Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The road to Nyala

Usually an antelope that is apparently uncomfortable in open spaces but in this case a rather charming, finger licking good (and not in the bullshit KFC way) Ethiopian restaurant that P, IW and I headed off to last night to partake in some communal Injera bread and other assorted wonders. The road to that restaurant though is a tale that needs to be told, a geographical mishmash of ethnicities and random encounters.

Three Sri Lankans met up, one came from Scotland to Los Angeles, where the other two lived (much to their dismay, the living there, not the friend visiting). From LA it was a road trip to Las Vegas which was followed shortly by one very sexpensive venture. Following which was a cab ride. Said cab being driven by someone who was wearing a cap with what I thought was an Ethiopian flag, which in fact turned out to be an upside down Ethiopian flag (so I wasn’t far off). The cap was in fact being worn by an Eritrean who despite living in the City of Sin knew of the best places to eat Ethiopian food (a personal favourite of mine), one of the best which was Nyala, in Little Ethiopia in Los Angeles.

In short we found ourselves, three Lankans, one from Scotland, two from LA, going for an Ethiopian meal at a restaurant recommended by an Eritrean who we met in Las Vegas. Gotta love continent hopping.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A walk in the woods

Unfortunately this tale is not going to be as epic as Bill Bryson’s jaunt on the Appalachian Trail. Instead it was a rather gentle 4.2 hike to Escondido Falls in the early am. Most of the path, after passing some truly gargantuan McMansions, was pleasantly through a patch of riparian forest, rock hopping over some streams and a rather strenuous ‘rock climb’ to the top of the falls.

It was during the latter part of the climb up that I realized I had become a big pussy, there was a nervousness in sighting the next rock, sweaty grasping of branches and a definite lack of certainty in jumping from rock to rock. A couple of years of mostly sitting behind a desk has had its toll. Even just five years ago I happily trekked miles a day in the heat, well if not happily quite effectively, up and down the mountains of Maragalakanda counting birds and dodging vipers. Now a brief jaunt in the woods was a challenge. It’s not even a question of fitness, it’s more that the hand eye coordination is lacking, I guess bushwacking is not like a bicyle but needs some practice.

Of course as gentle as the hike was, with us, nothing is quite as simple. On the way down from the head of the falls, P somehow managed to lead us off the trail and down a much rather entertaining rock fall down to the base of the hill. Carrying a couple of thousand dollars in camera equipment on my back didn’t exactly increase my levels of comfort either. To add insult to injury on getting to the base of the climb and finding out that we still had plenty of time on our hands we headed enthusiastically up another upwards running trail in pursuit of the gal short girls that P had seen going up. It was when all three of us took a second look at a tree on the path that it was indeed the original path we had climbed up earlier and the way we came back was most decidedly non-convential.

Apparently navigation skills take some practice as well.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It’s an epidemic

I tell you. Everywhere I look, maturity is taking hold, like an insidious plague. CP is having a baby boy, people are buying houses, and the sibling is tying the knot. It’s like open season on nesting. The pressure’s been turned on as well; I’ve been asked the settling down question a few times, putting down roots, and advice to buy a condo in a mindlessly boring subdivision. I hope I wasn’t too obvious when I shot that one down.

I must be crazy though, while everyone else is buckling down, I’m going to go free in the middle of the worst recession in a lifetime, leave comfort, a good salary, promotions, career path (that one makes me gag every time) to chase the whisper of a dream. An uncertain path I’ve known all my life I will have to take, but I’ve avoided until now. I’m done with the easy route, the one that fulfills the baser needs but leaves one’s spirit charred. Time to try and get real.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What a surreal weekend it was

As D put it so eloquently in his first twitter post. And indeed it has been. Of course my trip was more sedate than the rest of the boys considering my taste in chemicals is decidedly more sedate. The weekend had started before hitting up the usual jaunt with some more trips and a marathon of Audrey Hepburn. Heebejesus, the girl is hot, something else. I did however feel that she played a pretty weak character in Sabrina and Roman Holiday, and what was up with falling for old, old dudes. Geez.

The night later progressed in its usual, trips taken, arrack drunk and the most bizarre conversations had. Somewhere in there was drivebys, bestiality, crossfit, strange attempts at pushups, bitching about Portishead, loving Portishead, animalknappings at the local petting zoo and finally in a common consensus, a trip to the local strip club.

I swear she looked like J…it was such a brilliant coincidence that I had to text R know that a J lookalike was currently wrapping her legs around my neck and giving me the kind of anatomical lesson that one always wanted in high school. Of course with my iron clad will I spent exactly twice my budget, but lets just say it was well worth it. I of course will not be able to look J in the face again…well maybe with a slight leer.

Sunday morning dawned bright and early, blindingly some might say after the two hours of sleep that was had. As expected with the randomness that befits us, the morning saw P and I role blearily to a volunteer gig feeding the homeless. Absolving for some of our sins of the past night, we engaged in a whirlwind of stuffing bags for a brief 20 minutes. Eventually heading back after the world’s shortest yet somewhat efficient volunteer efforts it was to a Brazilian barbeque for a belated b’day lunch for S. He had also come of Lent so anything bovine within a hundred miles was in mortal danger. The food was brilliant at the Sampa Grill with the green shaker up most of the time. Succulent sections of cows, garlic chicken, some polish sausage, beans, cheesecake, brownies and bread pudding passed before us.

We left lunch bloated and with a possible house visitor to Sri Lanka next year in the shape of a friendly Brazilian waiter (male unfortunately). It was to one more of those afternoon naps and then a somewhat nervous drive in the new wheels, courtesy of N. I’m pretty sure all of us are resting our tired bones this evening, on our respective trips. One more Monday to come and what’s keeping me going is that there are only to be around 8 more of these to go.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My two cents

Blogging is about self expression, but none of us blog in isolation. We are also very much part of a community. When I started out I knew no real people in the blogosphere, yet within weeks I had met a fellow blogger. Since then I’ve corresponded with, chatted with, twittered, exchanged texts and even got silly drunk with a few. All people that I would have never met in my usual life and some people that strangely, I feel that I know more than some of my closest friends. You see the thing is with blogging is that we see how each other think and how they react as they interact with fellow bloggers and comments. Such an explicit insight into how people think is to me quite intimate.

I read NB’s post with some discomfit, firstly I didn’t see what the big deal was. To me the post was just a general poke. To burst the bubble on a bloggers anonymity, especially over something so trivial (I can understand if its slander or copyright issues) seems to me to break some kind of code, a betrayal of our community. I mean a lot of us know who each other are, but we tend to keep that knowledge out of the public eye. Outing information like that is mostly quite tasteless.

I’m all for freedom of speech and forthright talk but there is a difference between being outspoken…and being an asshole.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Simple Pleasures

My blogs being crying of neglect lately and since my sense of originality is currently taking a break at the bottom of the Indian ocean, I’m going to shamelessly do a meme, I’m not even tagged…blah….originality….

  1. Hanging out with the two jokers, R a friend for almost 20 years, S for 10. The three of us could not be more disparate, but somehow it works as the best of friendships. Fingers crossed for that lasting.
  2. Chilling with the boys, the surrogate family in the US. P, always breaking something, D spaced out, N always trying to impress and S coming up with the most priceless comments; ‘ai oi jangia kanne?’ being my particular favourite on seeing the Kim Kardhashian tape.
  3. Anywhere in the dry zone, where I feel the most at home. There’s something about that dry scrub, the waves of burning heat and the shimmering tanks that makes me feel complete, human and happy.
  4. Sex in the afternoon. I mean everybody (I sense a sarcastic comment here from a couple of my readers) does it in the night, but what about the afternoon? The suns blazing mutedly through the curtains, the fans whirring. Absolutely perfect for an afternoon session and siesta. Especially enjoyable when done when you should be in lectures or at work.
  5. Taking photographs. The pulse racing as you look at an ever-changing tableau in a fast moving city like San Francisco. Colours pulsing as you try to figure out what will work in the lens, the camera whirring smoothly as it autofocuses. The thud of the shutter. Bliss.
  6. Dinner with Arcch, as I’ve affectionately called her since I could talk. At the round table in the pantry. Not much conversation but reassuring, never changing phrases here and there. I don’t know if I can ever go back to that.
  7. The few tropical water dives I’ve done and the prospect of repeating them soon. Fish swirling everywhere, the meters of visibility through the dreamy green water. Bubbles rising reassuringly from our regulators as we explore the rock and reef in Lanka.
  8. Enjoying R akki’s company. Seriously the most fun person over 30 (and even under 30 when we knew her back then) and an automatic booster to the day. Somewhat difficult to take snorkeling but a blast to keep you company while you roll one. The only person I know who would while you were rolling in a dazed state sit by you with a towel on her head, drunk of her skunk, giggling to herself for an hour just to keep you company. Priceless.
  9. Getting to know the sibling. A difficult task after nine years and a culture apart. But we have made progress and the last weekend was much fun and it sounds like she’s going to be taking an important step forward in her life. I’m very proud.
  10. Editing photographs, I forgot about this one. Almost more fun than taking the shots, running actions, blurring, history brush here and there. Channel mixers and curves to play with. I just wish I could make up my mind which iteration I like.
  11. Talking to short stuff. The closest thing to a mother I had growing up considering the age gap between me and my grandparents. It’s a bit scary that she thinks I’m a responsible person now, the potential for disappointment is discomfiting.
  12. CP, another one of the old crowd. Now all grown up and expecting but still the same old, sweet concerned golden hearted girl. She said I think too much. And I think she’s right.
  13. Superblende Kandos.
  14. Cold Old Reserve and coke.
  15. Hot butter cuttlefish.
  16. Mornings on the beach, that fang toothed, dorky half smile.

The list seems to have gotten a bit long and unwieldy. I’m not even sure what I’m writing about anymore but I do have a lot to be thankful for, which is reassuring. In fact writing this has been a thereaputic way to spend a Friday evening after the hellhole of the week. Apologies for any randomness….must be the trip I’m on.