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December 2008

Best Memories of 2008: 4th World Love's first Community Center in Indonesia & Trekking Mt. Rinjani


This one is a two-fer.  I went back to Indonesia to do what I said I was gonna do the last time I was there.  I was volunteering, teaching English to all the local villagers and I never got the chance to climb Mt. Rinjani.  It was closed for the rainy season and even if it wasn't I'm not sure if I could have trekked that mo-fo after back-to-back, and beautifully grueling days of teaching English slang to anyone who would listen. 

But, a few months ago, I went back fully intent on scrambling up that mountain AND opening my own little community center in the village of Sembalun.  I wanted the amazing locals to have a full time English school, with a real teacher, in a permanent structure--all classes, all the time and always for FREE.  So, after I did the so-challengenging-I-almost-cried-when-the-wind-blew Rinjani trek, I scouted out a place for the first 4th World Love community center and paid up a year in advance.  **Check out the 4th World Love website for a chance to win a free trip to Indo this spring to volunteer, trek Rinjani and plan Phase 2 of 4WL with me...$100 puts you in the running!

Me and my local buds sorted out a bit of a blueprint for getting the building up to snuff (new paint, clean yard, how much furniture, etc...) and Am (my great local facilitator) started on the mad hunt for teachers (they'd have to full on move to the village for the new job).  It all came together so quickly, I knew it was the next thing that was supposed to happen in my life.  (Our 4WL community center is the third roof from the left in the above picture).

I can remember being on the plane going home after a month in Indo (and I'd also gotten SCUBA certified) thinking....holy shit, mst~  You just made an investment of the heart and soul and mind into a country you don't know jack crap about.  But, I was sooooo, sooooo proud in that moment.  So content, so on my right path, and so ready to go back.  Lord knows what calls us in the directions that we're called into, you can really only follow the pre-paved path it seems.

When I roll back in March/April, I'm bringin a couple of generously donated MAC computers for the computer room, so we can teach the locals all about the wonders of Apple computers.  Now, if we can just figure out a way to get internet to the village.  That would be a grand shining moment!  And, the next bit of glory would be figuring out a way to have ICE COLD Bintang at the bottom of the volcano near the crater lake...but, when you just wanna keel over and die, I guess warm beer will suffice.







Best Memories of 2008: Rollin' into San Miguel de Allende & Rockin' My Trailer Awning


When me and my little trailer screamed into San Miguel de Allende last January, I was walking on air.  I'd just made my way thru some major backwoods in Mexico to get to SMA---one of the loveliest colonial cities in the world--and, I'd done it alone hauling a 1200 lb hunk of metal behind my trusty Ford Explorer.  This was mos def. a beautiful moment in 2008.  I was literally breathing and sweating proudness.

I managed to rouse the owner of the RV park I was calling home for a spell and magically, I maneuvered my trailer into a little spot right up front.   Though it was late, I immediately took off on a walk-about 'round town to see what this fabled little village was made up of and I swear...I hadn't taken 5 steps down a cobble-stoned street before thinking, "I could live here for a good, long time."

There was just something heavy and beautiful in the air that made my whole insides melt down become calm.  It's the kind of feeling I'm always searching for in my travels and rarely find.   Less than 5 places in the world hit me like that.  SMA is one of them.

After drinks and some guac with a random jewelery-maker stranger I'd met wandering around, I weaved my way back to the trailer park and crashed out hard.  The next morning, I met all my friendly neighbors and a couple of them helped me toss up my spanking new awning.  I was so excited to plot and plan my little camp space, I just teetered around with cold beer and my camera.  

My trailer is still down in SMA and every single day I think about A/ going back,  B/ Buying a place down there, and C/my favorite bar Casanova's, where I practiced my Spanish and drank the locals under the table.

Back this summer, for sure.




Best Memories of 2008: Oysters from a Old Table in Veracruz


Not a single day passes where I don't think about the roadside, fresh-shucked oysters that I happened upon in Veracruz, Mexico earlier this year. 

I'd just left my little vintage trailer in San Miguel de Allende and was heading toward the Yucatan and Isla Mujeres when I skidded through a small dusty village right on the coast that was displaying rickety tables of just-out-of-the-water oysters everywhere my eyes landed. 

I pulled over immediately and ordered up a few half dozen with a cold beer (couple of bucks total) and had one of the best treats in my entire life.  What made it so special?  It was the freshness of the oysters, mixed with the heavy heat in the air, mixed with the coldness of the beer, and topped off with some killer chips and salsa.  Just me, not another soul around.  You cannot pay millions for that sort of joy.

When I say not a day, I for real mean not a day. I haven't had oysters since then and don't plan on having them 'til I roll back that way later this year.  I have been ruined foreva on oysters--always to Veracruz for me~






Best Memories of 2008: Tacos with a Cabbie in Puerto Vallarta

One of many memories that made my year worth it:

After me and Lisa left Yelapa around Thanksgiving (we spent barely 24 beautiful hrs there), we rode the bumpy water taxi back to Puerto Vallarta to have one last beer before hitting the airport.  Once we got in our cab, I quizzed the driver about his fave local ceviche stand, and then told him for sure, take us there~we'd buy him lunch since he was down for the ride.  He hauled ass.

So, moments later we found ourself at a small, rinky-dink fish stand scarfing down perfectly flavored ceviche tostadas and orange soda with our cabbie.  It was about $8 for all three of us to eat and I just sat there in the blazing sunshine watching the cook fry up fish and whip together tacos. 

It took everything I had in me to actually leave and head to the airport...I was just thinking, "You know, I could rent a little apartment here right now and just never go back.  Maybe learn some more Spanish, eat fish every single day, work on my golden hue, and write a book."  It was such simple thinking in my world of heavily scrutinized actions (by myself only, of course) that I was literally awash with joy. 

Sweet, simple joy.  Seems so rare these days.     IMG_1719





Sailor's Worst Nightmare--Besides Rogue Waves, Sharks and No Wind


Woah!  Totally a sailor's worst nightmare.  This sailboat is jacked up and I pass it every day on the way to work -- shooting down PCH.  How could this have happened?  Dunno...but, what I do know is that I am outta LA tomorrow, heading back to Kentucky for some more filming.  YEAH!  Guess I've missed KY and am ready for a change of environment.  Wish it was Mexico, but that's cool.  I just want Vietnam Kitchen.

But, man...this boat.  Must suck for the owner.  Shame.


24 Hours in Yelapa = Rainwater Pool, Killer Ceviche, and Delish Guac

See this is the deal with food in Mexico. It completely BLOWS its USA counterpart away. 

Take ceviche for instance. I had some today in El Segundo (white fish) and it was soooo bland and just left me craving so much the mixed version that Hotel Lagunita (in Yelapa) is famous for. 

Famous just in my eyes, perhaps, but still a crazy winner on the taste-buds...and then, there's their creamy guacamole, their heavy/yet light and crisp chips, their almost too potent margaritas, their killer tortilla soup.  Everything that makes Mexico stand out on my food radar, they seem to have down in spades.  Would kill for some ceviche, with lots of extra lime right NOW~and a beer, and that pool, and some sunshine, and a pretty brown face saying hola in the morning.

Amazing what 24 hours in Yelapa can do for the soul!








Pitstop Yelapa, Mexico


Real quick--I just spent the past week wrapping out of Kentucky, driving home to TN to check in on my boat, flying to Mexico for a friends wedding, jamming down to Yelapa for a quickie getaway and shooting back up to LA (Marina del Rey to bex exact) to start more and more and more work.

It's hectic at this exact moment, but I will be back very soon with way more updates, I promise!  And, in the meantime, Yelapa has NOT changed at all.  The beer is just as tasty, Luke still runs Hotel Lagunita (where the tortilla soup is still incredible), the same funny boat drivers zip around the Bay, the mood is just as tranquil, and the heat is still as sweltering. 

And, it for sure still makes my heart soar~~

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