Retroblog – Indian FRO

Direct experience with Indian bureaucracy.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I will occasionally post some flashbacks to some favorite old trips and events. I’ll start with our sabbatical in India: we lived in Bangalore from August 2008 through May 2009, at the Indian Institute of Science.

One of the early challenges was to register with the Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO). This is a long blog post, but one that people still mention to me even a decade later! Wow.

The office of the Commissioner of Police, in Bangalore.

Snow curls

In the right conditions, snow curls as it slides off our roof.

It’s raining today, aka miserable winter weather for a guy who loves snow and snow sports. What little snow we had left is melting quickly. As a fun side effect of the past week’s moderate temperatures (highs just above freezing, lows just below freezing), however, the snow on our garage roof is curling. What the heck? read on.

Snow slowly slides off our garage roof as it melts, rising up where it hits the snow-retainer bars. It froze into this position a week ago! (Photo from two days ago, 14 January.)
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Lambert Ridge

A grey day but a nice outing.

For a few months I’ve been thinking of returning to Lambert Ridge, a ledgy section of the Appalachian Trail up Smarts Mountain, not far from here. The first section is steep, leading up to a series of granite ledges with broad views that belie the relatively low elevation at this point on the trail. The climb to these ledges is a worthwhile dayhike, and brings back memories. Read on!

A ledge outcrop near the trail up Lambert Ridge, Smarts Mountain, New Hampshire.
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Retroblog – first day in India

A flashback to our sabbatical in India.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I will occasionally post some flashbacks to some favorite old trips and events. I’ll start with our sabbatical in India: we lived in Bangalore from August 2008 through May 2009, at the Indian Institute of Science. Our first day was full of logistics, and great anticipation – and a good background for the retroblogs to come.

Moosilauke

A very blustery day!

After yesterday’s good news from Georgia and horrific news from Washington, I was grateful to spend a few hours in one place on earth that gives me great peace: Mount Moosilauke. As I drove east out of the Connecticut River valley and over the shoulder of Mount Cube, I could see that Moosilauke’s summits were clouded in – disappointing – but I also enjoyed a deep-red sunrise among the clouds near the eastern horizon. A bright spot in a gray day. Read on, and check out the photo gallery for videos and more pix!

Kathy pauses on the ridge as we approach the summit of Moosilauke.
Continue reading “Moosilauke”

Retroblog

it’s time for some flashbacks!

I began blogging in 2008 when we moved to India for a year-long sabbatical at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). In 2012 I had to switch platforms from Apple MobileMe to WordPress, leaving the old MobileMe postings available … but in a clunky form. In the past month I have slowly migrated the early blog posts, through May 2009, to WordPress. Since I don’t expect to be traveling any time soon, I think I’ll post occasional flashbacks – retroblogs – to that year in India.

We had an elephant ride in the hills of Kerala, December 2008. David, Mara, Andy, John, Pam.

Stay tuned!

Morning sun

Sunshine and fresh snow brings happiness.

On a morning like today, with an overnight snowfall coating the landscape in fresh powder, and the rising sun bringing the day’s first glow to the trees on the opposite side of the river, it’s hard not to be grateful for the beautiful world in which we live. Happy new year!

Snowfall

New snow for the new year.

Yesterday morning brought us a nice snowfall, re-decorating the lawns and trees as they should be this time of year. It was a heavy wet snow, never amounting to more than 2-3″, but was pretty while it lasted. Sebastian was especially fascinated, spending hours on various windowsills, waiting for the moment when a sheet of snow would slide off the metal rooftop and, with a earth-shaking whump, hit the ground below.

Sebastian watches for chunks of snow to slide off the rooftop, while a wet snowflakes accumulate outside.

We’d made pizza the night before, and kept the pizza oven warm overnight. This morning I shoveled a pathway and stoked it up, making it ready for the next big experiment: cedar-smoked salmon.

The pizza oven is fired up and ready to go, during a snowstorm.

The salmon came out really well, though Andy says we learned a lot of lessons and it will surely be awesome next time. 🙂

Hoppin’ John

A southern tradition.

We celebrate New Years’ Day with two traditional foods from the South Carolina Lowcountry: Hoppin’ John and Collard Greens. These classic dishes were inspired by African traditions and have been a New Year’s tradition in the Carolinas for at least a hundred years. Pam (who grew up in lowcountry South Carolina) made a wonderful meal for us this year, guaranteeing us good luck and financial prosperity: “Eating those two dishes will ensure prosperity in the new year, and the collards represent greenbacks and the black-eyed peas coins. Or so they say.” [Moss 2014]

A small serving of collards (left) and hoppin’ john (right).

In preparing this post, however, I looked around a bit and found that fascinating article ([Moss 2014] from a Charleston food writer in 2014) about the history of Hoppin’ John… providing interesting background on the African origins of this dish, and how the commercial evolution of the key ingredients (bacon, rice, beans) mean it’s difficult to really accomplish the original quality of this dish. Next time, we’ll strive to find the original ingredients and see how it turns out!

Blueberry mountain

A hike on a blue-sky New Years’ day.

Tim, David, and Kathy, on a hike to Blueberry Mountain.

It has long been a tradition for my Dartmouth friends and me to hike a mountain on New Year’s Day. Today we were fortunate to have outstanding weather: a blue-sky day with moderate temperatures (20-30º), and a fresh (though thin) layer of powder snow at higher elevations. We had eyes for Moosilauke – our traditional destination for New Years – but with weather this nice, we anticipated huge crowds. Instead we headed for Blueberry Mountain, a pretty little (2,663′) bump to the southwest of Mount Moosilauke.

I’d been up here once before, but from the east, and today we came up from the west. The west is a longer approach, but a pretty trail nonetheless. We were the first to travel this trail since the snowfall a few days ago. To be more precise, we were the first humans on the trail since the snowfall – we were following a coyote’s tracks for most of the way up! Indeed, the coyote often provided clues about the route when the trailbed was not so clear.

The view from the summit is partly obscured by trees, but Moosilauke was visible and delightfully clear from this close. It must have been a grand day up there! In the photo below, the south peak is most visible.

On the summit of Blueberry Mountain: Kathy, Tim, David, David.

The sign at the trailhead advertised 2.2 miles, but my GPS track shows we walked 8.52km round-trip (5.3 miles, or 2.65 mi each way). Two smartwatches also indicated a distance closer to 2.7 miles for the ascent.

A fresh dusting of snow decorate the trail near the summit of Blueberry Mountain on New Years’ Day.

Hike stats:
distance 8.52km
gain: 423m
time: 3h15m

Blueberry is at left: blue trail is today’s route.
Moosilauke is at right: purple is the Glencliff trail in November; red is the Gorge Brook trail in July.