Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rock Climbing and more

(click on a photo to get a large version)
1: Me and kids in the jungle
2-4: Climbing at Gua Kalam, Near Thai border.
3: Our Hammocks at climb site
4: Evening meal
Editing the blog after 1 month's absence. tried last week, but had problems with the computer.

I'm now on holidays - yay !! after 14 MOE (ministry of education courses). of 5 days each. it's a record, apparently for an expat. Most other expats went on the Puteri Matsuri tall ship for 2 months during their contract. I did not volunteer, cause I heard you get a bit isolated as a Matsaleh (white guy), as they all speak Malay at the dinner table, and even during briefings (which are officially in English). It was total immersion for Gil, my flatmate. He did learn a lot of Malay, but it was rather lonely at the start.

Of the Thailand tommorow, then KL briefly, then Brisbane. I've never been to Thailand, so I'm quite excited.

a few weekends ago, went rock climbing with 2 quebecois flatmates and the 2 new aussie girls Tammy and Selena. was a lot of fun and energising, first time I've lead climbed seriously in over 2 years. But it came back quickly. Took a ferry for an hour to Kuala Perlis, then 2 taxis for 45 minutes to Gua kalam - where there is a picknic area, a large cave and rows of bolted , short climbs.
Also thursday 19 July, had a party at my place, celebrating the end of my contract and also my birthday. I get older every day ! but also fitter, it seems. As I said eralier, my stomach has lost a lot of fat, and I have quite a bit more muscle in the biceps and shoulders.

at the party, we had the matsaleh crew (white guys), but also a reasonable number of Malay trainers, which was nice.

it's been character building, bodybuilding, confidence building and interesting being here. I am looking forwards to working in less hot climates, and with kids who you can really converse with.

Also to doing less repetitive work, as there isn't all that much difference week to week with the courses here, which can lead to boredom, or lassitude in the trainer. In Oz, schools sometimes do 5 days in a row of trekking, (we do one here), which is quite pleasurable for the trainer, as the landscape changes every day, he does a "real" outdoor activity, and he has a chance to see the group's navigation skills really progress with his guidance.


Marcus said...

I have just read the last couple of months' worth of your blogs. Obviously you have found your vocation. You look fitter than I've ever seen you. Some great photos...


I'm sure you will enjoy Thailand, one of the best countries in the world; the Thais have got to be some of the friendliest, most open-minded people...

One comment, though: don't you possess a spelling/grammar checker in your software repertoire?? Have some respect for your ancestral heritage!! I know that your abundant expertise in software must enable you to access such simple language correction tools, even if you don't have my innate knowledge of correct English and my perfectionism... ;) :) ...unless, of course, you purposefully made your narratives somewhat ambiguous, which I would find understandable (but difficult to believe): remember that, on the Internet, the whole world can see you!! ;)

Anyway, apart from that minor detail, well done on your new career and your blog!!


Cecilia said...

Hi Julian, congratulations on completing such a gruelling schedule! Marcus is right, you do look unbelievably fit and buff.
Hey Marcus, go easy on your little bro, no one expects him to be both a champion outdoorsman/career counsellor/adventurer/survival expert AND a paragon of English grammar! You perfectionist, you! I thought there was an unwritten law that you can use whatever spelling and grammar you like on your own blog...
Julian, it's nice to see those girls in headscarves doing outdoor education - one thinks of them as being doomed to household chores their whole lives, but clearly that's a mistaken assumption.
You certainly stand out in the first photo, like a big blond giant! Must be Viking ancestry somewhere!
Love to you and to Marcus too if he reads this,
x Cecilia

Anonymous said...

Julian replies:

Yikes ! I reread my texts and see the errors quite plainly. it's a time problem - it takes a while to get into editing mode, then photos fail to load, and so on... so i'd rather just get the text out there, with a few errors. I usually do this in the evenings on weekends, and there isnt much time.

Anonymous said...


Good to hear from u both. I do love sharing my experiences.

Marcus said...

To Cecilia: Hehe! Yes, of course you can use whatever spelling/grammar you want to on your own blog; it's just that the blogger's image sent out (potentially to virtually the entire world) is much more positive if the blog is correctly written. BTW, I can't find any fault with your messages... I guess that comes with being an author... :)

You're right, Julian really does stand out in that first photo - a bit like an Inca amongst local South American Indians of that time...

To Julian: I realize your blogging time must be scarce; but actually it doesn’t take long to correct your mistakes. All you have to do is read through your blog once, and you'll immediately see the most glaring errors... ;)

Anonymous said...

First time I've had a look at your blog - great stuff.
Rgds, Hector.