50 Favorite Shots

Considering I have nothing much in mind to blog about – mental block and in no mood to date anyone, I thought of putting my bit into celebrating our country’s 50th year of independence, as well as promoting “Visit Malaysia 2007”. Talk about killing two birds with one stone, eh? (Well,I am doing this as I think we all need something a little more optimistic during these trying times – just look at the daily local news.. geezz)

I have done a bit of traveling the past few years around Malaysia and had some pictures to share. I have been to almost every state – yes, some were merely passing by or staying over a night on my yesteryears’ working trips. I had been to both Sabah and Sarawak. I wish I had a digital camera then.

This would highlight a journey of my “digital story” and how much practice indeed makes perfect. I remember my brother trashing my earlier taken photos! The 50 favorite shots may not be the best pictures, but they sort of recorded a “transition”. I am delighted with the invention of digital cameras! It helps to record one’s journey of life in all magnificent colors.

Every picture tells a story. Here, I present to you my 50 favorite shots taken around Malaysia. I believe most of you have seen some of the pics if you have been following this blog (old and new) since day one. For the benefit of people who haven’t, I would link previous posts to each picture.

It would either be a 10 or 15 part stories – I don’t know coz I am such a chaotic planner!

Well, Happy Merdeka, fellow Malaysians. We hope that this beautiful country would continue to be harmonious and realizing all of us are co-dependent. I hope that one day we all would be treated as equals, rather than being segregated according to our ethnicity.

PS. The Tourism Ministry should pay me for doing their job!

#1 Lights at the End of the World. Pulau Kukup, Johor. A commercial fishing village. Residents’ houses will be converted to guest houses come weekends. For a mere RM60 (depending on number of people joining you on this trip – I was with about 8 people) for two days and one night stay, we were given tea break of fried mee hoon, doughnuts and bottomless milo and tea, a BBQ seafood dinner, supper of nasi lemak, morning breakfast of nasi lemak or fried mee hoon, and 12 dishes for lunch, plus a boat trip to the fish kelong. I like this photo because it reminded me of happiest time when I was with friends from TAR College. Never mind the shakey hands!

#2 Capricorn? Taken this in Mr Kamal’s Goat Farm in Batu Arang. Unfortunately, the place had ceased operation. It’s a shame because it was such a good place to bring friends and family for a weekend outing.

#3 Point of View, Perhentian Islands. My first fiddling attempt to create “arty picture”. LOL. I know.. this failed miserably but I like this shot.

#4 Water of Life. Semenyih Dam, Semenyih. This is where we all get our water supplies. It was a quiet and deserted place, leading to even a quieter and deserted place – the Organic Farm! *Shudders* Wonder if it still exists!

#5 All in a day’s work. Chamang Waterfalls, Bentong, Pahang. How this fella managed to search for food in heaps of dried leaves is beyond me. Nature’s wonder.

Awkward Moments While Traveling

To make up for lack of updates on my travel(s) – in fact, I don’t travel much this year due to a lot of things that I would share later, I think I will come up with something that I didn’t mention in my previous posts on my travels, which I find rather amusing.

Taman Negara, March 2003

While taking slow cruise into the deep jungle on a shallow boat, we were all feeling drowsy under the hot sun. Most of us slept in the boat. It was more than an hour journey to the jungle, I kept adjusting my seating. Then, I farted. The soundless and killing kind. Since I sat right in front of the boat, the rest of the people behind me could smell my generous expulsion. Dennis kept slapping my head and asked me if it was me and I pretend I couldn’t wake up.

Langkawi Island, July 2003

The 10 hours journey by bus was killing my back. When we reached the jetty to take a boat to Langkawi Island, I was feeling a little groggy due to the long journey and lack of sleep even if my fellow travel buddies complained that I snored so damn loud behind the bus.

The moment we got into the boat, I was already feeling sleepy and slept the entire journey to Langkawi. I remembered that Chubby was sitting in front of me and my other friend, Yvonne was sitting on my right.

When the boat docked, I woke up immediately. With blurred vision due to sleep, I saw Chubby was still resting her head on the seat. I immediately slapped her head hard to wake her up.

To my horror, the head belonged to a stranger, a Malay man. Before he could look behind to check who hit him, I quickly pretend to sleep. I am sure he was very shocked that he felt someone just bob him on the head when everyone seemed to be sleeping.

I suppressed my embarrassment and giggle till we got very far away from the boat and then, burst into hearty laughter when I related this incident to my friends.

Perhentian Island, August 2004

I just got out from my “fresh water” shower and was relieved. As I was walking to the verandah to towel dry my hair, my travel mate, one of the demented duo was sitting there to ogle at some chicks.

I sat down with him and had a chat. Then his gaze slowly turned to the bottom half of my body then he quickly looked away.

I realized I didn’t zip my pants.

Hanoi, April 2007

As I was down with fever and the attacks of virus seemed adamant, most of my bodily functions went hay wired. While waiting for Popiah to bargain for some souvenirs, I was already in dire need to go to the loo as soon as possible. That resulted in me, putting up a really sour face and almost barked at her for taking her own sweet time. She was supposed to pay 15,000 VND for one book mark but ended up giving the man only 10,000 VND. I was already turning purple trying to suppress the need to shit. The moment I reached the hotel, I think I just created another Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The following day, the same thing happened. I needed to go to the loo badly and we got lost. AJ insisted that we were on the right track, when Chubby decided to take another route. TC on the other hand, refused to get into our squabbles and decided to venture into the night life on his own. I was telling them, what if we really got lost and TC reached the hotel before all of us did. I was right. TC was there sitting in the lobby waiting for us while we were still squabbling over the shortest route to take back to the hotel.

These are some of my awkward moments while traveling. I will post more if I think of anything else. I guess everyone would have some amusing stories from their trips to share. 🙂

PERHENTIAN TRIP: POST MORTEM – CONCLUSION – THE RETURN OF THE GANG

Monday, 9 August 2004, Perhentian Besar

The return trip was uneventful as the Monk and Kit had succumbed to fever and migraine. Don’t know what causes it. Too much salt water? Too much sun? Too much sand? Too much snorkeling? Too much ogling at semi nude women?

On the last morning, everyone was drained. After breakfast, the boys went back to the room to sleep. I took a stroll on the quiet beach and took some photos.


Deserted


Children in Natural Sandbox


What is a beach without coconut trees?


Much Better than Breakfast at Tiffany’s


Much Better than Breakfast at Tiffany’s II


Point of View

I drove about 8/10 of the entire journey. Made frequent stops for the Monk to take a leak as he had been drinking too much water and taking panadol to ease his fever. It is hard to picture a huge person like him has such a small bladder. I hope other parts of his body are proportionate to his height. *Grin*

Both of them slept at the back of the car like babies. I had to drive unusually slow in order not to disturb their sleep, at 80 km per hour on the trunk roads. (Actually there were a shitload of sohais on the road) Koon kept me entertained by yakking just about anything. He dozed off occassionally during the conversation. I didn’t know I was that boring.

We bought a pack of coolfever when we stopped for dinner at Kuantan. They looked like Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Danny DeVito in Twins when they stick the cold patch on their foreheads.

Reached Kuala Lumpur in about 10 hours. I think I can apply a license to drive an express bus now.

10 Advantages traveling with the members of the Supper Gang

You don’t have to tidy your room. Koon will do it for you.

You don’t have to worry about where to sleep. Koon and Kit will arrange the beds nicely for you.

You don’t have to carry your bags. Koon will do it for you.

You don’t have to book a room. Koon will walk in for you.

You don’t have to pay for breakfast. Gina will buy you breakfast by losing poker games.

You don’t have to worry about disturbance from the unknown. Kit has amulets to protect you.

You don’t have to worry about snacks. The Monk has a Santa bag of snacks for you.

You don’t have to drive. Gina has express bus license now.

You won’t feel bored. Koon and Kit will entertain you just by being themselves – squabbling old couple.

You don’t have to worry about getting lost. You just need to go straight and follow the signboards.

Gee.. didn’t know the Monk played such a petty role in this trip, yet he is the ultimate reason that I am here..

Inference from this trip

I have NO sex appeal. I hope this answer everyone’s curiosity.


Supper Gang Mafia

Related Stories: Post Mortem III, Post Mortem II, Post Mortem I, Ignorance is Bliss, Office Abuse of E-mails, Ain’t Love Grand?, Perhentian Trip: Preparation, Supper Gang: Revealed, Dream Interpreter, I dreamt of Absolut Vodka ,Supper Talk

PERHENTIAN TRIP: POST MORTEM III – ATTACK OF THE JELLY FISH

Sunday, Lily’s Chalet No. 6, Perhentian Kechil

5.35 a.m.

*Woke up. Shocked*

For three seconds, I didn’t have a clue of where I was. I saw the Monk lying next to my mattress. Only did I realized that I was in Perhentian.

The Monk: What are you doing?

*Blur. Didn’t bother to answer. Thinking he was talking in his sleep*

The Monk: WHAT are you doing?

Self: Uh Huh….Nothing…..

*Went back to sleep*

The Monk: Chih Sin. (Crazy in Cantonese)

He must be shocked seeing me shocked.

7.05 a.m.

The Monk: Wake up! Wake up! Let’s go jogging.

Self: Chih Sin!! Shuddup! Kit is still sleeping.

He has insomia.

7.30 a.m.

Woke up and went out to take some pics with the Monk. Not together. He was my photography subject, with clothes on.


The Monk taking a stroll in the morning


Friendly bird


What’s the story, morning glory?

8.00 a.m.

We packed our bags hastily as we couldn’t wait to get out from there. The Monk’s left foot was bitten by bed bugs. (Clean bed?) Eddie ferried us to the new place.

We left our bags at the reception to wait for the guests to check out and had breakfast at Watercolours. Koon said they used to have Malaysian breakfast – nasi lemak, RM3.50 fried rice, etc. Unfortunately, everything now is over commercialized. They emphasize more on Europeans tourists, offering continental breakfast instead.

Disgruntled, we attacked our breakfast sets with gusto- Two Sunny side up eggs, sausages, hash brown, bread, jam, butter and baked beans.

Self: Kit, can you please wipe your mouth and nose?

* A scene from Ally McBeal disgusted with her date’s lack of proper table manners suddenly flashed across my mind*

Kit: Not till I finish my breakfast.

Self: How can you eat with slime on your nose? (from the half cooked eggs)

The Monk seeing me being particular in table manners, decided not to mess up his eggs. He sipped his eggs by using straws. Einstein, eh? It was even more disgusting.

In between the breakfast, we tried to call Eddie for boat service to Pulau Rawa but to no avail. Pulau Rawa is located about 25 minutes from Perhentian Islands. There are also two more islands within the vicinity. Pulau Dada Besar and Kecil. We couldn’t get hold of him. Didn’t want to join other snorkeling group as there were so many people in one boat, and we had to follow their schedule. It was somewhat a packaged trip. The gang preferred impromptu. We decided to hire our own boat to get exclusive treatment, never mind the price.

After the hefty breakfast, Koon and Kit decided to go hunting. (Meaning – to ogle at girls – not Europeans, but Asians. They are racist voyeurs). The Monk and I decided to see if we could check in.

The friendly receptionist was looking all over for us and led us to our room. We were shocked to find that we had to climb flights of stairs, and the place was a maze! (I quote Clive^ – stories later), carrying everyone’s bags. The visit to the gym finally paid off.


Our Posh Chalet

We were delighted with what we see. Expensive curtains, carvings, marble toilet, water heater, pictures, etc. They even have thin curtains separating the sleep area from the sitting area. It was kinda posh. It felt more like a holiday now.

A knock was heard on the door after a brief moment of basking in our sheer good luck in securing this place last minute.

The Monk went to get it.

The Monk: EHH? Macam mana you tahu kita ada kat sini? (Malay: How did you know we are here?)

It was Eddie at the door. Clive^ (I think that is his name), a chap from Liverpool was with him.

Clive: It’s a maze out here! *Huff Puff*

After negotiation, we managed to get an exclusive trip to the islands (Rawa and Dadas) for RM50 per person. We had to go back to Perhentian Kechil to get the life jackets (Koon & Kit), fins (self)and mask (self)from Lazy Buoy Office. Koon and Kit regretted leaving this place the moment they spotted two topless ladies on Long Beach stretch. (Lily’s Chalet). The Monk and I couldn’t see clearly as we did not have our prescription glasses on.

The Monk: What topless women? Where?

Self: You are a monk, remember! See no evil!

There were lots to see at Pulau Rawa. Corals of all kinds at shallow waters. The moment you glide into the sea, you would actually scratch yourself if you were not careful. I almost crashed into some weird looking fish on top of the corals. Yucks. Luckily, I am not a D-Cupper.

This snorkeling trip was truly an exclusive one. When I was in Redang Island two years ago, I was with 22 friends. Now, only 3 friends. It freaked me out when I failed to locate human legs paddling in the waters nearby. It was so exclusive that you actually felt as if you have booked the entire sea to yourself. It was only between you, the sea and … something Great.

Was it a big shark lurking at a corner? Or was it King Neptune? Was it God? I don’t believe I would say this. I felt the presence of something potent during the entire snorkeling session which spook me shitless. I tried to be as close to Koon and Kit as possible. The life jackets made them slower and clumsier. Couldn’t keep up with the Monk as he was too hyperactive.

The moment I saw something looking like a jellyfish, I freaked out. I don’t mind Portuguese Egg Tarts floating in the sea, but not Portuguese Man O’War! The Monk was stung on his leg the moment he stepped out from the boat. It was just a small detached tentacle from some dead jelly fish, yet it hurt. I quickly swam back to the boat to avoid unnecessary pain.

I struck a conversation with Clive. (No, people, I am not menggataling) He would be here for ten weeks. He has been here for the past five weeks. I couldn’t really hear what he was trying to tell me as his Liverpool accent proved far too difficult for me to comprehend.


The Naked Monk 1/3 and Clive

We saw Kit frolicking in the sand on the shore. He ended up covered with sand from the head to his back.

Clive: What is he DUE-ing?

Self: Don’t ask me! He does the weirdest things.

*Looked embarrassed*

Then Kit climbed onto the rocky terrains on the shore skillfully.

Clive: He looked like a l’il MONG-key.

*Laugh*

When Koon and the L’il MONG-key returned to the boat, the Monk was nowhere in sight.

Eaten by sharks? *Gasp*


White Rocks on Blue Green Sea

Then we saw his blue snorkeling mask in between some rocks on the far left of the island. The sea was getting rough. And he was sticking his head (the upper one) in between the rocks. Worried that he wasn’t wearing a life jacket, we went to get him… fast.

Eddie: I wouldn’t do that if I were him! It’s dangerous.

Clive: He’s the CUEErious one, … EAY?

Self: Yeap. Curiosity kills the cat.

Clive laughed.

We hopped to another side of the island. Nothing much was there. The sky was not sunny. So there was low visibility at this point of time. We were back on boat in shorter time span.

Clive: It is kinDUH nice to sleep on the BOUAt. It RUCKs like a CRAEdle.

We passed by Pulau Dada Besar and Kecil. Thinking that we would be stopping for another snorkeling session, we were disappointed that we didn’t. It was too deep. The sight was beautiful though. Unfortunately, the cloudy sky did not permit us to stay any longer. We were heading to the spring water area again. Special request to get water for my hair wash. Most tap water in Perhentian is salty.


Spring water spot

Felt kinda ripped off towards the end of this trip. Lasted only about 2 ½ hours, yet cost us RM50 per head. Well, afterall it was a 50 minutes to-and-fro journey. Paying for petrol instead of more snorkeling spots. To prevent us from complaining, Eddie gave the skipper job to the Monk. You should see the silly smirk on the Monk’s face. He was as happy as a lark. It was easy to please this simple man. Told you. Eddie is an intelligent man.

When we were back in our chalet, we found a white frog on top of the door. I didn’t know frogs can climb? Thinking that this is the lucky frog that Feng Shui masters would kill for, Koon decided to buy 4D. Room number 881. There were 4 of us in the room. So he planned to buy 4881 and 8814, at RM5 per number. He requested Kit to call LB. A modest initial bet of RM10/- suddenly became a RM124/- bet. They hope to get back the money we paid Eddie for today’s trip. Even the Monk chipped in. So did I.


Not-so-lucky frog

Towards the evening, all of us were in a relax mood. We already planned to have dinner at Mama’s place even before we came to this part of the island. Sea food fest. RM10 per fish, irregardless size. The owner of this place is cool. He could remember every person’s face. He speaks French too. “Bon Appetit.. Merci..”

We ordered two fishes, a plate of medium sized shrimps, vegetables and some giant squids, four drinks, and half a dozen bottles of mineral water (1.5 litres). The Monk drinks like a camel. I didn’t know how did the bill derived at RM187/- when the fishes only cost RM10 each. Probably the giant squids and the shrimps. Then they started to tell sick jokes about sailors using squids as a relief when they were horny and lonely at the sea.

Dinner wasn’t that fantastic, but it was definitely the best food that we had for the past 2 days after leaving Kuala Lumpur. The Monk and Kit were feeling feverish towards the end of the dinner.


Creepy Hike

The walk back to our room was kinda creepy. It was dimly lighted, and we had to pass by the forest. You wouldn’t want to hike up and down again in the middle of the night. Thank goodness for attached bathrooms.

When you are in an island in the night, staying on the hilltop with NO neighbours and not having any sex, the next best thing to do, is to play poker or tell ghost stories. We chose the former as I am a chicken shit when it comes to ghost stories. I had the wildest imagination. If I watch a spooky movie or listen to ghost stories, I wouldn’t be able to sleep for a few nights, replaying whatever that was seen or told to a magnitude of 10x scarier.. worrying that the demons will sip through the window, walk through the door or appear from the mirror in the bathroom to grab me.

Related Stories: Post Mortem – Conclusion, Post Mortem II, Post Mortem I, Ignorance is Bliss, Office Abuse of E-mails, Ain’t Love Grand?, Perhentian Trip: Preparation, Supper Gang: Revealed, Dream Interpreter, I dreamt of Absolut Vodka ,Supper Talk

PERHENTIAN TRIP: POST MORTEM II – THE FIRST NIGHT

7.35 a.m.

Reached office too early this morning. Was supposed to go to the gym but I couldn’t locate my membership card. I thought I have left it in the drawer together with my heaps of lipsticks that I never bother to use. I spent about half an hour early this morning looking for it. Running up and down the staircase frantically searching at the 3 plastic drawers where I keep all my stuffs. So, I decided, since I will be late and also, I have climbed staircase so many times, I might as well don’t go to the gym. Also thanks to the closure of the Kepong-MRR2 highway that screw up everybody’s traveling schedule.

Ok ok.. back to my Perhentian story.

Saturday, 7 August 2004. Perhentian Kechil


Cute Mat Salleh checking out the Monk’s cute butt

On the boat….

Forgot to mention. I could swear that this Mat Salleh kept staring at the Monk’s butt when we stopped for awhile for a smaller boat to pick some passengers from our boat to the shore. He was very aroused by the sight of the old scars on the Monk’s left tendon as a result of a little accident in the toilet when he was 16. Don’t ask.

10.15 a.m.

We were relieved when we managed to locate a place to stay. Agonizing moments of thinking having to sleep on the shore, were soon over. Koon was still contemplating getting another place coz he didn’t like the shabby hut. When he walked back to tell us that there is a room available at Lily’s, he still had the cheek to ask us whether we would want to scout around longer for more choices. The Monk and I dropped our jaw in disbelief. We simultaneously screamed at him for being nonchalantly calm, picked up our bags and practically ran towards the chalet. Come to think of it, Koon sure is a good leader in time of crisis.

10.30 a.m.

Had brunch in the restaurant, eating the food we brought. Not much appetite after the long journey and also the frantic search for room. The boys were hungry lots. Guess God made men much simpler. Their brains consist of only two things:food and sex.

There were only a handful of Asians in this beach. Most of them are Mat and Minah Sallehs. We felt as if we were vacationing in their countries instead.


A Room with a View

11.15 a.m.

Checked into Lily’s Chalet No. 6. The place was a total rundown. The toilet was yucky. To make matter worse, the tap water was salt water. At least the bed looked clean – so it seemed.

True to what the Monk had said about Koon, he took the broom and started sweeping the sand out of the room, the verandah and the staircase. He even scolded us for not washing our feet properly. Koon, the strict disciplinarian of cleanliness.

Noon

The boys were overly enthusiastic to go snorkelling. They went on separate ways to get a boat service. The owner of Lily’s told us most boats were out since morning and we had to wait. We finally managed to get a boat service from Eddie, owner of Lazy Buoy. RM40 per person. Seven snorkelling spots. Sounded good. So, off we went.


Lazy Buoy Office

I was already half dead towards the end of the fourth spot. The sea was rough. We saw turtles, sea urchins, multi colored fish, sharks, etc. Hmmph.. did we see starfish? Some of us got bitten by planktons when we jumped into the sea of turtles (only two ekor lah). The bites gave you stinging sensation which made you think that you have cut yourself and emerge the wound in salt water. Uncomfortable, we were there for less than 10 minutes.

The highlight of the event was the visit to the spring water spot, near the fishing village. It’s a small spot of spring water. The water was cold as ice. Had a splashing time there. When I say, splashing time, I really mean splashing time. The Monk splashed all of us with the ice cold water. It’s refreshing after a long soak in sea water.


Eddie – the Boat Man

Had a chat with Eddie when the boys were in the 5th to the 7th spot as I was running low on energy (lack of sleep and food). I was amazed by his ability to speak French and English, computer literacy, and also he reads widely. Intelligent guy. He briefed me a bit on the things happening around the Perhentian Islands, about the discovery of some new species by a group of American scientists who are carrying out research in the islands’ forests for the past four months. A joint venture with PERHILITAN. This is exciting.

Eddie took us to Perhentian Besar to scout for a new place to stay. We finally got a place at Coral View Island Resort – as per our initial plan. Hillview. We were too happy that we didn’t even bother to check out the rooms. Koon and Kit couldn’t wait to come here as they were bored shitless of too much white flesh. They wanted to ogle at yellow or dark skin instead. Didn’t know that voyeurs could be racist?

5.30 p.m.

All of us were pooped towards the end of the day. Decided to call it a day after the seventh spot. Took turns to take bath. Coz of the salt water, my hair was so rough that the spikes stood out like wires. Couldn’t imagine sleeping with spikes on, I bought some filtered spring water from Eddie to wash my hair and take my bath. Imagine paying for fresh water to take bath.

My spendthrifts disgusted Koon. I let him to touch my hair (the one on the head, of coz) before and after the fresh water wash to feel the difference. He relented.

The Monk, being the first to take bath, already snoring away on the bed. Not knowing what to do, other than ogling at the Mat Sallehs playing volley ball, reading a book by Marquez – Love in the Time of Cholera, and sun bathing, I decided to take a nap too. Koon followed suit while Kit sat outside ogling at bikini clad ladies.

The Monk farted in the middle of his sleep. The silent and stinky type. It was as if the entire room had been gassed. I was too tired to even cover my nostrils. I had no choice but to doze off, inhaling the involuntary expulsion from his body.

8.00 p.m.

The Monk and I overslept. (Both of us drove most of the way). Koon and Kit were no longer in the room. I woke the Monk up for dinner. Just in case we had nothing to eat later should we didn’t go hunting for dinner now.

8.30 p.m.

The worst dinner ever. Kit was complaining about too much salt in his fried rice. The dinner was expensive and bland (except salty). To suit the taste of the Europeans, I guess. Everywhere you look, Americans, French, Italians, Dutch, etc. We were the only Asians having dinner in the restaurant.

We saw a group of six European girls, stranded in the island for being last minute in walking in to book rooms. We were baffled that Koon was not the King of Walk-In afterall. These girls were even more adventurous.

10.05 p.m.

After the salty dinner and a short stroll along the sandy white beach, we decided to play poker. Lucky thing, it’s not a strip poker, else I would be stripped bare to my bones. I lost after 2 hours of game and had to buy them breakfast the next day.

Before hitting the sack….

Self: Hey! How come there is a monk in the room?

The three of them looked alarmed. Three pairs of eyeballs searched frantically. Where? Where? Where?

I pointed at the pic of a monk above the fan moderator.

They heaved a sigh of relief. It belonged to Kit. A charm to keep us safe.

P/S Lily’s Chalet was formerly Long Beach Inn. Change of management.. no wonder.

Related Stories: Post Mortem – Conclusion, Post Mortem III Post Mortem I, Ignorance is Bliss, Office Abuse of E-mails, Ain’t Love Grand?, Perhentian Trip: Preparation, Supper Gang: Revealed, Dream Interpreter, I dreamt of Absolut Vodka ,Supper Talk