Team Tortoise are Cheryl, Min, Opus, Elaine and Carrie

5 torts making their slow and steady ascent up Mt Kinabalu...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time to buy those headlamps!

With the handing over of deposits on 26 March 10 at the travel agent, there was no turning back.

And we have our first training report!

Opus's training report: 29 March

Walked up another 14 flights of stairs yesterday. All the HDB blocks around my estate are short!

14 flights of stairs?!? Don't be such an over-achiever lah! :P


You know, I was reading about the 14 flights of stairs and contrasting it with my own weekend stairs experience i.e. climbed up the stairs (30 steps?) at church on Sun and felt the lactic acid build up… and thought to myself, nah, won’t share that with the rest!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Extreme teeth plucking adventure

I shared my pain with Opus and Elaine about the wisdom teeth.

Anyone got your wisdom tooth extracted? I have a wisdom tooth issue now. Gums infected. Pain. And I am soo scared to remove it. They will cut open my gum, mash my tooth. Blood! Scared!!!

Dont' be scared. I had mine all taken out years ago. Are you doing yours under local anesthesia or GA? I've had both! i didn't have pain though cos mine weren't bad yet. The tooth was impacted - growing sideways - but wasn't causing issues yet. you'll be fine! - Opus

I had mine taken out years ago too under local anesthesia and it was fine. It was growing sideways and hurt me like hell so was most relieved to have it removed. In fact, had all 4 taken out even though only the bottom ones were causing me trouble. Do it asap, don't wait! Don't scared! - Elaine

Previously, when I had issues with the wisdom teeth, I would just tahan and gargle with mouthwash since I was too chicken to extract. But I had added resolve this time - it crossed my mind that my tooth could act up while I was doing the climb and it would really spoil the experience.

I'd treat this as an adventure. A teeth plucking one! Since I wouldn't be able to eat properly, I carbo-loaded the night before. Curry noodles. Ice cream. In the morning, I had bee hoon for breakfast.

My dentist, Dr Thong was my childhood dentist.

I've seen him since I was 5 for dental work and he is responsible for every tooth extraction and filling in my mouth. I gave him a mini scare when I whipped out a camera to take a picture of him. He is so hip and happening, he asked me if it was for my Facebook.

They kitted me out in the surgical robes and made me lie down. I knew what was going to happen next by the instruments which were in Dr Thong's hands.

Injection - anesthesia
Blade - cutting of gum
Suction tube - for the blood and gore
Drill - to cut away parts of the bone
Pliers - for the pulling

It lasted for 60 minutes while my eyes were wide open and my knuckles were white, gripping on the sides of the dentist's chair. Even though they used modern instruments, it was quite a cave woman experience. Blood. Loud drilling. Violent pulling. Dr Thong really went for it and yanked out the monsters from the gums with the roots intact.

Like a gladiator who had just won a bloody battle, he held up each tooth like a dismembered head from the enemy. I was relieved that the monsters were out for good.

As if he could read my mind, he said:

Take it easy, no exercise today. No exercise for a week.

But this is me at the Ion mrt station just after the teeth plucking. Would I take the escalator or stairs? The answer was clear.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Interview with Elaine's Amazing Not Stinky Trekking Shoe

When did you start becoming Elaine's shoe? How long have you been in this relationship with her feet?

Elaine adopted me from Snow + Rock, London one cold dreary lunch time in Feb 2005. Our maiden outing together was to Tignes, France for a ski trip. Since then, encounters with Elaine's feet are on average once a year when she goes traipsing off to some obscure corner of the earth. So basically, she takes me to high altitude places, in snow and in earth.

Where have you been?

Tignes, France - ski slopes
Niseko, Japan - ski slopes (twice!)
Bhutan - trekking
Inca Trail, Peru - trekking. We saw Machu Picchu!
Whistler / Vancouver, Canada - ski slopes

What is your favourite travel location. Why?

Of the above, fav spot must be Machu Picchu! Can't get more awesome than following in the footsteps of the ancient Incas (literally!). 4 whole days trekking across the Andes Mountains to the spectacular ancient city of Machu Picchu. But oh boy, being up close and personal with Elaine's feet for >8 hours a day was hard work...

What do you think makes a good trekking shoe? Do you think you are a good trekking shoe?

Modesty is not my greatest virtue, but honesty is. And honestly, I am a superb trekking shoe. Light, comfortable and I provide excellent ankle support and grip for slippery and treacherous situations. And surely you'd admit I look pretty darn good too?

High tops or low tops - which one is better?

High cut or low cut - I can't quite say (though I'm biased towards low cuts). But Elaine has tried both types and prefers low cuts for comfort.

What is your favourite movie?

Fav movie?? Dude, I can't see beyond 5 inches above ground!

Does Elaine have stinky feet?

No, Elaine's feet don't smell. But I note evidences of past leech bites and calluses from insufficient pedicure outings.

Have you ever climbed a mountain?

As mentioned above, have been up several mountains but can't say I've climbed any, in the true sense of the word.

Thank you, it has been a pleasure talking to you!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Party of 5

After a few rejections, I knew better than to keep my hopes up.

In December 09, Elaine texted about having lunch. She had a little window in her super busy social calender to have lunch before the new year clicked over.

We hadn't seen each other for ages. The exact details of our lunch conversation, I forget. But the pieces started to fit. Elaine runs 10ks. She's hiked to Bhutan, Peru and all sorts of exotic locations. I wondered if she had gone to KK? Would she want to do this?

So I popped the question.

Want to climb Mountain Kinabalu in 2010?

She said yes!

Then I emailed Opus who also runs 10ks. Who also said yes!

I wasn't sure they were sure. I told them that there was no better time. Better now than when the big 40 hits us.

For Min, I asked her during a morning walk in Botanics. She had just drawn swans, catfish and terrapin. She is most happy with her sketchbook in hand and surrounded by nature.

Whatever it was, after popping the question 4 times, they agreed. First Elaine. Then Opus. Then Min and Cheryl.

I met Cheryl at a Chinese New Year gathering this year which I almost didn't go to, feeling anti social. I met my husband 19 years ago also at a party I didn't want to go to. Like most social events I don't want to go to, I tend to meet the most significant people.

The travel agent couldn't believe that everyone agreed.

They'll change their mind after seeing the photos of the staircases.

When you suggest, sure they'll say they're on...then after that all sorts of excuses.

Usually I confirm groups of 2 or 4. Pairs because the girlfriend signs up, then the boyfriend no choice has to sign up also.

So I highlighted the ugly bits.

The ugly
  • First part of the climb will be views of mountain huts and 6 hours of staircases.
  • Then we stay in unheated lodging with many people in one room and it will be very cold, 7-9 degrees with winds. Communal toilet for your enjoyment. Low water pressure in the shower.
  • Second part of climb to the summit will be in total darkness for 3 hours. More staircases and scrambling up a steep rock face where you will be holding onto a rope for your dear life and finding it hard to breathe due to the thin air.
  • And if you thought going up was bad, going down is #$!% on the knees.

And the answer was still - Yes!

I've been told that the hill top lodging is very basic (read: spartan and just bearable), but c'mon, it'll only be for a couple of hours. We should really just worry about the climb. But who ever said scaling a mountain was easy? Isn't that part of the reason why we nutters signed up for this? Haha, think of the feeling of triumph when we get to the summit! So shall we go buy some head torches? - Elaine

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Saw Cheryl at this morning's Biathlon. I took a pic with her. Of course, I had to. We talked about oxygen canisters. That woman is serious about taking them up the mountain.

This is my second time at the Biathlon and Cheryl's third. (Hope to keep doing this until I'm old enough for the veteran category.) She was very cool and blase about it. 1.5 k sea swim is like nothing for her when she can out swim the shark and conquer 10 k sea swims.

My thoughts were on getting out of the sea alive while her main concern was avoiding sunburn.

She asked me whether I wanted to apply sun block. SPF 50.

Pic of the ugly swim start. I got kicked several times on my goggles and was stung by sea urchins. Why do I do this?

After the swim, we had to run 10k. This year, I hardly trained for the run so my race strategy was to locate a cute guy I could pace behind and chase him down the East Coast Park for 10k. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any.

What is a blog without a food photo? The hokkien mee I had at the lagoon hawker centre. Firm fresh prawns, squid, carbs with sambal belachan and lime. It was soo good.