Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Archive for the ‘outdoors’ Category

The Peak and other delights:

Posted by quirksalight on December 13, 2010

The rest of our group made it to HK and we were now a merry band of 4 Penn alumnae running around HK. Excellent.

Staying in Kowloon, we hit the local shops, the malls, and markets for interesting finds. Personally, I found some sunglasses, a bottle of Miss Dior perfume (which I hadn’t been able to find for a while), comfy/dressy shoes, and a jade necklace. The necklace was a part of a collective bargaining session at the Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei, with Laura taking the lead for our goods. Nice market, but definitely a place where you need to be able to bargain and knowing the language will do you a lot of good. Next, as one of our main agenda items for the trip was eating, we hit up a Buddhist vegetarian dim sum place. Hmm… the artificial meat in the dimsum was a little strange… but the veggie bits, such as the tofu skins, excellent!

Tea at the Landmark Mandarian Oriental – running late because turns out you can’t just get a taxi on the street to get you from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, but have to call one for that purpose. Easy enough at any hotel, but to those who didn’t know this tidbit of info, quite frustrating, especially when you’ve got reservations.

Next, we split up and the three of us, Kim, Jen and I, headed up to Victoria Peak, just after sunset. Even though it’s not high tourist season, the tram line was LONG. And a crush to push our way into the tram – I seriously had to hip check a guy out of my way who tried to jump ahead of me.

But the view was totally worth it. With the wind whipping through our hair, we stood on top, watching the glittering skylines of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon spread before us, and the ferries moving across Hong Kong Harbour like balls of light floating across the water.

Recommended by our guidebooks and several friends, we first hit up Dragon-I for drinks and apps. Turns out that there is a Happy hour special of 2-1 drinks from 3-9pm. Just don’t get the one with Benedictine liquor – horrid… tastes like cough syrup…. unless you like that sort of thing…. Otherwise, it’s a great deal for drinks in that area.
Met up with an AFP photographer who I met at the G20 in Seoul the past month. He and his colleague joined us at Classified, a wine and cheese bar in the Soho/ Lan Kwai Fong area of Central HK. It was good to meet up with him, though his colleague wasn’t feeling well and went home shortly after arriving.

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Posted in adventure, amusing, Food, friends, fun, Hong Kong, outdoors, travel, vacation | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Graduating from the baby slopes

Posted by quirksalight on March 8, 2010

Yay! Sunday was another snowboarding day and it was time to move up the mountain. 🙂

This was the third time at Mountain Creek this season, the first had ghastly weather conditions, and the second was a great session where I got the fundamentals.

Now, the testing of those said fundamentals, my friends (GL and TH) and I headed back to Mountain creek on an unusually warm (54 F!!) March day.

After two runs down the beginner’s slope, my friends (GL and TH) and I headed up the gondola to the large green slope at the top of Vernon mountain at Mountain Creek. First time up, it was fall after fall after fall. Ouch. Several times flipping head over heels, catching the downhill edge, etc. Luckily, no faceplants. On the upside, I got very good at flipping the board up and over my head while in the bindings. The other two runs were pretty much the same; first half of the run was great, then I would hit a rough patch and get tired, which made the lower half of the run a stop and go with crashes and falls. A couple times, I would have to stop because my quads or my knees would ache too much.

One major “oops” event: In the middle of the last run, I ended up crashing into a girl who was *very* slowly skiing down the mountain. I was able to shout a warning and fell down before hitting her, but my momentum took her out. She was fine, and accidentally knocked me in the teeth with her elbow. 😛

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Boarding and Love songs

Posted by quirksalight on January 24, 2010

Thursday, Jan 21, was a day trip to Mountain Creek for the 2nd snowboarding trip this season. I bought a rental/lesson/beginner lift ticket combo in December to learn how to board properly. The lessons definitely helped, as I can use both edges, turn and link my way down the mountain. Of course, not without injury… my knees are a kaleidoscope of colors…

Stopping in Philadelphia to visit friends after boarding, a very bizarre incident occurred in front of Brauhaus Schmitz, a new German place on South Street. Three friends and I were heading into the restaurant, when a guy walks up to KC and I to ask, “Do you mind if I sing a love song to one you?”

We look at each other with incredulous looks on our faces and I reply, “Excuse me?”

The Guy: “No, just a verse. It’s for a scavenger hunt. It can be whatever song you want.”

At this point, two fellows ran up to join The Guy, apparently his teammates in the venture. They’ll be referred to as Guy2 and Guy3.

KC at this point had stepped off to the side, and I was like, sure, why not, it’s just a verse. The Guy then asks what I want him to sing. KC and I are laughing at the absurdity of the situation, and because I really don’t like the majority of the “love songs” out there. As it’s Philly, Boys II Men were mentioned by Guy2 and we settled on “I’ll Make Love to You”, even though The Guy protested that he barely knew it. (tsk, tsk, you’re a male from Philly and don’t know that song?)
So The Guy is standing in front of me, about to start, and then Guy2 whips out a cameraphone, and I exclaim, “You’re going to record this?”

Guy 2 replied that they had to for the hunt, and KC asked one of them if this was for a Bachelor party.
Guy2: “No, we’re on an amateur hockey team and doing this scavenger hunt.”
The Guy, apparently trying to be soothing and not lose his scavenger hunt point: “It’s just for the hunt, we have to prove that we actually did this.”

At this point, we had a nice little crowd around us, and I was still thinking, sure, why not. Guy2 had his cameraphone, and The Guy was about to start when he grabs my hand, gets down on one knee and tells me, “This will be a little involved.”

Involved? WTF? As I was thinking this, The Guy launches into the chorus from “I’ll Make Love to You” and starts ad-libbing choreography while singing. Seriously. Dancing, taking his jacket off and tossing it at me (I ducked – which is the natural instinct when something is thrown at your head!!!), dancing with me swinging me this way, twirling, and all throughout, singing. Yes, I’m participating in the debacle, laughing, considering that I’m already “pot committed”, so to speak.

And what performance is without a grand finale? At the end of the chorus, The Guy pulls me close (apparently close enough for KC to think, “Holy crap, is he going to kiss her??”), puts my arms around his neck, grabs my torso and then proceed to spin us around in a circle. And it’s not a singlet, but a continuous spin that’s fast enough to swing my legs out in a 30 degree angle!

The Guy finally puts me down, and I’m staggering as if I’m punch-drunk because I’m that disoriented from the spin. At this point, our other two friends come out of the restaurant, telling us there was a two hour wait for a table at the Brauhaus. Our group and The Guy exchanged some pleasantries then split. After, KC and I regretted not getting a copy of the recording. Oh well. Another random night on South Street…

Posted in accidents, adventure, amusing, ancedotes, Bizarre, outdoors, Philadelphia, snowboarding | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Snowboarding is a fun activity… if you pay attention to the weather!

Posted by quirksalight on January 2, 2010

Snowboarding during the week between Christmas and New Years.
Location: Mountain Creek
Got the Group?: Check
Housing: check.
Gear: all rentals, so check.
Lessons, lift tickets: Check
Transportation: Check
Food and drink: Check
Weather: Err….. maybe?

After several volleys back and forth within the group of friends, we decided that the Tuesday after Christmas was the best day to go in terms of scheduling, the rain on Christmas and the day after, and the forecasted snow on Monday. The forecasted snow didn’t appear more than a dusting and out came the gusty winds Tuesday morning. Whoops. AS and I thought about it, and felt that in some ways, we were pot-committed to the trip. (Also meeting GL and TH at the resort) So off we go, with the wind trying to push the car sideways on the GW bridge.

Arriving at Mt Creek, step outside the car, and immediately think “oh crap, it’s cold!”. Because there, the winds were sub zero and gusting around 20-30mphs. It was bad enough on the bunny slope where AS and I were taking our lessons, but after lunch, when we went up on the lift to the easy slopes, OMG…. so friggin cold! And the snow-makers were on, but I think they were shooting out ice pellets than man-made snow. Between the patches of ice on the slope, the wind, and the ice pellets that were being blown at your face by the wind, I was done at 3:30pm.

Lasting results: Windburn on my face and in my throat, a series of bruises down my right leg, and really hating the cold for two days.

I’ll go again, maybe next week.

Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, annoyance, outdoors, snowboarding, Sports, winter | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

More of the Potomac…

Posted by quirksalight on August 7, 2009

Paddling from Thompson’s Boat Center, past Georgetown and back. Aug 1, 2009. A great day – nice, upper 80’s, partially cloudy. 🙂
Two hours on the water followed by a great burger at Five Guys… nice way to start off a Saturday.

Posted in amusing, friends, fun, kayaking, Nature, outdoors, Sports, Washington DC | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Potomac river

Posted by quirksalight on July 28, 2009

I went kayaking again this past Sat, but from a different location on the Potomac river.
Starting at Fletcher’s Cove, I paddled up to the Little Falls, until I couldn’t go any further. Here’s some pictures of the trip.

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Kayaking

Posted by quirksalight on July 20, 2009

This past Sat was the first time I’ve been kayaking in a LONG time. Right at Fort Washington marina, we headed south on the Potomac and up Piscataway Creek for a guided nature tour. It turned out more just a guided tour and not so much on the nature bit, but was fun nevertheless.

A random bit of amusement happened, without me even knowing it. Turns out one of the “maybe” people had decided to come kayaking, and biked to the marina from DC. Unfortunately, he arrived a little late and snafus with the kayak rental staff prevented him from getting a kayak until we were already down near Piscataway Creek. So upon my return home, I find an e-mail with this photo:

with a commentary on the whole situation, including a summary of the conversation I was having with AW at the time. Highly amusing. I suppose JH will take a car instead of a bike next time. 🙂

Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, commentary, friends, fun, Humor, Nature, outdoors, Sports, Washington DC | Leave a Comment »

Work + Fortress + Beer + Karoke = Wurzburgr

Posted by quirksalight on April 9, 2009

The next day was a bit annoying as I had to work. Uh huh.. not a complete vacation. Still had to do some editing and I was a bit behind. Considering that I need the internet, MH and I went to his lab at Univ of Wurzburg (He doesn’t have an internet connection at home! Ack! Talk about detox… ), which is on top of one of the hills surrounding the river valley that the city sits in. Great view. Met a couple of his friends including F, his officemate, as I was using their office to edit in.

Of course, the paper was an extremely dry paper…. on Ostriches. Yep. Large flightless bird. So as I am working, I’m throwing out raather grumpy comments out loud, which is entertaining F and MH (as he’s running in and out of the office). As I finish, I tell F that I wanted to eat ostrich, just to kinda get back at it. Much to my surprise, there’s a place serving ostrich in Wurzburg. Heading there for lunch, we were too late, and the place had already finished serving lunch for the day. So we took advantage of the sunny day to grab a burger before heading to the Festung Marienburg (Marienburg fortress).

Built on one the many hills surrounding the city, the Marienburg Fortress is a rather imposing structure overlooking the river and the city. In the past it has been a residence, chapel, and the local defenses against warring neighbors. Now, it’s been restored and the grounds and building are beautiful. I definitely have to come back when the gardens and the vineyards on the slopes are in bloom…
Of course, the whole on top of a hill thing meant a bit of a hike up… but the views of the city and the hills surrounding it was well worth the climb. Great pandoramas!

And the structure itself! I loved the little details – the gargoyles, the janus faces, and the carvings that abounded on the building. Some of it historical, others following superstition. I think a good percentage of all the pictures I took in Germany were architectural; just so neat!

Later that evening, a couple of MH’s friends were meeting us at a local beerhall that evening. Wurzburg is really known for its white wines, not beer, but this was one of the better places to drink beer in the city (according to my friends).

Funny, it’s was karoke night. Serious. No, I didn’t sing. MH was signed up to sing ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”, but what do you know… it came up and someone else grabbed it! Hah… boy was he relieved. Two of his friends from the physics dept, H and F, did sing. I even have it on video. 🙂

Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, annoyance, Food, friends, fun, history, Humor, outdoors, travel, traveling | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

I think I need an umbrella, or Hannover – Part I

Posted by quirksalight on April 6, 2009

This is rather an apt title for the majority of my Hannover trip, as it was cloudy or rainy for the first 4 days I was there. In fact, the first sunny day was the day that I was leaving for Wurzburg! heh…

On the up side, I got to see a lot of the city’s museums. A surprising thing was that the museums I visited in Hannover didn’t have too many English programs or pamphlets. Considering that they are tourist spots, well…
What was interesting was that I was about to puzzle out about 50% of the legends for the exhibits. So not too bad. 🙂

There’s an interesting initiative by the Hannover tourism bureau called the “Red line tour”. There is a 4-5km walking tour through the city where you follow, yup, a red line painted on the sidewalks and roads throughout the city. It’s rather nice – hitting the major sights of the city. This includes churches, museums, sculptures and the town hall. So on a bit of a gloomy-looking Thursday, I set off. A couple highlights:

Hannover Opera House

Hannover Opera House

Brooding from above

Brooding from above

The New city hall

The New city hall


The old city and the Market Church

The old city and the Market Church

Waterloo Platz

Waterloo Platz


After, I hit the Hannover city museum, which chronicles the changes in the city over the centuries. The changes in the city plan were in the Neus Rathaus, which I saw later, but this museum had the mementos and artifacts of the major events of the past.
Electric car built in Hannover

Electric car built in Hannover


Hannover coat of arms

Hannover coat of arms


WWII Proclaimation

WWII Proclaimation

MR and I ended the day with a very odd dinner… pancakes. Well, it was pancakes with a load of unusual toppings.
I had the “Milanese” and he had the “New Zealand”.

The Milanese

The Milanese


The New Zealand

The New Zealand


His was a mix of lamb, veggies, and a creamy sauce. Mine was a ground meat tomato sauce with cheese, artichokes, and cream freiche. Not bad, just unusual. 🙂

Posted in adventure, commentary, Food, history, outdoors, travel, traveling | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Snowboarding II

Posted by quirksalight on January 26, 2009

MLK day in the US, the first day of my vacation in Korea.
I went back to Bear’s Town Resort with Q and a couple other guys from Casey to practice….and ouch.
I did get a helmet, but it’s annoying… it muffles a lot of sound, and I feel like I’m overheating. But I’m going to need it for a while… especially since I’m trying to learn how to go backwards.

Odd thing… I bought a new pair of snowboarding gloves two weeks prior, when I first came to the resort. In the middle of one of the runs, I noticed that the seams were already popping and the stuffing coming out. This being rather irritating as they were pretty much new. So I went back to the resort shop to get a replacement… which I was able to, without a receipt. But… a catch… the only one of that type and price was… pink.

Here are some photos of the resort, Q, the board I was using, and my new gloves…

Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, fun, Korea, outdoors, snowboarding, Sports, winter | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »