Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My Adventure in the City of Liverpool

38 Bentley Road. That was the address of our residence during our stay in the city of Liverpool. I was 8 years old. It was the autumn of 1985 and it was a one year hiatus that I would never forget.

Mum had decided to pursue her Masters Degree and dad (who, ironically is a Spurs fan) persuaded her that the University of Liverpool was the best place to do her Masters. He forgot to mention one important fact about Liverpool to my mum though… it was the home of the best football team in the bloody world, Liverpool FC.

In preparation of the trip to a foreign country, mum had sent me on a crash-course in English, in the hope that I won’t embarrass myself too much in trying to communicate with the local habitat. Much good those lessons did for me as ‘Scouse’ is another language altogether.

Tiber Street School. This is where the constant interaction with the local under-12 population went under way. Interestingly enough, my friends were not only ethnic white, they were Sikhs, Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese. If I wasn’t any wiser, I could’ve swore I was back in Malaysia. Well, the majority of white kids there constantly reminded me that I was far from home.

It was bleeding cold most of the time anyway. Regardless of the color of your skin, we all spoke in one common voice. We spoke in Scouse.

Now, this is a footie-mad people, from the dinner ladies to the teachers. If u didn’t play football or had no interest in it, then u were frowned upon. Even the girls played. When it came to football teams, there were only two worth mentioning. Liverpool and Everton. The city itself was split between the red-half and blue-half. They supported no other.

Tiber Street School was no different. We had school hours of 9am to 3pm. We had school dinners and cool uniforms. We had ‘rehat’ 3 times a day. Yup! 3 bloody times a day and what do you think we played during rehat? That’s right, Football. There was a point where I could’ve been an Evertonian. God forbid. Even My best mate was a Blue.

I never knew exactly what swayed my decision but I chose Liverpool. I was in the CITY of Liverpool and RED was a cool color. Everton was leading the pack at the head of the league then, Liverpool was second. I had always a soft spot for underdogs. I had known nothing about football or Liverpool F.C.’s domestic and european dominance. I just chose.

In a way, you could say that Liverpool F.C. chose me. That is the reason why my allegiance runs deeps as I was a part of that community. This loyalty had taken me through some of the club’s most turbulent times and had allowed me to savour with greatest pleasure, their victories.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My Nocturnal Excursion Up To Genting

We returned to our old frogging haunts of Gohtong Jaya on Saturday evening. I had decided that Lillian, my very own protégé and herpetologist-in-training, needed a more challenging spot for frogging. I chose Gohtong Jaya.

Fiza, being my other-half, as always tagged along.

We left Damansara at around 7pm and was able top reach Gohtong Jaya a few minutes past 8pm. It is a wonder I was able to find the usual trail we normally used, considering that the jungle had reclaimed much of it. The chill in the air didn't help, although It would've been even colder if it had rained. The stream water was damn-near freezing. Although the soil beneath our feet were damp, the forest litter was bone dry. A very unfavorable condition to find frogs.

After 2 hours of searching, the only species that we sighted were the Torrent Frogs, which is a very common species along rapids or waterfalls. We were getting frustrated at this as there was no sign of the infamous Flying tree frog, which is a main attraction for us at every visit. No sign of the Poisonous Rock Frog too, although at one point I did hear one of their call, but it was barely audible.

A severe disappointment to Lillian was the absence of the Agamid lizards, close kin the South American Chameleon. She had this thing about lizards and was hoping to catch sight of one. I had promised her there were loads of them there.

Therefore, it was a relief to our small group that during our walk back to our car, I had stopped to have a poke under an overhanging branch situated right over a small water conduit. Lo and behold, a Sumatran Pit Viper was eyeballing me from one of the branches.

Startled by my light, (you would too if someone had shoved a large shiny yellow orb into your face) the feisty little bugger had taken continuous strikes at me. No worries though, he was too high up to be a danger. We took about a million pictures of it and I just hope we didn’t blind it to death with out flashes.

As I sit here, writing this piece, I couldn’t help but notice that the rain has come back and its absolutely pouring outside. Hopefully, there would be more stuff to see when we head up back up there this weekend.