This is the story of my 6 months of studying in Arizona in 2010 and subsequent travels in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Report from a good day :)

Fik lige lyst til at rapportere om en god dag herovre. :) Ikke at andre dage er dårlige, den her har bare været rigtig god.

Jeg stod op 7.30, spiste morgenmad og tog i træningscentret kl 9.00. Der er ikke mange mennesker på det tidspunkt, så der er god plads. :)

Kl. 11 var jeg hjemme og havde været i bad, og tog så ned til byen på biblioteket for at finde bøger om lidt af hvert. Bliver altid meget opslugt af deres lille bogsalg, hvor de sælger bibliotekets udgåede bøger billigt. Meget bedre kvalitet og relevans end i de danske bogsalg! (Det gik så først op for mig nu at jeg skriver på dansk, og ikke engelsk som jeg plejer... Nå, whatever...)

Så alledere inden jeg nåede op til de "rigtige" biblioteksbøger, havde jeg tasken fuld. Jeg fandt de bøger jeg ledte efter, og sad og læste på biblioteket til 13.30. Så hjem, læse lidt mere, frokost, en power-nap, og så til time kl. 16.

Det var en time om "leadership", og pga. min baggrund med trainings var jeg godt forberedt. Timen var lidt skuffende, for professoren virkede som om han bare gerne ville hjem til Thanksgiving, så vi sluttede også tidligt. Ellers var det en god time, vi har det altid sjovt i vores gruppe.

Hjemme igen kl 18.15 fik jeg lidt at spise, og læste lidt mere i mine biblioteksbøger. Så fik jeg skrevet en del af den rapport som FARMA kræver udfyldt af udvekslingsstuderende. Fik hurtigt skrevet et par sider, og den skal først afleveres når opholdet er afsluttet - så jeg har nogle uger endnu!

Kl. 21.30 mødte jeg Hillary og gik til tirsdagens improv-show. Super god underholdning hver gang! Virkelig ugens grin! :)

Nu er klokken lidt i midnat, og jeg skal i seng så jeg kan køre Hillary til lufthavnen i morgen 6.30... Brrr.... :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Visiting Grand Canyon

I suppose that if there is ONE thing one should see while living in Arizona, it would be Grand Canyon. Saturday November 13th Hillary, Aizhan, and I left Flagstaff on a 1,5 h drive towards the canyon.

I can already say that this post will be a lot shorter than first anticipated. 'Cause what can I say... It was magnificent! Breathtaking, huge, never seen anything like it. Standing on the edge on the top it looks almost like a painting in the background, sort of unreal.

Aizhan and Hillary in front of the Canyon

We drowe around the edge for a while to find the right trailhead, and then headed down South Kaibab trail. It would take us approximately 1.5 hours for us to hike down to "Cedar Creek", where we had lunch. It was a great hike, revealing new perspectives in the canyon that was not visible from the top. There were a lot of hikers (and some joggers - the same two passed us several times actually!) on the trail, and the weather was nice. Pretty cold, but we were dressed for it. 

Back on the edge
We had bought some sandwiches for lunch, and lied around on the rocks enjoying the sun for a while, before we hiked back up. The climb up was pretty strenuous, and took us around 2 hours. When we reached the top we felt great! :D

We drove back to Flagstaff and a little bit around the city, before we went back to the hotel to rest. Later that evening we went to Olive Garden for dinner - people who have seen "Will and Grace" might remember it mentioned every now and then! Its an Italian-ish style chain restaurant, and though a little over our budgets, we had a great meal.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

On the road to Grand Canyon!

No visit in Arizona without seeing Grand Canyon, right? So I am on my way now. :) Might be that my two Arizonian roommates haven't been there yet, but its not gonna stop me...

At the time of writing I am in a hotel bed in Flagstaff, our night stop before going to the Canyon tomorrow. It took app. 4 hours to drive here from Tucson, crossing things with funny names on the way:

- Dry Beaver Creek
- Horse Thief Road/Lake
- Bumble Bee

Because of the fact that we were driving through a mountainous area, I also had the pleasure of spotting a "Runaway truck ramp", going downhill in case the truck lost its breaks or whatever... :p

So now we are in Sleep Inn in Flagstaff, after having had an enormous dinner in a steakhouse with free salad (including chicken, meatballs, soups, tacos and everything that goes in it, etc.) AND desserts. I discovered that Lava Fudge (sort of melted chocolate cake) taste GREAT with soft-ice, strawberry sauce, and peanut pieces... Yeah, for the record I dont feel too good at the moment. Though I did actually learn to control my going crazy in buffets in the precious years, I did not have the self control to not visit this buffet continuously. Ill hike it off tomorrow. ;)

Just had an interesting quarrel with Hillary, after saying that "I need to lie more down than you" (coming home from the restaurant) - so the question is whether you can be more or less horizontal. Anyway, now im sharing a bed with a lactose intolerant girl who had almost as much of the dairy desserts as I did. Gonna be... interesting...

I already have good pictures to add here, but I don't have my card reader with me, so I will have to upload them when I get back home.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chiricahua and Day of the Dead

Tuesday November 2nd I had dinner with Hillary in the "Frog and Firkin", Wednesday night I had the crew (Hillary, Chris, and Jesus) over for pancakes, Danish style, and Thursday I was at a BBQ at Diana's place. Friday I took a break.

Saturday I went hiking in Chiricahua (tji-ri-kau-a) with Hillary, Nik, Aizhan, and Theo. A 2 hour drive brought us to this spectacular mountain area with weird stone columns  covering the whole area. It was a great hike, 9 miles (15 km), and it completely busted my hips. But it was worth it - just look at the pictures! November album is now up in Facebook: November album

Just for the record, I was doing homework with Hillary later that night. Nothing to be said about efficiency.

Sunday was another big day - Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, if you want the Mexican version. As a Mexican tradition it has moved to Tucson, and is being held every year to celebrate the dead. Its a HUGE parade with thousands and thousands of participants, dressed up as skeletons, zombies, and everything else related. Hillary and I went with Pat and Susan to watch, and we painted our faces as well. Really a cool experience, and kudos to Hillary for painting our faces!


Those of you who know me well know that when I say that "not much" is up, it's an easy way to get out of explaining all the things that are actually going on. (Sorry, but I've gotta say this in Danish:) Det er ligesom i Bamses Billedbog når Viola synger "Når jeg har ferie, slapper jeg af ved at ha' travlt hver eneste dag" - Jeg har det bare bedst når der sker en masse. :)

So, where were we... The week after the homecoming weekend (25th-29th October) I spent quite some time having lunch and dinner with people, feeling very social. That was followed up well by dinner at my place Saturday 30th with Hillary, Aizhan, and Chris. Rather unexpected we all decided to go to the movie theatre that evening, to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. While I hadn't even foreseen that we were going anywhere, I could even less have expected what was awaiting... Its even hard to explain... Apparently its a cult movie that has evolved to be presented simultaneously with live actors on stage, in front of the movie screen. Also there are all these little rituals, so on a specific cue the audience will start throwing rice, water, toast, and what have we around in the theatre. That explains also why some experienced audiences had brought a newspaper to cover their head for the "rain"! I found another blogger talking about the movie here:

Since it was Halloween the next day, most of the audience was dressed up, and a lot of people who hadn't seen the show before, such as myself, was marked with red lipstick to be "virgins". We all had to be "sacrificed" on stage - a ridiculous "ritual" that took ages because there were hundreds of newcomers.

The movie however was hilarious, totally dark humor and with no point what so ever. But a lot of fun, and with people yelling and commenting from the audience all through the performance, it was an amazing experience!

Sunday was Halloween, and after studying during the day, I went with Susan to an "International Friends" dinner at her friends house. As always I love visiting people's houses to see how they live - the true American experience! :) I was dressed up with a nice pink wig, and enjoyed the company with trick-and-treater kids coming around ever so often. Really nice and creative costumes, and we gave out like a ton of candy!

Monday November 1st was Hillary's birthday, and that had to be celebrated of course! :D So the two of us went out for sushi and sake-bombs (yes sir - that was fun!) and for drinks on 4th afterwards. Jesus and Hillary's friend Joe joined us, and I started talking with a guy who worked in the bar. This turned out to be very useful the week after, when I went out for a drink, but had forgotten my passport. Anyway - we had a GREAT evening! Luckily I don't have classes till 4 PM on Tuesdays, but please note that I did actually go to the Rec center (gym) at 9 the next morning!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Night hike and Kitt Peak

Friday October 22nd was homecoming Friday, meaning that a lot of Alumni came back to campus to... well, who knows what really... :P There were a lot of extraordinary lectures, none of which I found very interesting, so it was a rather normal day. Also in the sense that I felt like a Friday after hour beer, so I went to Gentle Ben's with Chris, Hillary, and Ziad, where we had beer and some light dinner.

When we left around 7.30 we passed by Old Main where the marching band was playing in front of a huge bonfire. Got some nice pictures - Im still impressed with the colors my camera captures! :)

Later that night I went with Chris and some of his friends on a moonlight hike in the Sabino Canyon. It was full moon, and the light was amazing! Had a lot of fun experimenting with the camera to get good shots - here is one (taken with flash), check the Facebook album (October) for more.

Saturday 23rd I went on a day trip with 13 people from my dorm to Kitt Peak, a mountain area with an impressive collection of telescopes. We left at 10 in a van, and drove for 1.5 hours up to the top of the mountain. Obviously there was a great view, though it was pretty cold - especially inside the telescopes, which are cooled to allow better visibility.

There were different kinds of telescopes, optical and solar among others (not exactly sure what that means, but it was still impressive!). We had a special tour, with a guide who took us inside the various domes to see what they looked like and how they worked. Obviously we couldn't see anything in the bright daylight. :)