Thursday, February 19, 2009

Choices, decisions and the conclusions....

Having a bad headache now, hence decided to stop work fer a while and write a post on what's going on in my life now, choices. Everyday, life presents us with choices and forces us to make decision - some easy, some hard, some made without realisation, and well.. some choices, are well.. not really choices in the first place, more like forced decisions.

Since coming back from all the trips, so many things have been hitting at me from all directions, from work, to my sports and health and finally, to that elusive love life that only few know about.. haha.. yes.. Lala actually has a life.

Work - kenot say here la hor.. can get sued... hehehe
Sports and health - ankle sprain - to continue with the Ironman Langkawi.. can run, but ankle hurts after 10k... so how to complete a marathon.. hmm...
Love - I just hope I'm not making a wrong move.. but then, there's no right or wrong in love, is there.. its just how much you want to give

Sometimes at this juncture, you just need someone to talk to.. but being the "private introvert-ish" person I am... it's hard to find that someone that is non-judgemental and is willing to lend a listening ear... Hopefully, all the decisions I make will end up with an OK conclusion. Not hoping for the best, but sufficient will do, after all... you never know what true happiness is unless you've been through hard and sad times..

Well, hope my headache goes away soon.. gonna have meetings the whole afternoon... well.. wanted to swim, but not in this condition la.. mebbe I'll go for a massage during brks later...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Singoh, the ultimate Msian White water experience...

Finally, after months and months of planning, postponements, anticipation, I finally got to go to Sg Singoh. Thanks to all the guides, Safiq and Ros at Khersonese that made this wish come true, and boy, was it a big adventure.

After a few change of dates, the trip to Singoh was finally confirmed on the 11th to 13th of Feb, and we would set out for Singoh on the 10th. I was down to KL on the 9th night itself, and arrived at around midnight in Unc’s place. Settled in for the night before departing to Tmn Melati LRT the next morning. Another weird thing happened to me here, but that’s for another post. Anyway, met up with Safiq 9 am and headed to KKB to meet up with the rest of the team.

At KKB, a total of 12 of us would be going for the trip and we took off in a car (Safiq’s), the Khersonese van and the 4WD. Along the way, funny things happened (for eg the van took a wrong turn, and ended up in Taiping) and the weather was freaking hot… We exited from Kuala Kangsar, and met up there again to make sure everyone knows the way.

Ended up in Gerik at about 2-3 pm and had lunch while discussing the next step in the plan. A friend of Bai from the wildlife conservationist dept, Leong, joined us at the table and we had a nice chat. After that and a few phone calls to the state dept office, we were told that apparently, the entry permit was not ready (the usu Msian civil service larr) although the team had sent it in weeks earlier and that we can only be collected the next day.. sigh… but anyways, two will remain in Gerik and get the permit, while the rest of us will head into the forest and bunk a night at Pak Samad’s place, in the Orang Asli settlement.

The ride there was interesting. We had a short stop at Banding, where we had a picture session at Lake Temenggor?? before heading into the logging tracks towards the village.. this was an interesting ride. As they were all logging tracks, the ride was sorta 4WD-ish.. gg through sandy and dusty up and down slopes … fast…really fast, with timber trucks to avoid along the way. Visibility was almost down to zero as we zip along the way.. literally eating the dust of the vehicles in front of us cos the 4WD’s air-con was not working.. and yup, you guessed it, we rolled down the windows.. By the time we reached the village, all the bags, human beings, and the car was covered in dust… haha.. from black, most of us ended up with blond hair… ;)

Short Break at Banding....

Met up with some of the orang asli in the village who were very very nice ppl, and some of them were ex-rafters themselves who would happily divulge their stories about going down Singor. Chatted until nightfall, when Pak Samad finally arrived, and we had dinner together. Talked more till it was time to bathe and rest when we finally decided on the plan the next day. We would split the group in two again. Some would go to the campsite earlier, and with Pak Samad’s help, bypass the Wildlife dept chkpoints while the rest would wait for the other two to arrive with the permit. Unfortunately, that would mean that we would not have time to start rafting, as we predicted that by the time all of us arrive at the campsite, it would be around 3-4 pm.. damn.. another setback. But oh well.. Singoh is a beautiful place to begin with, and I wouldn’t mind spending my time just soaking in the beauty of the place.

The next day went as planned, and by the time we set up the campsite, it was already around 4 pm ( I was jumping around in the river la..ehehhe… )We were quite lucky, in a way- we met some orang asli who were fishing and caught 9 HUGE ikan Klah… each of these fishies costs about RM100++ in the market.. and they sold it to us for RM20 only.. haha. All cleaned already even.. haha… J so we had ikan bakar for dinner that night… each person one fish.. yummy.. At the same time, me, Safiq, Surin, Bai, and some others tried fishing too.. haha.. no one caught any, except Simbor… he was damn lucky… It showered for a while after dinner, so we were all huddled together under the plastic tarp with a campfire and some candles to keep us warm.. Played Tai Di with Surin, Bai, Safiq.. for a coupla hours .. haha… won a lot of times, shoulda played with money, before going fishing for a while (which again, we did not catch anything) and heading off to bed. Ikan Kelah Bakar

The next day started groggily for me.. was up and everyone was already eating. The water was murky L… the rain the night before washed the mud from the logging areas into the river… sad.. cannot see the clear waters anymore… everyone’s spirits were down when we saw the water. We made a painful decision then to finish the rafting in a day, instead of camping another night at Kuala Sami. Safiq was really sad, as that means no more fishing for him on this trip… and he brought 3 rods down.. L

Ok..ate up and we were up and ready to go. Time chk 930am… Divvy-ed ourselves into the rafts. Posing(pointman), Simbor, Rupee, Bom, Ros, and Abak (captain), in the heavier, more stable AVON raft, while Luyau (pointman), Kuree, Safiq, Surin, me and Amit (captain) in the lighter, untested NRS raft.. hehheh.. Of all these, only Abak, Posing and Surin has gone down Singor, the rest of us were newbies. Haha.. Surin was the designated “mentor” and cameraman, Bai decided not to do down, and with Pak Samad, became the driver. Ok..and so were off…

Phew.. less than 5 mins we were already hitting some grade 4 rapids… Safiq was acting like he was scared and squealing like a girl..hehehe… Soon enough, we were already at our first big grade 5 rapid.. We stopped to recce the place while Surin gives instructions and preps the camera, which means the raft I was only had beginners, and was the lighter, untested raft too… uh oh….Ok, first the AVON went down… we could see the raft until it reached the rapid, where it just suddenly disappeared from view.. err…er….err….BIG UH OH…
AVON going down one of the rapids

Alright.. time for us to go down. Picked up our paddles… and .. paddle lightly …lightly.. Amit shouted paddle forward!!! And I started paddling as fast and hard as I can… the rapid loomed in front of us… it was huge… two seconds from falling into the rapid, I grabbed the rope and held on to the paddle.. whoa…… we went down the rapid… the whole raft was submerged underwater.. was folded in half for a few seconds.. I suddenly felt I was on the wrong side of the raft… dammit… I’m in the river… and so I had to let go of the rope… damn… was submerged in the water for a close to another 5 seconds before emerging up for air… when I saw that I floated down the second rapid… and that the raft was still stuck in between rapids… three on the raft were frantically paddling away, trying to get the raft unstuck from the big “stopper”. One of the guides (can’t remem who) threw me the rescue throw bag and I caught hold of the rope. He pulled me and the paddle to the side. At the same time, I saw Luyau as well at the riverside.. he too got flung off… less than a minute later, the raft managed to escape the stopper, but Kuree also fell off… hahah… man.. that was exciting…. Surin came and debriefed us, saying that we should have entered the rapids faster to avoid getting stuck the next time.. ok ok… Later, I learnt that they tried to throw a rope at Safiq to grab so that they can pull the raft out from the stopper, but twice the throw bag hit the side of the raft, and fell into the river…hahahha… that was sooo funny… hahahah… ok… on to the next rapids..

Almost all the rapids were like that… huge 4-5 foot rapids… that submerged the raft each time we went on it. There were smaller grade 4 rapids as well.. but all in a continous fashion, where if anyone fell in, the rescue point would be a few hundred meters away.. so .. err.. pandai-pandai lah… jangan cuba nak jatuh…hahah… surprisingly… no grade 3 and below rapids at all… it was just grade 5, grade 5, grade 4 here and there and more grade 5’s…. there was one grade 6 rapid.. which was about a ?20 (HUGE la.. ) foot high waterfall… err…we din go down that one la.. we just walked down, took some photos and skipped that.. that one was a killer… think no one has gone down that one before…

At about 1pm, we reached our snacks area, Kuala Sami. Bai was there with the food with Samad… rested for about 30 minutes while eating fruits and chocs and twiggies… the food tasted soooo yummy although it was very simple.Also went through the photos and vids we took, with Bai giving his opinions on the rapids… It was interesting to hear him talk as well, his ideas on how to attack the rapid.. ok.. time to go again…

Kuree fell in the next rapid at Jeram Sami itself, but no biggie.. managed to save himself in time… and we continued on… I fell in again at another grade 4 continous rapid, where I was grabbing on to the rope, and cartwheeled myself out. The guys managed to pull me up immediately, so no rapids/tiem lost there…

Haha… after about another 3 hrs of rafting… we FINALLY reached the end of our ride at the Kg Tekam… we were dead… all dead… dead, tired, hungry and thirsty… Met up with Bai and Pak Samad again, deflated the rafts and loaded the 4WD, changed to dry clothes and off we were, back to the orang asli kampong. Rested for a while there before heading of to Gerik this time, for a night’s stay in a comfy hotel ;) Breakfast after a good night's sleep...

Well, headed back to KL the next day.. and to Singapore today… I am so dead tired… haha.. the trip all in all was super exciting and death defying, but the best part was enjoying the company of new friends and acquaintances who till now never cease to amaze me with their strength, and some sort of sense of humor (like wrapping some one up in a kain kapan…) hehhe.. well.. they might be going again in April..… to go or not to go is not the question, issit?.. hehehe ;)

Trudge on…

The incident at the LRT...

The Malaysian LRT is not a safe place… well..actually, everywhere in Malaysia is not safe la.. but this incident happened to me.. and I still can’t believe that the ppl around me and the victim did not even do or say anything…

Was on the LRT from Bangsar to Tmn Melati to meet up with Safiq. The LRT in Malaysia was jam-packed that Tuesday morning with working ppl gg off to work. Managed to got on the second train that came by and was “pushed” to the middle of the train while holding my dry bags for the trip. Less that a minute later, a middle aged Indian guy (bigger than me) started to molest a chinese lady’s butt in front of him…. I was shocked that it happened just right in front of me.. now here’ what that surprised. The lady looked uncomfortable, but she didn’t even say or do anything… what’s wrong with her??!!… I felt disgusted and used my free hand and pushed the Indian guy’s hands away.

This was where things got a bit scary. He started shouting at me.. OI!! You sedang buat apa .. tolak tolak aje ni… (OI!! What are you doing? Pushing me around liddat?)

I shouted back la.. I tolak you aje, tapi you tau la u sedang buat apa…He got a bit pissed here… eh.. u jangan cakap silap hah…and I answered back….Saya tak kisah cakap apa, tapi u raba-raba orang u tau sendiri lar….

Everyone in the train was looking at us… The guy was then staring at me, like he was gonna hit me already.. I was shit scared, but knowing I was right, stared at him. If he wanted a fight, there’s witnesses around, and he can’t run.. (well, oso cos I’m a doctor, and some of my cousin’s were lawyers… so he really can’t run away even if he wanted to). He was already angry at me… he then shouted vulgarities and said that I was dressed in a very improper way (was wearing a racerback shirt and jeans).. I shouted back in Malay.. what I wear is not your problem.. but you go and molest ppl… that is even worse….

He started to back down and coward away while shouting more vulgarities. All throughout this incident, no one helped me.. all the guys in the train were sissies.. and the girl did not say anything… some malay girls were staring at me.. like they were disgusted at my rude behaviour towards that Indian guy.. which I dun quite understand. When more ppl alighted, the girl immediately moved to another corner, the guy oso walked away… only one old malay uncle came up to me and asked me to get behind him to shield me.

To my surprise, the Indian man also alighted at the Tmn Melati station, not to chase me, but to go back on the train on the other direction. Guess, he was a serial molester who haunts the train. I was disappointed in the girl’s behaviour that she did not even said anything. My only regret was not reporting him in….

As the saying goes (to quote Unker, who quoted from a Bruce Willis movie) – the easiest way for evil to win is when good men do nothing… which is sooooo true….and in this case.. that was what that happened.. Good men (and women) just did nothing. Now, if you asked me why crime rates are going up in Malaysia, I can only simply say that its becos there are no more “good men” in Malaysia…

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Diving through the air.. PART 1

The sky, the final frontier (sort of)… the idea to take up the AFF course came to me last last year while planning for things that I wanted to do. Skydiving once, sounded nice, but to learn to skydive and travel freely through the air.. was sth that I wanted to keep with me and continue to do.

Finally, after months of searching, managed to hook up with my instructor, D. Lee, who was based in Singapore. Unfortunately, there was no drop zone in Singapore, so the courses were conducted overseas, and as for me, I was to go to Udon Thani. All arrangements made, and I was set to go on the 28th night to Bangkok, followed by another flight to Udon the next morning.

Ok, all packed up and ready to go.. went to CGH for work and meeting till about 5pm, then slacked at CSMC to bout 7+pm. Had KFC for dinner before finally proceeding to Changi International Airport to meetup with “unker” and the rest before chking in.

Unker was waiting with Mike at the airport and another jumper, Yoko and his wife, Christine was there, chatting with Unker and Mike. We were soon joined with Martin (another jumper going for his B-license) and Simon (another AFF student) Time came, and it was time to chk in and depart… we were all ready at the departure lounge at 930pm, when sigh… the flight was delayed.. until 3 am.. oh well.. we’re stuck in the airports . Changi was more comfortable, but Suvarnabhum airport had good and cheap foot massages… mebbe on the way back then. Tried to catch a nap, only to wake up and realized the flight was then delayed to 4 am..

Simon and I at Changi
Ok… finally… we were on our way to Bangkok.. nutting much there.. then to Udon Thani, where the real fun begins. Finally… ready to start the course. Had some food on the plane, so din quite catch breakfast. We reached the Saimun Airfield about 1.5 hrs later, and were all raring to go.
the runway..the plane - cessna 172
Day 1:
The guys – Martin and Mike went up first with Bird, the owner of the place, while Simon and I were given a briefing of what we were going to do. Equipments chk – goggles, altimeter, jumpsuit, rigs, helmets and walkie talkie.. alright.. ready to go..

We started with groundtraining first on the basic procedures of freefall and canopy control. Had some practice on the ground, like how to step off the plane, and the freefall positions to maintain while in the air. A while later, instructor number 2, Kevin came.. and we were ready to go. Me first on the first tandem… phew… scared shit at this time… first jump ever..

Ok.. so suited up.. put on my tandem harness and went on the plane with Martin who was going to jump with us. The engines fired up, propeller spinning,.. and less than 10minutes later.. off we went. The plane ascended, and my heart started to race.. .faster and faster.. man…tried to take deep breaths.. relax relax.. keep reminding myself that I’ll be strapped to my instructor.. so nutting will happen… relax relax… 3,000 ft now.. ok..go through the stuff to do in my head again.. 5500ft.. unker asked what to do… I showed – wave back, arch, reach and pull….alright. Things started to get freezingly cold… by the time we hit 7000ft.. I was shivering.. can’t tell whether it was from the cold or the fear .. ok.. 8000ft…Martin got ready, unker asked me kneel down behind him while he strapped himself to my harness… ok…. Take deeeeeep breaths.. Finally…we hit 9000 ft.. time to dive.. ugh.. Got freaking scared, but hardened my guts.. ok.. moved to the door…. Take breaths, take breaths. Martin went out and held on to the side. Unker followed and signed me to get out too.. ok.. right hand on the railing right foot on the step. Oh no…. left hand on the railing….take a deep breath… left foot out.. oh man.. I can’t believe this.. I’m out on the steps of a moving aircraft at 9000ft!!!! scared shit now.. ok… looked at unker… CHKOUT!!!! .. OK!!! Take a deeeep breath.. look forward… Prop!!! Up!! Down!!! GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My voice trailed all the way down.. AAAAHHHHH!!!!!! In that few seconds… I was pale, shocked, all my senses were haywired, ….. but after that.. hmm.. ok.. we’re stable… no more shock anymore.. things were nice, slow, easy,… can think a bit now.. I’m fallin!!!! And it felt … greeeeeaaaaaaaat!!!

But darn,.. before I knew it.. chk alti.. and unker pulled!! Dang… freefall was so darn short….. ok.. the canopy came out, jerked up a bit… one thousand, two thousand, three thousand.. looked up.. phew.. the canopy was there, and it was square.. pulled the goggles down, and unker got hold of the toggles. Steered towards the dropzone (DZ) and did the canopy control checks (CCC). The horizon from here looked peaceful. Chked alti again. Slowly and slowly descending now. Got the landing circuit set in my head, and prepped to land… okay..approching ground.. now everything got faster and faster.. I never really noticed how fast I was moving in the air.. alright.. flare!!! And finally we’re on solid ground again…

Aaah.. man.. it was short.. freefall was short… but I loved it…. I was so scared, but when things stabilized, it wasn’t scary anymore.. which was what I loved about it.. and all I had to do was arch.. hmm..

Okay, took a break and Simon went up… rest rest, while letting my mind come back to me…. Then it was the second tandem with Bird.. din do to well this time… couldn’t find the deployment handle.. dang.. ok… unker said I gotta do 2 more tandems the next day.. he wanted me to pull the handle..which I keep missing… :P somehow or rather… but that was all for the first day.. we were already dead tired by then, and so.. we all deserve a well needed rest…

Dinner was in the resort itself, at the mess hall.. it was good.. Thai food has alw been cheap and good in my books, and ate a feast then… after that, went back to the room, and crashed on the bed.

Day 2:
Another jumper joined us the next day – Paul. An experienced jumper, he, Mike and Martin went on some of the sorties and tried to do some tricks like 3-ways, and accordians. As for me and Simon, we had ground briefing in the morning, followed by our jumps. Ok, the next 2 tandems went ok, missed the pull on the first jump again.. sigh, but pulled on the next one. Alright!! Time to do solo jumps now.. Category C2. Another big step for noobs… the good thing about tandem was that no matter what, the tandem master was alw behind you to do everything.. but on solos, the instructors will hold on to your side.. and will pull if needed… but still you jump solo.

Ok, briefing done.. Another few jumpers came on the scene as well… Diu (Bird’s cio cousin) and Boi (Bird’s bro) and stayed to chat with us. Alright, I’m gonna go up on one of the last sortie of the day .. ok… got my rig on, chked.. and off we went on the plane..

Again… I was nervous shit… first solo …. All the guys were mentioning earlier that you alw remember ur first solo… and this was really gonna be a memorable one….

Ok, plane took off, and as usual, heart racing fast, taking deep breaths, psyching myself up to jump… and cold..we hit 8000 ft in about 30mins later, and got into position. Unker will take the main side, and Kevin, the reserve side. Unker asked….. “are you ready to skydive?” ..hehe.. nervously… I said “Yes!” OK!!

Unker hold on to my right leg harness… and Kevin my left. Unker got our first, and held on to the step.. I followed… Alright… wind blowing through the plane… strong, cold… no time to think about that now… ok… I looked at Kevin… “Chk In” .. ok!! I looked at Unker .. “Chk out”… ok!!!.. took a deep breath.. Looked forward.. Prop!! Up!! Down!! Go!!

Ahh!!!!! Again.. my senses were gone… but returned within a few secs while I arch and try to stabilize.. Both the instructors were holding on to me still.. ok.. do the chks.. Heading.. chk… Alti.. chk… Looked left.. Kevin signaled to arch more and put my legs straighter.. ok… Look right.. ok.. chk alti… practice touching the deployment handle.. ok.. alti.. good height.. practice again.. handle there… ok.. chk left.. need to arch more.. chk right… COA came up… chked alti.. time to pull handle… and pulled

Jerked a bit again as I pulled and canopy was up… great!!! Ok..DZ, chk! CC, chk!!.. time to just land this baby.. hehe… and here was where it went wrong… I tried to stand up during a slide landing and… of all things….. arghh!!! sprained my Right ankle… and fell forwards…. Boo hoo hoo… wah!!!! Sob sob sob!!! the time, din notice that the sprain was that bad, so picked the canopy up and headed back to the hangar.. but.. was hopping back la… sigh… pain pain… the golf buggy came by in a short while to ferry me back as I landed quite far from the hangar.. thank goodness for tat..

Put everything down… and felt great… had a debriefing session, and was advised to look up and arch more.. ok.. chk.. will keep in mind the next jump. The guys did another jump before calling it quit for the day as it was already getting dark.. packed the equipments nicely and we were done.

Martin, Diu, Boi and Mike wanted to do the water landing ground training, and so that was next on the agenda. The resort had a nice swimming pool nearby, and we went there. Hehe… unker first demo.. and the rest 4 followed… I sat out on this… cold.. plus my ankle was hurting then… so.. oh well.. but it was fun to see them jump in the freezing waters..heheh..

Ok, time to eat.. This time, we went out to a restaurant nearby to celeb Simon and mine’s first solo jump.. haha… man… it was awesome.. had good food, good company, and a fantastic time.. that nights rest was well worth it too.. except that my ankle was still sore… hmm….

Continue in next post….

Riding the rapids…

Phew… this is one busy busy CNY for me. First up , pre CNY event : White water kayaking beginners course.

Now, the idea of taking up white water kayaking came about last year, after my one day stint with Pris and Jaffri at Sg Samak in Dec. Fell in love with riding the rapids and it was definitely a different experience from rafting from which there is 6-8 per raft. Kayaking gives more freedom of movement as there is only one person per kayak, and from that more excitement as you get to choose which path to take to ride the rapids (in which, I always choose the wrong one and end up either stuck or capsizing).

Ok, it all started out while surfing the ‘Net that I found links the forums hosted by the Malaysian Canoe Association (yeps, din know we had one) Someone by a very weird nickname put up a post looking for ppl to go with for the course in January. Initially, it clashed with my skydiving dates, but after a few rescheduling here and there, managed to push skydiving back by a week, and free up some time to go for this first.. hehe… thanks Unker.. well.. filled with glee and delight, I booked a place in the team, and prepped myself to go.

Met up with the rest at the KTM station in Tanjong Malim (yes, another first for me – taking a train to Msia) - Sam (the ever cheeky organizer), Tak (canoe poloist), Eileen (veteran white water canoiest in the US) and Vince and Stella (two pure beginners, like me). Had a drink there while getting to know everyone, and at about 10pm, time to depart. *here’s the funny thing, the immigrations chk here is weird.. you enter Malaysia first before leaving Singapore, so in that sense.. I was actually in 2 countries for about an hour before leaving Singapore for good*

Sam managed to book us berths on the train (phew!!) and the beds were, well, okla… actually managed to get a good sleep, except for the minor interruptions when the noisy sliding door banged while opening… toilet – Msian standards.. about AirAsia level of cleanliness… heheh..

The girls in the train

Buuuut anyways… We reached Tanjong Malim at about 830 am.. not bad.. actually arrived ON time… and the station was deserted. It was quite new, think they’re preparing for the KTM komuter later on and looked nice. Called up Amin (our instructor) who fetched us about 10mins later. We met the second instructor, Zuki, as well, and headed straight for breakfast at a nearby Muslim eatery as all our stomach were growling by thenx. From there, we departed for our homestay accommodations the Sg Klah FELDA estates, near Sungkai.
All prepped to go!!

After a short rest and changing into our wet clothes, we were set to go. The river we rafted at was Sg Sungkai, lower part, which was about 15 mins from where we stayed. We unloaded the kayaks and gears and got into them. Fitting is essential to kayaking… especially the foot placement, as it helps in maneuvering the kayak. OK… next.. down to the river..YAY!!!

The part of the river we were set to train in was a small clear area with a Grade ?2 rapid at upstream and lower grades downstream. It river was cold..brr… and we all jumped in. First session was swimming in the river .. against the current, and swimming across the river from left to right- NOT easy. Hahah…. Also learnt some stuff like safe swimmer position – the position a person should stay in after capsizing while flowing with the river, and also how to swim into an eddy (safe spot). Before ending, we all did some waterboarding down the rapid, first solo-ly, then as a wave train.. haha.. fun and siao all put together.. especially since our wave train kena turned astern, with now the back ppl all at the front and everyone facing the wrong direction. After this tiring session, we stopped for lunch and a short break.

Finally, after lunch, we were all geared up to go into the kayaks!! Man, I miss kayakin and it felt great to be in a kayak again.. and paddling and turning and stopping (or trying to stop) and well.. you know, trying to keep the kayak right side up. We were split into 2 group- the beginners and the experienced kayakers. The noob (me included) were then taught the most important thing in kayaking – how to kayak straight and believe me, it was not easy to do, especially in the river water where the currents push the kayaks from side to side. Also, we learned how to save ourselves when we capsize. Had a few runs along the strong currents as well, and had a short try at ferrying from side to side upstream. Nevertheless, after a few hrs, managed to get the kayak to go where it needed to go, turn where it needed to turn to, and stop whenever it needed to stop. Saving ourselves after capsizing was easy, but emptying the kayak and getting back in was a tiring. Each time after capsizing, we needed to overturn the kayak and get as much water out as possible.. then getting in and getting the skirting over the catches was also evenrgy consuming. In the end, I realized that the only bad thing about capsizing was that it was superbly energy draining.

Before finishing the day, we were given a chance to go down the rapid near where we trained. I managed to carry the kayak upstream (super heavy) and rode the rapid down.. hehe .. no capsizing… yes!!! Achievement of the day!!

We were all dead tired by the time we got back to the homestay. Cleaned up, ate dinner, and off we were to bed…. Turned off at 830pm that night and had a nice sleep, which was abruptly ended by the roosters at 5am.. oh well.. kampong life, laa…

The following day, we were split into two groups again. The beginners continued to practice what we learned yesterday while the more experienced group went upstream to practice more advanced skills like rolling. Finally, managed to gain more confidence in manouvreing the kayak as well as capsizing (was kinda bored with that after a while). After lunch, the beginners went upstream, where we learned to read the water flow, while trying to get into eddies while going against the currents. It was not easy to do at first, as it required more precise turnings and bracings into the eddies, as well as very aggressive pedaling. The second eddy almost took me out completely.. phew. Managed to read the end of the pool of water and played a bit there. Zuki then taught on pushing on another kayak to save ourselves from capsizing. Tried a few times but halfway through, I got too tired and ended up resting on the other kayak instead while my kayak remained perpendicular to the water…
One of the smaller rapids

After ending another day of kayaking, we were then brought to the FELDA hot spring nearby. It’s a new attraction there, a Hot Spring and Spa resort in Sg Klah, and there were many ppl around. First stop, the hot pool itself.. I went in and within seconds came out.. ok lesson learnt.. slowly acclimatize to the pool’s temperature. Second try.. slower this time.. ahhh.. nice… good to relax and enjoy….After about 20 mins, we headed over to the mountain spring pool. This pool had some waterfalls and a slide and was more fun to be in. We stood under the water as the falling water massaged our dead backs and strained shoulders. Had a go at the slide too.. haha.. felt like a kid again. Finally, after all that water play, we went over to some food stalls and had burgers and chips while awaiting Azmi (the guide designated to be our driver) to pick us up.

Went back and had dinner. This time, stayed up longer and caught “Deal or no Deal” on TV in which the guy lost. Slept around 9plus this time, and was awaken fresh the next morning.

After breakfast, we were off for our last day of training. This time, the beginners team went down the river to the pick up point. But before that, we went upstream again to practice more skills and warm ourselves up. Could still feel the muscle strain from the day before, but after a couple of minutes… was back into the game again. As the run down the river was quite short, Zuki gave us the chance to go down the rapids as many times as we wanted, hehe… did x3… one run in which I capsized.. no prob there, just stayed cool and calm and release the toggle… too used to capsizing already. After that, got too tired from capsizing and carrying the kayak that we decided to just continue down the river and finish the run.
After the run... no place to sit on the ride back..hehe

The run, was, as Zuki said, was short with simple grade 1-2 rapids along the way. Finally, when everyone was done and gathered, we head to the Wildlife Reserve in Sungkai for lunch and some photo ops with the animals. Managed to catch a shot of the huge seladang here.. and of some hornbills as well. After lunch, we were all tired and as it was already about 3-4pm, we decided to cut the day short and head back to clean up and rest.

The guides came at about 5pm to have a debriefing session with us.. hehe surprise surprise, they also handed us our finishing certs… one of the proudest moments there. Mum, dad and bro came to pick me up after that and we had one group shot before we left. The course was indeed super fun , but at the same time super short. I vowed then and there to return one day, and further my skills in WW kayaking. But before that, the star qualification in Singapore might do me some good in honing my basics first.. so anybody up for the courses in Pasir Ris/Changi?.. I’ll be around…. ;)
Group pic...after it all!!