Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Genting 2010: New Continent Discovery Committee, Dismissed.

Obligatory group shot.
Um, well, there you have it. It's finally arrived- the post detailing what seems to be our yearly pilgrimage to the nearest naturally cold spot in the country, Genting Highlands, famous for having the only casino in the country, which in any case, might soon face a dearth of money-seeking pilgrims when the shiny new Singaporean casinos open their doors. Or is it casino? Ah, small matter.

Some explanation before I go any further. I wanted to use an eye-catching, perhaps even ridiculous picture for the pre-massive-wall-of-text slot above, but didn't have one even remotely exciting, so I had to settle for this nice but rather dull group shot. Guy on the left is MC Wing, who, realizing that this site serves a rather international clientele  these days, requested that his face be hidden.  Just ignore the fact that I've somewhat botched it in regards to this picture as the Laughing Man logo is a little too... wide. The use of the words 'New Continent Discovery Committee' shall be explained later on, if I remember.

We left on a Friday. I went of to college first, though, to pay my exam fees- no more unfortunate time-related nonsense for me. That said, it was the last day. In true Malaysian style, I wasn't the only one- there was a long line of procrastinators before me. One girl messed up by getting her bank draft wrong- but I suppose she pulled through somehow, as she seemed fine the next time I saw her in class.

Met MC Wing and Geoff on the monorail by chance. We had some time to burn till departure (by bus), and so headed to Low Yat Plaza, formerly the heart of the city's pirated software distribution network, but now a legit place dealing in fighter jet engines, no scratch that, computer hardware and other electronic wares; and Sungei Wang mall, to which all the pirates had fled, and a place which no enforcement officer would bother searching, for the place presents a unique problem, in that if you are searching for something you will most definitely not find it unless you happen to not be looking for it.

With time running short, we headed for the bus station. On the way there, I realized that I had lost my voice, and had started to talk in tired gasps, sounding rather like Ariel would have sounded upon her first breathing fresh air without the aid of gills- at least, that's how I imagine she'd sound like. The fourth and final member of our motley crew, Jim, arrived just on time- our bus left soon after, saving me the trouble of further tormenting my battered vocal chords.

The first thing we did when we reached the mountain was to find our hotel. After sweating it out in the lowlands, the cold took some adjusting to, but a brisk walk and random camwhoring sessions- well, only one session, actually, close to the hotel, which turned out to be one of those 'apartment for rent' things- I can't quite recall the exact term. By the way, that's the capital city down there (I think)- see the bright lights in the background? The brighter lights in the foreground belong to the apartment facility we stayed at.
Indoors at last.
The apartment was quite spacious, if a little dusty and old-looking. There were two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room, which can be seen in the above photo. First item on the agenda: laying the ground rules, which really ended at 'shoes go no further than this point'. Note the relatively nice view- then again, it's pitch black out there, so you really wouldn't know even if I said that it looks like Oahu down there, would you?

With our bags unpacked, rooms decided upon (on a first come first serve basis), it was time to decide on where to eat. After much deliberation (walking from restaurant to restaurant and checking out the menus) we decided on a Chinese restaurant called Ming Ren. Just because we'd decided on where to eat didn't mean that that was the end of our food related problems, though (deciding on a restaurant took quite a while and a lot of walking)- MC Wing's allergic (or just despises, I can't remember) tofu, while Jim can't eat lamb. Quite the conundrum.

We finally decided on ordering... chicken. Who could possibly be allergic to chicken? One vegetable dish, one tofu, and one lamb. MC Wing had the lamb and Jim had the tofu- something for everyone. Geoff and I had a bit of everything. Service was surprisingly slow for a Chinese restaurant. Maybe the cold weather just made the staff lethargic. Then again, it could have been due to the fact that they seemed rather understaffed. Feast your eyes on some random photos taken in there:
Anything but Tofu. Sigh.
Off topic, but I might as well write add in the comments made on the final photo when I used it as my Facebook profile picture:
Levin Lim: Hei...why u pose like that?looks like girl's pose?wkwkwkwkwk..

Levin Lim: haha... that so? candid shot, I was distracted:D Still look good... or pretty, haha, that's what's important:)

Levin Lim: Oh..yeap..haha.. Still look so pretty,wkwkwkwkwk..

Levin Lim: haha, thank you thank you^o^

Levin Lim: Urwlcm~~ hey girl,wat's ur name?wkwkwkwk..LoL..

Levin Lim: Hey girl, same name as you, haha;)
In case you're confused, I'm not talking to myself, but a girl who shares my name, to the dot. I'm not that delusional... yet. Now for the food... at long last- clockwise, from top left: claypot lamb with ginger; fried stuffed Japanese tofu; obligatory greens; and the generic chicken dish:
The full spread.
Now to explain the title of this post. To begin with, having reached the age of 21 (well, except Jim and me), we decided to explore an area of Genting previously closed off to us, apart from the women's restrooms- the aforementioned casino. Hence, New Continent Discovery Committee, which I actually stole from the anime Sora no Otoshimono.

I wasn't interested in the casino, really. Nor have I ever been interested in gambling. The only time I've ever gambled was many years back, during Chinese New Year, with my cousins and their friends- I won ten bucks, and lost ten bucks. Never again after that. My only reason for going in there was to explore every legally and safely explorable nook and cranny of the mountain, like back in high school, when I (and others) went traipsing over every inch of the school grounds- even having impromptu picnics on the roof. If you can call a picnic without food a picnic.

That said, I was quite disappointed with what met my eyes. All around me were old ladies, polo-shirted bald men, and smokers aplenty. The sight of money freely thrown to the four winds was rather depressing too. By the way, Jim and I managed to get in despite being underaged- security didn't seem to be too bothered with checking IDs that night- they just waved us in. Matt couldn't get in, though, as he was wearing shorts. You'd think that they were hosting an orchestra, with a dress code like that. Nevertheless, he didn't miss much. On the other hand, I wish I'd missed it. It's no Las Vegas, that's for sure.
Starbucks: Messy is Good.
We'd booked a 1.30 movie, and still had plenty of time to kill- headed to one of the many Starbucks outlets for something to keep us awake- yes, many... I think there's probably no less than five outlets on the mountain. I had a mocha, while the others had frappucinos. I used to like their hot mocha, but I don't think I'll ever have it again. Traumatized is the word for it.

There wasn't anything really interesting to watch, but we'd decided on the Jackie Chan family flick 'Spy Next Door'. A quick synopsis: Boring Chinaman is neighbor to blonde single mother with three obnoxious kids. He's also in love with her. He's also a spy on loan to the CIA. Emergency, Mom has to run. Chinaman is left with kids. Kids slowly learn to love Chinaman while facing attacks from dingdong Russian baddies. Kids help Chinaman save the day. Laughs everywhere, all ends well in Chan-land. Nuff' said. I watched Tooth Fairy some time later, and it featured a somewhat identical storyline, but superior acting, a more interesting storyline, and the kids weren't annoying little brats born from the slag of hell's furnaces. If you have to make a choice between the two, go for the latter.

Headed back to our 'bachelor pad' after that. Had a brief discussion on what time to get up the next day- whether or not we should head out early for the sunrise (we'd tried unsuccessfully on previous visits to catch it) and unanimously decided that we were just too tired to bother, or had seen better- Matt's was from the summit of Mt. Kinabalu, and mine was from a cruise ship on the open sea somewhere between Italy and Spain. To bed, but I couldn't really sleep, no thanks to the noise from passing vehicles some seven stories down, and a group of retards who were probably too drunk to know what time it was, happily shouting and laughing away... as well as a most irritating- and rather creepy  knocking sound.

We woke up early enough the next day. Around 8 or 9, I think. The shower tricked me- I turned the tap for hot water, but cold water came out instead. It wasn't as mind-numbingly cold as the water from the shower I had in Rome (now that one was more than capable of causing hypothermia), but cold enough to have me shivering and hopping around in the bathroom. As Jim explained later, I should have left the boiler on overnight to use hot water in the morning. I don't think I've mentioned this, but I don't like the boiler- it's in the bathroom, opposite the shower-head- i.e, to my back- I couldn't help but imagine it blowing up in my face back. Brr.

First thing we did, after breakfast, was to check out the bus schedule- earliest bus was at, um, 8.30am, I think. Most irritatingly, we weren't allowed to purchase tickets in advance. A quick photo session:
Wandered around after that, unsure of what to do. None of us was in the mood to go to the theme park- it just seemed rather boring and stale. We played a few games of pool instead. The tables were rather lousy, requiring frequent jabs with the stick to pry the swallowed balls out, but it was quite fun nonetheless. Despite knowing absolutely nothing about the rules of the game or how to play, I somehow managed to play a fairly good game, occasionally pulling off some incredible shots by luck, with some help from high school physics... although that luck ran out during our second session after lunch.
"'Elementary Physics, my dear Watson... and a lot of luck'"
Greedy pigs.
Lunch was buffet at a hotel restaurant- we had vouchers and were able to knock off 30% of the final bill. Stuffed ourselves silly- not to the point of vomiting, but full enough that walking around after that was rather tiring. After more exploring, and more pool, we ended up in our apartment once more.

We played poker with Hershey's Kisses and chocolate wafer. I knew absolutely nothing about the game and had to learn it bit by bit. On the first round, I made a killing by throwing out a wafer or two, shocking everyone (one wafer representing 10 Kisses) into folding, while my cards were actually rather lousy. My pile of chocolate grew rather large, but shrank near the end- still, I did manage to survive for quite long. MC Wing lost three times and only continued playing with 'loans' from Geoff, haha.

Dinner was frugal- in stark contrast to the excesses of today's lunch and yesterday's dinner, all we had was instant noodles. And lots of junk food. Went to bed early, so as to be able to get the tickets for the earliest bus down. Bored, I imagined what would happen if it was a girl sleeping by my side. I looked to my left to see MC Wing snoring away, instantly shattering that image. Nevertheless, I did manage to get some sleep this time, although the knocking sound came back again. Next up, some photos of us the following morning, looking rather zombie-like:
Specimens A and B
Specimens A and C
We were too late- the 8.30 tickets were sold out by the time we arrived, and we had to settle for the 9am bus. Which really wasn't too bad, as we passed it by 1/4 of our way down the mountain- it'd broken down and it's passengers were stranded. We took on some of their passengers and continued on our journey. We arrived in KL about an hour later, each of us going our separate ways- Geoff and Jim heading home, MC Wing for church, and as for me... college, for which I was an hour late. Oh joy.


  1. Heheh that looks like a nice guys trip :D

    Should do something like that with my buddies some time aswell.

    Hmm That Starbucks coffee looks kinda unappetizing ^^;;;

  2. @Blow: Yup, it was quite fun, despite the lack of female company^^;
    Haha, Starbucks left me traumatized. I just couldn't get the taste of it out of my mouth.. yecht:(