I Lost My Camping Cherry

The weekend before Year 4 started, I did something crazy.

I went….camping.

Well, don’t give me that look! By my books, it IS crazy! To thread through a jungle trail and to go without a bath for almost 24 hours is quite a nightmare for me. Not to mention being part of the buffet spread for the mozzies that rainy night I spent in darkness with eight of my other classmates. Almost three weeks on and I still have remnants of a cold I got as a souvenir from that trip.

As most of you probably know, rainfall was plentiful in the earlier part of September. It was Sett’s idea to go camping and it got pretty infectious and soon everyone was pretty adamant about going through with the plan. Plan B (catch a movie in Penang and then go home to Sungai Petani) would come into play should it start raining before we begin our hike.

What trip to Penang is complete without some hawker fare?

Maxis swiping snot from his nose as he devoured his curry mee hoon.

Steven poses while Sett says to me, “Eh? New camera ah?”

Hard to imagine that Zhu Zen is two years older than me right? I look old enough to be her mother.

Nien and I looking like ethereal beings with the sunlight glowing from behind.

For the first time, Maxis didn’t finish his food. (Maxis has a track record of eating our left overs.)

Penang Char Kuay Teow. Tempting, yes?

How do you like your Wan Tan Mee?

Ah Thong likes his licked.

I like mine in soup.

I’ve always claimed that my most favourite Penang hawker food is Lam Mee. But I can’t seem to find the perfect Lam Mee after forgetting which stall I first went to. I prefer my Lam Mee to be thicker in consistency and not soupy.

What was this again?

The plan was to spend a night at Pantai Kerachut which is at Batu Feringghi. We had to track two hours through Taman Negara Pulau Pinang, some forest reserve on the island.

Ah Thong was the pro camper among us and so it was his duty to bring the tents!

It is actually free to spend a night in the forest reserve. It’s the least the Penang government could do if a bear eats me up while I’m asleep.

I found a hole at the crotch area of my pants and so I went to change. Must be scratching the petpet far too much in recent times. Hmm.

Cze-Yin and I, unaware if we’re even going to survive through the night.

As pretty as the scenery looked, we should have taken it as a warning and watched a movie instead.

Holding a tent and carrying an army bag makes Sett very manly.

Like bees to honey.

I vaguely remember swearing to myself that I would never again trek into the jungle. The impact must have faded off with time as I was soon happily trudging along with my friends. Too soon.

It was nice to be close to nature. In a way..

Bypassing the mini waterfall.

Ah Thong reassuring us that we’re not too far off from our campsite.

All of us wanted to have a photo on top of that rock.

What’s with the hands man.

Fortunately, I did not go with my original plan which was to wear slippers for the trip. Even with my Power shoes, the grip was not good enough as I slipped on more than one occasion on the slippery slopes. Maklumlah it was raining heavily for that few days. My backpack was kinda heavy and soon I was huffing and puffing up the slopes, tears and sweat cascading together down my cheeks, I suddenly remembered why I said I would NEVER EVER EVER go trekking again some four years back.

I was whining like a bitch saying things like, “I can’t do this anymore!! Uhh huhuhuhuh..I want to go home!! I’ll see you all back in Sungai Petani okay? Byee! I go down first, you all go ahead…I want to go home want to go home!!” Quite shy also that they had to pacify me like a child. “Abit more only..abit more!! Rest for awhile k?”

Strong Cze-Yin let me carry her light as air backpack while she played porter and hopped up to the top with my heavy backpack. After awhile, I recovered and went ahead of her. Kacang lupakan kulit.

Was not kidding about the tired-whiny-bitch-wanna-die part. It was two hours worth of acrobats (all that balanacing..) up and down slippery paths. This is me mustering a look of relief that we were only 5 minutes away from Pantai Kerachut.

Bit of a milestone for all of us.

Alas we have arrived at Pantai Kerachut.

There wasn’t a single person on the beach except for us.

The cleanliness of the sea is rather dubious so the girls didn’t bother going into the water.

Steven arrived first and had some time to himself to emo by the sea.

The wind was blowing strongly and even I, of all people, felt that I was being lifted off the ground.

The entire beach belonged to us!

The boys got naked and started running around like children.

See how happy they look!

When you have sun, WIND and the sea behind you…..it’s only natural to start pushing the chest up and sticking the bum out and give the camera a flash of that smile. (smile..) (sorry..addicted to Mamma Mia. Can’t get Tanya’s dancing scene out of my head).

Getting carried away before the camerawoman(Nien) got bored and moved away.

Poor Cze-Yin got bullied by the boys.

I don’t understand how they could play in the sea. It’s the friggin’ west coast!

But for west coast waves, they were pretty big! Must’ve been the impending storm.

Cze-Yin and her taikacheh sunglasses.

I found an abandoned light bulb on the beach. What if someone steps on it? πŸ™

Since it made for good photography, I just left it there.

L-r: Ee Chia, Nien, Myself and Cze-Yin chillaxing at the sole pondok on the beach while the boys fussed about with the tents.

One does not see a tree branch within reach every day. Some days I might be wearing a skirt too.

This was the first time I’ve seen a tent in real life. I’m so sheltered right?

The boys seemed to be pretty experienced when it comes to setting up the tents so us girls stood out of the way.

Ee Chia and Steven building us a home.

Ah Thong shows off his camping skills.

Someone brought a bat along to ward off animals.

It’s been so long since I last played baseball. Not rusty at all!

I miss my baseball days. I had the chance to go professional, but I had to turn it down due to personal reasons which I shall not dwelve into.

We were on the same team wtf..haha

Since we predicted that it would rain during our trip, we bought rain coats! Poor Nien chose the more caplang plastic bag ones.

Now, THIS, was bought from Cold Storage. It looks like a naughty costume.

Zhu Zen as Little Red Riding Hood.

Oooh stripper Lin.

I’m Rain Girl.

The Angel and the Devil. Guess which is which.

Cze-Yin failing miserably to copy my style while Zhu Zen has no trouble doing what she does best – looking cute.

Rain Girl senses a storm in the air.

She sees the dark clouds rolling towards the beach.

But she camwhores first.

So cute!! πŸ˜€

Not Cze-Yin’s best photo.

She practiced her sleeping position before night fall.

My played-only-once Volleyball made another appearance when we decided to have a few rounds of beach volleyball. Pity that the ball was slightly deflated. As a result, my wrist was hurting for about two days! The guys were slightly(as I’m not very good) with my volleyball skills. I was on my school’s volleyball reserve team once upon a time.

After a few matches, it started pouring cats and dogs. As you know, Penang was flooded a few weeks back because of this torrential down pour. My parents would probably pass out from worry if they knew I was out in the wilderness during the heavy rain. I played in the rain like I’ve never played before! No mother to reprimand me about the relations between rain and fever (which I still don’t really understand to this day. You stand in the rain, water falls on your head. You go into the shower, more water falls on your head.) and no unnecessary gadgets to worry about as I frolicked (okay slight exaggeration) in the rain.

I did get a cold the following day and as I have mentioned, there are still phelgm stuck somewhere in the flaps that make up my throat.

Like totally soaking wet.

At the camp site, there was this Spanish guy called Bako who was already at the site for two days! I cannot imagine being alone in the darkness for two whole days. Poor guy lost his food to some monkeys and so we offered him some. On the last day we gave him some biscuits and chocolate. After playing dodge ball with us, we came back and all the food was gone again. πŸ™

Bako is actually a 29 year old architect who quit his job, rented his apartment out and made a major decision to travel the world. He tries to keep his budget as low as possible and avoids going into the cities. Hence, he carries a tent and hammock wherever he goes. He has been to most parts of South East Asia but from what he has told us, I think he is working his way from the Northern part to the South of South East Asia. He has been on the road for two years now. After Penang, he said that he would he heading down to Cameron Highlands before checking Indonesia out. He has been in Malaysia for about two months at that time. Australia was also on the cards. πŸ™‚ What an adventurer!

Steven and Sett enjoying their Potato bread which tasted extra good as we were seriously freezing our asses off.

Ee chia and her bun.

Anglez doez him no justiz.

This is my rape victim face. Cold storage, schmold storage. Got hole one their raincoat. ;\

Fierce eh? It was an experience, none the less.

Sett, the brave one, decided to venture out onto the tiny plastic barge that was tied to the jetty.

Just a photo to show you how cold the place was.

Steven managed to maintain his post while Sett was still scrambling about.

It might look calm from here but the sea was really choppy and balancing on those plastic floats was no easy feat I tell you.

But for the sake of a photo..

Me being me, decided to go down and join the boys. The reason for my facial expression was because the rain was falling into my eyes.

Turns out that tents do not prevent water from coming in. We certainly did not want to wake up soaking wet hence the decision to drag the tents to the pondok where we would spend the night. This is us gotong-royonging to clean the wooden platform where we sat and had our dinner and basically our tiny spot to sit on for the rest of the night.

Since I had my bath before everyone else, my job was to take the guys’ t-shirts and dry all the tents up. Not fun.

Kuli at work.

Macho boys drying the platform up with their own t-shirts. They didn’t wear the shirts back lah. Not that dirty!

In the early days of our dental technology lab, we had faulty bunsen burners and the university decided to make do with a few stoves and gas cans. Now stored away in the spanking new dental technology lab (with individual state-of-the-art bunsen burners at every station), the old stoves are not of service anymore. We decided to try our luck and Mr. Mansor and Mr. Abdullah, the two dental tech lecturers, were kind enough to lend us the stove and even threw in a few cans of gas for us. So nice of them right? The benefits of being dental students during a camping trip. πŸ™‚

Ah Thong is seriously damn innovative. He came prepared with rafia strings and made this clothes line for us. My towel is on the far left.

When the night is cold and the wind is like bits of ice thrown onto you, a hot cup of maggi is damn fucking good.

Sett the chef.

Happy Maggi eaters.

Ah Thong’s tongue is damn disturbing la.

L-r: Sett, Steven and ee Chia after a nice bath. The toilet has no light and we had to bathe with the doors open. One (obviously a girl) would hold the door open while the other bathes. You can’t see the colour of the water so that’s all right.

L-r: Nien, Zhu Zen and Cze-Yin.:

l-r: Thong, Me, Maxis.

Cze-Yin  and a happy Bako who now has food.

After or individual cup noodles, we even had a whole pot of noodles to refill with courtesy of Sett’s awesome culinary skills.

Sett’s lukewarm beer was chilled by the weater, so alls good.

Cze-Yin gave Ah Thong a bottle of wine for his birthday and he was so kind! He brought it along for the trip and all of us took a few swigs and before you know it, we’ve finished the entire bottle.

Nien looks slightly pinker than she usually does in this picture. Alcohol has more effect on fairer people.

Maxis being Maxis is like a walking directory of games. We played this game called Mafia for like a few hours. We’ve even had a few Mafia gatherings among the classmates late into the night. But that’s the best part about staying in the same Taman together. We’re all a few roads apart and there are no parents to nag us about curfews. I’ll probably miss these five years more than I ever imagine.

Even though I am in Sungai Petani with a car and without parental control, I strangely do not abuse my freedom. Granted that there’s no where to go up north except for Penang but it’s funny how I am definitely home by 8pm everyday. πŸ™

Wherelese when I’m back here in Subang, I arrive home at about 2am every other night and then suffer the consequences from my parents after that. :\ I’m such a sadist.

It was quite spooky with the three candles threatening to die out with each gust of wind. I did not dare look behind me as I would be staring into complete darkness which in daytime, would actually be the beach and out to the sea.

Mosquito coils saved the day. There was so many mosquitoes attacking us that I actually had tears in my eyes due to frustration from all the scratching that did not seem to satisfy the intense itching.

We woke up at about 7am but we could not see the sunrise.

Cze-Yin and her barely awake face.

It was still way too cold to function.

Cze-Yin and I attempting a heart.

We found these foot prints that looked pretty mysterious. I mean what animal is that heavy ( a cat would not leave such a deep imprint and the way a dog walks would leave imprints which are further apart) and walks in a straight line? A leopard or a tiger perhaps? Hm?

Cze-Yin attempted some jumping shots.

I think this one is nice! πŸ™‚ Wish we had taken a group jumping photo.

Look at the tiny mussel we found!

All stuck to this old bottle.

We wanted to climb some rocks but everything was covered in gross and scary looking barnacles. When you place your ears close to the rocks, you could hear hissing and sputtering from the rocks.

Pantai Kerachut has quite a lot of potential to be a tourist spot with appropriate infrastructure and marketing. All it needs is a good cleaning up.

It wouldn’t be a seaside trip without some sand doodles to tell the world that we were there.

Done! Gotta love the hand imprints! (mine!!)

Strangely, there was this owl that seemed very tame. It would not even budge when we approached it.

It even enjoyed nibbling on our fingers.

Bako and I tickled the owl and it didn’t even mind.

This is the first time I’ve seen an owl up close. A wild owl at that!!

I had my first taste of Dodge ball! Fun game, fun game.

Hi there, did I scare you?

Despite the language barrier, Bako enjoyed himself very much. πŸ™‚

The rule of the game was to try your best to dodge the ball which players from the opposing team would throw at you. If a ball touches one of the players, he would have to cross over to the opposing team and stand behind a line. if the ball happens to fall into his hands, he would then try his best to throw it at the opposing team players, whom he is standing behind of. πŸ™‚

There is absolutely no chance of dodging when that happens.

It was then time to say goodbye to Bako.

Nien and Bako.

top l-r: Nien, Zhu Zen, Ee Chia, Cze-Yin
bottom l-r: Bako, Maxis, Sett, Thong, Steven

How could do they do one without me right?

Awww, so sweet of Bako.

l-r: Sett, Thong, Zhu Zen, Cze-Yin and Nien

l-r: Myself, Maxis, Ee Chia, Steven and Sett

I absolutely LOVE motorboat rides! The more violent, the better! I get a thrill everytime we go over a really big wave.

Some fisherman emoing on the rocks.

One last group photo before we headed back to Sungai Petani! The cheapest trip EVER! Inclusive of the boat ride, food, petrol and toll…it all came up about RM28 per person.