Wired

Coffee, Powerlines and other Stimuli:

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Up for a cup?  Always.  I’m ALWAYS up for a cup of joe.  I’ll have it in all forms.  Hot, cold, was hot, mocha, latte, just a shot, whatever it is… yes please, I’m a junkie.

Traveling and on a lean budget leads to a lot of instant coffee.  At times you only have a kettle and a 7-11.  I’ve dug old espresso makers out of the back of cupboards and brought them back to life.  I need my fix…

I have searched for a good instant blend and maybe I have just gotten used to them rather than think they are good.  “Acceptable” is common.

But when the price is right I find the local joe.

Bali and other places seem to put what I call weasel coffee (Luwak in Bali) on a high pedestal.  Like lobster of the seafood category,  This coffee is harvested after passing through a mongoose, roasted and priced accordingly.   dsc02068

Yes, you can taste the difference between male and female brew.  Enough of that crap.  Let’s talk about Vietnam.

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Vietnam offered, and I couldn’t turn down, cà phê sữa nong.  Slow pour over espresso with condensed milk.  Small but powerful.

Just yesterday I had a beautiful Coffee Coa in Denmark.  A shot of espresso and a piece of chocolate melted into it.  Hygge in a cup.   There is no photographic evidence of the actual cup but this one came close.  It’s a cappuccino in a red cafe with candles on every table.  Lovely and 25 Krone.

Ok enough coffee. What is up with the electricians in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand?  Is there a contest I’m missing?

There are lines laying on the ground and hanging low across sidewalks in Da Nang begging the question, “It that hot?”.  I didn’t stick around to find out.

Code? What Code?  I’m not an electrician but I do know this wouldn’t fly in my neighborhood.

 

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Other stimuli: Pull tab Beers.

 

Scooters 

“Okay, no problem, I can carry that on my scooter.”

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Nothing prepares you for the amount of talented scooter riders when you travel to Bali.  Coming from The States where a few areas might have what seemed like a lot of motorbikes.  Or it may be summer when more riders are out and sometimes even grouped up together on a tour. The numbers here are unreal. They just keep coming and from all directions.

Oakley, my youngest son of eight years age was saying the word “there” as in, “there is one” from the moment we left the airport until I told him he needed to stop (keeping Dad’s sanity is priority).

“There, there, there, there, there, there……There, there, there, there, there,…”

The thing is, I don’t think those riders in the USA stand a chance in what I believe to be some bizarre competition held on the narrow streets of Bali.  The rules are pretty straight forward with the only goal being…get to where you’re going without dropping something.

The players compete in two categories.

  1. Largest amount of items carried either by weight or bulk.
  2. Top level of unexpected weirdness or level of danger of items carried.

Note: A player may enter both categories in one ride

Here are the contestants.  Help me judge by choosing your top 3 and replying in the comment section below.

Sorry for the lack of photos, the riders come up fast and I spent most of my time staring in astonishment while mentally placing them into the appropriate category.  

  1. Two car tires (not scooter tires…car tires on 14 inch rims.)
  2. Family of four (it’s okay, the kids are in a Baby Byorn type thing or standing between your legs up front)
  3. You, me and my dog (pets are pretty popular to take on a ride. Just have a good grip on them and have them lay across the seat between you and me.)
  4. Surfboards (This increases the danger factor by adding a wing, or shark fin depending on placement.)
  5. Birdcage (with bird. Covered. Usually a cockfighting rooster)
  6. Air compressor (Good size one that needs a handle and wheels to move around the shop)
  7. Juice bottles (6 or 7 cases of glass bottles. Stack them high for additional danger)
  8. Umbrella (open, because it started raining and you are still going to get where you were headed.  This takes a high level of skill due to wind generated by movement and the use of one hand to hold the umbrella leaving only one to control the bike.)
  9. Four, 5gallon water jugs (full)
  10. 6ft. Stack of welcome mats (see pic)img_7365
  11. Bowsaws (4 of them)
  12. Mailbox (big)
  13. Fifteen flats of eggs (not in a box, not wrapped in plastic, not tied. “hold these.”)
  14. Three, 5gallon plastic jugs of gasoline (Obviously more danger than the water guy but what if they crashed into each other, sparking the petrol and then adding the water? I see bonus points here.)
  15. Breadfruit 30+ (These are as big as watermelons at times.)
  16. All manner of plants (including a 40lb Tarrow root or 1/3rd of a tree.)
  17. Three foot pane of glass held by the passenger upright (I thought he was raising his fists in victory during the ride because I couldn’t see the glass.)
  18. Six foot Ladder (Attached at the back or on the rider’s back, positioned straight up)
  19. 40 balloons (inflated)
  20. Scissors
  21. Eight cases of soda and beer (danger factor is increased due to the value placed on the beer.)
  22. Sharp bamboo sticks (placement was key here. The driver had the sharp ends pointed up between his legs.)
  23. A cooler or “esky”as the Aussie call them. (one that holds around 70 cans, filled heaping with ice, no lid)
  24. Four to-go container sleeves (not the small ones, the big ones, no box.)
  25. 2 or 3 giant pillows full of packing beads. (see pic below)img_7777-2

There you have it. Now you just have to imagine these competitors riding in tight traffic, on narrow streets with dogs, cars, trucks, and other folks on scooters filling any open space.

I realize Bali may only have a fraction of the scooter traffic that Vietnam has.  At least that is what I’ve heard.  I can’t wait to see for myself.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your responses.

Staples

DSC02066I wonder if there is an office supply store on Bali dedicated to staples. Hell, maybe the Staples that shut near our house in Portland was just in the wrong market.

Here is what I know and trust me I have done extensive research into this… The Balinese use ten times the amount of staples we do. I’m not talking about binding papers together to hand in to the professor. These folks use them for absolutely anything they need attached or stuck together.  Decorations are everywhere.  Trees are given sashes of fabric. Temples are dressed up as well. DSC02299

 

 

 

 

Bali is constantly praying or maybe it’s called placing an offering. Every house does this and in multiple locations.

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A multitude of celebration baskets made of staples and dried palm leaves.

Store owners will place an offering in order to have good sales (I’m totally trying this in the next troubled restaurant I consult for).

Ok back to explaining the amount of staples. Where were we…. Ah yes, each house or building will place multiple offerings and each offering is usually placed in a basket made of palm leaves stapled together.

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7 staples in this small clam shell for chilies. 7!

Each spice packet in the supermarket is stapled shut.  Every clam shell (restaurant to-go box) is stuck will staples. Intricate ceremony gifts and decorations are stapled together.

The actual numbers are incalculable.

Here is an offering placed on top of a generator for a big winch system as a crew builds a wall.  I’ll be trying this instead of preventive maintainance on all my future vehicles. DSC01975

Changing Pace

Dear internet,

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An Aussie Magpie (They about as big as a fryer chicken and not to be messed with)

It has come to my attention that my dream of being able to write at a pace that would keep up with amount of data I am taking in is both overwhelming and impossible.

My brain works on stories and tries to tie things together.  I tend to sit on a story for a long time.  Remember when I told you I once spent two years working on a chuck box and most of that was planning?  Well, I caught myself trying to write stories in my head with out actually writing anything.  This way of thinking has turned my thoughts into a jumbled mess.

In the past 60 days of traveling I have not written nearly enough.  I need to be getting more out of my head.  Thus, I have decided to change the way my blog works for me.

This blog is for the folks interested in following our journey through my eyes and folks wanting to know what it may be like to travel the world with wife and kids.  I have discovered it needs to be for me first and foremost because my memory is crap.

I have notebooks of what I see, hear, and experience on our travels.  These notes are not pretty.  They don’t say more than a few words about a topic or subject.  I wouldn’t want anyone to try to decipher what I had jotted down in the back of a bouncing car.  Future blog posts will contain some of these ramblings.

Please think of this as more of a journal from now on or until I change my mind again.  The information I’m trying to hold on to is too great.  If I don’t log it, it will escape me.

This is still my photos and all that.  I’m just looking to increase the posted information.  I may, from time to time, surprise you with longer stories with more depth.

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The Australian Magpie is known for “swooping” during the spring breeding season.  so mush so that the cyclist wear helmets with zip ties sticking out all over.  This technique makes you look like a porcupine head.

I first thought the young cyclist had forgotten to remove the decorations from her helmet since a recent parade.  Not so.  Apparently, the Magpies will swoop so mush so that there are signs up in parks warning folks that this is a thing and that the damage can be pretty horrible.  Loss of eye and or cuts on head and ears happen quite frequently.  In other words they are total ***holes.

But wait, there’s more.  The Magpies have friends called Butcher Birds.  Smaller and slightly different in coloring.  Both are black and white but the Butcher has a full white apron.  Butchers also like to swoop.  (Well there’s another sentence that I didn’t know I would write.)

We lucked out and didn’t have any issues and survived the spring.  Back home I think this would be called a “hunting season” but the Magpie is a protected bird in Australia.  In that case there should be free helmet or umbrella (they work to protect you as well)  stands all around.