Monday, 29 November 2010

Magic white powder!

And just like that, the whole current state of life improved vastly over one week. Having heard that the ski slopes were finally open for this season, (and with more and more people landing up here who I could drag along with me :D) I did a bit of further research to ensure we didn't find ourselves shivering in the cold wind with no snow covered slopes to slide down :S.Wednesday night was quite cold, at -10 C. It was also quite windy. No matter, armed with our unlimited runs passes we started off :D. It was good. I was very very impressed with the lack of persistent aches and pains by the end of the night. At least for me :). But having been down that slope in Tryvann three years running, it was beginning to get a bit boring.

And that's when the weekend plan was hatched: another skiing weekend! This time at Hemsedal! The rest of the week seemed to barely creep by till Friday afternoon, and then off we went!
Having seen the scale of Trysil last winter, I wasn't too surprised by the gorgeous lit up slopes when we arrived there, but I was definitely quite in awe of the cabin we'd managed to rent :D.What followed was quite simply bliss :). And of course frozen finger and toe tips. And huge steaming cups of hot chocolate. And the occasional stopped chair-lift, mid air, with the wind howling (brrrrr).Also, home cooked dinners and breakfasts. More hot cocoa and marshmallows. Sleepy conversations. Serious straight hair discussions /:). Miles and miles of brilliant slopes.By the end of it I'd probably managed my longest set of fall free runs down long slopes. And then I decided to go for one more :D. Collected more falls than the whole weekend put together, and then called it a day.Never-ending trails of tail-lights. Driving snow. Pizza. Random soundtracks.By the time we were back in Asker it had easily been the best weekend in a long long time. And I still have my wallet :P.Currently: regretting leaving all this snow behind in another day
Listening to: Eagle Eye Cherry - Save tonight

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Snow covered train tracks

It's been an interesting couple of weeks :). Well. More like there have been a few interesting things in the last couple of weeks, and the rest of the time things have been mostly nice and quiet.
There weren't a whole lot of people in town. People I know that is. But we did go and watch Red. It was quite hilarious :D. I like Bruce Willis' choice of characters lately :P.
Last weekend it was not raining/snowing one afternoon, so we went out for a bit of a walk to the lake. No running. Too much ice/snow on the ground for that. For me anyway, have noticed a few people running even now.
There's already ice on the lake! With weird spider-webby holes. Albeit a somewhat slushy kind of ice. Although that was last weekend. It's been even colder since then. Oh! There were a couple of divers in the lake! Why would you go diving in a lake? It's not even particularly big. And it's bloody cold!!Then of course, Bolli finally managed to land up in Norway! It's funny how that worked out, he left the middle east and I landed up there. Now I'm trying to get out of Norway for good, plus my work permit runs out in not too long, and he lands up here :|.
Still, that meant I could go over to Bergen and help him move in. Well, I ended up usurping his bed for the most part and hijacking his newly unpacked X-box 360 to play Forza Motorsport :P. Okay, so I also took him around a little bit, braved some frostbite and showed him random bits of the town.It looks very different from what it did last summer! But I was glad to see that the only visible snow was on the hills in the distance :). Now of course I'm headed back to Asker where it's been really cold over the weekend. I'm hoping it's snowed. You see, it appears the slopes are apparently beginning to open up!!!I took the train both ways this time. The overnight trip Friday night was a bit surreal. Stuck as I was between the rankest smelling coat and the rankest smelling beard I've ever had the misfortune of being near (both belonging to the same kindly old man :&), I couldn't help notice the ghostly picture the moonlight made of the snow covered landscape.
Unfortunately the return trip's also in darkness. And without the moon, it's all black :-<. I'm hoping I'm well insulated enough to make it back to the apartment from the station without too much trouble :). Currently: watching the dim distant street lamps racing by
Listening to: Darude - Drums of New York

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The dusty road back to snow.

I'm still tired... Honestly! This is getting a bit bugging now. I've been in Asker a round total of 3 days, had three nights of fairly decent sleep, and yet the heavy eyelids refuse to go away. Might be the gloomy weather.

Well, I really should write about crew change! I'll skip all the bad parts and stick to the somewhat cool things! I am somewhat determined to make this sound not like a rant. (Heh, let's see how that goes :P.)In brief, here's what I survived to get off the boat: Overnight on a(nother) boat. Half a day in a bus through the mountains and bits of the desert. A day and a half in a hotel with a pool and a pool table (!\:D/!) outside a city (town?) that looked sort of big from a distance, but we didn't dare look any closer. Overnight flight to Jeddah and ensuing confusion thanks to intense fog over Istanbul. Flight to Istanbul. Sudden tap on shoulder while I was trying to explain to random fellow passenger that he'd missed his onward flight. Run-in with officemate (and eventual stand-in boss) travelling to OSL on same flight!! Last ditch attempt at securing a bed for the night thanks to suggestions from aforementioned officemate and free wi-fi at IST. Flight to OSL and train to Asker. Increasingly groggy state of being. Miraculously pre-booked hotel room (yay!!!). Herculean effort to drag even groggier self all the way to the pub for dinner (just to avoid the McDonald's next door). All systems down before 1930.Oh! Did I mention intermittent involuntary shivers thanks to the 30 degree temperature drop?Anyway, the cool bits!! So that bus ride?! It was pretty awesome!! Actually the ride was too long and cramped, but the view out of the window was awesome :). A landscape barren to an extent and scale that made it quite majestic! The rocks eventually grew less and less continuous and the sand started creeping up the sides and through the gaps until it was practically all over. With just two narrow ribbons of tarmac slithering along their winding way. Initially through the rocky passes, and eventually amidst the sand from horizon to horizon.
The rocks that remained, large, defiant and eroded, seemed scattered at random. Their nature changing quite rapidly, from pockmarked sandstone to straight-faced granite. Or what looked like it anyway. I'm not exactly your average rock geek, and neither was I about to step from the air-conditioned cab into the nearly cloudless bright blue-skied oven outside to take a closer look! And, not surprisingly, there were camels.The quick swim in the pool once we finally got to the airport hotel outside Tabuk was nice. Except that by then the sun was low in the sky and the water was pretty darned cold! The pool table on the other hand, posed no such problems, and some of us proceeded to make really good use of it :). Oh, and while on the subject of cool things, one mustn't forget the awesome chicken curry!The next cool thing really, was the 12 hour sleep I managed once I finally crash-landed on that hotel bed Monday night :).

Eventually got put up in a different apartment this time. No cool view of the fjord. A longer walk to and from the office. But it's a lot closer to the stores, restaurants and the Kino! Which is the cinema, btw. And tonight, the plan is to go watch Red, despite the sub-zero temperatures.

Oh, it's snowing! Well, it was snowing yesterday. I was a little pre-occupied while trying to find my way out of the apartment block on my way to work. Ironically the same building I mentioned here, lots of doors, hard to tell which ones to go through to get out :|.

The first snow flakes I noticed were the ones that hit me in the face :). It was nice and light. And only after I was safely inside the office building did it turn into a bit of a blizzard. I wasted a bit of extra time staring out through the big glass walls on my way to and from a few extra mugs of hot chocolate.

Like I mentioned elsewhere earlier, it's definitely been a pretty shitty few days to make me feel that good about the stupid snow. My proper snow boots I left at home, and none of the slopes here are even close to opening :(.Currently: hoping Dame Helen Mirren kicks ass with a sniper rifle!
Listening to: Pearl Jam - RVM live in Indianapolis

Monday, 8 November 2010

Tired eyes

So I did get off the boat on the 5th. And it's only late this afternoon that a very sleep-deprived, frazzled me managed to drag myself into a hotel for the night in Asker. Yup, no apartment till tomorrow. I shall go into annoying details later. Or maybe never.

At least an extremely fortunate chance meeting in Istanbul ensured that I did have a place to sleep in for the night. It's cold! But no snow :(. I need my jacket. And my beanie. But I was too tired to bother trudging all the way to the office to get them out of my bags in the store :(.

Right, time to crash. I shall elaborate on mountains and deserts later.

Currently: bushed
Listening to: Ellen Allien & Apparat - Sleepless

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Slow-motion desperation

Well, it's not been two weeks. In fact, it's been only one, but a lot has come up in the mean time. Unfortunately, the drama in this case has been very much centered right here. And it's all about the all-important crew change :-<. Still don't have flights, but for the first time in three years, we're supposed to be getting off earlier than originally planned!!! (Whoa!!! Wheee! Whoop-whoop, etc. :|)
I seem to have lost the plot a bit here. There's that trapped in a pressure cooker feeling again. Nothing to do with work. Well, as far as work on the boat goes anyway.
By this time next week I'm supposed to be back in Asker. Not quite the middle of the winter. Is there proper snow yet? Hopefully by the end of the month I'll know if I can haul my bags out of that store room for good. Or not.
Oh! Have I mentioned the mountains? Somehow I don't associate those with deserts. But it appears there's a whole range of proper, fully qualified mountains all along the coastline towards the east, Al-Sarawat. And it's getting steadily larger in the window as the days go by. Metaphorically. I don't have a window.
Might get to drive through them, and even fly over them, in a couple of days. One can always hope.Currently: waiting impatiently
Listening to: Kina Grannis - Stars falling down