Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Don't Ever Frighten an Inexperienced Old Lady Driver!!

Saturday, 16 July 2005

There were 4 of us, myself (driver), Gloria (Young Woman), Kevin (Young Men Quorum Leader) and Billy (Young Man). We were going to investigate the suitability of the Soon Hup Villa, a mountain resort, for the Church's youth camp. Billy would guide us since the rest of us had never been there.

I was scare to drive in unfamiliar places, but for the sake of the youth, I would do it!! Never knew that it would turn out to be the most frightening driving experience in my 50 years' life! The other frightening ride was as a passenger, going up a winding road to Cameron Highlands in West Malaysia years ago.

It took about 25 km (on the main tarred road) from our church meeting house at Pujut 1 to the junction of the road leading to the Soon Hup Villa. It took another 6 km (not tarred yet) from there to reach the entrance of the resort.

The entrance of the resort was in the shape of a fish's mouth. Driving through the gate was like into the mouth of a big fish. And that reminded me of the story of Jonah in the Old Testament.

We came to a cleared flat area where a big house sat (which I understoood later as the reception, restaurant and also the first Soon Hup villa which has 10 twin-sharing rooms. We asked Billy whether we should disembark there and seek information.. He said "not yet, still a long way, see that slope, we have to follow it". It was a slope alright, like the slope at Taman Selera, going Tanjong Lobang. The road was made of earth and small stones and I could see the width was good enough for a big tourist bus only and it was one way!!

What frightened me was because, as I was gaining height I could not see what was in front of me. The surrounding sceneries were indeed beautiful and peaceful - green trees everywhere. Kevin took pictures when we stopped at some flat ground. I lost count of how many hills we had to drive up and down because I had my full attention (and energy) on the road. Gloria, who was sitting in front, felt the same. Both of us keep on asking Billy "where is the information centre" "why the roads like this?" Actually we had passed the information centre - the first villa. Billy coolly answered "we are going to visit the waterfall, this is the last hill". I look at the slope in front of me. It was the steepest amongst the ones that I have driven over!! I would think (or see, if my poor eyesight did not deceive me) that it was not 45 degrees slope but less than that. There was no turning back - one way!. There was no area for that unless you reverse all the way, up and down!!!! You either sit there and cry (wouldn't solve anything) or go. I am thankful to Heavenly Father that our Madza made it!!

We stopped at the parking space, leading to the waterfall, for a few mintues. Kevin, Gloria and Billy walked to the waterfall which is a few 100 yards away while I took the opportunity to talk to some people whose clothes were wet and getting change to leave in their trooper and saloon car. They told me they like to come often to the waterfall because it is clean and peaceful. They also told me that they have no problem driving the hilly road. They have gotten used to the road since they come often. I admired the mother of the family taking the wheels.

When Billy came back, I asked him whether there is another way back. "No", he said, "we have to go back the way we came". I was worried about encountering an oncoming car. The father of the family, whom I talked to, at the parking lot at the waterfall, said we have to adjust to the sides - that is frightening and dangerous. Both sides drop down into the valley!! Within the vicinity of the waterfall is another building which we drove past. All we wanted to do was to get out of the place. I did not have the mood to check it out and neither did Gloria or Kevin. I found out later that it was the 3rd villa, where there are 8 rooms (each room could accommodate up to 10 people or more) and 1 big hall. It was suitable for a youth camp but thinking about going there???????

Amazingly, I was not as tense driving back as I was going foward. Billy suggested I used the first gear when we were driving towards the waterfall. I did, driving very slowly because like I said earlier I could not see what is ahead. However, I had to the courage to use 2nd gear on returning and you could imagine what a relief it was for me to arrive at the 1st villa.

The Soon Hup resort has 3 villas, situated in different locations in the area. It is actually a nice place for a retrest, but when I think of the road leading from the 1st villa to the 3rd villa (waterfall) I don't know. From the 1st villa I could see the National Service camp and the participants doing some kind of activity. They look like ants!!

The big fish vomitted Jonah out to the dry land. We drove out of the fish's belly and out of his mouth!! I don't want to drive there again!!

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