Wednesday, July 31

Thailand part II - The rest day

Day 3 - Rest day!!

There is nothing to make one feel extremely smug than rain on your rest day! (with the climbing days being crystal clear, that is)

We started the day with a late start (7:45 am) and a very loong breakfast, after which Marian went back to the room to snooze some more, and San and I just sat and watched the waves.

By the time we got going (destination: Ao Nang and its markets!) it was already 10:30 am. The boat left us at Ao Nang pier and we walked around trying to find the perfect cafe in which to plan our Spain trip! Being so distributed requires us to meet in Thailand to plan our trips overseas because we are special that way, yes we are!

After spending four (FOUR) hours in Bernie's cafe and basically stealing their wifi, we took a tuk tuk to one of the Ao Nang markets. Mind you, it was NOT the market where we went five years ago, but, with uncle Pan not there to guide us, we had no bloody idea where to go (uncle pan, this is YOUR fault!)

AND THEN THE MARKET!! It was a muslim thai market but still! Fresh, delicious street food!

Delicious thai fish cakes (THE BEST EVAH!)! Grilled squid!!! Zomg (and this is why I do not loose any weight, ever!)

Bags and bags of fresh chilli!!!


Weird fruit! (btw, what is this fruit? Anybody?)

Fishies!! Fishies! fishies!!

We took the tuk tuk back to Ao Nang and we walked around some more. Walk walk, talk talk, and then the rain started again. Still, the highlight of the day was finding San's chicken drumsticks, finally, after three failed attempts, which included eating a very sweet chicken satay and a not so sweet chicken innards thingy. Behold the drumsticks!! They were delicious!

Tuesday, July 30

One picture Tuesday

Because the get Everest 2015* training has started and because winter is upon us: check out the green!!! This is something I had not noticed last year about South Australia: it rains a lot in winter, so the grass is so fucking awesomely green!!

* or, if the Everest plans do not come through, the "be your fittest you will ever be by May 2015 because YEAH BITCHES!"

Monday, July 29

Not the Thailand post I was hoping to write

Today was my first lecture of the semester. One of the slides that I give to students is the "this is why sometimes (mostly when I'm tired) my accent is so weird" slide. And I ask them about where Romania is located, and where Singapore is located, etc. Sometimes, if I've just come from climbing (because what else does one do right before their first lecture but go exhaust themselves to ensure maximum performance on Monday at 9 am?!!!) , I talk about its mountains and about how beautiful they are.

I didn't talk about them today mainly because I miss them dearly and my friend's exploits on our old climbing grounds ARE NOT HELPING!!

But I find myself googling and looking at old pictures and grinning at the irony of it all: having seen so much of this world (not enough btw!!) and so little of one's home turf.

And while I have somewhat explored this mountain:

In many ways, including the above and the below

And all of the mountains around here (Because hell yeah, check out those rock faces!), both in winter and in summer (but mostly in winter because i'm a masochist)

I have yet to see the ones below. And there are many many more that I have not seen. I guess, rather than get mildly depressed as the mood really pushes me to, I could just treat this as yet another list of places I need to see:

Saturday, July 27


I was wondering whether the next trip should be to the Grampians or to Arapiles, but this video convinced me:

"If we didn't have the failure, what fun would climbing be?" 
Daniel Woods


I was going to blog about the second part of the thailand trip today but then I found tamarind in the market and was distracted!!!! I ate so much tamarind during this trip it's not even funny.

Wednesday, July 24

Flashing Jai Dum in style

The way to flash Jai Dum is this.

You get off the long tail boat in Tonsai, in front of the Andaman Cafe, and ensure that everybody is watching you as you struggle to get your roller (which is pink in color maybe?) off the long tail boat and rolling on the beach. It can't really roll, because it's on a beach!

In your other hand you carry a hand-held fan that you use from time to time to get the hair out of your eyes and the mosquitos away from your skin. You're wearing high heeled slippers with big fluffy pompons.

Your t-shirt says "I heart NY", which in some cases may classify you as non-american, which is good or bad depending on who is at the cafe. Either way, by now the climbers at the cafe have already classified you as either a clueless tourist on the wrong beach (such a noob mistake!) or a cheapskate polluting their beautiful place (go away!).

You struggle to make progress on the beach: carrying your obviously heavy roller and the fan in those slippers is not an easy task!! Things get interesting for the people at the cafe when you ask them if they can show you Lion King, which they do, giving you puzzled looks. You do the counting, struggle to go to the base of the wall (the roller's wheels are clogged with sand and no longer turn), take out gear from your roller, put it on, ask for a belay and then FLASH! Jai Dum, 8b (31), and enter into history.

-- somehow this day dream seems more appealing to me than acting like a climber, sounding like a climber, looking like a climber, and not being able to get to the first clip of a route.

Tuesday, July 23

One picture Tuesday

The truly authentic Thai restaurant can be determined by the quality of its signage:

Sunday, July 21

Thailand part I

 See the rest of the photos here!

Day 0 - Getting there

We took the plane to krabi and landed without issues (note to self: the visa on arrival queue is shorter than the other queues mwhahahaha). Bought taxi tickets and then asked the taxi to take us to the pier. This was cute but was WRONG: we needed Ao Nang beach not Ao nang pier (ao nam Mao), because the latter is the place where boats go to Railay, not Tonsai where we needed to be. The two beaches are extremely close to each other on the map, but are separated by a gigantic cliff in real life. No biggie, say we. We will carry all our bags over the gigantic cliff!! Finally reason won and we took a boat, and, three hours after landing we were in our room.

Of course, initially it was supposed to be a getting there day, but in the end I begged and asked and whined and so we went climbing at Tyrolean Wall: Missing Snow, 6b+. It is as beautiful and intricate as I remember it, a classic for the grade. Sandra of course flashed it, I wasn't so lucky haha.

We walked to Pra Nang beach to see the sunset.

Day 1: A date with a Lion
Perhaps it's not the best thing to start your trip with the hardest route you want to do. Also, perhaps it's not so good to not train lead falls...

Hm. Anyway. I got all geared up for the Lion King (6c+) and could not summon the balls to get to the first clip. After trying and trying and trying San took pity on my wussism (a newly defined religion, its followers are called wussites) and set up the route, despite mentioning many times that she would not do it for me... She was awesome, and I was so touched!!

I tried lion king for the first time in my life and I became hooked (hehe) on what is probably a lifetime project. It's beautiful and horrible at the same time, and I loved it.

I rewarded my adherence to my new found faith with a mango sticky rice, and we next proceeded to melting wall where we sent a variety of 6bs.

Day 2: Thaiwand wall
This day will mark our shift to weekend warrior status: we only did 6as (and pluses) with a VERY VERY nice 6b (solution 41) on top rope.

Notable also is Caveman, a very nice 6a+ .

The area is very popular for its amazing views! We were lucky with the weather and Thaiwand wall was in the shade but it didn't rain that much!

Primal scream - ran out of balls so San had to set the route (sounds familiar?) I notice that after setting a number of routes I no longer have imaginary stainless steel gigantic balls but they kind of shrink to imaginary raisins.

 It is also worth noting that these raisins are much louder in yelling their fear than the stainless steel ones are in stating their assurance (note to self: need to take lead falls)

We walked through the cave to Pra Nang beach, searched for chicken drumlets and watched the beautiful beautiful sunset.

(I'm only posting san's sunset photo because she is more photogenic than I am).
Now chicken drumlets DO NOT grow in the sand of thai beaches, but used to be sold there five years ago. Unfortunately, these, together with the marvelous duck noodles cart, are no longer available. As is natural, a large number of changes have occurred on the peninsula, but thank fuck these changes were mostly in Railay, which has become very developed and very very touristy. Weirdly enough, there are even non-climbers in Tonsai, probably attracted by the cheap cheap accommodation.

After sunset we went to eat and then started the long trek home: to get to Tonsai from Railay at low tide is easy and fun, as you see a lot of crabs, sea cucumbers and sea urchins. To get to Tonsai from Railay at high tide in pitch darkness is not so fun.

Thursday, July 18

True friendship is ...

When your friend sets up a scaaary route for you just because you have been to fatt, too lazy, and too ball-less to be able to do it yourself.

Will blog about Thailand tomorrow! IT WAS AWESOME!!

Wednesday, July 10

One picture Tuesday

Nothing spells lurve than your friends staying up for you while your plane is SEVEN hours late, and waiting for you with the best food stuffs in the world!! Durian puffs, durian, mango, mangosteen party!! I love you bebehs!!

Monday, July 8

Nothing looks more like holiday than ...

I've been going through the pictures on my phone, deciding which one is the best holiday photo. A picture of a durian? sleeping cats? lavender fields? San's nieces? Jensen and his fake cupcake abs? D. all wrapped up because we didnt find the heater? In the end, I decided on the one below.

Three years ago, I stepped on you and cracked you*. I will see you again soon!

*because there's nothing that says fatt better than a cracked handhold.

Sunday, July 7

Very important decisions

Because you cannot go even on a five day holiday without making sure that you have adequate reading materials, and because we know about the kindle's issue with indexing , I have been using my spare cycles for the past few days to think about what books to put on the kindle. They must be holiday books but also interesting books. Books to read on a beach waiting for the sunset but also books to read  in the morning before everybody WAKES UP already!!!

Me: "San, what books should I put on the kindle!!!!??!!!!! For the trip?!" 
San: "I don't know.. All?"
Me: "Cannot!"
San: "It's a climbing trip, not a reading club"
So finally, with no help from my friends, I have settled on twenty (TAHWENTY!) books from which I will choose something depending on my mood:

  1. - man in the high castle
  2. - american gods
  3. - the dispossessed
  4. - kraken
  5. - iron council 
  6. - dirk gently's holistic ...
  7. - the city and the city
  8. - wise man's fear
  9. - and the mountains echoed
  10. - the fortress of solitude
  11. - infinite jest
  12. - bloodsucking fiends (christopher moore - got this by googling funniest books list - we'll see where this gets me: either laughing like mad on a beach in Thailand or throwing my kindle overboard in anger: you never know with "funny" books)
  13. - a dirty job (same as above)
  14. - hard boiled wonderland
  15. - brief wondrous life of oscar ..
  16. - never let me go 
  17. - mountaineering the freedom of the hills
  18. - blood rites
  19. - breakfast of champions
  20. - name of the wind

Now of course, having just spent twenty minutes typing this, two hours searching for some of these titles, and ten minutes pestering my friends, I'll probably end up just reading the guide book. Snort.

Saturday, July 6

I love Adelaide

For many reasons, one being that you can buy ghost chili pizza! Nothing goos about it really other than its inherent spiciness (went for the milk after the first slice if you must know :) ) - but still, GHOST CHILI PIZZA!!!

Wednesday, July 3

A cause for divorce

In our last Grampians trip, Marian sent his third V3 and New Years resolution, a problem called Lygon street massacre. He asked me to film him, as in his first attempt of the day he felt very good about it.

Take 1. He starts, gets past the crux and in the "omfg I don't want to fall here" section of the route. I stop the film and go spot him. I tell him as he comes down that I have failed, so he decides to do it again.

Take 2. He climbs it again but because of angle and tree-in-the-way issues, he decides to do it again.

Take 3. He climbs the route beautifully but the phone goes into hibernate. It's a new iOS version so I fumble with the controls and do not record half the climb.

Take 4. He starts the climb again, but is shaky, his foot slips and he bangs his knee on the wall. He's rolling on the mat in extreme pain, while I'm rolling on the ground pissing myself in laughter. Apparently my laughing does not have the desired effect and he gets really really angry. I find that terribly funny and continue to laugh. He is not happy!

Take 5. He climbs the route a fourth time, all shaky and angry, but this time, of course, I record it for posterity. Thank fuck he sent it, otherwise I think I would have done the stupid thing and laugh some more and then ... disaster!

If you've missed it, here he is on Lygon Street Massacre, V3, Grampians. I am only responsible for the bad shooting, not for the bad music.

Tuesday, July 2

One picture Tuesday

Ah well. I have not lost weight, nor have I increased my endurance, but this DOES NOT CHANGE the fact that one week from now we will (eventually) be here:

Skies will be blue (I hope!) and the sea will be green (I don't care) and the limestone will be beautiful (I CARE!)

I am fatter than I have ever been in my climbing life and I KNOW we will get trashed by the walls, so probably Lion King is not in the books this year

(especially since San has already sent it so there's no incentive for her to put up my draws cough cough)

And I also know that we will be emo and thoughtful, but hey! rest   pigout day in Ao Nang! Chillax on the beach! Climb till we can't open our fingers ROAR!!!!  San!! First day, we climb at 8am ok?!

Sigh. I need a holiday.

And for the reference, here's Jensen on Lion King (Jensen, you're the second hit on youtube!)

Monday, July 1


I've actively taken part in competitions ever since moving to Adelaide, even though I hate the damn things. Mostly to support the local community (especially the girrlz! go girrlz!) but also because they're fun and much, much less stressful than the Singapore ones - yes, not climbing in a team makes things less stressful, who would have thought?!!! Nothing at stake really either. I've finished on the podium (first and third) most of the time, and a career low was finishing outside the podium once. The field of open women is small and, when I move to masters in four years there will probably be just me and another varli varli strong girl in the entire category, so probably it will still be open women for me! It is not a fantastic achievement by any standards, but at least hey, I beat some of the guys!!! (On the one and only occasion when I came first, my score put me halfway on the guys' list - HELL YEAH!!)

We had another one of these beauties last night, at Vertical Reality Climbing Gym. It was awesome!! By far the best competition so far, there were zillions and zillions of problems and many many people trying them!! The problems were varied, both in the style but also in the types of holds, walls and surfaces they used, and, while the setters did not get very creative with the volumes, at least THERE WERE various volumes on the wall, which is a fucking achievement I must say. There were easy, medium, and very hard problem that kept people occupied, and at least thirty problems that I didn't even have time to try (for all of you Singaporeans out there, it was what we call a climbing carnival, like Climb On! -- they call it pumpfest here). Overall, I'm mildly psyched to get on them again. Unfortunately, this week I'm training endurance only as next week it's Thailand time*!!!

*Also known as "eat till you drop youwontfitinyourpantsanymore time!"