How I Won The Amazing Race Style Garmin Asus Live Navigation Challenge Contest24 December, 2009
19 December 09 (Saturday) 12:44pm – I was having a serious case of pre-race jitters, wondering what I am getting myself into when I signed up for the Garmin-Asus Live Navigation Challenge. This was understandable considering the situation I was in:
- Rainy Day
- No Car
- No Driver
- No GPS Navigation Device
- Uncertainty over how long and far the race will go
- Definitely not in the best shape (Round!) of my life now (the sumptuous cruise buffets I had a few weeks ago didn’t help :-))
Just when I was thinking of just giving up and heading straight home, the fateful email – First Clue of the Live Navigation Challenge came in at 12:45pm – 15 minutes earlier than expected! The rest as they say it is history (as you can infer from the title of this post) – I won the Grand Prize of the Garmin-Asus Live Navigation Challenge – 2 Return Economy Airfare to Maldives by Singapore Airlines!
Besides sharing on my experience of participating in this Garmin-Asus Live Navigation Challenge, I will also share some tips on how to win such races – hopefully it will serve as an useful reference if you intend to take on such challenges in the future. Who better to hear it from than a Winner of the Garmin-Asus Live Navigation Challenge!
Ok enough with my yaya-papaya attitude! 🙂 If you are interested in “participating” in this challenge from the comfort of your chair, I had also structured this post such that there is a gap between each clue and the answer so don’t scroll too fast!
Tip 1: Be Well-Prepared (Food, Drinks, Communications etc.)
Participating in such races can be really tiring – you will feel thirsty and hungry from the anxieties from moving around places. Keep yourself hydrated and energized with water and snack packs – though the organizers were thoughtful enough to provide water at each pit stop.
Phones are essential to stay in touch with your headquarter (HQ) – more about that in Tip 2. I used two so I could multi-task (using Google Maps or Googling for info) while calling back to HQ for more info.
Lastly, manuals for the Garmin-Asus phones – the organizers said we have to familiarise ourselves with the phone to complete challenges at each pit stop. 🙂
With the basics settled, let’s go to the race proper. The first clue was – the location of the former Singapore Traffic Police Headquarters which is now a creative hub – Googling helps. 🙂
Pit Stop 1: Red Dot Museum
Yes it’s the Red Dot Museum – the first pit stop for participants doing the Green Route. There are 2 routes – Green and Blue in the race and both groups start at different pit stops and attempt each stop in a different sequence – an attempt by the organizers to regulate traffic.
We had to sign an indemnity form (the usual don’t-hold-organizers-responsible-for-any-injuries-damages clauses) before we start the race. (by the way that’s not me in the picture – the pit stop pictures are courtesy of the organizers)
The challenge at the first pit-stop was easy – a True/False question about Garmin-Asus Phones’ Ciao privacy feature.
The 2nd Clue of the challenge was quite tough – we had to find out where is Alkaff Mansion and look for semi-circular terraces near it. Hailed a taxi off the street – however the taxi driver was not sure where it is. Thus I had to call back to my HQ to google for more information and search for directions on streetdirectory.com.
This is where Tip Number 2 on how to win an Amazing Race-style races comes in.
Tip 2: Setup a Command Centre/Headquarter/Resource Centre to Google for Information and Directions
My participation in Garmin-Asus Live Navigation Challenge involves TY as well. She is based at home with phones and computers with internet access, ready to supply me with information I might need. In this case – the Alkaff Mansion is quite a tough one and I will have to tap on her to find out more information.
Pit Stop 2: Telok Blangah Hill Park Terrace Garden
The 2nd pit stop Telok Blangah Hill Park Terrace Garden is located in a very ulu place along Telok Blangah Green and it is quite a distance from the Alkaff Mansion (see following map – Yellow Marker: Alkaff Mansion and Green Marker: Pit Stop – notice the semi-circular structure?)
View Pit Stop 2 – Terrace Garden in a larger map
While I had never been here before, this place looked very familiar perhaps because this is where many of those 80s-early 90s SBC Channel 8 shows were filmed – the final showdown location between good and evil. 🙂 Ok no time to indulge in nostalgia here – still got a long flight of steps to conquer before reaching the pit stop.
Thankfully, the challenge at this pit stop was easy too – all I had to do is match Garmin-Asus phone icons with their functions e.g. an envelope with WWW icon to be matched to Email.
Telok Blangah Hill Park Terrace Garden at more peaceful times.
The third clue will definitely require some Googling as it asked about a location formerly known as Banda Street Community Centre. However from the rest of the clue, it is quite obvious its in Chinatown (e.g. bullock carts used to roam there)
The worst thing about Pit Stop 2 is that it is such an ulu place – no cabs could be hailed here. I decided to take the long trek downhill to Henderson Road for a taxi – calling a taxi will take an even longer time. This is where Tip Number 3 would come in.
Tip 3: Secure a Taxi to Drive You Around During the Race
I tried asking the cab driver who drove me from Pit Stop 1 to 2 to wait for me while I complete the challenge at the pit stop, promising him that I will leave a deposit of $10 on top of my fare to assure him I am not trying to pull a fast one. However he said he could make more money by driving around to pick up his fare. Oh well that’s his loss – good luck to him finding a fare during such weather. 🙂
I was lucky to have a taxi driver who agreed to fetch me around during the race and wait for me to complete the challenges. This is a win-win for all parties – I need not look for taxis out in the rain and in ulu places and save money as well (need not start with the $2.80 starting fare each time I board) and for the taxi driver, he can still earn some money during this rainy period. Another big plus over driving my own car is that I need not bother myself with directions, the taxi driver knew where and how to go e.g. shortcuts to reach my next pit stop quickly. 🙂
Pit Stop 3: Kreta Ayer Community Centre
The next pit stop is located in the multi-purpose hall of the Kreta Ayer Community Centre. This is where the Blue route participants start their race so it was quite busy when I arrived. The challenge here was to use a M20 Garmin-Asus Phone to locate petrol stations or post offices around certain locations. While having tried out the online simulator, it took me some time to get used to and I took just over 2 minutes to find a nearest petrol station to Bedok Simpang. 🙂
The next clue was very obvious. I had just attended a Halloween party there in November. 🙂
Pit Stop 4: MINT Museum of Toys
There is no need to pay admission to MINT Museum of Toys (at least for the Garmin-Asus Challenge participants) and the staff were quick to point me to the right direction (3rd floor) for the next challenge. No time to admire the toys this time. 🙂
The challenge here is a real tough one – at least for people like me who is quite poor with jigsaw puzzles and I am not prepared for this (no phone manuals can prepare me for this :-))
We are supposed to complete a jigsaw puzzles based on the picture below (either the guy or the gal) in 5 minutes. If you can’t complete it in 5 minutes, you will have to dismantle the puzzle and re-queue in the line to attempt the puzzle again. Luckily, I completed it in the nick of time and ready to go the next pit stop!
The next clue is a familiar revisit back to my history textbooks – the reference to Forbidden Hill. 🙂
Final Pit Stop: Fort Canning Park Old Married Officers’ Quarters
Yup. It is at Fort Canning Park and I ran around the park looking for old remnants of a fortress. I saw a guy running in the opposite direction as me – must be another competitor who had completed the challenge and going to the next pit stop – that was what I thought. Little did I know that this is actually the final pit stop and the participant who reached here with all the clues will win!
So what happened is that the guy who ran past me earlier was actually the first to arrive but left his clues in his car! As I carry my bag of barang-barang e.g. water, food, clues everywhere I go, I was the first to arrive with all the clues – making me the winner of the Grand Prize of a trip for 2 to the Maldives!
Tip 4: Carry Essential Items (e.g. Clues) With You At All Times
This is where Tip Number 4 comes in – needs no further explanation.
Me – Winner of Grand Prize: Return Economy Airfare via Singapore Airlines to the Maldives!!
Maldives, here I come!
If you are interested, check out the locations of the pit stops and the route I took during the Garmin-Asus Live Navigation Challenge Contest.
View Garmin-Asus Live Navigation Challenge Route (Green) in a larger map