Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back from the Cold!!!!

And I kind of miss it. I mean in Singapore all you get is freezing cold air-conditioning and bleeding hot temperatures outside. Not that I hate that or anything, but I do wish we had a couple of slopes nearby so I could go riding every other weekend. Ah, to have your cake and eat it!

I was up in San Francisco to see my bestie, Jenny and go snowboarding with her in Tahoe - our first trip ever together! It was a pain trying to book train tickets and shuttle bus stuff because US is so public-transport-unfriendly, but we made it up in one piece on the Amtrek in the end.

So the first two days on the slopes really sucked. I think I'm just naturally a whiner and I just want perfect snow. If I've travelled halfway across the world to ride the slopes (well to visit my bestie first and to ride second) it'd be nice if it had awesome snow, but no. It was icy and just not a whole lot of fun falling. Although I did pick up a bunch of really awesome bruises.

Here's how the streets of Squaw looked like - snowless and all (I shamelessly stole Jenny's photo):

After a lot of whinging (and I mean A LOT) we woke up the last day to a bee-yoo-tee-foo snowy morning! And of course Jenny and I are jumping around like mad fools because I mean, it's a snowboarding holiday for crying out loud! However, Squaw more than made up for it on our last day! Soft soft powder snow and a whole bunch of it!

See what a difference a day makes?

And what a wonderful wonderful ride it was. Okay, the green slopes were kind of crap and we ended up having unstrapping and walking with our boards, but that kind of gave us the courage to hit the blues and we did real good! Jenny in particular did fantastically. I was being all chicken-shit and going heel side down when the slope scared me, but Jenny was a hero trying her turns on every slope!

Proof that Jenny can link turns and check out the awesome snow!

In all, I heart Tahoe. And I think a lot of it was just because it snowed on the last day, but parts of it that helped a lot was the quaint little lodge we stayed at, the amazing food at the lodge restaurant, the delicious crepes we had for breakfast, the new friends we made....and for me most of all the company of my bestie!

After Tahoe, Jenny and I headed back to the Bay Area and I dragged my aching self out the morning after we got back to go for a bike tour of San Francisco. I think I'd have loved it a wee bit more if I wasn't so sleepy, cold and achy, but even then, I really enjoyed the tour and I think I'd like to do it properly the next time! Post-bike tour I walked and walked and walked. I wanted to get some ski pants for my sister at REI which was not convenient if you were car-less. Then I kept getting lost. When I finally made it back to Jenny's place, I was too pooped to go out again so Jenny and I had a nice good catch-up over dinner at hers.

After SF, it was off to the land of the rising sun to meet my folks for Chinese New Year. First stop Tokyo! We were there for a night and then the family trooped off to Nagano the next day. I thought Nagano was fantastic. We stayed in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in Shibu Onsen which is a half hour bus ride to the Shiga Kogen ski slopes. The ryokan we stayed in was called Kokuya and it was 400 years old. It had 8 baths and orgasmic kaiseki sets (Japanese degustation menu). Big stamp of approval from me and the rest of the family!

My sister and I only had a day to hit the mountains and by the time we got down to figuring out where to go and what we had to do (with a lot of sign language and gesticulation) half the day had gone by and we were tired of not being able to speak Japanese. I think if it hadn't snowed the last day at Squaw, I might have liked Shiga Kogen a lot more. But because the memory or powder snow was still fresh in my memory, the snow at Shiga Kogen was kind of blah. Not lousy, but not great either. Plus the huge language gap got a bit frustrating after a while. I'd go back again to Nagano, just because Shibu Onsen was really nice but it definitely is a better ride on Niseko than Shiga Kogen. That being said, Shiga Kogen is a whole lot more convenient to get to than Niseko, so I guess that will always be an option!

We were back in Tokyo after and I got a chance to meet up with a couple of my friends - Fumiko and Danielle who I haven't seen in ages! Had a great catch-up and I got to meet Danielle's sweet little lady. Tokyo food was...well....you can never get enough of the food in Tokyo. I love love love Japanese food! Just in case none of you already know that.

So now I'm back and missing the slopes and my friends. One more year of thumb twiddling till I get back on the slopes again!

What I've done since I've been back:

last Wednesday: Ran 2k, 50 push-ups, 50 sit-ups

last Thursday: Swim Training

last Friday: 1hr Personal Training

Saturday: 20k bike ride

Tuesday: Swim Training