Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Yakkity Yak on Sarawak (Part 1)

On 12th July 2009, right after the finale performance at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak, I lost my digital camera. It contained almost 4 gigabytes of videos and photos taken over 4 days in Sarawak, which I had planned to put together for my first big little personal montage project.

The loss has not been felt entirely yet; I cannot compute how such trigger-happy efforts can be rewarded with such a brutal blow. In the meantime however, in a bid to document the memories in any form I still can, I have been compelled to write the journal of my 5-day trip in Sarawak, complete with a sappy mention of the notable videos taken each day.

All things happen for a reason, and I hope you enjoy the long silly ride of this reason.

Thursday, 9th July 2009

Fly buffoons, fly!
Nur, my right-hand-woman who has organized the RWMF trip, has requested for me to travel to the airport with her mates Mandra from France and Sam from England, who have come down to Malaysia to visit her for a month. The hour-long bus ride from KL Sentral station to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal provides a cozy setting for making acquaintance. When we arrive, we bump into Nur and Alfred, who have arrived from their office in Cyberjaya in surprisingly good time.

Nur, Mandra and Sam find out that their flight to Sarawak’s capital, Kuching, has been delayed by an hour (10:30pm), leaving Alfred and I to arrive two hours earlier (8:30pm). Nur tells Alf and I to figure out a way to reach Permai Rainforest Resort, which was an hour’s drive away from Kuching, while we wait for the rest to touch down.

Upon boarding our plane, Alf and I are given health declaration forms to fill up in light of the current Swine Flu rampage.

Alfred peers over and asks why I chose ‘No’ to this particular question

‘Have you been to any area or country with local transmission of Influenza A (H1N1) as indicated by the World Health Organization over the past 7 days?’

“Doesn’t Malaysia have it already?”

I point out the very last note on the page:

‘If the answer is Yes to any of the questions above, please report to the Health Quarantine Section.’

Without further hesitation, Alfred also ticks ‘No.

It has been a while since I have flown out anywhere, and the sight of cumulus clouds browsing in clear cerulean pastures leaves me wide-eyed and breathless. I listen to selected tracks from Jason Mraz’s discography, which I had freshly re-fueled my MP3 player with the night before specially for the trip. (All but I’m Yours. I don’t get the hype about it and it’s way too straightforward a tune for my anthem playlist liking. But the funky and frenetic stuff, ah. That’s my Achilles heel.) I find it endearingly coincidental that Mraz’s latest album title effectively sums up my objective for this trip. We shall Sing. We shall Dance. And if there is a ripe enough advantage of space and time, We shall also Steal Things.

In an attempt to bide the time, Alfred and I attempt to have the longest dinner ever and still manage to fail by half an hour before Nur’s arrival. She and her 6 other mates finally touch down; I greet her at the gates with a dumb-schmuck grin and a tattered sheet of paper with NUR ZAKUAN & CO. hastily scribbled six times over in ballpoint.

Virgin night trek

We get a van and cab to our resort, discreetly tucked away in foliage and bug song. There is a 10-15 minute forest walk from the reception counter to our 2-bedroom cabin. A gorgeous moon halo illuminates the sky tonight, and with an 8-second exposure mode on my camera and unrivalled catatonic stealth I manage to capture it brilliantly on my camera.

After checking in and settling in, the management pays us a visit demands us to pay an exorbitant fee for the 3 extra people bunking in our 6-person cabin. A jump of RM350 per additional guest, compared to last year’s RM20, seems ruthlessly unjustified. To compound the issue, we were expecting four more people joining us over the next 24 hours. Nur decides to sort it out the next day, and we alert the stragglers of the need to conspire a sneak-in.

VIDEOS TAKEN: My eager beaver face upon takeoff, the window view of passing clouds, Nur & Alfred’s Instructional Tape on How To Inflate An Air Mattress

NEXT ENTRY: Town, Bus, Ice, Rain, Carrots, Mud that deserves to be made into poopoo pies