Exercise Wallaby 2014
Sunday, November 23, 2014
I have never experienced weather that is hotter than Singapore before, more than anything, this exercise has really opened my eyes to how relentless the scorching sun can be. With daily temperatures of at least >35ºC, and really cold nights. The highest temperature we were notified on was about 39ºC; we barely worked during the noon that day.
Many, many things happened during these 3 weeks. Thankfully I kept a diary to help with my failing memory.
The journey was off to a rough start, I experienced Murphy's Law first hand.
"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."
I reached the airport late thanks to my "over-concerned" mother. Missed 3 buses right from the start, then couldn't board the next 2 that came because it was too crowded. Couldn't flag any taxi down, the bus that we finally managed to get on broke down for awhile, thankfully the bus captain was able to rectify it and get it moving.
|Singapore Airlines, fortunately|
|Obligatory shot of the plane|
|Yeah, many more panoramic shots coming up. I love the effect|
|Doesn't get much better than this|
The flight was unusually cold. My extremities were freezing and my nose transformed into a mucus factory. Luckily the staff on-board suddenly got bitch slapped by common sense and turned the temperatures up and made the remainder of the flight much more comfortable.
The flight was about 7 hours long, from the airport to base camp it took another 2 hours. By the time we reached it was almost 12 AM; and it sure was cold. Had some hot porridge then proceeded to set up our bunk/tent up. Because of restrictions I can't exactly show it here. But you know, I am going to put certain markers for myself, including the other people who already have the files and know what I'm trying to say here.
It wasn't the most comfortable accommodation in the world, but before long, all of us were sound asleep in a place we have absolutely no idea of. Morning came early for all of us. The sun rose around 430 AM, lighting up every face it can find. But we managed to get back to sleep till 6 AM. Note that the time difference is 2 hours so waking up at 4 AM each day takes a bit of effort to get used to.
My outfield are as follows. 2D1N on the 2nd day, 1 day of preparing vehicles, 2D1N again, followed by 4D3N the next very day. Not to mention that when we came back from the 2D1N, we didn't get rest, but just continued to work to make sure all the vehicles can move out for the 4D3N.
That sucked, mainly because my company is the only one that moved out while the other 2 had 1 day of rest before moving out for their 3D2N. Though by that time I really couldn't be bothered with feeling unfairness, just can't wait to get everything done and over with. Unfortunately, it rained on day 1 of 4D3N. I mean, we all could tell that shit is going to go down looking at the weather but man, what are the odds that it rained in the desert*.
*desert here seems to have a decent amount of vegetation even though they're all brown
|brown grass everywhere|
Rain ain't that bad on it's own, it's the leaking from the periscopes and coldness of metal against my skin that made it rather miserable.
|Rain rain go away, come again another day|
All in all, it really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Even though we didn't get a lot of sleep, we were on standby most of the time at some corner and stayed that way unless something cocked up somewhere else.
The nights I spent outfield are really cold.
There's no denying that. But being the designated driver, I probably have the best sleeping spot in the entire vehicle. It doesn't get too cold through the night due to the residual engine heat emitting from my right side. But sleeping in a hole when I can barely turn my body or stretch my legs/body is painful, or uncomfortable to say the least.
However, it's not all pain and suffering. I have never seen such a beautiful night sky in my life before. Since I have always lived in a city or places with a ton of light pollution, I could always count the amount of stars in the skies. But not this time. The night sky is littered with clusters of shimmering diamonds. On the first night I spent outside, I slept in the open, watching the stars as I fade off into a slumber.
Sadly with a phone there really isn't a chance for me to capture that beauty and share it.
What I can share are the sunrises/sunsets which I've grown rather weary of after spending so many days outside.
Throughout the trip I also tried to take some artsy shots though only some turned out well.
Don't get me started on the dust clouds / wave over there. Convoy movement means that I will definitely be behind some vehicle. The amount of dust it kicks up can rival a smoke grenade. The moment I enter the dust cloud my entire vision just gets fogged up to the point where I can't even make out the shape of the road at all.
Even though I'm covered head to toe, somehow the environment still found its way to apply a thick layer of foundation to my face.
Here's a bunch of random stuffs that I can't be bothered to segue into.
Ridiculously hot water tap that burns my hands/face and everything else each morning and subsequent attempt to use it.Why the fuck is it so hot?!
Limited options for canteen food. Chicken kebab, kabana(big sausage), chicken garlic balls, breakka(milk that gives your diarrhoea).
Trying to stay awake when driving for long periods of time. Getting activated at 2 AM and having to drive for over an hour in that state. Can't count the number of times I zoned out, it's a miracle that I didn't crash.
Bathing was like a free strip show everyday where you see everyone's junk hanging limp; and you better pray it's limp. I thought it would be weirder than this but thankfully it isn't. There's a pulley system for bathing where you pour water into a water bag of sorts, it's a hassle.
Working from 8 - 9 PM every fucking day when we're not outfield.
DSM said we are to be thankfully we didn't have to work overnight. Fuck ye.
NCC kids came to visit, meh.
I got to know about how good everyone's relationship with everyone else is.
Happy hour with FSG was way better than 41
Tried kangaroo, crocodile meat. Kangaroo tastes like deer, crocodile tastes like fishy chicken.
And a ton of other little things that shall remain in my diary as it's a bit pointless to type it out here again.
R&R was boring.
I mean, caves, zoo and shopping? Meh.
I did get some pretty good shots though.
|Entering the caves|
|looks pretty flimsy from here|
|you can get married here|
|went to a college for dinner but it's holidays so no chicks|
|V for victory|
|random floating plastic bag|
|most common bird there|
|have a taste of my mother|
But yeah, I can't show excited I was but my friends could've swear I had this creepily huge grin on my face for way longer than appropriate.
The first book I finished reading was Hyperbole and a Half.
Not exactly the type of book you'll go for first but it was really really interesting. It's full of nonsense but there are a lot of things in it that struck home, especially the chapter about identity.
"The most basic level of maintaining myself-image is just holding myself back from acting on my impulses. I am constantly bombarded by bizarre, nonsensical urges, and if I didn't care about my identity, I would just do all of them."
I've loaded some manga onto the kindle as well and I've gotta say, the experience is sublime.
Well moving on to the last day of Wallaby...
|absolute waste of time here|
|home sweet home!|
After 20 days I am finally back on home ground. I can't say that I've changed at all, but I definitely got sunburned pretty well. It takes a bit of time getting used to Singapore again but well, I definitely like a city better than the barren lands I was at.
It's one week to December. 7 months.
7 more fucking months and I'm out of this hell hole. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts.