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October 31, 2002

oaxaca coast what a hell

oaxaca coast

what a hell of a long day we had yesterday to arrive here. left the hostel early, well, early for me, about 9:30 to head to the bus station. we had purchased the last 7 tickets for pochutla, supposedly 6 to 7 hours from oaxaca on the coast. the bus left a little late, and we climbed out of oaxaca, into the sierra. i spent a lot of time with my eye pegged out the window, watching the changing scenery. it went from a sorta green rolling farmland into a windy road with tons of trees and thick folliage. really amazing, i shot some fotos for pascual with his digi camera, somehow ill figure out how to post them on here. anyways, the air was very fresh and i had my head out the window, smelling the mountain air. as we climbed higher, it started raining, and the bus roof showed us its special secret of leaking water all over the passengers in from. luckily, i was in back. soon we were in the clouds and it was an eerie feeling, cruising through a ton of turns, the nearby trees visible but further out just whiteness.
we went for while, stopping in some little village to buy some junk food. i got these weird peanuts that are covered with a soy sauce tasting shell, not bad, but kinda gross.

the bus left the town, and we went for another hour. we were probably 1-5 hours away from pochutla, when smoke starting coming out of the motor behind us and a bad smell filled the cabin. the bus creaked to a halt, and we all jumped out into the rain. there was some oil spilled on the ground from the engine, but the driver thought it was the battery that was faulty. picture this, about 35 mexicans and gringos standing next to a bus on a skinny mountain road in the fog and rain. it was a cool moment, and i remembered back to early in the ride when i wished aloud for the bus to stop for a minute in a deserted area so i could get to walk around a bit. be careful what you wish for.

the bus driver tried to get us to push the huge bus, there were maybe 20 of us guys back there, it started rolling back on top of us and we yelled frenos which means brakes!. another bus rolled by in the opposite direction and stopped behind us, they pulled the battery out of that one and stuck it in ours, but no luck. after this i realized that it was time to get the backpacks out of the cargo area and hitch our way out of there. i was excited to be hitching again.

before to long a semi truck pulled to a stop and pascual, ericke the mexican guy and i piled into the back along with 4 annoying people from belgium. the back was dark and hot and half filled with boxes of detergent and toilet paper. i stuck on my headfones as pascual and the belgians chattered away in french, i guess what made me hate them was when one of them said that everyone who backpacks around smokes dope and i told him i dont and he called me a liar. anyways, after an hour of listening to radiohead we arrived in some dumb town that was not pochutla. the driver said they had to stop there for a few hours, so we again pulled our packs out. the belgians each had like 3 pieces of luggage cause they were going to some place to help cure retarded trees or something like that. i whispered to ericke that we should ditch them. he agreed. we grabbed the first cab and waved goodbye, they looked pissy but i wasnt too worried.

the cabdriver was playing the ranchera songs about narcotraficos, id never heard them and they were great. we arrived in pochutla around 7, and quickly ran into tony and eileen and kathlene and bruce. there ride had been more direct but maybe crappier, they were soaking wet from ridinng in the back of a pickup in the pouring rain. we bought some food, then haggled a cab out to the town im in now, zipolite.

ah, zipolite. last night, we were all tired, so we got a little bit of food then had a few beers. i was asleep by 11, though ericke wanted to go to bars, and did by himself till 5 am. damn 18 year olds have all the energy. anyways, this morning i awoke to look out on a beautiful beach, with cabanas and restaurants running all the way on both sides of me to the hills that inclosed this pristine place. a look behind and i found palmtrees and tons of greenery, then hills. pascual walked up, hed awoken earlier from sleeping in his hammock, i think i might buy one, they, like everything here, are quite cheap.

pascual and i went and got breakfast, then came back to found the rest of our friends awake. we all threw on swimtrunks and went swimming all day. im burned all to hell but very happy and relaxed. tonight, a beach party. someone just told me im really burned. oh well. better then being stuck in the mountains or in some snow somewhere.
if this posts late its cause of continuing problems with my blog, someday ill get it figured out, thanks to drew for all the help.

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October 28, 2002

today was overcast and a

today was overcast and a bit rainy, not so bad though. this girl brought a street kitten to the hostel and left it there, i played with it a bit this morning, i miss having a pet. went with bruce and kathrine, 2 new friends, shes from tazmania and hes from canadia, as well as pascual, to some nearby ruins called monte alban. quite a large site, olmec as well as other cultures inhabited it from as early as 100 ad up until around when the spaniards arrived in this country. bruce and i made a bunch of jokes about sacrificing virgins, but it was a powerful place, all of the overgrowth on many of the pyramids and structures had been cleaned away and they were redoing the brickwork.

i have it down to spending about 15 bucks u.s. a day, pretty good. cuba turns out to be more expensive then i thought it would be, so i might not spend a full month there. i am torn between heading down towards puerto escondido and the small coastal beaches and waiting here in oaxaca for day of the dead, they say it is quite elaborate here but id have to stay another 6 days. i think its too much.

derek left today, he was one of those who i went with to the dance clubs the other night. buena gente, he will be in chiapas from december to january, i plan to meet up with him and hang out. he speaks fluent spanish as well, and has a killer job back home. the health care system i guess it was trained him as a medical interpreter in his town of merced, california, close to sacremento. all of the training was free and hes accredited as well as you can be for a field that doesnt have a formalized accreditation system. he works as an independent contracter and can choose whatever days he wants, and gets at least 20 an hour. that sounds quite good for me, i am gonna look into whether reno or maybe flagstaff has need of work like that. he mentioned that in s.f. people with that skill set can get as much as 70 an hour. hot damn, quick travel money is what that sounds like to me.

being on the road is good, i see myself doing this for quite a while. been talking to folks whos been all over southeast asia, i see that as a destination i will be heading towards before too long. someone also mentioned small islands for sale off the coast of several central american countries, not sure if thats possible, but how cool would that be, to be able to invite you all to spend time on my island? who knows, probably just a daydream.

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October 27, 2002

realistic internet simulator.

realistic internet simulator.

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so last night was eileens

so last night was eileens birthday. her boyfriend anthony was tired and getting sick so he didnt come out, so our advanced drinking team only included me, pascual, ericke, eileen, derek this cool guy from central california, and this japanese guy whos name i still dont know. the japanese guy thought it was appropriate to bring his new hand drums, maybe to serenade us.

we got a ride from the owner of this hostel, it was around 11 and he was drunk and ready to drive us to the dance party club. i figured out he was drunk when instead of stopping for a light that had just turned red he increased his speed and pushed down on his horn and we roared through the intersection. it was a very exciting moment in my life and i was glad when it was over. the minivan he was piloting smelled of fish and sex, and my friends found it necessary to stick their noses in packs of gum so that they didnt have to endure the smell so much. i chose to breath through my mouth.

at the club we found that they wanted 35 pesos or 3.50 each to get in. this infuriated ericke, and we bounded out the door destined for the club across the street. we pushed our way in, the place was so full and so hot and sweaty and admittedly gross with people dancing and just sort trying to cram past each other that we didnt last long inside. eileen was adamant about her birthday beer, i helped her down it and we made for the door. the 45 feet it took from the bar to outside took a few minutes, i remembered how effective a good elbow to the gut is for slowing someone whos coming in the opposite direction. once outside, we did a headcount, and realized that in our haste to depart, wed lost the japanese drummer boy. i went up to the doorman, and explained in spanish of course that wed lost our friend inside and that he was japanese and spoke almost nothing of english or spanish, and that if we didnt find him he would soon die of hunger on the streets. the doorman let derek pass, and we waited hopefully outside, but he returned empyhanded and we had a quick moment of silence for our disappeared comrade.

we finally haggled our way into the bar that wanted money, i think in the end we gave them 7 dollars for 5 of us, though ericke still thought that too much. there was a very good salsa band playing, and we pulled our smuggled bottle of mescal out of erickes bag and started drinking from it. in our ever increasing drunken state we all commenced to dance, and i felt so very very white to watch all of the latino people move in perfect time to the music while i sorta bobbed my head and bounced around. ericke found that the bartenders left boxes of beers on the bar, and he made off with 3 beers, which we shared. derek also discovered this trick and there was plenty of free beer for all. we stayed there for way too long and then walked home around 3, derek had invited some mexican girls to return with us, i stayed up for a bit then threw myself on a bunkbed in our dormitorio and passed out. it was all quite fun, and i didnt hurt so badly this morning when i woke. derek somewhere in the night managed to lose his sandals, and hes still looking for them.

this morning way too early to be awake i went with anthony to the doctor, i was tired and punchdrunk a bit, and when we finally got to talk to the doctor i quickly told her that he was pregnant. after i explained his real problem, namely exhaustion from drinking and not sleeping and a sore throat to boot, they gave him a shot in the ass and a prescription for some stuff. i felt proud to be able to translate with tony and the doctor, it was fun. hooray for me.

anyways, supposed to go to some museums, however again my cama is calling, and i might take a short nap.

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October 26, 2002

this is maybe even better

this is maybe even better then monkeys riding bicycles. be sure and look at the foto. hooray internet!

Posted by bendan at 01:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

a lot of stuff to

a lot of stuff to catch up on.
havent had a chance to update this, was gonna the other day then the blogger site got hacked. where to start?
lets see, last i wrote i was in guanajuato. pascual suggested we go see a french canadian act, (canada was the invited nation at the cervantino festival, which included performances from tons of groups all of the world) called the grand derangment. here is how i would sum up that group: 5 guys in tight black shirts and leather pants playing instruments and dancing around the stage, plus 2 women tap dancing in time to the music. the music was sorta a mess of nova scotian acadian music, a cross between irish and creol and all other kinds of weird shit, plus the women prancing really reminded me of the lord of the dance, but they were all wearing leather. here is a foto of them, notice how just by looking at them you can sorta tell how much they like to prance around and make dramatic gestures. pascual was really into it, guess its a canadian thing, no it was kinda fun, and afterwords after the mexican girls got done rushing the and for autographs and kisses we met them and ended up getting drinks. the head guy was super serious about the band, he had it incorporated and talked about it like it was a business, not a semi goofy stage show, which i didnt tell him i thought it was. he made sometimes 5000 a show though, so i should shut up.

after that we (pascual the mad french canadian and i) met up with our friends tony and eileen on the street in guanajuato, and they switched to our hotel. they are good folks, tony has travelled through central asia and has good stories, one time he got really sick with typhoid in a jordanian hospital for a week, that sounded quite sketchy. we all woke up the next day, and left to wander around. pascual is one of the best people i have travelled with, he didnt hesitate to show us his technique for speed walking, of which he was almost a canadian olympic competitor. the site of him hauling ass down a rainy street swinging his hips like a queen was enough to make us fall over in a puddle laughing.

we hooked up with some folks that anthony and eileen had met, some folks with dual citizenship who live in juarez. they were quite fun, and invited us to go on a guided tour of guanajuato. this turned out to be quite funny as well. the most memorable parts of the tour were when we went to the museum of torture, a dungeon like place with tons of torture devices from the inquisition. they had a mexican boy dressed up like a monk, eileen said he had n-sync hair, it was all gelled up. i translated for the non spanish speakers as the fake monk told us about the rack and the guillotine and this weird head screw thing, plus tons of suits of armor and paintings of weird sadistic spanish torturers. then we came to the ending of the tour, where we found a room filled with those 3 dimensional holigram pictures that you can look at from different angles and they look 3 dimensional? there were a ton of these, with such themes as:stuart little the mouse, a woman smoking, a clown type mask, a martian raygun, a lady smoking a cigarette and dracula. this of course was totally out of place and fucking weird, we figured they wanted to add some brevity to all the torturous torture stuff we had just seen. after that we went to a building full of mummies, or better said dehydrated people, mexicans are so obsessed with death and i think its cool. it got creepy even for me after about the 80th mummy, they also had the smallest mummy in the world and some french doctors that were mummified. outside i bought a postcard that someday i will show to all of you, it has some of the mummies fotoshopped onto the front of the mummy building, they had different captions, the mother mummy of the smallest mummy in the world was being hit on by one of the french doctor mummies, he called her gordita which means little fatty in spanish, because her belly was distended from where they did the c-section before her death. she replied to his crude proposal at marriage (casate conmigo, gordita) by replying that her stomach hurts. viva mexico, eh?

that night we went drinking with the folks from juarez, and got quite drunk indeed. during the whole drinking festivities i left for a bit, this was when i ran into the heavy metal dude i had met earlier that day at some weird market. he insisted we go for a beer, and we found some shitty bar where they were playing metal. we spoke for a while about such metal bands and slayer, morbid angel and a ton of other ones, i was drunk so i started making up names of black metal bands in my town, bands such as murderer of babies and the demon goat blood. he thought those bands sounded cool. his spanish was muffled cause he mumbled like a mofo, but i could understand him ok. after that i went back and got pascual and tony and eileen, we headed for our hostel but not before all three of them took turns puking on the street and pascual also tried to bring a street dog home with us, it looked at him then ran away. i was secretly pleased. i was the only one not to puke, prolly cause i stayed away from the banana liqueur that pascual had purchased earlier that day, and which he finished that night.

i feel pretty damn good about the spanish, last night in the bus we saw dont say a word and exit wound, two wanky films that made me cringe yet again for how the rest of the world must view our country. yeah, we left last night, the festival was full of people and we couldnt deal, so we decided to come to oaxaca. oaxaca is quite south of mexico city, i decided that instead of braving the crowds and hordes thieves that were sure to plague me in d.f., i would instead head overnight in a bus through towards the tranquil beaches of southern mexico, then i would return later to see mexico city before i fly to cuba. the overnight bus was alright, sitting behind me was a viejo of 60 or so years who had just got back from illegally crossing the border with the help of a coyote (those who get paid to smuggle people across to the u.s.) to visit his kids in california. he paid 300 dollars, and said it was a bit harrowing. i just finished reading a book about coyotes by ted conover, it was really good and made me want to read his other books.

we got here this morning at 5:30 and walked to the hostel, all of us tired as hell. here we met ericke, a cool mexican kid who is going to work in zipolite, the well known backpacker style beach town full of folks living in hammocks and tents for 1 dollar a night and lounging on the beach all day. i figure i might head down with him, or else wait here till the dia de los muertos, day of the dead, which they say is really festive and impressive here in the city of oaxaca. ericke took us to a mercado to get breakfast, i had a tlayudas, a mexican pizza thing with beans and avocado. ok thats about it, i am gonna take a well needed shower then maybe a nap since i slept like garbage in the bus.

i am doing good at stuffing myself with excellent food that you can buy on the street, all cheap and good as anything.

Posted by bendan at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2002

Guanajuato this city is filling

Guanajuato
this city is filling up, we managed to get here right before the last weekend of the cervantino festival, this huge festival with cultural stuff from all over the world. we got here last night and were wandering around looking for the hostels, and these guys came up to us. they convinced us to get in their car and took us to a casa de huespedes, pascual and i both had our hands on our knives but it turned out to be lucky, we dumped our stuff there and went back down into the city to find that the hostels were all full or charging more then the 8 bucks each we negotiated for. from there we wandered the city, the layout is really cool, they crammed guanajuato between two steep mountains, so its long narrow and winding. half of the streets run underneath the city, they zigzag and come up and down, its confusing but really cool, tons of tunnels and steep staircases. i found some tamales dulces, sweet tamales with pasas (raisins) and nuts and pinapple, for a buck i got two, man o man so damn good. anyways, we wandered the city, watching people play drums in the street to crowds dancing, it reminded me a bit of carnival in tolosa, spain, when aaron erich and i followed a group of drunken minstrals through the street. pascual and i found a good bar, the bartender played a bunch of musica ranchera for us, including some famous song about this town, called life in guanajuato isnt worth anything. pascual apparently likes to drink, we had some beers and some tequila, he a bit more then i, then we left and stumbled back towards our hostel room. this year the festival has invited canada as the invited country, pascual liked that, he knows of some of the canadian acts performing, we are gonna go try and hang out with them, who knows how that will go.

had a long busride here yesterday, staring out the window as the countryside changed, the next time i come to mexico i wanna have a car. it was a good busride though, got some good alone time to think about stuff. i realized that i should get an official teaching certificate to teach english when i get back, and more importantly, i realized that as soon as i can i need to get to a beach where i can sit back and read and do nothing for a good amount of time. looks like that will be on the oaxaca coast, far from here and i have to cross mexico city to get there, but thats my new destination. anyways, gotta get out of here, back to the city, also, they have a good veggie restaurant here, i had a vegan soyburger for lunch, how cool is that?

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October 21, 2002

quite a good day last

quite a good day
last night after checking my email at 7 or so in the evening, i left the internet cafe and walked across the street to the jardin de la independencia in downtown zacatecas. i noticed another white guy with a lonely planet guidebook in hand walking the other direction. he turned out to be a french canadian named pascual, and a pretty good guy. we got a few beers last night, and ended up getting a twin hotel room for this evening cause it s a bit cheaper. his english is so so and his spanish damn bad, i am helping him out, it makes me realize that i wouldnt mind teaching spanish or english. i think i like spanish more cause its not weird like english but i would not like to teach spanish to highschool brats for nothing. it was a good meeting though, both of us were looking for someone to travel with, at least for a while.
anyways, today we rode the telesferico to the top of the bufa, which means wine jug in spanish, its a hill that a bunch of mexican civil war type stuff took place on. they had a cool museum on top, about the taking of zacatecas by pancho villa, the custodian got excited and told me tons of stuff in stacatto spanish that i understood most of. the spanish is coming easier and easier. we walked down and had do it yourself bean tacos for lunch, super cheap. then we decided that since we are gonna leave tomorrow for guanajuato or some other small city in that state, we had better go see la quemada today. we caught a bus out there, it dumped us off on the side of the road. we walked down this 2 kilometer pavement strip to the ruins, i found myself smiling as i looked across the valley over the cactus plants, the same dopy smile i got while hitching and walking along highways waiting for rides. we got there and payed our entrance fee, then walked up to the ruins. la quemada was controlled by various cultures, the toltec, the chalchihuites, maybe even the aztecs. it had the largest roofed room in meso america, one corner of which they found filled with human bones. there is a pyramid that they sacrificed people on top of, and on the top of the stone strucure they used to build little shrines out of the skulls of sacrificed people. i am not sure why but its morbid and i always find stuff like that pretty cool. anyways, i sat there staring at the stone work, all of it cut and packed with mud, and thought about what it would be like to have had a life or death pelota (a kind of handball) match for life or death there, 1400 years ago. those ancient places have this weird feeling, eerie, to think that tons of people were killed there and their blood spilled down the walls. anyways, pascual and i started back down, and passed a couple sitting looking at one of the alters, smoking weird smelling tobacco. we met them again at the bus stop, they are from a town 1 hour south of d.f.(mexico city). juan and magdelena are their names, they are up here for some indigenous fiesta. they were smoking pipe tobacco, by the way. we ended up talking the whole bus ride back and went and got chinese food after words, spendy but we were hungry. juan is a cook and magdelena is a masseuse, i have been meeting un chingo de massueses on this trip. she just moved here to mexico a year ago from switzerland, she likes mexico better. we talked about all sorts of things, they told me my guatemeso culture birthsign i guess you would call it, the part i remember said that i am slow to anger but when i do i stay angry. true enough. it felt good to speak to some spanish. they just showed up at this cafe, we are gonna go drink beer and play pool. tomorrow i leave this town, but its the right time, there is a huge festival in guanajuato, something about cervantes, if we can find a room for cheap there we might go there first, otherwise we wait out then festival and then go to that town, everyone says its rad, plus it has 2 vegetarian restaurants. its funny, i realized today that part of my decision making process for going to town is whether it has a restaurant where i can eat or not. weird.
i saw a car today that had a sticker that said el rock nunca se muera, the rock never dies. right one.

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October 20, 2002

hola, i just got into

hola, i just got into zacatecas, i took a bus straight out of juarez, that places gives me the creeps. this town looks nice, i am gonna ditch my pack at some cheap hotel and go wander around. man what a long bus ride, 16 hours from juarez to here, i was able to watch courage under fire and collateral damage translated into spanish though, both those films were crappy, but it was good to practice. i am in some internet cafe, hope i run into some other travellers soon, it would keep costs down on hotel rooms. still, the one in this town is only 6 bucks per evening. not too bad. that will help keep my travel costs around the 10 to 15 a day i have planned, plus travel costs.
i just finished my last book in english, now i start to only read books in spanish. with luck i ll soon be dreaming in spanish again. hot damn.

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October 18, 2002

run for the borderfinally heading

run for the border
finally heading out, got everything sorted and spent some good quality time with grandma. she's in good health so i'm confident i'll see her again, but it's weird to think that this could be the final time. that's why i don't think of that stuff so much. she's the only grandparent i've ever really known, i can't imagine what it'd be like knowing 4 different ones (or more depending on divorces and such) and having to watch all of them die. i guess you just deal with it and know they had a good long life.
i'm taking my first greyhound ride tomorrow, i've been on a ton of busses in spain and mexico, but never in this country. i expect screaming babies and missing teeth, but i might be wrong. actually those're some shitty stereotypes i'm promoting. we'll see though.
man i've been thinking of things along these lines, this sums up a lot.
ok i'm off, adios amigos!

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October 17, 2002

i'm out of here saturday,

i'm out of here saturday, really ready to go, my grandma rules but i can't keep up with the volume of food she wants me to eat, it's weird. been poking around the internet, this site has cool info on diy and veganism, as well as an ebay alternative. this site has ok info on living the hobo lifestyle, cept it is sorta wanky at places. crimethinc.org and crimthinc.net always have good resources. anyways, back to grandma's, i've watched enough tv the last few days to last me a lifetime.

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October 16, 2002

halloween hints from landover baptist.

halloween hints from landover baptist.

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trying to figure cuba out,

trying to figure cuba out, i found tickets on aerocaribe for $364 roundtrip from cancun to havana, sounds like the best bet so far, i'm gonna poke around but i'll prolly just do that one, it means i fly back to cancun, but then i'll just continue on down towards san jose where i'll meet up with steve again. new mexico is fun, saw my cousin robert today, he's doing well. my grandma is doing her best to fatten me up, i tell her no thanks to half of what she offers and still i eat to much, it's ok though, it makes her happy for some reason. i'm taking a bus on saturday it looks like from here to el paso, cross the border to shitty ass ciudad juarez, then catch a bus pronto to zacatecas. i'm getting very excited to leave, if i can get away with spending only 360 for cuban transport, i'll be golden all the way to ecuador. ok all for now, man i can't wait to cross the border. i might camp out at the immigration booth where tourists have to pay 30 bucks to travel in mexico, see if i can score a ride to zacatecas instead of the bus, but who knows. ok back to granny's to refuse some more heaps of food. this sniper thing is weird to watch on tv, i'm gonna check salon to get a less sensationalized viewpoint.

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October 15, 2002

let's try this again. i'll

let's try this again.

i'll start back from when i left vegas for flagstaff. I ended up not getting that ride out of vegas, which was to leave at 3 am, so that was ok. first folks who picked me up were english, they were a couple working on some research about natives, the hopi i believe it was. we had a good chat and apologized in kind for our fellow countrymen electing little bushy bush and blair. they dropped me off in kingman, arizona, and shortly after i set my (admittedly overloaded) pack on the ground on the interstate 40 freeway onramp 2 retired extruckers from missouri picked me up. they were cruising the nation in a chevy van with a bed in the back of it, they were really cool, we talked for a while about what it was like for them trucking, how it is to be retired now (i asked if they liked being able to take their time and not be on schedule, and one of them said, "we still seem to always be in a hurry." i guess that's something that's hard to drop), the differences in weather in our respective states (a very common topic while hitching i've discovered), and other stuff. they got me to within 30 miles of flag, and for the last hour and a half of the ride they let me sit in silence, which was welcome, usually the folks giving you a ride want to talk the whole time. as i sat behind them i felt happy and sad for them, happy cause they were such good friends and would prolly go on cruising around the country for a while longer, but sad cause one was smoking and had to hook up some sort of ventilator pump to shoot air into his lungs every once in a while, and the other, who was driving, was half deaf. i wondered how one of them would feel when the other passed away. don't know why i had such morbid thoughts, they were just good old boys. they still stopped at truckstops to shower and wash up, old habits never die i guess, they got free showers at those places when no one else did, they looked pretty pleased about that. they let me out in williams, arizona. i saw another hitcher waiting near the onramp, and went up to speak to him. amos was his name, he had a huge white beard and lived out in the countryside, had just finished building his cabin by hand, and had been waiting for 4 hours. i groaned, for this was a bad sign. but 20 short minutes later a nice lady with her daughter and a car full of laundry picked both me and amos up. quickly amos and the lady started talking about jesus, so i finished the book i'd been reading and looked at the countryside. flagstaff is at around 7000 feet, so there are tons of coniferous trees and it's all very beautiful. the laundry car lady dropped amos and i off at the railway station in downtown flagstaff, or flag as the locals call it, and i started wandering around. it was saturday, and everyone looked relaxed and happy. i stopped at an outdoor store and got directions to some nearby bouldering, and at a record store for directions to the mates of state show. then i walked up this long hill to the bouldering spot, which is right outside of buffalo park. i marched down to the rock, it was basalty and solid and looked so good, but then i realized that the sun was going down and i had to head back to town to go to the show. some other time i'll get to climb there. it was a bummer, but at the same time i was kinda realizing that flagstaff seemed a pretty good place to move to after i get back from this trip. anyways, went back into town, got vegan chile at macys, the rad vegetarian restaurant, then walked outside and some kids said, "hey, wanna go to a show?" we figured out that it was the same show, and they led me there. at the house the living room was full of folks, i got kinda quiet and did a lot of people watching, but managed to get an invitation to stay at that house so i wouldn't have to trudge back into the hills and pitch my tent in the cold ass weather. the first three bands were varied and all not so bad, they were local so the flagstaff kids rocked out a lot. finally mates of state played. they had tons of new songs, all really excellent and i can't wait for them to start recording the next record, on one song the drummer, who's name i don't know, didn't even play drums, he just sang and looked all goofy and sweet, singing to his wife. tons of people at the show knew the words and we all jumped around and sang along. afterwords i was talking to another person who was just passing through and had stopped for the show, we agreed that seeing that band made us lonesome for all the folks back home who we would have wanted to see the show with. i ended up falling asleep after most of the folks who stayed after to drink were either gone or passed out. the next morning someone made vegan potato breakfast soup, then i walked with the folks who lived there and their friends who were staying for the weekend to get coffee. they told me that every sunday this big group of folks goes to this baseball field, drinks tons of beer, and plays kickball for the afternoon. it was tons of fun, i didn't drink cause i thought i was gonna go climbing, which i didn't do anyways, so i was more sober and better able to play. they were jeering me and calling me dan reno, it felt good to make friends so quickly. that night we ate thai food then went back to the punk house and watched hedwig and the angy itch, which i fell asleep during.
this brings us to yesterday, i awoke and packed, bid my fairwells, and walked down to get vegan breakfast. flagstaff has 20000 college students, bringing the population to 60000 during the school year. it kinda reminded me of idaho, cept there aren't tons of mormons, which shouldn't mean much but the folks had a friendlier air i have to admit. while i was eating some hippy named snakebite came up and said he's run me out to the freeway onramp. it sounded good, so i let him drive me to the freeway onramp farthest toward the east side of town, not the one the punk kids said i should use. well, i sat there for at least an hour, then realized that the hippy had little idea what he was talking about, and started the 4 mile walk back to the other onramp. i must admit i did a little cursing of hippies during that walk. 5 minutes after i got to the second onramp i got picked up. which goes to show, don't take advice from hippies.
the lady who picked me up was named ann. she was originally from chicago but had lived in arizona since she'd moved back from israel, where she'd lived for 20 years. she left israel after her marriage fell apart, and somehow ended up married in arizona. right now she's in the middle of her second divorce, and had taken up smoking pot with one of the twins she'd had in israel who lives here now. she also confided that she is into speed, and spends a ton of money on it. all this information she disclosed within about 10 minutes. it's amazing what people tell hitchhikers, i sorta nodded and made sympathetic noises, trying not to flinch when she started talking about being all methed up while she cared for a retarded person, which was her job. she was supernice to me, recommending i go visit israel while i'm young, and stay on one of the communal farms to learn hebrew. it got me thinking about that again, not sure if i'll do that, but i've always thought about it. she said that she'd lived in the west bank 30 years ago and that there weren't any arabs there back then, and she felt that israel had put up with enough arab attacks as to warrant their possession of that land. she left me in winslow arizona, another small town made famous by that song "taken it easy," they actually had a corner for people to stand on and take pictures of themself. i didn't do that. it took prolly about 25 minutes to get picked up out of there, which was funny cause that "taken it easy" song is about hitchhiking and all the folks driving though gave me weird looks. one note, never expect to be picked up by anyone from california, they all drive by hardly looking over to careen off down the freeway in their shitty california driving style. anyways, a semi with a red cab was turning onto the freeway, and lo and behold, it stopped, the first time ever i've been picked up by a trucker. i hopped up into the cabs and shook hands with mike from the ukraine, he was missing half his right thumb but looked happy and not insane so i settled down inside. we got to talking, of course, his english was ok and not terribly hard to understand, he told me pretty much his life story, he'd driven trucks all over russia and ended up having two siblings killed by the kgb, so he figured it was time to get out of there. his family had lived near chernobyl, and tons of his aunts and uncles had died of radiation related cancers. mike spoke with reverence of the united states, it made me so happy for him, he had his family over here now and owned two bigrigs and a house in seattle and sponsored other from the ukraine to come over every year. he had such a good humor, he was in the middle of learning spanish and i helped him with some words. it was cool to see the scenery from the cab of a semi, such a good view, the highway to albuquerque goes through this amazing country, tons of red rocks and cliffs on the side of the road, so beautiful. actually mike said something semi profound, "sometimes you look out window and see the ocean, sometimes trees, sometimes mountains. it's all beautiful." i nodded in reverence to the outdoors. we cruised along, me smiling all big and looking at the clouds, mike offering me apples and talking about all the states he's seen. he was destined for pennsylvania, then on to ohio then maine then new jersey then somewhere else before going back along the top of the country to seattle. wow, eh? he planned to start bring his wife along so she could see the country. toward the end of our drive he started talking about jesus and how i should go to church, but i didn't let that bother me so much, seems like lately people all over want to talk to me about jesus, when i was in vegas in happened in a chinese restaurant, in flag at the macy's cafe. damn jesus, he's following me everywhere:)hehe.
i got out of the semi next to the freeway after shaking hands with mike, then walked towards a gas station. these folks in the gas station gave me a lift to a busstop where i got a ride to the city center, then a ride to near my grandma's. i called her and and she was waiting in the front yard when i walked down the block. i got a big hug.
ok more about albuquerque tomorrow, gotta go back and eat, man grandma likes to feed me. she told me a bit about my great great grand parents today, it was what i was hoping for.
thanks to sara and regan for hanging out when i was in vegas, i had a good time.
4 days till mexico.

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October 13, 2002

goddamn this fucking blogger, i

goddamn this fucking blogger, i wrote a five page thing about my fucking trip so far, and it erased it. this is bullshit. sorry about the profanity, i'm mad right now. what a bunch of crap. anyways, mates of state was rad, i'm way into flagstaff, thinking about moving here, going to albuquerque tomorrow. fuck fuck fuck.

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October 12, 2002

cool resources for cheap travelling.

cool resources for cheap travelling. seems like these are still getting started, they'll be rad when they start to get some more traffic. here's the first, here's the second.

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October 11, 2002

there is no explanation for

there is no explanation for this. watch and be amazed.

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i'm out of herefinally getting

i'm out of here
finally getting a move on again, either tonight or tomorrow morn, tonight i have a ride halfway to flagstaff, tomorrow it would be hitching the whole way in one day, but even that wouldn't be too bad, it's about 4.5 hours total drive from vegas. i'll be seeing mates of state and hopefully meeting new friends who'll let me crash at their place cause it's very much higher elevation then here and i'm pretty used to the vegas warmth. ok getting booted from the library, hope all is well with everyone.

Posted by bendan at 05:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

first of all check out

first of all check out these modified food labels. funny stuff.
still in vegas, but leaving either tomorrow or monday, not sure yet, depends on where i decide to see the mates of state play. it's been an interesting time here, but now i'm off and up out. prolly no ohio, it sounded good, but spendy.

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October 09, 2002

it's wednesday, last night was

it's wednesday, last night was a superfun evening, went to a punk show and saw garuda from texas. i feel like i saw them a long time ago in reno, they were excellent last night. met this guy named erick at the show, i asked him if any bands had played and he said yes with a very mexican accent. he ended up being from mexico, we talked for a while, watched some bands play, and he said i could stay at his house. we hung out at the show a bit longer, met some other kids from here, the scene is a little better but sorta weird in the same way the reno one is. erick told me tons of stories about living in mexico city, he said he'd give me his friends' contact info their so when i pass through d.f. as they call it i'll have a place to stay. we got burritos and hung out at his house in north vegas, also known as the ghetto by everyone here, and listened to early 90's mexican hardcore. it was weird to meet a mexican contemporary, he's vegetarian, jewish, and is all political and stuff. he also drives a camaro and has 3 different girlfriends, so we aren't totally similar. it was good to speak some spanish, made me anxious to get down there. not too long now. anyways, a good night. today i went with my friend brett to green valley, a suburban hellhole outside of vegas, i hung out and read books while he worked, man i've never been anywhere so devoid of soul, it was strip mall after strip mall, one corporate chain store after another, it freaked me out. there was a wild oats though, so i got some good food at least. anyways, watch out for green valley, it was very gross.

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October 08, 2002

it's tuesday now i think,

it's tuesday now i think, sorta losing track of the days. i'm a the interbike bike expo in the venetian casino on the strip, it's about to close, glad i got to come see some of the new stuff. i found 3 different companies that make single speed mountain bikes which i'd love to have, people asked who i was and i'd tell them i was from college cyclery in reno, a little white lie but i doubt randy would mind too much. i'm finally getting the hang of the layout of vegas, the strip divides the east and west sides, and there are main streets that run north and south and east and west. someone said that the u.s. did a survey of worst planned cities, and vegas was number one. i'm not surprised. last night i rode 45 minutes from the east side where the record store is to the west side to the yoga studio, the traffic was scary at times. many folks ride their bikes on the sidewalk here, something i've always been against, but last night even i hopped up on the curb, the drivers here are frightening. i hadn't done any yoga in a ton of time, it felt really good. then we ate some food and went and got beers at some semi soulless brewpub, the waitress was funny though, we asked if an certain beer was good and she gave us the straight dope, "it tastes bad to me." she left before we could give her a tip.
it's fun to hang out at sara's house cause she has 4 siblings and two other kids are staying at the house also, there's always people around to talk to. i remember before i left having lunch with bill shrimpf and he was talking about how he and emily want a large family, and at the time it seemed like crazy talk, but now i can kinda see why folks would want that. not that i would.
my plans are still up in the air, the mates of state are playing here the 13th, as well as in flagstaff the 12th. i'm kinda doing some work here a little so i might stick around for the show here then fly to ohio, then fly back and hitch to flagstaff then albuquerque. i'm excited to see my grandma. then off to mexico, i want to be in that country by the 25th of this month.
it's superwarm here, 85 degrees-ish, i've been borrowing bikes and taking the bus around. i'm gonna go hop on a bus over to the record store, there's a show tonight, garuda from texas is gonna play, i remember seeing them in reno, should be fun. i like being around a new scene, meeting all the kids. apparently they have a internet messageboard like the one that used to run off of jeanie jo's site, and it's full of bullshit gossip. i have to check it now and try and find where the show's gonna be at. ok that's all for now, hope everyone is doing well, feel free to drop me a line.

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October 07, 2002

the worst thing you'll ever

the worst thing you'll ever see, not gruesome or bloody, but holy crap, watch and be amazed

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October 06, 2002

man i'm glad i found

man i'm glad i found this again, good ol metal chick, this is awesome read it. last night hung out with some new friends, sitting at the bar next to the record store i lurk at, played some pool and did some rock talking about music. good fun. then used steven's vegan pancake recipe this morning, damn damn good. today borrowed a bike and rode around this weird ass city listening to radiohead.

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October 05, 2002

holy exciting new plans, batman!so

holy exciting new plans, batman!
so i got an email from aaron today in which he was talking about how the weather is really nice in ohio right now, and i got to thinking. then i fired up orbitz.com, and typed in las vegas to columbus ohio round trip. guess what it came up with? $211 including airfare. this means that can get my travel on out to ohio after a few measily days working temp jobs or at some bookstore here in vegas. Not 100% sure of this, but that sounds ridiculously cheap and i need to discuss some future plans with aaron over some, ahem, pitchers of beer. rock.
today hung out with some new friends i met at balcony lights, the record store i spend tons of time in. we went to the fantastik indoor swapmeet, a place which i don't know if i've posted about before but it's, as it's name implies, fantastik. it is a smorgasboard of booths full of all manner of crappy products, definitely unhealth code approved snackbars, weird swap meet fruit stands, and tons of weirdos and teenage mothers shouting at their baby's daddy's. ahh yes. also their is an amazing animal attraction, which cost a dollar this time, but i still stuck my head in and saw a poor leopard laying motionless against the glass wall. i got told to pay or leave before i could get a glimpse of the monkeys, the poor poor monkeys who are dressed up like children and locked in a similiar glass cage from which they can't throw any of their poop at the subnormals snapping pictures of the wretched creatures.
tonight not sure what i'm gonna do, last evening i wandered the streets for a while, and realized that there are tons of strange stores scattered throughout the immense amount of stripmalls and shopping centers that, along with tons of casinos and countless apartment complexes, make up this strange strange city. keep in touch, i'm off to do..something. not sure what.

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if i still worked at

if i still worked at unr they'd pay me to play with these games.

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October 04, 2002

3rd day in vegas, tonight

3rd day in vegas, tonight there are a few shows and some dj playing rock and roll at a bar. should be fun.

today my mom got married, congratulations to her for that, good luck.


the independent record store here is gonna fold soon, it sucks, the owners karoline and frank are so cool, but vegas wont support an indie store any more then reno will, although brook is doing really well in reno as i understand, but it's always a struggle. ok i'm off.

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i'm all for it.

i'm all for it.

Posted by bendan at 11:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 03, 2002

read this, the onion is

read this, the onion is making a comeback in my book. back at the library waiting for my friends to hang out, today i hung out with the cool kids who work at the independent record. i might get to work there a bit, they're gonna start cross selling their stuff on ebay, and i might enter in all the cd's. boring, yes, but with cool new folks and good tunes, maybe ok. plus, a bit more money for central america. i've always been curious about the folks who make so much money on ebay, it's amazing...

Posted by bendan at 07:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

hitching reno to vegas(holy crap

hitching reno to vegas

(holy crap i learned some html tags!)

got dropped off at the pilot station 30 minutes outside of reno, it's kinda cheating maybe to start so far out of town but it took me so long to get to this town that i don't care. what am i saying, how can there be cheating in hitchhiking? anyways, i waited there for 2 hours or so, till this local of fernley told me i was leaving from the wrong place and drove me to where the 95 starts. i got picked up quick from there, by this guy who's a distributor for keebler. he says, "you know, cookies and crackers." i said i knew about that stuff. we had a good talk and i remembered a good thing said by david sedaris about hitchhiking, that of always agreeing with the person who's giving you a ride. this cookie and cracker salesman started talking about some "awesome" stripclub he'd been to in dallas texas that was owned by members of the (shittiest racist redneck) rock group (ever) pantera. He said it was 2 stories tall and you could sometimes see members of the band there. "wow," i said, "sounds pretty cool."

he dropped me off in hawthorne, nv, a shittown i never ever ever want to be in again. i was stuck there prolly 3 hours, i walked all the way across town and back carrying my backpack, it was depressing as hell. the local kids had neck tattoos and kept asking if i had any "bud." "no." i told them. then persistance, or luck, or whatever you want to call it prevailed, and a beat to hell ford van pulled over and i run up to it. inside were curtis and echo, two 17 year old kids from oregon who'd blown off school and neglected to tell their folks that they were going to be gone for a while. their old dalmation dog named buddy was a shedding machine, i know cause i got to sit in the back with him. these kids drove fast as hell and we made good time, when i put on my seatbelt curtis asked if i was scared yet, i told him i always wear seatbelts as a rule. the winds were gusting and the van was shaking and we were flying down the desert highway listening to rap music about smoking dope. it was alright.

we got to vegas and I sold one of their glasspipes to the hippie pipe store here on maryland parkway across from the university (where i am now) for them, then i bought them some cigarettes and left them to sleep in their van in front of some apartment complex. they were good kids and in love, echo kept trying to make out with curtis when he was driving and i thought we were gonna collide with a semi truck going the other way. luckily, that was not the case.

i called up my friend sara when i got here, we went to the crown and anchor bar for a beer or two, then she showed me where her old apartment was, they had to turn in the keys today so i was able to sleep there last night, the most fun was i had to climb up onto the balcony cause the door was locked, it had a cool mantle move and i felt pretty proud of myself. i'd rate it a V-0+. hehe.

this morning regan came by and me with me, she dropped off the keys then went to class, but i think she's gonna let me stay at her folks' house this evening, either that or sara, who brought me soup this morning, showed me a secure looking building to sleep on top of at the university. as long as i sneak down i won't have trouble. depending on if i can find a place on this side of town to stay and if i can borrow a bike, i will prolly stay through tuesday. then it's off to flagstaff, arizona, a town which people here speak highly of. on saturday night here in vegas in this mediocre bar called the cooler lounge, a band i've heard of called i can lick any son of a bitch in the house is playing, that should be cool. i totally love my new dorky cd/mp3/.wma player, i have prolly 130 cd's compressed down on 9 cdr's. travelling with music is new to me, it's great though, unless you're stuck in hawthorne listening th the alkaline trio and "idioteque" by radiohead and feeling lonesome. that's when you put have to put on the record pefect from now on by built to spill and dance around on the side of the road with your thumb out.

Posted by bendan at 02:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2002

flipped the coin, it said

flipped the coin, it said vegas, i didn't argue, i'm ready for the warmth. leave tomorrow, never thought it would be something difficult to leave this town, it's always been so easy before, it's ok though, it's for the best. everyone keep in touch with me, i always say that.

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