Becomming adult – Thailand part 1

The time has come. From now on it will be expected that I behave as an adult. Well, my mother will never expect that, but I’m unsure if that is because of her or mine condition. I mark this day by flee a way, to Pattaya in Thailand. DSC_0066 King Winter said goodbye to me by painting Norway white.

Diving

Thailand has many great dive sites, so diving was on my list for this trip. I had 6 dives, some good, some other.¬† The second day with diving, I and a buddy went down to 40m, and my expectations were low. But we were lucky. The bottom was almost nothing but sand. Boring. But then it was the exception. The coral. We found two bowl looking corals, close to each other. Had I taken with me my camera? No! ūüė¶ Under water it is hard to estimate sizes, but I guess the biggest one was 50 cm in height and 40 cm in with. Perfect shape, and nice colors. Could have stayed there for a long time to admire the natures creation, if it had not been on such depth. On the last day with diving, the location is named The Japanese Garden. I don’t know the reason for the name, but it was an amazing place. We never went below 15m, so there were no rush. Lots of corals, small but colorful fishes, strange vegetation. But the thing that made this site special was the terrain. It is hard to describe. Large stones, ravines, steep walls. A very nice dive.

 

Almost each day of this trip I had massage. Thai massage, foot massage, back massage. I tried different massage shops. In general I was disappointed. It was not bad, but I had expected something more. The best massages was from men, more power full. But I should probably not complain, the price was 1/10 of the prices in Norway.

During my diving I got a problem with my back. A vertebra had become out of position. Massage had relieved some of the pain, but not healed the problem. I had to go to a chiropractor. When I met him, he looked ok. Once he raised up, hmm, he could hardly walk, even with his cane. I let him do his work, and ah, he did a good job. After the treatment I had more massage, and I have had no more problems so far.

As a reflexologist I know the value of preventive actions. One of mine was to use reflexes when I was walking in the dark. I’m sure I was the only person in Pattaya using reflexes. In general it seemed like preventive actions was not in focus there at all.

Animals

In one of the places I stayed there was a little extra guest. We did not greet, but accepted each others existence. Not sure why he prefered to stay in the bathroom. Might be my snoring. Next morning he had checked out an hour before me. Also the next place had animals in the bathroom. On my way in the bathroom door I was met by 4 small cats. One of them go some reflexology.

 

 

Taxi

I used helmet when I was using the scooter-taxis. I guess they used the “multiply by ŌÄ” prices for us tourists. I did not bother to bargain much. I still had money enough for food and fun. A little observation, half of the scooters had disconnected speedometer. Google map was my friend when I was telling the drivers where I wanted to go. But still some had to ask colleagues for directions during trips. This happened on my trip to the airport. I had agreed with the driver for the price. Strange, but he had obviously never been on the airport before. When we were close to the airport he wanted me to use another taxi for the rest of the trip. He changed his mind when I refused to pay the full amount.

Love

Yes, it is possible to buy love. I did. It tasted delicious. ūüôā

 

Tourism

Some times I tried to behave as a normal turist, and went to tourist attractions. The first was the Sanctuary of truth. This seems to be Pattayas approach to be cultural. It is a gigantic wooden construction covered with wooden carve sculpture. The building of it was started in 1981, and there were lots of construction and renovation work ongoing. The idea behind it was to use art and culture as “a reflection of the Ancient Vision of Earth, Ancient Knowledge, and Eastern Philosophy”. Yes, nice carvings, but the figures don’t tell me any story. It is nice but chaotic. In a way it reminds me of the old the stave churches in Norway.

 


Next up was Wat Pho i Bangkok, also known as Temple of the Reclining Buddha. As we already know Buddha is great. Here he is 46 meter long. The number of Buddha statues is … innumerable. This temple is thought of as Thailands first university. There is a school of traditional medicine here, so I tried the massage also here.

To me it looks like people’s relation to Buddhism is skin deep. They have more focus on the rituals and the Buddha statues than the philosophy that Buddha was teaching. More or less as Catholics to their saint sculptures. I’m not surprised.

 

Next: The karate camp.

Lanzarote

07.12.-16.12.

My mother have some health issues, so traveling alone is not possible for her. She asked me if I could come with her on an holiday to Lanzarote. Yes, no problem, she was in a good period both mentally and physically. At least for a while. Two weeks before we were leaving, she got a heart attack. Everything went well, and she was allowed by the hospital to carry out her vacation.

The flight from Bergen was early in the morning, so we stayed at a hotel close to the airport. We were met by 23 degrees temperature. At Cinco Placa in Puesto del Carmen we got an appartement on ground level, to make things easy for my mother.

The Saturday was used to … more or less nothing. Except that I went to a diving shop to see if I could have a course. I got the price and a schedule.¬† My mother accepted that I would spend so much time away from her, so almost everything was good. Almost. I needed an medical approvement. Should be easy for a fit guy as me, at least in theory.

The the doctor, a young woman (<30), found an inflammation in my inner ear.  Her verdict was hard. If I wanted to dive, I would need some antibiotic. I felt my claws and teeth started to grow, I was directly in fight mode. But I had to resign for supreme power. Down with my pants, two shots in my ass. Well, some of that was hard, and some not. (Wrong thinking.) Procedure was repeated two times the next day also.

Ready for diving! Walking into the sea from a beach is usually a bit unpleasant. Feeling the cold water flooding into the suit. Worst areas are the groin and the navel. But not this time. 20 degrees in the water, with wet suit, is different from my previous experiences. So far, so good.

Someone might have noticed that I currently have lots of hair in my face. That makes the diving mask letting in water. So before going down I had to tighten and empty my mask. The emptying is usually very easy. Lift the nose a bit up, put pressure on the top of the mask and breath out trough the nose. This will lett the air press the water out of the mask. Easy peasy. Again, in theory. It felt as impossible for me to breath out the nose.  That was the moment I was thinking: What the f*** am I doing here? Focus Arve, control your breathing, slow, air out of the nose. Yes! Time to letting out the air from the BCD. The rest was pure fun.

I had six dives on tree days. I ended up with PADI Advanced Open Water Diver license. The instructor told me that I did pretty well, not been diving for more than 10 years. I had not lied to him about my last dive, I only was a bit inaccurate about the 28+ years.

On Sunday, my mother went to¬†The Norwegian Seamen‚Äôs Church. I followed her, and then went for a walk. First there had been sale of coffee and¬†waffles, then a¬†communion service. I came back before everything ended, so I got an impression of it.¬†It smelled sulfur and pietism. But my mother was happy. Usually we say “Happy children, happy parents”. Now it was the opposite.

We had two walking trips together most days. The first for lunch/ice, then dinner in the evening. Some of the days my mother did not feel well. During the dinner she had to puke. She was not able to eat much dinner. No, not interested in visiting my cute doctor.

Most of her days was spent by the pool, but not in the pool for a second. Neither was she interested in a walk on the beach. I think she had a good time, remembering back on all the times she had been there before. More than 35 times on Lanzarote, most of them in Puerto del Carmen, lots of them in Kontiki Club apartments.

During the stay I was looking for yoga classes. Google helped me to localize a studio, but it was closed or moved. But close by I found a place to get massage and reflexology. Below average, but was still good for me.

When we came back to Bergen, we were met by snow.

 

Okinawa ‚Äď part 2

27.10.-4.11.

The day after Kyoko and I visited Kudaka Island, we went to the Shuri Castle. This was the palace of the Ryukyu kingdom in ancient times. It is easy to see that some inspiration have come from China. At the end of our visit on the castle, the rain came. The beginning of the forecasted typhoon. Kyoko started to worry about her flight home the next day.

And she had reason to worry. All flights was canceled on the Saturday. Most shops was closed. No training activities available as far as I knew. Felt like Kyoko was sitting in the phone trying to rebook her flight most of the day. And she got a flight on Sunday.

Even if it was a typhoon, Naha was not in the center of it. Probably there were other locations on Okinawa that had it much worse. For me it felt like a regular autumn storm, except that the rain was 24¬į C.

Next day we had a meal on the airport, before Kyoko returned home. My next task was to find the room I had booked trough AirB&B. It was located just a few minutes walk from the the Higaonna dojo. A very small appartement to a decent price. Took a quiet evening there.

During my many walks trough the town I passed by a Owl bar. If you don’t know what it is, I recommend you to read here.¬† I don’t like the concept, so I did not visit it. But outside there was a man with an¬†armadillo. Hmm, some people are strange. (Maybe I’m not the right one to say that.)

I visited a book store, to see if I could find any local martial art books.

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Shelf 16 & 17, floor 5.

I found many books, not any local, and very few in english. But I found manga, Japanese comics. The shelf on the picture continued some meter behind me. But this shelf was only one of many with mangas. Japanese are addicted to these. Kyoko had brought one to me, One Piece. The story was started in 1997, and have so far 87 volumes, about 200 pages each! The best selling manga series in history. I got it for my training in Japanese language.

Since I decided to go to Okinawa I have tried to learn more Japanese language. I could already lots of words, but only related to karate. They have limited value in daily life. Kyoko helped me in this process. I made a list of words that could become helpful. Toilet, fruit, trashcan, etc. Yes, I had to use some of them.¬†A day I walked in the shopping street I tried to read the words on signs outside of shops, just to keep my knowledge fit. Suddenly I understood a word that I¬† had read, „Ā®„Āį„Āď, tobacco. ūüôā

Okinawa is a tropical area with good¬†opportunities for bathing, diving and surfing. I wanted to try surfing. Easier said than done. It might not be difficult to surf, I still don’t know. But to find an open surf shop the day I wanted to try, was impossible. Google map helped me to locate 3 shops. All quite a distance from Naha. The first was just selling swim suits and fancy cloths. The next one had a sign on the door that told me it should have been open at that time. No one answered on the phone. The third one did not even had any signs telling about opening hours. Will have to wait until next trip.

Better luck with the museum. A new karate museum, almost an hour away from Naha,

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Museum and dojo belonging to Hokama Tetsuhiro. Among the places that was easy to spot.

by bus. First challenge was paying for the bus. I did not have coins, and paper money was too big to be exchanged on the bus. Fortunately Okinawans are very kind and helpful. A young man paid my ticket. Less fortunately, the museum and the related dojo was closed. No answer on the phone. Lunch at the local hospital while waiting for the bus back. At least I had some sightseeing.

My last day on Okinawa was very long. I had to checkout before 10, and I had no training until 20. I had head some people talk about a few interesting dojos. I decided to look for the dojo of another DSC_0313.JPGfamous person, Nakamoto Masahiro. I had to take the local train to the end station, near the Shuri Castle. The train in Naha is a monorail, fast and comfortable. The rail is built on high poles trough the town, all the way to the airport. On the bottom of the picture you can see the rail, in addition to a strange looking building.

When I entered to yard of the dojo, there were no one present. I just looked into the window, and visited the roof terrace, that obviously also was used as a training area. A bid disappointed I went over to the other side of the street to find shadow. Got something do drink and eat. While I was standing there Nakamoto came in his white, old Mercedes. He went in. I did not know what to do. After just a few minutes he came out again. Then I run back over the street, catching him while he sat down in his car. I asked if the museum would be open later that day. He said no, but the next day I would be welcome. I replied that it would then wait until my next trip to Okinawa because I was leaving the same evening. Then he came out, guided me trough his dojo and museum. I bought his kobudo book, and got his calligraphy on it. He said I was welcome to come and train with hime next time I came to Okinawa. He seems to be a nice man, and says probably this to everyone, but I will definitely do that. Afterwards the drove me back to the rail station. Maybe my greatest karate moment on Okinawa.

I had more time to spend. Got some food on a very smal restaurant, without possibilities to charge my phone. Tried to charge at the tourist office, but no, they would not help. I was referred to McDonalds or Starbucks. Blaah! Then I got something that seemed to be a bright idea, visit a library. The last power of my phone was used on Google maps to locate one. It was only 15 minutes away. When I went in, it did not look much like a library, so I asked. No, it was not a traditional library. They only had only braille book, for blind people. What an irony! So I could not charge there either.

After my last training and my last supper at the Dojo bar, I went to the airport. Came DSC_0333.JPGthere around midnight. And it was closed. Puh! 6 hours on a bench, companioned by invisible mosquitos. Flight back to Taiwan first. I some hours there until the next flight, so I decided to follow my friend Birgits recommendation, go to the barefoot path in Taipei. This would be my first barefoot path. To be honest, it was awful.

Back in Norway, Oslo airport, I had to wait for several hours. I bought me access to the lounge. Absolutely worth it. Then home, 42 hours after leaving the Dojo bar.

Hopefully ready for next visit in July 2018. ūüôā

Okinawa – part 1

23.10.-26.10.

When I decided to go to the ICR conference on Taiwan, I looked for Kyokushin clubs there. I found that there was one on the opposite side of the island from where the conference was going to be held. While looking at the map, I saw that the distance to Okinawa was not¬†deterrent. When I found tickets to about ‚ā¨140, I decided to go Okinawa.

There is an office that helps people to connect to dojos there. When I arrived in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, I had still no dojo agreement. I had asked the office if it was possible to train at Higaonna dojo, but was told that I then needed a recommendation. I was already in Taiwan when I was told about this, so I accepted that it had to wait for my next visit.

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How much can you expect for ‚ā¨14 for each day? This was the high season price.

After leaving my things on the one star hostel I went to the Dojo bar to see if I could get some help there. Closed until 1900. Then I started to walk, and then walk some more, and back again. First some food. The biggest drawback with Okinawa is that it is impossible to get unprocessed nuts. Everything is roasted and salted. But fortunately they have fruit.

Next stop was a Kyokusin dojo¬†by Yasuhiro Nishito. He was not present, but a European woman was there. She told me that she had been Oyama’s secretary and translator for several years. She also told that they did not feel fully accepted by the “Okinawan traditional karate society”. Nice to have a peek.

Next peek: Budokan! This is an dojo for all kinds of martial art, and is a part of a bigger area with several sport arenas. The main dojo is more than 2100 square meters. In addition there are 3 small ones, just a few hundred square meters each. Don’t know much about how the training is organized here, but this was not used much for karate.

 

In the the Dojo bar I got some food and some information. The next day the “100 kata for karate” event would be held at the Karate Kaikan. The owner of the bar, James, was the one whom had started this event some years ago. I had a plan for the next day.

On my way to Karate Kaikan I met a dragonfly. That was a bit surprising, in a milion citizen town as Naha. Kaikan is smaller than Budokan, but it is stunning. Located at a high hill with view over the city. The main dojo is “only” about 1300 square meters. It also host a museum and an information office.

 

The 100 kata event was very international, and surprisingly few Japanese. It was held on the grass outside of the Karate Kaikan. I did not reach 100, but 60. By that time it was dark. Only tsukino kata. Better luck next year.

During the day I got an surprising e-mail. I was accepted by Higaonna dojo. Don’t know how that happened, but happy anyway. First training same evening. So then of to the next dojo.

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Higaonna dojo is a small privat thing. Smaller than the Etne dojo. The training was much the same as I’m used to from there.

Next day had a new event at the Karate Kaikan. I did not know what I was going to, but everything seemed interesting¬† for an foreigner. On the stage there were 7 men. I guess the average age must have been round 80. Each of them performed one kata. Their movements was slightly sharper than on my local nursing home. I was told that this was the “Karate day”, an annual event.

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Outside Karate Kaikan on Karate day.

In the evening it was a new training in Higaonna dojo. And this time¬†Morio Higaonna him self came, “the most dangerous man in Japan in a real fight.”

After training I headed back to the Hotel. Yes, hotel! My friend Kyoko came to visit me, and she decided where we was going to stay. It was a relief to get a way from the hostel.  The two next days I was going to be a tourist, with my private guide. The first trip was to Kudaka Island. It is a small island on the soouth east coast of the main island. Okinawa consists of 160 islands, so it is nice to see the variety. Kyoko og Arve Okinawa

It was a quiet and peace full trip. Looking for star sand on a beach. Eating ice. Walking and walking. The plan was to stay at the island for one night, but the forthcoming typhoon made us change the plans. _20171114_015408.JPG

Ended the evening on an restaurant with outdoor serving. Vegetarian, chocolate cake and no mosquitos.

Taiwan – ICR conference

Teaveling to Taiwan took 22 hours, from Oslo. Then I had to wait  a few hours until the 4 hour traintrip took me to Taitung. On the airport in Guangzhou I talked with a woman. She was Taiwanese,  but lived in L.A., and was a retired TCM doctor. She was going to be picked up by her brother at the airport in Taipei. She offered to take me to the train station, and I accepted. When she called her brother she said “I have picked up a brat here. …”. I take it as a compliment. ūüôā

The sim-card in the phone stoped being helpful when I arrived Taiwan. Luckily I had downloaded the Google map for Taiwan for offline use. Less luckily, Google map in offline mode sucks big time. Wifi rescued me a few times.

AirB&B provided me a bed, but not much more. Can’t expect room service for free.

The conference was a crash
 into my duties as a board member of ICA. Some interesting speeches, and some other. Most important to me is to meet old and new friends. But some was also miissing.

We had a sightsing to Father Josephs senter. Two buses with reflexologisrs. During this stay two local people gave some treatments. As usual my impulse control have a defect when it comes to treatment. I invited one of my colleague to get a treatment. Much better than watch, as in many other situations. Also got an treatment exchange later.


Have had a good time here. One of the nice moments was standing on a corner downtown Taitung in the middle of the night and discussing reflexology for almost two hours with myfriend Birgit.


Hmm, yes, there are also some stories that don’t fit as written words. ūüôā

Karate summer camp

After the boat trip I had only two nights in my own bed, then off to the summer camp. It was nice to enjoy the camp this year, when I did not have to think of grading.

With friends like this, who needs enemies? Note to self: Stop blocking with head.

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The herd from Etne and Haugesund.

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Only one year until next time.

About Picasso and me

At least one of us must be insane. Yesterday I was at an exhibition with mostly his works. 
ÔŅľÔŅľIt is impossible for me to understand how he got his leadin position in art. He must have licked many big butts. This picture is named Women in red chair. Fortunately there was other exhibitions. Also with one of my Spanish favorite, Salvador Dali.

When we came on shore in A Coruna I could feel the “land sickness”, the streest were rolling just as waves. The body is used to the continuous movement. I wondered if I woud gave a similar reaction when I was going to sleep on a hostel in Madrid. Would I be able to sleep with no engine noise and no fan noise? Lucky my got a bed in a mixed dorm. Three young and nice girls became my company. And lucky me again. One of then was snoring all through the night. I had obviously worried unnecessary. 

This picture tells the slogan of the hostel. I was easy adopted. 

Almost home now.

On the seventh day he rested

Not completely true. Had some training again.  No, not vomiting this time. The plan was to tak a night bus to Madrid. After walking for almost an hour with my big backpack I was informed that the bus was full. No problem, trainstation was nearby. But also the train was full. Got kind of reversed deja vu Fron India, where no trains “ever” get full. Back to bus station and buy ticket for first bus tomorrow. Then another hour walk.

But I enjoyed the view while walking. Nice architecture.  Nice senoritas. 
Sorry, no pictures of the senoritas.

ÔŅľ

The crew welcomed me back.

Alfa Delta Hotel Delta

It has been said that if you give someone a hammer, everything becomes nails for them. I have my reflexology tools. It is surprising how fast some treatments give effects. 

It was nice to see the lights from the French lighthouses in the night when we approached Biscay. Even when they was miles behind the horizon I could see them. Not with the sharp sight, but with the peripheral sight. Fascinating. 

I’m not sure, but I think my hair has changed from gray to more white during this trip. Sun bleach. 

I bought earphones with active noise reduction just before we left Haugesund. A very good investment. Primarily becaus the engine was next to my head when I wad sleeping, but also when someone become too much talkative. 
We will soon come to Acoruna, where I’m leaving the boat and heading home.

Found this lovely clock in Alderney. 

Dark is the night 

Our second night in the sea was very light. High air pressure scared the clouds away. Even in the darkest hours we could see the waves, and we could navigate by the stars.

The further south we came the darker the nights has become. I love the light of the Norwegian summer nights. The temperature of the Norwegian summer is another story.

We did not sing a happy birthday song to the waitress at the restaurant. None of us felt qualified. 

I found this interesting sailboat in Alderney. If the owner get some company for the night, they must lay with the mast in between. Didn’t I promise you hard wood tonight,  baby? 

I also found this… 

I’m talking about the card. I did not find the shop. But at least, I did a try. A small one.