Thursday, May 30, 2013

Searching for Sugarman

I have been watching recently several documentaries - first about Jiro and his love and mastery of suchis in Tokyo metro station during the many decades since the WWII, and yesterday about Rodriguez and his career in music that was not.  Both inspiring in different ways, both very good movies.

Rodriguez had a quick debut in the US in Detroit, did not make it, and as many other artists after being kicked off their label, went into public oblivion.  The interesting part of his story started to happen in South Africa of all places, where, unknown to him, he became an icon of Rock-n-Roll and rebellion against the Apartheid.  Legends about him killing himself on stage started to circulate there, as nothing was known about him.  Only 40 years later did fans come into contact with Rodriguez after looking for him for over 10 years.  All the while, he was alive and working in construction in the dilapidated Detroit downtown.  Rodriguez thus could perform - again - to 20, 000 fans, after having led a very different life during intermittent 40 years.

Would be interesting to hear if Rodriguez might have more new music left in him...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Västerbotten Cheese Pie

Västerbotten is a Northern region of Sweden, meaning West Bothnia precisely, harboring the cities of Umeå and Skellefteå, but also home to the Västerbotten Cheese.  All of this region actually used to belong to Finland until 1808, when Swedish became (more) violent about their territorial rights.

1 pastry base (pate brisee)
3 eggs
150 ml cream
150 ml milk
200 gr grated Västerbotten cheese
1 onion and/or leak

This beauty is inspired by a Swedish recipe for Västerbotten Cheese Pie, with some French additions of mine: I start by frying the onion with leak and wine for a couple of minutes and pre-baking the crust.  As for any quiche, I mix eggs, cream, and milk (proportions of milk/cream can vary depending on how "fat" (=tasty) you want the pie to be).  Then I add the grated cheese and the salt, pour everything over the pre-baked crust covered with the pre-cooked onions, and have it all cooked for 25 minutes in the oven.  The result? Delicious!!

Sunny and Rainy Chulilla

We added one more guidebook to the growing collection of beautiful climbing spots on the bookshelf - Chulilla was offered the sweet spot this time.  Looking for better weather, we went down and south, exploring new areas and new routes outside Catalunya.

 Cacti in bloom, Chulilla

Chulilla welcomed us with more of the same though - spring storms and rain not considered by as relevant enough to warn about.  We still managed to climb though despite a couple of storms a day that refreshed the mind and did little damage to the rock.

 Algarrobo/Balconcito sectors in the stormy canyon

We stayed at the very well-run refugio El Altico, run by Pedro Pons & co, that was helpful and welcoming to our impromptu venue. 

Storm hanging over Nanopark sector

Overall, the climbing is a mix of vertical to slightly overhanging terrain, loooong, with technical moves on usually positive to sometimes slopy holds.  It reminded me of the never-ending la Pedrera sector in Collegats, but with harder grades overall.

 Overview of Pared de enfrente sector
(Pictures by Jonas)

I enjoyed the Oasis sector very much, going on an onsighting spree there, with an abundance of high quality 7a and 7a+s.  The bolting was not always perfect - it seemed as there was a FAist determined to screw up onsight attempts by us mortals by placing a random bolt outside of where the climbing went - but otherwise the climbing was very good. I most liked Plan Z, a beautiful 7a at Oasis, and Diagonal, and incredible 6c at Sex Shop.  Definitely worth a visit for the limestone fanatics looking for new places away from the crowds.

New Guidebook for Chulilla, beautiful cover picture by Marieta