Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Time in Colorado

HOT, HOT HOT!!! This seems to be the norm lately with temp's running in the mid to upper 90 degree F. (Upper 30 degree C's). Here's a clip from the Denver post on breaking the last record of 90 degree temps:
"The National Weather Service has reported a temperature of 91 degrees in Denver as of 2:55 p.m. today, moving us one day closer to smashing a heat wave record that dates to the 19th century. In 1874 and again in 1901, Denver braved 18 consecutive days in which temperatures reached or surpassed 90 degrees".


There is so much to do in Colorado in the summer, it's sometimes difficult to fit everything in.
With extra time on my hands before I start working, we have managed to see so much over the past few weeks.

Boulder is a student town, very similar to Stellenbosch in a way. Very quaint, and relaxed, lots of cafes, shops and interesting things happening. Chris and I strolled through this chilled little place, seeing all the students milling around, watching a concert in the square. Very cool.

Quaint Streets of Boulder

One thing I really miss is the bush and the wildlife that we have back in SA. As most of you know, every spare minute I had, we would escape to the bush and do some game watching.
well, the best I have here is the Denver Zoo. So off we went for a day at the zoo. It was wonderful, they have a big variety of game, and it takes you quite a while to get round to seeing everything. I was a little upset to see a single meerkat in a cage, as they are social animals and need to company. I was also annoyed to see the leopard in a tiny cage behind glass. Such a majestic animal, who needs trees and space should NOT be in such a small enclosure! We wrote to the Zoo and gave them out feedback, and to my surprise they wrote back and told us about their expansion plans. I am considering working as a volunteer at the zoo, at least I get to be near my animals. The Wild, Wild West

The highlight of my week was going to the Cheyenne Frontier days Rodeo, in Wyoming. Chris, Melissa and I headed of to Wyoming early on Saturday morning, to attend the biggest Rodeo in the World, called "The daddy of em all".
This is Cowboy country and boy, did I see some cute cowboys (Sorry Chris, but you saw some cute Cowgirls as well).

There were different events, bull riding, Bronco Riding, Lassoing of Cows etc...
These guys are crazy, and how half of them manage to stay alive is a miracle in itself. the Bull Riding was very exciting, and saw some close shaves. What we also really enjoyed was seeing the Cowboys ride along side a young calf, jump down from the horse and tackle the calf to the ground, and then tie it up, all in a record time of 6 seconds. Wow.Melissa and I - checking out all the interesting goodies on sale

They also had all sorts of food, corndogs (which I have yet to try), hotdogs and Turkey legs. Chris attempted to eat one, I thought it looked more like a Ostrich leg than a turkey leg, it was massive!
The Big Turkey Leg

I had to of course but myself a cowgirl hat (reliving my dream of being a cowgirl when I was a kid). Now I just need a cute pair of cowgirl boots and I'm ready to strut my stuff!! All good fun!!
My New Cowgirl Hat

The next day Chris played golf at the No. 1 Mountain Golf Course in the States, The Raven. I spent the morning shopping and having lunch with Melissa. Afterwards, I met up with the girls and wives of the guys Chris was playing golf with. We went to a concert in the park near Cherry Creek and had a pic-nic. I must say that everyone here is so friendly and that has really helped us get settled and feel at home.

Lastly, my parents have booked their tickets to come and spend Christmas here with us. We have also booked a week in Mexico which is going to be fab, so we will at least see some hot sunny weather amidst the snow and chilly Colorado winter. Best of both worlds! Yay!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beat the heat – head off to mountain

Another scorcher in Denver - 100 degrees (approx 38’ C). The only way to escape this type of heat is to head for the mountains. So off we went, equipped with lots of water, back packs and sunscreen, towards the west, to the mountains just past Morrison. Chris and I discovered the Bear Creek trail which follows the river, under the canopy of evergreen and other kinds of trees.
After a nice long walk, we relaxed by dipping our feet in the river, just soaking in the beauty all around us and the wonderful sound of the river. It’s difficult to imagine this same river all frozen up in winter. Such a great day, definitely one of my favorite past times.

Trip to San Diego to meet with SAP

So, clearly I have not had my fill of SAP yet, and thus, I’ve been chatting to them about rejoining.

SAP held their annual mid year Summer Sales Meeting in San Diego, and I was asked to go to meet a few people.
So off I went to San Diego on Sunday, where most of the staff were staying at the Grand Hyatt, on the marina, next to the convention centre. I had a great view from my room, on the 26th floor, of the USS Midway carrier and the bay.View from my hotel room

Monday morning was an early start, where I had to meet with another AE, Sally, who would be my host for the day. There were sooooo many people, only SAP staff and a few SAP partners, it felt like our SA version of a Saphilla.

After a day of meetings, and attending some sessions, it was time to get back to hotel for the evening event. The dinner was hosted on the USS Midway, the same aircraft carrier that Chris and I toured in San Diego. What a great evening, with some great people that I met. Thank you to Sally, Michelle, Ephraim and Mitch for looking after me and showing me around.
Dinner and drinks served on the USS Midway deck, where the aircrafts land. very Cool.

Watch this space for more news on the SAP front.

How about a pint or ten – Paddy!

The famous annual Irish Festival has arrived, and, in true South African fashion, we made our presence known. The festival was held in our awesome park across the road. A new friend of ours, another South African, Jasper, is the events manager of Coors and we all met up for a few drinks.

Jasper and Chris

My Canadian friend, Melissa joined us and soon we were consuming more drinks than responsible, intelligent people should, and enjoying all the Irish hospitality. A U2 band wannabe was playing some cool U2 music, adding to the great summer evening fair.My Canadian friend, Melissa
U2 playing at the Festival (Ya Right!, but not bad).

As the Festival started drawing to a close, the local Paddy’s invited us to the Irish pub down the street. As if we have not had enough to drink, I decide that it would be a really great idea to play coinage (or quarters as they call it here). Eventually, rather tipsy and going downhill fast, we decided to call it a night. Needless to say, the next day was rather uneventful, it was me, my babelas, my couch and my coke,

What a great evening with great people. Looking forward to many more.

A Blue Bull invades Denver

I could not believe my eyes when I saw this. There we were, at the shopping mall in Highlands Ranch, when, for a minute I thought I was back in Pretoria, among the best of the blue blood.
After a good giggle and fond memories, I took this photo to prove what we had seen.

Vat hom Bulle!!
You’ll be forgiven for thinking you were in Pretoria, but check out the number plate.

Seagram takes the lead at Evergreen

A really hot day at 96 degrees F gave us a good excuse to retreat to the mountains for a game of golf. So we headed off to Evergreen Golf Club for our first round of golf since we arrived here.The course is very hilly, I guess that happens when you play golf in the mountains (-:
What an amazing feeling to be out of the course, in the mountains on such a stunning day. The temps are at least 8-10 degrees lower than in the city.
The head-line to this entry will give you an indication to how I played. I was hitting the ball so well, long drives and great chip shots, the way to play and enjoy the best game ever.

Another great day in Colorado!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Happy 4th July Holiday

Bring on the Blue, Red and White and tons of fireworks. This symbolises one of the most famous public holidays in the USA. Yup, it’s July 4th Holiday.

Waving the Red, Blue and White Colours

We got to spend this amazing event in our beautiful Foothills park over the road from where we live. Celebrations started early, with tons of people arriving with their picnic baskets, blankets, chairs and family. The afternoon weather was warm and perfect for a party in the park. When we arrived, the place was already packed and a local band started playing. The last song the band sang was the American National Anthem. Everyone, and I mean everyone stood up, hand across their heart, and sang. Goosebumps.

Eventually the sun started setting and everyone was getting ready for the highly anticipated fireworks show. `A light drizzle started coming down, but no one seemed t care. The fireworks show was truly amazing. For a full 30min, the sky was lit up with amazing lights.
After the show, we headed home, and no sooner were we home, and the heavens opened up. Truly a wonderful evening and experience. Amazing sunset just below the foothills of the Rocky's

Pool Party in Highlands Ranch

A Canadian friend of mine, Melissa invited us to a Pool Party at her place the next day. The weather was HOT and perfect for a swim and a barbeque (yup, US version of a braai). The sangria was flowing, and after a few glasses, we were all very relaxed enjoying the sun, pool, good company and lots of laughs.
Melissa and I were challenged to a Beer Bong, sort of what we know as a Beer Funnel. You will all be proud to know that I stepped up to the challenge with a time of under 10 seconds. Not bad for a girl. I can now say that I’ve done the typical high school stunt.
What a great day!!

The Beer Bong Challange

I had to take a pic of the "Cosmos" growing in the garden - in Summer

Day Hike up to St Mary’s Alice

Our jam packed weekend was far from over. Melanie and Jenny invited us on a day hike to St Mary’s Alice. This is actually a Glacier, which has now been named an Alice (basically a junior glacier), out at Idaho Springs. The hike itself was not that far, but very steep over rocks. At the top of the hike, you reach a beautiful lake at the edge of the Alice. I decided to cool my feet of and dipped them in the icy water. I lasted all of 10 seconds, before it felt as if a knife was being driven through my foot. FREEZING!!! I suppose it’s mostly ice melt, what did I expect.

After some pics, we bravely or stupidly decided to hike to the top of the glacier. Well, halfway up, negotiating steep cliffs, big boulders and at some times loose gravel, I started rethinking this maybe not so clever move. Especially after seeing a plak half way up "dedicated to those who died here" Oh !@&^%$(*&!! Mel and Jen are experienced rock climbers and I think even they started wondering if this was a bright idea.

The plak dedicated to some men who died on the glacier - Scary

View half way up the Glacier to the lake below - stunning

As we were reaching the top, we could see a storm rolling in and so we had to start getting down before we got caught in the midst of it.
We decided that the quickest way down is on the snow. So there we were, skiing down on our hiking boots. It was great fun, until the snow turned to ice and became very steep. Chris managed to keep his balance, but I had a few falls which was rather funny. Mel and Jen did pretty well and after we reached the bottom, we were so happy that we did it, it was amazing. Definitely keen to do it again, and ready and so keen to try skiing.

Skiing down on our hiking boots - So much Fun!!

After all that exercise, we headed down to a local Idaho Springs pub, TommyKnockers. This is a pub as well as a micro brewery, with a wide variety of beers. The burgers are just as yummy. What a great afternoon. The mountain rain had settled in, and it was time for us to all pile into Mel’s Jeep and head back. Now we are planning our camping weekend for August. Can’t wait!