the BIG one

February 5th, 2008

it’s crunch time and a whole host of thoughts are swirling about in a rather unsettling fashion in my little mental universe.

so it’s crunch time. 6 more weeks till the BIG ONE. everest, that is.

these days, when i contemplate the fact that in 6 weeks (i.e. next month) i’ll actually be looking up at everest, it just completely blows my mind.

i was telling yihui yesterday, in betwwen huffs and puffs on a morning trail run, that i think this everest climb will be like nothing we’ve ever done or ever will do. duh.

everest has been a goal for so long and it’s been something that i’ve pushed myself so hard for over the past few years. now that i’m actually about to embark on it, i find myself totally excited, but at the same time, also highly uneasy that there’s no longer a comforting “future time” as a buffer, when actual contemplation of the climb and its consequences can be relegated to “later” and one is pretty much buoyed up by the very idea of climbing.

see? crunch time.

in all honesty, i feel it is impossible for any climber to seriously declare that he or she is fully prepared and is secure in the knowledge that every single bit of ground has been covered and every single muscle fibre is ready for that one big day at the top. at best, i think we all just pray and hope that some happy twist of fate will help save the day when even the best laid plans fall short.

it’s the fact that everest has so much history behind it that pretty much awes me and puts my little position in perspective. there have been so many mountaineering “greats” on the slopes of everest throughout its history: hillary, bonnington, messner, boukreev, viesturs among others and i find myself wondering if i am even worthy to step foot on everest’s slopes.

everest has produced so many remarkable successes, so many tragic mishaps, so many stories and so many tales that have become legends and where among all these incredible feats and heart-rending losses, do i now stand? as much as i am psyched by the challenge, i am afraid that i am not worthy enough to stand where other much better climbers have stood, climbing the same mountain.

it’s a strange feeling.

i’ve spent the last four years staring up at a map of everest on my wall (the very same map that moves around with me, depending on where i spend the most hours, from my home, to hostel and now, office) and i feel like i know the mountain on some level, it’s geography, how the khumbu icefalls looks like, where the camps are, how long it may take to the summit, how bad the weather can be, how tough the lhotse face is, the bottleneck at the hillary step…yet i know absolutely nothing about it.

maybe, that’s the ironic magnetism of everest and mountaineering in general. we spend years making plans, refining schedules, testing out high-tech gear, reading up on other expedition reports, hoping to just get that extra little edge to give us a better shot at what may be waiting for us up high. yet, despite the most meticulous plans, perfect health and most expensive equipment, how many of us still utter a prayer to an ambiguous, probably indifferent, mountain god under our breath to just please, please grant us safe passage.   

i know i always do.

o_O

December 18th, 2007

i just read lihui’s past blog entry about how she’s being spread too thin. i think all of us in the team echo her sentiments.

if i could have just ONE day, when my phone doesn’t ring, my email inboxes don’t flood, when i don’t need to go for any meeting, attend some event or write another proposal…then maybe it’s time for me to buy 4D cuz it must be a damn lucky day.

thing is, i don’t enjoy being idle and a healthy bit of rushing around is always preferable than staying at home twiddling my thumbs. 

it’s when i find myself squeezing in really rushed 1-hr workouts at breakneck speed, finishing only half of what i originally intended for the day and then blowing $25 (damn fare hikes!!!) on cab fare just so i can be somewhere just in time, then all is not right in jane’s universe. this has been life for the past few weeks, for as long as i can remember.

these days, it’s getting increasingly hard to drag myself up at the crack of dawn to train. i still think that i get the best training done before work, but these mornings, waking up has become a severe pain in the butt. most days, i wake up feeling like i’m not too sure when i even fell asleep. i’m convinced everyone in the team, bleary-eyed as we all are, have been there.

at present, i’m looking at all the things i have on my plate: team commitments, training, work, family and i’m finding that i’m tripping and tumbling between all these stools, with nothing done to perfection because there simply isn’t enough time or me to go around.

nevertheless, i look forward to the day when i’m standing at the airport with the girls, bags and barrels all packed with a plane ticket for kathmandu and a permit for everest. THEN maybe i’ll be able to get some rest. until the plane lands that is.

on a brighter note, i did have one merry day two weeks ago (alas, i have no time to blog regularly, so everything is backdated. haha) when kyo and tristan (kyo’s nephew) celebrated their birthdays together at the singapore art museum!


kyo, aged as he is at 27, carrying (in a not very comfy fashion), 1-year old tristan!


my turn to carry the munchkin! he looks slightly quizzical… my smile is actually misleading. baby weighs a hefty 11kg!


the SPC peeps! =D


andy tan…


andy ding…


my god. andy what is wrong with you??


my birthday present for baby!!! a rocking horse! from what i hear, the munchkin is making meals out of the horse’s mane though… 0_O

  
kyo and i went for ZoukOut. pictures taken near one of the entrances.

which was about as far as we got.

barely an hour into the event, both of us simultaneously decided to GO HOME and eat supper. talk about getting old. and boring. and unhappening.

kyo (30 mins after our arrival, about as long as it took us to park): er…are you getting bored yet?

me (45 mins after our arrival, the interim 15mins during which we bumped into an spc friend who was drinking out of a hydration pack filled with booze…): we have to train tomorrow right?

kyo (50 mins after our arrival and 2 orange juices later): ok i’m sleepy let’s go.

thus, there ended the extent of our stoned ZoukOut conversation and partygoing experience.

we’re growing old without a social calendar.

loh-mance…

November 23rd, 2007

One of the best things i love about working in RP, is the fact that my office is at the Sports Complex, i.e. having an olympic-sized pool at my doorstep! I went for a lunch-time swim with some colleagues (another bonus: colleagues for company!) since the day was too beautiful to not be in the pool. Finished a 50-lap swim and I feel GREAT!

Swimming has got to be the most boring sport in my books, but I’m addicted to the after effect of feeling really taut and toned after a long swim (even though it only lasts until after the next meal). After a long run, i just feel like jello and after a stairs session, the only thing I feel is this overall soreness and bloatiness which I attribute to having a hip belt pressing down and ankle weights weighing down on me.

Perhaps if I invested in a nifty underwater mp3 player (it really exists by the way), long swims will be less tedious.

xxxxx

For the first time in two weeks, I had some spare time for myself last night. In between the conclusion of one meeting over beer at the Penny Black and waiting for Kyo to meet me for dinner, I had half an hour to myself during which I didn’t have to rush off to meet someone, do something, be some place or get somewhere. What a luxury.

I took a nice stroll down from Boat Quay to the Esplanade and at the park area near the waterfront, there was this couple that was walking towards me and all of a sudden, the guy just stopped and pulled the girl down in a totally exaggerated Hollywood-style kiss that can only happen in the movies.

If the couple caught up in the acrobatic liplock had bothered to surface for air, they would have seen me walking past with a quizzical frown. Don’t get me wrong though, I wasn’t furrowing my brows from the perspective of a prude, cuz god knows what I’m guilty of, but it’s the fact that such acts of spontaneous romance can still exist.

I think I have unconsciously become a romance-cynic.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the nice things like a lift home after a long day at work or a  sandwich waiting for me after training, but it’s the entire stable of that romantic spiel of flowers, candy, hallmark cards, hot air balloon proposals and related “grand gestures” that just inspire a raised eyebrow.

Just what is the deal with “romance” anyway? We’re sold bucket-loads of it every year during Valentine’s Day. And from all that lovey dovey blitz that I’ve been bombarded with over the years, I am supposed to feel as unloved, unwanted and undesirable as a three-legged cat with a flea infestation and one eye, if I am not wined, dined, given hallmark-approved “surprises” and the like.

Anyone with enough time on his hands to execute some (pretty standard) planning can be romantic. A large part of the romantic appeal is that “Oh! I didn’t expect this!” factor that comes from being spontaneously surprised, but isn’t romance just a small word for one big premediated effort? If you ask me, lust can be spontaneous, love is nurtured and romance is well, just premediated.

I think life is too short to be wasted beating around the bush. Which is essentially what romance is all about isn’t it? Showing love and appreciation with the help of flowers, cards, bears, limos, dancing gorillas, gondola rides and sky-writing.

By my standards, true love only comes in one form and it doesn’t involve surprising grand gestures: when your boyfriend doesn’t make the choice between beloved PSP or girlfriend time and instead, gives you the PSP to amuse yourself on the commute to work. =)

=D Happiness!

November 16th, 2007

My legs are aching, but I’m totally pleased. =) Yihui and I (together with Kyo) ran 30km yesterday evening! Damn shiok. We hadn’t done such a long distance in a while and our wheels and cogs were a mite rusty, but it was gratifying to know that our endurance base was still sufficiently in place to allow for an impromptu 30km run without too much agony.

During the run, Yihui and I did the usual reminiscing about past climbs and we were musing about how much we missed Cho Oyu, being on the climb, the regular grind of acclimatization climbs, the base camp atmosphere, staying at our tents, driving across tibet on 4WDs and enjoying naan and lassi in Kathmandu. After having gone through that entire experience, it seemed so surreal as if it belonged to some other past life and there we were, running at east coast (again, as we have over the past few years) talking about it. One thing we totally agreed upon, was that after having survived Cho Oyu, most notably our amazing 19 hour summit day (during which NONE of us went to pee, to the amazement of our sherpas), nothing can be impossible, much less a 30km run. 

It’s a comforting source of confidence to have, that having been pushed to the brink and back on Cho Oyu (almost to the point of crawling in the process, very unglam), we’ll always have something as a yardstick of exhaustion to compare the rest of our training to. But only until Everest that is. =) So yes, being superultramegashack at some point does have its eventual benefits.  

xxx

On another note, I went for a recce at Pulau Ubin with my colleagues David and Seung and I never expected the following view:

That’s David pointing out the edge for the quarry jump. I didn’t realise that Ubin has such a big scenic quarry. Although it did require us to remove a section of the surrounding fence to crawl into the area to find out… Not that I recommend it, but it’s all in the name of a fruitful recce! Thanks to the Ubin “lao-chiaos”, I got to visit mountain biking trails that were off the beaten track! And there aren’t many of these left anymore. Yeah, so visit Ubin, before it gets any more “prettied up” than it already is and becomes another Sentosa.

FREE BEER!

November 6th, 2007

 

6 babes, free beer and an adrenalin rush???

Man this is just too good to be true!

Ok, so the term “babes” is pushing it a little, the beer isn’t exactly free and the adrenalin rush may be vicarious, but what the hell, come down for the MARMOT MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL anyway!

The event will be held on the 15 of Dec at Ice Cold Beer, which is a pub on the ground floor of SMU, on the side facing Chijmes. Come find out more about our amazing Cho Oyu climb from our video and slideshow presentation and we’ll tell you how we braved 8000m and returned triumphant from the jaws of death! we’ll show you photos of death-defying high altitude stunts and showcase videography at its most extreme!

Obviously, I’m bragging, but hey, with the FREE FLOW of Stella Artois beer, you won’t even notice after a while.

All proceeds from the ticket sales will directly go to the team so if you’ve been thinking for ways and means to fulfil some karmic duty and help us, then this is it!

Details:

Marmot Mountain Festival
15 Dec
3pm till late (we promise to entertain)
Ice Cold Beer (SMU ground floor)
$30, inclusive of food and free flow of beer
Tickets are available at Camper’s Corner #01-13, Capitol Building (It’s the white building directly opposite City Hall MRT and diagonally across the road from Raffles City shopping centre.)

_________________________________

In other news, I’m totally pleased. My horribly sprained left ankle (thanks to a particularly careless trail run at MacRitchie) has finally healed! Or at least, it has healed enough for me to run! I did a 10km run yesterday after an agonizing one week hiatus and it was great! It’s amazing what post-run endorphins can do for you. I was feeling crabby the entire week with lots of excess energy that upper body weights training wasn’t dissipating well enough. So yippeeeee I’m back! And in good time, with less than 4 weeks to the marathon.

Speaking of marathon, Yihui, Lihui, Esther and myself are taking part in this weekend’s vertical marathon. We may just turn up in our packs and decked out in our climbing gear for kicks. Wave if you see us. =)

jane blogs again. yikes.

November 5th, 2007

i’ve gone and done it again. not blog for yonks. i maintain that i was always meant to be a luddite and all things that come with wires are repelled from me.

the singapore river regatta came and went this weekend past. on a happy note, my younger brother, paddling for RP, took home a silver medal in the men’s open category. yay for younger brothers! =)

on a not too merry note, i realised just how much i missed the whole being in spc (singapore paddle club) thing! true, i only paddled for sava ’06, but because of my relationship with kyo, a permanent dragonboat fixture since like 1965, it seems like i’ve been around the sport for a much longer time.

climbing is my first love, but i’m also a real water baby at heart and when i was actually training for it during the post mustagh climb break last year, i thought the sport was totally fun. no plans of hanging up my crampons EVER, but hey, there’ll be some room for more paddling in the post-Everest future. =)

i was only at the race for short periods last weekend, but that was long enough to catch up with some old friends and timely enough to get a load of kyo’s broken paddle. which i thought, in utterly bimbo fashion, was such a turn on. kyo actually managed to break his carbon paddle in half while doing a draw stroke before a race start. without much consideration for consequence, i thought hefting a broken paddle was pretty amazing, to his consternation.

anyway, on an even more ridiculous note, i shall leave off with some monday comic relief, courtesy of mr a*** t**. some things (and people) just never change. =)

you HAVE to see this!

colleagues @ rp!

October 19th, 2007

i’ve become annoying and used the ubiquitous @ xxx that government bodies and organizations seem to love these days. the spelling proficiency of our nation has a strange inverse relationship to literacy rates. just think of smartass “convergent” names like “skindulgence” which i saw the other day and the like. anyway.

PR a bit… haha

i’ve survived my first week of work and i actually think i may have chanced upon a happy niche for myself! things have been great, largely thanks to a team of “same wavelength” colleagues. to illustrate, our office is now known affectionately as “base camp” and sabrina, one of the managers, refers to the stickiness of problems in terms of climbing lingo: “i think that’s a 6b+ problem ah; wa lau! this one 8a man!”. here, people actually exemplify the oft-touted but less practised “work-life balance”. training is encouraged and everyone went play floorball before lunch today (i’m sat this one out to rest for my 20km run after work–it’s not an excuse to nuah btw. jane isn’t superhuman! =P). it’s totally cool that everyone’s passionate about the outdoors, physically fit, into sports and has a particular “pet” adventure sport where their expertise runs! it’s such a far cry from my last job, where i felt uncomfortable not doing voluntary O.T like everyone else and left on time instead to go for training. it’s great to no longer be the weird odd one out. =)

introducing…

pringles!

this is pringles, my rp bear. he resides permanently in my harness bag and he doesn’t tend to do very much except stare pensively into space, through his little mesh peep holes. in the forseeable future, he’ll make a good fish tank algae scrubber for the office. i’m sure he’s pretty absorbent.

assorted fishies!

    

the office pets! there’s the tank of angel fish that just stay motionless alot, sort of like pringles, plus 1 x sucker fish that was seconded from a tank in the pantry to do the job of eating the tank algae. so far, it has been rather inefficient, which is why pringles may have to be activated very soon. there’s also a landscaped tank of teeny fish that no one can see, or pays any attention to.

seung!

seung joined rp at the same time as me, but as you can tell, for some inexplicable reason, he’s experiencing some preliminary work stress. it could be because he’s the honorary office “receptionist”, since the open door literally bangs smack into his desk. i’m not too sure if it’s the work stress, or if he’s manifesting some sort of disturbing psychotic tendency. he’s actually an avid biker. both the engine type and the manual huff-and-puff kind, hence explaining the weirdass bike part he’s holding. i’m sure load-testing on parts has achieved a measure of technological advancement, so he’s still a little old school here.

sab!

this is sabrina, who deserves special mention as the FIRST BUYER OF THE TEAM’S 2008 FUNDRAISING CALENDAR (btw, if you should require a super gorgeous wall calendar replete with awesome climbing shots taken by the team, which we ALL do, since calendars are such an important staple of life, contact us to purchase a copy and contribute to the everest expedition! more shameless PR. =D) since she was the VERY FIRST BUYER, sabrina received a totally cute yellow “hug me” teddy bear wall hook. she’s into collecting wall hooks. people have all sorts of collecting hobbies these days: stamps, antique toys, college degrees, random bed partners, and now, wall hooks. so i thought cute bear wall hook was really sweet, until the warped recesses of sabrina’s mind popped to the fore and she had to remark:

“eh the bear like a bit obscene hor?”

 

said offending bear.

and that, from the person who has been asking people rather coquettishly: “do you want my buns? they’re sticky and sweet”…

wall hooks aside, sab is the culprit behind all the dive gear clogging my work space, but since she’s also a contact rugby player, i try not to whine too loudly about that fact:

fortunately, i thrive in mess, sort of like log moss and leaf litter insects, so i’ve pretty much settled into our storeroom of an office.

dinosaur!

this is david, better known as “giant david”. others get lazy and abbreviate that to “GD”, which is rather unfortunate, since that acronym has been misinterpreted before as “GoonDu”. he’s also my reporting officer, so i try not to be too blunt about the fact that huge people should not wear size S t-shirts for the sake of everyone else’s optical comfort. david’s the antarctica man, having skiied to the south pole in 2000, but his “waaaaa” factor is severely downgraded by his obsession with the “salted egg superman”. i guess too many years in OBS instills a sort of strange ultraman idolatry.

michael!

this is michael. he’s the damn zai rock climber in the dept. in real life, he’s pretty hamsum and lean (0% fat content! don’t play play…), but he has ruined his image here by choosing to take the “sensitive new age guy” thing one step too far. i maintain that guys and cuddly bears don’t go together. those cuddly bears should join pringles in the tank algae cleaning brigade. one might even mistake michael for a hongkong superstar, especially since he insists on speaking in a faux hongkee accent, ala glenn ong’s long dead and gone honky-tonk man.

xinyi!

this is xinyi. see what i mean by guys and cuddly toys don’t go together? and notice that the office is filled with an incongruous mix of outdoor equipment, fish and stuffed toys. xinyi is my carbo-junkie partner in crime, but it’s less bad for her than it is for me, since she’s about the size of yihui divided by three. together, xinyi, michael, david and sab make up the “lim” family, cuz they’re all of the same surname. xinyi is the young lim, sab is the old lim, david is the dinosaur lim and michael’s the punk lim, all for rather obvious reasons. haha

the fallen comrade!

then there’s jean, the adventure racer of the group and i haven’t seen her yet cuz she’s on mc from a burn! aieeeee… i hope she recuperates soon and comes back to work before my image of her gets increasingly distorted… for now, she will have to be represented by her bike!

the boss man…

finally, there’s wilson, the boss man. he’s the owner of all the fish in the office. i should hold my peace about him, for fear of future repurcussions. well, but if door decorations make the man, then he is damn cartoon. hurhur. 

so that’s more or less my dept and no office can be complete without it’s very own, totally out of point, banana-shaped door sign:

=)

Lookeeee!!!

October 16th, 2007

i haven’t yet fallen off the face of our planet, i’ve just been tardy in updating.

which WAS a teensy problem that i WILL rectify. =)

i’m dying to have a long blog post about the wondrous adventure that was cho oyu, but until i get my hands on the team’s entire library of photos, i shall restrain myself.

training woes…

i’ve actually been busy with training since i got back. i think i’ve become slightly paranoid. to my great horror, my running has dropped more than i expected as a result of the rigours of cho oyu and 2 months of not having done any running. last week, i did 50km over 5 days. sounds like pretty normal, pre-cho oyu standards right? like, NOOOOOO.

before cho oyu, i was clocking 50-60km a week, on top of stairs, bukit timah training, spinning and gym and i was ok. in contrast, by last sunday, i was complaining of full body aches when there wasn’t even intense weights-training to speak of. last saturday, i did a 10km run, followed by 5km of intervals and then retired home early, thanks to cramping calves. i repeated the same thing on sunday and voila! the completely intense aches and pains.

one of the not-so-great things about climbing, is the fact that i can feel like the bionic woman just before i leave and about as fit as a pack of McDonald’s fries when i get back.

so the stan-chart marathon is under two months away and there’s absolutely NO WAY i’m going to let kyo “i have been clocking billions of kms while you were climbing in a bid to outrun you” tan beat me to the finishing line.

i shall start doing “secret remedial training” without his knowledge and he’ll have to wipe his smug smirk away when i leave him in the dust (like, sure). haha.

work it…

i actually love my new job!

i started work at rp’s adventure learning centre yesterday and so far, it’s been GREAT! my office is cosy and totally looks like my room at home: there are 5 mountain bikes sticking out of cubicles, coils and coils of climbing rope heaped on a desk, helmets, harnesses and hardware just beside, running shoes on the floor and a pile of BCDs and boxes of diving regulators and masks behind my chair.  

I LOVE THE MESS! especially since it’s made up of all my favourite stuff and i’ll add my backpack and climbing boots to the stash very soon. =)

my colleagues are totally cool as well. i’ve known my manager since some years ago, cuz he climbs with the team’s mentors (they’re all from the same lao chiao group)

there are 6 ccas under my department, split between the group of us. there’s scuba diving, kayaking, adventure racing, mountain biking, trekking (mine! duh…) and strangely enough, astronomy.

the best part of all this is, part of my workplan is to set up a mountaineering club! so now i’m in the happy position of sourcing for equipment and planning for skills training. how cool is that? i shall propose expeditions based on where i want to climb next! bwhahahaha.

on a more serious note, one of the things i like best about the job is that i’ll be able to constantly upgrade my skills. as it is, i’ve already been slated for a wilderness first aid course in november and next year’s training plans include a mountain guide course overseas. the ultimate best thing of all, is that i’ll be able to get together a group of young people, train them up and then bring them on climbs! yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee fresh blood for the mountaineering circle!

anyway… my colleagues are great! 4 of us (including 2 managers, no less) spent our lunch time running together and thus, i finished my run plus intervals with company. where else will i find ppl crazy enough to willingly run in the noon day heat?

food!

guilty as charged, i’ve been eating truckloads of food the past week! although strangely enough, while i spent two months in tibet/nepal with a paltry ONE day of diarrhoea, i’ve been having the runs every single day since arriving back in singapore! ack! to think, towards the end of the cho oyu expedition, i started getting totally lazy with the whole hand-sanitizer thing, with nary a tummy rumble!

but having said that, no amount of post-gastro-indulgence suffering was enough to deter me!


literalizing pigging out…


food’s only so-so. at least the portions were satisfying =)


check this place out! it’s a newly opened dessert bar at holland village (on the second floor, opposite the subway sandwich outlet) called 2am:dessert bar. it’s owned and run by gracie (mir-team mate)’s best bud, who’s a totally talented 24 year old chef! how cool is that? it stays open till 2 am btw. duh… that’s daddy kyo sitting by his lonesome self at the counter (actually, he’s just blocking yihui, gracie and mao mao on his left). he isn’t very space-efficient.


the dessert’s almost too pretty to eat! all the ice-cream is homemade and trust me, they have THE BEST hot chocolate you will EVER taste!


with my team mates, partaking in our third most-favourite-activity (climbing and training come first and second!): eating. loads and loads of food. we had a send-off dinner for amok who was flying back to shanghai to work. my team, plus amok (expd doc), kb (base camp manager) and chu (from the other singapore team who was at cho oyu), gathered at geylang lorong 9 for a feast of numerous pots and plates of frog-leg porridge, grilled sotong, grilled stingray, pig’s trotter vinegar, fried oyster omelette, beef hor fun and boring vegetables (mostly for joanne who has given up on decimating animal numbers). damn shiok! i didn’t realise how much i missed our local fare.


met up with my gorgeous darling babe, miss lee wanyi last friday! we had dinner at hooter’s before going to barfly at clarke quay. btw, miss lee was the annoying culprit who had me going, “THIS IS JANE! YOU KNOW? JANE! YOUR HWA CHONG FRIEND JANE! THE ONE CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN!” at abc on the satellite phone, cuz she couldn’t hear me and because of the lag time, we were talking over each other. grrr.

anyway, barfly is a pretty nice place! i didn’t realise they have a live band that plays jazz (standards) and bossa nova beats.


kyo came along too. men. they’re like puppies. can’t leave them alone at home or they’ll whine…


…and once in a while, you have to let them believe that they’re somewhat attractive with the ladies.

speaking of delusional arrogance, kyo deserves to be bitchslapped once in a while. he’s going for reservist this thursday and two days ago, he remarked, “i have my ippt on thursday. i’m only worried about my pull-ups…”, to which i was like, what the hell? 

“…i’m worried that i won’t be able to make up my mind on how many i should do. just 12? or until they make me stop?”

right…


so after listening to all the hype on radio, kyo and i finally went to try out botak jones at toa payoh last saturday. here, i’m shamelessly advertising for them (since i have no idea where my food pictures went) cuz the food is actually really good! they serve great value, no frills, more-than-decent-sized western food.

plus, i like their slogan: “if you don’t look good, we don’t really care”.


found this uber pretty candy store at vivocity on sunday!


LASSI! 

i developed a taste for lassi in kathmandu. it’s great! i was going on and on about how i missed the naan and tandoori chicken in kathmandu (chu brought us to this hole-in-the-wall place, “annapurna restaurant”, in kathmandu and they serve extremely yummilicious tandoori chicken and freshly-baked naan!!!). so on sunday, kyo brought me to this apparently famous place that i have never heard of, “muthu’s curry” in little india. so they did have lassi and tandoori chicken and naan and (god forbid) CAULIFLOWER IN CURRY (our most-hated dish in cho oyu base camp…), but the food at annapurna restaurant is still waaaaaay better!  

my face looks damn red cuz it was a super hot day and earlier on (post run/gym/various forms of self-inflicted torture), kyo and i went to sentosa where we stood under the hot sun watching some animal show where macaws had a foot race with each other.


for some reason, kyo the animal-hater was enraptured with the concept of macaws on a foot race.

i digress. back to food.

yday was yet ANOTHER day of more pigging out. it’s hard to avoid pigging out when us girls get together. calvin, the boss of campers, one of the team’s partners, treated some of us to dinner at whampoa market. you have got to try the grilled seafood at stall no. 150! it’s how hup grilled seafood (or something…) and it’s awesome! we had grilled halibut, cod, squid and best of all, grilled prawns with garlic and cheese! amazing stuff!

this is precisely why whatever weight loss sustained on a climb never stays off. oh well.

hit me baby…


last saturday, kyo and i went to watch a couple of live muay thai fights for the contender show. it’s some reality tv competition that will be airing on axn on cable. there were three events, with the main event as the last. the first event was more or less a crowd warmer with the two fighters dancing around each other for the alloted 3 round; the second was the women’s championship match between thailand and australia, where it also took pretty long, finishing the alloted 5 rounds. so imagine our surprise, when during the main event (determining who gets into the quarter finals), the fight was over in less than 2 minutes! the losing guy was floored in less than 2 minutes, literally knocked out cold. paramedics rushed on stage and doused him with water and oxygen and whatnot and he was just out cold in the ring. from ONE punch! wow. looks like all that crap on wwf is more fake than i thought it was.

shall (abruptly) leave off with a super “awwwwwwwwwwwww….” picture…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.
 
staring incident… uncle vs nephew

=D

Summit bid tomorrow!

September 19th, 2007

we’re finally going for our summit cycle tomorrow! weather permitting, we’ll reach the summit on the 23rd and be back at advanced base on the 24th with a couple of rest days to ponder over the feasibility of a second summit run. pretty psyched right now, prepared and raring to go! i can’t wait to see how horrible navigating the rock band at 8000m is gonna be. wish us luck and i hope to be able to update happy news on the 24th! woohoooo! THIS IS IT!

Camp 1 & further!

September 9th, 2007

hi all! email update doubling up as a blog entry to save on our very volatile solar power source. =) been away for almost a month now and the expedition life has pretty much gotten under my skin–literally. these days, the limits of my personal hygiene are restricted to the tolerance level of my tent mate. since we all have our personal tents at ABC, i’m getting away with lots of things, the best of which is getting up in the middle of the night and not having to go to the makeshift loo outside. instead, everyone’s peeing inside tents using this really nifty pee device. anyway, i’m digressing.

so we’ve been up at camp 1 and farther on to the first ice cliff en route to camp 2. we’ll be leaving ABC tomorrow for the final acclimatization cycle, where we’ll sleep at camp 1, sleep at camp 2, climb up to camp 3, sleep back down at camp 2 and then descend all the way back to ABC and all the way down to nyalam for a final rest before the summit push sometime in mid sept. this is totally exciting. by golly we’re actually doing it!

at this point of time, i’m trying to envision the good bits (i.e reaching camp) instead of the superhuman effort it’s been taking us to climb. i swear, clearing the stretch of vertical ice on that first ice cliff before camp 2 (with a second one to go) stretched me almost to the limits of my physical endurance. front-pointing at 6700m is seriously no joke, especially not with sub-zero temperatures, howling 70km/h winds and painful spindrifts. i’ve lost more weight already than i’m comfortable with and as is it, whatever leg muscles i used to have are getting dangerously shrivelled. my shoulder and mini biceps are also non-existent and my hip bones dig painfully into the ground when i sleep on my side. i love these rest days at ABC cuz it means i can eat as much fatty bacon and eggs as i want in some vain attempt to replenish said wasted muscles. i’m swallowing as much chocolate, chips, nuts and assorted high-calorie food as humanly possible, so i’m hoping body-breakdown doesn’t happen so fast.

cho oyu is seriously MASSIVE. it’s like, HUGE. i mean, what does one expect from an 8000er anyway. it’s gigantic. i can see the entire thing from ABC and there’s always a jetstream blowing from the summit. the last time we slept up at camp 1, a massive avalanche roared off above camp 3. i guess with cho oyu, this is seriously the big league. everyone here is experienced and raring to go. i’m like probably the youngest person in the entire place and looking around, my team is probably the youngest team around. i’m getting a kick out of us being the “kiddies” on the mountain, yet we’re also the fastest, having gone up higher than anyone else at ABC.

so ABC is turning into a UN congregation. there are climbers from countries all over. we’re sharing our camp site with an american team (with two cute leaders. haha. lack of personal grooming has not fogged my eyesight over), an austrian team and another singapore team. just around the corner lie the rest of the international teams. it’s pretty amazing. all the big names in mountaineering are here, since this is cho oyu season and it’s a veritable city out here at ABC. what i’m hoping to avoid is a population explosion higher up, especially at the ice cliffs, cuz a bottleneck at altitude would be horrible and potentially fatal.