Monday, March 07, 2005


Vignes, an altruist whom I respect and adore, asked me to join him and a few of his motley crew from Raleigh International to make a weekend trip to Cameron Highlands to celebrate his birthday. I was initially skeptical about it as my parents detest him for the most laughable reasons (that's another story). If I wanted to go, I would have had to lie to my parents that I'd be going with other friends. Holy cow! Me, lie? To my mommy and daddy dearest? Could I have considered such a cold-blooded thought?

Hell, yeah.

I had only been to Cameron Highlands once before when I was a child, but memories flooded back the moment we reached the first part of town. I had slept for almost the entire 3-hour drive and woke up in an entirely different world. The scenery, the people, the soul of the land... Your five senses would feel heightened, the energy in the air could bring dead flowers to life.

Vig enlightening the village locals about the wonders of a digital camera (Fiona on far right)

Village boys holding their 'kite' - plastic bags tethered by recording cassette tape - waiting for the next wind to come.

Vig and Alan combing the tea plantations

The morning sun kissing the misty valley around our chalet

Birthday boy Vig, his crazy right-hand mofo Alan, wisecracking Michael (who farted so much I could've sworn he sold his arse to the devil), demure Lee San, tough Kiwi adventurer Fiona and I bunked out at an isolated longhouse chalet owned by the Malaysian Nature Society. We made sure we made the most out of our stay, even if it meant amusing ourselves with blankets, bananas and Alan riverdancing in his undies.

One of the highlights of the trip was when Alan took us to an abandoned air strip, which was utilized while planes were still being used to distribute sacks of manure around the tea plantations (before a non-fatal crash put an end to the practice).

Whilst taking a look around, we saw an empty blue plastic barrel hiding in some thick reeds. And when you pair a barrel with a 15 degree slope, a video camera and a gang of f***wits, you know it's time to pull a Jackass.

Alan trying to save my sorry @ss

Vig did it first and gave me his thumb of approval. I think I was going at no fewer than 2 revolutions a second. It got a little violent at the end, where you go so fast that your head starts slamming against the barrel and you start envisioning everyone else as anime characters running away from a huge spinning blur of blue.

But it turned out that everything was under control, and I emerged a new person who believed she ultimately rocked.

The rest of the eventful trip made me regret that I only had 16MB of space on my camera. My last photo would have been taken just moments before driving back to KL, when a patriarchal-looking dog roaming around our parked cars had stepped on top of a rock at the edge of the hill to scan the horizon, like a hunter of the highlands. It was a mindblowing personal Nat Geo moment.

You know that you're on a worthwhile trip when you feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy because you are having the time of your life, sad because you know it will eventually come to an end. It's strange feeling depressingly ecstatic, but it's highly recommended.


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