Current Progress

Friday, June 26, 2009


It's been a hectic 2 weeks of coming back and moving out. And here are random thoughts I've had

- I donated about 80 items of clothing to Salvation Army ranging from size 12-14. Then was still disappointed to find pairs of jeans that kept trying to fall off me after the truck pickup.

- Some people who hadn't seen me for a year or so saw me and immediately commented on my weight loss.

- I've moved 15 times in the past 9 years. The countless going away parties from Toronto, Waterloo, San Diego, Vietnam, Singapore, Vancouver and now San Francisco have still NOT made it any easier to say bye.

- I really suck at packing.

- I've broken any eating, exercise regiment I ever had this past 2 weeks and still gained no weight.

- I look back to 6 months ago where I was fat, unhealthy, unhappy, slaved away, bitter, lonely and look at how I'm getting healthy, have a huge contagious glow of a mood and smile, excited about the future and just generally happy now, I'm very thankful.

- Time really flies. Better make use of it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A taste of my old life

This was the first week of tasting the bay area while catching up with old friends I might not see again in a long time. I'm not sure why everytime I reach I milestone I celebrate by gaining all the weight back.

This week was definitely a typical week in a past life of a year ago and makes me want to exercise and do a clense and never eat like this again :)

- Quizno Sammys Vegetarian Wrap for lunch.
- Chou Chou in the city.
The chef was super nice.

Awesome affordable french restaurant with FRIENDLY waiter and cook! Seriously, I've never been to a French restaurant without the French attitude and lack of service ;) They had a Pinot Noir called Moobuzz which was absolutely fabulous and I have yet to see it in stores. The french onion soup, escargo was sooo good. My main course was sole which was done perfectly. The others had lamb and beef and that was pretty good too. Oh and also we had an extra plate of the gruyere souffle to share (free because of an order screwup). The desserts were delicious: creme brule, a floating island (meringue), and a chocolate cake with gelato.

- Home made falafel for lunch.
- Athena Grill for a seafood kebab. I didn't realize there was an authentic awesome greek restaurant so close to my house.

- Amarin Thai for lunch - impressive extensive vegetarian menu. Got some rich curries and noodles.
- Chinese place in Cupertino plaza for dinner. Unfortunately I have no idea what the name is but its open late and had gigantic portions.

- Com Tam Dat Thanh in San Jose plus a special coffee shop for lunch. This is my favourite rice place in the world, damn their portions are so big. The coffee shop had really unhealthy avocado milkshakes and stalkers but I've heard so much I had to check it out once.
- Salad for dinner at home.

- Loving Hut for lunch. Awesome vegetarian seafood platter.
- Rumors for Korean food (rice cake, seafood pancake, fries, chicken wings) and Yogurt Soju. Tons of fun and totally unhealthy.

- Sushi Ran in Sausalito for dinner. A Michelin star restaurant wraps up the week :)

Now the order of the people I enjoyed these meals of the week:
Mike, Karena, Marvin, Derek, Gene, Tony, Joanna, Loc, May, All my coworkers, Karen, Jeff - I'm going to miss you dearly.

To all the new calories in my body at this time, I'm not going to miss you at all when you go :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Goal #7 - 134 lbs Reached!

Actually, I'm currently at 132 lbs which means I've lost 32 lbs!!!!!! :) This calls for a celebration and a silly youtube video. Here's a song I listened to over and over on my trip.

Goal #6: Climb Machu Picchu (Day 4) Completed!!

Day 4: Wiñaywayna to the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu
Distance: 2.49 miles/4 km
Maximum Elevation: 8,829 ft/2,700 m
Machupicchu Elevation: 7,872 ft/2,400 m

Bright and early we woke up at 4am. Since I had about 8 hours of sleep, I was up and ready to go! We had a quick breakfast, said bye to the porters and off we went to walk about 5 min to join the lineup. We were about the 5th group in line at the gate that opened at 5:30am. There was a whole group that walked past us to the front of the line, we were totally not happy with that. Anyway while waiting we started seeing twilight on the horizon as the mountain were lighting up slowly. We also saw this huge star. After much debate about how impossible it is that the Northern star would be in the southern hemisphere, we were told that it was VENUS! I've never seen a planet in the sky before, this totally made my day! So Mel used her tripod for the first time and we took long exposure shots of Venus and the mountains.

Anyway the gate finally opened. I had a lil mishap with my bowel movements about 30 min into this mad rush to get to the sungate by sunrise. But I did the best I could with my short legs and poor lungs. For some reason this hour of hiking/jogging up to the sungate felt like the toughest for me, mentally and physically. Like I was so close and struggled for the last 3 days and there's only ONE hour of hiking to be done. Then the last 50 huge rocky steps came...I climbed up that with lots of struggle. The guide instructed that it was another 5 min to the Sun Gate. And voila, the breathe taking view of mountains surrounding Macchu Picchu was rewarded to me!!

I was overwhelmed with shock, awe, happiness as I joined the rest of my group and watched as the sun rose up and shined light gradually onto Machu Picchu and the shadows of the mountains withdrew. I took about 100 photos and jumped in the mean time :) I was actually there, in person, watching the sunrise! After that ensued another hour or more of walking down, taking pictures, jumping, rolling around in the grass and just taking it all in. We had a reunion at the bottom with two girls that took another trek to Machu Picchu (Lares trail which you don't need a permit for).

Then our final 2 hours with our guide was spent walking around Machu Picchu seeing the mother of all ruins. I love how they had Llamas as the residents for cutting grass and other people were cleaning the rocks. I can't describe the feeling of walking through trying to understand an ancient civilization and realizing that...I ACTUALLY MADE IT!!!!

Then I slept until the guards kicked me out :)

Machu Picchu (Day 3)

Day 3: Pacaymayo to Wiñaywayna
Distance: 9.94 miles/16 km
Maximum Elevation: 12,792 ft/3,900 m
Campsite Elevation: 8,692 ft/2,650 m

Day 3 was pretty brutal. When everyone told me that Day 2 is the worst of it, I half expected Day 3 to be a cake walk. Nope, we had to cover 16km today's not flat. So up the mountain we went, visited a ruin and again went upwards to see some small ponds, then we got to another mountain pass with incredible views (~2 hours for me).

Then everything that we gained in elevation, we lost by going downwards for another 2 hours. There was a gigantic ruin here which involved some steep steps to get to. We were starving by then but this was not our rest stop - luckily the porters packed us a lollipop and a halowe'en size candy bar. (NOT...ENOUGH...FOOD!) After visiting the ruin, we had to go down to another ruin, and up through the Cloud Forest.

Ok, the Cloud Forest was pretty cool where it was obvious that the microclimate had completely changed. Humidity and low hanging clouds produced this mystical rainforesty type place with cool vegetation and hummingbirds. Poor legs and tummy of mine, I took in the scenery as much as I could while trying hard to rush through to the lunch site. It must have been another 2-3 hours before I made it to lunch - but the views were definitely rewarding! We could see Aguas Caliente in the distance...which means we're close!!

After lunch we visited another cool ruin with shower stall ruins. (I wish there was a real shower stall). We learned more about how amazing the Incans were at engineering, astrology and running their community. Then it was our last 3 hours down to get to the camp site. This is where I finally learned that I had more of a core than I thought. I ditched my poles to Freddy (the assistant tour guide), gave Mel my camera and started to run down down the stone steps. It's not bad, we picked up our pace and had quite a work out flying down the mountain. Well, flying is a bit of an exaggeration, haha I kinda wish Mel took a video of how awkward my "flying" must have looked. (The next day my legs and abs were mucho hurting)

We made it to our final camp site in time for sunset! (and POPCORN - which I seem to reeeally enjoy after a good days work of hiking). We opted to not pay for a luke warm shower since it was down a hill and I couldn't walk another step. Plus we smelled already so whats the difference to wait another day. That night the porters baked us a cake and we fell asleep at 8pm to wake up at 4am! In contrast to the previous night all I wore was a tshirt and didnt even zip up my sleeping bag this night.

Day 3 definitely had the nicest variety of hiking and ruins and vegetation. I thought it couldn't be beat...until I woke up!

Machu Picchu (Day 1 and Day 2)

Well, I've been home for a few days but wanted to write a little about the best hike I've ever done.

We started at Km 82 along the river and the train tracks. If we were optimizing, we'd follow the train tracks which are flat and takes us directly to Machu Picchu. Actually we'd be on the train. But no, instead we used our two feet, arms and sometimes a core to plow through 4 days of 8 hour a day hiking. 40 km, 26 miles and ridiculous elevation.

Day 1: Km 82 to Huayllabamba
Distance: 7.8 miles/12km
Elevation: 9,691 ft/2,953 m

The first day only involved about 4 hours of hiking and plenty of tasty food from the chef and the porters. It started off pretty flat with only one little elevation gain and the rest was down hill.

I've never been on a hiking trip where people carry your stuff, run ahead and set up camp and greet you at the meeting point with a bowl of warm water to wash your face. Then serve all sorts of soups, pastas, salads and delicious meals. My favourite is the pop corn snack time with coca tea!

Anyway we saw our first ruin as we came up our first mountain. This made me so excited!

We saw every animal possible: Llama, donkeys, sheep, cows, roosters, chickens, ducks. And we also got woken up by every animal :)

The next morning we were introduced to our team of 17 porters, 2 cooks and 2 guides...for our team of 12 tourists :) The most luxurious camping trip ever? Indeed.

Day 2: Huayllabamba to Pacaymayo
Distance: 5.1 miles/8.2km
Warmiwanusca pass Elevation: 13,776 ft/4199 m
Camp Elevation: 11,833 ft/3607 m

Day 2 will forever be known as the up hill of torture!! The journey before lunch was already pretty grueling to go up so much. It was really cool to see more tropical weather with waterfalls! Little did we know that after lunch was 2 hours of hell to get to the top of Dead Woman's Pass. Where I seriously was delirious and stopping every minute to catch my breath. I did learn a bunch of spanish while stopped since porters would be racing past me every minute too.

Cómo estás?
Estoy bien.
Mucho Gracias!

Yup, that's the extent of my spanish vocabulary repeated 100x and ingrained in my tiny brain now. Anyway I made it up to the graveyard of the dead women at the mountain pass to a bunch of cheering from my GAP tour which made the last few minutes bearable. Then at the top, I take my signature jumping picture and probably didn't make it off the ground.

Boy we were in for a treat, another 3 hours down the mountain to our campsite! We were rewarded with a selection of Wontons with cheese or Wonton with apples! The night in the campsite was definitely the coldest - me wearing 4 shirts, 2 pants and 2 socks and had to bust out 2 heat packs too.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lake Titicaca

The past 2 days have been a very unique amazing experience. we took a motorboat 3 hours out to a few islands in Lake Titicaca. The first was Taquille, where the blue water and views were breath taking. It took about an hour to climb to the top to the town square and a few more steps to get up to a house for some quinoa soup and fresh grilled trout. The views and people were just incredible. The walk back down to the docks was also full of stops of picture taking. The island was perfect.

Then we headed to another island where we had a host mama take us into her family hut for the night, complete with sheeps and a little adorable 4 year old. We hurried up the hill to miss the sunset but the views were spectacular. For views like this in California, it'd be a couple million dollars Im sure. Then we sipped on hot chocolate which I have a feeling was spiked. Then headed down to star gazing and dinner that they cooked in their small fire. Vegetable soup and pasta....delicious. After dinner we dressed up for the party (these pictures will for sure be burned) we looked ridiculous as we had to climb the mountain one last time to head to the party. I think my anemia and just high altitude really kicked my ass ont he way up to the party. These people are sooo fit, walkiing up and down the mountain everyday. After about 2 dances, we were pooped and asked Mama to go home.

The night was the worst migraine Ive had. But thats ok as the sun came up and the sheeps and roosters started waking up, it was a perfect view outside the window. they made us pancakes and off we went! We went to these floatiing islands where families of 8 make an island by themselves and their boats and their huts off of the plants growing in the water. Seriously, its 2009 and people still live like this! Sooo coool.

Anyway, we're back in Puno with a flushable toilet and shower. Life is pretty sweet. We travel to Cusco tomorrow and prepare for our Machu Picchu hike! Ciao!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Peru...first impressions!

Hey everyone, I've landed safely yesterday into Lima. We stayed in Mira Flores and only had a bit of time to walk around to see fast food restaurants, a church and a whole bunch of casinos! We played slots and could've walked out ahead 1 sole but left when we lost 2 soles.

This morning we headed to the airport to fly to Juliaca with a stopover in Cusco. Then took a bus to Puno which is built along a mountain cliff at 3860m above sea level. Instantly I felt light headed as blood tries to rush to my head. My water bottle keeps shrinking as I walk around with it, not sure what that means but Im sure the same thing is happening to my head. Hopefully the Gingko Biloba and iron will not fail me. In good news, I've completely recovered from my cold and got my voice back that I had lost 2 days ago.

Tomorrow, we are headed off on a motor boat to explore different islands on Lake Titicaca, the largest, highest lake in the world. Then we will stay with a local family and dress up to have a big party in their clothes. They will be cooking us dinner and breakfast then we go cruising to other islands. I can't wait!!

The food has been alright, nothing spectacular yet and Im thinking of eating veggies until a Guinea Pig in Cusco. Alpaca was alright...tasted like beef/lamb. Fish also was alright. Plane food has been alright too. But you know how picky I am. If Im getting off the wagon to eat meat, it better be stellar!

Anyway, Ill probably have internet in Cusco which is in a couple days! I love how its so cheap here.