Archive for cold

Everest “Expedition”

Posted in Asian Winter Odyssey 2010-11, Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2011 by Yarn Over New York

I consider myself a “semi-active” person.  I don’t do a lot of exercise, but I do walk very fast.  I enjoy somewhat sporty activities when the opportunity presents itself (rock climbing, yoga, hiking), but I don’t really pursue them very often.  I’ve definitely never been involved in anything one might classify as “extreme.”  When  my co-worker Kevin, asked me if I wanted to join him and his boyfriend on a trip to Everest Base Camp last November, I asked, “How much climbing is involved?”  Luckily, no ice climbing is involved with visiting the Base Camp.  We only had to do a little “light” hiking (at 5200 meters above sea level).  I, of course, said yes and joined the “expedition” to the base of the Top of the World.  I was eager to visit such a historical, holy, extreme destination.

Thar She Blows- A view from the road to Everest

We got to Everest by way of China and a winding route through Tibet, which you can read about by visiting a few of my previous posts.  A link to all the places I visited during my Asian Winter Odyssey can be found here.

We set out from New Tingri early in the morning on 18 November 2010 and followed a Snake-n-Ladders like path higher and higher into the Himalayas.

A bird's eye view of our path

Side note: I’ve traveled to a lot of places and done my business in a lot of varied conditions.  Let me just say that nothing I’ve experience before or after this journey compares to using the public toilet on the road to Everest.  A small stone shelter with no door and a clear history of poor aiming techniques offered little comfort as I squatted in a chilly wind nearly 4 miles above sea level.

We arrived in the early evening at the guest house at Base Camp.  Sadly (or perhaps not so sadly) we arrived very very late in the Everest season and the outdoor camp ground was already closed, therefore we did not sleep in tents but rather stayed at the guest house.  (I still consider this “roughin’ it” as there was no plumbing, limited electricity and no heating except a small yak dung stove in the common room.)

A Nun and a Goat

Weather at the peak was pretty cloudy, but clear down below and we visited the world’s highest monastery, Rongbuk.  (Interestingly enough, it is also Tibet’s only co-ed monastery.)  Compared to the other monasteries we visited in Tibet, this one was so much smaller, so much poorer and so much simpler than any other.  We each bought a few blessed items for souvenirs and gifts from the Top  of the World.

The Rongbuk Monastery

I was very taken by the undefinable holy atmosphere in the shadow of Mt. Qomolangma (translation: Holy Mother) and I took a moment to hike up a small hill and say a few prayers.

I built stacks of stones for each prayer, just as I had seen countless times along the road

After visiting the monastery and saying my prayers, I spent the rest of the evening with the other visitors and the local Sherpas and Guest House keepers.  (Another side note: Though the local men work very hard as Sherpas for Everest Summitters, the women do ALL the rest of the work including cooking, cleaning and trekking miles to get fresh water.)

The Sherpas and the drivers show off some dancing skills for the ladies

The next morning, we awoke early in the morning to catch the stunning view of Everest at sunrise.  It was windy (!), it was cold (!!) and it was early (!!!).  We hiked up what most people on the planet would consider a VERY SMALL HILL to arrive at the clump of prayer flags that represents the closest point a person can get to the summit without legal permission from the Chinese government (and about 10 grand).  At sea level, this may have been an easy uphill jog, but at 5200 meters, this left us winded, coughing and panting.  It was totally worth it.  Seeing the peak of Everest turn pink with the rising sun is the closest that a “normal person” can come to the glory of actually standing at the Top of the World.

Worth it

After viewing the peak at dawn, we went back to camp, ate a meager breakfast and packed up for our lengthy trek back down the mountain and our last stop in Tibet before crossing the Friendship Bridge into Nepal.

I'm at the Top of the World

See more pictures of my trip to Everest here.

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My Winter Travels: Rotterdam, Cologne, Maastricht and London

Posted in Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

Public Art in Rotterdam

As I sit at my desk here in Macau and write this post to document my travels from last winter, I reflect on the differences in my life.  I no longer live in gray, cloudy, cold Belgium and am no longer hopping on trains to visit nearby cold and snowy European cities.  Instead I live in gray, cloudy, hot Macau and occasionally hop on a plane to visit nearby sunny and humid asian cities.

The Dom Cathedral in Koln

So let’s all close our eyes and imagine it is a cold and blustery winter in Northern Europe.  Let’s imagine that we at Dragone have just received news of yet another delay in our show and our eventual cross-planet transfer to Macau.  Christmas is fast-approaching and thoughts of escaping Belgium and out Bubble are increasing daily.

Pass That Dutch in Maastricht

Over the few months of winter, we organized some group trips to various neighboring countries to break up the tedium of life in Belgium.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's Skoopy!

Rotterdam, the Netherlands: 13 December 2009

The first of our trips was to Rotterdam, one of  the bigger cities in the Netherlands.  We went as a large group to see the Cirque du Soleil show Saltimbanco (also directed by Franco Dragone).  Many of our cast and crew have worked on Saltimbanco in the past and were really happy to have the chance to see their friends onstage.

Marshall and Dean consult the map

We also did the requisite wandering/sightseeing/shopping in the afternoon.

Cool Statue in the Sunset

Koln (Cologne), Germany: 20 and 21 December 2009

My co-workers (friends) Sita, Kirk, Alex and I decided to take a weekend trip to Cologne for some last-minute Christmas market shopping and revelry before each heading to our respective homes for the holidays.

Beer can keep you warm

The town was a-buzz with Christmas Cheer

Lots of snow, lots of people, lots of booths in the markets

Pit stops at bars and café were essential given the frigid weather and pushy crowds at the markets.  We ate lots of warm crusty pastries and treats and drank a lot of Gluhwein (warm mulled wine- a Holiday treat in Germany and the Netherlands).   We also each managed to find a few items for gifts or for ourselves.

Merry Christmas!

Maastricht, the Netherlands: 31 January 2010

I decided to visit Masstricht because my little brother told me I would be a “stupid-head” if I lived so close to it for almost 2 years and never actually made the trip.  He had studied here a few years back during his University days.  I suppose he enjoyed it and that’s why he called me mean names to persuade me to go . . .

A quaint little stream and a quaint amount of snow

To be honest, the trip was not entirely exciting.  We walked around town and saw the Southern Dutch architecture, the river and some cool modern buildings in the distance.

However, it was BRASS BAND weekend and we did catch several live performances around town!

London, England: 7 and 8 February 2010

The last “big” trip I went on during my time in Belgium, was the weekend holiday in London.  Again, a bunch of Dragone-ites headed out together to visit the city and see Varekai at Royal Albert Hall.

Two of my traveling companions Pamela and Ana

Other than the show, my favorite part of the trip was visiting the Camden Town Markets.  The place is crawling with “hip” people, “hip” cafes and lots and lots of “hip” handicrafts to buy.  I got a cool ring made of circuitry parts.  (It is very “hip” but it did turn my finger green . . . )

The "Hip" Area

Hip candles made of hip fruits and veggies (for real, yo)

The trip was awesome and a much-needed diversion from the Bubble.  Of course it was cold and of course we had to walk a lot.  The show was really good and being in Royal Albert Hall was totally cool.

But hands down, the COOLEST part of the trip was . . .

THIS T-SHIRT!!!!!!!!!

I guess that brings us up to date on my travels.  Probably just in time for me to take another trip or two.  Perhaps, I should try to blog about my life here in Macau a little more . . .

Anyway, more photos of Rotterdam here; Koln here; Maastricht here and London here.  ENJOY

For Queen SaraToday

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 18, 2009 by Yarn Over New York

Hmm, how is my carnivorous friend SaraToday?  Is it still freezing, below freezing, really far below freezing?  Is everything white and gray and icy?  Bet you still have the cleanest safest driveway.

SaraToday In England When She Was Warmer Than She Is Now

SaraToday In England When She Was Warmer Than She Is Now

I recommend getting reusable instant hand wamers by Wonder Warmers.  I got sets for me and my NYC roommates at the Holiday Market at Columbus Circle.   Easy and fun to use.

Anyway, to brighten your day I present you with a flickr set dedicated to you and your flickr set from last year.

I miss you.

Sono Arrivata

Posted in Getting There, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2009 by Yarn Over New York

So I have successfully arrived here in Belgium.  I am staying and working at the Eurocam Studios, where a special water rehearsal area has been designed and built just for us.  The pool has ramps and swings and a boat and it 4 meters deep.  I cannot wait to get scuba trained.

Eurocam Studio 12

Eurocam Studio 12

It is below freezing here but luckily I am not required to spend much time outdoors.  I have met my boss and had lunch with a few other co-workers.  More people will arrive tomorrow and I will really get to work.

My flight was uneventful, I slept most of the time.  I did, however, come down with a cold.  I am loading up on Airborne to combat the yuckies.

That’s about all I can write now.  I promise to write again soon and include photos of my last few days in NYC and my new life here.

I am so excited.

By the way, here is a photo of what I brought with me:

3 suitcases, 1 laptop backpack, 6 small boxes that I mailed to myself

All My Posessions

All My Posessions

Snowy Central Park

Posted in new york with tags , , , , , , , on December 20, 2008 by Yarn Over New York

Today it was 27 degress here in NYC.  My high school friends Sara and Nick are visiting from the DC area.  We were originally planning to go to Ellis Island and see the Statue of Liberty on the way.  However, it is freezing-reezing!  So instead we frolicked briefly in Central Park.

I am a Unicorn

I am a Unicorn

Sara is a Devil

Sara is a Devil

Snowy Trees

Snowy Trees

Fallen

Fallen

Twig

Twig

Chilly Trees

Chilly Trees

Robotos in the Snow

Robotos in the Snow

After frolicking, we ate dinner at the Uptown Juice Bar, one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants.  It was cold outside and we were very glad to take a break indoors with some warm food.  Then we trudged back to my place to a yummy bottle of wine and watch movies.  Luckily, our heat works very well and we are managing to stay warm despite the frigid cold outdoors.

In case you are wondering, last night we had dinner at the Film Center Cafe, which was also tasty.  Tomorrow they will come to see my show at Blue Man Group before heading back to the slightly warmer than freezing DC area.