Caren Ware's Blog

February 25, 2012

Don’t gobble. Chew your food.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 6:28 am

I didn’t have the time to follow up on the marathon entry.  I didn’t have the time to line up a proper meeting with the Japanese timing company.  And here I am in Tokyo where order has to be honored and rules of conduct adhered to make the 10,000,000 people homogeneous.  I am having to  ask the officials if there is any way to make an exception to a rule.  My entry for the marathon arrived to their office on a Japanese holiday and was postmarked the next day….one day too late. This marathon is also the Japanese Olympic trails.  Therefore, it is governed strictly by the government which governs strictly. The answer is NO ACCEPTIONS.  335, 0000 Japanese applied to run and only 30,000 were able to be accepted.  The Marathon committee allowed 3,000 of these to be for internationals. I am having the international experience of explaining my missing entry to every official who leads me to yet the next. This is in the land of instant respond. No. Your name is not on the list.  Understandable.  This is how this many people can abide in such a small space Next in line.

Marathoning.  It takes skill almost everybody could muster with some training. It’s about preparing your system to handle the same repetitive motion for hours upon hours.  It is a feat and, therefore, rewarding to be tried by the thousands.  It creates a goal become journey and the feat-ness of it is the reward.

Since I am untrained to have a competitive time, for once my running needs to have no time purpose .  As my crossfit trainers are also pointing out, they would like I be less concerned about the timed workout and more about the precision of a motion. Not who finishes first, but how fluid was the action. Always racing can get wearisome.  And intensity gets old.  Racing through life leaves you missing many things along the way if you replace smooth speed for consumption.  Gobbling food is not attractive, so why would operating in life like that be either. I am sitting in my cubical of tiny allotted space in my hotel room in Tokyo. I finally have time to read a newsletter from the family in the Galapagos Islands whom are staging their marathon in May

Rick from the Galapagos reminds me that enjoyment comes in chewing my food no matter where I am. And what gobblers miss.  It’s lengthy to read, but I share it with you so we don’t miss something.  Something more important than maybe what we are rushing around to make so important.

Dear Friends and Family,                 Feb. 2012

When people write us for the first time they often say that they “…want to see as many animals as possible, as many things, as many islands, as many…” They don’t want to miss anything. Completely understandable. Rarely do people travel all the way here twice in their lives, unlike, for example Hawaii.

Not often, but occasionally we receive visitors who take this to an extreme. Just as an example, we take them to the scheduled visit to the giant tortoise reserve, show them giant tortoises battling. If you haven’t seen it (it takes some luck and good timing by us), try to imagine how giant tortoises battle, the sounds of the shells colliding, etc. Our/these guests take a picture, turn away from the tortoises and ask, “What’s next?” Instantly the guide or if it is me are sad, disappointed. The tour is going to be tough for us and unsatisfactory for these visitors. You can work as hard as we do to take a horse to water (get them to the right water at the right time), but…  These guys tend to blow through stuff pretty fast because they don’t want to “miss anything”. Of course they’re missing what’s in front of their faces because they’re so anxious to move on and in the end they tend to feel as if they have been in some way taken advantage of, either by us or the hype over the Galapagos.

Mostly we receive the opposite. You can take them to water, but can’t stop their curiosity or passion for photos or stop them from drinking. You can’t possibly see everything, do everything there is to do in the Galapagos in one week or five. I’ve been here eight years, am constantly in the water and it was only last week I saw three things I hadn’t even known I’d “missed” or conceived I wanted to see. One was small enough, the Sally Lightfoot crabs shed their shells when they grow out them, simply back out the ass end leaving an entire shell, legs, claws, clear eye globes included. I’d spoken about this hundreds of times because their bright red discarded shells are everywhere near the water line, people take them for dead crabs, but I had never seen one actually doing it until last week. Our son helped this crab out of the last little bit.

Another was swimming with manta rays. I’d seen them plenty from boats leaping far into the air and from surfboards, the tips of their wings cutting through the water like shark fins and the only way you know they are not shark fins is that they are in pairs, but I had never snorkeled among them. These are big animals/fish. I’ve seen ‘em with wing spans of better than two meters. The ones we snorkeled with were smaller, but big enough. The family that was with me just assumed this was a normal every day experience. I can’t however, put that on an itinerary, “Tues. PM, swimming with manta rays”.

And the third was watching blue footed boobies fish. This you can see almost any hour of any day in near coastal waters. They dive into the water like pelicans do except that they can hit the water at up to 70 miles an hour and spear down through thirty feet of water. Years ago I’d witnessed this deep diving of boobies one day from a cliff overlooking a deep water cove. Generally they are fishing in less than ten feet of water. There were maybe a hundred birds working that day, that hour, that cove, plummeting through the air and then after the splash/penetration thirty-forty feet through the water, their bubble trails looked like swerving torpedoes. After diving for food Boobies surface like a submerged volley ball, practically taking air as they hit the surface. I watched this group of birds working, some plummeting through the air, others torpedoing in the water, others popping up and still others taking wing to plummet again and I remember thinking they were piercing dimensions, water and air.

I’d been in shallow water, in a school of bait fish so thick you could feel them passing your ankles and chest, couldn’t see through them underwater with your mask while a group of boobies worked the bait fish all around us, but never had I been snorkeling in deeper water and been able to watch through my mask  the boobies break the surface of the water, sometimes within feet of me, torpedo down, swerving to catch a fish thirty feet below me and then almost as fun as watching them come torpedoing down through the water near and farther away, the way they much more calmly, in a vertical line return to the surface, also sometimes within feet of my horizontal body on the surface, the water shedding off their wings as they took flight afterwards peppering my back, the feel of a breeze from their flapping wings.

Blue footed boobies are called “lancers” (piqueros) here for the way they spear into the water. A National Park guide had explained this to me once, but I had never witnessed it. You would think these birds would torpedo down and snatch their fish on the way down. They don’t. They spear down through the water and scoop the small fish on the return journey. They dive below the fish, open their mouths, close on the fish. When they surface they raise their chin high, swallow the fish and then take to the air again. “Fri. AM, study of blue footed boobies deep water fishing technique.”The older couple who were with me that day didn’t ask, “What’s next?

”February weather report: Ocean temp. 87 degrees, Air temp. 87 degrees, Humidity 87%. Partial clouds, mostly sun on the coast. The sun feels like it’s arriving through a magnifying glass. The ocean doesn’t cool you off, particularly if you are doing any aerobic activities, swimming, surfing, etc. You either want to be in the water floating, in front of a fan or in some air conditioned room. The bank is actually one of the nicest, 68 degrees, very low humidity.

Siempre Amor,

Rick, Bere and Roley

The Japanese businessmen asked us to take off our shoes, sit on pillows behind a low table, relax, and enjoy a meal with them.  I  decide to chew slowly and taste Japan.

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