well, it's weird to pen or type these words, but the noneck officially has returned to NYC. at 14h30 on the wings of Swiss Air LX22, he arrived at JFK and rode the A to the L and into the arms of brooklyn coworking. ok, the weridist part is that he's jobless, homeless but never friendless.
for the next month and a half while he sorts out the odd jobs, couches, spare bedrooms, empty nests and the sort... feel free to shoot him a line, invite him for dinner and let him sleep on your couch. just don't ask him when he's going to shave or cut his hair... he's going to milk those for a while...
speaking of milking or shall i say working with your hands. brooklyn coworking is going to be hosting brooklyn jelly this week, too boot there's going to be a bit of an open house. so if you're interested in meeting the myth over a cup of joe, join the jellies!
"necessity is the mother of taking chances." - mark twain
(my shorter poetic version of this post was destroyed by a horrible binary accident were a few ones collied with a few zeros. normally this wouldn't be an issue, except when you're using beta software. this is now published in two parts. this is part one. video and photos will be forthcoming.)
sometimes there is a necessity to climb a mountain. sometimes that same necessity bears the most unusual fruit.
on day 190, i woke up at 6 am and edited videos. as 18h30 (6.30 pm) chimed in my mental koo-koo clock. i knew i was late. all day long, i had monitored reports of areolinas argentina's from fellow travelers. being at the end of the world, and only coming across one other traveler who would departing 30 mins before myself, there was nothing to note. as the phantom pendulum swayed, rumor wafted of crippling strike.
despite the fact i spent the previous day on the side of mountain, sprinting down two flights of stairs with 60kg of luggage was the most dangerous act of my entire ushuaian adventure. second to this sprint, was the fact i should have been at the airport one hour before my departure. racing through the crowed streets of ushuaia, emilo, my driver (the owner of the freestyle hostel) nearly picked off two undulate penguins. these penguins shared a resemblance to stunned european toursts.
as rastamax and i belted american hip hop songs, the 2006 renault, spent most of it's time on the left hand side of the road. flashing it's high beams and dodging trucks, jalopies and donkeys, the landmarks of the last month flashed before my eyes. i crossed my fingers.
arriving at the second smallest airport in the world, the three of us discovered lines winding their way from one side of the terminal to the other. i did not know that this convention of bewilderment, would be the first of 70 hours of waiting.
after an hour and a half of three lines and an extra hour sorting out why the plane's manifest featured one less person than sat on board, we departed for buenos aires' domestic airport. at 1 am, two fellow couchsurfers and i disembarked from the tail of the airplane and said our goodbyes.
with more uncertainty than republicans in texas, i found another renault and race car driver. for 30 minuets, we caressed the freeways of buenos aires.
arriving at the international airport, my driver sprinted back and forth looking for a luggage trolly. at 2 am, the shinny new facade of terminal A seemed calm. walking through the double sliding glass doors that bless 90% of the world's modern airports, i entered into a womb of sleeping passengers.
with several hundred people scattered about, i found no fracas. so, i found a small metal bench, i pulled out my trench coat, linked my luggage together, swung my legs ontop of my luggage and passed out. almost two hours later, i awoke to see my flight on the departure board and my checkin desk assignment. little did i know that the gates of hell were just around the corner.
starting at one end of the terminal, i walked past every check in kiosk. at the end of the hall, i found a sign that pointed me around a corner to the left. glancing to my right, stood wolves frothing at the mouth. (they really were unlicensed taxi cab drivers.) as i turned my cart to the left, i stood outside the gates of hell.
at this point there were two lines. the left was longer. it also entered a small arch and then made a sharp 90° turn. the line on the right poured endlessly into an abyss of mindless luggage carts. feeling a bit adventurous, i started my starboard navigation. like a 1980's atari game, zombiefyed passengers angling to get around the person next to them attacked me. unlike mario, dodging them was useless. i must have hit three or four carts until my nyc motorcycle skills awakened. then, i was dodging on coming / sideswiping zombie driven carts...
well that was until i hit my first foot. absconded by trash, the impact did not even phase this fallen soul. stopping in my tracks, i found myself in a sea of desperation, dashed dreams and an army of federal police. to my left, a thousand or so zombies standing in shapeless lines. to my right, families and friends camping in their own filth. this was a scene unlike any movie.
in front of the sea of people stood 20 federal police with 20 more milling in and out. behind them, 30 airport kiosks. at every other kiosk stood the remains of an Aerolineas Argentinas staff member. while my fellow glass-eyed wanna be passengers expended their last bits of sanity, i enquired "why is this happening?" no one knew.
as i approached staff members they just ushered me aside. according to the global distortion filter (USA Today, BBC News, The Canadian Press) - "it's a labor dispute." according to a comment on global voices, this was a dispute long in the making.
i bumped into some local tour guides and they said that since the 1990 privatization, aerolineas argentina has been one screwed up organization. not only is every other flight delayed by an hour or so, but every other year you'll find some portion of the airline on strike (airwise).
as i waited, a bull-horned police officer shrouded in a bullet proof vest would stand on a kiosk and announce a city and a kiosk number. within a smattering of seconds, the sound of smashing trollies were all around me. babies who were quietly annoyed, would wail as their parents and fellow passengers violently thrashed through a sea of limp limbs.
when the first plane was called out, i attempted to defend any sense of personal space. after three mins, i tucked my trolly into an artery of movement and found a quite place next to a poll. for a few hours, i stood, sat, stretched, skipped, sang, skanked, and spoke to my self. after rome, came new york. then they called out mexico city, then santiago de chile, then madrid, and then ushuaia.
one staff member reassured me that all flights for sao paulo would depart. around 6h00 (6am) a call came for sao paulo. they called for all passengers from the flights that would have departed on 10, 11, 12 to line up. three days of flights all attempting to be extricated on two planes. at that very moment, i saw the line stretch out past the gates of hell. i questioned my sanity.
if my flight was on the 13th and they were just starting to process three days of flights... i knew my chances were slim to none. with less than $150 USD in my checking account and less than $30 USD in my wallet, flying out on another airline would be impossible. with little sleep and less food in my stomach, my mind entered into survival mode. i need to find three things, food, transport and sleep.
as i calculated my options, my heart found only one. with no money to stick around for another week in BA, i rounded the corner and found the continental airlines office.
snaking my way from hell, i found a nameless door with a handwritten sign. with a swift knock, the electronic intercom buzzed "quen es?"
tired, i responded in english. within a few mins a grandmotherly looking woman opened the door. i explained my situation and she gave me a number to call. she also told me that the evening flight is full, but i could call houston and see what they could do...
with in 30 min, good news; i had a flight out of BA. the bad news, i would have to wait 40 hours for the next flight to houston.
i thought to myself, "40 hours! i can get a lot of sleep in 40 hours!" as i checked my watch it was only 10h30 on the 13 jan.
winding my way back through the gates of hell, i found my fellow zombies and told them of my departure. we wished each other "luck" and i wheeled my way out of hell.
beyond the point of exhaustion, i found an over priced sandwich, a cup of coffee for warmth (the whole departure hall was well over 25°C - 77°F) , and a beer (to knock my ass out). for the next 30 hours, i wrote down 98 lessons learned on this trip; i also finished "fearce invalids home from hot climates" by tom robins; slept; then i found another overpriced meal.
sometime around midnight, i found an air conditioning duct spewing fresh air and a cool slab of marble.
Agua from gallo1 on Vimeo. "A group of tourists requires water to the airport police, after remaining nearly one day, trapped in a Union dispute."
global voices article + video + reality distortion filter (BBC News, USA Today) + me = in houston recovering.
for now i'm licking a few wounds and trying to remember the past 3 days. more to come later... many apologies to brazil... by tomorrow afternoon, you'll have a lovely video, story and videos to boot.
Locations: Ahmedabad, India
Tags: citizen journalism, video volunteers, DRISHTI Media, Arts & Human Rights , stalin k, jessica mayberry, kavita das gupta, siddharth chadha, community media, participatory culture
Music: leaving you behind, Hermann & Kleine
About: the journey into understanding participatory culture doesn't start with digital technology. the study of participatory culture should arise from the understanding that one shoe doesn't fit all. since my time in ahmedabad, i've come to see drishti and video volunteers as the premier example of interactivity between online/offline, between old media/new media, between bitching and getting things done. the prime directive should not exist on earth. if we truly care about a participatory society, we must embrace tools as forms of technology and work hard to impart their use among all.
i hope you check out more of video volunteers work.
the midwest is a funny place. i know that every place i've gone and meet a fellow midwesterner, i've always found a feller of good company.
smack dab in regional stereotypes, the east and west look at my home state as a humble populous smack dab in between cornfields and coal mines, to the north a short congressman who's vegan and running for president and to the south, the home of makers mark.
i, on the other-hand know something a bit different. i know that ohio is home to six us presidents (that makes it second to NY to the number of US presidents)! i know ohio is home to the wright brothers, thomas edison, granville woods, charles kettering, blue jacket, and tecumseh.
i know that when the economy of the US is on the rocks, ohio has been on the rocks for a few months longer. i know that when the housing market crashes, i can find a desperate home owners in ohio. i know when ohio votes for a president, that president wins.
i know that ohio is at the heart of it all!
as my skybus descended through the clouds, i saw magnificent fields of crops and never-ending suburban sprawl. when the wheels made contact with earth, the precipitation contacting the plane was sleet. yet i new this was no cold welcoming. i walked out of a warm aircraft and flip-floped my way across a cold tarmac into one of the oldest airports in american history, port columbus international airport.
through the maze of walkways, foot paths, escalators, and ramps, i found my anxious parents, impatient brother and a very slow baggage claim. (in all honestly, the slowest baggage claim is in ahmedabad india. in a town known for their ice cream consumption to be some of the highest in the world, ahmedabad's baggage trollers are greased with sugar and grind to a halt the min any traveler has a destination with a time line.)
...back to columbus... so after a brief recapitulation of the past four months, i found myself in a new (circa 2000) lexus with an electronic navigator and heated seats. though the drizzle, i saw what i knew best, middle america. little did i know that in less than an hour i would find myself knee deep in the muddy river we call the future... surrounded by more questions than answers, i sat in the back seat, chewed on wendy's double patties jalapenoioed cheese hamburger.
slamming a frosty, gulping a dr. pepper and devouring a burger rocketed my shuga levels to another planet. with extremely high levels of fidgety uncertainty, my family and i shook off the sleet and walked into cosi's new GIGANTIC new museum.
COSI, for those of you who are not familiar with columbus, is the center of science and industry. it a commercialized name for columbus' equivalent of a natural history museum. since, ohio developed through the industrial revolution, the monicker "industry" is added for full crowed pleasing affect. too boot, many of the exhibits are underwritten by captains of industry.
in this new iteration of the COSI, WOSU (the broadcast wing ohio state university and home to central ohio's public radio) collaborated in the construction of a monstrosity community TV studio. tucked away in a building open 9 - 5, most of the center was under-utilized... well that was until, this evening when 40 some odd bloggers, tv and radio personalities, newspaper readers, citizens of the greater community, my parents, my brother and i (all daytonion carpetbaggers) got together to discuss one question - "What can we do together that we cannot do alone to make the community better using Social Media."
walking into a TV studio with a ring a chairs and a camera pointed on half of the ring scares many people. it damn near gave me a heart attack, i didn't not expect to be on camera nor did i expect such a group gear up for video documentation. despite the prevalence of camcorders, very few east coast groups have attempted video documentation of their events. too boot, if you've seen a recent picture of me, you'll know that my hobbitin height, bearded facial monstrosity and orange cap always seems to be a bit out of place. surveying the room and seeing many clean shaven folk most in "i just got out of work" attire, i was highly self conscious of a formal meeting with a structured sessions of "we want this" and "can you tell us how solve our problems."
first, up on the wall was a matrix of time slots and locations.
second, i saw a poster advertising the "law of two feet" - Law of Two Feet (also known as the Law of Mobility in settings where participants don't necessarily have the use of both feet) -- a foot of passion and a foot of responsibility -- expresses the core idea of taking responsibility for what you love. In practical terms, the law says that if you're neither contributing nor getting value where you are, use your two feet (or available form of mobility) and go somewhere where you can. It is also a reminder to stand up for your passion. (from wikipedia)
third, i saw the four principles of open space (from wikipedia)...
- Whoever comes are the right people
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
- Whenever it starts is the right time
- When it's over, it's over
when the facilitator started speaking, my sugga kicked into overdrive and my fidgeting exploded in excitement... i've traveled the world, and there in front of me, there in columbus, ohio, i was watching the future of news. there in front of me sat a diverse group of community members who had come together to discuss how WOSU and COSI can better serve the community.
in the buckeye state i watched the future of "broadcast" media unfold.
in nyc, i've helped organized many of these open space events, and after a serendipitous meeting of david cohn at BarCamp NYC 2, the two of us bounced many ideas off of each other to work on CopyCamp - an unconference for community journalism. (we are in the process of formulating a grander conversation on how open space conversations can improve journalism - both citizen and professional - for now join the google group and let's corral a few news agencies into thinking that this is a good idea.)
for 15 mins, the group sat around trying to understand the next two hours. as people gathered ideas for conversation, people grabbed a sheet of paper, wrote down their two cents and found a space to do discuss the topic. while i desperately wanted to chat about so many things, i wondered how much would i be perceived as a foreigner. with my bearded hobbitin status in full effect, i wrote something down and waited to see who would pose a topic that seemed more suitable. i didn't have to wait too long to get, andrew, from elephants on bicycles, to propose a topic that sounded like "the future of citizen journalism."
after over staying our allotted time, we log rolled from topic to topic... from trust, to linkage, to content, to business models, to the definition of "broadcasting"... on and on, the room tumbled in conversation from Robin Mizell, copyeditor & former newassignment.net contributor, to mike thompson, director of news and public affairs, to susan meyer director of communications and organization planning at WOSU, to tim eby, station manager of WOSU radio, some upper crust members of COSI's management, to a few guys from the barcamp ohio group... and that's just to some of the more vocal members of the group... there was conversational buy in from so many divers parties.
as we ran through the second alloted time session, many ideas splashed up at us..
- FIRST, continue exploring by hosting more open space events that invite the community to help shape the future. just remember, rome was not built overnight.
- use the COSI/WOSU facility as home base for Columbus's tech community (aka meetups, *camps, more open space events, etc).
- investigate the marriage of freelancers and independent workers within a COSI café (aka coworking). also, don't be afraid of turning to daytime events like "work at jelly" to help crystalize personal relationships. (apparently, an international network of science centers is studying how to keep them self community relevant. if anyone can send me contacts, that would be awesome!)
- open up more WOSU programing for community participation by bringing in community experts (specifically expert bloggers, and not just local ones). comically, when we were talking about "experts" or "bloggers" the criteria came from the same place... people who know their stuff and can accurately augment a show. (btw, one should note that mike thompson, director of news and public affairs already pulls in bloggers to augment his line of pundants)
- point listeners/viewers/community members in direction of online communities that feature topical conversation.
- bring in new media students as interns (aka slave labor) and have them experiment with "professional programming" (i use this term in the looses sense, please see my previous blog post.)
- don't just say it, but embrace it!
- one the shortcomings seemed to stem from the fact that no one was employed 100% to understand the intricacies of new media, community, and exploration. everyone seemed to say, "well, that sounds like a bit of this and that..." yeah, in reality it is a bit of this and that...
in the end what we discussed is nothing new. if you look at talk radio, if you look at community programming, if you look at community centers, or anything that loops community, conversation, and construction - you will find time tested models of engagement. there is nothing wrong with frailty, this is what has placed WOSU/COSI into this position. there is nothing wrong with failure. we must read, write and created or in this case listen, communicate and create. the only way traditional broadcast will survive is to find a symbiosis between a relevant/profitable business model and community - if your listeners are talking, are you listing?
hats off to WOSU and COSI, the facilitators, and community members. you took the leap of faith.... now it's a collective job to find the tussling logs will sustain the weight and carry everyone.
as i've cooled my jets, it pains me that i'm not going to take a road trip across america. since ciaro, i've realized that i haven't sat still in one city for more than four days... SF is one town where i know i can get a bunch of interviews, talk shop, and get some work done (edit video too). so instead of hoppin in a jaloppy, i'm going to bus, train and plane my way up and down the west coast and then fly to ohio. it really does make me sad, but it's what time, energy and money can afford.
the following is a list of people whom i'll try to interview. the list isn't complete so if you have any good peeps to recommend, holla at http://luckofseven.com/contact
San Fransisco Metro Area
david cohn from new assignment / freelance networked journalism
eddie codel from the hat factory - sf coworking & vlogger
neil drumm - advomatic, drupal, hack4dean
craig newmark from craigslist
darian rodriguez-heyman from Craigslist foundation
amit gupta from photojojo and "work at jelly"
colin brumelle from MixedContent LLC & drupal and ruby on rails developer
zack rosen from Chaper Three LLC, drupal association & mission bicycles - a SF bike startup
chris & tara from Citizen Agency / barcamp / coworking / online grassroot communities
schlomo rabinowitz - coworker, vlogger, socialite
erica olsen - second lifer
tantek celik - microformats & open standards
brad neuberg - coworking originator & programmer
ben rigby - Mobile Voter
david sasaki - outreach director of global voices
OAK to SEA - $180
Thursday, Nov 01
Departs: OAKLAND CA (OAK) at 2:20 PM
Arrives: SEATTLE TACOMA WA (SEA) at 4:15 PM
Seattle to Vancouver
Train: 510 Cascades
Monday, Nov 05
Departs: Seattle, WA (SEA) 7:40 am
Arrives: Vancouver, BC (VAC) 11:35 am
Michael Meyers and Michael Tippett from NowPublic.com & citizen journalism hounds
Robert Scales from Rain City Studios - Barcamp Organizer, Drupal
Boris Mann from bryght and Drupal Association
Kris Krug - flickr photographer & president of bryght
Workspace - a coworking facility
Vancouver to LA
Friday, Nov 9
Departs: Vancouver, BC (VAC) 5:30 am
Arrives: Seattle, WA (SEA) 9:15 am
Train: 11 Coast Starlight
Departs: Seattle, WA (SEA) 9:45 am
Arrives: Los Angeles, CA - Union Station (LAX) 9:00 pm on 10-NOV-07
photohunt with julia
zadi and steve wolf from the jetset show
micki krimmel from revver / world changing
Halcyon from Hug Nation
Jerad - Movie director, Vlogger
julian bleecker - scholar and researcher
ben cerveny - theorist & philosopher
tony katz - radio personality
scott smith - programmer
BUR to CMH
Thursday, Nov 15
Departs: Los Angeles (Burbank, CA) at 8:54 AM
Arrives: Columbus, OH at 3:58 PM
this was original written somewhere over the south pacific.
as the hour turns, i cross the equator for the first time. in a nondescript tiger airways airbus, i find the toilet really doesn't flush counterclockwise, i find no big celebration, i find nothing special about this landmark event.
yet my heart, my head, and my stomach bounce in delight. it might have been the most recent copy of the economist or the $3USD korean ramen or 100g of a dark chocolate and hazelnut concoction. but somewhere deep down inside, i think it's because i'm finally making it to australia.
many years ago, when i was in junior high, i use to hang outside the principles' office. surround by wood paneling and a trophy case of the school's awards, my hacker/geek/outcast friends sat under the sole pay-phone wondering how we could harness it's copper to escape from our dreary midwestern lives.
on the weekends, my father and i would drive to book's and company (the most cosmopolitan book store in dayton, ohio) and pick up our monthly addiction of computer magazines, mondo 2000, and 2600. during the week, my friends and i would sit next to the principal's office and scheme up plans to take over the school's PA system or hack the LED student council sign or plan our next 24 hour LAN party.
we were kids. we were geeks. the internet had yet to find it's way into our daily life.
one day, in a fit of youthful frustration, i called quantas and made a reservation to Australia. before the agent hung up, my dreams were dashed. somehow i would have to muster $5000 USD and apply for a visa.
seventeen years later, i have taken care of the two.
while my original plans had me in country much longer than two weeks, my flight to hawaii came at a high cost - fly out on Oct 20th for a few hundred or fly out later and pay close to a thousand - SO my first three days in australia will be spent in darwin sorting my bearings, catching up on emailed contacts, planning my US roadtrip and gathering steam for my trek across australia.
on monday, 8.10.2007 (or 8.10.2007 depending on which side of the world you're on) humpy doo, katherine, newcastle waters, tenant creek, alice springs, coober pedy, woomera, adelaide, melbourne, and sydney will no longer be names on a map nor places a crocodile dundee movie. they and the places in-between will be filled with faces and their stories'.
my flight to OZ was enjoyable. jammed in the tail with a young newly wedded couple, we shared our stories of phuket over a bowl of noodles. as the husband dozed, i composed my thoughts on a road-trip across the outback.
upon arrival i found a short line for foreign nationals and expected to breeze right through. after a small delay with my "T" status. i was stamped through passport control into a customs waiting area.
being honest, i had check off the small little box saying "hi, i've been in close contact with farm animals." not that i actually touched any animals, but seeing how i was in the rural india country side i decided to play it safe. if they looked at my passport and asked me questions, i'd rather play it safe than attempt to hide anything.
apparently, that one little box, was enough "material" to lead me down a long road of questions, interrogation and bone shaking discomfort.
as i've kicked around filling out passport/customs cards, i normally enter researcher as my job title. in egypt, blogger or journalist might have received extra scrutney. in india, i entered as a "researcher" giving a "presitation" at a few barcamps. only on my entry into the UK did i recessive questioning on what type of research. everywhere else, my passport was scanned, noted and stamped without question.
in OZ i spent an hour preaching to the uneducated. confused and bewildered, the customs agent wanted to connect every physical little thing with the "research" i was doing. armed with thoughts of rejection, i started to get nervous.
then when i offered to show my website and a few videos, the customs agent eagerly said yes.
my downfall came when i presented my laptop with a lovely little sticker from CLUB 27. you know the lonely club of famous artists who have died for one reason or another at 27. drug overdose, murder, suicide - jannis joplin, jimmy hendrix, kurt kurbain - the image of a shotgun and sureng clued her that i might be a drug dealer. i then spent 20 mins answering my drug history. from my first puff to my accent in amsterdam i gave her a detailed history of accidents, pranks and idiotic.
on the outside my voice cracked, my hands shook and sweat pored down my face.
in the eyes of god, her majesty the queen and this female customs agent i walked into OZ.
day 80. current travel plans for india, bangkok, cambodia, singapore, australia & hawaii (working on new zealand & US west coast
while a detailed set of interviewees are forth coming, i have planned the following flights for india, bangkok, cambodia, singapore, australia and hawaii. all travel times are local. if you know of anyone who's up for a road trip in Austrailia or when I'm back in the USA, hook a brother up! over the next week, i'm going to detail my heart's desire for my great American journey. like tommy, you're all welcome to join me!
depart mumbai, india on 25 sept at 7.30
arrive bangalore, india on 25 sept at 9.00
note, geek dinner on the 26 sept
depart bangalore, india on 28 sept at 3.35
arrive bangkok, thailand on 28 sept at 9.10
my home slices in thailand are hooking me up with some crazy plans. while i don't know exactly what they have in store, it looks fantastic! apparently, i'll be flying to Price of Songkla University and might have a TV interview lined up.
depart bangkok, thailand on 1 oct at 14.50
arrive phnom penh, cambodia on 1 oct at 16.00
interview KhmerOS guys and explore.
depart back to bangkok, thailand on 4 oct at 16.30; arrive at 17.40
since i'll depart the following day at 14h, i'll need a place to stay close to the airport.
depart for darwin on 5 oct at 14.05. depart singapore at 20.20 and arrive in darwin, australia at 2.35 (in the ass crack of morning)
i'll need a place to crash and then i'd like to start a road trip from darwin to sidney. who's game? i want to see the inner part of australia, rural communities and their internet/mobile access. in sidney, i'm still looking for subjects to interview, and hopefully drop by one of the friday night blogger dinners (thanks Emily Reed).
if time allots, i hope to make new zealand to interview some e-gov folks and donald lobo from CiviCRM. in the meantime, hook me up with geek dinners, NGOs and couchsurfers!
depart for hawaii on 20 oct at 18.00 and arrive on the 20 oct at 7.45.
it will be weird traveling through time! sometime on the 25 - 27th i'll depart back to the mainland. it is so weird to think that i'll be back in the US before the end of october, but(instructions on turning your university degree into a paper airplane and photo by flickr user davekellam.)
Recoded: 1 - 9 aug 2007
Locations: istanbul, turkey
Tags: luck of seven, istanbul, turkey, big apple hostel
Music: (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding - elvis costello
About: after a month of bouncing around europe, i decided to cool my jets and regroup for a week in istanbul. many thanks go out to the following - the big apple hostel crew, öznur özkurt, memhmet irdel, canan irdel, hayal pozanti, matan kaminer, gokce gunel, kenan kilictepe, andrea barker, tomas saledo, eduard trinidad, stephen warren, larz (stephen's buddy), michael the brit, and keith the american
busted flat in baton rouge, and heading for the trains. feeling nearly faded as my jeans...
- me and bobby mcgee
well i'm pretty much screwed today.
i arrived in U.A.E. with full expectation of the arab digital hub to be bustling. turbans, burkas and other head covering struggling to stay on their owner as Dubai's internet super highway turns each mobile into a sandstorm.
on the contrary, i find myself in Sharjah's airport filled with dust. jack hammers and chemical cleaners peel back years of neglect. while wifi is abundant (albeit expensive), power outlets are a premium. if you finally find one not taped over, one must fight a construction worker or fellow traveler desperately trying to charge their mobile, PSP or archos.
as for the first class/business lounge... i was already dejected and escorted out. the lady had it in for me when she peered through her eyeshadow caked arabic eyelids. then there was the fact i was not a first class ticket holder nor do i "look" as if i was on business. through her broken english and calling for "the" boss, our ten minute interlude concluded with me, my laptop, and my funky power plug walking out in disgust. honestly, i was on my best behavior!
with hard drive and powerstrip in hand, my rapidly depleting battery will soon sauce my mental anguish. as i hammer out these last few words, my soul is enveloped by AC/DC's "highway to hell", a chorus of a fifty screaming children, a few jack hammers, and a sole floor buffer.
seeing how i'm addressing a city of 10 million, i'll keep this brief.
on 7 july 2007, i started a seven month global journey to explore the intersection humanity and technology at 12.15 on 1 aug, i will land and embark on a seven day journey in turkey. while i'm not sure if all of that time will be spent in istanbul, i'm sure that a good portion will.
i would love to meetup, grab a drink and chat about your couchsurfing adventures, mind blowing open source projects, or artistic creations. if you get a chance, i hope you send me a message so we can chat!
just when i thought i was scott free, i decided to take a nap in pamplona's airport. like madrid, i had an hour or two to kill before the flight and i thought it would be ample time to meditate. sure enough, meditation led to a full on, hard core sleep. dreaming of oblio and his dog arrow, we wondered through the pointless forest.
right as the album ended, i woke up. nay, i jumped up. something was wrong. something was really really really wrong. no, i didn't develop a point on my head, but my watch indicated my flight should be boarding and in front of me there was no line... frantic, i grabbed my bags and bounced to security with loud verbal inquires if my plane was still here...
pamplona's airport is fairly amazing. right out of the 1950's, there is only one landing strip and two doors - one for departures and another for arrivals. in this day and modern age, they jam packed an xray machine btw the double doors. two spanish centurions stood guard as i shoved my backpack into the xray machine.
then my worst fear came true, off in the distance stood my turboprop with frantic activity to pull of my bag. in front of this horror stood an Iberia airline attendant. she said emphatically said in english, "if you want to fly, you better get your ass on that plane." in front of her, stood four super friendly national police officers who wanted to tear open my bag and quiz me on every geek toy.
after her statement, they all chuckled as if this was a ploy to make me miss my flight. with my bag barely closed, i ran down the tarmac flailing my arms and screaming, "don't leave me!!!"
as soon, as my dirty cheeks sat down, my flight took off to the pointless forest.
my transfer in madrid seemed endless. departing from the same terminal as the previous days sunrise, time stopped for 24 hours. the stores, the attendants, the air, the people... it all seemed to be the same...
once on board the CSA plane, i discovered the wonderful world of sardines. surrounded by 40 spanish high school kids on their way to a track and field event, i climbed into my window seat.
Technorati Tags: running of the bulls
first, thank you to all the new contributors! i know i haven't had an opportunity to put your names on the contributors page, but tomorrow i promise you will be listed...
departing nyc was amazing and sad. i really wanted to bring all of my friends. i would have settled on one. sitting to my left, on the laptop prohibiting iberia flight, was was a little lady from new jersey. on my right, sat two israelis who randomly met another isrealie couple. the four argued, laughed, cried and eventually settled down after some insane bollywood movie.
i would have paid $10 to curse at them in hebrew. every time someone walked by, the woman, who was standing, would bum them into me. when the fifth person walked by, i pinched her ass. ok, i know it's not kosher, but i thought she was doing it on purpose... too boot, she then moved... sorry...
to be honest with you, if i would have known that my flight had two hops, one to madrid and then another to barcelona, i would have never ventured out of madrid. instead, i sat in the madrid airport and stared at the wonderful sunrise...
in barcelona, i found myself with less than two hours to jam. despite this small problem, i jammed my stuff into a locker (4.10 euro), and hopped on a bus (3.90 euro). with a lightened loaded, i failed to sneak into a museum, but purchased two postcards (1 euro). then i walked to one of the grand plazas. with the high noon heat blazing, i hopped back on the bus for a quick nap at the airport (3.90 euro).
after a short flight and a shorter nap, i finally arrived in pamplona around 5 pm. as soon as i step foot outside of the airport, i noted the chilled air and knew it would be a long cold night (1 euro).
with a full load i walked around in circles. everyone whom i asked pointed in a blank general direction. in complete frustration, i approached a cop and pleaded with him for more information. in his broken english, he told me "500 meters, church, right, square."
walking and cursing, i found "punk rock" square, aka san fransico plaza. lined with punks, broken glass, and the stench of piss, i would call this little rectangle home for the night. after depositing my bags (3.40 euro) and with 20 euros in my pocket, i was hell bent on exploring the city sans expenditure.
as the day turned to night, i walked, walked, walked and walked. tired, hungry and cold, i made the poor decision to purchase a pamplona classic. within a bagett, sat some mayo, cured ham and cheeses. for 5 euro i also got a mini-bottle of water. it was a poor desperate decision, around the corner sat a lovely cafe and for 2.50 euro, i could have had the sammach.
for two hours, i watched family after family come into the the bright red coffee shop. in toe, children aged from 2 - 5.
for two hours, i watched mothers and fathers, buy endless amount of cookies. then they would sit and the kids would shove their mouths with pure unadulterated shugga. even with ear plugs, the screaming was unbearable. little would i guess, that this screaming would only be the start of a long night.
finally, after much marching, i limped back to "punk rock" square. for about 10 mins i debated on what i should do. option one, find a bar and drink the night away. option two, get sleeping bag and watch the festival of anarchy. i took option two. i really didn't have too much money and fearful of the glass studded streets, i took refuge on a clean park bench.
as the hours ticked, my body warmed. franky, i was worried. i was worried that i would fall asleep and would then have to fend off some drunk. instead, i discovered a new job. as people walked by, they would ask if i was staying awake all night. i would say yes, and then they would ask if i could wake them up in the morning. regretfully, i didn't ask for a few extra euros and offered protection from drunks...
finally around 5:30 am, i packed up my gear and headed north to check out the runners. the light was amazing... as meandered, i discovered hundreds still packing in the booze and a few sleeping in the urine filled doorways. as i hussled, you could feel the excitement.
have you ever felt the presence of lighting? well, it's kinda like that... with bag in tow and a questionable knee, i decided not to run, but to film everyone else. working my way though the streets, i saw fear. not just fear of a bull... fear of death...
what ensued, i can't even begin to describe. the insanity of pampalona's running of the bulls is unmatched in words. the hour and a half before the run, the air warmed and death loomed. my words have no real explanation of the insanity that festered within the walls of pampalona. you'll just have to see the video... ;)
(gotta run... they are locking the doors of the school that i'm in... grammer and spelling will come later...)
today, i embark on a journey. beyond mind, body and soul... today, i journey around the world.
rom now until i land in prague, i will not have internet access. frankly, that doesn't bother me. to be honest, what really bothers me is that i will be wearing the same pair of underwear, pants, shirt, and t-shirt for the next three days. i know that those physical discomforts pail in comparison to the next seven months.
fueled by taurine, nicoteen, water, and the prospect of getting gored by a bull. i am ready for what happens next. i am ready to see the world.
no matter what happens next, i will have the memory of my friends. standing tall on a williamsburg rooftop, i will never forget the tearful goodbye.
honestly, never before have i found it so hard to embark on a journey. never before have i found my love for so many to be so painful.
never will i forget the hugs, the fears and the seven cheers. as today marks the beginning of a journey, tomorrow marks the beginning of an opportunity like none other. let fortune find us all and let us all be blessed to seek out buried treasure.