Beyond all Sane Limits – Part 3

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Can you see the trail? No? This patch full of leaves, water, mud, going hill down, that is the trail!

Saturday had been a day of rain. That made the trails on Sunday rivers and streams, puddles, mud and hell. When we started we would nicely walk around the puddles of water and avoid getting our new trail shoes all soaked. When I fell to the first river all that stopped. I went across first and was helping everyone to cross when the little edge I had my foot on gave way and I fell up to my waist into the stream. Took me a few minutes to come out as all I had under me was mud so I had no support to hail myself up. I ended up like a koala around the tree trunk bridge we had gone over, laughing so much it was difficult to muster the energy to get myself up. Meanwhile my friend was equilibrating on top of the tree trunk, midway trying not to fall. For a few minutes she forgot about the dead bodies.
Not long after I forgot all about dead bodies too and started thinking of a way out. Looking to the vastness of trees, trees and mountains and thinking my only way out was at a helicopter… and I remembered that being rescued in the middle of the bush wasn’t probably going to be cheap. So I was trying to get my phrasing right in my mind: “rescue service? Yes? Well I need rescue… I won’t be able to pay it but I will sell myself for 10 years of slavery to anyone that comes and rescue me now!” I’m still wondering if I would have gotten someone.
– What kind of slavery? They would ask, half interested, I imagine by then I would be in loudspeakers with half a dozen phone operators listening in.
– Any. I can clean, cook and I’m so desperate I wouldn’t refuse even being a sex slave!
– I’m a nun!
– Oh, ok… can I still get rescued?
With that thought I climbed a few more kilometres, fell down another hundred steps trying to decide weather to do it or not. The problem was to get my mobile from my backpack… I couldn’t spend the energy!
On that note I have two things to say: specially designed trail shoes are a gift from heaven. When I heard that it was going to be a hard trail I went and bought new trail shoes in a Mountain sports specialists. It was worth every nickel. All of us had these and on top of feeling safe, not skidding, really feeling the grip they gave us, there was only one of us with a small blister. All the other feet survived unscatered.

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Good Trail Shoes are Essential Items

The second thing I have to say is about the backpack with the camel hydrations system I decided to get. I got the most comfortable one with the hose that brings the water to your mouth, you drink without moving a muscle. If you are walking one hour, it doesn’t matter if you have it, for 30km it is highly recommended. It avoids dehydration.

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It is easy to drink water without taking the backpack out. See the hose coming to the front?

That is why I really didn’t want to get the backpack out of my back to search for the mobile. Too much trouble! At the beginning of the walk I took all these pictures, after Cowan station there is only the one at the end. And that is because the camera was really easy to reach at a side pouch on my waist…

(Orble Votes: 40)

Beyond all Sane Limits – Part 2

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To give you an idea, this is where we started: water level at Hawkesburry River Train Station.

At the beginning you don’t stop, don’t puff, don’t breathe heavily and don’t say a thing. Not because you don’t want to, just to save face. By the end of the walk you don’t give a $#!^ for the face and do all of the above. Your reasoning goes from “I cannot let them down” to “I’m the perfect excuse they need for a stop, they can always blame the outsider that couldn’t take as much as them”… If they really wanted to stop and use me as an excuse I don’t know, but 28km later I didn’t care about the truth or anything else anymore.

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This is the view from one of the high points, see how high we were?

The long walk could be analysed in terms of phases of despair, they were all funny though. At first I was just thinking that when we hit midway I could go back. I knew we were going to pass through some train station. It turned out to be Cowan and we got there by lunch time. Unfortunately, by then, I felt confident, full of myself, I felt in excellent shape and thought that of course I could finish it. The sign said 8 km to Berowra and I could certainly do that. We met an older guy just before that said we could make it by 5pm, in just 3 hours… my mistake was to think Berowra was “The Fabled End” when it was Berowra Waters, still a long way to the train station where the nice car was waiting for us.
The initial phase was “the search for the dead body”. According to common knowledge dead bodies are always found by bushwalkers and early runners, so one of us kept thinking she was going to find the mythical dead body. She didn’t want to, but every time someone made an exclamation she thought there was one. We found blood, one pair of shoes, and some straps hanging from a tree, for her that was solid evidence of a dead body, even though the blood was the red goo one special tree eliminates when cut.

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The Bleeding Tree: doesn’t it look like blood?

Every time we started going up, climbing what was like stairs with steps half a meter high, we would wish we were going downhill. As soon as we started going down and the knees started suffering we would wish we were going uphill where we could use our hands to climb the steps. It didn’t take long for us to get smart and desire flat surfaces, flat long stretches of trails… pity there was none. It took us 8 hours and 45 minutes to complete the walk, in my calculation it would have been about this:
– 15 min at lunch time;
– 20 min total time of small stops throughout the day;
– 1 hour walking in flat trails, either at the top of the mountain or near the water at the ravines;
– 7 hours and 10 minutes climbing up and down.
I cannot say how many times we went up and down those F$##@#$@ mountains but I am sure it was at least seven. But then again, I don’t think you are imagining it right, I bet you are thinking nice steps although high ones. Nooooo, that is not the truth. The trail was rough. On total there were about 13 steps made of cement (steps not stairs). All the rest were rocks, earth, water and mud, and the eventual iron bar step, riddled in the stones, that you have to climb vertically.

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So happy to see Civilization! Cowan Train Station
(Orble Votes: 59)

Beyond all Sane Limits – Part 1

When you go through an adventure you cross the finish line a different person. It doesn’t matter what kind of adventure or how long it takes. Going beyond your limits does something to you, it is good, as soon as the pain goes away!

This is the story of a 30km bush walking at the Great North Walk.
I had a chance to experience that last Sunday. When my friend said she was doing the Oxfam walk with the Informa team I thought it was awesome. A great idea! I even went to the walk’s website to see if there was any team looking for people to join them so I could go too. When I started reading the information I realised it was 100km bush walking. That was when I decided it wasn’t something I wanted to do this year; maybe next year… Anyway I told my friend I would go with her to some of the training sections on weekends.


Informa Walk on the Wild Side Oxfam Team

We have been walking from Mosman to Wynyard some mornings before work to start training. When she asked me: “we are going for a 30k walk on a Sunday, wanna come?” I quickly agreed and we moved on to other topics of conversation. After all we were doing 8km in the morning without breaking a sweat, I thought it would be challenging but nice. Basically, I was completely deluded.
It was only Wednesday last week that I decided to ask a bit more about it.
– Where are we going to walk?
– Oh, it’s a bush walk north of Sydney.
– Ok.
– It’s the hardest part of the Oxfam and we want to know how long it’s going to take us to do it. She said.
– I’m sorry???
If I was a little bit smarter I would have given up then and there. But I didn’t, in my imagination it was a bush walk with a lot of bush and rivers, crates, stones, etc. But in my imagination the world had only two dimensions, I forgot about “mountains Gandalf”…
As soon as it started I realised that there was definitely a higher plane there and was puffing on the first climb, not knowing that was easy as easy goes. I find it hilarious to compare myself at the beginning and the end of the trail in several aspects…
The adventure started full on, we left the car at Berowra station, to catch the train to Hawkesbury River station. We were buying the first ticket when we saw the train coming. We quickly made a system, one of us pressing the buttons: destination, single trip; the other feeding coins to the machine: one, two, three – The Train is Coming! – Four – Quickly! – Five tickets and we started running to catch it – not looking at the face of the girl behind hating us for having to buy five tickets at the last minute. I hope she made it too.
At the train we were chatty and noisy, the ride back home, in the car was on the other hand full of tired silence.

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On our first stop, 5ks down the road. See how happy we still were? I’m taking the picture.
(Orble Votes: 36)

Walk for Fun and to Raise Funds

75 Harbour Bridge Anniversary

This very week I was thinking that I wanted to do one of these special events’ walk. Then, today, I received a flyer about the MS Fun Walk. It was perfect. So here I come:
The thought didn’t come out of nowhere, no. It came from something that was born in September of 2007. Suddenly I found this new friend and she found me. We had a lot of interests in common including Latin dancing and life style, but more than anything we had this “too much energy” feature in both of us. So one day she invited me to do the Seven Bridges Walk and I said yes. We couldn’t finish it but we walked four hours straight. We were not prepared for the whole thing, no food, no water, no proper shoes, nothing, so we did well.

Seven Bridges Walk
Ana at the 7 Bridges Walk

After this our friendship bloomed and now and then we go for walks of all types. Recently my friend was enlisted to do the Oxfam Walk, a weekend walking in a team of four, 100 km! Well that was too much for me, I didn’t choose to start the preparation now for this event in August, but I am keen to do some shorter training walks with her and to walk for fun.

This is her team and walk:
She will be away for a few weeks and that is when I’ll be doing the MS Walk.

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Giant Ant at the Sculptures by the Sea Walk
I love walking and doing it for such a noble cause makes it ever better. Join me for the walk or sponsor me to help others! Help me spread happiness and health to the world! After all it is easy: do what you can!
(Orble Votes: 56)

Sydney University Graffiti Tunnel

I am very curious on how all this started… I went to a dance festival at the Sydney University and on the way to the venue there was a Graffiti Tunnel!
What a strange idea! I went through it at least six times in three days and every single time there was someone painting or writing over the walls, floors, stairs, and ceiling.
It was a shower of colours and strange characters, political statements, philosophical phrases, and a few that can only be “pot-induced”.
Like stepping into a strange parallel universe where you have the ultimate freedom of graffitiing without fear!

(Orble Votes: 62)

Guide to Brazilian Food Part 1

Digital StillCameraBasic Brazilian Food : Rice, Beans, Meat

I have yet to meet someone, from any part of the world that says they do not like Brazilian Food. In general terms, every person from different nationalities that I have met and have tried my country’s food liked it; A LOT!
I am bias, for sure, I think that people that migrate miss, more than all else, two things from home: the family and the food, all the rest come in second. I’m no different; I love my Brazil’s food. So I try to analyse if I think it is the best because I’m from there or if the food is particularly good for real.
I know people that do not like Chinese, Indian, Japanese, English and Pakistanese food, but everyone seems to like French and Brazilian food. This is my private experience, people that I have talked to in this multicultural city of ours.
That is why I thought about writing about our food explaining all things, hope you can try it out.

The basic stuff

The base of the Brazilian food is a plate with rice, beans, meat and salad. Brazil is a very big country and there is different styles of food and specific dishes to each region or state but from top to bottom, rich to poor, what we all wish to have every lunch and diner is this four things. Not all can, poor people in a third world country are really poor and won’t have access to this basic food.
Now first of all when you think of this you have to imagine “SALT”. It is not excessive but more than Australians are used to for sure. Less than the Greeks though.
Rice is fried before cooked, with spices , oil, salt, usually garlic and onions. When it is ready it is soft without being sticky, each grain holds its own.
Garlic and Onions actually can go into most of the dishes. Salt in all savoury plates. Chilly or peppers only in some regions of the country.
Beans do NOT, for goodness’ sake, have sugar!!! They are soft in a rich and thick cream made of a few crushed beans. Bay leaves, smoked bacon and chorizo are great to add flavour to a good pot of beans.

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This is how it is served: in the pots and pans. Hummmmm! Hungry!

Meat is seasoned before cooking, usually a few hours before so it soaks the flavours inside the meat, that is valid for all meats, red and poultry, also sea food… When it is cooked it has this perfect flavour…
Salad can vary from the simplest lettuce with tomato to the most different ones. We don’t even have names for the salads, not like we have here: Caesar, Greek and Coleslaw and everyone does mostly the same with a few variations. Palm tree hearts are a specialty and very good in salads, my mouth waters just to think about it.
Of course for all things there are variations. The plate in the picture above has banana schnitzel instead of salad… Daddy made it for me when I was in Brazil, he is my favourite chef of all times in the whole wide world…

(Orble Votes: 50)

Poetic Wall Paintings

I love when I walk amok. Following my instincts, going after something I don’t know what it is. The other day I was early for a meeting in Manly and had some free time on my hands and feet, so I just kept walking with no destination, I ended up seeing something inspiring. This guy was painting these walls inside an Arcade, Roycroft Arcade to be specific. He was covering every surface available with art, love and passion.
I realize I’ve never even asked his name, just asked if I could take a picture for my blog and saying I would put it in. It took me a while to write about it so I don’t know if he will actually see it.

Artists painting a wall
Art at Roycroft Arcade’s wall – Manly NSW

Seeing something like this is like seeing the poetic side of the Universe. Or maybe its all like that if you look at it the right way… all is poesy.
Roycroft Arcade  Digital StillCamera  Digital StillCamera

I like the small details, like the bird and the plants leaking to the pole in front of the wall, the mermaid and sea creatures on the front pillar, I loved the effect, it made a dark passage become a bright spot of life.

(Orble Votes: 31)

Written Life, Written Car

The front is a piece of Art!

Car 1
This car was parked near my friend’s place…
I thought better to erase the registration numbers of any cars in the picture to protect people’s personal information.
Look at the details, most of it is in French.

Car 3
“I came, I saw, I conquered.” Phrase by Julius Cesar
Je suis venu, J’ai vu, J’ai vaincu
Even D&G figures in the writing in the right.
Shit Happens Ouiiiii! (Oui is Yes in French)

Car 4

Lets Ride!

Car 5

This part says:
Whoever says love, says sex…
Whoever says sex, says heat…
Whoever says heat, says chimney…

This is a brilliant idea, if you have an old car, why fix it?

(Orble Votes: 39)

Our Daily Coffee Nonsense and My Coffee Quotes

I’m working at a multi-national company and from my duties the most important one is to notify people that the coffee van has arrived. We are located in an isolated place but civilization finds us here in the form of a small van with a beautiful espresso coffee machine. It arrives every morning bringing hope to the hopeless, energy to the sleep deprived, brightness to the dumb and a happy smile even to the grumpiest of them all.
It took me a while to realise how big this was, a few mistakes when I called some people to let them know and they didn’t answer and I let it be; another time I assumed that if the person was not on site it wasn’t that important, but apparently this person was on her way and would have intercepted the van before arriving. By the looks they gave me and the seriousness the issue took I realised that if nothing else happens, everyone has to know about the coffee. The rest of the work is superfluous.
Happily caffeinated people will not care about any other stuff.
So I started sending these e-mails called “The coffee van has just arrived (or… Our Daily Coffee Nonsense)”. Their structure was like this:

Good Morning!!!

The coffee van has just arrived.

Have a smooth day!


Our Daily Coffee Nonsense …

(Something about coffee)

(A coffee picture from the internet)

I always change what I say about the day and the coffee.
At first I started picking things from Wikipedia about coffee… That was how I learnt that some people drink coffee from grains that a kind of racoon has thrown up.
Also that others drink coffee from grains that are found in the faeces (as in poo) of a kind of deer. (Are you serious???)

Anyway, then I started getting coffee quotes from a nice website: Really Long Link

And finally, as I writer, it stroke me that I had to write my own quotes. So I started doing it every day. And a brilliant light in my head (straight after a cup of Mocca) that I should post my creations!

Here are the ones I wrote, I will start posting them regularly from now on:
Some days, coffee is like air: without it, survival is unachievable…
~ Anonymous sleep-deprived person (me)

Craving coffee you hear the magic sound, that one that is like an old train releasing pressure, and your heart leaps happily in your chest and whispers “Coffee at last”!
~ me

You look at the clouds and feel them in your mind until you have your Coffee,
then it’s like the cobwebs are lifted and the sun is shining. Your brain smiles…
~ me

Rainy days like today make a hot cup of coffee taste even better…
From the inventions of the Universe coffee was for sure a masterpiece!
~ me

Have a great day! And today is really Friday! Yuhu!
Our Daily Coffee Nonsense …
Friday Coffee tastes like chocolate and the smell of rain in the dry earth… pure paradise!
~ me

Monday again:
I can think clearly without coffee even on a Monday morning, my mind is even able to prioritise! It says: “I want coooooffeeeee”
~ me

Fun is everywhere in life, a cup of coffee is often a good reminder of that principle.
~ me

The smell of coffee scents the air and brings you up to your senses.
Your taste buds dance happily in your mouth screaming: yuuuhuuu! Coffeeee!
~ me

Some people live to see the sun-rise, some live for the stars, a few for the moon and a lot are for the sunset.
Others live for the coffee van arrival, each to their own passions.
~ me

(Orble Votes: 44)

Swim Between the Legs

Desire explodes as you wish to dive for the wetness of the sea. 

The legs surround your ideas, the sun makes you hot and sweaty.
The beauty of the colours flies in the wind marking your objective.
The clear blue sky tries to distract you.
But you are obsessed. All you want is to dip into the cold water.
You see your intentions clearly.

So you make yourself stop to look between your own legs, get up, shake the sand from your bum and go for a swim; between the flags, of course!

Isn’t this picture great? I just look at it and start laughing out loud!
I took the liberty of adding the second flag myself
They are not my legs but my friend gave me the permission to display it.

(Orble Votes: 41)