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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The skin of my yellow country teeth

Sometimes I take a deep breath, smile and tell myself that I may never go home.

I'm in Indonesia.  A poor Muslim country.  My days are easy and without structure.  I motorbike around looking for something different and worth remembering.  I meet new friends; some local, some from around the world.

I'm a few months shy of two years and still traveling.  I have no fucking clue on 'what I'm looking for' so quit asking.  I do know that I'm learning everyday.  Mankind is all the same.  Some rich; most poor.  If you have a smile you can go a long way.

I save my coke bottles and give them everyday to the guy pushing a massive cart.  He makes in day what I spend on smokes back home.  It makes me think.  I drink beer with westerners and question if anything really matters in the grand scheme of things.  It makes me think.

This is me.  This is now.  And I love it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Random day in the life.

Since I don't do it enough, here's a random travel story.

Today is Christmas eve here in Oz.  I started the day with a split shift at the grand ole roadhouse.  Unlike past Christmas', it was just another day.  I made the whole season without hearing a Christmas song, seeing a tree or decorations.  I was proud of that until today, when I remembered who I was.

A guy in a wheel chair came in looking for a room.  We weren't suppose to sell any rooms, since we're closed tomorrow, but I talked my boss into it.  It's Christmas and he's in a wheel chair, right?  Then something great happened.  A random guy came up and bought said wheel chair guy a room and steak dinner.

I know what you're thinking, it's a mini-Christmas miracle.  Well the wheel chair guy was kind of dick.  I shrugged it off because I'm a dick and a I have two legs.

I did his laundry in our pay machines.  He complained and I complained.  I thought his point about not wanting to pay the three dollars for the dryer was asinine; I summed him up by the newer car he drove.  His clothes cleaned, I passed them off with a sigh of relief.

Later that night I saw the guy getting his wet clothes off the railing and offered him a smoke.  Turns out we are both merchant mariners.  He lost his legs in the line of work.  Something I could of done a million times with my dumb ass bosses.  We had a great talk about life and how travel makes you a better person.

While it's not a Christmas miracle.  It was something I needed.  Every time I want to give up and go home, something like that happens.

This is why I travel.

*Side note.  My bosses daughter asked me if we celebrated Christmas in the U.S.  I laughed and said, 'more than you will ever know'.

I would like to salute
the ashes of American flags
And all the fallen leaves
filling up shopping bags

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Meeting People is Easy

I'd planned on posting a bullet point review on 2011 but decided against it after reading it and seeing it was a bunch of hot garbage.  Instead I'll just ramble and hopefully touch on some of the highlights.  Ah, the beauty of having a hand full of readers.

I'll start with the setting.  It's hot as fuck in Australia.  My A/C is broke, I'm listening to a playlist I made for a new friend, my bag of tobacco and a cheap box wine at my side.  Living the dream.

I try not to lie.  Australia isn't my favorite country.  It's too much like America only more primal.  Sometimes for the better but mainly for the worst.  But you don't learn and grow in the garden of Eden.

I've been here almost a year and have seen some amazing things.  Met amazing people and laughed until I threw up.  But I can't seem to translate those experiences onto paper.  Hopefully I'll tell the stories someday or just be content with what they've made me into.  Does that sound pretentious?

I got writer's block so I rolled a cigarette, sprayed the anthill in my bathroom and went outside for a walk and a smoke.

Ray Lamontage came up on the ipod and I thought of a friend back home in the throws of addiction.  He's finally back home at his parents house.  The sun set to Wilco's Ashes of American Flag.  I watched it wearing only shorts and felling the hot sand between my naked toes.

I'm content with my playlist.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Something I've learned from traveling.

When you meet someone from a different culture they see you in a different light.  All the quirks and personality traits your old friends have looked over for years are front and center.  What may be normal in your homeland is a a big flaw somewhere else in the world. 

When I was young I saw a picture of James Dean with his hands in his pocket and thought it was the coolest thing ever.  That picture, along with other things, has put me in the mindset to always have me hands in my pocket.  Turns out others see that as a sign of touching yourself.

Who knew?  Is there an universal subconscious at play?

I can't find the picture I was thinking about but this one is better.  It's from a 1990 movie called, 'Book of Love'.  At the time I watched this I only knew a little about Mr. Dean, but they did an homage to him through the main character.  And of course he had the that awkwardness that only comes with adolescence.  Note the grease stains on the wall...  It's more of my style.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I lost my mind long ago, down that yellow brick road

I like to think about random things.  I do it all day, everyday.  I'm stuck in the outback, a place I should be saving money in, only to find myself running in circles.  I know I'm not going forward and that's cool.  It's another chapter in my life.

When I am old a grey and think back on Australia, I will have many memories and emotions of the good times.  Hopefully Angus and Julia Stone will be the soundtrack.  I know it will be.

Then a heart of gold came on the stereo
Mr Young made me cry
Then all the colors of the rainbow
Fell in my eyes

I lost my mind long ago

Down that yellow brick road

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Unlikely Japan

I have an obsession with vinyl records.  My sister calls me a hipster but I counterpoint that with 'I've been collecting since 1996'.  So I guess I'm a hipster hipster.  Single tear.

When I was a kid, my brother, sister and I would spend every Saturday with my grandparents and then Sunday morning, my Grandma Dee would take us to church.  My parents didn't go to church, so I had a balanced childhood of both worlds.  Good moral guidance for a kid and the choice of religion.  The last time I went to church was in 1999.  I was 18 and sleep walking through Army basic training, but that's another story.

A lot of the weekends I spent at my Grandparents, I was upstairs listening to my parents old records.  Beatles, Tommy James, Bee Gees, Johnny Cash and many others.  I still have those records and a 'few' more.  I keep telling my self they are an investment, while at the same time playing the hell out of them, depreciating their value.

I picked up this gem the other day and have it waiting for me back home.  It cost me less than what I would pay for a Hamburger over here.  I never heard of the B-side before.  Ah, the beauty of finding music.

As the youtube synopsis states:

This is a previously unreleased Wilco track (featured as a B Side on the 7 inch single for "You Never Know) called "Unlikely Japan". I would call it an early version of "Impossible Germany" but really, this is a totally different song. Recorded in 2003, it is sort of the missing link between "A Ghost is Born" and "Sky Blue Sky".

 I can't say what this means to me
I don't begin to understand

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Moon Phases

It's night time here and morning in America.  Sometimes when I look up at the moon I wonder if my friends back home are seeing it in the day light.  Is it possible for the moon to be in two places at once?  I don't think so, but don't really know.  I have a lot of questions for science that I should just google but it's nice not knowing things.

Today is Thanksgiving in America, which make me think about my friends and family.  I miss them but can't go home.  Not can't, won't.  I only have one life and I'm going to do what I want too, which is to travel and learn about the human condition.  The more I learn, the more questions and doubts I have.

When he was six, he believed that the moon overhead followed him
By nine, he deciphered the illusion, trading magic for fact, no trade-backs
So this is what it's like to be an adult?
If he only knew now what he knew then

Thursday, November 17, 2011

So it goes.

I'm at the point in my life that I think a lot about my grandparents.  I'm lucky to still have three of them alive but they're in their golden years.  "Chick" is in a nursing home with good and bad days, mostly bad.  Pop, who is at least 80, visits her twice a day and still drives cross country for his hunting trips.  The thing about my Grandpa and hunting is that in all the years, I've never known him to kill anything.  He just really likes to camp and cook outdoors.

"Dee" was just accepted into a retirement home/card playing house.  Most days she's still sharp but since Papa Charles died she's convinced herself that she's broke.  Papa Charles died 18 years ago.  I didn't cry at his funeral but loved the man with all of my heart.

Life is funny.  If I do have kids they will never know my Grandparents.  I only remember my Great Grandma Molly and her making making me fruit crepes in an old rickety house.  I've heard many stories about my great grandparents but Molly is the only one I can put a face to the story.  And no matter what story it is I always think about her in a moo moo dress and that creepy old stuffed toy lion in her living room.

In the grand scheme we're just rain drops in the ocean, our stories to be recycled and lived out by new generations.  I'm fine with that.

A fallen head of Buddha that a tree grew around.