a little mustard seed

A seed is full of potential... let alone, nothing will happen. It needs light, water, nutrients,the right time... and a willing farmer...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A little trip up Fraser’s Hill (episode 3)

A vacation log, dedicated to all who went for the trip

Time: about 7.30pm onwards.
Date: Still 2nd September 06

We arrived at Kuantan House (The bungalow we booked) at around 8.00pm. It was twilight. I took my stuff, switched on my head lamp, and ran up the stairway towards the bungalow. There were no lights. I didn’t take any pictures here though cuz we were all hungry and we were rushing to cook dinner.

The main entrance of the house was locked. The keys that we received could only gave us access to the entrance at the back of the house. I headed towards the backyard. There was a cold and eerie feeling there. I was greeted by an old wooden door painted in pale white, and slightly greenish. Maybe it was my head lamp… I took out my keys to open the doors. It was rather difficult to open. I had to be empathetic with the lock, then “Click!” As the lock was undone, the door opened by itself, probably due to its weight and the position of its hinges. There was a familiar squeak as the door opened, followed by a gust of chill wind. The dim light from my head lamp gave the old furniture a peculiar glow. Beyond the furniture was total darkness! My mind started to play tricks on me. I began to hear voices! “Be still in Jesus name!” my heart spoke, and the voice was gone. I switched on every light bulb and lamp I could find in the house. As I was inspecting the rooms, the door banged “Boom Boom Boom!”

I shifted my attention towards the glass door, which was the main entrance. There were ghostly figures drifting nearer and nearer towards the door. “Chuuuun Hooooooo…” they yelled. And I answered with my usual Malaysian slang “Wait ar! Coming ler!” They were none other than Wei Yei and gang! With everyone present, we took out all our food and cooking utensils and it was time to party!

We organized the food into categories, and everyone naturally fit into specific roles to prepare dinner.

Oh, please ignore Ernie. He was just posing for the camera, trying to act like a CEO while we were all busy preparing for dinner. After being ignored his position, he contributed by cutting carrots.

Our waitress preparing the table for the feast!

Our Chef de cuisine, and her Sous Chefs preparing our dinner.

Voilà! The finished product! Our dinner:
apéritif: shreded des carottes (Shreded carrots)

plat principal: riz cuit à la vapeur (Steamed rice) et remuer font frire des oeufs avec du viande de déjeuner (Stir fried eggs with luncheon meat), et porc cuite (stewed pork)

(my french no good ar, pardon me if the grammar is way out!)

Bon Apetit!

We didn't do much after dinner... just hanging around in the garden, lighting candles and lantern, as an early celebration for mooncake festival.

After a hard day's work,

... it's time to hit the sack...

Coming up next: The encounter with the Gibbons!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A little trip up Fraser’s Hill (episode 2)

A vacation log, dedicated to all who went for the trip

Time: about 2.30pm onwards.
Date: 2nd September 06

It was pouring cats and dogs the very moment all of us entered the garage. Z opened up his poncho so that everyone could sit on the dusty floor. There wasn't much to do but to wait the weather out… minutes later; it was still raining cats and dogs. We did nothing and we waited…

And we waited…

And we waited…

… The rain finally subsided a little and we thought we should hit the road.

We headed back to our car and had lunch at a shop nearby. The food was not great but at least our tummy was filled.

During the meal, there were much debate over where we should camp. The weather was wet, and cold. So much so that it affected our decision of where we should camp. The sky was dark and gloomy. It was pouring unceasingly. The moisture from the rain began to soak into our clothes. Then, someone suggested “Let’s rent place for the night!” In my mind, I was thinking “But it was suppose to be a camping trip! This is almost blasphemous! " But hey, let’s do the math:

1) No one has camped at Fraser’s hill before. Therefore, estimated time to look for a campsite = 2.5 hours or more (factoring in the time to hike with equipments in the rain to find a sweet spot)

2) Estimated duration for setting up 2 tents in the middle of nowhere, in the rain = 25 minutes or more (considering my tent was not functioning properly)

3) Estimated time to settle in = 20 minutes or more
4) Estimated time for everyone to freshen up if there is water source = 40 minutes

5) Estimated time to unpack and prepare dinner for 6 = 45 minutes (factoring in the time taken to clean up the inside of the tent as the terrain was wet and muddy)

6) By then, the total time taken for us to enjoy dinner if at all = 5 hrs 01 minute if all went well. Let’s factor in another 20% contingency and the total estimated time should take about 6 hrs 02 minutes, which assuming if we started our hunt for a campsite at the earliest, say at 5.00pm, we should just about finish dinner at about 11.02pm and its almost bed time! We have not even factored in the time to rest, relax and wash our dishes after dinner!

Not feasible! I guess staying a night in one of those rented places was not a bad idea after all. At first, someone suggested “Let’s stay in an apartment” That sounded so wrong. Since we don’t get to camp, I thought we should rent a place that at least was able to simulate a camping trip; where we could have an open air area, and the whole place to ourselves-a bungalow sounded like the ideal choice!

Therefore, we spent almost 1 hr or so driving around hunting for one, then we spent the next 15 minutes bargaining for a good price. By the time we got our choiced bungalow, which was the Kuantan House, we still had time to drive to a waterfall nearby.

At first I thought “Hey! We could’ve camped here!” But then, the water was opaque and brown. There were plastic bottles and other food wrappers floating around. The public toilet was decorated with human wastes of various shapes and sizes! (Let’s stop here before I throw up on my keyboard)

The place was actually not too bad if not for the latter.

It was round about 7pm. We decided to head back to our bungalow. One our way however, we were distracted by a gorgeous site!

... It's not what you think!

A lovely view no doubt but the alarm in my tummy was ringing furiously! It was getting dark and we had to rush back to the bungalow for dinner.

Stay tuned for episode 3 to see what the chef was cookin!