Sunday, June 28, 2009

Descending Mount Batukaru

It was late... or should I say early in the morning... where I heard weird noises outside (and also in the test. 4 men where having their midnight orchestra, if you know what I mean and I had a hard time falling asleep) the tent. The rain was pouring down hard and the wind blew the at the tent. The tarp keep flapping. I couldn't sleep. I wasn't tired. And when I could sleep, I was awaken by animal noises again. There was one part where a civet wild cat actually went sliding down the tarp. I saw shadows and it kind of freaked me out.

From Batukaru, you can see Gunung Agung, the highest mountain in Bali island.

But... the climb up, the sprained ankle and the sleepless night was all so worth it when I saw this. The orange ray was peaking through the heavy rain clouds. The wind was blowing hard so the sight of the sun rays and the quick moving clouds was awesome.

At first, the clouds covered everything. We couldn't see a single thing other that sun and clouds. But then the clouds started to clear, Wayan pointed out the Bedugul lake.

If the sky was really clear, Wayan said that we could actually see villages at the bottom. But too bad. The cloud was still covering part of the view.

After taking pictures, I went back to the tent and found Pak Susi making breakfast. The was the weirdest breakfast I had in Bali hahaha! Instant porridge with boiled egg, prawn crackers and sweeten ground nuts. Those were the only ingredients we had so mix into the porridge. Tasted fine though hehe.

Went back for another round of photo taking after breakfast. Being up there really felt good! ...until Pak Susi said it was time to decent.

The decent was hell for me. I had to stop many times to give my ankle the rest. There was a point I really felt hopeless and wanting to give up. The pain was *&%$&%#&*(%#$. What was worst is that everyone just wanted to get back to "land" and go home and was full speed ahead when it come to decending. They were going down fast and I couldn't catch up. Kok and Made was ahead while Wayan and Pak Susi stayed with me. Pak Susi even helped me with my daypack. We took a longer break at the last stop before the final stretch of decent started. I was freaking out because I know the climb up was hard, and the climb down will be harder.

Wayan came across this red mushroom. I was so so tired that I couldn't keep my hands steady to take a nice macro. I didn't want to touch the mushroom because anything in bright colors in the wild are usually poisonous. Wayan just plucked it and offered it to me! He said the mushroom is edible. And I did try it. Tasted like spring water.

One thing I learn, it may seem hard, it may look hard, but honestly, I made it through the final decent without all that stupid negative thoughts I had earlier. The whole decent would have been much easier if I was more positive. I kind of regretted being so weak and negative.

We finally reached the bottom 6 hours and 20 minutes later.

My first leach bite. HAHA! You know, little leachy was kind of cute. Looks fat and juice and ...delicious is another thing. You one actually eat leaches?

The conclusion of the climb? The climb was an eye opener for me... much on the climb and mental strength, but much much more on unmentionable truth. The climb made me stronger mentaly and changed me. I think even my best buddy noticed that. Will I climb Batukaru again? Yes! definitely! (But this time I'll bring a separate tent and a sleeping bag! Haha!)

With the tired legs, Wayan drove us to the best traditional nasi babi guling in Tabanan. Warong Nasi Andi Jaya. I asked about the famous babi guling at Ibu Oka (Ubud) but Wayan told me that the Babi Guling there wasn't as original as Andi Jaya. I was told that Ibu Oka's babi guling was modified to suit the tourist taste. I do not know anything about the "real taste" of nasi babi guling.. but Andi Jaya's one was nice... and freaking spicy!

The lawar and sambal chili in the nasi. Lawar is actually young jack fruit cooked with boiled pork skin and chilies. Kind of like an appetizer. A really spicy appetizer.

The other half of the nasi was of course the Babi Guling itself along with deep fried pig skin, intestines and liver.

The pork soto soup is a must with the nasi! The rice was dry and the soup gave it moisture. I could have drank the soto on its own actually. The soto was is nicer than any chicken soto I have tasted in KL. ...maybe because pork is sweeter than chicken.

After lunch we head back home. It was 4pm when we finally reach Ngis. Yay! We unpacked. And I took a really long cold bath. I smelt nice after that. HAHA! Wayan, Kok and myself spent the rest of the evening talking about the climb, had an early dinner, and took a good night sleep.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

The climb up Mount Batukaru

When I saw the poster of Mount Batukaru hanging under the Lumbung, I knew I had to climb it. It would be good training for me too because I am going to climb Gunung Kinabalu in July. I didn't really think what would happen (like Eat First Think Later, it's a Do First Suffer Later hahaha) up there. What bad can the climb be?

The night before the climb Wayan, had his family chiropractor over to massage his leg. He mentions that he has not climbed Batukaru for a year because of his injured ankle. He wanted to climb this time because the temple at the peak was refurbished and he really wanted to visit and pray.

I took this at the base Batukaru. There is a huge temple at the foothill.

There were 5 of us including myself. Wayan my host, Kok my buddy, Made our porter and Pak Susi our guide. We started at 7am at the foothill. I was excited! My adrenaline was pumping! We trekked about 250m into the jungle and reached a river. Rocks… wet rocks. Ironic because I slipped and my foot was in the water. My right shoe was under water. Wet and soggy. There goes my excitement. Blahh..

Part of the river. I took this on the way back. If you noticed, the picture is a little blur. The weather was so cold up at the peak that it was condensing my camera lens when we reached to high temperature.

At that moment, I did have a split second of "chicken out" moment. It was just 250m from the starting point. I fell. It was actually a bad omen. My ankle did feel weird, but it wasn't least not yet. I guess my ego and stubbornness got the bigger of me (I knew it will be dangerous if my leg plays up.. but...) and I decided to shut up and continue trekking. Who would want to wake up early, prepare and then turn back after a 250m from the starting point?

Cute brown mushrooms on the ground. It was actually tiring to stop to take pictures. I end up keeping my camera and just trek. Didn't manage to take a lot of pictures.

It took us 3 hours to reach the first stop. On the way up, Wayan warned us not to look up, or down. Because the sight of the steep mud and root treks might lower our determination to climb to the top. Wayan also said never ever say that "It's too hard. I can't do it. Are we there yet". If we really wanted to say and give up... "say it to yourself, not out loud". He also thought me to listen. If I hear machines (bikes and cars) and birds, we are still at the bottom. The sound of birds change, were are near middle and the top.

Leach on Kok's foot. There were plenty of them. We had to take 2 minutes breaks every 30 minutes just to check if any were crawling up the shoes and socks. When I trekked I kept looking at the ground just to make sure I don't get leached. There was one part of the trek where I saw about 4 of them vertically standing from a leaf from the ground.. (who says leaches only hangs from leafs?) scary shit because I almost brushed against them. But so many of them, it's hard to avoid all. I was blood sucked on the way down, with one under my socks. ...the mark is actually on my foot now.

Wayan said the dreadful part of the climb was over when we rested. I was relieved. Haha! We had our packed lunch. Nasi goreng seafood never tasted so nice when it was cold.

We continued to trek to the second stop. I lead and it was easy peasy. We reached the second stop in 45 minutes and that really boosted my confidence. I though the remaining trek up as this easy.

Boyyyy was I wrong. Damn wrong.

I noticed that not only the sound of birds change, the growth is different as well. This little berry grass was growing all over the ground at the second stop. The temperature was lower here.

The trek only got harder and at a few areas, we practically had to hug trees to cross over to the path. Let go and you will fall to your death.

It started drizzling a little after that. Pak Susi Kok and I stopped to wait for Wayan and Made because Made was carrying the waterproof tarp. Thank god for the canopy of trees, because much of the rain water did not reach us. We were lucky the rain only lasted 10 to 15 minutes and we didn't have to wait out the rain under the tarp. It started to get cold. The wind chilled my skin when we stop to rest.

The mists drifted in and shorten our vision. Wayan told us to trek on ahead while he accompanies Made. (But after the trek, Wayan actually told me his leg was in pain and he used Made as an excuse to slow down. That way Kok and I will still have the mental strength to trek on.)

Finally the third stop! I lost track of time but I think it was 2pm or so. We rested a while. Made unpacked a little and took this burner out to make coffee.

It took quite long to boil the water. The burner used this as the fuel. No idea was it was but the purple liquid was highly flammable.

Resting for too long isn't good for me. I started thinking negative. The trek will only get harder. When will we reach? Are we there yet? Will the trek get easier? I think Wayan noticed (because I was quiet, I'm usually the noisy chatty one hehe) and tried distracting me.

He pointed out the water droplets on spider webs around the area. "You have to take this. This will turn out nice". I was so tired that I couldn't manage to hold my camera still for the shot.

Pak Susi, Kok and I continued our climb up.

The trek wasn't as rooty as the first part of the climb but I was getting tired. I ate all my chocolates and couldn't find my other power bars. I had little motivation to climb and really just wanted everyone to disappear so I can shout "ARGHHH I'm so freaking tired!" but I can't because if I did, (I remembered what Wayan said) I would make Pak Susi and Kok feel tired as well... and my ankle was beginning to hurt.

Cadbury milk fruit and nut chocolate bar have never tasted this yummy and healthy and not fattening in my life! HAHAHA!

We took a break an hour later. Pak Susi called out to Wayan and Made (syn). No syn ack. We were far ahead so we needed to stop and regroup. Instead of thinking negative again, I took out my camera and started taking pictures.

Young fern around the area. We encountered a freaking thick fern growth nearing the peak. We were stepping on chopped and burnt ferns. To our left and right were ferns too. The trek was a bit like walking on sponge because the layer of dead ferns were so thick! I wanted to ask about the whole fern trek because I didn't feel right walking on it. My gut was right, and I was lucky I kept the questions until after the trek. I asked Wayan after the climb about this trek. Wayan said "It's ferns and air. There's nothing below.". *glups* That's how strong ferns can be if you have a thick thick layer of them.

Pak Susi knew Kok and I are tired. He was too... but he said "It's a short way up from where we were at. Another 30 minutes". That motivated me to climb but one thing he said which was suppose to motivate me did the opposite. He told me I had strong feet. I had no idea what he was talking about until it hit me a little while later. My ankle! It was bad. Bad because what kept me going was the fact that I have forgotten all about my ankle.

45 minutes later and we were not at the top yet. I asked Pak Susi about the peak when we were resting and waiting for Made and Wayan to catch up. He said.. "Oh.. it's near. 30 more minutes"... yeah right. I don't think I will fall for the same trick again. During the rest, blood have taken opportunity to flow to my ankle. One word. Pain. We continue to trek until I couldn't take it anymore. I ankle started to hurt like crazy but I kept it to myself while Kok took the lead.

It was another 45 until we came to a tunnel. Pak Susi said "Ahhh dah sampai!" (We are here!) I went through the tunnel, and was reborn. Why reborn? Wayan said coming out of the hole is like coming out of your mom womb. I don't know how I felt when I left my mom's uterus, but coming out of this hole left me ecstatic, relieved, in pain, tired, and confident all at the same time. FINALLY! YATTA!

The peak of Mount Batukaru.. at last! FINALLY! YATTA!

But too bad. The rain clouds were still lingering and the wind wouldn't blow it away. It covered the sky the whole evening. I didn't get to see the sunset =(

Wayan, Pak Susi and Made proceed to the temple area to pray and meditate. While waiting for them, I actually had to answer nature's call. A whole day of climbing, drinking water, and it was cold! Something have got to come out! :P I didn't dare though... I didn't want to pee on some temple or holy ground or something else. Wayan pointed me to a "public toilet" later on. (Public toilet as in public open area with small fern growth as walls) ... phew.. relieved.. but was freezing cold and I think I had butt freeze for a moment. HAHAHA ... but it was really an experience. The same thing happen the next morning when I had to go again. :p

Anyway, I snacked on this bean biscuit keropok this while Pak Susi and Made setup the twarp to make a tent. Good stuff. I didn't think the red bean cake thought. ...have always not like stuff with red bean in them.

We took pictures, hung out, prayed for the clouds to go away. I brought my notebook (the paper version, not the laptop) with me so I had a chance to enjoy writing at the peak. It was really nice to write in cool (cold actually) air. Having just me, pen and paper. With my shoes and socks off and feet freezing to death. Laying on the grass. With nothing but the sound of wind. Made the climb all so worth it.

Anyway, we had an early dinner and right after that, we were forced into the "tent" because of the weather. It started to rain with the whole package. Wind, lighting and thunder. Thank god for the tarp and the cement floor because the wind blew really hard and would have froze us to death and the rain soak us all wet. But even with that, I was still freezing. I was totally unprepared for the cold. After a while, the tent started leaking rain water.. but I found out it was just water condensing in the tent.

I stared at the torch tied above the tent the whole time (until it went out of batteries) trying not to think about the cold and my ankle. be continued.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hot & Roll

Gosh... I know I am busy. But I didn't realize I that I was this busy! 2 and a half weeks of Missing In Action!

Well, things are interesting, challenging, Hot and Rolling at work.

I really don't like my busy, chaotic and ever changing schedules. I don't like the amount of time I spend in the office. I don't like all the graveyard shift work and tele conferences. I don't like the fact that I have to "FFK" my friends for work. I don't like when calls interrupt my beauty sleep and am getting pimples because the lack of it =(

But I do like that I am doing this (even if I am ranting about it). I am learning.. technically, and learning that I can make everything a 2 frog theory if I wanted to. It's all in the mind. I am so afraid in the past that I almost forgot about thinking big and big head big hat. I like the fact that I'm out of the zone.

But I keep wondering how much longer I actually take all the sauce. .. especially when some of them are too hot to handle. (Not the sauce in this Hot&Roll thought. This one was delicious)

The last thing I want is a burn out.

Hot & Roll is located in Cold Storage in KLCC. I believe they have other branches else where as well. Do try them out especially the savory ones.

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