Friday, March 20, 2009

Name at least 10 weird/amazing experiences/things about your life.

I was tagged to do this on facebook. Unfortunately, my facebook "skills" are not so fantastic. So here we are, back to my trusted blog.

Strangely when I sat down and started thinking about all the weird and amazing experiences I had in my life, it became an endless string of events ... good and bad, humourous and sad.

Here it goes ... beware it is not limited to 10. Then again, it's written up there "at least 10", not limited to 10. :p

1. Representing my school for badminton girls doubles at the age of 12, I stood frozen unable to hit a single shot during my first major tournament in a rival school. Imagine my mortification!

2. When I was 14, I jumped off a 10-foot high dive board as part of my swimming lessons. It didn’t help much that I am acrophobic and there was a bunch of hyper-active 6-8 year-olds queuing at the back of me eagerly awaiting their turns to jump. I never jump again. :p

3. At the age of 16, my friends and I took part in a cycling competition to raise funds for the building of the Velodrome Rakyat in Ipoh. We raced on huge grandfather’s bicycles for 20kms around major roads in Ipoh under the hot, sweltering sun. Who needs 10-speed bikes? :p

4. In Form 5, my friends and I conned a number of students and teachers into ordering perfume named “ty cus mer ty” and ly pas mer ty” during an April Fool’s Day joke. In actual fact, these French-like perfume names were derived from “tikus mati” and “lipas mati”. :p Yeap. We were incorrigible.

5. I was once conned into downing a glass of Long Island Ice Tea which I was told was similar to Ice Lemon Tea. Duh! No wonder the world was spinning on its axis when I finally stood up.

6. Despite strong objections from my parents, I backpacked Western Europe on my own in 1996 and never looked back since. Guess that started the entire crazy roller coaster adventure holidays thingy.

7. In 1997, during a scuba dive session around Sipadan Island, dangerous currents pushed me down way past the 100 feet mark advised for recreational divers. I kept diving downwards unaware of the situation as I was following fellow divers from the boat ... or so I thought. I was told later that no one was ahead of me and that I experienced hallucination caused by nitrogen narcosis. I did not realise how dangerous it was until I overheard that this story has been retold many times years later as “what not to do” within the scuba diving community. Hmm … my unknown “5-sec fame”.

8. I took a 9-month hiatus from work in 1999 to find myself … whatever that means.

9. I trekked up my first glacier i.e. Franz Josef glacier in that same year. That was a most spectacular trek despite my acrophobia acting up every now and again.

10. Still in the same year, I had a close encounter with “death”. I was involved in a jet boating accident in Queenstown where a passenger was smashed to death against the canyon walls when our jet boat “pilot” lost control. I had deep muscle trauma that made me limped for more than 3 months.

11. To escape “Armageddon”, my friends and I celebrated the millennium deep in the tropical rainforest of Belum National Park with bamboo cups as wine glasses and leeches as companions. Urgh!

12. I mistook a micro-lite for a sea plane and signed up for a half hour flight across Victoria Falls in 2002. See point no. 2 on my acrophobia. Gritting my teeth, I ended up going for the micro-lite as I had already paid US$100 for that. For the uninitiated, a micro-lite is like a motorcycle with wings. There is no barrier between you and the wind or you and the ground … way, way, way down below. Gulp!

13. I climbed Mount Kinabalu twice (once in 2003 and once in 2006) and had explored both the Timpohon and Mersilau trails. I would have climbed again if the cost of climbing had not shot up sky-high.

14. My friends and I walked over 100kms in 10 days when we trekked up to the Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal in 2003. This trek remains one of the highlights of my life although my more sedate friends thought that I was “nuts” to pay and suffer for a holiday.

15. In 2004, my friends and I took a public bus trip down from Nairobi, Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania. Till this day, the experience at the Nairobi bus station remains one of the scariest in my life. We were the only “foreigners” in that part of town. Imagine tiny 5-foot Asians versus above 6-foot, fierce-looking Kenyans.

16. I had severe AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) on my climb up Mount Kilimanjaro in the same year i.e. vomiting and having severe diarrhea. At 4,800 m above sea level, a friend told me that it’s ok to quit. My stubbornness pushed me forward for several more metres as the peak was “so near, yet so far”. In the end, I made the smart decision. It was a blow to the ego of course but I am still alive to tell the tale.

17. I once took a shot (photo shoot lah) of real-life lions that were a mere 3 metres awav from my jeep. Woohoo!

18. My second close encounter with “death” happened in 2005 while I was doing a solo kayaking down the Soca River in Slovenia. My kayak overturned at the rapids and I was trapped for more than a few seconds under water. Luckily I was calm and methodical when I tried to free myself from under the kayak. I was told later by friends that they were so worried when I did not come up for air after a minute.

19. My friends and I made the most amazing discovery in Sarawak when we trekked across the Kelabit Highlands; leaving Bario in Malaysia, trekking over Indonesian territory and onwards back to Malaysia soil at Bakelalan. It’s a world in its own and simply quite spectacular.

20. I once helped my sales team win the beer sculling contest by downing a huge mug of beer in 2 gulps. Promptly after wining, I rushed off to the toilet to unload. This is not an experience I would try a second time. :P

21. We trekked the Pinnacles Trail in Mulu in 2006. After a heavy rainfall the night before, the limestone trek became extremely slippery. It was most bruising to my derrière and other unmentionable parts of the anatomy. I would never recommend anyone to do that trek. For once, the end did not justify the means.

22. In early 2007, a friend and I were caught in a terrible storm in East Java just the night before our exploration of Kawah Ijen, a volcanic crater lake. Due to fallen trees, our jeep could not take us past the route to the foot of the volcano. We paid a heavy price for a local to fetch 2 of us (yes, mind you two grown up lady pillion riders which makes 3 adults on a motorbike) up the long stretch of road to the foot of the volcano. It was a hair-raising ride.

23. Borobudur had been a wonderful experience. The tranquility and peace one experienced there is not easily forgettable.

24. The highest point I’ve trekked is up to 4,950 metres on the Goechala Trek in Sikkim, India. Braving AMS, the rain and the chilling cold weather, we scaled the mountain trek to reach both view points on Goechala. It was a beautiful moment when we finally reached the top.

25. In May 2008, I had my first pillion ride on a Harley; traveling at more than 100kms an hour. It was a most exhilarating experience!

26. Late last year, my friends and I made our way to the highest paved international road in the world i.e. Karakoram Highway (at 4,693 metres). We literally laid ourselves across the highway, getting our guide to take photos of us as proof that we had been there! Hehehe …

27. We were caught in a mini sandstorm around Karakul Lake and literally “ate” sand. Not something I wish to have on my menu. :p

28. Over the New Year, I climbed 4,865 steps (yep … someone counted) on my journey up Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka to embrace the dawn of 1st January 2009. (In comparison, Batu Caves has 272 steps only. :p)

29. I spent 3-whole days scrambling around the ruins of Angkor Wat, posturing as Angelina Jolie (ahem!) at Ta Phrom, taking endless pictures of the ruins, going without lunch and getting back to the backpackers dusty, tired but extremely satisfied with my photography haul. :)

30. I had gone several days without “showering” while on high altitude treks. This, I was told, was to prevent AMS. Personally, it’s just the cold factor … like it is freezing cold up there! :p My first experience was at Kilimanjaro, my second at Goechala and my latest one was on the trek up to Muztagh Ata Base Camp. You can say that dirt/dust and I are pretty comfortable bedfellows during these trips. :p

31. I have been mistaken for a Japanese girl, a Thai girl, a China girl … and finally a Darjeeling girl during my travels! Yeah Darjeeling girl … go figure!

So there .. I believe the weird and amazing experiences will continue. That's how I wish to live that "dash" in my life.

Have a happy day you all!


drifter said...

this is drifter, still remember me ? the old guy used to chat in several malaysian chatrooms :)

thankyou for listing out your adventurous trips !

you may also save that until you have a grand daughter and tell her your fearless years!

d'Frog Prince said...

what a life!!

so, what's up with you now? long time no hear? settled down to a more sedate life?