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, December 14, 2011

GOOD and EVIL - the dark side of town!

Angela serving soup at Bouillabaisse Cafe, best lunch place in Baltimore!
Yesterday I went for a bike ride to Patapsco state park and back. It all started well, sun was out and my first stop was to pick up lunch at my favorite restaurant in Baltimore, the Bouillabaisse Cafe. Angela who owns it together with her husband is a beacon of light!
A treasure on 316 Park Ave
She always give me way more then I ask for and charges less then her already modest prices suggest. She also serves fantastic soups (cream of crabs on Monday - highly recommended, and the bouillabaisse seafood soup on Thursdays is phenomenal), and keep her culturally mixed audience (Mormons, politicians, homeless, business people, swedes to name a few) entertained with snappy replies and a happy laughs. First time when I arrived there with Brian, she was just about to close. But instead of showing us the door she asked us: How hungry are you? When we said we were pretty hungry she opened her shop and served us delicious soup and subs 

Austin trying to spot fish for me, to no vain...
After a fun day with Austin biking and fishing our way through the Patapsco river valley I started to make my way home. I had decided to follow the bike route through Gwynns Falls Park, sort of infamous for crime but it turned out to be quite a nice bike ride most of the way between Patapsco and downtown.

Biking around I've noticed how much litter there is in some areas. Often when I have been hiking and fishing on relatively pristine places near the city I have encounter plastic and garbage laying around.

Visa större karta

It has somewhat surprised me that such a rich and developed country doesn't take better care of the local environment around here. But what I encountered along "dead run" running through the Gwynns falls park on the estate of Crimea (guess that should have given me a pointer), was really quite disgusting. There was so much plastic garbage that the whole river looked like a big dump site.
Prime recreational river running trough Baltimore city, time to start cleaning up!
The main stream "dead run" and the creeks running in to it smelled strongly of raw sewage water (I know that smell really well since a glorious summer job as waste water technician). So it seems like the properties in the area were sending sewage water directly into the streams and into the Chesapeake bay watershed.
A small pond of plastic bottles swarming the shore. Recycle?
What makes it worse is that it's a really pretty river and park with great potential of being a prime recreational (read fishing...) area for the city with beautiful historic surroundings. From what I have seen of other streams running through Baltimore and into the Chesapeake bay it's not the only one heavily polluted, dumping serious wast into the ocean (it takes something like 400 years before plastic breaks down). It makes me angry...

Pieces of plastic everywhere, much of it looks like the bags you get in the supermarket
Most of the plastic wrapping around everything we shop feels so unnecessary. Make a small contribution and bring some reusable bags and a backpack when you go (Christmas) shopping - save some plastic from getting used/produces. And give away experiences instead (theater tickets, pole dancing classes and so on). As a gear maniac I do not live like I teach, but I do try...

Heal the world..! Sorry for the ranting.

Ending on a positive note. Yesterday was Lucia day, a Swedish tradition. We eat gingerbread, drink glögg and sing/listen to Lucia chores. I found a random you tube video for you to enjoy it to! I know it looks like the kids are dressed up like Ku Klux clan, but they really are saints!

A more grown up version: http://svtplay.se/t/123386/luciafirande_i_svt

Friday, December 9, 2011

Surrounded by bears, killing time

Baltimore celebrating turning on the Christmas lights on
Georg Washington Monument, next to where we live.   
November ended nice and peacefully with Thanksgiving weekend, celebrated together with Annas professor, Bob and his family. We ate really good food and played American football - there were even talks about me and Anna qualifying to Superbowl next year. Anna got (almost) two days well needed break from her insane amount of studying before she went back to her dungeons again.
The most important part of thanksgiving, eating desert.
I think we need to import this holiday to Sweden.
Saskia and Anna were very skeptical of my excellent pathfinding skills, as
I took them to one of the parks to fill their starving gills with fresh water.
The girls enjoying a banana in our lunch cave

Thanksgiving Critical Mass Ride, gaining momentum for the Baltimore bikers! 

Then there was the glorious world movie premier! I had finally "finished" (it's never really finished) the movie I have been working on for the last few (many) months about the Jan Mayen ski and sail trip that we did this spring. I filled my audience with champaign and Swedish chocolate balls so that they would like it, and I think it worked. Now I just have to figure out what I should do with the film, after all the time spend it would be fun to find a bigger audience somehow and I put some (a lot of) effort in and made sure that the music was royalty free too. At some point I will post it online here so you can see it. 
World premiere, Jan Mayen Ski&Sail Movie!
Now, after all this I was exited to start working again. But if there is one thing you learn in the States, it is that administration here takes time, and that patient is the word of the day. It turned out that the security process to get me into the NOAA building takes longer then they anticipated and the new prognosis was that I will be able to start working in 3-30 days... So back to killing time again, without being able to make any substantial plans (yes, I have been obsessively rooming the web for cheep flight to go skiing in the snow filled rockies, but that will have to wait). Fortunately I am pretty good at killing time, and in addition everybody seems to be doing what is in their power to make the process as quick as possible. I did kind of panic though and got a very strong urge to leave the city for a while to make something useful of my days. It ended up with me renting a car and driving 3 hours south west of Baltimore to Shenandoah National park to go hiking by myself for a few days. In between the big cities on the east coast there are actually some pretty great nature around, though somewhat patchy. As soon as I got home me and Bob and a friend of his went surfing for a day too. A lot of driving but it's amazing how a bit of outdoor activity can help you set your spirit straight again. 
Arrived pretty late, but the winter sun was still shining nicely on the mountain range.
I hiked until it got dark along Big Run river valley where a local had pointed me to an area with plenty of wildlife and good fishing for brook trout. I found a little patch for myself along the creek, made some tasty food and watched the rising moon. I starting to think about the large black bear population in the park, and as I just finished a book about the Native Americans, it felt like somebody was watching over my shoulder from the old days too.
Hiking alone in Shenandoah National Park. Was there something
observing me from outside the glow of the fire and headlamp?
I soon adjusted and the darkness started to feel comforting instead. The next day I woke up with frost on my tent to a beautiful day. It is great how small things like sleeping, eating and walking can be so satisfying when you are out in the wild.
Crisp and frosty morning
Same fire, different day, this time no old ghosts around. 
Bear country.. I doubt this set up would have
stopped a hungry climbing black bear, but
at least it kept the food away from my tent

Tree and rock growing old together!
No fish creek in the background. Damn it!
Surfing again, its actually still pretty nice and warm (no not in the water) around here.  
Gummibears doing what they do, studying and studying and studying 
As always I feel like I stumble headfirst into December, I can't believe it is already the 10th. Next time I write it will probably be Christmas. Back to training, yoga, studying (I try to imitate Anna by doing some reading too) and... waiting. Hopefully they will let the Swede through in time.

As you can see I now got the domain www.climfish.com! I got into a buying streak this week and as well as caving in and buying a black friday deal projector to watch movies on I got myself my first own web address, well worth the 10$ a year it cost me to try and impress you all :)