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    Archive for July, 2008

    Day 845 – Arrival Rapa Nui! (UK)

    Thursday, July 31st, 2008

    The Boeing 767 from Papeete, French Polynesia to Hanga Roa, Easter Island seems brand new and all seats are equipped with a TV screen + remote control. Movies, hundreds of music albums, games of all sorts, radio channels, language lessons, Who Want’s to be a Millionaire and loads of other amusements are all crammed into the back of the seat in front of me. It’s great entertainment and I hardly get any sleep in those 5 hours in the plane. My brain is still severely undernourished after all this time on the road and I need to soak up all the info I can, no matter how bizarre and useless it is.

    Arriving on Easter Island is a trifle surreal for me because of my lack of sleep all night. The eastbound flight ate 4 hours of my precious time (no one ever asks you if that’s okay or not) and thus the night is over before it really started.

    The Chilean authorities are a bit fussy about bringing potential bacteria and biological oddities into their country. They are not particularly fond of my greasy jam & peanut butter sandwiches from Tahiti. With white plastic gloves (surgeon style) an inspector carefully opens all the sandwiches, some of them half-eaten, to check if everything is all right. Surprisingly, he hands the newly inspected sandwiches back to me and wishes me good luck on Easter Island.

    Only about 4.000 people live on Easter Island. Almost all of them live in the main town Hanga Roa on the south west coast of the triangular shaped island, 3.500 km off the coast of South America.

    Rapa Nui Shadow

    Sitting on the pavement in that town, eating those sandwiches, a lady soon strikes up a conversation with me. I’d rather she left me alone (still zombie tired and hungry), eating my food and finding out where to sleep. But she doesn’t leave me alone. She immediately invites me to come and stay with her in her house next door.

    Taken by surprise, I can’t (will not!) find an excuse and thus I’m now installed in her modest wooden house where Anna Julia (57) lives with her boyfriend cum fiancée Jaime (45) and their cat Agape (1). It was the quickest kidnap ever – and a very welcome one at that.

    A walk around Hanga Roa shows that the number of jeans clad honey bums and flirting latina looks has risen dramatically since Tonga’s (all too) big mamas (no offence, I love them all!). It ain’t no bad progress, I tell you. Take it from me, the sad silver monk .

    Tongariki, Rapa Nui

    Hanga Roa is an altogether wonderful little town. Horses stroll up and down the main streets, a man sells carne de vaca from the back of his truck (no plastic, no fine entrecôte cuts here, it’s all natural and a bit bloody), the town shuts down completely during the afternoon siesta (and thus no way for me to change money). I love it here so far. Lots of sun and T-shirt temperatures.

    After the dinner with Anna Julia, her brother Estéban, and Jaime I soon forget my tiredness when numerous Escudos, the local beer, are served. Chilean telenovelas make a boisterous noise from the TV, and soon we (the boys) all unite in a true brotherhood with colourful headbands in the local Isla de Pascua cowboy style.

    I’m not overly fastidious, but this house is dirty. Really dirty, but I force myself to ignore it for now. It’s the kind of house where you don’t feel like touching the walls, the door knobs, and looking under the kitchen table and in the sorners of the room is a big no-no! Never mind the dirt because this is La Casa de Los Corazones (think I scored a few ”hermano points” for that one).

    Well into my umpteenth Escudo, Estéban and I go to the Topa Tangi Bar, the local hotspot, with live music and quite a bit of that intimate Latin American party feeling that I’ve missed for too long now. Accompanied by new friends Christophe (France) and Alexandra (Chile) it is a wonderful night. Halleluja, lord, what a crazy Easter Island start for me.

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    Top 20 Songs That Were Made Too Short

    Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

    (UK Only)

    F.R David’s classic love pop tune Words (1982, I think) was probably the first song ever that gave me this feeling. A feeling that no! it can’t be over already, that the good tune had to continue.

    I’ve often had the same feeling with other songs, songs that seem to be made a trifle too short (generally less than 2’30’’), songs that had too much power and intensity to be expressed in just 120 seconds. Getting to the end of the songs feel like interrupted lovemaking (how would I possibly know, huh?) or like the good Indian in that cowboy movie dying prematurely. You simply just want the action, the golden moment to continue a little longer.

    Below is my personal Top 20 list of these songs. I love all of the songs. Some might say that the inherent quality and character of a specific tune stem mainly from the fact of its short life, of its intensity and its everything must go-attitude, and I do not disagree (e.g. this seems to be the case with most of Frank Blacks & The Pixies’ songs)…

    Nonetheless, here goes…

    01 – Heartbeats – José Gonzales
    02 – Our Swords – Band of Horses
    03 – Today I Am a Boy – Antony and The Johnsons
    04 – Quiet Town – Josh Rouse
    05 – Don’t Panic – Coldplay
    06 – Situations – Jack Johnson
    07 – Irish Blood, English Heart – Morrissey
    08 – I Should Have Been A Tsin-tsi – Mew (Denmark)
    09 – King Kong Five – Mano Negra
    10 – Song 2 – Blur
    11 – Bye June – Smashing Pumpkins
    12 – Bizarre Love Triangle – Frente
    13 – El Mariachi – Los Lobos
    14 – You and Me Song – The Wannadies (Sweden)
    15 – Respect – Aretha Franklin
    16 – Stray Dogs – Thomas Dybdahl (Norway)
    17 – La dernière minute – Carla Bruni (yes, Mrs France)
    18 – Sadness – Porno for Pyros
    19 – I Get Around – Beach Boys
    20 – Head On – Pixies

    What’s yours?

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    Day 844 – A Tahitian Favourite

    Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

    Tune of the Day: Mango Tree – Angus & Julia Stone

    Far too late, I discovered a nourishing, relatively cheap food here on otherwise ridiculously expensive Tahiti…Kids might like it too!

    A Tahitian Favourite

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    Day 843 – Moorea -> Tahiti

    Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

    Lovely Lipo and Karlota (+me). Bye guys, bye Moorea.

    My last dinner on Tahiti, with Areti in Faa'a.

    She's thin as air!!! Can you see Heimiri?

    Le Menage, Tahiti amusement park.

    Heimiri and Vahineao having action fun in the amusement park...

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    The Reincarnation of a Beloved Friend

    Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

    (UK only)

    Typing these very words after two months near-silence is a special moment for me. They are proof that the ’blindness’ I’ve felt for too long now due to the sudden disappearance of my life line (to the parts of the world I’m not physically in contact with), my creative playground, the friend that never complains, that is this site.

    Little did I know how much it means to me to be able to share with you out there, the highs & the lows, the beauty & the sadness, the faces & the places of this nomadic life of mine, and to expose what’s happening in and around my part of the world (which, admittedly, will always be but a fraction of all that’s really going on. Thus is life, after all).

    Some might call it therapy. I don’t like that word. Writing (and sharing it) has simply become a necessary way for me to do what I’m doing, to go through life, and it greatly helps me digesting some of all the experiences, thoughts, ideas, reflections that would otherwise muddle up my rapidly diminishing mental hard drive.

    ”If there is a God?” Billy Corgan once asked. To this I can now honestly say:

    Yes, Billy, there is a God.
    He doesn’t have wings but he’s made me feel like flying again.
    He lives somewhere in Australia.
    His name is James.
    I don’t know the look of his face but I feel the healing powers of his blessed deed.

    To clear things out a bit: James is the sole reason you can be reading these words now. Without asking for anything, without questioning, without hesitating, without knowing who I am, he’s so generously, selflessly, and expertly fixed this website, brought it back to life from a rather doubtful underworld existence.

    For me, as you might have guessed by now, this is a miracle come true. His much appreciated help has taught me that we don’t really need religions and hocus-pocus mantras to get through our lives. All we need is lots of love – and a few Jameses around now and then! Eventually things will fall into place. That’s all it takes, really, to make the world spin and smile (and please don’t accuse me of being too simplistic and naive here. I’ve tried it and it works wonders).

    Trying in the first place was optimistic. I knew I wouldn’t adequately be able to express the immense happiness and gratitude I feel right now thanks to my guardian angel. You are my hero, James and God bless you.

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    Day 842 – If Only…(UK)

    Monday, July 28th, 2008

    I’ve spent a great amount of time hanging out with the three cats in the house where I’m staying with friends Lipo (Venezuela), his girlfriend Karlota (Spain), and Joana (France, who rents the house). I love them all (here: the cats) and want to believe that the love goes both ways (here: both cats and friends).

    Yet growing up with cats, I learned that you don’t really have to be a great person for the cat to love you. The cat is pretty black and white (pun not intended) in the department of love distribution.

    From a cat’s point of view there are two kinds of humans. 1) Those that feed them and 2) Those that don’t. Consequently, there are humans they love and humans they don’t love.

    If only things were that simple in the equivalent human department of love and peace distribution. Everyone would feed everyone, everyone would love everyone, no one would be hungry, no one would go unloved…

    If Only Tonight…

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    Day 841 – The Party

    Sunday, July 27th, 2008

    Lipo and Karlota, my lovely friends that I’m staying with here on Moorea, have invited some of their friends today to a Sunday afternoon gathering/BBQ in the backyard.

    Sometimes stories are easier to tell through photos I’m a lazy bugger

    The Sunday Party on Moorea

    The Sunday Party on Moorea

    A Feast

    The Sunday Party on Moorea

    The Sunday Party on Moorea

    The Sunday Party on Moorea

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    Day 840 – The Bronze Munk

    Saturday, July 26th, 2008

    I was introduced to Melanie today. Melanie is from Chile. Melanie has 4 sons in Santiago. Melanie is charming. Melanie is very cute.

    And if Melanie is just a vague indication what awaits me in Chile, I better go and get those shirts ironed…

    Yours,

    The Bronze Munk

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    Day 839 – From furred pet to merciless hunter

    Friday, July 25th, 2008

    There are a lot of big, nasty spiders in the house here on Moorea. The ugly kind with more hair on the legs than I have. When you’re no longer 8 years old and you can’t just call your dad when one of the hairy beasts has found its way to your room – what to do?

    The problem’s easily solved. I just set one of the cats on the spider. The sight of the fleeing – and, I admit, poor – spider transforms the purring, lovely furred animal into a deadly and merciless hunter. There’s no mess (like crushed spider tummy on the wallpaper) and no disgust for my part. The combat is both short and unfair…

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    Day 837 – Moorea’s Col de 3 Cocotiers

    Thursday, July 24th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 836 – ALIVE!

    Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

    Tune of the Day: Felicidad – Albano Y Romana Power

    I’m happy to announce that at this moment I’m the happiest person on Earth.

    My website’s been reincarnated (but by now this is all old news and James continues to be My Hero of the Year because he fixed the WT site).

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    Day 835 – The Sting Rays

    Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

    Album of the Day: På den anden side – Peter Sommer (DK)

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    Day 834 – Belvédère (UK)

    Monday, July 21st, 2008

    Daytrip: 42 | Total 32.692 km

    Went to the magnificent Belvédère Lookout in the centre of Moorea + a free walk around the School of Agriculture – as always looking for ripe papayas and, the fruit highlight of the day, fresh passion fruits…

    Cook's Bay, Moorea.

    Belvedere lookout, Moorea

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    Day 833 – The Comforts of the Indoors

    Sunday, July 20th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 832 – Claude François

    Saturday, July 19th, 2008

    At a private party tonight I was told I look like the 1970s French Schlager Singer Claude Francois!!!

    It’s a rude, rude world!

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    Day 831 – Chilling on a Superb Moorea Beach

    Friday, July 18th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 830 – As Long As the Cats are Happy

    Thursday, July 17th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 829 – 2nd Trip Around Moorea

    Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

    Distance (km) : 62
    Time on bike : 2h 44m
    Brutto time: 14.00 – 16.40
    Avg : 22.7 km/h
    Max.speed: 59.1
    Total (km) : 32.639

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    Day 828 – Daily Life on Moorea

    Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 827 – Around Moorea by Bike

    Monday, July 14th, 2008

    Around the island of Moorea by bike.

    Distance (km) : 61
    Time on bike : 3h 39m
    Brutto time: 10.30 – 16.00
    Avg : 16.7 km/h
    Max.speed: 50.2
    Total (km) : 32.575

    Hauru Point, Moorea.

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    Day 826 – Rain over Moorea

    Sunday, July 13th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 825 – It’s all about energies…

    Saturday, July 12th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 824 – Moorea Arrival

    Friday, July 11th, 2008

    Tahiti -> Moorea (ferry, 60 min, 20 km)

    Tune of the Day: Queremos paz – Gotan Project

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    Day 823 – Rest in Faa’a, Tahiti

    Thursday, July 10th, 2008

    Tune of the Day: Bright Lights – King of Cards

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    Day 820 – The Anthropologist & the Negro-Barbie Dolls

    Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

    Tune of the Day: So Alive – Ryan Adams

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    Day 822 – Vairao -> Papeete (private)

    Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

    Distance (km) : 97
    Time on bike : 5h 08m
    Brutto time: 09.00 – 16.15
    Avg : 18.9 km/h
    Max.speed: 47.3
    Total (km) : 32.447

    Tune of the Day: This Time – Starsailor

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    Day 821 – Papeete -> Vairao (wild camp)

    Monday, July 7th, 2008

    Distance (km) : 68
    Time on bike : 3h 54m
    Brutto time: 10.45 – 17.00
    Avg : 17.3 km/h
    Max.speed: 39.1
    Total (km) : 32.350

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    Day 820 – A Money Anorectic Rat in (super expensive)Tahiti

    Sunday, July 6th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 819 – Auckland – NZ -> Papeete, Tahiti – French Polynesia

    Sunday, July 6th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 818 – Waiting for Tahiti

    Saturday, July 5th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 817 – Auckland revisited

    Friday, July 4th, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 816 – Back to Tongatapu

    Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 815 – Tongan Islands

    Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

    Daytrip: 44 km – Total: 32.224 km

    Visited islands on Tonga:
    ’Eua
    Lifuka
    Foa
    Nukunamo
    Ha’ano
    Vava’u
    Pangaimotu
    ’Utungake
    Okoa
    ’Uatoloa
    Koloa

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    Day 814 – Daytrip around beautiful Vava’u Island

    Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

    Daytrip: 46 km – Total: 32.180km

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