Sunday, 29 April 2007

Camera On The High Lands

What can I say about Cameron Highlands except for that it is indeed, a very cool place.

We had the best of luck this time around - there weren't as many people as we thought there'd be, giving us the leisure of strolling about and snapping pictures without a care. Which is exactly what we did during our two day stay.....

......which was actually supposed to be a three day stay, but since the beloved family vehicle took an awfully long time to complete the mandatory check up, we had to sacrifice a day of fun. But never mind! The fact that we got there is good enough.

We departed from home around 4 in the morning and arrived at Tanah Rata around four hours later. Thankfully, the journey up the spiralling road was uneventful and no plastic bags had to be deployed. Upon arrival, we stopped at one of the more famous eateries for a quick breakfast before checking in at The Heritage.

I wonder how come we never see houses designed like this in Kuala Lumpur

Honest, I didn't intend to show off my superhuman strength whilst pushing down the door knob of our unit.

The Highlanders have a quirky taste for lamps posing as double helix strands of DNA.

Since we had already lost a day, dad decided to make the most of our short stay and immediately brought us out for a spot of sight-seeing. Of course, the sights in Cameron Highlands hardly ever change - I mean, what type of changes can you expect to see in the Tudor styled resorts? But that didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves.

The first place that we went to was one of the many strawberry farms, it's name which I now forget. Strawberries are usually associated with Cameron Highlands because that is one of the only two places in Malaysia where you can find them, the other being Cold Storage. To be quite honest, I've always found Cameronian strawberries to be - how do I put this nicely? - unsweet.
Still, it's always a nice treat to be able to sample something not commonly found down here.

Fortunately, this bug was not on one of the strawberries that I sampled.

After having done in a packet of strawberries with cream and a medium sized cup of vanilla ice cream served with strawberry syrup, we moved on to our next destination - Ye Ole Smokehouse. The Smokehouse is actually a restaurant and a hotel, but we weren't there neither to dine nor to take a quick nap; we were there for pictures.

There it is, right there - the Smokehouse minus the smoke

They even have a London telephone booth!

Flowers were in bloom almost everywhere, and that was a good enough excuse to whip out the camera and go all trigger happy. Luckily, my parents brought along their camera too, if not there wouldn't have been any pictures with human subjects in them.

I was just in time to catch this bee doing..whatever it is that bees do.

One place where I would most certainly recommend going to would be MARDI. The place houses an impressive collection of flowers in all sorts of colours, and from the looks of it, I'd say that the people over there have done a pretty good job in maintaining them flowers. Well done! Oh, did I mention that they also have several types of fruit? One of them is the strawberry.

I'm guessing this is the...main building?

I caught this VW van outside of the MARDI compounds. I was half hoping for a glimpse of hippiness, or at least a glimpse of John Lennon.

All in all, it was a very fruitful (pardon the pun) day. The times I weren't taking pictures were the times I was eating. Yes, I did a lot of eating. So much so that by the time dinner came, I just had to pass. My only regret on this trip was that it lasted such a short while. Maybe I'll egg my parents to go back there for another visit in the short future.

After many botched attempts, I finally managed to capture a decent silhouette. The tree could've been more attractive.

Postscript: I know this is nothing spectacular, compared to the likes of Sofi, Mynn and even Puan Mama Sarah.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Break v. Break

Relationships are a bit like the Mafia, or even a Perodua Kancil: difficult to get in and even more awkward to get out. There is no good way to leave somebody, and there is certainly no good way to be left.

The most sobering piece of news is that most of us - if not all - behave rather poorly during break ups.You could say that break ups bring out the worst in us, and this is certainly true even more so when we are being left. When we are being left, we go through the recognisable stages of grief:

The Stages of Grief

1. Denial
2. Relief
3. Anger
4. Plans for revenge
5. Saying "No, I'm okay. Really. It's for the best".
6. Late night weeping and telephone calls
7. Pleading
8. Stalking
9. Acceptance
10. More anger
11. Acceptance again

It is always a good thing to seek emotional support from friends when you have been left. But break ups are like the first six weeks of pregnancy - do not tell people about it until you are reasonably sure that it will last. Most break ups unfold through a cycle of temporary reconciliations, and the patience of even the best of friends may wear down. Too often we squander our emotional capital seeking solace through these temporary break ups and by the time the final split happens, our friends are already sick to death hearing about it. Ideally, the bank balance of emotional support should be placed in a 32 day notice account.

Most of us are bad at breaking up with people. This is actually a good thing. Imagine what kind of a monster would be good at breaking up with people.

We are bad at breaking up with people because we are cowardly. We are also afraid of looking like a bad person. So, when initiating break ups, we end up saying and doing things we never intended, which not only causes the break up to become protracted and convoluted, but generally ends up making us look like a bad person.

Sad to say, the only sure fire way to guarantee a trouble-free break up is if you are not actually there when it happens. If you are, then you are sure to ad lib something that wasn't in the script. This should not happen. When breaking up, be sure to stick to the script.

postscript: This post was written in the light of the recent (read: around one month earlier) events revolving around a couple of my classmates. I am not connected to this entry in any way. At all.

post postscript: On a lighter - and more serious - note, I'm off to Cameron Highlands for a three day break. This should not be confused with the 'break' I've been talking about earlier on in the entry. Anyway, the excursion should be a good excuse to be snapping away like mad, and I'm sure Mynn would nod in silent agreement with me *smile*

Thursday, 19 April 2007

A Pleasant Surprise

As you may well know, today is my birthday. Nothing really surprising, since there's bound to be someone somewhere out there in the world, celebrating their birthday no matter what time of year it is; it just so happens that today is my day.

Nothing unusual happened when I woke up this morning. Every little item in the room was still as unbearably boring as the night before - except for something in particular. Something that made me rub my eyes a few more times just to make sure that I wasn't still asleep when I first laid my eyes on it.

"Could it be...?" I asked myself. Wanting to be assured that it was the real deal, I carefully made my way to the other side, all the while holding my breath, in fear of that I might accidentally sneeze -or worse, belch - and scare the funny looking object sitting quietly at the corner of my bed.

The rectangular shaped item still hadn't made a move, so I took it as an invitation to come closer. And come closer I did, until I was looking right down upon it.

By this time, I was already blue in the face from holding my breath too long. And I did the unimaginable - I let out a heavy sigh. I tell you, the unidentified object jostled about! I hastily retreated from where I was crouching before, lest I wanted to present myself as a threat to the poor thing. After what had seemed like an eternity passed by, I finally plucked up the courage to approach it again.

This time, I was sure it was what I thought it to be.

Hardly able to contain my happiness, I promptly - and rather clumsily - jumped up and down on my bed. I had finally received what I wanted all this while - a camera! I then proceeded to rush out of my room in search of my parents. Oh, the joy!

Mum and Dad, thank you so much for getting me the camera!

These two pictures are a tribute to Mynn

*sigh* If only that was what really happened. I could've written a script about the morning's event worthy of a Hollywood production team with Steven Spielberg at the helm, or M. Night Shyamalan for that matter. He seems to be interested in all that is suspenseful and mysterious.

Unfortunately, I bought the camera 3 months ago using my own money, which would explain why I've been short on cash ever since. I think my mum noticed this, and I'm willing to bet my bottom dollar that she even knows that I bought the camera. But I know that she knows, so I suppose you could call us even.

(Mum: Aiman, it's not funny. Duit tu boleh simpan dalam ASB untuk masa depan. Ni buat beli kamera. Cuba sayang duit tu sikit)

No, that was not an actual quote from my beloved mum. But I wouldn't be surprised if she says something along those lines later on when she reads this entry.

So, if the camera is not the pleasant surprise (as mentioned in the title earlier), then what is?

Actually, the most pleasant surprise of all on my 21st birthday is that I don't feel like it at all. Call it self denial, but the thing is that I still feel as if I'm 20. Not a single snide remark has managed to get the fact to sink in. Not even all those bad 'Dah boleh mengundi!" jokes. I do wonder why.

And that, my friend, is the pleasant surprise on my birthday :)