Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cheap freedom.

It has been costing some considerable extra bucks but the Fuso Szulc is now better located on the Malibu Beach RV Park.
A view of the ocean and only one neighbour.

Some folks from Switzerland who don’t need their noisy air conditioning like the former Dutch neighbours.

It feels like trying to make the best of a bad situation.
As if we were all in a prison camp where are poor conditions and a little extra space is a major improvement.

Yesterday was an exceptional day.
Well, every day is an exceptional day but this one was most exceptional.
The thing to do was to meet architect Jennifer Siegal and photograph her.
This went extremely well and some most interesting pictures could be made.
Impossible to publish on this blog due to the copyright owned by the magazine the pictures were made for.

It was a great pleasure to meet Jennifer and besides photographing her, getting to know her.
Tomorrow there will be a new meeting.

Last night a knock on the open door.
One of the persons from the Netherlands passing by to have a chat.
It is now 7 years that living and working in the Netherlands was halted and as of then this country is briefly visited usually only once a year.
However, to speak the language of the Netherlands, called Dutch, is not a problem.
Somehow it doesn’t fade.
But there is a social and political gap.
Because no news sources about the Netherlands are ever consulted, there is no knowledge anymore what is going on in that country.
There is a disconnection and actually that feels very liberating.
These days the interest is mainly in American politics where major changes might happen influencing not only the USA but the rest of the world as well.
To follow this process is fascinating.
Who cares what is happening in a tiny country like the Netherlands.

The person from the Netherlands visiting last night, called Paul, had rented a motor home from a company called Cruise America.
He paid 3.000 $ (2.187 Euros) for a three weeks use excluding gasoline and taxes.
In the brochure it had been promised he would get an almost brand-new motor home but to the disappointment of Paul and his family this was not true.
His motor home was an oldie with 70.000 miles (113.000 kilometres) on the clock.
And not surprisingly, the motor home broke down.
He got stuck with a broken start-engine twice.
It had to be replaced and he lost two days of his holidays.
Now he is trying to get some kind of compensation and will never be a customer of Cruise America anymore.

Meanwhile a copy of the Camping World catalogue has been obtained.
In it an advertisement for the new Coachmen FreedomExpress 21QB motor home.

A 21 feet motor home on a Chevy chassis having electrical heated holding tanks, patio and slide out awnings, a 4.0KW Onan Gas generator, etc, etc.
This motor home will cost 49.995 $ (36.640 Euros), an incredible low price.
We may wonder how long the freedom with the Coachmen FreedomExpress can be enjoyed.
Is this motorhome not going to be a bird with limited freedom?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Together in Malibu.

It is because of the assignment otherwise never ever would even one night have been spent using “Malibu Beach RV Park”.
But it is the only trailer park close to Los Angeles with spaces available this time of year.
All the nearby State beaches and parks with camping facilities are booked full for weeks.
Staying in a Wal*Mart parking lot is a miserable experience.
Spending the night illegally sneaking in and out a residential area is not an acceptable policy for the Fuso Szulc.
Therefore it is the “Malibu Beach RV Park”.
To the West of Los Angeles.

“Malibu Beach RV Park” is located on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean.

It is a rather small park but nevertheless they have managed to squeeze in more than 114 RV spaces and 50 tent sites.
The space between the motor homes is less than 2 meters (6,56 feet).

Most people with an RV pay 90 $ (66 Euros) a night which makes “Malibu Beach RV Park” a very expensive place to stay.
And maybe an interesting source of income for the owners with a potential of over 10.000 $ (7332,45 Euros) per night.

Many of the RV’ers here are Europeans with rented motor homes.
In fact, the Fuso Szulc is surrounded by people from the Netherlands and their undisciplined children.

Being put so close to each other is one thing, but the Fire Department of Malibu has ordered that all RV’s must be with their front to the road.
The idea is that in case of a calamity the motor homes can leave more easily.
For the Fuso Szulc this means that the side with the view is now facing the steep hillside.
Originally the Fuso Szulc was of course parked the other way having a magisterial and magical view of the Pacific Ocean but a lady in a golf cart belonging to “Malibu Beach RV Park” came to say that the Fuso Szulc had to be immediately put in the reverse position.

Now the view is a dark wall of sand and grass.

Being so close to another RV makes “Malibu Beach RV Park” as noisy as Bakersfield Palms RV Resort of last night.
Where trains were thundering through the camper.

This time, the neighbours from the Netherlands like to run their air conditioning although the outside temperature is only 24 degrees Centigrade (75 Fahrenheit).
They prefer to keep all windows and roof vents closed and enjoy the air conditioning.
The XM-radio has to be put on double volume to avoid thinking one is accidentally living in a power plant.

Also at “Malibu Beach RV Park”, like at Bakersfield Palms RV Resort, the promised WIFI is not working.
How lucky the Fuso Szulc is to have its own Datastorm Internet system.
This thing though is rather endemic: hotels and trailer parks promising WIFI in their PR but once there it doesn’t work.

Here 9 nights and days will be spend.
But of course an effort will be made to change location and to get a better place at “Malibu Beach RV Park”.

Today photographing Jennifer Siegal.
A progressive architect involved in ecological friendly building.
A true Prima Donna.
She is the first person in the career of this photographer, which is spanning over 37 years, who has requested a make-up artist/hairdresser.
Before pictures are made, make up needs to be applied and the hair done.
Not by herself but by a professional.
This has to be paid for by the magazine the photographer works for.
Now, that is style!
But we will see today how Prima the Donna in fact is.


To learn more about the work of Jennifer Siegal, click on:


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thundering trains.

The campground near Deadman’s Pass in the Inyo National Forest, California, USA, was packed with people in motorhomes, fifth wheelers and campers all escaping the merciless heat of the lower parts of the state.
At about 8.000 feet (2.438 meters) the temperatures are more modest and pleasant.
One can sleep and live without air conditioning.
Another reason for people to stay at the Glass Creek Campground was that it was at no charge.
It is National Forest and camping is for free.
For example, a woman was met explaining she had paid a high bill for fixing her car and was staying at Glass Creek Campground to enjoy the cooler weather and to save money.

From Glass Creek Campground the Fuso Szulc has travelled to Bakersfield, California, USA.
Where it is hot.
Very hot.
Day and night.

The night was spend at Bakersfield Palms RV Resort.
This was a last bet: all other and better places to stay turned out to be booked full.
It is Summer, for many people it is holiday time and it is the weekend.

If the travelling was by own decisions, this area and the Bakersfield Palms RV Resort would never have seen the Fuso Szulc.
But there is this assignment that is deciding where to go.

Of course it is highly appreciated that the Bakersfield Palms RV Resort has water and electricity.
And a small swimming pool.
But the WIFI system they promise in their publicity is not working.
The palm trees stop the own Datastorm to get on line.
And right next to the Bakersfield Palms RV Resort are the railroad tracks where every 15 minutes a cargo train passes by splitting the head in two.
Four or five diesel locomotives pulling an endless line of trailers.

This is all not too bad because everything is considered an experience and life is yin and yang.
But what about all those people who seem to live permanently at Bakersfield Palms RV Resort?
There are plenty of them.
Most of them living in trailers that have not seen the road for years.
Living in it are old people who probably have no more house somewhere else.
They have surrounded their trailers with small gardens and paraphernalia to make it look a little more personal.
Day and night they are inside their air conditioned trailer hiding for the heat.
They may have become accustomed to the trains thundering through the camp.

The objective today is to find a place as close as possible to Venice where on Monday is an appointment.
This is another test to trust.
That something will be found.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sliding off a volcano.

It was decided to go on a walk today.
To hike along the Glass Creek River up into the mountains of the Inyo National Park.

Was it realized there are bears in the wilderness?

Yes, the thought came across.
Always optimistic and maybe over courageous and most of all rather megalomania a strategy was developed in case a bear happened to use the same trail as the afternoon’s hiker.
The plan was to go immediately behind a large tree and circle it synchronically with the bear.
Meanwhile picking up a sharp branch and at an adequate moment poke the bear in the eye.
Maybe then the other eye as well and one could walk away in peace.

The walk went on and on.
Hiking along the beautiful creek where delicate flowers were growing for us.

Eventually an enormous stonewall was reached.
The remnants of an eruption of a volcano.

This naïve thought came up that behind that wall of loose boulders would be a beautiful lake.
And the decision was made to climb that high and steep slope of loose stones and boulders.

This photographer is not specifically trained for mountain climbing.
The hiking boots helped but not the camera dangling around his neck.
It was fierce ambition and the desire to wish to reach a goal that created an almost violent insistency to need to conquer the difficult ascends.

Most stupidly, the thinking was so obsessed with climbing up, that not one second it was considered how to come back down.

The climb was cruel.
Up and up and up.
Sliding down, finding grip, hoisting up, slowly ascending.
To discover at the top that beyond were only more steep walls of stones…

No beautiful lake.
The imagination is often so wrong because it is fuelled by what we fantasize is the best for us.

There were just miles and miles of more steep hills of volcanic stones.
No option to go ahead.
It was realized that the only thing to do was to go back.
But then it was discovered that descending was very difficult and dangerous.
An effort was made but it was simply too steep.
It was impossible to see where to plant the shoes and too many boulders, stones and gravel were loose.
Trying to go down would certainly result in a dramatic fall with serious injuries.
And this was wilderness area.
When would a victim of an accident be found here?

The conclusion was that it was a fine mess one found itself in.
And it was realized that this bloody ambition of always having to go to extremes might one day result in falling over the edge.

Eventually it was decided to climb along the rim to see if at another place a descend would be more easy.
This was found and holding on to protruding large boulders slowly and carefully the slope was slided down.
Getting wounds on the hand palms of the sharp volcanic stones and a torturing of the bum well deserved.

A sigh of relief when returned to the path and looking up to the slope it was realized what a fool one had been to ever even consider to climb up there.

Exhausted and slightly shaken it looked best to hike back to the Fuso Szulc.
But when a path was seen going up into the mountains to new and mysterious destinations, the plan of returning changed immediately.


Friday, July 27, 2007

She needs a good one.

Before to leave Quincy, the pretty small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, a new visit to the public library to make use of their fast WIFI-system.
Just to put a new posting of the blog, retrieve and send e-mails.

It was ten o’clock in the morning and the street deserted.
In front of the public library white lines were drawn in an angle of 45 degrees to indicate how to park cars.

It was decided to park the Fuso Szulc in an angle of 25 degrees to avoid obstructing the traffic in the street.
If the Fuso Szulc had been exactly within the white lines the back would have stick out dangerously far into the street.
Parking in an angle of 25 degrees resulted in making use of two parking spaces and not being within the white lines but that didn’t matter.
There was not one other car parked and the visit to the public library would not take more than fifteen minutes.

The business with the MacBook Pro and WIFI was done in 15 minutes indeed.
Returned to the Fuso Szulc, the map was studied to check the route to travel that day.

A Jeep arrived and parked some parking places away from the Fuso Szulc.
A woman came out and walked up to the Fuso Szulc.
She said in a bitchy voice:
“You park even more lousy than I do”.

The woman was recognised.
She worked in the public library.
When visiting there the day before she had said:
“You use WIFI with your own computer? We LOVE people with their own computer!”
This had to do with the congestion of the many people wanting to use the four available computers of the public library.

But the woman didn’t remember the visitor of the day before.
“You park even more lousy than I do and that is because you don’t care”.

The reply was:
“There is a reason why this vehicle is parked in this way”.

The woman said now even more agressively:
“Yes and the reason is that you don’t care”.

The Fuso Szulc owner responded:
“You are projecting your own attitudes on other people”.

She realized the conversation was not going in a more friendly direction.
Abruptly she changed the topic:
“What mileage do you get from this truck?”.

She walked to the public library after she heard it was about 15 miles to the gallon.

At the end of the day friends Andreas and Ute were joined.
They are camping at the Glass Creek Campground near the town of Mammoth Lakes.
New friend Wendy was there also and sitting all together telling the recent travel experiences, the event with the lady of the public library of Quincy was told.

The conclusion was that the Quincy lady needed one thing only.
A good one.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Locked out.

It is beautiful and wonderful in Northern California.
The weather is fabulous: warm sunshine and crystal clear light.
The nights cool off sufficiently to sleep deeply and peacefully hearing the sound of the river flowing nearby.
The sound of the river whispering confidentially words of wisdom while the almost full moon tells finally the secret words to reveal the eternal and ethereal existence.

The new day presents itself with the dawning of light but the body obviously reluctantly objects and refuses and wants to continue the deep enjoyments of good and deep sleep craved for every night.

It is peaceful here.
The large pine trees encircle as a protection against the evils of the real world.
A group of deer may shyly show up while Wal*Mart is fortunately far away.

In between the trees of the estate of friend Tim the Datastorm is unable to find Satmex 5 in the sky for Internet connection.
A visit was made to the small town of Quincy because the public library there has four computers available for Internet access and has WIFI free of charge.

Sometimes postings of this blog get on line in surprising ways.

A woman was met in a parking lot of the local theatre of Quincy coincidentally run by friend Tim’s brother.
She was next to her Chrysler Sebring convertible car and having two problems.
She was parked in an illegal place and had a big ticket on her car window.
But more annoying was that her keys were inside the locked car.

Friend Tim was in discussion with his brother.
Having to wait the obvious thing to do was to participate in the scene of a person making efforts to open her car.
The woman used a thick metal wire to try to reach inside the knob releasing the lock.
She didn’t have much luck.
The car, being a convertible, offered a simple solution: cut open the fabric of the roof with a knife and open the door.
This suggestion was made to the woman.
She said she had thought about that but had come to realize that her insurance company would not pay for a new roof.

While watching her unsuccessfully fiddle with the metal wire this tendency could be noticed to want to take over.
It is true that in the past, on numerous occasions, locked cars have been opened using a metal wire.
And it was obvious that the way she was trying to open her car was not going to be successful.
But somehow today, it was decided not to interfere.
Not to tell the woman to hand over the metal wire and make her a bystander.

In relationships that are balanced nothing should be enforced.
No paternalism, no maternalism.
Imposing is taboo.
If the woman wants to give up and ask somebody else for assistance, she can make that choice.
If she wants to continue to try while someone has arrived, that is a choice as well.
That needs to be respected.

All those thoughts flashed through the mind while watching the efforts of the woman.

While chatting with her suddenly she said:
“You are the first man I meet who just let me do my thing.
Who is not trying to take over.”
The confession was made that exactly this had been the subject of the very recent thoughts.
And that the non-interference had been a deliberate choice.

She explained she was an aviation engineer.
Highly educated.
In technical matters.
Not waiting for male species to tell her how to unlock her car.

Half an hour later in Tim’s Toyota 4Runner the return trip to his estate.
Seeing the woman still trying to open her car.

On her Chrysler Sebring convertible a sticker had been spotted saying:
Ministry of Defence.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Alone on an estate.

In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, east of the city of Redding, is a nice little town by the name of Quincy.
Located in a large valley in between the high hills.

About 12 miles out of Quincy lives long time friend Tim on a 34-acre estate surrounded by a National Park.
Friend Tim lives by himself.

In the peace and quiet of friend Tim’s estate memory drifted back.

The first 13 years of life were also spent on an estate.
This was in the South of the Netherlands.
A large wooden house surrounded by nature.

There were seven people living in this house.
The parents, the four children and the governess.

There was a library in the 12-room house and in wintertime this was the most favourite place to be.
Sitting next to the window and the warm radiator reading books.
Any book that was in the library.
Even the 12-volume encyclopaedia was read.

In summer it was outside where most time was spent.
In nature having experiences with animals, building huts and climbing trees.

All these activities, summer and winter, were alone.
Not with the brother.
Sometimes with the sisters.
Never with the parents.

There was not a choice between doing things alone or with others.
It was simply a fact of life that childhood was alone.

At the age of 11 the father gave as a present a camera.

He had seen how there had already been a fascination for making pictures.

The camera became the lighthouse in life.
A source of light.
A central point.
An indicator where to go.
Everything that as a child was needed from the parents and the family, and that they were unable to give due to the tremendous problems they were involved in themselves, came now from the lighthouse.
It was the only thing and therefore it was grabbed like a lifeline.

This is why photography became so important and why it became the devotion and the passion.
Everything in life that a child growing up in a happy and harmonious family learns from the parents and the kinship was learned through photography.
Photography a substitute for love and warmth and belonging and protection and recognition.

Tim said: “You are so gifted”.
This is not true.
Specific circumstances during childhood forced to look and find realization and fulfilment of life somewhere else.
Children who are loved don’t need to do this and can live a quiet and happy life not needing to go into extremes to find justification for existence.
Potentially they could be fantastic artists as well, because every one of us has fabulous talents, but they simply have no need to wake it up.

Everything is in balance though.
If the parents had been able to love, there would not have been our sharing of this story today.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Whisked in Whiskeytown.

Near the town of Redding in the central part of California, USA, is a place called Whiskeytown.
Near Whiskeytown, in the Trinity River, engineers have build a dam creating a large artificial lake.
An area next to this lake has been made into the Whiskeytown Recreational Park.
It is here the night was spent.

Because the area for campers and motor homes was full, for 19 $ (13,75 Euros) it was allowed to camp in the “overflow”.
The parking space.

Many people come to the Whiskeytown Recreational Park pulling a boat to spend the day cruising on the lake.
Fancy boats costing a small fortune.

Camping in the parking area offered a nice opportunity to observe people driving their cars with a boat trailer to the water edge to get their boats out.
And remarkable was that not one person with a boat was alone.
All the boats were with a group of people.
Having a good time together.
The conclusion was that people who buy a boat have a successful family.
Or at least, are living together with other persons and spending the free time with them.

Another observation was the difference in physique between the men and women.
During the 3 hours of watching over a 100 persons were seen.
Most were out of shape.
Showing a body not exercised.
Showing a diet too high in fat and calories.

100 % of all the women observed were fat and overweight.
Even the young girls with often cute faces already had a belly and oversized behinds.
Not one girl or woman could be seen with a well-proportioned and attractive body.

This is not a personal opinion.
It is a cool and balanced neutral observation.

However, there were several men in excellent shape.
Who obviously were on a healthy diet and doing workouts.
Having incredibly well proportioned and muscled bodies.
No belly, no rings, no fat.

This fabulous body they didn’t mind showing.
They were wearing Bermuda’s that they let down hanging to just above the point where the penis connects to the underbelly.
To give maximum exposure to the result of their efforts.

But in a way it was tragic: their bodies showed loneliness.
Because they were all accompanied by wives very much out of shape.
Explaining that the men were in activities to look healthy, athletic and muscular not shared by their wives.
As if they were living on different planets except for the boat rides.
Lonely and separated within their relationship.

This morning a magic moment.
A mother and her son walked to the edge of the water.

Half an hour later, a father and his son walked to the same spot.


Monday, July 23, 2007

No sex yet.

Fortunately this morning the sun broke through the sea fog and there was a bright blue sky.
Soon Park Ranger Phil Rovai came in his private Jeep Cherokee to go to his house equipped with a hybrid energy supply system.
There were four elements to be documented.
The solar panels.
The bank of batteries.
The back up generator on propane.
And how the electricity was used.
The job was to photograph this in a surprising and convincing and all explanatory way.

Phil Rovai was an exceptional talent in posing.
Very natural and easily himself.
A very kind man.
Some great shots could be made.

Meanwhile a problem had surfaced with the Datastorm Satellite System.
It just couldn’t connect to the Internet.
For unknown reasons.
The disk found the satellite and contact was established.
But next, it got stuck with the message: “Transmitter requesting a transmit pointing test. (TxCode 18)”
It just stayed there.
Everything in the book of tricks was tried but to no avail.
For the first time no daily posting could be put on the blog.

Later in the afternoon Monique came to have a tea.
Monique is a student who has as a summer job working in the Prairie Creek Redwoods National Park.
She arrived in her Park uniform and asked if she could change in the Fuso Szulc.
Of course and for the first time in its existence a lady got undressed inside the bathroom of the Fuso Szulc.
Out came a woman not a Park Ranger anymore but dressed in a military camouflage coloured tight shirt and a long skirt all the way down to the ankles.
Monique had brought real Ceylon tea that she had from her mother who is from Sri Lanka.
How wonderful to have a real good cup of tea at four o’clock in the afternoon near the ocean in good company.
Monique could stay only for one hour because she was planning to go to church in a nearby town.
She had been falling in and out with church, but now she was hooked again.
The Roman Catholic Church.
There were two more remarkable things Monique told.
When she is free, she plays computer and video games.
This might belong to her age, 26 years old, but it is quite something a young woman playing videogames and not watching TV, not listening to the radio and not reading the newspapers.
Not having a clue what is going on in the world.
Not even reading books or having a social life.
Only obsessed and thrilled by computer games.

The other remarkable thing is that Monique has promised herself not to have sex until she is married.
This idea she has from her church.
There is of course this question how to know whether sex will be a pleasure with the partner if she has to wait until she is married.
But of this Monique is convinced: the guy she is going to marry will give her satisfying sex.
The whole world hopes for Monique this will be true and that she will not be disappointed.

From Sri Lanka.

The Fuso Szulc is now located next to the Pacific Ocean at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

There are two campgrounds at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and ranger Phil, who lives in the house with hybrid energy supply to be photographed, is at the one near the ocean.
This is reached using an unpaved, winding, often steep road going through the centuries old forest.

It was decided to move the Fuso Szulc to that area to have more easy access to the house.
Guided by Ranger Phil in his State Park 4x4 Dodge truck equipped with red and green flashing lights and two long rifles.
This was the caravanserai negotiating the challenging road.
Ranger Phil stopping all oncoming traffic and ordering them to the side of the narrow road to facilitate the Fuso Szulc easy driving of the difficult road.

Eventually, almost at ocean level, the booth for the park entrance was reached where Park ranger Monique was met.
Monique’s mother is from Sri Lanka and within minutes the desire and love for Ceylon tea was shared.
And past experiences of visits to the island of Sri Lanka.

Remembering the experience when staying in a hotel in the town of Anuradhapura on the island of Sri Lanka, there was a knock on the door.
Opening the door there were three viciously looking men and two of them were armed with automatic weapons.
They were security police and the order was to get the luggage ready and to come along to Colombo, the capital of the island.
Also the driver and his car with who the journey until then had been made on the beautiful island were ordered to come.
A difficult situation because in the luggage were documents that could endanger the freedom and wellbeing of several Sri Lanka people.
Half way the long journey from Anuradhapura to Colombo the agents were asked if a stop could be made in a roadside hotel to take a shower and to put on clean clothes.
This was allowed and with the suitcase in the hotel room first it was tried to flush the documents down the toilet.
There were too many papers though and the toilet looked like getting blocked.
Therefore the documents were placed under the mattress expecting it to take awhile before they would be found.

It was deep into the night when the party arrived in Colombo.
The agents went straight to a large villa on the border of the city.
This was there headquarters and in one corridor they had prison cells where men in chains were held.
A most friendly man, who later claimed he had been trained by the CIA in the USA, explained they wanted to know the details of the journey.
What were the motives of the trip?
Who had been met and why.
But giving any information was refused.
The driver of the car was brought in.
The CIA-clone shouted at him and started to beat him up.
If the foreign visitor didn’t want to answer the questions his driver would pay the price.
Immediately it was made clear that questions would be answered.
No sense to rough up the innocent driver.

A deal was made that the next morning the Ambassador of the Netherlands would be informed of the arrest and after the interrogation could begin.

Fortunately the night didn’t need to be spend in the dungeons of the villa.
Being still a tourist officially without any evidence yet of the contrary a room in a nearby hotel was booked.
A comfortable room but outside the door a soldier with a machinegun was posted.

The next morning a man from the hotel brought breakfast and informed the guest was front-page news.
With him he had the national Sri Lanka newspaper and indeed on the front page was the headline news:
“Dutch national arrested on spying charges”.

It is a story too long for a blog to tell how it ended.
But it can be revealed that obviously the Sri Lanka authorities expelled the visitor as a “persona non grata”.
But the same authorities were unaware that all the pictures made, got safely out of the country as well.
Included a nice shot of the CIA-clone.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hate Tom Cruise.

Of course there are persons who are loved.
Like family and friends.
But also persons like Ghandi, Plato and Copernicus.
To name a few.
They all have first ring seats around the fire of available love.

The persons who are loved are a huge majority.
They are the most present in the existence.
Present consciously and subconsciously 99 % of the time.

Having so many people in loving unison with the personal existence is very beautiful and good.
But because life is yin and yang we must not forget to hate as well.
To keep things in balance.
If it is only love we are full of, love becomes an empty thing.
If there is a lot of love and a little of hate, that improves the quality of the love.

One of the rules in communication is that good news is no news.
A posting on this blog about how warmly and gratefully persons are loved in the life of this pioneering and nomadic photographer will force the amount of daily visitors to drop painfully.
But to read about who is hated makes a more interesting posting and probably a provocation to think and maybe even to comment.

For these reasons, this week we hate Tom Cruise.
If he would dare to be around, he would be strangled immediately.
Being in the Redwoods National Park in Northern California it is not very likely Mr. Cruise will pass by though as he is currently filming in Germany.

Tom Cruise is deeply hated for 1.745 reasons.

First of all and most importantly, for having been involved with Penelope Cruz.
Penelope Cruz, who looks exactly like the Spanish Princess responsible for irregular heartbeats some time ago as fervent and loyal blog readers very well should remember.
Thank God Penelope didn’t get pregnant of Tom Cruise, which goes to show what an intelligent and emancipated European girl Ms. Cruz is.

Second reason is that whenever we see Tom Cruise, whether in a picture or a video clip, he smiles and radiates like he is a supranational creature beyond what we ever could achieve to be ourselves.
Or maybe he is simply doing PR for his dentist.
Always this smile on his face.
This grimace of which he knows it lures innocent people in believing he is a man who managed to be beyond feelings of being sometimes not feeling too well.

Next, there is this issue that Mr. Cruise is an active member of the Scientology Church and promoting it shamelessly.
The Scientology Church: an organisation considered by many as a sect and a dangerous cult.
Of course, Tom Cruise can be a follower of whatever sect or religion he wishes.
But promoting Scientology, what Tom Cruise does, with his Hollywood style façade of being a successful human being, lures people to something that is going to cost them money.

If the fervent and loyal blog reader would make the effort to visit the website of the Scientology Church, it soon will be found out that the spiritual enlightenment through this so called church is claimed as possible.
It can be achieved by following Scientology courses.
Each time on a higher level.
And each time the Scientology pupil has to pay serious amounts of money for it.

The more enlightening the person wish to become, the more it will cost when joining the Scientology Church.
And there is no end to it.
It is all about money.

We must remember that the Scientology Church was invented and created by an American called Ron L. Hubbard who used to be a pretty good science fiction writer.

This charlatanry of the Scientology Church is no issue for Tom Cruise.
But the person struggling in life and believing the role models of Tom Cruise and John Travolta are the ones to follow, this person is paying dearly for the delusions.

There is even another reason to hate Tom Cruise.
He has his own film production company.
Therefore, he can choose himself in which films he plays.
Alert fervent and loyal blog readers will have noticed that Tom Cruise always chooses to play in films, which result in having sympathy for him.
He is always the good guy.
Always winning.
Always right.
Always controlled.
Always balanced.
Always in good shape.
Never unhappy.
He forces the audience to see him as an ideal human being.
To such an extreme that it becomes counter productive.
Many people meanwhile hate Tom Cruise.

But now he has carried it really too far.
He has gotten it into his mind to play the role of Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg.
Cruise’s production company is spending 80 million Dollars to give the Hollywood version of Von Stauffenberg’s effort on July 20, 1944 to try to kill Adolf Hitler.
Another effort of Tom Cruise to portray himself as a super good human being.
The family of Count von Stauffenberg is completely opposed to this charade and Cruise’s production company has not been able to obtain permission to film on certain historic locations.
There is a limit to what can be turned into more money.
But Tom Cruise goes ahead anyway.

Already a photograph is circulating, made available by Tom Cruise’s production company, where we see him dressed up as a German World War 2 officer.

A totally ridiculous representation.
Von Stauffenberg was a tall man.
Of a noble family.
Very well educated and intelligent.
Radiating dignity, class and pride.

Cruise is a rather small guy radiating superficiality and dumbness.

The film, called “Valkyrie”, will be released next year and of course it will be boycotted.

Now that all the hate available has been released, the loving of all the other people can take place without obstruction and in abundance.
Thanks Tom.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Living energy.

There is this bright idea to make solar cells from organic material.
Imitating nature.
This idea has been made into reality and there actually exist organic solar cells.
The problem though is that the efficiency is very low.
Only 2 % of the sunlight is transformed into electricity.

What scientists are now trying to achieve is to boost the output.
If they can bring it up to 9 % it becomes commercially interesting.

One of the places where they are trying to create and invent high output organic solar cells is in a dark and sombre basement of the Hildebrand Building on the campus of the University of Berkeley.
The Chinese scientist Doctor Yue Wu, a Miller research fellow, is growing organic material that is put on small plastic square pieces to be tested on the capacity of transforming light into electricity.

It is a slow and methodical process and success is not guaranteed.
It is not easy to put oneself into the footsteps of the creator.

Besides the excitement of photographing pioneering scientists in action, there is also this most interesting privilege to meet them.
There was a lunch of bento boxes outside a Japanese restaurant on Central Avenue, Berkeley, in the warm sunshine.
Where the conversation soon turned political and philosophical.

It was explained for example why the students of the University of Berkeley were not actively opposing the war in Iraq like the students have been doing during the Vietnam War.
It is, according to the scientists lunching, because nowadays the students are too well off.
They have it too good and can’t really care about things like politics, compatriots and many innocent Iraqi civilian dying every day.

While having this most pleasant lunch with these bright minds the pedestrians, from all over the world, and the cars were passing by.
And it could not be avoided to think of the 15-year-old girl of the night before knocked down while crossing the street.
Loyal and fervent blog readers will remember this horrific experience.
Questions arose about how serious her injuries were and if she would have long lasting physical and psychological effects of this dramatic encounter with an inexperienced young driver.

When checking out of the Travelodge Hotel, the manager Sheila Huckaby was asked if she had any news about the girl of the accident.
Nothing was known.

Late in the afternoon a place to spend the night was found in a national park near Santa Rosa north of San Francisco.
Because of the trees no connection could be made with the Satmex satellite.

And again the hundreds of pictures made in the laboratory of the University of Berkeley had to get their captions.
What was happening in the picture?
Who was in the picture?
Where and when?

Some very exciting images were made today and that gives a photographer always a wonderful feeling which he humbly wishes to share with all the fervent and loyal blog readers.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

An accident.

It was a successful day of working at the Berkeley West Biocenter where they are trying to find bacteria that can be manipulated into growing on a large scale serving as bio fuel.
A tedious and monklike work to find the right bacteria: a process of simply trying any possibility.
This means that it can take a while but that probably with a little luck in the future we can produce fuel from living organism we can grow ourselves.

Making pictures is one thing but they are meaningless if detailed captions are not added.
To know the time and place.
About what subject the picture exactly is.
Who are the persons in it.

Yesterday over 500 pictures were made resulting in several hours adding captions later in the Travelodge hotelroom.
Exactly at the moment the job was done good friend Irina arrived.
Irina is Russian and a fabulous photographer.
But it seems that with her talent and her style of photography she is not in the right place at the right moment.
Maybe Irina should make a drastic move and this she is seriously contemplating.
Because she is such a good photographer having the knack to know what makes a good and convincing picture, it was an exquisite privilege to go with her through today’s results.
To find at least two images that justify a spread in the magazine story later.

Dinner was with friend Harry, originally from Kanton.
He is living in a fabulous house on a hill side overlooking the bay of San Francisco.
On one side a large window offers this spectacular view and on the other side of the room Harry has this huge acquarium in which tropical fish costing more than 2.000 $ a piece.
A hobby.
Unfortunately for those expensive fish, the party they were seeing around the dinner table were eating fish also.
With a home made oyster sauce the best tasted ever.

Later a cup of chamomile tea in one of those European like brasseries Berkeley is fortunately offering.
Full of young people with books and noteblocks in front of them and the unavoidable laptops.
A great atmosphere: peaceful and positive.

Returning to the hotel Irina was kissed goodbye and getting out of her fancy Mitsubishi Eclipse and walking to the room suddenly:


Looking to where the sound was coming from, nearby a car was spotted with a front side badly damaged.
By intuition the short walk was made to this car and to great astonishment and shock a heap was observed just behind it.
Checking this out it became clear this was a young woman who obviously had been hit by the car.
Meanwhile Irina, having seen the walk to the damaged car had turned around and was on the spot shortly as well.

It was a 15 year old girl who was knocked down by the car.
On the well illuminated and quiet University Avenue and on a pedestrian crossing.

Quickly the coat was taken off and made into a pillow to put under the head of the moaning girl.
She wanted to get up but as this could harm her even more every effort was made to keep her laying down.
A girl from a nearby restaurant called 911 while the driver of the hit car was standing by.
He was young and pale.

The girl was semi-conscious.
Obviously in pain.
Having lossed part of her memory.
Panicking and getting into a shock.
Every effort was made to calm her down and to comfort her.
Holding her.
Talking to her in a quiet voice with soothing words.

Eventually the police came.
Three police cars.
The Fire Brigade came as well with a huge truck.
And eventually an ambulance who took over the care of the girl.

A lot of civil services came to assist but then, you never know.
It was very impressing how police and paramedics were doing their work.
Calm and efficiently.

Another girl of the restaurant had actually seen the accident happen and made herself available as a witness.
She was interviewed by the police at length.
The young, pale boy of the battered, old Toyata Corrola was interviewed as well and was allowed later to continue his journey.

Because of the coat serving as a pillow, the moment to go to the hotel had to wait until the girl was well in the ambulance.

And for a second time there were warm and intense hugs with Irina.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hopeless hotel.

In a hotel again.
The Travelodge on University Avenue in Berkeley, California, USA.
A large room with two double beds, a small desk, a round table with two comfy chairs, a large TV and a coffee machine.
Home for the next two days.
The Fuso Szulc has been parked next to the room and is not on duty.

It is all very well that the room has two double beds and all the other facilities but it is really inconvenient that the promise made on the website of the Travelodge Hotel, that every room has high speed Internet access is not delivered.
There is no high speeds Internet access in the room.
There is a signal but it is too weak to get on line.
The lady from the reception was asked what was going on.
Her name Sheila Huckaby.
Claiming to have a British passport and this might be true as she talks like a woman from London.
The answer she gave is simple.
According to her too many people are on line at the same time.
Not only people from the hotel but from the neighbourhood as well.
This is because the Travelodge WIFI system works without a password.
Anybody in the neighbourhood can use it.
Why doesn’t Travelodge have a password protected WIFI systrem servicing adequately their guests paying 120 $ (88 Euros) a night ?
To deliver on the promises they make on their website?
Because, according to Sheila Huckaby, this would mean having to change the password every day.
Is that more trouble ?

Not to have Internet access is very much to the disadvantage of the frequent traveller.
No knowledge about the recently received e-mails.
No chance to reply nor send any message.
No witnessing of the historic high level of the Dow Jones (over 14.000) and no option to consequently contact the bank to take adequate action.
No option to do more research in preparation of the sessions tomorrow.
No possibility to use SKYPE and communicate with family and friends through this system.
No access to the websites booked under favourites as there is www.myway.com and www.tgpgiga.com

Probably some fervent and loyal blog readers may wonder why on earth the foothills of the Sierra Nevada have been changed for Berkeley.
And why in a hotel and not in a campground or a Walmart parking lot.
Plus reasons why in Berkeley suddenly.

It must be puzzling and probably considered erratic when learning the travel itinerary of this nomad.

Tomorrow morning at 10 will be a meeting in Dr. Keasling’s laboratories in the Biocenter in Berkeley.
And Thursday a meeting in Dr. Chu’s laboratories in the Hildebrand Building on the campus of the University of Berkeley.

But meanwhile somewhere up in the air two wounded birds are circling higher and higher on the warm air.
In different places but somehow together.
They are not wounded nor incapicated to fly properly.
To the contrary: they are flying like the best birds in the sky.
Their wounds happen to be inside.
In their bird’s hearts.
Wounds made when the birds were vulnerable and innocent and too young to defend against cruelty.

But the two birds have met by incredible coincidence and while continuing their wild flying in their own areas of the sky they keep an eye on each other from far away in the immense sky.
Because they now know about each other.
How afraid they are of life.
How fearful they are of anything besides using the own wings to fly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dear deer.

Larry, the service manager of the Mitsubishi Fuso dealership in Stockton, California, USA, claimed he had seen this problem before.
Four wheel drive Fuso’s developing a problem in the front axle.
Several of the 4x4 Fuso’s his dealership had been selling came back with exactly the same problem.
According to Larry it was because an additive was missing in the oil of the differential.
Therefore the solution was simple.
Change the oil in the differential of the front axle and add the special synthetic additive.
Within 100 miles the problem should have disappeared, according to Larry.
And what about all that friction inside the axle and wheels of the recent days?
All that banging and other fearful sounds?
No, that would not have caused any damage, Larry claimed.

If the doctor says so…

The Fuso Szulc was parked inside and a busy mechanic replaced the oil in the differential of the front axle.

Within 45 minutes the Fuso Szulc was back on the road.

The change of oil and the labour had been free of charge.
Even a nice key holder was presented as a gift.

Is the problem gone now?
No, it is not.
Sometimes there are still frictions building up inside the front axle, resulting in cranking sounds and bangs when curves are made at slow speed.
When driving at 55 miles per hour the vehicle pulls to the right like if the front end needs alignment.
And at higher speeds sometimes the whole front end starts to vibrate.
Moving quickly from left to right.

Obviously only changing the oil was not the final and ultimate solution.
The Fuso Szulc will do now the prescribed 100 miles and if those three phenomenons are still occurring Larry in Stockton will be paid another visit.

Next stage in the fantastic and exciting journey was a visit to friends Roland and Kathy who have a marvellous house in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Sacramento.
A house that was designed and build by the famous David Easton, the founder of Rammed Earth Works.
The walls of the house are made of rammed earth that offers minimal use of energy for heating and cooling the rooms.
The rammed earth is in between large wooden beams that also make the roof construction.
Inside the house the use of these natural materials give a very specific feeling.
Like if one can spread safely the arms, close the eyes and be free of pressure and gravity.
Standing up becomes an effortless act as if the energy coming from the walls and the wood surrounds like space carries the astronaut.

Sitting next to the swimming pool while the sun was shining brightly and the temperature was around 30 degrees Centigrade (86F) several deer came out of the forest to have a drink from a water basin specially made available to them.
What a beautiful, noble and elegant animals deer are.
To be hunted and killed later in the year.

The conversation turned therefore on existential matters.
Issues concerning life and death.
A conversation like a shared thought experiment.
Taking thoughts and ideas into the hands and turning them over and over in every possible direction.
Seeing all the different sides and angles and perspectives.
Coming to the conclusion that there is a major difference between philosophizing about life in comfortable chairs in the warm sun next to a swimming pool in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the naked realities of life when essential and crucial things actually happen.

The complexity of the syncing of the “I shall, I will and I would” with the “I did”.
As complex as a Mitsubishi Fuso front axle.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Fuso Szulc limping.

It was scheduled for today to attend sessions of the Sierra Nevada debating club in friend Roland’s house in Wilseyville, California, USA.
And enjoy the friendship and hospitality of Roland and his wife Kathy.

But as of the departure from Santek Trailers last Friday, a serious problem has developed with the front axle of the Fuso Szulc.
It seems that inside the connection between the left front wheel and the axle something is blocking.
This happens at low speeds turning corners.
A loud bang is being heard coming from that area and the whole front of the truck shakes.
Today a stop was made at a Flying J’s Truck Stop near the town of Salida.
A mechanic had a look and recommended to go and see the Mitsubishi Truck Dealer in Stockton first thing Monday morning.
He feared otherwise soon the axle would break.

It was convenient to have a mobile phone to call friend Roland in Wilseyville to inform about the unfortunate change of plans.
And convenient to have a Datastorm to look and find on the Internet the Mitsubishi Truck Dealer in Stockton.

Not far from Salida was a State Park, the Caswell Memorial State Park, and it was there a beautiful spot near a river was found where even the Datastorm between high trees managed to lock to the Satmex satellite.
Getting very kind assistance of Ranger Martin who plans to go and do missionary work in Uganda.
He talked about a phenomenon in nature rarely witnessed but now occurring in the Caswell Memorial State Park.
Wasps eggs being in the millions in the park these days magically jumping up and down.
Later, ranger Martin passed by after he had collected a cup full of these eggs.
And this is absolutely true: the eggs were jumping up into the air.

Another magical thing is that in 1915 the farm equipment manufacturer and rancher Thomas Caswell purchased 700 acres along the Stanislaus River.
In 1950 the Caswell family created a legacy for the people by donating out of the 700 acres, 134 acres of forest along the Stanislaus River to be preserved as a state park so that future generations might experience the valley in its natural state.
Thousands upon thousands of visitors have since enjoyed the beauty of this park.
A simple gesture of philanthropy by a family wealthy enough to do so.
Resulting in joy, pleasure and relaxation for millions of people then, now and in the future.
May many wealthy people living today be inspired by the philanthropy of the Caswell’s and share also.

The sunny and warm afternoon suddenly available gave the opportunity to clean the windows and the solar panels.
And finally read for a longer period of time in Roy Jenkin’s fascinating biography of Winston Churchill.

But the peace and tranquillity did not last long.
Two vans with a trailer pulled into the spaces very close and next to the Fuso Szulc.
On the sides the text: “San Pedro & Peninsula YMCA”.
Young Men's Christian Association.
Soon, the beautiful and tranquil place was terrorised by a large group of noisy young people.
Boys and girls of around 16.
Playing soccer, volleyball and throwing the Frisbee as close to the Fuso Szulc as possible.
Hitting the sides.
Banging into it.
While the supervisors were pleasantly involved in their own conversations.
Forgetting that upon arrival they had told the boys and girls there were two rules:
1/ You are here to enjoy yourself.
2/ But this must never be at the cost of others.

It must be true what friend Roland said after he heard the Fuso Szulc had broken down.
“You wrote bad things about the Pope so you see now what happens?”.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dangerous poodles.

Documenting the huge trees in Sequoia National Forest a woman was met who had a special dog carriage in which she was transporting her poodle.
The poodle’s name was “Peewee”.

If the dog is being transported in public by his mistress in his own custom build carriage, we may wonder what an extravagant situation we may find in their home.
Probably “Peewee” has his own bed.
Or he might sleep with his mistress really close to her voluptuous body.
And it is a known fact that certain ladies keep poodles to have them do a specific action resulting in orgiastic pleasure.
That is why always a safe dance has to be kept to poodles of older ladies.
Imagine he wants to lick your hand.

Dogs and cats are often a compensation and replacement for missing a partner.
This is understandable.
If it didn’t work out with John, David and Peter why not have a poodle?
That perfectly makes sense.

However, we must realize that this is a temporary thing.
In the days we did not have cars we used horses to pull the carriages.
Once the cars became the mode of transportation, we dumped the horses.
The same will happen with cats and dogs.
Robots will replace them.

Sony and Sega have been building pet robots.
Called Mio and Aibo more or less pretending to be dogs.
They are sold and kept as if they were natural pets by people like it is the most normal thing in the world.

This is one more step into the separation between animals and humans.
There used to be a bond and harmony but now we have become inhabitants of this planet completely estranged from each other.

In the Netherlands therefore they have created what they call “Children farms”.
They have come to realize that it is not good for children to have never even have touched animals.
So, in cities they create in parks a mock up farm with chicken, sheep, goats, ponies and other peaceful animals.
Children during school time go there to see the animals and caress them.

The famous English author Doris Lessing wrote a book called:

"The Making of the Representative for Planet 8. Canopus in Argos: Archives."

In this vital and visionary book she describes how more and more life becomes impossible on a planet due to meteorological circumstances.
And the only way to survive is to leave the planet.
But this has to be done in a metaphysical way: by transcending physical matter.

We could say we are in the same kind of process.
The climatic conditions on this planet are becoming more and more extreme and if this continues, life, as we know, will simply not be possible anymore.
The logical step that will follow is that we need to get out of here.
And leave the poodles behind.


For more information on "The smartest robot pet yet", click on:

To learn more about pet robots, the Artificial Emotional Creature Project, click on:

For more information about Sega’s pet dog called MIO, click on:

For more information about Sony’s discontinued Aibo pet dog, click on:

For more information about this most important book of Doris Lessing, called
"The Making of the Representative for Planet 8. Canopus in Argos: Archives."
click on:


Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Pope is God.

We know now for sure which church is the one and only.
Which church is the key to true religion and the gateway to heaven.

Pope Benedictus the 16th, in fact an 80 year old German by the name of Joseph Alois Ratzinger, head of the Roman Catholic Church, has published a document this week stating that it is the church of which he is the head happens to be the one and only.

All the other churches do not have “the means of salvation”.
Or they are not real churches because they refuse to recognize the primacy of the pope.
And Joseph Ratzinger remembers us that it was Christ himself who established only one true church and surprise, surprise, it happens to be the Roman Catholic Church with its headquarters in Rome, Italy.
All the other churches are deprivations, false and wrong.
Protestants, Anglicans, Catholic Orthodox, and Mormons: sorry but because you are in the wrong church you are not going to be able to go to heaven.

Initial response of any sane person to this official document is that an old man is talking nonsense and is becoming an idiot.
Old age can affect the brains and therefore the thinking.
This seems to affect the patriarch.

In the end, this document and what it says is not about religion and salvation.
It is about Joseph Ratzinger himself.
Because the conclusion of this document is that he himself is the most important person in the religious world.
It is the logic that if the Roman Catholic Church is the true church, its head is almost Christ himself.

We have seen over and over again persons getting into a powerful positions and next getting mixed up.
Joseph Stalin is a good example.
Their perception of themselves gets twisted completely and often a personal cult is created.
They start to believe seriously in their own delusions.
Surrounded by persons who confirm those delusions, before we know millions have died in concentration and labour camps and millions and millions of sincere religious persons are suddenly made feel lost with their own church.

There are more implications to this document published by the Vatican this week.
The Pope of Rome is not the first one to claim his religion and his church is the one and only.
And threatening.
If you don’t accept what he says, you will not be able to find salvation.
There are fundamental Islamists who claim exactly the same thing.
They divide the world in believers and non-believers.
While they decide themselves what a believer is.
The one who has become a Muslim.

It is this way of escalating things that has made the world not only an unhappy place, but a dangerous one as well.
It is very unfortunate that a civilised and a well-educated man applies methods totally condemnable.
In Buddhism it is recognised that not everybody is a Buddhist.
Because a Buddhist respects life without restrictions, a fellow human being deciding to believe something else than Buddhism is respected nevertheless.
Harmony is always to be preferred.
Freedom of every individual starts with not imposing a limitation of freedom on others.

Joseph Ratzinger had an unusual life.
He was never married.
He never was in a relationship.
He never kissed, we may suppose, and never experienced physical affection and unity.
He never had a wife and children he could love and who loved him.
Inside him, a part must be very disappointed and dissatisfied.
Muffled and suppressed by believing in his religion.
That is the mind controlling the heart and soul.
Joseph Ratzinger wants the world now at his feet to compensate for the huge gap in the balance he is making up at the end of his life.
Another psychopathic personality messing up the world community.

But tonight, near Bakersfield, California, USA, God was writing an answer in the sky in reply to Joseph Ratzinger's document:


Friday, July 13, 2007

$50 of cream.

There are days when life becomes abstract.
That it takes turns and twists landing a normal person in a confusing situation.
To get into wonder about the situation.

Why is the water in the Fuso Szulc shower not flowing fluently into the grey tank?
Because the level of the floor of the shower has been built too low.

This is the next issue with the Fuso Szulc that needs to be corrected and this takes another day besides today when the connection of the camper box to the chassis was fixed.

Because it is a busy period with photography for which many things need to be done and a serious assignment to be executed, in fact there is no time to wait for the Fuso Szulc issues to be solved.
That should not have been issues to begin with.

That is why we find ourselves tonight in an Economy Inn motel room.
In an abstractive version of life on Magnolia Avenue in Riverside.

There is supposed to be Internet in the room but it doesn’t work.
Isolated from Internet.
From e-mails.
From publishing a new blog.
From Skype-talking friends and business.

A knock on the hotel room door.
The cousin of the Indian woman running this Economy Inn.
He is recently arrived from the Punjab, India.
Comes to check why Internet is not working in the room.
And before we know we become friends.
Sitting on a sofa in the lobby of the hotel not knowing why there are those technical problems with the computer and Internet.
Therefore talking about the Bhagavad-Gita, his Hinduism, my Osho, the Hindu Temple in Riverside, the Ashram in Poona and what life wants with us.
We do not manage to connect the MacBook Pro to the Internet but we do have a chain of hearts and souls.

It is late when Magnolia Avenue is hit for finding this Mexican Fish restaurant spotted before.
But at 9.00 PM it is closed.
It is howled that in the USA restaurants close so early.
But fortunately a Thai restaurant is discovered open till 10.00 p.m.
A cooked trout in mango sauce is ordered with steamed rice and a glass of water.
The cooked trout does arrive but besides a bowl of steamed rice, the cute Thai girl serves a bowl what turns out to be slices of apple richly spread with hot pepper powder.
She is called back to the table and asked where is the mango sauce.
This Princess of Bangkok returns from the kitchen reporting that the cook is saying that today there is no mango.
Aggravation rises.
This is worse than a Puesto de Control Militar recently and frequently experienced in Mexico.
If one orders fish in a mango sauce, how can they just put fish and apples on the table like this is how it is and who would care?
The Thai girl got into the shy mode but as an experienced traveller having been frequently in the Orient no value was awarded to her pretended innocence.
She was waved back to her seat because any discussion would be senseless and the bill was paid without adding a tip.

Returning to the hotel a smoking girl was met on Magnolia Avenue ready to make a buck and as life wanted to be abstract it was wondered how smooth the Nivea crème on her hands would slip and slide into the beloved ecstasy.
To go in Riverside that deep into the abstraction of life is getting on the side where the heart is lost and only animal instincts and desires reign.
The build in safety net was avoiding having the orgasm in the wrong hands.

Returned to the hotel the door of the room of the neighbour was open.
By coincidence, this man was met before in a nearby liquor market where he was buying high alcohol drinks.
He was naked now.
His lean African American body covered with intimidating tattoos.
His penis uselessly hanging between his legs like a slaughtered chicken.
He rose from the bed where he had been watching TV and said:
“Hey brother, give me 8 Dollars to buy me more liquor.”

This was not confusing.
African Americans, alcoholism, being neighbours and dead chickens are considered part of life.
Nothing to get excited about.

Something else was confusing though.
The new mobile LG phone was received today and it had to be learned how to operate the device.
It came with an instruction book that was so bad that it created phone rage.
Stupidity and incompetence is not tolerated and results in anger so bad that the new mobile phone almost ended its existence being crashed against the wall.
This is the temperament.
Strong but fortunately sense is still the ultimate power.

Late at night, another knock on the hotel door.
The neighbour.
The one originally from Africa with the dead chicken.
The door was not opened.
The curtain was moved and it was yelled at the brother:
“I am busy”.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Porous US-border

Crossing the border into the USA at Tijuana/San Diego is always an exciting event.

It starts miles before the border when cars more or less get into lines heading for the booths.
There are always drivers of cars who get the idea that another line is faster moving and suddenly switch abruptly and swiftly moving in front of another car.
Resulting in horns hooting screams and shouts.

In between the cars are vendors of newspapers, souvenirs, food and teddy bears.
And guys with a dirty cloth offering to dust free cars.

Most hilarious though are men and women who are dressed completely in white with fantasy labels on their sleeves pretending to look like representatives of some official humanitarian organisation offering the drivers the opportunity to donate and do well.

But everything is happening in a peaceful atmosphere: obviously all the people trying to squeeze a last buck out of the departing visitors of Mexico have an agreed policy to always remain polite and friendly.
And they actually do.
A poster was seen on a fence calling for a meeting: from this poster one could understand that all those vendors and beggars are united in one organization.
It must be there that the policy of courteousness has been agreed.

The custom officer this time was a well proportioned Latin lady who would have looked much better if she had not been forced to wear pants.
Her pants looked like filled with air under ultra high pressure.
It must be remembered though that custom officers are there to protect the border and not to look attractive and be well dressed.
Although, this would not be a bad idea.
To enter a country meeting sexy and attractive custom officers as if it was a Hooters Restaurant.

Anyway, we are getting off course here, this well proportioned Latin lady immediately started waving her arms.
To some officers standing on the other side of the road.
She made visual contact with her colleagues who agreed with whatever she had in mind.
There was no opportunity to hand over the passport and other documents to the custom officer: she ordered to cross the street with the Fuso Szulc pronto.

There a long line of vehicles was found waiting.
All cars having Mexican license plates.

Waiting took almost half an hour.
Not knowing for what reason.

Eventually, the line started moving and a group of cars were directed to a large open space.
There, people in civilian clothes positioned us in one line: bumper-to-bumper.
We had to get out of our cars and we had to put the keys on the wipers.

Next, we had to assemble some distance away from the line of cars.
All of us were Mexicans except this one European.

There was a large van with labels of warning on it with radiation alerts.
Obviously, inside was a large, powerful and sophisticated x-ray machine.
This van rode up and down parallel with the line of cars.
A man in the front of the van was watching a lap top computer screen.
Probably seeing what was inside the vehicles.

Once the van was done with its x-raying, we could go back to our cars and to uttermost surprise drive freely into the United States of America without that any document was being checked.

This is pretty amazing.
Within the context of the actual political situation, the debate about terrorism, Home Land Security, border protection and the iPhone it is almost unbelievable that someone can enter the USA without that the custom officers, the immigration officers and the Border Patrol ask to see the travel documents.

The procedure should have been that the first custom officer, in this case our friend the well proportioned Latin lady, checks the documents before to send the vehicle to the area for second inspection by x-ray machine.

We can take this story as an amusing anecdote.
But it is in the interest of every one of us that persons with bad intentions get as little space to operate as possible.
This means that we must be able to expect that officials who are in charge to keep the space small for the bad boys and girls do their job properly.
Therefore, maybe this experience should be reported to the authorities?

Second issue is this x-raying.
That must be a very powerful x-ray machine they use.
And it is wondered whether these x-rays do not leave radiation behind in the metal of the Fuso Szulc.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Raging and racing.

This is from Santo Tomas.
South of Ensenada, Mexico.
A region where they grow grapes and make wines.
Reason to buy a splendid bottle of red wine made of Tempranillo grapes for dear friends Beverly and John to meet in the USA tomorrow.

Starting today’s travel was rather spectacular.
It was found out that to return to the Baja Peninsular Highway the Chapala Dry lake could be crossed.
It was like the Bonneville Salt Flats.
A surface made for record speeds.
This is what the Fuso Szulc timidly tested.
However, driving on a dry lake bed means creating a dust cloud which climbs high into the sky.
An impressive view was offered in the large mirror of the Fuso Szulc.
A dust cloud of gigantic proportions.
Even when back on the asphalt road and looking back at the Chapala Dry Lake a huge dust cloud could be seen hanging above the dry surface.
It was then remembered what a peaceful and harmonious evening and night had been spent at Chapala Dry Lake.
It was a perfect situation of silence and beauty.
Even the cactuses there were blooming.

But soon another version of a spectacular journey was offered.
At the first sharp corner of the road a serious accident.
Two pick up trucks.
They had collided and were off the road.
Both cars seriously damaged.
One man laying not far from his car unable to get on his feet.
Trying but incapicated.
Two large trucks had stopped and were taking care of the horrible situation.
Good luck if one gets seriously injured near Chapala Dry Lake far away from a town with adequate medical service.
It was still early in the morning and to see this situation made feel sick.
It is all wonderful to travel in Baja California and it is beautiful and unique but this road kills too many people.

Each fervent and loyal blog reader is handed a whip now and allowed to punish their obedient writer for what he next did at the “Puesto de Control” named Rosario.
Another “Puesto de Control’: the sixth after leaving La Paz.
This soldier called Alvarez asking for a “Revision”.
A boy, this Alvarez, not much more than 22 years old in his faded battle dress.
He didn’t instigate “airport rage”.
But “Puesto de Control”-rage.
He was told with a loud and agitated voice: you are the sixth “Puesto de Control” since La Paz and what do you, soldier Alvarez, expect to find in this expedition vehicle?
Soldier Alvarez didn’t know what to say.
He was asked again: what are you expecting to find anyway?
Alvarez obediently replied: “Drogas”.
Logically the next question was: but don’t you think that your army colleagues would have found it at the former five “Puestos de Control” if it was in this vehicle?
Soldier Alavarez nevertheless insisted he wanted to do the so much hated “Revision”.
Getting out of the truck, lowering the steps and opening the door and letting him in.
Seeing him being in total surprise of the interior of the Fuso Szulc, lifting up the mattress 5 centimetres (2 inches) and not insisting opening cabinets because of the travel locks.
A total farce these inspections.
A time consuming joke.
A senseless infringement of privacy.

But suddenly somebody was beating on the floor of the Fuso Szulc making a serious noise.
“Where are you from”, the commander of soldier Alvarez was asking with undeniable authority.
He had been called in because of the Fuso Szulc ‘s driver’s flak Alvarez had been getting.
“Why were you shouting at Alvarez?”

Do we want trouble with the Mexican Army maybe ?
Getting them on the wrong boot?
So they can teach this nomad a Mexican military lesson?
Keeping him at the Puesto de Control for awhile?
Getting deep into his expedition vehicle damaging his baby pretending to look for the cocaine ?

Psychology, learned over the years, decided not to get involved with Alvarez’s superior.
To avoid taking the annoyance to a higher level where the consequences might be punishing.
Consequently there was a safe escape from the “Puesto de Control de Rosario” but not with a very good feeling.
Frustration had been dumped on an innocent soldier called Alvarez.
For the next 27 miles (43 kilometres) feelings of guilt were experienced.
And it was decided that in the future every Puesto de Control will be met with a neutral response.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Guns and cocaine.

The morning of July 9.

Not only did the journey of today moved north, but also to the west.
The change from the Sea of Cortes coast to the Pacific coast brought lower temperatures, clouds and some rain even.

Again, on the way there were several accidents and it is easy to understand why there are so many crosses with names along this narrow and dangerous road.
This Peninsular Highway is costing lives.

Extra attention must always be paid when a bus is seen approaching.
They always go as if nothing can stop them and they are wide for the narrow road.
Interesting though is that behind the front window most of the time they have a sign where they go to.
Often it is to La Paz or Cabo San Lucas coming from Tijuana.
A 1.500 kilometres (932 miles) journey they do in less than 24 hours.
Behind the front window also the driver can be seen and in all cases the driver wears a pair of Ray Ban pilot sunglasses and a moustache.
This gives the illusion, powerful because of the many hours of being on the road, that the bus driver is in fact each time the same person.
Somehow they manage to bring him back quickly to jump again in a new bus and drive towards the Fuso Szulc.
Probably a helicopter is involved.
Other explanation might be that the bus drivers have an agreement to all grow a moustache and put on a Ray Ban because of the Fuso Szulc coming by.
Conclusion may also be not to drive so many hours without taking a rest to avoid getting these almost weird fantasies.

Between La Paz and Tijuana are checkpoints and they are a pest and a nuisance.
They are called “Puesto de Control” and are manned by the Mexican Army.
Often out in nowhere, at windy and barren locations, lost somewhere along the road, they have a camp and stop each and every vehicle.
These soldiers come from the Mexican mainland and wear camouflaged uniforms as if they were in Iraq.
However, the Mexican Army not being rich, these soldiers wash their uniforms so often and wear them for so many months, that the costumes have bleached out.
The camouflage becomes a memory that would not be too good in actual situations of war and fighting.
Easily a Mexican soldier could be spotted because of his paled outfit.

Much of the time these soldier-boys have not much to do so they make a real fancy place of their Puesto de Control.
They plant cactuses, paint stones white and make it all look spectacular.
All Puesto de Control’s have now self-made man-size dolls of soldiers.
Cut out of plywood and painted by the most creative genius in the battalion it is a hilarious representation of a member of the Mexican military force.
This they put a kilometre before their Puesto de Control as a preliminary warning for the ordeal to come.

The reason these Puesto de Controls are a pest is that each and every time they force the traveller to stop, to get out and to open the door to the expedition vehicle.
They always go inside the expedition vehicle to wonder as a child about the marvellous interior.
They are intimidated by the design, the gadgets and the sophistication of it all.
These soldiers are supposed to look for drugs and weapons but that is never serious.
They are curious to want to visit the inside of the Fuso Szulc.
The efforts they make for these AK-47’s under the bed and the tons of cocaine in the pillow are futile.
They lift up the mattress 5 centimetres (2 inches), open a door of a cabinet and ask all kinds of questions.
Usually questions related to the for them surprising fact of not travelling with a wife.
“You are travelling by yourself?”
Well, yes, obviously.
“You have no wife?”
Why would that be of any business to a Mexican soldier looking for drugs and weapons?

The most irritating fact is that there are about 6 of these Puesto de Controls between La Paz and Tijuana.
And each time each car is stopped.
And each time at each Puesto de Control, after waiting sometimes for over half an hour, the command is: “Revision!”
Meaning that the soldiers, doing a police job, want to get inside.
And each time each soldier is doing a totally ineffective job.

It makes no sense to tell them that the expedition vehicle has already been checked 4 times.
They will check anyway.
Probably thinking that a recreational vehicle with a European behind the wheel picks up weapons and drugs on the way hiding them under the mattress.

It is easy to get annoyed by these Puesto de Controls.
Most of all because it is all so useless, illogic, unprofessional and ineffective.
Each time it is a gigantic effort to be friendly and have it as a neutral experience.

The night is spend next to the dry lake of Chapala.
Just south of Catavina.

After arrival, with some anxiety the Datastorm Satellite System was activated.
On the last location it had refused to work and it was feared something was deeply wrong with the modem.
As is always the case, the satellite disk went up, searched the sky, and seemed to have found the satellite to return to the fold up position.
The second try was successful and amazingly connection to the Internet became possible.
But now the MacBook Pro is acting funny.
The Airport function disappeared and is not available.
With Airport an Apple computer can use WIFI.

These technical issues are so boring.

The evening of July 9.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Heading north.

The journey back to the USA has started.
Today it went from La Paz to just South of Mulege.
More than 8 hours of driving.

There were several accidents.
Cars having crashed into each other sides because they do not keep far enough away from the centre of the small road.
Especially in curves this happens.

Driving is listening to XM Satellite radio.
Very interesting: this morning the finale of Wimbledon between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal was live to be heard.

But it is also time to reflect.
The last couple of weeks were almost all in the presence of other people.
Driving alone makes contemplate and meditate.
Feeling the sense again of what has been happening.

Arrived at a beautiful place near Mulege to spend the warm night, for reasons unknown the Datastorm Satellite System didn’t connect to the Internet.
Who knows what is the problem this time.

Therefore this morning a stop was made in the small town of Santa Rosalia.
A mining town where the French used to dig for copper.
Large mountains of debris around the town still reminds of the efforts.
Which make it a very unhealthy place to be.
The debris is blown by the ever-present wind into the dusty town giving the population bronchitis, lung diseases and other inconveniences.

In a shop this posting was put, mail checked and urgent messages replied to be on the way north quickly again.