The Open Air Museum

Resources - The Open Air Museum: The world is a canvas... and there's alotta peeps who don't like it this way. But they're not gonna stop all the street artists until spray paint's been banned. That ain't happenin' anytime soon. Until that day, and traveler can take a trip to the open air museum just by taking a wrong turn down the right alley.

I've seen some pretty damned impressive art out on the streets, everything from random tagging, to wildstyle signatures, to full-wall murals, to Banksy-style political statements. Stencils like the one above are common these days, and it's likely you've seen this one before if you've spent any time touring the back alleys of the world. I took this particular shot in Amsterdam, just across the canal from the Reich Museum. For the record, I didn't even bother checking out the actual museum. Nothing against it for other peeps, but urban art's just more my style.

Now, here's the crazy part: graffiti's frakking everywhere. I mean everywhere! I've jumped off a train and found impressive murals hidden on concrete where no one--NO ONE!--would likely ever see it again. Just art, randomly out in the middle of nowhere and waiting for someone to come find it. The art changes drastically by culture and location, and the evolution in street art comes at a severely fast pace. One artist figures out a better method, and other artists jump on it like it's the last good hit of heroin the world will ever know.

Then there are the more famous spots for graffiti, like the Glebe Tram Sheds in Sydney, Australia [Flickr]. Damn! Cities like Austin welcome street artists, with many stores opening up their walls and bathrooms for free art. As it would normally be illegal, this proves to be a thorn in the side of enforcement agencies. "Wait, you mean you want them to graffiti your walls?" Heh, heh... how hard is to "get" the concept of free art? In thanks to Lili, I found out that Serge Gainsbourg had a wall outside of his house that was completely open for artists to come in and graffiti. Gainsbourg's smile in the photos of him in front of this wall say everything.

People pass by some of the most impressive art on the streets every day, and they completely miss it. Some of 'em notice. Some notice, and don't even see the art, thinking only that it's more trash cluttering up the streets. Others notice, and can't believe that everyone else can walk by without stopping. "Do you see this? This is amazing!" And then one day it's gone, with the art painted over or washed away. Like many things on the street, there's a terrible sense of transience surrounding this art.

Appreciate it while you can all things end in blood and dust.

Song of the Day: [Click to Download]
Phazeman - Life Ain't No Dress Rehearsal
"Life Ain't No Dress Rehearsal" by Phazeman

The Worldwide Teleporter Race and Scavenger Hunt

It's time to start building the list of travelers who'll be part of The Worldwide Teleporter Race and Scavenger Hunt. Yes, the tech could be ten or twenty years away, as science has been behind schedule on this one, but we're going to start the list now.

Who are the racers?
Olivia Demdem
Andromeda Ross
Pierced Hearts and True Love
Xoltan Maje

What does the race entail? Once there are at least seven or twelve working teleporters in cities around the planet, the race will circumnavigate the globe a single time. The locations depend on what cities have the first working teleporters. Also, the race will be part scavenger hunt. Fun! To teleport to the next city, you'll need to find the item on your list. There's a 24-hour time limit, giving about two hours per city if there are a full 12 working teleporters at the time. Racers who want to get any sleep will need to tag-team it. There'll be parties on both sides of the race, for the kick-off party and for the afterparty. In fact, I'll DJ during both parties. I hope everybody likes trip-hop and dubstep, because I don't DJ much of anything else these days... 'n dubstep is the future.

Teleporter Race? WTF are you talking about? During the Travelers' Night-In meeting three weeks ago, they asked the question: "Tell us your fantasy travel experience?" Let's just say that teleporters are ALWAYS on my mind, especially recently. Naturally, I answered, "Teleporters! How many countries in one day? Tell me that wouldnt be awesome!" Christine Letts RTd and added, "Exactly!" Chile's own Hostels and Tours chimed in with a vote also, but it was Katrina Mauro who made it a race, tweeting, "When it happens, I'll race you!" I tagged on the scavenger hunt part, with Sara Beth agreeing and Katrina saying, "I'm so in!" Hostels and Tours is definitely in, tweeting, "@GoSaraBeth @iTikiTweet @KatrinaMauro @christineletts this is so much fun! i feel i´m actually teleporting right now! i am so gonna win!", as well as Christine with another, "I'm in!"

Needless to say, "It's on!"

If you're in, or if you have any suggestions for the race, leave your name in the comments. We have plenty of time to work out the details, as science hasn't even completed an economically viable flying car. Sheesh! The world's too far behind schedule on a lot of this... but it'll catch up.

A Ship in Harbor

A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.
~ William Shedd

Rock Like Ozzy... in Mexico!

Story - Rock Like Ozzy: My brother Zero and I stopped and stood quietly for a moment after passing thru the border guard... now truly on American soil. They'd asked us what we'd been doing in Matamoros. With a shrug, we told 'em that we'd been out for a night's drinks and some writing... no hitchhiking... no drugs... and certainly no demons. Just drinking. They bought the story.

Looking back towards Mexico, Zero said, "Well... that was Mexico."

I smiled, saying, "If there's one thing we've left behind, we've taught their children how to rock like Ozzy!"

I'd thrown up a fist, with index and pinkie fingers extended--The Horns. Zero met my horns with his, laughing, "Rock like Ozzy!" This was victory.

And there's a damned good story behind all this silliness. Here's how I like to tell it...

We'd found a bus stop in Coatzacoalcos de Mexico, one that edged up nicely against the railroad tracks. The trains left the yard just blocks up the street. Not that any trains actually left the yard, but we'd been hoping for a train for almost 12hours. The one train we did jump in Coatzacoalcos reversed course, then pulled back into the yard. No bueno!

We took turns playing the lookout, while the other rested. Children from the surrounding shops and houses were drawn to go investigate the two gringos cranking Zzzs down at the bus stop. Zero, when he couldn't understand the children, took to teaching them English. Not just any kinda English... pop culture English.

Zero: "Rock... rock..."

Children: "Rrog... rroggg..."

Zero, waving hands: "No, rock!" *throwing the horns* "Rock!"

Children: "Rokghu... Rokkh!"

Zero: "Bueno! Muy bueno. Now, rock like Ozzy."

Children, throwing horns: "Rock lick Izzy!"

Zero: "Ozzy! Rock like Ozzy!"

Children: "Rock like Ozzy! Rock like Ozzy!"

Hours passed. The sun began to set. Eleven Mexican children danced in a circle around Zero. He gleefully shouts, "Rock like Ozzy!" The kids answered in a chorus. "Rock like Ozzy!"

Zero looked over at me. "We're not jumping this train, are we?"

"No. We're not catching this train."

I motioned my head towards the street. Zero broke himself from the circle, holding up his palm in the sign for "stay". Once he'd joined me at a breakaway distance, he turned the "stay" back into the horns, shouting one last "rock like Ozzy!"

A final round of "rock like Ozzy" began as we turned and sought our exit from this city elsewhere.

Song of the Day: [Click to Download]
Portishead - Roads (HavocNdeeD RemiX ft. Matt Downs)
"Roads (HavocNdeeD RemiX ft. Matt Downs)" by Portishead
Note: Today's entry comes from the second "Landlore" book. The final version may vary.

Next-Level Walking (Seriously)

Why You Need to Walk More: a Conversation with Context: If you haven't heard it enough times, they key to really getting to know a place is to immerse yourself with the ones who live there. Paul and Lani [with Context] add to this mix one o' my favorite special ingredients--walking. But the recipe isn't done, and you're gonna have to read the full article for the rest of it. The concept they've tried and tested is tempting as all hell and it actually works.

Fav phrase lately, /w thx to Vernaye: (Korean) 행운 (phonetically: haeng-un) "Good Luck"

Those to Follow

The rest of those who have gone before us cannot steady the unrest of those to follow.
~ Finding Forrester

Docking the Canyon, Pt 1, They call this a road

Story - Docking the Canyon, Pt 1, They call this a road: Boondocking means camping for free. The difference between "squatting" and "boondocking" is that the latter of the two is legal. If someone doesn't own the land, or if it's legally open to the public, then it's free to boondock. This includes primitive campgrounds like Toroweap in the Grand Canyon... and, lemme tell ya, some 'o these sites take "primitive" to a whole new level. The very name "boondocking" comes from the fact that most of this land is as far out into the boondocks as you can get. Toroweap, however, is easily the most impressive primitive camping ground that we've found to-date.

Take the outhouse above for example. This crazy facility's literally been built on the very rim of the canyon. It has two rooms and it's been cleaned by park rangers and other campers. There are actually toilets! There's no real running water; this is, after all, a desert... and the nearest running water is a mile below you. That'd be at the bottom of the canyon. There is, however, an insane mulching system that not only helps restore the local environment, but keeps the place smelling good. It's more advanced than you'll find in a public park.

That said, Toroweap's definitely got its primitive side. To our discredit, we'd been warned not to drive out into the canyon with our little white sedan. But this is Dame Blanca we're talking about! This car chews up deserts for breakfast and shakes the dust off like it ain't nothin'. It does help, however, to actually have something that resembles a road... and they call this a road?

Primitive Boondocking

Take special note of the jutting rocks and sudden drop-offs. Did I mention that we were driving up this road during the night? Well, consider it mentioned. Hmmm... actually, that'd be yet another thing that we'd have to log under a whole lotta "our fault". Whatevz! Dame Blanca could handle it. Getting out of the car to grab our bearings, we noticed the narrow ledge that we'd almost driven over. Fortunately, we also noticed where there was something resembling actual camping grounds. Rock!

No, literally, "rock"... the camping grounds were made up entirely of rock. Pitching our tents meant weighing them down with everything we'd brought with us. That far up in the canyon, any tent that ain't held down by som'n is gonna go flying free in the wind. If it fits your fancy, you can wave "goodbye" to it while you watch it fly away. Our plans were very specific about the part where our tents stayed in one place.

The Checklist:
• First thing in the morning: check all four tires to make sure we could escape the canyon. Check! Yes, Dame Blanca was good to go.
• Second thing in the morning: get a photo of whateverthefrakk that thing was that they call a road. Check! 'Cuz damn, that's some serious offroading there.
• Third thing in the morning: throw this frakking list away, fill waterbags, then go explore the canyon.

While we were out hiking, we left tea on the rocks to brew in the sun. We also gathered a nice group of mosquitoes to follow us home to our camp. Little buggers, ya just can't get away from 'em. Humanity needs to step up its tech game. Once science finally gets a working teleporter out into the world, the next step is to develop a way for humans to communicate with geckos. Can you see it? Mankind fighting alongside geckokind in a world wide effort to annihilate all of the mosquitoes EVERYWHERE! It's... so... beautiful!

Welcome to Toroweap fools! ...and enjoy the Canyon!

Related Posts:
Docking the Canyon, Pt 2, It tastes like burning
Docking the Canyon, Pt 3, Flushed

More Boondocking Info from External Sites:
Boondocking sites on The Wandering Hobo
Boondocking dot Org

Song of the Day: Andrea - Cigarettes & Ectoplasmes [Free from Triple-S]
"Cigarettes & Ectoplasmes" by Andrea

Get Outta Austin!

She texted. We kicked her out.: Reason #7,202 to Love Austin: The standing "No A55H0L3$" policy. If a peep wants to make an ass outta themselves, they need to go to a national franchise where it's allowed. In Austin, our "Keep Austin Weird" culture owns too many stores, making weird versions of almost any chain you can imagine. A$$holez ain't allowed here, and it can border on violence when those worlds collide. The Alamo Drafthouse is Austin's weird version of a theater, and it's consistently listed as the top theater in the nation. This is an actual recording of a customer who got herself ejected from the theater for texting during the movie. That's right, chica, welcome to the pavement... and get outta Austin.

Note: We also have signs in weird shops that state things like, "There is an additional $10 charge for being an a55h0le." There are also buttons on our registers to back these claims. All the tattoos and piercings you'll find on us... well, they ain't just fashion statements. That guy with the tat of R2-D2 on his arm and the huge rings hanging from his ears just literally threw a customer out of a door last night... and made a living bouncing bars on the other side of Texas. We call him Darth Murphy (or, if you prefer, "That Lazy Piece of Sith"). He loves being given the green light to show someone their place. Definitely read the [Full Article], as it was written by Alamo's founder, and ends with the immortal words: Ma'am, you may be free to text in all the other theaters in the Magnited States of America, but here at our "little crappy ass theater," you are not. Why you may ask? Well, we actually do give a f*$k.

With thanks to Gaea for turning me onto the article.

The World Within

I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.
~ Lillian Smith

Docking the Canyon, Pt 2, It tastes like burning

Story - Docking the Canyon, Pt 2, It tastes like burning: Before getting flushed outta the Grand Canyon, my brother Skybreak and I ran into a different problem. We were running out of food and water. Now, we're pretty hardy survivors and we'd rationed for a few days... but the end was in sight. We decided to take one last hike in the canyon, then cook up an actual feast with our remaining rations.

On our hike, I joked with Skybreak about the chipmunk that he'd been hallucinating for days. He would shout out, "Oh, there it is!" Then, when I went to look, he'd add, "Oh, no, it's gone." The Ghost Chipmunk had been a source of laughter for days. I was a little sad when I actually caught sight of the little bugger on our last day. It really was quick. As soon as it knew we'd spotted it, the Ghost Chipmunk darted back into the red rocks of the canyon.

In the desert, your water consumption goes up by about four or six times that of what you'd drink within the safe confines of a temperate city. While the afternoon rains brought a bit of coolness, and definitely extended our stay out on the rocks and ridges of the canyon, we still cut off our adventures early.

Our main remaining dry rations were a bag of dry rice, a bag of dry beans, and Skybreak's portable spice cabin. What we didn't have was any actual firewood. Nothing to worry about, we had matches and we were in the desert. Pouring half of our remaining water rations into the pot with the rice and beans, we began gathering any dry burnables to put under the pot. We cleared a large circle around the makeshift cooking pit, then wrapped all the burnables in paper and sprinkled a nice layer of matches onto the pit.

It was guaranteed to light on fire.

The question was how much fire?

Only one way to find out. Skybreak and I both lit matches and tossed them into the pit. This is what we have since referred to as "the flashcooking incident", primarily in reference to the pillar of fire that formed in the firepit. For all we knew, the pot itself could be melting in the middle of those flames. After more than a minute, the fire calmed down enough so that we could see the pot and know it wasn't melting.

Skybreak, armed with the hiker's most important item--a towel--was able to pop the lid off, add spices and stir the tasty treats inside of it. I was worried about how it'd taste, especially when considering the adverse conditions behind its preparation. I was wrong. With a hefty portion of nomz gathered onto my plate, and the first spoonful in my mouth, I had nothing more to say other than, "It tastes like burning!"

These were the best damned beans 'n rice that I've ever had! Granted, Skybreak's cooking is known far 'n wide, but damn. They'd been flashcooked for less than ten minutes... 'n they were the last of our food. It was time to go.

You won't find this recipe in a book. It'd require a flamethrower.

Related Entries:
Docking the Canyon, Pt 1, They call this a road
Docking the Canyon, Pt 3, Flushed

Song of the Day: [Click to Download]
Metric - Gold Guns Girls (NiT GriT & Stephan Jacobs Remix)
"Gold Guns Girls (NiT GriT and Stephan Jacobs Remix)" by Metric

Only a Page

The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only a page.
~ Saint Augustine

Story - These are your knees; kneel

[Excerpt from "Landlore, V1". Final writings may vary in the book.]

Story - These are your knees; kneel: Zithel once made a life outta hiking around to various Phish concerts, hitting a rave or two along the way. His sister Lolo's still out hiking to this very day. Though under the awning of the house we were squatting at the time, the thick rain came down with so much force that it splashed up a mist that'd already soaked our legs. At the time, it was only Zithel and I, soaking wet and drinking up the pure energy of a rather violent Texas storm. With a gleam in his eyes, Zithel said, "I love storms."

"Love... love! storms!" I affirmed.

Zithel exhaled a long plume of smoke and sighed. That was all the agreement I needed... but I wasn't done. I'd hit upon the very connection that I'd been grasping for. "It's disasters! I love the Earth in turmoil... shaking, splashing, howling... roaring! if to tell us she's still alive, still fighting, and she's calling for us to do the same."

Zithel was laughing. "Ya know, talk like that gets a bum locked up."

"A'ite, diggy... I ever tell you 'bout the time I almost slept thru my first earthquake?"

*blank stare*

I took that as my cue to continue. "OK, so... I'm sleeping in this lavanderia in Seattle. Some shaking jostles me, and so I'm looking' up from my bag. It registers, it clicks, but sleepy-time-me says this is all somehow normal. That's 'cuz sleepy-time-me's a dirty liarhead. Well, I put my head back down, but the shaking's rude enough to go wakin' me up again. Sleepy-time-me just thought, 'Didn't we already do this?' So I put my head back down.

"Round 3. Shaky's got my attention. 'Holy sh!t', I thought. 'Everything's really fu@#ing shaking!'

"As if to accentuate the thought, a foam square falls outta the ceiling and lands with a 'get the fu@# out' kinda noise. My bag and I are all ears, so I break for the door.

"Outside, the world's shakin' itself all to hell. Metal, stone, trees... it's all jolting sharply in every direction. But this... this! all just foreplay.

"What brought me to my knees was the wave. This fu@#ing thing visibly jumps at me, comin' out and thru the building across the parking lot. The wood of the building warped in a ripple like water. When it hit the ground, the wave comes right on ripplin' thru the concrete at me. One second I'm watchin' the wave, the next I was on my knees... 'n fighting to hold myself up.

"I felt the pavement, but it wasn't water. The energy it'd hit me with was fu@#ing great! I wanted more, but everything just got all quiet-like after that... just a bit o' shakin' here 'n there... a bit o' the jitters."

When I didn't say anything else, Zithel prompted me go on. "What'd you do then?"

"Eh, I walked up the hill to help put the library back together. I figured they had something to lose, so they probably didn't enjoy the quake as much as I did. Besides, I felt so blessed by the thing that I wanted to give somthin' back. It felt good, like being reminded of how small I was. Every storm of any size gets me in the same way... it humbles me."

Thunder rumbled in 'n all around us. We smoked in silence after that, enrapt in awe of the world as the sky broke apart above us.

Song of the Day: [Click to Download]
Adele/Portishead/B.O.B./John Legend - Deep & Sour (Robin Skouteris Mash)
"Deep and Sour" by Robin Skouteris
Notes: Don't miss the #TNI Recap for last week, as the topic was "Travel Problem Solving". The answers definitely gave me plenty to think about and to laugh about. As my tweet about this story made the recap, I thought I'd share it here a bit in advance (instead of savin' it exclusively for "Landlore"). Enjoy! We'll get back to the Grand Canyon posts next week. As to the Song of the Week, the free downloads are going fast. Get it while you can!

Learn French with only 1 word

As it turns out, all my efforts to learn French have been unnecessary. I needed only a single word. If you want to learn French and/or want to go to France, then you need this word as well. Mad thanks to Lili, who's been trying to drill this word into me and who tipped me off to this excellent video:

Learn French in One Word by The Observing Participant