Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Piece of String - one great invention

Just after reading this book all about strings, we stepped out just in time to see a string in action
A bucket of sand being lowered down to the ground floor by a piece of string

Going closer for a better look

Ants book @PSN

This book that I grabbed off the shelf could have triggered Fai's fascination in ants at Pulau Carey
He observed the ants as they went about their daily routine just like the girl in the book.

He put food out too and watched as they bit out smaller piece to haul back to the nest.
This book was read just once and at least a week before the trip to Pulau Carey.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ants @ Pulau Carey

It was a hot day, so we escaped the heat in the oil palm plantation across the road.
We tried looking for scorpions, millipedes, anything that moved but all we could find were ants.
Fai placed bread near the ant hill and waited for ant scouts to discover the food.
A big soldier ant
Fai was fascinated with the ants and refused to leave. He wanted to study them, observe their behaviour.
Driving out we passed a beautiful mansion 'Hatter's Castle'
Saw lots of bee-eaters swooping after insects and caught sight of a flock of raptors soaring the thermals.
Fiddler crabs along the river.

Yakult Factory

Yakult Factory in Seremban.
The factory's feature wall was interesting, especially since the boys are into flags lately.
During the briefing, Ean got restless and started taking photos
Another photo by Ean.
We were grouped with Mandarin speaking students that day.
We were given a slide show presentation and a short cartoon on the journey of the Lactobacillus Casei bacteria as it travels through the gut.
Fai got himself a notepad when he answered a question correctly which infuriated Han because he didn't get to answer. These Q&A sessions do get the boys frustrated when they can't get the right answer. I had a hard time cheering Han up after that episode.
They still do not go for any games that are competitive and would rather play games that require teamwork.

Fai sketching his boredom away. Bone dragon (top) and skeleton warrior (bottom)
Icy cold Yakult was distributed and we were shown the proper way to remove the straw.

We got to take a look at the factory through glass walls. The boys were most fascinated by the QC lab technician who was busy pipetting Yakult samples into petri dishes.
They got to see:
  • Yakult bottles popping out of a machine,
  • huge vats where the bacteria was cultured and stored,
  • bottles being labelled, filled and sealed
  • how machines replaced man
  • how idle the man was - all he had to do was look at the bottles whizz by
  • how a pipette was used
  • how agar is used as a medium to grow bacteria. Agar-agar is not just for eating!
  • how useful a conveyor belt is - not just in a sushi bar
  • a huge roll of straw

Thursday, October 20, 2011

MV Logos Hope @ Port Klang

The floating bookshop has docked at Port Klang
It was a long walk to the ship. Lucky for us it was cloudy and windy that morning.
The ship up close. Kids were playing in the playground on the upper deck as we walked pass.
Let's all try to navigate this ship.
Ean came to me and said "The ship's NOT moving!!!" "Why isn't it moving??!"
Sleeping quarters.
Safety simulation exercise
We were ushered into an auditorium
And were entertained by a few of the 45 nationalities on board.
The show was full of suspense...
And had nail-biting moments
Fai volunteered to participate in a race. His task was to run down the aisle, retrieve a life vest, and run back.
The ship sails all over the world and we were given a glimpse of the culture and language of 2 of the many ports it docks at - Mexico and Scotland.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stamp Collecting - a beginning

After a visit to the National Mail Centre, what better than to introduce the kids to collecting stamps.
First lesson: how to remove stamps from envelopes
Step 1 Cut around the stamp on the envelope
Step 2 soak in water
Step 3 wait till stamps detach from envelope
Step 4 remove stamp from water
Step 5 Leave stamp to dry on a cloth
Step 6 slot stamps into a stamp album

Fai and Han ran off after soaking the stamps, leaving Ean to do the rest.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gopeng - Gua Tempurung

First timers and those with young kids chose to go on either Levels 1 or 2.
Fai having been in the cave before opted to go along with his sister and father for Level 4. We had with us head lamps and were wearing either sandals or sport shoes. Fai's feet ended up badly blistered by his sandals, so proper shoes are advisable. Keep your hands free as you will need to crawl and grab.
More info on tours available in Gua Tempurung here
Han and Ean were not keen, so I played by the stream with them
We were joined by those who completed their quick tour of the wonderful cave.
There were lots of fish but were very difficult to catch.
After 4 hours, JY finally emerged from the underground stream. First thing she did was to wash her shoes.

The rest strolled out with clean shoes as they had used the gushing water to wash their footwear before coming out from the cave.
Fai said he had a great time.
They had to crawl through narrow crevices, slide 20 feet down huge boulders, got to see a secret garden and much more.

Here's what DH wrote in FB:
" I encourage all families to go for it, the young ones will like it too. A bit scary, a bit dark, dangerous to some, let some imagination run wild, feel the fresh cold water, wet, dry, muddy, sandy and rocky earth with your bare hands, legs ...and soaked body. Its 4 hours of fun and thrills! Ask for the new extended route also. The feeling of danger is so invigorating. If your life is too safe its time to face some danger for a change. Experiencing team work with strangers and making new friends in the group is a bonus. "

There was a large crowd as it was a national holiday. There were at least 50 in their group and most of them had torches, so it was well lit - like a party in the caverns. Although only one guide was with them, the tour went smoothly with many willing to lend a helping hand.

I was most impressed with a young man who made it through Level 3 minus one leg and using crutches. Salute!

Gopeng -Earth Camp

photo from Learning Beyond Schooling
We spent the night in a treehouse
photo from Learning Beyond Schooling
The smaller treehouse comes with 2 thin mattresses, 1 light, 1 fan and a tree to hug.
photo from Learning Beyond Schooling
The treehouse up close.
The treehouse was about 8 feet above ground, planks for flooring and walls with gaps big enough for pesky bugs to fly through. Mosquitoes were easily avoided by lighting mosquito coils and some treehouses were lucky enough to have fireflies fly in when the lights were off.
The toilets were fashioned out from water tanks with a hole cut out for the door.
Clean and functional. No complaints from me.
An old derelict building claimed by a Banyan tree
I spent the night getting close and personal with a rubber tree. Tapping scars could be seen on its bark.
Han peeking out.
Luckily it didn't rain heavily or we would have surely gotten soaked.

The kids held secret meetings away from the adults, inspecting each other's treehouse and had a grand time.
More info on Earth Camp here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gopeng - whitewater rafting, playing with fire, henna art

Sungai Kampar - Perfect for whitewater rafting
All aboard!
The lorry that took the group from Earth Camp to Ulu Geroh for the Rafflesia Trail. It was a first for all on board and was very thrilling - especially at steep slopes.

While waiting for the trekkers, the rest of us relaxed by Sungai Kampar.
The boys making sandcastles
Another group with their rafts
Life vests are tricky to put on.
After lunch, JY and Cora started off with water safety tips.
If you fall overboard, stay away from the raft. Kick or push yourself away!
Hang on to my precious equipment. Don't let it float away!
Carrying the raft to the river.
The man with the blue helmet and light blue canoe is the safety marshal that followed them throughout.
JY and Cora body floated down the rapids to a sandy bank around the bend. photo by Amrita
Lie down feet first and let the current carry you away
Catch a rope that is barely visible in the water and haul yourself up.
JY didn't need the rope, all she did was reach out and she was by the bank. The advantage of having long limbs.
How to throw up?
More safety procedure followed
a few more pointers...
And they were off!
After settling in in our respective treehouses, we whiled the time away by the river located next to the Dining Hall. Dinner was a 2 hour wait, so the girls did some Henna art
Han dipped his toes into the cool water
The fathers started a fire to chase the mosquitoes away
Father on left could relive his scouting days.
Cora tried to skip stones.
The fire - mosquito deterrent but attracts children
Multilegged pet from Ulu Geroh