Friday, May 29 2015

Laughing through the Surreal, A Habit of Life Abroad

Tonight seems to be the night for surreal moments that life abroad occasionally brings.

Tomorrow, four months after I interviewed for and received a job in Piura, Peru, and one month after my arrival here, a colleague and I will take a four-hour bus ride to Ecuador. There we will go to an appointment that last week was scheduled with a man whose being on vacation delayed my visa. Alas, a one-year work visa will ostensibly be granted.

Here’s where it gets surreal. Two days ago bus tickets were purchased for my colleague and me. Today, she texts me a few strange texts. Rains up north caused problems with our tickets. She will therefore have to repurchase new bus tickets to Macora, Ecuador. I do not know why rains invalidate pre-purchased bus tickets. However, I’m not in a rush to board a bus which likely will run on dirt or otherwise poorly constructed roads. Drivers here are renown for making fatal mistakes. A recent newspaper reported a bus that fell into an ‘abismo’, causing fatalities. Therefore, I’m plenty fine delaying the visa again if it means saving my life.

My colleague, seemingly panicking over the trip texts me on my phone for my phone number. Um…I’ll strike that up as nonsensical point number two.

I sat on the phone then, listening to this sane, soft-spoken woman, who I do like very much. But by the time she’d gone round and round and round about all the variables of tomorrow’s trip– which bus we’ll take, when we’ll meet, etc.– I became dizzy. We could meet at 530, or 6, or 930 am; we could take the bus the whole way or take a bus to a different station then take two taxis to get to the appointment. Finally, it was decided that the original plan, to board the 930 bus, would suffice. You learn when living abroad not to try to make sense out of certain situations. Logic evidently takes different forms in different countries. Instead, you also learn, to just laugh.

But wait, there’s more.

As my laughter ceases my landlord knocks on the door. She’s learned that I can interpret Spanish well enough so she usually speaks her lovely Spanish at mach speeds. The lavadora, she tells me, is fixed. I can now finish washing my clothes. I wasn’t sure this afternoon what had caused the washing machine to stop in mid cycle, filled up at it was with water, so I’d told here there was a problem. She said she’d have her husband look at it when he returned home. It was now hours later. So, I proceed to the rooftop where the washer is and where I enjoy hanging clothes on the lines. There’s still water in the machine, which makes me frown in question. Well, OK, I figure, I’ll just rerun the cycle. It doesn’t work. I try again. It doesn’t work. Who fixed this thing, a pastry chef? Laughter comes forth again while I shut the lid, turn the light off behind me, and return to my room. No laundry for tonight.

If all goes well and I make it alive back to Piura tomorrow night, I’ll again attempt the lavadora.

Was the Recession a Good Thing?

Today’s guest post is by Nadia Pidgeon. ArchitectureTravelWriter ran a Q&A last month on this Denver-based architect. Yet another employment victim of the Recession, she started her own architectural tours company and commenced upon a set of international journeys. Here she discusses some (possibly) positive results of the Great Recession.

Perhaps the Recession is really a second chance. Architecture, and in a broader sense design, has been an endangered species on the American landscape. How many times have we heard colleagues or students dream of landing international work in an effort to escape a dying craft in our own country?

Efforts have been made to re-introduce design to a consumption driven American culture. Years ago, Target began to offer products designed by famous people in their respective fields. The Michael Graves tea kettle sat on the shelf next to the regular, made-in-China, looks-like-every-other tea kettle. Priced similarly. The American consumer had to decide which was better: The one that looks like the typical kettle or the one that had been contemplated and crafted for a purpose. Did a tea kettle change the American design movement? No. Is it a start that reaches a great number of people? Yes.

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Monday, May 11 2015

Air supply: Hanging it all out there

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Hanging_it_all_out_there.jpgThe last air that I took was a perfect lofting roller jump. Not only did it make me smile, but all the oldies watching were also entertained. Good times had by all. Landing into a powdery large run out, jumping to entertain myself as well as others, what fun!

The first thing I think of when someone shouts out “ski jumper”, is a lad sitting on the bench waiting to plunge into the air after hurling down a straight track, arms hanging to the back, chin pushed way out front. Remember “Eddie the Eagle”! It doesn’t have to be like that. Relax.

When I am scared to jump I remember my high school bully and what an ass he was. So I work myself up. I get mad. I tell myself that I will never give in and like a pit bull terrier I charge at the landing.

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Bikes, brains and gear

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THis is written By my closest friend Lydia Tran who are working for http://voyagevietnam.co , a tour operator in Vietnam

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The times you’ve been waiting for all winter are soon upon us. Hot, sweet fresh air will soon turn every ripper into a sweaty, moving mass. But don’t get carried away with daydreams of cooling down at the lake with a beer in your hand after a long day of riding. Like spring, you need to warm up! Skis and bikes share many of the same skills, but you still need to prepare. Here is an outline to get your head, helmet and bike basics together.

Head: Get ready to ride now! This way, when summer comes, you’re on your game. Don’t wait and “off-the-couch-it.” Pick your first ride and gear up for it. Chances are you haven’t ridden much through the winter months, so ease in to it. If you’re over eager and under-prepared, you will likely be among those early season victims who have to sit out the summer with an injury. Biking is similar to skiing, but not the same — so check your head at the trail-head and “ride to ride another day.” And if you’re going to step it up to the next level, wear body armour, dude.

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Chromag: the bike for the people

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Chromag_Bikes.jpgChromag Bikes founder Ian Ritz is hoping his down-to-earth, grassroots philosophy for bike building is the start of something incredible. He’s taken everything he knows about bikes and poured it into a steel hardtail frame built for freeriding B.C.’s tough terrain.

Ritz is responsible for the design and creation of all Chromag products. Since 1990, Ritz has been involved in the industry as a rider, competitor, mechanic, designer, bike store owner and now bike manufacturer.

“Our designs prioritize real life function before style, something that I think is actually uncommon in bike manufacturing,” said Ritz in an article recently published on www.pinkbike.com.

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Hydration essential for life

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As I write this I am in fact dehydrated. I drank loads of water today, however yesterday was a different story—and a typical situation for anyone who works and plays. After spending an entire day at work on a busy Sunday, I didn’t make time to consume adequate amounts of essential fluids. After work, a long ride depleted me of any fluid that I might have had stored. As I rehydrated, I realized how important fluids are. Here is what my research tells me:

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Important information about hydration:

Dehydration retards top athletic performance by dissipating heat via the skin, stunting circulation and muscle strength, and in turn endangering your health. To reduce dehydration a proper sport diet reduces needless fatigue. Increase your awareness by monitoring your urine, especially colour. A healthy athlete’s urine should be clear. Trying to urinate frequently is the first safeguard to keeping hydrated. In keeping with the theme of increasing hydration awareness, weigh yourself before and after strenuous activity: one pound lost equals one pound of sweat. Replace accordingly and try not to lose more than two per cent of your body weight.

Coffee and alcohol increase the effects of dehydration. Include sports drink, water and juice to your prior, during and after exercise routine:

Prior

Day before drink extra water. Drink fluids two hours before exercise as the kidneys require 90 minutes to process liquids. “Tank up” replaces sweat loss.

During

Drink as much as possible: Eight to 10 ounces every 20 minutes. Prevent dehydration by giving your body adequate amounts of fluids. Drink before you’re thirsty.

After

Monitor your urine. If you’re not peeing, you’re dehydrated. Monitor you weight.

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On the prowl for powder

I must admit, I was skeptical to go cat skiing at Sun Peaks. As an avid and well travelled skier with five years touring experience in Gils, I was sure that I had experienced everything that was possible in the Tod Mountain area — I was wrong. In fact the cat skiing trip renewed my love for skiing.

It was an early start to a great adventure. Temperature: –20C; Snowfall: 25cm; Tour company: Alpine Cat Lift Services. Inc. Managing to rip the recently groomed Headwalls twice (thanks to the Velocity Challenge), I made my way up the Crystal Chair to the cat skiing meeting point, the West Bowl road junction, just below the Top of the World.

Cat skiing proved to be a good introduction to mechanized back country skiing. Guests on the cat skiing tour are provided with a professional, safety first program on mountain awareness. Our guide, Rob McLean, former Sun Peaks Ski Patrol, provided us with snow profiles and transceiver orientation.

Fitting five of us comfortably in the cat cabin, we were off on our journey to the great beyond. The hot chocolate served in the warm cat cabin was incredibly pleasing as the temperature remained cold all day. The cat skiing experience is a reminder of why we love to ski — fresh tracks! If you are an intermediate to advanced skier, have a day to spare and love to get fresh tracks, try cat skiing at Sun Peaks.

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Sleds, guns and wild, wild women

The Arctic Man 2002: Starts with a tuck down a 1,700-foot slope, through a canyon, until the competitor grabs onto a towline dangling from a moving snowmobile. Competitors are towed by snowmobile up a 1,200-foot hill at 80 miles per hour. The competitor then has to peel off and run gates to a finish 1,200 feet away. It’s a five-mile course and takes around five minutes to complete. If you win, an $18,000 US purse awaits you.

Before entering the Arctic Man competition in Alaska, I had never considered speed skiing, firing a gun or being very successful at snowmobiling. Hence, when local “ski-lebrity” John Dormer cornered me in The Stube Pub the night before my first speed skiing event, I had no idea what his ulterior motives were. Somehow (maybe it was the beer, maybe the German atmosphere) he convinced me the Alaskan event was a good idea. After contacting my Vancouver connections and finding a plane ticket to Anchorage, all I had to do was find an Alaskan Ski-Doo sponsor, a “Grateful Dead” suit and Rob Boyd’s old downhill skis. Which all managed to happen.

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Flying to and from San Diego Just Got Easier

This week, jetBlue Airways began flying one non-stop roundtrip flight between San Diego to Boston each evening. They already fly non-stops between San Diego and New York City/JFK as well as Washington DC/Dulles. On July 27, jetBlue will add another new non-stop flight between San Diego and Salt Lake City, UT.

In May, AirTran Airways added non-stop service with multiple daily flights between San Diego and Atlanta.

In March, Southwest Airlines announced non-stop flight service between San Diego and Reno/Tahoe International Airport. In June, they added service between San Diego and Houston Hobby Airport. They also fly 20 daily non-stops to Oakland, and another 14 to Phoenix.

I’d gotten so used to having to make one or more stops to fly anywhere out of San Diego, it’s great to see that there are more and more airlines offering non-stops for us.

If you’d like to see which airlines are flying into and out of San Diego, you can find a full list of airlines with links to all of them through the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

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Thursday, March 12 2015

4 tips for learning to speak Vietnamese

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1794536_792141360821999_424819165655156271_n.jpg Photo https://fr-fr.facebook.com/voyagevietnamphoto</p> Whether you are traveling for work or to find your sweetheart, learn to speak Vietnamese you will inevitably be of great use. In the following article, you will discover immediately 4 way to learn the language quickly and easily ...

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Friday, February 27 2015

Passport and Visa for Vietnam

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You must be in possession of a passport still valid for at least 6 months and possibly an entry visa to visit vietnam. Ensure you have to get a residence permit or not an entry visa or not. If you are a foreigner residing in France, check the date of validity of your residence permit not to be blocked once back in France. Generally, it is up to you to manage consular formalities. Delays in obtaining the visa vary from consulate to another, anticipate these efforts as soon as possible. Many travel agencies propose this service but the cheapest one must be Vietnam visa service by Minh Anh Travel

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Thursday, February 26 2015

Winter in Our Backyard

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A Little Geography Lesson

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Wednesday, February 25 2015

Into the Deep Freeze

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At this time of year, heading into the deep cold of an Arctic winter, an adventurous person’s thoughts turn to sunny days, no breakdowns with the truck, a little tug on the fishing line, the cold bitterness of a good beer after a long day driving, the amazing difference a little shade and a small

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A Whiter Shade of Pale

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Back from Fairbanks

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A Day Inside

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A Day Inside

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Troopy's Blog Freezing Rain Today

Hi Gang - We finally got the website up and running today! Please be patient with us while we work and tweak the HTML and media. Its not something we’re very good at yet, but it seems to be working OK. Most of the pages are just placeholders until we get to those points in the restoration process or

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Sunday, February 22 2015

What i love

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