Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Objects in the mirror...

It was a fitting end to the trip I suppose. We decided to test the limits of endurance a little and do the return trip to Boston all in one day. Would have been a piece of cake too, but we hadn't accounted for all the other people also driving back to the north-east after Thanksgiving weekend :(. Could have been worse, it only cost us a couple of hours, thanks to a few judicious detours.

All in all, my first Thanksgiving break went quite well, I think :). The volumes of food consumed continue to amaze me a week later! The weather, while I was in Asheville was quite ridiculously beautiful! And perfectly dry, unlike the rather dodgy weather we've had here in Boston these last couple of days.

Good weather for staying in, so for the most part we did. While we were at it, the cousin and I decided to watch Primer! And I'd thought Inception had a layered plot :). This film's been out for almost a decade and I'm surprised I'd never heard of it before! 

Well, actually, I guess I'm not. This isn't exactly your run of the mill Hollywood thriller. Made independently on a really low budget, this is probably the best told story I've seen, when it comes to sci-fi thrillers! Okay, so there's no way in hell anyone could possibly get the entire plot on watching it the first time :). Nonetheless, Primer is definitely worth a watch.

Right, so now it's time for me to start travelling solo again. My flight back to India is out of JFK this evening, but at least there should be a nice last drive in the Mustang to round things off before that. It's been a pretty intense couple of weeks, all things considered. And as if on cue, the details for my next trip (read next visa application) arrived a few days ago. The next couple of weeks should be interesting, in more ways than one :).

Currently: packing :(
Listening to: Thomas Newman - Shanghai drive

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

To say nothing of the dog

How does one go about describing such moments of thrill as are rarely experienced, but then extremely difficult to re-capture? Well, I suppose I could keep it simple: the plan worked! Boy, did it work :D. A car that doesn't like to stay hidden under the hood. A long ride on roads of such variety that would keep anyone entertained. Stunning views from sunrise to sunset. And a soundtrack to match.

I guess for a start, and for the first time, I was visiting my cousin and there were no delays! Picked up the car at JFK and off we went towards Boston. The next couple of days were mostly spent recovering from all the travelling and drama from the days before (which involved, amongst other things, someone almost losing my passport before I could get off the boat :S). We also managed to catch a screening of Skyfall. And fantastic as the movie was, I was still humming the tune of Adele's score the next morning as we merged into the thin stream of lights headed west out of Boston :).

In two days, we managed to cover ten states, over a thousand miles, and went from interstates to the back roads along those interstates. Quieter highways winding their way through sleepy towns. And finally, the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, snaking along their lofty paths, twisting and turning between the hill tops.

We managed two sunrises and a sunset on the road. I suppose the one to really remember would be the one in the mountains. It was one of those mornings. Dark, with a hint of glorious gold. A sea of low clouds parting strategically now and again to let through enough sunlight to dazzle briefly. There was almost this sense of the fantastic hanging between the heavens and the ranges upon ranges of hills disappearing into the horizon.

But I suppose the most exciting bit was finding the dog. This hound was sort of half-heartedly chasing cars along this stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. To cut a rather long story short, it ended up taking a nice long ride in the car to nowhere in particular. The owner, when we finally managed to get in touch, seemed strangely nonchalant about the dog wandering miles away from home. Last we saw, Rocks, as we had temporarily dubbed him, was headed towards the local sheriff's office, courtesy some other good folks who agreed that the Parkway was no place for a dog to get accidentally run over.

By the time we were back on the interstate, even the wide roads couldn't keep the hills too far. We eventually arrived at Asheville not much worse for wear, but totally on a high. The stay has been entertaining as family visits tend to be when 9-year-olds are involved :). There's also of course all the fuss over the turkey.

I am rather looking forward to the rest of the week here. And the drive back :D.

Currently: anticipating food-coma
Listening to: Adele - Skyfall

Sunday, 11 November 2012


It's a bit like waking up in the middle of the night, all of a sudden, and not knowing where you are. The moments it takes to grasp your bearings can be entertaining enough. If you aren't the type to be caught in a blind panic right then, or waking up from one of those dreams where you are falling endlessly...

I tend to use the music to get directions right. But then again, with the variety of bed to desk geometries I've had in cabins by now, that's no longer much of a help. Someone once told me I have industrial deafness, or some such thing. Because I leave music playing when I sleep. I just do it to keep the creaking of the panels from driving me crazy :).

Anyway, so realizing where you are on the boat can be a bit like that. Like the waking up thing. Maybe like zooming out. Figuring out where you are if you were looking at the boat from the outside. Then as more of the surrounding scenery comes into view you realize that this isn't the middle of the ocean. There's a whole city through those metal walls.

But on some mornings, all there is, is the dense veil of fog that obliterates all the hills, most of the houses, and once again you are surrounded by nothingness.

Feeling: out of place
Listening to: David Guetta - Without you (feat. Usher)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Snow creeping down mountain-sides

So I went ahead and made the plan. Now let's see how everything works out. It's a good plan, in that the details are entirely absent :D. Well, not entirely, but absent enough to let things happen. Or so one hopes.

But there's still a whole week till the break starts, and this trip seems to have been going on forever :-<. What is it with last trips on a boat? (I am beginning to sound like a broken record here, I know, but that's kinda the thing :(.)

So yeah, another boat. Apparently. As usual, my future is a bit like sailing in low visibility :). Can't ever see too far ahead. But you can be sure things are going to show up along the way. Mostly, quite suddenly. Oh well. Isn't always a bad thing. Only like... well, I was going to say a lot of the time, but that's just 'cos I'm tired and can't see an easy way out of this next week till crew change I guess :).

Bergen is back to doing what it does best, revelling in chilling rain that freezes the bone and transforms everything into something of a haze of wet numbness. I guess the days of sunshine weren't really going to last. I regret the fact that I didn't take any sunrise photos. There were a few good ones. But not in a while.

Right. Things to look forward to, yet another last minute trip, hopefully a nice car. Two weeks of fall coloured roads. Not all bad then. Too bad that's a whole six-and-a-half days away.

Currently: tired
Listening to: Sixpence None The Richer - A million parachutes

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Raindrops in the dark

Trip number four. And I'm still waiting to fly out. Maybe this time. Then again, this was the first time I sailed in. To Bergen. if you were to believe the reputation, it rains all the time in Bergen. Actually it is quite a well deserved reputation. I've just been unusually lucky for the most part :). Not on the sail in through the fjords though...

It was about as miserable as you could imagine. Grey, cold, blustery and wet. And I thoroughly enjoyed the meandering sail in through the waterways leading into port that look like so many cracks that have opened up on the earth and let in the sea.

There's something about sailing a ship through channels in low visibility. Dense fog is a bit of an overkill, you can't see anything. But this sort of misty low lying cloud thing, that hangs like a curtain a mile out and leaves a small bit of the world open to your eyes, it's what I sometimes imagine to be at the heart of all things nautical. You never can see a lot. But whatever you see, is everything there is :). Or so it seems anyway.

Anyway. Finished with the the American Gods re-read. But that's about it as far as the reading goes. Since hitting port I've had a couple of nice walks into town with the sun shining gamely in the face of the increasingly hostile cold. But for the most part it has been a mind numbing succession of things to get done. Now! Every moment a reminder that there's something not being attended to, a something that will soon rear its head in anger :-<.

Oh well. There's always suddenly discovered cool music to fall asleep to.

Currently: 11, 10, 9...
Listening to: The National - ADA