Monday, September 29, 2008

Presidents, Markets and life

Yes I know it's been a while since I shared my worldly wisdom with you all. I'm back.
Goodness, it's been a busy few weeks.

Hurricane Ike caused major havoc, wiping out homes along the coast. Residents who live along the coast could not get back for weeks to assess the damage. Another good reason why I live in Denver.

The US Economy seems to have lost the plot. Financial institutions going bankrupt and having to be bailed out by the US Government. AIG, Lehman Bros, Freddie Mac and Fanny May mortgage giants, and last but not least, Wall Street itself. You'll be excused about thinking back to the great depression.

Wall Street dropped more than 700 points yesterday when the bailout of $700 billion was rejected by the House of Representatives. Not sure on what's going to happen next, at this point anything can happen.

South Africa has also seen some major changes in government. So Mbeki's out and Motlanthe's in. I'm keen to see this story unfold. I really hope that things get better and that SA grows back to the amazing place that we know and love. After all, "I am an African"...

Work has been interesting, challenging. Still feeling a little like a fish out of water, but I guess it will take some time to get the lay of the land, watch this space...
One of the beautiful things about Colorado is the changing of the seasons. Fall is in the air, the leaves are changing, the Aspens are almost gold in colour and the weather's stunning, not too hot and not too cold. We enjoyed a great drive up to Mount Evans to witness this amazing sight, stunning!
We were lucky to see such an amazing sighting of elk at the Evergreen Golf Course. All the males were making the mating calls, and there were tons of elk walking on the practice green right in front of us. I took some pics but the Blackberry was not on top form.

One of the highlights of my week was going to my first Ice-Hockey game, to see the Denver team, the Avalanches. Melissa got a some free tickets, it's great to have friends that can organise. This is definitely my favourite US sport now, def beats baseball. The players fly on the ice, every now and again, crashing into each other into the glass. The vibe, music and fast pace of the game is fantastic to watch.

Outside the Pepsi-Centre in Downtown Denver - where they play Ice-Hockey

Chris and I then enjoyed a wonderful weekend in Breckenridge, to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. I can not believe it's been 2 years, so much has happened, we've done in 2 years what some people do in their lifetime.

Stunning drive to Breck

A golden aspen tree in a Breckenridge street

The streets of Breckenridge

Breckenridge was amazing, it has this European feel, quaint little shops and sidewalk cafes. All we needed was the snow, but we were a month early. Chris booked this amazing lodge, Pine Ridge, complete with fireplace. Definitely my favourite skiing spot thus far.

Our Lodge

We decided to try our hand at Ice-skating, we almost had the outside rink to our selves as they were playing ice-hockey on the inside rink.

Very tiring

Chris was a natural and was soon skating around like a pro. I on the other hand felt like a spaz, falling on my ass, almost taking out my elbow. Apparently most of the parks create outdoor ice-rinks in winter, our park is one of them, so I would love to get this right, it could be tons of fun.

Halloween fever is all around. October 31st is when all the witches and goblins come out. Here were having some fun at out local Walmart. It's an improvement, don't you think?

Well, that's all my news for now. I'm off to Dallas for the first time next week, looking forward to it, so keep checking for the latest news on my new life.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Zuma and Hurricane Ike

Well, Well, looks like South Africa may have their next president all lined up. The charges have been dropped against Zuma, and he's looking all good and smelling like a rose. Interesting..... bribery and corruption continues...
Top Story:

"The SA State and Allied Workers' Union says it is thrilled at Justice Chris Nicholson finding that charges against ANC President Jacob Zuma were invalid"

But the poor man is now a "wounded warrior" as he said after the ruling. Maybe he should take a shower, that normally fixes things.

Watch this space

Hurricane Ike

On the US front, Hurricane Ike is on it's way to the US coast, to hit landfall in the early morning on Saturday. They predicting it to to be a cat 3, which will cause mass devastation. It will hit the Texan Coast. Most of Houston and the coastal areas have been evacuated.

Mass evacuation

Along with the surge comes powerful, damaging winds. Hurricane-force winds extend 120 miles from the center while tropical storm-force winds extend and astounding 275 miles from the center.
Because of this massive size, it is very important to emphasize that tropical storm and hurricane conditions will be felt well before Ike's center of circulation makes landfall. Conditions will deteriorate along the Texas coast and the southwestern Louisiana coast by this afternoon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Daily Mantra

This is a quote which inspires me daily......

Promise yourself to be so stromg, that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
Forget the mistakes of the past and press onto the greater achievements of the future.
Give so much time to the improvement of yourself, that you have no time to critizise others.
Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you!

Christian D. Larsen

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rock Climbing, Labor Day and Ski Season

Ok, so it's been 2 weeks since my last post, and I can not believe how much we've done since then.

It started with my first trip to Austin, for a few meetings. Austin is very hot and humid. 5 miles after leaving the airport, navigating my way around in my rental car, I started to notice a change in the vegetation. The scenery looked exactly like that the Mpumalanga bush veld. With the humidity and bush vegetation, I had to keep reminding myself I was not back in the bush but in Austin, Texas.

The "bush" vegetation in Austin

The Austin skyline

Later that week, back in Denver, I attended sales training, and met some other AE's from around the country. It then really makes you realise how big the states is and how many people there are in the mix. I also met a great ex-South African guy who's based in Denver and been here for 10 years. It's great to have someone in the office who you can speak Afrikaans to and have a good laugh.

It was also a busy week for Downtown Denver, with the DNC convention (Democratic national Convention), where Obama did his acceptance speech for the Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party. Thousands of people descended on Denver to attend the convention, thus causing major road blocks for the week.

The weekend brought on the famous Sniagrab sale(bargain spelt backwards), which is the Sports Authority annual ski sale. All ski equipment is basically discounted up to 70%. Chris and I got some great deals on Ski pants, jackets, ski's, gloves and the list goes on. Now all we need is some great snow, which they say will be here by 10th October.

Bring on ski season - my new ski's

On Sunday, Chris caught the light rail to downtown Denver for the annual "Taste of Colorado" festival, where they have tons of food, arts and crafts and bands playing. It was rather hot and there were so many people, that we decided to check out the Denver Art Museum. The museum is massive and has 5 various levels split over two buildings. It was very interesting, Chris and I definitely sharpened up on our cultural skills. After tasting some local cuisine, listening to a band and watching a bunch of old ladies putting on a dancing show, we decided to beat the rain and catch the light rail home.

Downtown Denver - 16th st (the main st)

A shopping Mall on 16th ST

The Main train and RTD Station

Looking at the Denver skyline from the Art Museum

The Granny Dancing Show - they were rather good

The World Trade Centre Towers (the Denver version)

Band playing at the "Taste of Denver"

Chris at our local Littleton train/light-rail station

Monday was Labor day public holiday, so off we went to our local park, to chill under the tree and have our first real "braai". I loved it and going to miss the nice warm weather as Fall (Autumn) sets in slowly.

The east Coast of America has been battered with a series of Hurricanes over the last week. Hurricane Gustav made land fall last weekend, in New Orleans, three years to the day that hurricane Katrina caused absolute devastation. Luckily Gustav did not do that much damage thus time round, however, the world is now watching what hurricane Hanna and Ike which are looking big and may cause major devastation to the Florida coast.

Friday was freezing cold, you can definitely feel fall in the air, and soon the leave will turn colour and temps will start falling. In a way I'm looking forward to wrapping up in scarves and boot and cute hats.

This weekend I went rock climbing with Mel and Jenni. I've been very keen to try this out for a while now, so we headed off to a state park near Castle Rock for a day of rock climbing. The park is situated in a canyon, where, there once was a dam in the early 90's, which broke and flooded the area. They never rebuilt it and now it's a state park. Chris was not too keen on the rock climbing idea, so he went off for a hike while the gals conquered the rocks.

Chris, Mel and Jenni

Remains of the dam wall which broke
We did what is called Top Roping, where you climb to the top of the rocks, hook up the climbing gear and drop the rope down. Once you are back on the ground, all harnessed up, one person controls the rope "the be lei" while the other attempts to climb up. The first time round, I managed to get half way up before I got stuck on a slanting straight piece of rock. The second time round I managed to get over the straight piece right to the top and then abseiled back down (or as they say here repelled down). I absolutely loved it, and look forward to my next climb, which Mel said we will try at Golden. I did manage to, in true Lesleigh style, half sit on a cactus and twisted my ankle on the hike back. With a limp and spikes up my butt, we ended the day with a great bbq (braai) in the park.

View from the bottom of the rock face

Mel on her way to the top Me conquering the wall

Almost there

Finally, at the top

Mel doing it like a pro

Jenni makes it look easy

My hot man

Well, that's all my news for now, can not believe Chris and I have almost reached 2 years of marriage, on the 24th Sept. Chris has booked a place in Breckenridge. I can not wait, we may be lucky and see some snow at that time already.