Thursday, November 20, 2008

A quick tour of the east

Unpack, repack, and head three more time zones over to see folks on the east edge of this continent. Is it still considered a red-eye flight if you're already not sure what time it is?

Jordan is still adjusting to life back in the States, specifically Connecticut, having recently finished her Peace Corps stint in Samoa. We walked around her new campus, met similarly adventurous friends and peers, and I got to enjoy the remains of a New England autumn, as did she, apparently.

Back to Boston to see old college/Seattle friends, run along the Charles River, and appreciate the city. We finally made it to the beach for a gorgeous sunset walk - though cold and windy, it was fun to be out with no agenda, just catching up.

Down to DC to visit my folks and some old Seattle friends living in a surprisingly nicely wooded neighborhood just minutes from the Beltway - a deer wandered through the yard! Some quiet catching up time with my parents a little farther south and one more chance to enjoy the crunchy leaves. This is my half of the annual family picture, which has turned slightly less serious in recent years...

One last stop in Denver/Boulder to see my sisters, both going to school and settling in for a hopefully less-severe Colorado winter. Sunny and warm during the day, cold at night, and a huge sky with amazing sunsets. What's not to love?

Thursday, November 6, 2008


…is being particularly hard. Flew through Seoul on my way back to Seattle, catching the election results as I got off the plane for my layover. One of those where-were-you-when moments.

But though I have only been in India for less than six weeks, the same as last year, everything feels more familiar, and my jet-lagged brain isn’t ready for the States just yet. It’s weird, having become automatic even in such a short time, not to:

Flip light switches down to turn them on
Walk and drive on the left
Bring my own toilet paper everywhere
Use fingers to eat
Pay next to nothing for good food
Be different than everyone around me
Engage the organized chaos of traffic
Decide if directions or advice are actually accurate
Expect random crowds of staring onlookers, anytime, anywhere

Oddly enough, I’m still dreaming in India – waking up, I’m confused by the readily available English all around, the coats and fancy shoes, the briefcases and sense of self-importance, places to be and things to do. Ramblings about why and how are more than need to be discussed here…

One day in Seattle, and I’m off to visit friends and family on the east coast. The grey and rain and cold of the northwest was a bit of a shock, but now that I’ve traded my sandals for warm shoes and sparkly pinks and oranges for brown, I’ll figure out how to adjust, eventually.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Spent a week in Bangalore visiting friends from the bike race, doing a little climbing, a little running, a little biking, and meeting their friends in the city. The camera charger I got to replace my missing one wasn’t exactly functional, so I’m again lacking pictures, but am hoping other folks who took some will come through.

Walking past a climbing wall outside Kanteerava stadium my first day, I saw three women resting at the base – three Indian women, climbing! I talked to them for a bit, and
they turned out to be two of the South Indian climbing champions, headed to nationals in Delhi next month. They were the first outgoing Indian women I’ve met yet, and it turned out that one of them was our guide for a day of bouldering south of the city later that week. Shanti was an amazing climber, fun to watch, harder to emulate, and always encouraging.

Having brought my shoes and pedals, I borrowed a bike to join Samim and Nilesh and Rohan for a ride at Nandi Hills – Sam rode there, caught up with us on the hill, and rode back to Bangalore while we took the car to the bottom of the hill to ride up and single-track down. Nellie really wants to develop the mountain biking in the area, so they negotiated with a local woman to figure out when and how ladders could be built to make a few too-rocky sections ridable.

Otherwise, spent my time running in the morning with Sriram and other new friends who recognized me on the path (nice to be overly conspicuous sometimes!), seeing a few sights, and wandering around my area of the city. One evening I got to be the trailing car for a ride to Nandi hills! Driving on the wrong side of the road wasn’t bad, as I was following them at cycle speed to keep everyone from getting run over by traffic – exciting nonetheless.

Now back to Delhi for a cycle friend’s brother’s wedding – should be interesting, as I haven’t seen the whole Indian wedding scene yet. Meeting up for lunch with a client from this summer who was climbing Island Peak with Alpine Ascents in Nepal and is flying out of Delhi the same day I am. What a funny, tiny world! Still haven’t seen the Taj Mahal, let along Rajastan, Goa, Sikkim… I’ll have to come back.