One of my distant relatives, the late Gwen Ruckle of Saltspring Island, had quite a knack for art. I’ve tried to find what I can find of her art. My parents own one of her paintings, and the vast majority are in private collections, many with family and friends. Once in a while, they come up for sale or auction. I’d like to track down what I can and hopefully own a few of her original paintings one day…
Around this time last year, in the greyness of winter I had a flashback to warmer times. In honour of the cold winter days we’re having, here’s another Indonesian flashback…
Marrakech – October 30th, 2012
“Much I have traveled in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen…”
-John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer
Some clips from a month in spent exploring, chilling and chasing waves where the desert meets the sea.
Making this video brought back a lot of fond memories of the people I met and hung out with during that trip. It’s the people you meet that make trips special and makes them what they are.
Song is an acoustic cover of Lazy Eye by the Silversun Pickups.
December 30, 2012 – Strait of Georgia
It’s times like these when it’s rainy and grey (true westcoast winter!), I close my eyes and remember the times spent on the tropical beaches, the people I met and the waves we surfed…
Hope this successfully shares some of the joy of travel and feeling of adventure that were experienced :)
The clips are mostly from West Sumbawa and South Lombok, as well as some from Bali, Sumatra and the Mentawais. So pretty much exclusively Indonesia. The airport at the start is Padang on Sumatra, and the ferry is the crossing of the Alas Strait between Lombok and Sumbawa.
The surf breaks shown are: Supersuck, YoYo’s and Tropicals on Sumbawa; Grupuk Bay, Are Goleng and Tanjung A’an on Lombok; Bingin and Uluwatu on Bali; and Burger World in the Mentawais. :) Song is Congo by Vancouver’s Bear Mountain.
Taghazout, Morocco – October 26th, 2012
Today is the holiday of Eid al-Adha, and the streets runneth deep with the blood of sacrificed sheep…
Ok, let me give a little context to this morbid intro. Eid al-Adha (aka Feast of the Sacrifice) is a Muslim holiday. Abdulla, the man whose house I am staying at, gave me the low-down: Basically, it’s based on a Qur’an story wherein Ibrahim was asked by God to sacrifice his most prized possession, his only son, still a young lad. Ibrahim submitted to Allah’s will and was about to go through with it and slit his child’s throat. God, upon seeing Ibrahim’s proof of devotion, sends him a sheep instead to be sacrificed, saving his son.
So now, every year on the 12th month of the lunar Islamic calendar, livestock all across the world are sacrificed and eaten. Our friend Boubker, from Mirleft in South Morocco, told us it costs about 2000 Moroccan Dirham ($230) to buy a sheep (a not-insignificant amount for locals) and everyone with the means should sacrifice one or else it’s bad luck. For the past week, there have been tons of sheep on the move: tied to roofs of cars, in markets, being carried into homes. Bleating. Poor guys, I really do think they sensed what was coming…
And thusly, the streets of Taghazout this morning were running red with the fresh blood of sheep. There are some drums, some prayers and then the poor guys’ time is up. I walked around town, trying not to get my feet wet in the red blood-water running through the alleys and out of drainpipes. Sheep hung by their feet from walls, poles and trees, being butchered on the spot.
By late morning, the air began to fill with the scent of charcoal briquettes. Fire up the barby’s, it’s time to put the kebabs on! It’s a 3-day feast and already smelt delicious! Abdullah’s wife has become infamous in the household for her excellent cooking. (She also makes a mean fish tagine.)
Later in the afternoon Abdullah came up to my room. “Outside, you can see them playing with the skins”. I grabbed my camera and walked out into the street, wholly unprepared for the madness of what awaited. Youths were dressed up in darkened sheep skins, running around, harassing people for money. It was funny until they started beating you with a stinky sheep’s foot. There was an interesting parade, with several costumes. Little kids were painted all black and chased by an Indian with an axe. The sheep-ghouls ran around harassing tourists, locals, shopkeepers and passing cars, and chasing little kids – no innocent observer was safe. They didn’t hurt you, but definitely got up in your face and you could get your clothes pretty dirty & stinky from getting hit with a dismembered sheep foot! Pretty interesting. Reminds me that Halloween is approaching :) It is now dinner time and a sheep’s head is being burnt beneath my window…
Happy Halloween, and after 2 years without it, can’t wait to be back home to celebrate it next year!
I made some backpacking friends in Thailand. Their names are Liverpool, France, Holland and Germany :) Together we adventured around Bangkok for a few days seeing temples, markets and cheering on Holland (and Germany) in the Euro-Cup of Soccer. Here’s a ‘taste’ of what we got up to.
Finally got into Bangkok, only 28 hours late. (Don’t even ask. Two words: Biman Airlines. That story could easily fill an entire post). After the gawking stares of Bangladesh, the warm smiles of the Thai people are refreshing. This city is a true mélange of east and west, old and new, skyscrapers and wats, shopping complexes and floating markets. No real plans at the moment, but there’s a lot of Thailand that I didn’t see last time including Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and the countryside, so I’m looking forward to taking it easy and absorbing the rich culture (while knocking back a few banana pancakes and cold Chang beers of course!).
Song: Death in Vegas – Girls
This film might be more boring to some, but it’s actually one of my favorites. It’s more of a concept piece, the expression of an emotion. Can you feel it? :)
“All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.” -T.E. Lawrence
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” -Henry David Thoreau
Kuala Lumpur – May 1, 2012
Just made a new vid. The concept is based on a year-long (day)dream. In this case a leap year.
In early May, I found myself wandering Little India in Kuala Lumpur, walking the same streets, eating at the same restaurants and sleeping at the same hostel as almost exactly one year ago. It felt somewhat surreal, especially since I was still wearing the same clothes and carrying the same bag as a year previous. I had the strange sensation that I could’ve just fallen into a really deep sleep the night before, only it lasted for 366 days instead of 12 hrs. You know how sometimes you’ll have a long rambling dream where one adventure morphs continually into another? Well I get those.
I was thinking back on all the fading memories of the past year swirling around in my head, like when you wake up too soon in the morning, desperately trying to cling to the fading images of a sweet dream, slipping away from memory like sand through your fingers. And indeed it was a dream that I had lived: my dream of travelling the world.
And if you could take snapshots at different moments, well, it might look something like this:
Words and video by Georgie, a friend I made here in Bali while he was finishing up a 6 month stay. I think he speaks for many of us who’ve spent time here. Images are from Bali and West Sumbawa:
The Luckiest Boys in the World
We come from everywhere; Brazil, Hawaii, Australia, Tahiti, France, England, Spain, Africa, you name it. Like the lost boys of Peter Pan we live on an enchanted island surrounded by magic, steeped in the mystical at every turn.
And danger, yes. The corrupt Cops our Captain Hook; the massive swells, the sharp reefs, sweeping currents, tropical disease, relentless heat and deadly animals. Our lives a mélange of languages, mixed blood, exotic scents, monsoons and perfect swell.
We breathe in the belonging of a place that will never belong to us. This has been our home and the magic has been imprinted on our souls. Can we ever go back to normal life?
“Reality quickly set in when I learnt it was 3000 km away: this was NOT going to be a breezy 2-day hitchhike!”
After spending a few days in Singapore to check out the sights, I flew into Darwin, the northernmost city in Australia. It’s hot and it’s as humid as humid gets. I flew here because it’s close to Asia, so flights are cheaper and I wanted to see a good slice of the outback along the way. Arriving on Dec 21, I had 4 days to make it to Cairns to meet my friend Alison for Christmas, and no solid plan on how to do it.
With flights to Cairns costing $800 this time of year, overland became my default plan of attack. However, reality quickly set it when I learnt it was nearly 3000 km away: this was NOT going to be a breezy 2-day hitchhike!
Still optimistic, took the shuttle into Darwin to check out the scene. The next greyhound to the east coast was $350 and left in 5 hours, so I figured I’d give myself that much time to figure out an alternative. I strolled across the street to a hostel and checked out the message board…. Hmm, cheap car for sale…. rideshare with a yogi to Alice Springs…. Aha! “German looking for funny trip to the east coast.” Half an hour later I was talking to him in the lobby:
“When do you wanna leave?” “As soon as possible.” “Great! I’ll pack my stuff and we’re outta here!”
And that my friends, is how I met Damien.
“Over the next 5 days we drove nearly a quarter of the way across Australia… past 10 foot tall termite mounds, chasing the shimmering mirage on the endless tarmac.”
With a cyclone coming in 2 days and storm clouds building, we hit the road in Damien’s 1990 4×4 Subaru wagon, nicknamed Mr Marty McFly. His rig was perfect. After 2 years in Australia, Damien had the perfect set-up: all the camping gear and even room for my surfboard (next to his boards!). Damien had driven around Australia… twice! He had used up the two allowed working holiday VISA’s and was milking the 3 month tourist VISA for a little bit more.
Over the next 5 days we drove nearly a quarter of the way across Australia. It was all outback, all the time and it was HOT. There are changes in scenery, but essentially it’s all variations of the savannah theme. We would stop at swimming holes to cool off, or look for dead hollow trees to make a digeridoo with. This is actually harder than you’d think: the tree has to be the right width, straightness and length, and hollowed out by termites. The older the tree, the better, as the termites will have eaten a larger hole in the middle. Once, we spent over an hour digging up a dead tree’s roots in order to knock it down, only to saw it open and find out the hollow in the middle was still too small:( Hard work in the heat of the Australian summer!
Damien had an amazing homemade digeridoo. “I cut open over 100 trees to find this!” The beeswax for the mouthpiece of course was from a real bees nest he found in the outback.
To entertain myself, I started counting the roadkill on the side of the road. The record for dead kangaroos in one day was 70!
The final tallies after 4 days:
- 185 Kangaroos
- 62 Birds
- 8 Cows
- 6 Lizards
- 4 Feral Cats
- 4 Possums
- 3 Snakes
- 3 Rabbits
- and 68 unknown furry pancakes!
We drove past 10 foot tall termite mounds, chasing the shimmering mirage up ahead caused by the intense heat on the endless tarmac. Every night we had lightning storms, and if the sky turned clear, a lot of stars to look at.
Finally, on Christmas Day, we drove our sweaty butts into Cairns and I caught up with Alison! With the temperatures well above 30+ degC, it didn’t really feel like a proper Christmas mind you! You might remember Alison from such adventures as the RoadTrip to New Zealand back in September. She decided to come over for a week to check out tropical Oz during the holidays. We all enjoyed each others company for an orphans Xmas and the next day headed up to the Daintree coast for some Christmas camping!
Merry Xmas everyone, especially to my family back home. I definitely miss the snow at the farm, xcountry skiing, playing outdoor hockey and the whole Ruckle gang at the farm! It’s my first Xmas away from home and I don’t plan on having too many of these. My little sis Kaelyn was away too this year, performing in Bern, Germany. Thankfully I caught everyone at Gran’s and Mom and Dad are coming down to visit in a few weeks, so they’ll get their presents then…
Hope everyone had a good christmas, miss you!
[See all the pictures by clicking HERE]