15 May 2005, Saturday
Went to meet Joshua. We were supposed to go for Teochew Mass at IHM, but there was none! Bloody web site play us out. Ended up sitting in IHM canteen.
Assembled in school at 6 PM. Met the rest of the expedition crew. We headed down to Tanjong Pagar Railroad Station. The train left at about 9 pm. Didn’t sleep much in the train. Went to explore the train with Jason and few of the others. Jason is from Geo Council too.
16 May 2005, Sunday
We got off the train at 0540 the morning. We alighted at Merapoh. We’re like in the middle of God knows where. Waited for the coffee shops to open so that we could eat breakfast. We arrived at Sungei Relau at 0755 by minibus. We had kit inspection at the ranger station. The Forest Rangers wanted to determine how much potential litter we were bringing in. These included things such as batteries, plastic bags, your usual non-biodegradable stuff. The counting of plastic items was particularly amusing You should have seen the nurses open their first aid kits and count each piece of plastic wrapped gauze. Lol!
After that, we proceeded to the starting area via 4WD trucks. It was 13 kM all the way in, up and down steep hills. The breeze along the way was excellent, considering the vehicle was moving very fast. We had lunch when we reached the area. The place was full of sweat bees. But that was only a preview of what was to come later that day.
After lunch we began the trek. We headed for the camp site, Kem Kor, 750m above ground level. It was supposed to be a 4 hour track, but I think we took longer than that. We crossed the river at 4 major points, not including several minor points. I had a few leech bites along the way, but that was nothing compared to the bees. I fell down at the last crossing before reaching the camp site. Right thumb was bleeding. I would have problems even opening bottles in the next few days. Then I got stung by a bee on my right middle finger, disabling most of my right hand. I got stung 3 times on that day, and I received two of them at the same time!
I got stung on my finger before dinner. That was after bath time I think. Now, about bath time. The river water was excellent. Fast flowing and crystal clear (Well almost.) I think that river had the best water in Gunung Tahan. So we guys took off our shirts and went for the water. The water was bloody cold. But then, better to be cold then to be smelly. Another plus was that being drenched kept away the bees. In fact, they made us soak ourselves the moment we reached the camp site. But for some reason, the bees kept flocking to my partner Yi Cheng, this Taiwanese fellow from CPT who just graduated. Funny.
There was little food, but when you’re hungry you don’t really care. You just eat what you have. Then there was the pitching of tents. We took forever just to get the flysheet correct. Hello! It’s wrong! But nobody was listening to me. Well, we did fix it at the end so it wasn’t too much of a problem.
Talked to a few people after dinner, namely; Zhiyong and his friend Michael, both just graduated from engineering; Jason, who needs no introduction, and Shu Zhen, an extremely garang graduate nurse and NPCC WCI at that! Power. We were in Michael’s tent.
Getting to sleep that night was a real bitch. 3 of my tent people were already asleep, namely; Kai Way, business student from my year, Wei Siang, nursing student from my year, and Yi Cheng, who I had the ‘privilege’ of sleeping next too. The ground we pitched our tent on sucked. We were sleeping on tree roots, or at least, I was. So I was sleeping on the left, and this Yi Cheng character was on my right. Damn squeezy I tell you. Couldn’t even get up to stretch. If I turned my head left, I would be smothered by the tent wall. If I turned right, I would have been poisoned by the noxious vapours generated by no name mentioned’s head. I think he didn’t use shampoo. No wonder the bees clinged to him!
By right, we aren’t supposed to use shampoo, because it is not biodegradable, but I think few people if any really cared. One thing is for sure, the guy sleeping to my friend did care a lot. And I had to pay for it. I was shivering like mad throughout the whole night. It’s the first time in my life when I actually wanted daylight to come faster. I had slight fever I think. It must have been due to the bee stings of the bad cut I got at the river.
I was in Team 1. Nice people. We had; Hairul, the cool and professional Cadet Inspector, graduated from IT I think; Rosie, who is also from Geo Council; the excellent Yi Cheng; SK, cousin of Camy; Camy, cousin of SK; Chui Keat aka CK; she just graduated from CPT; Kai Way, from my tent; James, the meticulous graduate nurse who loves to sing, and not forgetting, me.
17 May 2005, Monday
Freezing like a junkie without his drugs. Made worse by the fact that I had to wear back my wet clothes for trekking. Breakfast was helpful, though I didn’t get any Milo. Was too slow. Middle finger is badly swollen now. The swelling has spread to the rest of my hand. I didn’t feel too good at that, so I opted to go to the back of the group. The pain in my right thumb was still raw. I took a lot of breaks in between. At least I had a lot of encouragement from my teammates, so it didn’t seem too bad. We headed for Kubang, 1406 above sea level. The water at that camp site sucked. We had to climb down a long way just to wash up or to collect water. I almost died several times. There were two places, one for drinking and one for bathing. We were bathing with muddy and stagnant water. Well, no choice. At least there weren’t so many bees there. Dinner was comforting, though still pathetic. Su Zhen helped me to remove my sting, or at least part of it. Took anti-histamines too.
It’s a funny experience taking a shit in the woods. Jason, Yi Cheng and I went up the hills. We had to avoid stepping on the shit on the path. Yes, some idiots did exactly that, laying bricks on the road!
Didn’t talk to anybody at night, decided to turn in early. I was listening to the conversation in the next tent. They were talking about religion. I would have given them a Catholic opinion, since they lacked one, but didn’t feel like it.
18 May 2005, Tuesday
Breakfast helped. I wasn’t feeling too bad already. Went to collect water. The water smelled like shit! Some idiot must have shit near the water. A few of the others had the same complaint too.
Today we made our way to the summit. Bloody long way to the top. We were behind schedule, so we had one group to pitch tents while the rest of them make their way up OTOT. I certainly took my own sweet time. Took photographs along the way. Excellent scenery on the way up. When we reached the top, we took plenty of photographs. The view from the top is great. It was worth all that climbing up. (and down too.) It was damn cold, but that didn’t stop the guys from taking off their shirts and taking a picture. We also had some garang girls in their sports bras. One of our people fainted there. It was too cold for her. We used our ponchos to keep her warm. They revived her with chupa chups.
+100% HP and Mana Regeneration for 60 Seconds.
It was bloody raining on the way down. Fortunately I wasn’t too drenched so they let me into the tent. Eddie, Wei Xiang and Kai Way were inside. Lol, they left Yi Cheng outside. Well, he had poncho, rainjacket and cap. So it wasn’t too bad. Dinner was a great comfort. Hot milo too. We played cards in the tent before sleeping. Bloody cold.
19 May 2005, Wednesday
Bloody cold. Breakfast, followed by water collection. The water at this camp site was good. Took my second dose of anti-histamines. Throughout this entire expedition my right hand was subject to inspection by the medic, Mr Guru and Ying Shya. The swelling subsided a lot, though it was still itchy.
We made our way down to Kem Kor. We stopped for lunch along the way. Belumut I think. We had magee mee. The water there was murky, but drinkable. I think Gunung Tahan’s water is quite clean. I rarely used puritabs and just drank the water straight from the source. Even the shit smelling water. I didn’t get diahrea or anything.
We were damm happy to reach Kem Kor, though very behind schedule. Washed in the river for the last time. Dinner and hot tea after that. It was raining that night. Tents were all leaking. The 5 of us were in the tent. Yong Zhi joined us, making that 6. Talked cock, and played Othello, courtesy of Yi Cheng. This guy is the best. He packs all kinds of rubbish into his bag and yet he has no problem carrying it. He was particularly perturbed when we decided to play Othello with him. Why? We played anyhow. “No challenge.”, he said. We all said, “随便啦！！” It was especially funny when 5 of us said that at the same time. Slept rather late that day. We were the noisest tent around.
And how could I forget the number one joke amongst us. You see, when I go to take a shit or a piss, and then come back to the tent, a certain fellow will ask me, “Which hand did you use?” I’m like Wtf? It’s not like I didn’t wash my hands. (He doesn’t believe me). Then when I go at night, with my torchlight, he will make me clean my torchlight with alcohol. Omg…. Since that day was the last night, I couldn’t take it already, so I ji siaoed this fellow all the way. That’s what you get for asking me this everyday. Hah!
20 May 2005, Thursday
The last day. We packed up and left the place after breakfast. So long, damn bees! I did have the misfortune of being stung one last time, on the neck! Fortunately one of the nice nurses were around, and my neck was immediately saturated with calamine. They took off the sting first. I didn’t get any leech bites this time round.
We made our way out, and we were elated. When we reached the starting area, we were greeted by many butterflies. A marvelous sight. Of course the bees were there too. We drenched ourselves under the tap or at the river nearby. No prizes for guessing who had the most bees clinging to him.
We took the 4WD out, enjoying the breeze for one last time. We had our kit inspection at the Ranger Station. We were counting our stuff halfway when they informed us that the inspection was cancelled. Excellent! We headed for the showers after that. The first proper shower in days! (And the first time I brushed my teeth in days.) There was lunch and canned drinks too. It was 4 pm at that time.
We left the place by coach, but we stopped outside the shops briefly to buy some drinks and snacks. We left at 6 pm. We had dinner at 9 something. Some R&R stop. I had the Ramly burger. Something light. Did not have much appetite. They were screening ‘The Gods must be crazy 2’ in the bus. I tried to get some sleep.
21 May 2005, Friday
We had another stop at Yong Peng, Johor. It was about 3 in the morning. Piss and coffee break. Came off the bus to stretch as well. We reached Singapore at 5 something, arriving at NYP at 6.30 am. Went to SU office to stone and check my email. Mother picked me up at around 8. Had breakfast, showered then slept till 12 something. I went to meet Eddie, Wei Xiang and Kai Way after that. We went to Raiders for Dota. In the evening, I went to my Father’s friend’s place for dinner. It was my father’s friend’s birthday. A lot of food. And pork too! I haven’t had pork in a week!
Sleep was excellent that night.