Didn’t sleep the night before so that I could finish up all my work and not having to worry as Alice and myself prepared to go for a 3-day long event organized by General Motors. Simply Jean was invited to join in this drive-away to Port Dickson to experience for ourselves not just the performance of the car, but the fun that all Chevrolet owners love.

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We arrived at GM ODC along Benoi Road early in the morning along with Clarence from EartH9. It was… EMPTY! Actually… we realised that we were too early. We were supposed to be switch over to a Chevrolet sedan which will see us through from Singapore to Malacca to Port Dickson and back. Just as we thought that it’s just going to be a drive-stay-drive (back) trip, it was a fun-laced event organized by GM and RoadVentures.

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First thing first, we had to dress up our car according to the pirates theme of the driveaway! I am not particularly a good dresser, but what I didn’t expect was that Clarence brought every single thing that was needed! Haha… never expected him to be such an enthusiastic person (oops!). While we decorated our car with pirate stuffs (no, not pirated DVDs and CDs – those are meant to be left at home) it was quite obvious who the winners would be, Heh. And oh, even though the theme was supposed to be “Pirates of Chevrolet”, we thought – for a short moment – that it was “Santa of Chevrolet”…

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Yeah… we were all happily pasting decals all over the place. And oh, the secret to doing it correctly is to actually use soap water and spraying it onto the target location before pasting the car decal on it. With the soap, it is still possible to move the decal while it is in place.

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And with all family-friendly outings, there were children – many in fact… happily running around while their parents watched on.

7:00am: We had a short briefing and were given tulips (road directions) from which we are supposed to find our way to the next destination. Making use of our odometers and distance markers along the North-South Highway, we were supposed to reach our first destination – Shalala Coffee. For a Friday morning, the causeway was quite crowded. The officers must be wondering on the sudden influx of Chevys. And oh, our Shell car decal came lose and flew to the Chevy behind us. Thankfully it got caught onto their bumper instead. Oops!

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While going through the customs, our car was stopped for a boot check. Analysing the situation, we deduced that all cars with a male were stopped for the check, as well as getting their fingerprints. Hmm… must be a new way of catching Mas Selamat. You can find your face but not your fingerprints. Then again, I don’t think he’ll be stupid enough to escape through the immigration systems.

After we cleared the customs, we were on our way to Shalala Coffee. Trust me, we almost thought we were on the wrong track because none of the earlier cars were in sight! Thinking that we must have been really slow… the accelerator was floored. From 90, we went up to 100, 110, 120 and eventually 150! Goodness! And we didn’t feel like we were moving that fast! The Chevrolet Optra was unbelievably stable compared to some other 1.6L sedans where the steering wheel starts shaking the moment the car hits 120.

And the best part was… there was still no sight of other Chevrolets in front! Goodness! They must be flooring at least 150 to disappear that fast after the customs!

10:18am: We were given the next set of tulips from Shalala Coffee and headed off to Malacca. We were given about 2 and 1/2 hours and were supposed to look for answers for a set of clues given to us. Think Amazing Race. Heh. At first glance, we thought we got most of the answers, but proceeded to the destination just to be sure.

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Did I mention that we saw cute little friendly kittens? =)

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Now, when we arrived there, I think we just got more confused! Haha… “Don’t leave home without it” is clearly “American Express”, but we ended up thinking that it’s “Ang’s Pharmacy”. Perhaps we had been thinking too much.

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We spent over an hour walking up and down the street, not knowing exactly what we were supposed to look for. As time passed,  more and more teams started showing up and everyone kept hush about what their answers were. There was a picture that Clarence kept thinking contained an answer to one of the clues. Heh. I’m not going to say anything about that. =P

12:17pm: We were on time! We managed to do as good as we could with just 30 seconds left to our 2.5 hours time limit! Following which, we would have gotten 10 marks penalty for every 15 minutes late. Heh. Slowly, all the teams begin to stream in – but considering that we left rather late, we were quite sure that a handful of them probably had some points deducted. Kekekeke…

Lunch was Paranakan food at Oh Sayang (or was it Oei Sayang?). However, instead of taking pictures of the food, we ended up taking photos of a small girl from another team. Heh. She’s really cute – don’t you think so? =)

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2:00pm: We left after lunch to continue on our quest for part 2 of the treasure hunt. We were closely tailgated by other teams and even when we tried to shake them off, it was to no avail. In fact, we thought we saw as many as 4 teams (each in their Chevys) following so closely that they beat the red light! Wah… hiong ah

We were supposed to find some flowers and animals but there were a few clues that were very confusing… like “flag of Bangladesh if it is white”. We were like… DUH?! It turned out that we were supposed to take a photo of a white lily. And oh, there was also supposed to be a zoo, and we were supposed to look for an ostrich… but all we found was…

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And

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The first one is big but not real while the second one is real but a tad too small. Oh well… I am not sure if anyone managed to find the ostrich, but well, we tried out best. We were also advised not to spend too much time here and we left soon so as not to get any penalty.

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The next and perhaps the final stop was at the range – where sharp shooters pit against each other. Well, I am no sharp shooter, but I was assigned to be the shooter for this round.

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Yeah… that’s me. The post is not bad hor? =P

We managed to get 5 out of 10 shots this round… meaning, we got 50 points! Yeah! And the rush to the hotel is now on. Apparently, we have about 40 minutes lead. Shucks! Should have hunted for the ostrich instead. Oh well…

4:45pm: Yeah! We were the first to the hotel! And we were overtaken by a Skyline who happened to be one of the team organizers. Talk about driving safely! Heh. Wait till they see my skills at the Sepang Race Tracks tomorrow! Muahahaha…

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The Guoman Hotels @ Port Dickson was a very nice place. The rooms were big and came with an extra balcony. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get one will the sea/pool view.

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We rested for a while before joining the rest of the Chevy teams for dinner. Dinner was buffet styled free n’ easy and we spoke to some of the GM staff on the event. We thought that it was a very good chance for Chevy owners to get together. We also found out that each member in each team probably just paid for the accommodation and everything else was heavy subsidised by GM. Apparently, this is the 3rd driveaway in running. Heh. I hope they will drive to somewhere in one of the highlands next year. =P Not too sure if it’s going to be good for the engines though. Hmm…

This driveaway also let me know more about Chevrolet cars. I would have thought that it’s a little unfortunate that Chevy took over the Korean plants… which created the impression that Chevy cars are Daewoo cars. The drive up changed my impression of Chevy cars – at least for the Optra, which seems like a sturdy car. In fact, it took a little bit of getting used to when I first drove it out of GM ODC in the morning because I was expecting it to be a rather light car. Haha…

The light controls are on the left hand side of the car – which is different from Japanese cars, which are usually on the right. The automatic transmission gear shifter also has some safety features which requires the driver to press the shifter in before changing to the reverse gear. Admittedly, I accidently engaged the reverse gear while I was driving my car along the road. I think I was trying to change from “S” to “D” but guess I pushed too hard. So, kudos for Chevy on this too.

The Optra probably came in at least 2 other models – the sedan and the hatchback, of which the latter is probably replaced by the Optra Estate, which is pretty much like a station wagon. Quite a nice experience, I must say.

Ok… that’s all for Day 1. Do watch out for Day 2 as we prepare to kick some action at the Sepang F1 Race Track!

More photos will be made available at http://photos.simplyjean.com =)



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