I left off some five weeks ago when Whistler had a day of heavy rain and snow so much so that most chair lifts were closed. We returned to our homey Hong Kong for Chinese New Year, to catch up on lost sleep and lost news, to eat and drink and be with indulgent friends, and above all to go to more Mass at Ricci, including the Ash Wednesday Mass which marked the beginning of Lent and the Chinese New Year Day Mass where we met our Sunday friends to start the Year of the Ram.
There are no answers to the question why I had not written, or uploaded rather, anything in between, but one thing seemed clear, reading and writing doesn’t seem to be a priority in Hong Kong, which is a shame, for I had actually quietly resolved to catch up with reading and writing from this year. But where does one begin? Again, my answer is that a wrong question had been asked. A not so young friend in his modest moment asked me to teach him how to write, English, that is, for he writes and speaks very good perfect and fluent Chinese. My first line response was, “Simply get on the laptop and write.”
It is probably true that there is no shortage of topics to write anytime and on any day. Today, for example, is 15 March in North America. I was reminded by a young friend who actually introduced me to Facebook that it is Hungarian National Day such that the country has a national holiday today to mark the 1848-49 Revolution and their fight for independence. Then those of us who have read Shakespeare would recall that today was called the Ides of March which was a holiday on the Roman calendar for several religious observances and which Shakespeare popularized it as the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. It is of course the birthday of many friends and acquaintances, and so on. As if that was not enough, I can also cite that the day before, 14 March, marks the birth date of Albert Einstein in 1879. And rather interestingly, it is also known as Pi Day and religiously celebrated in many circles to mark the Greek alphabet pi which must be one of the most popular mathematic constants and denotes the ratio of a circle perimeter to its diameter, but which was not used as such until 1706 by a William Jones, a self-taught mathematician, and later popularized in 1737 by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler.
Lest you think I am trying to pass off as a learned person who knows everything from A to Z, let me quickly dispel the myth and say here unequivocally that I am not – I am just someone who remembers some oddities and who has learnt how to surf the internet for more tidbits, and I am not even very good at that either. It is proof that one doesn’t need a good story to write. Talking of good stories, I watched the Grand Budapest Hotel on the flight to Vancouver. This film had nine nominations for Oscars and swept four. It began with a monologue of an author about good stories, most of which were real life episodes rather than fictions as many readers would think. Su and I both enjoyed the film, as did Gus with whom we had dinner the day we arrived. Zero Moustafa was the lobby boy who fell for Agatha, the pastry maker. Zero began a love note to Agatha with from Z to A – how charming; and I thought from A to Z was great! I hope my not so young friend who aspires to write is reading this.
Back to the present, our skier friends and instructors confirmed what we learnt from the internet that it hardly snowed in Whistler since we left. Indeed, it rained so that some runs became mushy and dirty while others had to be closed. We were greeted by shades of green and patches of brownish red soil on arrival this time round, and all the snow at the learning areas had to be provided by snow makers. Some runs on the alpine zone were still operative, but the conditions were not much to write home about. We did some warming up runs and learned some new skills in between. Notwithstanding the lack of snow, visitors were still arriving in droves and Roundhouse was more packed than ever, possibly because the skiers had nowhere to go for a good run. The next day, which was yesterday, it began to rain in the Village and snow at the top, resulting in most chairs going to the top having to be closed either because of the wind or because of the icy conditions. So we slept in and had a great reunion drinks session with friends in the evening.
There was an appreciable drop in temperature and the sun actually made a guest appearance at the Village. We decided to go to the Blackcomb side and to take things easy. The resort has since introduced measures to cut prices for everything – 50% discounts for food at most restaurants and lavish reductions for classes, on presentation of a season pass. Talks are already in the air on incentive schemes for early birds for season passes for next year.
Still, life goes on, as we continue to eat, sleep and ski, spending so far more time on eat and sleep, partly because of jet lag and partly because of the lack of snow. As I am typing away, temperature hovers around 1 degree Celsius with forecast of -2 to 9 and 60% of precipitation at the Village. Jim has prepared to take us for the whole of next week, which means that we need to be mentally and physically prepared for more work.
I hope to talk to you again real soon.