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Friday, 7 October 2005


And so when our time on this earth has passed, the history books will be written to say that HRO Karl Willem and the Nashman were here too......

Just as my corpuscles were getting reacquainted with the revitalising high altitude oxygen, it was time to come down from the boondocks. I'm off to Lausanne tomorrow to meet a colleague then it's a couple of days back in Geneva to catch up on gossip with an old Tab friend. Saas Fee totally exceeded my expectations. I initially wanted to stay in Zermatt because of the Matterhorn but the Saastal valley does deserve its "Pearl of the Alps" title. I feel at home in the mountains and the Saas was a good break from the flatness of Middle Earth.

For my last supper (for now, I hope to come back for summer climbing season), I stumbled into this place called Cheminee. Not because it was also a music bar (with real instruments incorporated into the walls like some Dali installation) playing alt-rock anthems but because it served Shawarma! Now, Cheminee is one of those places where you have to call in advance to get a place but the waitress probably smelled from my fresh breath that I needed an infusion of garlic sauce and she deflty cleared a table for me (originally set for two). With my self-imposed alchohol ban lifted I asked for two shots of Apenzeller which was met with a very sweet "Are you sure?" look. It came, I inhaled it, gulped it down, and let the spirits revive me, and then it was "Hello, I am flying" from then on. To properly eat shawarma, you need to be in a trance-like state. After an appetizer of spring rolls, wicked Knoblisuppe, and a bottle of Coca cola, came the Shawarma with a garlic sauce that could spell doom for the vampire race. And although I wouldn't be able to go to Baguio for vacation this year, one bite and I was transported to the Baguio Post Office Loop (or Nevada Square) where as naive college undergrads we would eat shawarma till our snot dripped chilli and garlic. Who would have thought I could find shawarma in the alps?

His Royal Orangeness Karl Willem keeps his orienteering skills sharp. We intentionally did not follow the paths, disregarded our map, and let intuition lead the way......

A good vantage point for observing the alpine wildlife. The Saas valley is populated by Ibex, sheep, marmots, and big-ear rabbits...(I think they are actually called hares...)

After hiking for a cumulative 50km at high altitude I'm happy not to have blisters on my feet. Those sock linings really work! My German-designed Czech-made anti-shock poles failed thrice though but those were minor hiccups. My ankle is still not a hundred percent healed (basketball injury) but this training run went well.....

A cafe in the alpine woods? Now that's sooooo nice. Cafe Alpenblick (2000m) gets another HRO Karl Willem "Best Places to Have Real Coffee" award.

Cheminee..........Orange, it's the new black.

The curse of being single strikes again. Table for one, with a lone spring roll...

Shawarma galore! With a kick ass garlic sauce!

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