- Always have at least one crazy goal in life.
- Surround self with positive energy and that could be friends, hobbies, places, activities...
- Generously share positive energy, even with strangers.
- Use love as a theme to string up life, not anger nor regret. Apply laughter generously.
- Appreciate food and the source of food.
- Health (physical, mental and spiritual) is the most fundamental enabler to a good life. Not money.
- Seek help if overwhelmed.
- You deserve a good bed.
- Listen to Pet Shop Boys.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Before we hit the southern most tip of the American continent we were on the (in)famous Ruta 40 in Argentina. Some people drive the road all 5000 km (making it one of the longest roads in the world, together with U.S. Route 66), we chose not to do that. We had crossed the border with Chile the previous day and had stayed the night in Los Antiguos. We'd driven on another part of Ruta 40 before, but that was asphalt and all smooth sailing. We knew this part would not be as easy.
View Larger Map
After turning off at Perito Moreno we were on Ruta 40 again, the beginning was beautiful new asphalt, and not that many cars. But then... the road ceased to exist, they were in progress of upgrading the road, and during that time all traffic was diverted to an improvised road next to the old/new road. This was one of the worst pavements possible, not only was it unpaved, it consisted of larger rocks as well. Too be honest, I was quite surprised I made it through without falling.
The video was shot on that road, and as you can tell, my mood was not the best. I was even talking in Dutch to Shu at one point! (and for those who don't know her, she doesn't speak Dutch...)
We ended up in a small village called Bajo Caracoles. The local 'hotel' owner knew we had little choice so tried to charge the 'hoofdprijs' as we say in Dutch (=fortune), but we managed to find a little other place with quite the reputable hygiene, but it was cheap. And the owner made delicious empanadas :)
(if you read this post through the mailing list or Facebook, you’ll have to go to our blog and view the video there)
Somewhere on Ruta 40, Argentina from Q on Vimeo.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
We’re talking late 2010, we had rounded the southern most tip of the American continent and were on our way up north to take a much deserved break from traveling and spend two weeks with friends.
But, before that all we still had to visit the Chilean National Park of Torres del Paine. And what an awe-inspiring place it was. Absolutely one of the highlights of the trip! And one extra special thing, the CLOUDS! Have a look at this video (around the 22-second mark) and see those cloud formations! Stunning and gorgeous :)
(if you read this post through the mailing list or Facebook, you’ll have to go to our blog and view the video there)
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Worst Couchsurfing experience. That is one of our most popular conversation topics with friends and family. Just to clarify we don’t “surf” nearly as much as it appears - maybe occasionally at most, i.e. about 5% for those of you engineers. But it’s true that I like to talk about surfing because they often make more memorable experiences than boutique hotels. This is one of the stories I told many times. I think it is time to share it on the blog with everyone.
It was along the Trans-America highway called Carretera Austral in Chile. Gorgeous scenery and weather that we couldn’t get enough of. We pulled into the city of Coyhaique in an early evening and found the house according to the address given by our Couchsurfing host, Javier.
To call it a house is an over-statement - it was actually still under construction with fences and pit holes everywhere. We were confused - maybe we were at wrong place? So we circled about the town, asked around, circled about some more and asked around some more. Fifteen minutes later we found ourselves back at the same spot. Luckily Javier answered our prayers and showed up a few minutes later: he indeed lived at the location, but in a little cabin by the riverside further into the property, the front of which would be developed into some hotel.
After tip-toeing around the construction site, we found the cabin hidden among trees. Really it was just a small bachelor pad. Besides the kitchen and bathroom, Javier’s drum set took up about 1/3 of the living space and his sleeping mattress another 1/3. It felt a little tight for all three of us, but “we will manage somehow”, I tried to comfort myself in my head.
To our annoyance, the cabin was also a bit dirty and messy, so five minutes later, I rolled my sleeves and started cleaning out the dishes in the sink. Since it was still early, Q and I decided to wander around the town before dinner. Javier told us he was off to meet up with two other Couchsurfing travellers. He mumbled something about they would set up a tent for camping, but I subconsciously ignored the trouble sign.
We came back at around 9 at night to a cabin full of travellers and backpacks and a smiling Javier. By the way, we met a total of four Javiers in South America: one in Paraguay, one in Chile, one in Uruguay and one in Colombia, and all of them have this perpetually-cheerful look – a bit like the Sri Lankans.
Anyways, I digress, back to the cabin, the five of us chatted away. We found out the other two travellers were German university girls who had been trekking in Patagonia for several months. We were thoroughly impressed with their perseverance, and secretly wish we were younger and could do something similar.
Anyway, I digress again. Then it was getting late and way too dark to set up any tent so I felt it was necessary to address “the elephant in the room”. “What is the sleeping arrangement for tonight, guys?” I asked.
A complete silence of uneasiness momentarily froze everyone. Then the smiley Javier started scratching his head as if the thought hasn’t occurred to him.
“Well, my bed is a stack of three mattresses. So we can pull the bottom two out,” Javier finally broke the silence.
“But where? There is no space.” I continued my practical questioning.
“We will move the drums to the storage hut next door.”
So at eleven at night, the five of us carried the drums away like pack of diligent ants. Actually not all fit in the hut, so some were left blocking the entrance to the cabin. Fire hazard I know, but it was the best we could do under the circumstances and we were all getting sleepy, so I saved my safety speech.
It was a miracle that the three mattresses fit in the floor space. In fact they filled the entire space with no gap in between. So there we were, like a row of piglets, lined up nicely across the cabin.
Five of us lining up like piglets.
After everyone settled and lay down, Javier turned off the ceiling light. Suddenly all my senses were so heightened. I felt I was holding my breath and I received the same vibe coming from the whole room of tired travellers. With the darkness blanketing us, it finally dawned on us that we were going to spend ONE WHOLE NIGHT IN A ROOM FULL OF STRANGERS. Just like that we all held our breaths, too afraid to fall asleep.
Then something truly magical happened.
Javier turned on his record player, and next thing we knew, mellow and soothing jazz music flew out of it. Our ears were the first to start breathing again. I got up to capture this moment. My eyes just melted when they made out the sight outside the window – a river dancing under the moonlight! And next my nose found the faint scent of the wooden cabin. Just like that, everything became rustic and everyone was peaceful. I will never forget that feeling of excitement and relief that night. Then I passed out before the first song was over.
The second day morning before leaving Javier’s house, we ensured the German girls in private that it was not a typical Couchsurfing experience, and they should not be deterred from trying it again.
Whether they did again or not, we don’t know. But we do know we tried Couchsurfing again and again since then, and treasure it every single time.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Last Saturday was the First Annual Nevada City Adult Soapbox Derby. The weather was great, the turnout was great, the race was exciting, and the soap boxes were spectacular! Here’s a short impression of the vehicles participating (or view the whole gallery here):
It was great fun! View the whole gallery here.
One of my friends Tanya suggested that I should post a photo of me in my motorcycle riding outfit since she cannot imagine me looking like an astronaut. While looking for such a photo, I recalled a moment we had in Peru.
Spring season was in full swing while we were in Peru, which meant more days than not, it rained on-and-off and constantly all day, and this particular day was no exception. Needless to say we were in a foul mood, with our motorcycle gears getting heavier and heavier soaked in rain water. For a good portion of the day I sat in butt-freezing clothes since my gore-tex motorcycle pants fails in heavy rain.
Sometime in the mid-afternoon streaks of lightening started hitting on the road ahead. All fed up with the lousy weather, Q stopped Casa in the middle of nowhere without warning. He gestured me to get off the motorcycle, and proceeded to throw himself down by the roadside.
I could tell he was really pissed off because he wouldn’t even look at me. And I was just glad that it’s not because of us this time! Knowing better I left him alone for a short while and scouted around as one does when stranded in the middle of nowhere. Now come to think about it, I must have looked quite funny since I didn't remove any of my motorcycle gears because I was too wet to. I quickly spotted a shepherd sitting across the road not far from us. I walked up to him and noticed his sitting trick – unlike Q who was on a patch of wet grass, the shepherd sat comfortably on a dry shrub above the puddles.
I decided to try it out – it worked like a charm!! Walking back to a slightly-deflated Q, I showed him the new trick, and we both had a ball trying it out!
Friday, June 17, 2011
While Shu’s kicking back in Toronto with Family and Friends, I’m hanging low with my Pamily in Northern California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. I’ve done my fair share of relaxing, but there are also a few things that need to be done with the bike, among which: new tires!
New tires beg to be driven, of course, and I was happy to take them out for a spin. I made a big loop via I-80 to Truckee, from there to SR-89 along the west side of Lake Tahoe, then west on SR-88, back north on SR-49. See the map:
So first I-80, a freeway that heads into the hills. Good for getting rid of the silicone on the new tires. Then I switched to the old road, which is more quiet, more scenic, more windy and with quite a bit of history to it. It’s the Old U.S. Route 40, or Donner Pass Road.
And a gorgeous view of Donner Lake.
You would think summer has started, I mean, we’re halfway into June, but snow tells you otherwise.
Right turn at Truckee, on California State Route 89 towards the west side of Lake Tahoe. You could tell summer holidays had started, because it was busy on the roads and all the parking lots. No pictures there because of that, and I’ve already been there a few times. But just south of Lake Tahoe I took a small road to shortcut my road, and instantly I was alone again.
After SR-89 a right onto SR-88, it climbs until 2600m/8500 feet and got really cold as well! But stunning sceneries again.
Some back roads from SR-88 to SR-49, north again and back to Auburn. Can’t think of a better way to wear in my new tires!
Check out all the pics in the gallery.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
It has been a while since I looked remotely nice. The following photo was taken after an overnight party with mosquitos in Venezuela about two months ago.
As mentioned in previous posting, we are taking a vacation after travelling for a year, with Q in California and me in Toronto. I was very excited to dress up and wear some make-up again – this time for a friend’s wedding. (Congrats, Sergio & Desirée!)
Me with friends at the wedding
Thanks to Tita Tess, Criana and a California thrift store for keeping my glam look at a grand total of $3.50! Sweet!
Monday, June 6, 2011
Some of you have noticed from the photos that Q was getting darker and skinner from the hard work of motorcycling for 60,000 km. Well, worry not, because we have made it to the United States of America, home to meals that not only smell good but taste even better.
Above: Hello, bacon! Only if I can sing to you. Oh, how much I have missed you.
It seems that we have to learn to count calories again!
Above: Last stretch to pamily through gorgeous yet freezing northern California.
Special thanks to our friend Kiyo for hosting us in Los Angeles and the Andrews pamily for hosting us in northern California! Yes, after a year’s travelling, we are on vacation! Hooray!
From Dos Chinos on Dos Wheels to Dos Niños in a Van!