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June 2008

Liquid Diets {From The Raving Dish}

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The days are getting hotter, the body ain't looking too fine and the never-ending thirstiness can't seem to get quenched! Those are the thoughts roaring through my wee noggin on a daily basis. For real, what's a girl to do but go on a liquids-only diet—well, at least at the top of the morning.

Right now, I've got three kicks: caffeine, health and sugar. They all do a little something different for my system, but any which way you look at it, I'm addicted to all three.

The Caffeine Fix: Cafe Ennui
This is one of my nearby neighborhood coffee houses and I simply adore it. A cutie named Juan is usually whipping up potent goodies behind the counter, the sun shines in brightly, and the wi-fi is fast and free. But, my main reason for coming back is the insanely perfect coffee frappe. This is a smart little drink that puts the Starbucks Frappuccino straight to shame. I was raving to a pal the other day, "It's like they liquefy the ice." They blend it so well that the drink is freezing cold yet remnants of ice are non-existent. It's like air ice. And, you don't even need a hit of mocha to make it tops, because the sugar content is spot on. Plus, the coffee high is sublime—literally, off the charts. The only problem is that with an almost $5 price tag, refills are simply out of the question. Well, sometimes.

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Packing for Indo: Ahhhhh, the Dilemma...

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So, packing for Indonesia today was pretty painless.  This bleak (but tidy) little photo shows exactly (well, sorta) what I'm taking with me for a month on the road.  I leave in the AM.  Yippee~ 

Here's a short breakdown:

Ipod with italk: italk is an awesome, very small unit that fits in top of my Ipod and it turns it into a voice recorder.  Good for late night note-taking and freaking out the locals.  They LOVE hearing their voice for the first time in history.  I, on the other hand freak out when I get home and download my late night whisperings into my itunes.  I mean, WTF was I even jabbering about?

Small speakers for Ipod:  So everyone can join in on the joy that is Africa by Toto.  And, maybe a little Rhianna, you know what I'm sayin?

Indonesian cell phone with charger:  Very good to have on the road so I can text my local pals like mad.  Debating whether or not to take my BBerry--it's good for email checks.  But, do I really want email is the looming question.

Thin-lined journal and small red notebook:  I had to ditch a third notebook--I just like taking notes I guess, but come on, 3 notebooks?  That's a bit much.

Digital camera with charger:  This is the only item that my solar backpack does not charge, so I have to bring the charger and the friggin' adapter.  Total hassle.

Deck of cards:  Always great for teaching the kiddies Go Fish.  Slash poker.

3 pens:  One regular; one super fine tip--in red; and one fine tip sharpie--in blue.  I get really, really depressed if I don't have the correct writing vessel.

Shades:  These $16 coolios are a must have for scooter driving. I go thru this exact Mossimo Target brand like crazy.

Mini flashlight:  Might lose this and purchase one there since it's only needed for 3 day trek up Mt. Rinjani on the island Lombok.  Do I really need to haul this thing? 

Flip-flops:  For real, I live in these whilst there and usually leave them behind.  MUST be Haviana's.

Small bags full of tiny portions of shampoo, cream rise, curl controller, etc...:  I will most likely wash my hair about 5x in the next 30 days, so I don't need much.  Plus, I can leave what's leftover behind.  In fact, compact as it is, that whole toiletry bag is a huge waste of time and space. 

Clothes:  I have pulled 4 items since taking this photo 10 minutes ago.  All articles of clothing are made from super-thin, very fine material and usually, most of them are donated to whomever I find that is my size over there.  All super-thin socks get left behind, too.  And fyi, I'm wearing my tennis shoes on the plane.

Author's Note: 

I feel like about 6 of these items will get left behind in the end.  But, maybe not...ya see, I've got a few presents/donations I need to take for some pals over there and thoughtful as it is, it's jacking up my light and lean, only-what-I-can-carry-on-my-back philosophy big time.

I mean, I need to figure out how to haul a super-fly Harley Davidson helmet for my buddy Royal.  And, then there's some school supplies and some books...and cool stickers...and a stuffed animal...and some pretty lipsticks...and a dang digital camera.  They are all packed tight, but still...I will have to have a cold cerveza and rethink this one.
   

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God's Middle Finger & the Sierra Madre's

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Very rarely do I come across books that make me laugh out loud.  My pal Lisa wrote a kids book called Yellow that was dead hysterical.  Chuck Thompson took a turn at calling out the travel writing industry in his doozie, Smile When You're Lying.  And, I loved Ballad of the Whiskey Robber, by Julian Rubenstein.  I also dug J. Maarten Troost's, The Sex Lives of Cannibals, set on an island deep in the Pacific and right now, the book that is keeping me up at night is God's Middle Finger, by the insanely talented, Richard Grant.

Some writers just have a knack for the funny, the absurd, or the straight crazy shit.  He is most def. one of these peeps.  In this book, he's writing about the drugs, the history, the crime, the nutjobs, the landscape, the beauty, the remoteness, and the treasures that make up the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range in Mexico (see photo below). 

As I get further and further into the book, I'm realizing that I just traipsed the very outlaw land he is writing about--dead alone and completely clueless to the madness it holds in its topography.  Here he is talking about getting hammered and doing some parakeet down in Alamos before heading up into the drug-fueled, war torn mountains...and I'm thinking, Holy shizz...I just spent the night alone in my truck up in those same foothills, tucked way deep in the canyon--all because I didn't want to spring for a seedy (or overrated) room in town.

My God, it's like the more you know, the more the fear is put into your system...and the less you know, well the more you can fly by the seat of your pants.  Now, only a fool would head into a foreign land completely unaware...but, man...if I'd read some of his tales before cruising across the Sierra Madres (and all of Mexico) with a friggin' 1967 travel trailer strapped to my truck...well, I might have been a little more on edge.

And, you know I'm not saying his words and insight will change the way I travel...hell, not at all.  I guess it makes me just appreciate even more the deeply rogue attitude I have toward all the outlandish stories I hear.  I think my simple philosophy toward travel--be cool, be smart and keep my nose clean--is all it really takes to make it out alive.  But then again, what the hell do I know?

His book is just funny stuff...and he spells out these hellish adventures without even trying.  I don't want it to end...but on the flip side, it just inspires me to continue on with my own crazy wanderlust.  Books like this make it seem like the wild shit I do is more than a-okay.  It's straight legendary.  At least in my own little microscopic world.

Note to readers:  Listen to nothing any one says--go see for yourself.  I promise, you'll come back stronger, smarter, and full of your own baby legends.  What else is there beyond that? 

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