A Bizarre Night!

I sit up in bed, am I dreaming? I rub my eyes and turn my head to my left, towards the sound I’m being drawn to.

The window curtains flap away. I hear some sound coming through. It sounds like howling winds. I had not shut the windows before going to bed. I get out of bed, put on my robe and walk towards the windows. As I gather the curtains with my hands, to stop it from flapping, I feel the wind on my face. I draw the curtains to the side of the windows to look outside. It’s dark, but from the street lights outside I watch the branches on the trees swaying away, as though they are dancing to music. It looks like a storm is coming. Suddenly, it starts to rain and it’s chucking it down! The sound of the howling winds continue. I feel like I am marooned on an island! I close the windows.

I walk towards the other end of my room. I draw the curtains at the window to one side to look out. I gaze out into the darkness. My eyes darts downwards, to the swimming pool, two floors down. Some of the pool chairs lay scattered on the ground and some are in the pool. The lights alongside the pool are still lit. I watch the rainfall.

I catch sight of some movements at one of the gazebos below. I panic! Two burly figures with raincoats on, lay a huge package on the ground at the gazebo. They are talking to each other, but I can’t hear anything. Who are these people and what are they doing at this time of the night! I am wide awake now. I run to my bedside table to grab my phone to check the time, it’s 3:00am!

I run back to the window, leave it ajar, just enough for me to hear their conversation. I feel some splatter of rain, but I’m too wound up by the drama unfolding below, to care about a little splatter on me. They are still at the gazebo.

The two burly figures sound gruff and I think they must be men. Sounds like they are arguing and there are lots of hand gestures. The rain is easing off now.

One voice comes “come on lets empty it out into the pool, we got no time to waste”. The other says “you sure you wanna do this?”

“Bro, this is what we’ll be paid for, get the job done then collect” comes the reply.

I see two other figures walk towards the gazebo; physically they look smaller in size. Women?

The two men carry the package and walk towards the pool and place it at the edge. One of the men crouches by the package, unties one end of it. The other stands watch. I can’t believe what I see come out of the package! SNAKES! They slither into the pool. I feel goosebumps and the hair at the nape of my neck rise. The pool fills up with snakes! I panic, WHAT DO I DO?

The man who untied the package now stands next to his accomplice. I just stand rooted watching them. One of the men walks towards the package and checks it.

He announces “they’re all out; our job is done, lets get out of here”. With the empty package in hand he walks over to his accomplice. The other two at the gazebo walk over to join the men by the pool side. All four stand and look at the pool. They laugh and they seem pleased.

One of them look up, and around as though to check if they are being watched. Suddenly he stops and stares at my direction. I let out a gasp! I move away from the window, I knock into a lamp shade. Panic shoots through me. Have I been spotted!!! I walk to my bed and sit myself down. I’m paralysed with fear.

I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting on my bed. I hear the doorbell ring! I don’t know what to do!

I jolted awake; sweating, I sit up and look around; I get out of bed and walk towards the windows. I draw the curtains and look down at the pool.

I let out a sigh of relief..it was a dream!

Solo Travel – 1993

Hey there! I’m taking you back to 1993…Yeah it sounds like eons ago! Well, I will share in this space as much as I can remember from back then.

So, I can’t remember exactly when in 1993, but, the need to get away, to pack my bags and leave was so strong. This need got me going through the newspaper in search of advertisements placed by travel agents who were promoting their travel packages. There was no hesitancy on my part to travel thousands of miles on my own. The country I chose to travel to, was United Kingdom, a country I had never been to before then.

This trip however, was not going to be my first travel abroad. My first was when I had travelled with my cousin, years earlier, to Switzerland, and where we had to transit in Moscow. The airline we flew was Aeroflot. We were required to spend one night in Moscow, and that was an interesting experience.

Now, coming back to 1993, while preparing for my trip to England, I was also excited for my solo adventure. My itinerary included visiting my childhood friend in Cambridge, who was studying at Cambridge University.

LONDON

Fast forward, it was in the late evening in September when I arrived in London. At the airport, I had boarded a taxi to St Giles Hotel where I was booked at to stay. I favoured this hotel because it was close to Oxford Street. On getting out of the taxi at the hotel, I did not have change to tip the driver, so I did not tip him. So we had an exchange of awkward glances between us. (My first awkward moment felt in London. When I look back at this scenario, I chuckle!). So I quickly got my luggage out and headed into the hotel to check in.

Taken from my room at St Giles

I had passed my first and second steps i.e. purchased my flight ticket, boarded the flight and arrived in London. The next step was to conquer my fears and explore London the next day. So, out I went to discover her on foot. I was so excited, I wanted to be in every photo. LOL. I came across some nice people who were happy to snap a shot for me using my camera.

Me!
The London Bus caught my attention 🙂
At a street off Oxford Street
At Oxford Street
At Regent Street & Oxford Street

I found out about all the popular department stores, and popped into Selfridges, Harrods and a few others. I was in complete awe when I walked into Harrods and wandered around the department store. Can’t seem to find any photos of Harrods. I may not have taken any I guess. I am sure many of you know what Harrods looks like on the inside!

Selfridges department store (building on the left) on Oxford Street
MGM on Oxford Street
The British Museum
The London Planetarium and Madam Tussaud’s in the background. Was impressed with Madam Tussaud’s

While in London, I purchased the River Thames Boat Cruise ticket and on that cruise I managed to capture a few of London’s landmarks (including a few of its many bridges which are its landmarks too) that can be seen from along the river. The cruise starts from the Greenwich Pier. Here are some photos taken.

On the boat leaving Greenwich Pier
On the boat, sitting pretty for the camera…lol. All set for the cruise!
View of Tower Bridge
A view of Big Ben, Houses of Parliament & The Palace of Westminster
A close up shot of Palace of Westminster
HMS Belfast – a museum ship
The Tower of London
On the left of this photo – Cleopatra’s Needle – an Egyptian obelisk
In the background – The Dome at St Paul’s Cathedral
Close-up of one of the towers at Tower Bridge
The Towers!
Greenwich Pier – passengers returning after the cruise

The cruise ended, back at Greenwich Pier. I then explored rest of London on foot. Here are some of the spots.

Sitting at the fountain with a sculpture of Girl with a Dolphin overlooking River Thames
Walking on Tower Bridge
In the background – Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square
Another pic closer to the Square
Close-up shot of Big Ben
Near 10 Downing Street & The Cabinet War Rooms.
Me, posing!

I was excited to visit more of England, and here are some of the cities I explored.

BOWNESS-ON-WINDERMERE – AT LAKE DISTRICT

Some photos taken at quaint Bowness-on-Windermere, situated at Lake District, where I did not stay over for the night, but spent the day here.

Arriving at Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District

Photos below taken at Lake Windemere.

Photos below were taken while walking around the quaint town.

Posing at Windermere town

Though it was just a day trip at Bowness-on-Windermere, I had a wonderful time in this quaint town.

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON (SUA)

I had read up about quaint Stratford-upon-Avon, and it being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. I had to include it in my list of must see places.

I remember, it was raining as I was getting off the bus at SUA. I started walking towards the Tourist Information Centre in search of accommodation, and found what I was looking for. I ended up here (pic below), at Nando’s, a Bed & Breakfast at Evesham Place. On arriving at the B&B, I was happy and comfortable with my choice.

My accommodation – B&B at Evesham Place, Stratford-upon-Avon

Below are some photos taken at SUA, which is also the location of Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Shakespeare’s Centre.

One of the attractions here is River Avon. I strolled along the banks of the river, taking in the spectacular views. People were feeding the swans, people on boat cruises on the river and others just enjoying the views. You could spend the whole day here just relaxing, taking in the ambience. Some photos here.

The photo below is of a crowd of people watching an entertainer walking on a rope at the recreation park close by.

At the recreation park
Posing in front of the B&B at SUA . All set to leave for Cambridge

On the last morning at SUA, I had to take that photo, standing in front of the B&B. I totally loved this quaint town and enjoyed every minute spent here. It was time to move on to my next destination, Cambridge.

Passing through Coventry. Photo taken from bus, heading to Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE

And, I have arrived at Cambridge City

I was excited to meet my friend Ammu. I stayed with her and her friend Helen at her home. I enjoyed my stay in Cambridge, and after a few days here, we were on a road trip.

CHEDDAR, SOMERSET

We visited Cheddar by car with a couple of Ammu and Helen’s friends. Cheddar Gorge and Caves is located near the village of Cheddar. Here are some photos from our visit to the caves.

WOOKEY HOLE, SOMERSET

Here are some photos taken at Wookey Hole.

At the Magical Mirror Maze.
At the Wookey Hole Paper Mill

BATH, SOMERSET

It was already late getting into City of Bath. I wanted so much to visit the Roman Baths, but unfortunately it was already closed. Somehow I managed to only snap a photo of this statue.

One of the statues at the Roman Baths

BRISTOL

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol in the background

We returned to Cambridge after our road trip. After a couple of days here I wanted to visit Edinburgh, Scotland. I remember Ammu and Helen were quite concerned that I was going to travel to Edinburgh on my own, by bus. I convinced them that I will be fine. They were so sweet, they made me sandwiches and drinks for my road trip.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

So my road trip to Edinburgh was really long. I eventually arrived sometime late in the evening, and it had already gotten dark. I found my way to the Tourist Information Centre, to find out about accommodation. I was told that there was a huge conference that was taking place, and that most of the hotels and other accommodations were fully booked. I was stumped when I heard this. Eventually the Centre managed to locate accommodation for me. It was an accommodation with shared facilities. I thought to myself something is better than none. So, off I went, to board one of the city buses to get there. I can’t seem to locate any of the photos taken in the city. I spent 2 days in Edinburgh before returning to Cambridge. I would love to visit Edinburgh again…lol.

Ammu & I outside Helen’s home, in Cambridge, on the day I was returning to London

I returned to London, after spending a day in Cambridge. I stayed in London for 2 more days before returning home.

To sum up, I enjoyed every moment of my adventure. Travelling solo was a learning experience. I enjoyed my time spent with Ammu and her friends too. Returning home, I was elated that I had made this trip.

Years later I had again travelled solo. I would not hesitate to do it again.

Cheers, Happy Sunday and have a great week ahead!

Malaysians coming together in times of need.

Recently, sometime around mid December Typhoon Rai hit the Philippines.

In Malaysia, right about the same time, we were experiencing the monsoon season. We had continuous rain fall for a couple of days which resulted in floods occurring in many parts of the country, hence many communities were impacted.

Many people came together, to extend their assistance in any which way they can, including NGOs, places of worship, and others. They acted quickly to help the people who were impacted, as many homes were damaged, personal belongings lost in the floods, vehicles damaged and so on.

My friend Mel asked if I would be available to help i.e. at the Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya (GSPJ) located in the State of Selangor. GSPJ via their Facebook (FB) Page had posted a message requesting for help from the people. The response received from the people were tremendous. This is what they had posted on their FB Page.

The post that appeared in the GSPJ FB Page

When we got to the entrance of the Gurdwara at 8.00am whilst complying to the SOPs and entering into the premises, we were told that we could help out in any section we wish to. We were told that breakfast was being served for volunteers, and that we could start work after our breakfast. So after a quick breakfast of paronthe served with dhall, sambal and pickle; and a cup of tea, we headed to the work stations of our choice to help.

The work stations in the hall were filling up fast. It was getting packed with people of all ages who had come forward to help. (This was a perfect example of OneMalaysia coming together) It involved cutting of various types of vegetables, peeling onions, potatoes etc. The Gurdwara was cooking food to be delivered and distributed by volunteers, to the communities and families impacted by the floods.

Hall full with people. Some travelled as far as from Bangi, Selangor.
Keeping busy.
Once done with one type of vegetable, we moved on to the next.

While we were at our stations, volunteers kept coming in requesting if there were extra cutting boards and knives, so that they could help too. We directed them to the person in charge. Then when more volunteers kept approaching us, both of us decided to give up our station to these volunteers, and we proceeded to help elsewhere in the premises.

Some vehicles arrived to pick up supplies to be delivered to impacted communities.

After coming out of the hall, we moved out to the dry items stations outside. We approached the ones in this photo below, but was informed that they had enough volunteers at that moment.

Dry items stations.

At the end of that row, we found a station that required our assistance, i.e. to separate the dry items and pack them into bags. So, we were back on duty. After sometime, when a truck arrived to have items to be loaded into it, we were politely asked to step aside, so that some of the other volunteers could form a human chain, to assist in loading the truck (photo below).

Packets of rice on the left of this photo. In the background some of the volunteers creating a human chain, to pass on dry items to be loaded on the waiting truck. In the foreground a couple of the organizers in discussion.
Volunteers assisting with loading dry items in the truck.
Here we are back at our station after the truck was already loaded up.

After we were done, we walked by the hall and noticed that the Gurdwara was serving lunch to the volunteers. We both felt that the breakfast we had that morning was filling, and we were not ready for lunch. We then walked out for a break to meet a friend who was returning to the Gurdwara, after completing a round of food distribution.

Two days later Mel returned with ET to the Gurdwara to help out. Was told that volunteers were in full force on this day as well. Photos below are courtesy of ET.

Breakfast for volunteers served by the Gurdwara.
ET, Mel and other volunteers on ‘veg’ duty.
Volunteers packing food to be delivered to impacted communities.

A few days later I returned to the Gurdwara with Kavitha, who wanted to help out. We started with vegetable duty.

Kavitha sneaking a snap while on a break.

After the veg duty, we walked around, to check which other stations we could help out at, and found ourselves heading to the dry items station. We found out that, that station needed help and decided to join the rest of ‘Santa’s helpers’ who were already there. We were each stationed in front of a box, full of items, and when the bag came around to our station, we dropped the item/s into the bag, and we passed the bag on to the next person in line to do the same thing. Here, I met volunteers who had come as families, from as far as Ipoh, which is in the State of Perak, situated North of Selangor. It’s amazing to see people travel far and wide to extend their help.

Photos below were taken before the start of our job and during breaks, when boxes needed refilling.

‘Santa’s helpers’ getting organized.
Time for refills.
Kavitha say ‘cheese’ 🙂
A truck leaving the premises after it had been loaded with items.

Another truck arrived (photo below) and volunteers were at hand to load the truck that will deliver the items to the impacted families.

The Gurdwara also served lunch for its volunteers.

Lunch for the day.

It’s truly amazing to see people travel far and wide to help. Some who came were students who were on a break, others were people who had taken off from work, whilst some were between jobs; ALL coming out to lend a hand.

My intention of writing this piece, is just to share with you how people from all walks of life come together in times of need. I’m sure this is a common practice.

Thank you for your time.

Wish you a Happy 2022!

KLSCM 2021 Virtual Run

Due to circumstances (with Covid19 lingering) this year, again, marathons / running events were not organised. During pre Covid19, thousands of runners would participate in this international event in Kuala Lumpur i.e. the Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon.

I missed out on the Virtual Run, KLSCM organised last year, but I made sure I did not miss out this year. Race days were 20 – 28 November 2021 for the Full, Half Marathons, 10km and 5km runs.

Meanwhile, I had only been doing my own runs and walks in the mornings, and I had never even run 6km those mornings. It had always been around 5km or less.

A few of our friends had already completed the KLSCM virtual run by participating in the half marathon, 10km or 5km run on 20 November. Mel and I who had registered for the 10km, had decided to run on 27 November.

So, on 27th morning, we met up at our meeting point. A couple of our friends who had already completed their run on 20th, had also joined us that morning to keep us company during our run. That was really sweet of them. Thanks Charmain and ET. So, after some chit chat and catch up that morning, we turned on our app on our devices to record our run and other stats, in order to upload it to the KLSCM Virtual Run, site later. We were then all set, and started our 10km run.

For me, it seemed like I was actually running in an organized event like we used to participate in, pre Covid19. My goal was to do my best, and I am always competing with myself. Trying to improve my timing. We had pleasant weather, and it was not sunny that morning. We ran through residential areas and near the main roads. Being a Saturday, there weren’t many vehicles on the roads. We came across many other runners too. My friends had also recognised a few other runners who were also past KLSCM participants. One gentleman was around 70 years old. Respects to him.

To side track a little, lockdown last year was effective 18 March. During that year at some point, when movement restrictions were lifted for certain activities that were allowed to be carried out, many people, in order to get some form of exercise (as gyms were not allowed to operate then), were happy to be out and about, either running, walking, cycling or doing others forms of physical activities outdoors, whilst still continuing to practice physical distancing and the other SOPs that were in place. It was also an opportunity to get out and get that lovely whiff of nature! It’s priceless, especially for those who live in flats, apartments or condos where during lockdown last year, the property management had also imposed strict measures on movement within the property. So, at that point of time many had resorted to exercising indoors within their own homes. Lifestyle changes, brought about by Covid19!

Coming back to the 27th morning, the day of our 10km run, all of us completed it and we all felt good about it. I was happy with my finishing time, but there’s definitely room for improvement. The morning ended with a ‘reward’, which was a good hearty breakfast.

What we always enjoyed after we complete any marathons or runs on race days, was what came next…Breakfast 🙂

Photos courtesy of ET.

And the ‘finish line’ is getting closer!
Done and all set to go for breakfast!

Happy December all!

Gili Trawangan, Lombok

Sometime in 2015 the Gili Islands got on our radar, when we were deciding on destinations for some sun, sand, sea, beach getaway. The islands are made up of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. So it was off to Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three, that we headed to.

So we flew into Lombok, Indonesia, and then, found our way to the jetty for the speed boat ride to Gili Trawangan.

After, feeling some splatter of sea water created by the speed of the boat on the waters and the cool breeze and sun on our faces, and enjoying the ride, we arrived on the island. The boat ride from Lombok to the island did not take long.

So excited we were to explore the island, that, first on the agenda was to go in search of Black Penny Villa, our accommodation, to drop off our bags and venture out. The villa was walking distance from where we got off from the boat. We were excited when we walked into the villa and spotted a pool. We were then told, that it was our very own jacuzzi. Yay! and we wondered what else was in store for us.

So, we dropped off our bags, checked out the villa, happy with the space, and hurried out before the sun would set, as we wanted to catch a glimpse of it. As we were walking out, to find a good spot to watch the sun set, we passed by lots of small shops, beach cafes and restaurants.

There are many party spots on the island, filled with partygoers and merrymakers. The clubs and bars played reggae, jazz, pop and so on. It is a party island.

We woke up early to catch a view of the sunrise. A totally breathtaking sight.

We walked round the entire island, and returned to where we started. Along the way we stopped over for a couple of beers and bites, taking in the view of the surroundings and the sea.

We found out that there was a party that was going to take place on a boat, Dragon 130 on the following day. The boat was to cruise from Gili Trawangan, go around the 3 Gilis i.e. Trawangan, Meno & Air; and Lombok before returning to Trawangan. Thrilled, we booked us in for the party.

From the jetty, we were ferried to Dragon 130, via smaller boats. So that took some time, to get everyone on board the Dragon.

After cruising for sometime, the boat stopped in the middle of the sea, so we could jump off the boat into the waters for some thrill seeking moments. From the top deck, some jumped off, doing somersaults and backflips, landing straight into the waters. I was like, “aww I wanna do that too”.

Nivs wanted too, but we were nervous. It took a bit of convincing and encouragement from 2 other people we had met, who had said that, there was nothing to it and that we will be fine. After sometime, we finally plucked up our courage to jump into the waters, but not from the top deck though… lol. The top deck of the boat was really high.

To make that jump from the lower deck, we (Nivs and I took turns to do it) got to the side of the boat and stood on the edge of it. Even from that position, it seemed that I was standing really high above, when I looked down below. The waters beneath seemed so far away, from where I was standing. Anyways, we both wanted to do that jump. We did, and into the waters we went, then emerged. We were completely excited that we did it. We returned to the boat, climbing up the ladder that they had set up for all of us. After getting back on the boat, the feeling of wanting to do it again crept over me. So I returned to the same spot where I had jumped off from, and hit the waters again. It was an exhilarating experience…crazy… lol. Thank you Sulo for the photos.

We had a great time on the boat, and we returned to the island after sunset. Then continued with the party on the island.

We had a great time on the island. It’s a great spot for short getaways, to relax and chill.

Well, thank you for reading my piece. Have a great week ahead.

Da Nang, Vietnam

A couple of years back, Vietnam beckoned me again. This time the attraction was the Golden Bridge. There were some public holidays coming up then, so I had decided to take a few days off and headed to Da Nang.

Having arrived at my accommodation in Da Nang, I took in this view of the bay.

The following morning I spent about an hour on the road to head to the cable car station, for a cable car ride up to Ba Na Hills.

There are many attractions up on this hill station. Amongst them, the ever popular Golden Bridge…my sole purpose there. After minutes on the bridge, came the rain and fog. I moved around the hill station wearing my poncho – rain coat that I had brought along with me.

One of the other attractions there, is the beautiful Flower Garden, a garden filled with colourful flowers that seemed to go on, and on, forever and ever. All one would see is a sea of colours springing out from the ground.

Then, there is the enormous statue of Buddha in a seated position, looking spectacular; a French Village with a beautiful old church; Debay Wine Cellar, where they serve wine for those who fancy a glass. Not forgetting the Wax Museum and Fantasy Park where there are varieties of games for kids and adults to participate in, for a fee. Lunch was at Arapang Restaurant where a buffet spread was served. Though there are other cafes and restaurants around at this hill station, many local and foreign tourists favoured this restaurant.

While in Vietnam I had also wanted to visit a quaint attraction situated outside Da Nang. Hoi An is about 45 minutes away by car from Da Nang city. A touristy spot, thronged by both local and foreign tourists. On arriving in Hoi An, one can move around by foot or take a ride on a rickshaw. One of the attractions here is the canal, where you could take a “sampan” ride for a fee, that some tourists do, at sunset. The streets in this quaint town is lined with many shops that are in the business of selling clothing, bags, shoes, sandals, canvas paintings, souvenirs etc. Many of the restaurants, cafes and bars which are popular with tourists, are situated facing the canal.

Back in Da Nang, below are some pics of Han River.

My stay in Da Nang ended by visiting the city, and I was satisfied with my visit to Ba Na Hills and Hoi An.

Thank you for visiting my page and have a great weekend.

a rava or a masala… :)

A few days ago, I had headed to a food stall, that I had not visited in months. Unfortunately when I arrived, the food stall vendor was in the midst of packing up to leave, as she was done for the morning. She had completed selling everything she had brought that morning. In the midst of our conversation, she mentioned that her sister had begun operating a food stall close by, where she makes “dosai” also known as “dosa” and another dish, “roti canai”. These dishes are amongst the many varieties of dishes that are available here, and that is usually eaten for breakfast. Well, since it had been a really long time since I ate a “dosai” or “roti canai”, I had decided to head over to her stall.

On arriving at her stall, and after exchanging pleasantries, I proceeded to look at the list of items on her menu. In my mind I had visualised an image of a “rava dosai”, and knew that, that was what I wanted. However, when I placed my order, I ordered a “masala dosai” (I had not “realised” this, at that point of time).

I then saw her scoop a ladle full of batter (flour mixture) from a pot, and spread the entire content from the ladle onto the huge, flat pan which was on the stove. A few minutes later, I saw her adding some masala mixture that had already been cooked, onto the batter that was getting cooked on the pan . That masala mixture is the stuffing for the “dosai” and comprised of small pieces of chopped potatoes, chicken, chickpeas and onion. Only then, did I realise, that I had placed the wrong order. I got played by my brain…lol!!!

My “masala dosai” was a takeaway or some may refer to it as a takeout. So, to curb the spread of covid19, our country is presently placed under the Movement Control Order (MCO) which is sort of similar to a lockdown, and due to this, restaurants, cafes, bars are not open for dine-in. However, takeaway/takeout is allowed.

Later that morning I was thinking…”why did I get my order wrong?” I then remembered that, at that point of time, at the food stall, whilst I was visualising an image of a “rava dosai”, I was simultaneously telling myself, that I did not want a “masala dosai”. But when it came time to place my order, my brain tricked me…hmmm…lol. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my “masala dosai” that morning, with a hot cup of coffee.

Some may not know what a “masala dosai” is. Here are some pics.

Well that’s my story, and when I think about it, the corners of my mouth turns upwards forming a smile.

Have a great week ahead all.

It began with the Earth Day Run…

Back in 2018 a friend of mine who has been running in organised running events, asked me if I would be interested to join her and a group of her friends for a Run. The upcoming Run at that time was the National Geographic (NatGeo) – Earth Day Run. The minute I heard NatGeo, I was excited… lol. I thought to myself “Wow, this is going to be something exciting and glamorous”… lol.

Having not participated in any event that involved running or marathons, I was excited and had agreed to give it a go, just because, it’s…NatGeo! Hmmm…the things some of us do…! They had a few categories like the 10 km, 15 km and so on. The category for the 10km distance was already closed, and the organizers were no longer accepting participants, as it was already full for that category. The next category available was the 15km distance that my friend and her group had already registered for. So at that point I thought I will give a go at it, whilst having no clue, what it would be like to participate in a 15km distance category.

The day finally arrived on 22 April 2018. The night before i.e. on 21 April, I had set my alarm on, on my phone, to wake up at a specific time that morning. I had however found myself waking up every few hours before the alarm on the phone had went off. It must have been the nervousness, excitement or I may have just been afraid that I may oversleep, and that may have resulted in me waking up so frequently that morning.

So, that morning we arrived in Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam, and then headed to the designated venue, where the event was scheduled to begin. On arriving there, that was the first time ever that I had realized that there were so many people participating that morning. That scene was mind blowing for me at that time. I thought to myself…wow…people actually do not mind waking up at unearthly hours, to prep themselves, and then to arrive at a designated venue to…just…run!

While we were there, we decided we ought to take a pic with the banner 🙂

What are the thoughts that go through the mind of a runner, while they run in organised running events or marathons?

During the run, I had noticed so many of the runners passing me by, and going ahead of me… and I had thought to myself… goodness, will I ever make it to the end?, will I complete the run within the qualifying time, in order to get that medal? During that Run my thoughts “travelled” everywhere… lol… after awhile my thoughts returned to “that” present moment, focused. I was running and even walking, at times. We also caught a glimpse of the sunrise that morning and it was spectacular. Some runners took photos of the sunrise and some even, at some signages that indicated distance remaining, to complete the run. Being the first time for me, I was like, “if I’m going to stop and take photos, that’s going to delay me”. So, I did not take any photos 😉 I was thankful however, that I had completed it within the qualifying time.

This is us, our group, thankful that we all completed the Run.

I had not realised then, that this was going to be another journey of mine. That, participating in the NatGeo Run had set my pathway to participate in many more other Runs, to come, and, that like many other thousands of runners, I too was going to be waking up at some unearthly hour, and also eating something light, at some unearthly hour of the morning, on the day of a Run. Majority of the Runs take place in the mornings. Very few take place in the evenings.

I found my self participating in other organised Runs and Marathons. I have however not run a marathon, i.e. 21 km or 42 km distance. However, some of my friends in our group have participated in these two categories. After the NatGeo Run, I had participated in 10km Runs and a 21 km Asics Relay Run.

Here are some pics from some of the events that we had participated in.

I have not posted all the photos from all of our Runs/Marathons that we had participated in, but have just shared a few here. I decided to write this, as today being Earth Day had reminded me of my first Run, and it was the Earth Day Run.

Have a great day, and thank you for reading. Cheers!

Back in Pokhara, and then Kathmandu.

Nepal (link for first time readers of my post).

This post is a continuation from the previous post.

We had arrived back in Pokhara from Nayapul, and had checked-in to Amazing Lake View accommodation for the night. It lived up to its name! We were given a room at the top floor of this low rise building, and we had an amazing view of Phewa Lake, from the balcony outside our room.

When we were walking around in Pokhara town later that day, after lunch, we noticed that there were a few massage outlets in town. We walked into one, and we both had a leg massage, as our overtired legs were screaming for some tlc. It felt good after the massage.

The next morning, after breakfast, we had walked around Pokhara town, as we had some free time for ourselves, before heading to the airport, to fly back to Kathmandu.

Later that day when we arrived at the airport, we were informed that our flight was going to be delayed, due to bad weather…rain. We had only boarded our flight 3 hours after the scheduled time.

Back in Kathmandu, we had returned to Kathmandu Guest House (KGH), our accommodation for the night. When we went to check-in, we were pleasantly surprised when we were informed, that they had upgraded our room, with no extra charge. Well… of course we were happy 🙂 So, we had walked into a much larger and spacious room, compared to the room we were given, during our stay on the first night at KGH.

The following morning, we had breakfast in the same Diner, but this time we sat inside the diner, rather than on the outside, as there were no more seats available outside the Diner. There were many more people dining that morning, compared to when we were first there about a week earlier.

Having sat inside the Diner, we had discovered that KGH was a big fan of the band “The Beatles”. Here are some pics of what The Beatles Diner looked like, on the inside.

After breakfast we had headed out to visit Kathmandu city.

Here are some pics taken at and around Swayambhunath Stupa – Temple, and it’s situated on a hilltop. We had also seen many monkeys around the grounds of the temple. Pics below are courtesy of Mel 🙂

We later had headed to visit Boudhanath Stupa. Here are some pics taken at the square over there.

Our next stop was Bhaktapur, the cultural city, which is also known to be the oldest city in Nepal. If you are a fan of anything ancient, Bhaktapur is a must visit, and be prepared to walk a lot here.

We had covered a lot of ground here as there was much to see.

After having spent time in Bhaktapur, we had then returned to our guest house.

Later that evening, we said our goodbyes to the friendly staff of the guest house, before heading to the airport for our return journey home, after 9 days in Nepal.

Three years ago today, we were leaving Nepal to return home.

Thank you for reading all of my posts, on our journey.

Cheers and have a great week ahead.

Tadapani-Ghandruk-Birethanti

DAY 4 – continued from previous post.

We are in Tadapani, and its the morning of day 4 of our trek. The night before we had decided to sleep in our sleeping bags, on our beds as it was so cold. So I was snuggled in, and I suddenly kept feeling a continuous tap on my leg. I thought I was dreaming. I eventually opened my eyes to see Mel and she said, she had been trying to wake me up for sometime 🙂 🙂 She said, get up, the sun is coming up. I thanked Mel for waking me up. After awhile she was already out of the room. We had agreed the night before that we would wake up to see the sunrise this morning. I quickly got out of my sleeping bag and dashed out of the room, with my phone.

We did not have to walk far to bask in the stunning view as it was visible from just a few steps away from our room. Mel was already clicking away taking pictures. So captivated was I of the view that I too could not stop taking pictures of it. The view of the mountain range kept getting more mesmerizing as the morning went by.

Here are some of the stunning views of Annapurna range with Machapuchare totally visible from our “front yard” 🙂 Mesmerized!

I would have loved to have packed up these views and brought it back home with me to my front yard and to wake up to it every morning! 🙂

So after breakfast at the dining hall, we returned to our room, packed up and were ready to set off down the trek. Our stay for the night was Ghandruk, Syaulibazar.

So, we finally arrived at our accommodation at Riverside Guest House, Ghandruk, Syaulibazar. The first thing I did was sit, then removed my shoes lol. I will not deny it, it felt great to sit hahaha, and we each had a cold bottled drink. Felt so good.

Our room was equipped with two single beds. We had to use the common bathroom that was situated not very far from our room.

DAY 5

Before breakfast we walked to the river situated close by to the guest house. There was a lovely flow of water in the river. Clean, clear and cold. Walked into the river just to get legs wet and feel the coldness of the water. After awhile, we then headed back and to the dining for a nice hearty breakfast.

After breakfast we were set to head back to Birethanti, our 5-day trek coming to an end. As we continue to trek down we came across some spectacular views as seen here.

So, we had walked by these homes from the direction of where that vehicle in the above pic is coming from.

Appreciate both our guide/porter’s assistance in guiding us throughout the entire trek. There was an incident, that I had forgotten to mention in one of my earlier post, when our guide came to my assistance. During one of our trek, suddenly out of nowhere, a herd of horses decided to join us on our trek. They were moving so fast, I could hear the sound of the movement of hoofs and I was totally in their way. I hardly had enough space for myself, as it was quite narrow where we were at, at that point of time. I had to get out of their way, to let them pass. The horses were so close to me, as they passed me, that our guide came and stood between me and the horses. I don’t deny, it was quite frightening for a bit.

I totally loved the journey, and enjoyed the 5-day trek as did Mel. I somehow feel a sense of sadness creeping in as I finish writing this, as this journey comes to an end. I felt I was reliving it as I was writing it.

From Birethanti, we continued on foot to Nayapul, and returned by car to Pokhara.

The 5-day trek ends with this post. Thank you for reading my post. Have a great week ahead all 🙂