Wednesday, January 09, 2008
It's muggy in Sydney this week. Not that hot, about 27 and my iGoogle weather says it's only 57% humidity but they must be sitting on top of an inland mountain cos it's sweaty conditions out there. I am being aided and abetted I might add by the odd 'waves of warmth' that seem to have kicked in now that my pituitary has actually realised my ovaries are long gone. Interesting sensation that . . .I'm hoping a combination of herbals, Red Clover and Black Cohosh will stem the flushes otherwise I'm going to have to move to a cold country before the motor on my standard fan burns out!
That reminds me. Thommo is packing her backs on Friday and heading off to Japan for the second time in as many years. She's a serious skier, hampered only by the odd rickety knee which she's planning to have fixed upon her return. Her theory is that she might as well make the surgery worthwhile by smashing it to bits on mount 非常に高い山. It's the newest skiing sensation apparently. Ian is popping off to Austria to indulge his habit and whilst I envy them both a few weeks in the chill, I don't care much for skiing . . .or snowboarding . . .or tobogganing.
I took DrummerBoy with me for a snowy weekend when he was about 8. He'd never seen snow, let alone tried skiing so I booked him into 'Kindy Ski School' and myself in for a half day lesson thinking that at least I'd be proficient enough to tackle front valley at Perisher or Friday Flat at Thredbo if I could manage to hang onto the T bar without doing the splits sideways.
He took to it like a duck to water. Mind you the centre of gravity for an 8 year old is like that of a Chinese acrobat. Perfectly proportioned with the middle in the middle. As we grow we seem to get longer in the leg or torso and that means balance isn't as easy. Within four hours, the kid's got no stocks, a crash helmet the size of a watermelon and is competently scooting down the slopes and managing to get on a chair lift, TBar and even a pommer by himself.
Meanwhile, fat biatch is walking like a cripple across the car park in unbendy ski boots (nobody told me to not to put them on until you're actually in the snowy bit). I met up with a charming instructor, all dressed in conspicuous red. She was young, European - probably German or Austrian. In our group were also 8 Japanese, non English speaking tourists. Before we even started the lesson, she took one look at my very expensive shades and asked if I'd bought them in a $2 shop. . . I mean . . .crikey . . they were $250 Raybans! I was determined to look good even if I couldn't ski! So whilst my hackles took their time laying back down on my neck we commenced the lesson and I'd already made up my mind that this girl was going to be a cow of gargantuan proportions.
First thing: learn how to snowplough - that's 'stop' for the uninitiated. Tackled quite well for a beginner I thought until I finally planted myself firmly in the snow. I started to undo my bindings to get the skis off so I could stand up and she shrieked, "Leave you're bindings on. You can't be taking them off every time you fall over!" As if I'm going to ski to Blue Cow unless I can avoid falling over! I'm talking about the front valley, about 1km of gentle slope here! So, I was taught to plant one stock in the snow and get up without removing the bindings. This my friends involves the use of stomach muscles . . .WHAAAT! Besides the enormous embarrassment of admitting that since having children, my belly was less than a six pack - every almost success was flouted by some cocky snowboarder either spraying me with slush or attempting to run me over. Meanwhile, children as young as 3 were careening past me with a "check the retard!" look on their face. I spent the next 40 minutes trying to get myself upright while she diverted her attention and yelled at Japanese tourists. Apparently, if you shout at someone who doesn't understand the language, their powers of comprehension improve tenfold -the hypothesis was not born out. They looked even more confused and became quite animated. They were wandering all over the place, ignoring instructions, trying to translate - meanwhile, our little Germanic guide was visibly losing the plot. She shouted at everyone. Berated us on being the most hopeless and hapless group she had ever had the misfortune to earn $500 from and stormed off about 15 minutes before the lesson was to end. I secretly hoped that her visa was revoked or that she fell off the T Bar 60 feet above the ground.
That my friends, was my first and last foray into the world of the white. Fortunately, our snowfields are littered with cafes and bars. I spend a lot of time in most of them acquiring a taste for butterscotch schnapps whilst DrummerBoy tagged along with competent skiing friends and conquered Mount Perisher. The rest of the long weekend, I resolved to cook and housekeep for the exhausted snowboarders and skiers rather than venture back for more public humiliation. I did do something I'm reasonably good at and went for a wonderful Snowy River trail ride with a guy called Jacko and a horse called Chocolate. I watched a little telly, did a little souvenir shopping, walked around the shores of Lake Jindabyne and generally enjoyed the cold and the solitude.
DrummerBoy still enjoys his skiing although our season is short and he didn't make it this year. He's now no stranger to black runs and talking about trying the slopes of New Zealand, Canada or Switzerland sometime. ClareBear has taken to snowboarding and handles herself admirably if the videos from the Dubai Snow Dome are to be believed. Me? . . .I avoid it like the plague but I do miss those chilly walks around Lake Jindabyne . . . especially now as another wave of warmth makes my hands clammy and my brow sweat!