Monday, June 20, 2011


On the telly, the flames of a campfire reach out, pull back and cackle. No cuts. No drastic camera movements. No fancy mancy motion graphics to liven up the image. How long would it command your attention?

Not for very long, I'd imagine.

Now, onto a real campfire... the same thing. You're sitting on a rock, a log, and you watch.

Only, it's so hard to get bored with it.

The darkness envelopes us, though we could still see the silhouette of the forest against the sky. Breathing in the chilled air - the air that gently grazed my skin, slowly reaching to my bones. The heat of the campfire melted parts of me that felt it. How peaceful and content we were to have that fire as our accost. The glowing embers of the fire mesmerised me - it somehow feels like it's breathing, in how it fades and glow. Closing your eyes would reward your ears with the sound of the forest, the gushing waterfall, the cackling of the fire and the calling of the insects. Your nose picks up fresh smell of the waters, the burnt leaves, the sweat on your shirt, but mostly, the cold in the air. When we stand up to collect firewood, the ground is uneven and strewn with stones - a dip in ground and we learnt to balance at our every step; an alertness in where our foot lands. And I'm at peace with just keeping the fire alive; tossing in dried leaves as an instant fuel, adjusting the bamboo that catches fire well under a stubborn wood, fanning it with a polystyrene to get more oxygen in and standing up to collect more fuel.

I thought of the people of the old; how they would gather around the fire and magic happens. I sort of understood why now.

Oh, how disconnected we have been from our senses. Televisions, computers.... We see fire without feeling the heat, we see storms without tasting the electricity in the air, we watch the lives of people in a week compressed into a day; all the subtle and slow moments taken out, we see impoverished children running around in the dumps without smelling the stench and to touch their warmth. And on it goes.

We slept before 10pm, because that's what the sky told us when we weren't encased in our rooms with our artificial light.

In the morning, the light woke me, and I climbed onto a particularly big and flat rock on the river and read a book there. It got too cold, so I dragged my sleeping bag out and wrapped myself in it, reading with a natural background music.

I had an impression that one would get bored without all our electronical goodness around, and I was wrong.

Friday, June 17, 2011

oh... tingginya...

For months, I've been salivating over the trip/treks in Yongo... saving for the day that I could go on either:
- Xi'an, China
- Bhapa, India

Here's the link: I really like this operator because it's not one of those that herd us like cattles to factories (that paid the operators beforehand), selling things that could be easily obtained in BB Plaza or Jusco/Tesco. Plus, they are travellers themselves, and chalked up quite an experience... one could imagine that they would understand the people and the places well.

Anyway. In a yumcha session two days ago, I was telling my colleagues that on the climb to Mt Kinabalu's summit, I was pretty frightened by the steepness (at least on the way up) and someone said, Oh, you have yet to see the hike up to Hua Shan in China! Now THAT'S scary.

I didn't think much about it.... I thought that if I ever want to hike a trek steeper than what I've been on, I reckon I better get rid of the fear I have first.

Then on my next salivation trip to the Yongo pages... I guess it's pretty obvious on what I found out. Hua Shan was on the itinerary for the Xi'an trip. Here's a glimpse of it:

To lessen the drama, from snippets of information gathered from youtube, it's only 30-50m long, plus you could take it or leave it. But! I'd go for it. I see harness and a decent stepping space! Though no guarantee that my legs won't be jelly-like... but man, the exhilaration of the gorgeous view, the adrenaline... yum!!

Looking at the schedule again though, one can't help but wish that the stopovers were more generous time-wise. It's rather nice to immerse yourself in the vibe of place, and it always gives me pleasure to explore it. It lead me to think about planning it out instead... of course, the disadvantages being it may end up more expensive and most importantly, a lack of an experienced guiding hand who knows the people and the history of the place.

Sometimes I'm curious on solo traveling; it's something I've considered from time to time.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

shifting through

i'm shifting through the letters and photographs, frozen in time, so that at last, they could be handed over.

it's a trip. really, it is. i do still remember her.. though i'm surprised to find that what i felt i couldn't forget, i did. one or two things, at least. such is time, and its erosion on memory... but looking at these letters brought the sadness afresh again.

sometimes i still can't believe how this person that i admire so, could be taken away so early. in truth, i envied her; for her firmness of character, how she could light up the room with her playfulness, how she makes you aware of how magnificent life is, how she makes you feel deeply that there is something bigger than us, her wiseness and intelligence, and how people would listen... she'd inspire you to be a better person if you let her in.

here's to you, aizati... i'm moved by you still.