jeudi 30 août 2007


My lack of an internet connection is making blogging a bit difficult this week, not to mention emailing people and generally keeping up with anything outside of Lyon.

This past weekend I went to Chamonix with Janine, my party girl South African coworker. Here are some pics.

A view of Mont Blanc.
This is the famous Mer de Glace, which must at some point been quite a large and impressive glacier. It didn't seem so huge to us, although it is supposedly the second largest glacier in Europe.
Chamonix town. The night we were there, a 163 km race around Mont Blanc was finishing, and runners were slowly coming into town to the finish line.
We took the tram up to the Auguille du Midi, a peak just next to Mont Blanc.
A view from the tram.
As you get to the top, it gets considerably colder and scarier. The tram shook in the wind and everyone screamed.

A view from the summit. It was 2 degrees celsius there with 40 km winds. Many extremely serious climbing types were on their way down and across the mountains to Italy, which is just to the right in the photo-- they are the tiny dots in the picture below.
Afterwards we hiked down the mountain. In the last picture you can see the glacier that comes down from Mont Blanc. It was huge!

vendredi 24 août 2007

love that Freebox

My internet/phone /TV has been down for the last 2 days. Naturally when I tried to call the company I was passed through an electronic voicemail system for 10 minutes, after which I was told I was being charged 30 centimes/minute for the call; at the end, they said 'we cant take your call right now because we are helping too many other people.' Love that French customer service.

I'm heading to Chamonix tomorrow for a bit of hiking. We are staying at this place. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend!

lundi 20 août 2007

Weekend in the Dordogne

Some folks from work asked me to go down to southwestern France this weekend, to the Dordogne, to see the prehistoric cave paintings. It was a pretty drive and a gorgeous region of France.

There were lots of farms. The region is known for its foie gras. Here is a pic of a foie gras farm. honk honk honk!! Alas it was not foie gras season-- that is in winter-- so I did not get to indulge my taste for tortured waterfowl.There were plenty of cattle farms and acres of corn.
We drove alongside the river Vézère and stopped to take photos of a chateau.This is the medieval town/tourist trap nightmare of Sarlat. This was one of the few streets that wasn't jam packed with tourists.The much more sedate and pleasant town of Montignac.But our main destination was the caves. The original paintings of Lascaux, discovered in 1940, were deteriorating from all of the tourists and the change that was wrought of the climate in the cave, so they closed it down and make a fake Lascaux, "Lascaux II," nearby it for everyone to see instead. This was less kitschy than it sounds. Then yesterday we went to the cave of Rouffignac, where we saw 14,000 year old drawings of horses, cattle, bison and mammoths. It blew my mind.

Not surprisingly, flash photography wasn't allowed, so I have no pics. But here was the entrance to the cave.

mardi 14 août 2007

More on Victoria and Seth's wedding weekend

Some aspens in Aspen.
Here we are, bandanas at the ready, all set for the square dancing.
The wedding was on top of Aspen mountain. Although the weather refused to cooperate and it started to rain just beforehand, we were all swept inside a ski lodge and the ceremony took place in front of a fire. It was beautiful! Somehow I ended up taking no pictures of the bride and groom, oops. But here was the view from the ski lodge, with the clouds below us.

dimanche 12 août 2007

Competitive croquet

Victoria and Seth's wedding weekend in Aspen was chock full of activities, including a particularly bloodthirsty game of croquet. I was paired with Victoria's mom Connie's childhood friend, who was excellent at setting up good shots. The winner of our game, however, was Connie and her partner Amy. They went on to lose in the finals, where Pardis and her partner Zack came in second. Neither Pardis nor Zack had ever played before! Their prizes were croquet sets: perfect for Pardis's backyard in Claremont.

Here are pictures of Pardis' winning moves.

Pardis, Karin, and Seth resting beforehand.

mardi 7 août 2007

The US tour

I just got back from a trip to Berkeley and Aspen. Mom is doing well and will start radiation treatment soon. I also had fun seeing Katherine, Owen, and Douglas, playing basketball and checking out the kids' computer games.

I had but one near disaster en route: I was changing planes in Frankfort, wandering around trying to figure out what I was doing, when I realized my flight was leaving in 15 minutes and I wasn't even in the right terminal. I began running like a banshee across terminal A, through passport control and security at terminal C, then I am running across terminal C, and I finally make it to the plane, they shut the door behind me, and.... I realize I left my laptop at the security checkpoint. Egads! Fortunately the flight attendant called the pilot, who radioed the terminal, and they found it and put it away for safekeeping. I just picked it up on my way home.

Note to self: back up my data.