Posts tagged ‘travel’

July 30, 2012

My first BASE jumps

When I first started skydiving, I thought for sure that I would want to try BASE jumping. What skydiver doesn’t? BASE jumping has become increasingly visible in just the last few years. It’s featured in all sorts of movies and commercials, not to mention all over youtube, for your viewing entertainment. Almost starts to look safe and accessible! Almost. Because it’s not at all safe or accessible. I’ve given BASE jumping a lot of thought for the past 6 years. I ultimately rationalize the choices I make based on risk vs. reward when it comes to my hobbies. Skydiving to me has relatively little risk with unbelievable amounts of reward. I feel much more in danger driving in a car than I do jumping out of aircraft. They do say driving to the drop zone is the most dangerous part of your skydive! I knew BASE jumping had very high risk, but how much reward?

I had the opportunity to find out for my birthday back in May. I took a first jump course in Twin Falls, ID from one of the best teachers in the sport. I like structure and lots of information, which is exactly what I received from the Snake River BASE Academy. When the time came for my first jump, I felt like I was on my very first tandem skydive again! Having no idea what to expect and pretty excited, but strangely not feeling fear or nervousness. Just like on my first tandem, I kept waiting for the fear to hit me and it never did. The Perrine Bridge is 486 feet high (that’s pretty high!), BASE jumping is legal year round, and the landing area is huge. Plus I had thought about it for many years, had around 450 skydives at that point, knew lots of BASE jumpers, and felt like I had learned enough from the course to make my very first jump. I felt as comfortable as you can possible be before jumping off a bridge.

And then I jumped!

How cute is this beer from a local brewery? It’s called the Knutkase!

I’ve always loved the feeling of falling, so it wasn’t a surprise that I LOVED LOVED LOVED the falling part in BASE jumping. I always feel so free when I am falling and I find the feeling in your stomach to be very pleasant! Unlike bungee jumping where the bungee softly stretches out to stop you and takes you bouncing again, you are VERY abruptly stopped by a VERY fast opening parachute. Ouch. I think it opens in like a hundred feet? (In comparison, my skydiving canopy takes about 1000 feet to flutter open.) Then you get to fly a huge canopy to landing, that part was of course pretty familiar. I can detect a slight bit of adrenaline, but for the most part it’s all about the falling for me. So are the very real risks of death, serious injury, and arrest worth the few seconds of falling??

Maybe.

I’m still trying to decide what role BASE jumping will play in my life. I made a return trip to the Perrine Bridge and also jumped from a 250′ antenna/power tower at home last month. I finally felt pretty nervous on the antenna jump. The climbing part was fine. The slowly putting myself into place on the exit point with nothing to hold on to and lots of bars to hit if I lost my balance and fell to my death part? Not so fine. But again, once I committed to go, I felt totally in control and very much free. It feels like a (very short) escape from reality and I like that.

I don’t think 19 jumps from just two objects is really enough for me to know anything. I’m going to give myself a jump from a building and a jump from a cliff to decide. Maybe I’ll retire after I get my BASE number. I understand that there are many ways to minimize the risk involved, which is the only way I would even consider keeping this as a hobby. But that’s probably like trying to keep blackberry bushes pruned back or keeping an elephant in a toddler playpen. I would only jump easy objects?? Except I would crave more challenge after a while, which could end really badly. So who knows. I’m sure my mother (who is probably reading this) would really appreciate it if I never ever jumped again.

I look pretty good in THE CHEETAH though!

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August 22, 2011

SFBay trip eats, part 2

Traveling and staying paleo is rather challenging for me and I definitely failed the second half of this trip. It’s easy for me to stay paleo in Seattle when I’ve already eaten pretty much everything I would want to eat in my many years of being a foodie! But when I’m out of town, I eat whatever is recommended by locals or whatever I can find. Another issue I have is that I am tempted to drink much more when I’m traveling. Probably because I’m rarely alone and thus “forced” to be social the majority of the time, which usually means there’s alcohol around and I have no willpower when it comes to good booze, haha.

On Thursday, we went to a tasting at St.George Spirits, a distillery located in an old aircraft hangar in Alameda, CA. Besides what’s listed below, we were given several other spirits as well. Aside from a few that I did not care for (absinthe, some black tea liqueur), everything was really good. I especially enjoyed the vodkas and the whiskey.  The eaux de vie and liqueurs were like juices to me…yum! .25oz pours start adding up, especially when you’re a total lightweight! Needless to say, I was drunk by the end of this. Then we went to a bar. When I’m already drunk, I forget that I should probably stop drinking. When I’m out with people who don’t know me well enough to cut me off, it’s just bad news bears. So came the Irish car bomb, the tokyo tea, the touchdown, and more drinks that I don’t even remember. I vaguely remember hot wings and quesadillas as well… It hasn’t even been a couple posts since the last time I blogged about drinking too much. I said in that post that I would never drink again, but then I did not even a week later with some regrettable consequences. I definitely blacked out at some point and I am sooo very sorry, R! It was a good reminder of the real reason I stopped drinking (to excess), not just because it makes me sick, but because I’d black out and do something stupid. Lesson learned, yet again. Perhaps it’ll stick this time? Actually, it already hasn’t, because I seem to be back in the habit of ordering a cocktail when I eat out. I probably sound like I have an alcohol problem now! My advice: stay paleo, don’t drink, and  you’ll be much happier with less troubles in life.

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Apparently this was the shark model from “Deep Blue Sea” – I’ll admit to having seen that cheesy movie.

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On Friday we went to Los Gatos Cafe in Los Gatos, CA for breakfast. There were more paleo options that what I ordered, but hey, I was on vacation and I had already given up on staying paleo so I ordered the crabcakes benedict with spinach and hollandaise on the side.  Yum! I must make paleo crabcakes soon! Walking around after breakfast, I saw a French pâtisserie. When I’m in non-paleo mode, you absolutely cannot keep me from French pastries if they’re within my line of sight. I got a coconut macaroon, a lemon tart, and a chocolate cake… I can’t stop at one either.

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I think this was a lunch from Thursday? This was probably my most paleo meal of the second half of my trip! It’s a Vietnamese chicken sandwich in salad form from Sierra Deli in Oakland. Grilled chicken in a lemongrass sauce (I tasted soy sauce and sugar, so not totally paleo), cilantro, tomato, jalapeño, avocado, cucumber, and daikon. Oh how I LOVE daikon and I enjoyed this salad way more than I thought I would a salad from such a small unassuming deli and market attached to a condo. I will definitely be recreating this salad in fully paleo form!

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I spent my last half day in San Francisco walking around the street and farmer’s markets, which really is one of my favorite things to do in the whole world, especially in the company of my favorite people. I love all the energy, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the colors, the food… everything. My friend and I had lunch at La Mar, a Peruvian fusion restaurant. We shared two cebiches and the skirt steak empanadas (not pictured). What is it about raw seafood “cooked” in acid that I love so much? I could eat it every day. Eating the empanada and having a cocktail made with pisco brought back memories of my travels in Peru and Chile. Such nostalgia! I definitely need to start traveling again, I especially miss Latin America.

Cebiche Mixto – “Yellowtail from Mexico, calamari and shrimp in an ají amarillo leche de tigre with cilantro, red onion, habanero, Peruvian corn and yam”

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Cebiche Nikei  – “Ahi Tuna, red onion, Japanese cucumber, daikon, and avocado in a tamarind leche de tigre”

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Everyone knows that I am the crazy bird lady. For as long as I can remember, I have just had a strange affinity for birds. All birds, not just parrots! I met my first pelican on Saturday! I had seen them before from afar, never this close! And I couldn’t help myself… He was so soft! So cute!!!

I kind of have a bad habit of interacting with wild birds… This was from a couple years ago. Yes, that’s a real crow.

 

I’ve been slowly transitioning back to my real life after a pretty surreal week. I was mostly paleo today and will be getting back to normal as this week goes on, which means more paleo posts, more often!

August 18, 2011

SFBay trip eats, part 1

I’m posting from my phone, so apologies in advance if there are lots of mistakes.

I’m pleased to say that I am back to eating fully paleo, even though I am currently away from home in the bay area! This is the longest trip yet, away from my own food and my birds! 4 nights, 5 days.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I use fasting as a means to reset my body and eating habits when I feel sick from eating a bunch of crap. I fasted for 40 hours, drinking only water and some green tea. I also did two Bikram yoga sessions within 15 hours of each other. The result? I felt completely cleansed of all the toxins I had consumed in the four days prior. I also lost the 5lbs of water I had gained in those four days. You forget how uncomfortable it is to be constantly bloated when you eat paleo and don’t retain so much water.

I broke my fast with some fruit, then made myself a proper meal. I roasted pork with onions, yellow squash, butternut squash, and garlic. I love roasted veggies and they’re even better roasted in pork fat!

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I had an early morning flight to Oakland the next day. Because I didn’t want to deal with finding paleo friendly food at the airport for breakfast during my layover at PDX, I took some prosciutto and cherries with me as snacks.

I also made sure to stop by Whole Foods after getting to Oakland so I could have snacks for the week. I picked up more prosciutto, blackberries, coconut water, and some Coconut Bliss.

Dinner the first night before flying in the tunnel was a ribeye steak with steamed veggies from Texas Roadhouse. Not grassfed, but the steak was seasoned and cooked perfectly. I had two sides of veggies – just broccoli and baby carrots. It was dark and I forgot to use the flash.
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I had a delicious burger at Chop Bar, as you can see in the pic. No bun, add cowboy onions. I loved the arugula salad. I definitely need more arugula in my life. Soooo good!!
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I’ll try to blog more tomorrow, I’m keeping this short. I feel like so much more has been going on! I’ll post properly when I return home on Saturday night.

July 16, 2011

Airport eats and paleo friends

My fourth trip to the bay area for tunnel time was my most successful yet! Not only did I see a lot of progress in my flying, I also stayed at least 90% paleo! My Vibrams were awesome for tunnel flying! I’m so in love with those shoes. I just got home from the longest day at the Oakland airport (got there really early, couldn’t get an earlier flight, my flight was 2 hours delayed) so this will be a quick food post and I will talk about the rest of the trip later.

 

Cajun RockfishAnthony’s, Seatac airport
Actually, I don’t really remember what it was called on the menu. Since my flight out of Seattle was delayed over an hour (surprise surprise, I was flying Southwest), I decided to eat at Anthony’s, which is a local seafood restaurant chain. I ordered wild rockfish from the fresh fish section of the menu. It was covered in cajun spices and came with a pineapple salsa. The sides were supposed to be rice and broccoli, but I asked for extra broccoli without the rice. This was the best airport food I’ve ever had!! Healthy and filling at less than $20! Crazy! Further down this post you will see how awful OAK is compared to SEA in terms of food choices.

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Ribs, chicken, tri-tip lunch comboJon Jon’s BBQ, San Jose, CA
Between my tunnel sessions on Thursday, I met up with a friend who took me to this little BBQ joint in San Jose. It smelled amazing, thanks to this huge smoker out front!

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It’s a pretty limited menu that serves about four kinds of meat with sides of baked beans and potato salad. I picked the lunch combo that would allow me to sample a bit of the baby back ribs, chicken, and tri tip beef and omitted the sides. I wish I had asked for BBQ sauce on the side as well, I didn’t realize they would pour so much on top of the meat. I scraped most of it off as it was too sweet for me and definitely didn’t taste paleo (I think there was corn syrup in it). The meat itself was sooo tender! They don’t have any veggies whatsoever on their menu, so this was a meat only meal for me. As much as I like meat, I need at least an equal amount of veggies to be completely happy.

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Veggie Buffet at Fresh Choice

I ate here on my last trip and was a little disappointed in the lack of meat, but impressed with all the veggies offered. Well after my meat only meal, I was SUPER happy to stuff my face with fresh veggies!!!

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By Friday I was sleep deprived  and hungry. I snacked on prosciutto and coconut water after my morning tunnel session and had lunch at an Indian buffet. I ate a little bit of rice and dairy-based curry, but there were several paleo-friendly options like chicken tikka and veggies for me. I eat gluten-free if I can’t eat paleo; rice and dairy doesn’t seem to affect my body, but I try to avoid them anyway.

My fellow paleo/primal eating skydiver friend Krisanne invited me over for an AMAAAZING paleo dinner on Friday! I love eating with paleo friends. Food is meant to be shared and meals with paleo friends are the best!! Everything was DELICIOUS and I was so happy to have a healthy, home cooked meal while on my trip. It can be stressful to find paleo-friendly food options while traveling, so I was grateful for this wonderful meal with such wonderful company. Her cat Franklin is so cute. He had the tiniest, squeakiest meow I’ve ever heard! Check out all this beautiful food!!!

Strawberry cucumber salad 
I love when my food is colorful! This was so fresh with the perfect amount of crunch from the red onions and cucumbers while the strawberries lent a tart sweetness. There was also fresh basil in it! And isn’t her teak table awesome?

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Roasted Pork Chops and Peaches
I love the use of fruit in pork dishes and this was no exception. I had seconds! The pork itself was super high quality and it was just a beautiful, tasty plate of food. The picture doesn’t do it justice! I will definitely be making this for myself at home now that I have the recipe. Krisanne of course skipped the couscous. She said she used red wine vinegar since she didn’t have white. I’ll probably also use red. She also mentioned that the recipe works just as well with nectarines and plums. The fresh basil leaves are a must!

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Mangoes w/salt, chili powder, and lime juice
Dessert! Apparently this is a common way to eat mangos in certain parts of Latin America? I don’t know, but it was good. Like Sean said, the flavor of the mango opens up with the addition of the salt, chili powder, and lime juice. It was interesting! I only ever have my mangos plain, so the extra flavor was well, interesting. Not sure what other word to use! I always eat my fruit plain, but since having that pineapple with cinnamon at the Brazilian place and now this chili mango, I’m thinking spices can go well with fruit!

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Airports are generally full of fast food. While Seatac has some better options, Terminal 2 at Oakland is awful. AWFUL. In my 8 hours at the airport, I barely ate anything because I just could not bring myself to eat SAD food despite being hungry and tired. Vino Volo the best I could find at OAK after walking around and reading every menu. I had the small plates of Artisan Cured Meats and Roasted Chicken Breast Salad without dressing. One piece of prosciutto, two slices of salami, and 2 slices of coppa with stone ground mustard and tiny pickles for $8. EIGHT DOLLARS. And artisan?! Ha! I know my cured meat, that was definitely not worth $8. The salad was $6 and pretty good with the pine nuts, dried cranberries, and goat cheese. Though it was overpriced (what isn’t overpriced at the airport?), I felt really good about eating the best possible choices available in the entire terminal.

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I’m beyond excited for hot yoga tomorrow morning!!! This body really needs it. And I’m never flying Southwest again. They reel you in with their low fares, but they steal hours of your time and stress you out like no other. I’m sticking with Virgin and Alaskan for my flights to CA now!

June 20, 2011

Recovering from last week

I know it has been a long time since I’ve last blogged. I was in the bay area again getting more tunnel time! The whole trip I slept about 4 hours a night and napped a lot during the day. So my internal clock is super messed up. Surprisingly, I wasn’t at all sore after 3 hours in the tunnel in just a few days. Pushing against all that wind is quite a workout! I was drinking coconut water every day to rehydrate and prevent soreness. I got home on Saturday and only had a few hours before having to leave for my friend’s bachelorette party. Needless to say, I was super exhausted after all the tunnel time, travel, lack of sleep, and partying. I also ate like crap the last four days…

Before I left for my trip on Wednesday, I was eating a lot of Copper River salmon – baked with garlic, sea salt, pepper, italian seasonings, and lemon juice.
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I managed to stay paleo all day on Thursday, but it took some effort. Union City, CA isn’t exactly a mecca for any kind of foodie. For lunch, my vegetarian friend and I went to Fresh Choice. What’s awesome about that place is that they list all ingredients, allergens, and whether something is gluten free, vegan, etc. It had a great salad bar. Everything else wasn’t paleo. The place is super vegetarian friendly with very little meat. What did contain meat wasn’t paleo. So my tray was a little empty. I was kinda excited to use one of these trays again, I hadn’t seen one since high school!

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We went grocery shopping in Berkeley at the Berkeley Bowl and I was soooo happy! What an awesome supermarket. They had grassfed beef from three different places, two local and one from Uruguay, which I thought was stupid. I don’t know why this picture is upside down. But I bought several cans of coconut water, grassfed ribeye, organic blueberries, hot coppa, and raw almonds. I ate almost everything on Thursday.
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By Friday, I gave up on eating paleo. I was tired from the lack of sleep and hungry from the lack of constant access to good food. I ate lunch at an Indian buffet with naan, rice, and curries. I hung out with my friend Enrique from the area before my 11pm tunnel session. His mom was so cute! Her homemade, authentic Mexican food was amazing!!! Pretty sure the chicken was paleo, but I had to have some of the rice too because it smelled soo good. I had three bowls! My friend said his mom also makes excellent carnitas. I would love to have the recipe, but she doesn’t cook from a recipe so I don’t know if I’ll be able to get it.

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We went on a drive. By drive I mean 100+mph in his Porsche Turbo on a narrow, curvy, windy, hilly road. Hello adrenaline, it has been a while! I loved the racing seats, otherwise I would have been flying around the car with every turn. I’ll see if I can post the video I took later.
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I got a quick little tour of San Francisco. I think I could actually live there! There are very few cities that I like as much as Seattle. We ended up at Ghiradelli Square for some ice cream sundaes. I picked the Gold Rush sundae which had fudge, warm peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, peanuts, and whipped cream. Could it get any less paleo? I’ve always loved peanut butter in ice cream, but warm peanut butter was even better! I could only eat about 20% of this. It was way too sweet.
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Saturday I even ate french toast for breakfast! The problem with me eating any sort of super sugary foods is that I start craving it. So the rest of the weekend was full of chocolate, scones, and cookies. I also ate noodles! And apple streusel bread! This is why I haven’t been blogging, not much paleo food to post and complete exhaustion. SAD foods make me super lethargic, so all I did was eat and sleep. But today I’m getting back on track despite waking up and immediately wanting nothing but sugar. It’s kinda crazy how I lose my massive sweet tooth if I eat paleo for a few days.