Sunday, August 2, 2009

Amazing RHace Part I

The Amazing RHace was fun :) So action-packed that it's going to take two posts for me to blog it out in full. But I'm really sore all over now and I realize the style I walk now is so similar to Po Po (my grandmother).

We gathered at the upper lounge at 930 am in the morning to get our shirts, and name tags. The name tags had our names, phone numbers, emergency numbers and all on it, and our allergies too. If we had amnesia or were in any helpless conditions - e.g. cannot talk, that will probably tell people of our identities and save our lives. Ironically, the string kept being twisted round our necks - it might be an attempt to strangle us at the same time too.

All the RHOCers were dressed in pink this year (poor guys). Derek and Calvin briefed us regarding the activities and rules of the race. We can only use public transport to travel around, no private cars or bikes. Our first destination in Turf City. We were supposed to find our way there ourselves, and I've never even heard of Turf City. Half the teams used cabs, Kelvin's team flagging an enourmous 'HELP' sign, much to our amusement, an attempt to make it easier to hitch hike, but I don't think it helped much. We had only partial transport reimbursement, so my team (Jia Voon, Jerome, Jon and I), took bus 151, a much cheaper mode of transport to Turf City.

The bus stop was quite a distance from Turf City, so after getting down from the bus we half jogged, half walked to Turf City. It was a bit hard for me to keep up with the guys, but thankfully, my bag was packed to be light, so it wasn't as bad as it could be. When we reached, we saw one of the first few teams departing from Turf City on a cab. We were supposed to shop in Giant for food items that cost $9.95 in total, out of which at least one item starts with the letter R and another the letter H. After grabbing Ruffles and some other foodstuff we rushed to the counter, only to find that something on our list was discounted. The unwelcome discount messed up our calculations so after some recalculating (several times because the first time we calculated wrongly!), and changing of receipts, we passed the first destinations, and were the 2nd last team out of 9 to leave the place.

The second place was in an open field, or grassland. (Note: I'm really bad at remembering directions, places and names, so a lot of my narrating will involved funny unnamed places.) The station was closed so we took a queue number and waited for it to open. All the teams were there, and we had lunch, which turned out to be the food we brought in Giant. Too bad my team only got junk food. :S We should have made healthier choices - if only we knew!

Us at the open field with Newater and 'lunch'.

Our next activity looked like this:

Giant hamster ball! This is not our picture - because none of us were in a position to take it! There were straps and belts inside the ball, and two persons were to get in and be rolled all down the slope on the grassland. That was me and Jon, in the case of our group. It was fun! Everything was spinning on top speed, and all I can see was sky, grass, sky and grass while being rolled up and down again. Jon was shouting and screaming more than I did. Hahaha. But that's not the end of it. After the rolling down, the other two members outside (Jerome and Jiavoon), had to get in the ball and hamster walk all the way up! It was quite difficult, and you tend to fall on each other while doing that. But I think it was quite fun too - Jia Voon never seen Jerome laugh as much before!

The third activity was a 'deadly laser quest', a game where you put on a jacket with sensors on shoulders and a sort of 'machine gun'. If you shoot anyone from an opposite team on the sensors at the front, back, shoulders or on the gun tip, you gain points. If you get shot, you lose points, as well as lose the ability to shoot (and be shot) for 10 seconds. The team with the most points win. Jon was the top scorer in our team against another team, but unfortunately we lost mainly thanks to me, the bottom scorer in the whole group. I was rather passive with the shooting, and got myself ambushed at one point. Sigh. The whole thing was a little too exciting for me too. The room dark, there was loud music playing and there were holes on the wall. There were kind of neon lights on us, and on the walls too.

Being bottom we had to leave 10 minutes behind the team ahead of us. We took a taxi to ECP, and next up was water ski-ing where one member in the group had to ski a full circle round the lagoon non stop without falling into the water. Jon grazed his leg and said he wanted salt water on his wound so he went. Which was a good thing, because many other teams lost precious time there and he was able to do it at the first go. We moved our rank up to being the 5th team in the race.

Jon in the middle of the water.

The next destination was Old Market ('Lao Pa Sha'), among lots of food stalls. We completed a some puzzles and brain teasers, and had to order Century Egg Porridge, Chicken Wings and Pineapple Rice for dinner. The games were finished really quickly, but the Pineapple rice delayed us. It took so long to buy them! After having dinner there (50 minutes of enforced rest was allocated), we took a bus to the MRT pass under the Durian. There we had to complete 4 friendship bands and make stars from straws.

The stars killed almost everyone of the earlier teams, they took a long time to finish. Our group's progress was fairly good, though we wasted quite some time there too. It's supposed to be a station to give advantage to girls, but my friendship band look worse than Jon's. Still I managed to do two, because the star straws were left to Jon and Jia Voon.

At night, we went to east coast park, had Macdonalds, cycled a bit and pitched our own tents. My cycling was really wobbly. And it was the first time I pitched/stayed in a tent! Sadly, our tent was a disaster, because the sticks they gave us was of different lengths. We stayed in another nicely pitched tent later on. But before that we had to walk to Bedok for our next quest first. Most of the other teams opted to cycle, and go through a longer route with more stations instead. But since JV and I were not comfortable with the bikes as yet, we chose to walk.

Us at Macdonalds. The photos here don't have Jon because he's a bit photo-phobic, and is always at the other end of the camera.

It was a fatal choice that killed my legs. In order to out-walk the cycling teams, the group was going at top speed (though not running), and I had to stride, and occasionally run to catch up. Since I'm a girl, and one with short legs at that, I had to stride more frequently than the guys and occasionally run too. By the time we reached the food court and had bak chor mee + durian prata (which was the 'task' next station), we met all the earlier cycling teams, and set back at almost the same time. But since the cycling routes were shorter by then, we fell back and ended up the 4th team at night. And by that point, my muscles were screaming for help.

I didn't bring any soap, just a towel, but Yi Shiean had shampoo and conditioner, so I could bathe. And for once, because bathing was a luxury, the cold water didn't feel cold to me, although the other girls complained the water was freezing. I made a mistake by sitting down right after coming back, resulting in severe muscle aches the next day as well. The 'zheng gu shui' I brought along for muscle aches didn't help much, but it stained my light green orientation tee instead :S It was stupid of me to forget to wrap it up when I put it in my bag. After bathing we slept in the tents, Yi Shiean joining my group's tent. The floor was hard, there was no pillow, except for jackets, and I had to change my sleeping position a lot. But still, I fell asleep and didn't feel like getting up at 730 the next morning.

(To be continued...)

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