Satish Shrestha (सतिश श्रेष्ठ )

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Posts Tagged ‘Spokane’

One more fun bike incident in Spokane

Posted by Satish Shrestha on July 15, 2011

(I couldn’t wait until I reach my house to write this, so i stopped at the Apple Store to recollect this incident i think was fun)

So I walked out of the Main Market and started riding my bike towards the riverfront park. Because Main street is one way that heads east, I was riding my bike towards west in the side walk . A well dressed old man with a walking cane, wearing a hipster hat (for the lack of right word) stopped right in front of me. I immediately thought i might have scared him riding the bike in the sidewalk. I was rather apprehensive. As I stopped, he gave me a wide smile with a thumb up! I reciprocated the smile and we departed. Gotta love the bike scene in Spokane!


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Skiing over the clouds amid fierce storm

Posted by Satish Shrestha on January 8, 2011

Penetrating fogs on a cold Friday morning, we head out to Silver Mountain for yet another day to ski this season. Psyched about leveling up the skills I’ve been learning, I call Jamie to see if he’s going to ski today. Positive reply from him insinuates a good day of skiing. While at car, we hope the mountain is not as foggy as Spokane. After about an hour and half drive, we park the car and head to the ticket counter. Jamie and his brother are already there and so are Audra, her mom and Holly. The weather doesn’t look so great but it doesn’t wane my level of excitement. After twenty minutes long gondola ride, we land at the ski resort’s lodge. Everyone else in the group are avid skiers, thus I ask them several questions before we head out to the snow. It’s windy and foggy, but it doesn’t bother us much.

Holly and Audra’s mom seem very well acquainted with different runs in the mountain. Thus they suggest me different runs considering my experience. While I mostly started at rather easier runs the other times, today I start at more difficult runs. More confident than before, I start shredding the Silver Belt amid fierce wind. As I ski downhill, I get suggestion from Holly and Kaitlin that I lean more towards back, which is just the opposite of what a skier is supposed to do. I realize it, I convince my mind so but my body finds it difficult not to lean backwards. Leaning forward makes me feel like I am going extremely fast and thus harder to maneuver the skis. What keeps ringing in my head most of the times is, ‘Satish, you realize you do not have a health insurance, right?”  This automatic alert in my head prohibits me from doing things I really want to do, be it when Im skiing, or riding my mountain bike or just about everything that has tendency to cause serious injuries. (I think I kind of enjoy and am thankful to such automatic preventive suggestions that my brain propagates. )

I repeat the same run about three times with Holly, a professional ski instructor who’s been skiing for over twenty years. Every time I fall, she explains what I did wrong. At this point I usually fall as I turn my skis when Im going down faster. One of my current biggest weakness is I tend to put more pressure on my quads than on my shin, as supposed to, which wears my energy rapidly. As the quads get sore, it becomes quite difficult to maneuver the skis when turning around. Realizing what I am doing wrong, I try to amend those mistakes and level up. After a couple runs at the Silver Belt, I take Sunrise, the run that I took over ten minutes last time to complete as I was too slow. Sunrise is a pretty steep slope and I didn’t do well enough last time. But today Sunrise felt fabulous with single fall. It was a good reason to be delighted! In addition, later I try other more difficult runs, Northern Lights and Fast Eddy.

Audra’s mom and Holly left at 1 but we kept skiing. I ski with remaining three folks a couple runs and they decide to ski/snowboard most difficult runs. Assessing my confidence and skills I have  gained so far, I decide not to take that risk today. Thus I ski by myself on different more difficult runs. Trying different runs is fun. Though it is severely windy and cloudy, there are quite a few people in the mountain. The cloud and high speed snow storm impair vision of several skiers/snowboarders and so I witness numerous crashes and falls, though none of them are fatal.

The weather gets worse as the day progresses and the storm makes it almost impossible to ski. It is unbearably cold especially in the ski lift as one is not using any muscle at all. The wind slows down the lift and often swings it. My face is numb because of snow stuck in my face worsened by the wind of over 20 mph. Unfortunately a strap of my backpack gets stuck in the lift and I don’t’ realize it. When I try to land, I get stuck in the lift and as the lift turns back down, I get stuck hanging underneath the ski lift. While people around shouts for help, I feel like I am a hang glider and keep smiling. As the lift turn around, it pulls my left shoulder with it. It is painful and not funny but I feel like laughing. The security personnel comes and unhooks me from the lift and merrily says, “Your picture will be on the headline tomorrow”. I just laugh back at him, stretch my shoulders, smile back at people waiting for me and say I am fine. They question a few more times and Kaitlin grabs my backpack. I don’t stop skiing. Tough the pain in the shoulder kind of worries me, I keep skiing and actually it feels a lot better skiing without a backpack. I feel much lighter and thus its much easier to turn.

After couple more runs I decide to stop and take rest for a bit as the storm makes everything invisible 10 feet in front of me. After waiting outside the lodge for about ten minutes, I see them coming towards me in an unusually slow pace. Audra says Kaitlin and John crashed into each other and she hurt her knee. She doesn’t say much but when she goes inside the lodge, I see tears dripping down her cheeks. That’s the first time I’ve that tough Alaskan woman cry. So I realize it must have been pretty bad and excruciating. I convince her to stop by Jamie’s house and ice her knee. The great day of skiing over the cloud amid fierce storm ended with a pretty sad accident. She hopes she doesn’t have to see a doctor.

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Love and Flush

Posted by Satish Shrestha on November 22, 2010

After a delightful potluck at Richard’s house, we head out to Bing Crosby Theater, the Mecca where I was about to indulge myself in a purely religious experience that night. The tickets for Banff Mountain Film Festival are all sold out way ahead of time. I fail to get a ticket though I check craiglist 5 times a day in addition to public plea on facebook. Nothing works!

Best things in life come for free. Couldn’t agree more. I tag along with Kaitlin as a quasi volunteer and no one questions. I don’t know what makes it work. My handlebar mustache? May be! While there are millions of people (acceptable exaggeration) waiting in line, we simply enter the hall uttering “Spokane Mountaineers”. The magic begin thereafter.

Val, amazing German-Guamanian-Thai-Pilipino mountain maniac, introduces me to a simple looking but incredibly smart man. He starts talking about Annapurna circuit and Thorang-la pass. All of a sudden the the topic of conversation jumps from mountains to motor-gliders he built. My curiosity level is sky-rocketed. I start asking bunch of questions. I get very specific answers to all my questions. He flew above 30,000 ft by himself in a plane he built himself! I am instantly impressed. He has a PhD in psychology from University of Chicago, advanced degree in theology and a strong engineering background. In addition he is a polyglot, he speaks 5 flipping languages! I am tripping, I feel hypnotized. I am flabbergasted by this man’s experiences in life and his apparent simplicity. Just a few minutes before the show starts, he throws two words at me that according to him a human being should stick to for perennial happiness. Love and Flush. The former is rather hackneyed, though indespensable. Everyone talks about it, even fifth graders. The latter is rather ambiguous. He explicates what he meant by that. Avoiding verbosity he says” don’t hold on to your shit, flush it”.

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Spokomptonian Experiences

Posted by Satish Shrestha on July 8, 2009

Spokane has been a city of surprises to me. First I met Tana, a lady who lived in Nepal for around eight years. Though we had several conversations, she never mentioned about her stay in Nepal until she invited me to her apartment. Last Christmas, she invited me and few other friends of mine for a dinner. That was the first moment of surprise, with her beautiful collection of arts and crafts from Nepal. She had quite a few artifacts from Nepal to embellish her room. Her living room and the hallway was separated by a traditional Tibetan curtain that one sees all the time in Tibetan Mo:Mo (dumplings) shops in Nepal. The walls were no different from one of those Nepali painting exhibitions in Siddhartha Art Gallery. Sketches of Sherpa women (Sherpini), old run-down Hindu temples, Nataraj painted on a piece of clothe were nicely framed and perfectly hung on the walls. Her flower vase was a trough made of brass, the ones Newars use in their feasts and other similar social occasions. She had a collection of travel guides to Nepal published way back in 70s by lonely planet and other popular publications. Among all of the books, Toni Hagen’s “Nepal: The Kingdom in the Himalayas” caught my attention the most. It brought back several memories. Whenever that book comes into my mind I remember a TV show by Bijay Kumar, one of the most reputed interviewers in Nepal. The show revealed the fact that the book was prohibited for distribution in Nepal by the Indian Government for several years. Many people in Nepal still do not know this fact. But anyone who is familiar with Nepal would not doubt over this fact, especial now – after observing several conspicuous interferences by the Indian government in Nepali politics. Going back to the topic, we talked about Tana’s experiences in Nepal and how things have changed over time.

After I got back home that night, I could not stop thinking about life in Nepal in the 60s. Nepal was under a dictatorship of a monarch. It was far behind in terms of development. People started spotting Nepal in a globe after flower children started settling in Kathmandu. The rise of the Flower Power revolution in the west; the *great migration* of Flower children from west to east in the quest of their Shangri-La; settlement of Flower children in Kathmandu – their virtual Shangri-La were the things I was more familiar with. So when Tana said she was in Nepal in the 60s, I erroneously assumed that she might have been somehow influenced by the revolution. In contrast, and to my complete surprise, she went and stayed in Nepal for a very noble cause. She worked as a volunteer in Peace Corps and traveled around Nepal, mostly mid western region. She and her husband are the first westerners to officially explore western Nepal. Her panoply of pictures from Mugu, the land of Rara lake, totally hypnotized me. I felt very uncomfortable with my erroneous assumption after knowing her story. As she told the story about her experiences with people in the mid western Nepal, I started thinking about current situation and people of Nepal. People are still poor, but making things even worse – people are brainwashed. Their pool of tranquility has been vigorously disturbed. All those so-called revolutions have turned futile. Leaders taking advantages of people’s ignorance and manipulating them for personal gain have completely devastated Nepal. Once declared “The Peace Zone” is a fairly tale now. All these realizations depress me, like they do to everyone who loves Nepal.

Getting back to surprises, I came across a very interesting incident a week back. I joined my friend Kaitlin to volunteer for a free bike tune up event organized by Pedals2People, a community serving non-profit organization in Spokane. Though not a bike expert, I decided to participate at least to learn new things about bikes. For the most part, I helped them fix flat tires. After I fixed the second or third flat tire of the day, I was checking if I had aligned the wheels right. It was rather different from what people usually do. I pumped the air and played with it like I used to play in Nepal when I was young. As I was pushing the wheel with my fingers, a lady saw me and immediately asked me where I was from. “I’m from Nepal”, I said. “ Ahh… I saw kids playing like you with tires in Nepal”, she said. I could not help but smile as wide as I could. Her name was Mandy and she had stayed in Nepal for around five months. She worked as a volunteer in INFOTECH, a NGO in Nepal. It was so strange that a lady figured out my nationality from a game I played back then.

Tire Boy_Spokomptonian Experiences
Majority of kids in Nepal still play with tires (that are no longer usable, of either bicycle or motorcycle). Kids playing with tires look dirtier than kids who play with plastic toys, but I am pretty sure tires are more fun than plastic toys. Though I never actually played with toys in my childhood, I can pompously say that tires are better. It involves some skills and imagination. When we were kids, we played several games based on tires. Among all of them, tires race and tires collision used to be the most popular ones in my neighborhood. Tire race is like sprint; a group of kids start pushing their tires with a small piece of stick and moves toward the finish point. The one who ends up first is the winner. Tire collision is usually played with broken tires of motorbikes. But it’s an one-on-one game. It involves a bit of energy and patience. Two players start pushing their tires and collide them. It is more like boxing, but with tires. One does not just smash one tire over another. One controls a tire with a piece of stick, which can either push it or stop it. The tire that falls on the ground first loses. Another game is rather different. It is not played with tires of bikes. A child makes his/her own tires with a PVC pipe by making a circle, attaching two ends by a small piece of wood. Then he/she makes a pushing lever with a piece of metal- something that is as thick as a spoke of bikes. Now its set to go – just push the tire with the lever and cruise on!

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