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The Girl With Pink Hair

Not all that glitters is gold, not all who wander are lost

Month

September 2011

Car rides

Why do we close our eyes when bracing for something negative? Does it help to not see?

While many complain about the long ride to site each morning, I really do enjoy it. It is somehow soothing and peaceful, kinda like meditation. Not that I’ve tried meditation.  An hour’s journey without much traffic, watching the landscape of earth colours change from that of a city, to a sparsely populated industrial area then an endless stretch of powelines against the beautiful sand and sky and finally, to nothing but an endless stretch of sand. The roads here are so and straight that it vanishes into nothing. There’s this turn at a junction in the middle of the desert which I particularly like, with over 10 random signs stuck at the edge of the sand in the middle of nowhere.

These photos do no justice to the beauty but its the best I have for now.

 Leaving the city.

To nothing but sand.

Where the bosses poked fun at this pipeline above the sand. An engineering disgrace, they said. To think they demanded so much from us. Hurhur.

There’s beauty to everything, if only we open our minds and hearts to it.

The weather is crazily hot and it’s not even the worst. Utmost respect to the guys out there at site. On the other hand, the same orange circle that brings about such temperatures also displays such picture perfect sights. Even with the heat, one can’t help but stop and stare for a little while.

Just checked into Fraser Suites in Doha. It’s amazing! Couldn’t help dancing around a little. It’s exactly the kind of apartment I would like to stay in if I were to be living abroad alone.

Off to catch up on my reading before turning.

Is it the look in your eyes

Or is it this dancing juice?

Who cares, baby

I think I wanna marry you

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Inspired

Today, I am once again reminded of how little of the world I’ve seen, how limited my experiences have been and how vast our world is.

I’ve always dreamed about stepping out, going a little further and trying something new. Yet I’m constantly fearful of, everything. When my boss informed me of the project in Qatar, I really wanted to go. When it was confirmed, I started to feel afraid. Is it because of the environment that I’ve lived in all my life?

As much as I love my homeland and am grateful for it’s safe and stable environment, I do wanna go out and see the world. Live abroad for a while, immerse myself in the culture and learn the language. What I’ve experienced so far is only a fraction of what the world has to offer. I don’t wanna give up amazing experiences for safety and stability. I want to live my life living, not being safe nor staying within my comfort zone. There’s so much more to live for.

I truly wish I had studied harder. Education isn’t everything, but having a good education and good grades does open doors. I can’t deny that.

Gotta put my time to better use. But for now, back to work.  =)

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

– Steve Jobs

Day 1 in Qatar. Again.

So a year and a half has passed and I’ve not blogged about my previous trip.

Humans are forgetful, truly. Then, I told myself that I would never return to Qatar, less than half a year later, I had forgotten the bad and only remembered the good times. The friends that I had made, the awesome food, the countless firsts and all that I’ve learnt. Another year later, I’m back again. Same country, same company but with different people for a different project. This time, not as HR.

Comfort is totally overrated. When in our comfort zones, we tend to learn lesser. The greatest experiences and lessons learnt are more often than not, in the face of adversity. And so, embrace I shall.

=)

Was greeted by the huge rising sun upon touching down.

Super cute round toilet bowl at the hotel while the toilet bowls at site are square shaped. Hurhur.

At night, it becomes an endless stretch of red lights. Pretty.

The setting sky at site.

The end of my 29 hours Monday. =)

 

 

Life is beautiful, so beautiful, its beautiful to me..

Adding on to my previous post, to put it more accurately, we shouldn’t be measuring what they possess against our wants.

That aside, the wonders of our world.

Seaventures, the defunct oil rig we stayed at during our dive trip to Sipadan. Taken from Mabul island.

Blurry shot of the rig against the sunset, taken from the boat as we were approaching it.

Shot of the bridge beside the bridge from the bridge. Hurhur.

Local children playing on the beach. Basically just spinning themselves round and round with peals of laughter. =)

Sipadan island.

Love this shot.

It started to rain halfway thru our first dive on the first day that we dived at Sipadan island and the water was freezing cold while we were below. Ascended shivering and continued shivering, wet and cold, as we hung around on the beach for an hour waiting for our next dive. Was kinda dreading diving in as it was like really cold and I haven’t stopped shivering for like an hour. Instead, once we dived in, surface of the water felt pleasantly warm, like being in a really warm and comfortable bath. Super shiok. Till we descended once again into the cold water. Interesting how warm the water feels when it rains. Then again, our bodies were probably cold from the strong wind when we were on land.

The change in temperature could be felt at 20m and beyond too. Water turned really cold once we descended beyond 20m so I didn’t really have to look at my gauge to see if I’m above or beyond 20m. Super cool. And really cold. I really need to get a better thermal guard.

Sunrise at 5.30am. Dive boat to Sipandan island, from the rig, leaves at around 5.30am.

Whats not to love. Blue skies. Blue waters.

Sunset from the rig. Beautiful.

I took so many photos of sunrises and sunsets on that trip till I can’t really differentiate it anymore. Afterall, it was all taken against the same background.

And its not often that I’m up early enough to watch the beautiful sunrise.

All photos taken with my lousy phone, thus the lousy resolution.

In the morning, I feel the breeze
The sun watches over me..
The sound of water, the crashing sea
Is it only me?…
That feels alive
Its all ahead on me

‘Cause it feels so right..
Just open your eyes and see

That life is beautiful, so beautiful
Its beautiful to me
That life is beautiful, so beautiful
Its beautiful to me

How would it have been?

Somehow, when I get mad, looking at the blue photos makes me happier a little.

Becoming increasingly impatient and short tempered recently. I mean I’ve been that way all along but it seems to be getting worse. I don’t get how irresponsible some people can get, how stupid they behave or how dense they are. Its like, I’m frustrated enough dealing with incompetent idiots at work and now, my friends? Why can’t people just do what is required when it doesn’t even take a lot of effort? I’m pretty sure everyone has encountered some sort of frustration at work and knowing how much it sucks, why do you still to the same to another?!

I truly don’t get it.

“In reality, our beliefs seem so obvious to us that we’re often amazed that others can see things so differently”

Note to self: Do not be one of those. Learn to manage my anger.

That aside, completed reading Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. Its a really interesting read. It amazes me how North Korea can be so different from what, almost, the rest of the world is today and I really wish there is more information about North Korea on the internet.

Was asked if I hated the ruler, well I don’t. It is just another way of ruling, another strategy and another practice (Weird how I can accept this difference, yet not the daily differences around me daily). Things did seem to be better initially, the people there seemed pretty satisfied, but the world moved on as they remain stagnant. Somehow, that caused much of the suffering of today. Should China and Russia remained as communist countries, they would probably have gotten on a little better. That said, if America were to have taken a communism stand, things would be greatly different.

Doesn’t democracy have its cons as well? Before China and Russia moved away from communism, weren’t the people in North Korea happy? Weren’t they happy before they had knowledge of the outside world? Could it be that we’re only focusing on the negativity in North Korea? Could there be another side we know not of?

I remember telling a friend that I felt sad for the kids in Yunnan, cause they did not have the comforts of the modern world that we had and she told me not to, cause they were happy in their own ways, not wanting from the lack of knowledge of the world outside.

So then, are we feeling sorry for the North Koreans by comparing our level of comfort to theirs? And how is this comparison accurate?

How did living become so complicated? If humans could survive living in caves and hunting for food, why are we stuck in concrete jungles, working more than 1/3 of each weekday and living the rat race?

The root to all evil isn’t money. Its knowledge.

I’ve drifted.

Whoa. Really pretty photo I got off Wiki of a crater lake at Tianchi, border of China and North Korea.

Under the sea

Waltzing in the blue. Actually that was just me being unable to equalize and the DM trying to bring me down slowly.

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Hanging around, actually, hovering around while waiting to spot mantas. Love how the photo turned out.

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Clear blue water with amazing visibility. Just before Lester came over and pushed Tam down when there was a Triggerfish below.

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The trip that revived my love for diving. Similans LOB, MV Phoenix, the most amazing experience. Well, every travel experience is amazing in its own way. =P

48m at Sipadan

That night we laid on the sun deck, with its lights switched off, under the blanket of stars.

Taken with Kynneth’s DSLR. What we saw was way more amazing, in just a couple of hours, I saw 5 shooting stars! Oh wait, that was the last night on the rig.

Anyway, that night, under the stars, Don was sharing with us his encounters with some of the stupid DMs and equally stupid divers he had met. So on this particular trip to Bali while everyone was hanging at around 25m looking for Mola Molas, this DM somewhere deeper, say maybe 35m or 40m, started banging his tank and all those at 25m dived down immediately thinking that he had spotted Mola Mola. Thus, immediately endangering themselves as they quickly descended down. As it turns out, that particular DM was actually banging his tank to get the attention of this other guy, who was below him, deeper than he was suppose to be. I can’t remember the exact depth Don shared, but the key thing is how, some asshole going deeper than he should and this particular DM who banged his tank without thinking about the consequences actually put the entire group of divers, somehow dumb as well, at risk. And so we were warned, to THINK before doing anything on impulse.

The next day at Sipadan, 2 DMs from the rig decided to join us in our “hunt” for hammerheads and went really deep while we stayed around 30m. Halfway through, they started banging their tanks frantically and all of us, like really all of us including our DM descended as quickly as we could trying to spot the hammerheads. Despite looking at my gauge frequently, I only attempted to stop descending when I hit 45m. Start finning to ascend but ended up sinking till 48m before I finned frantically and started ascending. Panicked for like 2 seconds when I continued to sink despite finning to ascend. Moral of the story, I was also acting like a stupid diver. All of us, despite hearing the stories just last night. Classic example of stupid DMs and divers. AND, we didn’t get to see the hammerhead as it was spotted by the DMs who were at 59m. WTH.

Another point to remember and note to self:

Do not ever think that you’re safer if diving with experience divers or DMs and expect them to “save” you if you choose to put yourself at risk. As Don said, if he sees a diver suffering for narcosis at below at 40m, he wouldn’t risk himself to save that diver as he can’t be sure that he wouldn’t suffer from narcosis himself at 40m. And if the both of them were to be affected by narcosis, both of them wouldn’t survive. What he would do instead, would be to try to attract that particular diver’s attention from where he is, and if he was unsuccessful, so be it. The most stupid thing a diver could do, is to risk his/her life to safe another.

And true to his word, something similar did happen, and Tam saw how they reacted to the situation.

Dive safe. Always. Don’t risk your life to see whatever, you’ve a whole life ahead of you and countless opportunities to encounter it. Reminder to self =P

I miss diving!!

Outstanding..

books to read.

The best presents I’ve received, yet left unread.

Every single time I walk into a bookstore, I’ll either leave with a new book or a new title (and later in the night, a new pdf =X). Made a pact with LF that I’ll not buy another book until I finish the dry-est book, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits.

So here’s my outstanding list so far, the ones above and the ones in my Kindle:

1) 2 issues of Reader’s Digest

2) Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol

3) Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

4) Shades of Grey – Jasper Ford

5) The Finkler Question – Howard Jacobson

6) Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson

7) Nothing to Envy – Barbara Demick

8) Atlas Shrugged – Dave Sandoval

9) The name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

10) Port Mortuary – Patricia Cornwell

11) The 7th Victim – Alan Jacobson

And so without further ado, I’m off to read, not the dry book though.

 

The reason no man knows, let it suffice.

What we behold is censured by our eyes.

Where both deliberate, the love is slight.

Who has loved that loved not at first sight.

– Christopher Marlowe

Laos, Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai all in a day

After being accustom to living in a treehouse, we soon had to return back to reality. Trek back was a lot easier as we knew what to expect although the road back was a lot muddier with leeches like every where. Spent the entire day traveling, trek back to base camp, lorry tuk tuk ride to Ban Don Chai then to Houay Xay. In Laos they have the bigger version of the tuk tuk using a lorry instead of a motorcycle.

Squashed but happy =D

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Road to Houay Xay.20110902-125415.jpg

Villages along the way by the road.

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Got our boat tickets to cross over to Chiang Rai. It was so easy to miss both customs office and end up as an illegal immigrant.

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Bade Laos goodbye.

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Hello Chiang Rai, which is apparently too dangerous to stay for the night.

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Extremely dirty butts from the treehouse stay.

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Too good to be true. Spotted a bubble tea stall at on of the stops on the way to Chiang Mai, took a sip and that was it. It didn’t even taste of tea. Had super cheap and yummy lok lok though.

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Pretty.

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The kind of houses I used to draw as a kid.20110902-125603.jpg

 

Arrived in Chiang Mai at around 9pm and managed to locate our hostel/hotel with slight difficulty carrying our heavy backpacks. Wandered around a bit at the night market, ate MCD after 11 long days without fast food, without meet for 3 days, before calling it a night. Decided to meet at 12pm the next day as we all thought we deserved a good night sleep. As it turned out, we were so used to waking when the sun was up that by 8am, all of us were up.

Meng and Long decided to ride around while Tam and I got a cheap manicure and pedicure.20110902-125612.jpg

 

There really wasn’t much to do in Chiang Mai as no research was done and we wanted to be well rested before returning to Singapore. Spent some time in one of the many second hand bookshops laughing at silly book titles and walking around aimlessly.

Random.

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And this marks the end of my very first backpacking trip. Truly awesome. =D

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