Friday, November 23, 2012
Side Note: My 3.5 train ride TO Taidong was a 'no seat' ticket. When they say, 'no seat,' they really mean no seat. People literally were standing in the aisles for the duration of the ride. These feet have some limits. So, i squeezed into the luggage area behind the chairs and curled up on my backback for the journey. Kind of ingenious I think.
Summary of my post 100K activities and moments of relaxation in Taiwan:
* 20K bike ride around Green Island (bike was meant for someone who was 5'4, not 5'8)
* 3hrs of soaking in one of the few salt water hot springs in the world
(Survived 5.2 Earthquake - epicenter in Taidung)
* 4-5 hrs of hiking - yes, more stairs and hills - through Taroko Gorge.
* 1hr of soaking in scorching hot natural, outdoor hot springs in the Gorge
* 1hr of stuffing myself with Taiwanese treats at the Hualien Night Market (my version of Thanksgiving feast)
.....that about covers Day 1 to 4 in Taiwan!
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
It might sound masochistic to say i experienced absolute agony to get to pure relaxation. But i only speak the truth. As my calves were killing me, I sought out a masseuse to help work out my knots before I create more on Friday.
I told the woman i like a 'strong' massage. They send in a tiny, young woman, wearing a mini white polo shirt, an orange mini-skirt and pink jelly flip-flops. She shuffled her way toward me and let out a giggle and said 'you are very strong,' and showed me her legs to compare. While i had 15 seconds of doubt on how this massage was going to go, this was quickly countered as soon as this woman layed one finger on my body. Holy shit was she strong. I realized that for the next 90 minutes i would be deep breathing my way through agony. She found tendons and crunchiness that I might have known existed, but did not realize it was possible to activate the pain in the ways she successfully managed. After 90 minutes, i lied on the table like a limp doll. Amazing.
I took a ferry to a bus to Cheung Sha beach on Lantau Island. THis is one of Hong Kong's longest beaches and along this strip of sand, there was one other couple, a man swimming laps and a local guy skating with a skin board along the water. I listened to the waves crashing and chilled on the beach until the sunset.
The gran finale of my relaxation was splurging on a chef's sushi selection followed by hunting down a highly recommended dessert place, 'honeymoon desserts'. Hong Kong is horizontally challenged so most restaurants are in tall buildings and shopping malls. While i would not seek out a food court in the US, i made my way to the 11th floor in the mall to try one of the numerous dessert options offering some form of mango, black sticky rice, coconut juice, sweet glutinous ball concoctions. With a full belly, I ended my day of bliss.
NEXT STOP: 100K Trip Prep, Another Beach Exploration & Dim Sum with Jordan!
NEXT STOP: Adventuring outside of the city
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
- Get an official stamp in my passport: Ushuaia, La ciudad mas austral del mundo (the southernmost city in the world). CHECK
- Eat local King crab in a bowl of amazing sauce with tomatoes, green onions and a touch of cream, while sipping on a 550ml bottle of malbec wine and watching the sunset CHECK
- Walk up to a summit in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia for 2.5hrs with Noone around. Hike included a 1 kilometer ascent, so steep i walked on my toes. However, i stopped 25 meters short of the summit on the side of the steep mountain slope where the trail was covered in snow. I attempted to walk across the snow piled path and was stopped by fear halfway through and i slid my butt back to the dirt trail. i sat there for a good 25 minutes debating whether i was being too in my head or whether it really was dangerous. (video to come) CHECK
- Enjoyed hot apple tea on the summit brewed by 2 Israeli guys who arrived where i was sitting right when i was about to head down. They convinced me that it was safe to cross the snowy sloped trail. They made 'foot holds' for me to walk in with their boots and sure enough we crossed with no problem. A picture really does not do this view justice. nor do words. it just doesn't. CHECK
- Went streaking through the town center, down to the port, jumping into the water at the 'end of the world'. Idea processed, considered and REJECTED. (i will save mysef for the Antarctica cold water plunge in a few days.)
- Space intentionlly left blank for ideas on what YOU would do at the 'end of the world.' I am open to your suggestions........
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
5 days hiking in Patagonia by myself. i had the most amazing weather. it never rained and was hardly windy, which is pretty much unheard of for Patagonia. Also, although the first 2 days were crowded, the following days had way less people - perhaps because they just reopened the trail after the december fire? This meant i had countless hours of walking alone and sitting by myself overlooking stunning views. I had 5 days of good jeanne time and here are my favorite moments and discoveries:
Day 1: Las Torres Mirador
Hiking Time: 3 hours and 40 minutes
Favorite Moment: Sitting on the lake at the base of Las Torres, trying to figure out how to bottle up this feeling of pure stress-free relaxation. (Picture to come, but basically the setting was 3 huge granite rock towers, which normally are encased in clouds, towering in front of a blue sky and over a pristine, blue lake.)
Discovery of the Day: Sitting by the lake at Las Torres mirador, I leaned against a rock for an hour or so with the warm sun shining on me and a cool breeze in the air. It was only a propos to put on Wax Tailer´s remake of Michael Buble ´Feeling Good´
´Sun in the sky - you know how i feel
Breeze drifting on by - you know how i feel
Its a new dawn. A new day.´
And how did i feel!?!? Well, after the next wax tailer song came on, Que Sera, which starts off with ´and now the moment we´ve all been waiting for is here´ I thought that captured it! i am in THIS moment! Here i am on another wonderful trip and i am so grateful to have this opportunity and so stoked to get this ´me´ time. i felt surrendered and at peace with the notion that ´the futures not ours to see.´
DAY 2: Sunrise at Las Torres
Hiking Time: about <7hrs (including a few breaks)
Favorite Moment: I woke up at 445 am to see the sun rise over Las Torres. I set out with my headlamp on up the hour and 20 minute climb with a Chilean guy and his girlfriend who worked at the refugio. I would have froze my ass off if they did not give me the insider tip to bring my sleeping bag with me to keep warm while I wait for the sun to rise. Upon arrival, I settled in next to a rock that blocked the wind a bit and wrapped myself in my sleeping bag. I sat there watching the transformation of the granite towers turn from a pinkish color to a deep orange to a bright yellow to a white. It was a stunning transition to watch and my description does not do it justice. It possibly was my favorite experience in the 5 days.
Songs of the Day: Goyte Somebody i Used to Know, Anna Rossi - Frame me Right
Discovery of the Day: Very easy day of hiking...a lot of time to think, listen to music and chill. Throughout various moments in the day, i was reminded that the 32 year old version of me is a LOT wiser than the 23 year old version of me..of course, one would hope so. :)
Day 3: Hike into Valley Frances
Hiking Time: 11 hours (includes breaks also includes me hiking out 15 minutes and realizing i forgot my hiking poles and turning around to get them. and then hiking out 25 minutes just to realize that the tips of my hiking poles popped off. I turned around and found 1 tip at start of the trail. The other lost forever. So there i was an hour and 20 minutes into the hike, but yet, right where i started :) Que Sera!)
Favorite Moment: There are 3 main view points in the French Valley. The first one was at the top of the peak where i honored the snow capped mountains in front of me with a headstand on a rock. The Brazilian who took my photo thought i was crazy. (picture to come!) The 3rd look out point had 3 other people there and then they left. I sat by myself for 30 minutes in the valley frances with a 360 degree view of of the lake, mountain face, snow-capped peaks, and the horn shaped (cuernos) mountain peaks). OM!
Song of the Day: i had a ´spiritual´ day and listened to a detox yoga speaker series by Seane Corn that i listened to when i was in indonesia. She has moments where she references God quite a bit, which is a bit too much for an agnostic - borderline atheist, BUT if you can put that aside, wow, this cd always centers me.
Discovery of the Day:
Bear with me here, because i am about to have a preachy moment. The yoga series i listened to today talks about how emotions, such as stress, fear, loss, sadness, unresolved grief, regret, anger, etc make our bodies toxic and effect our well being. We´re having an impact on ourselves with something as simple as being frustrated at someone for getting in our way on the street, causing us to miss our subway or something bigger like work stress, disappointment with friends, the end of a relationship, etc.
Instead of harboring these emotions, which will have a long-term toll on our mind and body, embrace the idea that every experience - both good and bad - becomes an opportunity. It does take a LOT of initial energy to shift your perspective - to let things go or to find the silverlining. BUT there is a sense of empowerment knowing that YOU have the responsibility and power in every situation to make it what it is. For example, that missed subway is now an opportunity to sit and relax for 10 minutes or that ´rejection´ is actually a gift necessary to get closer to knowing who you are and what makes YOU happy and what you deserve.
SO, in summary, each person and experience we encounter becomes instrumental in who we are today and whether they are for the better or the worse is OUR individual choice and responsibility. It´s up to us to shift that perspective and find the value in what´s happening.
Day 4: Hike to Glacier Grey
Hiking Time: about 6 hours (includes a walk / run back to a lookout point about an hour away that i saw in the morning to see it in the evening light. The Torres del Paine felt like one huge running trail to me!)
Favorite Moment: I dropped my pack at the refugio and hiked up to the next camp site where there was a mirador. I walked a bit along the side of the mountain and i found a flat section to sit on, perched above the glacier. I sat there for 3 hours and I also got to a witness a chunk of ice, about the size of a car, break apart and land in the water...how it cracked, the noise, the falling motion, the impact, everything was amazing!!
Songs of the Day: Elbow Songs: Lippy Kids (Specifically, "Do they know those days are golden") and Weather to Fly (Specifically, "Are we having the time of our lives") and One Day Like This (Specifically, It´s looking Like a Beautiful Day. One day like this a year would see me right!")
Discovery of the Day: I love how it feels to be connected with nature. I miss this in NYC. And the next thing might sound a bit weird, but I really enjoy my company. haha. From running back and forth between look out points to just chilling by the glacier to doing about 20 self-timed jumping shots until i got the perfect picture of me jumping in the air above the glacier, I had a lot of fun with me today! :)
Day 5: Hike back to Paine Grande Refugio to the Catamaran
Favorite Moment: Sleeping in a room with 3 other beds but noone in them. This meant NO snoring and NO early morning rustling. It took a lot of motivation to get out of my sleeping bag this morning :)
Discovery of the Day: I think it is a Smashing Pumpkins song that says, all Good things surely have to end. Well, that´s kind of a bummer way to look at it. Yes, I am sad that my 5 days of scampering up and down the mountains in Torres del Paine has come to an end. However, when I think about all that i processed during this trip, the enlightenment i reached and the peace and tranquility i found, i can´t help but think of my favorite yoga phrase, ¨"how do i take this feeling of calm off the yoga mat and out with me into the world"...I have 22 days to work on this challenge :)
NEXT STOP: 5 hour bus ride back to El Calafate and then a Glacier hike on Perito Moreno Glacier