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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

RIDE & CAMPING, HATYAI - TRANG

29th Aug 14: Ipoh - Hatyai 

It was a last minute decision. All of a sudden I felt the urgent need to ride somewhere not too far from home to fulfil my riding lust. Besides, I havent ride to Thailand at all this year. At 3pm, I rode DJ, my brand new Honda CB500X machine and made my way up north to the border. This is the first time I’m taking him to cross the border. There were lots of bikers OTR as most of them were heading to Hatyai for the Bike Week which will start tomorrow. I managed to cross the border without too much hassles, but for the first time, I had to pay B50 to the Thai customs officer to bring in my bike into Thailand.

It was almost 7pm then, I sped as fast as I could to Hatyai. Nothing much to report about this famous town except for the obvious increase in food price.


30th Aug 14: Hatyai - Trang


A biker friend, bro Eid Sidek came to meet me at the GH where I stayed. He brought me to a famous bike spare part shop here in Hatyai. I bought 3 engine oils and an oil filter. The price? A lot cheaper compared to in Malaysia. Then we had a drink and roti canai at a restaurant, and later proceeded to the Central Festival Mall where the Bike Week was held. We met more biker friends there such as Pak Syed Idid, Yongsuzi and her hb Lee Panjang, Apek and others. From my observation, there were more Malaysian bikers attending this event compared to Thailand bikers. There were not many shops opened yet, but at those which opened, I could see their unique merchandise and machines. Initially, I can say that Thailand ppl were more creative compared to Malaysians.

Me & Pak Syed Idid
With bro Eid Sidek & his son
With Yongsuzi and her hb, Lee Panjang









My friends and I had lunch inside the mall (thanks Pak Syed for giving me a treat). I need to rush as after this, I’m heading to Trang for my camping ride.




I met Ariv Fotomoto who had been searching for me everywhere. Sorry about that, Ariv. We only managed to talk for a while and after that, off I go.

Me & Ariv Fotomoto

It rained a bit, on and off on my way to Trang. I took route 4 to Trang, and then route 4046 and 4062 to the coastal beach. I was told about this secluded beach by bro Acid Mustafa, but he himself never camp here before. I parked my bike and walked to the beach, trying to find the most strategic spot to pitch my tent. I found it, and without wasting any time, I start to set up my tent as the weather does not look very good. As I was busy doing my stuff, a ranger came with an interpreter, telling me not to camp here as its not safe for a lone woman. I told him that I will be alright.







Before the sun went down, I cooked dinner and after praying, I made my camp fire using dry sticks and leaves scattered around the area. It was fun. I had my dinner of rice and chicken rendang while listening to the waves and the sound of nature. It was such a calm feeling.








My simple dinner - rice with canned chicken rendang & Nescafe

I went inside my tent around 10pm, with the intention to sleep. However, the moment I was about to doze off, I heard the sound of branches outside my tent being stepped on, as if someone was walking outside my tent. I peeped outside, but there was no one. I tried to get back to sleep, but the same thing repeated. It happened until 1am. When I couldnt take it no more, I went outside my tent and sat on the mat and tell the ‘thing’, “If u r so want to play, then come out and show yrself.” There was silence around me. No sound could be heard except from the waves and the crickets. I waited for 15mins but nothing, absolutely nothing I could see nor hear. Since there were lots of mossies as the camp fire had died, I entered my tent again. The moment I’m about to doze off, the sound came back. I ignored it and went to sleep. I managed to sleep, but only for a while when I felt that I couldnt breathe. I had to fight ‘it’ for quite some time, until the ‘thing’ released me. Damn!!! I recited some prayers and I purposely said out aloud, “I just wanna sleep for tonite...Tomorrow I shall leave....so plz dont disturb me.” After I had calmed down, I went back to sleep. Fortunately, this time, it was a peaceful sleep and no more disturbances.


31st Aug 2014: Trang - Jitra - Ipoh 


I woke up at 6.30am to perform my Subuh prayer. Ohh, I forgot to mention that there was a toilet and shower facility not so far from the place where I pitched my tent. After that, I caught some sleep until 10am. I had my breakfast and continued resting while watching some locals playing with their children on the beach. Finally, with so much laziness, I packed my things and left the place.

I was lying inside my tent when this pic was taken


I headed to the border, with the intention to stop by at a famous grilled meat restaurant in Sadao. Unfortunately, after I passed Hatyai, the rain started to fall heavily and it was a white out situation. I had to slow down, and was riding like 30kmh, trying to find shelter. About 25km to Sadao, there was a wide space on the left side of the road without any building at all, when all of a sudden, cross wind swept me & my fully loaded bike to the middle of the road (even though I tried real hard to stop the bike). Within seconds, we were shoved from the slow lane to the fast lane, up on the divider and tumbled on the other side of the road. There was nothing that I can do at that moment. I was nearly being hit by an approaching van as visibility was really low. God knows how scary it was. After falling, I tried to get up, but failed as the wind was super duper strong. I had to crawl to get back to my bike. A nice local helped me to put my bike to stand again, but with so much difficulty. We were both soaked to the bones. Once the bike was put to stand, I had difficulty to start the engine. I tried many times, and all the while, vehicles passing by me honked, as the bike and I were still in the middle of the road. Thank god that after pushing the bike a lil bit under the strong wind and rain, I managed to start the engine. Even though traumatized and shaky, I continued riding ahead and took shelter at Tesco Lotus until the storm died.



Apart from the dent pannier, my handle guard fall off, side mirror loosened and there were minor scratches on my 4 months old bike. My heart fell when seeing his condition now, but I told myself that I must be patience and accepted what god had decide for me. I dare not leave the bike and went inside Tesco as the wind was still super strong. I’m worried if my bike will fall, so I sat next to it, and held the bike with my hands.


Eventually, after 45 mins, the rain lessened and I continued to the border. Even though hungry, I had no appetite to eat the grilled meat anymore. I arrived the border and was stunned to see how fine the weather was. There was no sign of rain at all. I quickly settled the border crossing procedure and called bro Eid Sidek whom I’m supposed to meet and told him what had happened. He waited for me at Jitra exit and brought me to a nearby workshop to repair the handle guard and the side mirror. Thanks a lot bro for yr help. I had a drink with Pak Syed Idid who also waited for me at Jitra, and a few more whom I cant rmbr their names. Since it was already late and my eye sight was bad at night, I decided to spend the night at my friends house and only ride back home the next day.

Being swept by a strong cross wind is a new experience for me after being involved in adv riding since the past 2 years. Perhaps Allah is preparing me for my next tougher adv ride, I dont know... For that, I dont mind, and I thank Him that I am still alive.


Until next ride.... 



Thursday, 6 November 2014

EVEREST BASE CAMP TREKKING: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

EPILOGUE




My FB post which I send from Lukla after completing the trek


BUDGET:

Air ticket (Airasia, KUL - KTM - KUL):   RM892
Visa:   RM155
EBC Trekking Package:   RM3788
Meals:   RM600
Medication:   RM80
Rent walking stick: USD15 (RM45)
Tipping:   RM160
Snickers:   RM50
Waterproof trekking boots:   RM500
Miscellaneous:   RM100
TOTAL:   RM6370





Wednesday, 5 November 2014

EVEREST BASE CAMP TREKKING, DAY 10 - 13


DAY 10: 13th June 2014
Pheriche (4240m) to Khumjung (3790m)
12 km (8 hrs)

Himalayan Lodge



It was a beautiful morning in beautiful lovely Periche.


View from my room


Somehow, today sucks. Today really sucks. Apart from Day 2, where we walked up towards Namche Bazaar, this was one of the hardest days for me. My knee took quite the beating this day. It was such a frustrating day, you just walked and walked and hoped you’re getting somewhere, but it almost seemed endless. Half way through I was already limping, and it was only going to get worse.

After the grueling climb to EBC, arent we now supposed to go down and down? Unfortunately what actually happened wasnt so. In the beginning, yes, we walked gradually downhill on a grass land for about 10mins, followed by a very steep uphill for 25mins. Then it was up down up down until Pyangboche when we went steep down on a very rough rocky trek that hurts my knees and ankles so bad. I almost tripped a few times. The trek we took today wasnt the same as when we were going to EBC. Later, it was up, up and up for 1hr until Tengbochye. It was very tiring. After Tengbochye, again it was a steep down, down, and down.

The walk seemed forever as I followed the twisties. I felt as if I’m getting to nowhere. I had lost my friends by now, and I couldnt be bothered to catch up as my legs hurts. I remembered last time when climbing up to Tengbochye, it didnt took more than 1hr to reach, but upon going down, I had been walking for ages but the river side restaurant was still far below. God knew how tired I am, as todays walk didnt offer me much rest. This was due to every time I reached a resting place, my friends were about to make a move, so I ignored my own fatigue and continued with them as not to be left far behind. The most rest I can get was about 1 – 2 mins only, or sometimes none at all. It was a relieved when I finally reached the restaurant for lunch.

We continued walking, braving the cold as the wind was blowing and as the beautiful sun decided that she wanna hide behind the cloud. It was a very tough uphill trek for another 2.30hrs to Khumjung. It seemed as if I will never reach this place. Painful, exhausted and deceiving, I just pushed through it, 10 steps at a time. I meant that literally. 10 steps and stop, 10 steps and stop, eventually you will get there. When I finally got there after 8hrs walking since morning, I was incredibly bitter. It was likely from the tiredness and the pain. I was dead tired. Everyone was tired. No one had the mood to talk.

We had dinner at 6pm. I ordered rice with vege curry, but the curry had no curry taste at all. Haihhh...

Luckily that was another day done, and another day closer to completion.



DAY 11: 14th June 2014
Khumjung (3780m)
Monjo (2840m)

12km
Mini Tibet Lodge


It was a very cloudy and cold morning as we walked out of Khumjung. We walked on flat ground for 5mins passing a school, and after that a steep uphill steps for 20mins. Then we went down, down and down on dirt trail or steps for 1hr until we reached Namche Bazaar. My friends wanna do some shopping, but I decided to do it in Kathmandu.

After that it was all the way down hill on dirt trail with loose gravels. Still, it wasnt a complete breeze as walking down was incredibly hard on my knees. Even though not much energy was needed, I had to be really careful with my aching knees. It hurt really bad whenever I tried to brake or keeping my balance after tripping on the gravels. Somehow, looking back, I just couldnt believe that I had walked this same defeating path (but ascending) about 9 days ago. It was a fantastic feeling.

After that it was ups and downs again until we reached Monjo.

The lodge in Monjo


DAY 12: 15th June 2014
Monjo (2840m)
Lukla (2795m)
8km (5hrs)
Sherpas Lodge


This was the last official trekking day. On the one hand I was so excited that the actual trekking was almost over and I had almost completed the task at hand. On the other hand, I was going through a mixture of emotions as I realized that this crazy trip was about to end very soon. We started a bit late as everyone, especially Carly were too reluctant to leave the TV which showed the World Cup :)





Eventually it all plateaus for the first half of the trek. I recognized familiar sites I saw upon ascending the other day. I crossed the same suspension bridges, and saw the same streams with the same tea houses along side of them. I saw lots of sherpas, cows and donkeys which made for an interesting trek, especially when trying to cross bridges. Let me just say, donkeys are vicious, and by now, I knew very well not to try to walk past them :)

The only issue with today, the second half of the trek from Phakding to Lukla was 80% uphill. You hear that? Yes, you heard me right. Even on the very last day of trekking, u still need to climb!!! It felt like such an unnecessary struggle to the finishing line. At this point, my legs were jello, I had blisters and was aching all over. What would have been an easy climb on Day 1 had turned into a struggle. However, few hours later, I saw the archway where it all began and it was the most exciting feeling out there! This must had been the most beautiful archway that I had ever seen in my whole life!!!


At the lodge, I got spoiled with internet!!! Finally!!! Can u imagine how dreadful an internet maniac’s life (me) and a FB addict (me) for the past 12 days without internet?

It was an exciting day as it marked the completion of what we all set out to do. With that came a wonderful dinner, where my friends and I treated our guides and porters. Everyone had fun, had drinks and reminisced on our last 12 days together. Before retiring to our rooms, we bid good bye to our porters and our guide, PT, as they wont be accompanying us to Kathmandu tomorrow.


DAY 13: 16th June 2014
Lukla(2795m) - Kathmandu


At this point, myself, and I think everyone else, was ready to get off the mountain. It was awesome getting on that tiny little plane and flying off the edge of a cliff, one step closer to home I was very happy to take. Even though the mountains had left a deep impact on me, I cant wait to get back to civilization again, and to a cleaner place which didnt stink with animals shit. 

Finally we arrived Kathmandu and were transferred to Tibet GH. For the first time in 13 days, I took a really close look on myself in the mirror. The image shocked me. What I saw was not me, but an alien...with broken lips, cracked and peeling skin, additional wrinkles, badly tanned and haggard face....I just couldnt believe how this trekking can change my feature that much. Hmmm...in the name of satisfaction and livin my dream, huhhh? Its okey, I'll restore my beauty once I'm back home :)

The next night, the trekking company complimented us with a nice farewell dinner. The food was good and the cultural show was entertaining. 

After that, it was time to say good bye to all my trekking friends and our guide, John. 

Carly, Kieren, Katia, Mia, Nathan and John....
It was a very fun experience trekking to EBC with u guys. The kindness and care u all show to me were unforgettable. The jokes, the stories and the laughter we shared will be cherished in my mind forever. I hope to meet u all again, someday, somewhere, somehow.....

With that, my EBC trekking had come to an end. Game for anymore climbing after this?



EVEREST BASE CAMP TREKKING, DAY 7 - 9

DAY 7: 10th June 2014
Dingboche (4350m) to Labouche (4920m)
7 km (5 hrs)


The weather was good, the sun was shining and the wind was gentle...but somehow, today was a very difficult day. Unlike the other days, it wasnt so much about the physical, but more to the altitude. The trek started off fairly well, was primarily a Nepali flat trek with some easy ups and downs. However you can really start to see the effects of altitude hitting people. I felt easily tired when walking on flat ground even for few steps. Personally, I didn’t have symptoms other than the standard shortness of breath and mild headaches. But today was tough for most of us, and in turn it really turned into a mental day. We were climbing up a steep hill when Carly who had always been ahead of us since Day 1, facing breathing difficulties, so all of us go slow. When one of us is facing trouble, everyone else must cater for one another. This is not a journey you take alone. No matter how fit you are, or how young, the altitude never discriminate. Perhaps I was hit first by AMS, and you will be next. No one knows. For the first time, I managed to follow my friends pace.



A lone dog in the mountain


We had a short 30mins tea break at Thukla and soon after, the strive began. It was all the way up hill, my favourite...NOT!!!


Solar panel @ Thukla

We had to climb 100m steep up. I started to feel some pounding on the back of my head, but I refused to accept it as AMS symptom. I kept telling myself that it was the cold dry air which made me felt funny. However, not sooner than that, the pounding got heavier and it spread to my temples. Like it or not, I had to accept that this wasnt normal anymore. It was that I am actually experiencing AMS symptoms. Too bad that it was still a long way to reach Labouche. I was swaying while walking and kept asking for god’s help to gv me the strength. My eyes started to see millions of tiny stars, but I told myself to keep moving, one step at a time. It was a very tough time for me to complete the walk with my head pounding and my lungs panting for oxygen. I was almost defeated. Miraculously, the tiny voice inside of me screamed and told me that this was my dream, and to get so far, and had to quit, oh noooo....I can only imagine how defeating it is. John, my guide offered to carry my bag, but I politely said “its ok”. He was always by my side, watching me closely.



This is also the time when reality struck of how serious this trek really was. This is not the mountain which u can joke about. Passing by memorials of those who died, trying to conquer this menacing mountain was a very gloomy moment for me. They died either due to AMS, or had ran out of their oxygen supply, or get lost while finding their way, or froze to death during blizzard, or buried alive due to the avalanche, or whatever disaster. They died either on the way up, or while returning after the climb. They died either by climbing in a group, or going alone without a guide. 

The low clouds and the chill make this sad place seemed like haunted. May their souls rest in peace.....


Arriving 'The Memorials'
The Memorials






We continued on, more up hill which seemed like never ending. Finally, after a torturing walk, I arrived Labouche. I couldnt talk no more. I just leaned against the wall with my eyes closed for 30 minutes. After lunch of vege noodle soup and a Diamox, I felt a lil bit better. 

Rs400 (RM16)

Later, I relaxed at the ‘sun room’ while my other friends checked out the Khumbu Glaciers. Nathan, the one suffered AMS the worst of all of us, and whom to me, had the greatest spirit, came back earlier than the rest, and we had a motivational talk. I told him that I was very worried about tomorrow, our final destination. I really cant help tears when Nathan told me to hang on, and that I can do it, and that he wanted to see all of us land our feet at our final goal – the Everest Base Camp.



DAY 8: 11th June 2014
Labouche (4920m) to Gorak Shep (5180m) 4.4 km
Gorak Shep (5180m) to EBC (5365m) 8 km round trip
Total-12.4 km (10 hours)
Buddha Lodge


I had continuous nightmares last night. I dreamt of my kids and also my ex. Earlier this morning, again I had diarrhoea. Not just that, I awoke with some nose bled. I felt so weak due to the restless night and due to the mild dehydration. To compensate, I had mushroom soup for breakfast. For the first time, today I suffered from tingling sensation on my fingertips and toes, apart from headache and puffiness on my face. The puffiness made me felt like a Humpty Dumpty and I was so uncomfortable.


We started at 7.15am. As always, the beginning part of every new day’s trek will be a nasty climb. After all previous days, laughing and struggling, this was the day we would finally get to Everest Base Camp. Essentially beyond all the amazing views and sites along the way, getting there would be reaching the goal.




Getting there was not a quick process though. It was the longest day of the whole trek. Some parts of the trek was dirt, and some, very narrow and rocky ups and downs. The rocky, mountainous backdrop made for quite the scenic walk, but on this day, ironically, I don’t think the focus was on the mountains as much as it was on finally getting there. My headache was getting from bad to worse. Even though I had been walking for some time, the tingling and numbness didnt want to go away. I really hate it!!! I was getting weaker and weaker, and walked really slow. Nathan and Kieren waited for me. So nice of them.




After 3hrs walking, we reached Gorak Shep, the last available lodge on this trek. After this, there will be no more tea houses or lodge. I headed straight to the toilet. Diarrhoea again!!! Diamox after effects definitely is the reason.




After a refreshing cup of hot ginger tea and a short rest, we continued to EBC. We trekked along dirt trail, followed by rocky and muddy path. The wind was blowing mercilessly. Then, the REAL challenge began when we walked along Khumbu Glaciers. At this point, the closer we get, the rougher the terrain. We were crossing through a rocky terrain, most of which was supported by a glacier like base and glacial ponds surrounding. It was either a steep climb or a steep down. There were some parts that I had to walk on really slippery loose sands and gravels. The guide told us to walk as fast as we could on this particular narrow path (about 100m long) because the loose gravels at the edges dropped (like a land slide) when the path was being stepped on. There were also parts where we had to walk on rock peaks which moved when stepped, so 100% caution was needed at all times. It was indeed scary and crazy.



Imagine u hv to climb this steep at over 5000m altitude...PENGSAN!!!

Keep that feet moving!!!
Glacial ponds


No pain, no gain...huhhh??

Nevertheless, the mountains surrounding me get very near at every step that I took. Despite the stomach ache and the terrible pounding on my head, the view was magnificent. I was taking one step at a time, consoling myself that each step that I took will take me closer to EBC, and very soon, all the sufferings will end and I will be rewarded with a life time master piece satisfaction and achievement.


KEEP GOING!! IGNORE THE AMS!!! IGNORE THE PAIN!!! DONT STOP UNTIL U HV REACH YR DESTINATION!!!


Finally, after another 3hrs struggle, I reached a place where all my friends gathered and cups of hot chocolate were being passed around.  I was confused. Why are we celebrating? We arent there yet, are we? They assured me that we had already reached EBC. What? EBC? If this is EBC, where are the supposedly yellow tents as I had seen in the internet? The guide told me that no tents were being put up as no summit climbing was allowed this year due to the avalanche which killed 18 sherpas few months back. Then only I came to my senses and I checked my surroundings, only to notice lots of mementoes, country flags, prayer flags and a banner with the word ‘EVEREST BASE CAMP' around the area. Oh my god...I am actually here....I had set my feet at EBC!!! This was the time that I couldnt control myself anymore. I knelt down for a sujud syukur, thanking Allah for letting me reached this place, and I broke into uncontrollable tears. Everyone was quiet for a while, perhaps moved over my sudden unpredictable emotional act. After 2 minutes of a very emotional moment, I got up and start hugging my friends, congratulating one another. It was a great joy to finally reach here after 8 days of grueling climb. It was a moment to remember for the whole of our lives. Thank you Allah for making this happened to me and to all of us.


I MADE IT!!! EVEREST BASE CAMP, ON 11TH JUNE 2014


If u guys come here, and this stone is still here, plz take a pic and send it to me :)


To many of us, this is a dream, but to all of us, its a dream come true and the goal we set had come to a completion. I can’t quite put into words what it was like to get here. Perhaps a feeling of pride, mixed in with feelings of relief, appreciation, completion, satisfaction etc. All my feelings of tiredness quickly turned into excitement. Everyone was happy for one another, and clapping and cheering at the accomplishment. After all, we had completed something epic together. We were literally standing on top of the world (or at least as close to it as most people will ever get in a life time). It was such an amazing feeling, one only those who had been there can relate to.


A moment that I wont forget until the day I die

Like all feelings though, and all experiences, they do come to an end. As oxygen level was thin, we were advised to trek back after one hour at the base camp. Still, Nathan managed to attempt for a world record by making 3 doggy balloons in one minute at the base camp, and we had a feast of Finnish chocs which Katie brought all the way from Finland :)


Khumbu Glacier


The walk back to Gorak Shep was not easy, although it was slightly more downs, due to the slippery path. The way back seemed longer, perhaps it was because the adrenaline was now dissipating, and because now there was no more goal at the end of it. Now it was just a way down to go home, which was a very somber feeling after this kind of experience. 

Up close of the glacial pond

The first seat down at the lodge after a total of 10 hours trekking today was probably the most gratifying seat I had ever have all my life.



DAY 9: 12th June 2014
Gorak Shep (5180m) to Pheriche (4240m)

10 km (5 hours)
Periche Resort


I woke up at 2am. It was freezing cold and I had difficulties to get back to sleep. May be I dozed off at 4am, I dont know. When I woke up, my nose was bleeding again. I still had some puffiness, tingling and a mild headache. After breakfast, we make a move to Labouche. As I walked down, I was almost awestruck at my own capability. I looked behind me and I realized that I just walked this same path, but the other way around. Perhaps the extreme motivation to get to EBC the other day make everything seemed doable, but on the way down, it seemed unfathomable.

The trek was steep, rocky and dangerous due to the loose stones which moved when being stepped on. It was 1/3 rocky, 1/3 dirt flat and 1/3 steep rocky. Those steps leading to Thukla were most remarkable. Seen from above, it was actually a very very steep way up, but somehow seemed only steep (minus the very very) the other day.

We had lunch at Labouche. I had vege noodle soup which had no taste at all. The reason why I opt for it was bcos I need to consume more liquid to kill the AMS symptoms.

It was funny to think that you had a different opinion when going or returning, even though u walked on the same trek. From Labouche to Periche, the trek was a lil bit steep up in the beginning and followed by downhill grassland. My friends were ‘flying’ down and I wasnt able to catch up with them. Besides, at this point, my knees and ankles were sore, and I had blisters on my toes. To add to it, the wind was sooo super strong and my lips were cracking and my skin drying and peeling. It hurts.

By now, I seldom take pics anymore. After all, its the same way that I had walked through, and the same view which I had seen the other day. After walking for another 2.30hrs, I arrived Periche Resort. This place was very nice and beautiful. That night, I had a yummy (at last) vege curry with rice (Rs470 = RM19) while watching World Cup on the solar powered television.




NASTIA

Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')