Go where the pepper grows


Self-absorbed misanthropic humanist vs. the world

"From mazel to shlimazl is but a tiny step; but from shlimazl to mazel - oy, is that far!"

"In the matter of slavish imitation, man is the monkey's superior all the time. The average man is destitute of independence of opinion. He is not interested in contriving a opinion of his own, by study and reflection, but is only anxious to find out what his neighbor's opinion is and slavishly adopt it."
--- Mark Twain on imitation

Travels 2008/09/10/11/12/13/14:

January 2008 - Portugal, Spain, Morocco
February 2008 - Norway, Sweden, Slovenia
March 2008 - Poland, Slovakia
April 2008 - Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania
May 2008 - Latvia, Estonia, Singapore, Australia
June 2008 - Australia
July 2008 - Australia
August 2008 - Fiji, Samoa
September 2008 - New Zealand, Argentina, Chile
October 2008 - Argentina, Chile
November 2008 - Chile, Perú
December 2008 - Perú, Bolivia
January 2009 - Home
February 2009 - Italy, Vatican City, San Marino, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina
March 2009 - Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo
April 2009 - Bulgaria, Turkey
May 2009 - Australia
June 2009 - Australia
July 2009 - Australia
August 2009 - Australia
September 2009 - Australia
October 2009 - Malaysia
November 2009 - Malaysia, Thailand
December 2009 - Thailand, Burma, Laos
January 2010 - Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam
June 2010 - Malta
December 2010 - Belgium
January 2011 - Israel, West Bank
April 2011 - Cyprus
May 2011 - Cyprus
June 2011 - Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Monaco, Andorra
December 2011 - Russia
January 2012 - Russia
February 2012 - Qatar
March 2012 - China
July 2012 - Czech Republic, Malaysia
August 2012 - Malaysia, Australia
September 2012 - Indonesia
February 2013 - Taiwan
March 2013 - Taiwan
April 2013 - Hong Kong, Macau, Russia
July 2013 - Czech Republic
September 2013 - United Arab Emirates, Oman, Australia
October 2013 - Australia
November 2013 - Australia
December 2013 - Australia
January 2014 - Sri Lanka, Japan
February 2014 - Japan, South Korea
March 2014 - Japan, Australia
April 2014 - Australia, México
May 2014 - México
June 2014 - México, Australia
July 2014 - Australia
August 2014 - México
September 2014 - México
October 2014 - México
November 2014 - México
December 2014 - México

North America » Mexico » Jalisco » Guadalajara October 19th 2014

***Disclaimer: Absolutely no broken hearts are featured in this blog entry*** I stand amidst a few thousand Mexicans, waiting for the firing of the starting pistol. It's 7:19am, still dark, a slightly fresh October morning in Guadalajara. No clouds are visible, chance of rain is virtually zero. Perfect conditions for a run, unless it takes you more than four hours to complete, in which case you would have to face the uncomfortable midday heat. People around me are stretching, jumping up and down, setting their smartphones and mp3-players or crossing themselves, which produces a mild sneer from my part. Your God's not here to help you, cabrón. The excited guy with the microphone starts a countdown, everybody joins in: ...cinco, cuatro, tres, dos, uno, ¡PUM! The Kenyans and the other elite athletes up front start dashing ... read more
The elite

Every now and then, it just so happens that I travel to a place without really knowing all that much about it. I might go following a recommendation from a fellow traveller or a guidebook, having read a newspaper or magazine article about the place. Or maybe I've seen a photo of it somewhere. To me, a very reliable source when it comes to places worth visiting is the UNESCO World Heritage List, which I'm slightly ashamed to admit I follow religiously. The simple reason for that is I've never been disappointed with a place I've been to from that list, and I feel that seeing those places enriches my travel life. After all, there has to be a reason why a site is inscribed, right? Amongst the 1,000+ sites on the list is the town ... read more
Great buffet lunch with tortillas
Street corner
Handsome Louie

North America » Mexico » Guanajuato » Guanajuato April 27th 2014

The first stop of my week-long trip outside of Guadalajara is the wonderful town of Guanajuato. Its history dates back to 1559, when it was founded after huge gold and silver deposits were found in the surrounding area. In the Mexican War of Independence in 1810, the town played an important role as the site of the first battle against Spanish troops, who barricaded themselves inside the public granary, before suffering a devastating defeat at the hands of the rebel army. Wandering through Guanajuato's cobblestoned lanes and alleys, which wind and twist themselves around the hillsides, I can't help but notice the decidely revolutionary feel emanating from every nook and cranny, be it from statues of important revolutionaries, commemorative plaques reminding passers-by of crucial moments, or the faces of the people, proud and reticent, seemingly ready ... read more
Huevos Rancheros
Monumento al Pípila
Plazuela Mexiamora

North America » Mexico » Jalisco » Guadalajara April 24th 2014

You know what, every other country? Fuck you, I'm in México now! First thing I notice, coming from, let me start again. Basically, it's a really bad idea to travel from Australia to México. It's expensive, it might take you 36 hours, you might end up dazed and confused by the 13-hour time difference. With Perth, that is. You arrive earlier than you depart, and when you go back, you lose a day and a half. So what I really notice first is my massive jetlag. But ignoring that, I realise that I'm in a country that has CULTURE. It has its own distinct music, art, architecture, cuisine, etc. I find myself wandering the streets in wide-eyed amazement at the most mundane things, such as cacti and mangy dogs. The dirty, snot-nosed Peruvian kids playing ... read more
Guadalajara Cathedral
Chilaquiles con salsa verde
Chapel at the Barrancas

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto February 4th 2014

Preparing myself for the ultimate culture shock, I get off the airport bus in downtown Osaka. Jaclyn, whom I met up with at the airport, has already been to Japan various times, making her mind less likely to be as boggled as mine. The hotel receptionist is the epitome of what I assume to be the Japanese corporate image that never wastes any motion, or emotion, for that matter. Our room is, well, rather tiny, but it's clean and we have our own bathroom, complete with one of those fancy Japanese toilets that you always hear about. I decide not to go overboard and content myself with the heated toilet seat. There is plenty of time to push all those mysterious buttons later on in the trip. A real delight is to see vending machines in ... read more
Dōtonbori Arcade with famous giant crab
Wedding musicians
Okonomiyaki, Hiroshima-style

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Ella January 15th 2014

At this point, my trip around Sri Lanka has become an exercise in patience. Moving on to Sinharaja Forest Reserve looks easy enough on a map, but the thinly drawn roads make me worry a little. The guesthouse owner doesn't really know how to get there, but he tells me it should be easy enough to catch a bus or tuk-tuk to junction A, then wait for a bus to junction B, then take another bus to Sinharaja. I manage to hitch a ride with a tuk tuk-driver, which gives me the feeling of having beat the system, to the first junction. Two bus rides later, however, I'm stuck in a small town in the rain waiting for the bus, with around 50 people persistently staring at me. The bus never arrives, and everybody I ask ... read more
Afternoon tea, Sri Lankan style
Breathtaking view from Little Adam's Peak
Sri Lankan curry

Asia » Sri Lanka » Sabaragamuwa Province » Udawalawae NP January 12th 2014

I arrive in Tissamaharama (shortened to Tissa henceforth for obvious reasons) after two stinky, crammed local bus rides. A few tuk tuks and guesthouse touts are already waiting for me. While I try my best to ignore them, one is particularly persistent. He follows me on a motorcycle, trying to steer me towards his (or his family's) guesthouse. "Where you stay, sir?" -"Oh, I can't tell you. It's a secret." "Why you say that? I'm honest." -"Well, you have a guesthouse as well, so you're competition." "Yes, but I just ask you, no problem. Which guesthouse?" -"*blah*" "Oh, ok. Actually, I know the place. The father of the owner died last week. They have funeral there tonight. My family and me, we're going to pay our respects. I don't think it's open for business at the ... read more
Green bee-eater
Elephants taking a sandbath
Mongoose hanging out

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Matara » Mirissa January 9th 2014

I'm not much of a beach bum, but I do like a good swim, pristine sands and crystal-clear water every now and then. Hence I go to Mirissa. I take the train from Galle and kind of hint to some locals where I'm going, hoping they will let me know when we're there. After an hour and a bit, an older man tells me 'Mirissa, Mirissa', but I can't see a station or platform, before I realise I'm looking at the wrong side and the platform is so short it can't be seen outside our carriage. I fall-jump off the train and walk into the wrong direction, until some tuk tuk-drivers point me out the right way. Accomodation is easily found inside a family's home. I drop my bags to take a stroll on the beach, ... read more
Mirissa beach
A cold Lion lager
Coconut stall

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Galle January 8th 2014

I usually don't write a lot about flights, but here are some things I noticed on my flight to Colombo: In airplane bathrooms, there should be a device, similar to smoke detectors, that beeps when a guy pisses on the toilet seat. A trapdoor should open automatically, with a large, hard boxing glove dashing out, punching him in the face. Sit down, fuckers! On Sri Lankan Airways, they provide single-use shavers in the lavatory, which is actually a good idea. There's also a big bottle of mouthwash, and I can't for the life of me figure out any hygienic way to make use of it. The service on board is impeccable and with a smile. The crew is pleasant and entirely attitude-free, except maybe for the lady selling duty free-goods. The Sri Lankan bloke sitting next ... read more
Main Buddha
Raising the flag
Galle boat harbour and crows

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai September 15th 2013

I've come to the conclusion that if Dubai impresses you, there must be something fundamentally wrong with you. I find it tedious even to write about the place, as it feels like everything worth mentioning has been already uttered ad nauseum. The way I see it, Dubai is a haven for the ambitious, the haughty, the pretentious, and the plain desperate. Maybe it makes people feel posh by association to prance about in its ridiculous shopping malls. Everything's fake, thus it attracts the fakest of the fake. The city is like a perverted Disneyland, just that it's not mice and ducks that are worshipped, but locust capitalism itself. Just imagine if the Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Nepalis who do all the work around there went on strike for a week. Dubai would implode. Façades ... read more
Manakeesh with Zataar and milk tea
Deira crossing
Mall of the Emirates

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