Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We Made It!

We made it to the top of Mount Kinabalu, the 20th tallest mountain in the world!

Top of the world

The feeling at the top was indescribable. It was not an easy feat getting up to the summit. The air was thin with oxygen. I had to take calculated steps and stops to catch my breath. However, it was all worth it. Words cannot sufficiently articulate the breath-taking landscape - the view of the world below, the peaks rising above the clouds, the vast alphine meadows, and the awfully beautiful and stunning sunrise.

The climb lasted two days. The first day was a 6km trek up 3,270m to Pendant Hut where we would stop for the night before an early morning bid for the summit at 3:00am. The hike up to Pendant Hut was uneventful until the last 2km when it started raining. My poncho was with the porter who was following the rest of us behind me, so I was throughly soaked. I arrived at Pendant Hut after a 5-hour hike, shivering terribly with cold.

The goal of the first day trek - Laban Rata

After an unfitful sleep, we started our bid for the summit at 3:00am. In darkness.

Thank God for headlamps.

We finally arrived at the summit (4,092m) at around 7:00am. Some of my favorite shots along the way.

We literally ran down to Sayat Sayat Hut at 3,680m in an hour to meet the deadline for our Via Ferrata journey back to base camp. Out of our group, three opted to drop out of Via Ferrata from sheer exhaustion. Only four of us continued. It was a decision I would never regret. The view was simply spectacular and the experience was unforgettable. It was pure adrenaline rush.

For more pictures, click here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Say That Again?

We were shopping for our Kinabalu equipment and hiking shoes at a particular shop specialised in such wares. As we browsed through the racks of extremely expensive trekking clothes, we saw a dress, midi-length with collar, almost like an office attire. The tag says "Trekking Dress".

Me: What on earth is a trekking dress?
A very enthusaistic salesman (AVES): Yes, trekking dress! Very good. *nods*
Me: Who wears a trekking dress?!
AVES: Yes! Some women will buy!
Me: What on earth for?!
AVES: Yes, sometimes you trek up a mountain and you want to go to a restaurant.
Me: ...
AVES: Yes, instead of changing to a dress, they can trek immediately to the restaurant.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Random Tennis Trivia

Maria Sharapova, grunts at 100 decibels, and is louder than a small aircraft.

Wimbledon champion Serena Williams, grunts at 90 decibels, and is equivalent to a pneumatic drill.

Now, Dailymail has revealed that tennis grunt could actually improve the players' performances! Gees.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kinabalu Practice

As part of our training to Kinabalu Via Ferrata, we decided to embark on a trial of Via Ferrata at Orchard Central's BorderX. It is supposedly the world's tallest indoor Via Ferrata.


A via ferrata is Italian for "road with irons". It refers to a mountain route which is equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders, and bridges. Climbers can follow vie ferrata without needing to use their own ropes and belays, and without the risks associated with unprotected scrambling and climbing. As compared to the indoor via ferrata, the one at Kinabalu looks a lot more intimidating!

If you miss a step and fall... it would be bye-bye.

Good luck to us all. Initially, looking at the indoor wall at Orchard Central, I was thinking it would be rather easy. I even showered before I left for the indoor climb, thinking it would be free of perspiration. It looks like it just involves climbing up rungs, doesn't it?

How wrong I was! Turns out it was extremely nerve-wrecking. I was holding on for my dear life in many instances, trying not to glance down at the ground floor of the mall ten stories away. At one time, Candice's watch fell into the abyss of the ground floor. I looked down at the guys resting at a narrow ledge and got a bout of vertigo. Uh oh, I wonder what is going to happen at Kinabalu.

This morning, thanks to the great weather, we went for a training hike at Bukit Timah. It was quite fun, and a good time to break into my pair of Timberland hiking boots that has been neglected in the shoe cupboard. Some pictures from Clarence's phone.

Don't mess with Candice.

Well, I think more training for Kinabalu is definitely needed. How does one get rid of this sniggering fear of heights?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

It Doesn't Matter

What are the chances of meeting someone on the train, and then while crossing the road junction... all within a month?

I have plenty of friends in SG, but I don't have such freaky coincidences. One day. The day will come when it wouldn't matter enough for me to blog about it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Gluttony vs. Rationality

There has been a corporate communications guy who has been seated in our area. Apart from the initial introductory greetings, we hardly engage him in any conversations, largely because of our different work scope. For the last two weeks, he has been sick and coughing madly in his cubicle. The office aunties could be seen whispering furtively amongst themselves, shooting him dirty looks.

In our area, Amanda and I frequently engage in our men-bashing conversations. Our typical conversations might go like 'OMG! Did you read that Ryan Giggs slept with his brother's wife?! Why are men such bastards?!', 'DSK wanted to sleep with his god-daughter, is he sick?', 'Uhh, yeah, that guy is shady. He tried to pick the girl up when he's engaged!' We are oblivious to Mr corp comms, though I imagine he must cower in much fear as we male-bash with much vigour.

Anyway, as I bustled around on my crazy-busy work day today, Mr corp comms suddenly stuck his arm out, grinned, and offered me chocolate biscuits! I stopped in surprise, looked at the biscuits which was very chocolatey, resembling Tim-Tams. Instinctively, my fingers shot out to take a piece.

Okay, now, imagine this in slow-mo. The battle of my brain vs. my impulsive fingers.

Brain: Hello, are you sure you want that?
Fingers: Yeah, why not? Tim-Tams! Top-notch.
Brain: Hello, did you not see him coughing his guts out last 2 weeks?
Fingers: Tim-Tams! Tim-Tams!
Brain: As he coughed, all the germs were probably sprinkled amongst his snacks...

Right at that moment, my fingers which were inches away from a Tim-Tim, curled away (much to the relief of the escaped biscuit). I think the hesistation lasted 5 seconds. As I looked up, the grin was wiped off from Mr corp comms' face and was replaced by a confused raised eye brow.

'Haaaa,' I squeaked. 'Maybe Later!'

Beyond Pighood

Have you read about the latest? Not only did Ryan Giggs, the once-droolworthy and humble soccer player in Manchester United, cheat on his wife with a 6-month affair, he also slept with his brother's wife regularly. OMFG, what is the world coming to?

As Imogen Thomas aptly puts it, "The wives of the soccer players have the choice to walk away or put up with it. The reason why some footballers cheat is because they can get away with it."

Condoning such behaviours simply makes them think they are going to get away with it. Without any punishment, you'd think they learn?