Monday, April 30

Grand Canyon

Here's a very very overdue post about hiking. In December 2011, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. All by myself. I do not consider it an extraordinary hiking accomplishment, except for the scary oh so scary trek in the middle of the night.

Because you see, the trek is advertised as hard to difficult and on all the panels and all the brochures you are advised NOT to attempt trekking to the bottom of the canyon and back in the same day. I figured I could do this as it was winter (and not the peak of summer, as the brochures seemed to suggest), and also I could turn back anytime I wanted and thought I was not going to make my cut-off time (<- these sound like famous last words, right?!)

Then, because I was supposed to catch a bus at 12, I woke up at 4 am and started. Turns out, 4 am is THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, a time during which

A) it might snow
B) it might be dark
C) it might be freezing
D) all of the above.

And so I froze, and it was pitch dark and it was scary and it snowed for about half my trek. And I had an amazingly scary feeling of being all alone in the quiet and the darkness and the cold.

And then I got to the bottom of it. And the sunrise came.

And I walked a bit further and saw this! The Colorado river!

And the sun got warmer, but it still could not warm up the old bones:

After this, I had to turn around and walk back. Turns out, you walk 3km down to the bottom of it, and then 3 km straight back up. The trek itself is pretty tame, but some people chose to take the mules!

This was the slippery slippery snow (there's eternity on the left of the path) - I was so glad I had my walking poles!

One last look before ending it:

And a nice, freezing sunset on the drive back to Phoenix. Here's to getting out of the house more!

Tuesday, April 24

One picture Tuesday

One of the advantages (heh) of living during communist times was that we didn't get to taste Coca-Cola until maybe very late 80s, by which time we were already 7-ish year old. Another advantage would be that we didn't know how things and brands were called until we had been using them for a while (see for example how we romanians say "Nike").

A particular brand is 7UP. I was absolutely convinced that it is actually ZUP because of how the logo looked. I was convinced that it is called ZUP for many many years, until I saw and heard the commercial.

Friday, April 20

The smell of paper

I love my Kindle. I really do. It is the bestest for many reasons. 1. It is the old kindle, so it has these really really nice buttons on the sides. This allows me to easily change pages. None of that annoying swipe to change the current page for me! 2. It carries many many MANY books, which is great. In particular for the book I am reading now (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell), this is very good, as the book itself is 798 pages. PAGES! The only problem I have with the Kindle is that, after about two years of using it, I find myself really missing paper books. Not only do I miss paper books (which obviously results in me buying tons and tons of paper books at one go), but I find that I never re-read books that I have read on the kindle. This is because I can't see them on the bookshelf and therefore am not reminded by the fun times I had while reading them.

Wednesday, April 11

Sandra and I are nursing...

... A baby.

Our baby is very demanding. He does not allow us to sleep, which makes us dizzy for the entire day.

Our baby is very fussy about his food and does not allow us to enjoy ours.

Our baby only wants to eat chicken soup - either the jewish or the chinese variety, he is not fussy about that. However, he only wants to eat chicken soup and nothing else.

Our baby gives us left-side headaches and makes us feel very dizzy. This is how we know it's our baby.

Our baby did not allow me to run yesterday.

Our baby did not allow Sandra to climb yesterday.

Our baby is brought in this relationship by either Sandra or myself, we are yet not clear about that. We do, however, blame each other. There are no such things as "accidents" nowadays.

Guess what our baby is.

Thursday, April 5

I'll see you in September

I hate it when long weeks seem soo long when you start them, and then midway you realize that they are only 7 days long. The time to say goodbye is coming soon, or has already come in some cases. Said hello to Jensen yesterday and said goodbye again one hour and a half later. Turned around quickly and left in a hurry because I was getting teary ->> Oh my, I am still bad at leaving people: you would think that after all this training I would finally get good at something. Or maybe I am the eternal trainee, who knows?

Will say goodbye again to friends tonight, and then again on Saturday & Sunday. The image of san crying last time and of me crying all the way to adelaide (without having any tissue with me!) is not helping right now and it didn't help last night either. This obviously needs to be reframed into a "until next time" thing because I really don't think I can take it.

I just wish we could all live together in the same place forever. But then again, i wish we would all live forever, and for africa to be food-full and peaceful, and for all of us to shit rainbows off our (skinny!) asses. And one obviously can't have them all.

Tuesday, April 3

The concert

The singer is fat and much older than I remember her, from what is probably sixteen years ago. Two sikh men in the audience have serious bellies, serious faces and even more serious turbans. One of them has a jet black santa-like beard, and the other one has a snow white santa-like beard as well. They stand up and they sing the lyrics and dance, raising their arms up in the air.

For a Singaporean audience, this concert is most happening. We all know the lyrics to at least 80% of the songs. Botak Jones, a somewhat famous western food joint, is sponsoring the concert, and you wonder if they will be sponsoring Beiber fifteen years from now, if he will still be able to sing by then - God help us if he is!

When the guitars start the first beats of Zombie, everybody is standing and you can feel the static in the air.

By the end of the concert, the image of the skinny girl from sixteen years ago is completely replaced by the woman with flabby arms and deflated tattoos. And it really doesn't matter, because boy oh boy can she sing!

Monday, April 2

Good to be back

... In Singapore. And see everybody, and especially see San and Dodo. We had a hectic day yesterday, when me, dodo and san went shopping. I must say that I had forgotten just how crowded and busy singapore is. I guess living in the countryside Adelaide really makes one forget. I had also forgotten just how consumerist and branded singapore is. Nearly everyone is wearing superiorly branded clothes, shoes, watches, phones, etc. Old people use iPads and iPhones while they get their feet massaged in the airport. Kids on the very very crowded MRT start crying, and their parents immediately hand them an iPad to cool down that angsty spirit.

I had also forgotten how it is to walk walk around all day. In adelaide I am mostly confined to my office and my car, and the climbing gym and running track. But boy oh boy, is walking around while shopping an endurance sport! Today was spent seeing Jud, Ely bear, Planet, Reg, Northern Lights and Uncle Pan and the fat pig while we flew kites and stunt kites at marina barrage. The atmosphere was just like the old days during training and i really really enjoyed it. And also pigged out on the durian cake that the dodo bird bought (MOST YUM!) We all look like we are part of team singapore kite flying! I guess while during the most depressing days in Adelaide I was complaining about how much I missed them, it's really being here with them that makes me realize indeed how much that was.

... And yes, I bought lots of clothes and lots of branded stuff too :)