Tuesday, March 31, 2009

American heroes of the highway.

The Highway 73 in California, USA is a toll road.
One has to pay for using it.
It is the fastest way to reach Laguna Beach when coming from Los Angeles or San Diego.
And before a driver knows Highway 73 is under the wheels.

Paying the toll takes place at the exits.
Moderate prices: 2 or 3 US Dollars.
There is a pay booth but nobody is in there.
It is all fully automated.
There is a basket in which the driver has to throw the amount to be paid.
In coins.
In the case of 2 US Dollars, 8 coins of 25 cents.

Now, what if a driver has no coins?
Or not sufficient coins?
For these unfortunate travellers a bill-changing machine is available.
However, this bill-changing machine accepts only bills of 1 US Dollar and 5 US Dollars.

Now, what if a driver has no coins and no bills of 1 and 5 US Dollars?

This situation was hard reality for the Fuso Szulc driver temporarily steering this Porsche Carrera.
There were in the wallet bills of 20 US Dollars.
No good for the bill-changing machine.
There were also coins in the wallet, but only 75 cents.

There was a second lane with a basket to pay and over there also a car had come to a stop.
It was a fancy car with two young guys heavily decorated with tattoos.
The guy in the passenger seat called out to the Porsche driver.
“You got any coins for us?”
Obviously they were in exactly the same situation.
No coins to pay the toll of Highway 73.
It was explained that both cars were stuck now.
Because a sign had been seen that if a driver proceeded without paying, a fine was charged of 47,50 US Dollars.

What to do?
In Spain and France toll can be paid with a credit card.
But at Highway 73 the options were rather limited.
Slowly the conclusion was reached that it was impossible to pay and that the Highway 73 had to be exited without donating the toll.
To see later on the credit card statement an amount of 47,50 US Dollars deducted through the rental car agency for traffic violations.

Almost ready to violate and take off, the guy from the other car approached the desperate driver.
In his hands two 1 US Dollar bills.
“Take it”, he said, “We found some bills in the glove compartment of our car”.

Many travels have been made.
Often generosity and friendliness have been experienced.
But what these two tattooed guys did is extraordinary.
Because once they found their US Dollar bills, they contemplated and came up with the idea to share with the other car their good luck.

American heroes of he Highway.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's go to Europe!

The situation has been changing drastically compared to the time when staying in the dry riverbed near the Sea of Cortez and the Gonzales family.

Now days are lived deep into the American society together with good friends.
Talking, discussing and dining.
And getting things done on the Fuso Szulc.

But now the serious travelling is starting.
Today the Fuso Szulc drives from Temecula to San Diego.
A two-hour journey.
Next, with a rented Porsche, from San Diego to Laguna Beach for lunch with a long time friend.
Then, from Laguna Beach to Los Angeles for dinner with another good friend.
While tomorrow the British Airways flight is booked to go to London and Amsterdam.

This results in excitement although many travels have been made already.
Each time it remains an adventure.

At the same time, in the left corner of the heart, there is nostalgia twirling.
Sentiments for the people, the dogs and the environment left behind less than 8 days ago.

Reports have reached the Fuso Szulc that the two best dogs Guante and Rocky who shared life in the dry river bed of Punta Boca del Salado so gallantly, are now sitting right on the spot where the Fuso Szulc was parked.
Waiting for a return.
This inspires the thought to cancel everything on the schedule and drive back immediately.
Because dogs are innocent.
They can’t understand what is going on.
Intolerable to let that happen and have them in this kind of confusion.

But returning to what once was is not in the dictionary.
It is never a step made in the approach of life this photographer is performing.
The head is always facing forwards.

There is much more that is left behind in Punta Boca del Salado.
More than any fervent and loyal blog reader can imagine.
Major situations in the personal life that have not been reported about in postings.
Because the fervent and loyal blog readers are not classified to know everything.

Nevertheless, it feels good to have left the situation with all its aspects experienced during the last five months.
To widen now the horizon and allow new and surprising events to happen.
To remember in a perspective, that puts it all in a more objective and balanced way.

The luggage has been packed.
The Fuso Szulc will be without an inhabitant for at least 4 weeks.
Maybe even longer.

Let’s go to Europe!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

An oval tunnel

A friend in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico has a business and he needs tools.
Hence, a visit to the NAPA store in the USA.

A fabulous store where they have everything.

If not, it comes the next day.

But something went wrong.

Or different.
The salesman said the tools would be there as of 08.00 am next day.

But when the NAPA shop was visited to pick up the ordered tools at 10.30 am the saleswoman apologized.
The tools would be there after 03.00 pm.
A golden opportunity to spent over 4 hours at the mercy of chance.

First plan was to go to a shopping centre where is the “Paperback Shack”.

In this shop they sell second hand books and often, when in Temecula, USA, new reading material is purchased there.

Next door is a very good Japanese restaurant: run by Japanese people!

So, next a lunch outside in the sunshine was enjoyed while reading “The New York Times”.

New in this shopping centre was a place called “Sunny Foot Massage”.

Recently, a special friend reported she had a fabulous massage, so why only she?

However, these parlours offering massages in the USA are well known for semi-prostitution.
Men go there to have a “massage” but in fact it is the “hand job” that they want.

The management of this blog doesn’t know how well informed most fervent and loyal readers are concerning these issues.
Do they know what is a “hand job”?

For those of us who do not know immediately what is a “hand job” the management of this blog has asked the professor in sexology Dr. Manuel Contristo to enlighten us.

Dr. Manuel Contristo explains:

“A hand job is a woman jerking off a man”.

There is even a procedure to come to this activity when a man visits a place that looks like a decent massage centre.

Like “Sunny Foot Massage”.

Saying they do Men AND Women.

And Foot Massages.

Activities far away from what our friend Dr. Contristo explained.

The man visiting the US massage parlour books a one-hour body massage and a woman does the job.

And when finally the last 15 minutes have been reached, she asks:
“Do you want the last 15 minutes a happy ending?”
In case the man says yes she replies:
“That’s $ 50 extra then.”
And she starts massaging where it is prostitution.

This is illegal in California, USA and many massage shops have been closed by the police for this reason.
But men have their desires and loneliness and the masseuses have their financial ambitions.

Therefore, when a man walks into “Sunny Foot Massage” questions are in the minds of all involved.
The man asks himself: is this a place where they practice happy endings?
The masseuses think: is this man expecting to get a happy ending?

This issue cannot be openly propagated or discussed in the parlour.

They can’t put a sign on the wall saying:
“Happy endings available”.
The police would shut down the parlour right away.
The man on the other hand can’t ask for it as he may be arrested for soliciting prostitution.

Many fervent and loyal blog readers understand now that to walk into a massage parlour in California, USA makes the head spin.

A most beautiful Chinese woman was behind the reception desk and explained that indeed, a massage was available right away.

She brought the customer to a dark room in the back of the parlour.

Out of earshot of the other people present she asked:
“Do you want a man or a woman to massage you?”

Now, what does that mean?
Many speculations result from such a question.

But the attitude is: stay always on your own line, man!

Hence, the reply was that it didn’t matter.

Realizing that in case that the secret language was spoken, she would understand now that the customer was not a happy ending one.

Not by a girl.

And not by a man.

Next issue was how to prepare for the massage.
In Europe most people undress completely.

But probably in prudish USA most people keep on the underwear.

Again, the decision was to stay on the own line and off went all the clothes.

Laying on the table, decent thanks to a strategically placed towel, the thought penetrated the mind if now a man would show up to do the job or a woman.

Would that matter?

Actually, yes.

From a woman a more tender and loving treatment may be expected and that is of course what this body wishes.

The door opened and the head was forced to stay down not to immediately reveal the curiosity about the gender of the employee.

Pretending it didn’t matter.

It was a man.
Well, all right.

He was the worst masseur ever.

Rough, ungentle, unloving, unsystematic and unskilled.

An oriental person, like all the employees in “Sunny Foot Massage”.

Not speaking English.

It was the first time that it was experienced that when he massaged the neck muscles, his elbow was banging the head.

It was like a bulldozer rattling over the back.

At one point during the session, the sadistic masseur spoke and said:
“Tunnel oval”.
And he left the dark room.

Laying there it was contemplated what “Tunnel oval” actually means?

Is that Chinese for:
“Sorry, I need to go to the bathroom?” or “I give up?”

After a short while he returned and started to repeatedly say:
“Tunnel oval”

“Tunnel oval”

“Tunnel oval”

When looking up the guy was standing there with a sheet in his widespread arms holding it in front of him like a screen.

So he could not see his victim.

At that moment, as a revelation, it was understood what “Tunnel oval” means.

It means: “TURN OVER”.

Being naked he didn’t want to embarrass seeing punishable nudity and had left the room for the person to turn over unobserved.

Usually after a good massage a person feels like reborn.

Twenty-five years younger if over fifty.

Full of energy and vitality.

And a restored inner balance that lasts at least a day.

“Sunny Foot Massage” was left $ 50 lighter and black and blue.
Feeling hardly any age difference.

Nevertheless, there was a good feeling and inner balance.

Because it was realized material had been acquired for another fascinating posting on this blog.


Many thanks to Dr. Manuel Contristo.



Saturday, March 28, 2009

Transfer $ 8 please.

A visit to the Barnes & Nobles Bookstore in Temecula, California, USA.

Barnes & Nobles is the most favourite shop in the USA.
Well stocked.
Well organized.
Relaxed atmosphere.
Friendly and helpful employees.
And there is always a nice coffee shop inside Barnes & Nobles.

Trader Joe is very good shop too but it is hard to find books there.

Nowadays, Barnes & Nobles has the policy that if they don’t have the book you are looking for, they will ship it to you for free.
That is probably out of necessity as Barnes & Nobles experience strong competition from Amazon.com.

Coming out of the shop the mood was excellent.
The book “Animals in translation: using the mysteries of autism to decode animal behaviour” by Temple Grandin had been bought and the Barnes & Nobles card extended for another year.

The mood was so good that other people were hearing the content man whistle a nice tune.
It is true, it would have been hard to recognize the song “Blackbird” by the Beatles, as that song was whistled.
But everybody understood the good mood.

So did obviously an African-American young lady who was sitting half way in, half way out, on the passenger’s side of a nice car.
Many would have called her pretty.
She was well dressed.
Made up expertly.
Even decorated with some jewellery.

She called out to the whistler passing by:
“Excuuuse me, but can I have a word with you?”

How to ignore such a request made by an African American young lady?

She told “they” were from Lake Elsinore.
A town about 40 miles to the north.
Their car had broken down.
She claimed they were in a “desperate” situation.
Would the gentleman be so kind to give $ 8 so she could buy a ticket for the bus to go home?

The reply was: “You can use my mobile phone to call your brother to come and help you”.

That pissed her off badly.
From being friendly she turned into a nasty bitch.
The moment to return into the whistle mode and continue the walk in the sunshine to the unique Fuso Szulc.

This approach to ask for travel money due to terrible circumstances has been experienced before.
Clearly in the memory is this pretty Polish girl in the main station of Warsaw.
Waiting there for a train she came up to the traveller and explained she was robbed and had therefore lost all her money.
And could the kind gentleman be so kind to give her some Zlotys so she could buy a train ticket to go home?
The answer given was: “OK, let’s go to the ticket counter together and I will buy you the ticket you need”.
For the girl to take off and disappear into the crowd.

Another time there was this man in Paris who had this story he had not eaten for days due to being unemployed and having no money.
He heard: “OK, let’s go to that restaurant and I buy you a dinner”.
It made him run away too.

Now some fervent and loyal blog readers may argue that the African American lady’s car in Temecula had maybe truly broken down.
And that she truly needed $ 8 for the bus.
But that is very unlikely.
Who is travelling to a shopping centre in another town without any money?
Who is not having a mobile phone to request help of relatives or AAA?

The lady didn’t look she would be a customer of Barnes & Nobles.
Hence, it might be a scheme.
Her daily work to make money.
Park her car near a shop where intellectual, often liberal and for sure good-hearted people go to shop.
Like beggars putting themselves next to the entrance door of the church.
And approach every person afraid to be called a racist with a tear jerking story.

Still, several fervent and loyal blog readers may not agree how this situation has been handled.
Those are invited to PayPal through the “donation”-button on this blogside $ 8 and this money will be carried and offered to the African American lady hanging out next to the Barnes & Nobles store in Temecula, California, USA.
$8, minus shipping and handling of course.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Caring Kearny Mesa manner

A visit to Kearny Mesa Truck Centre in San Diego. This is where the Mitsubishi Fuso FG was purchased and where it is being serviced.
Each visit to Kearny Mesa Truck Centre feels always like a coming home.
There is the most friendly and helpful manager Ron Lucero and the expert mechanic John.

They are going beyond giving service: they are personally involved in the Fuso Szulc and strongly motivated to have it in top condition.

Last time the Fuso Szulc was in the hands of Ron and John, four Bilstein shocks have been installed.
And an extra blade has been installed in the springs of the left front wheel.

After using for some months this new configuration settled in a way that the front is now higher than the back.

This is common and nothing to worry about.
What will be done now is to take the spring leaves out to arc them.
To bend them slightly.

To flatten them so to speak, to have the front at exactly the same height as the back of the Fuso Szulc.

Another issue playing for a long time is how the camperbox is attached to the Fuso chassis.

In the back it is OK.

There is a two-way pivotal system that works perfectly.

But in the front the camperbox rests on the two chassis beams held by heavy-duty u-bolts.

This is not the best solution because there is movement of the camperbox in the front while driving.
Because it is mounted rigidly, there is friction.
Energies work against each other and somewhere sometime this is going to come to a possible disastrous climax.

Last time the Fuso Szulc was in San Diego, Ron and John believed the solution was to put special rubber between the camperbox and the chassis rails.

But this is not absorbing enough the movement.

Yesterday was a long discussion what would a better solution.
Even Vincent, the man that builds bodies on Mitsubishi trucks, was requested to come and give his opinion.
At this moment in time we do not know what to do.

We will do research how for example Unicat in Europe, building Unimog expedition vehicles, attach their camperboxes to the chassis in the front.

And maybe there are fervent and loyal blog readers who have brilliant ideas?

Meanwhile the hunt is on for a new pair of shoes.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good dog, Bella.

Today Todd from “Digital Satellites” came by to fix the serious problems that were experienced with the Datastorm Satellite System.

He had managed to get into the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve although he is not on the Vendor’s list of this trailer park.
Required by the management for companies and services to see their clients staying as guests in the park.
That would have cost Todd $ 700 to have an advertisement in the brochure of Santee Lakes plus he has to pay $ 50 to be on the Vendors list.
As the “Hungry Howie’s Pizza” place does selling Large Pepperoni pizzas for $ 8.
They need to sell a lot of pizzas to the campers to break even.

Todd is an experienced person when it concerns Datastorm Satellite Systems.
But he is also an experienced person when it comes to dogs.
This was discovered while waiting for the updating of the software in the Datastorm D3 controller.
Chatting with Todd revealed he and Bella are the champions of California, USA for dogs catching frisbees.

Now, many fervent and loyal blog readers will do “tsss tsss tsss”.
Every day a new story on this blog and one posting is even more extraordinary than the other.
How to avoid for a true and truth loving fervent and loyal blog reader not to become seriously sceptical.
How crazy can it actually become here in this place?

Ok, now it is the champion of California for frisbeeing dogs.
How deep and far is the fantasy of the writer going to come up now with this ludicrous story?

Unfortunately for the sceptics among us, the story is absolutely true.
Todd and his 3-year-old Belgian shepherd called Bella are really champion of California “Frisbee for dogs”.
On YouTube is a video where we can see Todd and Bella doing their routine and we must admit, it is truly spectacular.

This dog Bella is even capable to catch three Frisbees in one time!
Climb on the back of Todd and jump over two metres (6.5 ft) high.

Go to the YouTube-link and see for yourself.

Fortunately the Datastorm Satellite System is fixed now.
The firmware of the D3 has been upgraded.
As well as the Satellite Tables.

How much this was costing?
Trip charge: $ 75
Upgrade: $ 125
Grand total: $ 200
And it included that Todd cleaned the solar panels on the roof of the Fuso Szulc.


To see the champions of California Todd and his dog Bella, click on:



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Santee shanti

The Fuso Szulc is now located in the Padre Dam’s Santee Lakes Recreational Preserve very close to San Diego, USA.

These lakes are in fact artificial water reservoirs used to make drinking water by a water company.
Around those lakes campsites are made, a headquarter, a swimming pool and buildings with bathrooms.

Several times before nights have been spent at Santee Lakes.
Because it is close to Kearny Mesa Mitsubishi Fuso truck dealer.
Otherwise, Santee Lake as a place to stay generates only negative feelings.

Let the fervent and loyal blog readers understand correctly.
Many people in motor homes and trailers are staying at Santee Lakes and obviously do enjoy it.
Hence, the discontent with the place is purely personal.
And may find its origins in the free spirit, the long time spent in a dry river bed in Mexico, in never having served in the army or it might be for having been in a strict boarding school.
Santee Lakes has too many regulations and rules.
That is the problem.

It already starts when checking in.
They want to know if the traveller has been in Santee Lakes before.
How the traveller knows about Santee Lakes.
It is a survey, a questioning for Santee Lakes to have more data about their clientele.

Every traveller making use of Santee Lakes gets a brochure with the campground rules and regulations.
There are over 30.
Wading and/or swimming in the lakes is strictly prohibited.

All Camping Units must have RVIA or Department of Housing certifications, current registration and licensing.

The Camping Unit must be positioned on the designated campsite appropriately so that the utility hook ups are located on the correct site.

Camping Units will be denied camping privileges based on unsightly appearance.

Santee Lakes has Internet.
And a traveller is allowed only to connect to Santee Lake’s Internet service.
And for not more than 15 minutes per session.
Using the own Datastorm Satellite System is not allowed.

And the rules and regulations go on and on.
An A4 document printed in small letters on both sides.
“the following list DOES NOT constitute a COMPLETE set of the Rules and Regulations governing the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. You may request a complete set of the Rules and Regulations at the Park Office during business hours. It is your responsibility to know and follow the rules and regulations at this facility.”

One of the reasons of being at Santee Lakes is to meet Todd from the company Digital Satellites based in San Diego.
He is going to fix the Datastorm Satellite System that is hopelessly mixed up.
The D3 controller needs to be updated and that is no simple job.
Hence, he will come in with his own laptop, connect to the Fuso Szulc’s D3 and improve the software.
When by chance this was mentioned to the receptionist of Santee Lakes, she instructed that this was not allowed.
The reason is that Santee Lakes publishes a brochure that each visitor gets.
In this brochure are many advertisements of local and regional businesses.
Mobile RV services, Pizza places, RV supplies stores, etc
And only those businesses that advertise in the Santee Lake brochure are allowed to come into the park and offer services to a camper.
The woman ordered to go out of the park with the Fuso Szulc to have Todd work on the Datastorm Satellite System for example on the parking lot of a shopping mall.

It is well known that not only does the body contain blood, but that this blood can cook and boil.
Emotions work as a microwave on the blood.
And this kind of Kafka-like, concentration camp-style of rules is the perfect way to have the Fuso Szulc driver show temperament.
Who has learned early in life that this is very counterproductive.

Hence, an e-mail was sent to Todd to come in a normal car and to tell the guard that he is coming to see a friend.

And what concerns all the other many rules and regulations, the strategy is deployed of being at Santee Lakes physically, but not mentally.
Spiritually the presence is elsewhere carried by the sounds of the recent purchased CD of Liquid Mind.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Very different suddenly

Every alert fervent and loyal blog reader right away notices that today the words that are read are different.
Very different.

How to explain?
What the difference is exactly?

The words look as if they were baked this time in a different bakery.
As if it is a different masseuse today.
As if the words were spoken from a different mountaintop.

As usual, the alert fervent and loyal blog is absolutely right.
And we should be impressed by the alertness and sharpness demonstrated.
Because these words are written on American soil!
Yesterday, the Mexican-USA border was crossed.
That’s why today it looks so different.

The border crossing took place in the Mexican town of Tecate.
Well known for the beer they brew there.

Crossing the border in Tecate, for a traveller used to Tijuana, is a revealing experience.

In Tecate there are only two boots with an immigration-officer.
While in Tijuana there are more than fifty.
Where easily one has to be in line for over two hours.
Not so in Tecate.
There is a line of cars too and yesterday the turtling was one hour.
But guess what?
Next to the long single line of cars they have placed portable toilets.
What a service!
And it is relaxed.
No hassling going on.
Just one single lane of cars so nobody trying to snatch in front of another one.
Less polluted air as well.

The immigration officer was most friendly.
Working in much better conditions than his colleague in Tijuana.
As is the procedure, the Fuso Szulc had to go to the Secondary Inspection area.
Where another Immigration Officer researched carefully the vehicle.
Obviously he found nothing.

Next step was the paper work.
The I-94: a visa for foreigners to visit the USA.
Another Immigration Officer again who was even ready to chat.
He explained that this was the first person from the Netherlands this year.

He also told that these days in Tijuana foreigners needing an I-94 have to park their car somewhere in Tijuana.
And next somehow they have to find their way to the border and to a particular building where they can obtain an I-94.
To return somehow to their vehicle and then they can cross the border.

If a foreigner knows this procedure, he or she is lucky.
Because many will not be aware of this strange, time consuming and complicated arrangement.
An innocent Italian for example will wait in line with her car for two hours to be informed eventually when reaching the boot with the Immigration Officer that she has to go back and apply for an I-94 on foot.
She has to turn her car around and go back into Tijuana.
Has to find somewhere a parking place and then follow the whole hullabaloo procedure.
Crossing the border in Tijuana for a non-American can take two days.

Late in the afternoon, a place was found to spend the night in the National Park of Potrero.
Very close to the Tecate border crossing.

After 5 months in Mexico, an American National Park is a revelation.
It is clean.
It is super well organized.
It is beautiful.
And all this for $ 24.
Including water, electricity, garbage service and hot showers.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Be a bee

One could say we live in times of great uncertainty.
The US Government is taking the biggest gamble ever in history.
Getting as deep in debt as never before hoping that the economy will revive and that the trillions borrowed can be paid back.

When one listens to the commentaries on radio and TV, we hear only two tunes.
One is singing that all will be well.
The other that we are approaching total catastrophe.

Who can decide with ultimate authority who is right and who is wrong?
Nobody, ladies and gentlemen.
However we imagine the outcome will be, it will be different.

So let’s lower the eyes from the future and point them to the present.

To the own well being this very moment.
Towards the people that are surrounding us.
To the nature embracing us.

And all that we see now does not need any explanation or prediction.
We know what it is and we can enjoy it.
We can find peace and harmony in our existence as it is right now.

This is rather important.
Because anything that is going to happen in the future will come from how a person lives now.
It is a direct line from now to next.
A perspective originating in the now and widening into the future.

Hence, the more happiness, harmony and peace we achieve in our daily life now, the more happy, healthy and harmonious we will be in the time to come.

And this doesn’t depend on what Barack Obama decides to do to fix the economy.
Happiness and harmony is a personal thing.
Rain or shine.

Of course these thoughts come up in the mind because tomorrow an attempt will be made to cross the Mexican-American border.
Because the last time in Tijuana it was explained by the US Immigration authorities that crossing there could only happen when first obtaining visa documents from the American consulate in Tijuana, tomorrow the border crossing at Tecate will be tried.
Tecate is 46 kilometres (29 miles) east from Tijuana and is reached taking a mountain road from Ensenada.

The mind is forced now not to think and speculate about crossing the border.
But to focus on that cat in front of the Fuso Szulc right now.
Bathing in the early sunshine while watchful to catch an innocent bird.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Holy hollowness

Now it is driving every day.
On a narrow road from the south of the peninsula called Baja California, to the north.
About 2.000 kilometres (1300 miles).

There are large trucks and trailers using this narrow road.
Buses as well.
Therefore, each time one comes into view, concentration must go up.
Because the own car must be driven as close as possible to the right side of the road.
While the hope is that the other driver will do the same.

If both come to a consensus, the passage is wild and furious, but without a collision.
The many wrecks of cars and trucks along the road illustrate that not always the agreement has been working.
Usually the small road has a very steep bank and trucks may get off moving too close to the right.
They go off and turn over.
Or the two drivers hit each other in the centre of the road, at about 90 kilometres per hour (55 mph), causing an even bigger crash.

This time it was realized that each car, truck and bus that was approaching on the narrow road, was also a meeting with a person.
Seeing a truck coming it was realized in the mind that the Fuso Szulc should be manoeuvred close to the right side of the road.
At the same time, a mind connection was made with the other driver expecting him or her to drive as close as he or she could to the opposite side of the road.
And very likely the same thinking was taking place in the mind of the other driver.

Hence, two minds connect when passing by in cars on a road.
A short instance of human contact.
Abstract, but existing nevertheless.

Therefore, one could say, that driving on a road like here in Baja California, makes one meet hundreds of people.

The day this thought developed in the mind, in Guerrero Negro a Mexican pick-up truck was spotted in front of a restaurant.
A remarkable pick-up truck because behind the windshield two cameras were mounted.
And a third camera was attached on the front bumper.
Was this some kind of police car checking stolen vehicles?
A Mexican guy was dozing in the passenger’s seat.
A knock on the window woke him up and he was asked what this was all about.
It turned out to be an art-project of a Belgium photographer.
Who soon came out of the restaurant.
His name: Wilfried.
He explained he was driving all over Mexico and had programmed the cameras to make pictures every 100 metres (330 feet).
By now he had thousands and thousands of pictures.
Naturally, the question arose what sense that was making.
Google Earth is doing the same thing in cities.
A car with cameras on the roof documenting streets to see on the Internet.
So that if one looks up a particular address, one can see an image of the house.
But to drive all over Mexico making thousands of images of just the road, isn’t that empty and absurd?
Because what is there to see?
Just roads and roads and roads and roads.
What is so interesting about that?
The idea of the photo-artist is to make an exhibition of large prints of these images in Belgium.
In some museum in Gent and the spectator is not exactly going to see a spectacle.
They will see nothing.
What a fantastic idea!
However, in a circus people would afterwards ask their money back.
But in a museum even hollowness is holy.

Now we come to the painful part of today’s posting.
This photographer Wilfried turned out to be a former student of yours truly.
About a decade ago a photographic workshop on conceptual photography was given at the Saint Lukas Institute in Brussels, Belgium.
He had been one of the students.
Wilfried remembered that and both we were surprised to meet again somewhere in Mexico.

Wilfried was invited to team up later.
For a chat and a tea.
OK, he said.
But he never showed up.
Creating more hollowness.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Today no posting

What is a blog writer supposed to do when he really is not in the mood to write?
When there is no inspiration.
Not a good idea for a subject.
When there is no feeling of connection with the fervent and loyal blog readers?

And it is only natural there is no ambition today to write a posting.
Because Guerrero Negro in Baja California, Mexico has been reached and this is the most forlorn place on earth.
Always windy, cold, salty, poor and shabby.
No prosperity whatsoever and for sure it is the last stop before hell.

No ambition because the beautiful weather, the sunshine and the blue skies and the warm temperatures enjoyed for over 5 months, have ended when Guerrero Negro was reached.
Now the sky is grey and it is cold.
Depressing weather, for sure when the merciless wind will start to blow later this morning.
Carrying dust and salt to cover all human presence.

No good mood to write a posting for the blog because recently a pearl was found.
Of great beauty.
The pearl fitted perfectly in the shell but the next thing that happened was that it all evaporated in thin air.
Pushing the mood down to even more dangerous levels.

So, what to do when not in the mood to write a posting?
Follow the inner voice and spend time in a different way.
The fervent and blog readers will understand why today there is no posting.
(He is not in the mood!!!)


Friday, March 20, 2009

Dolphins don't know Jesus

Not far south from Loreto the road goes next to the Sea of Cortez.

There is one particular parking area from where there is a majestic view.
One sees the sea and islands as one of the most beautiful vistas existing on earth.

No wonder that each time this spot is passed, a stop is made to enjoy the view and have lunch.

Some years ago luck had it that a group of dolphins were swimming by.
The parking area being high on the side of the mountain, it was magical and spectacular to see from above the beautiful animals swimming in the sea.
It was like being in a National Geographic magazine.

Yesterday this same parking area was reached for a simple lunch.
It was remembered how several years ago dolphins had come by and what an exceptional experience that had been.

A little later, when eating the apple and the pear, suddenly a large group of dolphins was spotted.
And this time about 100.
A very large group and more far away, but most spectacular nevertheless.
Immediately the binoculars were looked for to see the many dolphins in detail.
How exceptional, wonderful and beautiful this was.

Meanwhile a van had arrived with about 8 young people.
They had spotted the dolphins also.
Lacking a binocular, the young people, in their early twenties, soon moved closer to the Fuso Szulc hoping to get an opportunity to borrow them.

Of course the binoculars were shared.
And several of the young people had a close look of the 100 dolphins.

“I am from Cancun”, said one boy.
“And I am from Oaxaca”, said the other.
Then they needed to know where the owner of the binoculars was from.
But it was not a very nice conversation actually.
These boys were arrogant and over self-confident.
Like they were above any other human being.

And then this feeling about them found its explanation.
“We are missionaries”, they said.
“Yes, missionaries, we are spreading the Word of the Lord”.

OK, fine.
Some take pictures, some spread the Word of the Lord.
What is the problem?

But then the most arrogant and ambitious boy made a bad mistake.
He asked: “Do you know Jesus Christ?”.

That question was not received very well.

First of all, it is a very stupid question.
Will there be people in Mexico who will have to answer:
“Jesus Christ? Let me see. No, I don’t think I ever heard of someone with that name”.

What makes the question more stupid is that behind it is the concept that one can know Jesus Christ in different ways.
And that the boy asking the question obviously wants to propagate his own way of knowing Jesus Christ.
So, whatever is the reply, it will just be used as an excuse to start the own propaganda speech.

There was therefore annoyance about this unrequested religious imperialism of the boy.
Especially in a situation with 100 dolphins swimming by in one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth.

He was bluntly asked:
“Why are you molesting me with your Jesus Christ?”.
A strong response to youthful religious enthusiasm but even a missionary must know that just everybody anywhere anytime cannot be bothered by private beliefs.

It is typical for missionaries, that as soon as they notice that the victim is not interested or even opposing, not one minute more is wasted on that unwilling person.
If there is no chance to have success the message they sell may even disturb their own convictions.
Because it is of course a justified question: why would you have the freedom to impose personal beliefs on other persons?
Isn’t this missionary business not in the first place simply a way for those people to make themselves feel fantastic and exceptional?

Even the unwilling victim’s binoculars couldn’t keep the missionaries close to the Fuso Szulc and they retreated quickly back to their van and their small religious world of indoctrination and dogmas.

Fortunately the dolphins were still swimming and playing in front of the Fuso Szulc in the Sea of Cortez.
Free and happy but then they don’t know Jesus Christ.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Balance of mind, body and tires.

The Fuso Szulc was vibrating.
And that is not what it is supposed to do.

When speeds were reached of around 90 kilometres per hour the front part of the truck started to move nervously from left to right.
One does not need to call the fantastic radio program “Car Talk” of National Public Radio to ask what this vibrating is about.
It is caused by tires out of balance!

Reaching the small town of Ciudad Constitucion the task was to find a place where they could balance the front tires.
The Fuso Szulc being a truck, no ordinary tire shop is able to do this.
A place must have special equipment.

The tire needs to be taken off the truck and put on a special computerized machine.

But we are here in Mexico.
Where there is not always money to have expensive equipment.
So they improvise to have eventually the same result.

A tire shop was found after asking some friendly locals.
And immediately an expert mechanic was available to work on the challenge.

Surprise 1: the tires could stay on the truck.
Which makes the job a lot more simple.

Surprise 2: no complicated equipment was needed.

The friendly mechanic had a portable electric engine to which a kind of roller was attached.
He lifted one side of the Fuso Szulc front up with a jack so that the wheel was free.
With the roller he made the Fuso Szulc wheel spin and then he opened the door.
The truck door wide open it was easy to see that the door was vibrating.
Going up and down rapidly with little vertical movements.

Next the mechanic was holding a piece of chalk on top of the tire that was spinning madly, making a white line.
After he stopped the spinning, he could see that the white line was elliptic.
Where the white line came closer to the outside of the tire, he put a piece of lead to the rim.
Testing again until no vibration could be noticed anymore in the door.

After both sides had been fixed in this simple, smart and effective way, it was time for a test-drive.

And for sure, even at 90 kilometres per hour, there was no more vibration.

Time to pay the tire shop.
Costs: 100 Pesos per tire.
200 Pesos and the mechanic got a 20 Pesos tip.
220 Pesos = 11 € = $ 16

The tires in balance, straight in Ciudad Constitucion to the campestre “La Pila” of friends Anna Karen and Roberto.
Where is the Olympic sized swimming pool many fervent and loyal blog readers will remember from last year.
How every day swimming was taking place in this magical pool reaching incredible heights of exaltation in between the stars.

But this time of year the water has a very low temperature.
The swim was short and chilling.
Too short to come even close to the stars.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A blinding date

Professor Peter Flagstone of the York University in Australia has been doing extensive research on behaviour of men in relation to women.

His conclusion is that most men when they are going to meet a woman, are thinking about the question whether that woman will be mateable.
Whether she is a possible candidate to mate, to have sex with and maybe to team up with.

Before to meet, the men make an image in their minds how she might look.
Creating a fantasy figure based on the specific preferences of the man.
No wonder, in most cases, that the man is deeply disappointed by the woman he eventually meets.
She cannot live up to his fantasy and expectations.
She doesn’t fit in his profile and with the mate instinct frozen now, there is little chance even a friendship could develop.

It is as also the famous mind doctor from Vienna, Austria, Sigmund Freud was claiming: always sex is on men’s mind.

The knowledge above became relevant when receiving two days ago an e-mail:

Hi Michel, today I saw you on the streets of La Paz BCS, and previously had read and seen some interesting things from you, above all very beautiful pictures, forgive the tutearte, I have 25 years, but I think you like you talk in confidence, after having seen ... check your page and your blog really interesting and beautiful places good adventures of our planet earth, for me you are welcome to this land sudcalifornianas, you have ... a good trip and good adventures! congratulation.


What is an innocent man supposed to do when receiving such an e-mail?
Ignore it?
Or to reply politely and diplomatically and make life go on?
Or respond to the invitation to “I think you like you talk in confidence, after having seen…” by proposing a meeting?

Of course, fervent and loyal blog readers, being a decent man the solution immediately coming to mind in a most natural way was to write thank you very much and be well to Miss Christyna of 25 years old.
But then there is this duty to serve hundreds of readers every day of the year with a fascinating, educative and entertaining posting on this blog.
Waving only digitally to Christyna won’t do the fervent and loyal blog readers any good, right?

Hence, forced by those circumstances, and sacrificing many personal moral principles, an e-mail was send to Miss Christyna with a proposal to meet.
On Tuesday at 13.00 hours in a coffee shop opposite of the Catholic Cathedral of La Paz.

After arriving in the coffee shop to meet the young woman, and keep in mind that it was only to have new material for another posting, it was noticed that the thoughts in the mind were similar as have been detected by Professor Peter Flagstone of the York University in Australia.
Imaginations popped up involuntarily of the person to meet.
And it was realized that unfortunately the situation the protagonist had himself manoeuvred in by the fervent and loyal blog readers was a loose-loose situation.
Either a woman would walk in poorly dressed with a body totally out of shape.
With tight leggings while seriously overweight showing more body fat than forms.
With sagging free breasts with nipples at belly bottom level.
Dandruff in the hair like a Christmas landscape and showing, when smiling, no money to fix the teeth properly.
Or a woman would walk in with a presence of a film star and the allure of a Polish lady.
With a well trained athletic body and dressed attractively without being vulgar.
In both cases it would be a situation impossible to manage and pushing the level of nervousness to unprecedented heights.

However, this awareness of being in a loose-loose situation was rather unavoidable.
Christyna had to be faced no matter what.
A mistake was made and decency forced to remain there and eat the self served sour apple in the coffee shop.

To pass the time productively while waiting for the woman the laptop Mac Book was switched on to reply and send mail.
When it was discovered that the mail program had a problem.
It had not been sending e-mails for over a day.
This had not been noticed but now it was discovered that in the mailbox to send were over 30 messages waiting to go.
Including the one to Miss Christyna inviting her to the coffee shop.
In other words, the waiting was for a person who would never come.
The invitation was never send.

Goes to show how well life takes care of us.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

“It’s OK, my boy, it is done”.

The verdict?
“O” Positivo.

Doctor Saul Alejandro Ahumada Montoya came to this conclusion after he had drawn blood from the finger and analyzed it in his laboratory.

Why would a permanent pilgrim go to a clinic and get an official paper what type of blood he has?

Travelling drives to strange places.
Having to do things that are not easily expected.

The fact is that the current Spanish driving license runs out this month.
Being a Mexican resident, a new driving license has to be requested in Mexico.
Logico, no ?

In Mexico one can obtain a driving license when in the possession of a Residence Permit.
But one must also bring an official statement of what type of blood the driver has.
That will be mentioned on the credit card-like document.
Convenient when one has an accident: gives the paramedics reason to ask for the driving license also.

The blood analysis was made in a private clinic.
Simply walking in the hall of the clinic and informing the receptionist what was needed.
“Sit down, please”, she said in English.
Very painful because the request was made in perfect Spanish.

Waiting time was about 45 minutes.
Plenty of time to see people come in deadly sick and asking for a doctor prontissimo.
Oooh, how hospitals are hated.

“Ai, ai, ai, help, help”
“It’s OK, my boy, it is done”.

And then they said to go to the laboratory where this most handsome, charming and young doctor was to perform the operation.
Saùl liked to chat and was most friendly but the terrible pain of a nail being drilled in the fingertip was almost unbearable.
To act like drained in hypochondria makes a visit to the hospital much more exciting.

“Ai, ai, ai, help, help”
“It’s OK, my boy, it is done”.

Then this older man came in.
He already had his new driving license but they had made a mistake.
Instead of “O”, they had put an “A” on his card.

The gentleman was from Canada and most friendly.
He told the incredible story that he had been a soldier in the Canadian Army liberating Europe.
Actually, he said, he had been serving on a warship and not witnessed much of the liberation.
He was now 84 and told that some years ago he was invited to come to the Netherlands when they were celebrating their 40th anniversary of the liberation of the occupation by Nazi Germany.
It had been a spectacular visit with many Dutch people still expressing gratitude.
He claimed, this Canadian man, that he had even been embraced by the Queen of the Netherlands, Beatrix.

“Ai, ai, ai, help, help”
“It’s OK, my boy, it is done”.

In this part of Mexico a weekly newspaper is published called “The Gringo Gazette”.
It is one of the worst newspapers in the world.
This week there was a story about a Gringo who had tried to obtain a Mexican driving license.
It was described not only as a nightmare, but of course the Mexicans involved were stupid, lazy and ignorant.

Tomorrow an effort will be made to also obtain a Mexican driving license.

“Ai, ai, ai, help, help”
“It’s OK, my boy, it is done”.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Always birthdays

On the way, José.
Departed from the dry riverbed at Punta Boca del Salado.
Goodbye to the Gonzales family and the dogs Rocky and Guante.
And many other friends.

After leaving, immediately an exceptional experience.

It was agreed to pick up in La Ribera Doña Maria to give her a lift to La Paz.
We would meet in a restaurant on the corner where the road from Punta Boca del Salado and the road to La Paz join.
But at the agreed time nobody was there.

What to do?
Simply continue without Doña Maria?
But what about the 10 kilos of cheese Ketcha had put in the Fuso Szulc fridge for Doña Maria?
After waiting some more the decision was made to go into the small town of La Ribera to try to find somebody from the Gonzalez family living there.

And purely by intuition the house where Juan Manuel lives was found.
And exactly that very moment a big dinner was there in full swing because of Juan Manuel’s wife birthday.
The celebrations were joined immediately.

Meanwhile Juan Manuel called his sister Norma who shortly afterwards appeared with Doña Maria.
They had just been “a little delayed”.

So, what first seemed an unpleasant situation, waiting for someone not showing up while the fridge full of cheese, became a beautiful birthday and farewell party.

This is what travelling is about.
Often, things do not go as foreseen.
In fact, most of the time it goes in a different and surprising way.
Life becoming a spectacular kaleidoscope of events.

Hence, the experienced traveller enjoys the miles the most when able to be completely open.
Welcoming everything that happens as a gift to enjoy.
A constant birthday party.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

A tear and a smile

It is with amazement, confusion and surprise that today it has to be realized that the Fuso Szulc is going to leave its location in the dry riverbed of Punta Boca del Salado, Mexico.
The place where the last five months were spend.
Next to the Sea of Cortez and the rancho of the Gonzales family.

The reason is British Airways.
They fly on March 31 from Los Angeles to Amsterdam and a seat is booked for that flight.
In order to catch that flight, Punta Boca del Salado must be left pronto.

Retrospecting is slicing the heart into two.
One part is happy and excited to leave.
To face new adventures.
To meet family and friends.
To get into new situations.
To boost the work on the market.

But the other part is sad to leave the dear members of the Gonzales family behind.
To know that the dogs will see the comfort level of their lives go down drastically.
To leave the healthy, peaceful and harmonious life behind.

Those competing emotions are the best one can have when leaving a place and persons.
If it was only happiness for leaving, the departing situation has not been one good for life.
One must cry when leaving otherwise something has not been done well.
And one must be happy and excited to depart for a new destination because why otherwise go there?

The encampment has been broken up.
Everything is stored safely inside the cargo spaces of the Fuso Szulc.
Two weeks of constant travelling are now on the program.
With a tear and a smile.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

How the Americans work for the Chinese

Yesterday China’s Premier, Wen Jiabao, did a rather unusual thing.
He expressed publicly his worries about the American economy.
And the way it is going.

Mr. Wen Jiabao has good reasons to be worried.
China has borrowed the USA about 1 trillion Dollars.
And now the one that borrowed that money and is supposed to re-pay it, is in a self-inflicted economic mess.
The way out is to borrow more: the USA expects the Chinese to buy the U.S. Government Bonds financing the Stimulus Package totaling almost 1 billion Dollars.
So China’s Premier Wen Jiabao says:
"Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets.
To be honest, I'm a little bit worried."
Of most concern for the Chinese is the value of the US Dollar.
Besides all that money they borrowed the Americans, they are keeping nearly half of its $2 trillion in foreign currency reserves in U.S. Treasuries and notes issued by other U.S. government-affiliated agencies.

If the Dollar goes down, what is very likely when the USA continues to spend more than it earns, the value of the Chinese financial surplus goes down with it.

There was an immediate response to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao comments from Barack Obama.
Over the last weeks he had been rather negative about the messy economic situation in the USA.
But suddenly he said in a public address that the USA is the best country to invest in.
Well, what could he say?
He needs desperately the 1 trillion extra from the Chinese.

Who have not much of a choice.
They have had too much confidence in the regulators of the American economy.
Now they are too deeply involved and in order to avoid to lose most they invested in the US economy their only bet is to borrow more hoping it will go better this time.

What we will probably see is more involvement of the Chinese in American financial policies.
Like the Chinese ordering the Americans not to let the Dollar go down too low.

American financial policies of the last 10 years have resulted in an American economy that depends of foreigners.
The Dollar that is spent by an American in his country is in fact owned by a Chinese.
Therefore an average American has been reduced to a spending machine.
He or she is supposed to work hard, make money and spend it right away.
To buy things constantly even when they are not needed.
To see the Chinese get a return on their investment.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Fair Trade

When you walk into a super market in Europe, you will find products with a label saying “Fair Trade”.
It can be chocolate, sugar, tea, bananas, wine, fresh fruit or coffee.

These products usually are slightly more expensive but the customer knows something very important about them.
That they come from developing countries.
That the producer is paid a fair price.
And that the environmental standards in which the product has been growing is acceptable.

“Fair Trade” is a big success in Europe.
They increase their business volume by 47 % annually.
In 2008 over 7,5 million disadvantaged producers and their families were benefiting from “Fair Trade” funded infrastructure, technical assistance and community development projects.

A farmer in a developing country never knows how much money the ground nuts he is growing with his family will bring him.
It depends if there is sufficient rain.
It depends of the world market price.
There are years he makes good money.
But there are also years he makes no money whatsoever and often starvation is the result.

If the farmer can join a collective of ground nut growers associated with “Fair Trade”, each year he will get a fixed amount for his product.
Even if the weather has been bad, he is guaranteed a certain amount for his ground nuts.
In that way he and his family can survive bad years.
And can he continue to send his kids to school.

In the years the price of ground nuts is very high, the extra money does not go to the members of the collective.
The money is spend on school buildings, the communal water well and other infrastructure in the village benefiting everybody.

“Fair Trade” is a great idea.
For only a little more money, consumers in the USA and Europe have a huge impact on the existence of hard working people in developing countries.

Next time you go shopping, look for “Fair Trade”-products.
And do us a favor: get those, please.
In Europe they are in every major supermarket.

In the USA:

Fair Trade Certified products are served at many national cafes and restaurants:

Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops - Ask for Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee or Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream.

Bruegger's - Ask for their daily Fair Trade Certified brewed coffee.

Caribou Coffee - Ask for the Fair Trade Blend.

Dunkin' Donuts - Order any hot or iced espresso drink.

Einstein Bagels - Ask for their Global Village Fair Trade Blend.

Noah's Bagels - Ask for their daily Fair Trade Certified brewed coffee.

Peet's Coffee and Tea - Ask for the Fair Trade Blend.

Seattle's Best Coffee - Ask for the Fair Trade Certified Organic French Roast.

Starbucks Coffee - Ask for Cafe Estima.

Tully's Coffee - Order any hot or iced espresso drink.

Fair Trade Certified products are available at many retailers:
Costco - Look for Kirkland Signature FTC Coffee

Fred Meyer - Look for FTC coffee, chocolate, tea

Giant - Look for FTC flowers, coffee, tea, chocolate

Kroger - Look for FTC coffee, chocolate, tea

Safeway - Look for FTC coffee, tea, sugar

Sam's Club - Look for Member’s Mark® coffee, Neu Direction FTC wine,
Peterson Farms FTC Sweetened Dried Triple Cherry & Cherry Berry Blend, FTC bananas, & online FTC flowers

Target - Look for Wandering Grape FTC wines, Archer Farms FTC coffee

Trader Joe's - Look for FTC coffee

Wal-Mart - Look for Sam's Choice FTC coffee, Peterson Farms FTC Chocolate Covered Dried Cherries

Wegman's - Look for FTC coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar

Whole Foods Market - Look for FTC coffee, tea, chocolate, wine, sugar, energy bars, body care products, flowers, rice.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

This is not it

Freshly in the memory of the fervent and loyal blog readers is the posting “Michael Jackson, the farmer”.
He announced recently in London, UK, he was going to do 10 concerts in a stadium.
His very last 10 concerts.
“This is it”, he said repeatedly on the press conference.
After these 10 concerts, never a concert anymore.
Giving his farewell concerts even the title, the “This is it”-concerts.

Within one week though a new announcement was made by Michael Jackson: besides the 10 concerts, there will be 20 extra ones.

What about this “This is it”, we may ask?
As was predicted, it was and is all a lie.
A commercial twist to manipulate the fans and draw the max of money out of their pockets.
It is not “This is it”.
It is “This is not it”.

But someone who is so unfortunate to love his music, by now dating from almost 25 years ago, has a far stretching line of connection with the pop star.
The man can cheat, manipulate and molest children but when they hear him sing “Beat it” and see him do his “Moonwalk”, they still pee in their pants of excitement.

Now, fervent and loyal blog readers, have a look at this.
Read carefully the following text:

It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes,
You're paralyzed

Because this is thriller night
And no one is going to save you from the beast about to strike
You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight

You hear the door slam and realize there's nowhere left to run
You feel the cold hand and wonder if you'll ever see the sun
You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination
But all the while you hear the creature creeping up behind
You're out of time

There ain't no second chance against the thing with forty eyes
Night creatures call
And the dead start to walk in their masquerade
There's no escaping
the jaws of the alien this time are open wide
This is the end of your life

Pretty heavy stuff, is it not?
This text are the lyrics of Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller”.
Rather accurately describing how Mr. Jackson is monstering his fans.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A louvered law

As of the 1st of March a new divorce law has been introduced in the Netherlands.

What makes this new law rather revolutionary is that it is made with first of all the children involved in mind.

It works like this:
a married couple with children wants to divorce.
They need to go to court to have their marriage officially and legally disbanded.
But they have to bring a plan they both agree upon.
The plan concerns the children.
They must describe in the plan how they are going to take care of the children after the divorce.
The judge will study the plan and decide if it is acceptable.
Based on legal standards developed to guarantee a child an upbringing both by a father and a mother.
The new law dictates that both parents must be equally involved in taking care of the children.

Now, when a couple with children proposes a plan saying for example that the children will go and spend one weekend a month with the father, the judge will not accept the plan and will not allow a divorce.
When the plan for example says that the father will take care of the bambinos 3 days a week and the mother 4 days a week, the judge will declare the marriage as legally ended.

The Dutch have made this law because too often Daddies run away after the relationship with the wife becomes dysfunctional.
And decide to forget about the horrible woman and the own children as well.
The man leaves and creates somewhere else a new life with possibly a new woman and often-new children.
This is easy.
Until now, the man had no other legal obligations but to pay alimony.

But there are also many stories of women who are so pissed off that the husband left, that they do anything to avoid that the father can see his children.

In both cases the children are the ones that suffer.

Hence this law.
It first of all defends the rights of the children.
A very good thing because if the law is not defending them, who will?
Mummy and Daddy both take lawyers and try to get the best deal out of the whole skirmish.
The kids used to be the sidekicks.

Of course this new law has been very controversial.
Imagine, fervent and loyal blog readers, when Peter and Rita want to divorce, they need to somehow come together to design and accept a detailed agreement about what they are going to do with their beautiful children.
Usually during the months when the divorce is in the air and landing, there are arguments, screaming, fighting, strong emotions, tears and flying saucers.
But the new law forces Peter and Rita to somehow calm down and think in a reasonable way about the future of their offspring.
And no matter how they imagine personally to be a Dad or a Mom for their kids, the law forces them to be there for them in a very specific way.

To be forced by law to settle this matter while for the fighting adults their own interests seem to be vital, is in many cases a very frustrating experience.

But who cares?
The adults better suffer during this time so that the kids have many years to come with a fully functioning Dad and Mom in their lives.

A nice gimmick of the law is that people are also forced to stick precisely to their plan for the children.
Recently a woman was condemned because contrary to the agreement, being still mad at her former husband, she would not allow her kids to go and see their father during the weekends and all holidays as was agreed in the plan.
The father informed the authorities and the woman was condemned to 14 days of community service.
This means that in her private spare time she had to clean the rooms and corridors of a hospital.

Hopefully, one of the effects of this law will be a preventive one.
That couples understand it is no problem to marry.
Go ahead!
But that a couple should think more than twice before to decide to have children.

Maybe we need another law.
Putting a moratorium of 5 years on couples in case they want children.
Demonstrate during 5 years that you can live peacefully and harmoniously together, and get then your license for one child.
Many may say that this is limitation of freedom.
It is.
Of the adults.
But it would be for the benefit of the ones that will be our future.
A divorce is often devastating for a child and influences the rest of the life in a most negative way.
Therefore they deserve that a decision to have children is not made by accident.

The better the situation children are born in, the better our world will be in the years to come.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dreaming a nightmare

At the time it was said that Ronald Reagan and his capitalist United States had managed to bring the Soviet Union to its knees and even to its end.
The Communist system, as a way to organize society, had failed and capitalism had won.

The Soviet Union fell apart and became many new independent states.
All embracing a form of social capitalism.
De-nationalising companies and allowing private business.
Permitting people to become millionaires.

Meanwhile, under 8 years of George W. Bush, capitalism was giving the free reigns more than ever.

With as a result that we are now in a similar situation as with the Soviet Union.
The United States and its capitalist system is economically and socially on its knees and has ended.
Difference with the time of the Soviets is that not another doctrine or system is responsible for this.
The American capitalist system has brought itself to its knees.

Most peculiar now is that a reverse development can be seen compared with after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The Russians turned to capitalism.
The United States is now changing into a Socialist society.
Principles of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin are applied.
For example, the major banks are nationalised.
The mortgage banks are now Government owned.
The auto industry is artificially kept alive with Government subsidies.
The health care system will be nationalised and sponsored by the Government.
Employment is created by hiring people to work for the Government.

Meanwhile, not many people are remembering right now why the societies that were based on socialism all failed.
What went wrong when a society was centrally managed by a Government.
Why eventually they all turned to capitalism as the only way.
Not many knowing the past of the Communist countries seem to be alarmed about what the current US Administration is doing.

When somebody looks expertly around, a conclusion is that extreme capitalist societies, like the USA was, and extreme socialist societies, like North Korea is, are failing and are not to the benefit of the people.
While in a socialised-capitalist society like Sweden people live in prosperity, peace and security.

The major mistake that is being made by the Obama Administration is that with socialist methods a return wants to be made to the capitalist society of the last 20 years.
Back to what was flawed.
"We have begun the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time," Obama said when he signed the $787 billion stimulus bill.

The newspaper USA Today published today a massive study by Gallup and Healthways that revealed that 24 million Americans shifted in 2008 from lives that were “thriving” to ones that were “struggling”.
Hence, how perfect as a concept is “The American Dream”?

Ten years ago, during the economic boom, 71% of Americans said it was likely that those in the next generation would be better off than their parents.
One year ago, 66% agreed with this opinion.
Now, 59% do.
It is now at 41 % and will go up higher rapidly: people in the USA who think in the same way as the Russians under Communist rule.


To read everything about "The American Dream" in today's USA Today, click on:


Monday, March 9, 2009

Michael Jackson, the farmer

In the language of the Netherlands they have an expression saying:
“Over smaak valt niet te twisten”.
This means that you cannot argue about taste.
Because every person has his or her own taste.
There is not one general taste.
It may be though that a lot of people happen to like the same thing.
But that is still based on individual tastes.

For example: you may say that you like the colour blue.
However, your neighbour may say that she likes the colour green.
To live in peace, better not argue with her.

Or you may say you like pasta.
But your Japanese friend will say he prefers rice.
So better go with him to a Mexican restaurant.

Or you may say that you love the first symphony of Gustav Mahler.
While your lovely daughter says she is crazy about rapper Snoop Dogg.
Better get two iPods with headsets.

By now the fervent and loyal blog readers are prepared enough to be ready to read the following revelation:

this protagonist thinks that Michael Jackson is an idiot.
And so is his music.

Remember now that we agreed that about taste we cannot disagree.
You may be wild about Michael Jackson and although that is very sad and pitiful, it is your right.
And that gives the right to somebody else to not like Michael Jackson.

Last week, Michael Jackson, still enjoying a worldwide popularity, gave a press conference in London, UK.
He is 50 years old now and has been out of business for a while.
Most people will remember the different things he has been involved in.
And although opinion is low on him and his music, we do not need to repeat the nasty things that happened around Mr. Jackson.

Michael Jackson appeared in London last week on the press conference two hours too late.
The large room was filled with journalists and a few hundreds fans very much out of their minds.
Of course, it was all orchestrated to get maximum publicity.
No way Mr. Jackson was busy elsewhere explaining his late arrival.
It is a strategy to build up the tension and curiosity and it is a way to make one look important.

Once in front of the microphones and in the spotlights, Michael Jackson announced his farewell concert.
The very last time he is going to perform.
He will give 10 concerts in the 02 Arena, a sports stadium in London that can contain 20.000 people, in July 2009.

The man has not been performing for 12 years.
And his repertoire is old and dusty.
That’s why he said: “I’ll be performing songs my fans wanna hear”.
Well yes, he has no other songs…
His whole reputation circles around two or three songs.
Characterised by asthmatic sounds/hiccups at the end of each song line.

The London shows will be, according to the star himself, his final concerts.
That’s why they are called “This is it”.
But one must be a fool in combination with blindness and the lowest IQ-level possible to believe this is true.

Mr. Jackson has lots of problems.
One of them financial difficulties.
His come back now is a way to accumulate new capital to finance his extravagances.
And when more is needed, we will see “This is it two”.

The sad part is this:
still many people are crazy about Michael Jackson.
That’s possible: as we have agreed, about taste we will not argue.
But Michael Jackson, as a private person, has made himself so extremely doubtful and dishonourable, that he is the last one that should accept anymore to be a role model for all his fans.
But he still has this desire for big money to finance his extravagant life-style.
Michael Jackson simply ruthlessly milks his fans.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Barking in bed

Let’s meet today Ivan Petrovich Pavlov.

He was a Russian physiologist, psychologist and physician.
Most well known for his research in the field of classical conditioning.

He had noticed that dogs salivate before food was delivered to their mouth.
He called that “psychic secretion”.
Not unknown in human beings either: a man that gets excited and gets an erection produces initially a saliva-like liquid from his penis also.

The “psychic secretion” brought Ivan Petrovich Pavlov to study dogs in their behaviour
more extensively.
To accumulate his knowledge into something called “conditioned reflex”.
The dog acting based on what he has been taught to do.
Existing also in human beings where it is called “behaviourism”.

The Fuso Szulc-dogs Rocky and Guante give a daily demonstration of their “conditioned reflex”.
Before they get their bowl of dog food, they first will sit down and lift their front right leg.
Because they have been conditioned to do this.

Basically, these dogs could do anything.
It all depends of the conditioner.
Or also called: the animal trainer.
We could make the dogs first run to the sea and back before to get their bowl of food they want so desperately.
Or lay down like death.

What Ivan Petrovich Pavlov has been making clear with his dog experiments is that a lot in our own conduct as human beings is based on “conditioned reflex” as well.
Often children are educated as we teach tricks to dogs.
Kids are instructed to do a certain thing and if they do it correctly, they are rewarded.
Developing into persons with an imprinted and programmed behaviour.

A certain amount of behaviourism is very convenient.
It makes interaction between humans go more smoothly.
But it should be a tool.
Not the core of living.

Besides Rocky and Guante being involved in Pavlov experiments when they get their bowl of food, recently they joined an experiment concerning an issue little researched and still rather unexplored.
The verbal communication between man and animal.
Very little we know actually about the way animals communicate with each other.
Research has been going on among birds.
Scientists have been counting for example how many different sounds a blackbird can make.
An impressive amount is the result of this research.
But we have no clue why at a given moment a blackbird sings a specific tune.

With dogs it is even more complicated.
Basically they make only one sound:

The experiment with Rocky and Guante was to try to communicate with them by imitating their bow-wow-ing.
Because it is known dogs bark to each other like we speak to another person.

So, recently Rocky was next to the Fuso Szulc.
It was very late in the evening and pitch dark.
The scientist was already in bed but not asleep yet.
Something happening in the dry riverbed alarmed Rocky.
He started to bark.
Now, the surprising and revolutionary scientific initiative was to start barking, although a human being, also.

But exactly in the same way as Rocky.
A perfect imitation.
In the end, Rocky couldn’t see who precisely was barking and could very well believe another dog was somehow inside the Fuso Szulc.

The communal barking, a duet we could say, went on for quiet a while.
When Rocky barked once:
The response from the bed was:
But when Rocky barked twice:
Naturally and logically he heard from the scientist:

It has not established yet if Rocky was barking for so long because he felt he was in communication with the dog inside the Fuso Szulc.
Or that this coyote in the dry riverbed was still around.

It should be stressed, fervent and loyal blog readers, what a determination and belief these experiments ask of the researcher.
Imagine, please, to lay in bed before to fall asleep and postponing this by barking for half an hour to a dog!

But then, as a scientist one must always believe in what one does.
In the end, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was also only feeding cookies to dogs.
But, in 1904, he did get the Nobel Prize.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Someone leaving

Some days ago a posting was published on this blog titled:
“It is not your fault: it’s your penis”

The story was a dissection of a text written by Sigmund Freud.
The famous psychologist from Vienna, Austria.
He was putting his nose in the affairs of creative people and the lovers of art.
Making wild speculations and interpretations that served more his standing than the truth.

The title of the posting,
“It is not your fault: it’s your penis”, referred to a general opinion Freud was holding.
He was thinking that most of the activities of human beings are driven by sexual feelings.

One of the most fervent and loyal readers of this blog is a person who gave himself the pseudonym “Rojo”.
Many other fervent and loyal blog readers know “Rojo”, because frequently he participated in this blog by sending in comments.

But because of the posting ““It is not your fault: it’s your penis”, “Rojo” writes us the following:

I think it's time I bid you good bye, michel, you are just away to far out there for even this ole maverick.

travel easy


What a shame!
And puzzling.
What is so far out about a posting explaining how art is emotionally experienced in the lives of people?
Or is it the title of the posting,
“It is not your fault: it’s your penis”, that has shocked “Rojo” making him leave us?

It has been explained before: this blog has not as a first intention to please the audience.
It is a non-commercial activity, and contrary to other blog publishers, there is no need to have many readers.
Who are expected to click on Google Adwords announcements on the blog to allow the writer/ publisher to make money.
With that system the postings are always nice and kind and not controversial.

Here, fervent and loyal blog readers, it is a completely different ball game.
Postings are published without restrictions or hypocrisy.
If a reader does not like what is published, it is possible to comment and become part of the energy created by the readers of this blog.
Or the reader, like “Rojo”, can bid farewell.
It doesn’t matter whether this blog has one or ten thousand readers.
That is not the point.

The point is to be sincere and honest.
To share and accept each other.
To be allowed to be who you are.
Even in disagreement.

Nevertheless, we don’t want “Rojo” to go.
He had often such great contributions.
So, “Rojo”, come back!
Stay with us.
Don’t leave us.
We already miss you.

But if you insist to turn away from us, do know we don’t blame you for anything.
Because we know:
it is not your fault: it’s your penis.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Mass for Angelito

There were about 60 to 70 people. Family and friends.
Some came as far away as Cabo San Lucas: a two-hour drive.

Under the large palm leaves roof a table was put to serve as the altar for the Mass.
And plastic chairs had been brought in for the people to sit.

The priest came punctually at the agreed time of 1 pm.
And celebrated the Mass in memory of Angelito Gonzales who passed away four years ago.

Lucretia, the mother of Angelito, was sitting right in front of the priest.
Next to her daughter Norma, who had been giving up one of her kidneys to try to safe the life of Angelito.
They were crying.

Mass did not take too long.
The priest had a short sermon, some people took communion and people embraced at the end.

Then the food came.
Each person getting a plastic plate with pasta, meat in a sauce and salad.

After two hours most people were gone.
Only some family members were staying till the next day.



Thursday, March 5, 2009

Angelito away for four years

Today is a special day at Rancho Punta Boca del Salado in Baja California, Mexico.
It is four years ago that Angelito Gonzalez died.
Of kidney failure.

Angelito was the son of Gumaro and Lucretia Gonzalez.
Who had five children.
Juan Manuel, Norma, Christina and Ismaël are still alive and are all married now and having kids of their own.

Angelito was a nice boy.
And handsome too.

He left school early and came to work on the rancho.
In his early twenties he was a rather wild guy.
Sometimes drinking heavily and racing the dirt roads.

But later he calmed down.
Married the half sister of the wife of his older brother Juan Manuel.
They had two children.
Angelito and his small family lived in a small house in the hills behind the rancho of his parents.

Then he fell ill.
Angelito was diagnosed to have kidney problems.
Eventually it was decided he needed a kidney transplant.
The family sold land to have cash to pay for the operation.
And his sister Norma made one of her kidneys available.
They went to a hospital in Tijuana, at the border with the USA near San Diego.
The transplantation was not successful.
Angelito’s body refused to accept the sister’s kidney.

After this tragic failure he lived some time more.
Even made a new baby although they knew he would not live long anymore.

He had to take strong medication.
His body inflated tremendously and he looked like the Michelin man.

He died in his sleep.

This happened four years ago but the dramatic event still plays an important role in the life of the Gonzalez.
They still experience grief and deep sorrow.
Life never became the same for them anymore after Angelito’s passing away.

Today a priest is coming to the rancho.
In memory of Angelito, he will celebrate a Mass.
Between 20 to 50 people are expected.
After the Mass all will eat dinner.
Good food but no alcoholic drinks.

Later that day a Mass is celebrated in the church of the nearby small town of La Ribera.
Organised and attended by Angelito’s widow and her children.
Who are not coming to the rancho.

Once Angelito had passed away a conflict about the heritage arose between his wife and the Gonzalez family.
This has resulted in Angelito’s children never coming to the rancho.
And a serious void exists now between Angelito’s wife and the members of the Gonzalez family.
They don’t speak to nor see each other.

Everything is tragic about this story.

Except that the sadness and grief is respected and allowed to surface.
The emotions are experienced and shared by many people.
Making their lives more full, optimal and complete.