Sunday, November 18, 2012

Phuket Trip Day 3

It was a sunny day unlike the day before where it was raining heavily in the afternoon and evening. Early in the morning, we woke up, washed up, and headed down to have our simple breakfast. We were then picked up to gather at a quay to ride a speedboat to Loh Samah Island. We were waiting for a while to wait for all our boat members. And as usual, with Shane being around, he would not allow time pass by without doing something useful during a vacation like photoshooting! 

And here are some of his masterpiece. 

Soon after everyone was there, the speedboat was set off to Loh Samah Island. It was an hour ride and we were asked if to sit at the deck to experience the exciting bumping. Since we are among the youngest in the boat, we agreed to do. But it was slightly beyond our expectation, the wave was strong to bump us up and down HARD. From this trip, I got to learn that water surface could be as hard as a concrete cement wall if we fall hard on it. In another word, it could cause us to be fatal if we fall from high. Besides, sometimes the wave was high and we were seemingly going to be covered beneath it. It was scary!

After tonnes of horrifying bumping, we finally reached Loh Samah Island.

Serene Loh Samah Island

Alvin being hydrophilic was the first one to jump off the boat with a very poised posing to swim.

Then each of us slowly made our way with different poses into the crystal clear water.

I tried hard to convince myself it was not high, but
I was still scared and just slipped off with hand still gripping hard @@
Yee Voon
It was a remarkable activity to kick start our day. Our hydro-activity mode was switch on!

We were served a variety of carbonated beverage when we went onboard. Soon after, the boat was speeding to Monkey Beach. In between, we passed by Viking Cave where bird nest is being picked.

Viking Cave
We did nothing much on the Monkey Beach except feeding monkeys. =.=

Good friends forever!!!
The speedboat then propelled us to Phi Phi Don (where Ton Sai Town is located) for lunch. During 2004 Tsunami, Ton Sai Town was hit severely, many were dead and the villagers spent quite some time to make the town to come alive once again.

After lunch, YeeVoon, Alicia and Alvin were resting under the trees, while Shane and I were exploring the town, traversing in the small and merry streets selling different kinds of souvenirs.

We then made our way to our last destination, that is Khai Nai Island! I shall let the pictures below to describe how mesmerizing the island is.

We spent a quality time of few hours there relaxing, splashing water, being pushed by water wave at the seashore, and of course taking plentiful pictures.

I really thanked Shane for all the pictures as we just enjoyed ourselves but had tonnes of nice picture back after the trip. 

After Khai Nai Island, we were back to our hotel. We chose KFC as our dinner as we were too hungry to wait for seafood to be cooked etc.

After the dinner, we strolled along the happening Bangla Road which is famous for its night life.

We saw people performing magic on the street, bars staff competing against each other for tourist to visit their bars, and all sorts of souvenir shops.

Out of curiosity, we entered a bar to watch Thai Girl show. I shall not make any comment on the show, but it was indeed an eye-opening experience.

Tiger = "Thai-Girl"
We were soon worn out and could not walk back to our hotel, but flagged down a tut-tut to send us back :) 

That's Day 3, an extremely pleasant day to make us feel that we were in Phuket. 

Blood Donation at Dhoby Ghaut

I never give up pestering persuading friends around me to donate blood. I feel that giving out blood is a noble responsibility. It saves lives at no cost!

I skipped donating blood once after June and felt obliged to donate blood right after my exam. (You can see that exam took away lots of my freedom =.=) On the 4th of November, I dragged Alvin hard along to donate blood at the Blood Bank, Dhoby Ghaut. Alvin had blood-donating phobia after his one and only one donation in campus time. He felt dizzy after the donation and since then he never donated blood but just sat at a side supporting me. @@ After my never ceasing compelling effort, he finally gave in to my pestering and agreed to donate blood.

This time we had sufficient sleep and made sure we did not have too heavy nor light meal before the donation. We passed through all the requirement like hemoglobin test, blood pressure etc and proceeded to the room to start donating. Alvin asked the staff a series of questions when she was poking inserting the big needle into his vein to get blood. I bet he was very nervous but he denied it. By the time my blood oozed out for 450ml, Alvin was also done with his. (His vein is wider). We then happily left with a pack of milo.

After three times donating blood here, I am finally granted a permanent donation card. :) *happy for no reason*

For your information, it is very convenient to donate blood in Singapore as the blood banks are located near to MRT stations. They even have a professional website updating us what is needed critically at the moment. So those who are fit and are domiciled in Singapore, please donate blood regularly :)

Great Eastern Women's Run 2012

I could not recall how many years I did not run for more than 5km. But it had been around 6-7 years I did not take part in any marathon. The last one was during my Form 4 or Form 5, and it was just a 4km marathon. 

This year, as usual, my company holds the yearly inaugural women marathon in Singapore. It was on 11/11/2012. As a staff, I am given to run for free! And out of greediness, (I want the running singlet and see how does adult marathon look like), I took part in the 10km marathon.

Soon after I joined, that was also after my Mount KK hiking, I found that I need a serious training to improve my stamina. So I signed up a gym membership in True Fitness for 2 years. At a start, I really trained hard of 5km treadmill 3 times a week. But after a month, I saw no improvement in my muscle mass and deterioration in my fat mass. A friend of mine who is quite into body building told me that I instead just need to sprint for 1km then go for weight training on all sorts of body parts to improve tremendously. So I followed. Yes, I did see the results, I lost 2kg of fat mass and increased 1kg of muscle mass in one month. But of course, my short sprint will not help anything in my 10km marathon! 

Two weeks before the marathon, I stopped all the exercises due to my examination. When I resumed one day before the marathon, I had stomach cramp as I was suffering from PMS. I was like damn, tomorrow gonna be TOUGH! Still I decided to give myself a try. 

The next morning, as early as 5am, I woke up with my marathon buddy (also roommate Angie) and got ourselves prepared to the runners village. It was still pitch dark as we departed to Marina Float on a bus. But when we reached, it was crowded with runners and their families. The 21km (half marathon) was even kicked off already. 

We deposited our bag and made our way to the beginning line. As we got there quite early for the run to start, we were at the very few first rows and practically were just with those elite runners. I saw them well prepared with little bottle at their waist, mp3/smart phone wrapped at their arm. (I wanted to run with music blasting in my ears, but I just forgot to buy the band @@) I was a bit nervous, not because I was with the elite runners but afraid of my stomach cramp. 

Soon the cheerleading and warm-up session were over, GE chairman flagged off and there we started to run. Running on road is very different from running on treadmill. Each step of running on road requires equal effort paid; but each step of running on treadmill requires like half from running on road. I was uneasy as it was quite warm (when I run on treadmill, I would switch on the little fan in front of me @@). 

When I was nearing the very first km, my stomach muscle started to get tighter. And as expected when I saw the 1km sign, I suffered from stomach cramp, I could not continue but to squad down at the road side to have a rest. While I was resting I was thinking to give up repetitively as I thought I practically lost nothing for this run except the insufficient sleep for the previous night. But after 10 minutes, I continued.

This time I did not run much, but walked with fast pace coupled with little run in between. I timed myself 10 minutes for 1km. I know it was very slow, but I know with this, I would be able to get the finisher medal with the cut off time of 2 hours. Gradually, I passed by 2km, 3km, 4km... 9km, and yeah, I was still in the budgeted time. And finally I saw the finishing line! I slowly ran towards it and clocked myself at 1 hour 34 minutes. I was 6 minutes better than expectation :P Though Angie did better than me for 6 minutes without going to gym like me @@ 

Though I was not able to finish within 1 hour 15 minutes (my goal before the run), I was still happy as I did not hate marathon anymore. I hated all sorts of long-haul running during my school times. 

We then made our way to the massage tent to have a 15-minute foot massage before we called it a day. :) 

Overall it is a very good experience, and we are now calling friends to have a marathon which falls on January 27, 2013. Stay tuned for my 2013 marathon logs :) 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mount KK

A journey which requires much courage to sign up. A journey which requires much mental determination to continue. A journey which requires much physical determination to conquer. 

On 9th of August in conjunction with Singapore National Day (i.e holiday =.=), nine friends together with me started the journey of conquering South East Asia highest peak Malaysia's highest peak Mount Kota Kinabalu. Before the hiking, I had been practicing 10-floor staircase climbing everyday for three months, but as expected, it turned out to be very insufficient. We took a shorter and easier journey which started from Timpohan gate considering our team's insufficient preparation. 

In the beginning, we enjoyed the hiking very much, took a lot of pictures, chatting with other hikers, enjoying the marvelous nature creation from God etc. 

But as time passed, we grew fatigue, and our legs grew heavier, and we slowed down our pace significantly. 

The path is getting steeper and tougher
Until the final 1km to midpoint, the dark cloud started to cover up the sky, then only we speeded up a bit. The 6-km took us freaking 6 hours to reach the midpoint which is Laban Rata. By the time we reached, it was already 4pm. 

Raban Rata, the dorm we stayed overnight
When Alvin and I reached, all our friends had already reached and started taking pictures like these:

We were then served with scrumptious dinner (we were too hungry, almost all food would be delicious). We wolved down a lot and chatted a while. 

Then we headed to sleep without bathing because the heater was not working! It was only 530pm when we fell asleep. In between, we (Shane, Ziyu, Alvin and I) were constantly being disturbed by other hikers as our room was just next to the male toilet! *Pity us*

We woke up at 1am the next morning to have light supper and prepared for the next part of the journey, which was also the toughest. Everyone of us experienced little mountain sickness and we were advised to take painkillers before we kicked off. 

We started out the journey with much excitement, but were dragged down to our exhaustion pretty quickly at the very first 500m! We still had 2km to reach the peak! We painted and rested. Until at one point we had to grip the rope along us to continue advancing. It took us much courage if were to continue, as we fall, we would be vanished into the valley! And to make the things worse, it was pitched dark! And that was before we reached our very 1km! I was very lucky as I was helped greatly by our mountain guide. Alvin was the poor one as guys are normally not being assisted as usual. The mountain guide was busy attending to me, Ziyu and Hooi Ching. With the help, I reached checkpoint of 7.5km. I waited for Alvin for 30 minutes but still did not see him coming! I was scared and quickly informed the mountain guides there. They promised me they would look for him, but still I did not see Alvin coming. The mountain guides told me I must continue the journey and others would take care of Alvin (Alvin must be resting somewhere or some other mountain guides had been helping him to go down). I was hesitant for a while before I decided to continue the conquer. But after 5 minutes, I told the mountain guide next to me that I would like to give up as I was still very worried about Alvin's whereabout and being. The mountain guide encouraged me not to give up but to continue. After much hesitation, then only I continued. 

The journey was never a breeze. The wind was strong and I was lack of hydration. The water bottle was with Alvin! I had to survive, so I took some water from a mountain guide and some from my friends. Every inch of stretching the legs to advance was never easy and was very torturing. Every step was like asking me to give up. But I still continued with the help of the mountain guide, Bill and the encouragement from Hooi Ching. We finally passed by the beautiful Low Peak (peak behind Malayisa One dollar note). We did not take any picture but just to continue as it was quite late (past 6am) already. 

And finally finally finally, we reached the top, Low's Peak! Shane was waving and shouting at my name, but I simply had no energy to respond at all. 

We rested and took quite some pictures up there. 

Low Peak is the highest peak in Mount KK
Shane, Hooi Ching and I
The helpful mountain guide, Bill
As we walked down, we did not forget to take pictures with the famous South Peak.

When I reached the checkpoint once again, I was very delighted as I saw Alvin! He was there resting and taking pictures =.=. He said he was afraid the whole journey up there would be the part like before, gripping rope on the steep path and so he gave up. We then told him actually up there was not so steep and relatively easy. He was like "oh damn" @@ 

We then slowly made our way back to Laban Rata to have our breakfast and check out the dorm. The horrifying journey did not end here, the descending was even more torturing. I am not sure if I do not have the skill, every step of descending caused me a toll. Alvin and Shane helped me a lot. We three were the very first few descending the mountain but the last three to come out from Timpohon Gate! By the time we reached the exit, we could not feel our legs at all. We quickly had our dinner pack and were sent to our hotel to have a rest.

This is considered as a successful trip as 6/10 of us made it to the pinnacle.

That's all from the hiking trip. To word, I would say the only thing to make me conquer the mountain was purely my determination. But like Shane, it did not cost him much to reach the peak as he is physically strong. So I would encourage those who are going to be better prepared. The agent told us we must run 6km 3 times a week for 2 months before the hiking! 

All in all, this is a very precious experience but I would not go back again for sure. *grin*