Spring forward

The shift to daylight savings time is always a problem for sleeping. It doesn’t help much when you are twice woken up by sharp pains in your lower back. Apparently I was rolling over when the pain hit. It felt like someone was sticking a needle in me. When I did get out of bed, I had a sharp pain across my lower back.

Four hours later my back felt fine. Go figure.

I did some light work around the house. I was surprised that my lower back didn’t start aching until I’d been going at it for over an hour.

Next up was a ride up the Mount Vernon Trail to DC to check out the first blossoming trees of the year. The Enid Haupt Garden is situated at the rear of the Smithsonian castle. The flower beds had been planted and the magnolia trees were in the first stages of bloom. (The blossoms weren’t open but they were colorful nonetheless.)

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There was a controlled burn about 35 miles to the southeast. This accounts for the slight haze in what otherwise would have been a perfect spring sky.

I then rode down the national Mall slaloming through scores of tourists along the way. The reflecting pool between the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial had been emptied.  I couldn’t resist going for a ride in it. I had lots of company.

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The ride home was into the wind. I didn’t mind.

Time to hit the hay. That lost hour of sleep is catching up with me.

A Long, Long Way from Rotorua

On our trip around the world in 2015, we made a stop in Rotorua, a resort town on the north island of New Zealand. We used it as a jumping off point for various adventures. One evening we went to a local Maori site and had a fantastic cookout and watched a traditional Maori performance called kapa haka.

Rotorua is a geothermal area and the cookout was done in the ground over geothermal vents of some sort. Just wrap the food in aluminum foil, leave it on the vents, and voila dinner is served.

The performance was extremely entertaining. Dancing, weapons, intimidating faces with bug eyes and tongues displayed. Maoris are large humans. New Zealanders of all stripes admire their fierce competitiveness on the rugby pitch either for the national team called the All Blacks or as players on other countries’ teams all over the world. Before each All Blacks game the team performs a haka as a way to acknowledge their roots, fire themselves up, and freak out their opponents.

During the performance I spotted #bikedc man about town Joe Flood taking pictures. He’s a pretty darned good photographer .  Joe’s in the purple shirt in the center of the picture below.

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Today we saw Maoris perform a kapa haka in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Abe was impressed. I am pretty sure he was clapping along with the rest of us. There is obvious European influence in the songs (which were accompanied by acoustic guitarists and other musicians), the performance is unmistakably something else entirely.  My favorite singer songwriter, Neil Finn, is from New Zealand. He credits the Maori strum as the rhythmic underpinning of many of his songs, including the Crowded House hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” From time to time Maori music and singers appear on his records.

The performance ended just as a storm approached. I took this picture as we made our way back to the car. We didn’t make it. The clouds opened up. Summertime in DC.

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A few  more pictures are on my Flickr page.