Mt Buller Postmortem Part II

It has come to my attention that Vivien, my classmate from high school,
has set up a blog. You can visit her
here [blogspot.com]
and someone should tell her that she doesn’t need to do 100 push ups after
just eating 4 cookies. Heh. =D

Anyway, I had a one hour break today and decided to pop into the campus
bookshop with my film developing slip to see if it has been processed. I
was told to check in on Thursday and the price lists states that APS film
takes 6 working days to develop. Well, guess what? They were erring on the
side of caution, because it was already done today! Woo hoo.

The pictures didn’t turn all out well. There were only a couple of
good ones in the bunch. I was pretty impressed with the girth of the
photos though. I took most of them in the panoramic setting so they turned
out really long. It seems that APS film can be developed either in C
(normal size), H (sized like a 16:9 television) or P (panoramic). APS
seems to be a pretty interesting film format. I’ve heard about it before,
but didn’t really know the specifics. If you’re interested, have a read
through the summary of the format

here
[kodak.com].

Well, developing APS film wasn’t as expensive as I thought, but it’s not
cheap either. The processing costs for the 25 exposure roll cost me A$21.50. That comes with 2 index
prints and a Kodak Picture CD though. Added to the cost of the disposable
camera (A$25), that comes to nearly A$50. Tsk tsk…sounds slightly disturbing,
because I’m used to taking pictures with a digicam. Anyway, here are the
pictures from Mt Buller on the day my digicam had a near death experience.

A panoramic shot of me at the bottom of Blue Bullet 1 quad chairlift. This
picture was scanned from the prints.

Carving up the slopes. This picture is taken from the Kodak Picture CD.
The quality of the images in the CD is really bad, you can get much higher
resolutions by scanning in the pictures manually instead of getting a
Picture CD.

This is the friendly manager of YHA in Mt Buller.

Ripping the blue Summit run.

A really grainy shot of the village from the chairlift. A lot of the
pictures turned out badly because there was condensation on the lens of
the camera, and I didn’t realize it. Furthermore, a third of the pictures
have been slightly obstructed by my gloves. The viewfinder of disposables
are not exactly the most accurate things, because I could have sworn that
I see the glove in the viewfinder.

Read Mount Buller Part I.

Mt Buller Postmortem Part I

I just arrived back in Melbourne an hour ago, hurting all over. Heh. It
was a very good weekend, I got a lot of runs in and it was snowing every
day too.

It’s snowing!

I actually only skied 2 out of the 3 days I was there, because I
only arrived at 1:30 pm on the first day and couldn’t justify paying for a
full day lift ticket. I just walked around the village and slopes during
the first day because I could only check into YHA at 5 pm.

This is where I stayed.

I skied the second day and boarded on the third.

Skiing down Bourke Street.

It was pretty punishing
because I was really out of shape. Loved it though. =D I did a couple of
runs down Bourke Street (a green run) on the first day and then went down
the blue Shakey Knees run. I didn’t know it was a blue run until I was
halfway down, and thought…hey, this is pretty steep. I was enjoying
myself so much, I went into an aggressive alpine crouch to pick up speed
(woo hoo adrenaline rush) and wiped out towards the end in an effort to
avoid a stopped skier. Very nice run, but a bit embarrassing on the lift
up. It was a T-bar lift and I unconsciously sat down on the T-bar and
tipped it (I was riding alone) while it was going up an incline. Bourke
Street seems rather anti-climatic after that.

View from Blue Bullet 1 quad chair lift.

I did catch the Quiksilver
GP at night but couldn’t take any photos because it seems that my digicam
does not like snow. I put it into my pants while skiing and forgot to do
up the zip, and as a result, snow got into the pocket and got the digicam
wet. It won’t even start up after that, but after a day of drying out, it
can be started up and the view pictures function is still working and I
can still copy out the pictures, but some buttons seem to be disabled. Doh!
I should have done up my pants zipper but I must have forgotten after
taking it out to snap some photos. (Update – I just tried starting up
my digicam and everything works now. Damn, the Nikon 885 is one tough
motherfucker.
)

Blue Bullet 1 chair lift area.

Anyway, I got a disposable film camera on the second
day before I went boarding. Oh, one funny thing happened today. I went up
to the blue Summit run even though I’m not that good at boarding. I went
for a regular aligned board even though I’m a goofy on a skateboard. I was
carving up the slopes of the summit when the fog rolled in and I
accidentally went down a wrong run. I saw a black diamond flash past and
stopped near the Howqua black run. I had the choice of taking the Kofler’s
T-bar which goes up a steep incline (I do not like heights), taking a long
trek back up the blue Chute run or try to carve black Hawqua. If you’re
not familiar with the color codes, greens are easy runs, blues are for
intermediates and blacks are for experts only. I’ll rather go down black
diamond Hawqua
than take the T-bar up the steep Chute incline coz it will only take one look
down for me to piss my pants. Heh. The end of Hawqua wasn’t really hard
actually, but there are several hazards, including one steep turn that
only has netting between you and a drop down the slopes. I didn’t do too
good though, coz the powdery snow was pretty hard to navigate with my
board. I accidentally did a hard toe edge brake and started losing my
balance. I had the presence of mind to do an ollie to compensate for the
drift but ended up carving my toe edge straight into the power and I must
have flipped 5 meters and ended up face first in the snow. Oh boy…I
couldn’t stand up for a full minute. Heh. I had the wind knocked out of me
and I felt like I cracked a rib. That’s a nasty way to fall, I
reckon…falling ass first is okay, that’s not painful, but going face
first is pretty horrible. Anyway, that’s it for today. I have to wake up
at 7 am tomorrow for my ITPM group meeting. Stay tuned for Part II
tomorrow. I still have a bunch of pictures that’s not up from the
disposable film camera. I’m going to get it developed tomorrow.

Enjoying the fire in the main village.

Read Mount Buller Part II.

Sarikei

I went out at 8 am this morning to get some breakfast with Diana. Picked up Daniel too and headed off to Sugarbun to get something to eat, partly because it’s air-conditioned and partly because we haven’t eaten there in a while.

Me and Diana

Hung around there for an hour before Ah Chan joined us. We had to leave at 10 am though, to meet up with Yi Ching and Justina to go to Sarikei. We went to the city bus terminal to catch the bus, but the buses leaves in 2 hour intervals and we just missed the 10 am bus. We decided to take the express boat to Paradom and catch a bus from there. The bus fare from Paradom to Sarikei is RM 5.40, the most I’ve paid for a bus ticket in Sibu. Heh.

Me and Daniel

An hour later, we were in Sarikei and got some lunch while waiting for Jonas to pick us up.

Lunch at Sarikei

Obligatory picture with Sarikei signboard to show I was there

The pineapple replica in Sarikei town

After lunch, we walked to the tallest building in Sarikei (some government building) because it was air-conditioned. It was really hot today. We walked to Courts Mammoth after that to pretend to try the couches there. Another thinly veiled attempt to enjoy their air-conditioned premises, of course. I saw this interestingly named coffee shop besides Courts Mammoth. It’s named Ma Li Cafe which cracked me up.

Ma Li

If you speak Foochow, the words “ma li” will no doubt elicit chuckles. For those of you who don’t, it sounds like a mild profanity in Foochow. After that, we walked to SMB St Anthony (a high school), who seems to produce several individuals of high caliber.

St Anthony High School

Jonas picked us up from St Anthony’s and we headed to get some ABC special to cool down and headed off to Ngiu Kee to get a large bottle of cold mineral water.

Eating ABC special (an iced dessert)

We went to this new park in Sarikei after that, it’s called the Water Tower Park, if I’m not mistaken. The main feature is an old water tower.

Water Tower Park

The Water Tower

Jonas dropped us off at the government building again after that and we got visitor’s passes to go to the top floor. The top floor is the 10th floor (what did you expect?) and there is nothing much there, except a good view of the river and some exceptionally cool air conditioning.

View of the river with ferry in dock

A friend of Justina’s picked us up after that and took us to Sebangkoi, a nature reserve about 30 minutes away from Sarikei town. Took heaps of pics there and Yi Ching had cramps and was trailing us all through the reserve. =D

Bridge over a waterfall

Rapids

Arrrggghhhhh…the croc got me!!!!!!!!!!!

We headed to Daniel’s uncle’s orchard after that, where I was promptly bitten 1000 times by 1000 mosquitoes.

The orchard

Managed to walk though most of the orchard, which contains ‘landmines’ in the form of holes (some going down as far as 1 feet) which are covered by shrubbery.

Landmine

Tr navigation. I also managed to drive this mini tractor thing, which has no gas pedal, but only a lever to move faster. The gear shift is in between the legs too, and the tractor jittered all the time, which makes an interesting experience.

Mini tractor

We drove Daniel’s uncle’s car to Jakar (har har…sounds like penis in Malay) to get something to eat. Headed back to the orchard after that and hi uncle drove us back to Sibu at around 8:15 pm. Interesting day, but I managed to get mild heat stroke from the obscene heat. Poor Yi Ching was struck by heat stroke too, we’re both sensitive that way. Now where did I put my Poh Chi Kit pills?

all.jpg

From left: Huai Bin (me), Yi Ching, Justina, Daniel

Day trip

I’m heading down to

Sarikei
[sarawaktourism.com] tomorrow with Daniel, Yi Ching and
Justina for Part III of my Rural AdventuresTM. Heh. We’ll be
taking either the express boat or bus there, depending on which one leaves
first. I was also surprised to receive a call from Diana today, who is in
Sibu for only two days. She’ll be leaving tomorrow evening, so I’m going
to grab some breakfast with her tomorrow morning and catch up on things.

Bintangor Day Trip

I headed down to Bintangor today with Daniel for some rojak. Daniel says
that the Bintangor rojak is really good, and sure enough, there were six
other groups of non-Bintangor residents eating rojak there. Anyway, we
took the 2:30 pm express boat out of Sibu wharf. The boat ride took 30
minutes and arrived at Paradom, where we had to catch a bus to Bintangor,
which took 30 minutes as well. There is a large fruit replica right in
Bintangor town, and Daniel says it’s a pau (a kind of large citrus fruit,
don’t know what it’s called in English) while I thought it looked like an
orange. The rojak store had a drink called Bintangor orange juice, which
somewhat supports my theory. I hear Bintangor is famous for it’s oranges
too. Anyway, I found the rojak so good that I bought two bottles of the
rojak sauce to bring back. We had an hour to spare coz the last express
boat leaves at 6 pm from the Paradom wharf, and we’ll be taking the 5:15
pm bus out of Bintangor to catch that boat. Bintangor is not a really big town, and we
managed to cover the whole town on foot in that one hour. Took heaps of
photos too.

The express boat to Paradom.

Paradom Jetty.

96500 Bintangor.

The Bintangor Orange replica.

The old part of Bintangor town.

The new part of Bintangor town.

The non working clock tower in the new part of town.

Old skool barber in front of the football field in Bintangor. Floyd the
barber is cutting the hair of the old man while two people wait for his
services.

I see people like to hang clothes out to dry from their window over here.

The famous rojak stall in Bintangor.

The rojak. Mmm…

Bintangor orange juice.

Got a couple of bottles of rojak sauce to go before we went back.

Mukah trip report

We caught the 12:30 pm bus back to Sibu and arrived all st and hot
and uncomfortable. I took a nice long bath and promptly fell asleep and
awoke again at 6 pm and had to rush out to catch the big screen World
Cup final at the city square. Mukah was pretty fun, we stayed at a
dodgy hotel for RM 35 a night. It’s either called the Mandarin Inn or the Mandyrin
Inn, I can’t figure out which coz one of the signboard says Mandarin
while the other says Mandyrin. Heh. We checked in as soon as we arrived
at Mukah, which was about 5 pm. Sibu -> Mukah takes 2 1/2 hours. The
bus ride was quite terrible, there are heaps of potholes on the road
and we were sitting at the back. I didn’t really get carsick but I was
about to.

After checking in, our first priority was to find a place with a big
screen to watch the semis. There is a small TV in the room, but we have
to squint to make anything out so we didn’t bother. There was a cafe at
the bottom floor of the hotel, but before that, Daniel’s girlfriend’s
sister picked us up with her husband and took us to the beach.

Fisherman at work at Mukah beach in the late evening.

There are heaps of dead sea life washed up on the beach.

For some reason, I feel a slight discomfort to my posterior while
squatting on this dead log.

I was trying to get a shot of those small crabs on the beach
using my macro mode and unbeknownst to me, Johnny crept up and tried to
pull down my pants. Daniel took this picture.

Contrary to prior reports, the beach is clean and perfectly fine for
swimming. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring a change of clothes so we
couldn’t actually swim. Managed to walk along the length of the beach
and then went to the new town to get something to eat. Apparently Mukah
has an old town and a new town.

The fish at the main road in the old town.

The largest Berhenti (Stop) sign I’ve even seen in my life. I was
flabbergasted by the girth of the sign. I don’t know what Daniel was
doing, but it looks damned naughty.

Me and Daniel calling our girlfriends on the public phones due to the fact that Digi (016) coverage does not include Mukah.

Daniel is trying to give me a bit of a nudge while I attempted to dive into the Mukah waterfront.

Our hotel was at the old town and the new town is a 10 minute walk
from the old town. I managed to try ulat sago, the worms that feed at
the bottom of the sago tree. This one is fried though, I want to eat
some raw ones so we’ve decided to go to the market to get some the next
day. After dinner, we went back to the hotel, lined up for showers and
went out again at around 10:45 pm to get some supper. I helped myself
to a large serving of umai – the raw fish that’s eaten with sago pearls
and dipping sauce.

Umai – raw fish with spicy dipping sauce. Eaten with sago pearls.

Pretty tasty. But not exactly filling so we got some kebabs on the
way back too. Anyway, there are two beds in the hotel room and three of
us, so we decided to play a game of blackjack to decide who’s going to
sleep in the middle. Heh. Very funny stuff, it cracked me up so much I
had a laughing fit for 10 minutes! By the way, it wasn’t me who got the
unpopular middle place. I got 17 and decided to hold, while Daniel and
Johnny drawed and got 22 and 24 respectively. Naturally, I get an
automatic side bed while they had to play another game to see who gets
the middle. Now here’s the funny thing, Johnny got 17 and held while
Daniel (who has 18) decided to hit again to be safe. Unfortunately, the
next card pushed him over 21 and he had to take the middle. hehe.

Mandarin or Mandyrin?

I didn’t dare to use the hotel towels. Very bare amenities provided.

The toilet/sink/shower, all rolled up into a compact space.

When we moved the beds together, this is what we found under the bed.
Several old slippers, used tissues (!) and miscellaneous rubbish.

I’m being flanked by Daniel (left) and Johnny (right). My attempts to
molest them were thwarted by pillows.

I couldn’t sleep that night, I only got about 3 hours of sleep. I ended up reading Robert J. Sawyer’s Flashforward
[sfwriter.com] on my Palm for the rest of the night. We woke up at 7 am
the next day to go to the old market and book our return tickets. I
scoured the whole market place and could only find one vendor selling
live sago worms and he was selling them in RM 10 bags containing about
50 worms. I only wanted to eat a couple, so I decided to try the new
market but there weren’t any there so I came back again and both the RM
10 bags were sold out! Grrr…I was looking forward to eating those
live worms. Anyway, I did get some salad (not the vegetable, the fruit
with scaly dragon like skin), which doesn’t really taste all that good
to me.

Salad…a kind of local fruit.

We walked to the new town and managed to cover the whole town in about 20 minutes. Mukah is not exactly a large place.

The dry market.

The wet market.

Mukah’s most prominent export – fish.

After a quick breakfast at Nelayan Melanau Restaurant, we went back
to the old town and packed up. We got some pastries to eat at the
bakery opposite the hotel and caught the 12:30 pm back.

Mukah

I’ll be off to Mukah [moeswk.gov.my] tomorrow with a couple of
my buddies. Mukah is a small coastal township upstream from Sibu. There is a beach there,
although it’s too polluted to swim in. I’ll be back on Sunday, going to stay there for the
night. I haven’t been there since I was really young, so it’ll be nice to go there for some
sago and umai
[geocities.com]. We went to get the tickets this afternoon, going to catch the 2:30 pm bus
tomorrow.

Getting the tickets at Sedaya bus terminal

I’m seated in unlucky 13

Anyway, me and my girlfriend went out to get some ice cream tonight. As I was sending her back,
I felt a really bad stomachache coming on, the kind that produces watery feces. I insisted on going
back home instead of using her toilet, thinking I still had a bit of time. Unfortunately, it got
really bad as I left and I had half a mind to turn back, but since I was already halfway home, I
might as well attempt the whole run. Anyway, about 2 minutes later, I got hit with a really bad
URGE to go and I was seriously considering going right then and cleaning up the mess when I
get back. Heh. It was that bad. However, my sphincter was stronger than I thought, and that wave
soon passed. But soon, another wave came and in desperation, I floored the accelerator to try and
beat the last traffic lights, but it changed just as I got to the intersection. Woe! Luckily I
managed to get home okay and rushed upstairs. Ah…nothing beats reading Time in the toilet while
taking a dump.

Flight Cancelled – Fog

I have finally arrived in Sibu at 10:10 am today. I couldn’t take the
Sunday flight out coz the fog grounded all of the incoming planes, which
were routed to Sydney. After a 2 hour wait, the airport cancelled all
remaining flights and put us up at the
Rydges with dinner and breakfast
vouchers and a cabcharge coupon (lets you get on a cab for free). The
hotel is in corner Exhibition St. and Lt. Bourke Street. Right in the
middle of the city…I would have thought they will put us up at the
Hilton opposite the airport. Heh. Rydges is not a bad hotel nevertheless,
I think its a layby hotel for cabin crew coz there are heaps of them
walking around. I got a suite with a king sized bed all to myself. Not bad
at all, although I would have preferred to fly out on Sunday. Well, there
were two flights out of Melbourne on Monday, the 3 pm and the 11:50 pm.
The MAS people said they will try their best to put us on one of those two
flights. I didn’t get to go on the 3pm coz I have a connecting flight that
couldn’t be made with the 3pm, so they assigned me to the 11:50 pm one. Oh
well. I didn’t do much though, just slept through the night and woke up at
9:30 am to line up at the MAS counter and grabbed some breakfast after
that. I slept most of the afternoon as well. Heh. MAS paid for two nights
at the hotel, but I had to check out at 9 pm to catch my flight back. The
flight was overbooked so good thing I was there earlier. Anyway, I
couldn’t get the pics up coz I don’t have image editing software at my
home computer. Will pick up a warez CD of Photoshop on my way back later.
Feeling tired now…nearly had an accident just now too. Those damn brakes
need to be changed.

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