Friday, 20 April 2012

Egypt: home of the weird and wonderful

Being finally ready to dive deep, I managed to do one whole 60m constant weight dive before my old friend Mr. Murphy came to visit, who delivered, how could it be any different, a nasty cold/flu to me over night, knocking me out with fever, headache, throat ache, ear ache and any other ache imaginable. After four days locked up in the apartment I had read three books, watched an entire season of "the mentalist" and was going slowly crazy.

Since I have no diving incidents to report from and thinking about the lack of training just makes me depressed, I would love to share this months' Egyptian experience, which never fails to include all manner of weird and wonderful incidents. First of all, it rained four times in one month, and not just the standard few drops that fall from an otherwise blue sky - this downpour came from gloomy darkness (see above) and had me hiding under my yoga mat!

A day later I was by the pool, streching in the shade, when an almighty bang followed by a shockwave had the tourists running about crying and Marco unsure as to what to tell his students who were trying to relax for their first ever static. I saw a massive plume of dust shoot up from one of the roofs and some pieces of hotel flying off somewhere. Closer investiagtion showed that one of the boilers on top of the rooms had exploded, shot down and hit the grass twenty meters away from the center, leaving a large hole. It then bounced up again, took a chunk out of the palm tree (see below), went on across the main path along the edge of the cliff, flew over the side and into the sea. All in all it must have traveled around 200m or more! Amazing!! It brought back fond memories of the exploding toilet in Sara's house and appears to be a uniquely Egyptian specialty.

Meanwhile, there is a weird petrol shortage, so cars and busses line up for hours whenever there is a rumour of any to be had somewhere. Explanations range from Bedouins hijacking the trucks in the desert, to the goverment selling all petrol to Palestinians, to oil tankers burning in Suez. Most likely, all of it is true - in any case, some of the hotels aready have problems supplying hot water, as their pumps are run off a generator - which uses petrol...

Now that I am healthy again, it is time to fly home - perfect timing. I found a taxi with petrol and made it to the airport, where I am looking at another fun phenomenon which has already closed down the harbour and is gearing up to prevent me from getting away: a sandstorm!

Beautiful. Welcome to Egypt!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Sloooooooooow training

I seem to recall the words "winter is over" being mentioned in my previous post. Well, no such thing when I arrived in Sharm El Sheikh! It was simply freezing, 21° in the water, 21° outside the water, watercolour: green, visibility: six meters. I might as well have stayed at home and gone diving in the lake!

The only thing to cheer me up was being back in the water with my Italians. They quickly separated themselves into their designated roles: evil coach and angel coach. Angel coach is always looking to make sure I find "the good feeling" whereas evil coach might say things such as: "This may be uncomfortable. I don't care. It's your problem." Charming! He locked me into the classroom one day and made me do dry equalization and breathing skills. Now we all know that I suck at these, so I had successfully hidden from him up to that point. After ten minutes, he started throwing things at me. The result of the session: yet again it remains a mystery how I ever made it beyond 20m. My excuse is, there is limited space on the blond hard drive and all freediving skills have been replaced by full carving layouts in the winter. Sorry, coach!

Over the next few days we did repetitive sprints to 40m, first wearing 6kg (imagine the beautiful descent, sinking from five meters!) - then wearing no weights at all, which had me bobbing in the green sea like a cork. I was not sure I would leave the surface, but I made it to the bottom with contractions starting in about 25m on the way down, which is simply ugly. Angel coach did not come to my rescue, and I am beginning to suspect they are just doing their good cop - bad cop routine. Thanks to all those spinning classes, I held up fine so far! I have even set up my slingtrainer - see my outdoor gym below:

Training is moving along, but going awfully, terribly, slowly. Today I discovered that my equalization has moved backwards (upwards?) by twenty meters from last year, which is exactly the same as every year but still drives me nuts. Why? Why? I want to dive deep NOW! Sniff. This slow progression business makes me really nervous as I always feel that I don't have enough time! Less than two weeks left now, and then I have to go home and then to Siegburg and then to Munich and then to Zurich and then to London and then it's summer and then it's Christmas...aaaaaargh...

I guess I should go do my mouthfill exercises. And no, boys, it's not what you think - it's perfectly innocent. Promise!