Sutton盐湖和古老的schist

原本今天打算带蜜蜜去游泳,可惜早晨起来发现小家伙有点感冒。早饭吃完后决定开车出去走走,想起昨天在农贸市场上看到宣传Sutton盐湖的小册子,一查发现离家才一个小时的车程,于是决定去遛遛。

这是新西兰唯一的内陆盐湖,是在2亿年前形成的。当时的南极还是一片热带雨林,新西兰大部分地区也都在海面以下,只有达尼丁西边的一小块地方在水面以上。因此这一小块地方有着新西兰最奇特的地质构造。

我们背着小家伙哼哧哼哧的走到湖边,才发现初秋的盐湖已经干涸,只留下松软的河床和很多叫做schist的片层岩。我特别喜欢这种风格的岩石,开车不知有多少次远远看着,这次误打误撞尽然这么近距离的在盐湖看到,真是好运气。

   
    
    
    
   

南部水库

距离家10分钟车程的地方有个水库,据说是钓鱼初学者必去之地。今天傍晚我们决定一起去探探路。水库不大,也就是一两个足球场大小。
  

我们转一圈的功夫碰见三家人。两家是爷爷带着小孙孙,另一家时爸爸带着两个小朋友。 

 看着夕阳慢慢下到松林背后,让我想起07-08年在北京时,也常常是在周日的傍晚在香巴拉看首钢上的日落,只是那时心里满是未知和不甘。

 

幼儿园周六大扫除

蜜儿去的幼儿园是家长自助形式的,每天收费2元。这么便宜的价格的条件就是家长们要轮流承担维护的责任。

下周末有个一年一度的fair,今天所有家长全体出动收拾花园。我的任务是用锄头把秋千和滑滑梯区域的地翻松动了,然后有其他的家长们把新买来的树皮铺好。
    

比较牛的是alan小朋友的爸爸,带了油锯和粉碎机来。一个小时的时间就把小小校舍旁的枯树给锯下来了。
  

奥克兰是个大城市

去奥克兰出差两天,绝大部分时间都在路上堵着了。那情景,真让我想起在北京和上海时经历过的盛况。今天傍晚飞回我们这个小小的城市,心里感觉真是庆幸,觉得选对了地方。

当然,大城市也有大城市的好处。中国各地的风味小吃都有。中午去机场路上顺便带回些陕西风味的小吃,一家人风卷残云般的就吃完了。

晚饭后,蜜儿意犹未尽,找出一小杯昨天早晨剩下的鲜奶,用手抓着就往自己脸上抹。还要爸爸妈妈跟她一起玩。这样的周五,真棒。 

 

晒晒一些生活照

好久没有发博客了。今天有点空,出来晒晒一些生活照。
2月份还是夏天时候在沙滩日落的时候拍的。
St Cair Beach on a beautiful summer day
2月份去大名鼎鼎的米尔福德4天徒步。绝大多数时间是大雨,极度壮丽却也过于寒冷。这是最后一天终于雨过天晴,回到平地,已经审美疲劳后拍的。在山上的景致要是这个的百倍,可惜没法子掏相机。
Random shot at Milford Track
3月份在家周边开一条以前的老路,拍了一些比较有当地地质特点的片子。我非常喜欢这种叫做schist的石头,正在慢慢收集,希望有一天家里花园的梯田可以用这个累起来。
Old Dustan Road
这是52年到84年在达尼丁服役的老电车。退役后被卖到普通平民手里做钓鱼小屋。结果后来不了了之,放在湖边。我和微风都是有些讲究物情的人,看到一个曾经装载着那么多幸福和回忆的公交被废弃在这里,心里多少觉得有些可惜。(84-86是新西兰近代历史上分水岭。是脱离英国以及非常社会主义的经济政策到引入更多市场机制的剧变年代)
Retired Dunedin Bus
对了,我们4月去领养了一只小猫,取名叫Macintosh,中文名叫“小雨披”。Macintosh是英国1820年左右专门给小孩子设计的一款雨披;又是一个非常有苏格兰风味的名字,符合达尼丁这个城市的感觉。他给我们带来很多的快乐。
Macintosh what is that Zephyr feeds Macintosh Macintosh Tunnel vision
就在这周迎来了入冬的第一场大雪。 由于路滑结冰,我们在家里呆了两天没有出门。这是早晨起床后在家里阳台上拍的。后来大雪又纷纷扬扬的下了一整天。
Morning with fresh snow
这张颇有点中国新年的感觉。白白的雪,红红的灯笼。
Holiday is what you make it
最后一张是在距离家大约20分钟车程的老栈桥拍摄的海豹。当天是连续5天的雨之后的第一个大晴天,我们就放下工作出去走走,刚好在路边看到这只海豹。按照个头,应该是只未成年的小家伙。
Seal at Amamoana Molt

下决定,开始第一步

2008年12月28日 晴

才过去三天,可是这件事情已经像是种在心里了。

26日的上午,我们能想出的唯一反对理由是:这不是一条规范的路:工作、买房、买车、生儿育女。可是它对我们来说已无法构成影响。于是,两人击掌欢呼,宣告另一端人生开始。

没有先后,有几件要立刻开始的事情:
1.禀告双方父母
2.退掉现在租住的房子
3.安顿好工作

对父母,我是有内疚的。虽然“父母在,不远行”的古训似乎有点过时了,但以自己的能力为父母提供更多的生活保障甚至舒适程度仍是我们一直以来努力去做的。而现在,我们要花掉几乎全部积蓄环球旅行。27日,在忐忑不安中我们拨通了父母的电话,他们的反应各不相同。

有支持的:“去吧,这是我年轻时的梦想。”
“这是在向好的方面发展。”

有疑虑的:
“真是做梦都没想到的事情。”
“你们两个怎么就一模一样呢?”

而他们共同的担心和要求仅仅是:
“别去危险和混乱的国家。一定要安全回来!”

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对于房子,我们要先帮上了年纪的房东找好下面的房客,这一点借用大野狼写的租房启示最能说明问题:

此房为15层的9层,为97年水利水电科学研究院的新建家属区,楼房建筑时是采用三峡大坝的制造材料,房屋结构和质量极好。每个门栋都有安全呼叫装置和门卫,加上西面与军委大楼一墙之隔,北面就是钓鱼潭国宾馆,安全有保障。

房子的交通便利,处在地铁一号线木樨地和军博站之间,距离两站步行都只有5分钟的时间。在建的地铁9号线也从军博经过,可以直达白石桥,中关村,颐 和园。 公交车方面,除了长安街沿线1,4路,802,52路外,还有直达雍和宫的13路,直达上地和中关村的特6和717,727。

房子地理位置也非常好,距离首都博物馆和中华世纪坛也仅为步行7分钟左右时间,背面隔一条马路就是北京市区最大的八一湖和玉渊潭公园,月票4元就可 以搞定。 周围购物的天客隆,美廉美,长安商场都在10分钟之内。几步路就有吃饭的地方,便宜的有军委干休所食堂,金驼饺子城,贵的有茂林居和紫鑫饭店。

房子两居,76平米,卧室一间正南,一间朝东(可以看到中央电视台和世纪坛)。 两个朝南封闭阳台。木地板,家具齐全,房东可以提供电器。有线电视,上网ADSL和电话都齐全。邻居都是研究院里的职工家属,非常安静。楼内有24小时电 梯,屋内有24小时有热水。 暖气非常好,并且已经包含在房费中。 客厅和两居里都有空调。

我们是这间的房客,从04年一直住到现在,与房东关系很好。因为最近要离开北京,所以受房东所托再将房子出租出去。 希望房客诚实可靠,生活习惯良好,房费须年付。 2500的价钱在这个附近大约只能租到80年代的矮层, 而且还是“普通”装修,所以抱歉不能再还价了。

有意向的朋友们可以打我的手机与我联系。中介的朋友就麻烦不要联系我们了,本着对房东负责的精神,不会找你们委托的。

房子租出去后,我们就可以搬出去了。但搬到哪里呢?我们不仅要借住一段时间,而且要把东西寄存起来。给好友打电话,他欣然应允,而且,对我们的出行出乎意料的平静:“你们俩不论做出什么事来我都不会觉得意外。”半开玩笑的,我们说如果到时候把所有钱都花光了,还要请他寄两张回国的机票给我们,他也毫不犹豫的答应。虽是玩笑,却也是真情。

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工作方面,自然又是深深的抱歉。一封封信发出去,让我们欣喜的是的,收到的多是鼓励。更意外的惊喜是:大野狼一位做软件Freelance的朋友说如果可能,他可以通过给我们一些项目做的方式来资助我们的旅程!

Day 2 & 3: Great friends

You know you’ve got real great friends when you received responses like this:

From Adrian:

Alex,

… …

I really identify with your feeling of wanting to find that burning passion.
It’s what has driven me in the past 3 years to work on Idapted. At times
it’s at boiling point from the moment I wake to when I collapse in bed (and
then when I’m dreaming) at other times I may even wonder if it has left me
momentarily. No matter how I feel however, deep inside I know that this is
what I want to do and that I’ll have regrets in life if I didn’t give it my
best shot and 300% at trying to make it happen.

Having to make choices is difficult and deciding to put a start up at the
center of my life definitely played a part in us eventually breaking up.
However I believe that was the right choice at that time and it still is
for the stage of life I am in. The important thing was that when it
came to that decision while we were both
upset we didn’t hurt each other in a way that we couldn’t be friends again.

… …

But back on the road to discovering yourself; seeing what the world has to
offer could be one of the most life turning things you can do. I’ve been
fortunate in my life to have had two chances to do this. First when I came
to China in 97 – quite possibly without that experience I would never have
the opportunity to have China be such a great part of my life. Secondly when
I went to do my MBA – meeting so many incredible people, listening to their
stories, getting inspired and helping me decide what to do next.

You have a great deal of drive, tenacity and intellect – which will make you
successful no matter what you put your mind to. However I really look
forward to that time when you find that thing which you are passionate about
because I’ve no doubt then you’ll change an industry be it spaceflight or
software.

While it’s only been recently that I have got to know you better; I hope we
have more opportunities. I’ll be here for a while and so perhaps when you
feel like doing the Beijing marathon we can chat more over long weekend
training runs =p.

Good luck and cheers to that next chapter of life which starts in the 30’s!

From Walter:

Your decision to turn down all job offers and “see the world” with Z is good news for me since that maximizes my chances of seeing you again in the near future. It is praiseworthy that you amassed enough money to be able to fund your “one year luxury journey”. Only a miniscule portion of the world’s people can make that claim. Nothing is 100% predictable but I believe that you and Z will never regret this momentous decision.
… …
How can I help you?

From Marco, I really love this keep-pushing-it-until-it’s-done type of dude:

As always we will continue to look for good artist and strategy
thinkers to join us. And u r certainty welcome whenever u change your
mind.
… …
I have decided to keep you updated with this project, in case you change your mind.
… …
you are making us to want u even more now. So, this will be an open offer until you finish your vacation.

From Phil:

Sounds like a great idea! Which countries are you travelling to? And when do you start?

I think we will be able to make this work remotely. As long as you avoid traveling to countries on our side of the Digital Divide for the first few months so you’ll have access to Internet and can communicate daily about the project until we complete it. Who knows, maybe we can finance your entire trip around the world by sending you more work like this if things go well with the insurance project.

圣诞礼物

2008年12月26日 晴

今天早晨,胃里有了灼烧的感觉。我知道这件事情已经从大脑进入内心了。不知道从什么时候开始,我有了这样一个不好的身体反应:一旦遇到我期盼良久的事情,喜悦、兴奋和对未知的担忧会让我的胃不舒服。

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昨天是圣诞节,我愿意相信这是圣诞老人送给我们的大礼物–一个突然迸出的念头。有这个愿望多久了?不知道,也许这根本就是与生俱来的。它一直潜藏在我们的内心,每一次的旅行都是对它带来的躁动不安的一次疏导,也是一次向它的致敬。但是,我一直只是把它当作一个遥远的梦想,等到我们有钱了……但我们什么时候才能有钱呢?如果我们一直没有钱,是否这个愿望就会被我们带到老年?但老年,以我们的无知看起来,还那么模糊遥远,于是我总是对自己说:总有机会,现在还不到时机……

直到昨天,在争吵带来的不计后果和节日带来的一丝慵懒的氛围里,我们轻易的抛出了那句:“为什么我们现在不能去呢?”像一道清朗明亮的阳光,它一下子就刺穿了混沌,我们睁大眼睛看着对方,仿佛泄漏了惊天的秘密。对,为什么现在不能去?最大的困难是资金不够,但这几乎并不成为真正的问题:还好,我们还算年青,还吃得起苦,受得了累,风餐露宿、节衣缩食在实现它的强烈愿望里,显得无足轻重。更何况,这一路,我们可以一边走,一边打些零工补贴费用。

既然可行,为什么还要等?兴奋喜悦的我们想不出理由。它如洪水般汹涌澎湃,压倒一切。

夜晚,经过多次热烈的讨论和查阅资料,旅行路线和规划已经有了大概的雏形。我们开始考虑一些现实的事情:怎么和父母交代?工作怎么办?房子怎么办?东西怎么办?这时,一直保持克制的喜悦的我,突然有了强烈的离别的愁绪。我第一次讨厌巨蟹座的这个特质:怀旧。家里的冰箱我从未仔细看过,现在,却想轻轻抚摸它洁白简洁的轮廓,向它告别。

要入睡了,我们约定:如果明天早晨起来,我们还没有反悔,就说明我们并不是一时的头脑发热,心血来潮。那么,我们就要着手开始实际的准备了。

Day 1: Why travel?

To turn down all the great job offers is unthinkable. To spend all 10 years saving in traveling around the world is, well, simply crazy.  So why travel?

Here is a letter I sent to one of the friends explaining this:

Thanks for the offer but I don’t think I should take it.

Besides the salary, I really appreciate the trust you have put into.  I’ve spent lots of time in the past 30 days, talking to people, getting introduced to potential opportunities.  The more I see, the more confused I found myself.  It’s not because there are no super smart people to work with. Just that I am not sure I want to continue with the life as it is.

The work as I see it, starts by understanding the techniques, then spending years and years refining the skills until getting to the master level. This could take a very long time. Until now, my deepest urge for work comes from the interests in the business of software.  I’ve done pretty well in software development, and I have confidence that I could do equally well in product design and marketing side. But deep in my heart, these things no longer excites me anymore.  It could no longer provide the burning passion like it does in the past 10 years.  For now, I can’t accept your job offer since I’m afraid that somewhere in the middle of the venture, I’ll have to choose between upsetting the best friends of mine and pressing myself till implosion.  A tough situation I don’t want to get exposed to.

My wife and I have decided to spend one year to travel around the world.  To begin a luxury long journey for discovery.  To know more about ourselves, To meet people and see what they’re working on.  To start finding something that is challenging enough to provide continuous stream of passion for the rest of my life.

Zephyr and I have had this thought for a long time, but we’re always waiting for a ‘better’ chance to do so, “when we have more money or more time” as we always told ourselves. This job finding process made me realize that now is the best time to start.  Both of us have passed the age of 30.  I could sense a long list of mundane burdens lurking on the landscape: to have a baby or two, to get mortgage for a apartment, to buy a car, to support our beloved parents.  Having a baby just like a little myself will be a lot of fun, bu if it’s at the cost of spending many years treat work only as a work, that’ll be awful.

So our plan is to take one year off to do so. After that, we’ll have to decide what to do and take whatever responsibility we have to shoulder.  This won’t be a retreat from modern society, but a journey to look for a better life, to become a better man and woman.  One year is how long our saving can carry us over. We may take some temporary jobs to get some financial support, but more importantly as a window to get to know other people, or a device to hide the traveler identity in order to stay closer to the local life.  And I’m not expecting this to be an easy trip, budget for food and lodge will be quite limited, but the difficulty of finding that magic stream of passion in one single year is simply much harder.

Right now, Astrology, spaceflight, the Universe, especially the Mars Rovers related projects seems to be quite enchanting.  If our budget allows, I’ll definitely check out more on these areas.  Just in case of whatever place or people you think I should see or meet, please let me know.

We haven’t decided when to start yet, but it shouldn’t take too long. If things go well, that’ll be before the Chinese New Year.