Sunday, December 24, 2006

christmas fever

It's chirstmas eve and I'm stuck at home down with a fever! Had been sick since last Sunday. Yes, last Sunday!! I went to the doctor on monday, had a day of MC. Thought I'm fully recover after that guess I was wrong. Tuesday was the ONLY day I was fine without any feverish feeling. It was on and off fever ever since then and I'm so tired of feeling drowsy, all thanks to the medication I'm on. This morning I woke up with the tune of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town', guess my neighbour is getting all xmas mood.

I'm so sick of geting sick! It's NOT fun when you cant have fun on holidays and stick to strick diet when your sick! GAH~! I'm not gonna make this fever slow me down on xmas now. I'm just gonna be strong and heck with the fever! I'm going out party!!!

Oh well, Merry Christmas everybody and party safe! Remember dont drink and drive now.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Glorious Nature, As a matter of FAX! - Day 2

Day 2

Woke up bloody early around 5am I guess. Got all prepare for the morning walk at 6am. We ( me and manager ) went to the cafe to grab some breakie 1st. Seems like only hand full of us going for the morning walk. I think the rest of them are totally worn off.

The morning sight of Tabin - It was a coooold morning, brrrr~!!

Our guide was showing us animals foot prints and ways to identify them, I think graduate from "Identifying animal foot prints" liao wey! ;p We saw birds, insects, plants and lots and lots of fresh foot prints.

This little fella was the 1st bird I've sighted in the morning - it's a broadbill!
Look at it's beak you'll get what I mean! - I saw it from the cafe somemore.

This is a deer's foot print!

On our way back we saw this MEGA-HUGE-OVER-SIZE millepede!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just wanna share to you all, this is a dipterocarp seed.
Tabin Wildlife Reserve made up of 120,500 hectares of dipterocarp rainforest. If you can't imagine how big is 120,500 hectares it's twice of the size of singapore!!!

This is another unique plant - it belongs to the cactus family.. nice :)

Ladies and gentleman, boys and gals and all furry animals gather round now..
This is a Mengaris Tree.
According to our guide it is to be the TALLEST TREE!!!!!!!!!
Our Borneo's Mengaris trees are taller then those in the Amazon forest or those in the African jungle (!) and this Mengaris tree was part of the primary forest. There's only left 10% (I think?) of the forest in Tabin is consider primary forest. Now, try to imagine how long does it takes for the minerals from the roots of the tree to pump up to the top of the leaves? Anyone knows the answers? This questions has been bugging me ever since I saw this tree in Tabin.

Around 7:45am we head back to the cafe. Had 2nd round breakfast. Hungry la, habis kena burn suda the food we ate early that morning during the morning walk.

The next activity was jungle trek to the Lipad waterfall. Since it rained last nite, I was preparing for our friendly little friend from the jungle.

Say hi to our friend leech :)

Yes, we came across lot of this blood sucking creatures but I heard the leeches are actually helping to suck out all the bad blood in our body so we shouldn't be sooo scared of this tiny creature. *blink* If you were thinking did I get any bites from them. Well luckily NONE! But they were on my pants and my hands but I managed to pull them off me before they could start feasting on me. I even help others to pull off the leeches from them too! Guess when you in the jungle everybody should watched each other's back. Team work!

It was a lonnnnnng journey indeed. Have you ever notice that to get to a destination seems to take longer than going back from the place. It took us around ALMOST 2 hours to reach our destination. Before the reaching the waterfall we saw..

This is how a Napenthese ( did i get the name rite? ) plant's leave looks like. Napenthese is also know as the pitcher plant.

This is how a pitcher plants look like

Some of the colorful wild flowers we encounter.
Bright purple no-idea-what's-the-name-of-the-plant-call flower.

Another plant while I've noticed during our trekking in the jungle.

We also so this

Well, technically we didnt really see them, but we saw their foot prints and lots and lots of elephant dungssss.... they can really make huge 'cakes'! ;p Oh well, the elephants were not at sight. Our guide has warm us that IF we do meet face-to-face with this huge mamal. Make sure we retreat and move backward slowly.. fast movement may scare them. You dont wanna end up as elephant 'pancakes' do you?

So this is what we saw after almost 2 hours of trekking in the jungle!

Micro shot of the rocks at the riverside.

What a relieved, I was happy and had this feeling of satisfactory and accomplishment in me. Suddenly this journalist was asking me: 'I thought we're supposed to see waterfall, where is the waterfall?' Then it hit me, yeah... where is the waterfall? We came this far not to see a river but a waterfall. The guide to us that the last leg of the trekking was to cross the river to get to the side of the river then we can see the waterfall from there. WHHHAT?

At 1st I was like no way, nah-ah! I'm not gonna get myself soaking wet just to see the waterfall! But after been persuaded by one of the journalist I gave in and force myself to cross the river. It was kinda fun actually and the water was sooooooo coooolinggggggg. Half of my pants were wet, so were my leech socks ( how come I didnt think of taking of my shoes and the socks before crossing? weirddd )

This is the Lipad waterfall

but if you're lucky enough you might be able to see this...

Yes, this is the same waterfall just that there are twin waterfall!!
This happens normally after a heavy rain. If you noticed on the 1st pic of the waterfall, you can see there is a bit of water coming down from the other side.

I think we've spend like 45mins to an hour at the waterfall before we head back. Both of my legs were numb. I can't feel them, it's like there we walking on auto-pilot! Poor legs. Moral of the story is: Please make sure you're fit and ready to go jungle trekking!! It took me couple of days to get my legs back to normal mode again.

We were super duper late when we got back to lodge. We were supposed to check out at 1pm I've reached there at 12:45pm. I have like 15mins to shower & have my lunch!!!!!! walao weh! How to do like dat? Superman meh? So we ended up leaving Tabin at 1.30pm. As we were late we had to rush to the airport. Our flight was at 4.30pm. Everyone was tired but still able to mingle in the airport. Then came the bad news around 4pm, our flight has been delayed to 5.30pm. GAAAHH~!!

To make things better S from FAX airline decided to belanja us 'yam cha' in the near by mamak stall. Everything was all good, we had our roti canai, some asked for soto ayam and of course some drinks. We chatted more to get to know each other and that's how we managed to burn our time.

Around 5.30pm we board our plane. The journalist was snapping pictures of the aircraft and NOBODY WAS YELLING AT THEM????!!! how can this happen? I was warn NOT to take footage and this bunch of people just came in and take like heaps of pictures and it was ok?? WALAO WEY! DOUBLE STANDARD! bikin panas eh! By then I have no mood to take any pics liao. Xian Tiao!

We got back to kk around 6.30pm. I was tired but it was a fun weekend over Tabin. Psstt, I got more mosquitor bites on me rather than leech bite.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Glorious Nature, As a matter of FAX! - Day 1

Day 1

Time is 6.20am - woke up early to do my last minute packing. Just then, S from FAX called.
S: Hi Amy! Your still alive there?
me: Yeah yeah.. how's things over there?

S: There's one more passanger still havent come yet?

me: who??!

S: A from xx megazine, did you call everyone to come to the airport by 6am?

me: yeah, i did.

S: I've tried to call and sms him but no reply from him. Have any other numbers that I can contact?
me: *WTH* no, thats the only number I've got

S: maybe you can try call him, he knows you rite? he has anther 5 mins before boarding now.
me: yeah ok, i'll try.
I've tried to called this guy but seems like he didnt pick up my calls. HECK! I've tried sms too, no use - coz no reply. I called S back.
me: hey S, the guy didnt pick up my calls or return my sms too!
S: nvm then, this things happens

me: ok then. See you later

S: yeah, see you later.
My flight is at 9.30am but still need to go to the office to pack some stuffs to bring to Tabin. My dad send me to the airport, then there were 2 lady approched me at the entrance. It turns out that it were a mother and daughter. The daughter asked me to help her mom to check-in her flight. Being a good-hearted person i just help her la! I checked-her in quickly and went straight to my office. I need to do some last minute accommodation arrangement for ANOTHER extra person going to TABIN. Reallllllly last minute one. Luckily still got plc for 1 more, else someone is going to sleep with the mossie outside in the dark. Hehehe...

When I was walking towards the aircraft I took up my handycam and start shooting but some GUY came by and stop me from filming. WHAT THE!! He said this place is not allowed to take shots?! HUH? whatever!

When I boarded the plan I just realised that I've lost my cap!!!!!!!! darn it! Must have fell off when I was taking out the handy cam.

Just in case your thinking what plane did I board on, it's a Fokker 50 via FAX (Fly Asian Express) more info check I took the 2nd daily flight to Lahad Datu.

Look! It's Fokker 50!

Less than 1 hour we've ( I was with my manager and a birder - Mr. CK Leong ) reach Lahad Datu airport. Lahad Datu airport is one of those airport that was build ages ago and till today still havent been renovate before. I was told that the runway was build since WWII. Gasp! Our luggage was literally delivered by a hand-pulled trolley somemore! Talking bout old skool man!

As soon as we got our luggage, Mike our Tabin driver was waiting us outside the airport. I just noticed that the airport was very very extremely near to the town. Near as in opposite the road - super near hor? We went to this place ( something like a food court) in Lahad Datu town for brunch. After lunch we went to pick up a freelance tour guide - Simon Ambi at his 'warung'. Dont play-play tour guide also got warung!

Thanks to the gravel plantation road, the ride to Tabin was bit bumpy even though we're traveling using a land crusier. The journey to Tabin took is like 1 hour+. Oh yeah, we saw a 'biawak' on the road while we're on our way to Tabin.

Check out the map above ( from Lahad Datu airport - Tabin )
Fyi, not me who drew the map one alrite.

Welcome to the land of Tabin

Upon arrival we're served with a cool 'kit-chai-ping' refreshment drink. I guess that's the official welcome drink in Tabin. Oh they also gave us a 'chilled-wet-face-towel' too. For what you ask? For... you know to freshen up... and..... ada la kegunaan dia nanti tu ;p

We were welcomed by the resort manager - EQ. Super friendly and bubbly fella. Always managed to crack up jokes and make things lively. Btw, I had to RE-PACK the Media Kit!! SOMEONE *ahem* didn't like how it was pack! Gosh, super 'ngiam-ciam' not? After finished re-packing we had our lunch (EAT AGAIN! - I thought we just ate, like 2 hours ago? O.o ) Psst.. I didnt even finished half of the lunch, then they order additional fried mee somemore..
EQ said 'Mr. Marcus told me to take care of her daughter'. Har? To me EQ trying to make me choke with food >.<
Here are some pictures of Tabin's lodges:

Hillside lodge - This was the one I was staying in

The interior view of the Hillside lodge.

Me and my manager shared a room. We unpacked our stuffs and had a 30-45mins rest. After that I was getting all gear up with the leech socks and my wellington booths ala 'phua-chu-kang' booths and equipt with long sleeves. Hey, I'm not over paranoid but just taking precautious what. In the end I find myself dressing like a gardener!! No kidding!!

The media troops came in around 5pm. It was kinda late and everyone was kinda excited to get into the 1st activity which is trekking to the mud volcano.

Guess which is me? ;-)

Some of the media gang,
most of them equipt with state of the art cameras!
si-beh hi-tech!

We were brought to a junction by using 1 lorry and a pick-up truck. Average trekking to the nearest mud volcano supposed to be around 30 mins but since that this bunch of people were the media and media took and shot lots of pics along the way which made the duration last longer then what we were expected. During the trekking in the jungle you can safey off your cell phone. NO coverage la babe! The way to the mud volcano was not too bad, not as rough as I've imagine.

We were brought to this HUG tree which you can go inside it and come out from the other side. I heard from someone that you must knock on the tree before you take any pictures. It's said to be like asking for permission? Oh-kay... Myth? No harm just to knock on the tree rite? The tree kinda reminds me of the movie, Narnia.

The mud volcano was not far from the HUG tree. The name of the mud volcano is Lipad mud volcono.

the size of the Lipad mud volcano is like 1 football field.

As you can see the Lipad mud volcano is still active - fresh new mud! yummy! ;p

The mud volcano serve as a salt lick for the animals in Tabin. There were lots and lots of animal foot prints there. The mud volcano is said to be responsible for smooth skin after applying it on ur skin. Reminder: know where your getting your mud from, best ones are those newly generated ones, coz others might have something ADDITIONAL stuffs in it, I dunno.. maybe you might find animal dung? hello? lots of animal visit the mud volcano rite? oh and watch your step too.. coz some part of the mud volcano might be bit soft when you step on it and you might sinked! Dont worry too much, just follow instuction you'll be okay :) I felt like part of National Geographic team when I went to the mud volcano - seriously!!

We were supposed to jungle trek out from the mud volcano before 6pm but we were behind schedule! It was bloody dark in the jungle, and I didn't bring my torch light. Now I understand what's the torch light for. Gezz!

We successfully came out from the jungle 15 mins before 7 ( I think? or was it by 7 pm? ) and we were supposed to have our BBQ dinner and 'frying pakis' competition (?) but due to bad weather the 'frying pakis' had to be cancel coz it was supposed to be held in an open space. Oh well.. The BBQ dinner was NOT too bad! Ate quite a bit. Heheh.. I wasnt a fan of 'pakis' but I've tried a bit and tell you the truth, it didnt taste that bad. :) During dinner it poured heavily! I went back to the room for a bath after dinner. Suprisingly the rain stopped and the night activities continue. Since we were a big group we need to be split into 2 groups. One will be going to watch the presentation slide at the hall while the other one going to the night safari. Then switch actitivy.

So my manager ask me to go for the night safari 1st. Boy, was I excited! We climb back to the lorry, and i brought along an umbrella JUST IN CASE it rains. Oh remember to bring your binocular too during the safari - it helps, trust me! :)

We saw this

and this

and also this too!

but I heard during the second night safari, they saw MORE animalsssss... like the sun bear, orang utan, beared pig... etc. On our way back from the night safari, it started to pour AGAIN! Gosh! So I took my umbrella BUT I had to share it with another 2 person. 1 Umbrella, 3 person!! Guess we did not get any much coverage. I was telling this jornalist from Her World who was sitting next to me that we're soooo gonna get sick that nite! After the night safari, we went into the hall to watch the presentation. I was cold and wet!! Brrrr..... During the presentation this I was sitting next to this photojournalist from virtual malaysia she was soundly asleep with her mouth open widely. Priceless look - wanted to snap it BUT I dont have a camera with me. I bet she was very very tired from waking up bloody early in the morning and from the trekking. She sleep thought the entire presentation, we were sitting in the front row somemore!!!

Oh and each of us had made a mud certificate after viewing the presentation. Yay! I returned to our lodge after that. Gonna wake up early next day for the morning walk - 6am!!!!!!!

End of Day 1

p/s: Btw, those pics weren't taken by me. I didnt bring my camara with me, remember?