Thursday, August 11, 2011

...I have sheep poo in my pocket...

The title is a text message I sent to a friend a couple days ago. He’d asked how my day was going. It pretty much summed things up. It wasn’t so much that my day was bad; it was almost good, even. But a sheep pooped in my pocket. Of course, it wasn’t actually sheep poo so much as lamb poo, and it wasn’t the pocket of my pants, just my coveralls. But I discovered it when it was still wet.

(This was written not quite a week ago. The totals have changed, but the general gist is pretty much the same)

I’m currently working on a wool-sheep (versus meat-sheep) farm in Victoria. Newstead, to be exact. It’s south-west of Bendigo, and north-west of Melbourne. I’m working specifically with pregnant ewes, and more specifically with ewes carrying twins or more. I’m having a pretty good time. Sheep, so far, are pretty easy to take care of. Feed, water, clean up. I’m working with sheep in a shelter, not a paddock (field, pasture, whatever. Here, it’s a paddock) so they need mucking out on a pretty regular basis, but even that isn’t too bad. Perhaps a little smelly at times. I’ve been here a week now, and there’s a definite routine, though it changed a couple days ago with the addition of a work partner, so all of a sudden there seems to be not quite enough work to do to fill out a day for two people. But the lambing isn’t intense yet, and that’s what takes the most time in the cleanup; birth is an awfully wet thing for a sheep (for a human too, I suppose, but I’ve never seen it) so they need fresh clean bedding (we’re using straw) as soon as is humanly convenient. A usual day starts with breakfast, and then up to the shelter for about 8. I’ve been driving myself, in a little old Mitsubishi that doesn’t like mornings, but tolerates the fact that I’m teaching myself to drive a manual transmission. Mostly. Once at the shelter, there’s a quick look around to see what’s happened overnight. New lambs are accounted for, and dead things (ewes, lambs, and the occasional mouse) are removed. Everyone gets breakfast (barley, and a water refill) and then the cleanup begins. Cleanup may take until lunch time (with two of us) or it might take all day. Some days, when the forecast is clear and not too cold (overcast with no rain expected is pretty good) I might tag and release lambs and their mums into the paddock surrounding the shelter. Each lamb gets weighed and then tagged before going out. In a week, I’ve sent out 91 sheep, 59 of them lambs.

I’m finding a distinct matter-of-factness in myself when I have to deal with dead lambs. I guess it’s just something that has to happen. As my boss puts is “when you have livestock, then you get dead stock.” I haven’t had to deal with too many dead lambs (and only 2 ewes, out of the 160 or so we’ve had through so far) but it’s less troublesome than I might have expected. I think perhaps the worst part (psychologically, at least) is still the tagging part. Lambs squirm a fair bit (and some of them bleat) when you punch holes in their ears… I suppose I probably would too, and I’m not 3 days old. But even that is getting easier, and I’m past the point of “aww, it’s so cute, can I keep it?” if ever I was there to begin with. In general, the sheep are decent to work with. They’re warm, and wooly, and they don’t seem to complain too much unless you try to make them walk around when they don’t want to. Lambs are cute, though it takes a couple hours after they’re born for them to get that way. A new lamb is mostly just wet and slimy. It may or may not be covered in blood, mucus, amniotic fluid, and poo (its own, or it’s mum’s). The ewe mostly takes care of that in the first few hours, but it might take longer. Perhaps the most interesting part so far is when lambs get stuck. It’s certainly not the best part of the operation, but it’s up there, providing you succeed. So far, we’ve helped three sheep, two with live lambs, and one with a dead one. The two with live lambs both had their lambs get stuck at the shoulders. A lamb is meant to come out with its front legs first, followed by its nose. If that doesn’t happen, or the lamb is particularly large, it might get stuck. The first lamb I helped was coming headfirst, with its legs tucked behind it. The trick was to reach in and grab one leg, and pull it forward, if it would go, then do the same for the other leg. A tug on the legs helped pass the shoulders, and then the rest of the lamb just slid through. Today, there were two sheep having trouble. One had the larger of a pair of twins stuck halfway, with one front leg and his head coming out, so that was a pretty simple matter of a good pull, but the lamb was huge for a twin. The average “release” weight of the lambs has been about 3.5-4kg. This one was probably about that to start with, if not more. But his sibling is sort of average twin lamb size, so it’s a bit odd. The other sheep today was just carrying a single lamb, but it was backwards, and died somewhere along the way (we’re not sure when, we just know we pulled out a dead lamb). That required a bit more fiddling. For one thing, it wasn’t feet-first, but bum-first. We had to reach in and find legs to get a good grip on things. But it eventually worked, and the (very tired) ewe is spending the night under cover, having a bit of a break before we send her out again with the rest.

In general, the work has been pretty interesting, both from a knitter-spinner angle (I learned more that I will ever likely need to know about wool classing the other day; there’s apparently a comfort rating (it used to be a prickle/itch factor) in merino wool; a fiber has to be at least 30 microns to feel prickly, so a bale of wool is given a comfort rating of how much of it is likely to be less than 30 microns as a percentage) and from a biology angle. And there’s a marginal amount of comfortable monotony to the work; the same tasks need doing, in roughly the same order, every day. Some days may involve other things, like moving more sheep through, or shifting them to a different space, or even the simple task of pumping water up to the tank from the dam, but in general, things are pretty routine. It’s a good thing. And the sunsets have been excellent.

Monday, June 13, 2011

This is where an apology should go

For not having written much about anything for a while...

It's dumb, really, the way I get caught up in the little things of daily life when I have time to settle. I stopped posting when I got to Melbourne, except for some amazingly tardy (and still unfinished) posts about the rest of my travels.  I promise I'll get back to them, eventually.  I suppose that's the good thing about having kept at least a written chronicle of sorts, though I stopped writing for a bit in Asia.  But now, I've been away from home almost a year.  And the funny thing is that, aside from the seemingly random moments of "I really wish ___ were here to share this with" I haven't really missed home much.  I've been missing the people, most of all.  The people are what make a place feel different.  Buildings are just buildings.  But the people, and the feel they give a place, can make it or break it.  I guess this comes into play a lot more for me recently that it has in a while.  That's because I've been in rural Australia, working for a harvest labour crew, so I can earn my second working holiday visa. And while I've been here, I've been staying with a Philipino family (my boss') and around the house they don't speak a lot of English, unless they're talking to me, or the toddler (who's three) who I'm pretty sure understands Tagalog anyways.  There are often extra people here, mostly family, but some friends too, but I've taken to hiding in my room, watching tv from my harddrive, because sitting in a room full of people who are (loudly) speaking a language I can't understand all around me gets to be a bit much.  And sometimes, even with two intervening doors between the livingroom and my room closed, the conversation still carries through.  I guess worse than the loud conversation is the occasional yelling that happens.  I mean, yelling is bad enough when you know what's going on.  Worse, really, when you don't.   But what I'm going for, I guess, is that I miss the sense of belonging I've had since getting to Australia. I've got less than 2 weeks left until I get on a plane for Vancouver. I'll be "home" for just about a month, for PJ, and to catch up with friends and family and then I come back to Australia. I'll have to do once more month (well, 18 days, but if I tell myself 4 weeks then I won't have to work weekends) of work in "regional" Australia, and then I'll likely end up back in Melbourne. Where the plan is to find somewhere to live, with friends, and stay for a while. I don't know what going home is going to do to my sense of belonging, or even if it will feel like I belong there at all, but there's nothing to do but find out, really.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Quick update, from real-time

So, I'm currently not in Melbourne.  Instead, I'm at the 18th Australian Rover Moot, near Adelaide in South Australia.  Tomorrow, I leave on a 5 day Kayak trip with a bunch of other Rovers.  It should be good.  I promise that at some point, I will finish the European adventures, but not tonight.  Happy New Year, everyone :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Alright.  Where were we?  Oh, right.  The part where we actually started using the Eurail passes.  Pretty awesome.  So.  From Basel, we went to Hamburg.  Not bad.  It would appear that being on the train overnight is better than being on the bus overnight.  Though I can’t say I got a ton of sleep, it was still probably better than bus-sleep.  Anyways.  Got into Hamburg on Wednesday morning, August 11, for anyone who’s trying to keep track of those sorts of things.  Right away, we went up to the international ticket office.  We waited a bit in line, and then got to the front of the queue (queue… awesome word.  Really) where we talked to the ticket agent.  Who, it turns out, didn’t really like the game we’re playing.  Mostly because she didn’t understand the rules, or at the very least, couldn’t get her head around the fact that we actually didn’t care where we went, so long as it was overnight.  So… we looked at our map, and then we looked at the departures board, and decided to go to Copenhagen.  The train was leaving in 5 minutes.  We made it, JUST.  And then we spent the next five hours sitting on the floor or the train, in what we’ve dubbed “third class”.



First and second class are easy.  Third is on the floor.  Fourth is in the luggage rack.  I don’t think there’s a fifth.

Well, five hours, except for the part where they took the train on the ferry.  And yes, I am absolutely serious.  There are rails built into the deck on the ferry, and they just roll the whole train on, passengers included.  SO COOL.  We were wondering, before it happened, how it was going to work; were they gonna make us get off and go through the foot passenger entry, or what?  And then…  well yeah.  I still can’t really get over the fact that the whole train went on the ferry.  Which, other than the train part, was reminiscent of the Super C’s… go figure :p

This is a train, on a ferry.  Photo Credit to R. McCoy, since my camera doesn't do low-light very well, even with the flash on.

Anyways.  We got to Copenhagen at about 1400.  We went to the international ticket office at the station, and the guy understood ENTIRELY what we were after.  He booked us on the overnight to Stockholm.  We then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Copenhagen, where it was overcast, and threatening to rain for a large part of the time (and then it actually rained.  We found shelter under some kind of ornamental tower-arch-thing) but that didn’t make it any less pretty.  There was a canal, and some funky-looking row-houses/shops along it.  Well, kinda funky, because of the colours.  Not really that exciting in any other way, except for one.  Because, incidentally, it turns out that all of the Eurolines publishing (the train schedule, the Eurail pass info, everything they gave us) has a picture on the cover that was taken in Copenhagen.  So, of course, we had to take the same photo.  Really.  I mean, wouldn’t you?  It’s not actually that impressive, but it is kinda pretty.



The Canal in Copenhagen.  Pretty.  I'll put in a compare shot of the Eurolines stuff at some point...

Other than the photo adventures, we also walked through the palace, the outside parts (the courtyard in the middle is open to through-traffic and pedestrians) and watched the palace guards saunter around.  And I do mean saunter.  They all just looked bored and had this sort of rolling step that was like a slow-motion version of the catwalk hip-swing thing.  They also had areas pretty much like a goalie’s crease, painted on the ground in yellow.  Got tetchy when people crossed the line and got too close.  Kinda wish I’d had the camera out more; apparently I don't have a picture of the Danish palace guards.

There was also the harbour, which was absolutely full-to-bursting with naval vessels.  National and international.  Apparently it was the Navy’s birthday, so there was a party going on.  It did explain the HUGE humber of sailors we’d seen walking around all afternoon.  My favourite part about exploring the harbour, though, was the mooring system.  There were two methods.  One of them involved two rings, and the other, a ring and a stick.  Both involved pushing an eye-spliced end of rope through a ring, and looping it around something else, either another ring (attached to the ground) or the aformentioned stick.  They had navy boats, moored with this super-simple method.  Excellent. 

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After all our wandering, it was kind of close to dinner time.  And we knew that at some point, we would have to get back to the train station.  So we headed in that direction.  Shortly thereafter, the rain which had been threatening all day decided it was time to make an appearance.  We made a quick run towards shelter, and skulked along under awnings and overhangs for a bit, until we found an archway/tower with benches inside.  Made a good place to take a photo of our entire lives sitting in a pile…

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And of course, after the rain, evidence of Copenhagen as a very bike-friendly city was found.  There's some kind of sensor in the side of the display, that counts people as they go past in the bike lane.  It was pretty nifty.

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The sensor was right next to a statue of Hans Christian Andersen, and... I am so sick of tourists who come in hordes and need to take thirty different photos of themselves and each other with statues.  I had to wait for what seemed like ages for there to be no other people in my way.

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Eventually, we did get back to the station, and took the train to Malmo, where we would catch the train to Stockholm overnight.  I’m pretty sure that’s the only border I’ve ever crossed on a bridge…  Tales of over-designed furniture coming up next, perhaps?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

And so then we got on a train...

Here and now, starts probably one of the most intense parts of the trip.  It involves a lot of taking the train, and a lot of bite-size tourist days.  Mostly, our days were pretty similar in schedule: wake up somewhere new.  Get off the train, go to the ticket office, and find out where we can go overnight that we haven't been to yet.  Book tickets.  Find the tourist office.  Ask our very simple question (what are the three things we absolutely MUST see in this place?) and discount any responses that involve churches or castles unless the info person is particularly enthused about them.  If we remember, ask them to translate our five words into whatever language is local.  Go off for the day, take pictures, try to remember to eat lunch.  Perhaps pick up a picnic dinner and breakfast for the next day.  Get on the train. Try to sleep.  Repeat.

We started out in Nesslau.  The community has half-price SBB day passes available to whoever calls in to ask for them in the morning, it seems, and the Wiederkehrs offered to do so for us.  We accepted, because otherwise rail travel ends up being rather pricy, and walked down to the community office with Selina to get them, after packing up all our things, and making sure we had everything we'd brought.  We left our last Tesco tent (did I mention we bought two tents at Tesco in the UK? £10 each.  They didn't leak or anything) with Selina, and headed on our way.  The day was enough to make us appreciate wholeheartedly how efficient the Swiss train system is.  The trains run around and about the entire country, and I swear every single community has a station.  They are always within 5 minutes of on time, and generally the connections are excellent.  They can also print up itineraries, complete with platform numbers, so you have all the information you should need BEFORE you get to the station, though you should always check that things haven't changed.  In any case.  We went from Nesslau to Geneva via Kandersteg.  This meant seven trains in the course of the day.  From Nesslau to Wil.  Wil to Zurich, Zurich to Bern, Bern to Spiez, Spiez to Kandersteg.  In Kandersteg (and all you scouts will see this one coming) we went to the International Scout Centre.

KISC gate

This is the gate for the campground side of the KISC.  Not a bad pioneering project...

I mean, really.  We had to.  It was the whole reason for GOING to Kandersteg.  And it was cool.  We got the tour of the place from someone who is usually a maintenance guy, but happened to be at the desk when we came in.  So we got probably different versions of things than normally would be presented, and that was pretty cool.  We didn't get the chance to see any of the dorms, because it was high season and they were all full, but we got a great tour of the grounds, and were generally happy scout nerds.

Kandersteg Lodge
The front of the Lodge.  The flags are all from this year, from groups who have stayed there.  There aren't enough spaces for all of them to be up.

After spending some money on the requisite souvenirs (Pretty sure I sent at least one Kandersteg postcard, though I can't remember to who) we got ourselves back on the train, to go back to Bern, and from Bern to Geneva.  Now, the original plan had been to pick up our Eurail passes that same day, and get on a train that night.  But when we go in to Geneva, it was about 20h00.  Everything was pretty much closed up for the night, and we were not going to be able to get on a train.  So instead, we spent the night at the HI in Geneva, which turned out to be a pretty good deal.  We got a decent night's sleep after a long day, and had a chance to regroup and made sure we knew what we wanted to do.

The next morning, we packed up, had breakfast, and left the hostel, armed with one-day local transit passes, included in the hostel stay, and went out in search of the Eurail office.  That ended up being slightly trickier than we expected.  We ended up at the airport office, and had a great chat with the SBB guy there, who understood ENTIRELY what our plans were (essentially, none) and pretty much got right into it.  He wanted to help us book our whole trip, then and there, but we only let him book us on one train, overnight from Geneva to Hamburg, and took itinerary suggestions for the next few days of travelling.  And then we spent the rest of the day hanging out in Geneva.  We went, and were refused entry to,

UN HQ

the UN headquarters (something about having huge-as packs... whoops) and took buses and trams.  We went to the WOSM headquarters and took the tour, and caught the interest of our tour guide, who, it later turned out, is the unit manager for Advocacy and Media.  The fact that we were trying to blog the trip, and that we're both Rovers, was clearly interesting, but I haven't heard anything since.  There are better, more scout-centric blogs on the internet, I'm sure.  This one just happens to be mine.

Door marker at WOSM HQ
This is the marker on the door for WOSM headquarters. It's about 2" square.

In any case.  In the evening, we caught the train from Geneva to Basel (which, it turns out, is at the very border of France, Germany, and Switzerland) where we would catch the overnight to Hamburg.  We found dinner, and tried to take pictures of the craziness that was the departures board in mid-change.  I'm pretty sure mine still need some editing to look the way I want them to, but that's ok.

Waiting to go to Germany

In any case, that's probably enough for now.  Up next, Hamburg, or The Germans Have No Imagination.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Switzerland

Ok, so I last left you at the end of the Jamboree.  Of course, at the end of it all, camp does have to close sometime.  The kids go home, and the staff pack things up and do the same.  But what about those of us who are awfully far from home?  Well, we have our ways.  It turned out that the Swiss Contingent had driven over to the Jamboree.  So we asked one of the guys, Sam, if we could tag along.  The official answer was maybe.  He said he’d ask the others in his car, and they would work out who was leaving when.  On the day after closing, we finally got a proper answer.  It was probably about 20h00, and we were enjoying the evening, being finished with dismantling for the day.  Most of Outdoor had come down easily, with only the major posts for the ropes course left, and Antarctica was in a similar boat, with only their large tents to take down.  We were standing up on the road talking, looking down into camp, when Sam came up to us, with an awfully disappointed look on his face.  We assumed the worst, of course.  And thus we were pleasantly surprised when Sam asked us if it was ok for us to leave with Valentine that night.  The reasoning was that it was better to have three people in one car and four in the other (one of the girls, Selina, had left a few days before) than to have 2 in one and five in the other.  So after a long day of taking things apart, and an awfully quick packing-up, we ended up on an overnight drive to Switzerland.  And we ended the drive in Winterthur, about an hour (by train) from Z├╝rich.

This is Winterthur, and the view is pretty similar to what we saw from the Scout House.  Photo © Stadt Winterthur

In Winterthur, we stayed in a scout house.  Now, unlike home, it seems that Swiss scouts have figured it out; they have spaces available to rent out to other groups, set up almost hostel-style, though the booking process is different, and there are no staff on hand.  The plan had originally been to either camp at the site beside the scout hall, or possibly ask if we could camp in the backyard.  Instead, we ended up staying inside, as the group occupying the hall had some extra space.  It worked out well for us, as it meant not having to put up a tent, as well as availability of showers and somewhere with light to sort out the fast-as pack job from the night before.  Having sorted out somewhere to sleep, we wandered into Winterthur itself, and proceeded to see… a lot of it, in a few hours.  We even found the swimming pool (for once, within walking distance of town!) and so, after going back to grab things, we went for our first swim in I don’t even know how long.  Never mind that swimming laps was pathetic and exhausting, it felt good to go for a swim anyways.  We spent the night with the group at the scout house.  They even fed us dinner and breakfast (my life pretty much revolves around the kindness of strangers lately, it seems) and were sent off away when we asked if there was anything we could do to help them clean and pack up.  So we wandered off, having a couple hours to kill before meeting up with Sam by a nifty wooden sculpture of a giant in town (that we both entirely neglected to take pictures of).  We ended up grabbing wireless and weak tea, and then heading off to our meetup.

Speaking of wireless...  (or, not really) This is a Swiss keyboard.  Ten points (and maybe a postcard?) to the first person who can tell me what's wrong with it.  Gonzo, you don't get to say.

When we met up with Sam, it was pretty obvious that he hadn’t been home for long before coming to meet us.  Granted, he had driven (with a couple others) through the night, so it’s forgiveable.  After a couple of hours hanging out and talking scouty stuff, we headed off to Nesslau, where Selina still lives with her and Sam’s parents.  And dang, was the road to Nesslau pretty.  All winding and twisting and turning around hills and through valleys and basically a welcome change from two weeks of topographically-challenged Holland.

This is Switzerland.  It has mountains.  Mountains are good

We spent the next day and a half in semi-rural Switzerland.  We had “proper” swiss food (a process of eating called raclette by which there’s a grill with space underneath, and basically every person gets a frying-pan like dish in which to melt cheese, and then pours said cheese over potatoes and whatever else happens to be on the plate.  Grilling things before cheesing them is optional.) which involved cheese with bacon in it (bacon makes just about everything taste better) and had some time watching schwingen, the Swiss national sport, which involves special leather shorts.  And throwing one’s opponent on his back by holding on to his shorts.  It was actually a lot of fun to watch, and something we’d never have even considered if we had gone to Switzerland by ourselves.

This is Schwingen.  The shorts are provided.  Photo ©R McCoy because I forgot to take any.

So, until next time!  It gets interesting then.  And involves A LOT of trains.  I'm still trying to figure out how to break up the train-to-train-to-train travels, for the sake of posting.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jamboree, and, perhaps, getting into better habits re: posting

So, since I've garnered an overwhelming response (read: 2 comments) I've decided that for my own sake, and perhaps yours, I will post bits and pieces of the trip, in chronological order, with pictures. The chronological order may or may not be interrupted by daily goings-on here in Oz. I'm not sure yet, because there's nothing particularly interesting on the horizon until the Moot, and that's in December/January. In any case. I'm going to start with the Jamboree, since that's where the last bit of real content came from. From there... We'll see how it goes.

So. First off. The Jamboree.

Scout camp is always fun. And I do mean always. Even when it is pouring rain, scout camp is a pretty good time. So going to a Jamboree, even when I don't speak the language, was pretty good. Even more fun, sometimes, exactly because I don't speak Dutch, since me trying to speak Dutch was occasionally hilarious (I tend to substitute French words for the ones I don't know when I'm speaking anything other than English) In any case, some of the highlights of camp were:

Adventures in Hand Sewing
While working at Outdoor during program sessions, I'm meant to be wearing an Outdoor tee. Of course, being a somewhat last-minute addition to the team, there were no shirts in my size left when I got mine. There were Larges, and X-Larges. Now, I am neither an L nor an XL in shirts. No problem. Three nights of sewing later, I had a me-sized Outdoor t-shirt. All sewn by hand. And it fits darn well, though I had to adopt diamond-gussets in the underarm because I didn't cut the body quite right…

It used to be a mens' XL, honest.  The tag even says so. (Photo care of the HotAir Vents, aka the Canadian Contingent to JubJam)

Inclusive Scouting night at Outdoor
One night, we set up Outdoor specifically for the scouting groups focusing on "Inclusive Scouting." Those would be the groups set up for, or at the very least, including, individuals needing special care or those with disabilities. We had part of the rope course open, as well as part of the climbing wall and the abseil tower. The best part of the night was just watching these kids' faces light up when they were able to come and play "like everyone else." Also, playing koala when I wasn't helping people stay safe.

This is Kit, pretending to be a koala, but really just bored and waiting for the next person to come along.  (Photo taken by Joren, on his iPhone.  Not bad...)

Hanging out in Subkamp Antarctica
Now, I've never spent a large portion of any Jamboree in a Subcamp. It turns out that I was missing a lot of fun. Because Gonzo was working for Antarctica (something about it being the closest subcamp to Australia…) I spent a good portion of time there, for the sake of sanity and sensible (and fast) English. Later, I also went out there because the subcamp staff became my friends, too, and because it was good to hang out with people who knew my name, after a day full of 30-second interactions with people, usually in Dutch. And the evening program activities were always interesting. Talent shows, and food festivals, and boat regattas… the list goes on.

This is Ivo.  He's very proud of his marshmallow-and-licorice penguin

Leaning to wrikken
First, I suppose, I have to explain what, exactly, wrikken is. The very first day of camp, when Gonzo and I had nothing in particular to do (the IST weren’t assigned jobs until the evening of the next day) we were wandering around camp, watching different groups set up. And we saw some people out on the water, with boats (usually 2) rafted together, and they were bringing them in towards shore using a single oar from the stern. Never having seen this before, we thought this was pretty much the coolest thing ever. Since then, we’d sort of put it in the back of our heads as something interesting, but we weren’t sure what to do about that. But a few days into the jamboree, we were hanging out in Antarctica, and Ivo was making a poster about water activities. We figured out that two of the titles were sailing and rowing. But the third, wrikken, had us totally stumped. So we asked. And he explained, and then we got really excited. We got even more excited when he offered to teach us. So the next free day we all had, we went out on the water to play. And spent the next hour (or more? We kinda lost track of time) teaching our bodies (and our heads, which I think was the harder part) how to wrikken. We’ve since learned that the english word for it is sculling, though most people assume we’re talking about a specific kind of rowing, then. So wrikken it is :) And no, I really can’t explain how to do it. I understand how it works, but it’s an awfully complicated movement. That being said, I now want to see what else I can wrikken, Dutch-style steel canal boats being somewhat scarce outside of the Netherlands…Perhaps canoes, or maybe kayaks, or, just for fun, surfboards?

This is me, trying to wrikken.  Apparently, I have already spent quite some time in the sun...

Chocolate Fondue at Outdoor
On one of the last nights at the Jamboree, the Swiss contingent got together and made fondue for their respective work groups. They managed quite well, actually, because 3 of them were working for Communications (2 photographers and a writer) and the other 3 were working with Outdoor, versus being spread out all over the place. As it was, there were still an awfully large number of people waiting for fondue when the time came. 30-some-odd of us from Outdoor, and about 20 (I think?) from Communications. And so fruit was cut, and chocolate prepared, and in the end, the fruit ran out first. But everyone had fun, working their way around the tent, conga-line style, forks (or chopsticks) in hand, getting chocolate everywhere. I don’t know how much chocolate there was left at the end, but it was a lot. And of course, while waiting in line, there was singing, and teasing, and all the things that go along with a bunch of scouts who are (patiently?) waiting their turn for some dessert.

At the end of it all, the Jamboree was excellent. Are there things I would change? Of course there are. Would I go back? I just might. You never know. But I might also take the chance to go somewhere else entirely, just for fun.