Sunday, May 27, 2012

Padas River White Water Rafting 20 May 2012

So.. Finally!!! \(^^)/ 

Okay.. I've been trying to make this rafting trip a reality twice but both were cancelled. So, this was my third attempt. I was praying hard a few days before that especially when I heard that the antique train broke 2 days before the trip. Alhamdulillah it was all fixed on that hot sunny Sunday.



I woke up at 5am and asked my dad to send me to Wisma Sabah; we were suppose to meet up there at 5.20 am. Yup, it's that early because we have to catch a train from Beaufort to Tenom that'll depart at 7.50 am and the journey to Beaufort from KK is about 1.5 hours, depending on traffic..But.. there were two late comers so we departed at 6.30 am instead.



So this is the antique train that I was so excited about. It is still pulled by a locomotive that's powered by steam. According to a local that I met there, a few years back this train was still using coal for power! There were only three coaches and this is actually the last coach. "This is old.." I said to Z when the train start to move. It jolted and rattled throughout the journey. That's not comfortable is it?? But that's the bliss of being in an antique train (^^)



So along the way, the passengers were alighted at train stops like the one in this pic. The most amazing thing is that this train can just suddenly stop to pick up passengers too! Macam taxi!



The scenery was superb. You can see local houses if you are seated on the left side; unpainted, rugged-looking, isolated BUT with ASTRO! And if you are seated on the right, you have the flowing Padas River to accompany you along the journey.



This is a picture I took from the right side of the coach. See those steam emitted by Mr. LOCO! (I named it Mr. LOCO :P) The first stop was in Halogilat station where we moved into a two coach train that looks twice ancient than the first one. I was so shocked! (excited punya shock). The first coach have seats in it and the second one only have a wooden bench in the middle. When I stepped into the last coach my jaw dropped because it was all rusty and the door was jammed and wide opened. Told Z, "Tau suda aku apa rasanya naek train dalam filem Shah Rukh Khan.."



The train was not full so we can sit on the floor. Hadie sat at the door. I'd wanted to but it seems like everybody wanted to sit at the door. I guess, It's like a first class since you'll get the prettiest view there


The scenery along the way was splendid.. Everything look so pure and untouched. You can hear the gurgling sound of the river rapids. The sounds of birds plus all the greenery all around. Z said, "Actually train journey ni pon suda cukup meanigful.." And she's damn right! (^^)




 So, before we reach the starting point, we stopped in Rayoh station to put our stuffs there. From this point you're only allowed to bring waterproof stuffs. If you have a non waterproof camera, the guide will help you to keep it in their waterproof bag.You can bring your phone if you want but there's no use of doing that because there'll be no signal. 



Rayoh is a very beautiful place and the air is like extremely fresh. 

"Bole ka aku buat holiday home di sini?"

It is in no doubt far from all the modern stuffs that you can get in the city but this place is a perfect getaway place. When I was there, I feel so content with what's around me and my shoulder feels lighter. Superb.. memang superb.. except for the dogs that wander around and scared the hell out of me la hehe



So for the last leg of our journey, I rushed to the train to get the 'first class' seat \(^^)/ berjaya!!!!!!!



This time there were no train stops. The locals just stand beside the railroad, wave their hands and the train would just stop! The train was DEAD SLOW that the locals can just jump out from it at their destination. 




DEAD SLOW 


This is one of the rapids that I manage to snap from the 'first class' seat. it doesn't look that intimidating, right? Wait until you're in the boat.. Then you know how strong the current is!



This is the group that I went with and this is Pangi where the starting point is. They're actually students and one of them did her internship in Z's place.



We geared up; wore a life jacket and a helmet. Listened to a simple briefing and then off we go. See how they carry the boats. The put them on this plank that have steel wheels and just push it to the starting point



We got the brand new yellow boat. I think it is named Cobra because I overheard a guide from another boat asked "Kamu pakai Cobra ka?" Yup.. So I guessed that's the boat's name :P It is one sturdy-looking boat. "Tagap boat kita ni Z!" 


There are some 'warm up' rapids in the beginning and there is one spot where they allow you to go for a swim. It's like for the water confident. This picture on top is another spot where the current is much stronger than the first spot so I was drifting very fast and I told the guide I want to always be beside him (romantic kan?? hahaha). There were small rapids too where we did body rafting! \(^^)/
 Below are some pics at the rapids



There are 7 rapids all together.

Headhunter, Lambda, Cobra, Washing Machine, Mickey mouse.. Can't remember another 2 :P





Below is the picture in Washing Machine.. 


I also fell into the river :P 



According to a friend, the rapid was only grade 3 when I went so I'm planning to go again during the rainy season. It's good though to experience the first one while it is in the smaller rapid mode because I get to enjoy the surrounding more since it took a longer time to finish. If it's in grade 4, the rafting will only take about an hour plus while the one we did took a good 2 hours to finish :)

So, here I am.. All tanned.. These days I just refuse to apply sunblock because I know I'll add them melanin up every two weeks.. Can't wait to explore more of Sabah.. Borneo is a stealer of hearts


GG: Z, kalo tempat ni kena develop, I'll be against it..
Z: Ko wat la petition.. Suruh orang sign
GG: Ya.. Lepas tu menang Nobel Prize :P


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kundasang & Ranau; Mother's day trip

I'm never good with dates.. So I actually don't remember the date for Mother's Day. Heard it on the radio and since my mom was coming over the weekend for some reunion and I extremely miss the mountain so I made a last minute plan to have an overnight in Kundasang with my dearest Mom. But then, she told me to bring along my cousin because according to her "We are always the three stooges!" (-_-") I was like, "What!??"


Anyway, I made this trip a leisure one. No muscle straining activities, just a little bit of sweating. So advice number one, book your accommodation EARLY!!!!!!!! Since this was a last minute plan, I tried to book the hotel room a day before the trip. Bijak kan!??? It was a weekend so ALL of the cheaper lodgings were fully booked! At first, I thought they only deny phone bookings and I asked whether I can just walk in and ask for a room on Saturday.. The reply I got from ALL of them were.. *Sabahan slang*

"Miss. Kalau kita datang walk-in pun kami tia buli jamin o.." So, there was no chance for me to get a room even if I walk in. Ces! So I have to search for the more expensive ones. My mom said we could just stay in Ranau but I insist that I want a room that face the mountain and the mountain should be the first thing I see when I wake up haha I can be this demanding, you now :p So finally I booked online a room in Kinabalu Park Hotel



We departed from KK quite late that Saturday because of my mom's reunion so it was a relief to have booked the hotel online.. BUT, when I got there, there were quite a number of cancellations that day so they've reduced the price of the room to rm300 and I've paid an extra rm140 online (-_-") urgh! but never mind... (^^) O ya,, this price includes breakfast. 



I actually didn't regret paying extra money for the room since it is situated where I expect it to be; inside Kinabalu Park and facing the mountain. It was cloudy when we put our things in so I wasn't that ecstatic that evening but was happy that it was cozy and spacious. And most importantly, the soothing cold temperature (^^) Finally away from the city daunting heat! So, after putting our things, we head to Kundasang for some sight seeing



We went to the cattle farm in Mesilau \(^^)/ Okay, advice number two, if anybody (for instance your cousin) tells you that your car can't climb the steep hill, don't you ever believe them! When I said I wanted to go to Mesilau, my cousin was against it because she said, "Nda tenaek tu kreta ko..". Knowing her as a less optimistic person than I am, I said to her, "Kita naek jak. Jaga ko kalo kreta aku tenaek ah!" And then voila, my awesome orange myvi climbed the hill with ease.. "Uish gagah bha ni myvi aku!!!!!" 

So what can you see in the cattle farm; the black and white milk-producing cows! We were lucky enough to see the milking process. The cows lined up in two rows and was fed with some formula as the milking machine does ist work. The cows were very obedient but what amazed me most was when I saw a cow scratched its ear with its back limb!!!!!!! I was so surprised to see  it that I forgot to snap a pic. I always thought they cannot extend their back limb that far with all those fats on their belly haha




So what's so special about Mesilau is of course the scenery. You can see the other side of the mountain. I say, the view is even more beautiful from this side because this is actually the deep ravine and the pointed rocks that you can see from the peak. Breathtaking...



So this is the view of the cattle farm compound. Green green grass all around for the cows to feed on.. Right in front of this fence is actually a gravel road and just across are the staff houses. And why I'm describing this is because you can buy flowers at cheaper price from the staff. My mom was doing her flower shopping when I pose for this konon2 ayu pic. 


Next, we went  to the War Memorial. There's an entrance fee but I can't remember how much because my cousin went to pay it but it should not be more than RM3





What's inside? 3 beautiful gardens; Australian, English and Borneo garden. Newspaper cuttings; some about how they founded this war memorial and I remember seeing a picture of the first Dusun who conquered Mount Kinabalu peak. There were some memorial plates for the soldiers who died during the Confrontation and the Sandakan Death March. 

I have suggestion for this place (pandai2 jak kan :P) I think they should put the chronology of all the events so that visitors could really appreciate the sacrifices the soldiers made. The newspaper cuttings were all scattered so I can't really understand the flow and I think most of it was about the opening of the place rather than history. The memorial plates did mention the names of the events like the Sandakan Death March and Confrontation but I wasn't sure of the history until I googled it at home. They should have the chronology like the one written on this wall at Gaya Street. That'll make it be more interesting :)



After the war memorial, we went back to Kinabalu Park and had our dinner at this small restaurant situated right in front of the park's entrance. Surprisingly cheap and the food was good but I was too dizzy and nauseous to enjoy it. Swallowed one tablet Maxolon and went straight to bed when we reached our room.

So actually, I got what I wanted. The above pic is the view from our door. Just like what I'd imagined.


We can even see Laban Rata and Pendant Hut  \(^^)/

So from my opinion, If you want the closest view of the mountain , you should opt for the Kinabalu park Hotel. there are other cheaper hotels nearby, but you wont get this view. You still can see the mountain but not this close.


So I took my family for a walk in the park that morning. Walked the short trails to see flowers and some insects. And finally we had buffet breakfast in the Balsam Restaurant. Since the breakfast included with the room is for two, so I'd to pay another RM 45.40 for my cousin. The food is good. A mixture of oriental and american breakfast. 


Next we went to the Sabah Tea farm. Nothing much because it was not the time for the harvest and no tea processing was done at that hour. So we just walk around under the scorching sun and took some pics.


Next we went to the Tagal Sungai Moroli, Kg Luanti which is famous with the fish massage located just next to the tea farm entrance. We paid RM 5 for a 15 minutes session with the fish. I know they are huge fish before we arrive so I already said that I wont dip my leg inside the river. My cousin thought they are small and was excited. So finally, when we were there, my cousin just sit at the river  bank and watch and I went to have a dip. . But of course, I screamed a lot when I had my first dip and this time out of fear and not excitement. It was horrific at first with all those fish as big as my calf swarming my legs. But then I got used to the tingling as their slippery skin brush against my skin


Before we went home, I manage to pull my cousin into the river. She was too scared to even look at the camera.

We were suppose to drive to Mesilau trail after that but suddenly there was a heavy downpour. So, we decided to head back to KK to avoid thick fog after the rain.. (^^)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Am I Backward??

Hurm.. Nowadays I'm just sick of those rants posted on FB about the current political situation.. I've no urge to take any part in it. I choose not to be on any side. But I'm compelled to write this tonight in response to this status update that I came across that says something like 

"Sabahans are backward because they are not aware of the current situation and that's why they don't resist.."

I was like.. "WHAT DA!???? Am I backward just because I'm not in your side?? I'm a degree holder, dude! How come you say I'm backward!!"

Terasa bha! I'm a Sabahan.. 

Everybody has their own opinion and stands. Here's mine,

1. I'm afraid of change...

I read a lot.. I don't only read fictions. I also read about the rise and fall of other nations. Change can be good but it can also be bitter.. We don't need to look far.. Look at some countries in Asia itself... Some have won their fight some thirty to forty years ago.. They've devoured the change they've craved.. But why are they still struggling for stability. Why they still flee from their country and make a better living in a foreign land... I just read about a history of another country in another continent in which the leader that the people had elected to make a change finally betrayed his own people. He provoked civil war to gain riches for his own..

But still, like I said, change can be good. One country become an economic giant just because its leader choose to make a change.. 

The problem is.. I don't know what kind of change is coming ahead.. I just don't want to contribute to bad changes.. That's why I don't take any sides...

2. I believe in MJ's words "If you wanna make the the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change"

There are two nations in our continent who are famous of their fast development in knowledge, economic and technology. One of them even had a massive destruction in the 50's due to civil war. What are the similarities of these two nations?? Discipline, integrity, hard work, perseverance and a long list of all the good ethics thingy. An ethical leader is of prime importance (ayat buku text zaman undergraduate), but to make a massive constructive change, we need the whole nation to do so...

We complaint and condemn of the upper rankings for corruptions, slander and whatnot, but have we fulfilled our own responsibility accordingly with the highest and uppermost standard of discipline...??? Hurm.. ponder ponder, Haziah...


3. I choose a different path...

2 years ago, I said I don't want to return to Sabah to work. I applied for Selangor, KL and Putrajaya.. But today, if you ask me to leave Sabah.. I just won't.. I fell in love with my own land...

I'm actually from a middle class family and my friends are mostly from the middle class too and some are rich ones. I have some collections of barbies and polly pockets during my childhood, enrolled into a boarding school and befriended bright students and during my study in West Malaysia the air ticket back to Sabah was never a problem. Not boasting; just to describe to you a little bit about my economic status. So, yeah, I've been living in comfortable zone for many many years. If you ask me of the rural places in Sabah back then, I don't know any of them. It even surprised me when I saw that there are still places that are not accessible by road in Sabah on TV.


Working in Sabah is an eye opener. I can see that some parts of Sabah is deprived from development and is quite far behind compared to West Malaysia in terms of economic, infrastructure and education. But Alhamdulillah, despite all that Sabah is still a very harmonious, peaceful, beautiful and united multiracial and multiethnic state. The way I see it, it's not all about funds, it's also about recruiting people who are willing to take charge. We need people who are generous enough to give time to tend the sick, to teach the illiterate, to feed the poor, to conserve the flora and fauna and whatnot. So.. do not belittle Sabahans just because they don't resist.. Like me, I choose my own path..

"Ya.. Saya golongan yang mau kosongkan jiwa.. Golongan tengah yg mau teruskan hidup helping da sick n da poor, gain knowledge, explore da world n enjoy da peace etc etc :)"
All of us have our own way to uphold the nation... 

4. I love a leader who inspires

I'm not the kind who buy promises and not the kind who is interested in disclosure of slanders. I'm more into inspiring leaders.  No matter how many critics this person received, he is one of the person who inspire me to become who I am today. He's the one who instilled in me that success follows hard work. He's a great man.. (^^) Sedih sangat nda dapat jumpa masa dia di UMS.. 





Am I backward?? I don't think soooooo :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

29 April 2012 Batu Caves Rock Climbing Trip (^^)/


It took me a very looooooong (typical sabahan!) time to finally decide to have it a go for this trip or not. I have too many plans already that I was afraid I couldn't make it for this one. But outdoor climbing is just so tempting especially when you heard so many stories about the place that your friends are going.. So yeah.. went to www.airasia..com and got me tickets as usual!




So.. This is the picture taken inside the bus from LCCT to One Utama. We went to Camp5 on our first day. I was there until 4.30pm and did some bouldering and lead climbs. The routes were awesome with many many types of handholds. But some handholds are just far off in some of the routes that I finally gave up. I'm quite a scaredy-catwhen it comes to lead climbing. I hate the swing when you fell off and it's just too tiring to restart the climb after you've fallen!





 We headed to Damai Cave as early as 8.30 am on the second day. It was cloudy that morning; just nice to early start the outdoor climb. I was so psyched when I saw the wall! It was huge and tall and and and wow! I guess I was so excited because my last outdoor was on September last year and I've been training for a month for this trip.. I was also excited to see the result of my crash training hehe


Me signature pose! \(^^)/

There are actually three sections for climbing in Batu Caves; the Damai wall (the site we were in), Nanyang and Nyamuk. The Damai part consist of easier routes and harder ones can be found in Nanyang and Nyamuk. The rest of the climbers went to Nanyang and Nyamuk on the 4th and last day of the trip. I went back earlier T_T

  


Actually, I only did an outdoor lead climb onc ewhich was my last climb in Kuching before we head back to KK. I don't know why I was so confident to do lead climb that morning. But that day it was slightly different from the one that I did in Kuching. See all those dangling metal thing on my waist? Those are called quickdraws. In Kuching, those things were already attached to the bolts but on that day I have to bring them up with me, attach them to the bolt and clip in the rope.  


 

Manage to clean the route \(^^)/ Yeehaw!!!!!! I did 5 more lead climbs after that and one top rope at a 6b+ route. I'm not going to upload too many pictures of me climbing. They are just rocks and my backside.. :P





The heat can be deadly in the afternoon. There's nothing to shade you as you climb under the sun. I can still hold the rocks but it was my feet that was hurting. The soles of climbing shoes are made of rubber and they absorb heat. I swear I felt my feet burnt! When I took my shoes off, my feet were so red! The pic above actually shows the cracks on the sole.





That night we spent a few hours bouldering in Madmonkeyz. I was too tired and only tried some routes. made some new friends too :)


This is our group photo. This is actually the right side of the Damai wall. I did 2 lead climbs at this part of the wall on my last day there. The routes were harder than the left side since there were more crimps at this side.


Hurm.. Damai wall is exciting but in terms of difficulty, I think Batman cave's  routes were tougher because it is an overhang. I love this trip (^^) I'll come back to Damai again to finish up the routes and will also try Nanyang and Nyamuk some day :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Parasailing & Flyfish! (^^)

Another thing that I was excited about Mida's trip to Sabah was that we planned to do water rafting in Padas River. It is among the best spot in Malaysia and some even said it is among the best in South East Asia; the rapids range from grade 3 to 4...

But.. When we reach Beaufort to ride the antique train to Tenom, we were told that there was a land slide and we have to cancel the trip. I was sooooooooooo sad. But of course, I already have a backup plan in mind (^^)v


 

Me, in front of the Beaufort train station. We actually woke up at 5.00 am that morning. You have to depart early from KK to Beaufort to catch the train to Tenom that departs at 7.30am. I kept telling Mida along the way that I was excited about riding the ancient train.. 



So, we went island hoping instead! \(^^)/
This activity was actually scheduled on Sunday; that's the day after we descend from the mountain. And luckily we went that Thursday because our leg muscles were aching after the descend.

We were lucky to arrive at the jetty just before 10.30am because the next boat after that was at 1.30 pm.We bought 2 tickets for transfer to 3 islands and that cost RM43/person. We paid RM60/person for the parasailing.






We did the parasailing in Sapi island. Firstly,you have to wear that blue yellow thing that looks more like a giant diaper. It actually looks like a giant harness but I don't know why I can't figure out how to fasten it haha




At first, I'd wanted to do it alone but the guy at the counter told us it would be boring to do the single parasailing so we took the double parasailing package. And yes, you will enjoy it even more if you have a partner beside you because you can chat as you hover and enjoy the scenery.. And also it is more exciting to scream together as you go up and down during the parasailing haha





It's not scary at all but we screamed a lot.. Maybe because it is more fun to scream though there's nothing to scream about haha Or I think we were just too excited that we screamed a lot

We parasailed for a good 15 minutes and throughout that the guys had let us up so high that we can see all the islands and slowed down the boat a bit and let us dip our legs into the water. We were told to bend our legs when dipping them into the water. I still can't think of the rationale of that, though.




This is one of the dipping. Well, during this, half of our body was dipped.(^^)/ FUN!





Our smiley face parachute!!!!






In Manukan we decided to try the flyfish. Paid RM60/person. The person in charge told us this would be extreme and tiring and we might fall into the water. I guess he was trying to scare us but we were not threatened by his warnings, of course. Siap reply dengan angkuh lagi "Bole bha kalo extreme. We like extreme!"

A chinese couple tried it first before us. It looked scary because the boat have to stop for like 5 times because the girl fell from her seat (not a very proper seat, of course. Just this bump on the buoy where you can sit on). There's also a handle for you to grip on.


This ride also goes for 15 minutes. When we didn't fall after a few minutes spin, we noticed that the boat went faster and faster. The buoy flew and was in a vertical position many times. To me, it was more like riding a mad bull. I've never held a handle so tight like that before. It was like holding for dear life though it was actually to avoid from falling into the water and we really want to prove to the guy that we are EXTREME haha