Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Part 2

Yeah, first day in the field was covered in Part 1. So, day 2 was interesting as well. I still did not have my entourage set since of course they were scheduled to start working with me on Tuesday. So, that Sunday i went in with the rest of Jessica's troop minus Jessica as she had to make her way back to KL to get things settled with their rented car. They had to return the car because the tyres weren't fit for driving on the dirt road.In exchange, they would rent another car which fit the outdoor environment better. So, they planned to go to plots 11 and 12 which meant splitting themselves up into 2 groups. Since I wanted to finish my work early, I kindly asked them if they could guide me to plots 4 and 6 as these plots were adjacent to 11 and 12. They said yes. Thank God.They were very kind to me. Arnold, MP, and Eli helped a lot in the first two days of my time working in the field. They even helped me carry 3/4 of my working equipments up and down the hill. Very gentleman-like. Matt thought they did it because he told them to (as the bossy ego sipped slowly into his blood with Jessica gone), but i think it was genuinely because they wanted to help me. You know, me being the only girl left in the camp and nobody else was there to help me. They are good, kind-hearted, true Malaysian people. They even helped me set up half of the traps that second day. I am forever grateful for their helpfullness (is this even a real word?). Overall, I managed to finish 4 plots in day 2 with the help of these 4 great individuals. We got back at the camp around 5.30pm which was late when usually we would be back by 3.30 or 4. Back at the camp, people were lazing around as it was a day off for the rest of the camp residents. I didn't care as i was happy as kid in a candy store since i have already finished 5 out of 24 plots in two days which meant I only had 19 more plots to do when the rest of my crew finally gather on Tuesday.
The next day, Monday was the day off for everyone. Me, Mizi, MP, Eli, and Matt made a trip to Jeli like originally planned the day before. Eli had to get a haircut, and the rest of the group had some groceries to buy as well running some other errands. Right after Eli finished getting his haircut, we got back on the car and they told Matt to drive to Tanah Merah because that was the place they said they could get all the supplies they needed for the camp. So, Matt drove but he still thought that he was driving to Jeli although we already made one stop in Jeli. Note to self: Malaysians who don't speak good englsih can still fool an educated american man. more thing, that Matt didn't think we have sausages in Malaysia. For God's sake, sausages. I don't have anything against this guy. Don't get me wrong. But, sausages..Jeezz..Give me a break. Later, on the way to Tanah Merah, Matt asked me about my home town. I told him it was only about an hour drive from where we were heading. He said, one hour drive from Jeli is quite near. Poor Matt, I told him that we were no longer in Jeli as we already passed the Jeli/Tanah Merah border. He was shocked of course, but he kept his cool. Hehe, it was simply because he did not want to appear like an idiot being duped by these people he called his workers. But, i think it was pretty funny. Instead, he said we could all go to my house since it would only take us an extra hour on the road. I was excited of course because that meant I could see my mom and dad after what 3 months since i last saw them. I called my mom, and told her we were coming. She was surprised and excited but her voice started to sound a little frantic we she heard i was bringing some colleagues along because she did not have anything prepared at home for us. She sounded more anxious when i told her one of my colleagues is an american. Hurm..She just wanted to be like the best host anytime our house accepts company which was why she did not like accepting company when our house is practically empty. But, eventually my mom said ok. All the boys went nuts when they heard that we were going to my house. I can relate to them as living in the forest for months without real contact with the outside world can be degrading to the spirit.
We drove and drove and arrived at my house an hour and half later. My mom prepared 'Fried Bihun' with Fish Chips as well as Tapioca Chips. It was pretty impressive she managed to finish cooking and preparing the table in less that an hour and a half. My MOM is the bomb...The boys seemed pretty pleased with everything. They ate and ate like they never ate anything like that ever in their life. Matt, he ate like he usually eats. There's always more room for him to put food in his stomach. Man, that boy can really eat. My mom got some mangosteens and Salak for dessert. Everyone finished those too. Wow, my mom liked seeing everyone being happy eating her food. She even packed us some chips for the ride back to the forest.I miss my mom already.
We didn't stay long at my house. We still had to do some grocery shoppings and some errands to run. We said our goodbyes and we were off on the road again. Hurm..What a fun day. It was great to see those boys smiling and enjoying their time at my house. Matt even said mom and da are very cool people. Yeah Matt, my parents are very cool people. Did i mention my mom showed everyone photos of me from two years back? Back when i was u know 'super-healthy'?Huhuhu...Now, they all know how i used to look like. Oh well, it was still a nice day.

Part 3 is coming. It was long journey patient.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Part 1

My head is a little bit under the weather today. Just came back from my close to two weeks field trip in my study area in Temenggor Forest Reserve in Perak. I had to finish installing 72 traps in 24 ecological plots measuring at 20 m x 80 m each. I got there on Friday night, July 17th and was greeted by Jessica, a girl who was assigned by Dr Matthew Potts to execute all the ecological work he needs done in order for his own study to go smoothly. She offered to share her room with me since we were the only two girls in a sea of men surrounding the base camp. That was very nice of her since I got there with no knowledge of who was who. So, being offered a room and a bed was beyond my expectation. Yeah, the rest of the people in the camp has to sleep in their sleeping bags on the wooden floor of the wooden hut. Don't say that I got special treatment, as i have been there too (sleeping on the wooden floor) and done the same thing. It is safe to say that I got my fair share of experience like everyone else. When I carried my bags to Jess' room, I was introduced to another person of similar origin as Jess, Matt. i didn't get to see clearly how he looked like since it was super dark and the generator lamp didn't provide much assistant to my eye sight. We shook hands and i carried my stuffs inside...huhu..I didn't get to get acquainted with the rest of the camp residents as I went straight to bed right after I got settled in.
The next morning, during breakfast, i was told that the people they hired to help me would only be available on Tuesday morning. Damn, and it was only Saturday. The first thing that struck my mind was "Do u freaking expect me to freaking wait and freaking do nothing for the next 3 freaking days?" And I said 'HELL NOOOOO!!!' which no one could hear of course. But, obviously everyone could see the change my face made when I heard the news. Then, like an angel, Jessica said I could tag along with her group since they were going to one of the plots that I was supposed to go to too. Sweet !! I went and changed into my field my clothes and got my equipments and took a ride with the gang. We went to plot 5 and I managed to install three traps on my own. Cool.

Part 2 is coming..

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

..CLuELeSs In KePonG..

So, a more than a month has passed since I last updated my blog. Well, stuffs have happened. I have started driving a combined 110 km per day from and back for three weeks now. I can't say I enjoy driving when u get stuck in traffic jam for an average of 30 minute a day every time u go and come back from work. And, I thought driving to work was supposed to be cool and was a sure sign of independence. Didn't anybody tell us that with Independence comes great pain in the a**?Huh! screw the famous line from SPiderman "With great power comes great responsibility" or something close to that. What Peter's uncle really wanted to say was, "People are gonna start depending on you and whine more about their problems around you when you have the ability to make danger go away in a jiff, so better start looking for covers"...Hehe, that was absolute rambling and a little bit venting out of frustration towards my days I spent here in my new working environment. HAish, How I wish I was back at UKM..the good old days.

Anyway, got a fieldwork coming up this Thursday all the way till I'm not sure when. But, I'm hoping it will be no longer than a week. Damn, I need to finish installing the traps in one week or I'm screwed. Haish..Time constraint is the B*t*h..This is my part of PhD here. What I do there, determines what I get in the future. i can't really ask for real help around here since everybody else is busy doing their things. Man, The environment is not so supportive of the new girl. they probably think since I'm already doing my PhD, I would magically know everything that needs to be done in my not even a month period of attendance here. Heck, i wasn't even taken on a tour of the place and meet the people I need to know. Tell me, Do I really look like a sorcerer's daughter with a magic wand in my hand? Open your eyes people, I'm CLUELESS...