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November 30, 2002

like a spaniard so been

like a spaniard

so been spending so much time with basque folks, that i found myself speaking with vosotros (a spain specific verb term) and lisping my c`s. apparently i`ve slipped back into the spain accent, at least sort of, but i guess i`m really in between. the worst is that i keep combining the slang, for instance `hostia, guey` and stuff like that. it`s funny, but i will be sure to slip back into mexican spanish when i move away from the posada where i`m staying at, which apparently is a basque haven, there are at least 12 of them there right now, in truth i love it and it makes me long so badly for san sebastian. huazen means vamonos or `lets go!` in basque, other then that i haven`t learned any new basque. one thing i find very interesting is that the basque people who come here to work in zapatista villages have a less difficult time learning tsotsil, the mayan language, cause it has similar features to basque. both of them are weird and damn hard to learn.
the lady in cancun is out of town but i`m calling tomorrow, when she`s supposed to be back, and if i can`t get ahold of her i`m gonna be quite fucking annoyed. hopefully i will.
bruce and kathryn and i went for a walk out to the river today, so sunny and green and beautiful, we sat on the grass and chatted, they like it here but want to go back to the beach. i long for swimming as well, but this town is so great i`m not worried, there will be beaches in cuba, i`m sure. i should see steve in 12 days, excited about that.

been having a lot of good discussion with all the basque people, there`s a real connection they feel between the zapatistas and the basque separatist movement. all my opinions about the basque situation are based on what i`d learned from 2 years ago, and things have changed a bit, for one the EH party, the basque political party that in effect condones the violence, was outlawed earlier this year. they all point out that outlawing political parties isn`t the practice of any government that pretends to call itself a democracy. i see their point, and when they point out how the spanish government has been making efforts to curtail basque culture, for example taking the basque language out of public schools in two of the basque states, i can sympathize with them completely. but at the same time, the violence makes the rest of spain dislike the entire basque country, even if it`s a tiny minority of people who actually makes the bombs, and in the current world state of fighting terrorism, blowing people up and shooting officials in the head is gonna alienate people more then convince them that the cause is viable and within reach in some semi distant future. anyways, enough about that, i know we all think about the basque movement enough as it is. hehe

ok, that`s all for now. going drinkin tonight, makin up for missing bruce`s birthday.

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November 29, 2002

back in san cristobal, glad

back in san cristobal, glad to be back. the bus this morning, which derek and hione (fuck ill never spell her name even close to right). my cd player decided to not work, very not happy about that, im gonna sweet talk it or else mail it back to iriver and talk some junk to them about durablility. have yet to find bruce and kathryn, gonna go look for them after this.
my extended travel plans are to spend a few days here, till tuesday or wednesday, then head towards cancun. think ill check out chichen itza, its said to be amazing even with the hoards of tourists. after that, thinking ill try and get to cuba around the 7th, travel solo a bit then meet up with steve the 12th. excited to see him. apparently he has a website, arent we just a family of computer dorks? his is on moveable type, im a little jealous. someday ill learn how to manhandle these things myself maybe, or else ill keep relying and my good friend andrew.
one thing i realize though after reading his weblog is that if he indeed switches to chile, then ill have to make it all the way down to chile to visit him. not sure how ill pull that off. more campstove cooking for one.
so i was sitting at this weird new agey cafe in the middle of the jungle, and i started looking through the bookshelf. came across this book called the corrections, by jonathan franzen, and though im supposed to be reading only books in spanish, i afforded myself a little break and started it. its about this family, the father, whos about 80, has altzheimers, and hes nearing death. the book is about the successes and failures of fhis family, he has 4 kids, and how his wife tries to get them all together for one last christmas. so quickly i was hooked into it, it was the style of writing where you go back and read paragraphs and say wow out loud, where it makes you want to be a writer really bad. anyways, read it.
ok if youre a half nerd like me youll find this funny.
latest analysis on the jungle:too humid.

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November 28, 2002

in palenque town, reminds of

in palenque town, reminds of of pochutla, being a sleezy staging town for tourists to get to destinations. palenque was amazing, walked around it yesterday with my basque friend ayone (who knows how to spell anything in basque, eh?) and emily from oz. superfun, though we were tired since the evening before, when we got it, the only place to stay was this hovel of a room. we crammed 5 of into the room, me being the tough one slept on the metal bed frame, wed pulled off the grimy matress and thrown in on the floor, refugee style. the next morning the owner of the hostel tried to sell us some magic mushrooms, he must have had 6 pounds, we said no thanks. anyways, palenque the mayan religious site was fantastic, one of the coolest things i thought was that it was uninhabited after the year 1000, and no one found it again until 1800. they just discovered even more ruins there, we couldnt see them because they were excavating.
this has been my first experience in a jungle, its a bit claustrophobic i must say. we went looking for monkeys, couldnt find any. there are ants everywhere that love to bite, its superhumid and it rains all the time, that not being abnormal since its a rainforest. walking around yesterday, i was reminded of indiana jones. good old pop culture dan, eh?
anyways, this internet access is shite, so ill write more tomorrow after i get back to san cristobal.
got a little homesick for tofurky today, also soy nog. and family too of course. its ok though, gonna sit in a hammock and read tonight. happy birthday to bruce, cant wait to see you in san cris.

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November 26, 2002

heading out, going to palenque,

heading out, going to palenque, just till friday though, then i get back to hang out with bruce and kathryn and everyone else. never been in the jungle before, maybe ill find myself a helper monkey to come with me on my travels. hehe. his name will be jim-jim.
the lady in cancun is flaky, gotta call her again, she was supposed to email me some stuff. i still think its gonna happen.
off to the jungle.

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November 25, 2002

so i may or may

so i may or may not be leaving tomorrow, the long anticipated tassies are supposed to be here on thursday, but im kinda itchy to head out. planning on going to palenque with my friend emily and maybe eileen as well. last night was good relaxed fun, went to this bar called the podium with the basque kids and watched some funk bands, it was cool, the drummer looks just like michael jackson, even dresses like him, and they play thriller all the time there. its weird. the band, which is also the staff of the restuarant and the owners and also all related, invited imanol, one of the basque kids, to play bongo drums with them again tonight, so looks like im going back. the basque kids leave tomorrow, they have to go to mexico city by the 27th to fly home the 28th, theyre not stoked, thats a hell of a lot of hours in busses and planes. they keep saying i have to go to pamplona next year for san fermines. well see, i have this bad mental picture that it would be thousands of pasty white german tourists with fanny packs and cameras around their necks, these guys say its the best though.
read this this morning, i reckon most of you would be inclined to agree.
this would be a terrible way to go. makes the case for child leashes, though, eh?
been looking online for info on medical interpreting. theres a killer program in venezuela, too expensive though. ill keep looking.
gonna go call the lady in cancun about cuba. cross your fingers.

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November 24, 2002

dia de resaca very relaxing

dia de resaca

very relaxing day of waking up late and eating food, went out till late late last night, good times. thinking about leaving here soon, gonna call tomorrow to get the scoop on going to cuba. been waiting a long time to find that shit out, hope i get to go. the weathers been nice, however there is a beach near to here, called boca del cielo, the mouth of the sky, it sounds really good and only 5 hours away. its mostly spaniards, which is alright with me.

this is a very funny award they give to bad writers, read down to the bottom, its worth it. no mames guey, que verguenza!

anyways, hope everyone is doing well. i will miss the tofurky this year for thanksgiving. someone out there eat a big bunch of it for me.

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November 23, 2002

finally a sunny beautiful day!

finally a sunny beautiful day! that told, im gonna go take a walk around the city, maybe walk off into the countryside a bit, but first ill link a few stories i quite liked, then im gonna eat a soy hamburger.
salon had two stories about oil consumption being akin to supporting terrorism, the first one fairly direct, the second from a familiar for me jewish perspective.

a eulogy for star wars.

this slide show presentation went terribly wrong.

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November 22, 2002

cut the mullet! also, (a

cut the mullet! also, (a picture of me with a mullet, back when i lived in spain)

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November 20, 2002

san cristobal, its supergood yesterday

san cristobal, its supergood

yesterday went with some basque kids to some local villages. 6 of them are from irua, pamplona in spanish, where they run the bulls, and the other is from san sebastian. we went to chamula first, the starting point for trips to the local villages, it was ok, the church was weird, candles on the floor and people drinking boch, a religous alcohol drink made from sugarcane. i guess the day before someone was there and people were bringing their chickens in to wring their necks, the combination of the religions, catholicism and maya based stuff, makes some weird combos. there were a ton of tourbus tourists showing up so we caught a colectivo volkswagen bus to this town called zinacantan.

nested in the mountains as they say, this town of 400 people was much better. we looked in the church, all the saints had mirrors hanging from their clothes, this was because when the spaniards arrived they traded gold for mirrors cause the natives had never seen themselves before. after that we walked up into the hills a bit, the basque kids were game and we went up about a kilometer, till we were sitting on one side of 2 hills that form a valley that drops down into the town, surrounding us were pinetrees and the sound of natives chopping trees. we had given away most of the mandarine oranges wed bought to the kids, they all spoke tsotsil and not really any spanish, all they could say was one peso and one foto, which the spaniards took and the kids knew just what to do, they perked up and the fotos were snapped and they out came their hands for money. its like that all over here, which is why we brought the mandarinas, cause the staple diet of beans, rice and corn doesnt include much fruit or vitamin c.

it was great fun for me to hang out with basque folks, earlier this week some catalans were at the hostel, but they werent as friendly. you can tell a basque person from a mile away by their dress, all colorful weird sweatpants and braided hair. they got a kick out of me speaking a little basque to them and tried to convince me that i hadnt lived till id seen the running of the bulls, which some year i may go to.

anyways, today is the anniversary of one of the many mexican revolutions, so there is a parade outside of this internet cafe, which is neat to look out at, all the boys dressed up like zapata. my mexican history gets all confused, what a crazy history this nation has had.

been hanging out with my new friend roberto, hes always up for going out so ive seen a bit of the bars here, its great fun. anthony and eileen are off before too long to live in some village, ill be sad to see them go, its been fun.
havent heard from the lady in cancun about cuba, but got her number today, gonna go call her. ok gotta get back into the street to watch this parade, hope all is well everywhere.

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November 17, 2002

stuff happens so fast yesterday

stuff happens so fast

yesterday i went on an amazing nature hike with some new friends and this mexican guy named roberto, then i came back and wrote a nice clever description of the trip, about how we went to this natural arch carved out of a mountain by a river running through it, and about how happy i felt to be walking through the chiapas countryside with new friends, breathing mountain air. then i tried to post the damn thing, and the computer i was on wacked itself, and i lost it all, it must have been 4 pages. i was quite sad as i walked back to the hostel in the rain, but what can you do? i know ill always remember that day, walking along a trail and wed stop and give mandarine oranges to children who didnt even speak spanish, their mothers dressed in bright colors and wary of us. the water of the river was so cold, i stood in it up to my knees, savoring the anticipation of dunking into it, then dropping in and feeling the air get sucked out of my lungs, pushing my head underwater and hearing the water rush by, then standing up and feeling the mountain air, cool as it was, blow past me almost like a hairdryer.

as we walked back tons of memories of of amazing times in my travels flew through my mind, like when aaron, mike stanger, dave and i walked up mount alice in alaska, and when i wandered away from some group excursion in spain into the countryside and found myself on a little mountain road in between fields of sheep and crops. i sorta realized that since i dont take so many fotos, then what will jog my memory of those times in my life is having more of them. which isnt a bad thing.

anyways, last night was my friend loretta from chiles last night here, so we all went out to the lame dance clubs. anthony and eileen got a bit intoxicated, no wait they got really intoxicated, they were a sight to see dancing slowly as all the mexicans twirled each other around in salsa like fashion. we drank beers and more beers, and finally loretta, this aussie chick (people from australia and new zealand always call women from their countries that aussie chick or that kiwi chick) named emily and i told roberto goodbye and headed back onto the streets. we hailed a cab and i told him to take us somewhere with beans and rice. he took us kinda far away from the hostel, but we gorged ourselves, then decided that we werent going to pay more then 10 pesos to get back to the hostel. i talked to some cab drivers, trying to put on the chilean accent that id been working on all evening (they mumble and cut words and use some italian verb tense endings, its weird but cool), and finally i pretty much had to jerk this guy around to get him to drive us.

yesterday i felt again this feeling i get every once in a while on this trip when im cruising along in a conversation in spanish, so amazed that its part of me now. more on this later, the sun might come out and the sunsets here are amazing.

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November 15, 2002

having a good time in

having a good time in san cristobal, last night walked up to the top of this very tall staircase with a chilea and an aussie, the sun had just set and the light was so amazing. you always read about the beautiful clear light of places like this, and it sounds trite in a way, but looking out over the valley surrounded by green mountains and the pastel tinted clouds ringing the highest peak, the way the spectrum of the blue of the sky changed as you looked higher into the sky, and the fact that the moon was as bright as ive ever seen it ever in my entire life, well, i guess what they say about places having good light can be pretty right on.

my hopes are very up as i am in contact with several people about going to cuba for free, with luck ill know before i leave here. anthony eileen and i are planning a trip to some remote lakes and ruins on the border of guatemala before we hitch rides on cargo boats up the river usumacinta which borders guatemala, towards the yaxchilan ruins, which are some of the most remote ruins on the yucatan peninsula. after that ill continue on towards the palenque ruins then to chichen itza if i have time, otherwise ill overnight bus it to cancun and with any luck catch my free flight to havana. high adventure, eh?

the lady who owns the hostel is an expert in natural medicine, i spoke with her at length this morning, she was talking about how horrible it is that the poor people are getting away from the staple diet of corn and beans that theyve lived on for ages, that have helped sustain them, in exchange for the porquerias of white bread sandwiches with ham. shes quite fun, i think her son is gonna take some of us tomorrow on a long hike to some arch where a river has carved a hole through the rock, were gonna jump into the freezing water and then jump out real fast and feel invigorates, at least thats what i hear.

finished the book el alquimista this afternoon, starting gabriel garcia marquezs el coronel no tiene quien le escriba (no one writes to the coronel), a bit harder vocab but im excited to read it.

ok off to the cultural museum, i still havent found anyone to talk to about all the zapatista stuff that happened here 8 years ago or so, still its a tension you can feel and there are judicial police they call them all around.

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November 14, 2002

things that might totally rule:

things that might totally rule:
met this english girl in the first hostel i stayed at here in san cristobal, she mentioned some deal where you can go to cuba for free if you only bring carry on luggage and check a big ass suitcase in, apparently its stuff like clothes being brought into the country, i have been emailing about it for a bit, got one response, if i can get this ill save about 330 bucks, however i wont be able to bring hardly anything, prolly just my shoulderbag, which would suck in a way cause i was gonna bring my harness and climbing shoes, they say theres excellent climbing in western cuba. if not the 330 isnt so much, but if you do it this way they also help you get cheap accomadation in havana, which is generally fairly expensive. everyone cross your fingers for me about this one, if it works out this could kick ass.
other then that, changed hostels this morning, the first one had a female owner who was moody and bitchy and constantly yelled at her kids in a native language that was really quite annoying. the new hostel is good, its full of spaniards, a guy from the basque country and 6 catalans from near barcelona, its funny to hear their accents, makes me a little homesick for san sebastian, but i realized that i like the mexican accent, or at least the slang, a whole lot better.
this town is good but i havent had so much time to go explore it, its full to the brim with backpackers, kinda weird. anthony and eileen are talking about taking a horseback ride out to some traditional village where tons of foreigners go to take fotos, not sure if im up for that one. i might rent a bike though and ride off into the hills.

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November 12, 2002

escondido isnt so great, too

escondido isnt so great, too many people, too much surf culture for me. im off on the 14 hour overnight bus to san cristobal de las casas, should arrive at 8:30 in the morn, just in time to have breakfast with anthony and eileen. tried to sneak out of the hostel where i left my bag all day and took a shower, they caught me and charged me 1.60$. oh well.

since ive been spending so much time with canadians, ill post this link.all in good fun, of course.

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November 11, 2002

im not in zipolite anymore,

im not in zipolite anymore, i came to puerto escondido, which i assume was like zipolite maybe 20 years ago, that is, not developed and remote and very chill. here its cool and hip and everyone has surfboards but i think im a little over the beach life for now. barring incident, for instance deciding that this place is really cool or just going back to zipolite, im planning on catching the overnight bus to san cristobal de las casas. anthony and eileen are there, as are a few cool folks i met travelling through zipolite, and it seems like a good change, a mountain town instead of the beach. also, its on the way to cancun.

ok drew linked to this, i dont agree with it completely but its well written and pretty funny.

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November 10, 2002

a new strip from a

a new strip from a personal favorite of mine, get your civil war on, hes also touring, wish i could see the tour. its ok though.
someday ill leave this place but not today. hehe.

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November 08, 2002

some day when i get

some day when i get back ill be able to watch this, from the makers of wheeee.

today i had my ear flushed out with solution, all of a sudden the dam of earwax broke and i could hear again. hallellujah!!!

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November 07, 2002

ok, i`ve been here 8

ok, i`ve been here 8 days now, it`s very nice and hard to leave. yesterday i went snorkling and took a boat tour of small remote beaches along the coast, that was awesome. been hanging out with my friends, making a few new ones, including these cool kids from new york. figured out how to hide successfully from the bugs, and i got over my original sunburn, so i`m set. been trying to surf a little, it`s really really hard, in costa rica they say their`s a good place to learn, i have my hopes set to get it down when i`m there. anthony and eileen leave saturday, that`ll prolly get me motivated to head out.
one thing i forgot to write about was when i first got here, there was that hurricane building off shore, i haven`t looked at the news, but i figure it`s prolly wacking at puerta vallarta around now. when all that offshore activity was happening, there was more lightning then i`ve ever seen in my life. every 5 seconds it would crack, i sat in a hammack looking at it for a long time, totally amazed. i`ll always remember that.
i`m not gonna say anything about the congressional results, except dammit dammit dammit. kinda makes you want to go to mexico, eh? hehe.

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November 04, 2002

didn`t make it out of

didn`t make it out of here today. just had dinner with some new friends from spain and my travelling buddies, it`ll be sad to leave them but that`s how it goes. i can`t decide if i`m going to head back up to puebla and mexico city and either get a flight or go to veracruz and try to get a boat, or it i`m gonna say screw central mexico and go to san cristobal de las casas and then onward to cancun and then central america. although i have some interest in mexico city, it sounds like such a headache, and it`s sorta the wrong way. big choice, it`s ok though, if i don`t see d.f. this time then next time i will. i`ll be glad to get away from this pueblo for nothing more then the bugs are eating me all over, cross your fingers they aren`t as bad in puerto escondido. i realize that i will always have to live in a dry climate, this humidity makes me want to die and it`s hard to sleep. still the beach was nice today, the current pulled you down the surf but not out, you fought against it then realized you can never win.

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November 03, 2002

zipolite the first two days


the first two days we were here, it was sunny and beautiful and i burned the hell out of myself. then yesterday it rained and was windy and blew sand around all day, and we got stuck holed up in my new hotel room. it has a concrete floor and two beds inhabited by bugs. i got a bunch of bites, but nowhere near as many as pascual, hes covered. it sucks, last night i cowered under the mosquito net and kept waking up to slay the mosquitos that managed to sneak in through one of the many tears. this morning i jumped out and cruised outside, to discover that...its crappy weather again, thought not so bad. anthony and i tried to go swimming, but the current pulled us at least 50 yards down the beach before we realized and struggled back onto shore. thats the shitty thing about this place, its hot as hell and crazy humid but the surfs deadly. pascual bought a board the other day, 50 bucks american, its kinda screws up though, but we all have it a shot. ive been eating a steady diet of beans and rice, i feel good. met some spaniards and played some soccer, that was an eye opening, i am not so very much in shape. it was me, anthony and the three spaniards versus 5 mexicanos, im surprised and proud to say that i snuck in the two goals my team scored. the mexicans gave me a grudging look of respect and i smiled and ran to the edge of the playing field, i.e. the beach, and jumped into the ocean. that was before it started raining mind you.

tomorrow i go to puerto escondido, then i think back up to oaxaca and puebla and d.f., then i either figure out a flight or go to the gulf coast and try to catch a boat to cuba. well see how that goes.

been thinking about how this will be my third holiday season away from home. i wont miss how crazy the u.s. gets, the holiday shopping madness frenzy and all, but it would be nice to be around to hang out with the folks and friends. oh well, some other year i hope.

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