The Other End of Sunset

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Yosemite, here I come... or there I went? Or something

I tried the whole vacation thing last week. Very, very odd. I think I have much learning to do here.

We went to Yosemite. I haven't been there before (surprised that I haven't been there? See previous paragraph...)

Nobody had a gun (that was visible anyway). And I saw no hats-through-epaulettes. But it was really beautiful.

It turns out there is something called "Bouldering": walking around on the boulders that surround (e.g.) a waterfall. You know, jumping from rock to rock, pulling oneself up onto the big ones, etc. I guess it's like rock climbing, only without the ropes and the chance of sudden death. Seems like a fair tradeoff to me.

We went to Bridal Veil falls and Yosemite falls, and went bouldering. It was cool! Literally, cold -- the water from the falls was FREEZING. But it was sunny and beautiful, and there weren't that many people around, which makes the whole scenario better.

Of course, there were some unusual folks around. Like the guy who was wandering around without his shirt, in shorts... and black socks. And it would have been better if he'd put his shirt on. OK, get past the fashionista side of me, and think about the story itself. He was clambering around on the rocks, getting sunburned I would think. He went a long way up the falls; this isn't easy! I was busy criticizing myself for laughing at him, when I looked down, saw him pull his chewing gum out of his mouth, look at it for a long second, and then stick it under a rock he was standing next to.


As he walked off, I couldn't stop myself -- "Dude, chewing gum?" -- he just looked at me and smiled.

Well, at least he's enjoying himself. Jerk.

And no, my desire for a clean world was not strong enough for me to go find the gum wad, pull it off the rock, and carry it around until I found a trash can.

Is gum biodegradable? I guess so, but still. Yuck.

(Apropos of nothing at all, I just found a surprising behavior in the "Save as Draft" feature of Blogger. I wrote a bunch of notes to myself, marked with "<", and then saved it as a draft. It looks like Blogger read them as improper HTML. Odd. Oh, well, live and learn, user error I guess!)

Anyway, back to semi-funny stories about bouldering. There are people who don't feel shy about swimming. Whether they are wearing ... umm... normal swimming gear or not. There were a few naked kids wandering around. I guess that's ok, just not my normal everyday experience. And there was one woman, sunning herself... in her bra and panties. Well, they were pretty underwear, at least. My nephew dug it. A lot. I myself found it odd. But I admire her bravery. The guy she was with was wearing a speedo. Of the two, she was better to look at, I'll give you that; but I'm not sure which was hairier...

Now, don't you wish I hadn't shared that last bit?

Yeah, me too.

On a totally different note, I promised last time I'd share a few more words about my last trip. If you go to Beijing, I don't recommend staying at the Grand Hyatt. Beautiful hotel, don't get me wrong. However, the beds are torture chambers with sheets. I have *never* slept on anything as hard, and I've been in some really unpleasant places. (No, I'm not going to talk about that. No, it wasn't a Turkish prison. Really. Where *do* you get these ideas?) I woke up on the second day unable to move my arm. It went to sleep while I was sleeping; kind of ironic in a recursive kind of way. Anway, I proceeded to move around the room, getting ready, using only my right arm. This isn't easy. I'm left handed. And not that dextrous anyway. I mean, have you ever tried to shave with the wrong hand? Or button a shirt with one hand? I used my teeth. It worked. But I imagine it was really funny-looking. But not as funny as if I had woken up one morning a hideous insect. (Thanks, Mr. Kafka, for giving me a way out of that story).

Faithful reader, in the singular, I will return, soon, with stories of Hyderabad traffic, gym etiquette, and more views from the taxi of life.

Until then, I remain, stuck, at the other end of sunset....