Back at home. 🙂 Tango 1 call touchdown at Tango November (which is what I’m going to call my kampong from now on) at about 10pm, and after a trip to the school (because I’m crazy!) I’m now settled down in my room. Life would be less hectic from now on I think. Boifren, I think is getting rather worried with my NON-STOP activities. Hehe.
Anyway, some reflections, to officially close the Gemilang Sabah XPDC, while we wait for pictures to upload. In bullet points since it is getting extremely late.
- They are extremely efficient and most definitely durable cars, and I’m not just saying that because the trip was majorly sponsored by NBT Toyota. I was mostly impressed with Tango 11, a really old Toyota cruiser, that had actually broke down due to some obscure damage during the long, long arduous and challenging trip to Sandakan. They stopped by the small town of Ranau to do repairs, and the workshops there had no problem supplying parts! I find that very impressive indeed – high level of user friendliness. Not only that, total repairs did not even exceed RM100.
- Toyotas definitely passed the test for endurance, driving for one day straight in rough terrain usually takes a whole load out of a car. In fact way, way, way before this trip. Tango 1, for example, an old model Land Cruiser, had not only been to Sandakan, Kudat and Kota Kinabalu, but from what I gathered from the Radio conversations had also been to Kuching and Kalimantan with no problems. Even more impressive, Tango 6, if I had not heard wrongly, was bought in 1984 (older than me!) is still running as smoothly as ever (albeit a really loud engine)!
- There’s just something about Toyotas. Not once was I even remotely carsick! Sleepy, yes, but never queasy or what.
On the Tango riders:
- I’ve met really interesting characters in the group, all of them so down-to-earth, knowledgeable and passionate about the success of Gemilang.
- Also due to the nature of Gemilang, which is an organization born and bred in Tutong, some conversations were done in the unique dialect of pure Tutong, which I’m really not an expert on. I cannot recall how many new Tutong words my repertoire had been replenished with.
- The driver for Tango 1, Mike Kilo Juliet (MKJ), the head for our expedition, I think deserves special mention here, leading the pack of 13 4WDs. During the last half hour of the expedition, Tango 3 had said (something to this effect), “I would’ve gone to the North Pole on a raft if I know Kilo Juliet is leading the pack.” I would too, and I think all the other Tangoes also shared that sentiment.
- Very active! Not only do they organise expeditions such as this, which combines the the 3 main branches of Photojournalism, 4WD and Radio Amateur, they have also informed me that on Sundays in Pantai Seri Kenangan, they train people for paramotor! Sometimes I just wonder, where do people get the energy. Then again, people wonder that about me.
On Amateur Radio
- Ever felt like blogging and once you open up the “write” page, you just end up staring at an empty text box dried up with ideas? If you think blogging is spontaneous and you wonder how people come up with things to say online, wait till you start doing amateur radio! Nothing short of amazing, over!
- Perhaps I’ll take up amateur radio in the future as a hobby. In fact I might just install one in my car, one in Boipren’s car, one handheld for me and one for him. We might save money! Then we can speak in code to death.
- Trivia: Brunei’s official call sign number is V8, pronounced Victor Eight. During one of the radio transmissions, “Ladies and gentlemen, for your information, we will be leaving Victor Eight in an hour”. So fun!
On Gemilang Sabah Expedition 2008
- A great experience for me, and another breakthrough for alternative media in Brunei. It shows how bloggers have an increasingly wider span of influence in the country.
- I know I dreaded it at first because I really didn’t know what to expect, especially with the long drive, the rough roads, driving with people I barely knew to another country I’ve only been to twice, and surviving with only BND$50, in wedges some more! It didn’t really test my endurance since I was only sitting at the back, but it did remind me of the India trip last year, where I felt like I was just thrown into something, with only my laptop to keep me company!
- More proof that I can sleep anywhere in whatever!
- Also, from this trip, I now have a stinking suspicion that my bladder is as big as a football. I’d always be the one staying in the car, eating peanuts, while everyone else is queuing up for the toilet.
Stay tuned for more posts! Of course these posts would come faster if only Mr Hafiz and Mr Amali would HURRY UP. 😛