How do you explain this dizzying array of contradictions: I love olive oil but hate olives. (Not "hate" with an incandescent rage, you understand, just 'do not like'.)
I hate liver, the worst of all foods, but love paté. And I love the light and hate the dark - but only the dark of night. The dark of 4 o'clock in the morning, on the other hand, yeah, baby!
It all began during hard lockdown in Mallorca. Suddenly it was a crime to go outside, but if you were lucky enough to have a dog, you were "allowed" to take it outside. I can't remember if it was 25 or 40 metres - whatever it was, it was something ridiculous. Well bugger this, Koldbrann the dog and I agreed, we will live like we've always done with long walks in the morning. And if that means getting up at 4 o'clock, so be it.
I figured no Mallorcan policeman would be awake at that time, and I was right. We lived free and without masks, (unlike the people of Hong Kong). So I got into the habit of waking up at 4 and going out in the dark. It made me feel good, like I was doing something strangely like ... building self discipline. And when I'm on holiday, supposedly to take a break from the many duties of dog ownership, bugger me if I still don't get up before 5 and go out.
Just before Christmas I went to Valencia on the good ship Ciudad de Mahon (Trasmed) and what a pleasant journey that was. Smooth as silk and with excellent wifi. I luxuriated in beautiful, somewhat classic furniture, bars and restaurants, while feeling sorry for the people huddling on deck, trying to light their cigarettes.
Why fly when you can travel in style? Also the ferry terminals are 15 minutes' walk from my house, so a big win on all fronts.
In Valencia I thought I'd lie in till at least 6:00, but what do you know? Before 5 I was out of the hotel, trawling the streets like a weird travel person (or stray dog).
So that is my life now. I recommend it! It's the best time of day. Imagine having a whole town all to yourself, watching a city wake up, the coffee shops open, people starting to emerge. And then, eventually, the glorious sunrise.
The good habit has become an addiction; my legs need the walk, dog or no dog.
I met up with my sister in Alicante and it was the same thing there, as in Dénia. Out, out before anybody else, own the town, shoot the dawn.
It doesn't hurt that all these Spanish towns are so incredibly romantic looking and beautiful, made for early morning photography.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, they say. Well, it's working, for I have one out of three: Health! (Touch wood!)
Another thing to hone personal discipline that I have done and am still doing, is learning Chinese (Cantonese of course; the REAL Chinese) and Chinese characters. Once you have fought through the first few hundred, there is no turning back!
Learn Cantonese the Natural Way - from a Norwegian! I will show you how easy Chinese characters are, when you know a couple of tricks. Yes it can easily be done on Skype.
Today's Cantonese: 早啲起身 - jou di hei san - early more raise body (get up earlier)