Do I Know My Fair Isle?

This has been a strange week. For one, I didn’t get much work done due to a couple of things.
Headache (major freaking one), meetings, friends popping by (not that I minded really…good distraction) the office, visiting bookstores (MPH and Borders both in a week, am I having a grand time or what) and a full day workshop on setting business goals.
I AM tired out.
But the week isn’t officially over. Not by a long mile.
I have a treasure hunt tomorrow morning.
Damn. I hope I can crawl out of bed at 6am.
It’s a treasure hunt across Penang heritage sites and I hope all my site visits with PHT have been worthwhile. Anyway, this was a last-minute decision to join the Charis Hospice treasure hunt because my gal pals were missing a fourth person. I know most of my treasure hunt friends are joining (after all this is Penang!). I didn’t want to barge into their already formed groups until Ai Lee invited me on Monday.
Frankly, I’m not a big crazy hunt kaki. I like the prospect of a good challenge but that’s it.
Actually I can be a bit snooty now that I’ve chalked up some hunt experience (by paying ‘tuition’ – well, hunt fees are usually considered tuition fees anyway – you pay to learn, geddit?). I actually hunted with the professionals once and did they enlighten me some. They came well equipped to win!
Ai Lee and I spoke on the phone on Monday evening and she exclaimed that 6 hours for a hunt was long.
“My dear! When you’re frantic for answers, time just flies by!” I said.
It does seem long – 6 hours. But wait till you’re in a car with 3 other people, frantically searching for answers and googling your own brain till its juice dry up. 6 hours seem more like 6 minutes!
Here’s what I learnt from the pros:
1. Always have a 5th person stationed at home, in front of a PC with Net access. This will be crucial in helping you win. Call this person to get facts checked and answers compared if you are dumbfounded.
2. Calm down. It pays to be still like a Zen master in the car when all your team members are going crazy with tension you can smell.
3. Equip yourself with good general knowledge. Everything helps! (Bring all the necessary dictionaries, laptops, world book you can find)
4. Bring lots of water and snacks. You will get hungry while thinking. Load up on sugar so your brains work properly.
5. Have your mobile phone fully charged and ready to speed dial all the people you know to ask for help.
6. A good thesaurus wouldn’t hurt either. Make sure it’s nice and thick with lots of words. Duh!
7. Get a paperbag. You will be sometimes asked to buy items from supermarkets or shops and you certainly don’t want to give the other teams big ideas what you’re buying if you carry them all in transparent plastic bags. This is a competition after all.
8. See #4 but don’t overdo the water. You don’t want to stop all the time for toilet breaks!
9. Eat a full breakfast. Nothing annoys more than a gurgling tummy when the brain is trying to think.
10. If you cannot get the answer the first time around, panic not. Jot down ALL the visible answers (usually signboards of business premises or road names) and do the brainstorm later. No point hyperventilating at the street junction and blocking traffic.
11. Bring a sense of humour. This is not a life-and-death matter. If you win, great. If you don’t, you can always join another hunt later to redeem yourself. Don’t bark at your team mates.
12. Being relaxed is the best way to solve hunt questions. Sometimes the very answer is right in front of our eyes but being tensed makes us all raving blind.
13. Hunt in a spacious car (try an MPV). Nothing peeves people if they’re cramped, hot, frustrated and sitting in a tiny car! What with all those books and thesauruses lying around, people DO get annoyed!
How about you? You enjoy treasure hunts? Got tips to share? Or your own two cents to add?

Are You A Gila Treasure Hunter? This Is For You!

I almost forgot to blog about this. Tsk tsk.
Yeah, I know.
I’ve been back at work since Friday but you know this thing about emails and work plus we were apartment-hunting (well actually we have been looking at apartments to buy on this side of Penang island for the longest time) and such, so I almost forgot to tell you this. (My apartment-hunting adventure merits its own post!)
Especially if you are a bad, mad treasure hunting fan.
I thought I was until I met more mad people whose lifeblood is about joining treasure hunts.
Anyway, I shall stop being a tease and direct you to The Webmazers, a cool new initiative (hmm, if I may masuk bakul and angkat sendiri lah) by ta-daaaa, us at Redbox Studio and The Roadrunners, the maestros of setting treasure hunting clues or ‘tulips’ as they’re called.
I’ve blogged about it on the other blog (and to date, I’ve seen that more blogs in the blogosphere have picked up on this too) so go read.
Anticipation and excitement is building up (particularly among the treasure hunt kaki’s online) because if I know Jayaram correctly, his cryptic puzzles and tulips are damn damn hard. Gives your brain cells a thorough workout too.
And once you get hooked on this, man, there is no turning back. You’re going to want to solve more cryptic puzzles.
Did I also mention it’s FREE to join? No fees involved unlike your offline motoring treasure hunt.
(As part of the organising team, I won’t be able to join so I encourage you to haul up your friends, chee mui, colleagues, father, mother, siblings, godparents etc to enter this online treasure hunt.)
Yes, it’s starting on 10 February which is like what….6 days from today.
The prizes? How does a romantic sunset cruise in Langkawi sound to you? 3 main prizes are up for grabs with some shopping vouchers for those scoring above 50% of the marks.
Go and sign up before you completely miss out on this inaugural online hunt!