"indecision may or may not be my problem."
pretty soon i couldn't see anything. my headlights were reflected off the incoming snowflakes, resulting in a 100x speed version of the old starfield simulation screensaver. turning up the headlights to high beam only made it worse, amplifying the influx, and given the fact that the thick snowfall totally obscured my vision, i actually considered turning off the headlights altogether.
by sheer luck i walked into the sound and vision exhibit at the montreal museum of fine arts. this free show displays some very interesting photographic and video images by young canadian artists.
strikingly, i found many of the works to fit my recent art credo - it almost felt like the show was curated along those lines.
much less subtle, but still worth a view were alexandre castonguay's drawing the passions, which blend four people's personal interpretations of a human emotion into a single portrait. the background r.g.b numbers in the titles are a little too much, though, if you ask me.
ok, i'll admit it - this blog entry is mostly a link memory pad for my future reference.
right next to safdie's classic habitat '67, the rapids in the st. lawrence river create a standing wave, which has recently become the locus of a river-surfing subculture.
the wave is so steady that at times it seems the surfers are just hanging out on their boards waiting for inspiration to make their next move.
if you're in new york in the near future, make sure to check out the world trade center path station. amidst all the political debate that is stalling the construction of the new structure - the train station is already standing, and, well, thanks to the delay, it's now placed in the open foundations of the site.
it's nice that they left a lot of open views into the construction site, and for a limited time only (one can hope) you can stand right there in the middle of where it all happened.
i'd even recommend taking the train for one station into new jersey if you have the time, because for the first minute or so the train car snakes through ground zero, and the $1.50 fare and 10 minute detour is really not too much for a short historic ride, that will soon be impossible to take.
yeah yeah, everyone is raving about the dumpling man. but if - like me - you are put off by hipster cartoon-designed eateries that sell simple street food amidst primary colors and merchandise t-shirts, i'd recommend you try the chinatown alternative that has no name but only a 'fried dumpling' sign on 99 allen street. $2 buys you 10 tasty steamed veggie dumplings to dip in the soy and hot sauce mixture, and i think the meaty ones are similarly priced.
america, as i keep finding out never ceases to enchant me, and in many places is as remote and rural as any an exotic village you might seek out for adventures. utah in particular, as kurt the towing cowboy will later say 'is the last bit of true wilderness in the continental states'. and so i found it, too.
google sightseeing is a very cute website that collects interesting sights and sightings from google's satellite-image based maps service.
it's pretty nice to visit the important buildings and monuments of our little planet without leaving your desk, but i can hardly say that i agree with their motto 'why bother to see the world for real?'.
this link stems from the MIT Advertising Lab, a blog covering the insidious advances in advertisement, which i think i'll follow for a while. (they talked about companies putting their logos on their roofs for some free google-map exposure).
and in israel the following grafitti in a tel aviv alley pretty much sums it up
'end the occupation', one wrote. 'and the murder of jews by arabs' added another. 'and the scum' added a third, somewhat puzzlingly.
what i'm trying to do is to kill a red-eye chasing 15-hour stopover - the ones that reward you with a $400 fare cut and the psychological effect of a boot rammed into your skull. at least i'm at a little alley caffe' in rome and not pacing up and down frankfurt international airport, which would have really sucked. i keep falling in and out of consciousness much like a father forced to attend his son's recital right after a night shift. and next to me sits nobody.
sort of sorted in reverse order.
page 1 - honduras
page 2 - all countries
page 3 - guate and mexico
page 4 - mexico
ok, it's time to face up to the facts. my planned travel date is nearing and i still haven't got most of the shit together. so slim chances that i'm gonna be writing before i leave for a month long trip into the unknown.
guess it's time to officially douse the juice on this blog for a while.
still haven't decided if i'm gonna run my travel log from this location, but i'm guessing that internet access might not really enable that very well.
so since it's gonna be a while before i return, and i don't expect anyone to hang around...
if you want to get an email when i'm back and back writing here, send me an email to .
for some reason, only my cohort found this incredibly funny. most people on the airplane looked, how shall we say it? less psyched about the situation.
many have heard me mention hummus bars over and over again these last few months.
cleaning up my cellphone memory, i found some pictures of one that i patronized just minutes after my landing in israel a couple of days before new year's eve.
basically, as you can see, it's a hole in the wall with tables around it in the alley. and yeah, they only serve hummus. you can get a side of salad in most of them, but that's basically it.
looking at this second image from the distance of some back-habituation in the states i noticed something that would definitely not happen here:
the little alley where the hummus-bar is located in is basically blocked by the eaters. so while during off-hours this is a street where cars pass, it is somehow agreed that while the restaurant is in operation, only pedestrians and scooters can pass through. i wonder if this is a formal city regulation or just something that emerges.
to that effect you can also see a multitude of scooters parked along the edge of the table area (top right corner of the picture), basically blocking the alleyway on their own account.
once the riders will have cleaned off the last residue of hummus from their plate, though, they will not hesitate to navigate their motorcycle between the tables and downhill towards the 2-laned beach road.
one of the funniest things i saw on this trip is that they have established women's parking spots in germany. the idea is that women can park close to the elevators so they won't be raped on the way to their car, which really sounds much more like an american idea than a german one. naturally, it sparks a host of jokes ("these parking places are also wider"), and i found the sign, well, hilarious. reminds me of the women-only train cars in india.
this week i've fallen back in love with tel aviv, and the modest, simple house that is the site of this historic occasion is characteristic of what i love about the city. not a huge amphitheater, but a small dwelling. not huge malls, but small cafes. not collosal t.g.i fridays but hole-in-the-wall hummus bars who serve only one thing, and never thought of printing a menu.
these two areal photographs from bbc news paint a very tangible picture of the power of h2o.
i'm traveling for a while to a place where beer is cheaper than water and another one where the vegetables are really fresh.
looking for a cheap ticket from germany to israel for my winter vacation, i'm also trying german 'billigflug' sites, who cater charter flights to the have-nots.
charter flights, for my american readers, are non-standard flights that are operated especially, but not only, around holiday season by just selling as many tickets as they can, and then - once they sold 300 tickets - using crummy planes and getting people to places without bothing so much about luxuries like drinks, clean seats or functioning toilets on board.
the funny thing, though, is the search forms on these sites.
first of all, they don't seem to really draw distinction between the various countries.
as anyone who has been to varadero or aya napa knows, they're all just 'holiday destinations' not real places. so under 'destination' you can choose between 'any' (i kid you not), 'near', 'midrange', 'far', and then more specifically, 'egypt-israel-u.a.e', 'asia-thailand', (and don't try to be funny about that), 'mediterranean', etc.
or - as my friend yariv noted, they could have just as well said 'places with camels'.
and, on the search results, there's not only the price, but also the forecast water temperature at your destination.
so far, no cheap ticket to cairo-tel aviv-abu dhabi for me yet. but thanks for asking.
life is lifing me these days, so i'll keep it short.
spent this long weekend at pdf and had a blast. three days of bliss for all my senses. i really recommend it.
lots of magic happened at the camp amidst aging hippies, drunk civil war reenactors, viet nam veteran harley riders, and nude fire-spinners, overshadowed by an old viet nam medical helicopter mingling with painted vw vans.
wishes granted like when i was humming a song by the fire pit and the dj put it on just a few minutes later.
it's almost as if, whenever we wanted to send an email, we would have to fill out a form saying that we are not sending spam, and that our attachments are safe, and that we are aware that our email can be read, then we would have to click through 4 pages of disclaimers, and finally we would have to move all our executables from the desktop to another folder.
only then could we send the email.
remember when airport luggage cars were free?
it was also when almost nobody had those funky wheeled suitcases. the expense of putting wheels underneath your luggage was covered by the airport.
then they decided to charge a rental fee for those carts. and suddenly people didn't really need them anymore. oh it's just a short walk, and a little exercise wouldn't kill you.
who ever paid for those carts? who pays for them now? i've never seen one in usage at the airports where they cost money.
but people really like wheeling their luggage, and they don't like carrying it. it's not worth $5, but it's definitely worth something. so then the market opened for those wheely bags, and gradually - everyone got them.
so now instead of having a certain amount of luggage wheels when you need them, everyone buys their own set of wheels.
and now we're back to almost where we started, except the economy has shifted. there's still wheels underneath every suitcase, they just have been privatized, in true republican spirit. to each his own wheels. take responsibility for your life and money.
instead of everyone paying another $1 in airport taxes for everyone's wheels, we all pay another $20 when we buy the suitcase and then we have our own wheels.
i'm sure there's a better way to say all this, but i can't think of it.
so chicago was fun after all. i expected the worst, another boring american city, another boring hilton. giving a talk, attending a conference with nasa geeks. missing class, parties, dinners, indiana jones.
and then i ended up really enjoying the city. as far as american cities go, it's a fun place to hang out.
which comes to show, as so often, that no matter how good or bad something is -- the time we spend worrying about it is always time lost in vain.
that oddity called life has teleported me to the chicago hilton, to a nasa conference, where i'm scouring among people in white button-down shirts and black ties, and where sessions start at oh-eight-hundred hours.
outside lures chicago with its deep-pan pizzas and marquee lights and elevated trains and ornate facades, bustling like a über-stylish mini-new york city in the midwest.
so far the coolest thing i've heard about is nasa looking seriously - and by that i mean seriously - into insects for ideas on how to built navigation systems for miniature aerial rovers that scout out regions of interest on mars and its moons.
thing was the airplane entertainment system kept crashing, so every 5 or 10 minutes you had to re-choose the movie and the crew only sort of knew where the movie stopped when the system went down.
coming back this time was not easy. stepping off from a near-12-hour journey nursing an annoying cold, the first thing i notice are the usual american cultural icons that make me shake my head in disbelief:
didn't even put up an email auto-reply which got some people wondering, but i was just away for four days in the seriously unreal provence.
long post to follow.
august with all of its carelessly open suitcases in people's rooms is hitting me hard with travel fever. i want to leave and hit the road and not look back.
did you know that the lonely planet tells you to not go to israel?
they were careful enough to call the israeli strikes 'retaliatory', though.
i wonder whether some israelis are proposing to boycott the popular travel guide now. couldn't find anything on that on the web.
another weird austrian moment: today, at rush hour in the central viennese subway station, with hundreds of people coming up and down the escalators, there was not a single person talking. all you could hear was the sound of the escalators' motors and a thousand footsteps echoing in the huge hall.
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content here by guy hoffman .. as seen times since march 2004