Sunday, February 17, 2008
Tubing on Mt Titlis + Quick Herring Spaghetti!
If you live in Switzerland like I do, you need to take advantage of the numerous mountains with visitor-friendly facilities such as chair-lifts, cable gondolas and Rot-air bubble cars. Not to forget free 'tubing' runways.
On Mount Titlis at Engelberg, hundreds if not thousands of visitors swarm the place - tourists from China and Taiwan (even the cable guy has learnt some Mandarin greetings for the Chinese New Year) as well as locals and residents who want to ski and snowboard.
(above right) You feel like luggage being conveyed up a 'belt' with your tube before spinning down again.
In the snow cave somewhere on the top slopes, there's a display of buttons for you to press. One of the buttons plays 'Negaraku', the Malaysian national anthem. In the Rot-air gondola, there are greetings in myriad languages including Indonesian and Malay. The only difference between the two is how 'keretakabelgantung' is all one word in Indonesian. ^_^ Old women from China like to stick their faces in the 'face holes' of cut-out figures of extreme skiers and snowboarders -- to show their friends back home gleefully, perhaps. Not that it'd fool anyone.
If you don't ski or snowboard (those crazy gravity-loving sports!) like me, you'd appreciate tubing. You sit on an inner tube covered in canvas and push off a winding path. Soon it careens out of control and you're facing backwards and sideways. You learn to relax and enjoy the ride because it's all out of your control. At the most, you might spill over the snow bank and sprain a muscle or two. It's not likely you'd break your neck and die.
And then, when the skiing friends and family converge at the igloo bar outdoors, you can join them in the oh-so-strenuous apres-ski activity of eating and napping in the sun in a hammock or lying sprawled on the bean bags so considerately provided by the mountain ministers.
After you come down from the mountain and an hour's drive home, you'd want a quick hot meal, right? (I'm entering this in Presto Pasta Nights http://onceuponafeast.blogspot.com/.) Break out a can or two of herring or mackerel in tomato sauce, cut up some onions, boil a pot of spaghetti. Heat a bit of oil in a saucepan, cook the onions with some parsley or coriander, add a generous sprinkle of chilli powder (or sliced fresh chillies), salt and pepper, throw in the canned fish, break it up, and finally swoosh in the cooked spaghetti. Turn it a few times and voila! A hot, appetizing meal within minutes.