Wednesday, June 22, 2011


KOKODA can now rest! I did it :-)

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I am now finding other uses of various items I have packed. Some from experience, so from others experiences, but in all, its all coming around together!

1. Shawl: Those nice, flowery coton shawls have always worked miracles for me. I have tied it around my upper body as a top to swim in Thailand, folded it up to use as a pillow in long distance buses, wrapped it around myself to prevent freezing, used it as a cover to shield myself when changing clothes, sometimes in public, used it as a head scarf, to cover up when entering temples... I neevr go without one!

2. Rubber bands: Handy to tie up my hair (of no use any more), to secure things in place, like socks, underwear, clothes that I have rolled up into tubes to prevent crushing and space saving, keep imp papers together.

3. Duct tape/silver tape : Secure everything, from self-untying shoe laces to tear in mosquito nets, can be used as plaster when you are out of band aids, stick rips in the backpacks, fix wobbly tripods...just about anything. I never go without one.

4. Swiss knife: For just about everything!
5. Headlight: Works better than a torch and leave your arm free

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Packing list for Kokoda

So finally, the time has come for packing the stuff! Of course, I have only just begun, there is a lot more to do...but for my own self, I have taken pics of things I am going to take (might help if I lose my baggage and have to clain insurance too). Not to mention the camers, video cameras etc etc!

Did a bit, no make that a lot of walking over the weekend...walked over sand, soft rocks and climbed few almost vertical dunes...I almost believe I lost a few pounds over the weekend!! Hope Kokoda Track will reward my determination.

Backpack: 2 (An 80ltr and a 35 ltr pack)
Backpack covers
Boots: 2 + sandals
Sleeping bag
Sleeping mat (self inflatable)
Quick drying t-shirts
Quick drying shorts
15-20 pair of socks (hiking socks)
Rehydration salt
Walking stick
Vaseline (cant go without that one!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back on Track: 35 DAYS TO GO

After a long, unhealthy break from training, I am back on track...hope that I will keep it up as well.
I feel it in my bones that this week on (and it better be a right feeling), I am going to hit the track. Began with stair climbing this morning. Well, I had done quite well with stair climbing while training for Kilimanjaro last year, but I think keeping away from the stairs has had its toll on my heart, coz when I go back to climbing after months of using the elevator, my heart beats faster and breath comes in gasps. This wont do...with less than 40 days to go (I have been seeing pics of the track and trust me even pics so easily bring out the steepness and hardness of the walk), I cant afford to waste time getting my breath better come together fast!

Oddly enough, I already feel lighter. I guess, its the thyroid tablets that have done half the trick, making me lose a lot of the bulkiness I had added on suddenly, so thats an added advantage. Looking leaner somehow makes me feel happier and more focused.

Happy training Me!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Of late mornings and no training...

Quite like the title of the post, I have been having late mornings...meaning, I do wake up at the correct time, ie between 4.30-5am and have enough time to step up on my cross trainier for atleast half hour but then I wake up, count the days and happily curl up and sleep for another half hour. This is however most disturbing and quite unlike my earlier self when I would jump out of bed and waste no time in puffing away on the CT, now, even with such limited number of days, I simply dont feel up to it. Well, not something I am particularly proud of, because I happen to know just how tough Kokoda can be, seeing that the High Commissioner himself has warned me of the extremties I would face on the track.

Then there is the meticulous packing. Fortunately years of experience has shown me that I can live on very little, clothes and stuff dont matter too much in the jungle and am not finicky when it comes to looking pretty for the I guess I would be able to manage in far less than is recommended.

Good luck to me, I say!

Monday, April 11, 2011

VISA at last

Finally after months and months of wait and struggle, I got the PNG VISA. So well, I do suppose patience and prsistence pays! Now I can resume dreaming of the Kokoda Trail and continue my preparations to walk the jungle tracks.  Very few days left to even begin or end a count down and unfortunately for the last two weeks, I havent even been able to train for this...its been trying. Health etc have been worrying and then I catch the freaking flue...there is little time and that little time must  hence be employed in looking after the physical health.

Well, finally Kokoda seems a reality!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Visa issues

Imagine that my visa application is held up because people in Papua New Guinea think that India is "High Risk Country" and therefore my application is pending review.

Now, I can understand that if a PNGian must feel this way, there could be only one reason. They are blissfully unaware of India and her thousands of achievements. I am not going to write down all of that, naturally, but it has amused me no end (and also frustrated) that PNG thinks that because I come from India, it is risky business for them. I am not surprised that there arent many takers for this place...but for reasons unknown to me, I am still hung up on going there. Well, Kokoda is still a dream and in 'few days' as they assure me, I will know whether I am still under the 'risk' category and would be allowed entry into the only country in the world that practises cannibalism and has the highest crime rate in the world!!

Such is the irony!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another phase of training

Another small step.

Visa application has been logged and I have been assured that I would know something, something in about 2 weeks. Well, since I am paying an agency to look into this, I suppose I can rely on Jack's words!

The second phase of training began today with a 5 kg backpack while working out on the cross trainer...well, I didnt manage to complete the half hour mark, byt minute 23, I was dead :-) Well, tomorrow is another day...or there is still the evening, might give it another go. The weather is getting worse, humid and hot, but if I want to sound happy, then I might add that it is just the kind of weather that I can expect under dense tree humidity, come on!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A step forward

Finally, after FIVE nail biting days, the money has been delivered in PNG! Well, tomorrow, ie March 11, the visa approval papers will be logged and apparently, it will take 15-30 days to get an approval!

I suppose till that happens, its going to be quite a tensed month! But hey, now I know that money can be sent to PNG :-) Strangely, it was the first transaction to PNG from the exchange here!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Time ticks away

Oh boy, how quickly the time passes by and where am I? No training for last 3 days! THREE DAYS is too much time wasted, especially since I have about 84 days left!

But I have been busy pushing papers, well the visa papers atleast. Darn, it is a bit too tiresome, why cant it be a little easier? Spent a lot of money on international calls...and calling PNG isnt cheap either. See, am complaining a lot...this is what fast approaching deadlines do to you, coupled with the fear that the ruddy thing called the visa is still like the sword of Damocles, never knowing which way it will fall...

Anyway, back to training. Today even attempted to get back up on the CT but gave up 10 minutes before the set programme timed out. Well!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Goal in sight

With a goal in sight, how easy it is to convince your body to follow it up with an extra push on the cross trainer! Fortunattely my mind and body are in agreement on this and jumping from 20 to 30 minutes in one day was no big deal really. In fact it didnt feel any more strenuous or taxing and I think I can do this twice a day for a week before jumping to the 45 Minute Mark on the CT.

Hmmm, the begining, I feel strongly, has been well. with 90 days to go, I suppose it is about time I gaive that extra push needed to survive the jungle track under extreme humidity.

VISA VISA VISA. That;s all I can think of now...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Countdown begins...

Once again, the countdown begins...Oh I so love the ticking of the clock...tick goes, bringing with it so many hopes and joys...

Starting March 1, I have exactly 92 days left. If all goes well with my visa (touch wood, touch wood touch wood), I am going to be on that plane and wing it to Papua New Guinea for the dream trek (some may call it nightmarish, I know).

Training has begun and how!! Wish me luck people. I would need loads of it. If I pull this off successfully, there will be a great news waiting at the end of it...and not just a completion certificate!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Miracles do HAPPEN

Between Sept 2010 and Feb 2011, were 5 months in which I gave up all hopes of ever walking Kokoda Track. I did think about the track often but with a tinge of regret that I couldnt, despite my best efforts find a way to make it happen. Gave up hope and because of that gave up wanting to turn super fit as I had done for Kilimanjaro, allowing myself to go soft out of dejection.

Then something happened. My friend Indeever Kaul in Singapore, who had been on my case long after I gave up called me with a piece of news I could give up both my arms for: That a visa to PNG was possible and rather easily too, I only had to go to Delhi for a day, yes ONE DAY, and someone he knew there would grant me the visa. It came from the horses mouth.

Never look a gift horse n the mouth, I believe and I am not even going to wonder why and how, all I know is that if such a thing is going to happen, thenI damn well be on that Delhi flight, leg it to the PNG High Commission and have the visa...and wing it to Port Moresby ASAP.

Oh, ASAP means at least 3 months from now for I must absolutely get rid of all the fat around my tummy to begin with.

Yes, it feels like Kokoda Will be possible after all.

Thank you Indeevar!! Cant tell you what a boost to my sagging morale that has been...!!!