Saturday, November 15, 2008

I lost all my money that I didn't earn at the cockfights

I found a $50 dollar bill today. No lie.

By the end of the night I spent every last penny of it on other people. 1 lunch, 3 dinners, and drinks for 2 more. I like to think that I made 6 different people a little bit happier.

That is what I am talking about.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pensive

Once again time finds me at a strange point in my life, this time as I cope with the stress of assimilating into a structured adult life. My creative energy quelled by the time and psychological constraints of school, I often feel overwhelmed with a desire to pursue an epic adventure. Thus, I have determined that I owe it to myself to embark on some sort of ridiculous journey this summer after I graduate. South America is in my sights, and I hope to make it the focus of my planning over the next 7 or so months.

Tomorrow I head to California to visit my brother in California. I'm absolutely excited to be skipping town since I have hopes of clearing my head, but I am more excited about seeing my brother, who also serves the role of my best friend. We have a brief plan of what to do over 5 days, but in any case I am sure we will entertain ourselves and anyone else who crosses our path. We may be going to Santa Cruz, for no other purpose than just to go and see something new.

I also decided that I am going to partake in my own weekend adventures. I want to revisit Charleston and Washington DC among other places, mainly for their nostalgic value. Plus, I have had dreams of storming DC on bike for 2 years now and instead of just talking about it I am going to up and do it by the end of the year (yes I am setting a personal goal). Then I am also hoping to go to Montreal in January simply because I have a hell of a lot of time for winter break and feel it would best be spent out of the country. Spring break should yield a ski trip in Colorado. The idea of being mobile enthralls me, as the reader probably already knows since it is all I talk about.

Perhaps one day I will write something more interesting and less involving my agenda. I feel motivated to write beautiful things, or at least to write about beautiful things, all of the time but it never materializes. Perhaps if I could escape my little Chapel Hill bubble more often...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How I will pursue happiness

Yes, my bicycle is complete and is begging to be ridden. How far will I go and where will I go? Who knows.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summarizing Summer

"Finding a sleeping" in my driveway. For the months of June/July, we probably camped out about 60% of the time- sometimes with only one person and with the maximum being 12+. Great times underneath the stars.
Shirtless bros on the way to the beach.
A coaching session on the lake.
We pulled down our drawers and did handstands on the beach. Good people and good times.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/08/bioko-primates/morell-text


This expedition was what I did in January of this year. Cool stuff.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Weekend and Life: A photo essay

First of all: all of these photos courtesy of Ryan Sides.

The purpose of these photos, which were taken of the course of the last 4 days, is primarily to chronicle the summer of 2008. Lots of hanging out with bros doing ridiculous things.

I am fascinated with handstands these days and I am actually starting to improve my capabilities.
Slip and slide gathering with Stefan's dirty self in the foreground.
I rode Stefan down the slide a few times.
This is a popular picture and for good reasons.
My neighbor tried to throw this suitcase away. I claimed it and it has inspired traveling and laughter.
This scenes says a lot about our trip to the motains: shirtless bros, depants-ing, and scenery.
I true brotherhood picture.
A bro pic with a real life bro (see far right) whilst waterfall jumping.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Reaction

So, contrary to what I expected, I have been neglecting this thing since I stopped traveling, which I think is pretty weak so I am not even going to bother with excuses.

My life these days consists primarily of working. I am a construction materials testing technician at the same engineering company that my mother works for. Its a pretty legitimate hustle and I have been enjoying it thus far. At the least it keeps me busy since I try to work Saturdays in addition to the workweek. My primary role in the company so far has been to transport concrete samples between job sites in Chapel Hill and the laboratory in Greensboro. I also play with soils to ensure their competency as building materials.

When I am not working I am likely hanging out with friends. Lots of basketball, shooting the breeze, and sleeping outdoors. Since I have been back I have been sleeping in my driveway on a mattress on a regular basis because I just love sleeping underneath the stars and the weather has been nice. This week my brother and I started an experiment to see how many consecutive days we can sleep out- today marks #5 and I don't have any intentions of stopping just yet. Most nights we have friends of some sort joining us. So far the record is set at 7 people but this Monday we are trying to break 10 people. We are easily amused. I think the fact that I choose to sleep outside at my own house says a lot about my character...

So besides working 6 days a week and hanging out with excellent people, I haven't really spent much time by myself, which is fine. I haven't even been watching movies the way that I used to. Not much book reading either which I agree is pretty weak.

Next weekend I am heading to western NC to do some camping with a friend. We have hopes of tasting native edible plants and building primitive shelters. Somewhere in there I intend on swimming in a lake because its been too long since I jumped in a natural body of water (although none of the lakes in North Carolina are technically "natural").

As always, life is good. I am embracing it for all that it is worth and I am more than content. No big plans for the rest of summer yet but I am convinced that everything will work out perfectly. Cheers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Churchmouth

I am in Casablanca at the moment counting down the minutes until I get out of here. Morocco is a beautiful country but I honestly don't care much for the people that inhabit it. So many people try to cheat and scam us that it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Not to mention other aspects of their culture/religion that really annoy me such as how women are neglected and animals are mistreated. I have enjoyed my time here but I am in no rush to come back, or to visit any Arab country for that matter. Of course, I also say this at the end of my trip when I haven't been home in over 4 months.

So tomorrow I shall be living in up in Madrid and then I will be on my way home to the good old NC. Until then, enjoy these photographs.


The high atlas mountains.
The autonomous Spanish city of Ceuta, in Africa. My favorite city on my "Moroccan" journey.
Chefchaouen, a white wall city in Northern Morocco.
A nice little lagoon in Moulay Bousselham, where we spent a night.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Morocco

This morning I was awoken at sunrise to the sounds of calls for prayer over loudspeakers. But, I did not praise Allah.
The city of Fes is pretty houses about 2.3 million people and has the largest urban car-free zone in the world supposedly.
We visited a rooftop tannery which I thought was fascinating.
Satellite dishes are in fashion and catch the sun beautifully at the onset of dusk.
Land of the setting sun.
Life in the medina.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Time changes

So by the time you read this I will probably be Morocco-bound. I am definitely excited to go because we have a pretty good itinerary planned: I expect to see both Mediterranean and Atlantic beaches, snow-covered mountains, white-walled buildings, and labyrinthine markets.

Just throwing this out there to get some feedback: when I get back to NC I am planning on inviting people over with the intent of serving them simple West African cuisine and perhaps showing some pictures from my travels. It would be a good way to share some stories, ideas, and unite people I haven't seen in a while. Chances are you are invited. Just an idea for now, more details to come.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Le correspondance

I am beginning my third night in Paris which is a welcomed change of pace from the hustle I had going on in Central/Eastern Europe. I am with my beloved mother so I am not so much on my own for meeting wayward persons in different countries.

Romania was a blast- especially the night I had in Cluj Napoca where I met up with some German and Austrian international students. Budapest was also fun, as I had a most excellent host and ended up joining forces with a fun crew representing Australia, New Zealand, and Florida of all places. The language in Hungary was incomprehensible but the sights were enjoyable.

Prague was surely the best time I have had so far. I spent every day hanging out with locals to some extent, which was my intent because European architecture all looks the same after a while. The first night we cut some rugs at an 80's dance party with an excellent crew at a famous music bar. In the next few days we went to a carnival, and a zoo (which I absolutely feel guilty about) among other great places. The city was beautiful, albeit full of a lot of tourists. But the people were what made it for me.

Everywhere I went people were so friendly, accommodating, and just genuinely interesting. I will try to stay in touch with most of them but chances are I will never see them again. But, you never know because I have an ability to make anything happen when I want to. Meeting so many cool people really brought my spirits up and gave me some confidence in society and the future of the world, especially after spending three months in Africa where it is simply impossible to get anything done and it the future looks bleak. At the same time I got burnt out on having to say goodbye to so many people that I got close to. Maybe I just got lucky and met exceptionally cool people on this trip, or maybe I have really low standards, I am not sure. But I did have a hell of a time and I will always have pleasant memories.

So I don't have much to say about Paris because its much the same as it was when I was here last year. We have been enjoying some extremely delicious food though, I have to admit. I probably eat about a pound of baguette everyday and another pound of cheese to go with it. But life is good as always, and I am at peace with the world. We head to Morocco in 3 days and I am sincerely excited about that, so expect some pictures after that happens.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Prague




Been living it up in Prague staying with a most excellent host. Don't have much time to talk so I posted these pictures. Ciao.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Budapest


All is well in the traveling life.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

So I kicked off my Europe trip by coming to Bucharest. Well actually I wandered around Madrid for an afternoon before flying here, but that was relatively uneventful. I am not sure exactly why I chose to come here but I am rally happy that I did. The city is beautiful and has provided me with quite the adventure I have to admit seeing that I am by myself and I know literally 6 words of Romanian. As I have been telling people that I correspond with: the city is romantic, the architecture in mindblowing, the language is insane, and the money is literally made out of plastic. Let me share a bunch of pictures that I snapped while walking around the city yesterday:

I think this is a converted hotel now but I could be wrong.
A sample of the many really interesting buildings all over the city.
The boulevards and buildings are enormous, kind of like being in Washington DC.
The influence of American culture? Who would have thought...
Fountains abound.
The house of parliament or something like that. The second largest building in the world behind the pentagon.
The parks are gorgeous because all of the spring flowers are beginning to bloom. If you can't get enough of the flowers at the park, you can buy them on practically any street corner. I am pretty certain that the gypsies run the flower trade here.
Feast your eyes on these tulips.
I think this is a library of some sort. Either way it is stunning.

I love this city so far. It is very charming and unlike anything I have seen before. When I order food I have to point and hold up fingers usually. Sometimes I just write things down to communicate, like when I took a taxi last night.

Oh, then something kind of strange happened today. I was walking around and some guy spurts of in Romanian at me. I tell him I speak english, francais, & espanol and he insists that I wait on his friend who does speak english to come. I figured why not, this could be interesting- and it was. When his random friend appears from inside the house he asks me in the worst English possible if I wanted a woman for the night. I am not sure if he was running a brothel or trying to pimp out his daughter but it definitely caught me off guard. Not the first time I have been hassled about prostitution, but still.

So tomorrow morning I am heading to Cluj-Napoca, which is located in the mountains of Transylvania. I am really excited about that .

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sisqo de la disco

No explanation needed.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pop Culture

I get called Justin Timberlake on a weekly basis by equatoguineans. I am guessing thats the only other time they have been familiarized with the name Justin (as opposed to Justino). The fact that I am white surely helps.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

8 days to go

So at the moment we have no power or water at our house. Why? Because one of our neighbors didn't pay their electric bill so they literally cut our cable yesterday morning. But I do have battery on my laptop and the neighbor I am stealing internet from has power as well apparently. Needless to say I am ready to make my way to Europe.

Other than bathing in my own sweat, I have been relatively busy finishing up work for my classes, which will be done with by next week. Every Saturday the guys in our house have been playing pickup rugby, which is surely a good time. We play at Marathon Oil's compound with a mixture of expatriates from all over the world. That being said, I am surprised at how much I have learned about other white, English-speaking countries while being here. I have never met so many English, Australian, and South African people in my life. Definitely provides cultural perspective that I wasn't expecting to find whilst living in Africa.

One thing I am going to miss about this place is the food. Since time is running short I have been eating out a lot, which here, isn't really that expensive if you know where to go. I am surely going to try and recreate some of this cuisine when I return home. My favorite dish is likely fried plantains with spicy rice and mayonnaise. Sounds crazy but its delicious.

Here is an interesting anecdote that I have been wanting to share but have been forgetting to mention: About a month ago, we ran into a Nigerian friend who exchanges money for us. Whilst exchanging pleasantries he told us that his wife had recently given birth to a baby girl. When we asked how she was doing, he responded by saying "She has 2 days. Maybe she will die. We don't know, this is Africa," and started chuckling. Interesting...

We have also been experiencing people coming to our door and trying to instigate altercations. Notably a mute guy who lives across the street and tried to mug our resident director over the weekend. Other than that one of the girls was pick pocketed on the way home from school last week.

I think thats all the interesting stories I have for now. I am hoping to have some pictures up of some of our social events, rugby games, etc. pretty soon because that kind of stuff makes up the bulk of what I am doing over here. In the meantime enjoy this picture of the city and its cathedral.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Buena Vista

The rain cleared up the air enough last night enough to see Mount Cameroon across the Gulf of Guinea. The picture doesn't do it justice-this is a big mountain. Also, FYI, I took this picture illegally.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bata and Diversions

I have been meaning to get these pictures up for a while but its just so hard to get things done here. For the first time in a while I can say that we have both electricity and water so life is good right now. So here we are:

Here is some West/Central African white sand. This section of beach also serves as a highway when the tide is out. It was very clean surprisingly. Looking down this beach is the furthest south I have ever traveled or seen with my own eyes. 1 degree N latitude.
Downtown Bata has a very nice waterfront promenade, and a few public places with fountains and whatnot. Much cleaner and more inviting than Malabo, with a lot less people.

For a moment one would almost think they were in a developed country.
Eh, why not? I love pigeons for some reason, especially when they coo. We caught one in a mist net whilst in Moka- they are very soft. Also, last May I spent the better part of a day watching/feeding pigeons while waiting for a ferry in Corsica. They hold a special place in my heart.

And for those willing to indulge, I have a special treat:



In other news, things are going well in Malabo. We had a really good rain tonight, which prompted me to go outside and run around in the street. I was joined by a few Africans, which I thought was pretty interesting since they must get really tired of rain during the wet season. Nonetheless, I had a great time bailing water from our front porch to prevent our living room from flooding. I love rain, and especially cold, hard rain during the night. I live for things like that.

Sometimes its hard not to feel invincible.

Edit:
I couldn't help myself, I really like this picture of the bros balling at the Colegio in Luba.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Another night on the road

Landing in mainland Africa.

Coming to Bata from the airport. The roads are a lot less crowded and in much better shape than in Malabo.

Life is pretty tough at the moment living at the Hess compound. I will consider this my spring break.

Friday, March 7, 2008

From the mainland.

We are staying at the Amerada Hess compound south of Bata on mainland Equatorial Guinea. The compound is right on the beach, and has just as many luxuries as a several thousand dollar a night resort. The landscape is beautiful.

Pictures from Pico

Good example of alpine scrub land atop Pico Basile.
The three bros: myself, Drew, and Joe holding it down.
The very top of the mountain, with a crater in view below.