|initial meeting in Chinatown, KL|
from left to right: Teh, Yee1, Tony, Yee2, and Stacy
As members of the MNS cave group are all volunteers and are members of a caving club simply because they enjoy caving and exploring, we needed to schedule our excursion days off-days when the members were free from their professional (or family) commitments. We decided the next day (Sunday) to just visit a few caves nearby, in the Batu limestone outcrop just a short drive north of KL (a famous tourist spot for Batu "Temple Cave"-- a Hundu temple and shrine). At the end of the following week we would all meet back in KL (also at that time joined by Prof. Xianfeng Wang and his lab technician Yanbin Lu from the Earth Observatory of Singapore), and then drive out to Merapoh Friday evening (~3-4 hours depending on the traffic) for our first field expedition site. Friday evening would be the start of a national holiday weekend in Malaysia comparable in scope to the Christmas holiday in the US: Monday Sep. 12 was Hari Raya Haji, the local Malaysian name for the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha, "the Feast of Sacrifice", which commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow Allah's (God's) command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. We therefore planned to depart from KL as early as possible, before rush-hour traffic. Following our expedition in Merapoh, we would then drive west across the Cameron Highlands to Ipoh on Sunday for further exploring through national holiday Monday, before returning back to KL.