Jnster: the story of an outdoors enthusiast in NYC and wherever he wanders...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Climbing Trip 2006 #2: Rumney, NH

We took advantage of the beautiful weather and drove to Rumney in New Hampshire for a 3 day climbing trip!
Memorial day is the first public holiday that is officially recognized by my company since... new year's day I think. Taking a 3day week end without "using" any vacation feels pretty good already.
Plus, the climbing was great. Rumney is quite renown in the Northeast as a top notch sport climbing place. Tom had been speaking about this spot for quite a while.
We went there with Elise, Corinne, Tom, Guy and Anton from New York, while Ben came from upstate NY and David and Mathilde joined from Montreal. Quite a big group.
Tom, Ben, David and I led in the 5.10 range (we even made a little friendly competition in the 5.11 level, and I lost), while the girls made an homogenous group and were able to lead most of their routes.
I have started recording my ascents in thecrag.com, an interesting community website Richard told me about. That kind of motivates me to climb hard! Technically speking, my hardest route is still in Red Rock, even though I have the feeling I climbed very hard in Rumney. East coast/west coast grades discrepencies, we could debate forever...

The rental car we were attributed by Budget was a flashy yellow sporty Chevy Cobalt and... for the first time in the US I was stopped by the police for speeding. I'm still not used to these 30mph speed limits on straightforward roads... I didn't get any ticket, just a warning.

People in New Hampshire seem to be very very tight with the law, even though their state motto is "Live Free or Die". I really don't understand what they mean... The grocery store refused to sell alcohol to those who did not have a US driving license: "your passport could be fake" they said. When you live in Manhattan, you definitely know nothing about the rest of America...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Another test: what American City are you?

Surprising result: I have never been there!

You Are Austin

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.
You're totally weird and very proud of it.
Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in... in your own strange way.

Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick

Saturday, May 20, 2006

At last, a real update !

Ok, it is at last time to update my blog...

I am very late indeed this time. Maybe I should have put a disclaimer like Elise ("I won't be able to update my blog for all summer ;-)).

I am in the train to Metuchen, NJ and this is the first time I am writing something in the train. Am I a geek? Or just a modern person taking advantage of a laptop with a good battery life?

Anyway, I have quite a few events that I need to talk about.
First, as announced before, we had been quite busy during the week that Gael and Barbara were here. I'll post some of Gael's pictures to illustrate the time we spent together in NYC. We were a bit dephased at the beginning because we needed to recover from the rough nights we had with the cat, and in the meanwhile our parisian friends felt like going out at night and sleeping late. They defied the law of jet lag. But eventually we sync'ed our life rythms.

We walked a lot and I managed to find parts of Manhattan that I didn't know at all. Discovered new bars in the Lower East Side (there are so many, I'll never be able to visit even 10% of them!). In particular, yesterday I went to Pianos (www.pianosnyc.com) to see a concert by buddahead (www.buddaheadmusic.com), an alternative band whose bass player (Toby) I had met at the climbing gym. Very energetic music, short performance but very enjoyable. The musician seemed very happy to be on stage and they kind of transmitted their good vibes to the audience I think.

We also went to plenty of restaurants lately:
- 'A' with Elise, nice place with good food (hmmm yummy Creme Brulee, I didn't even remember it tasted like that)
- Todai (formerly Minado): the high quality huge Japanese buffet that spans between 31st and 32nd st @ 5th Avenue. It was my third time there, and I still enjoy it a lot!
- Eastanah: an Indonesian place in Soho! I had an unusual curry there. Between Malaysian and Thai flavors, I liked it! I think Gael was disapointed though.
- Of course our usual Indian and Malaysian "canteens", unexpensive and tasty!
- I don't remember the others!

This morning, as part of my training (and also to run faster for usual, just for fun), I ran the Healthy Kidney race in Central Park. It is a distance I enjoy (10km), and I felt pretty good. My time was 45'30", ranked 842 out of 4500+. I think it's a good result, although I expected a lower time but, what can you do? I did my best. Maybe Central Park is too "mountainuous". I just learned that Seppo won't run the Quebec marathon this year, but the one in Montreal. So if I don't get accepted in the NYC Marathon lottery, my plan B will probably be Montreal instead.

All right, I think that's it for today. Stay tuned for the Heathy Kidney race pictures when I receive them and maybe a post about of futre climbing trip to New Hampshire (weather permitting).

Oh, last minute update, we're just back from a 5 star week end Chez Arnaud et Katia! They treated us like kings, as they felt guilty about their crazy cat. We visited Sandy Hook, had lobster (with a far away view of Manhattan) in Keyport, NJ, and had a day trip to the almost hippie towns of Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA, accross the Delaware river! I am very happy with this relaxing week end!
Elise will publish pictures on her blog. Posted by Picasa

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Sunday in Central Park

Empire State Building from Chelsea

32nd and 5th

Downtown Posted by Picasa

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Life is a paradigm

I like this comic, it really shows the absurdity of our corporate world ;-)

Anyway, this week has been faily busy and I'm quite tired because I don't get much sleep at night. Indeed, we are keeping Katia and Arnaud's cat and she has decided that it was a good idea to meow all night long. The side effect of the confontation is that I a have discovered that I can use ear plugs (never tried those before) and they work quite well but not perfectly. If the cat really wants to bother you, she always wins!

Climbing wise, we had an awesome session at a new crag Richard showed us: Peter's kill, kind of the Gunks secret spot. Elise published a few pictures of us. I climbed a few routes in the 5.9 (including one called Stinky Americans) to 5.11 (poorly climbed) range.

Running wise, it has been an ok week: my knees hurt a bit, but I'm running faster now. Yesterday there was a very beautiful sunset in Central Park: all the sky became pink fuschia and orange and it lasted for 20minutes. I really wish I had a camera at this time, anyone could have shot amazing pictures like this one I took in Montreal a few months ago.

This saturday, we will have the long awaited visit from Gael, my friend from INSA with whom I went to India and China! I haven't seen him for a year and a half now!

Gael, that's him: