time where you meet all your relatives, even when you don`t really like them. It's the time when drinking and gambling actually involve your parents as well. It`s the time, when there`s more food than the table can accommodate, no matter how rich or poor you are.

I`ll host a party at 10pm tomorrow. If you happen to read this blog, you are invited. Wishing everyone a very properous year ahead.

Gong Xi Fa Chai!!!

Borneo Adventures Day 3 - To the Summit!

The story continues 11000 feet above sea level. At that height, surprises are rarely a good thing, because if things do go wrong..there`s very little help you can seek. The first surprise was there`s no hot water in that hut. We have to boil them ourselves. Then, we found out that none of our cloths and equipment will dry, because the only dryer has broken down and the humidity will make you cloths wet even if you put it under the light. The rain continue despite it pouring for more than 10 hours already. Worst, our room is leaking.

Then came the bad news, my guide advice that we should not go up since it`s raining.

This is something you wouldn`t want to hear, after spending hours limping your way up here, and to not make the last 1oo0 meter to the top. But everyone else in the hut was very eager to go. It was then I saw another group of people who look strangely familiar. To my surprise, I met Jan Sen, my uni classmate together with the cf group of people.

It`s bizarre, not seeing most of them for 1 semester (because I skip the entire sem) but finding them all the way up here. I am really thankful to have met them there, because Tank was not feeling well and couldn`t go on. I would have given up had I not met this group who insist to go on despite the bad weather.

There`s no pictures on the way up as we started our jounery in pitch black. It was 3am in the morning. Sleepy, drowsee, and suffering severe headache for being drench in the rain the entire day, the final climb was far worse that before. Not to mention, the climb was even steeper and dangerous. One slip and you can really fall to your death. At least that was the constant reminder by our guide.

Step by step, everyone felt like giving up. We constantly trick ourselves into thinking that it`s only a few meters away for motivation. It felt like an endless march, with our guide telling us to go faster. Don`t rest for too long. And without us realizing, we can already see the peak. We the last of our energy to make our way up there.

We arrive at the top too early. 5.15am and it`s 1 hour to go before the sun rises. It was very disappointing. The surrouding is still dark. There was nothing to greet us except for the sign that tell us we`re on the highest point in South East Asia. The temperature dropped to 3 degree. The wind was strong. We are all dead tired. The only feeling everyone was having was 'we`re up here. Been there, done that.. let`s go down" . None of us could wait till sun rise as sitting down for 5 minutes is enough to make you fall asleep and not wake up.

We left the place, and was looking forward to a nice rest after the climb. But a few hundreds meters into our hike back down, we are greeted with the most magnificent view that we have ever seen.

As if our rants were heard, the sun slow rises in plain sight.

The rays radiates joy, and happiness. It was only till now, we truly appreciated that we had completed a milestone of our life. We have hike the tallest mountain in SEA. And all this beauty is the reward for making the climb.

At the peak, no one was very eager to take pictures. Now, we snap pictures with every few steps.

Donia, my guide who have already climb more than 1000 time since she started working here 10 years ago.

We slowly make our way downhill. Savouring the nature as we inch our way down. As it was dark on the way up, we didn`t really know that we traveled so much, and the route was actually as dangerouos as they say.

Perhaps it was smart of them to make us climb at night. People with fear of height would probably have given up if they look down with nothing to break their fall for the next 1000 metres.

So, it was quite a relieve to see the trail turn back from plain rocks to paths with some vegetation. The hardest climb is now over and from now it`s an easy walk down.

After having our last rest and meal at the hut, we make our final journey down the mountain. Since the climb down is rather familar (since we hike up here in day light), I decide to test my self to see how fast I can hike down. I raced agaisnt the local porters, who like Donia, hike up and down daily to deliver goods to the resting point. Case in point, a renown marathon that was held in this mountain every year was won by a local who hiked all the way up and down in just a little over 1 hours 30 minutes.

Of course, under normal circumstances, these people will not run like crazy, not while carrying 2 gas tanks on their backs. Having said that, even though I`m only carrying a 5kg back pack, chasing them was extremely difficult. There are practically hopping down rather than hiking. IT WAS FUN. I never had so much fun since primary school, running down a hill behind my school

I overtook hikers who made their way down 2 hours ahead. I was feeling invicible. Until I reach the last kilometre when I was suddenly strike with muscle cramp. Luckly, it was only 1 kilometer away, and I still manage to slowly crawl out of the trail and make it back into the gate. It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes, still considerably fast compared with the average 5 hours it take for others.

Of course, this comes at the cost of me being a cripple for the next few days, but I`ll continue that story some other time.

next ---> a hot spring that is not hot, and an airport without our airplane.

Borneo Adventures Day 2 - 11000 feet above sea level

This time, I`ll describe the first part of the hike, which starts from the Kinabalu park to our resting place somewhere high up in the mountains.
To be even able to make the climb, I`m actually very grateful. In fact, the circumstances wasn`t very favourable in the beginning. We had less than a day before the climb yet we had not made any bookings. The weather was extremely bad. It`s been raining cats and dog in Sabah, with many of their main city flooded. Even with the horrible weather aside, there`s a bigger issue, cash. The climbing package offered by the tour agency is extremely pricey. The cheapest one was RM 650 while some was as high as RM 900.

Without any locals to guide us, we walk around randomly till we found the head office of the resort on top of Mt Kinabalu. Even with all the arrangement done by ourselves, it cost a total of 400 ringgit. It wasn`t until I agree to sleep with the women at the counter where I get the lodging for free!!!!

Alright, that was just a joke. I didn`t get the lodging for free. Nor did I sleep with the women at the counter. But, we got a non heated dorm bed for RM 60 per person, without any meals provided. Factor in the travel permits, transportation, mountain guide fee and etc, it will still cost less than 200. This was good enough for me, and on 7am, our journey to Kinabalu Park, located 1900m above sea level, begins. The ride from Kota Kinabalu to the park takes about 2 hours and cost 15 ringgit. It`s about the same distance of KL-Malacca except the road are much more narrow with sharp turns and death corners everywhere.

they call these busses..... so they think they can stuff 40 ppl inside to maximize profit.

the kampung roads..

We started our climb not too long after we reached the park. Of course, every one of us is very very enthusiastic about it. Most of the hills I jogged only took 30 minutes to reach the top. This will push our endurance to our limits.

The road is named to give us the Power!!!!.. Tank says; use the 'force' instead!!

It was about 10.30 am and it was already started drizzling. Resigning to the weather, we had to wear this ugly looking rain coat. We all look like yellow penguins....

two mountain penguins

The thought of hiking up to 14000 feet in this hideous looking suits is quite..demotivating.

That said, as we go on, the walk up was quite pleasant discounting the rain. The first 2 station was an easy climb. There were a fair mix of horizontal and vertical paths.
The rain subsided a little. The walk kept us warm and we don`t even need the jacket.

free show!!

It feels that we can go on forever. The greeneries were beautiful, the squirrels were playful and the people we met along the way were great.

you wish all the paths are as nice all the way to the mountain.

squirrels, the only animal we came across on the way up.

It was fun talking to other hikers from other countries. Most of them are first timers like us, so all of us have very little what to expect in the path to come. Though, we all know one thing. It will be wet from now onwards. From altitude 8000 feet and above, everywhere will be damp even when it doesn`t rain.

Alfred, from HK

not surprisingly, I forgotten her name.

As the rain picks up, and the trails get tougher, everyone was hoping that the next stop will be the last. Of course, nothing could be further than the truth. We are only 3 hours into the climb. An average would take about 6 hours.

The last 2 stations were extremely difficult. There soiled path changed into piles of stones. There are waters everywhere and we are all soaking wet.

the stones are wet and slippery

The altitude now is about 3000m, about 10000 feet. Even as we keep walking, the heat dissipated from our body is barely able to keep us warm. We couldn`t rest for too long as our sweat will then chill and turn cold. Trust me, it`s extremely horrible walk in that environment with wet clothing.

not only wet and cold, at some point, the fog was so thick, visibility fall to just 2 walking steps ahead of you.

After about 5 hours of torture, we saw the Laban Rata resort.

Everyone else rejoiced, except me. That is the ‘luxurious’ heated dorm which we couldn`t afford. Our dorm is another 150 metres away. Translate the distance in that particular circumstances… 150 metre seems infinitely far away. But what keep me going for this view. An image that tells us what is there to come in our 2nd half of the climb to the peak.

Even from here, we can listen to the thundering sound of the waterfall. The view was magnificent. I couldn`t imagine what it`s like to be up there. With such anticipation, I made my final steps to Gunting Legadan hut, yes hut.

We didn`t mind the condition much, since we are too exhausted anyway. It`s only 7pm, but I collapse on my bed. Dreaming of the moment when I reach the peak in another few hours time. I`m sure, then... I`ll be as happy as the me below.

To be continue -----> next chapter: to the summit!!

Wear your seat belts

It haven`t seat in the back seat for a while. Not since the new ruling of mandatory compulsory seat belt at the rear seats applies. My opinion of that rule? Good but not practical. Not in Malaysia anyways. I find it exceptionally ironic that they exempt cars of 15 years and above and cars with 4 passenger at the rear end. Aren`t these the vehicles that usually result in high casualities during an accident.

I personally felt rear seat belt is too much of a nuisance to justify a minimal decrease in accident risk. If it were all that good. I would have use all 3 of them, like this.

Now the biggest risk is getting yourself a 300 bucks fine from the police.

p.s. I`ll update Day 2 in a while. Will be off to Genting to celebrate by Dad`s birthday tomororw.

Borneo Adventures Day 1 - Kinabalu City

There are so much to tell about the trip. From the death march/hike to Mt Kinabalu, to bizarre coincidence of meeting classmates, the randomness of hitch hiking a ride, bunk in a stranger's place, and a panic-stricken Alex when we missed our plane, this trip is one that I`ll try not to forget in my entire lifetime. I`ll break down my trip into the days, for each is spent in a very unique way. There`s not a single day that was wasted, and the amazing adventure starts with the taxi ride to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.........

Tank, was already looking more dead than alive when I saw him on Tuesday midnight. He had barely an hour since he arrive when I dragged him to the taxi and head for the airport. Frankly speaking, at that point of time... neither of us are too excited about this trip. Another friend had just bailed on us and didn't turn up, I had lot`s of work left undone, and we are all exhausted. It was only when we took our boarding pass and walked towards the aircraft, that the holidaying mood kicks in.

Kota Kinabalu, by itself, is not very special. There were surprisingly many cars for a town that wasn`t very developed. The traffic is quite bad. The people speaks a weird Malay slang that even I had difficulty listening to them. Yet, all the shortcomings never mattered as I was captured by the beauty of the shore right from the time when the aircraft was landing on the airport by the seaside.

Tank and I on day 1. There`s nothing gay about two guys taking a walk by the seaside.

The coast line stretches from the city all the way to a quiet beach in the outskirts. After we made our travel arrangement to Mt Kinabalu in town (yes.. it was that last minute), we headed towards the jetty.

This place looks like a perfect place to fish. It`s peaceful, empty, and the water is clean. To put that into perspective, this is probably the only place where the waters around the capital of a state is clean enough for not to want to die if you fell in it.

We really wondered where the boat heads.

But we didn`t fish in the end as we wanted to explore the shore a little more. Besides, we still have some groceries and equipements to buy for the hike the day after. Like a terrorist winter mask for example.

oh yes.. imagine walking into the airport with these while shouting "Allah U Akhbar"

Alright, we didn`t get to fish, but the oddest thing happen. Somewhere. somehow, we did found a school of fish.... on land.

So, we`ll have to be contented with a simple (photo) catch by the camera.

the fish had Bugsy's eye.

We then met up with Melanie, my former debate partner during the Philippine National Championship for a quick meet up since she works and lives around this area. She then took us to a beach where the locals hang out. We even saw a couple photo shooting their wedding pictures. This is a testament to how beautiful the beach there.

Once a while, a few person jogs pass you but that`s about it. There are very few people around this beach. In fact, we saw more crabs then humans. Albeit, very small crabs. There are so bored because there are so few people, the crabs spent most of the time making sand balls.

For some reason, I found those sand balls really amusing, and I`ve been trying to take a picture of a crab making one. Though most of it ran away as soon as I approached. I got so fed up with them hiding into the sand, that I covered all their exits. (this will actually do nothing as they`ll just dig out with ease.)

So the best revenge against sea creatures? Visit the local market!!!

I`m guessing the whole family must have been there. And the day concluded with Alex the terrorist murdering a bunch of sea creatures.

End of Day 1

This space is my simple escape from the harsh reality. Expect lots of random rants and whining apart from the daily reporting of things going I`m going through.

Take nothing seriously, leave comments, or just a simple hi. The world is getting smaller by the day, why not know each other now. Have fun ya all.