Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Just don't sit down 'cause I've moved your chair

During the summer days there is not much to do in Dubai. It’s basically too hot to go outside (unless there is a breeze from the water and you are in a shade and preferably water in the pool is cooled down, which unfortunately is impossible for the sea), stupid to stay in the mall go shopping whole weekend, claustrophobic to spend your time in the hotel room and exhausting to work out in the gym all day.
I really try to keep myself occupy and I’m not finding easy excuses and I’m not trying to complaint about Dubai in the summer time, but the heat here is just unmanageable. After 5 minutes of walking you are sweating and your head starts spinning from dehydration. Yes I miss European summer.

To make things better and to keep ourselves busy and sporty during the weekend we’ve drove to Abu Dhabi to Al Forsan resort to learn wakeboarding. They have there cablepark with three cable systems, starting form the beginners to the advanced. Maybe it’s not the cheapest experience, but at least it’s fun and challenging and even after three days you feel that you are alive as every inch of your body aches.

First we had some issues to get there as we were not able to rent a car, cause all three of us left our passports with the guy who takes care about residence visas for us. Obviously to rent a car in Dubai you need your pass. So after the whole trip to the airport on Friday to get a car we had to give up and we went to the beach. But wasn’t it for three consulting company employees who we are that we come up with another idea. There is that private driver who drives us sometimes back to the hotel from the office (especially on Thursdays). He offered one day that even with waiting time in Abu Dhabi it’d only cost us 400 Dh to go there and back. Fair enough. We booked him for Saturday.

Saturday was as hot as every other day and by the time we got to Al Forsan I was shattered already, even though I was only sitting in the car, not even driving.

First you pay entrance fee which is 55 Dh (25 of that is a voucher which you can spend for any of the sports), than you pay 230 Dh for 4 hours of wakeboarding. At least it includes swimming vest, helmet and basic board. You can also rent obstacle board for 40 Dh which when you are doing it for the first time is unnecessary.

I’ve spent first hour trying to start up, falling to the water, swimming to the shore and trying to start again. And to our luck/unluck only advanced cable was on, so we had to learn on the fastest cable system there (38 kph). But the crew there was very helpful, especially some guys from Philippines and Myanmar who were saying the same things all over trying to explain things and holding the board for me in the right position each time I was giving a try.

At last after an hour or so, I’ve started to get it and I’ve managed to start up and do quarter of the lap. I’ve fallen to the water on the curve which I did not know how to deal with. But after some time I was already able to do 1,5 laps. From the riding perspective I could probably do more, but my hands were too weak to hold the handle that long and to be pulled that long so I was basically letting it go and falling to the water.

After some time and after I was managing it easily to ride one of the employees there told me to change my easy start up board to the pro one which is narrower and you put your feet into shoe thingy and not only into straps. Why not?

Jacek was having a break and nice obstacle board so I took it from him. What a difference. So much easier to ride, but indeed more difficult to start with. Too heavy to hold it in the starting position. Again I’d be unable to start up without the help of the crew. The guy was holding the board each time I was starting up.

Unfortunately after 2 rides I had to give back the wakeboard to Jacek and I took one of the pro boards which were for free. But they were with fins, which I realised I don’t like, so I had to sweet talk the guy to unscrew them. And guess what? He did. I had fun on the slippery board (this is how they call it).

After a while I got annoyed that I was not able to hold the board by myself at the start up (I’ve realised just now why my hip hurts that much, it’s not from keeping my balance on the rear leg when I was riding, it’s trying to start) so I’ve decided to go one level up and learn to start form the standing position from the elevated ledge which involved jumping with the board.

And again I was trying to jump, falling into the water, swimming to the shore, getting out and trying. In the end I’ve managed and I was so satisfied with myself almost like after finishing the marathon run. What’s more everyone was trying to help me when I was learning, they were giving me tips, asking how I’m doing and telling ‘Now’ to give me a sign when I should jump. But no wonder. I was the only girl there who got so involved.

By the end of the day I was not able to walk, talk, move or do anything. I’ve just wanted to get some food and go to bed to get some rest.

It is insane how exhausted you can get after 4 hours, but it was one of the best things so far that I’ve done in Emirates. The only drawback now is that I again have problems with my hip which on the other hand has impact on my running trainings and preparation to the Berlin Marathon.

Cable park in Abu Dhabi - Al Forsan. Beginners cable.

With the lame - easy start up board

Progress - obstacle board

During the ride

Jacek and Michal

Start up

Start up by me - was it successful one or not.....


..........unfortunatelly water was not refreshing at all


I'm getting pro here ;-). Am I really or is it just a fake start up and I'll end up in the water anyways?

No fakes ;-)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Truly majestic

As usually I’ve found out that I’m flying to Dubai only couples of days before it was supposed to take place. Nothing changes here.
But before I’ve left, I’ve spent lovely weekend with friends doing sports (running, playing badminton, riding a bike), singing, doing BBQ, having fun, listening to the old vinyl records.
On Friday night first we cycled through Warsaw to reach the Vistula River and old barge called Herbatnik, where they’ve been playing funny document movies. Unfortunately we’ve managed only to see the end, but anyways it’s very interesting place.

Being thirsty we went further down the river to Cud nad Wisla. Lovely place, situated at the river bank just near the Centrum Nauki Kopernik. It is very……, let’s call it, raw. They set it up only for the summer season; skits are used there as sits and tables, here and there, there are blankets and pillows to make the place more comfy. Portable public toilets, bar and DJ stand in container boxes.

Even though (or more due to that, and the location of course) place is usually full and visited by relaxed people. Friday evening was not the best what you can expect in the mid July (chilly and wet) but still it was pretty full.

After two beers we went to check UFO at the Rozbrat, which was completely dead. Nothing going on there. Nothing at all. So in the end we went to Indeks. Not very fancy place, but music was not bad. Secondary school Bravo type place.

On the way back we were stopped by the police. At first my idea was that it’s due to my back light, actually due to the lack of it. Next idea that came to my mind was that they want to check how sober/drunk we are. That would have been even worse than the missing light. We had 2 and half beer each. Not much, but still. Losing your driving license because of that would be the Mistrz.

And what was the reason? Basically they’ve wanted to check serial numbers of our bikes, as recently there are a lot of thefts. Of course they’ve asked for our ids, which I did not have, but they’ve mentioned that it’s not mandatory to carry it around with you.

Coming back to the serial numbers, of course they could not find them on our old cycles and after a comment on Tomek’s family name (spiders, blah) they let us free. In the end we reached home after 3 in the morning. But tomorrow is Saturday!
On Sat we took a ride to Piaseczno to visit a friend, actually to do some BBQ there, spend a night, meet with some other friends (who even carried our things, so that we didn’t need to be bothered). On the way through Ursynow, Kabaty, Kierszek, Mysiadlo and Piaseczno most of the time we've spent in Las Kabacki relaxing and lying down on the grass. I don't remember when was the last time that I could so airy and carefree spend my time. Gimme more!


What the hell was going on there?


Go faster!

In Piaseczno it was even better. I was not expected at all such a warm welcome, I was not expecting most of what was going on there. Tomek and his wife - Karolina gave us the most welcoming and most honest and hearty hosts that I had since very long time. Hospitality is definitely their number one. I don't know what skills these exactly are, but they were able to make us feel like home. We were going around, cooking, using their facilities. Lovely people, with lovely kids.
Saturday evening/night it was eating, drinking, dancing and listening to vinyl records. Sunday was a sporty day with light breakfast only and almost 22km in the rain. I was rather in a good shape, last two kilometers I was even to speed up a little bit. If I had to I could go run further, but actually time was running away and as I was flying to Dubai at 19 I had to start getting ready, taking shower, having dinner and so one.
In the end my flight to Munich was delayed due to the very bad weather conditions in Europe and I would not be able to catch flight to Dubai, so I've changed my ticket to fly on Monday and I've spent one more day and night in Warsaw. That was a gift from above. Finally I was able to finish watching "Breakfast on Pluto" and on my flight from Munich to Dubai I got an upgrade to business class. So sweet. The only thing that I regret is that I was not able to try their food as I've been sleeping on the valium all the time, but at least the seat was very comfy.


Adas and Jasiek


Usually cats don't like me. This one must be weird as it come to me on its own

Tomek the DJ and Franek Kimono rulezzzzz

Runner from the 80s

Kinga, Doris and Marta in the rain

Doris, Mati, Marta and Tomek

Tomek presents what his ostre kolo - fixie can do

Myself, Marta, Kinga, Doris, Tomek, Tomek - rainy runners

Thursday, 7 July 2011

I wouldn't go there without you

I've trained to perfection organising flights, connections, trips etc. And so, on Tuesday night I took flight from Dubai via Frankfurt to Warsaw. On Tuesday already I've had this wonderful feeling of arriving holidays although I was not planning any holidays. Extended weekend only. Was it because of the first day of the summer on Tuesday (21st of June)? I even had this song in my head which is taught in the kindergarten:

Lato, lato, lato czeka,
Razem z latem czeka rzeka,
Razem z rzeką czeka las,
A tam ciągle nie ma nas

On Wednesday night I've flew home. I was in Warsaw at 9 in the morning, I had another working day there, but working from home was rather painless and pleasant. Much more efficient than working from the office would be. Traveling there, meeting with all the people, having coffee with everyone, going for lunch would require too much time.
In the evening I've packed my bag, did some shopping and I was ready to get back on the way. Direction Bieszczady. The wildest mountain chain in Poland situated at the South-East. At the border to Slovakia and Ukraine.

We've left Warsaw late in the evening. With Marta, Faz, Doris and Mati we took a minivan to Rzeszow where we've arrived at 3a.m. and we were waiting and sleeping at the bench at the bus station. We had  to catch a bus to Czarna Gora and next get somehow to Polana where I was planning to start our hiking.
We did manage all of that and made a 3 hours trek to Chata Socjologa at the Otryt. That was just enough after sleepless night (two for me in fact).
In Chata Socjologa two more people joined us and what was funny almost everyone's met there people that they already knew. That was surprising. Almost end of the world, no running water, no electricity, about 30 people on site and they know each other form somewhere else.

Fasola sleeping at the bus station in Rzeszow at 4a.m.
Don't forget to follow the blue marks

From behind Fasola's shoes

Chata Socjologa on the Otryt. This hut burned down some years ago and was rebuild in the pretty much the same shape. Still there is not electricity and running water.

Cytrynowka in Dubai shot glasses on the Otryt. What a mix!

Tomek, Marta, Fasola, Mati and Doris hidden in a hammock on the porch of Chata Socjologa

Guitars and songbooks make the best party in the mountains

On Friday and Saturday we've made really good hiking. On Friday we went down to Dwerniczek, climbed up to Magura Stuposianska which was a real challenge due to the timber cutting around and heavy vehicles which made the path incredibly muddy. It guess that it took twice as long to climb up as it would normally take. Anyways searching for a way and slipping down was fun. Every step as a challenge, especially that our boots got so much heavier from the whole mud that stuck to our soles.
When we've passed Magura it was so much easier. We went down to Koliba hut and next up to Polonina Carynska and down to Ustrzyki Gorne where we've spent the night. What's more we've been sleeping there in border guard quarters.
We've been meeting again with Tomek and by the time we got to Ustrzyki Gorne he arranged a place to sleep for us. That was lovely, especially that we've arrived there rather late.

In Dwerniczek at the foot of Magura Stuposianska. All the way up looked pretty much like that, just steeper.

Tomek and Mati are resting on the lodges before the way up

That was one of the few nice spots on the way up. No mud, what a pity.

Tomek and myself in the woods

Magura Stuposianska. 1016 m.

Doris and myself on Magura Stuposianska. She's very pleased that we've made it.

Polonina Carynska. Jana is a girl from Germany who I've met via some friends couple of years ago and I've met her now on the way in Bieszczady. Coincidence?

What's the hell going on down there???!!!!!
Pierogi after long hiking taste always delicious

To get fully into the groove of that place we turned on famous Polish Movie shot/placed in Lutowiska which is a village in Bieszczady. The Dark House is a gloomy thriller giving insight into the machinations of small town corruption Polish style.
Unfortunately I was too tired to watch it and instead I took BeforeGoingToBedNap. Anyways I've seen that movie already.

On Saturday we made a hike without our big bags. We've left them at home and took only two bags with water and waterproof jackets. Weather was very unstable. Sun, rain, fog, hail...Till we got to the Szeroki Wierch it was pretty much ok, only there it got foggy but when we got to the top - Tarnica (1349)- the highest peak in Bieszczady it got sunny again.
This was what we've wanted, as we planned to dress up into swimming gear and take some photos under the cross which is at the top.
People thought probably that we must be some freaks when they saw us undressing but that's made the whole thing even funnier. Tomek even had fins. The only missing thing was a snorkel.
Just when we dressed into proper clothes it's started to be cold, foggy and hail started again. The problem was that we were at the open space at the top of the Bukowe Berdo which is more or less a ridge. Maybe not very sharp (flat even, like alpine meadow) but completely open. We were completely soaked and cold from the wind and hail.
Luckily we got home safe and sound and happy.

Getting ready to climb Tarnica. But why do they pack swimming googles, fins and swimming hats? Let's see....

On the way up


Smile everyone!

Fins, googles, bikini on the Tarnica peak. Let's go swimming!...

... but where's that lake?

Probably the last moment of good weather on Saturday

Whole team on Tarnica
Bukowe Berdo in fog

Bukowe Berdo

Doris and Fasola did not go with us via Bukowe Berdo. They went down to Wolosate and at least they've had good weather.

Fasola tries to get some water from the well I guess....

Made by Fasola. My favourite one.
Unfortunately that was the last day of a long trek. On Sunday we made only quick hike to Mala Rawka and back. We've divided into couples and made our way back to Warsaw. Doris and Fasola were lucky as they've managed to catch a car from Lesko to Warsaw, so they were back at home quite early. Tomek and I hitchhiked too but we were rather unlucky and in the end we had to take bus to Rzeszow (where at the market square we had a pint of beer), next minivan to Tarnobrzeg where we were picked up by his dad who drove us to Sandomierz, where in turn we got a lift from some of his friends to Warsaw. Unexpectedly it was rather pleasant and relaxing journey. Probably one of the least trodden trails from Bieszczady to Warsaw.
The least lucky was Marta and Mati as they got home only in the morning, but still everyone made it and everyone had fun hiking and hitchhiking.

View from Mala Rawka


Yo, yo

Stork that we've met hitchhiking on the way to Rzeszow

Rzeszow marketsquare. My bag was to heavy and pulled me back when I was squating.