Random thoughts for those who travel. Ridiculous thoughts for those who dont. Until you know me, it might not make sense.HA.

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Colombia……a pictoral essay.

A brief pictography on Colombia, complete with a little commentary.  Individually the images illustrate life in Colombia.  Collectively – and in comparison – they tell quite an interesting, if not funny story.  Read it all and scroll slowly. Enjoy.

FUN AND GAMES

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One of the best fighters in history.  Not sure who he is though, looks tough.

This is the grand city bull fighting ring in downtown Bogota. Quite a structure and quite the tradition.

Downtown Bullring in Bogota.

Downtown Bullring in Bogota.

The bullring was closed by ‘Prime Ministers’ orders in 2012 and re opened as an outdoor skating rink.

DSCF2480And yes this is actual ice. Paid admission, noggin holders and padding, incl.

And from a traditional sport to a non-traditional sport and back to a more traditional one…………..and this certainly is one.

 PAST TIME SPORT

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It looks like a simple game of throwing something for points.

Tejo (pronounced Te-ho) is a National game in Colombia.  It is not found everywhere, but when you find it, its pretty cool.  The three times I was actually able to find an arena and we went, the game cost the same to play.  In all threes instances ‘senor bartender’ approached the group and we discussed playing and what was involved.  The “ante in”, I have to refer to it as, was 15 beers.  Yes, one-five.  Brought to us in a case along with the discs to throw….and a little bit of instruction…..not much. This is yours truly, three Brits looking on. Good people.

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The goal is to land the disc on one of the triangles which are sitting perched on the edges of an iron ring…..look close.  This throw was close to the target.

If you are really lucky (or skilled enough) to hit one of the triangles dead on, there is a wonderful little reaction. really skilled players can do this two or three times in a row…..for us, it was a matter of pride to at least hit one, once.  We did…….I did, at least

tejo colombia

 The triangles are filled with a bit of gun powder. Everything striking together at the same time makes the ka-boom. And man it feels good. Fun Times.

DSCF2660And for the record – Beer selection: Poker, Aguilla, Club Colombia. Mix them up if you want, but you buy 15 – none the less – in order to be able to play for as long as it takes you to drink the suds. Senor bartender and instructor on the right of the pic. Nice stash.

SOME LOCAL FARE

Colombian BBQ Bogota

Colombian BBQ Bogota

Downtown Bogota features a couple of these BBQ restaurants with this impressive vertical style grill cooking up various meats.  You can get an assorted plate of chow for around $12/pp.  The grill masters working street side entice people passing through by offering a sample of something savoury handed to you on the end of a prong……..seems pretty good.

DSCF2517 A tasty looking sample. It actually works getting you into the restaurant of course.

Between chews it is quite likely that you would ask what exactly you are eating.  Beef? Chicken? Pork?  Carne? Pollo? Cerdo?  After a resounding ‘NO’ to these three likely choices, the employee then hands over a little sign depicting the animal who’s meat just went from the grill to your hand then your mouth.  What is it exactly?

DSCF2516The “Chiguiro”

The Chiguiro is in fact the largest rodent on the planet  and is found and sometimes eaten throughout South America.  Its bigger than a beaver, reproduces like a rabbit, hangs out in packs like a wolf, eats like a rat, barks like a dog, and is as big of a pain in the ass for residents and homeowners as racoons are to us here in Canada. There is some interesting information about the animal on Wikipedia.  Click here for Chiguiro facts and figures on Wikipedia.

The best line on Wikipedia about the Chiguiro is below:

“The meat is considered unsuitable to eat in some areas, while in other areas it is considered an important source  of protein”

As always and with anything: Buyer beware.

A LITTLE BIT OF CULTURE

The Colombian National Museum in Bogota is an impressive building that was originally (and previously) used as a prison.  It has some impressive spaces and works to look at.  Certainly (as in everything in Colombia), there are some interesting and opposing works and exhibits.

DSCF2520A gorgeous and spacious room to look at the works.

There are many examples from one of the most celebrated Colombian artists known as Fernando Botero.  He is known for creating bloated, oversized depictions of people, animals and elements of the natural world.  Certainly he is prominently featured in this museum.  Lots of big bums and rounded people.

DSCF2620Before cosmetic surgery in Medellin become so popular including the ‘butt implants’, Botero led the way in sculpture.

A little bio on Fernando Botero.

Back to the prison feel and open spaces…oh if these walls could talk.

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And finally the ‘piece de resistance’, a piece of a meteor that struck and landed in Vichada, Colombia.  Somehow doesn’t see to fit in the museum filled with art.

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Nor does the headless statue.

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List of famous people over history who were beheaded.

A complete list of impact craters on earth.

 SOCIALIZING

Travelling is not at all travel without meeting a whole bunch of other travellers from all walks of life and from all over the world. This particular guys name is Russell.  I met Russell during my first week in Colombia.  Like me, he arrived with very little plans for his adventure.  Unlike me, he was travelling on a very very tight budget, was busking at nights to make ends meet and our differences dawned upon me when he stated he arrived in Bogota with only $100 in his pocket.  To further differentiate between us, Russell was going to depart Bogota in a few days, and do so on foot.  I was in shock to be honest……walk out of Bogota?  No fares for buses or taxis or anything of the sort…..just simply walk.  Out of monetary necessity and pure enjoyment Russell went about his journey, one step at a time.  To be honest, I thought the idea was a bit crazy.

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And to prove the point, we came upon Russell on his way out of town.  Hes not hitching a ride but was waiting for a western union money transfer to arrive of $100usd and then he would be on his way.  Once again it dawned on me……who would think of just leaving city and heading out (route unknown) with only $100 in their pocket?  Money that Russell told me he would use on provisions.  Say the words provisions, walking and Bogota in the same sentence and you are either the craziest or coolest guy in town.  Russell was a pretty cool dude. age:26. hometown: Pheonix, AZ. Profession: Artist/Musician. Full name: Russell A. Barnes, look him up.

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SAVING

Stray Dog: Day 1

While staying at Los Pinos Hostal, high in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the north coast of Colombia, we had a visitor come by looking well worse for the wear.  The visitor was the dog you see below and this picture is of him when he arrived.  Barely able to put one foot in front of the other, the stray was certainly on his well worn out death bed…..he’s probably been there for a while.  After a few hrs of him scared and timid and looking like he needed something to eat at least, I recalled a similar dog we had in Utila Honduras that (due to the physical nature of him), we called ‘Bones’. And this dog was now another ‘Bones’.

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Bones must have made quite the impression on his first night…….everyone was horrified by Bones at first but for different reasons.  Some were horrified by his skidish nature, and protruding frame, wanting the dog to just ‘go away’…..others were horrified about the lack of strength and health of the dog and were very compassionate for him, wanting just ‘to feed him and get rid of his ticks’.  I was neither here nor there on the particular topic until the following morning, although I did name him Bones.

Upon checking out of Los Pinos the next day, one of the guests turned to myself and handed me a bill.  Not a bill of sale, but a bill.  Amber put 50,000 Colombian pesos in my hand and asked me to “take care of Bones”.  Not only that, but that she would also send money each month to continue the care.  Folks, its not one for me to step up and suddenly start my first NGO or anything, but the look of Bones and the plea by Amber were two things you couldn’t say NO to.

Suddenly the dilapidated Bones was in my hands at his new home Los Pinos Hostal.  We did our best to feed him, take out his tics, and he did his best getting to know the other resident dogs Luna and Brando.  We fed him and he got stronger and more confident.  In a matter of a few weeks his tail would sail high above his body, he would run and prance and even bark (although this would take the wind out of him).  We witnessed, in front of our very eyes, the re-socialization of a well worn out canine.  Bones came to life.  I could go on and on about it, but for the sake of brevity the long and short of it is:  Amber saved Bones, we did the work and the dog responded.  Almost a love story if there was one.

By the end of three weeks I had made my way down to the city and purchased some eye drops for an infection as well as the best flea and tick collar money could buy.  I got him used to both very quickly, and the photo below shows a very proud Bonsey.  Complete with his new collar he’s more than happy to show off.  21 days folks.

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Senor Bones, bless him.

More to come, thanks Colombia. 2013.


MY LIFE in 36 Pounds…….how not getting caught up in Columbia House allowed me to go to Colombia.

06 April 2013

The first time I was ever given proper credit was sometime in the 80’s at the exact moment I received my eight carefully selected tapes from Columbia music company. Six to eight weeks previously I was tearing apart postage stamp representations of music albums, licking them on to a selection sheet, and getting involved in the wonderful interdependent worlds of consumption and consumerism.  After hand writing the application (re: name and address), and the envelope, I walked off to the mail and sent in my very first credit application. Beuf!

Original offer sheet from Colombia House circa 1989.

Original offer sheet from Colombia House circa 1989.

Wetting the appetite of the young consumer this credit purchasing trend did not cease with the advent of the CD, although Colombia Music House succumbed, but rather increased and manifested its self into every aspect of our everyday lives. When I started college there were very few people holding their own credit cards, but by the time I walked down the aisle for graduation, you couldn’t get through the school year without being approached by dozens of credit card companies vying to sign you up.  If the free mug or “something U” tshirt or flannel uni pants didnt entice you to sign up as you walked the hallways of higher education, then maybe the allure of having a photo of your alma matter on that little piece of plastic – with a little visa or mastercard logo in the corner – would…..or eventually did.

With credit being king, suddenly a lack of fluid cash did not cease our purchasing power.  In fact, credit increased our ability to buy goods and we did so at an ever increasing rate.  We were inundated with phrases like “don’t pay a cent”, “do not pay till the year 2005”, and “no money down” until they became context of this new popular culture.  As a group we were dealt a wonderful hand of increased tuition and cost of living, lower wages, higher unemployment, and larger debt load.  This didn’t phase us however as we had access to credit, and companies were offering this credit to us at an alarming rate and with increasing frequency.  We bit and we bought.  And we bought and we bought.

We don’t need to look much further than our own debt loads and credit problems to know the rest of the story.  More and more people are struggling to make even minimum payments and the interest rates are astronomical. 

A recent FB status update from a friend who captioned "credit cards are getting a work out today!"

A recent FB status photo update from a friend who captioned this:  “credit cards are getting a work out today!”

Taking solace in the vast amounts of goods contained in our homes, garages, closets, and basements and finally making their way to the land fill – the debt continues its stranglehold.  Strangely enough, a frequently used “feel good” remedy is the purchase of an Iphone, even throwing out the old one and lining up for an hour for the opportunity to spend $500 on a new one (re: more credit, and signing up for a 3 year contract)  because then the phone is free right?.  Smart isn’t it?  Not really……but it feels good in that moment, so I’m told, or so it appears.

And there it is, we have stuff and we have debt and we live with it.  Some people are even comfortable with it, wouldn’t know what to do without it, the new normal. Gather those airmiles, but never take flight.  For me conversely it’s the flight I’m looking for, and for what I like to take.

I am able to do this because I don’t have debt (re:things) that create the debt and thus keep one grounded in one spot for a long long time.  This new world normalcy for many, is for myself, so foreign.  Debt controls us, strangles us, and holds us like a bear hug we want to get out of but in some sense we like – and are used to, not like we have any other choice. 

When packing for my recent 3 month trip to Colombia I took all of what I needed, but what some might call the bare essentials.  My entire life for 90 days on the road was folded up into a backpack that weighed 36 pounds at the airport check in.  That is all.  My entire living existence was contained in one bag slung on my back and really, this is all I needed. 

Although I was introduced to consumerism, credit and consumption by Columbia Music House some twenty five years ago, I did not get caught up in this culture as most did.  For some reason (maybe years of living day to day during and after university with a strict accounting dad holding the reins), I paid off my debt and never returned.  I clearly remember the day I became 100% debt free, it was the first time I actually felt free…..and it was a great feeling .  A better feeling than I received from anything Ive ever bought.  Suddenly I was empowered and able to make choices in life based on what I wanted to do not what I had to do.  Happiness and mobility increased, working hand in hand like a secret formula we were never taught or shown.  I continue to challenge myself to work with what Ive got and not extend myself beyond my means.  Its fairly easy when travelling in second and third world countries but understandably harder whenever I return home for more than a week or two.  With that said, each time I purchase a plane ticket Im reminded why I don’t want an Iphone or new living room set or the latest kicks, and why I just laugh at people who’s local grocery store is Costco (re: you never leave there without spending a couple hundred bucks).

In essence,

Not getting caught up in Columbia Music House, has allowed me the opportunity to travel COLOMBIA! 

For the interested, here is a complete list of what thirty six pounds of goods in a backpack adds up to:

Colombia Packing list:

-2 pairs of jeans

-1 pair light weight hiking pants

-1cargo shorts

-1 swim shorts

-5 underwear

-3 pairs socks, 1 pair wool socks

-5 t-shirts

-1 long sleeve T shirt

-3 button down shirts

-1 pull over fleece

-1 rash guard

-1 hoodie

-1 winter hat

-1 hat

-1 rain coat

-1 pair lightweight hiking shoes

-1 pair flip flops

-head lamp, sewing kit, bottle of camp soap, flashlight, toiletries, sunscreen, sleeping bag, travel pillow, quick dry towel, snorkelling gear, 2 books, note pad, bag of band aids, swiss army knife,

-(in my carry-on not incl in the 36lbs). laptop, speakers, iPod, earphones, usb stick, camera, cell phone, chargers.

Things I didn’t use, or were lost or stolen on trip:

-2 button down t-shirts (not used)

-winter hat (not used)

-sewing kit (not used)

-1 book (not read)

-cell phone (stolen)

 

Foot Note: An interesting article about how Colombia House was able to make money through their sales scheme in the 80’s and 90’s

http://mentalfloss.com/article/28036/its-steal-how-columbia-house-made-money-giving-away-music

Colombia Music House Logo.colombia flag


Danny riding bareback – a tour of Los Pinos Hostal, Colombia.

Inundated with various animals and wildlife high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains outside Minca Colombia, Danny decided to take one unsuspecting mule under his wing.  After a few days of joking that the mule was now adopted by the hostal, we encouraged Danny to prove his relationship with this beast of livestock AND to make friendly contact.

However, this would not be enough for the onlookers who chided Danny to actually mount and ride the mule.  With little coaxing, this relationship between man and his animal was established and caught on camera for all to see.

What follows, ends up being a nice little outdoor tour of Los Pinos Hostal, and the landscapes and views this wonderful place offers. You will also get a glimpse of the largest hammock in Colombia….check it out.

If you go, you too can ride the mule if you’re up for it.  Pretty much anything goes at Los Pinos, SO, if there is something you want to do you will never be met with “you shouldn’t do that”, but rather “go for it”……of course, no matter what the consequences might be.  Sometimes things just seem to be normal given your surroundings and environment.  Kids, don’t try this at home.


The best medicine for fear is to face it.

For some years, some many years ago, I suffered with bouts of anxiety that surfaced for no real explanatory reason what so ever.  Trying to combat the limitations this feeling can exacerbate I realized that the best way to over come was to face this anxiety head on.  For some people this anxiety surfaces in daily living, for others it is brought on by events or scenarios associated with the aforementioned stress.  Personally, I could not determine the root cause nor the factors which brought this upon myself.  With that said, when this feeling came upon me in theory or actuality, the best way I could overcome the issue was to face it head on and go for it.  The resulting accomplishments would then serve as a backboard – or bench mark so to speak – and check, that the anxiety was driven down beyond any means of resurfacing….and hence healed.  Travel was one of those scenarios for me which could bring upon anxiety. Unfamiliar people, places and things could in essence, get me anxious.  So, to over come…..you just GO. And Go. And Go. And that I have.  Diving was as well was something I wasn’t to particularly fond of – BUT – to overcome I had to come face to face and simply continue till that anxiety was so small it was non-existent. Some 1000 dives later and I’m master of the sea.  Bringing me to this next point.

Falling/floating/flailing from the sky from absurd heights in something that most people would be apprehensive about and possibly anxious.  Not good regular – I’m about to have a big job interview anxiety – but real unhealthy limitation experience anxiety.  One that cripples you and shapes your choices and experiences from that point on.  So, in that, Paragliding is one of those activities I’m not fond of in theory….and something I would never consider doing.  However, as per my usual medicine in these cases, it was best to hit this apprehension head on.  Thus, when I was thinking about my trip to Colombia and the possibility of going paragliding, taking part in this activity was not an option, it was a need.  An internal need to find that back board and burry that anxiety once again.

I accomplished the paragliding and lived to tell.  Im better off for it and although it really was a “stomach in the throat experience”, I would now consider doing it again, somewhere else, some other time.  I took a video of part of this experience.  It shows me floating around and somewhat enjoying myself.  We return to the landing zone and are still very high above when the pilot asks me if I want to do “some spins”. Everything inside me said” no freaking way”, but alas in the video you can hear me say, “lets go for it”.  The video below shows how insane these spins can be…..and of course that we had a safe landing as well.  If you hold on till the end you’ll see the relief on my face.  Not normal relief but relief that comes in the form of facing your fears and knowing that being empowered in that manner is the best medicine…..be it paragliding, diving, travelling – or for some – even simple day to day activities and life.  In this manner the best prescription is a well know remedy (and saying) that is very seldom used.  Its called: GO FOR IT. Try it, it might work for you as well.


Utila historical video. For divers and island lovers alike.

Utila.

Ive been asked many times by many people, what exactly draws me to this small little Caribbean island of the coast of Honduras.  Over the years Ive either become inept, lazy or just plain bored trying to sell the feeling of Utila to the lay person who is more worried about iphones, after school activities or the traffic on the QEW.  To their credit (although never being short of words), Ive not been able to fully capture what it is I love about Utila.

Today, I was lucky enough to come across this video about Utila which uses the sinking of the Halliburton Wreck (to make an artificial dive site) as a background while (for the first time Ive seen), properly portraying the essence of this wonderful little place.  To all of you who have ever asked or wondered about this island I love and have called home, have a look at the short movie here and soak it up.

To be truthful, Im putting this up here just for me……..What an amazing video of an amazing place.

Peace.


Argos Admirals. social media team

Argos Admirals

29 Aug 12

Well now that the CFL season is well underway and things are moving along towards the labour day classics and fall weather football, its about time to introduce the Argos Admirals.

Consisting of a group of around a dozen Toronto Argonaut fans, we have been brought on board to contribute content – about the team and the league – to the various social media outlets available today.  Having been hired in early June, this group of enthusiasts have been writing and uploading and tweeting and talking and yelling (while at the games), in all forms and fashion about the Toronto Argonauts.  Being a big supporter of the club myself, it was natural to get involved and I was one of the lucky hires of this group.

We will be working all the way towards and through the 100th edition of the Grey Cup to be played in Toronto this coming November.

You can find information, details, events, contests, and all things Argos via facebook, our website, the Argos official website and twitter…..simply search ARGOS ADMIRALS.

Having been a fan for my entire life it is certainly welcoming to get involved with the club in this fashion.  We work out of the head offices on King st in Toronto in a room called M31, and on game days we are in the press box and in the stands at the dome.  Anything going on in Argoland or regarding the Grey Cup will come right through our channels via the club.

argosadmirals.com Great articles with player interviews, summaries, predictions, and stories from the past.

Admirals on official Argos website With links to twitter, pintrest and reddit.

Facebook page with lots photos, video, and banter.


Ping Pong at the Border. Vans, Stamps, and Guns. Editorial: Colin Sim

From manfromanotherland.

I asked a very good friend of mine if he would write a story bout his travels that he would share on this blog.   And he did. Its worth the read, if not for the adventure, for the sincerity. Thanks Colin.

BORDER DETAILS

Central America – 1 June 12 – Colin Sim 

Growing up in the Niagara area, just 20 minutes from the US border, I was fairly used to the relative ease in which a Canadian could cross into the US.  It was generally just a quick chat with the border guard and you were into the states, or the same going back into Canada with my bucket of buffalo wings, case of cheap beer, and a tank full of gas.  I´d say I´d crossed back & forth well over a 100 times without incident, ever.  But it´s slightly different here in Central America when it comes to crossing borders.  For example, you have to have your passport visa stamped OUT of the country you are currently in, before you can get a visa stamp going INTO the country you are on your way to.  Sometimes this process can be extremely simple,  Like going north into Guatemala from Honduras.  You stop at a little outpost in the middle of nowhere , get a quick stamp from Hondo, walk across the dirt road to the Guat(emala) Immigration office, which looks identical to a toll booth on a US Expressway.  Ironically, you do pay an entrance fee going into Guat & you just know that a portion of that fee is going to pay for the border guards´ dinner that evening.  But all in all, quick, easy and painless.  Sometimes, however, border crossings can be an exercise in patience, humility, absolute corruption and hopefully, redemption.  This is one of those stories.

Background

 My good friend Chris and I had been traveling for awhile and ended up in a small surfing town in El Salvador for the better part of October in 2011.  Two other friends, Melanie & Ty, had been on a rubbertramp (driving a van) tour from BC and had met up with us.  The plan was to drive from El Salv into Nicaragua.  To get there, you have to cross out of El Salv, into a very small portion of Honduras, and then into Nica.  We had 4 border crossings ahead to get into Nica & to get there with plenty of daylight to spare was the goal.  We were leaving early enough, the drive only 6 hours, it should be attainable, we were sure.

 The rules for vehicles are exactly as they are for people.  If you´re driving in Central America, your car needs a visa/permit too and also has to follow the stamp IN/OUT procedure.  So, as we were leaving El Salv, the van´s permit was stamped OUT first at a small checkpoint prior to the main office, we then drove the 300 meters to where we needed to have our passports checked.  I went to the window first, and was promptly told that my visa had expired and there was a hefty fine of $104US!  That´s a lot of money down here

And on with the story….

Now, I had been in Central America for 7 months by now, and El Salv, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua share what is called a CA-4 visa, giving 90 days maximum within those 4 countries.  I had received a 90 day extension in Guat about 45 days earlier, so I should be fine, I tried to explain to the border official in my broken Spanish.  In turn, in his broken English, he said he knows, he sees the stamp, they just weren´t going to honour it AND he reminded me that the fine was $104US.

The other option he said, was to drive to the capitol city of San Salvador, go to the main immigration office there, and get an El Salv extension and the fine would not apply. After a quick discussion, the 4 of us jump back into Ducey (of course the van had a nickname) and proceeded to turn around and drive towards San Salv.  Just a quick stop at the checkpoint for vehicles and we´d be on our way.  The next guard looks at the van´s permit and quickly retorts that our permit has ended and no longer valid.  It was only 20 minutes earlier that it was stamped out but the guard didn´t care and told us to turn around, go back to the office we were just at, and get a new permit to drive into El Salv.  Back down the 300m, of course we get the same officer as before, and he tells us that this office does not provide vehicle permits and we´d have to drive to another border crossing, about 200kms away.  But, he giggled, because we did not have a current permit, we could not do that either.  Yep, we couldn´t get out of El Salv or back into it.  We were stuck in border crossing limbo.  A 3rd option came about….if we stayed at the hotel conveniently located beside the immigration  office for 3 nights, they would stamp us OUT and we could be on our way.  Something was telling me that he had a stake in that hotel, or that his brother or uncle owned it.  I tried to explain the situation again, that the visa from Guat should be valid & I should be allowed out of the country.  Again, he explained to me that the fine was $104US.

 I reached into my pocket & had $27.  He told me to go and beg my friends for the rest, but I convinced him we were all broke.  He finally relented a little, pulled out an official Customs & Immigration binder, opened it up to a specific page about fines, pointed out how many days my original visa was over the 90, leading to a line with the fine of $57.  Bastardo! 

I think I might be screwed.

I knew he was just gouging me before, but at least this was somewhat acceptable.  I paid the fine, he gave me a 5 day extension out of the CA-4 countries and we were on our way.  Well, at least the 150m to the next border station for Honduras.  A traffic warden waved us over to the side of the road and came to chat.  He had noticed the problems we had at the El Salv office and was curious as to what happened.  He seemed a friendly guy and as we talked, I gave him a quick rundown.  He asked to see my passport, and to quell the urge to prove my story to a total stranger, I gave it to him.  He checked it out, then without saying a word, put it in his back pocket and walked away.

Yup, its Central America…..it actually does get worse, way worse.

 I was dumbfounded.  Did that just happen?  We sat there for a few minutes, shocked, and discussed our current options and I decided to go and talk to him.  He was clearly after a bribe, it was just a matter of how much it was going to take to get it back.  When I approached him, he immediately raised his hand to have my stop in my tracks, and with his other hand, reached for his gun.  Holy shit!   He was yelling at me in Spanish far beyond my understanding, but the body language was telling me enough.  I backed up, slowly, him keeping his hand on his gun, me keeping my eyes on him just in case he went cowboy on me, and I sat down on the curb. I sat there for the better part of an hour, my friends unsure what to do, and me just stewing about it.  I mean, this guy wasn´t police, or customs but some lowly traffic warden  (insert sarcastic tone here ) helping to maintain the immense amount of traffic at this crossing.  Who was he to steal my passport? So I started to walk up to him again, and the same response came back at me, but this time, I understood – ¨sit down & shut up¨.  That line, accompanied by the gun grab is an effective way of getting what you want.  Back on the curb, 3 hrs have passed and now my favorite traffic warden is on the move.  Not towards me for the bribe, but towards a small building with a dozen or so other traffic wardens.  Break time.  Obviously I´m not going to confront this guy in front of his colleagues, so I needed to form a new plan. What to do?

Gringo vindication.

 I recognize that his office, is only 15ft from the Honduras Immigration building.  So I walk over there, tell the officer at the border that a traffic warden has my passport and will not return it.  his eyes widen, leaps out of his chair, runs out the back door, around the corner and is beside me within seconds.  He asks me to follow him and we are now at the warden´s building and wants to know which of these guys here has my passport.  I can feel all eyes on me now, staring through me with teeth clenched and furrowed brows.  I´m petrified.  I reluctantly point out which warden has it, and the officer starts charging towards him like a bull.  Yelling at him, arms flailing, the conversation between the two of them does not look like its going well for me.  This goes on for a minute or two, and eventually, the warden lowers his head, reaches into his back pocket and hands over my passport to the officer who quickly snatches it out of his hands, berates him a little more and hurriedly walks to me and returns it.  He begins to walk away, and me feeling the eyes of the wardens still staring through my soul, I follow him like a lost puppy.   We head back to the Honduras office now, rejoined by my friends who saw this go on, and the officer sits back into his chair, and asks us for all 4 of our passports and he quickly stamps our visas in succession and without any questions.  Ty had gotten the permit for Ducey while I was dealing with el douchebag, so we jumped into the van as quickly as possible.  We were all pretty nervous as we pulled away, thinking the traffic warden would simply call one of his friends a little farther down the highway to make retribution, but we seemed to have luck on our side and didn´t see another official until we got to the Nicaragua border.  What should have been 6 hours, turned into 12, but we made it out of Hondo and into NIca fairly quickly, and after a few days, I journeyed into Costa Rica, then back into Nica with a fresh 90 day CA-4 stamp. 

Story Validation…

I´ve been in & out of 19 countries, and crossed international borders so many times its hard to remember, but that´s a day of traveling I´ll never forget.

Colin Sim

My Central America


Lion Fish VS Green Moray eel – good video. Personally, Freaking Cool.

UTILA – Bay Islands – HONDURAS

After years of killing and feeding lion fish to would be predators, finally  this video  shows a Green Moray attack a full on – live (not captured or wounded) lion fish. It is the culmination really, of efforts of divers on Utila putting their skills and hard work,  to work. Only a few years ago we would be lucky to see a nice grouper.  Well now, you should see one of them suck up a lion fish, its an incredible force of vacum…….shit, the groupers will  follow you around at some dive sites waiting to feed, and even help in the hunt……….I digress though, this video did not come by fluke….to EVERYONE that has worked effortlessly on this initiative over the past couple years…. once again, thankyou.  Thousands of lion fish have been fed to predators over the past 24’ish months, shit….and way back when, we didnt even DO that………..maybe leave a dead lion fish on the surface knowing at some point it should get eaten – starting point 1.0.  DMs on Utila have provided  – full on National Geographic – retraining of would be predators, to the lion fish.  Ive fed mostly semi live ones to Queen Angel fish, all sorts of groupers and eels, even snappers will get in on the mix. Believe me when Im saying this.  From the 1st lion fish on Utila (of tens of thousands since then) in early 09′, to actual natural  hunting/eating shown on this video is absolutely awesome.

Viewing Notes:  You will see the Moray eel right at the beginning of the video, closer to the bottom.  From there the diver rotates away 180 degrees and comes across the lion fish….it will take a second to come into view but then you will see it in all its splendidness. It is a gorgeous fish, but if we’re not proactive it could well be the only fish in the Caribbean reef.

Notes: This video was produced out of UDC on youtube.  Whoever the diver is with the spear gun…..perfect….didnt shoot at the wrong times….let the fish twitch and dance, they are memorizing and dangerous. Thanks guys. Amazing!

http://www.utiladivecenter.com/

For more information on the wonderful conservation efforts on Utila and the Bay Islands visit:

http://www.bicautila.org/


CFL. 100 yrs of Tradition. Great Video!

In the newest series of ads for the CFL, they have released what I would call Memoirs of the Grey Cup, a montage so to speak.

None the less, a great tribute to Football fans and proud Canadians alike. Can you guess the narrator?

Check out the Argos Admirals Blog…….official fan voice of the Toronto Argonauts……14 dedicated boatmen offering their views and interacting……..having alot of fun with it!

http://argosadmirals.com/


….and the painting continued.

13 June 2012

Amongst other things going on, there was another painting job on the horizon, but really though, it did come out of the blue.

A friend requested some help doing some inside rooms and hallways, walls and trim…….ceilings as well.

Stayed over a couple of times.  Worked during the day and connected online doing other work also…..stay connected.

One job always turns into the next, Im supposed to go back on Monday.

The work is turning out well.  In the mean time, I feel like Picasso.