Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Perak Trip Part 1: Caving in the Cathedral

I woke up to the annoying sound of a door bell repeatedly pressed, I dash out of the sofa to answer it as that is the one way to stop it that I could think of at that point, was way too tired to think I was tired mainly because I've slept only for 2 hours, was at a birthday party, got home pretty late and I still had to pack when I got home. I opened the door and found Aaron, still got to wait for 2 more guys and wake one up.

Despite the havoc, we managed to get on the road and found ourselves at the first check point in Sungkai, that's where we group up with our other comrades, actually we are late to arrive, we did stop by the road side because Linus saw a tree full of horn bills, all of us find it hard to believe, if someone were to tell me that he saw a tree full of horn bills I'd call him a loony but after seeing it for myself it has rendered me speechless.

So at Sungkai we group up, had our breakfast (Best wanton noodle!) and off we go to Gopeng toll where we are suppose to meet up with our caving guide. A quick chat later and we are off to the location but before arriving the guide decided to show us the local fire station... 3 TIMES!!!
The people in my car are already having second thoughts about this one but we manage to find the place eventually.

Gua Kanthan is located near Chemor, the main town in Kinta District of Perak, the biggest landmark to the place is the Lafarge Malayan Cement Quarry, some where in that area is an unpaved road that leads to an unknown location but you'll see the place on the left across a few ponds dug for farming fishes.

After putting on our boots and some basic gears, we hiked our way into the jungle heading for the cave's entrance. It was quite a short hike not more then 20 minutes till we see the cave, it is after we climb down to the entrance that we know why is it nicknamed the Cathedral cave, it's walls are tall and ceilings are high, we followed the guide deeper in to the cave, at one point we needed to climb our way down with the help of a rope, not much of a deal for me but I was feeling rather uncomfortable after seeing how the ropes were actually being pass as secure by the guide, I decided to give it a little "tweaking" as a precaution.

After climbing down a steep slope and we negotiate our way and found ourselves at a river like pond that is about 6 feet wide, the challenge now is to walk across it on a 4 inches by 2 inches wooden plank, the good thing is that it is next to a wall so you could actually hold on to that to balance while crossing.

Right after the "bridge crossing", we arrived at a point of the cave where at the very top of the ceiling there is a hole that lets in a single ray of light that lights up one small spot in darkness. That point onwards there is nothing worth mentioning, our guide wasn't close to decent in making the trip exciting.

So we turn back after reaching the end of the cave, bored and uninspired, the 2 dumb ass of the group decided to do something fun, on the way back Linus and I decided not to walk on the wooden plank to cross the "river" nor will we jump across.
We decided the best thing to do is to jump in to the water, there I learn a valuable lesson which is never jump in to any form of stagnant water, the mud under the water quickly stir up as soon as my feet touches the gooey bottom, in a cave like that, who knows how much guano is in there.

Have a Great Year,

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lock and Load: Gua Kanthan Preparations

Just finished packing for Gua Kanthan and Perak trip, this is gonna be a combo trip because it involves caving, camping, river boarding, and famous food hunting. While I was packing, I felt as if I missed out something. Well, I'm going to a caving trip and most of my caving trips I'ld prefer wearing my good ol' cargo pants, it took me 30 minutes to find them with a nasty surprise.

The best way to describe my beloved cargo pants is to say it's a soldier with plenty of battle scars, reliable and trusty, however the bottom part of the pants are really torned up yet I loved them as it is, it's material is light and comfortable, perfect for hiking plus it dries up really quick too.
What I didn't know was that my mom who was trying to be kind helped me "fix" my cargo pants by cutting off the entire bottom part off turning it in to a 3 quarter pants... I guess old trusty had lost all it's meaning.
Still I got to find a pair of pants that I could torture really quick so after going through my closet I found an old pair of pants...

Not as much pockets as the ones I like, it's made of a thicker material and I'm not sure if it could dry quickly.
Well, I guess there is only one way to find out.

I'll be back on the 30th to celebrate New Year.

Have A Great New Year

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Food for Thought : My Midnight Dinner


It's 1.30AM, I didn't have my dinner earlier since I was already darn tired from driving around going from one location to another to help escort and deliver necessities to a few orphanages or homes, having a psychotic sister banging on the door while I was already sleeping killed the mood, so to my beloved sister who rudely woke me up from my much needed slumber here's my message to you.
I already told you, don't give me any of your last minute "I-need-you-to-drive-me-somewhere" bullshit, inform me at least a day before, not 5 minutes before you need to leave. Plus, my door is already very old and fragile it cannot take any more of your mindless banging.
IT'S BLOODY COMMON SENSE!!! Knock on my door and if I don't answer that means I'm sleeping and you'll have to find yourself another option to take care of whatever that you want me to handle. I know this should be said in a more personal way but I've already tried many methods countless times and I'm already running out of ideas on how to effectively drill this into her head.
Now that I got that off my chest I must continue with the intended topic.
It was lunch time when I was at one of the home, there's not much for me to do so I helped by serving sup to the kids. When I serve the last bowl of sup, the food on the kids' plate caught my eye.
It's rice cooked with either chili or tomato and long beans, some eggs perhaps, not too sure but it didn't look appealing to me even thou I didn't have much of a lunch, I wondered how it really taste like but I dare not question the chef or housekeeper's cooking, the children seems to enjoy it thou, at least they said that it's nice but honestly I don't think I would eat that unless I really have to. I know... I feel like a real asshole for thinking like that, I do feel bad about it too.

Have A Great Day

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Batu Maloi Revisit

About a week ago, Timmy called me up and tells me that he wants to bring a group to Batu Maloi coming Saturday and he wants me to help organize the trip, it's a last minute thing but since there are no plans for the weekends, I told him that I'm up for it, so I called up the Guide Leader or the person in charge in Batu Maloi to make the arrangements.
On trip day, 6 person including myself show up at the meeting point near Asia Jaya LRT station. We had our breakfast and head south towards the Malacca and Negeri Sembilan borders for Batu Maloi, even thou I've been there once I still couldn't recall how to get there and that other time my group took a different route so armed only with the directions we braved the highways.
All goes well for the first hour and half but confusion sets in later, not bringing a map or a GPS proves to be a big mistake, for some reason we got ourselves lost in Kampung Tampin but I guess that's what makes it fun in the first place.
After a few U-turns and asking for directions at the petrol station, I've managed to drive to a familiar place in Kampung Tanggai, a 15 minutes drive later we've arrived at Batu Maloi.
The guide leader was already there waiting for us, wasting no time he promptly introduce himself to the rest of the group and gave us all a briefing before we enter. He did warn us about the water level as it was raining the night before, I guess I cannot expect crystal clear river water for this trip.
At about 9.45AM, the guide informs us that it was time to move, we started hiking towards the cave entrance the walk there is a short one, we reached the same entrance where I started the last time but the guide told us that we are not going to take this one. I got confused when he started to walk away from the area and asked us to follow, what I don't know is that there this cave have multiple entrance and the guide lead us to another one just behind the one I used the last time but it still leads to the same place, but it's a little more challenging this time because the water is murky, non of us could see or judge how deep the water is unless we go in the water ourselves. Some part of the cave bares prove of the water level the night before when we saw the marks and we all knew that it is not funny to get stuck in there when it's raining heavily, as a matter of fact, some parts of the cave where I've been to the last time was actually inaccessible even thou the water level was only slightly higher it actually made the water flow stronger and faster, yet for me it was still fun and the rest thinks so too, they even made a request to go there again to camp and finish off all 24 check points.
Personally, I think it's a good idea.

Have a Great Day

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bloody sunday

I woke up to a ringing phone and an annoying pain in my throat, I wasn't sure how I got it but the ringing phone tells me that I have matters to attend to, I picked up my cellphone to have a look at the caller's ID, it was from a friend and my guess that this is not going to be an interesting call to answer.
I answered the call and got my guess right, it's a tech support call and I get to play the support center representative.The conversation didn't last more then 3 minutes, I put the phone down and try to go back to sleep but I couldn't seem to sleep any longer.
The ticking sound from my wall clock echos in my head, nagging at me to check the time.
I complied.
It was already 2.15PM, my sleeping time is completely screwed, I gotta fix it but first I have to fix myself up, had to wash up and grab a bite.
Right after I managed that, my mother made me send my sister for cheer leading practice.
I agreed to it as I like driving, I just hate it when it's time to drive home so instead of driving back home, I drove to the highway and spent some time there, driving myself somewhere, thinking about life, death, love, money, the future, I'm driving myself insane, the annoying pain in my throat is not helping at all. I need to do something, I need to distract myself, I need to get a hair cut.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Batu Maloi Caves

A good breakfast at the Pasar Besar Seremban and about an hour worth of drive later we found ourselves in Gunung Tampin Forest Reserves where our next adventure awaits.

The sign

Batu Maloi Caves is an unique cave that is formed beneath a whole lot of huge boulders, it is about 1 kilometer in length and a stream that runs along the cave, exploring the caves is easy for the fit however for individuals who lacks stamina and have a size issue will have a hell lots of problem trying to navigate in these caves as there are many tight spots and crazy bends.

The entrance

Our guide start us up by giving us a briefing of the do and don't, whats and what's not etc (Clearly I wasn't paying attention at the time).
After the briefing, we followed our guide and hiked into the forest heading towards the cave entrance. Which looks as unimpressive as a gap between 2 very large boulders, I thought that there must be a mistake when the guide says that we are going to crawl in between the gap. Trusting the guide we follow and soon we find ourselves in between more boulders, only difference is that it is getting darker and darker, it became clear that we are going underground.

I don't really know how to describe more about this trip but I will say that it is really impressive to see the formation of this unique cave and the abundance of wildlife in it really makes the trip interesting, it's a cold, wet and dark experience in a fun way, don't expect to stay dry thou.

Have a Great Day

Friday, October 31, 2008

Road to Lata Kijang

Convoy at rest

The plans were made, Lata Kijang located off Kampung Chennah within Negeri Sembilan. The group meet up at the meet up point at 7am 8am in the morning, a quick breakfast, briefing, petrol and air check later we are off to the place where we are supposed to meet up with the people who are going to drive us in using a pick-up truck and a lorry.

Lorry group picture

Sitting in the back of the lorry gives me a mix experience. At first it seems fun and all as the whole bunch of us were just jumping, shouting and trying to dodge log hanging branch but after a while I begin to realized how uncomfortable it is to be in the back of the lorry,to endure an hour of this is enough to drive me nuts, think about the people who do this to go to their work place to earn a living.
Our destination (Lata Kijang) is 20KM away from the starting point, the issue is that no one says that it's gonna be a smooth ride. I already expected it because I've been there a year earlier and at that time there were no tar or gravel road leading to the place, it was a muddy, bumpy 4x4 ride the last time.
Now it's all changed, there is a tar road there now. It's not really suitable for the conventional sedan, but it's still pretty decent, even the scary bridge which has the potential to trap my group for the previous visit is now repaired... no more fun there.

Lata Kijang

More then an hour later, we found ourselves at Lata Kijang and we can't wait to get into the water. There were a crowd there even before we arrive, seems like a group of 60-80 students from some university's nature club, too bad that I had to tell one of them that the group shouldn't use shampoo at the waterfall as this might cause some environmental damage. Unfortunately, there were more of them there to shampoo their hair, one fat and ugly girl in particular was spotted giving herself a facial by the falls, I should had just shouted to her that even God couldn't help her.
Eventually they left leaving the waterfall for ourselves, I'm not sure if they noticed that they had been washing their face and hair with water stained by my pee thou, but that's not important anymore.

On strike

After spending a few hours enjoying the waterfall and mother nature's offering. We set off to the place where the lorry dropped us, waiting to be picked up and head out to our cars. The driver said that he'll pick us up at 3pm. we waited till 4pm and there is no way we can contact him, so it was decided that we should start trekking.
However, there is no way that any of us could survive the 4 hours track back and be able to attend the next event on the following day so the choice was made that we are to trek to the near by camp site that was occupied by a charitable 4x4 group from Malacca called Puma 4x4 club (http://www.puma4x4club.com) for help.

Saved by the club

With the help of their leader and the PR manager, we were all safely transported back to the starting point.
For me this trip was good but it is sad to see how much damage a road can cause to the environment.

Have a Great Day

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chilling Falls: She is calling me

Sacred map to Chilling

Aurelius called me up on Friday to see if I'm interested to pay Chilling Falls a visit on the following day, even thou it's a sudden plan and we have another trip on Sunday and Monday I'm game for it.
Chilling Falls is located about 30KM off Kuala Kubu Baharu, Hulu Selangor heading towards Fraser's hills. I first visited the falls back in the early 90's and it is one of the first waterfalls that I've been to.
When I first visited the place, there was nothing but jungles, river and wild life, today it is a fish sanctuary with toilets, guard house, an odd looking 2 story building, trash cans a suspension bridge all recently build by our beloved Malaysian Government's fishery department.

River Crossing
The trail there is simple, start by registering yourself at the guard house located in the "fishy" Department, there you will see a suspension bridge that you'll can't miss unless you are blind.
After crossing the bridge, we come to this "Cross Junction", this is the only confusing part because it looks as if there is a stream moving across the trail, going straight will lead you to a dead end, take a left turn there and go against the water flow. From there we just follow the trail and cross the river at marked crossing point, a 45 minutes to an hour worth of hiking later, the majestic Chilling falls is in sight, still as beautiful as the first time I see her.

She just makes me want to jump in

Group picture

Have A Great Day

Monday, October 6, 2008

Broga Hill Trip

It was 4AM and I was already out of bed and driving in a convoy, taking on the role of a sweeper who's primary duty is to make sure no cars leaves the convoy and to inform the Trip Leader if there is any thing wrong or if any of the cars in the convoy couldn't catch up. Really not a typical thing to do on a Saturday morning, but somebody has to do it. It was quite a challenge to keep the convoy together yet even God makes it more difficult for me to control the convoy for it was rain quite heavily, I can't help but to smile thinking that the Gods are making it hard for me so that I can become better.
Trip Leader wasn't too sure of the directions so we did take a longer route to the destination,we took a detour in to Kajang to our starting point which is a very run down Rabbit farm somewhere in Broga.

It was still raining, but it was no concern to me because I already knew that my bunch are real nutcases and there is no way a little rain is going to stop us. A few of the new comers had to leave thou, one of them isn't feeling well and there is no point for her to risk it as it might make things worst for her, it's really a pity having to turn back after coming this far.
Off they go leaving the group on their way home, the rest of us got ready and we marched in to the palm oil plantation where the trail begins.
Upon crossing the plantation we meet an open field which has a track which leads us right in to a jungle, to me it was just too easy, moving at my own pace I made one mistake, I forgotten to make sure the group could keep up.
After clearing the jungle I arrived at a field full of tall grass which has a uphill trail leading to the top of the hill. At this point I realized that it had finally stopped raining, I waited a little while for the team to regroup and try to reach my way up as quick as I can, I just wanted to do that not only because I can but I also wanted to make it a little more challenging for myself.

Sun rise, as viewed from the hill

Alone on the hill sitting on a rock

I managed to reach to the top very quickly while the rest are still quite a distance behind, instead of being happy about my achievement of reaching to the peak quicker then the rest, I kept asking myself "Now what?".
Yea, I am first to summit, so what? I'm still alone. What's the point of making it up so quick alone? It'll be lame if I were to celebrate up here alone.
I look down and see the rest of the group still struggling to make their way up, usually on uphill climbs I always assist those who need help, however this time I realized that my selfishness is my downfall, that point on I thought that it would be more meaningful if I were to assisted the group to reach the summit.

Group in the morning sun

A lesson and a new experience was my reward for this trip, the rest is a gift.

Have A Great Day

Kanching falls: Everybody knows there's something wrong

Someone being himself
The Kanching Falls are located between Kuala Lumpur and Rawang in Selangor, Malaysia. The waterfalls consist of seven tiers. A well-maintained recreation park gives access to the lower falls, to reach the upper falls some scrambling uphill is required. It is one of the popular tourist destinations of Kuala Lumpur.
- Quote from Wikipedia

This marks the location

Made a trip to Kanching Falls last Thursday, the fact that it is a seven tier waterfall gets me excited, so I go expecting something spectacular and here are some of the things I found about the Park.

A view of the park, there is electricity in the facility

The park can be reach by bus, a few hypermarket can be found nearby too

Rubbish bins are found all over the facility to keep the place CLEAN

The water is cool and "clean"

So we hiked all he way up to the top of the fall and found the water source we took some pictures , hang out there for a while and then head back home.

Camwhoring as usual

Was it a good trip? I'll just say it's not worth the Ringgit we paid to enter the park.

Have a Great Day

Road Trip: Penang

There's nothing like a food hunting trip with a group of friends.

Have a Great Day

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Geruntum Falls

Part of our plan for Lata Puteh trip was that we would visit a waterfall before we head back home, so Geruntum falls located in Ulu Geroh was our destination. We drove on to a small road in KampunG Geruntum till we found a few small bamboo hut which marks the start of our trail. In less then 30 seconds on to the trail, we saw a waterfall...

Lower tier

What we saw wasn't what we came for, we wanted more, we wanted the waterfall on the upper tier. So we followed a marker thinking that it is the start of the trail, but we soon found out it's not as there is no trail and the climb up was extremely steep. So we tried to find another alternative which was just a few meters away from us, there is a proper trail with nylon rope along it. We took that trail and in about 10 minutes we reach our destination.

The goal
Posers and the prize

I'm feeling lazy to describe further so I'm just gonna leave this to your own imagination. :)

Have A Great Day

Conquering Lata Puteh

it's 3 A.M. and I'm still awake, can't really sleep and there is no point in sleeping anytime soon because the gang (Aurelius, Ai Ling, Chris, Seen and Eagle) will be arriving soon and we'll be leaving for Ipoh anytime soon, I couldn't remember much about the journey but I do remember me swearing and cursing at the driver and waking up for breakfast in Ipoh, that's where we meet up with the Ipoh group for our trip to Lata Puteh.
After breakfast, we drove about an hour (maybe more) to reach our destination even thou we made a few U-turns courtesy of Aurelius.
We parked our cars at the water catchment facility by the road, this is when a crappy looking van which is making it's way in to the water catchment facility suddenly stopped near us, the driver asked us what were we doing there in a very rude tone, I told the driver that we are going to the waterfall and for some reason the driver said that we cannot go in and asked us to go home - Parliament member style. Good (or bad) thing that Aurelius actually had me backed down and have himself reasoning with the moron. It makes no sense to me because the place is known as a tourist destination, there is even a sign there that states that clearly, no way this water bug is gonna stop us .

When we read this...

and see this...

We smile like this.

Eventually, Aurelius got the moron to go away and leave us to our business, everyone got in to their gears, and after a short briefing by Aurelius. We started heading towards the waterfall, visible but quite inaccessible, there was a trail following some water pipes but it didn't really bring us close to the waterfall, only confusion. There is no trail to be spotted so in order not to waste the group energy, our navigator, Aurelius, deploys his scout which happens to be me. I head to a few directions and there were no trail still, so the next logical thing to do is to make my own, so... out comes the 18" machete and it's bush whacking time, it's not easy considering the fact that there is a lot a uphill climbs and there is a large number of people I have to watch over for safety but as long as I know the direction to the waterfall, we can't go wrong.

It's a good thing that Linus didn't follow or else we'll won't have the rope to climb if we tie him up

After about maybe 2 hours of bush whacking, hiking and climbing, we finally managed to reached the waterfall. One so spectacular that it took my breath away literally.

Seen: I think your camera shutter got problem, nice effect thou

Picture doesn't do justice to the waterfall's size and power, still beautiful it is

At the base of the waterfall it is very windy as massive amount of water kept pushing the air as it falls, there was no pool to dip in but there isn't a need for one, you don't really need to be close to the waterfall to get wet, the wind does all the work for you.
I must say that even thou the accessibility was a bit tricky, the team work and the patience of the group was very well rewarded.

Have A Great Day

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Search for Batangsi Falls: Part 2

Right after our doomed attempt to find Batangsi Falls, Aurelius decided right away that we should go for a second attempt to explore and find the waterfall and tag it's coordinates. It is no walk in the park that's for sure, so it is decided that we bring only the fittest, experienced and have as little people as possible in this trip so that we could cover more ground (or water in this case). The participants of this trip consist of the organizer Aurelius (Organizer), Chris(Wild boar curry specialist), Jan (Webmaster of Waterfalls of Malaysia), Ping(Photographer Extraordinaire), and myself (Escaped Zoo Monkey)

(From Left to Right) Ping, Jen, Aurelius and Chris

At about 9am, we started exploring the river from the point where we gave up on our first attempt, it's not that we don't want to trek on land but with the amount of foliage it makes trying to negotiate the obstacles extremely difficult and slow, so we trek in the water all the way upstream, this is very difficult and tiring as well but looking at this in a positive point of view, there is no way we can miss the waterfall (If there is ever one).

This is what's it looks like to trek in river

As we trek, we keep finding fast flowing river rapids which are challenging and dangerous to navigate trough, we never consider them as waterfalls because they are not even 2 stories tall and they are not worthy enough for me at least.

One of the larger river rapids we came across

Jan's Batangsi fall

We trek till about 1pm, with no sight of waterfall we decided to turn back as it was getting late took us about 3 to 4 hours to get back to our starting point, right before we leave, Jan show us what he suspect as the Batangsi fall, just another rapid... I guess we have to come a third time.

Have a Great Day