Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mt. Kinabalu 2009 - A mother & daughter trip

My 3rd trip to this mountain, although only my 2nd with my mom.

The objective this time was for my mom to get to the peak (since her last attempt failed, but my first was successful). 

This trip proved to be a difficult one for me. Well, of course it would be difficult -- for someone who didn't train, what else would I expect? A walk in the park? Hahahaha...

Well, a walk in the park it wasn't. It started well enough.. my mom and I not far apart during the hike up. However the adventure did not really start until it reached Laban Rata.

The hike from Gunting Lagadan proved to be too much for me. From the start, I was feeling nauseous and giddy. I attributed this to the fact that I was probably sweating beneath all those layers of clothes that I had donned - 2 pairs of thermals, 1 long sleeved t-shirt, 1 soft shell jacket, 3 pairs of socks.

However despite peeling the layers off one by one, the feeling did not leave me.. in fact it magnified. It came to a point I could not see my way as my vision was blurring. It dawned upon me, Mama will have to do this alone (not really alone since there was gonna be a whole lot of others with her, just not me). Not sure how to break the news to her, I kept this to myself.. and tried to convince myself that I will feel better with each step.

We walked at our own pace - me ahead and Mama trailing behind. There would be times I would sit by the rocks and wait for Mama to catch up. Despite my constant breaks and rests, I did not get better.. getting worse ada lah. Upon reaching the rope section, I broke the news to my mom - I was gonna walk with her towards Sayat-Sayat hut, and decide from there whether to continue to the peak or not.

I was not sure how she took to the news, but I think she was more concerned about the rope section.. which was fine by me. Ginik assured me that there was a bed I could sleep on at Sayat-Sayat.. which surprisingly motivated me to at least get to that hut! Hahahaha..

Upon reaching the hut, with my head pounding, strong urge to throw up and my super-blurred vision, I choose to stop. My mom was on her own (and with Darshini of course). Handing my mom my backpack, she continued on her quest to conquer Mt. Kinabalu with Ginik and Darshini. I in turn, slept for the next 2 hours. Upon waking up, I turned left and made my way down to Laban Rata (didn't even cross my mind to walk to the peak).

Mama made it to the peak. Yay!!

The journey down to KK Park was a treacherous one! We were all suffering in our own way, and in such situations.. the true me emerges. Hehehe.. Mama got irritated with me and told me off. I in turn decided to walk ahead and wait for her at the huts instead. I made a lot of new friends along the way.. which was fine by me.

One by one, the injured hikers were walking pass by me, while Mama was still behind. At the hut after the 2.5km mark, I decided to wait for Mama and we walked together from then on. It took us over 2 hours to cover 2km but arrived we did. Thank goodness!

As with all mountain trips, it's not about conquering the mountain - but what you can take back from there. There were many lessons learnt along the way, but I'll highlight only the below:

Lesson #1 - Age is not a factorMy mom was one of the oldest participants in our group, and it didn't stop her from reaching the peak.

Lesson #2 - Move at your own paceThis is not a race. Walk at a pace that works for you. The main aim is to reach your destination in one piece!

Lesson #3 - Know your limitsListen to your body and trust it! Stop when it says stop!

Lesson #4 - Know the difference between physical/mental limitationsIt's important to know if it's a physical or mental limitation you are going against. If your mind says no, but your body says yes.. it is still a can-go situation. However if your mind says yes, but your body says no, it could be a dangerous situation if you decide to go ahead.

Lesson #5 - The Mountain Ain't Going AnywhereIf you can't make it this time, it's ok. Come again next time. The mountain ain't going anywhere, it will wait.

Lesson #6 - Have a good reason in whatever you doThis would save you the trouble from asking yourself again and again "why the hell are you doing this?!?" 

I am seriously retiring from this.. hahahaha

Thursday, July 2, 2009

3-in-1 Posting

1. Hunt for the hammerheads - Kite Island, Sabah
After a 3 month self-imposed ban on diving, my immediate diving adventure was to hunt for the hammerheads in Kite Island, Sabah.

Diving in Layang-Layang is very different from my "normal" diving conditions.. I mean the deep blue was.. well, deep blue.

The hammerheads proved to be elusive to us, the closest being the origami towel hammerhead design which was requested by my roomie, Sue. The house-keeping personnel probably felt sorry for us and agreed to create one for us. Hehehe..

However we were presented with a group of devil rays (6 of 'em), a trio of reef sharks, a large school of giant jacks (can be classified as a university) and apparently there were sightings of manta rays.

As with other dive trips, the company was great! Strangers ended up as friends, while friends.. remained as friends.

2. The Ruins of Yesterday (Above Water)
My next destination takes me across the Straits of Malacca. To ensure that we could maximise this trip, we took the first flight out to Jogjakarta. This just re-enforces my belief that I do end up getting up earlier when I'm on holiday compared to when I am working.

Prambanan (a Hindu temple) did not really appeal to me, as I had expected. Perhaps the early morning flight had affected my ability to soak in the wonders and beauty of this place. This place had a lot of sand too.. and I was in sandals.. which didn't go well with me.

Due to an earthquake in recent years, this temple is currently undergoing restoration works and from the looks of it, it will be restored to it's magnificient state.

After a short break, we headed to this place called the Kraton or something like that. It is actually an old palace which is turned into a museum. Nothing much here except for mannequins dressed in the attire for different types of ceremonies participated by the royal family of the place. I wasn't really paying much attention to it.. so whatever I terms I just used could be wrong also. Hahahaha..

Finally, we ended up in Borobodur. This temple, just wow-ed me. It was a one piece work of art, still standing magnificiently. There was a story to it, etched along the walls of the temple. We didn't take the services of a temple guide, so we ended up making our own story as we went along. Hahaha.. most of the time was spent taking pictures anyways.

3. The Ruins of Yesterday (Underwater)
Another dive trip within 2 weeks. I'm on a roll here! Hahaha.. This trip was a leisure trip and ended up diving whenever we felt like it. After the near-like disappointment of the hammerhead trip, I'm happy to say that this dive trip was a "rediscover the pleasures of diving" experience. This was also my first time diving together with Din after a lapse of 3 years (the last dive, made me wanna quit.. but to be fair, he wasn't my buddy then.. hahaha).

First dive itself, I was awed. I "met" all the fishes that I have seen before but somehow did not get to see them in my recent dives. This somehow made me feel at home. What made it better is, I am now able to spot some marine life all on my own, without being dependent on the Dive Master or Din. Yay!!

The wreck dive was pretty alright too.. although the current towards the end of the dive made it tiring for me. So tak payah eloborate on this dive la :p

I love the last dive the most! So many things to see.. so relaxing too.

Well, that's it for this 3-in-1 posting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lembeh Straits, Manado (CNY 2009)

This entry is way, way long overdue - a fact that hit me only yesterday, as I was driving to Mid Valley with Azlin. As this was the opening of my dive season 2009, I'll say a few words.

Fact #1 - Man Overboard!I nearly did not make it for this trip (glad I did, but that's another story). Being concious of  2009's dive budget and annual leaves (the latter a bigger concern than the former), I was more than happy to give this a miss. However Shana sealed the deal when she highlighted that we were required to take only 1 day of annual leave since the trip was during CNY. I am onboard!

Nevertheless, as with my Sipadan trip the year before, the road to Manado wasn't a smooth one. Two weeks before the trip date, I was informed that my annual leave was not about to be approved. Shocked beyond disbelief that I might have to forego an all paid-trip, an on-the-spot-negotiation with my supervisor somehow bore fruit, and I was onboard again!

Fact #2 - Stressful Take-OffThe events before our flight took off from LCCT is something I do not wish to go through again. Being a long CNY weekend, a lot of holiday-goers had the same idea as us - to take Friday off and fly out to our respective destinations. LCCT was F-U-L-L of people, I could hardly breathe. There was a queue for everything - to check-in, to pay excess baggage, McDs, to pray in the surau and of course to board the flight. Stressful take off for me.

Fact #3 - Lembeh Straits, World of Funny Creatures
The diving would have normally been good for me - no current, not deep. I didn't like it being muck diving tho. There were times I was bored, cause we couldn't find anything and only saw miles and miles of black sand!

Loads of frog fishes, nudie branches and if after this trip, I am not able to tell/identify/know where I can find a pygmy seahorse, someone should slap me left-right & center!

Fact #4 - Friends: Old & New
As with all dive trips, we tend to bond with the other divers on the trip. From old friends to close friends, from strangers to friends.

Fact #5 - Man Overboard (for real)
Do not undermine the importance of being able to swim!

Fact #6 - Theme Song
Cinta Ini Membunuhku by D'Masiv - just because erm, maybe it was popular during that time. Hahaha.. ok la, the truth is, I fell in love with this song.