The New Year Road Trip @ Pangkor Island


After many months of yearning, after much efforts in planning and after many ponderings in various kopitiams, finally our journey to Pangkor had come, and then gone in a blink of a mind’s eye. Smooth sailing it was not, as many weird and wonderful problems that needed to be immediately disentangled popped up even at the very last minute (thanks Theva). But in the end, it was sweet that our efforts bared fruition, and reminiscing the everlasting memories still swimming lazily in my pleasured mind after the trip had ended, I can safely say that the fruits bared from our hard-earned labor never tasted so sweetly. It was a trip that was completely fun and was enjoyed completely together as one.

Consisted of mainly Akurian (with the exception of one), it was a road trip that was in fact, conceived as an idea for many a distant period ago, way back a few years that a road trip for the Akurians and enjoyed only by the Akurians was in order. After all, we did many wonderful things together since the Secondary School days, from ‘ponteng’ class just to chat on IRC in a cyber café to playing hide-and-seek in school compounds to even throwing tables and chairs from the 3rd floor of our school for reasons only knew by no one, we were together in times of disobedience to times of examinations. So it was only a matter of time before we spread our brand of exuberance from the confines of our school compound to other areas of target, and Pangkor was a destination primed for assault. However, at that time, things then did not go as promisingly as many Akurians could not make it due to various factors, so the plan was abandoned. Until now.

The plan was resurrected during Emma’s wedding dinner at Vincenzo’s, when a sudden and a rather joking quip from Emma resulted in a serious contemplation and consideration from Uncle. Without deliberation on the outcome of such entertainment to these imaginings, Uncle proclaimed with a confidence that was honestly I find shocking, retorted back: “We shall plan it out! Pangkor it is!” Oh dear. Re-collecting our failed attempt in organizing a similar trip years ago, skepticism was my only response and a voice in my mind screeched menacingly out like a de-raged school boy: “Here we go again!!!”

People must be thinking, why Pangkor? Well, why not? After all, it was cost effective and its location was ideal for a road trip since we wanted a road trip, not a plane trip. And along the way there must many places we can pause to embrace the unique food, culture and surroundings. Hence, “Pangkor it is”.

Oh well, what was I to do, throw in cold water onto Uncle’s proud and loud proclamation of a trip that was doomed the first time round? But ‘here we go again’ it was, but with a reserved feeling of doubt. I attended and helped to organize the meetings anyway, helped and successfully found an accommodation that was (I hope) worthwhile (not too steep a price to scare away people again), and helped to mould the journey into a voyage that was hopefully fun, and at the same time, meaningful. In the end, most of the bolts and screws were successfully attached and the machine called “Pangkor Trip” was ready to roll. Lumbering with faults here and there I have to admit (the infamous ‘mee rebus’ in Teluk Intan tops that list), but in the end I believe we have assembled a contraption that achieved many things that it was set out to do, and in the end we concluded our travel to Pangkor leaving nothing but footprints, and taken back home many things, but most importantly the precious joyous memories together with us. (Actually, ‘leaving nothing but footprints’ is not entirely true. Read on for details!)

Day 1

Before Day 1 even began, Theva already set our hearts palpating with panic. Theva and Uncle were the designated drivers but apparently Theva’s car passenger side window got smashed up somewhere in Cheras (not just his car, but apparently the entire row of cars. You all never pay the ‘jaga’ any money one ahh?) I received the panic call around 10:30pm ETD minus 1 day, but when you are in a profession such as Logistics, matters of complication like this are as common as a jammed printer. “The printer is jammed? Then print on another printer!!!” Hence, I had to switch drivers. Not so easy as I had to find not just a driver, but a driver with an actual working car! Uncle was out, as he was already contributed a car already, I was out too as my dad’s car was rammed from behind recently and they had to use my car to travel to Pangkor (they were there too). Ah Nei was a no-no too, so it was down to Majidah. I made the call only the next morning as she was probably already resting. And by next morning, she agreed to drive which was welcomed with much thanks and appreciation (we shall belanja you one day, Maj!)

By approximately 10:30pm, all cars were rolling, albeit a few hours late according to our desired schedule. The schedule was to stop-by at Teluk Intan for brunch and visit the famed ‘leaning tower of Teluk Intan’. I think we arrived there just in time before anyone died of starvation (what a way to start a trip, eh?), and tucked in the infamous ‘mee rebus’ that was so vigorously promoted by Uncle. Starving with anticipation, I slipped in my first mouth-full and…well…it’s…all I can say is…well…at least it was spicy. They say it’s the best in town, now I can see why it was so: the best in town only, but not the state or country. And I think it was a pretty small town too so…(I can find a ‘mee rebus’ that is even nicer in Subang SS19. The best in Section 19!!!)

After that, we adjourned to the leaning tower for some merry picture taking and upon arriving at the place, we found out that…the tower gave us the arse. Such nice local hospitality, I thought. See, in front of the tower is an empty space where it is ideal for picture taking. And some genius placed the bloody tower’s arse facing it (the front with the clock was facing the road and a row of busy mamak stalls). Local humor at work or just plain architectural malfunction? You decide. Of course, I took the funny side of it and merrily took pictures of it anyway. And if you look real closely, you can even see a ‘hole’ in the middle of the tower somewhere. Arse-tounding view, isn’t it? Not satisfied with our anatomical finding, we decided to go all the way up and climb the tower for a better view. And lo and behold, at the top of the tower, we encountered the spot of all G-spots: An alien punani. Behold!!! :

Tell no one where we have been!!!

After our anatomical discovery, we departed the arse-tonishing tower of Teluk Intan and duly entered a shop that sold the local delicacies in the forms of ‘heong peng’ (fragrant biscuits) and ‘lou po peng’ (wife biscuits) and many more. After happily testing most of the biscuits freely without a care for the loses they are making (they said free-try mah), I have to say that the biscuits are indeed very fresh and yummy. Comparing the ‘heong peng’ with the ones from Ipoh, I can dare say that the Teluk Intan ones are better. Don’t ask me why, it just tastes better. The shops is located next to the tower, called 'Siang Hoong' or 'SGT Food Industries' . Go there and try it out for yourself!!! You must!!!

We headed back to our cars and off to the Lumut jetty for our sea crossing. A few hours later, we arrived at the jetty and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the jetty has improved its image. Everything now is surprisingly clean, organized and concealed with a modern look. Well done! Stopped by for some ‘cendol’ and 30-minutes later we were off to board the ferry.

The ferry set sail and we arrived not too long later (45 minutes perhaps). We duly hailed a van to transport all of us to Seaview Resort, our hotel for the trip. We checked in, showered, and came down to the hotel’s restaurant to find a gigantic heap of offering called lunch. Blimey, it had fresh prawns, fish, vegetables, anything and everything. Just for lunch. But that’s not the best part. The best part was that the food was actually good, it was tasty and even though you are full, you wanted to eat some just to taste it. We tried our very best to tuck in as much food as possible, and moments later we were already bloated. Tired and stuffed silly with seafood, we adjourned to our rooms for a quick nap before we met later that afternoon for a visit to the beach.

The rooms were fairly decent, with minimal amenities that worked and it was all that was asked for really. We were not expecting the Ritz, so our expectations (mine anyway) was very grounded and down-to-earth. The beds were fairly comfy, there was no funny smells (except for Theva’s and Uncle’s, their original rooms smelled as though a diarrhea dog had shitted and pissed in it, locked it up and marinated in there for a few good months. They changed rooms later), and wonder of all wonders, the water heater was working perfectly fine. So, no complaints there!

Upon waking up a few hours later from a very welcomed rest, we headed off to the beach for a sunset swim that was truly serine and relaxing. Everyday at this hour, most usually the typical KL person will be facing the traffic jams. But now, instead of a sea of cars, it’s the actual sea itself. And a spectacular sun lazily fading for the day amid green spots of islands scattered across the sunset panorama will accompany the swimmer too. Blissful sensation, floating on the sea in calm motion. Relaxation cannot get better than this:

Sunset Paradise

While waiting for the sun to set (and pretty darn slow too, for some weird reason), Uncle and Theva found a rope swing attached to an overhanging tree branch nearby. Us being the natural descendent of apes that we are, we started to climb and swing on the rope like some 10 year kid even though we now weigh 10 times more since those days. But that did not bother us or deter us, and Theva gave us his very best impression on why he is the Monkey King and as for Uncle, well, I guess his age is truly catching up on him as he did not manage to fully climb on the rope at all. I joined in later and I never had so much fun with a rope for a long time since Vick taught me goat catching with ropes in Aussie ages ago. But anyway, each of us took turns to swing on it, and we felt like kids all over again. The feeling was priceless and the memories will be eternity precious.

I told you we were natural monkeys, and we climbed up whatever our hands and feet can grab on to. Even trees as old as anyone that can possibly imagine was not spared:

Feeling like a kid again!!! Oh wait, i'm still like a kid!!!

After climbing up that tree, everyone got off from it easily and safely. Me and Maj jumped down directly from the tree, however a certain Uncle seemed to have a practise of crawling aong the tree truck like a cat before he jumps down. Unless he has secret gens of a cat in him, what a way to get down from a tree:

Our primate ancestors must surely be smiling proudly in their graves. And remember the rope swing I mentioned just now? Returning to the same spot later that day, we found the rope swing was broken and the tree branch lay dead on the seaside floor. I guess we are indeed too old and too heavy for this stuff. Hope no small kid cried over this. Sorry we destroyed your seaside playground kids!!!

After a gargantuan dinner (actually, the food provided to us was meant for 10 persons. We had only 6. We had to immediately grow extra stomachs and another reserve stomach just to nearly finish the food). The food was part of a package with the Hotel (RM100 bucks per room per night per pax which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A good deal? You bet!) Either the cook saw us as sickly obese people with a wicked appetite for seafood, or as little children still having the potential to grow much more, the food kept on coming like there was no tomorrow. Just when we thought a particular dish was the last, OOOOOOPSS, out pops another dish on our table. I mean, I’m not complaining, but while eating these generous food, you just can’t help to feel guilty. Not for my weight of course, but for all those poor kids out there on the streets with no food at all. And here we are, eating to near death. But I got over my guilt after a mere few seconds and walloped anything that I can lay my hands on. Seafood gastronomy at its most generous!!!

At night, we took out our bottles of alcohol that we brought over (Uncle brought Smirnoff Vodka, I brought a 1992 Merlot red wine & Maj brought over some Sarawakian long-house rice wine which was absolutely yummy). Together, we drank, talked cock, played cards and laughed ourselves out like some silly alcoholic monkeys until the early hours of the morning. Uncle introduced to us his very-own card game called ‘bluff’, and I’m sure you have played this game before, but not the way Uncle told us to play it. Just imagine: someone would need to throw a card out, covered of course, and claim it to be a ‘3 of Diamonds’ for example. The next person will have to declare that it is either a bluff or continue on with the game, BUT this person will need to continue with a ‘3 of Diamonds’. Now my question is, how many ‘3 of Diamonds’ are there in a deck of cards??? SO, when it’s the 3rd person turn, all that person need to do is declare a bluff to win as the second person must be bluffing!!! We laughed at ourselves like mad and the game was immediately abandoned. Uncle was completely banned from introducing any more silly games like that and bottles of alcohol were taken away from him as far away as possible. Hours later, after feeling satisfied with card games and laughter, we adjourned to our beds for the night.

Day 2.

Me and SL woke up early to find just the 2 of us at the breakfast table. Undeterred, we went on with our breakfast (English breakfast and Asam Laksa. Tasty to the last drop!) Moments later, Ah Nei, Maj, and Uncle emerged from their sweet slumbers and joined in for breakfast. Joining us for our morning breakfast were also some ‘Hornbill’ birds that provided us with some nice extra company. After breakfast, it was time for our island hopping session.

Being the lazy worm of a gutter that he is, Theva did not manage to wake up at all in the morning (or is it a hang-over? Hmmmm.) So the gang minus Theva boarded the boat, along with some of my cousins, to many spots of Pangkor that provided the audience with funny rock formations (some looking as sweet as like apples, and some are just downright foul, i.e. a penis-like formation bulging out from the surface of the rocks. Either it is a work of natural wonder or it is just happy to see us. Mother Earth would be pleased). Our boat was darn fast, zipping through the Pangkor seas like a missile on a mission for total destruction, and according to the boat-guy, it is the fastest boat in Pangkor. And we are on it. How cool is that! I tried to capture some photos or videos of the boat ride but the boat was shaking so wildly, I did not want to fly into the sea and be the first casualty so I only managed this video:

Mermaid on board!!!

We dropped-by at a spot for fish feeding too, but sadly the water was not all that clear and the fishes were somewhat limited in variety so only a short time was spent with the fishes. It was dangerous too, with speed boats zooming past our feeding ground every few minutes, so snorkeling with our faces down in the water was not all that smart in terms of safety. Approximately 15 minutes later, we departed the scene and left the fishes to their natural proceedings.

Anyway, back on the boat, our funny man boat-guy even showed us live seas cucumbers and sea erchants. But moments later, I overhead a conversation between him and someone else over his handphone and it seems that there is a group of tourists looking for a boat that would pay big bucks. Immediately, from funnyman to greedyman, he made up a story and suggested to drop us over at a beach-side somewhere for 1 hour and pick us up later. But he showed up almost 2 hours later. No matter, the beach-side was beautiful with clear waters and champagne sands, so we stripped off our wet clothing (guys only anyway) and dipped ourselves into the cool welcoming waters. Besides swimming, we also did:

Rock climbing!!! You jump I jump ok!!!

You climb I climb ok!!!

Sandman with the shortest wee-wee?

The latest blockbuster from Bollywood: "Muthu Bulu Babu"!!! It's about a love story between 2 guys and a girl. And in the end, the guys fall in love...with each other!!! INSTANT HIT!!!

Everyone managed to climb the rocks. But the problem was not the climbing, but actually getting down!!! And for Ah Nei (the middle one in blue shirt in the photo above), it was a fairly interesting challenge...

After retuning back to our resort, we had another monster lunch and went back to our rooms for a rest. A few hours later, we re-grouped at the seaside to experience some of the rides that they can offer. Fresh from our rest and full of self-confidence, we selected two: the ‘Airhead’ and the ‘Banana Boat’. We started off with the ‘Airhead’ first, since it looked so easy and should have been a perfect ride to ‘warm-up’ for the ‘Banana Boat’. How terrifyingly wrong we were. All the 4 riders had to lie flat on our bellies in full horizontal positions on top of a round float, and there will be a speed boat to pull us all over the sea. Sounds easy and fun, but it is NOT. It was actually hell. Hell on a float, pulled by a demonic speed-boat with the Daredevil as a driver. You see, it was kinda fun at the beginning, but when you start to get tired, that’s when the stress comes in. It’s not easy to hang on to the float as the speeds we were going was fast, and when the boat makes a sharp turn, we get swung into the sea like some helpless unprofitable fish being thrown back into the sea by disinterested fishermen. But this is just the view from the middle. Maj and I lay in the middle, while Uncle and Theva lay at the side. Just imagine the terror and stress the guys at the side need to go through to survive, when the boat swings to a side, the first people to flip are definitely them!!!

Just for the record, Uncle fell TWICE and Theva once. The middle guys did not even touch water. Bwwwhahahahahaha!!!

After the ride had ended, we abandoned all hope for the ‘Banana Boat’ ride. It was too much for our weary bodies to handle. In other words, we are too damn old for this shit. But we hanged around the beach taking pictures as proof of our endurance and survival from ‘Airhead’, collecting as much photos as possible so that we got something to show to our friends and grandchildren. OKlah, we are not that old but anyway, at least it was proof that we went through hell and back again in one piece.

We stayed awhile longer, lingering around the sandy beach, observing the many other visitors playing out their versions of fun on the beach. Not long after, the sunset of Pangkor finally greeted us with its lazy presence and we welcomingly embraced its charm. We absorbed its aura of warmth so contently and marvel at its colors so vividly. Sinking dreamingly below the horizontal plain that contain scatters of many greening spots of diminutive islands, we observed the hues of the sun’s orange change leisurely as time ticked by, changing from stark bright shades to a dark tint. It changes so slowly until it changed no more and as unhurriedly as it appeared, it withdraws slothfully away from sight. Shying from the sight of the observers, the sun melts away completely as it announces that it is time for the show to end. A curtain of clouds replaces the spot where the sun now rests, the lights go out and the sunbeams hide, waiting until the next day, when morning mists appear with hazy zest.

Changing hues of the orange sun.

But we are not done for the day, are we? No-siree Bob, hell no. After a short rest, we directly went for the assault on our resort’s swimming pool. In it there were races, back-flips, flipping-over-our-heads-under-water, cannon-balls, you name it the swimming pool received it. We took loads of pictures for this session on Uncle’s camera, but unfortunately, Uncle lost his camera during the New Year’s countdown celebration. I’ll tell you more about that later.

Now, after the swim it was time for our New Year’s dinner buffet. Admittedly, the food was not as good as what we enjoyed during our stay so far. Apparently, the resort wanted to do a buffet for other guests not attached to the resort so the regular cook took a day off and they ordered buffet instead. So, the food lacked the usual zest and generosity. To be fair, the buffet had lots of variety, including turkey and ham, but due to the sheer numbers of guests that day, the food was somewhat limited. Even the alcohol, which was supposed to be free-flow, stopped pouring halfway thought the dinner as the number of guests was way above expectations. Oh well, at least it was still a fulfilling dinner. Accompanying the guests was a stage performance from dancers and a deejay that was, in my opinion, completely annoying and he played a super bad mix of Cha Cha first, then switched to Country, and suddenly turned to Pop, and so on. The guests were all perplexed into what they should be dancing to. But a majority of the music was Cha Cha and whatever, so it suited the aunties and uncles best. We, the young(er) bunch retreated to the back of the floor and opened up our bottles of alcohol and amused ourselves with the folly of the deejay and the dancing of happy aunties and uncles.

But there was one person in our group that seems to be turned-on by the music. As you guessed it, it was Uncle. He is not a real uncle as you think. He has the same age as us. But his personality and charisma resembles an uncle (not that it is a bad thing) so the uncle-like music gave him itches in his feet and he was exploding to shake his bon-bon all over the dancefloor. He likes to move-it move-it, so we joined him on the floor as well. He even taught us a few moves on line-dancing, which is not as easy as it looks to be. When everyone manages to be in-sync with the country music, the feeling can be exhilarating, so it’s not as stupid as it looks. We danced away until the clock was nearly to midnight, and then the party really began. Ah Nei daringly requested the deejay to play some techno music, and duly the deejay obliged and out of nowhere, the dance floor was suddenly flooded with teens and young people. Where the heck did these guys come from?? No matter, the revelers were going berserk with the music and was super-energized by the impending countdown to 2008.

Half and hour before the countdown, there was a surprise in store. Not for the revelers, nope. It was especially for Uncle. Since he is having a blast of a time so far, why not elevate his enjoyment further? I secretly brought over 4 cans of snow spray and quietly I planned out an attack on our beloved Uncle. 10 minutes before countdown, I distributed the cans among our gang under the cloak of darkness, unbeknownst to our clueless Uncle. 5 minutes to countdown, our Uncle is still happily dancing away. We silently entered into attack positions around Uncle. 1 minute to countdown, we loaded our cans, and the caps were all off. Hiding the cans away from his view, we waited, slowly waited for the right moment. 5 seconds. 4 seconds. 3. 2. 1. Right at the moment when Uncle shouted ‘Happy New Year!!!’, he was snow-sprayed from all directions, he tried to block the foams from hitting him, but it was too intense. Covering his face was no use, the attack from 4 cans was too overwhelming, he ducked for cover, but still the spray blitz striked his every move. It was non-stop and continuous; he had no time to even scream. Victory was at hand, and Uncle lay in silent defeat!!! Hahahah, actually it was all for fun Uncle, don’t take it too personally. We know you are so sporting to just laugh this off so, it was all for New Year’s fun. We would like to thank you for not even showing a sign of tantrum and even continued to take pictures with us!! Uncle ROXXX!!!

Drunk with Happiness!!!

After the party, even when the entire group of revelers left the place, we were still in a party mood. So we whipped out whatever alcohol that was left and drank until our hearts were content. A few hours were spent just chit-chatting on everything but particularly about nothing, and Uncle, I guess still dazed by our snow-foam attack plus alcohol, was obviously looking tipsy and ‘high’. He was balancing himself on the metal fences, and for a few moments I thought he was going to fall to his New Year’s death. But nope, he was still steady enough to know which way was up and down.

Hours later, it was time to adjourn to our beds but something happened that was completely out of the blue. I saw a few nice empty bottles on the next table, some French red wine bottle and another that I totally don't remember, and the bottle designs was kinda cool. I said “Hey look! Empty bottles we can take home as souvenirs!” Uncle immediately strutted to the table. He released all personal items from his hands (an empty Smirnoff bottle and his digital camera) and examined the bottles in shocking detail. Unimpressed, he decides not to take it home and puts it back on the table. NOW, maybe he was still in a wine bottle mode and his mind was all swimming with empty bottles, he picks up the his empty Smirnoff bottle, but NOT HIS CAMERA. He even held the empty Smifnoff bottle like a baby with his two hands and goes off to his room not knowing that his camera is still ON THE TABLE. The next morning at around 10:30am, he comes down from his room and says to us: “Where’s my camera ahh?” WAHLAUUUUUU EHHHHHHH!!!!!

Day 3

Obviously and expectedly, the camera was not retrieved back. We even left our contact numbers just in case any kind angelic soul finds it and decides to return to us. We are still praying for this person to appear. It’s an Olympus camera!!! RETURN IT DAMMIT!!! Uncle sportingly declares that it is lost and says that what is most heart-breaking about it was not the fact that the camera was lost, but the photos inside it will be forever gone. AAAaaaawwwwww!!! How touching. Luckily I took a lot of photos, but photos of the swimming pool session and the delicious resort seafood will be gone eternally. God rest those beautiful photos. Amen. It was Day 3, and it was time to end our stay with ‘Seaview Resort’. We packed our stuff and headed for the jetty, boarded the boat and took a few photos while aboard the open deck:

All aboard the love boat!!!

The guys and Majidah, with her sparkling charms.

I'm not even gonna comment on this!!!

Upon arrival on the other side of the sea, we went for some last-minute seafood shopping, boarded our cars and duly got lost along the way. No matter, a simple U-turn solved the problem and headed straight for more food stuff at the place we all began our journey: Teluk Intan. We wanted more biscuits so we went for the best that we can find. Unfortunately, finding it was the hard part. We wanted it fresh so instead of buying from the shop, we went to the factory: biscuits freshly baked direct from the oven. But when we got there, we found not just the factory, but a sign that said: “Go back to that shop to buy your biscuits there, fools!!!” OK, it was not that blunt but you know what I mean. The factory is no longer selling the biscuits and it is now selling them at THAT shop instead. Well done, Uncle. We tried to look for other factories but to no avail. So, back to square one, back to the same shop we went for the 3rd time. No more messing around now, we raided the place with boxes of ‘heong peng’, ‘lou po peng’ and ‘kai cai peng’. Satisfied with our shopping, we now have to satisfy our stomachs as its high noon and food is much on the wanted list.

Considering what happened by following Uncle’s recommendation with the now-infamous ‘mee rebus’, we were scared that another case of ‘mee rebus’ would occur. But we were too hungry so we set our fears aside and placed our trust on Uncle. Again. He suggested ‘Nasi Beyani’ but when we got there, it was finished. Sigh, things not going so well by following Uncle but there was retribution as the fried chicken was available in abundance and was satisfyingly crunchy, like crispy bombs of flavor melting in your mouth.

With our bellies full, our shopping adequate and our wallets starting to empty, we finally boarded our cars and headed home. The way home was quick and satisfying as we longed for our familiar home comforts. But at the same time, as our cars inevitably approached distinctive locations that gave identifications that we are nearing KL, hints of sadness crept in as we slowly realized that our road trip was very soon near its unavoidable end. After so many months of yearning, after much efforts in planning and after many ponderings in various kopitiams, finally our journey to Pangkor had come, and then gone in a blink of a mind’s eye. It was a trip that will forever be etched in my memory and will be continuously enjoyed repeatedly as it lingers forever-more in my memory as a journey that was completely fun, and a journey enjoyed completely together as one.

The End!!!

Behold...The 'Enterprise' Makes Its Appearance!!!

I think this is going to make a few Trekkies out there go abuzz with delirium – it’s an actual screen capture of the starship ‘Entertrise’ that is still in its construction. Remember that the upcoming JJ Abrams version of ‘Star Trek’ focuses on the early days of James T. Kirk and crew, hence the ship ‘Enterprise’ must be in its infancy too. Embrace below the screen shot before a full frontal official teaser trailer hits our senses real soon…

From the Corner - A Musical Companion

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