Wednesday, March 21, 2007

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Well, the end is nigh. Rather, it’s back to the beginning.

It has been a great 2 weeks and I expect many more great days before I head her home. Wow. 2 weeks. A lot goes on in two weeks.

Thanks again for all of the well wishes and support. Feel free to email me, but don't be hurt if I take my sweet ass time returning them.

Pretty much packed, maybe a bit too much stuff. I wasn't really sure what to bring when I left and have 'donated' a bunch of clothes each time I repack my kit. If anyone gets to Lima or the islands and sees a guy running around in a blue long sleeved, Canadian flag, Modrobes shirt or a short sleeved Dex button up shirt (or six or eight other perfect specimens of my treasured wardrobe) then don't be surprised. Just appreciate the new Mike Reid Shabby Line for spring, "Imported Oldness, New for the Southern Hemisphere Hand-me-down Connoisseur. Guaranteed aged 5 years". How Chic. I am also sure that the garbage men of Pearson enjoyed my winter coat stuffed into one of those tiny little waste baskets. (You know the ones that look like they are designed for all of your cigarette pack disposal needs?). Too bad - I liked that coat. A great example of how my brain was operating at limited capacity in the 11th hour(s). Can you say the 11th hours? You can now. My little gift to the world.

Thanks also for the books and the recommendations for such things along the way:

Tahiti and French Polynesia - Thanks L.Planet
The Voice of Knowledge - Thanks Mom
The Brothers Karamazov - Thanks Luce
The Life of Pi - Thanks Denise
The Water In Between - Thanks Derek ("He feels compelled to sail to Tahiti to burn away his failings in hard miles at sea" A little bit dramatic, but I get your point. You think I'm a failure.)
Pale Blue Dot - Thanks Garth
Hunger - Thanks Bondy (so long ago!)

As it turns out, Elsie has 100 or so books on board, so if it is a reading vacation then I definitely won't run out of material. Although Walter raised a good point - it might make me sick reading at sea. We shall see. I will get through them by the end and I promise to put them ahead of the 10,000 or so pages on my "to read list" if I don't.

I am coming to realize that one of the side effects of my life and what I did back home was that it limited my imagination. I find myself dreaming again, both while awake and asleep. The first dreams in a long, long time.

In the last two weeks, I have solidified in my brain what it is that I am trying to accomplish. In the end game, I am not here to be here at all. A whirlwind tour of a couple of South American countries isn't what I signed up for. A sailing passage is what I signed up for, but in and of itself doesn't define anything either. I am here to learn two things: 1) how to relax again as I haven't truly been calm in 3 years and 2) to understand why it is that I do the things that I do. Understanding motivation is my first step to unraveling a very complex set of action and reactions that make me, well.. me.

My life was on tilt in a grand scale. It’s not like I have woken up this morning and decided it was level, it _has_ to still be off. Things like that don't go away over night. Saying things don't make them true, but practicing drinking things in at a slow pace and asking myself why I just did something is a step in the right direction for me. Not the over stimulation that I have always sought, but a different stimulation leading hopefully to perspective.

It is an odd ritual when people come in from sea and land dwellers crawl onto the bunk that they just left onboard. There is somewhat of a handoff and I feel like there is a secret handshake of sorts that I didn't remember seeing in the handbook, but have somehow gotten through. I asked Ian for some words of wisdom at sea and he said two things 1) laugh it off, no matter how bad things get and 2) It doesn't matter how frantic things are, or how hard you shove your way around, there are some things that you just can't do anything about. No matter how hard you try, you can't make the wind blow, or blow where you want it to. Sometimes the only thing that you can do is to wait for things to come to you. I think this trip will force feed me some patience and calmness that I have never before had (or make me go totally insane, my throat hoarse from screaming expletives at random sea birds - making this whole exercise just a ride in a boat). I've always thought of the word "inexorable" as one of my favourites and perhaps for the first time in life I am about to truly understand its meaning. We also talked about anchors in life (it’s surprising how many nautical sayings there are in our everyday vernacular when you pay attention) and how tough it is to either loose them or to let them go. Freedom is a derivative, but a consolation prize in some respects and useless without reflection.

This ocean passage is a long one, but benign by most standards. Just as well I guess, its time to take a load off and relax :)

Send positive vibes to Chris, Walter and Myself.


P.S. if anyone happens to have contact or a long lost relative on the island of Maupiti that may want to teach me how to surf and let me sleep on their floor in exchange for menial labour, drop me a line ;) I’ll be the guy in a hammock around late June.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Turtle Leaping

I promised my friend Meghan that I would send pictures of me playing leap turtle with some of Galapagos finest. After finding a likely candidate, I realized how big these things were and got a bit sceptical. The first part would have been no problem, but the second leg could have been quite painful. She was so insistent on the joke, I wonder how much she actually likes me in the end. After passing on the first specimen I was able to witness it in action. It seemed to kind of get the game and looked like it was going to make it, but then stopped halfway. Perhaps it was just tired, as it seemed to be making an awful lot of grunting noises as it went along. Maybe its one more experience that I have missed on?

Those crazy Tortugas.

Also on my mini tour, I went through a lava tunnel, which was a 350 yard dash through dripping muck. Kind of geologically interesting, but I looked forward to the stairs out of there.

I continue to be burnt and the weather continues to be burning. Who knew?

Monday, March 19, 2007


I was reminded yesterday of a lesson that came in two parts.

1. I met a woman on the boat who is from Florida. She is currently teaching English on the island for 3 months. We talked about the experience thus far and it came out that she is living in an apartment at the mayor's house. It was fun to hear the stories of the mayor as a human being and getting ready for his big birthday party that night.

2. Ian (who is crew that is exiting as I come on the boat) came hobbling around the corner with an obvious back in distress. I asked him what the heck happened and with a soft British lilt he explained how he was on Isabella the night before when someone came running in to explain that some whales had beached themselves nearby. As he and the entire village came running, 12 pilot whales lie twisting in the surf. In pitch blackness he worked with these strangers to try and get them back to sea with some success.

The moral of the story: I am in a land where strange and singular things happen. I need to make sure that I am open and ready to receive them.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

New Million dollar idea

It will be like a snorkel, except in times of surprise visitors that almost give you a heart attack it will morph into a retractable, underwater club.

Spent a day on a boat touring a number of the islands and snorkeling at each (its killing me that I am not diving, but my doctor says that until the ringing goes away I am not allowed. Almost there, I will be ready for the Marquesas! Who wants a blown ear drum 2 days before you set sail anyways.) The outlying islands themselves are pretty barren (at least the ones that I saw). Saw the requisite seals, sea lions, pelicans, boobies (all different sizes and three different colours) and faggots (who the hell names these birds anyways? Must have been some fun at the bird naming convention that day). [EDITORS NOTE - One of the more amusing language mix ups. Google tells me these birds are actually Frigates. Still if you see a boobie with blue feet you would be in the Galapagos, and probably a bit concerned]. Saw a hammerhead from the boat that was gone before we hit the water, swam along side a leopard ray for some time, and a dozen or so white tipped sharks. They lie on the bottom of the ocean like planes waiting for take off. Again - I don´t want to hear how good the diving is here if this is what I see on a couple of short snorkels where I can't even clear my ears and go down more than 7 feet.

I would say that this is the best snorkeling that have done. Its strange to be in what appear to be very tropical waters (parrot fish a plenty etc.), but with a very north Atlantic feeling current and ruggedness (and seals etc.). However, I never go snorkeling so I could be just inexperienced.

Capped the day off with a little bit of beech sitting. All in all a good day. The only problem as I see it is is the deep purple sunburn that I managed to get during the 40 min sit in the back of a pickup each way to the boat and the (Duh!) burn on my back and legs as II floated above the ocean for quite some time. I have quadrupled my water intake and sit carefully in the plastic lawn chair as I type this, slathered in some gooey substance that appears to be after sun that I purchased at a pharmacy.

St. P's Day

I looked feverishly for some sort of celebration on Santa Cruz to keep the tradition alive. As it turns out and predictably I guess, this is a non event here. I whiled away the evening like I have most any other day, with a heavy dose of Salsa Dancing and Meringue.

Looking forward to Bastille Day in Polynesia!

Home sweet home

Had a delightful meal with Chris and Elsie. I hadn´t really thought about it (like a lot of things that I am seeing these days), but not only am I helping someone as crew, I will actually be living in their home. Boat owners must feel so vulnerable and twitchy about meeting crew for the first time. Its kind of like a boarder that shows up at your door and says "Ok - here I am, when do we move this thing cross country?". They were very welcoming and went overboard (pun intended) to make me feel welcome which I appreciated. There must be some horror stories about this situation on both sides of a new crew - owner relationship.

They both have led extremely rich lives and have some incredible stories to tell of world travelling (and living). Puts pretty much anyone I know to shame, I can tell you that.

Turned out that there was a communication mix up and in fact I was there for lunch (after I had just finished on the mainland). No problem, we'll just make it a late lunch. Nice and calm. I can't wait to join this fraternity.

The boat is quite solid, organized and provisioned. I am shocked at how much work has gone into this voyage already, not to mention the seemingly constant bureaucracy that Chris has had to endure.

I join on the 21st and then its not really clear to me when we actually leave. I am sure there will be a day or two of last minute stuff and getting all squared away. We are hitting one of the islands on our way out (Isabella) and then its clear blue sea.

Feeling good.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Move to a boot and get laced.

Some where out here is my new home. I am taking a water taxi today to go and find her. I am starting to like the yaughtie approach to timing. We agreed that "sometime" today I would drop by to say hello and see what I have gotten myself into. "Sometime" today we will have a toast and eat some food. "Sometime" before the 25th of March we will set sail. "Sometime" the third crew member will arrive (although we haven't heard from him) and "sometime" I might wake up to have a coffee. Don't get me wrong, its been tough to not let my impatience rear its ugly head, but there is a certain calming nature to rolling with it instead of against the clock and the calendar. So many people have told me this in life, I was just never able to listen. I hope that I am not lying to y'all through this blog, but thats the way I am feeling right now. We shall see.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection" (Golapagos Islands)

Been an interesting 24 hours. 12 of which was spent in Quito, 8 of which was spent in transit to Isla Santa Cruz and 4 of which has been spent getting a bed and wandering around the town. I have already: met Christopher (and his wife Elsie) by chance as he hunted down a replacement anchor, had beers, been promoted to Assistant Navigator (pretty prestigous! Mike - I really wish my life allowed me to visit with you and John before I left) and potentially been offered a slot on the Tonga to New Zealand (October) leg of his around the world journey. We shall see.

Chris is an opinionated yet thoughtful guy who likes to laugh. I think we will get along great.

Off to sort out some sort of tour. Its not really clear how long we will be here, but I am not really caring at this point. I don´t need to be on a plane for a goodly long time, there is nothing to reserve that is on the "critical path" to me getting on a boat and no bus to take that I don´t want to be on. Dovetail into the Pacific and forget about it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New way to waste time waiting for planes.

This thing they call "blogging" is good fun and very useful for airport time wastage.

Spanish keyboards still suck.

Alt + 58 = :

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sorry mother earth, I will make it up to you

After selecting the perfect spot, it was time to finally rid the world of the scourge known as Mike's cell phone. I've let a number of folks know that this was the plan and was usually met with horror that I would either a) put an end to a perfectly good piece of tech, or b) contemplate further poisoning an already beleaguered part of our ecosystem.

Sorry. It had to be done. Call me selfish or short sighted. I may be both right now and I really don't care. Which validates both.

I also learned something very important in the process. My digital camera stops capturing after 3:00 minutes of video. SO, although I wanted to share it with the world - you only get to see me making my last call for next 6 months and not the impressive heave-ho that sent it to the depths. Probably just as well. The shot went more up than out and I probably looked dramtic as I stumbled forward in my hatred and gave it the strong arm in salute.

Ahhhhh. Do you feel that? Its not my pocket vibrating.

Don't let the might of the religious right fuck it up for you and the rest of the world. (Pink Flyd – Lima, Peru)

As I watch a 25 ft pink pig float over me with a bunch of Spanish words that I don't understand on it (aside from "stop bush" on the ass and "Kafka rules"), I am struck dumb by the surreal land that I find myself in. Shocking that in 50 some odd hours I have gone from sitting above the holiest place that I have ever been to in waking life to an outdoor stadium 11,000 feet lower, 750 miles away seeing one of the creators of one of, if not the most influential bands of my life.

I arrived in true fashion: 40 mins late. Expecting traffic, I had given myself extra time by a factor of 3 over the expected travel time, but my good friend Juan didn't show at the pre-arranged spot and it took a bit to get sorted out with a cab that I trusted.

This new "friend" was a "friend" of the doorman at my hotel and showed up in a sedan with a steel cage built up around the driver. (A lot of my observations will seem simplistic to anyone who has been in South America, but I make them all the same :) It was an interesting approach to cabbie safety.

Ah the traffic. Brutal. Only a million cars randomly traveling in a sort of straight line between me and my goal. I felt like I was part of some strange migratory orgy of pollution spewing vermin.

I knew we were getting close to the show as the people in cars around me started to get a more and more desperate look in their eyes and driving seemed to become even more erratic and panicked if that’s even possible.

My cabbie started speaking very fast and it became clear that plans were going to change somewhat. He was saying that his car couldn't go any further, that the stadium was close, that he was going home and that I would have to walk. I missed the "companion" word in his 100% Spanish diatribe but I thought I got what he was saying and I said OK. His house was very nice, but it was time to get the hell out of there. Although I am trying to take it a bit slower and I have been 100% successful thus far, my patience was getting a bit thin. He kept gesticulating that we were close, but for all I knew we weren't even in the right district let alone walking distance from suburbia to the concert. Things worked out in the end though, and after a 15 minute brisk walk we finally made it to the goal.

(Recurring theme - It was totally irresponsible of me to have not learned even a bit of Spanish before going on this trip)

The show had started on time, which I somehow thought (hoped?) wouldn't have been the case.

The first Pink Floyd sound I heard was part of The Post War Dream. It made me a bit sad as the Final Cut is my all time favorite album. I guess in the end I was there to see Dark side of the Moon, but I was wistful to what I may have missed thus far.

The seat was awesome and the venue itself was incredibly small. In my minds eye I had pictured a massive world cup style stadium somehow. I sat in the second to last row of the VIP section, slightly stage left. The venue itself wasn't actually in "Explanda Estadio Monumental" as I had surmised, but outside and nearby. This show didn't sell out by what I see as a long shot. This isn't the richest country in the world and I bought the third most expensive ticket to be had (175 USD). I can't imagine how much it cost to get the pyro, the visuals and the talent into this country, So I guess they need to charge a fair penny to make it viable. However, I did not run into or overhear a single English conversation. Really - I was a bit surprised. I thought this place would be overrun with gringo tourists and English speaking expats.

Just before a 15min break, the giant pig came floating over the audience. They let it go (another thing that wouldn't be allowed in North America). It took at least 10 minutes for the graphitized pig to disappear out of sight. Everyone in the place kept staring up into the sky as the prop made its exit. I would love to be able to read the Spanish headlines when it is found in some farmer’s field or wrapped around the windows of the next passing airplane. I love developing nations for a number of reasons (and dislike them for the same number). Stuff like this makes me smile. We are so "safe" back home.

Roger Waters brought all of his Quadraphonic madness out for this show. I can't count how many times I saw the whole section in front of me turn to the right to see why there was an ambulance, barking dog, or whispering in their ear. The visuals were equally good and appeared 3D at times.

It was an impressive recreation of the album, but with sufficient live'izms that made it a special time to be there. Simply the best concert I have ever witnessed.

I actually cried during On The Run. Pull out your albums, throw on your headphones and turn it up loud. People may argue, but I think I was in a section that the sound engineers designed for. Acoustically perfect or at least the closest that I have heard. I am generally fierce in my criticisms of sounds and soundstage design, but jesus was this good. (I know what you are thinking and I wasn't - I swear). There has never been a more immersive or purely electronic sound. (and you know that I've been in the odd club with a reasonable sound system or two)

The gospel in The Great Gig in the Sky was superb.

One of the problems with knowing the set list before you go to a concert is that you know when the last song of the regular set is being played. A laser prism rotates over head, with a white light into one side and a composite rainbow laser come out of the other. On the massive screen behind the band a grainy black and white moon with a complex meteor field rotates. One of the meteors slowly comes to the fore and is actually a very wet looking brain slowly spinning. The brain fades and a single pill rotates end over end coming towards the audience until you can read the word "SOMA" written on it. It continues to grow and slowly rotate eventually splitting in the middle (a la Tylenol Cold and Sinus) and little brain particles come out of it and slowly meander around looking quite wet and smart. Rinse; Repeat. Pyro explodes everywhere. There are no more lyrics. I feel empty and a little bit panicked.

Surprisingly little rhythmic clapping and a rousing round of "Olé Olé Olé Olé”, "Olé.... Olé...." is all it takes for them to come back. Not an out and out cry, but a tear to the eye as Another Brick on the Wall – Part II rolls into Vera Lynn into Comfortably Numb. Who in this world can pull out an encore that big (and from the same album to boot)? You might argue 3. Didn't ever think that I would hear these songs live. Nice.

I am unable to separate how I am feeling and where my head is at versus the pure merit of this event as a concert. (He is in Toronto in July? so maybe some of you can judge). Some of my feelings toward this can be attributed to the venue. When you are gazing out of the misty outline of mountains in shades of nighttime grey to be snapped forward just in time to see the blaze and feel the heat from a massive 40' fire storm to the left and right of the stage you tend to give some bonus marks. Not a single person is speaking my language, and it feels somehow exotic. I might be a little biased. I am also actively seeking meaning and experience in everything that I am doing on this trip, so maybe this was just another stupid cover band (but I really don't think this is the case).

I left when everyone else in place did and it was pretty chaotic. I started sticking my head into passing cabs with people in to see whether or not they wanted to share the ride. I wanted to offset cost and there is strength in numbers. Found a ride with someone who was headed in the right direction. He got dropped off about half way (just before the cab ran out of gas and I had to push it into the petrol station - lucky bastard). Back to the hotel at about 1:30am.

These photos are not mine. I wasn't sure what I was going to be getting into so I didn't want to bring a camera. I couldn't run the risk of being told that I couldn't bring it in, but in retrospect it was ludicrous and naïve of me. There were some serious cameras there and everyone seemed to have one. Should have brought my old cell phone to at least grab a couple of grainy snaps, but I don't think it is a big deal as Youtube will soon have anything that I would have been able to pull off and then some. Did bring one of those disposals which broke after 6? frames. I am not sure I will even get it developed. There were some good shots that I would have liked to capture: The mad exodus of smiling faces, the throng of folks huddled around smoky street-meat goodness etc.

All things said, for the first time in a long time I finally feel like I have nothing to complain about and things are starting to exceed my expectations by a _long_ shot.

Quite a night.

Monday, March 12, 2007

10% Litteral, 90% Metaphor (Machu Picchu)

Back from heaven. There aren´t really words to describe it, which is cliche but never more true than today. There is something going on there that I haven´t quite digested and maybe never will. I will post some photos, but the majority of the photos that I took were with print film. I know there are better, colour corrected and framed photos on the web that were taken on days with more sunshine and less gringos. It doesn't matter what picture anyone takes, they will pale in comparrison to the real thing. Take it for what it is, but I am a changed man.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Got met at the airport by Krista which was a nice bonus to say the least. Cuzco is a dirty, compact little town with 400k or so folks living at altitude among the Andean mountains. Its shocking in that you feel like you could walk most of it in an afternoon but its got such a sizable population. I have only a city like Hamilton, Ontario to compare it to. Good luck walking from end to end of that sprawl. Maybe its the definition of the word suburb as when you look at the hillsides there are houses that go WAY up there.

Definitely felt the altitude (and started feeling it on the plane - I had thought that cabin pressure was fairly standardized - strange). Some folks that I have met have some serious signs of altitude sickness, but I have gratefully escaped it. When I was in Nepal I was a wreck so I was a bit concerned about how I would react. Looking good.

We got me checked into a hostel just off the main square (the tourist Mecca, but where the action is). Got sorted out with some Coca tea and then took a walk around the town a bit. Finally ended up drinking beers on a balcony as I swear 10 different parades took place below us. The next day I slept - a LOT. Woke up at noon which was pretty luxurious to say the least. Can't remember the last time I slept for 12 hours.

Spent a good couple of days wondering around and taking in the sights. My traveling life is starting to be a little bit of a dichotomy. I am equally at ease eating corn with suspicious looking cheese from the sketchy looking bag of some street vendor for 30 cents as I am eating $25 westernized fish dinners in a tourist trap on my visa. In terms of food, it was actually quite good here. You can get fried chicken, salad and fries for 3.50 soles (just over $1). Scrumptious street meat on a stick cooked in a lemon cilantro sauce complete with a potato on top for 1 sole. We also went to a funky place that I liked quite a bit (owned by a guy who takes the profits to support his orphanage) that had cheap red wine and some hand made tortilla chips and guacamole that was _seriously_ good. Medium priced and medium tasting food to be had in the square with varying quality and authenticity.

We took a trip out to the ruins at Pisac which was a phenomenal day. It was nice to take a local bus out to the village at the base of the ruins and finally get away from the dirt and smog that I have been living in. It was something. 5km, steep walk up and a 10km walk out through some rich, rural landscape. Take a look at the photos (link, top right). I am realizing that my digital camera needs a polarizing filter (which it can't take). I need to start shooting raw and then fake it later I guess, but I think I will invest in a digital SLR one day. The browns and blues were really deep in life. For both of us, the day in total with an hour ride bus trip each way, three drinks and 2 chocolate bars came to about 5 USD. And mountains. God I love mountains.

Krista lives in a boarding house of sorts as she volunteers in a medical clinic placement for 6 weeks. Filled with what seems to be an endless gaggle of 17-22ish year old girls / women (and couple of bewildered dudes) it takes on a little bit of college dorm type of feel. Its odd to me that they seem so worldly. I have something to learn from everyone I am coming to realize. It takes a certain type of person to go to South America to work / volunteer before college. I can't remember the last time I partied with 19 year olds (probably when I was 19) but it was pretty fun. We had a rousing drinking game before hitting the town hard. Went to a couple of 'clubs' and danced the night away. I realize that have become a bit of an electronic music snob from my days in Toronto. Mixing electro to trance to Michael Jackson to hip-hop blah blah blah just seemed so comical to me (especially with the day-glo Goa trance strings all over the ceiling). More of a wedding DJ medley than anything I am used to hearing on a Saturday night. I won't go into the track list and weird mash-ups here, but I was actually laughing out loud (as I sang along).

I made my exit, not before we sat on the steps and sparred with some of the street kids trying to sell us crap. I never even give them the time of day but it seemed like a good way to spend some change. We worked them into a frenzy and I haven't laughed that hard in a good long time. 2 hours of sleep later, it was off to catch the train. Lets just say that I don't bounce back like a 19 year old anymore.

I have to say that it was important for me to spend this time with Krista. She knows me from a different time and place and having not seen her for 4 years or so she has a unique viewpoint of who I am today vs. way back when. So much talk with piercing questions and brutally honest answers about both of our lives, past and present. Its refreshing to be completely without guard. Its a good sign that I have these types in my life, both away and at home.

Krista has been a little bit of a tour guide of late, chauffeuring her boyfriend Len around prior to tackling my tourist requirements. (Kris - Thanks for taking the time out and sharing a wonderfully good time.)

I have changed my plans about eight times so far. The latest has me leaving tomorrow back to Lima to try and get a ticket to see Roger Waters perform Dark of the moon in its entirety. My lack of planning continues to bite me in the ass. I hope this works out. (My mother is queen of the power of positive thought, she always wants me to say things _will_ happen. I am getting there as I no longer say they _won't_ happen but that I hope they will. A work in progress :)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Goodbye Lima - hello anything else

I feel like I need to apologize for living high on the hog in Lima. But as soon as I have written this, I have let it go. I need some pampering and I've earned my stars for living on the cheap in a previous life. Won't be a long stint in any event as pampering is costing me more money than I have :) If I need to play tourist for this week of my life then that’s what I am going to do. Damnit.

Thought of the day

I am feeling that my life is pretty quantized at this point (maybe binary, but that sounds wrong). Things are either in process of being wrapped up, or not finished but at a level that I have let them go. Once they are off my plate, they are have been pushed out of from my conscious operating level and they no longer exist. If at the centre of the Mike ´atom´ is where I am trying to get to then each of these particles of crap that are circling it only need a push of energy to get them to an orbit which is farther away from the core. This rambling of course breaks down as once particles don’t have enough energy to exist at their promoted level they will naturally fall down from whence they came. And the whole process makes the mess unstable, but maybe that’s the point? I guess the trick is get deeper before they all come back to haunt me ;)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Meat market Peruvian styles

As the Beastie Boys song goes, "Looking for a girl, I ran into a horse".... wait - I mean guy.... actually, I don't know what the fuck this thing actually is. Sure looks tasty though.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Lima Beans

Made it into Peru.

I continue to impress myself with my ability to leave everything to the last minute and then cram impossible amounts of work into slivers of time at the mere cost of sleep. Well, not entirely my fault this time, there were a few circumstances that reared their ugly head.

I slept through most of the 8 hour flight out of Toronto, leaving me with enough energy to drop my bags off and hit the casino for a few hands. Yes - surprisingly breaking even although old Roulette favorites such as "19/22" and the new upstart "6" (hitting twice after its strong debut in Panama last year) made for an interesting night.

Now my sleep is completely screwed and I sit here staring at the wall trying to finish up crap that should have been finished a long time ago.

I am going to try and keep up with this blogging thing although much of my thoughts will be in notebook format while traveling and my updates will get bottlenecked a bit. I will also try to not filter out the stuff that sounds inane and vacuous in retrospect, as hard as that may be for me.

My Random recollections so far:

1. Leopard print high heels are funny in any country. Especially in airports.
2. Boring people and people who aren't comfortable with English use the word "Interesting" too much. I am quite comfortable with English so I had better find a new word so that people don't catch on.
3. Met the bartender at the hotel named Cesar who re-opened the piano bar for me for no other reason than to allow me to get a free drink at 2:00am. We watched a Uruguay vs. Venezuela soccer match and he explained to me that he used to be a professional soccer player before an injury sidelined him. He liked to use the word "complicated". He was fairly interesting - perhaps I should make this word my word. Cesar also had a quiet pride about him as when I asked him whether or not he was a good player in his day he just touched his nose and said "yes". Not a boast in any way, just a statement of fact. He also patiently explained proper tipping etiquette and then refused to accept my tip when offered.
4. The people in Peru appear to be quite friendly, both on (hotel) and off (late night shenanigans) the beaten path. Lima itself seems fairly unforgiving. I am glad to be in the safe part of town.
5. Late night cabbies like to use the word "Chicca". They say it with such glee that one is tempted to start saying it so as to appear not boring. I think I will pass on this one though.

Off to sort out some flights.

Monday, March 5, 2007


I can't believe the generosity and kindness that I have experienced over the last week.

So many people have come out of the woodwork to offer their support in the 11th hour. I believe that there is family out there which isn't born of blood. It takes the form of little folded pieces of encouragement found in your pocket, chauffer service, courier service, meaningful cards with Peruvian beer money stapled to the back, Greyhounds buses, books, dinners, much needed tech, people pulling you aside and letting you know that something you said months ago meant something, shelter, little emails of encouragement, letters whose delayed opening is mandated, much needed advice and even cash, lending, giving and offering.

Then of course there is blood, who have done most of this and more. I couldn´t ask for better.

I don't really know what to say.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Me and the Wong went to the cottage today. For those of you who don't know him, he is the master of the selfless give. Two gringos against the north (sorry thats 1 gringo) - long slog across the frozen lake followed by shoveling off approximately 10 tones of snow off the at points 18ft high roof (there are complex calculations behind this - trust me). By all estimates, it was at the upper end of what the cottage could bear. What does one do after 5 hours of shoveling? That’s right - walk back across the lake and rush home. Great experience and it was great way to see me (and him) off.

Right into McCools for the last installment of the 2 week "this is the last time I do X" going away extravaganza. Thanks all who participated - you know who you obviously socially bankrupt folks are.

Back for some legal crap and starting the packing.