Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Most Beautiful Thing Ultra-Marathon : November 2011

The first thing when I heard that Sabah Adventure Challenge was looking for some volunteers, I've already found myself answering, "Yes". I have never thought of doing something like this before. Maybe cause this petite body frame of mine frequently got under estimated. But how would you know if you never try right?

"What did I signed myself up to?"
I wonder.

It was not a vacation.
I keep reminding myself that it is not.

But it was a great way to escape from the hustle bustle of the city somehow. And well, the usual day to day job routine. It's not that boring but hey, I admit it sure is fun to change a different kind of weekend once in awhile. So I said to myself, what the heck. I've followed my heart instead.

I am shy. Like kinda. But there's one thing about me that I love meeting strangers, or should I say new people? Traveling to far away places with less amenities that I don't mind. If you asked me, I'd like to try almost everything edible . Even local 'kampung' food most people thought were gross, I can take it. Bambangan, tuhau, hinava or bosou ? Bring it on. I am known among the family members for it. I'm not weird. I'm just adventurous in going places & food. Who doesn't right? Okay maybe just for some. ;)

That Friday, a group of 8 of us arrived at Kg.Kiau, Kota Belud . Little did we know that we were already facing a lil' challenge. Halfway through, the van we were in got stucked in a muddy situation. So we had to walk up hill to where our homestay was. The day was getting dark & cold. We were walking equipped with our torch lights & jackets. It was cold but I was already sweating. Need to build up my stamina. Pronto. Thank goodness we were all prepared. But after a few minutes, a good samaritan with another van came to rescue us & drove us straight to the homestay. Relieved. Just as we got there, the warm & friendly homestay families showed us the rooms & after chilling & shower, we were finally having dinner. Fresh vegetables & chicken meat with rice and the famous warm Sabah tea. Perfect for the cold weather. That night we got acquainted with some of the villagers with their beers & dogs. But no alcohol was involved. I ain't kidding. Hee :D

The next morning, we had to wake up really early. Time for voluntary work! *rub eyes for once or twice* It took us, girls sometime to drag ourselves out of the bed. Sleepy mode is still on. It was faster than I thought, we were all ready for buffet breakfast. We were early so biscuits & coffee as a starter while waiting for them to finish preparing. Getting to know session with our team mates while having breakfast.The choices of nasi goreng, mee goreng & mihun goreng and drinks served was coffee & tea. And I was reminded how Dr.Mariam love her chilli padi's. I for sure, don't think I could stand the spiciness. Heehee. What a nice meal to start off the day! After some short briefing by Rudy, our team leader, divided into two groups & off we went to SK Kiau's CP5, where our check point was.

Weather was perfect during the day.
A bit of sunshine with bearable heat. A bit of drizzling to ease it.
In between helping out prize giving to the winners & participants, offering mineral water if they need them, it was good to know some awesome people. And this is the time I really get to see different kind of emotions when a person gets tired. You don't even how they could react. Lesson learn about how to handle a situation with calmness here. Patience was the key. But I was having so much fun, yes I did, I didn't even realize I haven't ate & proceed for a late lunch.

The two guys who were first to arrived at the our check point/ finishing line.

It was getting darker. And colder. Yes, the weather got worst. It rained. Still waiting for more participants to finish the race. Since we were just behind a river, the wind was so strong, we were shivering. With jackets & raincoats to cover up. Poor someone his bag of cloths were wet & had to use his sleeping bag instead. Haha. Got some hot drinks for almost everyone at the canteen for some warm. Thanks Oswald for the treat! :p

Around 7pm-8pm, or was it 9pm? If I'm not mistaken.
We were still at the checkpoint. Cold. Haven't ate for dinner. No bulbs of lights. Just candles. Oh, how romantic! Heehee. With Oswald there, we, Jannette, Rudy, Farid, Joanne, Jude my brother & I and Dr. Mariam & his medic photographer, (did I left anyone behind? smacked me if I did. haha :p) were entertained by his endless stories for the night. Good for everyone though. But Dude, you gotta stop talking about food since we are stuck there. Haha. And I have to mentioned here that We were lucky we have Dr.Mariam in the same team. Bread with peanut butter & jam. Appreciate it doc! Yummy! :D

Raining it was still.

We were down to the last participants and it was finally time for some late dinner at the canteen & fresh bananas for desserts. Closing down our check point, packed some things up & Rudy drove us back to our homestay. Had the best cooling shower that night. Cold night with cold shower. Makes it even cooler. Some were still up at the other check point while I prefer to have some beauty sleep. Knocked down immediately after.

The next morning, we were packing & getting ready to leave. Took the last breath taking Sunday morning view pictures from the hill we were staying. Everyone was still busy at the last 100km finishing line I reckoned, no one was there to pick us up. Glad we have some tidbits left overs & mineral waters as we haven't even had a breakfast yet. So we had no choice but to walk, yes, WALK...way down to SK Kiau. We were informed that the van had trouble going up. I was fine with it. I ain't complaining. Honestly, I am usually cranky when I don't have my breakfast but I woke up on the right side of the bed that morning I guess. Who would have thought eh? I surprised myself. Smiling all the way. Great day to walk as the weather was awesome. Pictures & videos shooting along. A person like me won't leave my footprints behind without capturing such memories. Who would have trade those spectacular scenery we don't get to see that often with anything? Too gorgeous! It somehow makes the tiring journey a good one. Even with the heavy load I'm carrying on my bag, I even volunteered to bring my brother's bag, who was having a very bad stomach ache. Pity him .

Even with less energy, we had an adventure of our own.

Our van finally got us halfway going down..
It's been an hour or more since we were walking?
I was IMPRESSED. Morning exercise without breakfast. That's a first for everyone of us there. I think. Washroom pit stop at SK Kiau & up to Pekan Nabalu to meet up with the other two of our friends there. Too hungry for words, brunch was the most we're looking forward. The van went the unusual quiet cause everyone slept the whole journey home. Probably recharging from the exhaustion from walking.

Home sweet home. Back to civilization.
But the conversation about that experience we had lasted for one week plus.
We can't get enough. Left a piece of my heart there.

As a volunteer, I would like to congratulate & give big thumb's up to the organizer and the team. If was truly an amazing experience. Although there were some problems here and there but I know no one's perfect, we did our best and I understand it was not an easy task for an event to handle. There are always ways to make things better I believe, a room for improvement.

Thank you Aman Avtar & our team leader Rudy!
It was truly one adventure I don't regret joining.
Would love to do it once more. I'm serious! :)

It was the most beautiful thing ever.
Indeed it was.

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