I have no idea why I want to post about my OBS trip like almost one and half year after I went for it, but I keep having this “small little voice at the back of my head” nagging and nagging at me like, you should post, you should post, not for other people’s pleasure but so that I can remember it one day when I am fifty years old and want something to think of.
So here it is.
I think I will divide it into 4 posts?
Since it was a 5 day 4 nights stay.
The Prelude and Day 1
I had been dreading OBS ever since my senior Rachel came back from hers when she was secondary 3 and when I was secondary two. I was never the kind to love trekking for hours in the jungle, having to dig holes in the ground to pee in and face gigantic spiders dangling off the trees and whatnot. I shudder at the very idea of sleeping in a tent out in the wilderness, exposed to all types of creepy crawlies.
That made me sound like I have princess syndrome.
Maybe I do. I don’t know.
A few month before OBS I was trying to think up of all sorts of methods to allow myself to squirm out of the evil claws of OBS and I couldn’t think of any. The limiting factor was that I had my NYAA (National Youth Achievement Award) to complete despite my wishes and one of the requirements was to have this hike or whatever thing that had to last for a span of 3 days (for bronze) or more (for silver).
In the end, I bought my large amount of supplies such as sunblock, lip balm and all and did go for OBS. I tried to be as optimistic as possible and try to think about flowers blooming and adorable squirrels eating nuts from my hands and finally dragged myself out of my house with a very teary goodbye to mom.
One of the things that pleased me to no end was that I brought the largest amount of clothing (I brought 6-7 pieces of clothes when they only asked for around 4) BUT I had the smallest luggage. 😀
The secret was that I placed EVERYTHING in ziplocks and I sat on all the ziplocks full of clothes for hours trying to squeeze every single bit of air out of them. Tadaaa! A small luggage was born.
On the day we arrived, it was so hot that I could just sublimate there and then. We sat under this tent like thing under the scorching sun that burnt down on our backs mercilessly, and the ground radiated heat and fried our butts. There were like mosquitoes everywhere I think, and I was sweating so much that if everyone in Singapore sweated like that, then we never have to worry about shortage of water again.
We sat and sat and sat in the scorching sun, then we played this weird game where we crossed our arms over our chests and held hands. Then we had to undo the knots without letting go with each others hands. I couldn’t see the logic of us playing a game that could potentially break our arms with the twisting when I knew that we had to carry 10kg worth of items for trekking sometime later.
Still, I tried to smile my way through the game despite the heat and my mounting dread.
I was assigned to the watch called Cook by the way. When I saw that, I had no idea what it meant, so I thought I had to cook food for everyone and was like rejoicing till someone told me that that was just a name. Other watch names includes Livingstone (.__.) and lord, I cannot recall.
After that arm-breaking-linking game, we took this tiny little boat from this jetty like place to get to the island of terrors. RAWR. I have no idea where we were don’t ask me. Oh yeah wait it is at Pulau
When we got there, they took away our handphones and whatever food supplies that we brought along (I didn’t bring any heh!) because they don’t want us to fall sick or something from eating outside food. Then immediately we had to start with the first activity, and ours was high elements, climbing this pole like thing with someone belaying us. To be honest, I couldn’t see the point of belaying because that pole like thingy was really very very short and also because I spent our entire childhood in the playground where me and my friends are supposed to be power rangers. So erm, we would climb to the “roof” playground and jump off from there, and that is like way higher that this. Anyway, the belaying thing is pretty fun when you get to just sit on the belay and let people slowly lower you.
After that, we learnt to pitch a tent. Not very interesting of that.
Dinner was all canned food apart from rice. .____. I hate canned food. Yucks. 🙁
The climax was actually that night when we have to pitch the tent after dinner and then go to sleep sometime later. I volunteered with some others to carry the tent up this hill to pitch it because I didn’t want to wash the dishes (hehehe) but carrying the tent up that hill was damn tiring and back-breaking.
I pitched my tent relatively well, I think, but the unfortunate thing is that, later on, my tent mates and I came back up late and we were given this tent that was not pitched by me (I think it was pitched lousily, you will know why in a second.)
Before we were allowed to go to sleep, the alarm rang and all of us had to gather at this front foyer thingy where they told us a lot of things like what we should do in case there is a fire, yaddam yadda. It was already 11.30pm or so and I was struggling to keep my eyes open, and here they are telling us the preparations for a fire.
I mean even if you tell me now, when the time comes, I won’t remember anyway.
Finally. 11.50pm or so, we get to go back to sleep.
I was a bit crazy so I brought my damp tower (from showering), some wang wang biscuits, and AN ORANGE back into the tent with me to eat as a midnight snack. Oh lord.
So when we lay down, we closed the mosquito net but not the opaque net, and the four of us, Huisze, Andrea, Deb and me stared into the dark looming trees of the forest. I keep telling them that I didn’t like this feeling of sleeping and staring out into the empty night, because I was afraid that when I wake up halfway in the night, something (aka ghost) will stand there, right outside our tent and kill me or something.
Andrea got spooked out and she was like, “No no don’t talk about it! I also very scared.”
Deb the great tried to make me sing Andrea a lullaby. And she proposed Baby by Bieber I think. I think I managed to get her to sing with me.
That night when we finally fell asleep despite the heat, humidity and all, it was still pretty okay. Until like 3-4am in the morning when disaster struck.
At about 3.15am in the morning I woke up with a start because I heard the pitter-pattering of rain against our tent. I was a paranoid about water and rain, so I got very fidgety and couldn’t go back to sleep. Instead, I lay out my arms such that I was feeling the two adjacent sides of the tent and I would know if water starts leaking in from there. Like this, I can snatch my sleeping bag off the ground in time to prevent it from being soaked. Genius eh?
Sometime later, the rain became even heavier and I was getting even more paranoid about my sleeping bag getting soaked when I felt the first stream of water starting to flood in from the side where my head was. I dragged my sleeping bag down and tried to ignore the water.
All my tent mates snoozed on.
Then suddenly, strong wind whipped up and sent this huge stream of water into our tent, at which I jumped up from my lying position and snatched my sleeping bag (and inflatable pillow) off the ground. I shook everyone to wake them and they all sat up, bleary and confused. All except Deb who slept on soundly.
It was a havoc in the tent.
Me: OIIII!! Wake up!!! Our tent is flooding!!!!
Andrea: Huh? Our tent is flooding?!
Huisze: -mumble mumble-
Then to make matters worse, the flyer flew off and rain was pouring into our tent from the top and from the sides. What was most terrible was that when they said that the tent was waterproof, it was only water proof a the base, which sucked because the torrents of water came in from the top and from the side and had no way of getting out from the bottom.
At first we tried to hide under the poncho which they gave us (my poncho hor!) and squat in the ankle deep water. But after squatting for half an hour in the pouring rain and the water, I was so tired that I sat down and everyone else sat down too. In the water.
At this point I have to tell you that Deb only woke up when our tent was like semi flooded because she refused to wake up despite our shaking shouting and kicking. When she woke up, her sleeping bag soaked and everything, the first thing she said was,
“WHY DIDN’T YOU ALL WAKE ME UP??”
We tried, Deb, we tried.
Anyway, an instructor came by, thank god for that, and we hollered for him in our woebegone state for him to help us find the flyer. We heard shrieks in some of the other tent all the while and I guessed they flooded too. Finally we had the flyer back on which meant that less of the rain poured in from the top, so we just sat for one hour or so in that ankle deep water, shivering and all with Deb’s constant complaints of how her sleeping bag is soaked and she was going to get pneumonia from sitting in the water. We turned into iced prunes that night/morning, I think.
Lesson learned: Be speedy in grabbing the most secure tent. Also, securing flyers are very very important.
To be continued…