Saturday, February 29, 2020

Leap year disease

So today is 29th February. By the looks of it, this blog has seen 4 of them (leap years) already. This 29th is a bit unique. I have never actually experienced an infectious disease spread the way the current COVID-19 has gripped the world. Being in Singapore, I am quite close to the action. While I am generally impressed by how Singapore is containing the spread by strict quarantine and contact tracing measures, it doesn't look like it is going to be contained anytime soon globally.

As of writing this blog, it ain't a global pandemic yet (according to WHO's strict definitions). In my entire working life (though I went through 2 big recessions) I haven't ever experienced business slowing down the way I can see it now. Maybe because I was never in a sales related function before.

I hope this disease does not have a catastrophic impact on the global economy and we are able to contain it fast enough. I can however first hand experience the impact it is having on travel and tourism especially with all touristy places in Singapore deserted, and a lot of restaurants looking empty even on traditionally busy days.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Hydration packs

I have never been that into physical fitness. Growing up, I was more of the stay at home - study and read books kind of guy - that occasionally played some badminton and table tennis and hardly ever engaged in team sports. I was a disaster in the favorite Indian team sport - Cricket, and I was even worst in Football. I hardly scraped through my physical training exams, and I generally belonged to the geek category.

Unfortunately, this ritual of me growing up - now sourly shows as I age (not so gracefully!). I picked up occasional physical fitness more seriously in my 30s. While I yearn to be more disciplined so that I age gracefully, that determination is fairly lacking.

Anyway, since you have already experienced my love for water containers before here and here, I thought I add to this list another of my hydration gear that I purchased a few months ago - A hydration pack. Now hydration packs for me have always been that "serious" fitness gear that endurance athletes use. It's like stuff that I see on TV and then see my fit friends carry it around. Never in my life I ever thought I needed one till until recently when I started doing short hikes (read - few hours).

If you go on the trail for anything in excess of 3 hours, then carrying hydration in this part of the world is essential. I used to carry bottles before, but you realize that it's inconvenient because it's bulky and heavy. Also with the necessity of carrying mobile phones, house keys, and money almost everywhere, the need for a small pack that I could keep on my back along with some water in it grew. And so I invested in a hydration pack.

Treks have been much pleasant now. I don't have any particular pack to recommend, just the fact that having a hydration pack on your back, makes life just so much more easier. And the best part is - you can drink water from a tube whenever you want, and as you start to tire and drink more water the weight on your back correspondingly decreases.

If you are into casual hiking or trekking or trail running and are sitting on the fence thinking about whether to invest in this piece of hydration equipment - I would whole-heartedly recommend - go for it! And if you are a serious mountaineer, don't smirk. This is for newbies like me.