Friday, 26 March 2010

Warming up

Right, so here I am, back on the boat again. Managed to get from Asker to New Orleans within one day. It's just that at 31 hours, it was a pretty long day.
There was one really long flight, but it was shaping up to be quite interesting! With the most talkative neighbour I'd met yet. Unfortunately, I had to swap seats to make life easier for families trying to sit together on a fully packed flight. Twice! So in the end it was a pretty quiet trip :).It's usually a good thing when you know what to expect for crew change (there be exceptions, yes). So it was good to run into some familiar faces at the airport, then again at the hotel reception. And then later on again at the pub a couple of blocks down the road.But now it's back to the boat, and I know I'm running the risk of sounding like a broken record, but the faces are changing. Less of the familiar, more of the unfamiliar. One day I'll stop being surprised. But it would seem, not yet.The first few days have gone nicely. It's good be back in consistently positive temperatures. And I'm really hoping to get bored to death for the next 5 weeks :D.

Currently: settling in
Listening to: Snow Patrol - Engines

Saturday, 20 March 2010

In between an end and another beginning.

It's been a pretty awesome break actually :). Imagine saying that to a measly 10 days off then 3 weeks in office in a freezing Norway. Then compare it to a 3 month long break, and when you find yourself still saying the same thing, well, then you know it was definitely something :).But, now it's almost over. So, before I head back to the Gulf of Mexico once again, I decided to take the weekend off. I mean really off. Do nothing hectic :P. No late Friday night, no snowboarding, no travelling. Just chill out at home and watch lots of movies :D.And sleep without an alarm!!! Like wow!!! Right?! :D That's one of those things I really hate. And of course I have to do it all the time, 'cos I never can wake up when I have to on my own :P. So there's nothing more irritating than finding myself awake at the ungodly hour of 9:30 am on a Saturday morning! Of course, I did manage to turn over and go back to sleep :P.
It's not funny at all how much of your life is dictated by a piece of plastic. When that piece happens to be your only credit/debit card, the one you've just lost :). God bless bank transfers :D.But, all that still didn't stop me from going snowboarding once more during the week. It was good! Back in Tryvann. It was pretty foggy around the time we got there, but then it cleared right up! Another 4 hours of non-stop tearing down the slopes! Well, the one slope mostly :D.I guess the only thing is that my plans for next break are somewhat up in the air. (Oh, the movie is pretty ok actually :).) But then again, it's more than a month away, anything could happen :).

Currently: being deliberately lazy while I can :P
Listening to: Alexi Murdoch - Some day soon

Monday, 15 March 2010

If only

There are two situations that discourage me from blogging. One would be the obvious, when there's nothing going on. The other is when there's too much going on! Of course, it may be argued that in the latter case it's less a matter of discouragement and more a mix of plain lack of time and tiredness from the aforesaid goings on :). Case in point, the week since my last post!
Even though there was a full week of work going on, once we'd somewhat recovered from the weekend, it was off to Oslo to watch movies that very (in?)conveniently refused to be aired in our own Asker Kino! Twice! Well, actually that worked out the first time, when we went for Alice in Wonderland, 3D. (Yes the 3D part is important 'cos firstly, that's the only reason we had traipsed all the way to Oslo in the first place, and secondly, the fact that one of us was watching a film in 3D for the first time was a source of much entertainment! Over and above the movie that is, which was quite fine, but nothing earth-shattering, IMHO.)It was that response to 3D viewing that almost directly led to the Avatar 3D plans for the following evening! We went all the way to the theater, got our drinks and what not, and guess what?! The show was sold out!!! Even the lady at the counter was quite genuinely surprised!! We decided to watch Shutter Island instead. Which was running at Asker by the way :|. Not a bad movie, but really?! All the way to Oslo? Tchk, tchk.By the end of the week most of my partners in crime for much of the previous two weeks were slowly disappearing. Which is when the invitation landed up, for a whole weekend of skiing/snowboarding at Trysil, the largest ski resort in Norway, complete with acommodations at a nice cabin right on the slopes!! Having missed out on snowboarding for a full year, it was way too tempting to resist :).
So off we went, on Friday evening, and were quite pleasantly surprised to find that our cabin was indeed, right on the slope. Well, one of the many many many slopes :). And, as we shortly figured out, the tourist centre, rental place, ski-pass place, restaurants and the little supermarket were all, literally, just around the corner :D.

We called it an early night and were on the slopes in short order the next morning. And from then till the end of the day, it was just a non-stop blast down the slopes!!! I was definitely relieved to find that I'd lost none of my very modest skills, and had miraculously gained some!!! I could definitely go a lot longer, a lot straighter and a lot faster than last year!! :D :D Still can't turn on the leading edge though :|.
The euphoria lasted until the first couple of times I fell :P. It's sort of a vicious cycle after that, the more you fall, the more tired you get, making it more likely that you'll fall again. By the end of the day it was pretty clear that I knew exactly what I had to do in any given situation to avoid falling. It was just that my body was too tired to cooperate :D.
To add to the exhaustion was the sheer size of the place! The whole place was so big, and there were so many different slopes and lifts that it was quite possible to get completely lost!!!! And then there was the wind! Once or twice we ventured up towards the top of the hills, for a somewhat ill-advised look at the highest slopes. It was pretty much a mini-blizzard! With tiny bits of ice creating an effect pretty close to sandblasting!!
By the time we ended up back at the cabin we were all pretty much aching all over, but it was a nice kind of aching :D. There was even some live music and pool at the pub, right around the corner!The next day it was more of the same. The long sleep had helped some, and after getting over the initial stiffness, I had a pretty good time. Even the weather was better! Too soon, however, it was time to leave again. And the not too long drive back to Asker.
It would have been the perfect weekend! If only I hadn't lost my wallet on the slopes in that last hour or so :(. There were a few scraps in there that are irreplaceable, and truly lost... The bank card and driver's license, I can always get again. As a friend had quite succinctly put it, the less things you carry, the more you seem to become attached to them. :-<

still aching all over :P
Listening to: Train - I wish you would

Monday, 8 March 2010

Windmills, hot chocolate and David Guetta!

Talk about impromptu trips :). We were initially supposed to head off to Barcelona or something. But we left things till way too late, and to avoid a weekend in Asker (and more importantly, to avoid getting hot coffee or an empty cup thrown at me!!) we some how managed to come up with another road trip! This time to Denmark.
Come Saturday morning, I was feeling only the marginal effects of the previous night. (Let's not go into that one, or the warnings of potential heart-attacks.) We drove down towards Larvik in perfect weather, bright sunshine, blue skies, and yet enough cold to keep the white snow pristine, and us thankful for car AC :).The ferry took us thereafter to the shores of Denmark. More lasting testaments of an unusual winter were evident in the amount of ice on the way! And yes, it was almost impossible to stay out in the open thanks to the cold. And of course, the wind :).Oh! Did I mention the windmills?! For once I wasn't the only excitable one in the group :D.
Aalborg isn't exactly massive :). Which was a good thing for us. The exploratory walk around town was just short of hypothermia inducing, and one perfectly brewed steaming glass of hot chocolate quickly restored us to our happy selves :D.
I suppose a couple of things worth a mention would be the rather famous local drink, Aquavit, which reminded me strongly of Becherovka. And the very smartly accommodated bunk beds in the hotel room!The next day, we'd set ourselves a fairly steep task, driving all the way from Aalborg back to Asker, via Copenhagen and Goteborg. And we weren't about to stay on the road all the way, so the first stop was at Arhus, and the horse of Christian X!We could tell that we were heading south, there was more colour to the world, not just the white. And the walk to find lunch at Odense would have been quite a nice and warm affair, but for the wind. However, yet another perfect glass of hot chocolate took care of that. Honestly, that's at least one thing the Danish have got the hang of, hot chocolate :)!!It was beginning to get somewhat dark by the time we made it to Copenhagen. A drive through the city center, hurried snapshots at traffic lights. Sometimes on the fly. We did make the stop to visit the Little Mermaid though. And another stop at the Royal Palace.But by then the sun had well and truly disappeared and it was time to leave Denmark and head across the water into Sweden. It was a fairly long way back, punctuated by sudden, sometimes thick banks of fog. The streams of light, floating past, and the music (the latter a subject of some animated debate over the couple of days :P), lent some character to the darkness.Well, there had been allegations that the soundtrack had put some to sleep earlier in the day, but I strongly deny them, especially as we neared Asker once again, in the wee hours of Monday morning. Black ice and white snow once again dominating the world, as slumber beckoned...Currently: contemplating possibilities for next weekend...
Listening to: The Weepies - Gotta have you

Friday, 5 March 2010


Do not blog when drunk.Or click photographs. Actually, that second one applies to vicarious as well as first person scenarios. As applicable to drunkenness.Denmark happens tomorrow. Today, actually. Apparently. Also, The Weepies are awesome. Period.

Currently: :D
Listening to: The Weepies - Take it from me

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Brighter than sunshine?

Back. In the land of, at the moment, bright sunlight and brighter white snow. And there's lots of both :). Turns out I barely missed getting snowed in at Asheville actually! Instead, it was just a high wind scare at Newark. And the hilarious The Men Who Stare at Goats :D.
It may have been my imagination, but the flight path, and the view as we closed in towards Gardermoen from the west reminded me of my train ride from Bergen to Asker last summer! Check out the train tracks (?) beside the frozen lake below!! Then again, with that much white, it could have been anything.Since my last visit, the office here has been relocated. Just across the road, but till I saw the new building, I was a bit unsure if I was at all headed the right way :P. Despite the rather extensive amount of time I've spent here, I'm pretty much new to everything right now :-<. I suppose the good thing is that a bunch of friends from before are around. But the bad thing is, trying to get back to the whole office and the truncated break thing really sucks :(. I definitely need to do something about this.

Currently: a bit ambivalent about things...
Listening to: Aqualung - Brighter than sunshine