Monday, July 03, 2006

Prelude to Two Great Trekking Trips

I was invited by Tammy, a Pacesetters Club runner, for a gathering at her house on Thursday evening, 29 June. The mode of notification was via SMS a few days earlier. From the house address, she lives in bungalow lots area in USJ, Subang Jaya. I was familiar with the area as it is the most prized property in USJ and I have been aspiring to own one unit - only in my dreams.

She mentioned it was a gathering of Pacesetters Club members. Since I was not very certain of the occasion, I dressed up in smart casual wear and put on my leather shoes to avoid any embarrassment for inappropriately dressed.

Her house was fairly easy to locate since bungalow lots area is a small area. When I reached there at 7.50pm – 10 minutes ahead of schedule – I was pleasantly surprised that the double-storey bungalow is big; the width is almost four standard terrace houses combined in one. When I alighted from my car, I immediately spotted Francis and Sonny in the dim streetlights. They arrived almost same time.

Entering the front gate, I saw a gleaming black Porsche sports car parked right at the car porch. Immediately, I saw Tammy and Sharon, another Pacesetters runner, greeted us. They were busy arranging the food on the table placed next to the car porch. Since the host said I just have to bring myself, I actually went there with only two combs of bananas (with my 10 fingers pointing downwards) – not even my camera. Later, the other Pacesetters runners arrived: Tan PM, Teresa, Carol, Chan and a few more members. They brought along wine and champagne.

With a quick survey at the surrounding, the exterior of the house was almost a masterpiece of architecture, elegant and graceful. The garden was just next to the car porch. It was completed with plants, fine grasses, pebbles, marble statue, park-bench and water flowing in a mini stream that promote good feng sui. With the orange garden light, the ambience of the garden was serene and beautiful. To provide coolness to the surrounding, ventilation fans fit with water vapour were installed lining the walls of the house. The misty effect created by the water vapour further enhanced the setting.

When most of the guests had arrived, we began our buffet dinner. There was quite a lot of food served by the host: satay, roasted meat, fried bee hoon, pizza, sushi, salad, etc. Yeah, there were lots of drinks too: champagne, wine, beer, punch and soft drink.

The main purpose of the gathering was to discuss the schedule and detailed activities of a trekking trip to Kala Pattar, Nepal, from 29 September for 16 days. The summit of Kala Pattar stands at 5,623 meters. The team leader for this trip is Tammy and she has been there once. From Kala Pattar, one could see the giant triangular structure of Mount Everest. It was indeed an excellence idea to gather around for some serious discussion amid good food and drinks. Francis was in and he is the only guy so far in an all ladies’ group.

Tony (P3) was invited to this gathering also by the host since it is related to trekking where he is the "mountain sifu". However, he could not attend as he had promised to take his nephews and nieces to watch Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh” movie the same evening. According to P3, the host suggested that he watches “Basic Instincts” movie, possibly to refresh his macho outlook.

In a different corner, Wendy, Sonny, Chan, Sharon and yours truly were conversing on another trekking trip. Wendy, an avid trekker, was enthusiastically highlighting her impending trekking trip to Markha Valley from 18 August 2006 for 14 days. It remains one of the most popular treks and one of the most beautiful valleys in Ladakh, near Delhi, India. [If you are interested, please contact me.]

She was inviting us to join her in this trip. Among other details, she mentioned about RM 6,000 and at that very moment, I was choked with sipping the champagne and was coughing continuously. They were laughing. With the perfect timing, I knew what they were thinking. So, I have to explain that the coughing was only a coincidence.

While conversing, Tammy’s Dalmatian dog was roaming around the compound. It was a smart and obedient dog. It could understand certain commands – only from the owner – and performed a few tricks to the amusement of all presence. So, we have an entertainer for that gathering. Most of the Pacesetters runners who were presence there were rearing dogs, or have reared dogs before.

The original punch drinks created by Sharon was sweet and easy to drink. However, along the way, the guys added wine and beer into the mixture to create an alcohol-laden punch. So, it was really full of kicks drinking it and it could get you drunk before you could even realise. I was blurred at first not knowing the purpose of the gathering; blur later after drinking the champagne, wine, beer and punch. I was punched by the drinks.

It was a great idea to have special gathering once in a while to discuss our passions – running and trekking – and to foster closer friendship. I left the gathering at 11.15 pm same time as Francis and Sonny while the rest continued their cohesiveness and camaraderie of the running friends.


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