Flashback No.2

Dec. 2013

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…

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Moroccan Moments

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.

A warm flashback on a cold day.

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.

Feast of the Sacrifice

Blood in the streets…

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.

Fresh sheep kebab

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!

Erich out!

A sheep-man approaches seeking monetary appeasement

No innocent observer was safe

pay up or you gonna get smacked with this puppy

Eating Insects

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.

Arrival in Bangkok

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? :)

The 366 day-dream

“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:

Cheers!

Land of the Lines

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?

North Queensland Tropicana, and a van named Gecko.

Hey everyone!

I hope you had a great Halloween and that Fall is going well. They don’t celebrate Halloween quite the same here; I miss the costumes and the leaves and the candy of home. I did have a close encounter with about a thousand zombies however… more on that in a sec.

Since I’ve been running around travelling so much (5 countries in 4 breaks!) I decided to lay low this break and spend it closer to home: ‘home’ being Queensland for the time being. I got sick before I flew out of camp, so spent the first week just taking it easy and catching up with Elspeth in Brisbane. It also gave me a chance to get gear and supplies together for my next big adventure: Project Island Mist (more details on that in a future post).

Els was in the midst of med school exams, but we still found time to explore the city a bit and I have to say, although Brisbane doesn’t stand out too much from the crowd, there are some very nice bits here and there: parks along the river and the Mt Coot-that lookout. At one point, we also found ourselves in the midst of the worlds largest ‘Zombie Walk’: totally by accident, we had a front row (sometimes interactive) experience as all sorts of zombies lurched, crawled, limped, screamed, ran and wheeled themselves past. I’m not sure how many hundreds, possibly thousands of zombs were there, but they thronged past for nearly an hour. It was amazing, there was every type of zomb imaginable. I think Annemarie, Pam and Kae would’ve really enjoyed something like this, I can totally seen them doing it. I’ll try to throw together a video of it as soon as I learn to use the new iMovie app on my new computer… [insert zombie walk vid here]

After that I made my way to Townsville via the “Sunlander” train. It was a 24 hr train ride, and I’ve been wanting to take it since reading that it was rated as “one of the top 25 most scenic train rides in the world” by ‘Train Riders International. With an endorsement like that I had to check it out, $200 ticket be dammed! Video of that coming soon too, I’ll post it here, so check back in a week or so. Was it all that? Well, I’ll let you decide once you see the vid, but let’s just say that it was likely towards the 20-25 range of that ranking list lol…

[insert sunlander vid here]

Gecko

In Townsville I met up with my co-worker and fellow geo Tatjana who lives there. We had planned a camping/road trip to check out the northern QLD coast, which neither of us had really seen much of to date since arriving in the country. We rocked out in her sweet green 1976 VW ‘Kombi’ van (better known to folks perhaps as ‘Toaster Vans’) named Gecko.

 

putting the 'holiday' into 'working holiday'

The further north you go from Townsville-the nicer it gets! The coast was simply stunning: sun, palm trees, perfect warm but still mild weather, green hills and cane fields, and lots of stops to cool off in the awesome swimming holes found throughout the forested national parks which line the coastal hills (they call them “mountains”, but come on-no British Columbian would call those little bumps a mountain range haha). We drove north from Townsville to Mission Beach area, up past Cairns, along the Captain Cooke Highway (one of the funnest drives and most beautiful stretches of highway I’ve ever been on. It’s a winding road hugging the coastline along the tropical rainforest about an hour north of Cairns) and up past Port Douglas and the Daintree Nat’l Park and back. Wonga Beach (in fact ALL the beaches), Paronella Park (a crazy decaying castle and grounds built beside a waterfall, the dream of a Spaniard in the 1930s) and Mossman Gorge  (gateway to the Daintree rainforest) were some of the highlights, but it was really super nice everywhere; I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Palm Trees.

The Boulders-one of many nice camping/swimming spots not far inland from the coast.

Anyways, check out the pictures on flickr! (CLICK HERE). There were lots of warning signs for crocs and I was keenly on the lookout for one, but sadly not this time- saw a cassowary however! (oh and a pretty dried lookin stingray hehe).

Anyways, that’s the latest adventure. I hope you are all well. Drop me a line or comment on my post, it’s always really nice to hear back even if I’m quite notoriously slow at correspondence. Now it’s back to work for a few weeks before the next adventure, which I’ve been planning for a few months now with my buddies Phil and Marty. I’m really really really (did I say really?) excited for it: we’re calling it Project Island Mist and man oh man, it is the kind of thing that I live for. Much more on that to come in a future post tho!

As always, take care, have fun, keep your stick on the ice and can’t wait to catch up when it happens.

Later!

Erich

[insert camping trip vid here]

New Zealand: Now that’s how you do a roadtrip!

Howdy all!

Ok, so I’m still working on getting this place up to date on all that’s happened. You’ll have to excuse me, for I was interrupted on my last break by one of the funnest, randomest roadtrips ever.

on another stunning, empty beach at the end of a random gravel road. AMAZING!

I recently returned from a multi-week roadtrip to New Zealand. The timing was perfect as my friend Kevin (at Uni of Auckland on exchange) had his spring break (yeah… reverse seasons) perfectly coinciding with my break. Say no more! After resolving some initial passport issues, I hopped a plane over to NZ and the rest is history. We toured around North Island NZ with two awesome new friends who are also on exchange with Kev: Jeroen (from Holland) and Casey (from Oregon). In a less-than-sexy but still “funtional” rental car dubbed ‘Candi’, Kev, Jeroen (aka J-Whiz) and I first toured around the top of the North Island, before being joined by Casey for the second week… Wow, all I can say is that NZ has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world! Amazing scenery and constantly changing landscapes, a tectonically active chunk of earth with lots of geothermal & volcanic activity to check out. Amongst it, I was lucky enough to catch up with my fellow UBC friends Alison and Hannah, and share a few escapades. The trip was jam-packed and full of highlights:

Giant sand dunes, spiritual Cape Reigna, hot springs, hiking on the slopes of a volcano (Mt Taranaki), surfing, camping, tubing through glow-worm filled caves, cheering for the All-Blacks during the rugby world cup opener, giant kauri trees, getting lost down gravel roads, meeting new friends, finding amazing beaches and waterfalls down random side-roads, seeing Kiwi birds and yes, what’s a trip to NZ without bungee jumping! (which turned out to be admittedly scarier than anticipated).

Casey has a great account of the second half of our trip on her blog (I purposely didn’t bother to write about a lot of the details because she’s already done it for me:). It’s much better and more detailed than this one lol, so definitely go and check it out here:

CANDI, COLBY, AND CHIPS… OH MY!

Spending our final few days at the world famous surf hamlet of Raglan made me really question returning to work haha. If I had no commitments I would still be there now, guaranteed! Don’t tell the Aussies, but reckon I liked NZ more than Australia! A great time catching up with old friends and making some new ones. Can’t wait to go back.

Hope you’re all well, and I promise I’ll have more updates in the near future!

Pictures of our entire trip HERE. There were 3 of us with cameras, so we got a lot of good ones!

Cheers, Erich

our happy little family, including Colby the Kiwi

group photo at Cathedral Cove on the Cormandle Peninsula, NZ

Kevin at the giant Te Paki sand dunes

We drove down a random back road… and found this!

Casey, Kev and I at the beautiful Mt Taranaki stratovolcano

Alison joining us for some kayaking in the Bay of Islands

body surfing at Spirit Bay

Casey at “craters of the moon” geothermal park, near Taupo

Taupo hot springs

exploring an old gold mining district

Cape Reigna, the northern tip of NZ

Cathedral Cove

Kevin disappointed after finding out the waterfall we thought was going to be 36m tall was actually just… 3.6m tall.

Getting our surf on at Raglan beach

Only the beach break was working, but it was still fun as!

our adopted mascot, ‘Colby’ waves bye from Lake Taupo