Thursday, April 28, 2005

The travelburro Reading List

An incomplete list of nonfiction, action-packed, bottom-up, Latin America-related reads designed to make you wanna head south.

True Tales from Another Mexico, by Sam Quinones
The guy's a master storyteller. And with topics like the narco-saint Jesus Malverde, transvestite prostitutes in Mazatlán, Tepito, the Oaxacan migration to San Quintin in Baja California; and corrido king Chalino Sanchez – how can you go wrong?

Narcocorrido, by Elijah Wald
Cuerno de chivo, tres animales, contrabando – so that's what the highest selling musicians in the Spanish speaking world are singing about.

Tropical Nature, by Adrian Forsyth & Ken Miyata
For those of us who ain't biologists but wonder what the hell's going on in there, this is the book on tropical ecology. Those rain forests are fucking amazing!

Almost an Island, by Bruce Berger
If you're going to Baja California, read this. Seriously.

The Fruit Palace, by Charles Nicholl
A reporter dives into Colombia's cocaine underworld and surfaces with tales of many sorts.

Marching Powder, by Thomas McFadden and Rusty Young
Adventures from inside a Bolivian jail. Goddamn those Brits are crafty.

Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo Galeano
Classic. Best general read on Latin American history.

The Panama Hat Trail, by Tom Miller
Ever wonder where Panama hats come from? Not Panama.

Living Poor, by Moritz Thomsen
Nails the life of coastal Ecuador – whoa.

Savages, by Joe Cane
How oil is wreaking havoc on Ecuador's Huaraní and the rainforest. Serious and funny.

Tropical Truth, by Caetano Veloso
Music and revolution in Brazil? Now we're talkin'.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Tony Davidson philosophy of never saying goodbye

My friend Tony Davidson, who I haven't seen in over seven years, had this great way of never saying goodbye. He lived in Inverness, Scotland, where he was converting some ancient church in Beauly into an art gallery – even though he knew fuck-all about art. I was managing a hostel, and Tony, the owner's friend, was always around and always a little more jovial (sometimes belligerently so) than everyone else. Seems like every other week there was a going away party at the hostel, and he always cut out before the end of the night and all the drunken goodbyes. "I hate goodbyes. What's the fuckin' point?" Something about, hey, you'll either see the person again or you won't. You don't say goodbye, there is no goodbye. I can't remember exactly. But he had a point.

No Pope in this pizza...

Man, this stuff is goooood

And can someone tell me exactly what Damian and Father Guido were really talking about?

I don't know why you say Goodbye, I say Hello

Alright, alright. So what exactly was going on at bar-seats 11 and 12 on Saturday?

I had my suspicions, but was far from certain until Greg and I popped out for a smoke and saw our favorite wine maker propping up the outside wall with a Casanova lean, chattin' up our favorite writer in a lovely knee length jacket. Gazaang! As Mr Spears put it this morning in his new Scottish (and lord knows how he got the news), "atta boy...Blaire is foxy, good on him."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


The Moscow subway is a lovely place to be.

Key to the whutt?!

Fucking hell, so many keys! Every time I return from a trip, the keys pile up. One of the best things about that year I spent bummin' around was that I didn't have a single key to worry about. Even now, when I'm gone for three months at a time, it's so good to be rid of the keys.

But I always return to the inevitable: First, the key to my parent's house. The key to my storage locker. A key to a new apartment. A bike-lock key. Once, I even saved enough money to get a car key. The more normal my life becomes, the more keys I looped into my ring.

I fell in love with Aimee and got a key to her place. Then a key to her car. But now we're heading to South America, and the keys are dwindling again. We moved out of Aimee's and gave up the keys. We sold her car – with the keys. Sold my bikes with their locks. Sold my car. Emptied the storage. Now, all that's left is the key to my parent's place.

In two weeks we'll leave our last keys on my parent's kitchen table, get a ride to the airport and fly to Buenos Aires. No keys. Nothing to lock up. Just locked in limbo in that big ol' jet airliner without a key in our pockets. Freedom. Ha!

Then, of course, we'll get there and get new keys to a new apartment. But that's it, I swear to god. No car, no storage, no bike. Just a key or two each – max. It's fucking amazing how much those things weigh.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Trudylicious Posted by Hello

Our Lady of Capri Posted by Hello

Something about Guiseppe

Alright, so this crazy motherfucker comes running outta the woods during one of our high Sierra camping trips wearing jockey goggles, telling pig jokes and threatening to sleep in the middle of our camp if we didn't give him Tequila. He kept screaming and saying something about Giuseppe, so we all figured that was his name. He was one scarrrry mofo.

mmm, soup Posted by Hello

eesh, snow Posted by Hello

Ground Control to Major Tom

Are we reaching?