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Saturday, March 7, 2009

In tradition of the great explorers

Now that my blisters have healed, my mind has healed too, and i can finally blog again *scoff*

"What blisters?" you ask? The blisters were a souvenir from the Duke of Edinburgh expedition, a 2-day, 25-km walk. And that is the topic for today.

For an expedition you'll need:

1. A group of smiling, cheery friends

2. Sunblock, so you won't be mistaken for Chris Brown when you get back
3. Insect repellent (it's like mosquito heaven inside plantations)
4. Ye olde trusty tent
5. Lots of food and water
6. Anything deemed necessary to survive. This may include camera, baby wipes, etc.

With our rucksacks all packed, at 2.45 last Saturday we took off on the Adventurous Journey, ahead of us nothing but the eerie silence and emptiness of Lembah Beringin.
The first few kilometers were on tarmac, and we saw the extent of the failed development in Beringin Valley. The only 'civilisation' was the the college, the golf course and a few inhabited houses. I pity those people who bought houses here (those were the days when there was an ad on TV, with a soundtrack playing 'Lembah Beringin...what a wonderful world..') heh. Wonderful world indeed. The rest were abandoned houses and shoplots.

If a Malaysian director decided to direct something like 'I am Legend' or '28 weeks later' (please,not zombi kampung pisang), this would be a nice place to shoot it. It wasn't even 5 kilometres yet, and my shoulders were crying for mercy (hey, i carried one of the tents, kay). Everybody's shoulders were.

After that, no more tarmac. Just open plains

And mosquito-infested plantations

Trying to fight the urge to swat those bloody insects away

I love group photos. They make everything look so happy. But then, when you're walking with a heavy backpack,trying to navigate in heat and sweat, taking photos are the last thing on your mind. So no 'in-route' pictures.

We were lucky enough to get cloud cover, so heat wasn't a problem. The problem was to keep walking. I wonder how army guys manage it. Must have balls of steel.

Our route was generally rough path-and-tarmac, except for one detour path to cross an overflowing river. It was pure mud, and it gave my white shoes a sad time. By the time we completed that section, our shoes looked like it was covered in s**t, although if it was covered in shit i would have walked barefoot from that point on.

And then there was the revelation. We had actually bought sausages to eat at camp, but someone forgot to pack the sausages along. I gave him the name 'mat sosej', but that sounds kinda wrong, doesn't it? Anyways, we weren't really bothered by absence of sausages, and after a 3 and 1/2-hour walk, we made it to the football field. I really don't get why anyone would turn a field with wild grass and mushy ground into a football field.

That's when i thought about my full bladder. With no toilets in sight, i sprayed the nearby palm trees and grass with fertiliser. No tap water, either. We were given a container with more that 20-litres of water, and that's for evrything. Wudhu', cooking, drinking, cebok. When i drank, i was a wee bit afraid it might be the same bottle used for cebok.

That night we had rice (pre-packed from the dining hall) and canned gravy. It was all mixed together, and in the darkness mutton, chicken and beef tasted the same. When a smell of cooking meat wafted in the air, i dearly wished we had brought the sausages. =) Afterwards, with no internet and no TV we were confined to gossiping.

And looking at the night sky. Lying in the a vast field, it brought a deep sense of peace and awe, and exhausted as i was, it was a welcome solace.

3 comments:

Khairil Haidhar Roslan said...

ahah.no wonder u got a 9.0,dear.
your blog sounded like Dan Brown i would say..XoXo,GG

Ikmal Nordin said...

hahah..dan brown?
hw cmplimentary ;)

Khairil Haidhar Roslan said...

it was not meant to be one act,
i prefer to read international bestsellers rather than books by dan brown..luckily, i finished reading his "Angels n Demons"..
after struggling my way till the end trying to understand what's written in his book..;p