Sunday, February 28, 2010

First Ski Race

Yes today at my age I did my first giant slalom.  Well actually it wasn't that giant just a social race in the club that Giovanni belongs to, but it really was the first time I've ever done such a thing.   It was fun and interesting to get a tiny bit of insight into what racing is about.  My sponsor already quit me, says I don't have much of a future - just a friend kidding around.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Fear of What and totally Ass Backwards?

The US a country isolated from the rest of the World by geography and very friendly with it's only physical neighbors spends just slightly less on military defense than the rest of the World combined.  What are we so afraid of - underbombers.  Are Americans really just a bunch of cowards so fearful that we are willing to give up our constitutional rights and spend half of our GDP on defense against enemies that put bombs in their underwear.  Are we really defending American interests around the world with at least one US military base in nearly every country.  Defending them against what?  The US, which is still the largest economy in the World, spends 48% of GDP on defense while China spends 8%.  ( I can't help but ask the question, which country seems to be doing better around the World when it comes to national economic interests?  Which country got the oil deals in Iraq and which country, the one that invaded it, got left out of the deals.  Which country spends billions on foreign invasions and propping up corrupt governments while not being able to afford health care for it's poor or the rebuilding of it's infrastructure.  And finally which country is loaning the US the money it doesn't have to finance it's foreign adventures.  Frankly I just don't get it.  I just can't understand why the citizens of the United States don't stand up and say wait a minute things are just totally ass backwards.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kids That Ski Race

I take Giovanni down to the bus at 1:30.  The other kids arrive driven there by grandparents or parents on their lunch break.  They arrive with skis way taller than they are some are wearing ski pants that seem more like tights and some have a kind of pair of shorts over them.  They have their helmets and goggles, tall stiff boots, and ski poles that have a curve in them and snaps that connect them to their gloves.  Giovanni is already on the bus as I put his skis in the luggage compartment and when I give him a last look and attempt to say goodbye he's already gone into his world leaving mine behind. They go off and the parents go home or back to work.  A few hours later they are back with bright red cheeks from the cold and wind and happy tired faces.  But if we parents ask them questions about what they did or how it was the answers must be dragged out of them for it was their world they were in not ours.

On weekends they arrive at 7:30 am for the bus ride to lessons or races.  On race days they may ride in the bus sometimes for hours, then spend a little time warming up.  When the races begin they wait in freezing cold temperatures at the top of the run until their moment, which is 40 some seconds or so speeding down a run in a way that would frighten the pants off of most adults.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One of the World's best places to eat lunch

I've written about this before, but having just finished another tour of the Sellaronda I have to comment again.  I'm talking about skiing.  I did the tour today with 4 other men.  It takes around 4 hours or so depending on how fast and how many stops one makes.  It's a tour around a group of mountains where one goes through 4 big mountain passes and through I'm sure maybe eight different ski resorts that are all connected.  It's a lot of fun and pretty much all intermediate skiing.  It's a tour of the Dolomites on skis, the views are just the best in the world, beautiful mountains and valleys covered in snow.

What does it have to do with lunch.  Well the thing is, which I think is somewhat unique in Italy, scattered throughout the mountains at various stopping points are refugios, places of refuge, which in days past and in some cases today serve as resting places for hikers.  In many one can eat and spend the night.  But in reality most are great little restaurants.  Today we stopped high up on the mountain, the restaurant has a large deck outside full of tables.  The food is Italian, and it's true that Italians don't stand for bad food.  The service is remarkably fast, almost too fast.  I mean as soon as we sat down the waitress arrived took our orders which were all served in the time it took me to go to the bathroom.  And we are not talking about fast food, though much is pre-prepared.  But what makes it so fantastic is just sitting there in the sun after having skied hard for a couple of hours surrounded by one of the most beautiful views in the World.