Malaysia, Final Email, November 9th - 11th, 2007
This is my last group email on this trip. I know, it's sad :) We went to the opening ceremony on the 9th. It was a big dinner with a few opening speeches. The Sultan was there as well. We riders marched in following our country's flag. We were instructed to bow to the king, take three steps back and turn and exit. We did that and then sat for dinner. It was held in the VIP riders tent at the race site. It was very nice. We got out of there about 10:30 pm.
The 10th I slept in until 8am. Then we went to the barn to try to figure out where Kathy's clippers were. We needed to do one final body clipping on Cal as his hair had already grown in since his last haircut that he had had 7 days prior. After a bit of a search the clippers were tracked down to Troy's room at the hotel. They had accidentally been plugged into the wall to recharge the battery and had been fried and were now not working. Darn. We tried John's clippers but they did not clip fine enough and therefore did not take any real hair off that would make a difference. Jeremy went on a mission and went around to all of the quarantine barns and even the vet clinic at the ride. It was looking pretty hopeless.
We had been given our GPS units and we were at lunch when Jeremy asked the Malaysian team and had success. We followed a Malaysian groom, who was on his scooter, to the grooms quarters and he lent us his clippers. Very good news.
The barns had been closing every day from 12 noon to 2 pm so we went back to the hotel for a swim and a nap before the race (how weird is that?). We were in the pool when the chief steward, Zulu, walked by. I asked if the barns were closed and he told us "not today". Jeremy got out of the pool and went and clipped Cal for me :) I fell asleep.
We all met at the barn at 3 pm. The race was to begin at 4:30. After tacking up we headed to the starting line. At this point is was a pretty nice tempurature outside. Cal was very happy to finally be on the way to racing. He was very calm but forward. While we were warming up whenever people would clap a lot of the horses would scoot forward and attempt to bolt, the loudspeakers were also freaking horses out. Surprisingly Cal thought nothing of this. He even let a horse bounce off of his side.
After about 15 minutes of riding, the sky opened up and stayed that way for hours on end. I have never ridden in so much rain in my life. My helmet had streams of water coming over it that made it hard to see. The lightening and thunder were very exciting as well. Cal was a trooper. He just kept smiling.
At the first vet gate there was such a ridiculous amount of water everywhere you couldn't help but laugh. It was like you were standing in a shower, with really good water pressure. Then the whole arrival/ cooling area was flooded ankle deep. Wild.
On the next several loops there were places on the trail that were so flooded that I wasn't sure where the trail was versus the ditches that ran parrelel to the trail. The whole thing was just a level plane of water. The footing was also tricky at times. It would go from hoof deep to cannon bone depth to no depth etc. at any given time. Some sections had become deep uneven bogs. Mind you all of this is in the total darkness of night :) An adventure for sure. At one point, Cal took a step from good footing to belly deep water. It even startled him. There was only one point that I turned on my headlamp to ride with, and that was because the whole trail had become a river and Cal was telling me that something really bad was out there. I could feel his pulse racing. I never did see what he was talking about, but I believe him. (When the people were marking the trail a crocodile had been seen.) Anyhow I really can't do justice to describing the trail conditions to you, so just imagine that you were trying to ride your horse to Noah's arc. It was really wet to say the least.
I rode the first half of the race with Kathy and then I backed off. I had been riding slightly faster than I knew Cal could keep up because I was taking advantage of the cooler weather while it was raining.
Cal ate really well and did everthing I asked of him. Mostly, for the rest of the race we rode alone. There were sections that we went along with someone for a short while.
Every time that we arrived at the vet check (there was one location for all vet checks) there was great music playing. One song in particular was playing 3 different times that I arrived. It was the "Umbrella" song. A popular song that I actually like. My crew was awesome and lively, even at the latest hours, or earliest depending on how you want to look at it. I rode from 4:30 pm to just before noon the next day. My legs have impressive rubs on the back of my thighs and insides of my knees. I have never had wet feet for 21 hours before. Not as bad as I would have imagined though. The nice thing was I was never cold.
I did, at one point jump into a puddle just for fun. When else can you do that? I have also never wished for it to rain all night on a 100 mile ride until now.
We had 7 loops which was a mental challenge for the horses. We also rode by our stable area several times which was also tempting for the horses.
Our last loop was so hot because the sun had been out for many hours. At one point my outdoor thermometer read 103. Then around a corner where there was a very slight breeze it went down to 101. That was hard, that you have done the majority of the miles and then you get the heat. I am so happy with Cal. He impressed me that he was able to fly this far around the world to a very hot humid foreign destination and finish through all of the adverse conditions and factors to be dealt with.
In all our team rocked. Kathy and John took 5th and 6th, and I brought up the rear (which after my first ride in this country, I wasn't sure I would be able to pull off).
I will tell you more later, as I am still behind on sleep. Closing ceremonies were very nice as well. The dinner was nice and there were fantastic performances by a few bands. We even saw the first "Malaysian Idol" as in American Idol, Malaysia style. The best band was one from Bali. They were really fun to see and listen to.
I did get to shake the King's hand as he was on his way out of the party. That was cool too.
I will see you all in the wonderful USA!
Malaysia, November 9th
Yesterday we went and got our credentials. It is getting more official around here and we may actually race soon :) We also did a little lounging around as usual. There was not much going on as we were all just waiting for Saturday to arrive. We have started getting our meals at the venue and will continue to do so until closing ceremonies. The food is different and that is good as I have now been here for almost 3 weeks.
We had a riders only meeting at 7pm. It was to go over trail conditions, riding in the heat, etc. We have been told that we will be wearing the GPS system for the race so that spectators as well as emergency staff can follow the riders progress. The neat thing about the system that is being used is that there is an S.O.S button on the unit. If there is an emergency you push it and there will be a rescue team dispatched to come to your GPS location. Very cool. Hopefully I will not see just how cool this feature is :) I believe them that it is cool. We were also reminded that we have all been hand picked to make this event a success and fun for all. We will do the job well I am sure. All of the riders here are very dedicated to finishing and eager to finally start the ride.
We drove back out to the venue after the meeting and had dinner. It is becoming more lively at the meals as all of the riders are getting excited.
Steph told me that there will be live coverage of the whole event online. I will try to get the webcast address. I am sure she will have a link on www.endurance.net under the Sultan's Cup Race.
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, November 8th
Yesterday we took care of our barn chores and then I rode Cal. He had his best day since being here. He felt great and every time we stopped and cooled him off he would charge back to the trail when asked to leave. At times a bit too willingly :) He is ready to do something that is for sure. Our temperature gauge is no longer working accurately. Damn. Heart rate monitor is fine, but darn on the temp gauge, no where to buy them here either :(
After the ride we had decided on a simple plan for the day. We would go back to town and find my lost shoes and then find the McDonalds that we had missed on our first try.
I went into the shoe store (somehow Jeremy found the store again) and proceeded to try to explain that I had already lost my new shoes and was wondering if perhaps I had left them there at the store. Once the ladies understood they had a good laugh. They told me that I had taken them with me. Then I decided that I would buy another pair as they were only $10 to begin with. The lady had a great memory as she told me (without my telling her what size I was) that they were out of size 9. I tried an 8 and they fit so I bought them. Again more laughter. Oh well.
On our way out of the store Tim had the idea to cross the street to the sporting goods store we had visited on our previous trip. Right when I walked in, the lady behind the counter smiled and asked if I was there for my shoes!! I smiled back and told her I was.
Now carrying 2 boxes of the same shoe, one size 8 the other size 9 I walked back accross the street to the shoe store. I held up the boxes and more laughter followed. I am glad that I am so amusing :) They took the second pair back and gave me a refund.
Now to conquer finding McDonalds. Jeremy and Tim did the navigating and after a relatively short search the mission was accomplished. McDonalds has a Ringget Saver Menu rather than a Dollar menu. They also have a cup of corn as a choice for the Happy Meal snack. There were a few new items to me that were spicy this, or spicey that. There were things called "fold overs" like a pita type burger wrap. Then there was a separate counter/ordering area for ice cream and McFlurries. The ice cream was soft serve but they have things called flavor swirls. It is vanilla soft serve with a choice of flavoring swirled in: Apple, Rasberry or chocolate cappucino. The McFlurries were standard Oreo cookie or M&M. But what was not standard was the green bean Mcflurry. It looked like how it sounds.
We went back to the hotel and hung out. Jeremy, Tim & Maddy went to take care of Cal on their way to the Gem for another soccer game. I stayed because we had been told that we had a rider meeting. It turns out neither soccer nor ride meeting happened. They all 3 came back and we had dinner together. Meg Sleeper had arrived as well. At dinner there were more native dance performances. The newer people got to be dragged up to the stage and danced :)
After dinner, Tom Hutchinson had arranged a big poster signing session. He had gotten a hold of many, many race posters and also had markers for signing. It was really fun. There were probably 50 or so posters and all of the international riders, grooms, crew and friends were signing everyone elses.
After that it was bedtime. Race time draws nearer.
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, November 7th
We went and did our morning thing at the barn and it was discovered that the hay is now molding in our feed room. We sorted through the hay. John and Kathy's hay from home (for race day) was a science project in itself. Bummer, so much for that hay. We are now on the watch for any suspicious hay.
After our morning routine and a walk with Cal we went back to the hotel. More ping pong and swimming. It turns out that Tom Hutchinson is our USA Endurance Team's best hidden ping pong talent:)
There are so many people here now that the lunch buffet is getting better. We had a few native dishes and then I really enjoyed some great spaghetti and meatballs. We also had fresh squeezed juice with lunch. Maddy and Tim had watermelon, Jeremy had orange and I had apple. We sat and chatted a while and then went swimming again.
We went to the barn at 4:15 or so, to walk Cal before Mr. Hasumi did another accupuncture treatment, which would be the last one prior to the race. We arrived and Mr. Hasumi was already there so we opted to let him do Cal prior to our walk. Cal was so much improved as far as muscle soreness from the initial treatment. It was amazing. At this rate there should be zero soreness after this last treatment. I am loving this and so is Cal. Cal stood quietly while he was worked on. He licked and chewed just like last time. When the Moxi was lit has calmly looked over his shoulder to watch his smoking hind end. Very cool. I think that Cal wants to go live with Mr. Hasumi.
After the treatment and our walk with Theatric and Cal we (Jeremy, Tim, Maddy & I) drove to the Gem Beach Resort so that Tim and Jeremy could play an international soccer game with the other grooms. Very fun. There were probably about 16 players. It was pretty dark when the game was almost over. This is when Tim was being the goalie. One ball came and knocked him in the face and there was a little scare with his eye after that. It was feeling like dirt was in it and his pupil was not looking like the other eye. The game ended shortly as it was really dark.
I also discovered today that I am missing a pair of the shoes that I was happy about buying the day before. I have looked everywhere possible. I think I may have left them in a store downtown, or maybe never took them from the store I bought them at :(
We went back to the Sutra Beach Hotel for dinner. Our team vet, Todd Holbrook took a look at Tim's eye and flushed it out for him. Tim decided he would live and we went to dinner. There was live native dancing for entertainment. The dancers were all very cheerful and their costumes were very bright. They would also give little whoops and yells during the dances, very lively. Towards the end of the entertainment the dancers came into the crowd and pulled people up to dance on the "stage" with them. Oh boy, I was chosen. There was no real way of getting out of this so I went with it. Todd, Steph and I were among others up there. Very entertaining.
After dinner Maddy and Tim drove back to their hotel and Jeremy and I went to our room and watched episodes of "The Office". We love that show. I managed to stay up until 11:00 this time. Need to keep it late.
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, November 6th
We went to do our morning routine and then we went to town near where we had had dinner at the Chinese restaurant the night before. We had seen a bunch of shops in that location that looked good. We drove the long tdrive and began our search. We began at the Batik for Maddy and Tim to see, then we got creative and searched out some of the more local shops. I bought a pair of shoes at one place and a skirt at another. I also went into a local sporting goods store and got some tall socks, I believe they were field hockey socks. The sales man jokingly told me I could get shin protectors as well (he knew we were here for the race). After that we went once again to the Giant to get race stuff. We bought a few plastic chairs as well for the vet checks.
When we got hungry in town we actually saw a sign for KFC. That seems to be a popular fast food chain internationally. I have now seen it in Europe, the Middle East and now here. We pulled in and found that there was also an A&W Rootbeer Fast Food place and signs to go to McDonalds. We got rootbeer floats and began to look for McDonalds. After not succeding we ate at KFC. Pretty similar to home. The biscuits do not exist here though : ( Just a plain roll.
We stopped by the barn on the way home and made it there 15 min before closing time. Cal was great as usual.
We got back to the hotel and found that Vonita, Debbie Bullis, Ann Crandell and Todd Holbrook had arrived. We went to Vonita's room and had some appetizers, wine was also available but we didn't want any.
We went to the Gem Beach Hotel for dinner, this is where Tim and Maddy are staying. All of the grooms are at this hotel. We had decided to eat there to change things up a bit. While eating dinner there we saw other new arrivals. Carolyn Hock, Linda Glazier and Roger and Linda's daughter, Carrie. John and Ann's son had arrived as well but was asleep so we did not see him.
After dinner the hotel has this wonderful banana pancake dessert that we enjoyed. Then we sat around talking with Roger and Carolyn for a while.
After dinner we went to the room to kill time for a later bedtime. We decided to shift our sleep to a later hour as the race begins at 4:30 pm. We listened to a "Malaysian Greatest Hits" Cd that Tim had bought while playing cards. Around midnight we drove back to the Sutra Beach Hotel to fall asleep. Jeremy and I watched part of a movie and turned the lights off at 1 am. Long day, but still enjoyable.
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, November 5th
Yesterday we had our usual morning. We then decided to rent a car. Our first outing in the car was to an outdoor fish market. We parked and opened our doors then, not quickly enough leapt into the car and slammed the doors. We almost threw up in the milliseconds that that took:)
After lunch we went for a swim after a game of ping pong. We were headed back to the barn in the late afternoon when we were asked if we were ready to go talk to the pony club riders. We obviously missed the memo on this one. We told the Major, who was arranging this that we would hurry to the barn and get Kathy and take care of Cal and then we could go.
John was the only one who got the memo so he went earlier than us, so at least the kids had someone to talk to:) Kathy, Jeremy, Maddy, Tim and I went in to Terengganu to speak to the pony clubbers about endurance. It was an hour drive and there were 4 of us crammed into the backseat. We wandered around the town looking for our destination with the driver that was taking us there. We finally found it and we were very happy to unload out of the back.
Talking to them was really fun, Jeremy, Kathy, John and I spoke about endurance and Maddy spoke about Dressage. It was a cheerful evening. After the talk we were taken to China Town for an authentic Chinese dinner. We ate shark fin soup and other dishes. Very nice. After that we headed back to our hotel for bed.
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, November 3rd
Yeterday morning we went to the barn and took care of Cal. Jeremy then enjoyed an accupuncture treatment, compliments on Mr Hasumi. It was now his turn to have the smoking body parts:) His shoulder had been bothering him. After the needles and smoke he also had the pepper linament rubbed in. Very nice, don't worry we have some pics.
Our group went to the Terrengganu National Park. There is a very huge man-made lake there. There was a short film with the history of the lake. It was completed in 1986 I think. Someone told us it is bigger than Singapore. Then there was a tea break (which ended up being hot chocolate, yummy) with some snacks, followed by a boat ride accross a small portion of the lake.
We stopped at the first boat stop and all unloaded. There were two boats of us. We all climbed up a very large hill and waited for all to catch up. The humidity really made me feel winded. When the guide got to the top of the climb, he smiled and informed us that we were not supposed to have stopped here and that we should all go back down and get back on the boats.
We continued on and came across a small waterfall that was very pretty. Our next dock was where there were a few large fish to see. Then there was a bathroom break. Troy and I hiked up this slippery hill with all of the others that needed to "release" themselves (the guide's wording). The little shed for the outhouse was a bit much so I went camp style after everyone else left. TMI.
We all reboarded the boats and went on to the next place to see. We did a shore landing. We then began a 1.8 kilometer hike through the jungle. The hike started straight up a slippery hillside. There were ropes to help you with your balance. In humidity this felt like a lot more work. Then there was a short break a little ways in where we were handed apples and oranges to eat. The rest of the trail was a narrow path hacked into the jungle. It was very beautiful but the footing was so technical that you had to stop walking and make an effort to look up & enjoy the sights. Surprisingly I did not see any wild life except for insects and vegetation. Not even birds. There were also neat obstacles like logs tied together as bridges, and wooden ladders and ropes tied as netting to keep you from falling over edges.
While we were hiking out was when Leonard announced that he had a leach biting him. The mark that it left on his inner thigh was impressive:( We were all feeling creepy crawly after that. Maddy said that she had one land on her and she quickly flung it away. No bite for her:)
We reached our destination, when we did I looked down and my legs were so sweaty that I looked like I had taken a swim. We were at a breeding area for a protected fish. The guide told us to take off our shoes and that the fish would suck our feet. Jeremy tried it. He said it was really weird feeling and tickley. They pulled his leg hair a few times.
There were so many fish that soon the game began of who could catch one bare handed. If we were on Survivor you would have wanted to be on the American Team. John Crandell caught many bare handed. Jeremy also caught one. The French would have been the next best well fed team as they caught some too:)
After the fish experience we had the same hike in reverse. We got back on the boats and headed back to the first dock where we were not supposed to have stopped the first time. This is where we had lunch. Much better food than on the snorkeling trip. It was Chinese style food.
We got back on the boats and our tour guide told us that we would have to skip our last stop, the giant waterfall, as the weather looked too bad. We ended our day and went back to our original location we had started from.
After the long trip it was nice to be back at the hotel. We ate dinner. All during the day the trails had been closed as there was some hunting going on to clear out the race trails. So after dinner it was time for another night ride.
Jeremy and Cal did the loop alone. The others rode much shorter. Mr Hasumi chose not to ride. Kathy's horse got a huge dirt clod in his eye earlier in the day and had it flushed so she went really easy with him. He will be just fine. John and Troy went on a small ride as well.
Tim and I followed Jeremy & Cal around the loop and scoped Cal off at the water stops. There was another car following us with Roger and the Major in it incase we needed help if something were to go wrong (the major speaks Malay). It was an uneventful ride. Cal was very happy and fast. He did not care that he was the only horse because he was on an adventure. Gotta love him. It did rain towards the end of the ride. They sped up a bit to get out of the weather.
I forgot to tell you that on the 2nd Kathy, Maddy and I went to check out the vetting, crewing and treatment area. It is very nice and elaborate. The vetting and crewing is a permanent set up like how a lot of international venues are now. There is a tower and cat walk to go above the arrival gate to see riders coming in from a long way off. The arrival track is all lit up with street lights that have been installed. The order goes: arrival gates then the cooling transition area (which had large fans) then the P&R gates then the trot out lanes. Then beyond the trot out lanes is the treatment barn. We looked at it, as we are not planning on seeing it again:) It is air conditioned. The treatment barn is a fully contained vet hospital with a surgery table and all. Digital x-ray, all the bells and whistles. Comforting yet scary at the same time. I hope that is my only time spent in there.
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, Saturday, November 3rd
Yesterday, Nov 2nd, Cal had the day off after our night ride. We took care of him and did the usual barn stuff. It rained a lot, even flooded the walkway at the hotel again. I went for a swim. Tim and Jeremy went body surfing on the hotel beach. Tim and Maddy found some really neat shells. The kind that are long, skinny spirals.
In the afternoon Jeremy, Maddy, Tim & I went out to take care of all of the horses. When we got to the barn we saw that Mr. Hasumi was doing accupuncture on Cameo. It was very cool. I told him that Cal was next:) We were just about done at the barn when Mr. Hasumi came over and said let's do Cal:) Cal was a great patient and was very happy with it. There were even herbal grass smoking incense stuck to Cal's butt. He calmly looked over his shoulder at the smoke rising from his hind end. It didn't phase him at all. After the needles were removed and the smoke as well, Mr. Hasumi rubbed in a concotion of liquid that he mixes that has pepers and other things into Cal's back. When the treatment was over I went to put Cal in his stall and he followed Mr. Hasumi instead. He then just stood staring at Mr Hasumi for several minutes before turning and coming into his stall. I think Mr Hasumi is Cal's new friend.
Leinard Leison arrived tonight with Carol. The dinner table keeps growing. We had Belgium chocolate from Leinard and wine that Mr Hasumi provided with dinner. Very international at the Sutra Beach dinner table:)
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, November 2nd
We are now at least in the month of the race :) Yesterday, the 1st, I went out and took care of Cal. When we got to the barn, all of the horses were really on edge. There must have been somthing just outside of the quarantine complex in the jungle. They were not too happy. Maddy, Tim, Jeremy & I all went walking with Call who was very suspicious of everything for some reason. I wish I knew what animal was freaking him out so bad. it was a bit cooler (85 degrees with 90% humidity).
After the barn work we took the rental and went to the Giant to pick up a few things like drinks, some clothes and important things like carrots and apples. It was an uneventful trip to town really.
When we returned to the hotel Maddy and I ate lunch, while Tim and Jeremy got a massage. I was next up after them. Maddy chose to skip it :) We relaxed and swam around later with the whole international group that is rapidly growing at our hotel.
We eventually made another trip to the barn to feed and bring the horses in from their turn-outs. I had to bathe Cal as he had had a great time rolling in the dirt all afternoon. The ground in the turn-out is really sandy.
The U.S. group is all sharing one pick-up type truck. It is one of those small four dors with a small bed on it. We just pile into the bed and go to the barn. Any country that allows a motorscooter to be a family commuter car will not have a problem with people riding in truck beds. Yesterday we saw a man and woman with two infants on a scooter. Both adults had helmets on, but the infants didn't. The woman was in the very back (as if it were a long way back) then the 2 kids were in her arms and the man was driving. Totally crazy.
We all ate dinner and then waited to go to the barn for our night ride. We got to the barn at 8pm and saddled up. The horses all thought that we were finally doing something cool. The jungle was not too dark last night. It helps that the footing is very light colored firm sand so you can see wehre you are going. Cal was really nervous just like in the morning. Because of this he would go really wide around any bushes. I liked this part, less likely to get bit by something :) There was cloud cover and threat of a large downpour. It also helps when riding at night to have massive lightening storms. It makes it easier to see. Who needs a moon when you have lightening? It was pretty anyhow.
At one point we came across some very pissed off birds that didn't want us around. We could not see them, but we could hear them. I think they were flying just ahead of us to divert us from their nests.
Malaysia, October 31, 2007
At 7am there was very loud dance music and a Muslim Jazercise program going. Very neat to watch while eating breakfast. The women had on the traditional head dress and their workout clothes. Very cool.
We went out and hand walked the horses after doing the morning routine. Then I ran back to the hotel. I will not be doing this again without Jeremy. There were a few construction trucks driving around on the back roads of the trail. A few made me a bit creeped out. Also while running on the road near the hotel there were a few honks and yells from guys driving by. Not cool.
I saw a Green Tree Viper on my run. Luckily he was run over before I met him. Very bright green, very poisonous.
I went for a swim and waded in the ocean, then had lunch. It was good except for there was something very wrong with some of the french fries. Not too sure what that was about. We had to smell them before eating to avoid repeat problems of the original bad fry.
Jeremy and I ate some candy for Halloween. We had M&M's and a Mars bar. Not quite the same as home.
Tim and Maddy arrived as well as Troy Ball. The group is growing.
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, October 30, 2007
Yesterday was really nice weather. John, Kathy and I went out for an 18Km ride. John on Heraldic, Kathy on Sunny and I was on Cal. Cal did much better with the temperature. At one point I got off at a water trough to feel Heraldic and Sunny to compare how hot they felt to the touch compared to Cal (neither of those two had a temperature gauge on). Cal felt the same as Sunny, Heraldic felt slightly cooler to the touch. Interestingly by rectal temperature Heraldic runs warmer than Sunny.
After the ride we got in a shuttle van and went and picked up Jeremy from the hotel. We then headed to a local batik (this is where they hand paint the fabrics and clothes). We got to see some being painted live. Kathy bought a traditional outfit that looks great on her. Steph picked up special awards for her next race, I'll leave this a surprise. You will just have to go to Steph's next ride.
On the drive back from the batik we stopped at a gas station, excuse me petrol station. Jeremy and I decided to get some Halloween candy to save for the following day (a bag of M & M's and a Mars bar). Which I had to make sure Jeremy did not eat until the next day :)
When we got back to the hotel we were dying to eat as it was 3:00pm. Kathy, Jeremy, and I ordered cheeseburgers. They were very different from what we thought we were going to get. They were double decker patties with a sunny side up egg on top. The meat was more sausage like than any other thing we could put our finger on with a slight red tint to top it off. Fries were normal.
After lunch we set up the ping pong table and had some fun. I will let you in on a little secret, Roger Yohe and John Crandell are closet ping pong pros. I wouldn't bet them any money while playing this game :)
The rest of the night was uneventful, so we went to our room, put a movie in our DVD player and watched Blades of Glory. We had a great laugh and went to bed.
Heather and Jeremy
Malaysia, October 29, 2007
Yesterday we went out and did the usual routine at the barn. We got back more blood work and everyone is doing really great!
John clipped his horse by using an adaptor that plugged into the cigarette lighter of our rental car; the cars battery had trouble with this from the get go and had to have the engine running to work. Then we went back to the hotel, hung out and waited for lunch. I didn't ride as we were to go out night training. After lunch we headed out to take care of the horses. There was more rain coming down than we had seen yet. Jeremy put Cal's race shoes on and then we all finished up and did anything we needed in case we didn't go through with our night ride.
As we left the barn it was decided that none of us had any desire to go out in this weather for "practice." We all have been there and done that before. It turns out that none of the teams went out. Good call.
We enjoyed dinner as a group, Mercedes, Luis, John, Kathy, Steph, Yaguchi, Jeremy and I. Roger is at the other hotel constantly making new friends and was not eating at our hotel as the arrangements do not allow this yet. On our way back to our room we had to jump accross new rivers that had formed from the rain. Eventually we just had to walk in very deep spots as there was no other way. Very exciting. Thunder and lightning too.
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, October 28, 2007
Yesterday, the 27th, we were to get to the barn early as we were to catch a boat to an island to go snorkeling. We all skipped breakfast and rushed out to the barn. They even sent an early shuttle just for this reason. We got to the barn about 7:05 am and did our morning routine of cleaning stalls, feeding, taking tempuratures and readying the turnout. then we turned the horses out and were ready right at 8am. Then we waited... still waiting. We decided to walk to the Argentine barn and wait with them as our barn is in the very back corner and is easy to overlook. Finally we called to see what was going on. Everything had been so punctual for a change up until now. We found out that there had been a miscommunication with the shuttle and we would be picked up at 9. So much for breakfast:)
We drove to the dock, which took about 45 min. On the way there was a lot to look at as far as how people here lived. Some of the houses are very much little huts. Most of the houses are raised up on poles above the ground for snakes and floods I have been told.
The boat was there waiting for us. As we were about to get on Steph Teeter was trying to get a cool picture when all of the sudden she fell through the dock. She had climbed up onto a dock that we were not all on to get a better view for the pic. Any how it was very scary as she fell and all that was seen was her head and elbows which had caught her just in time to not crash down onto concrete things below. She was a bit scraped up but was a V E R Y good sport about it and cheerfully just went on with her day.
We all put on life jackets and went across to the island. It was beyond scenic. To say it was beautiful would be a gross understatement. The island was very small. The beaches were white sand and the water a transparent teal. Awesome.
We unloaded to boat and went ashore for a glass of juice, then changed into swim wear, got our snorkel gear and got onto another boat that would take us around to another speck of an island that had a coral reef. The boat was anchored and we jumped off and began sight seeing. The fish were very vibrant. There was one in particular that was varying shades of blue purple, yellow and green. Then there were ones that were so blue they seemed to glow. I did see "Nemo" in a sea anemone. The coral was very pretty also. There were too many things down there to describe. Near the end of our snorkeling I saw what looked like a smoke ring floateing near my googles, I looked closer and saw 2 smoke rings. Then I realized that it was 2 jellyfish. About then is when my legs started stinging. Jeremy had the same problem so we swam quickly away. Shortly after that we got out of the water.
After our fun in the water we all got back into the boat and went back to the island. Lunch was waiting. We were all starving as we had missed breakfast and had been swimming for 1 1/2 hours. However not even this would fool us into thinking that the food was good. On this excursion was the worst food by far that we had encountered. To top this off, the drink that was served was a rootbeer. Not a rootbeer that one would want to consume. More like a rootbeer syrup added to water. So flat rootbeer. We ate a lot of watermelon for lunch.
After lunch we had an hour to kill. I waded in the ocean and saw half of a coconut floating. I picked it up and turned it over and saw a crab hiding in it. Kathy and I walked down the beach and gathered some garbage that we found (very little) we also admired all of the shells and bits of coral that were along the shore. We we returned from our walk there was an international soccer game going on. Two locals had brought the ball. We had the Argentines, the French, Brazilian, other South Americans that I am not sure where they are all from and our one American Jeremy. It was a fun game. Flip flops were used as goal posts.
We waited for the boat and while we waited the local guys were using live bait to fish for needlenose fish. While we were standing there they caught two. Not much meat on those things.
Last night there was a new group at our hotel on some business conference. We were bumped from the outdoor patio dining and fed in the conference room. The food here was perfect once again. We were starving by now. Luis and Mercedes (Argentina riders) Steph, Kathy, John Jeremy and I ate together. We were later joined by a tired but happy Yuguchi (Mr. Hasumi's chief crew). They lost Mr. Yuguchi's luggage so he was a one outfit guy.
Heather & Jeremy
Malaysia, October 25, 2007
There is full blown thunder in the background as I type this. Yesterday, the 25th, we meet for breakfast and Kathy and John were very tired. It turns out that 3 days ago they had told the front desk that their rooms had fleas and other bugs and that they had requested a bug bomb. 3 days had passed with out any word of action on this. Then last night at 11pm they had people knocking on their doors telling them that it was time to change rooms. They were also told that they were moving because the "Malaysian man with the young woman who had the rat problem had moved" This left a lot to the imagination. Who was Heather with? :) Any how, John and Kathy told the people that they would move in the morning but the people insisted that they at least come and look at the room. So a very sleepy Kathy & John followed them to the new rooms. Early this morning they had both made the move. This explained the tired looks.
I had a hand walking day for Cal. He is between sets of shoes and the ground is so nice we wanted to let him be barefoot for a few days. He is doing well. He is a very cheerful guy to begin with and he is no different here. After the walk Jeremy and I ran back to the hotel (literally). Then we swam and had lunch.
After lunch we were told that the local news crew wanted to interview John and to be at the barn at 2 pm. We went to the barn and John cleaned up his 2 horses and we bathed ours. Then after waiting around we were told by a man that the film crew had done enough footage elsewhere and would not be out at all. Oh well. We went for another walk, with clean horses this time.
After that I borrowed Kathy's clippers and re- clipped Cal's entire body with the surgical length clip. I left his saddle/girth area but the rest is gone, very gone. He was clipped before leaving but that was almost 2 weeks ago and his winter coat is trying to creep in there. He is very naked now.
At the patio last night, just before dinner we saw an animal in the rafters. It was pretty big. It looked like a weasel and a racoon had a one night stand. It was lean and long like a weasel and had a very long tail like a monkey but had a mask like a racoon. We found out that it is a type of local racoon. Cool.