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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 1, 2400 hours. 

I sit here in Rovaniemi airport in disbelief. My travel partner who was supposed to be with me could not make it in the eleventh hour because of a crime that took place right before we board the airport train. I've been awake and on the road for the last 17 hours. 

There's not a single soul in the airport of Santa, not even staff. Outside, snow began to fall. 

The bus finally arrived, full of military boys. Bless the cold, for they don't smell. In camo print uniform and sporting blonde boyish cuts, they lay sprawled on the seats, fatigued from training.  

I felt like a female war correspondent, not sure where we're heading in the dark. Light snowflakes float towards the windshield rapidly as the bus sped, it was like how i've seen in arcade games. 

I like how its silent outside as we pass the endless line of snow-capped cone-shaped trees. 

In the distance, the sky is a light hue of red, white & green. Catching the Dance of the Spirits look promising. 

Finally arrived in Kakslauttanen. I picked up an envelope marked with my name & used a sleigh to pull my lugguage to my glass igloo. 

Thus starts my solo journey to chase the aurora borealis. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Meme of the Year

Recently, a picture was snapped of me falling that has a striking resemblance to that falling Scarlett Johansson too.
Scarlett Johansson.
When Scarlett fell, she became meme of the year. They were pretty darn hilarious!
I was also at San Fermin too!
This is my favourite. Greedy Scarlett. 
So i made some memes of my own. 
I'm actually doing hip hop. 
So, this is why i fell. Trying out an Olympics sport, curling

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Influence of Greek

The Acropolis
The Greek influence is greater than i know. I knew they started the Olympics, and athletes used to throw steel balls (shot put)or jump javelin naked. Little did i know that, Nike and Pepsi are also Greek names. It was certainly a moment of eureka for me.
It is catastrophic to be ignorant of the greek influence, especially when we use them so much in the English language.
My first time in Greece turned out to be a language lesson among other things. I discovered the origins of English phrases. Greek mythology actually had such an impact on the world!
Diving in Mykonos
Atlas, as we all know means a collection of maps. It derived from a Greek God with the same name who held up the world with his shoulders.

The word erotic came from the Greek character Eros aka Cupid. Cupid is more commonly known as the angel of love, but he is actually horny little thing out to create havoc. His interventions often cause Gods and men to fall in love, often when already married. No wonder 'erotic' sounds more titillating than any other word to describe love making. 
I learned a new phrase, the midas touch. It means good fortune in everything you do. It came from the Greek myth that King Midas wished that everything he touched be turned into gold. It came true but realised that this new power prevents him from touching loved ones. I would think this myth would fit the phrase 'be careful what you wish for' better, but to say that teacher has the midas touch means he turns any student into one of the best. 
You probably already know an archilles' heel. It means a tragic weakness or flaw and the expression comes from Archilles who is invincible but his heel, the one vulnerable spot. He died of a wound to the heel. 
The word echo has a very scandalous beginning. Even more so than eroticIn the ancient tales, Echo was a mountain nymph who talks excessively with her gorgeous voice. Her voice was so lovely that she would often distract Zeus’ wife Hera with her long and entertaining stories while Zeus would sneak away and make love with the other mountain nymphs. When Hera found out about Echo’s role in her husband’s activities, she punished her by taking away her ability to speak, except in repetition of the words of others.
 There are a ton more other words that are names of Greek Gods. Like Nemesis, the god who took revenge against those who showed arrogance before the gods. Or phobia, or cloth, chronology, fortune, hypnosis, morphine, or even cereal!

I could go on, but my favourite has to be the word narcissism. Narcissus is a gorgeous half-nymph and half-god. So proud was he of his own looks that he hated anyone who dared love him. Nemesis punished Narcissus by luring him to a pool of water where he could see his own reflection. There are 2 versions to his end. One was where he commits suicide, but for someone who loves himself so much, i don't think he can bring himself to scar his body. The other is that Narcissus doesn't realise it is his reflection and falls in love with it (himbo), refusing to leave until he eventually dies of hunger. 

Yes, narcissism don't lead to a good end. 

P.S all pictures taken in Greece

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Holy Cow!

Cows in certain religions and countries hold a sacred position. Switzerland has her own fetish with cows. Rightly so when chocolates and cheese represent the nation and they are both a cow's produce. Other less known Swiss cow obsession are the cow's descent festival and the cow fights
From September to October, some 300+ cows descend from the Alpine pastures after the summer months. They are all adored with flowers and ribbons, looking quite like a Christmas tree. Different cantons have their cow's descent over different weekends. You can check for 2014's descend.

I went early Oct to Charmey and the roads started to reek of cows some 5km away, i understood how skid marks got its other connotation. There were traffic congestion as cars gave way to these tiara adorned divas. 
We slowly inched our way up the winding highway and eventually arrive at the mountain village which was the starting point of the descent. Yodelling and the sounds of Alphorns were heard. Country folk were decked out in their traditional costumes putting up a show. Various booths offer local products, arts and craft.
Mr Woody had a stiff one
I had the BEST caramel candy ever. Made on the spot, pipping hot, it was buttery  and crispy.
Move over M&Ms, this is the real deal! It melts not in my mouth, not in my hands!
On the other spectrum of the beauty queens, we had the royal rumble. The Herens are a special breed raised in the Valais area where the females are known to be aggressive. A clash of the udders, they fight to be the queen of the herd. It is a fight where there is little (or no) blood, but a lot of dung. 
You pay 20 CHF to stand or 30 CHF to sit. 
Set in an ancient Roman amphitheater found in Martigny, a testosterone filled audience filled the pews. The farmers lead their cows out in pride and the gamekeepers in red tees are individually responsible in leading a cow to lock eyes with another. 
When their eyes are locked, they will either start locking horns and intimidate or they could simply turn away, disinterested. I wasn't expecting to be sitting the whole afternoon because there were plenty of anti-climaxes when the cows start grazing instead of wrestling but i ended up sitting for a good 4 hours entertained!
The Heren farmers are milking the cows with such competitions instead of the liquid white stuff. 
They treat them like pets really, the prized cash cows. They give them a pet on that turf of hair on the top of their heads and a treat in the arena if they did well. 

I'm guessing like apples are treats to horses, bread are treats to cows.
Not sure if the rouge colour is from wine. Drunken Cow Fighting Stance?
These are definitely unique things to do in Switzerland.

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