The climbfish have now evolved to cover my life in the US - including very exiting life in downtown Baltimore (aka the wire) and ocean research expeditions with NOAA. I don't promise frequent updates but I will try and cover the most and least exiting times here. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New York and Äppelpaj

Sunrise with a great 360 deg view over Manhattan from Alex roof.
We finally made the trip to the big Apple, 3 hours north of Baltimore. Anna has been talking about visiting New York since I first met her more then 4 years ago, so even though I was exited to see the city skyline for the first time as the bus drove in to the city, the most fun part of the visit was really to observe her!
New York New York in the bustle on Times Square
We stayed at Alex apartment in the middle of Manhattan close to Soho. Alex is Annas classmate Karens boyfriend, and a cool and generous German PhD student (apparently he will make us live 300 years longer through stem cell research, so there is no need for age paranoia anymore).
I always wanted to go to a karaoke bar with private rooms, my wishes fulfilled during
Jeongs birthday party in NY. Performances ranged from hip hop to Japanese and
Korean love songs (inte helt olikt en ångestladdad finsk balad på kryssning till Åbo )
Anna with Elin and Anna - Friends visiting from Sweden!
On our way to see statue of Liberty, check!
View of Manhattan from the Hudson river, check!
Brooklyn Bridge, check!
Ground Zero, check!
Swedish sponsor of Occupy Wall Street?! Check!
Central park, check!
Big elephant, check!
High Line park, check!
Empire state building and urban jungle, check!
Subway, check!
Wine and jazz with Karen and Alex, check!
The NY city globe by night view, check! (and no its not a falling star in the
background, there is only artificial light in NY, even the sun is fake)
Put very exhausted little girl to sleep, check!
Anna left me(!) on Monday morning to go back to school in Baltimore, while I decided to stay a few more days and hang out in NY at a little slower pace... I must admit it has been quite nice go for a morning run in central park, walk around the neighbor hoods and spend some serious time people watching while eating sugar drenched muffins and sipping on a coffee... Me and Alex also took the opportunity to watch the eminent movie "Hot Dog" well worth watching if you haven't seen it yet.

Now of course it had not deluded my sharp eyes that there where some important and serious protest going in on in the city, and with Anna out of the picture I decided to spend a little more time dwelling into the hearth of them and to show some support. To get you involved and up to date I found some reporting skills in my back pocket and inspired by an infamous BNN reporter I met I got to work, enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Assateague Island - where the wild wild horses run (mum visit, part 2)

Chauffeur Kågesten and passenger Birgitta Tergil on route to Ocean City, Maryland
After some intense days trying to see all there was to see in Baltimore and DC me and mum packed the jeep full of camping gear and went for the coast. Well it wasn't the official plan at first, mum wanted to stay in a comfortable hotel in Ocean City, which surprised me as I know she really likes camping. But after a while she admitted that she was a little scared of camping in the US due to crime and unknown beasts, so I took it as my mission to change her view of what is dangerous here.

3 hours drive from Baltimore to Ocean City and Assateague Island
By coincident our trip to the coast just happened to correlate with a god surf forecast, and just by as much coincident I happened to stop by a surf shop and rent a board as soon as we got to Ocean City. Once in the surf this friendly fellow Nate decided to sell me his very yellow board for 100$ and I couldn't resist...
Two new friends found in Ocean City!
Surfing skills are a little rusty still...
Mum in Ocean city next to two local gangsters and holding on to "real" coffee in her hands (she kept asking "do you have real coffee?" everywhere we went as she doesn't like the weak tea like brew served in the US... Luckily I am past the age when you get embarrassed about your parents and was proud to show her the espresso machine instead)

Once we got to the camping on Assateague Island, 8 miles (15 km) drive south of Ocean city my horse loving mum was greeted by the "wild" horses that live on the island since 300 years back, and she started to warm up to the camping plan.
Mum enjoying a beer under the full moon and a roaring fire, much better then any hotel or bar.
When we woke up in the morning there was horses all around the tents, the horse below had just been to the toilette and was cleaning himself at the water tap when a very sleepy camper opened the toilette door behind the horse and walked straight into the rear end of the horse, quite enjoyable to watch...
I don't know about wild horses, this one seems to be very civilized.
Some good scenery with horses roaming free
They say life at Assateague Island can be pretty harsh at times with lots of insects, wind and sand, but during our first day the only annoyance was the little fellow below sitting on a tough grass all around the campground piercing through and getting stuck in anything from my crocs to our clothes and skin.
A little less friendly fellow greeting us at Assateague Island.
The wind picked up so we went hiking on the beach and on some trail in the park and played with our cameras for most of the day...
We spend hours watching these little birds feeding in the surf, it seems like they spend their
whole life running up and down as the waves roll in and out trying to not get their feet wet
A stranded visitor and a "living fossil" on the windy beach, the horse-shoe-crab
 While the wind didn't do much good for the wave surfing the kite surfers where having a blast and where pulling off some quite impressive maneuvers.
Kite surfers ripping it up at Assateague beach
Is it a recent lava flow? Remnants of an ancient earth quake? Ah, forgot we are in the US, it is of course an old asphalt road created during an effort turn the wild lands into a big resort. luckily the road got destroyed in a storm in the sixties and the island where turned into a national reserve instead.
When the wind finally dropped in the evening I got some really nice surf under the last rays of sunlight. I met beardy Bob who also comes from Baltimore and we teamed up to surf until it got pitch dark. It turned out that Bob is a talented musician and he gave me a cd that stayed on repeat in the car for most of the trip. Look up Small Sur on spotify and listened to his last cd from 2011, good stuff. As we both like surfing, beards, music and live in Baltimore I think we will meet up for some more surf trips to the coast later in the fall.
During the very last hour of daylight the wind suddenly dropped and the surf turned nice and glassy.
Me and Bob, a new found friend surfed until it got dark while mum kept up with her paparazzi work.
Beautiful sunrise surf at empty Assateague Island beach with dolphins just outside the break.
what more can you ask for the start of a day.
We kept exploring the island the following day before we returned to Baltimore during the evening to save/kidnap Anna from her study marathon and take her to dinner.
Global warming?
Finally some good use out of the Jeep!
Xmas time! There are all sorts of shops along the road in the Maryland country side.

Mum have now left me and Anna after a great time here and we already miss her. Anna just finished her exams (for this time) so this weekend we are going to NY, looking forward to it.

Back in Baltimore - Mum visiting! (part 1)

It has surprisingly been nice to come back to Baltimore now that the stinking heat is gone. Back in town involves good things like living with Anna again and meeting the friends that I made here before the NOAA cruise. It also involves having to cook your own food, use money, and dealing with the future: what to do (easy) & how to make money (hard)... 
Run ashore in Baltimore... First day in downtown Baltimore after 7 weeks at sea and look what was greeting me and Anna, the US coast guard ship that we met out at sea with Okeanos Explorer just a week back.
 I went to DC for the first time and met Jeremy from OER and his NOAA colleges for a very happy and lively Oktoberfest after work, the NOAA people are truly a good sport I must say and I was impressed by how there was people from all different parts of NOAA enjoying German songs and lederhosen together. DC is only 45min away with the train from Baltimore, and we live close to the train station, so it was pleasant to discover how nice it was there. I even took a short trip to see if the president was home to schedule a meeting with my mum who where due to arrive later in the week. 
Meeting up with Jeremy Potter, who got me the job with NOAA/OER, in downtown DC for Oktoberfest after work together with his friendly NOAA colleges. I was very impressed with their German song skills!
As of future plans to work for NOAA there are talks about having me on the boat when the field season start in mid February so I hope that will come true. In the meantime I am looking for short term projects around Baltimore, if that turn out to be hard to find there might be some more traveling when darkness sets in here... Time will tell, at the moment I am still enjoying having time to do whatever I want and I have some projects of my own to spend time with on rainy days. 
  Mum arrived on Saturday to visit me and Anna for a whole week. Really great to have her here and also have an excuse to be a proper tourist for a week. Its not that often that you get to spend a solid week with your parents these days when you are busy with career and friends.
On the weekend (Oct 08) mum came to visit all the way from Sweden! She has been here for a week and we have been exploring Baltimore and its surroundings together. Anna has been studying around the clock for her final exams yet again, so its been extra nice to have the company. I have discovered things like that there is a great free art history museum across the street from where we live and many other things that I never took time to explore for myself. I let the following pictures tell the rest of the story to lure more friends and family visiting!

Visit to Baltimore National Aquarium in downtown harbor, conveniently close to the cheesecake factory.
Me and mum took the train to DC and rented the commute bikes to get around the beutiful capital. We stopped at a lovely white building and this real friendly fellow Obama took our picture!

Mum met some friends from the sixties and decided to join them for a good cause. Apparently they were living right there on the square, and they also invited us to another festival in NY on wall street. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time.

Then more friends showed up, We had so much fun!
Then there was more sightseeing to do, its really quite pretty in DC with some really big trees!
...and all the great museums are free! I have to come back and take my time to get to know all those guys better.
To make sure mum got a real American experience we rented a big ass Jeep for the rest of the week and went shopping at Walmart! (to our poor moral defense I had booked a compact but they were out and upgraded us...)
All the shopping got me so exhausted so we went "hiking" at Patasco 20 min away from Baltimore, by "coincident" they had just stocked the river with trout. Brian in the background were climbing the trees to try and spot them for me (...and no we didn't catch anything this trip neither if you have to know!)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Water for my poor soul

Sitting at Philadelphia Airport while waiting for a 2 hours delayed flight to Baltimore, killing time by looking back at the last few days. I gave in to the US style of life and rented myself a car, even though I didn't really need one, and just like that life got comfortable. Car and all my body is still acing after 2 days of sightseeing in Newport, I guess all I really did was to surf and God(!) it was good to surf again, too long since last time.

A view I have been waiting for, Second Beach Newport
I was surfing until my arms killed me and the seams on my surf shorts cracked completely,
 leaving me with very little privacy... fortunately I had a big surfboard to hide behind
while scrambling up to the car for a well deserved break and some photography...
Now where am I supposed to clean myself?
Seagull keeping a close eye on the fisherman in the background
I stayed as the only guest at Newports only hostel owned by an older lady, and as I kept saying she looked young to be on the safe side she took me out to enjoy some live salsa music in town last night, good stuff. The town itself is beautiful and when the surf dropped at lunch today I did some driving around to check out the historic sailboat surroundings and fill my share of nice views.
Lots and lots and lots of nice sailboats everywhere
I have a feeling I will come back here again, its really nice in Newport. On monday it looks like swell surfing on the Maryland coast, might have to revise my schedule.