Wednesday, July 25, 2007

You little bastard

So lets say that the average mosquito weight is 2.5 milligrams. Therefore, a 200 pound man would out weigh such a winged harbinger of nasty by a factor of 3.63 x 10^7 times (36 million or so). You'd think that if we were to meet on a deserted island that it would be no contest - "Amnesia from Polynesia" or some such epic Don King'ism. Truth be told and if we were in fact boxers, I'd be the laughing stock of the universe. First round to the little bastard, but apparently there is a chance that a contest might still be going on.

I just met up with my family doctor to go over my month old test results (x2) from my little accident with dengue fever. As it turns out, it was waging a little bit of a war with my liver while I wasn't looking. My liver was a correspondent in Beirut for some years and I am sure that it dealt with the onslaught with a meaty schlock of it's tail, but its freaking me out a bit. My doctor and I are sure that everything is now ok and come Wednesday the test results will be in and than I am sure that I will be sure of the same. Just not the happy go lucky - "have a great time in Asia" visit to the GP that I was thinking I was going to have.


Send positive thoughts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Catching up on old stuff

Just so you have an idea of how little actually went on at sea, here is a 200 minute slice - two runs of 100 photos (a photo each minute). The sea state and weather was about average.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Marquis de Sade

is my dentist. It had been 5 years since I had gone, mostly because I haven't had coverage since 2001 and I don't really like him.

This is how a visit to the dentist goes: An attractive woman in a uniform makes you lie vertical, gives you a bib, orders you around and treats you like a baby. She inflicts an unbelievable amount of pain, uses her cruel tools to maximum effect, gives you a wollypop and then you pay her $250 for the hour of her ministrations.

Mr. Sade: You have done excellent work in your ground breaking "Sadist in Training (SIT) program". However, I implore you to be a bit more forthright in your business plan. Until your staff is dressed in leather bustiers with a cat of nine tails, I will not be returning on the principle of it and will choose to donate my mouthfuls of blood to the Red Cross instead. See you in five years.

Mrs. Google: I know you aren't going to believe this, but I have never searched for S&M cartoons before. Thanks for hooking me up with something mildly appropriate in 0.15 seconds.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back to the story (Huahine -> Raitaia)

So I need to wrap up my thoughts around French Polynesia. Some of the next few posts might be a bit dated.

Ingrid gave me a lift to the airport out of Huahine. She bought me a Hinano beer tshirt, 2 shell necklaces, some more flowers and 2 cds of her favourite Tahitian music. I felt a bit like a kept man, but I am ok with that. Pat - you must be so proud of your son right now!

So SAD to leave. My Gawd.

15 minute flight to Raitaia. I've never been on a 15 minute flight before. It must be like flying from Barrie to Pearson in a 747. The pension was nice and I'm back to dorm room living to cut some costs. I don't have anything that I care about other than my passport and my credit card and after 4 thousand pictures or so, my digital camera doesn't owe me anything. My kit is pretty lean these days. I have 2 tshirts, a bathing suit, a pair of shorts, a couple of books, my camera and charger, a mini first aid kit and my diary in a gym bag. I always wanted be one of those ultra lite types. I'm cheating of course. I've got a lot of stuff stowed in Papeete, but for the last 12 days of this trip - I'm hardcore.

I need to make it to Maupiti somehow, but the flights don't work. I'm going to see if I can scam a boat. I think there is a ferry or I might offer my "expert" hahaha crewing services on one of the yachts. Its a long shot and I only have a week to get in and out. If I'm lucky, there might be one of the boats that I met coming across that wouldn't mind a stowaway.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Spanish Black Flies

So 6 good guys, 70 lbs of food, 3 canoes, 50 Advil and 5 hangovers waited dutifully at the train station in downtown Sudbury at 8:30am. And waited. and waited. At 11 or so, one of the two remaining "bud cars" in Canadian service ambled up the tracks.

We loaded up our gear and hopped aboard and immediately zoned out. 2? hours later the train slowed down and apparently we were at "the forks". The train stopped, our gear was expulsed out the back and then it headed off down the tracks to wherever antiquated train cars go to play on sunny Tuesday mornings.

We carried our sorry asses and our gear down to the river and immediately fell into a pace that was blindingly.... slow. Paddle, fish, paddle, fish fish, look at the map and laugh. Repeat endlessly over the next 5 days. It rained a lot and the bugs were bad. I shot my first rapids and learned how to actually paddle, portage and steer a canoe. We caught fish (although I had to put a self imposed ban on fishing as I learned that I have a knack for losing vast amounts of tackle in small amounts of time) and I temporarily sated my burgeoning addiction to fresh flesh. Pickerel floured and fried on an open fire is something that I could get used to.

Good chats and I haven't laughed that much in a long, long time. I am again impressed, humbled and blessed with the company that I find myself in. Solid.

Good times.

More photos are here.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Screw this.

Having a little bit of trouble adjusting to stuff around here (and I'm only 10% into civilization as it is!). I drove a car and kept letting go of the wheel and wondering why I couldn't walk around while underway. AND there was that embarrassing moment when I pissed off the side of the car with my arm hooked around the steering wheel. Why is everyone looking at me?

Jay (not to be confused with Jeh of bacon fame) asked me to go to the Spanish River canoeing on a 6 day trip (train north from Sudbury to the drop in?). The timing couldn't have been more perfect. Its funny, I was all set to go with him last year and had to cancel due to work I needed to get done for the IPO of one of my clients. I continue to reel with how much can change in 365 days.

I've never been on a canoe trip before. Do you rent the motors with the canoe or do you pick the motors up at the river?

Be back on Sunday, July 15th. Its extremely unlikely that I will be able to find public Internet terminals ;) so I am once again off the grid.

Sorry I haven't called anyone. Reverse culture shock is a sickness. I should get benefits from my place of work.

"I can't believe how fast things move on the outside"

Just watched the Shawshank Redemption. Its a little bit of a guilty pleasure for me. If you haven't seen it, do so.

Three quotes that hit home (this time):


"Forget that... there are places in this world that aren't made out of stone. That there's something inside... that they can't get to, that they can't touch. That's yours.

What're you talking about?

Hope. "


"Get busy living, or get busy dying."


"I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope. "


Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Bagman Cometh

Do you guys remember Bagman? (and for that matter - everyone should set KLOV as their home page). It was an arcade game and I think it made an 8 bit home apearance as well. Anyways, unless you dropped your allowance one quarter at a time into the coffers of sweaty guys named Tony, you may have no idea what I am talking about.

My friends Josh and Todd and I used to hammer down nickels until they where roughly the size of quarters. There where few games that used to take our poorman slugs, but Bagman was one of them (and Gorf, Carnival, Centipede, Defender and Space Fury - "You were an adequate opponnent"). I think. Until I am proven wrong, my memory serves the truth as always.

So BFS isn't "dialed in" to a real time database. She wouldn't listen to reason and kept towing the party line. The website is a little closer to the nerve and knew that my bags had been corraled. She gave up the information that I needed to hear once I sweated her out with a very intense light on the screen and repeated F5's. After a tightly executed raid, Baggy (a yellow, smallish duffle bag of Jamaican decent) and Bagly McBaggerson (a green, purple and black backpack from Scotland) where brought into custody as they Landed in Indonesia with a devious plan to sell their organs and other inards on the streets of Tanjung Pinang. Its too bad, I would have liked to go identify their picked over corpses and learn how to surf while there to "get over the loss". (For the record - they got found in JFK and deliverd on the next AA plane to Toronto, but I have an over active imagination some times).

A real voice called to let me know that the bags were in Toronto, and would be delivered to my location by 3pm. Where is your location? "I am at a water access only cottage 2 miles south of Dorset, Ontario." Hmmm maybe tomorrow. "I'll need them delivered today. I don't have any clothes and am sitting here in a 15 year old red track pants which were donated by my friend Aaron and a brown sweatshirt that I found in the back closet. You are starting to affect my street cred and I haven't felt this mismatched since I was set up for a swinging threesome with Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbah"

So the Bagman. A difficult to understand Russian accent who had developed a bit of relationship with my father through the several calls he had made to my Dad's cellphone (first practical reason why not having a cellphone is good - other people have to field calls destined for you). 3 -> 5 -> 9 -> 11:30pm. The bagman had "Many, many bags to collect and deliver". Reality imitating 8-bit vids. So true. All the time. every day. all day.

He was so shocked at the situation that he was disappointed he didn't bring a camera. He was floored. "I never". Another instance where my humour doesn't really cross cultures very well: we met him at the dock (after crossing the lake in a rising fog) where he was promptly standing with Baggy and Baggly and I told him that these simply weren't my bags. RICH! So funny. Well he wasn't having any of that and just shoved a clip board into my face to sign the delivery receipt. My balloon deflated and flew all willy nilly about. Oh well... good humour is wasted on some people.

Yay - stuff.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Shock and awe

So I talked with the American Airlines auto attendant today (Bitch Face Sally - that's her name, you can look it up). Although I appreciated the accuracy of her speech recognition, she didn't have any information about my.... Two.... bags. I naively thought that I would be able to talk to a real person who would say something like "Hello Mr. Reid, our automated tracking system located your bags as they scanned themselves through an El Al baggage desk. Although we don't have them yet, they were spotted sunning themselves with two lady bags on the Gaza Strip." Or at least BFS would say something like "Your.... Two.... bags have been found in.... H..F..A.. airport."

Thanks for nothing.

Now there is the annoyance of only having a bathing suit and the stinky Tshirt on my back to call clothes and there is the annoyance of replacing my other stuff. The real problem as I see it is that the only gift that I bought myself is in one of those bags: a bowl made from The "Y" of a tree from a Marquesan artisan. It was bulky and heavy and I fancied beautiful. Not sure my (probably) $50 insurance claim will cover all this off.

Wait - I'm already being a pessimist. Things will work out just fine. Do you hear that BFS? I'm not sweating you. I'll be talking to you soon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Home for a rest

Well - I guess that's that. I'm at the family cottage relearning how to type on an English keyboard. The dial up speed here is reminiscent of FP and I'm connected at a blazing 24,000 bps. In this small way, I still feel like I am on vacation.

Michelle asked me about culture shock and I have already had a boat load. Travelling through the US on July 4th is a trip. Landing in Toronto and seeing 12 lanes of highway from the plane made me extremely uncomfortable. 48 hours ago I was riding a rickety bike and saying hello to everyone who lived in the 50 addresses around THE (barely) road in paradise.

I admire my two checked bags who had the mental fortitude to not go home and instead travel far and wide in search of new adventure (I am _so_ jealous). I can just see them singing now - "Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on."

I guess I have another couple of days living in a bathing suit.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Every great journey ends with a purge (Faaa Aiport, Papeete, Tahiti)

Would you let this man into your country? Now I'm really, really on my way.

I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home.


It seemed to us that the main reason why the problem had remained so long unsolved was that no one had been able to obtain any adequate practice.

So I am off. Blogging is good and I want to selfishly share with you some of the things I will be thinking of for the next 24 hours or so:

My first morning on Maupiti.

The day I spent climbing and reeling on top of Mount Teurafaatui in Maupiti. My guesthouse was on the ocean side of the island to the left of the pass.

My last sunrise in French Polynesia with Blackdog and iLean. Crap.

Send good vibes and throw some garlic around your neck. I need some luck passing through NY on July 4th after the recent BS in Britain (yes, I watched the news).

Peace, love and happiness (yes I've turned into one of those).

Dear place where my bed and TV is and where I air my dirty laundry and other stuff


I've just spent 4 days in a most wonderful place (Maupiti) that took me 72 hours to get to through Bora Bora and Raiatea (that's a week in case you were counting).

I have so much to write. I have so much crap to figure out / do before I leave this hemisphere TOMORROW. Crap.

Ripping to shreds. Lets just say that it involves a three legged dog named Ilean and a man in a skirt with long hair.

For the record:

I land in Toronto at 9PM on Wednesday after more than 24 hours of wondering why the guy next to me got the whole can of Coke instead of just a plastic cup's worth. I will be in Toronto in earnest at sometime after that.

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