Friday, December 18, 2009

a little more fluff

I have to tell you all that I've really had an awesome eye opening experience here in INDIA. I just posted the one below here and have yet to put pictures but will soon. There's just a ton of beauty here that I didn't really write about. Seeing the tiger for example was one of the most incredible events of my life. What an animal of such sheer power, grace and beauty. They are like us you know! Nothing in their natural environment can attack them and survival is simple and easy. Being in the tigers world gives me the impression that every inch of that land, every hoof that walks it is there at the tigers disposal.. and even if you spend three days driving around in it without seeing one of them you can be sure that many of them have seen you. I think it'll be a few day before I put those pictures up.. So look forward to that! And I'll be home soon! Woo Hoo. I'm going to cook a Huge steak.. rare in honor of the tiger! I'll update more when I can upload pics

Just a little bit of an impression

Well, how to sum up nearly two weeks of hitting the road every day. Waking up early and going to sleep late in strange beds, stranger hotels, Sleeping on trains where few people speak my language and I know so little of theirs. Yes, Where to start?

I know already that writing about these places without posting the pictures is going to be silly. There's a huge story in India. There's so much color everywhere, there's so much action and life that it's so overwhelming I'll do my best to find a way to upload at least a few teaser shots before I'm done here today. I have a terrible head cold from the last few days of game drive style safaris in search of that holy Bengal Tiger of India.. My fifth drive was the charm though. After four trips of looking at deer and monkeys I finally saw a tiger.. wooo, not one tiger, Two tigers. Two tigers in an apparent territorial dispute.. Sparks flew, horrific roars sounded, Striped arched backs launched ferocious blows at each other.. It was amazing!! Fucking Unreal!

I'll Start from the beginning though and see where this goes. The first part of my journey led me west towards the ancient castles of Hindu kings and also perhaps more importantly to trace the steps of some of India's greatest leaders and conquerors. The Moghuls.. You might just want to call them the mongols.. Same diff. Hmmm history lesson here or not.. Summarized the last great dynastic rule of India before the Brits showed up and changed everything was by a great and powerful family lasting 7 generations.

Babbu-- a born fighter and leader of the 14th century was the heart and the beginning of the strongest mongol presence in India

His Son Himayu-- Wasn't a bad leader but smoked a ton of Opium people say he was indecisive. Himayu has an awesome tomb that I visited

Son of Himayu Akbar had 3 official wives (one christian, one hindu and one muslim) Nice! Unofficially he had over 3000 wives regardless he brought back dignity to the empire through close relations with competing nations.. He did represent all of them in his herem after all.

Son of Akbar Jehangi I know little about but his son

Sher Jahan built the Taj mahal for his favorite wife as a tribute to the love he shared with her. ++The Taj is a simple design which probably represents some of the most amazing beauty in architecture on the planet. you'll see in the pictures. It's solid, Built to last, Made mostly of marble that absorbs the light and changes tones with the sun. I believe that it's a must see.. Though the mosque adjacent to the Taj actoually had a profound effect on me as a visitor.. When Inside, I could not help but to feel this overwhelming sensation that I was inside of a beautiful flower. Priceless.. Too bad this is the short version.. I could really go on and on and on

After Shar JAhan two more moghuls ruled until the British basically took it all away. Rats!

Here's the deal about the brits here. There are people who only want to talk about the negative parts of their rule and you don't have to look far to find a story about a beating or hanging.. perhaps mass hanging of dissidents.. But they did bring in a better system of rul, improved on education and modernized India in many ways. At the time the British arrived the Moghuls were doing what they have always done.. War over land and build empires.. The british were pretty good at that too .. In fact better.. So it's tit for tat in that case and I would wager that India would be no where near the nation it is now if the Brits hadn't come over to rule.. They're gone now too so remember that. All the executive buildings were built by the British and given over to the Indians as theirs to rule themselves in.. Cheer On!

Bla bla bla political bull isn't my thing.. You want to know what it's like in INDIA the nation of mystery. We hear so many good things about this place but know so little about it. Here's my impression so far.

Get me the fuck out of here!!!

Allow me to elaborate. The food is indeed very good and the culture is time tested and richer than you could possible imagine. Buddha preached here Hinduism started here hundreds of empires have risen and fallen here. The people now are a mix of all that. India is indeed on the path of development. No, India is a place of sharp contrast! So much so that you may find construction everywhere you look and on the surface, It would look like there's a multitude of jobs for anyone who wants one... Hell, We gave them a ton of our own from the united states didn't we? But There is a huge difference between the haves and have nots for example the CAST system is still very much alive here. There are five levels.. The people born into the highest level can do anything practically where as the people born in the lowest lever "the untouchables" can do very little but beg and live in their own squalor.. and that they do! Who by the way do you think has more children? Anyway, There are some places in India like the Taj Mahal where I think Ohh my god, this is a testament to the greatness of love and the profound nature of humanity itself.. and the next day I walk through Varanasi where the temples predate christ and probably haven't been cleaned since then and think.. Holy shit..Literally.. No, people cannot sleep in shit, children shouldn't have to push cattle out of their way to school in an alleyway and step over mountains of trash, food waste and urine.. Does anybody know what a trash can is? Fuck! Untouchable mothers know that their sick babies get more money when they use them as props so they make them sick with pills.. Is that fucked up.. but who cares, These are the "Untouchables" were talking about. They were bad in a previous life and this is their karmic punishment. To mess with this system is to challenge the entire way of living here. I'm not sure that I like the direction this post is going. so I'm going to end it here. I am in Varanasi now near the Ganges river and want to go back down to the river to see the nightly ceremony of appreciation to mother Ganges it's pretty cool and I can take a bunch of pics of random people there. Strange fact.. the water treatment plant is right nowt to where people are cremated and dumped into the river.. and also something like a toxic soup after near bye manufacturers also dump their chemical waste.. But hey, It's mother Ganges, she can take care of herself!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A new Day in Delhi

I'm here at my hotel on a computer that has a password of abc123.

Today after decompressing for a few hours I ventured out into the city of Delhi via taxi to a govt. Tourist beauro. Usually I just wing travel and fly by the seat of my pants and by some standards, Waiting till I get to delhi to make further travel arrangements still qualifies as winging it. This feels more like flying by the seat of someone elses pants because in less than a half an hour I booked travel and places to stay until I leave India on the 21st. I have some pretty exciting sights to see in the coming days which include but certaintly arently limited to

The capitol city of Rajistan, Jaipur. An Indian historical and cultural gem which is home to An Amber fort, The City Palace and the remarkable Pink City..

The World renown city of Agra which has it's own spectacular fort appropriately named the Agra fort and the Taj ma hall. Word!

The Holy City of Vernasi where I'll submerge myself in hindu culture and ritual

and perhaps the best place in the world to see a Tiger in the wild Bandhavgarh national park.

From there it's a slow way made back to delhi via train and hired car through vernasi one more time to rest before my last half day in Delhi.

What's Delhi like?? Dusty.. Pretty damn Dusty! There's a lot of construction going on here since they have gained so many of the worlds jobs.. Indians (had to get that off my chest)

Really though Thsi city does have some amazing history and culture. Today I just tried to get a little understanding of what India will mean to me.. Here are my impressions-

Did you know that many people here still live in the caste system.. I'm still trying to figure that one out but I'm learning from Shiri the guy who's driving me around delhi Jaipur and Agra (I'm flying by the seat of his pants)

India was ofcourse ruled by the British until 1947 but before that there was a Moghul Dynasty of sorts which had control over much of the surrounding land. The moghuls were muslim though Indias population remains 75 nearly percent Hindu. They also believed in huge monuments to mark the death of the ones they loved..The Taj Ma Hall is one of them Sorta. I'll tell you the love story it symbolises after I get there. But I did visit the first of such monuments today here in Delhi called the Himayu Tombs (I suck at spelling these things) These tombs were a precursur to the Taj and are quite spectacular. It sure gives me appreciation for what a good ruler king can get people to do if he has all the food and controlls all the jobs.. Hurry up Obama we need some cooler monuments in the USA!

I've given in to the food here already aswell. I initially thought that I'd be surviving on crackers and bottled water.. I just couldn't resist the chicken curry and garlic nan.. Ohh the nan. Suprisingly though, many resturaunts don't serve beer or any alchohol in Delhi.. Many.. But not all (wink) Shiri says that Alchohol is a fourth class thing..I told him that I'd be having a fourth class night out before too long then if he knew what I meant! Anyway, the food here is delicious and tempting.. I saw mutton brain on the menu today and nearly ordered it.. Nearly. Easy Yank!

So, That's it. Jaipur tomorrow and a ton of pictures that I'll eventually upload.

Amsterdam's for the birds

I'm just getting my feet wet here in Delhi. I'm still a little jet lagged from the two day flight over here around the other side of the world (via Amsterdam) But get this.. After arriving in Amsterdam and taking off for Delhi my plane hit a flock of birds that got sucked into the engine! Smokin feathers duck man! Crazy huh! The captain said that as far as he could tell there was no damage to the mechanics of that huge boeing 747-400 class sky boat that holds over 400 people (every seat on this ride was over packed with curry smellying gassy smiling people with children..Lucky I had a middle seat too!) But because of potential danger on such a long flight we turned around and landed back at the schipole airport to board another plane.. Time damage= 5 hrs delay. Ooops, I shouldn't have taken that sleeping pill just after take off, I was wrecked! Still, the calm sound of the captains voice had an effect on me that I could only describe as thrilled! I was hoping for a water landing like sully sullenberg made on the hudson.. No, Not because I have a death wish.. I love life! I want that gold pass for flying anywhere any time for the rest of my life.. that I figure they give you if you're ever involved in an airline incident. No such luck. I did however witness that mammoth plane jettosen hundreds of gallons of fuel out of the wing tips to lessen the landing weight of the plane.. Pretty wild, The fuel looked like it turned into smoke as it hit the atmosphere. We landed uneventful. End of story.

Monday, December 7, 2009

pdx preflight

Sitting at the Portland airport.

Here begins another epic journey for me. INDIA.. The name evokes mystery, intrigue, charm, grace, culture, amazing colors, historical struggles, Modern boom towns, poverty, chaos and of course Beauty! Sparing any speculation of what I expect to see and hope to find I think that I’m just going to say how excited I am and how fortunate I feel to be visiting this country. Seriously! Doesn’t the name INDIA just send chills down your spine? It does to me. My mind is a cocktail of swirling thoughts, sparkling dreams, adventurous aspirations and gentle appreciation for the world I’m about to visit. I can only compare what I feel right now to my first pre African anticipation. I was afraid but charged with adventure and a passion for life that I apparently still haven’t lost. Consequently, Every time I visited Africa I was so overwhelmed that I always told myself after a week or two “ Self, This place is FUCKED UP, It’’s so crazy here. I just want to survive, experience and go home. I’m never coming back!” Then after a week or so of being home I thought to myself “Self, Africa was so fucked up but so utterly amazingly different than anything I ever experienced before that I have to go back, I feel changed inside, I need it” I still want Africa. That love affair is what I hope for now with INDIA.

I’m going to see the Taj Ma hall! I’m going to take pictures of Tigers in the wild! Can you believe that? I’ve wanted to see Tigers in the wild as long as I can remember! I’m going to witness first hand the virtues and rituals of this religious nation, It’s monuments, culture and spirituality and loose myself in the bustling crowded perhaps even horrific streets of Delhi.. If in two weeks I can do more I will but I’m not going to push it.. I’m looking forward to coming back here.. This is only a test;) and I’m going to do it right.

Ahead of me is such a huge flight that I dread even thinking about it. I’m not sure why. . But, I’m at PDX right now and my ticket to Delhi is through Amsterdam.. I’m not going to arrive in India until 11pm the 8th- I’m leaving here at 1230 pm the 7th Atleast a solid day of flying! Yeah, You can say ugh for me. I wont remember, I have sleeping pills and vodka!

That’s it for me here at pdx… Next stop will be The green city of Amsterdam.. Wish I had a layover

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Up to date

Click on the video TWICE to watch it full screen at you tube or else you'll miss part of the intro

I'm fresh from the sea. It's been a long while since I posted anything on here so I'm finding myself trying to organize the mess of my thoughts through thick brain cob webs in a hurry. Bear with me.

The fishing season was a longer than usual one for starters. I'll post a link to a fishing video I made last year for the guys here so if you've never heard me go on and on about what I do for a living and how it's all done in person you can watch it from my perspective. All the guys I work with are a great to spend almost 4 months with at sea getting the shit kicked out of you for a buck. Though the season did test our stamina both mentally and physically most of us made it al the way through. I turned 34 this year on the boat, another birthday shared with the ocean. I think I'm forgetting what it's like to have a birthday on land with friends. I did keep a journal this time and wrote about 2 pages every night before going to sleep. Someday,like in a million plus years, I hope somebody finds it and makes a discovery or A and E show program about it because it's mostly about fishing, the people who do it and my strange thoughts as the mate of a longliner. It could be a future cult classic!

Let's see, Here are some highlights

In general, we didn't do bad at all. The first trip was pretty slow. But started to pick up toward the end. Just before half way through the second trip we had to coe in to drop off one of our best factory guys because of a gnarly infection in a very private place- no names or comments here. Use your imagination though, it wont do it justice! Our third trip was pretty damn good. for a month and a half (including the second trip) we caught twice the fish that the fleet was averaging per day.. that is until a manic propulsion problem occasionally interrupted our fishing. We cut that trip short aswell to have some preventative maintenance done on the boat and finally our fourth trip though short because of the season closure was a steady grind.

The weather was wild especially in the last month. Forecasts of 35-to 50 knot winds were common. Fishing turns into a battle with the sea on those nights. There was one night n particular that I remember well, The weather was so bad that I was actually a little edgy trying to get a haul started in 30 + foot seas. I'm usually pretty good driving in that kind of weather but getting a haul started requires the most maneuvering and cn sometimes get tricky.. It was after all blowing rain sideways at 50 miles an hour. I wrote this poem while wedged in my bunk that morning after I got off shift.

The sea quathered in muffly blue- in contrast to a horizons hue.
A storm was brewing in shuffly zunes of rays of strays of windy cayes.
My ship careened with the zeen of fiends for fish we bleed these seas of needs. And all through the night froth’es mumbling wake of tales of whales or rudders quake. To my men in zen of knightly strife who power the wheels of changing life and to the rolling of ocean that we battle each fight-We face in arms each others harms.
Brothers of storm and sea you make mountains we climb to wield our prime. We share this home of mysterious zeal and share the rule we cannot steal. And you rise to meet us with a buffalos grin and race to charge us for fish and fin and we ride your back in awesome gales that live in our eyes when we revere your tales.
So, Know this both, and know it right when you rise quaking howl and winds grow tight that I stand with a force that lives in you and challenge your challenge with not a fearsome que for crashing is splashing and is fuel for my fuel and shall continue with what‘s in you for it‘s in me too.

I try to make up words sometimes as I go.

Ohh, one really cool thing that happened was that I was attacked by a large bird of prey! Believe it or not! It happened like this.

I Just finished setting several miles of longline gear and had to go out side to adjust our xm antennae so that I didn't loose the "coast to Coast" program I was listening to So I opened the door and latched it open without knowing that I had swept up and captured a large sea hawk or falcon who was hiding from the storm in a leigh behind the door. It was a shock to us both obviously! I just heard scratching at first but when I got a flashlight and shined it down where he was trapped, I was shocked to see massive talons and brown feathers crunched into the bulkhead by the door. I wasn't really sure what to do.. I mean, he had some big claws. I mostly stood there awestruck by the sheer possibility of seeing one of these guys up close and over a hundred miles from land while I watched him wiggle his way out.. And when he did get out, he was pissed! Ofcourse, I was the first thing he saw- You'd think that once he got out from behind the door that he'd just fly away.. No! He saw me and flew right at me, Talons in the air, wings flapping, Beak snapping! I jumped and fled back into the wheelhouse into the little U shaped corner that I drive the boat from and tried to sweet talk the bird whose beak by the way could take fingers off and he chased me! This is a valid "no shit, there I was" cornered by a man eating sea falcon or whatever beastly avian name he goes by who was determined to get a piece of me. I grabbed a sguigee that I use for the windows and yelled .. "back off you big feather flapping fuck head bird!" But he just bit at it and jumped at my feet. I had no where to go so I started to sing to him.. Gooo too sleeepp, Goooo tooo Sleeeep Goooo tooo sleeeeepp myy little falcon.. IT worked, He actually calmed down so I kept talking to him Squeegee in hand. I grabbed the phone because nobody was going to believe this and I was still trapped in the corner by this bird and called down to the galley for some help. You might imagine that the cook didnt believe me when I told him that I was cornered by a large bird of prey but he sent some guys up to see what I wanted. I managed to snap a few pictures of the bird once he got comfortable too! But as soon as the calvary arrived the bird knew that he was outnumbered and jumped back outside and flew into the night. Believe it or not!

I'm going to leave the Bering sea update there for now and just upload a few pics and that video. I'm In Juneau right now and although it's a little bit of a ghost town outside right now, I have some explorig to do.. If not Drinking and socializing.. I am a sailor ;)

P.S I hope you like sunrises!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hi friends- It's a little strange writing on this Blog now that I'm home in my living room. Things are good here and it's great to see my friends in Bend. After2 and a half days home I feel like now would be a good time to start unpacking. My sleep schedule is completely messed up and I unfortunately have a ton of yardwork to do as soon as I clean up the horrible mess that a hundred lbs of rotting fish can make when the freezer mysteriously turned off while I was gone. Still, I'm anxious. Every day of my trip I had something to do somewhere that I could learn from, experience and challeng me. I made a little video compilation this morning that I hope you enjoy. I'll keep you posted on my next adventure. It looks like I don't have to work until august 1st so there's a ton of fishing, hiking, kayaking and adventuring to do around here... If anybody wants to visit, Let me know!

Here's the link over at youtube for the video.. make sure you have the sound turned on your computer!