Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I'm alive!

And I made the foolish mistake of going on vacation with my tablet, not my netbook.  The tablet was fine for things like reading a book on the plane (indeed, way better for that than the mobile phone) but when it comes to typing things of great length, nothing beats a freakin' keyboard.  And this is coming from someone who is pretty darned fast at Swype.

ANYWAY, once I came back, the day job (and the night job) got a bit ahead of me, and I didn't have enough time to 'blog.  (And I wasn't getting much sleep...)  Yeah, yeah, excuses.  Let me just get on with the post-trip blogging.

I went up to Whistler with some friends for our more-or-less annual ski trip.  Although I don't ski.  (The five-year-old will soon surpass me in skiing prowess.)  As a place to go for non-skiing, I enjoyed Whistler a lot more than some of our other destinations.  There was tons to do in the village.  (As we happened to be there during the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, there was even more to do in the village.  And we got to watch some of the "Big Air" competition.  Although, yes, there was that vague smell of burning rope hanging in the air.)  

As is traditional, we went tubing.  The Whistler Tubing Park (sponsored by Coca-Cola) has a few things going for it:  It's pristine; it is well-staffed by friendly people who are more than happy to give you a push or take a group photo; and they let you link up a bunch of tubes and go sailing down as a group.  This is the bad thing going for it:  It doesn't stop you at the end with an uphill slope.  Instead, you just continue sailing down a flat.  However, the little "magic carpet" lift which takes you back to the top of the hill starts way over there, a little ways up the hill itself.  Result:  once you have your minute or two of fun tubing down the hill, you grab your tube and haul it a substantial distance in the snow, part of it uphill, before you get to the lift.  I think we only tubed 6 or 7 times before we were too wiped to go on.  (And, because I was getting so hot and sweaty hauling my tube back to the lift, each time I got there, I was taking off another layer of clothing and just throwing it in the tube.  If we'd stayed much longer, I would've been tubing in a sports bra.)

I also took a morning to go on a zipline tour through the rainforest.  (Yes, there's a rainforest there.  Who knew?)  It was a really fun tour, and I must thank the folks in the Whistler Village Information booth for pointing me toward them.  The people in line in front of me were asking about zipline tours and were told there were two companies that did them, Ziptrek and ... the other one.  And they had the good sense to ask the difference between the tour companies.  Information Booth Lady said that with Ziptrek, your guides pull on the line to slow and stop you, while, with the other company, you stop by hitting a spring at the end.  Having had my fill of that particularly type of zipline four years ago, I signed up with Ziptrek.  This is seriously a full-service operation.  They really do stop you by controlling your speed -- your little wheelie clamp that's on the line ends up getting caught by a little wheelie clamp they send out at the end of the line, and then slowly bring you in.  AND they set up a photographer in a tree someplace to take really good pictures of you.  Check it.

Totally sweet. 

As we were getting into our harnesses before going out to the lines, one of the guides asked where I was from.  I said "L.A."  He asked if I followed hockey.  It seemed that "yes," was the answer they were looking for, so I said, "a bit."  Seems that our L.A. Kings had just beaten Vancouver in the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs the night before.  (Jokes from the couple from Vancouver telling them to give me "the bad harness" followed.)  I made a mental note to keep an eye on the playoffs and, if the Kings kept winning, to stop telling people that I was from Los Angeles.  I spent the next few days in Vancouver, telling everyone I was from "not Los Angeles, that's for damn sure."

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