Thursday, 24 May 2007

Perhentian Adventure

"SHAN MIN”. My name was spelled out clearly on the card held by the guy from the J&W car rental at arrival hall, Kota Bharu airport. We have arrived!!!!

“Broom.. broom”.. the car started… Boone was stepping on the accelerator pedal but the car didn’t move…???? Don’t tell me the car is not working… aiyoh… the gear was still at the neutral position, no wonder… Boone, are you awake??????

Pasir Puteh. “Heh, got makan shop there” We ordered the roti canai telur… hmmm… taste good.. crispy and not oily. The gravy (curry) also not bad. As usual, Boone can’t control himself and ordered another roti canai.. so much for his dieting..haha. The teh O was very sweet, should have followed Shikin who ordered “teh O kosong” ..

The weather was extremely HOT when we reached the jetty. Shikin and I took out our caps and applied sun block… Boone took out his cool shades from New York. We met our clients and then boarded our speedboat…luckily it was shaded… not bad. “ Ok guys, ready to go” shouted one of the client.. Yeah!!!! Pulau Perhentian here we come!!!!

The speedboat carried 12 people instead of the designated 10. One fat guy was ordered to sit in the middle to balance the boat. Ok, here the boat speed…. Hiya…. The wind was strong and almost blew away our cap.. so we decided to take off our caps. “Wow……” Shikin and I screamed whenever the boat hit the wave crest and went “up and down”… Both of us were lifted up from the seat…. Emmm…. I think is only apply to slim people only.. not sure about the fat guy (not Boone) sitting in the middle.

It's me..... with Shikin... Wheeeeeeee.........
The water was green and crystal clear.. we can see Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil steadily approaching. I heard Boone shouting asking“ Aren’t we suppose to wear life jackets”? Oh ya, totally forgot about that, but I guess the boat man should know better. Don’t worry Boone, you got spare tyre to keep you a float.. you are safe…hehe
Pulau Perhentian Kecil & Pulau Perhentian Besar
30 minutes later, we arrived at Teluk Aur.. A lot of guys and gals were sunbathing wearing their sexy bikini. We hiked to to Pasir Panjang no problem. The next leg of our hike was strenuous to put it mildly. The 45 minute walk up and down the hills oif Perhentian Besar must have burned off no less than 500 calories.
Boone busying snapping the "proposed pipeline alignment"
Another "proposed pipeline alignment" At Pasir Panjang

We eventually arrived our hotel.. Coral View Island Resort around 2.30pm… we were so exhausted and thirsty. Quickly grab the welcoming drink – orange juice… glug glug..can I have another one???

Seafood tom yam, mixed vegetable, telur dadar and ikan tiga rasa.. yummmmy…… That was our lunch!!!!!!!!!!!!,.. as usual.. ladies first ya..sorry guys.. “wow.” The fish and tom yam very spicy… but nice..hehe.. Boone was busying wipe away his sweat.... as usual… can’t understand him….

After lunch, its time to check in to our rooms… oh my goodness… so high up…another round of climbing… our room is “ Hill Top View”.. ya right, I think better call it “ Roof Top View”… Boone’s room was in front of mine, and Shikin’s is next to mine…The room is very simple equipped with a bed, make up table.. and of course a toilet.. Surprisingly, NO TV! Without any further delay, quickly I washed my face and went to Kg. Pasir Hantu with Shikin to do the social survey….

We decided to treat ourselves to ice-cream.. it “only” cost RM 3 here instead of RM 5 at our hotel. … Sorry Boone, we know that you were doing Tekek or Pos Betau report there, we thought that want to “ta pao” for you, but I guess not…. Hehe..

Went back to the hotel around 6pm, saw Boone doing his report at the café… I quickly changed to my swim suit (left my “sexy bikini” back home) and rented a snorkeling set..… Practice breathing in and out using mouth instead of nose… ok… got it! Confidentially jumped into the sea, “oh..oh”… is very hard to breath in the sea using mouth compared to practice just now!!!…

As I continue to get used to the breathing, I swam hard to go to join the group of people including the client…. “Turtle… Turtle…” shouted one guy floating in the sea… I was so excited and quickly swam as fast as I can with my “short” legs can carry me. Al-Amin (the client) was ever so helpful in the water, grabbed me by the life jacket and pulled me along in the water as I’m too slow to get moving. There was a big turtle under the sea.. so nice.... saw a real turtle for first time in my life … (not counting the captured turtle during the Bali trip).. hehe.. After spending 1 hr snorkeling, it was time to get out from there… as I started to feel dizzy and vomiting after bobbing up and down in the sea.. hehe)… so hungry…

It's me again....."Sexy Bikini"

At night, we were taking the dinner at the beach while looking at the moon…. Do you know that you can actually see a rabbit ion the moon???? Issit???? Ya.. Ya.. is there… I saw it! I saw it!!!... Se we sat under the moonlight and stars and we chatted till it was bed time.

See a rabbit ion the moon??

The next morning we had to leave early to catch our boat. This was my first trip to Perhentian and it was great. I’ll be coming back again in a few weeks time with Farah, and I’ll be looking forward to more snorkeling and fun (minus the hiking). This time I will bring my real bikini.


Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Ushering The Big 4-0

In the space of 25 days, two members of the ERE team were elevated to the "senior" or "veteran" status. Yup, they, or rather, Shikin and I, turned 40. What's in an age anyway? Well, for starters, your colleagues go through the extra effort to make the passing of this milestone a little more memorable than usual.

My dear friends (especially those born before 1967) wasted no time in pointing out that mid-life crisis loomed, with suggestions pouring in about getting a flashy sports car, extra-marital affairs and so on. Since I can’t afford a flashy sports car and I'm still single, I figured I’m safe for now. I can always add some colour to my hair, I guess. There are of course some targets that I had wished to achieve when this milestone came by, and some on the list has been checked off, while a few others remained unchecked. That’s in no way a major disappointment of course. Life goes on, and I'm perhaps more determined than ever to fulfill certain ambitions in life.

My 40th birthday started with the news that Chelsea beat us in the 1st leg of the Champions League semi final 1-0. Dreary. I had an EMP to rush out on that day, so the 8 hours in the office on 26 April was pretty much a blur. Any reflections on mid-life crisis just had to wait.

Then came dinner time. The celebratory meal took place at Marche's, where the sweet smell of sausages and rösti was more than enough set up the mood of the night.

Look at the size of that Weiner!

The table groaned under the weight of sautéed mushrooms, mushroom soup, salad, more sausages and rösti as the crazy gang attacked the food pretty much with the same enthusiasm as I did. Ice cream, pudding and cake capped a fine dinner, as everyone recklessly piled on the calories.

Sauteed mushrooms were the order of the night...

Mr. President appears to have overeaten

Nothing like a satisfying meal, not even scraps remained

Celebrations did not end there of course. Veterans just have it made, I guess. There was another round of partying on the next day at the office, throwing up a buffet of curry puffs, carrot cake, muffins and teh tarik.

The customary pose with the cake.....

Make a wish and blow out the candles...

After the wish-making and candle-blowing, there was presentation of the all-important birthday card. It was original, it was thoughtful, it was beautiful.

You'll Never Walk Alone...

There was singing; an attempted and botched rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone by a makeshift ERE choir wasn’t quite enough to bring tears to my eyes (not in the way Jordin Sparks did), but I was very touched nevertheless. In 40 or so birthdays I’ve had (I may have missed one or two celebrations), this one will be forever etched in my mind.

Walk on... walk on...with hope, in your heart.....

Fast forward to 21 May (the day after...), it was dear Shikin’s turn to mark her 40th birthday. “40 is the new 30” she would say, as she wisely makes no attempt to conceal her age. A surprise lunch at Chili’s was in store for her, and it would have worked too, if someone had remembered that Chili’s is closed for business on Mondays. That fiasco resulted in Mr. President running around the block with the birthday cake, in what would be a futile attempt to conceal it from the birthday girl.

We eventually salvaged the luncheon by going to Red Chilli in Taipan, where she was duly presented with roses, the birthday cake and the all-important birthday card.

Fiza forgets to curtsey as she presents the flowers to the birthday girl

I'm so happy...

Sathya did manage to surprise her with the card, thereby retaining some element of surprise in the party.

My, she is really thrilled with the card....

Ah, that's the reason...
Mr. President looks flushed after going cross country with the cake
The crazy gang at ERE led by the President and his trusty sidekick (Director of Parties) has respectfully ushered the big 4-0 for us in a truly memorable fashion. You guys are simply the best.

Thank you.