Sunday, March 6, 2011


KOTA KINABALU, 27 Feb 2011: A mutual friend had introduced me to Cassie who lived in a different state. We exchanged text messages for a couple of weeks before I boarded a plane and flew across the South China Sea to meet her. My plane arrived shortly after noon, after a short transit in Labuan where I picked up a bottle of liquor. She is supposed to pick me up from my hotel in two hours time. Gosh! Do I even have time to shower? Oh no! I left my favourite bottle of eau de parfume at home! My hair is unkempt. What shall I wear? The butterflies were having a field day in my torso. You bet I was nervous! And while waiting for her at the hotel lobby, it suddenly dawned upon me that we had never exchanged photographs. How would I be able to recognise this complete stranger, or she recognise me? What would we say to each other? After a short wait, a bright green car strolled up the driveway. I knew it had to be Cassie. With sweaty palms, I opened the car door and there she was looking resplendent. I felt immediately out of my league in my t-shirt and jeans. However, when she greeted me with a warm smile I immediately felt at ease ............................. cut!

Ha ha ha! No, we weren't really on a blind date though technically our rendezvous would also qualify as one. I have not met Cassie and Tina prior, and our date was for the 10th KK City Tourism Treasure Hunt. Once again, I made a somewhat late decision to take part. And this time I decided to invite Jay to come along, a decision which proved wise in the end as he ended up being our trump card. We were rather fortunate that the ladies were also searching for team mates and were willing to take us in.

The ladies had only hunted twice prior but boy was I impressed. Tina easily outperformed all the Garmins and Mapkings put together while Cassie, I have no doubt, will give Vettel a run for his money if she ever decides to change profession. 

The rather eventful hunt included a passport challenge (collect stamps from 8 landmarks around KK), a walk hunt at 3 locations (Taman Perdana, Jesselton Point and Api-api Centre), a drive hunt and 4 other challenges. For a hunt with a green theme, I felt the logistics could be improved upon as each of us ended up burning a whole lot of fuel going back-and-forth the same locations multiple times.

As a team we were naturally cohesive which belied the fact that we were hunting together for the very first time. Everyone seemed to know their role well in the team. Cassie and Tina handled the driving and navigation faultlessly. The ladies also ran off to do the Clean & Green Challenge (a tree planting and beach clean-up exercise) while Jay and I were left behind in the city for the walk hunt. Tina single handedly fninished the Create Your Creature Challenge while Jay stepped up for the Nostalgia games (Hit the Deck and Ancient Catapult). Of all the challenges, it was obvious that the latter two would decide the top 3 winners and fortunately we had a winner in Jay who happened to excel in these games during his boyhood. While Cassie and I fumbled embarrasingly with the tools (having grown up in an era of computer games and joysticks), Jay stepped up and confidently knocked down the pile of cards with the slipper, and the tin cans with the rubber-band/paper bullets combination.

Tina with her creation, Munchy the shark.

As usual the walk and drive hunt ended up being a side-show to the challenges. Though this time the riddles were a tad more challenging than in the past. There were three (all bolded) that troubled most teams, and we were fortunate to solve one of the three. This was one which we did not solve:

Q: Hoarse?
Ans: Mountain

This was a double jeopardy riddle during the walk hunt at Taman Perdana whose signage was very well hidden - literally right under our feet. The other riddle that we dropped was at the tail end of the hunt which we did not have the luxury to ponder more than a few minutes due to time pressure. One other thing that had troubled us the entire hunt was this treasure riddle:

T2: Minuman in kaya dengan vitamin C,
Sedia diminum dan akan buat kamu berani,
Pek yang akan diterima hanya satu sahaja,
Hanya yang ada kaitan dengan penaja komunikasi kita.
Ans: A pack of Ribena Mobile

Our team was about 10 to 15 minutes away from throwing in the towel for this treasure, having failed to find any connection with the penaja komunikasi kita for a large part of the hunt! It all fell into place only when Cassie was racing to the finish line - the good wind must have blown our direction.

Having enjoyed each others company, we have made plans to date each other again in 2012 and the next time I'll remember to bring along the flowers!

KK City Tourism Treasure Hunt
Maximum Score: 130

1st: Salehuddin Yusof, Azeman Saran, Fazliana Ibrahim, Adrian Julian (122)
2nd: Norashikin Abdul Aziz, Rhyrita Sukiman, Salleh Tating, Zizi Irlanty (116)
3rd: Cassie Forsythe, Tina Goh, Jayaram Menon, Chong Voon Kiat (116)
4th: Chai Koh Khai, Sin Yoong Leong, Margaret Sha, Claire Chin (116)
5th: Danny Ng, Noriza Esa, Nurzatul Hayanie, Masnudiah Abdullah (114)
6th: Afshur, Mohd Asri Ali, Khairul Nazib, Hagi Suhaimi (114)
7th: Cornelius Koh, Vivian Cham, Dennis Koh, Harry Koh (111)
8th: Poljiah Ag Besar, Evawati Hudong, Dayang Ismahanie, Rosnah Nenasi (111)
9th: Johan Salul, Dr Ben Lau, Dr William Gotulis, Mohamad Syukri (110)
10th: Peh Kok Hun, Loh Chee Kwan, Tommy Ng, Yeong Kig Siew (109)

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