Tuesday, 16 May 2017

How to Shower in Ice Cold Water

When I was in Dhunche, a small town in the Langtang region of Nepal, I stayed at Hotel Himalayan Legend ...

... which didn't have hot shower. There were solar panels on the roof but the guesthouse owner claims they were not working. 

I know there're trekkers who don't bathe throughout the duration of their trek which can last for days. But I can't do that. After coming in from a long trek, sweaty, dirty and all, I always appreciate a hot shower. It is refreshing and I can sleep well ready for the next day's trek.

Since Hotel Himalayan Legend didn't have hot shower, I had to shower in ice cold water. Here's how to do it: 

1) Warm up by doing some vigorous exercise like jumping around and running on the spot.
2) Open the shower and let the ice water flow.
3) Use your hands to wet your arms followed by your body and legs. Your body will eventually get used to the ice water if you wet your body in stages. Last of all, put your head under the shower to wet your hair.  
4) Quickly shampoo, lather soap on your body and rinse off.
5) Step out of the shower and continue doing small exercises to warm up your body. 
6) Towel down and put clothes on.

Those who can stand the ice water may even step under the shower at one go. I prefer to do it step by step.

Good luck!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Putting on and Removing Contact Lenses in Basic Conditions

During my 3 trips to Nepal, I've mastered the art of putting on and removing contact lenses in basic conditions, i.e. without water and no wall mirror.

Most of the guesthouses along the treks don't have ensuite bathrooms in the bedrooms. The bathrooms are usually located outside the rooms and extremely basic, i.e. no wash basin, no mirror, no shower (some of the guesthouses boiled water for us to bathe for a fee), run down, etc.

Therefore putting on and removing contact lenses in these conditions could be pretty challenging especially when cleanliness must be observed at all times when it comes to contact lenses and our eyes.

Here are the 4 items you'll need to put on and remove contact lenses in basic conditions:

1) Antibacterial hand sanitiser
2) Compact mirror
3) Contact lenses (goes without saying)
4) Disinfectant (goes without saying)
5) Headlamp or torchlight (optional)


a) Prop your compact mirror up firmly against anything that's convenient for you, e.g. window, bagpack, etc.
b) Open ready your contact lens case and caps on the disinfectant and antibacterial hand sanitiser.
c) Squirt a little antibacterial hand sanitiser on the palm of your hands and rub it all over your hands especially your fingers.
d) Pick up one lens from the contact lens case and rinse it with disinfectant.
e) Using the compact mirror to guide you, place the lens into your eye. Repeat for the other lens.
f) Guesthouses in the mountains of Nepal operate on generators which kick in during specific times only. So if you need to put on or remove your lenses in the dark, use a headlamp or torchlight (clinch with your teeth or get someone to hold for you).

I promise if you follow this method properly you won't develop any eye infection.

Good luck!

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.

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