CNY 2011 Roadshow

Saturday, November 06, 2010

It's been hectic for the past 2 weeks & there was no time for a breather. I had been travelling quite extensively this time, only returning last Sunday. Being the only representative from Food team to present the upcoming plans in Q4'10 & Q1'11, our first stop was at Penang for the Northern team briefing. A few of us were arranged to carpool with one of my colleague who had no prior experience in outstation driving. Upon hearing this, I had cold feet & thought to myself that we will be in for a wild ride.

Thankfully, we arrived there safely. The rest of the 2 days 1 night stay was nothing extraordinary & I don't wish to elaborate further on that. The usual tradition for our CNY roadshows would be having lion dance to bring good luck to our business. The lion dance troupe hired to do the deed has quite pretty lion costumes due to its shiny, glamourous gold with no signs of dirt or stains.

Taken here is my colleagues from HQ team during the a short break from briefing.

It was somewhat difficult for me to conduct the briefing mainly cuz I don't speak Chinese well & my vocab was limited to conversations only. Even engaging in simple Chinese conversations makes me tongue-tied -.-". Anyways, we headed back to KL after the briefing ended. It was a little scary driving in the evening cuz my colleague has bad eyesight at night & it was drizzling throughout our journey. I heaved a sigh of relief the minute we exit the highway back to KL. We may have took the wrong way & travelled much further to reach PJ but most importantly reaching home in one piece. *phew*

Next stop was travelling down south to Ayer Itam for a one day trip. This time, the briefing was held at a so-called villas for tourists looking for a quiet weekend getaway. The location has a small hall for our gathering & next to it is a cafetaria. Despite the small venue, the team made an effort to decorate the hall.

I didn't take much picture during the event reason being there was nothing to shout about. But funnily enough, we spotted a rather unusual Christmas tree made assembled using plastic bottles filled with coloured liquid. So economical yet glows well in the dark when lit up. Interesting~

Just a day after we arrived back to KL, we had to bound for a early morning flight to Miri the following day - the last stop of the entire roadshow. I do have pet peeves on taking taxi to the airport alone, thus took the KLIA Ekspres instead. It was still dark when I boarded the train at 6.15am but I wasn't alone as there were other passengers too. The train is a little old & the seats worn out but it travels fast - merely 28 minutes to KLIA. All safe & good.

The good thing about flying with MAS is that the seats are pretty comfy & spacious; although I'm not too happy with the stuffy environment prior to take-off. And rest assured that you'll be well-fed. Just look at my mealbox!

I fell asleep quickly after meal as I was getting quite bored of the 2 hour flight. Makes me wonder how I did endured the 18 hours flight to LA 13 years ago...O_o When the captain announced that we'll be landing soon, I looked out of the window & was quite amazed. The seaside view looks beautiful up here. And those white foam must be the strong waves hitting the shore.

Upon arrival, we were in for a surprising visit to the Niah National Park which is 1 hour drive from Miri airport. Only clad in a t-shirt, jeans & sneakers - mentally unprepared & not suitably dressed for the occasion - we were only geared with a few bottles of mineral water & torchlights. And we had to endure a 3km walk along the wooden plank trails which lead us to the main cave. That trail is takes approximately 1 hour on foot. -.-"

The longest stalactites I've ever seen; observed just outside the Traders' Cave, 200m from the main cave.

The Traders' Cave looks equally stunning...

The insanely steep staircase to pass through before arriving at the main cave. There were several of these, mind you!

Finally, we arrived at the main cave. The hour long walk was pretty worth it considering the beautiful view right before our eyes.

Noticed the staircase to the deeper sections of the cave? It's the path leading to Kuala Gankira & the Painted Cave where pre-historic humans once inhibited millions of years ago. This part of the cave is pitch dark & requires a torchlight for better visibility. I was literally fumbling in the dark as I walked up the steps in total darkness, gripping hard for stability & avoiding the disgusting feeling & stench upon touching the guano droppings on the railings. It was only then I realised that I'm acrophobic & fear of the dark. Or rather fearful of the dangers within the darkness itself. My legs were numb & nearly gave way. I thought I would've the difficulty to climb out of the cave later.

Fortunately, I managed to & it was another hour long walk back to where we started. There ain't any shortcut back so it was indeed torturous~ Other than a bruise on the left knee due to a slippery fall, my inner thighs were awfully sore from the excessive steep climbing. No doubt the hike was a great experience, if only we were more prepared.

I shall not elaborate on the rest of the events cuz there were just too many. One thing to note - the annual dinner was interesting & the karaoke session was pretty cool. Everyone loved it! We got to see serious colleagues revealing their wild musical side. Oh yes, the local dishes that we had the opportunity to's called bidin, usually stir-fried with belacan. And I'm crazy over golok mee~ Looking forward to have them in my next visit. =D

This wraps up my entire journey & experiences during the roadshows. Travelling to all roadshow locations for the first time was both exhausting & fun. I'm not sure if I could endure another round of extensive travelling but at least I'm glad & proud to say that I've finally been to EM. =)