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December 31, 2002

a news rap-up for florida,

a news rap-up for florida, LLthe continually embarrassing state.LL

Posted by bendan at 05:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

god bless andrew morton, he

god bless andrew morton, he says heLll switch me over to moveable type, i can escape from having my posts erased. my foot is healing really fast, itLLs hardly hurting today, not even using the borrowed crutches. tonight weLre having another group dinner at the hostel, there will be about 40 of us, i have to head back over there to help out. good fun, last year i was in the small town of san blas in sinaloa on the pacific coast, micol my italian friend and i wandered around the square and drank some noche buenas, the seasonal mexican christmas beer that ranks as the best mexico has to offer in the beer world as far as iLm concerned, it was a good time. tonight there are disco dancing parties and stuff like that, iLll be the guy sitting in the chair looking semi bored but amused.
holy crap thereLs some pop punk version of my heart will go on by celine dion playing in this cafe, what an unholy combination.

ok happy new years to everyone, rabbit rabbit,

Posted by bendan at 04:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 30, 2002

cool the radio piece i

cool the radio piece i helped with has been put up at free speech radio news, under the title Expulsions in Southern Mexico by jenka sodenburg. this machine doesnt want to download the mp3 of it, and looks like they want to stream it with realplayer, the shittiest program on earth, so guess i wont be hearing it, if anyone can download and save the mp3 for me id be much obliged.

Posted by bendan at 01:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

soy el blanco (im the

soy el blanco (im the target)
which is a worse enemy, blogger.com or young boys on bicycles?

so i wrote what im about to retype and blogger managed to lose it. here goes again.

its a beautiful day, ive spent the whole morning talking to some really cool (is it possible?) canadians (jk) who work for ngos that are involved in fair trade work, and im on my way to meet anthony to go get lunch. 5 meters in front of the internet cafe where weve planned to meet, i step off the curb cause two fatasses are blocking it. de repente, as they say in spanish, a young boy on a bicycles crashes into the back of me. he goes down, and i ask him if hes ok. skinned elbow. i had felt a prick on my right foot, so i look down. blood wells up from two fleshwounds. the chainring had managed to pierce two pretty good gashes into the flat part of my foot, maybe a centimeter deep each.
i hop over to the cafe and anthony comes out. fuck. he says. i limp back to the hostel, and go to wash my foot with soap in the bathtub. meanwhile rosita calls the red cross ambulance, and much to my embarrassment, i get an ambulance ride to the red cross center, to get puntos (stitches). number of countries ive now had ambulance rides in: 3. we get there and the nice doctor shoots my foot full of a local anasthetic, and gives me four stitches. anthony and i marvel at the collection of fetuses in jars of formaldahyde, they had them in all stages of development, it was almost like a collection, definitely not something youd see in a doctors office in the u.s. another thing youd be hard pressed to find in an american medical facility is a badass doctor who only charged me 40 pesos, thats right 4 bucks or a dollar a stitch. anthony and i figured it would have cost me upwards of 200 bucks in the u.s., hell, my stitches from last summer cost 900 bucks and the guy did a mediocre job, hence the cool and (hehe) tough looking scar above my left eyebrow. plus i got to watch, as much as i could stand, the doc put the stitches in, which i couldnt do up in alaska cause they had no mirror and thought it semi weird.
kinda screws up my day, eh? i cant seem to go 6 months without a doctors visit, be it for sprained ankles, flesh wounds, bike crashes, or getting hit by cars and bicycles. my (admittedly useful) drastic injury with its $5000 deductable was of no help, but i guess im still glad i have it. with luck ill be back in the u.s. (wait a minute, maybe not, its damn expensive up there) the next time i manage to whack myself.
what also is a bummer is that instead of getting to go out tomorrow, new years eve, and dance, ill be left few options besides going to the disco party theyre throwing at anthonys work and sitting in a chair watching everyone, not even able to drink cause im on painkillers and antibiotics. as the modest mouse song goes, shit luck. oh well, no more complaining.
ok lets see if this mofo will post this time. control- c to copy first, not taking any chances. i remembered that drew mentioned something about a bike trip, hope hes having a good time and doesnt get stabbed by his chainring.
fingers crossed.

Posted by bendan at 01:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2002

So i went to that

So i went to that meeting, at the organization enlace civil, and went to a two hour meeting. enlace civil helps send international observers out to the zapatista villages. the observers are there to ensure that if the mexican military comes in to do any forced relocations or to just shoot some civilians, that someone sees and can report what happens.
in the meeting the 8 of us who were there for the acampamentismo were brought up to speed on the history of the political situation here in Chiapas, here is a fairly good english account of the history. it also went into the plan pueblo panama, here is a good article about that terrible possibility. after the meeting i helped pilar explain what we had just heard to bodhi, since his spanish isn`t as good. i go back to the office on the 2nd to find out which village i will be going to, i plan to go for 2 weeks, but depending on how needed i am (as i understand it, in this season there are generally the fewest international observers), i might stay for an entire month.
it was really insiteful but at the same time depressing to learn all of this information about what is planned for this part of the world. if you can`t be bothered to read the plan pueblo panama link, then i`ll try and paraphrase it in a nutshell: the plan puebla panama is a set of projects concerning the seven southernmost (and poorest) states of mexico, and all of central america down to panama. This part of the world has some of the richest reserves of resources and a wide range of genetic samples from species and plant life. there are many objectives. for instance, they want to build either a paved or traintracked corridor from guatemala through chiapas to ports on the carribean and atlantic for easier shipping to the eastern seaboard of the united states. that way it would be easier to build maquiladoras in guatemala or el salvador for example, where the minumum wage is much lower then the 5 dollars and change paid in the u.s. or the 3 dollars they have to pay in northern mexico.
that`s only one facet. a major concern is the water reserves in chiapas, located in the montes azules region, east of here. add that to the bio-speculating that goes on, in which medical companies try and obtain land so that they can isolate new medical compounds and patent them, and the reason for all the relocations of native villages becomes obvious. throughout the region they`ve been implimenting the plantation of genetically altered seeds and of vegetation not native to region, for instance, eucaliptus and african palm, which both suck all the nutrients out of the soil and render it useless even for grazing cows.
you might be asking, who are the ^they^ he`s talking about? for the planting and seed stuff, it`s monsanto and pulsar sabio, for the paving of roads and the maquiladoras it`s the governments themselves, their elected officals paid by multinational corporations.

it`s been good for me to start paying attention to things. it`s been quite a while. still processing what i can do to help, i feel like my biggest gift is the little tiny bit of translating i`ve been doing lately. yesterday this girl named jenka was putting together a radio piece for free speech radio news, about some forced relocations. she had a sony viao and sound forge, an audio editing program, and some interviews in spanish. i helped translate them, then did one of the voiceovers in english. you can hear that piece on the website, i think monday it will be up, it will have some title related to chiapas and zapatistas.
ok gonna go do something else.

Posted by bendan at 12:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 27, 2002

acampamentista with the help of


with the help of my new friend bodhi, part of the couple from northern california that i mentioned earlier, i have my letter of recommendation from an activist group in the u.s, which means i am all set to go do some international observer work in a zapatista village here in the state of chiapas. i have met many folks who have stayed at the hostel who are involved in this work, it seems like a very important thing to do. i figure i will be leaving for the countryside next week, probably after new years. i will be out there for either 2 weeks or a month, im not certain yet, i just realized that i have a powerful itch to head down into guatemala and the rest of central america, so well see.
today just getting some errands taken care of, then i have the briefing at 4:30 for the observer work. ill write more about that tomorrow.

weird things in the news:
china builds animal park where you can eat the animals
the british think saddam deserves honarary british citizenship. dorks.

Posted by bendan at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 26, 2002

ok, had some time to

ok, had some time to cool down, caught myself up on what i realize is one of the most worthwhile internet sites ive ever seen, true porn clerk stories, ive linked to that site before. Today when i read to the end and realized it was done i was a little sad. we were discussing internet culture last night, i still laugh at myself a little when i realize that im privy to a significant portion of it, then grimace when i think that hours of my life were spent in front of a glowing screen to get so savvy, but i regret it not.
lots of good things have happened since ive been back in san cristobal, i got back here three days ago, on christmas eve. my busride from tulum in the yucatan was semi-hellish, sitting next to the toilet at the back of the bus sitting next to the lady whos your and squirmish daughter got her fidget on for a large portion of the night. i just gave her some or my mandarine orange and thought about how much i love mexico, and how i was travelling around the same way as the mexicans do, not on separate tourist busses like i was forced to do in cuba.

i arrived the 24th, and returned to doa rositas, shes the lady who owns the hostel i stay at here. she had a christmas tree and informed me that she was cooking all of us at the hostel a dinner cause we wouldnt get free breakfast the next morning, christmas day. i met up with anthony and saw how he was doing, hes getting fed up working at the restaurant but hes enjoying living in this town still. i got my nap in, a few hours at least so that id have energy for the evening. at 6 we all helped set the table, then rosita ushered us into the courtyard of the hostel for the posada. i asked what that was, it turned out to be us splitting into 2 groups, one representing the virgin mary and jose her husband as they wandered through bethlehem looking for somewhere for her to have the baby jesus, (who by the way id like to wish a happy 2002 to) and the other group representing the people in the houses who told them to get lost. we were all issued candles and sparklers, and the piata, a yellow chicken, hung pregant over us as the singing began.

in my group, representing mary and joseph, there were exactly two of us who knew the tune to the posada song. that left about 12 of us limping along in a quieter yet still enthusiastic voice to the song. the other group had a few singers who knew how it went, but on the whole it was pretty hilarious. rosita was literally glowing she was so happy, and when the part of the song came where whoever it was let mary into their barn to plot out the lord said she could come in, we all ignited our sparklers and rosita busted out this ceramic jesus in a blanket. the doll must have been dropped, it was broken in several places, and she paraded it around it front of us, the awesome short native featured lady that she is, with the biggest smile ever. a spanish girl was elected to smash the piata with a broomstick, and she beat the hell out of it, so that soon we were showered with oranges and chunks of sugarcane. i whipped out my knife and sheared off the stalk of the sugarcane, it chewed like gum for about 15 seconds, then the flavor was gone.

we all cruised back into the room we had set the tables in, there must have been almost 40 of us. earlier i had been dispatched to go buy tequila and beer, and we poured said tequila into classes half filled with the ponche rosita had made us, it was a punch with citrus, sugarcane, jamaica, and some other stuff. served very hot and with tequila, it helped to cure my congestion a bit, and rosita encouraged me to drink plenty. the dinner was quite good, cream of carrot soup, pasta with homemade sauce that was damn tasty, and avocados smothered with mashed potatoes on top. I of course gorged myself, sitting and talking with the spaniards and this cool couple from truckee. we sat fondly thinking of the snowboarding we would miss this season, i think next winter i will make an effort to take some powder runs somewhere. i miss it bad.

after dinner we all headed over to la doa restaurant, where anthony had just finished cooking the christmas dinner buffet. quickly i found shots of tequila in front of me, and before long 3 english folks and i were trying to remember the lyrics to the fairytale of new york by the pogues. the mexicans gave us bemused looks as we raised beer glasses and mojito glasses and shouted the few verses we could remember, it was excellent, reminded me a bit of back at the katherinehouse drinking with brooke walker, singing along to rum, sodomy and the lash.

anthony mentioned that we should head off to a party at the house of one of the waiters, so he, i, and the truckee couple piled into a taxi and headed away from the center of town. the driver, whos red eyes quickly betrayed him as a fervent bob marley fan, had no idea where we were going. apparently there are 3 streets named calle santa cruz here, and we were nearly four-wheeling up one of them into the hills before he realized that it wasnt the right one. after yelling out the window at several street pedestrians we found our way there, to see about 7 kids standing in front of the house, lighting off fireworks.

everyone else headed down to the house but i stayed up on the street, very excited to be part of the firework action. the had little bottle rockets and these strings of firecrackers that sounded like automatic weapon fire. their favorite was to wait until just before the things went off, then throw them out of their naked hand at the neighbors house down the street. i chipped in 2 bucks and they came back from the corner store with a pile of fireworks, they all told me their names and were laughing hysterically, it may have been the highpoint of the evening.

eventually i went down into the party, the waiter and his 7 brothers and their wives and girlfriends were all there, drinking and eating and having a grand time. i was given a glass of beer and with deft movement avoided the plate of chicken sent in my direction. the family was great, we sat around and chatted for quite a while. anthony was a little drunker then i and his burgeoning spanish descended into calling everything pinche this and pinche that. i cringed when i realized that he was seated next to the mothers of one of the brothers girlfriends, but she seemed not to mind so much that his usage of her mother tongue had crept towards pure profanity.

the sounds of firecrackers continuing on into the night, we bid our fairwell and stumbled off down the street, in search of a cab. when one did come by, i was nearly outraged when the driver wanted 20 pesos, or two dollars, to drive us home. it always costs 1.50$, and i told him so. unfortunately everyone else was already in the car and i had to go along, but i hate getting screwed by cabbies and vow to take it out on the next one unfortunate enough to get me in his car. just kidding. the night ended with my tearing off my shoes and falling fast asleep in my dorm bed, still quite a bit resfriado, congested. it was ok though.

yesterday anthony and i went wandering around some parts of the city i hadnt seen before, away from the touristy center. the best was seeing the kids play soccer in a field with a cow standing near by and also watching the clouds turn their amazing colors from next to the second hilltop church. it was christmas day and mass was starting, which didnt stop some hooligans from lighting off a large number of big bottle rockets, they would arc into the sky and explode, and the sound would echo all around the valley. the people standing in the doorway of the church were not amused, though i was laughing my ass off.

this morning i was awokened at 9 oclock to translate a document for the network of indigenous nations of north america into spanish. it was about a page and a half, but it took me more then 2 hours, including the time i had to enlist a nice mexican girl to correct my few (!) grammer mistakes. it was actually deeply satisfying, made me miss my translation class from university and good old professor rojas.

ok that sorta catches me up, tonight gonna watch a my new friend from truckee play guitar at anthonys work, the owners had to let the cuban band go cause they couldnt afford to pay them, and the dishwasher hasnt been paid in a month, but i still always end up there. probably cause i sneak food when the waiters arent looking, and cause the mojitos are 2 for one, though they come nowhere near the mojitos of cuba. concerning cuba, ill write about viales next time i get on a computer, that was our favorite town and the place i remember the most fondly.

ok a little browsing for you all, first, a christmas letter from landover baptist.
actually thats all.

Posted by bendan at 02:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

time to change blogs so

time to change blogs

so yesterday i wrote like 10 pages about cuba and new years eve here in san cristobal, and i tried to post it, and the piece of shit blogger.com program choked and lost it. i was proud of what i had written, and now its lost into the empty void of the internet. i still kinda feel like writing about christmas eve, i had a really good time at the hostel and at a house party of some mexicans, but im not gonna do it right now, now im gonna write to drew and ask for him to help me change to moveable type, he prefers it and thats what steves using as well.
been getting myself set up to go work in a zapatista village.
man im really aggravated right now, gonna go do something else.
blogger.com sucks.

Posted by bendan at 11:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 23, 2002

ohyeah,stevehasmanagedtogetsomewordsdownaboutourtriptocuba, checkitouthere.


Posted by bendan at 12:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

fantasticmexicancomputerequipment firstofall,guesswhichkeyonthiskeyboarddoesntwork? giveup? thefuckingkeyboard. anyways,waitingintulumtownforthebustosancris,wentswimmingincenotes,freshwater


Posted by bendan at 11:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2002

la vuelta a mexico got

la vuelta a mexico

got back in to mexico about two hours ago, at the airport I got stuck helping some spaniard pass his extra box of cigars across the aduana, the customs, so when i finally got somewhere i could buy tickets to san cris all the busses for today are chock full. it ends up that i leave tulum, where i am now, tomorrow at 4 oclock, should get into san cris on the 24th around 6 am. its ok i guess, gonna eat me some good mexican food after all the sometimes good sometimes not good at all cuban food, then head down to the beach, pitch my tent, have a run to work off some of the gut i built trying to keep up with how much steven eats, then ill jump in the excellent waters of the carribean.
im gonna wait till i get some time in san cristobal to write about cuba, im still digesting what i saw and learned.
off to the beach. happy holidays everyone.

Posted by bendan at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2002

steve and i just got

steve and i just got back from vinales, on the western part of the island, i liked that part more then anywhere else we saw, much mellower and no one selling us stuff. did a little climbing, i'm 7 months out of shape for it, made me want to get back into it so bad. ok i'm gonna write a bunch of stuff about my thoughts on cuba and the politics of here and what we saw, but after i get back from mexico, cause internet is a pain here. so i'm sure you'll all be checking every few hours. hehe.
i'll be back in san cristobal the 23rd i hope, in truth i'm looking forward to returning to mexico, i love it there, and it's not as weird. cuba is still really cool though.

Posted by bendan at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 13, 2002

our dan in cuba (a

our dan in cuba (a clever title taken from the graham green novel our man in cuba, now i ruined it)

not much time at all to write, internet is illegal here and elvia sneaks it. we're sitting in her living room, (she's putting us up) me and steve(!) and some french guy. the cuban dialect i have managed to do rather well with so far, they mumble like hell, reminds me of chile. steve knows he's in for it next semester.
it's very nice to see him, he showed up lookng a little taller then me, and spouting spanish like a champ. i think he's ahead of where i was when finished my first semester in spain, we went out with a spanish couple and he did really well, i don't have to help him anymore.
the city..hmm. havana is beautiful, the architecture is amazing. though crumbling. arches on the buildings, plazas all over, statues and a malecon (boardwalk) with an amazing view. classic cars roll around like it was nothing, all shined up as if it were still the 50's. it's so very very different from the mexico that i just got used to.
the people all seem to be smiling all the time. 99 percent are slim, i guess for the lack of food, and they flirt and laugh in the street. there's a distinct sexual tension that is unique to anywhere i've ever been.
the problem is that they look at us and see dollar signs. last night walking around guys would walk up and start talking, friendly like, but soon they would get to trying to sell me marijuana, cubano cigars or the women that accompany them. i have to say that it makes me not a little uncomfortable, the women here indeed are beautiful, but it feels gross, that some slimy guy walks around with 3 of them, offering them up to any random white looking guy. grosser still is the old foreign men walking around with one of these young things on his arm. what can i say.
it's really cool though, cool propaghandistic posters and paintings with socialist themes, gonna have to snap a few fotos.
ok gotta go, i will most definitely be back in san cristobal if not the 24th then the 25th.
oh yeah all the bands play all the songs from buena vista social club all the time. all the time.

Posted by bendan at 04:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 11, 2002

french send surrender advisors to

french send surrender advisors to iraq. classic.

Posted by bendan at 04:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

last post before cuba. tulum

last post before cuba.

tulum turned out to be a very relaxing and enjoyable few days before heading off to cuba. one of the best moments was paddy and i, paddy is the scot who i hung around with a lot, both of us on the same wavelength a lot cept hes down to drink a bit heavier, you know the scots, anyways it was pouring rain, buckets and buckets, so he and i ran out and jumped into the ocean. swimming in the rain is something ive never really had the opportunity to do, in pools and lakes theres always the danger of lightning. anyways, we swam out, looking at the ocean horizon, this gunmetalish grey, then back at the shore. the palm trees were being pelted with rain, heavy like, to the point where we couldnt lift out of the water cause the huge droplets were falling with such force, carried by the wind, that they stung like hell. it slackened and we ran up through the trees and right to the bar that wsa part of the cabanas we were staying at. quite a memorable moment i must say.
also got to hang out with eli and tal, two israelis, all the israelis ive met have been superfun, and hearing them speak reminds me of my dad saying things in hebrew. i know for sure that i want to go to israel to learn hebrew someday, just not sure when.
now im in horrible cancun again with tamara and this other israeli the name of whom i cant remember for the life of me. i head out tomorrow in the plane at 2, should be meeting steve my brothe around 5 at the casa particular. excited to see him, hell be a different person in a way cause hell be speaking the spanish. should be great.
good news for emily, her camera turned up in panchan, well be mailing it to you. we all hope your return to australia is commencing smoothly, from what your said about going to weddings and music festivals, it cant be that bad.
i might drop back my tulum, but for certain ill be in san cristibal by the 25thish, a week there (maybe more) for the countdown to new years, then maybe some work with villagers in chiapas, or else straight on to guatemala.
dont even ask about the mythical free tickets, what a bunch of junk.
miss you all, oh yeah, NEVER COME TO CANCUN, its lousy.

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December 09, 2002

in tulum, a very beautiful

in tulum, a very beautiful beach town 2 hours south of the horrious hell hole that is cancun. it`s been raining but i`ve been having fun nonetheless, met 2 israeli`s and a scot, paddy, the funniest guy i`ve met on the trip, he has me laughing all the time when i understand what he`s saying, which is a little more then half the time.
find out tonight about cuba, who knows, if not i buy a ticket.
sorry this is short, the israeli has a car and is driving back to the beach from here.
oh yeah the carribean is amazing, paddy keeps saying it has clorine for the green blueness of the water.
so amazing.

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December 06, 2002

got into cancun 2 hours

got into cancun 2 hours + late cause the bus broke twice. my brain is mush. mush mush mush. off to try and get to cuba.
wow this town sucks already. hehe. ok i shouldnt say it sucks, its just the other side of mexico, the people wearing flowery shorts and frat shirts and no one speaking spanish side.
news flash. germany is the weirdest country ever.
something awful fotoshops christmas albums. my favorite is dr dreidel.

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December 05, 2002

ok, now im really leaving,

ok, now im really leaving, on the overnight bus to cancun, its gonna suck. will be in cancun tomorrow, will be hopefully hanging out with tamara, we can figure this cuba shit out, shes going as well. i am leaving my cook stuff here, my stove and pots and all, weighed it today, it weighs in total 4 kilos, should have left that shit at home. hehe.

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December 04, 2002

sleepinginairports.net. dios bendiga al internet.

sleepinginairports.net. dios bendiga al internet.

Posted by bendan at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

this is a very long

this is a very long article, but well worth reading. the issue of violence against women is spoken of much down here, and indeed there is now a maquiladora here in san cristobal, which means that the violence that accompanies those factories is on it`s way.
fucking hell, what can you say?

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December 03, 2002

leaving san cristobal tomorrow. people

leaving san cristobal tomorrow. people dont believe me when i say it. itll be good to be on the road again.
bruce and kath left, it was great fun having them here. someday ill make it down to tasmania.
emily and also the basque folks all made it home safely, im glad.
i get to see my brother in 10 days, quite excited.
pascual got here two days ago, hes the same quebequoi drinking machine, very fun to have him here and have him ask me, when hes doubting whether im telling him some bullshit, but really, for true man? good old quebec accent.

ok here are some links
an update on the worst sex scenes in recent fiction award, ethan hawke is up for it, man that guy sucks.
a new get your war on, its good to see someone talk shit about henry kissenger.
thats all for now.

Posted by bendan at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 01, 2002

think i`m going to cuba

think i`m going to cuba on sunday. maybe. the cancun contact is flaky as pie crust.
cross your fingers.

Posted by bendan at 05:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack