Look at the Stars

Look at the stars lighting up the sky: no one of them stays in the same place.
~ Seneca (the Younger)

Docking the Canyon, Pt 3, Flushed

Story - Docking the Canyon, Pt 3, Flushed: It's the Grand Canyon. I can't just start off with how we flash-cooked a pot of beans and rice along with our eyebrows... and it wouldn't be as fun to kick it off with the side of the mountain that we climbed in our sedan to get to this place. So we'll kick it off with the storm that flushed us out of the Canyon.

In all honesty, my brother Skybreak and I were blissfully ignorant to the full scope of the ruin that had been brought to the canyon in our wake. To us, the sprinkling rain and showers had been a refreshing change from the heat of the day, lasting long enough to cool us as we hiked, then picking up the pace when we began to drive back outta the canyon. It wasn't until we got back to civilization that we were met with one message after another asking if we were alive.

Tiki: "Should we tell 'em we're dead?"
Skybreak: "I'll tell them you died and I carried on without you."
Tiki: "A'ite... as long as I get to be the dead one."

(note: this is why we're not allowed to do things)

You see, there's no storm shelter at the Toroweap camping grounds. In fact, the storm almost certainly washed away the road we'd come in on. These grounds are called "primitive" for a reason. The low rock bed where we'd pitched our tents would've quickly filled with rain water, becoming a small lake with floating marshmallow tents, before finally overflowing and flushing our site off the side 'o the canyon. I'm a big fan of the canyon. I'm an even bigger fan of not getting myself "flushed". If you've seen how far the drop is over the side, then I think you'd be on the "not getting flushed" side 'o things as well.

That said, the rain was awesome! When we landed ourselves in Toroweap, it was in the heat of August on the high plains of the red rock desert that surrounds the Grand Canyon. You could say it was a little hot. I'm a heat junkie... and even I would call it "hot". That didn't stop us from going out hiking when we should be resting in siesta, but the first sprinkles from the sky felt like someone had turned on a valve and had released pure energy drinks into our system.

As fortune had it, we were running out of water. The water falling from the sky wasn't going to be enough to keep us from dehydrating in the desert... so we packed up and headed for the nearest town. The rain followed us, dying out for a time, then coming back with the full force of a desert storm. Color me impressed, as I'd never seen Utah rage away a storm this fierce before. While we'd made good ground against it, you couldn't miss the dark shadow that painted the breadth of the horizon behind us. I captured this vivid shot of the storm and rainbow as it was brewing, with little-to-no idea that this rainbow was out to kill us.

Cheers Toroweap! Enjoy the swim... 'n see ya again soon!

Related Posts:
Docking the Canyon, Pt 1, They call this a road
Docking the Canyon, Pt 2, It tastes like burning

Song of the Day: Westy - The Keymaster [Download]
"The Keymaster" by Westy

Into the Unknown

There is a peculiar pleasure in riding out into the unknown--a pleasure which no second journey on the same trail ever affords.
~ M Edith Durham, "High Albania"

A Dab of Mayo on a Big, Big Apple

Story - A Dab of Mayo on a Big, Big Apple: Before the smoking bans came to NYC, a peep could find warm shelter for a smoke at the TGIF just off o' Broadway. That's where my friend Marf 'n I were innocently pounding coffin nails into our lungs... where we'd cross paths with one o' the most interesting characters we'd ever meet... a Dutchmen named Weird... Richard d'Weird.
And how did we meet him? Oh... this is good...

From down the bar, we heard someone asking the bartender, "Where are your prostitutes?"

Now, prostitution may be just another aspect of life in some Asian cultures, 'n just another marketable product in The Netherlands, but in America it's no bueno... es muy muy bad. The Puritans who replaced this land's native population weren't too hot on sex... prostitution even less... throwin' around words like "sin", "crime" and "witchcraft". Whatever corncob they had stuck up their ass, it drove 'em to make sure that prostitution wasn't legal here. Well... at least that's the standing story on how America gave up any ability to regulate 'n control the sex trade.

Our friend with the odd accent was risking a good ole stake burnin'. Marf 'n I were two good ole boys from Nebraska. We can smell a woodpile warmin' up from a mile away. We quickly pulled the guy away from the bar 'n over to an open table. There, we had to crush his hopes of finding any kinda Red Light District in NYC that didn't include jail time... 'n added a few other tips to keep him in good standing with John Q Law. He "got it" the second we said it... trading us some of his own tips that the city had learned into him. It was love at first sight.

Days later, at our favorite mafia restaurant, I found myself pointing a little too eagerly at Richard's plate while trying to get Marf's attention. Marf asked what I was grunting about... causing Richard to stop as well.

"He just ordered a THIRD side of mayo", I finally said. "I'm serious, man... they drown 'em in that shit. I seen 'em do it!"

Marf and Richard both laughed at the "Pulp Fiction" reference. Richard gladly started telling us about all the different kinds of mayo they had in Holland... reminding us (yet again) that we had to join up with him over there 'n start a business.

"A business in mayo", I asked.

"No, no, mayo is everywhere. We do new business."

It was my turn to laugh. "Once we're done being homeless, maybe we'll think about Amsterdam. Finish your mayo."

Related Posts:
NYC2K in the Age of Legends

Song of the Day: [Click to Download]
Thrice - Broken Lungs (Adventure Club Dubstep Remix)
"Broken Lungs (Adventure Club Dubstep Remix)" by Thrice

Humor in the Face of Bullets

Getting Kidnapped (and Shot At) in Caracas, Venezuela: There are some stories that you have to laugh at because you can't believe that you survived them. Marcello's return-home trip definitely falls under that category. "Welcome home! Care for a complimentary kidnapping? It comes with free bullets." On another note, while I don't buy into the fearmongering in the media, I do definitely take tips from other travelers. I'm not in any rush to pay a visit to Venezuela anytime soon. Don't miss the full article, as the humorous style he brings to the situation makes it a priceless experience.

There Is No Path

Traveler, there is no path
paths are made by walking

~ Antonio Machado

Ancient Paths

This is what the LORD says:
  "Stand at the crossroads and look;
  ask for the ancient paths,
  ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
  and you will find rest for your souls.

~ The Holy Bible, Jeremiah 6:16, New International Version [excerpt]

NYC2K in the Age of Legends

Times Square
Photo by 73k

Note: As the first book in the series nears completion, I wanted to share an actual excerpt from the writings (and as written in English Vulgar). Enjoy!

Story -- NYC2K: We live in a time of legends. A single person can cross the globe and it won't even make headlines. I can check into a hostel in Mexico and videochat with someone at a hostel in Amsterdam... and neither of us will pay a penny for it. We've seen the turning of the millennium, the coming of 2K, and we'll even witness the 2012 apocalypse. If we don't survive that last one... well... I loved you all. XOXO Kisses!

I've never been much of a spectator. I wanna be right up in the action with everyone else. I'm more into the mosh pit than I am the rafters... 'n Heaven forbid anyone ever let me on the stage. It's that drive to "be right up in it" that forced my hand to buy a ticket to New York City for the 2K balldrop. No one cared that it wasn't the new millennium... it was 2K... 'n we were gonna party like it was 1999. Afterall... it was.

My friend Marf 'n I landed in NYC with about a hundred bones a piece in our pockets. That's a hundred bucks a peep to last us two weeks in one of America's most expensive cities. Crazy? Well, that depends on whether or not we had contacts in the city... or if we'd made reservations to guarantee our survival. As the answer to both contingencies was a big "no", this is something that got filed under "crazy" with all the rest of my adventures. But we WERE packing round-trip tickets... 'n we'd read the fine print at the bottom: "If the holder of this ticket survives two weeks in the Big Apple, and returns to JFK at the agreed-upon date and time, then the aforementioned holder will be flown across the River Styx and returned to the Land of the Living. Cheers... and enjoy your stay! Thank you for flying Air CrazyHead."

Two cops gave us a warm welcome to the city, meeting us with smiles in Grand Central Station. After the directions they gave us almost got us killed, we turned to our own wits for survival. We slept in subways, subway tunnels, a homeless shelter, another homeless shelter, on the ferry 'n on the park benches. We crashed in the basement eating area of Sbarro's and caught Zs at a 24-hour McDonald's. We shelled out for a single night's sleep at The Aladdin... a hostel our Dutch friend had shown us in the heart of Hell's Kitchen. We met a Moroccan who snuck us into the hostel for a second night's sleep... then snuck ourselves in for a third night. We fought for our sleep... and we earned every precious second of it.

If this sounds bad, then let me state that I had a hella great time. It wasn't the New Yorkers... it wasn't the art nor the architecture... it wasn't Chinatown, Time Square or even Little Italy... it was the travelers. They'd been drawn from around the world to the 2K Balldrop... an event in time and space that wouldn't be repeated again in any lifetime.

We laughed as our Dutch friend played into our Americanized stereotypes... drowning his fries in Mayo. We played charades with the two Japanese girls at the hostel... all the while wondering if they actually understood anything we were trying to say. We traded stories in the hostel's lobby with the one other American... just hours before she had to shower 'n head out to work the streets. We messed with Morocco's finest while he cursed back at us with a mouth full o' Fruit Loops. We drank beers with three Belgians who'd recoiled from American beers... but were quick to introduce us to the best malts Belgium had to offer.

The night of the balldrop, we watched as cars and trucks were pulled in and around Time Square to block it off. A voice over a megaphone warned the crowd: "Leave now, or don't leave at all!" Even as we turned to leave, we could hear the crowd begin chanting: "Throw us the world! Throw us the world!"

Two hours later, from the roof of Aladdin's, we watched as a shiny little ball dropped to the ground. The East Coast added a new year to their calendars. Fearmongers had been promising certain doom for months... everything from worldwide computer failure to total-annihilation at the hands of some god. The lights didn't even flicker... 'n the only "consuming flame" was from the fireworks in the sky.

We boarded our plane in the morning... with the stink of joy 'n victory well worn into our clothes. Thank you, New York! Catch ya on the other side.

Related Posts:
A Dab of Mayo on a Big, Big Apple

Song of the Day: Radiohead - Give Up The Ghost (R/D Remix) [Download]
"Give Up The Ghost (R/D Remix)" by Radiohead

Pardon My Identity

I hesitate to talk about my DJ-side here on Landlore. He's Jaya, I'm Tiki, and we keep our lives fairly separate. But the fact is, out of 890 remixes, he's sitting at #6 in the world as I write this. This is Daft Punk and Disney we're talking about. I'd be a bastard to make him fight this one out on his own. As an added bonus, you'll find the link to download the remix for free in the description on the voting page. Here's where to click the big blue "Vote" button.

The album art for this remix was awarded a Daily Deviation [Here on deviantART] today. So much thanks goes out to Lilyas for the feature, and to the dA community for their support. It's never a one man show. Last year, Jaya was one of the runner-ups in Peppermill's "2999" competition for his track "Escape from Hunahpu". This year, it's For-The-Win!

You're a part of that. Vote for the remix, click "Like" while you're there, share it, and download your copy. Every vote counts in ways you can't even imagine. I promise that Jaya isn't going to invade Landlore. This is my place, and your place, and he'd take it all over if he could. That's not happening. I'm not going to try 'n tell ya that I'm not crazy. Never believe a hitchhiker who makes any claim to sanity. They're lying thru their teeth.

Besides... we all know there's no such thing as "sanity".