After the conclusion of the Mindsetting camp, we were “awarded” one day to spend with our families, known as “Family Outing Day”, and we were given a freedom to do what we desired to do. While others relaxed and quenched their thirst to meet their families, I, however, spent part of it with another cliques.
Sunway College was having its Orientation Day on 3-7/7. Having known that I would be missing a week of lesson, I preferred to utilize the day to attend the orientation. In either way, that’s rewarding to me too, since I could temporarily forget Maths, and the program was interesting with a lot of jocular moments. In other words, I was relaxing myself too!
I finally met my parents at 4:30 pm, after the end of the orientation. We had a marvelous dinner at Mohammad Chan after missing home-cooked food for nearly a week! I then had a lengthy chat with my parents (for maintaining mental serenity) before returning to hostel, meeting my teammates as if they were long-lost friends.
Departure Day (5/7/14)
Previously, Prof Arsmah insisted the six team members of Malaysia to be transported to the airport together, for sake of maintaining the firm bind between each other. Now Dr. Sakinah (new manager of IMO committee after Prof. Arsmah’s retirement) continued this tradition. By 12: 15pm, we, our luggage and documents (including Mr. Iqbal, our deputy leader) were all in! The bus sending us to KLIA was “full”, since apart from 7 of us, it was full of hope, full of expectation, and full of determination!
It was still 4 hours before our first flight, which gave us extra time with our parents in KLIA. Knowing how we treated one another as brothers, it was no surprise that our parents were close friends too.
(Selfie with parents with reduced quality, owing to my “professional” photography skills.
Before we were satisfied with parents’ pamper, it was time for gathering. There was another briefing by Pn. Zalina, an officer from the MoE. It acted as a reminder for dos and don’ts, although some coincidence with Mr. Suhaimi’s content existed. As for photo session…we always had a banner, and this year it was extraordinary, both in its size and design. This was followed the very moment of separation, and waving goodbye!
“All passengers could board into the plane now”, PA system announced. Here goes our journey to Cape Town, South Africa!
The process of international travel might be common experience to me (as this is my 4th IMO), but some annoying process was inevitable. In fact, Mr. Suhaimi gave us tips and warnings about things to be done in the airport, and some worse-case scenario precautions (e.g. asking for lengthy details in immigration counter). Fortunately we didn’t get that hostile treatment from the officers as expected, as South Africans are prominent for their warmth towards tourists.
Now let’s look at the central element of travel. The long-distance journey has its benefit behind he apparent boredom, since we could utilize it for time adjustment, and enjoy all splendid meals in Cathay Pacific aircraft (especially the mouth-watering egg fried rice with fish!) Moreover, the long traveling time (18 hours) allowed movie moments for us. We were in craze of it, and 2 movies for me (“Divergent” and “The Grand Piano”) was nothing compared to others. The title for the first one was an interesting joke, though, since in mathematics, divergence is a crucial topic in series. (Interested in this topic? Here you are: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divergent_series )
In general for the flight we were fairly lucky. Although the first transit in Hong Kong was only 2 hours, but it was unnecessary to rush. The second transit in Johannesburg offered our first local breakfast in South Africa, since we had 5 hours. Yay!
A photo during our second transit (thanks to the vast amount of time)
The ultimate destination welcomed us at 2pm local time on Sunday, 6/7/14 (Malaysian time 8pm). We collected our luggage, and proceeded to the arrival hall. That was the very moment when we couldn’t conceal our excitement upon meeting a guy holding an IMO stick with word “Malaysia”! An ice breaking followed it, and he was our guide, Mojelefa Nchupang. “Time to go to UCT,” he invited cordially. But first…… let’s take a group photo.
The University of Cape Town
During our check in, here comes a mind twist behind its less ornate environment compared to last years: we were given a single room, with two beds for Justin’s and mine. That created problems in our mind: how if any of us overslept?
We had our very first dinner in UCT. Unlike the buffet for previous years, this time we were given 2 options plus one vegetarian meals. We truly hoped for warmth from the food, given the freezing weather.
The climatic challenge
It was winter in South Africa during the IMO, and shower was a challenge for us (but nevertheless necessary after the long travel), and according to a research it’s better to ignore everyone else and shout the word f*** aloud for keeping warmth. Perhaps, it may be attributed to psychological effect towards human physical state.
That was, however, an apple pie compared to weather at night as the forecast of minimum temperature being 7 C was rebutted. Yi Kye’s phone read 6 C, and the creme of the story was there was no heater in our hostel rooms. This made one of us to rant “this is the first time I’ve seen someone wearing Eskimo costumes indoors!”
Consequently, that “Eskimo fashion” followed me overnight. Thankfully I had adjusted my sleeping schedule, and drifted into dreams at 10pm.