Saturday, 12 January 2008

Climbing in the rain

As usual, the government departments are giving us more than enough reasons to say that they are inefficient. And every time we do, I'm sure that they'll have 1,001 excuses.

You know why I say this? Last Thursday afternoon 5pm, my wife and I climbed the BM Hill for our regular exercise regime. We decided to take the hill trail. I think my wife now rather enjoys going up this way as it's not as monotonous as the tar road.

Not more than 100 metres into our walk, we saw this collapsed concrete slab. I don't know when this had happened but as of last Saturday, the slab was still in position. Looks as if the soil beneath the slab was badly eroded. However, there wasn't a sign anywhere to warn hikers of the danger. Cross at your own risk, the BM Hill forest ranger's office seems to be saying.

Okay, maybe the slab had only just collapsed. And Thursday being a public holiday on account of the new Muslim year, maybe the forest ranger's office was still not aware of the danger. Fair enough. I hope they'll look into this on Friday. And let's see how long it'll take them to replace the slab and reinforce the soil.

But...there is certainly no excuse for not taking any further action on this bridge. It's a disgrace. The bridge is broken and half collapsed. You can't miss it if you take the hill trail. Judging from the vegetation, it must have been ages since the bridge collapsed and apart from the Danger sign at both ends, I guess no attempt had been made to repair the bridge. In fact, I would even surmise that the sign was erected by some civic-minded hill hiker to warn people off the bridge, not by the forest ranger's office. Lazy bums there. They can't even care less for the public's safety but they'll give lots of advice (or excuses) only after accidents happen during their watch.

Enough of my rant against the lazy government officials. We know they are good ... for nothing. Buta gaji, most of them.

So my wife and I started our climb. By a coincidence, we met one of our old friends, Long Kin. Or rather, he met us. Quite happy to see him. At least, some good company to talk to although with me huffing and puffing most of the time, I wasn't exactly a very good conversationalist. Pretty soon, we reached this area. There's a fork in the trail. Decision time. Do we want to exit left and continue along the tar road or do we want to attempt the climb further?

It didn't take us long to decide that we would follow him up the trail. Last Sunday, we had promised ourselves that we'd do it soon. Now's the time. Along the way, we passed by these huge boulders. Behind them is a Datuk Kong shrine and we would be crossing right in front of it. Of course, we have to pay some respects to the local deity first. Sorry, I decided not to take any photograph of the shrine. Wouldn't be right to do so.

After praying to the Datuk Kong, we continued our way uphill. But alamak, suddenly the sky opened and it poured. All wet but luckily, we were almost at the climb's end. Gratefully, we found ourselves beside the tea hut at the 1500-metre mark. It took us one hour to reach there but it could have been shorter if not for the many diversions.

Here's Long Kin, waiting with us for the rain to stop. There were many other people taking shelter but nobody bothered us. We left the tea hut in a drizzle at 6.25pm and found ourselves back at the car park at 7pm.

All in, a very interesting afternoon. We found our way to the tea hut through the hill trail. But I must say .... the second half of the climb was so much more challenging. I was forced to stop several times to catch my breath. But you can bet that we'd use this way again.

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