Friday, October 24, 2008

Perhentian Island Challenge Part 2

My mom and dad picked me up from the airport that night and it was nice seeing them again. The next morning, my mummy, back in her mummy mode filled up my CamelBak and made a champion breakfast - rice beef stew and half boiled eggs.
Mummy filling up my CamelBak

Champion breakfast
That's right , beef stew for breakfast because she and I knew I was going to be famished in the 3rd hour of the race. After an amazing breakfast, we all drove down to Kuala Besut like those days again when my parents would send me off to the airport or bus station when I was in my teens. Today, I love the fact that they still see me as their little boy and I take full advantage of it.
Mom and dad and I at Kuala Besut
I went through another mini ordeal at the Kuala Besut jetty. The PIC organizers were late in sending the boat to me and I ended up arriving at the starting line 30 minutes before the race was flagged off.

Anyway, my partner, Natalie Ng Poh Fang greeted me at the island jetty and was pretty worried about my arrival from the looks on her face. She's a sweetie pie. Natalie gave me a quick rundown on this year's course and I was quite suprised to see the organizers add another route to this year's race.
Race Course

Natalie and I

At 1030am, we were flagged off and there was a mad rush to grab our canoes. As usual I couldnt find the kaayak nor could I find Natalie in the process. Apparently, someone pushed her and she fell but a few seconds later, I saw her on the other side looking for our kayak as well. We finally got our kayaks and off we went. I hate kayaking because I do not know nor possess the technical skills to kayak and the current kept pushing our kayaks off course.It takes a great deal of effort to set it back straight again only to have it veered off course after 20 seconds by the current. There was a part where we veered off course entirely that we had to make an about U turn. Natalie and I kept our cool and paddle by paddle , we reached the shore at Perhentian Island Resort.

After a short water break, off we went for the jungle trekking session.
Jungle trekking

It was a torturous second leg because the hill was bloody steep. So steep, I saw
a few people vomitting along the way and I guess it's from the kayakking session.
Victim of PIC

After an hour or so, we arrived back to the area of where we left the kayak. We love this part the most because we're running along one of the most beautiful shorelines on the planet.
Also, whenever I run by the chalets, I would give a shoutout to each and every chalet [Mama's, Watercolours, Tuna Bay, etc] as well as to the tourists urging us on.
We reached the end of the beach and our task was to pull a bag filled with sand from the sea. Since I've been suffering mini cramps, Natalie stepped up to the task. Amazing woman she is. Here she was, struggling to get the bag out of the water while I was taking pictures of her.
My rock of PIC
Sorry Nat

It was back to the jungle trail after that and this route now takes us back to the kayaks where we had to kayak ourselves to Pulau Kecil.
Getting the kayak ready.

The distance looked bloody far. With fatigue setting in, we gave each other semangat talks and paddle by paddle, Bubu Resort looked nearer and nearer. By that time, I had already drunk 5 cans of Red Bull. I was more hyperactive more than semangat actually. I kept replaying the song "I Need A Hero" by Bonnie Tyler to keep my semangat on.

It was such a joy when our kayaks touched the shores. After a quick waterbreak,
our next route was to the gargantual windmills of Perhentian Island.
Natalie and I chatted about personal lives while we clambered through rocks, roots and fallen tree trunks. After 45 minutes, we reached the 65 degree inclination path which leads up to the windmills. By that time, I was extremely exhausted and laid down to rest
but Natalie was encouraging me to not rest and soldiered on. She said she'll let me continue with just my Speedo's if I started moving now. Hearing that, I jumped up and that's just what I did.
View from the top of the hill

I checked the time and my watch showed 445pm. It's been 6 hours since we were flagged off. Since we participated in last year's race, we knew that after returning to Bubu Resort, there would be another path that leads to the finishing line. In within an hour, Natalie and I walked across the finishing line. We were dead tired but we were more proud we completed it. And let me add this, I couldn't have done it without her. She's my PIC rock.
En route to the finishing line

I had fun again like I did last year. But this year, it was more special for because I achieved two objectives. I completed the race, had fun and I beat my arch nemesis, Mr Raj.
Arch nemesis


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Perhentian Island Challenge Part 1

KL has been going through several heavy pouring rainy sessions in the past week but nothing beats the downpour on 17/10/2008, Friday. Flash floods were reported everywhere in KL and it was total chaos.
Flash flood in KL
I, on the other hand was trying to get to KL Sentral from Mont Kiara to catch a bus for my 900pm flight to Kota Bharu for my second participation year in Perhentian Island Challenge held in the paradise islands of Perhentian.
Perhentian Island Challenge 2008

It was already 6pm when I was out of the office looking for a cab. At that chaotic time, there was a long queue at the taxi stand and that was the start of my arrive-LCCT-on-time ordeal. People were murmuring that it's crazy to even get out of the Hartamas area. Anyway, there was this Caucasian at the front of the queue. As he was getting in the cab, I ran up to him and asked him if I could share a cab with him. I couldn't care where his destination was but I just had to get out of Hartamas/Mont Kiara ASAP. His destination was JW Marriot and mine was KL Sentral.
The radio in the cab was broadcasting a minute by minute traffic situation. There was one announcement which made me shudder "The SMART Tunnel has been closed to traffic and the entire KL is having a red light party(sarcastically lampooning the bad traffic jams. When you're in a jam, all you see are brake lights of the vehicles in front of you, hence red light party).Anyway, it was from a lame English radio station.
Traffic madness
I told the cab driver to drop me off at any Komuter, Monorail, Star LRT or Putra LRT and he told me he will be passing the Monorail at Sheraton Imperial. I got to the Monorail there at 650pm and I ran like Speedy Gonzales to the station and managed to get on the monorail to KL Sentral.

Along the way, I knew taking a bus was out of the option and I decided to take the KLIA Ekspres which will bring me to KLIA and from there, I will take a cab to LCCT which is like 15 minutes away. Smart right? I relaxed a bit with my well thought plans in my mind.
I reached KL Sentral and proceeded to the ERL station. It'll take me 28 minutes to reach KLIA and after calculation, I estimated my arrival time at KLIA would be at 750pm. After taking a cab, I will be at LCCT by 810pm just in time to check in. Once the doors of the ERL train opended, I dashed out ala Amazing Race style to the taxi ticket counter. Getting the taxi coupon would my last obstacle and I thought to myself, what's so difficult about getting a taxi coupon? When I reach the counter, I saw at least 40 people queuing up at the counter and another 30 more standing in line to wait for their cabs.
I just screamed and used the Lord's name in vain because truly, after all I've been through, God should be blamed, I did not waste time. I ran down to the bus terminal of KLIA and hoped that maybe there was a feeder bus going to LCCT There was none! Tick Tock Tick Tock

My instincts kicked in and my objective is to get to LCCT no matter. I instantly grabbed anyone I could find and begged them to send me to LCCT. After terryfying 3 people, one guy from the bus counter shouted that Basker from the deli nearby was able to send me and that he'd ask him first. I met Basker and told him of my predicament. He agreed to send me for the sum of RM30.00. I agreed and heaved a sigh of relief...... not really because that bastard Basker was sms-ing while he was driving and made the wrong turn. That cost me several precious minutes I had left.
I then told him I would minus off RM1.00 from the fare because I only had RM29.00
in my wallet. He was fine with it.

FInally I arrived the Kota Bharu counter at the nick of time and was so glad that the ordeal is over. One thing I have to say is that I'm kinda impressed with our Malaysian transportation system because there were several options given to me at my time of need.

To be continued

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Last Remaining Communist in Malaysia

I was on my usual waterfall hike last weekend near the Grik/Baling area. After a 3 hour hike, we found the waterfall, beautiful and mesmerising as all waterfalls in Malaysia.
On the way back through the thick and dense jungle, I thought I saw something moving in the bushes. Curious, I went for a closer look and I couldn't believe what I saw !!
A COMMUNIST !!!!!!!!!

Communist lurking behind bamboo trees

He was pretty nervous when I approached him. I told him that all the communist surrendered years ago and his leader, Chin Peng is now living in Thailand and that the Soviet Union has fallen. He wouldn't believe me and said that all my stories were capitalism propoganda.
Communist in the Grik/Baling jungle

I also asked him why did he look so young and healthy after being in the jungle for almost 30 years. He cooly took a sip from the stream and said, spring water.

After taking pictures of him, he asked me to not show his face as this would anger his supreme leader, Chin Peng.
Before I left, he tried to brainwash me with some Communist propoganda " Communism is a socioeconomic structure that promotes the establishment of an egalitarian, classless, stateless society based on common ownership of the means of production ...." I listened and told him I'll think about communism when I'm back in town.
Saying goodbye to the last communist in Malaysia

Next time, I will come back to persuade him out from the jungle. Man, 30 years and still fighting the war. Respect!!!