Monday, May 29, 2006

Taman Negara - Day 3

Day 3. Our last day. The travel-back-day that they included it in so that they can call it 3-days-2-nights, rather than 2-days-2-nights.

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After a hearty breakfast at the floating restaurant, we took boats and travelled downstream of Sg. Tembeling to Tembeling Jetty. It's a 2 hours of easy ride on the long boat, enjoying the scenery.

After an hour of this..
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..and this...
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..and this....
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..and this.....
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..and this......
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...I fell asleep. The breeze, the warm sun, the gently rocking of the boat, the humming of the diesel engine....ahhh...I woke up only when we were about to reach the Tembeling Jetty.

Then we continued on from the jetty on bus, stopping at the Jerantut rest house for lunch. After that it's journey back home. Bye bye Taman Negara.

The whole package was arranged by NKS travel. I think they did a great job, and willing to go extra mile to make sure you are comfortable and happy. Their guides are also very knowledgeable and are willing to share information about Taman Negara with you. They also use every opportunity to educate everyone about the importance of conserving and respecting the environment, particularly the national park, which I think is important. I think everyone should go to Taman Negara, at least once, to experience yourself the life, flora and fauna of our national park. We came back bruised, and blue-blacked, but happy.

Testing a new feature in PhotoBucket. Video Uploading! Cool!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Taman Negara - Day 2

With aching body and feet, and very wet shoes, we walked to the floating restaurant for breakfast. A simple nasi lemak panas and very very sweet teh tarik.

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Floating restaurants at Kuala Tahan.

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After breakfast, our itinery began with a walk on the world's longest canopy walkway. 460 meters long and 40 meters above ground.

To get there, it's about 5 minutes ride on the long boat, upstream of Sg. Tembeling from Kuala Tahan. Then from there, it's about 10 minutes 'hiking' on man-made steel stair.

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The canopy walkway opens at 9am to 2pm, depending on weather condition. It's actually made up of a few smaller walkways, the longest I think is about 40 - 50 meters. Each walkway is connected by a platform, which was actually built on trees. The platforms allow you to rest, and to enjoy the scenery.

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The canopy walkway

Only 4 persons are allowed on each walkway and the platforms, and you have to be at least 5 meters away from each other while on the walkway. There are markers to let you know the distance between you and the person in front.

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View from the platform of the canopy walkway.

The walkway is built with wooden planks, steel cables and ropes. These cables and ropes are tied around the trees, with no nails being driven into the trees.

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It took us about 1 hour to complete the walkway, walking slowly, enjoying the scenary. Then it was time to climb Bukit Terisek. At 344 meters above sea level, it provides a view of Gunung Tahan at the top of the hill. The climb up is without any proper trails or tracks. It was really slippery at a certain slope and it's really tough if you are not fit enough. Luckily Mami opted not to climb.

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When we got to the top, we were unlucky, because fog had covered Gunung Tahan. Oh, well, just for the experience.

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Notice that the log has no rings to tell you the age of the tree. This is because Malaysia do not have 4 seasons. It's really difficult to see the rings with naked eyes. They normally have to put it under the microscope, according to our guide.

Coming down from Bukit Terisek, lots of people already started complaining about body ache and tired. A few even had cramps and one who sprained his knee real bad. We had a short rest at the resort, and then came out for our next itinery! A visit to an orang asli settlement, the Bateq.

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A Bateq kid

They are normadic and is the only tribe allowed by the government to live and to use the resources of Taman Negara. But not for commercial use lar. They live in one place for a few months (or until something happened, like death in the family) and then they move on to another area.

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The Bateq hut

While we were there, they demonstrated to us how to make fire the natural way, as well as their most popular weapon, the sumpit (blowpipe).

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That's the chief and his son demonstrating how to start a fire.

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He stepped on a piece of Cengal wood, with a hole in it where they put some bamboo or wood dust, and with a string made of nipah palm leave, he saw the wood. The heat from it made fire! Everyone 'wooo' and 'woahhh!" and clap clap clap. The chief kembang.

Next, he demonstrated how they use the blow pipe to hunt. Both the chief and the son demonstrated the correct way to use the blow pipe, and then they let us try.

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I wanted to shoot the chicken that was running around, but the chief said that's their dinner. So I shot the piece of paper they put about 5 meters away as target. I missed.

Leaving the orang asli settlement, we got ready to get wet and go for the 7 rapid shooting and then went mandi sungai!.

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This has to be the most fun part. There were 4-5 long boats, we were quite a big group. They raced and tried to out-run each other. And at the same time, splashed water to the other boats. Sometime the boat will purposely stop to allow the other group to come and splashed us, using the paddles, shoes, milo tin, mangkuk, anything we could find. Feel like a Thai Songkran (Water Festival) but with boats!

Upstream, we stopped and went mandi-sungai. It was teh fun!

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At night, we had BBQ dinner and Thomas Cup. Then it was straight back to resort. Dead tired.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Da Vinci Code review

As I posted earlier, we watched The Da Vinci Code last night. Our first movie of 2006 LOL!!

Mami managed to get the couple seats. I didn't like the normal seats, it's not comfortable, especially if u have a stranger at your side, trying to get hold of the arm-rest. The only drawback is that the couple seats are located at the back of the cinema. So, you have to climb up the stairs to the top, and then you will be looking down to the screen, instead of looking up.

As usual, the 6pm movie started at 6.20pm. We bought lots of food in there; hotdogs, sweet corn, popcorn, soda, and cheezel. They allow hotdogs nowadays in the cinema?

I am actually not good in reviewing a movie. Any movie is a good movie to me. I can watch The Last Action Hero over and over and over again and still say it's good. I can watch P.Ramlee over and over and over again, and still laugh at the joke. Heck, sometime I even laugh even before the joke is executed.

But this movie is an OK movie. Not really excellent, not really awesome, just OK. But not bad either. You can't feel the fast paced, page-turner action thriller in this movie, as in the book. In the book I always wanted to know what going to happen next and to solve the next puzzle. It's not here in the movie. Maybe because I have already read the book, so I already know what's going to happen. Maybe. It's more like a complement to the book, like the Illustrated version of the book. It helps you to visualise the events in the book.

All in all, it's average. A 'B'. A 2.5 out of 5. I was actually hoping for a more intelligent-looking Sophie Noveu.

Updated: I was really impressed that the movie was shown in it's entirety i.e. not cuts by the censorship board. Can see bare butt (Silas's) also wor.

Taman Negara - Day 1

A couple of weeks back, we went for a 'holiday' in Taman Negara. It was a company-trip organised by Mami's company. She wasn't really into adventure type of holiday, you know, jungle trekking, hill climbing, so I tagged along.

Taman Negara, which means 'National Park' in malay, is the world oldest tropical rainforest, at 130 million years old. It spans three states: Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan, with the Taman Negara Pahang covering the largest area, followed by Kelantan, and Terengganu. It was initially known as 'King George V National Park' when it was established in 1938, and then renamed to Taman Negara after the Independence in 1957.

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130 million year old, wow!

We departed in the morning, making our way towards Jerantut, through Karak Highway. There were two buses, a big one and a smaller one. We stopped a couple of times on the highway, for a toilet breaks. By lunch time we reached the rest house in Jerantut.

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Had lunch here

After lunch, it was another 1 hour of drive on smaller and narrow roads to reach our resort in Kuala Tahan, the RainForest Resort.

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This is where we stayed.

From Kuala Tahan Jetty, Taman Negara is just across the Tembeling river. There are many floating restaurants here, which also serve as a jetty.

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Kuala Tahan

The first itinery was cave exploration. We took a boat to get to the entry point, and then walk for about 45 minutes to get to the cave. 10 minutes into walking, it started to rain.

"Wah raining lar", someone said.
"Of course lar, it's the rainforest what?", the other answered.

What we thought to be a simple stroll in a cave, like Batu Cave, turned out to be a caving activity in Lobang Gua Telinga or Ear Cave.

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Lobang Telinga

If you have phobia of tight spaces, darkness, snakes, bats, reptiles, this is not for you. We have to climb, crawl, squeeze through tight spaces, dive under water, and at the same time withstand the smell of bat droppings. These bats are all over the caves, hanging only inches from your head. You can simply reach out your hand and touch them. They are that close! The torch lights that they asked us to bring along has little use, simply because you need both of your hands to climb and crawl. A headlamp would be more suitable.

By the time we got out on the other side, we all smelt like bat droppings. Yuck! But all in all, it was fun. The cave, I think, is not too hard, probably suitable for caving beginners.

The most important transport is the long boat. The long boats can sit up to 12 persons. This is the mode of transport we used for travelling up and down the river, to get to various places in Taman Negara.

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Long Boat

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That's one of our guides in front of the boat

After caving, we went back to the resort to clean up. Then came out for lunch at the floating restaurant, and then head to Mutiara Resort, just across the river, to watch a video presentation of the national park. After the video, we went for Night Walk.

Most of the animal are active at night. We saw a couple of wild boars, insects and dears. But according to the guide, it's really difficult to see them because they will normally run away before we could even get near them.

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Thick jungle

We then headed back to the resort, all exhausted and tired. We were so tired, we crashed on the bed hoping to get enough rest for Day 2.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Going to the movie

Mami is on her way to the cinema to get some tickets for our first movie (in a cinema) in 2006. In fact, it's gonna be the first movie in a cinema since 2 years. I hope she could get The DaVinci Code tickets. I have also asked her to get the 'couple seats' *wink wink*

I have read the book and I think nothing will beat the experience of reading the book. It's not gonna be the same, seeing it on the silver screen and reading the book. But I hope she will enjoy it.

The show is on 6pm. So I think I'll sneak out leave around 5.15pm. :)

UPDATE: Yup!! She got it!
We are going to the movie! We are going to the movie! *dance dance*

Monday, May 22, 2006

Late Bonus

Wow! I have been really busy for the past 2 weeks, with multiple projects running at the same time. No time for reading blogs, no time for writing blog, no time for anything, except work, work work. *sigh* My apology.

Just wanted to share with you something that happened to me a week ago.

Last week, I was at the ATM machine wanted to check my very very small account balance. I am one of those people who don't believe in Internet Banking, or Phone-Banking. There I was, standing in front of the machine, punched a few numbers, chose a few menu options, expected to see the familiar 'not-so-much' amount.

I was stunned by what I saw!

My account was 5 times more than the amount I expected.

I just stood there, not believing my eyes, stared at those numbers.

"It can't be true. There must be some sort of a mistake. Is this the right account? Did I remember correctly my account balance? It can't be that much? Is this a joke?"

The ATM started to beep, telling me to do something. It has timeout waiting for an action from me.

"OK, let me check again. Maybe this time, it'll show the correct amount", I thought.

The second time, it still showed the same amount.

"Well, it can't be my salary. It's the middle of the month! And my company don't bank-in directly. I received my salary in cheques."

I told Mami about it, and she suggested maybe my company has bank-in a sum of money. Like a late bonus. A very late bonus.

It turned out to be true. The company has made some money from one of the projects that I was involved in, and decided to share it's profit with it's employees.

This is exactly one of the reasons why I was still with them for 8 years!

p.s. Mami and I went to Taman Negara a couple of weeks back, and I have yet to download my photos! to find time to do it! Will share with u guys in my next post. Hopefully. :)

Thursday, May 04, 2006


2 nights ago..

Yiyi : Yeh Yeh...

Yeh Yeh : Yes...

Yiyi : Yeh Yeh, Yiyi good girl wor.

Yeh Yeh : Yes, Yiyi.

Yiyi : Papi don't buy Snow White for Yiyi.

Yeh Yeh : Don't worry, Papi don't wanna buy, Yeh Yeh buy for you, sayang...

Last night...

Yiyi : Mami....

Mami : Yes, dear.

Yiyi : Yiyi good girl wor..

Mami : Yes .

Yiyi : Yiyi good girl, Mami buy Snow White for Yiyi ah?

Mami : OK.

A few days ago, she was naughty and I told her if she doesn't behave, I won't buy her the Snow White Happy Meal toy from McDonalds. Mami and Yeh Yeh didn't know it, and promised her they'll get the toy for her. She remembered it for days and 'manja' Mami and Yeh Yeh to get her the toy. Now she knows who to go to, if she wanted something. hehehehe....