Saturday, February 25, 2006

These skis don't slide back

After 3 hours of cross-country skiing in the norwegian near-wilderness, on a virgin experience, it spells rather-be-dead tired and severance of all cross-country skiing ties. On the contrary, i got more and more invigorated until i finally rested at charlotte's place at night when that familiar rather-be-dead tiredness took me by storm and made me an instant incapax to my bed. But boy that was one experience to remember- trying to duck walk up the slopes whilst doing the 'danish walk', turning ur skis inwards so just to cut the snow to get more friction upslope. and the downslope which made me feel like a complete baby taking his/her first steps. but to take in the sights of norway snowscape at the same time with a good norwegian friend by your side encouraging you along the way subsumes the fatigue and the negative feelings one can easily produce since trying to even slide on cross-country skis on a first-time basis is thoroughly frustrating. when we reached the top of tryvann, ingrid and i sat down, eating a kvikk lunsj (pronounced as though it's 'quick lunch', which is a typical norwegian cross-country snack having an uncandid resemblance to kit-kat only tasting heavens better) and an orange, chatting about life whilst being encapsulated by the white around, onlooking the oslo cityscape. the cliche goes words only does injustice, but it is truly the case here. as tired as it got, i would want to feel that sort of rush again anytime.

and so that puts a grand full stop to my oslo trip, me having done all the things i set out to- ice-skating, alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. and this is topped by seeing friends that i probably won't see for some time to come. and to see them all at once is indeed a rather heartening pleasure. i had a hasty rush through oslo the last time but this time, with a more thorough immersion in the norwegian way of life, made more acute through the locals that were such great hosts, i must say norway is beautiful in more ways than just it's mesmerizing scenery, be it at sea level or 500metres up. i guess friends make all the difference and in a way, they show you their city/country through their eyes and that can make or break your experience or outlook to that certain city/country. so all credits go to ingrid, charlotte, karine, anders and andre who, through their generous spirits and all-embracing hospitality, have made Norway one of the loveliest countries i've ever been, to say the very least.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Revenge of the Black Slope

it's been a spate of winter sports jam-packed into these 2 days or rather 2 evenings, beginning with ice-skating yesterday and alpine (downhill) skiing today. i think the norwegians stay so cheerful because from my personal experience, winter sports are a sure fun way to beat the winter blues, and norway has superior winter facilities to beat, including skiing just 20 minutes from oslo sentrum (city centre). so it's quite an interesting sight to see a whole carriage of people with skis, snowboards and sleighs on the T-bane (metro) making their way up to ski. and that's what we did today, taking the train from oslo sentrum right up to vokenkollen which is the base station up to tryvånn which boasts the only city-centre skiing in all of europe. a boast i think is only fair. and i have something to boast of too- i tried a black slope and did 2 red ones when i only started treading on the green one at the beginning of the evening. this is a self-pride which comes with a conquering of psychological obstacles and doesn't come easy, so i'm going to go on and on about this one until the next time i ski. *beams* Pictorial evidence to be presented real soon. so this is the norwegian lifestyle really. people knock off from work, transform themselves into a winter warrior and trudge up to the mountains to strut their winter prowess, and it's all in a day's work, literally. and given that oslo is so beautiful in winter, it only adds to the charm and that motivation as mid-day inertia marches into the anti-work system. so far i'm really enjoying it and all's a spectacle to me. but granted that i had a fair amount of snow up my facial orifices today before all went reasonably right, it will take some time for me to adjust to this sort of lifestyle.

but u try topping a black slope.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Of winter wanderlust and superior recissive genes

Norway, or to be more assimilatively colloquial, Norge, has been really welcoming so far and i shouldn't really complain about the absence of a røyskopp airport music-fantastica pickup. This is made especially so with friends here who have been most accommodative in rekindling this feeling we left behind in Edinburgh. The weather was to beat as well, considering the historic snowfall last week which massive remnants (oxymoronic i know, but sure beats 'leftover snow') we witnessed all the way into Oslo from Sandefjord where the remote plot of airstrip + building they call an airport, was. The effect is breathless, and combined with the norwegian radio that was semi-blasting in the background going incessantly about the torino updates, white noise is born (it's only literal, i don't mean to get allegorical). but the large white sheets of snow that fleeted us by were simply gorgeous, with cabins/wooden houses to dot the landscape with a refreshing change of colours and visual texture.

And it was great catching up with ingrid, ånders (pronounced ar-nish) and karine after quite awhile. the warmth we felt made the -6 degrees celsius a comfortable gran canaria, it was just more than pleasant seeing them again. After some catching up at Ingrid's 3 by 3 room, we went to Karine's where we were going to put up, at Jessheim. the house is tremendously adorable, a true archetypal norwegian cabin-house complete with pine interiors and a white-washed exterior. it was a charming environment made ever-so norwegian by the snow stacking up also, which looks like it's going to take quite awhile to melt away. although it's a hefty £6 to get into oslo sentrum each time, the experience living in a norwegian household, is simply priceless. and plus it's a comfortable distance to go skiing from here and i'm going to try cross-country skiing for the first time- i'm turning norwegian here!

the norwegian winter experience starts and i would scream with excitement but that's just, rude. HA.

Friday, February 17, 2006

This rollercoaster ride is way too bumpy

it's almost like doing a triathlon without any adequate pitstops. this 2 weeks has been such a rollercoaster ride. too much to update and i hardly want to sound like a stenographer and listing is just boring. i don't do boring. cos my life is tremendously exciting, tomorrow i head for norway to ski after a short trip to newcastle. last weekend was manchester which was an industrial bore. then the incessant pieces of work i had to do, i guess that's what i'm here for but it was just merciless piece after piece. and there was the sick week where it was so bad i couldn't recognise myself. Then came the depressing, couple-trickery day where a bouquet of fresh roses costs a village in Angola. i had a good dinner though, Case was kind enough to whip up a lovely italian dinner complete with my favourite italian entree: proscuitto with melon! the pasta main was great too, saved me from dwelling into the abyss of being lonely and the likes. yes yes Goldfrapp concert- allison doing the pink cape with constant winds swerving up (i.e. the wind effect) makes her look cool actually, i thought it would be corny. and of course the vibe of the whole concert was electrifying, was so much fun.

sigh another birthday is looming (yes the choice of vocabulary is just about right) and what is it about these things that become gradually depressing, that one wants to skip increasingly desperately. we've heard it too many times: with age comes wisdom, maturity and career development, etc. ya i want to be young and have all those. might be asking for a little too much, but till the first wrinkle appears i'm gonna celebrate my birthdays in full glam and style, so bring them on, i'm brave enough to face you straight on, climbing numbers of age. at the most i'll reminiscent of things past and laugh at what's gone past and know that i've had all those amazing times. especially this year, lots to look back upon with this exchange stint. so yes, till i return from norway then.