Post ORD Shenanigans – Gifts, EBC and SEA Aquarium

Another long hiatus, but this time I return with much more tales of adventure and…mishaps 😦
I have been quite leisurely occupied after my ORD (which I closed up in my last post), doing all the usual stuff guys who just ORDed would do, like backpacking with friends, looking for jobs, playing (rediscovering Skyrim :O). Its my fervent belief that this period of time is so uniquely precious in that there would not be any other ”break” that one can truly be free of worries and responsibilities and just…go with the wind. After this, all the holidays or term breaks will be interspersed by reservice, projects and other grown up stuff.
Anyway, ORD has left me with a lot of farewell gifts, a few plaques, this cert and that cert but i guess the ones that mean the most to me have to be the unofficial ones. My branch gave me this man united shoebag with their signatures on it along with a truly mischievious card…I guess at the end of the road, I can truly say that I have done myself proud and acheived the goals that I wrote down when I joined the unit nearly 8 months ago.

My first overseas ”trip” in service was to Brunei, a real charmer. Next up was even better – Thailand. After I joined my unit, I had to fly off to Brunei yet again just before my ORD and in fact I ORDed the day I touched back down home. So it was quite ironic that for a holiday, I chose Phuket along with a few of my JC classmates. Wasn’t that epic a holiday but there were some epic moments that involved money grubbing locals and a weird massage moment.
I haven’t got around to learning driving yet and its due in part to my procrastination. However, I did manage to get a booking next week to finally start…
My next holiday was much more interesting. Some of the other officers had this crazy idea to climb/trek (whatever) up to Everest….Base Camp. Haha yeah its a lot of difference and we like to leave out the latter. Most of the good photos are up on my fb but it was all uploaded in a rush in some small teahouse along the way up. Technology does exists up there at 4000m up…
Something happened though, even though it was truly an epic adventure with fantastic company, I came down with a condition called HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema, like fluids in the brain) due to the high altitude. So basically as we went further up, I started having the usual symptoms like headaches at around 4500m. But it was still bearable, except for the mornings where I would be paralyzed by the throbbing pain in the head. At around 5500m, the day where we reached Kala Pattar, one of the best spots to view Everest, I started losing my balance even though my other functions were still fine. So I began tripping over stuff and needed support eventually. When my condition didn’t improve upon descending, the guys decided to call for a heli to evacuate me down to Kathmandu. In hindsight, I am very grateful that I had insurance covering my ass. The guide said the last case where someone had the same symptom, he blacked out and eventually was diagnosed with pneumonia.
But still, I did reach the highest point and the base camp too. Its not like I was weak and couldn’t make it down. That was my pride speaking, excuse me *ahem*.
We had the good fortune to get a true blooded Sherpa as our guide. Name’s Phurkel, and why am I not surprised that he has a facebook account?
Upon reaching the base camp and leaving our mark on this unremarkable hunk of rock, it truly hit us that like all of life’s journeys, its the process that counts, not the destination.
I really want to make it up to Nich for accompanying me down on the heli and sacrificing his chance to complete the whole journey. He even paid for all the bills first. This bastard just won’t accept a treat from me no matter how hard i push…tsk tsk.
Anyway, with regards to my condition now, the doctor actually issued me a fit to fly certificate along with a warning to ”not trek for a period of 2 weeks”. Personally, I have an upcoming marathon in a month’s time so I do have to get back to running condition asap. I did try, and its quite worrying as I just can’t seem to get into my usual stride yet, and jumping is still weird for me. Sigh, I just hope I can quickly coax my body back into shape.
I didn’t even realize yesterday was Labour Day as everyday is a holiday to me now =D but nonetheless I didn’t want to waste a day with the family so my mum and I persuaded the family to go out and in the end we decided on…
The SEA aquarium, yes the one at resorts world Sentosa. It was not bad really. They somehow managed to bring in all kinds of unique corals (still suspecting they dyed it in those ridiculously bright colours) as well as a horror movie-worthy octopus. One could spend a long time at the giant aquarium just gazing at the graceful rays gliding around. Looking at the dolphins though reminded me of the price of bringing them here…
At $29 per pax I think its quite worth the price…esp if you compare it to around $19 for underwater world!
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