Thursday, June 25, 2009

Back to Normal

As I said in earlier post, I was concerned about the setback in my workout. It was a legitimate concern to me cuz next weekend is my first reality check, on Mt Shasta, to all of my training so far.

Anyway, so last week I did my usual hike to Mission Peak. This time was with the new backpack, a huge one and with 4 gallons (33.36 lbs) of water, plus other things. I made it to the peak, at 2 hours and 30 mins. Way slower than normal speed. I had to take breaks in between and did not think I could make it to the top. Some people on the trail said I was crazy and joked that the pack is was bigger than me. It's almost true :). But in the end I was extremely glad I made it there and with no back injury. I exceeded my goal by a bit.

This weekend I will repeat the hike, and definitely need to cut down the time and breaks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


One thing that is different about this trip than the North Pole is I will be more responsible - to myself and loved ones, not that I wasn't or haven't been :) - to get travel insurance.

I never bought any insurance for my travelling. I believe in responsible travelling but I also believe that things happen for a reason. I am by no means a spritual person but I do think fate brings one to the circumstances they are in.

Anyway, back to the North Pole trip, I wanted to get some coverage but couldn't find any that is reasonably priced. I searched all over the net and did my homework comparing them. The cheapest I found at the time was almost $2000. I know 2 grand was just a fraction of the overall cost but for me, every dollar counts. So I decided not to get any kind of travel insurance. Actually it was recommended but not enforced, so I opted out. It wasn't a really smart thing to do, I'll admit. Especially for North Pole. Many things could go wrong. I could break my ankles during the ski and need an evacuation. I could fall into the water. Etc. Thank God nothing happened, not even frostbites!

South Pole trip is going to be different though. I cannot affort not to have any insurance, because ANI requires all participants to be insured. Also, I think it's better to pay a little to get peace of mind (for my family at least). I asked Angie (from ANI), she gave a few names and one of them was AIG. When I heard that, I couldn't help but joked that we already bailed them out (of the financial collapse), time for them to pay back and why I have to give them more money.

Anyways, I did some research on those given by Angie. One carrier seems to be really good and well priced. They claim to cover the whole world, even remote regions. However, they never explicitly claim they cover the South Pole, so I chatted up with the help desk. The operator told me since they cover the whole world, South Pole will be covered. I hope this is true. You really have to understand what they mean by "the whole world" and if there's any fine prints. So the cost is amazing. For one month, it'll cost roughly $500. I'm gonna have to take up on this deal, but not now. I'll get it when I turn in the rest of the forms to ANI. Really hope they don't increase the premium by that time!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I was looking into the airfare to Punta Arenas for the SP yesterday. Airlines tickets are outrageous these days. From SFO to PUQ (Punta Arenas) trip goes up to $2000+. They must be smoking something. Who would pay at that price.

Anyway, I decided to use my miles on the outbound for this trip. I have collect enough miles over the years and it's time to use them, especially in this economy.

Antarctica is not a place where you can count on planning and schedules. Everything operates with the cooperation of mother nature. One should expect long delays (I have experienced this in my trip to the Antarctica in 2005). So the return dates of the expedition will most likely change. I will buy the ticket back to the US after I complete the expedition. So it's a one way ticket! Doesn't sounds too good eh? :).

I made the reservation for the outbound. Man, airlines really know how torture their passengers when it comes to "free" stuffs they give. It takes 2 days to get to Punta Arenas from the US with 5 (five) flight segments! I hope it doesn't wear me out so much that it would affect my expedition. I have until June 15 to finalize this booking.

Looks like I will have go with this itineray as this is the cheapest way to reach to Punta Arenas.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Setback

Yesterday was my first full day back to the US. I did not have much of jetlag thanks to a good sleep the night before (though I had to work right after I got home from the airport from 1am to 3am!).

I went to the gym at my usual hour and did my rowing routine. I did not complete it, only 3/4 of it. That is not good. At the end of the routine, I felt just tired and no energy to pull the handles.

I did expect the trip will set me back a little but not able to complete my easy routine is a little of concern. I guess not eating well on a trip (lots of unhealthy but really yummy pastries from Portugal) did not help too much. Or do I simply need a few days to adjust to normal?

Hope I will get back to the level I was in quickly as Mt Shasta trip is coming up soon enough. It is the first test of the training.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

One Down

This week was quite hectic for me. The project got intensified, both with milestones and issues we are facing *and* I am working remotely from Lisbon Cisco office. This is not my first time doing workation, but not with this pace. It's a little crazy. My work day starts at 1 or 2pm and goes until midnight in a foreign country.

Good thing this is Portugal. Such a beautiful and safe country and not yet a major destination in Europe. Portugal has become one of my favorite destinations. So many things I want to see but no time. Next time then.

Anyway, today I got a message from the potential sponsor I sent the preso to few weeks ago. I could count them out, unfortunately. C'est la vie or the Portuguese would say "Que ramido".