Sunday, 12 March 2017

My Two Big Trips in 2017

Last year I only travelled to Nepal and it was not a pleasant trip because we couldn't do Everest Base Camp due to bad weather and also had to deal with the nasty Langtang region.

So I'm planning to make 2 big trips this year to compensate for last year and to catch up on my travel bucket list. 

Trip 1 - Japan in June
This trip was a spur of the moment kind of thing.

A colleague and I were talking about going to Japan especially since we work for a Japanese bank.

And after working with many Japanese people daily, we wanted to visit the country where they come from. For me, it's also to put to an end to neverending questions from colleagues asking when am I going to visit their homeland :-)

One advantage about planning a trip to Japan with Japanese colleagues around is that they share information that only locals know. For example I was searching online about sumo wrestling matches but couldn't find anything. Moreoever everything is in Japanese. So I asked a colleague and he immediately sent me the link to the Grand Sumo Tournament website. Yeah!

Trip 2 - Europe in September
I've bought my anchor flight to London (MYR2,300 return on Oman Air) but I've yet to decide which country in Europe I'm going to explore. At this point, I'm still toying between Croatia/Montenegro and Spain/Portugal.

It's relatively cheap to travel to Croatia/Montenegro because they don't use the Euro. And if I do travel to those countries, Split, Dubrovnik and Kotor (the word means 'dirty' in Bahasa Malaysia!) would definitely be in the list.

I didn't get to do the south of Spain during my last trip there in December 2011. So if I do visit Spain/Portugal in September, it would be Granada - Cordoba - Seville - Faro - Lisbon - Porto.

Well, I've still got about 6 months to decide.


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Sleeping in Open Air at 4,500 ft

During my travels to Nepal last September, we trekked to a village called Kyangjin Gompa in the Langtang region.

The highlight of Kyangjin Gompa is the Kyangjin Ri mountain which stands at 4,700 ft asl.

We stayed at Panorama Guesthouse when we were in Kyangjin Gompa. That morning we woke up early, had breakfast and started our trek.

The trail was relatively steep (something like an incline 5 if comparing with a threadmill) with loose stones. So we had to watch our steps to make sure we don't slip and fall down the mountain.

Along the way were were rewarded with this magnificent view (can't remember the name of the mountain) opposite Kyangjin Ri:

Panorama shot



I snapped a photo of Nobita snapping a photo of that mountain :-)




As we went higher and higher, it started getting hotter, so we started removing a few layers of clothing. The importance of layering ...

Here's a photo of Kyangjin Gompa village where we started our trek that morning:

Kyangjin Gompa village looks so small from up there.



The Kyangjin Ri mountain is 4,700 ft asl. However since the weather was not too favourable, I had already made up my mind to stop at 4,500 ft asl. No point trekking all the way to the peak because there's a high possibility that it would be cloudy and misty, which means no breathtaking views.

There was a rock at the 4,500 ft spot that was perfect as a resting place. It was slightly bent in the middle where I could place my bum and lie down. Perfect!

So the rest of them continued their trek while I waited for them at this spot: 

That's the peak of Kyangjin Ri. Looks pretty steep from this angle.



When the others continued their trek to the peak, I didn't have the faintest idea how long it would take for them to return to the spot and pick me up on their way down. So I walked around the area and snapped shots of the glacier like this: 

Can you see the mist at the top of the photo? That's the reason why I didn't want to hike to the peak.



Can you spot my blue windbreaker and red backpack in this photo?: 




After snapping enough photos of glaciers and customary selfies using my camera and mobile phone, I thought why not lie down on the rock and look at the mountains from a different angle.

Since I was to face the sun, I put on my windbreaker and pulled my bandana-like headwear closer to cover my face to avoid sunburn (sun rays are pretty harsh at that altitude).

I laid down on the comfy rock and gazed up at the sky. The stillness of the morning coupled with the magnificent mountain ranges around me was surreal. It gave me a sense of wonder and I felt a deep connection with God and nature. I felt ALIVE.

I dozed off at one point and woke up with a start to realise that I was completely surrounded in mist. I couldn't even see 5m in front of me. But the mist soon let up and the sun came up again.

Soon a few other trekkers started coming up the mountain. They were curious at what I was going there all alone. Some of them took the opportunity to rest on the rocks and even shared their sweets with me :-)

As I was talking to a group of trekkers, I could hear my group calling me as they were coming down the mountain. Soon they reached my spot and we trekked back to Panorama Guesthouse in Kyangjin Gompa. All in I had waited for them for about 2 hours.

My trip to Nepal in September 2016 was not too good because we didn't make it to Everest Base Camp and Langtang was dangerous. But the experience of alone time on the mountain and with nature didn't make the trip seem so bad after all.


Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 - Not many travels but lotsa learning

At the end of each year, I go through my customary look back at the year.

I travelled to only 2 places in 2016. But there were many learning opportunities throughout the year to improve my career prospects, health and just for the sake of pursuing passion. Here goes:


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Travelled to Nepal (again!). Was supposed to do Everest Base Camp but was unsuccessful because we couldn't fly into Lukla where the trek begins. You can read all about it here.


View of Kathmandu city from the rooftop of Hotel Yambu.


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Travelled to Kuching, Sarawak for the first time. Went there to participate in the Kuching Marathon.

Also took the opportunity to visit some interesting sights in Kuching and gluttoned all the way with Kuching food.


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Took part in 2 fun runs: Kuching Marathon and Score Run.

Finishers medal.


I also registered for the Precious Ladies & Men's Possible Run on 12 December 2016 but didn't go because it was raining that morning.

Will be doing my first 10km on 8 January 2017 at the MPI Generali Run. Keeping fingers crossed that I'll be able to complete the race within 1 hour 15 minutes which is the time limit I've set for myself.


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Enrolled for the Chartered Bankers course offered by the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers. 

I completed my first module, Marketing and Selling in Financial Services on 20 November 2016.

I've got 2 more papers to sit in April 2017 before I move on to the final level, i.e. Chartered Bankers level.

This is how the study text look like.


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Started taking up tai chi and completed learning the 37 steps, Cheng Man Cheng style on 19 October 2016.

Attended push hands technique workshop on 21 October 2016 at Cova Square in Kota Damansara. The workshop turned out to be a self defence class instead of push hands which was a disappointment. What a bloody waste of RM399.00.


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Completed a Basic Nail Course where I learned to give a manicure, pedicure and buffing amongst other things.

Somehow I've developed an interest in making nails look pretty and healthy. I still need to work on my nail polish application though, to make it look flawless.

My manicure/pedicure kit which is included in the fees. 


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Added 4 Hard Rock Cafe bottle openers to my collection, i.e. Amsterdam, Helsinki, Pattaya and Yokohama.


I could have added Lisbon, Macau and Munich to the collection, but was on a cost discipline exercise. Hard Rock Cafe bottle openers don't come cheap, you know ...


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Started embracing a minimalist lifestyle because we actually don't need much to live. Having less stuff also means more space to free my flat and mind. Cleaning my flat is also so much easier with less stuff lying around.

I started this minimalist lifestyle by slowly decluttering my stuff using the Konmari method. It's a slow process but I'm getting there.


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Happy New Year 2017 everyone !



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