Sunday, December 6, 2009

Road Trip - Perak

Sunday, December 6, 2009

pictures will be added later. stay tuned

The early bird gets the worm...

...or, the wait. On the tentative schedule we were supposed to meet up at so that we could depart at 4.30. but the night before was our registration, so I had to go home to register (as luck would have it, my internet conked out at exactly 11.50 p.m., after I forced myself to stay awake the whole night waiting for the midnight stroke. hmm) well since I was at home, the only way I could get to UIA at such a ridiculous hour was if someone drove me there, and that someone was my dad. (Thanks Abah!) And after sending me he didn't go back home (waste of gas) instead, he went straight to his office. When I got to the studio I think there were less than a handful of people there, no girls. So I went and hung out at the surau. In the end we left around 5 a.m. the weather was perfect....for sleeping. Raining and slightly chilly, perfect conditions for sleeping. Subuh and a very early breakfast at one of the rest stops.

I love Google

Everything Google. In this case, Google maps. Our car (half of the research team) decided beforehand that we needed to go to the Perak archives, so it was Google to the rescue. Got the address off the net and then went to Google maps and found the quickest and easiest route. Wrote it all down but I forgot the paper at home! Haha no worries though. I think I remembered the map pretty well. We got there in the end, that’s what matters :p

Branching out and getting lost - it’s fun and it pays off

The archives opened at 10, but we were already in Perak pretty early. So we decided to detour to Batu Gajah in search of Istana Raja Bilah or Istana Papan. Took the exit and had a fun time looking for Papan. Drove by several familiar sights, including a green church and Kellie’s castle, but we still couldn’t find Papan. So we had to stop and ask some friendly locals, one of which said pergi pusing, pastu belok kiri. Being from out of town, we had no idea pusing was a place and not an instruction :p but in the end we managed to find Papan, and it turned out to be a charming albeit dilapidated little town. Apparently, there was a movie shoot going on there as well. maybe it was this one?

From Papan we made our way to Ipoh, taking the old road instead of the highway. Much more fun and interesting, but that meant we’d be approaching from a different angle than if we were to take the highway and go according to the Google map directions I remembered. But we found the building after making several turns and went up to the archives. I think the people there were extra excited that they had customers, they were very friendly and helpful. We got some info from there, much more hands on; we scoured their resource room and everything. It was fun, in a way. But after a while I got sleepy, while waiting for our material to be photocopied. Good thing we arrived at the archives pretty early since we totally forgot it was Fridays and they had to go for Friday prayers and close up early. So we left and they locked up.
Time for lunch. Hmm. Where to eat? We drove around and ended up in front of Ipoh parade. Safe bet I suppose, so we ended up eating at marrybrown, sitting on swings^^

We then departed to Kuala Kangsar, again taking the old road and not the highway. It took longer I suppose but we saw some very interesting sights, like a beautiful Lafarge plant and an oddly conical hill. The Lafarge plant was just awesome, less like a building and more like an intricate and enormous machine. Later on our way to Taiping we passed a YTL plant but it paled in comparison.

When we finally got to KK the other groups were already heading out in search of alternate buildings to, measure so we decided to just drive around looking as well instead of checking into our lodging. As it turns out we found ourselves in Kota Lama Kiri, where we found several houses although the nicest one seemed to be already measured. I think we must’ve driven up and down the same road 20 times. After that we wanted to look for this mosque, Masjid Kg. Kuala Dal but no one knew where it was, even the locals that we asked. So then we crossed the river into Kota Lama Kanan but the houses there were sparser and less elaborate, nothing really worth measuring.

Drove back into town and drove around getting only slightly lost but that was a stroke of good fortune because we stumbled on this old mansion with a sprawling lawn (by Malaysian standards) but there was no one around to ask for any information about the house. There was a sign staying villa Gahara but we weren’t sure if that was the name of the house or the name of the housing area. The mansion was near a Christian kindergarten and Lutheran church and near to MCKK. We also passed Masjid Ridzwaniyah, which, by our own hypothesis, used to look like this but doesn’t anymore, which is a shame because it would’ve been nice to measure and document.

People. Trust your instinct?

After all that driving around (which is not as bad as walking around hehe) we finally went to our lodging to freshen up before dinner and group binding activities. Dinner was a very delicious barbecued chicken and sardine sandwiches. After dinner the group binding started, with a game called mafia wars (not the fb app) but not before a birthday surprise for Jah =P. So mafia wars. It’s a bit lengthy to explain I guess. It’s a game about trust and instinct and to a lesser extent, teamwork. Click the link for an explanation on how the game works.

In the first game I had a very strong suspicion on who the mafia was, but I didn’t listen to my instinct, for several reasons. Only just when I decided to do something, I was killed off. Nyeh. The next game I kept on nominating and voting for the same people who I seriously suspected, but few others backed me up. As it turned out though, the two people I did keep voting for were really the mafia. Heh!

Need for speeeeeed

the next day we went to the zoo ^^ I love the zoo…after a bit of a wait we hopped onto the tram and went around the zoo looking at amazing creatures Masha’Allah…then we got off the tram and did our own bit of exploring. Me and Madihah wanted to take pictures with the albino python, but our enthusiasm was certainly not shared by everyone else. In the end we managed to convince yam Mahmud and aqilah to join us. It was fun! Then we were walking around again, not really knowing where to go when suddenly a group of zoo staff walked up the hill and with them a\was a cute baby orangutan! Heehee it was very curious and friendly =D.

After the zoo we went to Maxwell hill. I didn’t know what to expect, but that was fortunate because it was amazing! The ride up was like a very twisty roller coaster ride, 93 turns in all, winding steeply uphill with a sheer drop beside the road. Thank god the driver was experienced. He was driving with just one hand..! When we reached the top some of us got a bit sick so we sat around while waiting for the other jeep to arrive. Maxwell hill is very greeeeeeen and damp. Moss everywhere, lichen on trees and vegetation galore. It’s also very foggy because of the humidity. Very surreal to be standing in a cloud. After a tiring hike uphill it was very nice to just sit on top of the hill and chill for about an hour, just enjoying the different weather and environment, and the quiet nature. The ride down was less scary than I thought it would be, even though rain was coming in. it was quite comfortable. I even fell asleep haha!

After a quick meal of mihun sup we departed back to KL. At first I was so tired, so sleepy. But after the first stop we made at sungai Perak my sleepiness evaporated. After sungai Perak we decided that since we all knew where we were going there was no need to remain in strict convoy mode so we broke out and drove at a more comfortable speed. Even though it was much faster than when we were in convoy it also felt much safer. And without realizing it we overtook the cars, one by one. I guess the others felt challenged or something. But even when they overtook us again we managed to cut them again, without that much of an effort. Except ajim. 180km/h is just a bit too fast for comfort :p. It was fun anyway, and thankfully no one was extremely bullish to be careless and extra aggressive on the road. Everyone made it back safely after an exhilarating and very short ride home :)

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