15 November 2006
Chronicles of the Sabah Trip - Day 3

Yep, it's Day 3 now. But I first would like to apologise for this late blog post. It was supposed to be done this evening, but somehow I managed to pull my brother away from his Maple Story game and we both played Monopoly. It was fun! Hahaha, we tried bankrupting each other with hotel rents. Because I possess more hotels and he landed on them more, I was the victor and nearly the loser. His Mayfair houses nearly killed me!

Moving on to Day 3. I woke up to the sound of a really nasty alarm ringtone of Cikgu Bronie's handphone. (He was my roomie, along with Tze Yan and Alex at that time) It was terribly noisy I tell you but fortunately it rang for about a minute. So I got up, brushed my teeth, washed my hair and off we go down the many flights of stairs carrying our baggages to the restaurant there near the Gunung Emas treetop cabins. Talk about morning exercise the agony!

No offense Jia Yee, but I sort of expected you to have really messy hair and big black bags under your eyes since I thought you had a restless sleep that night, but thank goodness you were able to sleep through the night and look normal! Hahaha!

We ordered breakfast there. I ate a chicken pao which Alex didn't really want to eat. The Form 1 girls did not ordered breakfast as they feared the food there was dirty, since Maria had a stomachache the last night after eating the food there. Poor them. I wonder how they got the energy to trek through the forest...

While I was eating, Cikgu Amelly tried to show me the big grasshopper clinging at her shirt. I was trying to pinpoint what she tried to show me and scanned the area high and low until I gave a gasp when I saw the hideous grasshopper. The ones sitting on my table gave an expression which was something like this: -.-"! Nai Kiat tried to grab hold of the grasshopper's tail and toyed with it with fascination. Alex passed an unnecessary remark, saying he wanted to squash that thing. Hey, the grasshopper did nothing to you la, kill it for what? Very inhumane, which ironically was his typical characteristic :P. Yes, yes, I know, be crass! *rolls eyes*

We departed the place later at 8 something and we headed to a Rafflesia Centre (I don't know the name). Surprisingly and not surprisingly, the place was closed when we first arrived there. Luckily, a car came and the staff helped us to open the gate and then called the forest ranger to guide us into the jungle there later.

Our purpose there was of course, to seek for the biggest (and probably the stinkiest too, at least that's what I read) flower in the world, Rafflesia by going into the jungle near there. Do you know this flower was first discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles, and the flower was named after him? We explored the small Rafflesia museum while waiting for the guide. He came later and told us that the jungle which we're going to hike has leeches. The ones with short pants cringe, those wearing slippers went "Eeek" and the rest went "Illl!". I was scared (why should I lie that I wasn't? Lol!) too, and I shudder at the thought of having a leech bit me. Those brown slimy annelid that crawl up your leg and suck your blood. They are probably from which Vlad Dracula and vampires evolved from! I'm not going to let some bloodthirsty creature crawl up my skin, puncture my skin and suck the living blood out of me!

With lots of groans and moans from us, we hesitantly made our way into the jungle. We thought it was alright, since there was a concrete paveway but that was just the beginning. As the guide swung open the creaking gate, lo and behold lies the jungle that holds lots of secrets, and leeches. Someone said, "Eee! I'm scared! I don't want to go in anymore!" Well, like it or not, all of us have to since we came THAT far.

So we trekked our way down and up. The initial journey was pretty okay, if not easier than the cross-country at Bukit Shahbandar. Little did we know what was in store for us. I wish I can stare at the green jewels hanging from the branches and admire the emerald canopy, but I was too busy looking at the path at where I was going and also walking as fast as possible to prevent the stinking leeches from crawling up my feet and bite me. I was really glad that I chose to wear shoes and long pants for the trip (I actually didn't expect we're going into the jungle), but that wasn't enough to keep my mind in peace. I don't know who told me this, but one of my friends told me that leeches can still crawl up your shoes and under the pants "sleeve" and savour your tasty blood.

Pretty jungleWhile hiking in the jungle, I took the opportunity to snap pictures of sunlight filtering through the leafy canopy, down to create a curtain of mysterious light near the undergrowth. I think that makes one heck of an amazing panorama that gives the forest such beauty and mystery. Snap, snap, and I got this one. I quickly moved away from my stationery pose to prevent leeches from crawling up my skin and also not to block the human traffic behind me.

I love the picture below too. Somewhere while hiking, I looked up and saw this. Of course, make hay while the sun shines, so SNAP! I took this. It's amazing! See how the sun peeks in between the circular gap of the canopy? Isn't it pretty? Of course it is! Say yes!

Ring of light above trees

So we walked, walked and walked. Not many words passed among us. We just followed the leader, who was the guide, and Tze Yan. Suddenly, there came a scream! Everybody panicked. Which leech claim which victim? The answer: Cikgu Amelly! She was reacting somewhat like, "Ahhh! Ada leech di kaki sayaaaaaaaa! Aaaaah!" I think Alex laughed at her. Wow, I couldn't imagine my own BM teacher having a fear of leeches since she was the head of Adventure Club, surely a leech is nothing? She, or someone else, quickly took it off from her and she let Alex and Maria go in front of her for "protection" I guess.

Then, came another horrendous scream again, this time from Eileen. I was shocked again. It happened so fast twice in a row, and I thought Eileen was pretty brave? Well, she's not so when it comes to leeches. And yea, she screamed. Hahaha! We told her to remove it, but she didn't want to since she afraid of the pain and also she was afraid that it would infect her wound. So she decided to let that thing cling onto her until it's full which it will let go automatically.

Finally, we reached a pondok and Cikgu Amelly quickly sat down and inspect her wound. She ushered us to go first. I stood around worrying for no apparent reason and when I saw some leaving, I followed suit. Little did I know that she won't be following us AT ALL, leaving us all out in the jungle alone with the guide while she rested at the pondok the whole time!

After the pondok, the terrain of the forest floor became more difficult, more slippery and more deadly with more leeches. It was worse than I imagined, that one at Bukit Shahbandar was just pffft compared to this one! It was the worse walk I ever experienced. Climbing up fallen tree trunks, holding onto thin trees for support and touching green moss and algae! It was really disgusting too! For this journey, I avoided touching anything that looks like a green carpet! I nearly slipped and fell a couple of times. Lilian made things worse by holding onto my backpack, and her push or pull nearly made me fall. It was scary really. The forest got a bit darker and more sinister and you can actually hear weird insect voices and cries from the forests. I was thinking to myself, "Why can't this be some big giant Hollywood set? At least I know everything will be fake!" But it's not. It's the real deal, a wild jungle out there!

That's when I realised I wasn't born a Tarzan, but a weak and pathetic city guy.

I shrugged and I moved on, carefully stepping on roots that somehow formed natural steps, avoiding slippery muddy ground and of course leeches. Eileen's one was still stuck on her, and she made a small cry, "Why are you still stuck on me?"

I don't know why, but somehow I fared much more better at that time than others. Not to be a show off or anything. Lol. So we walked and trekked and hiked and by this time, I was starting to be a little tired. I was wondering when I will get to see the big one! Then suddenly, there came a shout and then a cry. It was definitely Jia Hui's signature shout. I didn't know what happened back there as I was already way in front; probably a leech bit her or something.

I remember a stretch of very narrow path that was really slippery, difficult to manoeuvre about and without much trees and vegetation to hold onto for support. And that was when the scariest thing happened in my whole life.


The few of us who were way ahead of others gasped when Alex, our dear Alex, actually SLIPPING DOWN THE SLIPPERY RAVINE and nearly got swallowed by the forest down below. IT WAS FREAKING SCARY I TELL YOU. I was not ready to witness a death happening to one of my friends. There's still a lot in life for him to go through. To put it bluntly, it was scary shit and so many thoughts crossed my mind. Most of them very pessimistic ones, but at times of danger like that, anything could happen.

THANK GOODNESS he managed to grip his hands on the steep ground and was sort of hanging there. Nai Kiat quickly came to the rescue! He put out his hand, Alex grabbed on it and he heaved him up while Eileen was sort of "the support". That was really a close one. Thank God he was still alive and in one piece even though he had scratches and some wounds. I think he was pretty badly shaken though.

We told each other to be careful even though we knew we have to be. Fortunately the rest of the hike was pretty much okay, but the terrain deep inside the jungle was really getting too difficult and challenging as well as slippery. It was quite dark too, and leeches harboured everywhere. It was scary I tell you, and I asked myself whether we are already there or not. Speaking of leeches, Alex who quickly recovered from the accident kept on saying that he wanted leeches to suck on his wound or something. He says they have some "health benefits" or something I cannot remember. But he did say earlier in the journey that leeches aren't poisonous and won't do much harm. They suck and go, it's their way of life. I doubted him and I did some research online on Wikipedia. Turns out he was right. Still, scary!

The people in front of my slowed to a halt and didn't move for quite some time. I stomped my feet on the ground hoping that leeches won't crawl up my shoe up my leg. I asked in an annoyed tone, "What happened? Why you stop?" Then the guide pointed to me the Rafflesia on the ground. I was like "There?"

I was really shocked beyond words because the Rafflesia I see certainly didn't match the giant ones I envisioned. They were REALLY small for a big flower. And I felt that I have been cheated and bluffed and lied to horribly. I quickly shoved these thoughts back to my head and tried to forget about them, but someone said we should stop there because the rest are still lagging behind and didn't think they could make it so far anymore. So we stopped there to see the 3 small Rafflesias. It was A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT. We came all the way, to see 3 small and not so fabulous Rafflesias? Forget it, I can go to Google Image Search and right-click and save pictures of Rafflesias the search results gave me, photoshop it to make it look like I have took it in a real forest and host 100000000s of them online! It makes it so not worth it at all!

So here it is, the Rafflesias! They may seem big, but in reality it's smaller than you think! I took pictures of their close-ups. Enjoy, because it's not easy to trek all the way into the Borneon jungle and just take pictures of Rafflesia which isn't so big after all.

I find it an insult if you say the Googled Rafflesias look much better and more professional =\.

So after that, we made a U-turn and have to suffer through the really difficult terrain. This time, I crouched often and grip my hands on the soil, roots, rocks and green carpets as well as thin tree trunks. I didn't care about how dirty I was about to be, all I want was to see civilization! Besides, the dirtier I look, the better. At least I can testify with credibility that I ACTUALLY trekked through the jungle!

So my friends and I went back up to the pondok much much later and we decided to take a short break. I can't remember what or why, but instinctively my pulled my pants "sleeve" up with my shaking and trembling hands. I actually wondered during the whole journey why I was so lucky not to get bitten by a leech. HA! Turns out I wasn't so lucky after all!

I shrieked with a very high-pitched voice! And my glasses fogged up and my vision blurred! I tell you, I actually experience a near-fainting spell. I could feel myself getting really light-headed and really dazed. I stared at the big, fat and utterly stupid brown ICKY creature that was having its bloody good time sucking the blood out from near my knee. I was stupified I tell you. I cannot believe I succumbed to a leech.

And my scream, why oh why does it have to hit the soprano range! I hate puberty for missing out on my voice box. At least deepen my voice fully la, not alang alang! Can't believe it man. Not only was I really scared, I was embarrassed as hell and my face was probably burning red hot. And I perspired a lot. And Cikgu Amelly was insulting me. Ughhhh... I really feel so paiseh I tell you. Words cannot describe how I feel. And Alex was laughing at me! -.-" And they say my scream was pretty loud too. Why must I born with such a big mouth?????

Stupid, is all I can say!!!!!!

So I stared and stared at the thing that's sucking my blood away from me. I didn't even give permission to donate my blood to some jungle worm! All that blood...slurping down to waste. More and more people converged. I was breathing sort of heavily and didn't slowed my breathing until Cikgu Bronie came. Jia Hui took the opportunity to take a picture of the nasty thing with my leg. Hey, that leech was pretty big I tell you. It's big, brown and FAT! And it curls itself up in a U-shape. *shudders* I can even feel it now.

The funny thing is, I never remembered feeling it crawling and biting me. Seems like it released some form of anaesthetic when it bit me. In fact, I felt nothing at all when the fat ugly creature sucked my blood.

Anyway, Cikgu Bronie came and I asked for his help seeing he smokes and brings a pack of cigarette along with him. I think he knew what I wanted him to do. He lit his cigarette and placed it near the leech but I withdrew. I didn't fancy experiencing the pain! I hesitated for a couple of times till I am ready to let him do his job. He poked the cigarette butt at the leech's body and the leech wriggle and crawled on my sock and leg and I, well, screamed again lor! And shook my leg pretty hard, struggling to fling that beast away from me. And when I couldn't find it, I panicked. I was already imagining that thing crawling up my legs into my...you-know-what. It's really creepy okay!

Thank goodness the leech dropped on the floor and after some time looking for it, Cikgu Bronie found it and he stepped on it and blood, MY BLOOD, spurted out from its body. Talk about a waste of blood. I could have donated it to the blood bank. The blood was dark red though. And the wound keep on leaking blood since the leech release some sort of anti-clotting agent to prevent blood clotting. The wound took some time to clot and I find it annoying.

And that's the end of the fiasco. After everything was alright, Mr Bronie went to Eileen who had another leech clinging near the same spot the other leech was clinging on (which had already fallen off). She refused his help, instead saying that the leech will drop off by itself when it's full.

And thus ends the big fiasco!

And they made a big joke of how I reacted, especially Cikgu Amelly. It lasted for the rest of the trip. -.-" Har-har-har!

After that, we then went back and me being more cautious this time ensuring that no more leech bites me again. So I overtook a lot of people who was already tired this time and soon I found myself walking alone in the woods. Somehow, I followed my instinct of following the trail of dead leaves. It was scary walking alone, and I regretted abandoning them. So I walked and walked while muttering a prayer under my breath. I huffed and puffed and drank water and huffed and puffed.

I was feeling very scared when the trail was blocked by a clump of dead tree branches, and I retraced back my steps. Then I realised I was right on track and went back again as I recognised the two dark spiny things on the forest ground which Maria pointed out to Cikgu Amelly earlier. And I went back and I saw again the dead branches that was blocking my path. Sensing that I missed another not so obvious detour, I looked around more carefully and spotted one. I followed it and thank goodness I got to the other side. I said a thank you prayer and quickly went on.

My path was then blocked by some tree trunks and I have to climbed over them (and I don't remember doing so). I got to the other side anyway. I had a weird feeling that I was lost again, but I shrugged off and continued because somehow I knew I was right.

I finally sighted Eileen, Jia Hui and Nai Kiat who were quite lost and boy, was I more than relieved to see them. Jia Hui asked me about a certain landmark which she don't remember seeing, but I did, and so led the way. And we walked and walked and finally we reached the gate! Success! I was happy, happy, happy! I finally am out of the crazy jungle out there and I smiled when I saw buildings!

I walked back and saw a few guys who got there earlier than us. As I ran out of water and was feeling thirsty, I asked them where to buy water and I received a not so nice response telling me they don't sell water there! Can you believe it? Don't the people working there need water to drink? So I sat at the stairs to the museum and scowled my face to wait for the rest to come so that we can go and get a drink. They came much much later and we left the place, probably never going there again.

The Survivors
Some of us after seeking the Rafflesia. See how tired and annoyed we were?

All the crazy jungle trek just to see some small Rafflesias? Nah, not worth it.

So this was a big thumbs down. It only made us tired and feeling very, very sasak.

I shall blog about the rest of Day 3 tomorrow. It's getting late, and I need to sleep. Sigh~ And I haven't read much on INFORAMA. Maybe tomorrow? I see you guys later.

freshrimp put thoughts into writing at 00:10.
Comments? Whisper 'em! (7 whispered.)

Comments by them:-

Wow. Jungle trekking. Hey its worth it alrite. Its not about seeing the rafflesia flower, but the experience in getting there to see it! Yes you might've been through what seemed like hell and back, but heck, its a time to remember. And omg alex fell? Well at least he's okay. I could almost imagine you screaming at the leech now lol. Be proud you were able to experience it.

Blogger Paradox whispered at 15 November, 2006 00:34.  

Hahaha, yea, I know. The experience wasn't really what I expected to be. It's what you can say quite "hardcore". And yea, Alex fell =(. He's good now and back to normal, as you can see!

Hey, don't let your imagination go TOO wild okay? Don't imagine me screaming at that thing, because it ain't funny and I was laughed at -.-".

Blogger freshrimp whispered at 15 November, 2006 09:48.  

i was always good and back to normal. i wouldnt care if i die, personally and neither would almost anyone so yeah. i dont really care if i die or anyone dies. death is death. accept it. you cant evade it. :\

Blogger Alex whispered at 16 November, 2006 00:28.  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous Anonymous whispered at 16 November, 2006 10:20.  

Alex, it's not funny. We don't want you to die just yet, okay? Be thankful you're still alive.

And anonymous, byee!

Blogger freshrimp whispered at 16 November, 2006 10:30.  

ahhh~ so long lar ur post??!! *i malas to read finish ler.. =p* hahahas~ but i like the pictures!! rafflesiaa?? ooooooo~ i like! =D har hars~ ^^

Anonymous Anonymous whispered at 17 November, 2006 21:47.  

Hahaha =P I know, I was like "Did I write SO MUCH?"

Blogger freshrimp whispered at 19 November, 2006 10:42.  

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