Marc's Public Blog - Trips to other locations


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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I, or Jennifer and I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 |

Table of Content for trips:

More pages: June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997



2004/06/30 Ibiza Day 4: Wednesday (beach and research day)
π 2004-06-30 15:25 by Merlin in Trips

Today was beach day, the other UCPA folks went to a couple of places Alain, Seb and I went to last year, so instead we rented scooters and rode around the island to check out 5 different beaches.
In a nutshell, some of them were really beautiful, and I also bit the bullet and did research and a few friends who asked a favour.
Males have a lot of trouble not looking at breasts. What is worse, males cannot look at breasts and think at the same time. In fact, scientists now believe that the primary biological function of breasts is to make males stupid. This was proved in a famous 1978 laboratory experiment wherein a team of leading male psychological researchers at Yale deliberately looked at photographs of breasts every day for two years, at the end of which they concluded that they had failed to take any notes. "We forgot," they said. "We'll have to do it over."
- Dave Barry


It only seemed fair that I did what was in my power to help with this important research while we were checking out the beaches, and bars playing, you guessed it: techno :)


By special request, I'll also do my best to get more men for you, interested ladies. In the meantime, you can always look at last year


In other news, it was actually my first time on a powered two wheel vehicle (50cc scooter). While those things sound underpowered, they strangely still do 80kph+, which happened to be the highest speed limit on the island's roads anyway, so getting 125cc wouldn't have gotten us that much (it also required my French driver's license as the US one wasn't good enough for anything but 50cc, and the said license is sitting on my dresser in Sunnyvale). What's funny is that I actually had to change sunglasses, because going past 60kph created an insane amount of wind that was getting around my shades and triggering tears.


It was an interesting experience, even though I've always hated the obnoxious sound that scooters do (and I still don't feel any different now), but the fun part was driving in the mountain roads around the island: brake, setup for the turn and the apex, lean in the turn, hit the apex, gas out, and off to the next turn. I very quickly confirmed that I would probably enjoy this about as much as racing cars, which is exactly what I was afraid of.
Long story short, while I wasn't leaning a whole lot (less than I would on a mountain bike, which isn't a whole lot to start with), the thing slid from under me in a turn. I don't think I hit any significant dirt or gravel, it's just that a scooter comes with really crappy tires not meant to be ridden on the side at all, not even a little bit, and that the tires we got were probably even crappier than the average.
I'm not quite sure how, but I ended up on my front and face, opened my right knee fairly well (took a more than 4 hours to coagulate despite the hot air and wind from riding), and it also took a good piece of skin off my chin right under my goatee (so luckily it isn't visible as it's healing). Apart from that, my elbows didn't suffer that much and I only got minor scratches apart from that. I also made a couple of comments about the "this is a joke" helmets we got, and sure enough, a real helmet would have protected my chin in this fall...
The main problem is that I landed on my fanny pack, which broke the LCD on my digital camera that was in there. This is the part that sucks the most because while the camera still takes pictures, I now have to operate it blind and won't be able to take any good manual pictures (like long exposure night ones, or dance club pictures with light and exposure correction), not counting the fact that I'll have to buy another camera again (the previous one had a rafting "incident")
At the end of the day, I guess I can't complain, since my riding "leathers" were a pair of swimming trunks and a T-shirt. All in all, I didn't get that hurt, but I'm really bummed about my camera, especially since I'll have 10 more days without being able to take pictures as easily or well :( I guess compared to a broken leg or something, it's "only" money... At least I can share war stories with the road and mountain bikers who have had close encounters with pavement (I've always managed to avoid that on my mountain bike so far)

But while scooters have always been obnoxious and dangerous pieces of crap (even though they do come in very handy in a place like Ibiza), and I do realize that real motorbikes handle better, I still think that powered bikes are dangerous as a whole, especially for someone like me. Therefore, I'll stick to a low to the ground car with four tires on the road. They can slide without the car tipping over :)

But going back to the day, some of those beaches were really gorgeous. While it was an expensive day considering, it still felt worth it


Anyway, I still went out a bit after disinfecting my wounds, but found it a bit hard to dance with a knee that I couldn't really bend due to the bandage, so I ended up going to bed around 02:00. The highlight of the evening however is when I bound some compeed (special bandage that is supposed to be water proof and help healing), and that it wouldn't stick to my skin due to the temperature and sweat that I couldn't wipe off. So, what was the solution? Well, while the geek's #1 non tool is duct tape, the second one is super glue, so I did happen to carry superglue with me (I always do), and superglued the bandaids to my skin (it took 3 to cover the area. That worked perfectly, it even turned out to be entirely water proof since it survived the two dives I did the next day :)
(No, you may not ask how I'm ever going to get that off: one problem at a time, shall we :) )

Pictures from Wednesday
(I'm sparing you the bloody knee and opened chin, you don't really need to see that :) I'm sure you'll enjoy the nice beaches better)
2004/06/29 Ibiza Day 3: Tuesday (double dive training day)
π 2004-06-29 17:05 by Merlin in Trips

Where are the pictures you ask?
They're being taken, but with all day activities, socializing, night life, and PADI studying, and other, I've been a bit busy :)
Then, there is the small problem that it's hard to edit and gamma correct (i.e. fix the color balance) of pictures when you are on the beach, and you can barely see the laptop screen (besides, there are other things I should be looking at ;-) )

I'll see what I can do as I get a little time if that happens, I barely make it to the internet cafe as is (as it should be :) ), besides uploading pictures when I post my blog through my cell phone is not going to happen :) and my pictures are usually so big that it will take quite a while to upload them from the internet cafe since their uplink is usually a slow 128KB.

What's interesting too, is that I think I've been taking fewer pictures this year, I guess partly because there isn't much of a point to take the same pictures than last year (about 360) which are all here , and also because I'm trying to cut down a bit on pictures in general too (I've gotten the hints, thanks :) )
Well, you're in luck, I managed to upload 3 days worth of pictures, and you can find them here

Anyway, I got done reading the 120 pages of PADI training around 02:00 this morning, and while I was really tired, I only got into a half sleep with weird dreams and eventually got up 30mn later to take an ambiant which took nicely care of that problem (although between Sonata and that, it'd be the 3rd day in a row, not great... I guess it does confirm that my sleep cycles are very picky)

The next morning, I was at least woken up by my watch, confirming that I got slightly more 6H of uninterrupted sleep, and Alain and I went to the harbor for our pickup to the dive site where we studied and practised this morning. The bad news is that when I jumped into the boat (reasonable jump down), I mis-landed a bit and because I was wearing my slipper-like sandals, I managed to somewhat injure the left side of my hip (probably nothing, but still somewhat painful right now). That, plus the blisters, and the soreness from wakeboarding made me feel like an old beaten up man today (at least one person will know what I'm talking about :).

We got picked up in the local harbour to go to the dive center, and I burst out laughing when I saw that (don't tell me I'm the one with a dirty mind, they're the ones who named their island that way :) )


Anyway, we went to the dive center, and Upi, our Dutch teacher told us "ok, let's go study in my office", by which he meant "the bar/restaurant next door" (where his hot british wife happens to work :). I'm not bitter to have spent all that time reading (even though it feels right now that once again, not a lot stuck in my brain), but would I have not done it now, I wouldn't have later either. Either way, Alain showed up without having read much at all, and we went through the review questions and he did fine anyway.
After that, we actually went in the swimming pool for the first time (being by the sea, we had simply done all the exercises there). The funny part was that it was a hotel swimming pool with guests bathing and sun bathing, which was a bit sunreal when we showed up in full diving gear and dove in their pool and worked mostly under them :)

After lunch, we went for another sea dive and more training, as well as a slightly better dive. Since I'm a moron, I forgot my under water camera for the second time, but I did put it in my bag for next time though.


After getting back, and a stop at the internet cafe which took a little while due to blog catching up, and all the mails I had received, we had a tapas party, where each room had prepared finger food that we all shared.
Then, for some reason, we followed part of the group in some sunside bar that was somewhat empty, but I feel like sleeping tonight, so that's just as well.
The good news is that I got all my pictures edited and sorted, so I'll try to upload them next time I reach an internet cafe. I will even try to add a few pictures to the existing blog entries.
Ok, 02:00, time for bed, the next nights will be much later and wilder than tonight, so I might as well get a little sleep now.

Pictures from Tuesday
Comments:
and here I thought you would enjoy that Island...
posted by -B : 30 June, 2004 13:58

2004/06/28 Ibiza Day 2: Monday
π 2004-06-28 16:15 by Merlin in Trips

(if you wonder why the blogs don't have titles when they first get posted, that's because I think I'll be sending them from my bedroom through my GPRS cell phone, and using BloGTK to do a quick upload/publish, unfortunately, it doesn't support titles, so I'll be fixing that up through the web when I reach an internet cafe some time later)

So, I forgot to mention yesterday how intense the Sun is around here. Coming from California, and having done mountain biking during the summer at noon, you'd think that I'd be ok, but it's so intense that my skin just can't handle direct sun for that long, even with sun screen. At least I haven't gotten burned yet.

I started with wakeboarding, where I didn't do too badly for my 3rd time, but I was pretty bad technique-wise and got tired and sloppy pretty quickly. Then, I studied my PADI notes before going diving since I'm intent on getting my open water PADI level this week (and maybe more next week)


After that, Alain and I did our first dive of the week. It wasn't actually stellar, half because the spot we went to turned out not to be great, and we had some first time diver tourists in tow, and there is nothing wrong with beginners, but those were particularly bad

As nice brainfarts today, I just fried a transformer to charge my Empeg because I completely forgot to plug it into a 220->110V converter I do have (and used yesterday), and earlier, I had an discussion/argument with the American lady who joined us during during our dive about the fact that the verb to dive is conjugated dive/dove/diven, but that it might sound weird to her because Americans don't conjugate some verbs properly than just simplified them to be regular verbs, like dream/dreamed/dreamed, and dive/dived/dived, because "they don't know any better" I uttered. Somehow my brain had decided that they were british like all the other native sounding English speakers around in Ibiza, but turns out they were American, and she took small offense to my comment. Ooops to both :)
(turns out, I'm apparently all wrong on that verb anyway, but that has never stopped me from having a successful argument anyway :) )

Then, we had dinner with the UCPA folks:


I'm now going through the 150 pages of PADI material I'm supposed to read for tomorrow morning's class (not part of the basic deal, it's $400 Euros total, and of course does require some studying). I'm only at page 53, and it's already 01:03. I feel like L.F. was a few months ago. Argh...
Oh well, back to work...

Pictures from Monday
Comments:
oh yikes! You really did pick a hairy verb to argue with the yank about. It's a bit more complicated wrt weak and strong form conjugation than you might realise. ;-)
posted by goaliegirl : 28 June, 2004 21:35

2004/06/28 Ibiza Day 1: Sunday
π 2004-06-28 00:58 by Merlin in Trips

I somehow made it onto the plane (the idea was not to fall asleep in one of the terminal's seats), and because my body had given up on when was an ok time to sleep, I took a Sonata when I got in the plane. I'm not overly sure I remember the take off after that, just like I hear rumours of a decent breakfast in the plane, which was supposed to be surprising for a charter plane, but I do remember waking up a few meters before landing 1h40 later :)

We met the other 13 frenchies in our group and ahead for San Antoni, where our UCPA group stays on the Island. Sunday was the day off for the 4 UCPA sport instructors, and the one of them who most likely got the short straw and came to pick us up visibly went to the Privilege's opening night Sat Night, and hadn't exactly seen a bed in a day or so when he came to pick us up at the airport Sunday Morning :)
The killer quote was when the bus drove in front of the Privilege on the way to San Antoni, and we saw folks on the side of the road (it was around 08:00), and a car funnily parked so much into the side ditch that it was 45 degres angled. His comment was "ah oui, ce sont les restes du Privilege" (the leftovers from last night who hadn't managed to get home yet)

Anyway, after a quick welcome, we proceeded to unpack, and I went to check how the beds were for the next 90mn or so :) before heading for the beach to chat by the Kenya beach bar, with the familiar techno playing on the beach.


5H later, after a 14:00 lunch, a dip in the water, and a nap on the beach later, I headed back for the apartments to do some shopping (8 liters of water), and sign up for an internet cafe that would accept laptops (10 euros for 5H of usage, whenever I want: quite a bargain since I can sync all my mail and do what I need in less than 10mn). Depending on the mood, I've also been sending Emails or blog entries from my bedroom through my gprs phone (no phone lines in our apartments, which is not an Ibiza issue, but just because we're in a cheap place)
I'm on chapter 3 of Mr P.'s learning Spanish audio books, and actually managed to use some of it with the Internet Cafe guy who didn't speak any English or French (a little unusual for Ibiza), cool... (thanks RM).

I got a much needed shower after that (never really hit one, or a bed since I had left home friday morning), and what was funny the "thumb" "thumb" "thumb" I could hear through the opened window. Welcome to Ibiza, where you almost get to hear techno everywhere, even more than Burning Man where you hear music almost everywhere, but not necessarily techno...

After another pre-dinner nap, we had the welcome drinks around 21:00 when we met the other instructors who had waken up by then, and it was kind of funny when they had to give us the UCPA speech that our stay was technically focussed on sports, and that partying was supposed to be secondary (UCPA gets money from the French government to promote sports), as they obviously had faces from people who had partied all night :)
Dinner was from 22:00 to past midnight, and a guy from last year staying with Alain and I, decided to go with me to an early club visit around 01:00 since we had free tickets for the Amnesia that night, and wanted to go there for an hour or so. It was decent but not awesome (sunday nights are usually a bit low), so we headed back a bit past 02:00 and went back to bed for an early night (after all, most of us hadn't slept much at all due to the plane coming in that stupid ass time)


All in all, it was a quiet and decent day considering, and now the week starts, I'm going to go wakeboarding in half an hour, and diving this afternoon.

Pictures from Sunday
Comments:
Glad you enjoy the Spanish tapes!
I don't think they hit the survival sentence "Quiero una cerveza muy fría" before Level 2 though :-)
posted by ralfoide : 28 June, 2004 11:34


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