No More Snowmobiles!

I did the unthinkable. I knew I shouldn’t have, but the little girl in me said I have to.
I did it, and now I have to bear the consequences.

Mak has given a blanket ban on anything snowmobile for me, and DH. She said it nicely of course, something like: “Dah jangan naik-naik lagi benda tu…bahaya. Jangan berani sangat…subhanallah…selamat tak ada apa-apa. Jangan berani sangat…subhanallah…
Notice the repeat – “Jangan berani sangat” (don’t be too brave) and the many praises to God.

I have heard this statement from Mak before. She says that to me everytime I do something reckless, or reckless in her eyes – whichever takes precedence. Lucky for me, Mak is a pretty adventurous person herself. If she had her way, I KNOW she wants to scuba-dive but alas – that didn’t quite happen. She is content with just swimming at the beach complete with a piece of kain batik, oversized T-Shirt and a serkop kait as her swim couture. But her adventurous side has limits, and some things I do (or did) – she does not understand.

I am a daughter with a conscience. I have no one to blame but my darling Mak for this. She raised me to be one. Everytime I have a new adventure, I will tell her – excitedly – drama and all. I always feel I have to let her into these new things I experience. I have told her among other things, very specific details of what goes on in an agogo show in Thailand. Or Tiger Shows in Bangkok – however you know it. Yes, very technical details of how that goldfish came out of the performer’s nunu.

My Mak, if you don’t already know – is an ustazah by profession. She embraces life with a passion, never judgemental and always curious. I know where I get my traits from.

So when I did my usual biweekly call to her yesterday – I was in a dilemma if I should censor the snowmobile ride up the mountain at the Rockies, 10,000 feet high. I told her about the dog-sledding, which she responded passionately. She loves animals – so any adventures involving animals is a big winner with Mak. I was trying hard to think HOW do I describe ‘dog-sledding’ to a 69 year old, when there is no such Malay equivalent term for it. So I said something like: “Mak tau Uja naik beca atas snow – lepas tu anjing tarik,” I started. Nice and slow, I thought. I need to give her a visual idea of ‘dog-sledding’, so beca (trishaw) and anjing (dogs) are good keywords.

“Mak tau! Mak tau! Mak pernah nampak kat TV! Eh bestnyaaa….kau naik tu? Eh bestnyaa…..”.
Yes, thats my mum for you. Animals? Sure winner.

When my 10-minute elevator pitch on how fun dog-sledding ended, I had exactly half a second to decide if I should move on to snowmobiles, before the topic of ‘dah ada baby ke belum’ crops up. So I told her. The truth. The full story. Complete with sidebars on how cars looked like ants when you are that high up a mountain, perched on a snowmobile, with plunging cliffs barely half an arm’s length away.

She was amazed, but she was mad. She wanted to ask more, but she also wanted to remind me to not dabble with one’s precarious life. Her questions were confusing, and I know I am heading towards the Blanket-Ban-Land.

And slowly, slowly …the words came out. She said it to me in her usual, soft-spoken ways, laden with power because it is usually those that will stick to me for years. Once Mak ‘advised’ don’t do it, I usually don’t – because defying Mak’s advice on a new adventure holds a lot of weight.

I told DH this morning about it. He, being the usual male species that he is – simply said, “so next time you want to ride the snowmobile, tell her you are riding on flat terrains”. Which is what I should be doing anyway. And not think I am a superwoman who can do stunts on a snowfilled Canadian mountainride, when I can barely run wihout panting around a small Tampines park.


While in the midst of shuffling my thoughts on 3 other documentaries brewing in my brain, I found respite last week rollicking during a rib-cracking road trip to the Canadian Rockies. I really could have cracked my ribs. Literally.

It all started with a harmless love for Huskies. I fell in love with the Husky during a similar road trip to the Rockies in 2004, when while day-dreaming in the car – a truck zoomed past with a most beautiful-looking canine perched at its rear end. The dog, with its full glory of white and black fur was day-dreaming too – he was looking out of the horizon, the winds blowing gently against his long hair and his blue eyes staring straight into the meadows. And ah oh…he was squinting his eyes a bit, the same way we humans do it when we want to show appreciation.

So from that day on, I swear that I yearn, long, and really really wanted to ride on the ultimate vehicle where dog-power reign supreme: dog-sledding. We did it last week at the majestic Rockies no less, along with my clown cousins who came all the way from Singapore to let dogs pull them around ride on a Canadian mountain.

Oh the drama that ensues! Mats, minahs, dog-sleds and frozen lakes are nothing short of comedy material.

My cousin – all-Singaporean male with cigarette and digi camera in hand, did NOT ask the guide what the word was to command the Huskies to ‘go‘. So what does a Singaporean do in such unfamiliar situation? The practical him improvised. He heard that driver of the sled in front of him go ‘Hait’, but was not too sure what the word was. His version ranged from ‘HELP!’ to ‘HIKE’ to ‘HAIKAL’ to ‘GO DOGGIE GO!’. The dogs, amazingly, followed his instruction well. We were pretty sure that the dogs would still go even if we had shouted ‘JALAN!’.

We also quickly found out that the Huskies are often pooing, peeing and eating the snow while running! And when the sled is going uphill, the driver has to run and push the sled up. Errr…no fun, that one. DH, who was the driver on our sled – was my hero. The 5 dogs who pulled our sled were also my heroes. Me? I was the queen who sat in the sled, too busy shooting video and humming ‘Aku Cinta Aku Rindu’ by Nurul and Ajai. I told you this is a minah story, no?

On another adventure, we were kiasu enough to satiate our thirst for more snow adventure and we booked ourselves on a snowmobile ride. None of us had ever rode on snowmobiles before, the closest to it would be jet-skis (I once rode a jet ski from Pasir Ris Beach to Pulau Ubin, screaming in fright during most of the journey – but that is another story). How difficult can a skidoo ride be on fluffy white powder – all soft and ready to cushion your fall? Or so we thought.

What we didn’t know is that the ride is not on a trail across flat terrain. That would have been easy-peasy and lots of fun too. WE had to ride the snowmobile all the way up a bloody mountain, negotiate tight bends on treacherous cliffs (including swinging our bums to the ride and left ala corner baring, and the height? A colossal 10,000 ft above sea level. I swear that I thought I was going to be thrown off the cliff. I was riding pillion, and our snowmobile nearly hit a tree, was oversteered once, got stuck in snow during the 1st half of the ride and oh well…basically skidding away on that slippery ice. Why was I too happy to sign on that waiver form?!

We had walkie-talkies with us – thinking that we can signal each other if we spot a moose, an elk or a grizzly.But how could I spot a wild animal in the wilderness when I my heart was fluttering in fear in between praying ‘God, Forgive Me!” away out of sheer terror. Ajai and Nurul suddenly were mute. The Rockies were not so beautiful anymore. The cold wind was like dry ice. And the snowmobile adventure is now a torture. By the time we reached the summit, I asked DH nonchalantly – do we have to take the trail back down? I knew it was a dumb question – because the only other way to return to base camp other than riding your way down (again!) that dangerous terrain is by helicopter.

Sigh. I knew I should have befriended Donald Trump. It would have been really handy to get hold of that heli.