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On the Adda

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Parco Adda Nord (3).JPG

Back in Italy for the summer. Luci and I flew back on different flights because she got a free frequent flyer flight. She got bumped from her connection from Amsterdam to Milan and ended up flying into one of the airports way out of town. On top of it all, her luggage got left behind in Amsterdam so we got it the next day. Mine went better because I had to pay for it. Plus, it was one of the fastest trans-Atlantic flights I have ever taken: just about 5 hours from BOS to LHR.
My brother Jesse is here visiting us. It is the first time any of my family have been over to Italy to visit us in the 8 years I have been coming here regularly. His flight made Luci’s seem smooth. He bought the cheapest ticket to London with the idea of getting a cheap “no-frills” flight to Geneva to see his girlfriend and then come to Milan to see us. Not a bad idea if it had worked. The problem started when the cheapest flight to London was from NYC via Raleigh, NC (and really wasn’t much cheaper than a flight to Milan). When he arrived in Raleigh bad weather had grounded the planes. When the planes began moving again and he was able to disembark from his flight, his London Flight had already left (with his luggage). To make a long story short, he had to spend 24hrs at the airport and pay $130 to change his easyjet connection from London to Geneva.
After spending the weekend in Geneva, he took the Train here to Milan. The woman who lived in the apartment next door recently moved into an elderly home and luci’s parents managed to get it for the week while Jesse is here. It makes having 5 people here more comfortable. Today we went for a long bike ride down the Adda River. The Adda flows out of Lake Como near the town of Lecco, to the east of Milan and ultimately into the Adriatic sea after merging with Italy’s largest river, the Po. A large part of the river bank is park with miles of bike trails. We took the train up to Lecco and biked all the way back to Brugherio where Luci’s parents live.
Tomorrow we are going into the city so he can see the sights. Then, on Thursday, the idea is to rent a canoe and paddle down the Ticino river on the west side. The last time I did it, Luci and I did it on the 4th of July in it little rubber canoe (with a slow leak).
We are starting to think about the hut and have slowly begun to put things in motion to get it open. I plan to hike up in the next couple of weeks to see how the building fared the winter. We’ll start by opening on weekends in June and then open for the summer starting at the beginning of July. There is a lot more snow this year, which is a good thing as far as the climbing is concerned.

Back in CONUS

Wednesday, May 12th, 2004

Tux 1.jpg

Now that we are back in Maine we have been spending most of our time around the house. Since we are car-less for the first time in I-don’t-remember-how-long we have only had a vehicle on the weekends when my mother is not working. We made one trip up to My brother Isaac’s to see our niece Hazel and the newest addition to our extended family, Asa’s daughter Abby. They are both very well behaved and fun babies to be with. Best of all, they are not mine.
My next weekend trip was up to the White Mountains to take advantage of the last remnants of snow before summer took over entirely. On May 1st, Sunday River had their annual ‘Free Day’. They surprisingly had 4 runs open. It was a scorcher though and the little snow there was, was mush by 10:30. So I jumped in the Jeep and drove over to Tuckerman Ravine for my annual pilgrimage there. The weather was still beautiful when I arrived but I spent the afternoon talking with old friends who live and work up in the ravine. The next day’s weather was not so nice but cooler so the snow stayed firm longer. I got three runs in: Left, Gully, the Chute, and the Lower Headwall. The snow was pretty dirty but it is May after all. The rain held off until late afternoon and it helped keep the majority of the weekend warriors at bay. It was nice to be back up there, albeit brief. It might be the last time I go snowboarding until we go back to Antarctica.
Yesterday we got back from a weekend in western PA. We had a memorial service for my grandfather who was born in that area. It turned out to be more of a Family Reunion than a funeral. There were about 50 people who turned up for the ceremony, most of which I was related to and had never met or not seen in a long, long time. My parents, Luci and I, Isaac and Hazel, and Joel all decide it would just be easier to fly down rather than drive since my mother had to be back to work today. It was Joel and Hazel’s first time on a plane. We rented cars and drove around the area were my father and his family were born and on Sunday we went into Pittsburgh to the Zoo together. Now that we are back we have a whole week before we even have to see a plane again.
When we arrived back here in Maine from NZ, we had an appointment for our medical screening for next season in Antarctica but I still didn’t have a job yet. I hurriedly made some phone calls and e-mails and soon had a job offer with the UTs or Utilities Mechanics. Luci already had a job with supply. Today we began the long process of PQing (Physically Qualifying). The Dr’s appointment was much easier than in past seasons. We got to do the ‘short form’ which means we only had to have blood and urine tests and TB tests. We still have the dental part to do but we wait to do that in Italy where our dentist is. Something always goes wrong though and now it is just a matter of waiting to see what it is. The first time we did the medical my EKG printout didn’t make it into the envelope and we didn’t find out until we were in Italy. Last year, the urine sample for Luci’s drug test opened in the mail (nice’ huh?). We had to go to the forensic science lab at the University of Milan to get a drug test done. Do you know hard it is to find someone who does a PCP test in Italy? This year we have a week-long buffer so hopefully everything will be in order before we leave to go back.
We leave in exactly a week to go back to Italy. Luci and her parents are going to Egypt on holiday and Jesse is coming to visit me while they are gone. He is flying in and out of Geneva. We are hoping to make it up to the hut while he is around but we’ll have to wait and see what the snow conditions are like. I bought a tiny laptop for Luci (a Sony Picturebook). It is perfect for the hut. If we manage to get the phone line working we should be updating the blog often.

Flight home

Wednesday, May 12th, 2004
LAX-BOS GC.jpg We got super lucky. We got our van sold in a flooded marker. In NZ, the ownership can easily be changed right at the post office. We woke up ... [Continue reading this entry]

The short version

Monday, May 10th, 2004
Coromandel (19).JPG I know I have been bad about keeping our blog updated. It just got to be too difficult to find an internet place with a card reader. I lost a ... [Continue reading this entry]