Friday, November 26, 2010

Teckiee vs Wild?

Man vs Wild Bear Grylls Guatemala. Watch starting minute 3:04

Bear Grylls "After a night out, it is important to replace your energy, and one of the best things in the jungle for that are plams. The hearts of most palms around the world are edible, you just need to cut away the tough outer leafs. Carbs gives you slow release of energy, just what you need for jungle survival."

During my last hiking trip in Gunung Yong Yap I came across many young palm trees. They easily grow where there is light, either near water sources or where the canopy of trees are thinner.

I have to remember how the leaves look like though. Colour, texture, shape, growth, etc. It can get very confusing because there are plenty of species of palms that look a like and I won't know if I am eating the correct palm tree. In Man Vs Wild, Bear mentioned that most of the palms trunk can be eaten. That is good to know because I thought I will always need to look out for only this type of palm.

One thing that Bear did not mention is that you can also have the palm without killing the plant. If you do not have a knife with you, look for the palm shoots (looks like a long huge green pointy chopstick stuck in the center of the palm) and pull them off. You can eat the bottom white part of it. (Too bad the picture I have is too blur)

The young shoots of the palm does not taste bitter. They actually taste quite refreshing like pears minus the juiciness and sweetness. The texture was slightly crunchy. Not bad.

Palm trees, a health and free snack when you are hiking in the jungle. HAHA!

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gunung Merapi meletup

Some of you may have heard or read that one of the most active volcanos in Indonesia erupted. Gunung Merapi aka the Mountain of Fire erupted multiple times since 25th of October. Villagers from the foot of the mountains were evacuated and all but that did not prevent the ashes from being blown to the near by city of Yogyakarta. Watch Indonesian news on Gunung Merapi eruption here

When I heard about the news, I was interested to know more about the eruption because I have been to Yogyakarta twice, and have hiked up Gunung Merapi's peak exactly one year before the eruption.

I still remembered that we met up in front of a famous rice shop in Yogyakarta then packing 7 of us excluding the driver in a mini van. Under normal circumstances we all would have sat nicely for the two and a half hour drive to New Selo but we were all hiking and camping...our packs and sacks took up the whole trunk and the back seat leaving us all sardines at the front. When we reached New Selo, we had to get out of the mini van and push it up the slope because the van did not have enough power to drive all of us and the gears up. That was quite funny.

New Selo was already at 1678 metres above sea level...but I am not sure if New Selo is now Burnt Selo. Maybe the lava went the other side of the mountain?

It was lunch time by the time we reach New Selo. We ordered rice from the only stall open there. It was the best Indonesian kerabu rice I have ever taste in my life.

The other meals on the mountain weren't that bad either. We made fried tempeh (fermented beans) and also have "imported" chicken rendang (dry curry). It was frozen and brought over by our Malaysian guide using dry ice.

This little fellow came looking for food before dinner...but we manage to catch it and have it for dinner. This musang tasted delicious!

I was just joking hehe. The furry animal came scrambling for food but all we had to be stolen in the tent was uncooked rice. Later at night there were a couple of them who came for visits. Me and a hiking buddy was sharing a cave to sleep in ...I was quite sure they came in looking for food and not shelter.

We continued the hike the next day slightly before dawn. Saw only few interesting insects and plants. I think all of these including the caves would have been consumed by lava.

Before the start of the “real” climb to the peak, there are memorial stones set up to remember a few folks who have passed away while getting to the top. I guess this will be eaten by the lava too.

Getting up to the peak of Gunung Merapi was actually not that difficult. It was a lot like getting on to Bukit Tabur in Taman Melawati except the scramble is about 5 times longer. Like of my keluar pintu (outdoor) buddies would say “Minimum effort, maximum pleasure”. Merapi was that. Easy climb, excellent view.

Getting down was a different story. Loose rocks and dried lava makes it all too dangerous. I remember I sucked at coming down…my first volcano decent makes it even scarier. I slid down the scree and was having a hard time gaining control. Later in another volcano climb I learn the trick. The easiest and fastest day down is to dig your heel in deep and ski down with your foot. Scary thoughts turned in to fun.

Only thing we had to watch out for was for the hot sulfur gas sipping through the dried volcano rocks. If you place your hands at the wrong places it will get burnt. The smell of the gas did not gag me though. The strong winds bring the gas away too quickly.

Victory drink! ...when we all made it to the peak.

The drink had to be halal so coke will have to do. One can actually bring wine up without carrying the glass bottle (The difficult part is to carry the heavy glass bottle down!) using a plastic wine carrier. I almost wanted to invest in a Platypus Platy Preserve wine carrier. It’s inexpensive and I can use it for non hiking events too.

(In case you are wondering, Coke and Platypus are not paying me for advertisement :p)

The highest point of Gunung Merapi is at Garuda peak. Garuda is actually a type of bird and the sharp pointed rock you see on the left represents it. The rock used to have "wings" but the not so recent earth quake broke it wings according to the local guide.

The guide's altimeter watch shows 2784 meters above sea level but Wikipedia stated that it's 200 meters higher. Hmmmmm... volcanoes shrinks when it's cool and rises when it's ready to blow but a 200 meters difference is odd.

Snacks are esentials in any hike. These are not good example though. All junk hehe. Its a smarter choise to go with carbs and sweets...but watermelon is a good idea too HAHA. (We had the watermelon near the camp/cave site, but wouldn't it be bizzar if we really did bring one up to enjoy at the peak?!)

I miss Gunung Merapi and the team I climbed it with.

Maybe I am lucky that Merapi is angry now. In a couple of years Merapi will hopefully be calm. I might or might not be fit enough to climb it then, but I will definitely look forward seeing the changes to the Mountain of Fire.

Will Gunung Merapi erupt again? The future is memang uncertain.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

The future is uncertain

The future is uncertain.

At this time two months ago, I was walking out of the jungle after a mountain hiking trip in Gunung Yong Yap, Cameron Highland. I still remembered my legs were tired and my problematic right knee was swelling up inside as we made our way out of Pos Brooke orang asli settlement. The pain was not new, I have a history of “running patella” (running kneecap) or patella femoral syndrome which I always felt disappointed since it causes me pain most of the time when I am hiking or running.

Today, I no longer have the running patella on my right knee. I say again, the future is uncertain.

Reality is, …that the night that I was eager to get home and get a good rest… I ended up in Ipoh General Hospital emergency room with bruises and lacerations all over my body and face, burst blood vessels in my right eye, fractured my tailbone, broken right arm , broken right leg, and worst of all shattered my right knee.

Looking at the bright side of things, I still have my life, a fully functional brain and eye, and no memory lost (though I could not remember the car crash). But the future is uncertain.

I can now no longer enjoy being the outdoor girl that I am so in love with…because the orthopedic surgeon could only save five “Lego” pieces out of the eight from my patella. Steel plates, screws and pins are inserted into my arm and leg which will help me function again but the wires looping my patella will not help me regain a 100% function of the knee.

Accepting this fact is not easy. How am I going to do it? What choice do I have?

Patella replacement? Patella removal? Total knee replacement? The more I research do about getting my knee back leads me to more disappointment. Any “spare part” replacement can only last for approximately 15 years until I need to go through the whole operation and rehabilitation process again. Plus a total knee replacement can only give a certain bending range, up to 120 degree if I am right.

“Your knee now is not fit for a patella replacement and you are too young for a total knee replacement. You have to avoid all your hiking and climbing and running if you want to make your knee last. Hopefully it will not be me who will be doing your knee replacement because even with minimal activity your knee will need to be replaced sooner or later due to the current broken patella pieces” I remember those words like it was told to me yesterday.

Hiking, climbing, running on trail, completing marathons and ultra marathons, adventure races, yoga, DANCING! How can I just drop all this?

“Well you can still hike and run, go ahead. But I will tell you that the pain will stop you. And even if you can bare the pain, remember that the more you use your knee, the sooner you need them replaced”


The future is uncertain. I just hope there will be medical miracle which will help fell a little happier.

I physical and mentally feel pain, miserable and depressed. Indulging in self pity is just bad for me but at this moment and many moments to come, the melancholy will stay with me.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Compact food

I'm heading to Sungai Siput tomorrow after work, and Thursday I'll be hiking up Gunung Ulu Sepat! YAY! Ulu Sepat is the 7th G7 (G7 = top 7 highest mountain in peninsular Malaysia).

I can't stand having instant noodles and bread for all the days so I spent the last week busy preparing the menu and food stuff for our 3D2N hike. Watch out of my Gunung Fried Rice and my Vegetarian Curry soon! I even packed a mini wok up for cooking :p

Leaving you with some pictures of bad experiences in carrying food for the Gunungs.

(During my most remembered first Tabur West climb... rain and wind almost killed us) This originally is a triple layer sandwich. The whole sandwich flatten in my friends pack and turned out like this. A whole new meaning to compact food LOL!

Another climber friend was smart enough to pack his filling in a separate container... what surprised me was the flavor of the filling. Tuna + hard boiled eggs + mayo + salted egg + century egg + onions. What a combo!

Not learning his lesson from the "compact food", this same friend of mine took his lunch up to Gunung Datuk only using a styrofoam box. Habis lah... but still can makan lah. Susah sikit je.

Anyway, the most disappointing disaster is when you want to chill your booze in the cool running later find out your cans are missing! Lesson learned, always make sure you secure your cans well if not the running water will push the cans afloat and off it goes with the current. Donated a couple of em booze to Kanching Falls.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chicken back side on a stick

I was forced to take 4 days of leave last month. I'm not sure if it was a good thing or bad thing but forced to take what... I had no choice. Didn't want to waste it doing nothing at home so I went to Brunei to visit my best buddy and then to Mulu to climb the famous Mulu Pinnacles.

Here are some highlights from my trip. ...look out for the chicken backside!

Airline food. EEK! Ikan Kunyit sucks to the maximum! Yuck! I have got to remember to always go for the Nasi Beriani. At least that was edible.

Strolling along the beaches of Seria, Brunei. Loads of small crabs all over the beach. Seria should be named Kota Shell or something. Everyone there is practically working for Shell.

Ate cheese french toast at Universal Cafe, a coffee shop in the small Seria town, which some nice people from Shell.

Redondo! It's not something made in Brunei but made in Indonesia. Very nice chocolate filling in the middle of the biscuit stick. I don't we can find it here in KL. Brunei was so boring that I find visiting the supermarket more interesting that visiting the floating mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Went over to Miri for wild fern and a seafood lunch the next day. I think the local calls it Midin. Sweet, had a little crunch to it. I would have bought some fresh ones back for mom to cook but too bad I wasn't traveling back that soon.

Ayam Tonggeng! aka chicken backside! You know, I don't usually eat chicken backside cos I know how dirty they can be if they are not cleaned properly (yeahh I clean chicken and you wouldn't want to know the shitty part that comes out of chicken backsides!). I had these anyway. VERY good stuff! RM1 for 4 small chicken backside on a stick. (Just try not to think of eating shit when eating this... HAHAHA)

Since non of us actually were satisfied with our seafood lunch, we decided to have seafood again for dinner. We were lucky because we reached the beach restaurant just in time for a spectacular sunset!

The fresh prawns .... yum!

Stayed at a guesthouse just opposite a busy bar street. We were dead tired but the bars were just too tempting. Our last drink before we hit the sack. Just got to love Sambucca shots!

At Mulu National Parl, I learned a whole bunch on bats, caves, lime stones and the pinnacles. This picture is of a bad exodus... seen with my eyes how they would actually line up to fly out in a group, and the way they twirl in circles while flying to avoid being victim to preying eagles.

Saw this worm. It will roll into a ball when it is being disturbed. Cute little thing.

I forgot what these bugs are called but they body are as huge as my thumb. I found them really disgusting actually. They live in the caves and feed on bat guano and multiply in them. I was quite surprised at myself when I actually grabbed one of them off a strangers shirt. Hard exoskeleton, very sharp legs and thorny. Yuck..but ok la. I later thought of the incident and wondered if they would taste nice after being cleaned and fried. Should be very crunchy. (I have eaten chicken backside so I am guessing this is not too hard to handle)

Along the 8.8km trail to Camp5, I spotted a RED SNAIL! YAY! Cool huh?!

The climb up was awesome! Intense 70c to 90c scrambling and climb on the upper trek. Absolutely loved it! This is me adjusting my footing on the corroded pinnacle to pose for a good picture.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Mini treats, revisit.

Yah Yah... I ate them... big deal... the guinea pigs ate them too.

Then again I keep forgetting that I am human, not a guinea pig. (Tho occasionally I am forced to become one)

Texture: Dry and hard. Lots of fiber. Yuck.
Taste: Like chlorophyll... alfafa flavor. Bland.

Cat food taste better.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Lunch at Gunung Disappointment

There is no such gunung called Gunung Disappointment. What was a disappointment was that me and my climbing buddy had to turn back after a few hours of trekking on a supposedly 2D1N climbing trip.

The Daun Keladi Hutan (Wild potato leaf) being used by some insect to built a cocoon.

Gunung Chabang was my last climbing trip for 2009. I was desperate to climb something (a mountain of course, not a ladder :P) so we just went ahead with Chabang with a little bit of research online.

We reached Simpang Pulai but got stuck for a bit because we couldn't find the orang asli village area (That's where the starting point was). We drove around and ended up find a village. I got to know later that we ended up at the wrong village. The village what we should be at was a little further down the road.

Rattan torns. This is one jungle with loads of young bamboo shoots and tons of rattan growing. Quite a painful jungle to trek in. These little buggers hangs down from no where and catches on to your shirt or bags if you are lucky. If you are not, you'll get cuts from the torns.

We were directed to cross a river to get to the trail by the orang asli. I remembered reading that other climbers used a bridge. That was when I knew we were on a whole different trail. We continued with the trail... took the wrong turning at the first split in the trail.

We got to the waterfall that was mentioned on climbing blogs and guides but HAHAHA, it was the wrong waterfall. We spend almost 2 hours looking for our way up. Went to 5 different paths which we thought were trails... but aiyah... after walking only about 30 meters into the jungle, we could not trek our way out using the same path we came in. That was when I call it quits. Too darn dangerous to trek in with no proper path, no GPS, no cellphone reception, no map.

Can't waste our effort though. We already drove all the way from KL to Ipoh and we are at a nice waterfall. We decided enjoy what we had at that moment. Sun dried tomatoes and canned sauce.

The water was really clean and clear. Used that water to boil the pasta we brought up. I am still using Hexamine fuel tablets (That's the white square stuff you see in the picture) to cook which I feel is not that efficient. (But they work well even if they are wet so I don't have to worry about keeping them dry) I have to bring many of them if I were camping for many days...that would weigh more. Got to remind myself to invest in a mini gas camping stove but those don't come cheap!

The end product. Pasta with mushroom, cheese and herb sauce topped with sun dried tomatoes. Absolutely delicious especially eaten beside a waterfall hehehe

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sate Kuda

So it was an easy guess. Sate kuda... aka BBQ'ed marinated horse meat.

Telaga Warna, Dieng plateau.

It was our second last day in Jogja. We spent our time becoming typical tourist visiting the Borubudor temple and the Dieng plateau. After the long day, we decided that it was time to have something the typical tourist wouldn't. Our taxi driver took us to a famous place street where the local Indonesians go for Sate Kuda.

There is this street near the railway station in Jogya which is full of Satay Kuda stalls. (I can't remember the street name but thank you to pictures! The street name is Jalan Jend Sudirman) The taxi driver mentioned that most of them tasted the same because all of the stay stick are pre-marinated by the same company and distributed to all the stalls.

Satay kuda was sold at 10,000rp for 5 sticks with rice. The texture was tougher than beef... didn't quite like it. I don't think I'm a fan of horse meat. I remembered I had Ba Sashi (horse meat) at a Nonbei and it took me ages to chew on the meat.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Call to Post

This video relates to my next post ... take a wild guess on what I ate.

Actually, it's so obvious isn't it? Just wanted to share this nice jazzy Call to Post.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Warong 96, Bali

He walked in with a t-shirt, board shorts and flip flops. I went in with a sleeveless tank top, shorts and flip flops. We felt so over dressed. in too much cloth on us.

The hot Australian guy seated in front of my table was topless (body yum yum... I felt so guilty because I can't help staring when my dude friend is still in front of me). The tall fair skin Japanese gal seated on my left was only in a bikini. (she was hot too and my friend felt guilty because he can't stop I guess we are even HAHA)

The whole of Warong 96 at Jalan Legian (Gang Poppies II / Poppies II lane) in Kuta (That's in Bali Indonesia) was just filled with beautiful people, with almost 90% just skin! Sorry la but this jakun got a little bit of cultural shock. How come Pangkor not like that?! We need more choppy waves for surfers man! HAHAHA!

And yes yes, we remembered to eat after we got enough of admiring God's creation. The food was actually quite good. I had a (pork) bacon carbonara which was as delicious as the one I ate at Opus (Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar). I would have ordered something else but the plate of creamy pasta huge!

He of course ordered something porky too. I had a chunk of that pork chop and YUM! Real juicy stuff! I didn't like the sauce that came separately though. The brown sauce was quite bland.

I miss Bali. I miss my Balinese host and his family. I miss the porky stuff. I miss the padi fields and eating wild flowers and fruits. I miss Batukaru!
And yeah, I miss the half naked men too.

I kid you not when I say there are just hot half naked men everywhere! Just pick up a stone and throw it back over your shoulders... you'll most probably hit a shirtless surfer with only his board shorts and flip flops on!

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Lumppppiaaaa! Somehow saying the word lumpia out loud makes me laugh. I have no idea what but lumpia reminds me of the Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. I know, I know, two very different words... but Lumppppiaaaa! HAHAHA!

Lumpia is actually the Indonesian version of fried popia. Deep fried spring roll. I first came across this lumpia stall in front of Hotel Mutiara in Malioboro street during my first visit to Jogjakarta. Locals were crowing the stall and business was good. I can't help but to buy a piece although I was already full.

This time at Malioboro, I dragged my climbing buddy to have a bite of this superb lumpia. Good stuff! Tasted as good as before but later I realized that the price went up drastically! From 1700 rupia to 2500 rupia in a year! But 2500 or not, it's still so worth it!

..actually come to think of it, 2500 rupia is less than 1 ringgit. Cheap hor?! Too bad cannot ta pau back.

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Steamboat, the Pangkor fisherman style

Happy New Year Folks!

While many of the people I know spent their new year's eve out with friends, I spent it with my family in Cameron Highlands. Nice little gathering up in the mountains (I like :P) where the temperature is low and the water is icy cold. We had our eve dinner eating organic steamboat somewhere in Berinchang. Not bad, but the steamboat reminded me of a steamboat I had with a couple of ex-schoolmates back in September.

It took me and my ex-schoolmates a while to plan for the trip to Cameron. Busy people us. Hehe. We did some brain storming on what we wanted to eat, what soup base we wanted, who is in charged of what utensils... even met up earlier for a "meeting" to get everything ready.

Vegetables and mushrooms came from the night market in Berinchang. 14 packets for RM10 for small packs. 5 packets for RM10 for the bigger or more expensive vegetables. It's like all you can eat vegetable buffet steamboat!

We went to Kelana Jaya pasar tani in the morning to buy the fishy platter supply before heading up to Cameron. Seafood in the highland is scarce.. if not expensive.

I bought these small yellow fishes. Bad idea. Small little things are harder to clean (yup, I had to clean all of em and ended up with fishy smelling hands!) and they are full of bones! They ended up at the bottom of the pot boiling in the soup which made the soup really sweet! YUM!

The slimy slippery sotong was easier to clean. I used to think that the spots on the sotong can be left on the flesh... but no leh. You need to peel of that layer of skin and only eat your sotong white.

Got some chicken slice to go with the seafood.

And pork slices too.

Non of us requested for pork liver but hey! we had some. Super hard to slice the liver!

We got hold of these konyaku noodles as well. Nice crunchy texture to the steamboat.

Finally, the secret ingredients to the ikan bilis and fish soup, canned pork ribs and belly! Odd combination? All I can say is that usually the oddest combination works the best =)

Mixing canned pork belly in fish based soup for steamboat is Pangkor island fishermen trademark. I used to have a lot of steamboat for dinner in Pangkor when I was younger. My uncle and aunty would buy the freshest seafood from the fisherman and prepare this steamboat. Fresh fish marinated in sugar and sweet thick black cause. Prawns, crabs, sotong... all fresh and dumped into the soup.

If you can get hold of fresh raw abalone, slice and soak them in lime juice. Makes a really good appetizer for the steamboat

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