Contrary to what the title might suggest, the road trip was extremely safe and innocent, everyone do not worry, it was just a funny wordplay that I’m pretty proud of myself for.
Initially, I thought I might be hardworking enough for a photoblog but then equipped with this terrible lagged laptop, I realised that wasn’t such a good idea. So, for photos of the trip by Bellyn, Taliza, Harris, Ziyun etc, links are here, here and here.
First day of the trip was Sunday, 8th Dec, but I was only present for the second half of the day. I’d flown back to Alor Setar the day before since I’d already purchased the flight ticket earlier on, whereas the other eight (Bellyn, Taliza, Austin, Ian, Ken Fui, Rynn, Danny and Harris) rented a van from Sunway, stopped for lunch at Ipoh (where they met up with Zitian) and then only headed for Alor Setar where they would be crashing at my house for a night.
Seeing all my Sunway classmates standing outside my house, sitting on my sofa, using my toilet, eating my food (technically not mine alone but it’s easier to describe it that way): it was all so surreal. It was like watching two worlds collide; previously when I’d firmly separated both environments and people (Alor Setar people in Alor Setar; Sunway people in Sunway) in my mind, I never once imagined they would both merge together to form something…beautiful. Initial foreignness aside, it was amazing having these people at a place where I’ve grown up all my life, it’s like writing more solid characters of them in the previous 17 years story of my life that was already written and archived before I went to college.
The next day, I was supposed to follow on the trip to Langkawi where the adventures will officially start but saddest of sads, I had diarrhea early in the morning and vomited at night due to indigestion.
I only met up with them again at Penang on the next day (Tuesday) after they took a ferry from Langkawi to Penang, and that night we had a fantastic seafood dinner at DeHappy, Bellyn’s dad’s seafood restaurant. Upset stomach momentarily forgotten, it was pure indulgence for the entire two hours we ate, and then we headed to Armenian St. to take photos with the famous murals in a seven-seater driven by Bellyn. Mural photos by Penang visitors are in abundance, but have you seen people take these photos at night? I don’t think so.
We stayed at Bellyn’s house that night, and the consecutive two nights in Penang, all nine of us. Taliza, Bellyn and I occupied the bed in Bellyn’s room while all the other boys found comfort and solace in random corners of the house (eg. spare bedrooms, couches, sleeping bags on the floor), as was the arrangement in my house as well.
Before I continue, I think it’s wise to add as a prelude that this trip was essentially an eating trip, because for the entire three days we were in Penang, we had three courses of breakfast, lunch and dinner each and that’s not including afternoon tea and supper. You can never run out of good food to eat in Penang, and everyone was wise enough to carpe that diem. We were transported around the island in the seven-seater Bellyn was driving, during which it was a constant jamming out session in the car accompanied by Taliza’s DJ-ing skills on the bluetooth-equipped car radio from early morning till after midnight.
Our first real day in Penang started with us going to the Chew Jetty (where we were joined by Ziyun) and subsequently the Made In Penang 3D Interactive Museum, a visit which turned out to be rather interesting. I’ve come up with the theory that the bunch of us are the literal embodiment of chaos walking, bringing fun and joy and laughter (lol) everywhere we go.
It was also on this day that I was introduced to this little alleyway place where they serve steamed/toast bread with half-boiled eggs in little mugs and coffee and despite the size and location of the “cafe”, it’s one of my favourite joints on the trip.
Love Lane was also one of the places in Penang that we visited, where hormones started flying in the air and lines were blurred as the guys made outrageous, Nicholas Sparks-esque romantic poses/gestures in pairs under the Love Lane sign.
Bellyn, Taliza and I also had a HAIM photoshoot.
Besides eating and occasionally sight-seeing, we also went cafe-hopping. One of the cafes we went to is called Sip & Chew. This was when one of the biggest unicorn moment of my life happened: two shops away from Sip & Chew where Bellyn dropped us off to find parking is a really cute children’s bookshop. Our interest piqued, Taliza and I immediately ventured forward because of the adorable decorations and also because of the mere fact that it was a bookshop. The owner, a Chinese man in his late forties, I would say, welcomed us really warmly and I liked the place and the owner already, never mind that we were also greeted by a huge Urbanscapes poster by the entrance which we were always excited about. And then when everyone entered, Ken Fui’s sudden exclamation caught everyone’s attention and it turned out that the owner is actually Ken Fui’s uncle and his only relative in Penang. The coincidence! A lot more exclamations ensued, as well as multiple phone calls, and the atmosphere in the bookshop was just simply amazing. Never mind that when I started flipping through the children’s books, a lot of them were actual gold in terms of content and I doubt anyone can find children’s books of that sort anywhere else anymore.
After saying our farewells, we thanked Ken Fui’s uncle and headed for Sip & Chew, where they were playing Birdy’s songs when we stepped in. 1901, specifically, which was one of the last songs we just listened to in the car before we arrived. We also had good ice cream and the moment was just perfect.
At night, we went to another cafe called Piknik and before we left we had a dance party to the sounds of our own laughter and heartbeats.
The first thing on our agenda the next day was– the beach! The Batu Ferringhi beach, to be specific. There, I went parasailing for the first time together with Taliza, and although I was absolutely terrified at first, I was encouraged by Tris’ courage and bravery since joining Dauntless (I was rereading Divergent at that time) and told myself that if Tris could do it, I could, too. So I did. And it was one of the best feelings in the world, I kid you not. We were both screaming when we ascended into the sky together, but then the screams of terror turned into screams of euphoria and I felt larger than life up in the air.
After the beach, we went to Straits Quay, where I got myself a Christmas jumper to get myself into the festive mood (as if I wasn’t in the mood already). We then went on more food ventures (do take note that the rest of the time we weren’t doing any of the things I’ve mentioned above was spent eating) (I wish I was exaggerating) and then went to Gurney Paragon at night. Our last stop before heading back is another one of Bellyn’s frequent joints, a dessert house called Crepe Cottage at Gurney.
That night, Taliza, Ken Fui, Harris, Rynn, Danny and I stayed up till 3AM playing Monopoly aka the game that ruins friendships. By that time, most of us were just delirious from tiredness and everything seemed funnier than usual. I imagine that must be what being drunk feels like, but then again I wouldn’t and couldn’t know.
The phrase “last day” was thrown around frequently the following morning, because that was exactly what it was, our last day in Penang. After having three breakfast courses (again), we went to Ghee Hiang biscuit shop before heading for our last stop in Penang: Queensbay Mall. We said our goodbyes to Bellyn there, the atmosphere beginning to get emotional with every second, and then it was my turn to say goodbye to all of them, as they would be taking the Aeroline bus back to KL at 4.30PM. After saying my farewells, I went to meet my parents who had already arrived hours ago and started to feel slivers of post-road-trip depression sinking in.
This class road trip is definitely one of the highlights of the year, and I’ve had my fair share of infinite moments during the trip. Here, I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who joined the trip for bearing with my antics the entire time and especially Bellyn for letting us stay at your humble abode for three nights as well as transporting us around the island for three days straight. I’m so thankful for all these amazing people I’ve met at Sunway and dare I say they’re one of the best things to have happened to me ever? Yes, I dare. I also like to think that I’ve picked up several courage lessons along the way and some of that never hurt anyone.