Saturday, July 31, 2010


(straight from my travel notebook. still in its raw form so its more like a note rather than a decent read cause i am lazy to edit. ^^.)

day 0
set off at 4, with only a packet of instant noodle and a few bars of appollo chocolate cake in my stomach. grinning to myself, i strutted straight for the 969 bus stop. only to realise, on the bus, that it doesn't go to kranji. in fact, i have mistaken khatib as kranji all these while that i pass them by on the way home from zoo. drop off at yishun and took the train whereby it announces that it is possible to take 950 to JB-Kotaraya II terminal. time 5pm. just when i was tapping out, i realise something is missing. i am no longer holding on to my wallet!! with a glimpse of hope, i rummage through all my pockets (theres like 6 pockets) again and again. even my waist belt though i have no collection of touching it (I have a habit of not fiddling with it in the public. that will defeats the purpose) none, none, no where to be found. rush to the train and bus control station in hope that some kind soul will find it. knowing that it will take quite a while for them to check, i sat down, praying (to i have no idea who) that i could recover my loss. my atm card, 150 ringgit and 50 sgd. if all these are gone, then it will be a great hit for me. since i am travellinga lone, i have nobody that i could turn to should i run out of cash. and take note, i don't have my atm card. just then, my phone rang ( i have been gripping and staring intensely at my phone.) my prayers worked! thanks so much. the people working at the smrt station have made my day. good sign!

upon reaching city square (in retrospect, i have gotten off the bus too early, there should still be one leg of journey) i asked the guard about the directions to a the senai airport by public transport. seems like they don't have much idea about going to the airport or rather their own nation public transport as i learned much later. best bet is to ask the bus driver (if you are lucky enough to find one who understand english and speak to you not in a strand of malay) despite not knowing the way, the security guard is still nice enough to go the extra mile to guide me by physically walking me to the bus stop. whoo! and theres like really a lot of security guard in the mall. hmm. i wonder why. and he asked his colleague ( i think one that actually use public transport) only to realise that to get to senai, i have to change bus at larkin. so i follow on. when i reach larkin, it was a way way different experience from singapore buses. one thing is it is actually the coaches for tour. and it cost only 4rm. driver frequently chatted to another person standing at the door (i think help to get customer. touting is ubiquitous in malaysia) with an attempt to make eye contact. OMG! can you concentrate on the road when you drive. and he has such a relaxed way of driving, sometimes using one hand, other time just resting the hands on the big steering wheel. senai airport is such a pure state of simplicity. without extravagance and just to fulfill its purpose of an airport. time, 8pm, just nice to check in. and i am feeling so hungry!

2nd day
in love with the people in this town. the people that i came across will do so much to try to help you if you ask for it. well, even if you don't ask for it and you look lost, people will still offer to help. just like my 1st day. i was circling the town, trying to find somewhere decent to stay in. after passing the same spot for a few times while lugging my huge backpack, an uncle came to suggest an affordable hostel, known as asia adventure lodge. he is a traveller, too by the way, a domestic one though.

my failed attempt to look for energy bars. in the supermarket, i asked this boy (cause he looks really young, like 16 or 17. in sabah i think boys came out to work as young as 7 or 8. esp in the fish market) where could i get energy bar. puzzled look. so i farther explain that it is food that gives you energy like coffee. then he proclaimed, ah, coffee! no, no, no. not coffee. coffee is to drink, i want food. can eat. hmm. then he went into a series of discussion with the other boy nearby. still confused, but he offer to try to show me food products that fit into the "energy food" category. which turns out, they don't really have energy bar, cause he brought me to the biscuit section. and this is like the n supermarket i went into. so i just grab a packet of biscuit. while i was about to go off, this boy came back with a packet of coffee. i smile at him and politely declined him. haha. people there are just so cute.

my hostel auntie offer to bring me around during the 3rd night. but too bad that i am going off. since i sleeping alone in a dorm room with 5 other empty beds, the auntie and her granddaughter i think would come into the room to sleep at night.

3rd day
crazy day! last day of diving. vomited into the sea upon reaching the jetty. lunch become fish food. i could see clear traces of my lunch. noodles, bloated. the sea was so choppy that even the dive instructor felt sick. all was fine in the sea till we surfaced.

after that took a bus to ranau in order to change bus to sandakan. a guy on the bus talked to me. offer to buy a mineral drink when there is an auntie going around selling it. i turned him down. chatted. gave me newspaper, "the sabah times". chatted for a while more and i went to sleep. stopped nearby mt kinabalu and he bought peanuts to share. great timing, i was starving!! my lunch is all in the sea. when reaching ranau, he asked for my no. yea right, like i will give. when we reach, he asked if i would like to go karaoke. how outrageous, at this time? 9pm and with a stranger that i known not more than a car ride. i declined flatly. its just wierd very wierd! at ranau, i attempt to look for a decent place to sleep. but failed. its all too expensive. so i had my dinner (noodle that taste like it has been left there for quite a while), hoping that a miracle would happen afterwards. after asking for directions, i went to the bus stop. i heard that it will be coming at 9. current time, 7.40pm. long way to go. and the bus stop was dark. it wasn't just dimly lit, there is no light at all other than those from the eateries across the street. i held on to my torch, for fear that somebody might lurch at me in the dark, isolated bus stop. on top of that, i couldn't be sure that it is a bus stop cause there was only a bus stop sign. theres not even a shelter. and no bus was passing by. their waiting time for inter-city bus is terrifyingly long. so i ask an uncle with his nearby petrol truck. and he assured me that there will be bus. so i continue waiting. after a prolonged, intense moment of pure fear at the bus stop, the uncle came up to me to see if i want a ride up to sandakan since he is heading that way too. hesitation. but between the bus stop outside the ghostly town and the sincere offering of the uncle (though a bit suspicious looking) i chose the big petrol truck. and to be frank, it is actually quite cool to sit in a petrol truck. even though every once in a while, the wheel will pass over a pit hole making it so "enjoyable" for the ass. chatted on the truck for a while, evaluated the driver to be quite trustworthy. i fell asleep again. reached. sandakan. he went to deliver the petrol and stopped beside the street to help me to search for a budget place to stay in. the one that we found was too expensive and it was very late. time 1am. so he suggested to sleep in his lorry if i trust him. longer pause, but if he were to habour any ill-intentions, he would have carried it out earlier on. but nothing happen, so i push my luck a bit more to be with him, hoping that everything will go on fine. as i have told him, the people who wanted to help you on the road far exceed the one that will want to inflict harm on you. holding on to my believe, i trust that my positive aura will attract positive outcome. so i spend a night on the lorry. OMG! in restropect, its crazy. however everything pass safely. in the morning, i took a bus to sandakan to proceed to sepilok orang utan.

4th day
honestly there nothing much but the video was educational and informative. at the utan, the ranger saw my newspaper from yesterday and asked if he could read it. sure, i have got no use for it anyway. when i came out, we chatted for a while. knew that he was ranger at day, taxi driver otherwise. he was giving an offer to a cheaper rate should i need his service. but neh, hiring a taxi would seriously hurt my wallet. back in sandakan, which is a sleepy town, operating only till 3-4pm. as there nothing much in town, i went to explore the heritage trail to keep myself sane. on the way, saw somebody using a net to catch a puppy and it is whimpering. tragic. try to persuade him to let go of the puppy cause i not sure if he is going to harm the dog. but to bridge a communication is impossible as he doesn't speak english. i motion a house and he nodded. ok. one less worry. hope the puppy will do well. follow the kids that came out to get the dog. and they live in a village. well, guess they will treat the dog well. cause they grew up with animals. they should know better how to handle a dog.

5th day
nearby mt kinabalu. at a eatery. seeing hoards of climbers down the mountain is driving me insane. as i written down at that point of time, i have no idea what to do now, to go or not to go. as much as my mind have been dwelling on sanity, it is going crazy soon. all the decision that i have to made. so i talked to one of the solo climber to see my chances of going up. well, not much. and he gave me an advice that was stuck to my head, never try never know. yea. this is just the thing i need to hear. went to the nearby mountain rest house. it was so freaking cold. to bath was a toture rather than an enjoyment, especially the period when i have to get dress. at night slept with my beanie, 2 layers of top and pants and woolen socks.

6th day
couldn't climb the mountain but i met a tour guide at the mountain rest house. she offers me to join the tour group at just a price of 50rm! and yup. a solo traveler swelling up to a group of 13 domestic traveler!

7th day
last day. and the two of the malaysian treated me and the tour guide to a sumptuous seafood dinner! yum yum! 10 dishes. almost exploded~ i went back to the hostel, wanting to chat with the auntie. but then, i couldn't recover the magical feeling back then. led me thinking. can people with benefits issue between them really be friends? will they, the service or goods provider put on a friendly facade just so as to be after more money? sometimes it will feel better to be not too close to business-minded people as we probably couldn't get any genuine feelings from them. in the end, we not only pay in cash but in feelings too. then again, does it really matters to find true, lasting friendship on the road as it is probably the allure of its brevity that makes it so memorable. just like the fireworks. the serendipity is probably that concoct the magic. at the end, what stays is the growth of an individual that emerges after undergoing all those experiences, wrenching incident and joyous occasion. the moments of pure beauty and optimism. lesson learn, not to repeat the stuff as it kills the wondrous picture instead.

seems like when you travel and you carry with yourself a positive aura, people around you will be there to help you. just got to ask and hope for it. well, i think it pretty much apply to anything.
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