NEVER SURRENDER! Ladies and Gentlemen. These are a pair of $250 Asolo hiking boots. Granted they've been around Africa, Iceland, Holland, Greenland, and Eastern Europe. However, I did check them out to make sure they were in working condition, bending them flexing them etc, before I left for the Inka Trail. Within 2 kilometers, the soles fell apart because I could feel the material slapping on my feet. The funny part is the night before as I was reducing the weight of my backpack, I debated intensely with the idea of not bringing my kayaking Mino's (sandals). I actually packed my bag without them in it. At the last moment in the next morning, aka the start of my trekking day, I changed my mind and decided to bring them. Those of you considering the Inka Camino, you have to schedule the hike months in advance because it is very crowded. Peru limits the number of people who are allowed to hike it each day. It is booked solid every day. So when my boots fell apart, I put on my open toe rubber Mino sandals and continued my hike. My fellow hikers thought this to be crazy. However, the porters wear a similar type shoe. My tour mates, and porters teased me and started to call me a porter. On a footnote, the maize (corn) beer that they make at 12,000 feet is quite good that second day. I was not going to allow myself to miss this hike. I would've hiked it bear foot if I wasn't lucky enough to bring the sandles. Thankfully for my already worn feet, I did. So here's to perserverance. You can also see shots of my blue Mino's.
This is a geyser in Iceland that explodes every 10 minutes or so. More than one geyser exists on this site, as well as some hot pools bubbling out of the ground. The beauty of this photo is that I managed to take it before digital cameras were good enough (efficient and cost effective) to buy. I made two attempts at capturing this photo. When I got home and had the film developed (yes people, film is still enjoyable cause of the anticipation of what you've actually captured), I realized that I had snapped the geyser just a microsecond before it goes off. To have captured not only the concave bubble but also the very tip of the water just starting to explode makes this a more magical and breathtaking photo than I was expecting. This geyser explodes to about 75 feet. If your interested in looking at the full explosion, please check out the photos from Iceland under the countries portion of the photos.
This is a rhino that had infiltrated the waterhole about 1 hour after being kicked out by a herd of 35 elephants at Etosha National Park in Namibia. Earlier in the evening, when the elephants came rumbling in, they chased out every animal that was drinking or hanging out near the waterhole, including 5 lions that were stalking prey trying to get a cheap meal that night. I figure this rhino got tired of the elephants monopolizing the water hole. He made a mad dash for the center of the pond and proceeded to just stand there, hence half of his body is dark from being partially submersed. After about 10 minutes of mocking the bull elephant, the bull lifted up his trunk and let out an incredible noise followed by chasing the rhino out of the middle of the hole. The wall that separates the observers (me) and the animals (them) is only a 3 to 4 foot high stone structure. This rhino allows the bull to chase him out at the far end of the pool, then proceeds to prance very slowly along the wall that separates us. He was less than 8 feet away from me at the time of this photo. He walked by so slowly along the 100 meter or so wall in a manner that made me think he was saying, "Did you people see what I just did crashing the party." I'm convinced he was thinking this is, because just as he was getting toward the end of his casual procession to the people, the bull elephant came roaring toward him and really chased him away. It was incredibly enjoyable to witness.
Typical Indian market. Welcome to the local Stop n Shop of Varanasi. I find it cleaner than the markets in Delhi. What is interesting to me is that the people still rummage through not only many different markets but also the individual consumable items. I wonder what they are looking for... I mean a bean is a bean right?
Question to my fellow backpackers around the globe...
What’s with traveling to have sex and get drunk in foreign countries? I don’t get it. Why would anybody jump on a plane and fly halfway around the world just to get drunk and fuck? Then, see absolutely nothing of the culture or sites.
For example, I’m in Munchen (Munich for the culturally uneducated). I’m going back into my dorm bedding situation; guest houses in Munchen have dorms. That means 20 people per room, bunk bed style, community showers, and coed. Two girls from New Jersey ask me what I did that day. I told them I had the most amazing day: I went to THE Swan Lake with a bike ride and swam naked. Then, off to the German castle that DISNEY STOLE EVERYTHING FROM. NEUSCHWANSTEIN! I ended the day at an alpine slide ride with a proper German lunch. It was the best strudel ever. It cost me like 60 Euros. There reply was that if they do that then they won’t be able to drink that night. Seriously, don’t they have bars in New Jersey?
A public service announcement: The world went crazy over in the States with the missing American girl in the Bahamas. I would like to express to the parents out there that it’s remarkable to me this doesn’t happen more often. For instance, I’m sitting in the guest house common room minding my business looking at my lonely planet book (great travel guide btw). I’m trying to decide what I’d like to do in this random city over the next few days. Three girls arrive. I run away from loud obnoxious valley-girl-language chicks. So they are being typical Americans, and after a few minutes and I do mean a few minutes, these three girls sit down in the common room to have a few local beers. I surmise that they can’t be more than 20 years old after hearing their comments about not being able to drink in their home country, U.S.A. Within 10 minutes, they are surrounded by four local guys who are going to have their way with them. They might as well been hyenas licking their paws eyeing their easy prey. You could just tell by the way they were mockingly laughing at them and talking to each other in their own language. To my surprise, after two beers, one of these girls says, “Wow, the beer here is very strong. I’m starting to get drunk.” She falls face down into the lap of one of her freshly acquainted boys and screams “Let’s go to a strip club!” At this point, I’ve had enough so I head out to take in some of the night time sights. Certain architecture looks amazing when it’s lit up at night. Three hours later, I see the same girl who commented about being intoxicated WITHOUT her friends now and with three of the boys. She is completely naked and standing under a water fountain. The boys are fully dressed. I think to myself, “I hope you are so drunk that you don’t remember what’s gonna happen to you tonight. If daddy only knew how you spent his money today...” I could go on for hours with these kinds of stories.
For those who care to spend their time and money wisely, here's some insight into the African Safari. First, I would skip Kruger National Park. While it is popular and probably the cheapest, you can get the same experience at the animal adventure drive at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. Secondly, Etosha National Park has a man-made (German) floodlit waterhole. During the dry seasons, it becomes a cultural waterhole for the animals if you will. It is almost natural for the animals to migrate miles through the region to this site in this season. In one night (meaning one 6 hour sitting), I watched 35 elephants, 5 lions, 12 rhinos, and at least that many hippos and giraffes drink from the same waterhole. It was like watching the Discovery Channel without the couch... at a distance of less than 50 feet. Brings new meaning to HD TV, kids. The day we arrived, we were told not to fall asleep on the bleachers, because a lion jumped the 3-foot rock wall that separates you from the animals, to devour a particular sleeping gentleman. There is a game park (Moremi) in Maun, Botswana that only lets a set number of trucks in everyday, so its still full and vibrant of many types of animals that are not so skittish when they hear the trucks. Some drivers will even take the truck off the path into blind jungle terrain, which they are banned from doing in the Serengeti... Lastly, if you truly desire the real African experience, I suggest that you get yourself up to Arusha to visit Ngorongoro Crater. It's not only amazing animal activity (30,000 different animals in a 10 square mile blown out caldera volcanic crater), but they can't get in or out of the caldera so it's like a modern day eden. All the big 5 (animals) are there and everything in between flamingos, hippo pools, Servel cats etc. Its simple. The geography is just as breathtaking as the animal factor...
I have explored 76 countries, no hand holding, no tour guides just a drive to see, smell, taste, experience, and enjoy the earth. I have been on Reality Television and spend much of my time giving back to the community. From a unique perspective of sports, adventure and travel.