The White Lady

The gateway to the Alps... Mont Blanc waits beyond.

Phuuuutosh! What da f*ck?!

It was more like a pistol whip than just air with a hyperactive sense of flight. The wind was so cold, it made 4 layers of clothing seem like some cheap polyester shirt which can’t even hide your nipples. I was freezing.

Have you ever been so cold that there does not seem to be enough bad words in the queen’s language to articulate the temperature? Multiply that feeling by a thousand and you come close to where I was on the Aiguille du Midi. It was on the Alps. 3 doors down from the Mont Blanc.

Sure it was beautiful. Why wouldn’t it be? We were 3842 meters above sea level. That was high. Higher than any Malaysian should ever be. There was snow everywhere. Not the mushy girly type of snow you find on inferior hilltops. This was hardened military grade. The type that will try to kill you when your back is turned.

I started off the day well enough. Armed with enough cotton to facilitate excessive sweating, I thought I was ready. Confidently, I stepped off the téléphérique daring the temperature to bite. It was not the temperature which took the bait though. Stupid wind! It hit me so hard, I had to look down to make sure I was not naked. Assured that my clothes were not flying off the side of the mountain, I took some tentative steps towards the edge of the base station.

Voila! The Alps spread out before me. It was glorious. Unlike my socks. How the snow managed to penetrate my Reeboks is still a mystery. I had soggy socks. This prompted my toes to harden up. Ignoring the toe boner, I crawled up to the top of the base station. Took the scenic route. The one with the heated corridors.

The base station was literally built into the mountain. Wonder who was crazy enough to do the sawing and the hammering. I especially pity the guy who had to hold the ladder. A large part of the foundation was anchored in transparent ice. Ice! The same type you will find floating at the top of your coke. Up high over here, it was solid as a rock and like the snow, it will try to kill you when your back is turned.

I trudged upwards cursing every snowmen I wanted to build when I was a young boy. I finally reached the top of the base station. I looked out and held my breath.

Everything was so serene. Time seem to halt while nature looked on. In that moment, the insignificance of my being was apparent. It was odd because I did not feel angry for being so small. Neither did it matter I was cold, hungry and close to losing my toes to frostbite. A sense of peace and acceptance washed over me. Everything was as it was suppose to be. It was good. So very good.

Such calmness. It was great to be… Phuuuutosh! What da f*ck?!

The wind was back.

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