Saturday, January 30, 2016

Turn the page

On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha
You can listen to the engine moanin' out its one note song
You can think about the woman, or the girl you knew the night before

But your thoughts will soon be wandering, the way they always do
When you're riding sixteen hours and there's nothing there to do
And you don't feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through

Here I am, on a road again
There I am, on the stage
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, turn the page

Walking down the dusty artery of Tegucigalpa on a quiet cold Saturday morning.  Everyone is gone, and soon I will leave.  The long road through Central and South America is over, and I am content.  In Spanish contento also means happy.

It has been an amazing run.  Through the heart of Salvador.  Through San Salvador and the talented Salvador hip hop community.  Through Soyapongo--the most dangerous barrio in Central America, where we built community and connections.  We created platforms for hip hop education to grow in a place that needs it.

Through Colombia, with possibilities abound.  Through the pastel Latin Zanzibar that was Cartagena.  To Tayrona on the Colombian-Caribbean coast.  To the mountains of Minca with Lida the Czech swan.

Through Honduras, with the Sucio Quatro, whom Money Mark aptly described as:
Team Honduras is the foulest-mouthed, trash-talkingest Next Level group I've had the pleasure of knowing. Of course, they are also incredible artists, dedicated teachers, and inspiring human beings. It's been an honor.

Good times in "The Goose" as Tegucigalpa is affectionately called.  In Honduras, we planted more seeds in Central America, and I think there will reason to return.

Out there in the spotlight you're a million miles away
Every ounce of energy, you try to give away
As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play

Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed
With the echoes from the amplifiers ringin' in your head
You smoke the day's last cigarette, remembering what she said

Here I am, on a road again
There I am, up on the stage
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, turn the page

I have been tilting at windmills with legends like Medusa, and geniuses like DiViNCi.  With the most incredible, talented and brilliant people, whom I led into battle.  I can be forgiven for thinking it is all simply a knight-errant's dream.  His dharma to right the world by building bridges and constructing spaces.

I have just a few miles to go before I can sleep.  I can dream of new adventures.  I can take a little time for me.  To write.  To think.  To plan for new adventures.

As a Quixotite, I know that whatever I dream I can make true.

And as the Embassy vehicle climbed the hill, I had a view across the city and the mountains in the distance ringed with giant windmills.  I smiled at this punctuated end to my story.

What the World Costs- Honduras

1 Lempira ($.04): 500ml bag of water
10 Lempiras ($.44): a can of Link grapefruit soda; bag of pralines
12 Lempiras ($.53): 750ml bottle of water
16 Lempiras ($.71): a bottle of Cerveza Barena at Las Cebollinas; 1 liter bottle of water at pharmacy; 1 hour long chicken bus ride from Vale de Angeles to Tegucigalpa (no idea why it was cheaper for the return journey)
17 Lempiras ($.75): 6 oz Macchiatto at Espresso Americano
18 Lempiras ($.80): 8 oz Americanao at Espresso Americano
21 Lempiras ($.93): entry into snake museum
24 Lempiras ($1.06): 45 min chicken bus ride from Tegucigalpa to Vale de Angeles
26 Lempireas ($1.15): double espresso at Espresso Americano
30 Lempiras ($1.33): chocolate cake ball at a cafe
31 Lempiras ($1.38): 2L of Coca Cola at the grocery store
34 Lempiras ($1.51): a double espresso at hotel cafe
37 Lempiras ($1.64): packet of nuts and raisins at convenience store
48 Lempiras ($2.13): Bottle of SalvaVida beer at Casa Don Juan
50 Lempiras ($2.22): a shot of turtle egg mixed with lemon and tomato juice
55 Lempiras ($2.44): plate of Pollo a la coca cola, arroz, frijoles y platanos
60 Lempiras ($2.66): 20 minute cab ride from Hotel Interncontinental to city center
62 Lempiras ($2.75): Baleada (Honduran burrito) w/ pollo, guacemole, frijoles, chismol at Coco Baleada
65 Lempiras ($2.88): 20 minute cab ride from Novacentro to Hotel Intercontinental
70 Lempiras ($3.11): entrance to Museo para la Identidad Nacional incl virtual tour of Copan
80 Lempiras: giant plate of pollo chilaquiles
90 Lempiras ($3.99): Family size plate of Tajadas
100 Lempiras ($4.44): glass of wine in Hotel Intercontinental
105 Lempiras ($4.66): double Flor de Cana 7 year rum at Nu; Falafel sandwich at KebabExpress
120 Lempiras ($5.32): 15 min Reynaldo taxi ride
145 Lempiras: Sopa de Tortilla at The Market
149 Lempiras ($6.61): 1 liter of 4 year old Flor de Cana rum at the grocery store
154 Lempiras ($6.83): A plate of carne de res, arroz, frijoles, aguacate y chismol in Valle
160 Lempiras ($7.10): two Sake handrolls (salmon, sesame oil-filled)
165 Lempiras ($7.32): Ceviche de Corvino at The Market
220 Lempiras ($9.76): 20 min taxi van ride to El Patio
258 Lempiras ($11.45): 1 liter of 7 year old Flor de Cana rum at the grocery store.
455 Lempiras ($20.19): Sr. Conquistador steak at El Patio (literally 1.5lbs of meat)
788 Lempiras ($35): 1 hour massage (including eye ball massage--good for after long bouts looking at the computer screen, the masseuse explained.
4,000 Lempiras ($177.48): Graffiti mural
855 Lempiras ($38): first-class 6hr Pullmantur bus ticket from Teguc to San Salvador
1,425 Lempiras ($63.23): 72 piece sushi plate for 4 at Nau Lounge
2700 Lempiras ($120):  1 night stay at Hotel Real Intercontental w/ breakfast included (long-stay rate)
3,180 Lempiras ($141): 1 night stay at Hotel Real Intercontental w/ breakfast included

Friday, January 29, 2016

You don't visit Soviet Union, Soviet Union visits you....

Some great Soviet travel posters.  Makes me want to pack my steamer trunk.  h/t Yelena


On Success

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." -Albert Schweitzer

It sounds even better in Spanish. Found that gem just outside our hotel in Tegucigalpa. Viva NL Honduras, siempre.


Monday, January 25, 2016

The reductive seduction of other people's problems


“If you’re young, privileged, and interested in creating a life of meaning, of course you’d be attracted to solving problems that seem urgent and readily solvable.”

A great article on the seduction, and ineffectiveness, of trying to save the world far from home.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The white man pathology: inside the fandom of Sanders and Trump

America is not my mother. Canada is my mother. But America is an unbelievably gorgeous, surprisingly sweet rich lady who lives next door and appears to be falling apart. I cannot help myself from loving it.

A great piece on the contradictions of America, and the pathology of whiteness on the campaign trail.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Putting the "zen" in frozen

"Like war, illness and poker, snow ruthlessly reveals true character.

And, gloriously if briefly, it hides everything else — the plastic grocery bags and mini-marts and dog poop and salt-grimed Toyotas and sundry disorder of modernity. Watching the quotidian American crudscape transform into a fairy-tale kingdom is a legitimate wonder. Name another disaster that leaves the afflicted region more attractive in its wake."

Great article on doing nothing in the blizzard. Sending warm thoughts to the East Coast from Central America.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What we build; what we leave behind

“The opportunity and the heartbreak of Meadville Lombard is that we are, all of us, living two lives. To make this happen—to build this beloved community— we leave behind so many beloveds who cannot follow."

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Case Against Bernie Sanders

As in:

Until very recently, nobody had any cause to regret Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Sanders is earnest and widely liked. He has tugged the terms of the political debate leftward in a way both moderates and left-wingers could appreciate. (Moderate liberals might not agree with Sanders’s ideas, but they can appreciate that his presence changes for the better a political landscape in which support for things like Mitt Romney’s old positions on health care and the environment were defined as hard-core liberalism.) Sanders’s rapid rise, in both early states and national polling, has made him a plausible threat to defeat Hillary Clinton. Suddenly, liberals who have used the nominating process to unilaterally vet Clinton, processing every development through its likely impact on her as the inevitable candidate, need to think anew. Do we support Sanders not just in his role as lovable Uncle Bernie, complaining about inequality, but as the actual Democratic nominee for president? My answer to that question is no.

The rest of the case is here. 

My day job...

This is what my day job looks like....

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What the World Costs- Colombia

Free: Museo Botero; Museo de la Independcia; 30 minutes for a bicycle on bike day; Museo Nacional
200 Colombian Pesos ($.06): small plantano bread roll
500 pesos ($.15): 15 min internet
800 pesos ($.24): Arepa de maiz
900 pesos ($.28): packet of spaghetti
1,200 pesos ($.37): buñuelo (fried cheese dough ball)
1,500 pesos ($,46): glass of fresh-squeezed OJ on the street
1,600 pesos ($.49): empanada de carne
1,800 pesos ($.55): BRT bus ticket
2,000 ($.61) BRT card; obrea (thin waffle w/ dulce de leche, queso and passion fruit sauce inside)
2,150 ($.66): a bottle of Cerveza Club Colombia at the store; 1 ride on Medellin metro
2,500 ($.76): a bottle of Aguila beer at a local restaurant
3,000 ($.92) entrance to Museo del Oro; bottle of Club Colombia at Wandering Paisa
3,200 ($.98): a half-dozen eggs at the grocery store
3,300 ($1.01): cappuccino; glass of passion fruit juice
4,000 ($1.22): cold bottle of Aguila beer at a bar in Cartagena; can of Aguila beer at Parque Tayrona
4,100 ($1.25); a piece of temptation of chocolate cake
5,000 ($1.53): 1/4 pollo asado (roasted chicken) with roasted potatoes and arepa
6,500 ($1.99): Limonada de coco (Lemonade with coconut); sopa de mondongo (Colombian beef tripe soup)
7,000: ($2.14): Oscar's curry egg breakfast special
8,000 ($2.45): 20 minute taxi ride from Tayrona to Buritaca
8:500 ($2.60): Rum and coke in Cartagena
9,500 ($2.91): Indian buffet lunch including soup, salad and drink at Govinda's in Medellin
10,000 ($3.06): plate del dia: fried whole fish, fried banana chips, salad and coco rice; entrance to Museo de Antioco
10,200 ($3.12): ticket to Star Wars 3D; 20 min cab ride from Cartagena airport to city center
10,900 ($3.33): stuffed chicken arepa
11,900 ($3.63): Desayuno completo (eggs, rice & beans, arepa, cheese and a cup of hot chocolate)
12,000 ($3.67): bus from Santa Marta to Parque Tayrona; Fixer-Upper cocktail (rum, lime and honey)
13,500 ($4.13): Sancocho--giant pot of Colombian chicken soup
13,900 ($4.25): Big Mac combo meal
15,000 ($4.59): Tanqueray and Tonic; 1 night stay in a hammock in Palomino (no sheet)
17,000 ($5.20): Funicular ride to the top of Monserrate and back down;
17,700 ($5.41): A pollo terriyaki sub with fries and coke combo at Qbano
20,000 ($6.12): Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; 1 night hammock stay in Parque Tayrona w/ sheet
21,000 ($6.42): Rum and Coke overlooking the ocean; 1 night hostel stay at Wandering Paisa in Medellin
24,000 ($7.34): mini Spanish-English dictionary
25,000($7.65): whole fried red snapper at Bukaru in Parque Tayrona; 4 hour bus ride from Santa Marta to Cartagena (took 6 hours)
30,000 ($9.18): 25 min taxi from airport to Chapinero
33,000 ($10.09): ceviche de pescado at famous La Cevicecheria in Cartagena
38,000 ($11.62): 1 night hostel dorm in Santa Marta, no breakfast
40,000 ($12.23): puerta-a-puerta bus service for 4 hr trip from Cartagena to Santa Marta; entrance into Parque Tayrona
50,000 ($15.29): Argentine bife de lomo in Cartagena
55,000 ($16.82): One night hostal bed in a 12-person dorm in Cartagena (with breakfast)
60,000 ($18.35): One night hostal bed in a 4 person dorm in Cartagena (with breakfast); 35 min taxi ride from Medellin airport to city
65,000 ($19.88): per person dinner at Andres D.C.; 9 hour bus from Medellin to Bogota
96,000 ($29.36): bungalow for two at Oskar's Place in Minca
216,990 ($66.37): Flight from Bogota to Cartagena
245,615 ($75.12): Fancy traditional Colombia dinner for two incl bottle of wine at Club Colombia
271,374 ($83): 1 night stay at Hotel Balcones de Badillo in Cartagena w/ breakfast
331,190 ($101.29) 1 hr 15 min flight from Cartagena to Medellin
817,375 ($245): 1 week studio apartment in Bogota

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Palomino

Once I finally left the paradise that was Tayrona, I made my way on to Palomino--between the river and sea.

From Palomino

Monday, January 11, 2016

On the Road

"The road is life ..."
 -Jack Kerouac

H/T to Dawn Drew for that gem.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Parque Tayrona

I closed out my 2015 in the paradise that is Parque Tayrona on the Colombian-Caribbean coast.

As you can see, Tayrona was a beauty.

Days were spent hiking from beach to nude beach; nights were spent eating fried fish, and lying under the stars on beach.


From Tayrona

From Tayrona

From Tayrona


On the beach at night alone, 
As the old mother sways her to and fro, singing her husky 
 song, 
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the
 clef of the universes, and of the future. 
-Walt Whitman, "On the beach at night alone"