Saturday, October 30, 2010

Namaste नमस्ते - now with pictures!

Well, I'm in India, I'm having an unbelievably amazing trip, and there just isn't enough Internet access to live-blog it. But I seem to be live-tweeting it, weirdly, since my cellphone is working pretty well almost everywhere. So for the moment, here are my first 10 days worth of tweets and pix!

21 Oct

A lovely morning of yoga and touring Old Delhi. Next, shopping in New Delhi, and trying to convince my body it's 2pm, not 2am.
22 Oct

Just said an entire sentence in Hindi. To an actual Hindu. In Hindustan.
22 Oct

A few hours until we go see the Taj Mahal, at midnight, under a full moon. So excited! PS please god no more buffets.
23 Oct

You know how they say the Taj Mahal is stunning regardless of how many kitschy pictures you've seen of it? Truth.
23 Oct

Sharing the road with my tour bus: Cars. Other buses. Trucks. Rickshaws, bicycles. People on foot. Cows. Dogs. Camels. Horses. A goat.
24 Oct

I almost didn't see that dromedary hidden beneath that tree. He was completely camelflaged.
24 Oct

On the road in Rajahstan.
24 Oct

On Safari in India and people are all excited over peacocks. I'm all: whatevs. Come to @campalonim
24 Oct

Omg omg omg
24 Oct

It's a tiger-eat-deer world out there. Wait till you see the video. Omg. #India
24 Oct

Guys, I haven't seen my email in 6 days. SIX DAYS WITH NO EMAIL. No, it's ok, I'm surviving. Sort of. Barely.
25 Oct

Yes, I took those pix of tigers in Ranthambore National Park. No, I didn't see Katy and whatshisname.
25 Oct

Yes, I have been staying at the same "luxury resort" where many of their guests stayed. No, I never want to leave. But: on to Jaipour!
25 Oct

Done with morning yoga and breakfast in Jaipur. Now - elephant ride!!
26 Oct

When in India...
26 Oct

I. Bought. A. Rug. Omg I bought a rug. In India. At the factory where they make them. Silk. Gorgeous. Omg so much money. 27 Oct Back in Delhi. So, what's in the nightstand drawer of Indian hotels? The Bhagavad-Gita, of course... and Gideon's Bible. Yes, really. 28 Oct Getting on Kingfisher Airlines to fly up to the Himalayas. Naming an airline after an alcoholic beverge? Don't drink and fly! 29 Oct Hello, Dehradun. On to one of the 7 holy cities, Haridwar, Gateway to the Gods. Our guide just said, Welcome to the real India. Challo! 29 Oct "Wait, is that the fucking River Ganges right there?" Yes, yes it is. Satsong on the roof and now bed. Back up there for yoga at 8am. 30 Oct Overheard at rooftop yoga today when in the distance, a bell rings. "Is that breakfast?" "No, the opposite; that's God." 30 Oct

A sign for @CCnono 's collection!
30 Oct

How great is the word _funicular_? Also, how great is a funicular ride up to worship a Hindu deity that grants wishes? I love this place.
30 Oct

Yes, this is what I came halfway around the world for...
30 Oct

Heading to Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world. Ashrams, saddhus (pilgrims), yogis, swamis.

On the way to an ashram - Chabad House!!

31 Oct

Last night in Haridwar, great group celebration (I got the Shakti award- "ready, willing, and able"!) and getting so sad to leave... :(

1 Nov

Also, kinda got picked up by one of the waiters who all think I look exactly like Katrina Kaff. Now, if only he'd stop calling me "Katie".

1 Nov

On a train, from Haridwar to Delhi. In the station, travelers, pilgrims, beggars, monkeys. And utter chaos... which somehow isn't really.

2 Nov

About 15 more hours in India. Unutterably sad.

2 Nov

What's on the menu at Mcdonald's Delhi? The ususal: Paneer salsa wrap. McTikka Masala. Big chicken Masala Mac. Filet-O-Fish.

3 Nov

Saturday, October 16, 2010

If you want to buy me some lululemon stuff, that's ok with me. Just sayin'.

0. I bought new shoes! As bad of an idea as it seemed, especially given that I didn't even buy the exact same shoes as I had before, the woman in the store took a good look at my old shoes and made it clear that however stupid it might be to buy new ones right now, running in those other ones was even stupider. Seriously, I had been thinking about how-many-months and how-many-miles and never once picking the damn things up, looking at the (utter lack of) tread on the bottoms and making a rational decision based on the fact that they are SHOT TO HELL.
AND they cost less than $100! And here's a shout-out to my two favorite running stores, Road Runner Sports (where I bought both pairs of shoes) and Phidippides, who always has my favorite flavors of sport bean even if no one else does.

1. I ran 20 miles today! The first 15 went well, and I was elated as I started the 4th lap (I run a 5-mile loop at the park), thinking about how proud I was about to be that, no matter how long it took, I got my ass up and out and ran 20 miles, alone!! And then I took a dive. I tripped, I fell. Face plant. Sprawled in the dirt. I bit it. I ate pavement, man, literally. I finished the last 3 or so miles bloody, dirty, and tear-stained. Well, a new experience every time, eh? Cool.

2. And because 20 is not so different from 26.2, you get this: scarily accurate. My favorite is the shoe-tying attempt.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My sneakers, because you really care about this particular detail

So, last year when I first started running, I went to a good running store and got analyzed and fitted and bought a new pair of good running sneakers. They were great. To be honest, I had been having some calf pain from running before the new shoes and it went completely away from the moment I started using the new shoes.

So I've run in those shoes for a year now, and I've so far put at least 333 miles on them, including three marathons.

I'm going to run 20 miles on Saturday, my last long run before the NYC marathon. I'll be in India for the intervening two-plus weeks, so I'm not planning to run much, if at all, in between.

So the big question is, do I get new shoes for NY??

Experts generally say good shoes can handle 300-500 miles before they are worn out. After this weekend, my shoes will have over 350 on them, and a marathon is, you know, a marathon. The hardest run you ever do. This makes me think yes, get new shoes.

On the other hand, I don't have much time to be sure they're good or that there are no problems with them. One doesn't have to "break in" good shoes, but that doesn't mean that a 20-mile run is a good idea for a very-first time wearing them. So that makes me think, no, don't get new shoes, because certainly the mary itself can't be the first time I wear them, and the only other option is the 20-miler. There just isn't any time for us to get to know each other. AND BUT I can't jeopardize the 20, because I have no other time to do it and I must get that in before I leave for India!

So, what do you say?

(We're talking about $100 here, maybe a little more. Not pocket change, but nothing that's going to break the bank...)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You complete me.

So, in college I knew a girl named Lauren Elson and another named Laura Nelson.

Now I know someone named Loren Nelson, and I'd like to collect all four.

Laura Elson, are you out there? Can we be friends?

Friday, October 8, 2010


So, as you may know, I'm going to India soon!!

As requested, here's the story: I'm going for two-week trip with my mom and a group of her friends. The trip is in honor of her 60th birthday. She's wanted to visit India for as long as she can remember and now she's finally going! I'm so excited and lucky that her birthday request is that I go along too :)

The itinerary is set by the tour group and not at all up to me. Sadly, this means I'm not going to make it to either Mumbai or Varanasi, both of which I'd really like to see. However, we will be in New Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur, and Haridwar. I think the most free time we have is at the end of the trip, in Haridwar and back in New Delhi before we leave. I'm really excited about the whole trip, and totally open to whatever kinds of experiences the group has planned for us.

I've been taking an Introductory Hindi class for a few weeks! It's a ridiculously few hours of class for only a short number of weeks, but at least I can sound out lots of written words and I can say the most basic things, like "My name is Erica" and "I'm not a doctor but I am a teacher." You know, the usual :)

It's actually kind of funny looking at how I'm preparing for this trip overall. Do I know what the exchange rate for dollars is in the local currency, or the details of that local currency? Nope. Did I think to get an electrical adapter until, like, yesterday? Nope. Do I know what the weather is supposed to be like when I'm there? Not so much. I didn't research those things.

So what have I been doing?
First, I read Shantaram, an INCREDIBLE book that takes place in Mumbai.

Now I'm reading the Bhavagad-Gita and a book by Salman Rushdie, and the stack next to me consists of: Gandhi's autobiography, Forster's A Passage to India, A Fine Balance, and two Jhumpa Lahiri books. (It actually also includes The Jew in the Lotus, but that may be a whole nother story.)

I watched "Monsoon Wedding" on Netflix last week (thanks, B!) and I've got a list of four other Indian movies I'd like to get to before I leave, if I can find them.

I downloaded a whole bunch of Bollywood music.

Einat and I went to Jewel of India for dinner on Thursday.

And I'm studying Hindi! If I could find a Bhangra class to take here before I leave, you know I'd be all over that. It's the culture-immersion approach, don't you know? :)

Hey - you ever been to India? If you've got advice, suggestions, warnings, postcard-requests, whatever... send 'em over! read_dance_bliss at yahoo dot com... or use the comments!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


In a comment on my post about my upcoming fourth marathon, SJK pointed me to this short article about a man running a marathon on every continent. My favorite bits are these, mostly the descriptions of the races:

...Heyl will brave sub-zero temperatures, strong Katabatic winds, and the task of running 26.2 miles in Antarctica to realize his goal of completing a marathon on every continent; joining a club of less than 100 people who have done so in history, said Richard Donovan, organizer of the race and member of the club.

Fewer than 100 people!

...the Paris Marathon, a tour through the City of Lights, and then found himself training for The Great Wall Marathon, which takes place along the Great Wall of China.

He spent his afternoons that year running up and down the stairwell of the 13-story building where he works, trying to prepare for the tiny steps and high slopes of the Great Wall, designed to repel invaders with uneven footings and narrow pathways.

Sooooooooo cool!

The Gold Coast Marathon in Australia was followed by the Big Five marathon in a game reserve near Johannesburg, South Africa — where Heyl said he ran along lions and cheetahs over loose sand.

Heyl's wife, Andrea, said his sixth race, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was a treat for her too.

Australia and South Africa and Buenos Aires are sooooooo high on my travel wish list I can't even tell you.

Registration for the [Antarctica] race is listed [at] 9,900 Euros, or $12,741.30, on its website.

Haaaaaaaaaa ha. Too bad I have this work-for-a-living thing going on. Independently wealthy, and I might consider this a decent way to spend some time :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Multiples; Or, Two vignettes about how I'm perfectly normal.

0. Ha ha, an author of books about marathons has a webpage about multiple marathons. He describes how one woman ran a marathon three weeks after running another one. What does he have to say about this? He calls it:

"Insanity at its purest level". YES!

(Really, it was no problem. I was already trained! I just recovered and then did it again - easy!)

1. On my own, I'm not so good at getting my ass out the door at obscenely early hours of the day to run obscenely long distances, so I sometimes run with Team in Training even though I'm not on their team right now. At rehearsal practice (dammit, I always do that!) recently, someone was telling me how she was "pulling an Erica" because she was going to do two races three weeks apart.

(Of course, she was doing a HALF and then a full, not two fulls, but you know, we can't all be rockstars... :)