|I tried to take pictures on this trip. I wasn't always where the action was and my camera accidentally got switched to macro mode for a while rendering those pictures not so great, but overall I got a few good ones. Other people got a lot of good ones too. (Many of the pics I've used on the blog have come from other people's cameras.) Anyway, one of the great things about group trips is that afterwards, everyone can share their pictures with everyone else.
For all those interested, I've posted my photos on Photoworks.com (disclaimer: I used to work for them and might very well do the same in the future*). To see them, click here. Or if that interface doesn't suit you, you can try this one. (I don't really understand why there are two different shares and what the difference is. Maybe one you have to have an account to view and the other you don't. I dunno. That all came about after my stint.)
If any other fellow veggie bussers have their pictures somewhere shareable, I'd be stoked to get copies. Who knows when I will get the urge to scrapbook*, do a slide show, or relive that crazy month of January of aught 8.
|Sunday January 27 2008||File under: pics, Mexico|
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I love Mexican food. More specifically, I guess, I love American*-style Mexican food, as that was pretty much all I knew...until recently. Mexican-style Mexican food is awesome! Granted they don't have some of the staples of their northern cousins (burritos and chimichangas all seem to be imports to Mexico rather than exports), but the street tacos can't be beat.
River and I at one of the many taco stands. (The cook was nice enough to offer to take the picture)
Even after eating mostly Mexican food for a month straight (I'll admit I had a hamburger every now and again), I am not even close to tired of anything wrapped in a torilla. Aside from the great gobs tacos and quesadillas I ate, I also got to try a few new things: ceviche tostadas, fruit flavored tamales, and avocado pie. Oh man, the avocado pie at Tacos y Mas in Yelapa really hits the spot. (Add that to your list, Sunset Magazine.)
So unlike Italian food in Italy and Chinese food in China, I rate Mexican food in Mexico as as good as or better than the interpretations I grew up knowing. The food alone is a good enough reason to head south.
|Saturday January 26 2008||File under: food, Mexico|
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|One of the many reasons I travel* is to remind myself of the freedom we all have. I know it sounds kind of silly, but for me it works. Too often, I get caught up in my routines at home and forget that on any given day, I can do anything*: go out to eat without a reason, call a friend I haven't talked to in years, or leave town on a whim to some exotic place. Because they aren't part of my routine, I often miss the opportunity. Travel has a way of getting me out of my routines, out of my comfort zone and forces me to think about my decisions. That fresh perspective on decisions reminds me of all the freedoms that were there to begin with.
While traveling, however, I also get into routines (granted they are different from the ones at home*). So sometimes, even when traveling, I find it necessary to shake things up and act on an impulse. Two days ago, I did just that and bought a plane ticket back to Seattle. Not to worry: the bus is still functioning and everything is still going to plan. No knock-down drag-out scuffles that led to the decision; just a whim. Now I am back in Anacortes, wading through the waiting mail*, catching up on computer stuff, trying to remember my little lesson on freedom, and contemplating my next adventure.
To those of you who have been reading my blog to follow your friends on the circus bus, I will have a post of pictures from the trip up soon. And if I hear anything more of their adventures, I will pass that along as well.
|Thursday January 24 2008||File under: travel, Mexico|
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|What happens when you combine narrow,cobbled, windy*, potholed, Mexican roads with a 35-foot greyhound style bus driven by idealistic youngsters* to places 35-foot greyound style buses aren't meant to be taken? Well, up til this point, the only result has been some white knuckle drives through towns, lots of 9 point turn abouts, one near-death adventure with a peligroso shoulder on the highway, and a huge appreciation for bus drivers, esp. in foriegn countries.
Well, while leaving Puerto Vallarta yesterday, we encountered a new little adventure. I'm happy to report that we handled the situation like champs, just like those industrious Mexicans, using the tools at hand and our wits. Now we are in Mazatlan where we have an undetermined length stopover before making the final run north back to cold, rain, and hot chocolate.
|Monday January 21 2008||File under: travel, Mexico|
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|I don't consider myself an unskilled person*. I can swing a hammer, carry a rock, or redesign a website with the best of them. But when it comes to skills that really come in handy while travelling, I don't really have any that lend themselves to making money on the road.
Enter the circus people. Here in Mexico, they have found themselves gigs working at clubs, teaching juggling lessons to local kids, entertaining at birthday parties, and of course working the streets*. They recently came out to Yelapa to take a break from the big city life of Puerto Vallarta and within hours, they lined up a work trade for that evening: juggling for food.
Well, the juggling went over so well that after the music, they called for more. A few of the Jollies had already gone home by that time, so they called on me, circus roadie and juggle understudy extrodenaire*, to help out. I've been on stage a few times here and there and never felt very comfortable*, but never in a situation as both low key and supportive as the Oasis. I really enjoyed myself and people said I did pretty well. I didn't get any free food, however. Oh well, maybe next time I will have enough gumption to arrange something fancy for myself.
|Wednesday January 16 2008||File under: travel, Mexico|
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|"Isolated", "cut-off", "remote", "simple", "primitive", "detached"... For the past couple days, while composing this post, these words have been going through my head. None of them quite captures what I want to say, but there is a part of all of them. Hopefully I can convey what I want to you even if I don't have the right word.
I've always had an affinity for places that are somewhat removed from what I consider modern society (interstates, big box stores, electricity, access to all sorts of entertainment, services, and products). In my travels, I've had the good fortune to visit quite a few: Cinque Terra, Italy; Fanning Atoll, Kiribati; Lasqueti Island, B.C. Canada; nameless jungle village, Ecuador. I've now got another place to add to that list: Yelapa, Mexico.
Yelapa is situated around a small bay about an hour's boat ride south of Puerto Vallarta. There is no way to access it by car which means there are no cars (or roads) in town. People get around by walking, riding donkeys or horses, or, more recently, motorized quads*. Electricity came a couple years ago along with phone service, which allows for the dial up internet that I am currently using. There are a few little tiendas that sell various groceries, all of which keep their own particular hours. Almost all the residents recognize each other and always have gossip to share. The time spent walking to town is usually equally divided between walking and stopping to chat*. Wednesday and Saturday nights, one restaurant turns into a disco that all the young folks attend (and many of the old folks). It is a little gem of a community hidden between the jungle and the sea.
I've been here for over a week now. My original plan was to only stay one night, a chance to get a break from the bus and let the circus folk do their circus thing on the streets of PV*. In my time here, I've found a couple geocaches*, hiked to a great water fall, jumped some cliffs into the river, swam in the ocean, played about 673 games of ping pong*, gotten to be recognized enough around town to elicit a smile and nod from the locals, listened to live music by the around a fire under a palm tree almost every night, and totally relaxed.
Yeah, Yelapa definitely goes on my list.
|Monday January 14 2008||File under: travel, mexico|
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|Tropical climates always have the best fresh fruit (except for berry season in Skagit County, of course). You can just walk around the streets and find people selling fresh squeezed orange juice, freshly sliced pinapple, and all sorts of exotic local fruits. Fruit salads at the restaurants are awesome as well as cheap. Yep, I never lack vitamin C when travelling to warm places.
This past week, however, I've taken fresh fruit to a new level. The place I am staying has fruit trees galore. In our yard, we've got a lime tree that we can't even come close to keeping up with. I've been working on my limeade recipe daily and it is getting better*. There are also banana trees all over the place. The neighbor, who is oh so generous, has 3 different types of bananas, lemon and orange trees (which aren't ripe yet), and passion fruits. I've been making some passion fruit juice that is to die for.
Another abundant "fruit"* that I am absolutely enamored with is the coconut. You can find them littered on the beach or along the paths. It takes some work to get them open but it is definitely worth it. You get a nice sip to quench your thirst and more sustanence than you might think. Amiel, Hallie, and I split a coco on the beach the other day (that I laboriously peeled usingly only a rock) and we couldn't even finish it. Yum. Right now, I've got a bowl of coconut meat waiting for me to attempt to turn into coconut milk in hopes of making a kick ass coconut fruit shake for breakfast. I'll let you know how it goes.
|Thursday January 10 2008||File under: Mexico, food|
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click pictures for the evolution
I've never travelled with a group this large before, at least not when it wasn't totally organized where the itenerary was completely set before hand*. The experience has been interesting. I can't say that it was exactly what I was expecting but then again many parts were very close. All in all, the experience has been great. Now, when I meet a fellow circus person on the road and they ask "Have you road tripped with the circus before?" with a devlish grin, I can answer in the affirmative.
(Oh, and since I just upload this picture because it relates to the whole group thing, I suppose I will link to it even though I can't really fit it into context. Oh, and this video fits too. Group eating and group playing. Good times.)
|Tuesday January 8 2008||File under: travel, Mexico|
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|There are different ways to do a day at the beach. Some people just like to bring a book and a blanket, and just chill. Me, I get too hot in the sun and too bored just sitting there. That is why our day at the beach on New Year's Day was just my style.
There was all sorts of circus practice going on, from the professional (here and here) to the less than professional (here). Some of the local kids got in on it and got a few free lesson and a free show (and who doesn't love free?). Then there was the body surfing, which was awesome. I won't go as far as to say it was gnral shralpingly good, but it was good.
The coup d' gras, however, was the sand city we built, much to the amusement of passers-by. We had some great help from some of the local kids who wanted in on the action. One of my contributions was my rendition of Chichen Itza, which quickly went to ruins because it wasn't behind the sea wall.
Yes, it was quite a way to spend a day at the beach and a wonderful way to start the new year.
|Sunday January 6 2008||File under: travel, Mexico|
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|This past New Year�s Eve* is one to definitely file under "New Experiences" (and no, that doesn't mean I got a midnight smooch making it an even 10 years in a row.) This past NYE, I got to play professional circus roadie (I'll post my business card as soon as they come back from the printer).
The circus folks with whom I am travelling had their big gig at the Four Seasons Resort* NYE. Because of the rush of getting the bus functioning, driving halfway across a continent, etc. there wasn�t a whole heck of a lot of time to prepare re:costumes, practice, run-thrus, but that didn�t phase anyone (although had I been a part, I would have had to change my britches numerous times).
Anyway, the show happened, and despite a few glitches (technical and meteorological in nature), the consensus is that it went well (or at least everyone is glad it is over). During the fray, I found myself helping out in anyway I could (helping people into costumes, helping the magician try out his new illusion, running to and from the bus a million times*, cleaning juggling clubs, official time keeper, grabbing food for after the show, lending my* shoes to the magician, fetching fire, and more)
Anyway, here are a few pics from the show: Vern getting into the mantis, the Jollies, the puppet*. I will try to find a few more pics from other people's cameras and maybe post them in the comments when I get around to it*.
|Wednesday January 2 2008||File under: travel, Mexico|
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