Day 3 (The Hottest Race)

This is the day! This is what we came for.

With my red shirt on and my wife donning a white shirt with a bicycle print on it (a bad sign?), we readied and waited for 11 am. It’s our shuttle’s pick up time (we paid a return trip to and from Sepang, which costs us RM100 each). We will be on our way to Sepang F1 Circuit for the much-awaited race. We will be sharing the ride with other hotel guests – a German father & son, Indian couple, & a Filipina with two of her sons.

The trip took us a couple of hours before we reached the area. The road to the circuit was jam-packed with cars, taxis and buses. On that day, almost all roads lead to F1. And with the blistering sun worsening the wait, other cars had to pull over to cool off; Others had to roll down their windows, as air-conditioning seems futile. Good thing we had a proud Malay driver giving us insights of their race track, making us more eager to get out of the van and have the race started in front of us.

Despite the confusion and uncertainty of our time of arrival, the sight of uniformed fans (also stuck in traffic) wearing the dominant red Ferrari, blue and white BMW, & yellow and blue Renault team shirts gave me goosebumps all over. It’s race day indeed.

Eventually, we arrived at PC3. This is where we had to take an approximately 100 meter-walk to the C3 entrance. Along the way, we sprayed ourselves with sun block lotion – a must on this hot event. Our ticket is free seating (or standing), which makes it more compelling to do so.

After another hour of waiting (and watching some of the pre-race programs), we finally heard the roar and whine of the F1 cars during the pre-warm up lap. I was shooting a video and was about to say a couple of insights & introduction, but the excitement and delight of seeing the cars drove by got me teary-eyed and felt a lump on my throat. In the end all I can utter is “Finally!”.

As the Star Sports hosts on TV would say, “…the five lights illuminate…the lights are out…the race is on…”, the race started with the two Ferraris on the front row. Unfortunately, it changed all so quickly that by the time it passed turn 8 which was at our right, one of the Mclarens already started gaining some distance from the two Prancing Horses. At this point in time though, we actually didn’t care yet. The rhythm of the 20 cars passing in a blur in front of us is just music to our ears and pure spectacle to our eyes.

By the middle of the race it became clear who is winning this one. It was a bit disappointing to see our favorite team trailing behind the two Mclarens that at some point I heard my wife shouting an cheering for another team. She’s turned into a double agent.

At the end of the 56 laps the race winner, in order, was Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi.

After the all the finishers were done with their victory lap, the crowd at C3 started packing up (and sadly, leaving most of their thrashes behind). It is pointless to stay, the awarding ceremony is out of sight. The Mclaren fans holding their flags up high, the Ferrari fans down. My wife didn’t care anymore. No point crying over spilled milk. She actually posed in front of a couple of team flags as souvenir for this race.

We met up with the rest of the Duta Vista guests at PC2. The Indian couple’s the lucky one this time. Their team won and somehow, we had fun reviewing the race while our van was crawling at the traffic once more.

We arrived at the hotel by past 8 p.m.

Next: Day 4 (Chow Kit & The Monkeys)

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Day 3: The Hottest F1 Race

This is the day! This is what we came here for. Our shuttle ride started at 11 a.m. and the trip took a couple of hours before we reached the Sepang area. The road to the circuit was jam-packed with cars, taxis and buses. On this day, almost all roads lead to Sepang. And with the blistering sun worsening the long queue, other cars had to pull over to cool off while others had to roll down their windows as air-conditioning seems futile. Good thing we had a proud Malay driver giving us insight of the race track, making us more eager to get out of the van and witness the start of the F1 race. We shared the ride with other hotel guests—a German father and son, an Indian couple, and a Filipina with her two sons.

Despite the confusion and uncertainty in our time of arrival, the sight of uniformed fans, who are also stuck in traffic, wearing the dominant red for Ferrari, blue and white for BMW, and yellow and blue for the Renault team sent goosebumps all over my body. It is race day indeed.

Eventually, we arrived at PC3 where we had to take an approximately 100-meter walk to the C3 entrance. Along the way wifey and I sprayed sun block lotion which is a must during this event especially that our ticket is free-seating which makes it more compelling as we’d be under the hot Malaysian sun.

After another hour of waiting and watching some of the pre-race programs, we finally heard the roar and whine of the powerful F1 cars as the pre-warm up lap begins. I was shooting a video and was about to say an introduction, but the excitement of seeing the cars drive by somehow got me emotional and I felt a lump on my throat. I was only able to muster the word ‘Finally!’

Me and the essentials for the race: a cap, sunglasses and a bottle of water. Red shirt is for my  favorite team.

As the Star Sports hosts on TV would say, “…the five lights illuminate…the lights are out…the race is on…” the race started with the two Ferraris in the front row. Unfortunately, everything changed so quickly that by the time it passed turn 8 which was on our right, one of the McLarens already started gaining some distance ahead of the two Prancing Horses.

By the middle of the race it became clear who is winning. It was a bit disappointing to see our favorite team trailing behind the two McLarens that at some point I heard my wife shouting and cheering for another team—she turned coat, hahaha. At the end of the 56 laps the race winners are Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi. The McLaren fans held their flags up high, the Ferrari fans down but my wife didn’t care anymore. There’s no point crying over spilled milk.

It is obvious by now that she has recovered from the Prancing Horse’s loss.

After all the finishers were done with their victory lap, the crowd at C3 started packing up—sadly, leaving most of their trashes behind. It was also pointless to stay because the awarding ceremony is out of our sight.

We met up with the rest of the Duta Vista guests at PC2. The Indian couple’s the lucky one this time. Their team won and somehow, we had fun reviewing the race while our van crawls its way back to the hotel due to heavy traffic. We arrived at the hotel by past 8 p.m.

Been To Malaysia for real

It’s been almost a month already when we had our vacation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Even until now, during pauses in between work and other activities, I would find myself wondering if I had been to Malaysia for real. It was as if the 7-day trip went by so fast as an F1 car would in one lap.

Come to think of it, it was our F1 fanaticism that started this trip in the first place. My wife and I planned this trip, initially, just to see the 2007 F1 Sepang race. Sooner we’d learn that the minimum number of days our time share account would allow us is one week. Well, who gets upset over an extended vacation? If there’s anyone, it won’t be us. So to make this a vacation more fun, we convinced her brother and sister-in-law to tag along.

 Our trip started on a Good Friday.

The airline was Airasia. Despite the long drive from Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Diosdado Macapagal Internation Airport we arrived earlier than expected in Clark, Pampanga. From there, our 4-hour flight to KLIA-LCCT started by 11:45 a.m. as scheduled.

The flight was smooth and uneventful, as the weather was good. Even with the absence of in-flight entertainment—no TV, no games—the sight of distinct Malaysian flight attendants came as a bonus.

 Upon arrival at LCCT and after checking out from immigration, we were picked by a taxi service that took us to Duta Vista Executive Suite in Persiaran Ledang after an hour of interesting trip. I can still remember when I had to peer through the van’s window when I saw the Petronas Twin Towers dominating the afternoon skyline. Yup, we’re in Malaysia indeed.

Duta Vista.

Finally! F1! Fast Cars…

Finally! F1 Sepang Tickets at last!!!!!!! (Pardon the exclamations, but it’s been our much awaited event for this year).

Since my wife and I fell in love with this fast paced sport, we’ve been dreaming to see it live. So last year I was thinking that if ever we’d have to get out of this country for a vacation together, it would be the best place and time to do so. I just don’t know if she’s been thinking that way too or even ahead of me. I just know she’s been dying to see either Michael Schumacher or Kimi Raikkonen in person, win or lose. And eventually when I blurted out “we need a vacation abroad”, there was no contest, no protest – F1 Sepang is it. Disneyland is out of the picture.

And today, after a couple of months since we purchased the tickets online (and doing some blunder on the transactions) and after all the anxiety of waiting for it to be delivered, it’s now in our possession, in pristine condition. Those guys (esp. Muna) at malaysiangp.com did a very good job.

Sepang, here we come!!!

Finally! Fast Cars!

Finally! F1 Sepang Tickets at last!!!!!!! Pardon the exclamations, but it’s been our much-awaited event for this year. Since my wife and I fell in love with this fast-paced sport, we’ve been dreaming of watching it live. I was thinking last year that if ever we’d have to get out of this country for a vacation together, it would be the best place and time to do so. I just don’t know if she’s been thinking the same thing too or even ahead of me though I just know that she’s been dying to see either Michael Schumacher or Kimi Raikkonen in person, win or lose. So when I eventually blurted out, “we need a vacation abroad” there was no protest whatsoever. F1 Sepang is really it, Disneyland is just so out of the picture.

So today, after a couple of months since we purchased the tickets online (and doing some blunder during the transaction) and after all the anxiety of waiting for it to be delivered, it’s now in our possession and in pristine condition. Those guys (especially one named Muna) in malaysiangp.com did a very good job. Sepang, here we come!!!