But this time, with different company.
Early in the morning of 27th November, which was a Thursday, Bellyn, Zitian and I took a taxi to KL Sentral, where we met up with Taliza, Karu and Harris before we took the 9AM ETS train to Ipoh.
As usual, what I did throughout the 2.5-hour train ride rotated between 1) sleeping 2) stoning 3) scrolling through Twitter pathetically (because there was very limited data coverage) and 4) working up the courage to play Five Nights at Freddy’s on Karu’s phone.
Contrary to my younger self, I hated hotels, mostly because the ones I’ve stayed at were uncomfortable, cramped, and the sheets smelled really funny. But this one. This is one hotel room none of us really wanted to leave at all. We had two king-sized (or it could actually be queen-sized but anyway they were double beds) beds and a relatively alright-sized bathroom and ceiling-to-floor windows and a flatscreen TV (which we could connect my harddisk to so we quite literally had an endless playlist of music, movies and TV shows hallelujah), a small fridge, cabinet and countertop with kettle, free WiFi (of course) and even with all this we still had a pretty large floor space and (I might be wrong, but it certainly seemed that way) we had the whole hotel to ourselves. Honestly if there was somewhere I had to be stuck in, it would be right here with the exact same company. But more on that later.
And then it was lunch time when Zitian’s mum came to take us to Oldtown Ipoh. After lunch, we explored a colonial building with murals of white people on it and we made it our own rave club instead.
We went exploring around town after that.
(If there is one video you ever watch on this blog of mine let this be it)
We walked back to the hotel where we lazed around and showered and waited for my parents to reach Ipoh (they were on their way to KL for my mum’s Cosway meeting) before heading out for dinner – Vietnamese food at a restaurant just a minute’s walk away (but because it was raining, all five of us squeezed into the backseat of my parents’ Toyota Wish. It was pretty funny).
My parents had to leave immediately after that because they didn’t want to reach KL too late so we walked to Ipoh Parade, huddled together like penguins whenever we have to pass through dark suspicious alleys. It was also drizzling.
At Ipoh Parade, we got ourselves facial masks (impulsive purchases), presents for Zitian and her parents and came up with the idea to lie to the masses that we had actually and legitimately gone to Ireland for a vacation.
And then we went back to the hotel after visiting a nearby 24-hour store where we stocked up on supper and cave supplies.
The next few hours into the night were spent watching The Frog Princess on TV, playing Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 on Karu’s phone and just chilling. It was so nice. At that moment I’d tweeted that I never wanted that moment to end, knowing that I’d look back at that tweet and feel intensely. But it was true, and it still is true, and it’s kinda like in the first Hunger Games the day before Peeta and Katniss were going to go into the arena and they were at the rooftop of the Tribute Center and Peeta (or Katniss I don’t quite remember either one of them) said that if possible, he wanted to stay in that moment forever and when I read that I couldn’t relate to it at all because all along I’ve always just wanted to be somewhere else other than where I was at that time but that night, I truly dreaded that night ending.
But it did end, and I woke up really early the next morning after I received an email from UCAS. Then I changed into cave gear and became designated DJ while everyone prepared for the caves.
We took the second least challenging tour at Gua Tempurung: Top of the World. I say second least challenging, but I still burst into tears when my fear of heights got the better of me and I had to pretend really hard that I wasn’t exactly trapped in an enclosed area the entire time. Still, it wasn’t totally terrible. Harris and Bellyn reenacted scenes from Lord of the Rings (including shouting “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” resulting in echoes bouncing off the cave walls) and pretended flat stalactite surfaces were battlefields full of fallen men. That was pretty fun to watch.
After caves we had really good dim sum lunch at a shop opposite Foh San (which, according to Zitian, is far more superior than Foh San) and at Foh San. Then it was back to the hotel because we, I mean, I was a sweaty mess and couldn’t wait to wash my hair and, well, everything else.
We sort of understood, then, that that was our last moment together in Ipoh because our next stop was KL Sentral (our train was scheduled to leave at 4PM). And then out of nowhere jumping while laughing hysterically on the bed led to a pillow fight which led to multiple pillow ambushes while Call It What You Want by Foster the People (informally dubbed our “yolo song”) played in the background. No one cared much about anything else. We were having fun and we were doing so in the presence of favourite company. Nothing else could be better than that. The feeling from last night returned with full intensity. Which was why when it was time to leave, there was a tinge of reluctance in the air as we gathered our bags and tossed one last melancholic glance in the direction of the incredibly nice hotel room we were leaving behind, where we’d manufactured memories and marked our presence in the form of bad karaoke, damp towels and rib-aching laughter.
We said goodbye to Zitian at KL Sentral and then during the last 15 minutes on the train sentimentalities started washing in and we finally addressed The End, capital T and capital E.
I still miss this so much. I still miss everyone so much.