Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winter chronicles

I'm back baby. The semester ended and I was on the slopes the next day. I am trying to learn how to snowboard this year and Kyle was around to help me. The first day was awful: I fell often and hard, I literally ate snow. My tail bone still hurts when I sit on the floor, but it isn't as bad as it was the next day. Every muscle on my body was sore, particularly upper body (from lifting myself up every 20 seconds). I won't get into the details of my mediocre attempts but let me tell you I'm not giving up yet! I am going to spend New Year's in Vail with my friend Anabel from high school. I'm really excited because I love her and her family and I just know it is bound to be barrels of fun (and pain). My goal after three days of practice is to be able to go down a green slope smoothly and hopefully not fall when I get off the chair lift (that bitch is tricky).

This year I spent Christmas with my favorite Coloradans: The Bushes! They are a really fun family and I really lucked out with them this year. They were really sweet and welcoming and I hope I can return all the attentions one day. We made vegetarian Christmas Lasagna on the Eve and Mr. Bush cooked us a nice Tom on Christmas Day after he performed the infamous "Turkey Dance".

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Busy little bee

I know, I've been out for over a month. It has been a busy month and very uneventful at that. No more bike rides or hikes :-( work, work and homework. I went to visit Aubrey's house in Colorado Springs... we celebrated Halloween (hopefully more pictures on that later)... what else did I do?? Oh yeah, I celebrated thanksgiving with Thurein and Tim + friends, that was fun... I'm going to stop wasting your precious time. Finals are in couple of weeks and Anthony is coming visit :-) hopefully I'll bounce back after all that.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Highway US-287

Earlier this week Kyle told me about how one time he biked to Fort Collins to see his buddy Tony. Whenever my friends come up with something cool they can do, I always think to myself "Well if they can do it.... so can I".

I really love my bike and I really love riding it. It gets me places much faster than walking! Anthony taught me how to ride a bike when I was 19. Before then I'd always been too scared to do it because I fell when I was little and that left me traumatized. So I have 19 years of cycling to catch up on and I feel like I'm finally off to a good start.

Meet Betty Blue: She's loyal, she's light and she's FAST. She's my Giant OCR3 2006 18-speed road bike. Our goal: bike 20 miles from Boulder to Longmont, Colorado and back. Kyle had told me the ride was flat and easy, but having never lived in Illinois, he has a terrible misconception of the term "flat". What he really meant was that there is no altitude gain between Boulder and Fort Collins, but in between there are tons of rolling hills that you have to bike up and down. It was killing me. I took several breaks during my trip, sometimes I stopped when I got to the top of the hill to catch my breath and also to be able to look back at the landscape.

The ride between Boulder and Longmont was most enjoyable. I saw farms, horse ranches, snowy mountains, all in the ever changing shades of fall season. It was gorgeous. I took Arapahoe avenue and went east until I hit US-287, then north all the way. After 1 hour and 15 minutes we got to Longmont. Piece of cake for Betty, so when we got there we decided that Fort Collins could not be too far ahead, why turn back now? I already knew that if I survived the trip to Fort Collins, I probably would not be able to make it back. Luckily Kyle was going to go up there anyways to have lunch with his buddy Tony, and this time he was driving, so he agreed to give me a ride back home.

Longmont was a nice little city, it has a very cute downtown and for some reason there is a liquor store in every block. The next town after Longmont was Loveland, which wasn't very lovely at all. It gave me a general feeling of emptiness and unhappiness and I got yelled at by some dumb bitch in her car who told me to use the sidewalk instead of the street. My problem with that is that the sidewalks were terrible and my crotch was hurting bad enough already. So I took the sidewalk whenever it look like it was in good enough shape. The views between Longmont and Loveland weren't as pretty and I got bored at times, but that only made me pedal faster. After I got through that craphole, Loveland, I kept saying to myself "I'm almost there, just a few more miles" I was REALLY tired at this point and for some reason my left fingers and left toes were going numb and cramping up. My speed diminished significantly when I was going through Loveland, I knew I was pushing my body to the limit, I don't usually exercise like this. But low and behold, as I was barely making it up this last stupid hill when my legs were near giving out, I see the sign I've been dreaming of for hours: "Fort Collins City Limit". So of course I stopped to stretch, drink some water and take a picture of Betty next to the grand prize. I felt like Lance Armstrong, I had done it. I kept going a little longer after that because I was supposed to find a good place to get picked up by Kyle. Bikes weren't allowed on the street in Fort Collins so I had to take the sidewalk and that slowed me down a lot. I went passed a huge strip mall and several car dealerships, finally I found a gas station with a nice little bench were I could settle down and stretch properly. Kyle got there a little later and we went to lunch with Tony.

Total travel time: about 3 hours and 20 minutes (several short breaks included, and slowing down whenever going through city traffic).

- Giant OCR3 2006 road bike: $599.99

- Schwinn youth size helmet: $16.99 at Target

- Registration fee at CU's bike station that allows me to do regular maintenance on Betty: $10

- Granola bar and Camelbak: FREE, I stole them from Kyle

- Riding my bike for 45.9 miles: priceless

Here is my route. If you want to attempt this (and I can't think of anyone who couldn't, I mean I did it, and so can you) remember to bring lots of water, some energy bars in case your sugar goes low, put on sunscreen and always wear a helmet! safety first! And of course you should have your cell phone and some money in case you get a flat or get into an accident or something. Yay me!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Bridging the gap

Why is it that sometimes you have to move across the world from someone or something to finally appreciate them?

I don't really know why I do this, but in the end I am an optimist. When I leave a person or a place behind suddenly my mind destroys all the bad memories from that place, and lets the good ones hang out. I have moved a total of 6 times in my life, starting from the day I was born (My parents were living in a city called Maturin, but they drove to Caracas when my mom was due because that is where her gynecologist was, the same day we left the hospital we were driving back to Maturin).

If there is one thing I learned is that it really does get easier every time. Not only easier, but it gets better. When I know I am going somewhere new I actually start looking forward to missing the old place. I look forward to calling my friends so we can exchange stories and convince each other of visiting. As much as I hate moving, I also love starting things from scratch: a new bedroom, new routines, new friends.

My friends are such an important part of my life and so I want to dedicate this post to them. My friends make me who I am, in all aspects, they are the essence of my soul and my life would be far less meaningful if even one of them was missing. Somebody once told me that I used the term "best friend" too loosely, he obviously didn't know my friends. And just so that you can be really jealous, here is a list of names that make my life richer every day:

Rodri: My oldest friend, literally, I have known him since the day I was born. He is my older brother, life guru and accomplice. Probably one of the smartest, sweetest and most genuine kids I know. And one of the few people that really understands me because he knows exactly where I come from (duh, he was there with me). I am really looking forward to becoming old and bitter with him.

Meli: The sister I never had, a beautiful woman inside and out. Smart, charming and incredibly huggable. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. I love you :-*

Octa: She is my most inspiring friend. She is unstoppable and lives everyday with such passion, it is simply contagious. She is a brilliant aspiring doctor and I would trust her with my life any day.

Luis: You are my knight in shinning armor, a guardian angel if I ever had one. He also gives the best hugs. Please don't ever leave me.

Anthony: What can I say? I'll always be your little carrot, and you'll always be my little cabbage. This man is bigger than his dreams, and his dreams are huge. There is nothing he cannot do, and there is nothing I can do to stop him. I've learned so much by your side, nothing would be the same if it weren't for you.

Parisa: Intelligent, sexy and strong. She is everything I am looking for in a partner. The only problem is that we're not gay. I can talk to her about anything from World War I to Buddhism to pimples and cramps and everything in between. I love all your advice, I would be so lost without it. When I'm around you I feel awesome by association.

Steve: I wanted to make an honorary mention to you. This guy is a rockstar/superhero/genius/coffee addict/wine connoisseur . He gets as much pleasure from learning as anyone else would from chemical experimentation. His books are his crack, and his computer is his crack house.

Aubrey: French academic by day and French diva by night. I am so lucky to have met you, Colorado wouldn't be half as fun without you (and Happy Birthday!!!).

Last but not least I should also send out a big thanks to my parents because one happy day in September of 1984 they decided to give me a shot at the world. You guys are the best parents I could ask for and thanks for giving me such an awesome brother too.

Friday, September 14, 2007


You know what I love? I love getting worked up over trifling matters. It’s fun, and somehow it reminds me of how lucky I’ve had it so far. But today I will talk about one specific matter that I have been contemplating this week: to date, or not to date.

Despite all the bad press that “first dates” get, the beginning of a relationship sometimes can be the highest point of that relationship. So I say, enjoy it.

Not only you are making a new acquaintance and gaining experience in the field, but first dates allow you to rediscover yourself through the eyes of someone else. Sometimes you forget that you really like that one song, or that you have been meaning to read that book, or maybe that you don’ t feel really strongly about that particular political candidate.

Now, let’s not forget about all the fun times and effort that goes into preparing for the event. All least on the girl side, this is usually how it goes (although I am sure it applies to many guys too):

1. You must gather as much information as possible about your potential date. You will ask the person that introduced the two of you and you will try to access his facebook profile (yes, you will). Don’t get me wrong this isn’t like a screening test, it is simply human nature (or is it girl nature?) that we are curious about what turns our life is about to make.

2. In order to have a truly successful first date, the two of you must have interacted prior to the grand encounter. By that I mean that hopefully you met at a party, or were introduced by a close friend, or maybe you are taking a class together. This provides a solid foundation of compatibility because you already have the one thing in common. Otherwise, your first date is really more like a blind date, and that is an entirely different playing field.

3. Yes, girls will spend countless hours trying to figure out what to wear to the date and there are many strategies to follow, to each girl her own. The perfect first date outfit must be casual but not too casual. One of the most important things is that it has to be comfortable. You don’t want to spend your date thinking about how much your feet hurt or how long you have been tucking your tummy for. The point is to look pretty, but not hot. You want your partner to be interested, but please, leave some room for imagination. Besides it is probably better to surprise them with your sexy self later on if the relationship flourishes.

4. Where you end up going for the actual date does not matter too much. Just try to keep the conversation flowing with whatever pops into your mind. Try to stay away from risky conversations (like say… religion or government), but if you can’t then do your best not to sound too offensive.

5. Unfortunately I don’t have any post-date advice. I can’t tell you when it is appropriate to call or if it is best to email or IM, and I certainly can’t tell you when it is too soon to get intimate because there is probably no right answer to any of those questions. In any case, if there is certain chemistry between the two of you, you will probably know when it “feels” right. Now you are on your own.

Am I shallow for thinking about all this? I don’t think so. I think it goes unsaid for many people, but I have gotten to discuss it with some of my best friends. Which brings me to one of the most fun parts of going out on first dates (no matter how they went): we get to go through it all over it again when we are telling our friends :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Where have I landed?

Back in school!

University professor Ward Churchill was fired this last July on some controversial accusations of plagiarism and fabrication, defenders said it was retaliation for his September 11 comments.

More recently, today a freshman from Illinois was attacked by some crazy dude who wanted to slit his throat. When the police arrived the dude thought the smartest thing to do was to stab himself. Both boy and attacker survived.


Summer Days End

Finally! I am officially caught up! and I am sure I just wasted some invaluable minutes of Steve's life for making him read this ;-)

When you are coming down in a plane to land in Hong Kong, you will probably think you are landing in Japan or better yet, YOU'VE JUST TRAVELED INTO THE FUTURE. At least I hope so, I hope all the cities in the world one day look like Hong Kong. I want them all to have green areas and mountains, gigantic bridges, thousands of commercial boats coming and going, skyscrapers, and I am telling you it all looks good together, it's like it all matches. Kudos to Chinese urban planners, we should send them all around the world fixing up cities.

Wednesdays are free museum days in Hong Kong, so we visited the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Science Museum (which was a freaking blast, there are tons of things to play with), and the Space Museum. In the HKMA we saw an exhibit entitled The Pride of China which exhibited the famous painting "Along the River During QingMing Festival".

Like the bird market in Indonesia, there is a goldfish market in Hong Kong. They don't just sell gold fish, they have all kinds of fish and ocean flora.

One evening Rodrigo and I went out with his friend Raymond from Hong Kong, we had a few beers and he told us a few interesting facts about life in HK. For example, did you know that when you buy a car you have to pay 200% of its price in taxes? it is so to encourage people to use the public transit system, which by the way is almost flawless. The subway trains are synchronized and are open from 6am to 12:30am, while buses run 24 hours a day.

In the couple more days we had left we simply walked around, ate some delicious foods and went shopping. On the last day the city issued a city wide typhoon warning (a typhoon is the same as a hurricane, only it occurs in Asia) and everything closed down and people were sent home. I say the subway is almost flawless because it was clearly not prepared to evacuate the millions of people trying to get home. My brother and my dad were stuck in a subway station for 45 minutes trying to get on a train. I saw it later in the news and it looked as packed as a rock concert, with a few people here and there crying out for help because somebody next to them had passed out.

I just realized we didn't really take that many pictures in Hong Kong....

Indonesia Mon Amour

Our next stop was Indonesia. Talk about tropical paradise, after a full two weeks in hot and humid weather we get to Bali, where the sun shines yet the breeze is cool. Most of Indonesians are Muslims, but in Bali they practice Hinduism and so we went to visit the Sacred Temple of Besakih, the largest one in Bali.

Bali was very cool, everybody was so laid back and welcoming. We visited the town of Kuta and the infamous Kuta beach, popular amongst backpackers and hippies back in the 60's. We also visited Dreamland, which is a surfing beach with huge waves and hot Australian surfers. It was definitely one of the most beautiful beach spots I have ever been to (and I've been to a few!). Oh, in case you are wondering, no I don't know how to surf, but it was cool just hanging out.

Also in Indonesia we visited the city of Yogyakarta in the island of Jawa (or "Java"). We went to see the Sultan's Palace and the bird market. Indonesian's favorite pets are birds, and they sell all kinds: chickens, pigeons (some of them trained to do stuff), every color of parakeet, even owls and bats! They also sell bird food such as live grasshoppers and crickets. In the surrounding areas of Yogyakarta we went to Parambanan and Borobudur, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the latter one was one of my favorite places out of the entire trip. The temple of Borobudur was built around 1300 years ago! it is a temple for Buddhist pilgrimage and there is so much detail and symbolism that went into its construction. There are 10 levels to the building and the first 7 contain murals and carvings that represent the life and different reincarnations of Buddha.

Indonesia was so great and I wished we would have stayed there longer, I really wanted to go to the beach again :-)

The Kingdom of Siam

This is the second chapter on L's summer vacation series....

Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok is probably the largest airport I've ever been in. Thailand, formerly Siam is governed by a constitutional monarchy. this system is something like a monarchy where the head of state (the King) is bound by a constitution, so it is not like he can do whatever he wants, and a prime minister is usually also appointed.

On our first day in Bangkok we got to visit King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Royal Palace (where he does not live in anymore) and a few Buddhist temples, the first of many. I won't go into the historic and religious details of these temples, but I will share my impressions with you: Thai people are very religious and they have lots of rituals! I don't know how they remember them all. The lotus flower is a very important symbol in Buddhism and people offer these to Buddha along with fruits, meat, money, and other kinds of flowers.

One of my favorite things about Bangkok was the street food. You can eat delicious kinds of meats, fish and vegetables rolled into balls and deep fried. There was some kind of sweet banana that was superb and we also tried a pork sausage that was to be eaten with a really hot chili pepper (I didn't get to far on the pepper). At the night street markets you will find the pirated version of any and all famous brand names in the world, whether it is clothing, purses, shoes, jewelry, movies or music, they have it. No software though... that I saw. Did I mention there is a Thai beer called Leo?

Although illegal, prostitution seemed very common, and some of the girls on the street were quite young, probably in their early teens. Bangkok by day is much like any capital city with its hotels, museums, bridges, shopping centers and temples. By night it turns into sex shows, muay thai fights, food venues and illegal markets (all of which are flooded with tourists) .

After Bangkok we set out on a trip by land to visit many smaller cities in Thailand: Ayutthaya, Lopburi, Pitsanuloke, Sukhothai, Lampang, Chiang Mai, Tha-Ton and Chiang Rai. We got to see temples, ruins, big Buddhas and small ones, pagodas, and even monkeys!

In Chiang Mai, which is the second largest city in Thailand, we visited the zoo there and an elephant "farm". The elephants were unbelievably smart, they could play sports, dance and even paint! We got to ride in them and that was really exciting too :-D

We have lots more pictures and stories of things we did, but I am going to leave it at this, otherwise I will never be done with my post.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Memoirs of a tourist in Shanghai

(I’ve been traveling around on holiday, which is the main reason for my brief disappearance from this website. I will try to slowly catch up on my adventures)

I first visited Shanghai in the year 2000 and sadly I didn’t remember much. I remembered being inside a tour bus and stopping for a couple of minutes at every photo opportunity or market. I remembered the city’s skyline and fancy hotels and some of the delicious (and abundant) Chinese food.

During this visit I saw so much more. For starters we were on our own so we walked everywhere. We rode the maglev, the subway and took cabs. The first impression I got was: this city is huge… and trendy. It looks much more modern, there are lots of parks, people are dressed nicer, there a lots of malls (there are malls dedicated to technology alone) and street venues, I mean NEW YORK CITY BEWARE. And the food, the food is so cheap! My rant isn’t making much sense but that is only because I am really excited to tell all. There weren’t many English speakers in Shanghai, the hotel clerks barely got by and we pointed at places on a map in order for the cab to take us there. By the way cabs are very cheap as long as you are not stuck in traffic, they can take you many places for $2-3.

Among the things that we visited that are a MUST-SEE are: the Shanghai Art Museum, here you can spend the entire morning looking at calligraphy, bronze, jade and porcelain sculptures, furniture, dresses and all kinds of Chinese art. There is also the Shanghai Institute of Urban Planning (this one is truly mind blowing) You’ll learn a lot about how much and how fast the city has grown. At the institute there is a small scale model of the whole city and you can take a virtual tour of it in a 360 degree video room.

This time of year the sky is cloudy and it is extremely humid (110% humidity on the day we arrived) the temperature is hot and you sweat a lot, which is why I bought a small cheap Chinese fan to try to stay fresh.

When there I recommend eating Dim Sum, these are delicious little buns or dumplings and you can try many kinds of fillings in one sitting. Tsing Tao beer was rather tasty too, it is a lager with a very light, crisp, and refreshing taste. I tried the bubble tea in a couple of places but it was crappy, not slushy at all (EVO’s is a thousand times better).

Only one criticism about Shanghai, and that is web censorship. You cannot access wikipedia, which for me is a tragedy, what kind of life is that? and there is some funky-looking censored version of facebook too :-(

(I accidentally lost many of the pictures we took in Shanghai, thus the lack of graphic evidence in this post)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Nobody looks forward to going home like I do. And I mean NOBODY. My family goes to pick me up (with the dog), then I get home where I find the cat greeting us at the door, my room is all tidy and there is a chocolate on my pillow. My mom does that, she only does it for me because I don't think anybody else would notice. She also puts fresh flowers in my room, so beat that :-D

Funny story by the way... NOT. My plane home was delayed not 1, or 2, or 3, but 5 hours! At first the aircraft was simply late coming from its previous destination. After we boarded there was some "fusilage" malfunction or whatever that is, that only took a couple of hours to clear. Then a family inside the flight decides they want to get off the plane and so it takes another hour to locate their luggage from beneath the plane. Their luggage had to be located and removed from underneath the plane for security reasons of course. So finally we are ready to leave when a woman in first class starts up with an attack of claustrophobia, and no wonder, I mean we'd be sitting inside the plane for 4 hours!!! So it took another while to locate her luggage because she also had to get off.

When we landed the pilot said over the speaker "Ladies and gentleman welcome to Caracas. I understand that many of you aren't very happy with American Airlines right now, but we do apologize and perhaps you can find it in your hearts to come back to us soon." I thought that was funny. I got home at 2am, that wasn't so funny, everybody in the car was tired and cranky.

So last week I finished reading two different books. I love the feeling of finishing a book! sitting there for a few minutes going over everything that happened in my head, I also like to read the last page twice, just to make sure I got it right. The two books I finished were Memoria the mis putas tristes by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I read both of them in spanish and I realized I still read significantly faster in spanish than I do in english. I am not sure what to do about that... let me know if you have any tips for fast reading.

Anyhow, where I was getting at, Eragon was simply ok. The writer is very young and you can tell by his style, it was kind of corny at times. But enoug of that, Garcia marquez's book was wonderful! and really fun to read. It was about a ninety-year-old man that falls in love for the first time, with a fourteen-year-old prostitute of all people! His story takes you through his memoirs about being almost a century old and his first love. I mean, the first time most people "fall in love" is probably in their teenage years or early twenties. Imagine falling in love with ninety years of wisdom on your back, one can really choose the right words then. Anyhow, the protagonist is certainly likable and the book was short enough that I didn't have to put it down for too long before I finished it. Five stars.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Welcome to Rocky Mountain National Park

Alright! So many pictures!

Sunday morning after a hearty breakfast we left for Estes Park which is about an hour north of Boulder (with traffic). When we got the the visitors center's backcountry office it was like walking in to a restaurant and looking at the menu. The ranger/clerk greeted us with "Good morning! how are you? now let's see what's good today..." and proceeded to describe the daily specials -aka walk us through which campsites were available and telling us of the gorgeous trails around them- I thought it was really funny, it almost felt like we were shopping for an outdoor experience! Specially since we had to pay $20 to go camping and another $20 to get in the park.

And so we booked us a nice campsite on cub lake. Our camp is setup across the lake in the picture on your left. It took us almost two hours to cover those 3 miles because our backpacks were so heavy :-(

After setting up our tent we left for a 4 mile hike that started up very steep uphill and then went downhill slowly, and then it sort of leveled out. We ended up in bierstadt lake which was probably one of the most beautiful landscapes I have glanced at, and take my word that the picture on the right does it no justice.

When we got there Andre read the wrong time from his digital camera and so we thought it was an hour later than it really was. So we started heading back at a fast pace afraid that we'd get stuck in the dark. When we got to camp (starving by the way) it was only 7:20pm!! it was then when we realized Andre's clock was wrong, but we were too busy eating our delicious dinner to care. I could have eaten a shoe and it would have been delicious, that's how hungry and tired we were. We had brought some of my scrumptious vegetarian chili for dinner (recipe follows) though I should warn you it has this effect of making your sleeping bag a little stinky.

After dinner I read a book until around 8:30pm when there wasn't enough light to read anymore. Then me and Andre were like "soooo.... what do people do when they go camping?" we were suddenly very bored and wishing we'd brought some playing cards or something. It was also extremely windy outside and so all the trees were rattling, it was incredibly loud. Around 11pm we gave up on trying to fall asleep and we started chatting about food (only because Andre was hungry, he is insatiable). Eventually we fell asleep, probably around midnight, only to wake up at 5:30am in a chilly 45 degree weather! I was cursing at the summer solstice for being so close and at Andre for waking me up. After our humble breakfast of an apple, a banana and a cliff bar we headed to fern lake and on the way we also encountered fern falls. It was still really windy that day (and early!) and so I was really cold. Did I mention there was snow on the ground when we got to the lake?

Then it was back to the camp to pack up and head home. During our little adventure we saw chipmunks (actually they are relatives of chipmunks, they have some fancy name), birds of many kinds and sizes and even some elk! like seven of them!

Before we left town I insisted we stopped to see the infamous Stanley Hotel were the movie The Shining was filmed. We weren't able to go inside because they wanted to charge us $5 to park. But here it is:

L's amazing vegetarian chili:

- olive oil
- 1/2 onion (diced)
- 1 bell pepper (diced, the color of your preference)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (chopped)
- 1 clove of garlic (chopped)
- 3 large roma tomatoes (diced)
- 1 can of corn kernels (drained)
- 2 cans of red kidney beans (drained)
- 1 can of black beans (drained)
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of chili powder
- 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
- vegetable stock

Cover the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil (a couple of tablespoons). The pot must be on medium-high heat. Saute the onion and pepper for a couple of minutes until they start sweating and add the garlic and jalapeño, let it cook for another minute. Salt and pepper to taste.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the tomatoes and corn kernels. Then add the spices (also to taste, feel free to vary as you like). Add the three cans of beans and make sure everything is mixed evenly. Add vegetable stock until the vegetables are ALMOST covered (you don't want it to be too soupy). If stock is not available I usually just use water and then add a cube of vegetable bouillon.
Serve warm and top with cilantro, green onions, cheese, tortillas, etc! the choices are endless!

Monday, June 18, 2007

I've been sleeping 10 hours every night

Can you believe it? I love being on vacation. My friend Cole reminded me to make sure and enjoy it because there aren't any more vacations until I'm done with gradschool. What a pooper that guy... No just kidding! Cole and Robin are great!

Last Friday we went on a hike together to Mount Sanitas. This was a very steep hike although not that long. I would not recommend it for anybody shorter than me because you have to climb through some big rocks and boulders. And the way down was no different.

Another friend went with us on the hike, and that was "Scout", she belongs to Robin's parents and she was lots of fun. Almost everybody we ran into on the trail had a dog! I think I have seen more dogs than children in this town. I believe that fact is true for San Francisco, at least that is what Tammy told me. People in Silicon Valley don't have time to raise a family because they work so hard, so then they get dogs.

Today me and Andre are going to go camping at Estes Park. It seems like a very popular place in Colorado and it is where the movie The Shinning was filmed. We'll be back tomorrow and I'll post again to let you know how everything went!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Exploring new grounds

The title of this post refers to my new blog as much as it does to my new life. I moved to Boulder, Colorado last Sunday morning after a fourteen and a half hour drive from Urbana-Champaign. I arrived into what is a beautiful two bedroom town house. Twice the size of my old apartment (and almost twice the rent, heh...) and only half the people are living in it!
My roommate (a french literature major) and her mom (the landlord) welcomed us very warmly (at four in the morning) and the next day very kindly made us breakfast! (thanks Aubrey, dear). I say "us" because somehow I convinced my friend Andre to drive with me to Colorado in his car. Convincing him wasn't so hard, believe me, as long as i let him stay for a few days.

Sunday we didn't do much because the landlords wanted to fix up a thing or two in the house and they also installed a new fan in my room! yay for great weather and no air-conditioning! So me and Andre spend the day driving around stores getting a few things for my new crib. That afternoon we also spend sometime and the pool. Yes, there is a pool that serves the whole neighborhood. Later int he evening we went to the movies and watched something hilarious.

Enough of the boring details! Boulder is AMAZING. From pretty much anywhere in this city there is a breathtaking view to the mountains. It is a bit overwhelming because it can make you feel so tiny and insignificant. It is incredible what a mountain can do for a landscape.

Monday was un-packing day and so I'll skip it altogether. Tuesday however, was my 22nd birthday! and it was a memorable one. In the morning me and Andre went to Chautauqua Park and did the F loop which was a gorgeous trail and it only took us a couple fo hours (about 4 miles). The views were great although it was kind of cloudy and we saw a deer! That made me really excited for some reason.

That evening I learned that a deer in Colorado was nothing to write home about apparently... and I also learned that my roommate's sister, who happens to live next door was also born on June 12! (only a couple of years later though) and so we bough cake and beer and wine and decided to celebrate. Cole and Robin came over and they brought some of the beer that they brew themselves! are you as impressed as I am? it was delicious too, I definitely got to keep these guys around, thanks to Keenan for making the introduction.

Ok, ok, I know this is already a long post so lets wrap it up. This morning we lounged around for a little while and then headed out to Maxwell Falls. This was a gorgeous hike of about 4 miles or 2.5 hours. It was an easy hike the entire time and you get to walk through this incredible forest. You will follow the river for a great chunk and the falls aren't really that tall but they last for a good 200ft stretch or so. The forest looks right out of a movie, I swear, and if you decide to go a little further after the falls, you can get into Cliff Loop which will take you through a gorgeous landscape full of mountains.

All I'm going to say is that my butt is VERY sore! but I like to think that I will have a rock hard ass in a couple of weeks. Don't be jealous now.