Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tasik Bera, Day 2: Sojourning by the lake

The cool, crispy morning air of the jungle I was expecting to be greeted by didn’t quite materialize as I awoke to the sounds of chatter. Come to think of it, the last time I had a 'chilly' morning was back in Endau Rompin more than a year ago. Since then, all my subsequent camping trips didn't really give me that same ‘fresh’ feeling. The night was HOT and at one point, I had to take off my sweaty shirt to relief myself of the heat! :p Signs of global warming perhaps (or maybe poor ventilation)? In any case, it was close to daybreak when my mind 'returned' to my body. A few people were prancing around the campsite, notably our insomniac, Eric, whom I hear was unaccustomed to the night time harmonics from our band and fled the campsite to the air conditioned refuge of his car. Although 'awoken', I remained in the tent, my eyes stubbornly shut though my ears was unconsciously tuning to the snippets of conversation between Jady and Eric. ;)
Tranquility by the lake...

They were recounting the individual contributors to the orchestra of noise (Jady, you’re one of them ok? ;)) as well as the attempted ‘invasion’ by a herd of furry non-halal ‘visitors’ into our camp. Eric prepared more bait balls for a round of 'solo' fishing by the lakeside. True, it was a wonderful time to go fishing at 6:30am in the morning, but I haven't yet got full motor control of my body. :p By the time I got out of the tent, the girls had woken up while Eric had left for the lake. Jiun Hoe was found in Wei Han's *one* man tent after having (purportedly) slipped in to shelter himself from the roaming herds of wild boars (hey at least it’s better than being hunted by Baskerville hounds in the English moors) ;).
Caught 'red handed'! Jiun Hoe in Wei Han's tent! ;)

Vincent was still with the sandman although in the end, Yee Wei was last to awake.
Young bodies need more hours of sleeping... ;)

Having done my morning routine, it was time for breakfast. Wei Han and Jiun Hoe was fiddling with my bunsen burner when I returned from the washroom, figuring out how to fit the gas tank onto the stove. An impossible task, because I told them the gas tank they were flipping around wasn't for the stove. Rather, it was for the gas powered lantern I didn't use the night before. :p Guess we have to prepare breakfast the 'old fashioned' way isn't it? Walking back to our cooled down BBQ pit, I arranged the charcoal pieces the way I remembered from Port Dickson, building a roughly square structure with room at the center for the fire starters which Wei Han recommended we used all of what's left. The next thing on the list of starting up our warm stove was a fire to burn the starters, something surprisingly rare in commodity among non-smokers apparently! (Our resident smoker at that time was still at the lake trying to catch our morning breakfast... :p) No problem really, because I went over to our neighbor and borrowed a box of matches, enduring a bout of “Do you have some matches to spare?” and receiving the “Sure, but you’ll have to pay for it” joke. :p Still, the matches burned out too fast for the starters to ignite and only when our smoker returned (empty handed ;)), did we managed to get the starters 'started' with a flick of a lighter! :p
Lessons learnt! This is the way to set up a BBQ pit fire! (With a little help from a lighter of course) :)

Stoking the flame under a 'Sea Scout's' supervision (hmm... one wonders how on Earth do people from an inland town like Taiping becomes 'SEA' scouts?)

For some reason, we were more conscious of our hygiene than yesterday when preparing our food. Whereas yesterday, we were laying down the steak, sausages and chicken patties on the bare wire mesh, today we were laying our food down on the same wires with the notable difference of having a sheet of aluminum foil wrapped around it. This in effect presents itself with some problems. For one, the smoke from the fire beneath couldn't pass through the wrapped up mesh. Instead, coming up along the sides of the pit and stinging the eyes of our 'cooks' ;). For two, we have the problem of our foils having the tendency to catch fire, basically more to the fact that our rumbling stomachs didn’t allow us the patience to wait for the charcoal to settle down to warm embers, allowing the still lively flames to lick the aluminium sheets from beneath.
Eric 'helping' to prepare burger patties prior to being 'shooed' away by Pui Voon on accusations that he is preparing mince meat instead!

Barring a few mishaps (Eric attempted to convert our burger patties to mince meat until Pui Voon shooed him away while Ching Li experimented an egg with Ribena combination), we managed to conjure up the required burger patties, scrambled eggs and sausages.
Enjoying a morning breakfast...

My stomach rumbled again right after breakfast and regretably, it was time to visit the loo ('toilets' are so 'Midlands' class, so says Mr. Jiun Hoe) again :p. Fortunately there were no giant spiders skulking around the 'throne' this time. I came out from the loo to notice Eric waiting outside. He was adjusting his hair in the mirror as he waited for the loo to do his business. His hands though were suspiciously devoid of a toilet roll (Eeeee?) :p.

Cries of anguish greeted me (from Pui Voon and Jady) when I returned to the camp minus the roll of toilet paper I took. Believe it or not, it was revealed (by Vincent) that 'most' people manage to clean their behinds with a mere FIVE squares of toilet paper! SIMPLY INCREDIBLE! (which explains why Eric went in seemingly 'empty handed' perhaps? :p ;)) In any case, with nothing else to do, our eyes went over our fishing rods. A few suggestions were bandied about by our anglers as to how best to fish out the elusive fishies, ranging from renting a motorized boat with a guide (RM120/boat) to take us to the center of the lake, renting a row boat (RM4/person) and row ourselves out or just fish by the lakeside. Jiun Hoe sort of settled the issue when he appeared at the supposedly VIP exclusive jetty a short distance away from us. :p
Jiun Hoe among the reeds still trying his luck at getting the 'BIG' one...

This beautifully built jetty/platform is reserved for VIPs only! :p

We got ourselves over, hauling our fishing equipment. The area was actually fenced up although a gap in the fence allowed Jiun Hoe and us to get through. There were fishes in the water, although they were pathetically small fries :p. We cast our rods and after about an hour still got nothing. Jiun Hoe and Yee Wei spied on a boat lined up against the jetty and the ‘devil’ perhaps whispered to them to take it to the small floating fish farm just about 100 meters away from the jetty. Wei Han, Vincent, Eric and myself (with a little bit more wisdom(?)) politely refused their invitation and soon these two ‘pirates’ were onboard the farm. As always when these things happen and seemingly like clockwork, that was cue for the absentee guard to show up. Maybe hesitant to approach the four misfits sitting at the platform alone, the guard zig-zagged his way to us, scoping us from different angles. On our part, none of us attempted to turn around to look back, pretending as if nothing was going on. After judging that we didn’t look like ‘violent’ people, he finally threw the question, “Macam mana kamu semua ni masuk ke kawasan ini?” ("How did you people managed to get into this area?" - Ahem, in Queen's English). It was Wei Han who broke the ice by saying that we came through the gap in the fence from the ‘resort’. The guard reminded us that the jetty we were on was for VIPs only and owned by PERHILITAN, the gah-men’s department of forestry. Further questions on the missing boat revealed that the fish farm was for fry to be released into the lake and the two ‘pirates’ onboard had to return immediately or the guard will call ‘reinforcements’ (read POLIS!) to evict us from this ‘restricted’ area. We packed our stuff and left, after calling out to the ‘pirates’ to come back to shore. They initially thought our call was a hoax but eventually joined us on the other side of the fence before being potentially ‘caught’ by the authorities. ;) Frankly, as a freed ‘Selangorian’, it kinda cheeses me off when we are told utilities built on tax payer’s money (I meant the platform and not the trespassing of the fish farm :p ;)) are reserved for a certain ‘elite’ few to use. Which part of ‘Rakyat DIDAHULUKAN’ does it mention that there exists segregation of amenities built on public funds for VIPs? :p How many of these ‘VIP’s actually come over to fish at the platform and how frequent (if at all)?
An afternoon sojourn, killing time before heading home...

'Happy' feet? Eric fulfill his missed appointment with the sand man the night before...

We left the ‘resort’ at a little pass mid-day, heading back to Temerloh. We were initially targeting to have our lunch there before crossing over the Titiwangsa range for home but finding food in this town remains as elusive as the last time we were here after our Sungai Lembing trip in May. Despite the fact that it’s a holiday weekend and a school holiday to boot, few shops were open in this town. Our second attempt at finding the ‘famous ikan bakar’ stall by the side of the main road didn’t reveal any results, confirming my nagging hunch that perhaps it might have been moved from the place I last time had. I’d doubt a ‘famous’ stall like that would CLOSE and I don’t think I’d had ‘ikan bakar’ with fairies either (Maxx was far from looking like a fairy, to me at least :p). At the same time, our search for a ‘river’food restaurant proves futile as well. We finally stopped for a meal at a café called D’Island instead.
One of the few shops opened in Temerloh. :p Again the perplexing conundrum of references to 'marine' features in an inland setting... (the nearest sea is about 200km both ways!)

Strangely, ‘Loh Mai Kai’ seems to be the MOST popular dish here because when we ordered for it, we were told they were out of supply. Knowing that we will be frequenting Restaurant ‘126’ at Kampung Bukit Tinggi later on, we ordered light, Jady and I sharing a plate of Chicken Parmagiano (as in the case when sharing with a lady, the ratio always seems to be 75-25 rather than 50-50 at my ‘advantage’). ;) We left Temerloh at about 3:30pm, entering the East Coast expressway at about 4:00pm. This time around, Eric put the pedal to the metal, zooming ahead of Wei Han. The millionaires and millionairesses were surprisingly quiet today, because his phone wasn’t buzzing (except for a few smses) every few minutes like it did the day before. :p I took the brief lull to catch up on some sleep and when I ‘returned’ we were already at the toll by the entrance to the Karak highway. Here, Eric asked me whether we were about to enter the ‘speed trap danger zone’ and I told him regrettably, we had just passed it (the region from the Karak toll to the East Coast Expressway toll). :p We reached Restaurant ‘126’ at about 5:00pm and already it was beginning to fill up.
Restaurant 126 (sometimes mistaken for '555') ;)

Ordering our dishes which included two plates of their signature honeyed pork bellies, we made sure we didn’t leave out a dish of steamed ‘Patin’, to ‘avenge’ our futile attempt at getting any ourselves. :p Encouraging us to practice ‘chilvary’, Eric proposed a staggered seating arrangement between the ladies and the guys, which ended up Wei Han and myself having to ensure Ching Li’s plate remained sufficiently full with food. Jady’s was taken cared for by Eric while Pui Voon got Jiun Hoe’s attention. ;)
The food served is tasty and surprisingly cheap!

After thanking our organizers, Jady and Wei Han, we left the place with a further proposal (from Fei) for a trip to Teluk Intan in the works. Perhaps by then the smell of fresh vinyl might accentuate the driving experience (we’ll make sure Kam Keong is available for us to experience his new ride)? ;) The remainder of the evening was spent ‘educating’ me on the political complexities of girl-girl relationships by the two ladies in the M3, an after trip ‘yum char’ session in Subang to (further) wind down the night and a surprising discovery that one of our drivers have an outstanding ‘saman’ from PDRM (for speeding)! :p ;)

Next stop... Island Hopping in the South China Sea! :D See you then! ;)


  1. Haiyo bro, don't like that ler... ;) If there is a camping trip organized by me soon, I will invite you... :D

  2. yalor....had you invited the long haired one the guard would have probably stayed away....

  3. Linus, true... he might have just simply shot us from a distance instead! ;) hahaha

  4. Girl-girl relationship is not so complexity, try to understand & adapt yourself :P

  5. 'Anonymous'... noted... hopefully it will improve my 'boy-girl' relationship as well... ;)