Monday, October 19, 2009

Eat your heart out Colonel Slade

In the spirit of not getting too complacent in my cozy little routine, I've decided I need to continue to find things to do that I've never done before. In that vein, last night I attended my first (of 6) Tango lessons. Yeah, you read that right.

Now, I know I've only been to one class, but, if I do say so myself, I'm not half bad. Seriously! Kasha, our instructor, seemed fairly impressed when I responded in the negative to her query about whether or not I'd ever had a lesson before. She said I did extremely well for a complete beginner. And, trust me, she doesn't just say that to all her students. The majority of the class certainly didn't elicit such praise. In fact, there are a couple of folks I think will require Kasha to dig pretty deep into her teaching bag-o-tricks to find the pearls to get 'em moving with even the slightest modicum of grace.

I don't know if I'll ever get a call to appear on Dancing With the Stars, but I imagine I'll do alright. We'll see.

Hold on. Now that I think about it, thanks to my 15 seconds of screen time on Country Calendar a few months back, I have actually been on television--and in the kiwi version of DWTS, I think that's pretty much all that's required to be considered a "star." I'm not kidding, apparently the guy who won it last season is the weather man on the morning news program. Maybe, I'll have my people look into it--after a few more lessons that is.


Monday, October 12, 2009

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor!

Let me tell you about my relationship with tequila. I have no relationship with tequila. We had a falling out one night during the summer of 2001 in San Miguel, Mexico; and our feelings for each other ever since could best be described as silent loathing. I tried once to patch things up between us one evening at a bar in Montana in September of 2004, but to no avail. I'm afraid our differences then were as irreconcilable as they were immediately following the itinial rift. And, I'm afraid they remain so to this day.

All that being said, I can (and do) still appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making a good quality tequila. So, when I saw my friends 'shooting' some Herradura the other night down at Barluga, I was utterly aghast. Despite my personal feelings toward the sinister liquor, I know that a good tequila (such as the likes of Herradura, Cazadura, or Don Julio, among others) is not supposed to be 'shot,' but rather sipped. I explained all this to my amigos, after thoroughly chastising them for wasting such a fine tequila by throwing it as quickly as they could down their gullets. I then introduced them (by way of explanation rather than demonstration) to a particular method of serving/drinking tequila that I picked up during my time in Mexico. It's called 'la bandera,' which means "the flag" in Spanish. La bandera is a shot glass of tomato juice (red), a shot glass of tequila (white), and a shot glass of lime juice (green) served together side by side so as to resemble the Mexican flag--which is red, white, and green. One then simply takes little sips, in turn, of the three parts of the flag.

My friend Mike, the bar manager at Barluga, was quite impressed. He said he might even add 'La Bandera' to the drink menu. I won't be enjoying any banderas myself, mind you, but there might be a discriminating tequila drinker or two in the future that'll appreciate this little Kiwi bar's efforts to serve up the quintessential Mexican quaff with some authentic Mexican flair.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why is the ground rushing so quickly up to my face?

There are two standard questions that serve as conversation starters when you meet someone for the first time in Wanaka during the winter. They are: "So, you here for the season?" or "Been up the hill much?" They're kind of the equivalent of the "What's your major?" question asked by oh so many college freshmen. But I digress. Anyway, I received some strange, uncomprehending looks when I responded in the negative to those two queries over the last few months. The 'never summer' crowd of skiers and snowboarders--those that pop back and forth between the northern and southern hemisphere chasing winter year-round--who descend upon this little berg? burg? burgh? (I really must look that up sometime) every winter seem utterly perplexed by the fact that people actually live here all year and might not actually be here solely to ski (or board). In all fairness, I guess this is technically considered a ski resort town. And in more fairness, even most of those who are not here solely to ski (or board) go up the hill at least a couple times during the season.

This last Sunday, for the first time this season, I 'went up the hill'; and for the first time in my life, I strapped on a snowboard and hurled myself down a mountain (read, the very gentle decline of the learners' slope at Cardrona Ski Resort). With Shannon's board, helmet, and goggles; Mike's gloves and boarding pants; and a hookup on free boots at the rental shop from Amy I was ready to see what all the hubbub was about.

I'll say this: I can see how snowboarding could be enjoyable. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I, however, enjoyed it. I mean, falling down (sometimes quite hard) and picking myself up again a couple hundred times over the course of a few hours is not how I'd describe a particularly enjoyable day. Now, I think with a little bit of practice I might eventually get good enough to find some enjoyment in the activity, but for now, uhhh, not so much.

I don't mean to imply that I was completely hopeless. I mean I did show some (however slight) progress over the course of the day. For instance, I actually got pretty "good" at falling. What I mean is, I figured out how to fall, when I knew a fall was imminent that is, in such a way as to keep the potential damage to my body to a minimum. Sad to say, I never figured out a way to do the same for my pride. Still, I am glad I went and gave it a go, and, the soreness I've felt for the past four days not withstanding, I do actually look forward to getting back up on that horse, so to speak, and trying again.

The only thing is, my first day of the season happened to fall on the resort's last day of the season. Looks like I'll have to wait until the mountain reopens next June for my day two. That reminds me, did I tell you I was staying in Wanaka and making it my home for the foreseeable future? I didn't? Hmm, that's weird. :-)