Wednesday, December 23

Over and out.

Heading for New Zealand tomorrow evening, so for now wishing y'all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope that I will be able to blog and post photos along the way - for the benefit of the three people reading out there but also to spare me thousand and thousand of photo selection when I come back - but I do not know the kiwi internet status.

I am heading for the climbing gym now for a last climbing session with Doris while Sandra is out partying like mad with her other friends. I wish I could say that I cleaned my office to give it a fresh face in the new year, but I didn't, so there.


Tuesday, December 22


Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

Everybody was saying, DURIAN FRIED RICE!

Yup. Went climbing on Sunday with Sandra and Doris. I was scared shit more than usual but this time I fell! By my own accord! YAY! To wash up the adrenaline, the girls took me to eat durian fried rice. It was GOOD! Very good actually!!! I wish I could tell you that we enjoyed and savored the meal at a very slow pace, but the truth of the matter is that everything was wiped out in about fifteen minutes. We did enjoy it (although Doris was saying how last time she could bite durian pieces in the rice) but we were also famished. To give you an idea, when I am hungry I eat, eat, eat until the hunger is a bit curbed and then I stop to contemplate and utter the first syllables of the meal. This time, I contemplated when we were about done.

Excuse the blurry picture, I guess my hand was shaking.

Sunday, December 20

Austin! TEXAS!

Well two days later and i finally am somewhat recovered from the 42 hour trip from Austin, TX to Singapore. I liked Austin. It was nice, small, and nice. The food was not spectacular, but I would die for migas any day. Texans are fun and polite and they do talk to you out of the blue. I stayed in a beautiful Inn decorated circa 1900 with a swing on the porch and two cats, a black cat (Evil) and a white cat (Bueno), and a poodle (Amber). I walked to the conference on the first day (5 miles = 8 km) but then I took the bus - I am a wuss, what can I say. I went to REI twice even though it was a 5km trek from the conference hotel. And I went to whole foods!!! Affordable cheese and bread! Woo hoo! I bought a spicy sauce called Widow Maker from there! It's not really spicy but it's good. Below are some pics. As usual, more here.

A lot of squirrels:

A very well adapted tree:

In front of a diner: - it's so foggy because it's about 8 am

A golf course:

Autumn at its best:

Learning to park:

Pigeons around University of Texas at Austin:

The Capitol building from afar:

Weird visual effect:


Congress Ave:

Interesting house:

Autumn downtown:

The Capitol building by night

Maybe I should take off my kinky glasses:


My favorite american president [PFFT!]

Oh how I hate hunting.

Migas, baby!

Texan art:

Thursday, December 17

Stuck in an airport

Just when I was ready to blog about how I could get used to eating at Whole Foods,

shopping at R.E.I,

having burritos and tacos,

having a Dr. Pepper (first time in my life!),

eating migas (omelette with tortilla chips and beans and cheese and salsa MMMM) - google it! cook it!,

knowing that I can find anything and if not, I can get it delivered overnight to my doorstep (except during Christmas time);

having a crispy cold morning with bright red leaves in the trees;

having that attitude like I actually deserve everything, that's when

SHIT HAPPENS. Like you realize that people do not say Merry Christmas but they say Happy Holidays instead. And that indeed they do drive everywhere - if you try to take a bus you have to wait for eons! Or that Botox really leaves one's forehead absolutely immobile. Or that the Houston airport is called George Bush (and i'm stuck in it - or him?). Or how good Earl Grey is really expensive (snob, i know)

Or that somebody gets shot point blank in the head without any apparent reason on the main boulevard in Austin (Austin is very small). I know about this because I was up at 4am and got stuck on some stupid commercial channel where for example it takes about 75% of the actual commercial to list all the adverse scary effects of the drug they are advertising. Brrr

Or how now I am stuck in Houston for about 6 hours (thank god there is free wifi) and then I will be spending the night in Tokyo and thus missing climbing with sandra on friday. I wonder where our hotel will be. Will I be able to see anything or will I just crash in the bed and ZZZ?

Sunday, December 13

Texan portions

Spinach salad and chicken quesadillas. Gigantic but i still managed to finish! Nothing like good ol' airplane food to get one's appetite up!

Friday, December 11

Old hags

Sandra and I climbed on wed in an attempt to boost up our endurance. of course it started with a grumble because "Endurance for what?! if you ask me, we're just going to be pulling plastic for the rest of our lives! Stuck in Singapore!!" and grumble, grumble, grumble some more. Off we were to do sets of 15 mins arc (5 min with jugs, 5 min without jugs, 5 min with jugs)... We threw in some campus boarding which just showed us how old and tired we were. I guess just tired though because sandra isn't old and well I am, just barely there though. We dragged our feet through the motions whining in between of how weak we were. Two months ago I could campus up and down but now I need help! (Forgive me campus board, for I have sinned, it's been two months since my last pull-up!)

Grumble and whine, grumble and whine, we finished them in the end but unfortunately did not have it in us to free-climb. I set a spanned route and then we did some half-hearted attempts at some other ones and then called it a night. Tonight I will be climbing solo, a great occasion to accumulate some anger and frustration, just to give me enough steam to last me through Texas - flying there tomorrow morning.

Now of course the title of this post does not refer to Sandra and I! Today I gave my old hags to the salvation army. Three marathon trainings have done them in and I am looking forward to another pair of size 39 (us 8, uk 5.5 - writing such that I dun forget) running shoes -one size and a half bigger than my shoes, two sizes bigger than my climbing shoes - I do go though life in a cycle of contract-expand, don't I? Heard it's good for the face muscles, keeps 'em young.

Tuesday, December 8

Singapore Marathon 2009 Race Report

Before i start with the report, here's the results ... BTW, 95% of the men (11510 to be exact): EAT MAH DUST!!!

First of all, an all time PR! However, an all time disappointment as well. This is because I remember that around the 30 km mark I told my legs, "Cmon now, speed up a bit to get under 4!!" and then ... I. JUST. FORGOT. Yup. I guess the tiredness and the hoards of people (and i mean rivers of people) that we intersected around 32 km probably just wiped that thought from my mind. I only remembered around the 39th that I was supposed to speed up. And by that time I just couldn't anymore.

Woke up at 03:45 am, had a peanut butter slice of bread and a power bar (probably regretting it later) drank some water and we were off. Yixiang and his friend Matthew bumped into me, I bumped into Liu Li later in the race. Did not see clara or nita but they finished too!

Notes to self

  • Cmon! Is it that hard to remember?!!? Use the toilet before the race! Wake up early, with ample time to use it! HAD to go pee around 7km. HAD to go do other stuff around 10km and then i just cramped it up until the first port-a-potty which was around 15 km (ORGANIZERS, what were you thinking?!) - I am not too upset about the second thing because I had been fighting a stomach flu since Thursday. Glad I didn't puke though.

  • Energy gels. They work.

  • Chocolate energy gels. They suck. As ever.

  • Pacers. Stay in front of them.

  • Next time, run faster such that you avoid. the crowds. - last time i write like this, promise!

  • Never forget to hydrate - around 39 km an ambulance was driving through us (we were the River of People by that time) towards a white guy on the side that was on his back, with his feet up, surrounded by first-aid workers. I wasn't planning to drink anymore but I just stopped and had another glass

Sights and sounds

Well mainly sights.

  • A full marathoner girl dressed in a full Santa suit - not sure if the belly was fake though.

  • A half marathoner dressed in the big black witch - hat, wig, black dress

  • On the back of somebody: "Older and faster." - on the side - "i am 40" - thumbed him up

  • Remember the guy with the bell? He was in the same spot this year! No girlfriend though, but more posters with motivational writing! I told him I saw him last year, and he told me in the same tone I heard him use on the walker: "I saw YOU last year!" :))

  • One-arm guy

  • Father with two kids (boy and girl) spotting a huge banner: "Run run run! Marathon mum! Proudly supported by James and Lucy" at 5, 8, and 23 km


  • Great weather this year! No sun, cloudy - when we left home I was even hoping for a big rain to give me an very good EXCUSE not to run

  • Very cheerful volunteers - I guess they had to be, because there were very few supporters, at least compared to 2007 - no bands, no people dressed up (pirates, ppl on stilts, etc) - I guess this is recession marathon :)


  • I love the ending at city hall but! there are too few lanes freed up. The crowds of WALKERS (mostly from 21, 10km - notice the snub, yeah?!) was HUGE!! A meet-up like this happened around 32 km as well ... a lot of people and very very few were from the marathon.

  • Very few supporters

  • Race route: seriously, a big highlight of my first 15km is seeing the Kenyans when they get out of East Coast park - us normal people are just getting in by that time. This year we were detoured around a parking lot and we never got to see them running. So sad.

  • Race route again: there was a car driving through us between 13-15 km - it was not an official car and the people inside were not wearing any official t-shirt. How did they get there I wonder? In the end I either overtook it or it stopped, I can't remember because I was frantically looking for a loo.

  • No Marian at the finish line - he was expecting me much later, so I only have fat pictures of me But here I am on the massage table:

Sunday, December 6


Or thereabouts. So close to doing a sub-four (my dream), yet so far ... :((

Saturday, December 5

Scared. shit.

I guess i need to join marathons in order to take one day off and NOT DO ANYTHING. YUP. I spent the whole day watching 30 ROCK and now my brain is mush. I guess watching TV for the whole day (and reading a murder book) is a good way to turn your thoughts AWAY from the fact that you are running a marathon the next day But who cares, life is good, right?

Wednesday, December 2

Cambodia II - Polaroids

I loved the temples but the country is so poor! And I guess that really sums it up.

Cows don't like the rainy season:

But water buffalos do


Working in the rice fields

Floating garden: