The stars at night are like fairy dust, there are so many. The vastness of the country, the green and golden plains, the silhouettes of sharp trees against immense, empty can feel your soul expanding. The animals - things you have only seen in the zoo, roaming freely, masters of their own space. Brightly-coloured birds popping out of the bush like confetti. From the tent, lying in your silken sleeping bag, just listening to all the sounds of the natural world - the calls and hoots and thudding of hoofs, the wind through the leaves, the crackle of the campfire. Absolutely magical. - Min

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

T word

The dream

Training is the substance which makes a dream come true - dreaming about an impossible to reach physical goal, doing what you have to do to reach there and at the end of the journey, to come out of it a changed person.

The journey to Kili doesn't start at the foot of the mountain. It takes place right here. The fat girl's training guide will take anyone from flab to fabulously fit so you will be in your best shape ever. Whatever the chances of reaching the summit, you will have conquered your own personal fitness Everest even before starting the climb.

The reality

You can fall off the wagon, with the training.

Post Kinabalu, in the exuberance, I ate too much and exercised too little. My heart sank as the arrow on the scale floated upwards. So it was time to get back on the wagon.

Training objective

Kili is a marathon and not a sprint - walking with a small pack for 6-8 hrs a day for a number of days. The training objective would be to walk for 6 hrs (3hrs fast walking) without feeling muscle stiffness the next day. Doing whatever so long as it gets the legs and heart in top condition and avoiding injury.

The secret

But the secret that we won't admit to anyone. The secret which will confirm that we really are gluttons for punishment and have very twisted minds is this.

We like it. Stairs.

Every Monday evening at Singapore's tallest HDB flat. 2 training sessions so far. There is nothing quite like a punishing stair session going 5 x up the Pinnacle to numb the Monday blues and uplift your week.

Views from the 50th.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

loan receipt

It has been 3 weeks holding on to this guidebook by Mr Henry Stedman - The trekking guide to Africa's highest mountain.

I went to the National Library specifically looking for a guidebook on Kilimanjaro. Scanning the bookshelves, it took some time but as if it was meant to be, I found it.

There was only one copy. Dog eared and tatty, I flipped the pages and found loan receipts from other people who had also borrowed the book. Names of strangers I did not know. Just like me they had the uncertainty and desire?

I read the book, leaving the loan receipts from the others in there.

These loan receipts intrigued me, sometimes even more than the text inside the book. Who were these people? Did they go to Kilimanjaro eventually? What sort of mountains did they move to make this trip?

Their names - ordinary.

"Lim Guak Hoon"

Desk bound office workers. Perhaps they do accounts or law. Taking annual leave, breaking their piggy banks, vacating all other obligations to fly out on jet plane from Singapore to Tanzania to climb a mountain with a back pack full of dreams.

So heartwarming it was to see their loan receipts in there, I will be pitching my loan receipt in there too. Perhaps the next person who finds it, won't pitch my loan receipt into the dustbin and leaves his loan receipt in there too for the next person to find.