Monday, February 16, 2009

A Softer World

A softer World:
Is it possible to be "too" clever? Hmmm...

I like kitties. Extra fingers, no.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ocotal, Esteli and Jinotega (Nicaragua)

Crossing into Nicaragua was not difficult but it cost me $10 US. Honduras wanted $3 and Nicaragua wanted $7. I woke in Choluteca, Honduras and caught a bus to San Marcos for a dollar or so. Then I caught a collectivo to the fronterra of Nicaragua for $.50. After walking across the border a couple hundred meters or so, A guy from a bus offered me a ride to Esteli for $18 US. After I laughed he dropped it to $10. I declined and negotiated a cab for $5 to Somoto which was about an hour away. he wanted $10 but that was too much. I Noticed right off that the people in Nicaragua are much nicer than in Honduras. Many people keep their clothes remarkably clean. Somoto is a very nice town. Everyone I talked to was very helpful and sweet. The central park here is like a botanical garden and really lovely. After talking to my CS host I jumped in a bus for Ocotal which has a rival parque central botanical as well.

As I waited afront Heleen's house waiting for her to get off work, Some kids came to greet and  play with me. I handed them my camera and they had fun taking pictures.  Heleen was a great host and everyone in Ocotal were very friendly and interested in talking to me just for fun.


After lazing around in the morning, I jumped in a bus for Esteli. My contact here can't host me so I got a hopedaje which is like a hotel with cheap rooms and a shared bath but the fro door is locked all night as the family that runs the place sleeps. I met Hidejiro as soon as I entered. I said, in spanish no less, you are from Japan and he concurred that he indeed was from Japan. After checking in we went out for dinner and I texted Ariana who is a local here. She came to meet us and showed us where to get french fries and Ice cream. YUM!

Second Night in Esteli I went out to a bar and grill called Boulevard with Ariana, her sister, Brenda, Oscar, Marlo and their other friend who only temporarily forgot his name. This is where I heard of the US election results. I was so happy and proud I felt like out Country is finally entering the 21st century. Hours later we went for a short ride to a bar in the jungle which we didn't seem to want to stay at and finally they gave me a ride back to my place.
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Next day, Hide agrees to accompany me to Jinotega to try to see some smaller villages. So we are off to see another CS'er named Adrian.  After many hours on a dirt road passing herds of cattle, campaigners and a rainbow we arrived in one of the dustiest city's I have seen in the Americas. Jinotege is shabby to say the least but the people here are not so jaded by travelers passed. In fact the are hecka cool and funny. Walking around with Hide is interesting. I listen for all sorts of comments from Guapo, Chino, Chinito and whuu huaaaaa! I have to admit, He does look a tiny bit like Bruce Lee with his hair cut like it is. Adrian is from Switzerland. She is working with coffee trees doing research. I think it might be a little tough for her in Jinotega but she is dealing with it well enough. 
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Hidejiro was very popular at the comedor (area usually with several places to eat). As soon as we entered we heard hey chino and sounds reminiscent of old karate films. An old lady tried to karate chop Hide but he was too fast. He was easily able to block and counter the attack. Many girls called out "Chinito" and "Chino". When we finally chose a place to eat, I was able to negotiate two new wives for Hidejiro to take back to Japan with him. They were really funny and open. We had a good lunch and conversation for about $1.25 US. Jinotega market is fun.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

San Diego to Mexico (The Trolley)

Getting to Tijuana from the San Diego airport can be very easy. There is a free shuttle bus that will take you to Thrifty or Budget (Across the street) rent-a-car.  From there you can walk one block (San Diego block) east and catch the trolley that goes straight to the Mexico border crossing at San Ysidro. ** If you are planing to stay in Mexico for more than a few days, be sure to pick up  tourist card at Mexico Immigration and get your passport stamped. You will need this if you are stopped at a check point anywhere besides TJ, Rosarito or Ensenada. You will also need this tourist card if you plan to leave Mexico by plane or if you plan to cross into Belize or Guatemala by land. Mexican Immigration at the Tijuana border may just try to wave you by but tell them that you definitely need the stamp and tourist card. I didn't get one because they just kept waving me by. I asked if I needed one and was told that it was not necessary but I failed to mention that I would be exiting Mexico at the border to Belize. I had to explain to the immigration guard at the Corozal border crossing why I didn't have the tourist card. Had it not been so early in the morning and had I not spoken to him so politely in Spanish, I imagine I would have had a pretty big problem as it was Saturday and that immigration office was closed until Monday.

So getting back to it, to get to Rosarito from TJ you need to make a right after crossing the border and walk passed all of the "Scalper" taxis. If you keep walking straight, through what looks like it was once a bustilng walkway with tons of shops, you will be heading towards TJ Centro. On your left you will see what looks to be a rather small bus station with considerably tall walls a couple of blocks before you get to the large arch of Centro. Make a left here and keep walking until you see many taxi vans that say Rosarito. This is what you want to take It is much more comfortable and costs about the same as a bus (around 14 Pesos). If you fancy talking to locals and insurance of sorts, just keep asking people," Donde esta el collectivo para Rosarito?" along your way and don't forget to pick up some delicious Al Pastor tacos(3 for $1.50 US) as you pass the taco stands.

My Experience:
San Diego was wonderful as usual. I am traveling with Talisa whom I met at a CouchSurfing potluck in April. Talisa have been dating for a couple of months. Talisa arrived a day before in SD. We decided to rent a car so we can enjoy a day of touring SD because public transit here takes a day to get anywhere. We went to Beaches and rode my favorite roller coaster at Mission Beach. Of course we had to visit La Jolla shores and after we got dinner with our CS host. We wandered and found ourselves at the giant and very brightly lit Church of Latter-day Saints that you can see from the highway. Tom from CS met us up at the temple then we went back to his place for chillin' and talkin' with he and his roomies. It was a nice day as I remember it. July, 12th, 2008 we headed across the border via the above mentioned route and made our way to Constance's house for an evening of conversation and relaxation which is what we did in Rosarito for a couple of days along with hanging out at the beach, wandering around Rosarito, installing a commode, fixing a roof visiting Ensenada and two tons of chatting. Talisa and I enjoyed out time here. The space in -la casa del la Constance- was very interesting, private and comfy. Constance was so kind and drove us all the way to Ensenada. Time to head down the Baja Peninsula to La Paz and Cabo San Lucas.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

4th of Juplaya, Black Rock Desert 2008

Dismal had a very nice display of sparks and fire for everyones enjoyment. Never saw a flamin' wooden donkey before. Nice that I get to mark that off the long list of things I wanted to see in my time.

Saturday my roommate and I spent the day at the mostly nude hot springs otherwise known as Frog Pond. There was a very interesting mix of people at this event. It takes some effort, but if you concentrate hard enough, you can filter out all of the murmuring people and focus on the sound of the wind whispering through the said to have been Russian Olive trees, the many dragonflies zooming by at untold speeds and the splash of tiny fish jumping from their aqueous habitat for a glance at naked post hippie BurningMan DPW types. Then reality chimes in with "Don't spook the whores", said by one very articulate bearded man. He must have been a professor of some type.

After enjoying our share of sulfur water, sun, heat and PBnJ, Alice and I decided to head to Lake Tahoe to do some barbecuing. It was very smoky from a massive and distant forest fire. We needed to get some charcoal from safeway. Or did we? We are so very used to buying stuff. What they got at the store, yo! I buy that shit... naw... I thought back about when I was in the Philippines hanging out with some really cool Filipino folks. We were cooking fish on Bantayan Island in the Visayas. We just gathered some dried out beach wood and got a nice fire going on the sand and wrapped the fish in some banana leaves to keep the sand and dirt out. We set it on a rock on the hot coals until we had some delicious fishy bits to consume. So Alice and I said "The heck with Saveway" we are gonna do this old school style. We found a public beach with a heavy duty BBQ grill. We gathered up some wood got ourselves a 5-6 foot high bonfire type flame going. Gave it a bit to turn into a big pile of scorching coals and lowered the grill. It couldn't have been any better. I had some steak and potato/veggie salad Alice had chicken. Alloi Mak(thai).

Twas a nice weekend indeed.

The Dismal Fire Cracker Show:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

San Francisco Gay Pride San Francisco 2008

Ok, So maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed as well as not getting a healthy breakfast but I found the Parade kind of hard to enjoy this year.

I was trying to stay positive but was having a pretty hard time. My viewing position was at the end of the parade route. Near the 8th street and Market street intersection. There were a ton of volunteers in this area to keep people from standing on things and telling the parade participants to shut down their music. There are thousands of parade viewers on this intersection but no matter if they want to enjoy the festive music as did the lucky people @ 6th and Market. Time to shut it down quick. One question, Why? We are in a commercial intersection in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. Who the heck could you be disturbing as if it even matters. Maybe their are a couple of people sleeping at the near by Holiday Inn. So what? Hey suckas! I have an idea. Get your ass out of bed and come rock out with the samba band.

Next complaint:
The parade was rather long. Through most of it, we were just standing there looking at nothing, waiting for the next float to come by. Then we would be lucky if it was at all interesting or the slightest bit gay. There is nothing gay about little kids on scooters or Kaiser. Most of the parade was about branding or someones political agenda. Come on folks, if you are going to participate in this parade to try to get votes or sell freakin' health insurance that should be covered by our government anyway, Please, PLEASE, please, frickin' GAY IT UP, Yo! What parade exactly do you think you are participating in?

Final Complaint:
SF gay pride parade is the one time when all the homos can come out and say look at me, this is who I am and I want to be accepted. So why not call this parade by it's name? I here so many people calling this the SF Pride Parade including the news channels. It is the fucking Gay Pride Parade. Listen, the heart and soul of this parade is about standing up for yourself and demanding some dignity. So Please, afford the event some respect and call it what it is, The San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thailand, For my mind.

I december 2007, I ventured off on a journey. For the first time, I was going to Asia. Home of many of my friends, The land from where so many of my favorite things to eat came from. Thailand, What is it about this place that attracts so many people from all over the world. Finally, it was time for me to find out.

This was my first and last blog post while I was traveling.

I am currently in Bangkok - Thailand.

I am half way up a large city building/Shopping mall by the Phrong Phong BTS(Sky train) station. My sweet great friend P'Kob has a pretty sweet job in this building and I got hooked up with some wireless internet access. I am just trying to plan the next section of my trip.

Interesting is the divide of local cultures in this big city. If you are on any floor above the sky train you see nothing but a major city that could be located anywhere in the world. But, this is Bangkok and one you de-escalate below the third floor of anywhere in this city you will see a whole different environment. You will see street vendors, tuktuk taxies, food stands galore covering three forth’s of the sidewalk. You will see smiling faces, the face of those who need, sleeping dogs and sleeping cats.