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HOWDY! This is a platform for me to express myself. To bare my thoughts, emotions and life stories. Leaving bite-size pieces of me before I go. I graciously invite you to comment, swap stories and thoughts. Please post your comment or get in touch with me here.


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hanoi - in search of the pain-in-the-arse ice cream and other stories in between*
sungai petani, my hometown* [pt 1]
leave my country* [pt 1]
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ozcapade* [pt 2]
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moomoo vista* [pt 2]
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lost in tranquility* 

Day: Saturday.
Date: 18 June 2005.

That's the day when I got lost in Gunung Irau, somewhere within the neighbouring postcode to Cameron Highlands. Honestly, it's really no big drama; and I am never much of a melodrama queen. There's already too many around, and I don't see the need to add to the statistics.

At the most, I was lost for only about an hour. I was in the last descending team of six. No doubt all of us were dog-tired but we had to hurry before darkness falls. It was already in the 5.00pm hour, so that meant we have 2 more hours to dusk. And it was also then I decided to take a pee in the wild. When I arose, no one was in sight. So I thought if I moved a little faster, I could catch up. When I felt like my legs were failing me, I prayed for renewed strength. I went faster and faster and yet, I didn't see the team. See, the trail is like no other; you go up and down throughout, so there's no way of telling where you are. We've been told to follow the white paper trail. It was only when I saw the signboard which read "0.95 to G.Irau; 1.65km to G.Berinchang" for the 3rd time [note: first time heading to the peak, second time on our way down], did I realized I had gone back up towards the peak!

"Crap!", I thought.

Time was already 6.00pm. Damn.

"Think, Anj, think," I told myself.

Plan A - to run all the way down again. Aiyo. Not very juicy.

Plan B - to go up the peak and camp with the Malay group who were camping there. I could descend with them the next morning. This one makes more sense. It's a shorter distance and the trail slightly plateau and thus, easier.

On the other side of the trail, the team realized I had gone missing and the leader, TQ and his sidekick, Terry came looking for me right away. They yelled out my name the minute after I read the sign. [See, God's perfect timing!]. It took another half hour before I met up with them. All in all, the supposedly 6-hour hike doubled to 12 hours!

I won't go into the yawning details of the rescue. All that's been done and repeated to death; in various conversations and weblogs. But what I'd like to share is my feeling of serenity throughout the whole hike.

There were 2 key moments to share:


i) The Heavenly Mist

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOverall, Gunung Irau is like no other. It's mossy and if you let your imagination run wild, like I did, you can almost see the moss coming alive and reenact some of the jungle scenes from Lord of the Rings. For a moment, I really thought I saw one of the tree moved...And I kinda wished it would. Anyway, no such luck.

Halfway to the peak, I was left on my own for about 3 hours. How did that happened? Well, I was too slow for the first two teams and in a way, was better off than CJ, the other girl who was with another experience hiker, KC in the last team. So I left them be and moved at my own pace. Sometimes, I think the hermit in me takes over - the dire need for some "me" time.

The scenery was heavenly. Especially when accompanied by the mist. There was one specific area which resembles a mossy tunnel, where there was a slight clearance of leaves among the leaves amid the mossy trees.
Hello! My name is Paul Moss!

As I looked up at the bright stream of escaped sunlight, the mist blew down on me. It was like a breath of God's peace, his love and his strong presence blowing upon me. It was then I imagined the scene of Jesus, after he was baptized by John the Baptist.

Matthew 3:16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighted upon Him.

Beautiful!


ii) When we are weak, God is strong

By the time, TQ and Terry found me, it took another half an hour before we reunited with the rest of the other 3 girls in the team. They were told by TQ to stay put. By then, it was already dark and that made the hike extremely challenging. Everyone's faces were portraits of weariness and yet the spirits were lifted. There was only one goal to be fulfilled - to return safely to the base.

I silently prayed for a) God's strength upon all our weary bones, b) good temperature - not too cold, to be just nice, c) His protection, d) His guidance to lead us safely back, e) good lighting and f) His Holy presence.

All prayers were answered. There was a full moon above us, and despite the ordeal, we had most fun. We shared whatever food and water supply available - an apple, some Siamese oranges, some mints. And we laughed about how we have to drink our own pee should anyone go thirsty. All in all, we felt safe.

For me, this was the second best part of the hike. God is great! And awesome!

Tones remarked how impressed he was with us 4 girls - and how scared he was that one of us was going to break down and cry and thus, create the domino effect of unnecessary accusations, heated dispute and ill-feelings. But we showed none of that. Instead, we demonstrated that it was a case of mind over matter.

I told him the next day, "What’s the good in crying? Cry or not, we still have to go through it. So why waste the energy?"

When we reached the base, we were cheered and applauded by the rest of the team who had waited patiently for our safe return. We celebrated with true Malaysian style - by having a grand dinner. And I paid for the team, that's the least I could do.

The next morning, we all laughed and joked about the whole experience. And for some, we are still talking about it.

Like I just did.

August 04, 2005 // anjali* pranced on tip-toes all over the keyboard at 6:35 am
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