Phone Fun

Phone Fun

I had to call to Google today as I was having trouble with my account.  When I spoke to an Indian man on the phone I was really polite to him and I could tell that he liked me because I was calm and not someone typically screaming at him.  I was on the phone with him for about 15 minutes and then he asked if he could put me on hold for a couple of minutes.  I said, “Sure.” ...

Maiden!

The theatrical highlight of the Iron Maiden show took place when ‘Eddie’ the monster came out…That is someone’s job…to fly around the world with Iron Maiden, put on really awesome monster costume with 1.5 meter stilts built inside of it, and run around the stage. Perhaps I aimed too low when I decided on a journalism career.  The ‘Eddie guy’ has a way better gig, probably never had student debt stressing him, and is essentially a rockstar without having to...

Maiden!

On the bus on the way to Download Festival, we passed by East Midlands International Airport.  Parked on the runway, sitting pretty, was the Iron Maiden jet.  There was a skull painted on the tail and ‘The Book of Souls’ tour name printed across the side of the vessel.  The bus of concert goes riding with us was heavily loaded with Iron Maiden geeks who were freaking out together and squealing with delight in excitement of seeing that Ed Force...

Sabbath!

I liken 2016 Black Sabbath to the tires on a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda muscle-car that you want to drive again.  You drove that car as hard as you could through all of the 1970’s.  There is one pretty new tire on the car – 36 year old current drummer Tommy Clufetos.  There are two older tires that are wearing out in Geezer and Tony, but there is still tread on them and they still easily get you where you need...

Seeing Rammstein Live

Rammstein is wild. The music just kind of grabs you by the testicles, drags you along and makes you scream out crazy things in German and you do not even know what those things mean!

People are Great!

As soon as I got inside of the gate, a really fat man leaning against a wall was wearing a shirt that said ‘Salad Dodger’.

Crossing Paths with Slash

I was surprised to learn that I am taller than Slash. That also seemed strange.  He has been a massive rockstar for as long as the concept of a guitar riff has resonated in mind, so it seems like he should probably be 10′ tall.  Incredibly, he is not.  Perception is a peculiar thing…

Axl Rose in AC/DC

When the band plays ‘Thunderstruck’, the song builds from Angus’ guitar intro, as the back up singers sing ‘Thunder’ until the lead singer screams ‘THUNDER’ and you hear that distinctly high and raspy Axl Rose voice.  It is unmistakable.  You know that sound.  Suddenly you find yourself caught in this weird musical hybrid, with the voice that you are used to singing ‘Right Next Door to Hell’ and ‘Mr. Brownstone’ singing ‘Shoot to Thrill’ and ‘Whole Lotta Rosie.’  You imagine...

The MC at the Shin Kicking Festival

“Choose he or she that bounces the most and bruises the least.” “We have some failing light, we need to get kicking.” “It’s a natural amphitheatre for the sound of bruises.”

Education

Convincing a 20 year old to get out of bed at 10:35 is no easy feat… It turns out that playing Slayer really loud at 10:45 will make the transition happen!  Now you know…

My friend Ian

Me – “Did you go home from her house after you two finished?” Friend (Irish accent) – “No, I stayed over.  There was talk of eggs in the morning.”

Ian

(Said with an Irish accent) We used to call the catholic school, ‘The Virgin Megastore.’

An English Friend

Me – ‘”How did you end up becoming a vegetarian?” Friend – “I took some drugs, went to Black Sabbath, and that was it… Count me out!”

Life on the London Underground

Across from me on the bench-style seat of the underground train were two English girls sitting side by side and a male friend of theirs was seated to the right of them.  The girl on the left was complaining that she was hot.  The guy seated on my right hand side was drunk.  He had a newspaper and he started to fan the girl across the aisle with it.  Everyone around was kind of watching the scene. She said to...

Samantha from London

me – “I am off to a bon voyage gathering for a drink, but only one or maybe two.” her – “Can you really stick to one/two? You look too cheeky to be sensible.”

Akbar from India

Akbar, my telecommunications friend, lived in Afghanistan from October 2003 to June of 2008.  When he arrived in Afghanistan two years after 9/11 2001, he said that that Kabul, the capital city, was a lot of fun.  He told me that at that time, the city was cool and it was a party where he would be out until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning.  Kabul stayed fun until 2007 and that was when things got really bad.  Akbar said...

Travelling Ethiopia

I talked to the guy at the front desk of my hotel in Addis Ababa and asked him how to get around the city.  He told me outrageous taxi prices.  I asked him if there is a local convi-taxi.  He said there was.  I told him, “I have been in Africa for six months…”  He loosened up when he understood that I was not just another pretty boy flying into Africa who is scared of the dark and nodded with,...

Ethiopia’s Capital Airport

The Addis Ababa airport is a rundown white building that feels like a warehouse or storage facility.  There are no amenities and there are barely places to find something to eat or drink.  It started raining outside and that meant that it started raining inside of the airport as well even though there is a roof.  I took a one of the plastic trays for scanning baggage and put it under one of the 50 or more drip areas to...

Life in South Africa

Rainbow Nation is a term in South Africa.  It is how South Africa perceives itself as a country with people of all colors.

Capetown Prohibition

Capetown has two dry suburbs.  These are both in middle class areas of the city.  These suburbs  have always been dry since the beginning of Capetown.  It is amazing that these bans have never ever been lifted in all of this time.

European Explorers in South Africa

Groot Constantia wineries in Capetown was established here in 1685.  1685!  It makes me imagine the scenario of Europeans arriving on a boat: “Alright mates.  We are here.  Whew, that was a long trip. Now, let’s create a way so that we can get pissed.  Plant these grape seeds right over there.  Oh wow, there are indigenous people with dark skin living here.  How very interesting.  Okay, have you got those seeds in the ground yet?”

Namibian Friend Aubrey

‘Bragging the Cars’ = an expression for driving erratically around corners and showing off.

Namibian Friend Aubrey

Aubrey’s girlfriend has a relative in Canada.  Aubrey told me, “She went to Canada a man.  Changed into a woman.  Had the surgery for a vagina.  Now, is very difficult to get back because is a different gender.”  If is funny to hear Africans speak of such things!

Pondering Audio and Clones in Namibia

The whole echo experience made me wonder how well sound travels.  It goes to the other side of the canyon, which is kilometers away, and comes back with an average ‘Africa to North America Skype call’ delay.  But, does it travel downwards as well?  Would people in the bottom of the canyon hear me as well?  Would the people on the other side hear the same volume of audio as I could hear on my own echo return?  I wished...

Freedom in Namibia

I drove along the edge of the Fish River Canyon where I was completely alone.  There I spent about 10 minutes screaming out different words, phrases, and making wishes to incredible canyon echoes of me answering me.  I yelled words until my voice started to crack.  It is nice to feel so free and be in a situation where you can vocalize the crazy things in your mind that would normally make society uncomfortable…and you can do it at your...

Creative Dutch Vocabulary

‘Tweedeleg’ = literal meaning – ‘Second laying’.  Translation – Having a family with one woman, divorcing, and then having another family with a second wife.

Creative Dutch Vocabulary

‘Naokmertje’ = Literal meaning – ‘Little after coming’.  Translation – Having a gap between most of your children and then another arriving a few years later.

Life in Namibia

The Fish River Canyon campground was quiet, but Charlie, a super friendly man in charge of security said there was a bus full of people last night.  He said, “They were noising till 1AM.”  Noising!  Noising – my new favorite word of the week!  I totally get it!  The ‘noising’ could have been from ‘singing’ or ‘yelling’ from ‘drinking’.

Life in Namibia

The driver was using Q-Tips to clean his ears as we were driving down the road at 120 km/h.  Evidentially, even though he was two hours late, life was still too much of a rush for him this morning.

Education Vs Witchcraft

Christian told me that when he lived in southern Africa about 10 years ago there were Europeans who came in to educate the locals about safe sex.  They were teaching the people how to use condoms and for an example they used a broomstick that they rolled the condom down to demonstrate usage.  Later, when the Europeans returned after some weeks and visited people’s houses, all of the houses had a broomstick with a condom rolled down it.  Apparently there...

A Namibian Buggy

In Namibia, a pick-up truck is called a ‘buggy.’  Just think about that for a second.  That means this word has not changed since it was just that and has evolved in meaning with the vehicle!  Very cool.

Hoba Meteorite in Namibia

Close to a town called Tsumeb is the Hoba Meteorite, which is the world’s largest meteorite.  The meteorite was discovered in 1920 and it weighs 54,000 kgs.  54 tons!   It is a big hunk of minerals such as zinc, copper, gold, lead, and any other product that my guide could think of to name.  I was there in the evening as the sun was setting, but he told me that no matter how hot the sun it, the meteorite always...

Skeleton Coast – Namibia

On the way out of the park, I came across a two-toned sand dune that was about 100 meters from the gravel road I was on.  I was in the middle of the park and there was nothing around me but desert.  I wanted a photo of the dune, so I got out of the car and I began walking across the sand towards the mound.  I was about 50 meters from the car which was about half way to...

Julia from Belarus

Julia was looking for her phone in her room.  When she was struggling to find it I asked her, “Do you want me to call it so that it rings?”  She said, “No, that will not work.  It is on loudless.”  Loudless!  Holy, that is cute!

Life in Belarus

Until five years ago, people from Belarus needed an ‘Out’ visa from their own country just to exit their land.  Wow.  And, if you were an unmarried woman, you would not be granted an ‘Out’ visa.

Bribing Namibian Cargo-Train Drivers

Giving a man beer is more effective than giving a man money: A) it is a thoughtful gesture. B) you can give a man $10 worth of beer, or you can give him $20 cash, and the $10 worth of beer will feel like it has more value. C) almost all men like beer. D) the man receiving the gift knows that you would sooner be drinking the beer yourself than giving them away, so it really reflects the importance...

Introducing Desert to Namibia

After lunch, I bought deserts for to share with my Namibia friends who are in there 20’s.  Strawberry cheesecake.  And a caramel slice.  I knew they had never had anything like that before.  Well, I watched their facial expressions as they had their first bites of cheesecake.  Their eyes lit up as taste-buds exploded.  They were blown away.  It was like watching a child open a Christmas present.

Hawker Friends in Namibia

They said, “Ah, don’t worry about us.  We have a way.  We have things to sell.  We just need to get the money out of their pockets.”  Tosh later asked me, “Do you understand how it works?  We need to understand the psychology why?  Then we will be rich.  But no matter who the woman is, they love the handbags.  No matter what age.  It can be a woman from the bush.  They can say to me, ‘I don’t want.’...

Education

William, my truck driver friend from Swaziland, told me that the immigration people working at the Namibia border are uneducated.  He told me that they are just bush people who were offered government jobs.  Then William asked me if London is in the United States…

Botswana to Namibia

I asked the Namibia immigration man if there was a bus that came to the border.  He said that one might, but that I should just wait for a ride from someone coming though.  The first village was 33 kilometers away and he told me the next real town was 200 kilometers past that.  He said, “Cars are scarce, but you can not walk from here as this is a game reserve and there are animals that will eat you.” ...

Crossing Botswana

The bus drove for about two hours and we stopped at a “Hoof and Mouth Disease Check-Point”, where a policeman got on the bus to do a headcount.  He looked at me and said with a big smile, “Hello gentleman.  How is your journey?”  He was so friendly.  He walked through the bus, and when he got to the front again, he announced to me and the conductor lady, “This bus has 88 passengers on it.  This woman had told...

Botswana Tongues

The ‘x’ in Botswana is a tongue click noise.  The name Nicole in Botswana is “Nixolo” which has a click and something of a swallow in the name.  Try that!

Life in Botswana

Warthogs enter their dens backwards so that anything coming to attack them will be met with their tusks, but the most interesting thing I learned is that when they leave their den they charge out, just in case something like a lion or a leopard has been waiting patiently for them to exit their den to make a meal out of them.  Nature is fascinating.

Life in Botswana

A giraffe, is a massive animal, poops pebbles like a rabbit…  We came across some more giraffes that are just cool and gentle creatures.  My guide told me that he likes them because they never charge and they never cause problems.  He told me that a male can be 6.5 meters tall and females can be 5.5 meters tall.   This works well in nature because they can browse (a term for their eating from bushes they can see over top...

Life in Botswana

Termites are fascinating insects.  They live in monarchies where a king and a queen are in charge of the entire operation of the mound.  There are worker termites and there are soldier termites.  Termites hate the sunlight, so they cover things such as logs in a mixture of sand and saliva during the evenings that hardens over the next day.  They can then remain below the pasted sand so that they can work to break down the wood during the...

The Okavango Delta of Botswana

There are three keystones of the Okavango Delta: the elephant, the hippo, and the termite. – The elephant travels and only digests 60% of what it eats.  The rest passes though the animal and much of it re-germinates where it lands (palms, grasses…). – The hippo is in a similar situation to the elephant where the mobility of the animal transplants much of the vegetation that passes through the animal to different places and begins growth in other parts of...

The Okavango Delta

My friend poled us in the boat through the Okavango Delta through passageways that he called “Hippo Highways” which are paths through the water that the hippos travel at night in their pursuit of satisfying the munchies.  “Hippo Highway”! – so awesome…