Traveling By Land, Sea and Air Hotel @nyware: April 2012

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Archive for April 2012

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The Oasis Is No Mirage
Life on land is not a spectator sport. It’s a pay-per-view sport.
Greetings from the user- friendly universe of the USA.  After discovering the God Molecule, flying a Russian MiG-29 at Mach 2 and Taking A World Cruise in Zero Gravity-  I am a mere civilian again.
Life After Luau A good-bye is never painful unless you're never going to say hello again.Aloha Sea Aloha Land. I know travel zoos are no longer in my good graces.Neither is eating on a cruise ship. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both. Life off the cruise ships ,however,isn't much of a culinary life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements couldn't be more simple, nor the stakes higher. I have to pay for in food stuffs. This is certainly different from the luaus and eat-what-you-kill safaris and big game fishing expeditions I took this year, where no matter where I was ,the stuffed animals on display all looked the same. Staged authenicity and First rule of cruise club-never miss a meal.Second rule-don't forget the first, and don't miss the 6pm all aboard. It has been predictable as an episode of Seinfeld. Yadi yada yada. No more choc-a-holic and midnight buffets. My favorite food on the ships had been Seconds! And the desserts. It was the life of pie. Playing the game of staged authenticity in the tourist themed spaces of Tahiti, Fiji et al.,while it was't the Mcdonald-ization of the South Pacific, it played more like a Disney animated feature film The Burger and The King featuring the fat Elvis belting out his own karaoke version of My Way like a good old hound dog with a few miles left to go. Now, the sum of my problems is the inability to sit quietly alone on a ship! It is easy to mistake motion for progress and no problem is so big and complicated that it cannot be run away from. I should know, I've been at sea for 4 years. Now the ship is not the solution, it's the problem.

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The ship IS the destination

I was happy to learn the world wouldn't end today because it is already tomorrow
here in Australia
Geography is the topography of ignorance, a finite disappointment not only  when the map becomes the territory, but when you actually visit these hole in the wall places. In most cases, it's a lot better to transcend reality with imagination, re-framing the conversation. "Melbourne was awesome", "Ghana? Amazing!" India? a magical delight".  
The future just isn't what it used to be. Nevertheless, there is not one ship that doesn't sail to a port where life is not uncomfortable.  Yet, you don't quit countries, you quit people, and I have to say the best ships are friendships, and I have met some amazing people while sailing around the world.

Impossible Is Nothing

The Patron Saint of  Optimism-Another dopeless hope fiend!
Going out to sea is  the infinity of hope, the preview of life's coming attractions where you have final cut in your own movie.  You can lose yourself in the ocean's food for thought. Its  menu is the meal,  and itineraries are full of promises. It gives you a  sense of destination and the energy to get started again.

The weather is here wish you were beautiful
Call it faith!  A passion for the possible. I am full of it, and shooting from the hip that is to say,   having an adventure is something more but nothing less than bad planning.  When I cold-called for my first ship job, and got it after a 12 minute elevator pitch, I began to trust myself, and only when you trust yourself can you truly begin to live it up.


But I'm not a sailor . Maybe a sailor  with a small s. Living on a ship,  however, might be summed up as monotony tinged with hysteria. It's not real life but an alibi. It  is like going out of your mind everyday- in order to come to your senses; and a fool who persists in his folly becomes wise. After 10 ships, yes ten, I no longer want to cast doubt on perfection-America.  There's nothing I wouldn't do for my country , and there's nothing it  wouldn't do for me. And that's the way we go through life - doing nothing for each other. 

Embracing the (expat)life forced upon me, I have had  nothing to do and all day to do it. An accident of birth, being born in the USA,  I won the geographically-desirable-places-to-live-on-the-planet lottery, and have squandered my inheritence in the United States of Unconsciousness, a shared hallucination of "any place but here" and " the grass is greener". 

The grass actually  is greener where you water it. 

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Coming home to a place I've never been before. It's Fee-Gee (Fiji)
OMG I'm a Country Boy

John Denver visited this island today-Sunshine On My Shoulders.
You can't get any further away before you start coming back.Imagine sailing across the blue waters of the South Pacific, passing by idylic islands, teeming with exotic fish and majestic coral reefs--Oh wait I don't have to use my imagination because what you see is what you get. Bula.

On Fiji Islands-Suva-PineApple Express

Fiji-Dravuni- Another Day Another Island-Escape To Reality

To the east of the International Date Line lies an exquisite garland of islands known as Fiji. Dignified smiling people bid you "bula," or welcome, to their unspoiled homeland and give you bottles of water called Fiji, bottled at the "source".

Back To One (Take 2)

Country Roads Take Me Home

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The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes

I think of my job as Art Director  as leading people to those moments of awe – that brain -gasm that overtakes you when you encounter a new idea, or place. 

There is no doubt about it, the exhilarating state of mind that travel can evoke, when everything seems suddenly fresh, vivid, intensely interesting, and memorable.

Everyone has a photographic memory, but not everyone has film. Thanks to digital, and my trusted camera, who cares. Just point and shoot, and you capture snapshots of moments. I'm an extremely talkative  person.  Yet photos speak volumes. I may not be a Master like Ansel Adams, but I agree with what he said---
Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs. 

To take a photograph of yourself is to participate in your own  mortality, vulnerability, and mutability

Wish Fulfillment  and The  Law Of Attraction

Have a mind open to everything and attached to nothing

My definition of Thinking is when your  mind is separate from your  body: Some call it dreaming. I call it using your imagination. It is the preview of life's coming attractions. That's when you can leap long distances,  go forward and backward  in time, walk  through solid brick walls and never age, 

My definition of Magical Thinking,  or MT, is when we can manufacture experiences in our mind, and then later, attract these situations into our life.  The mind IS, after all, what the brain DOES. Put simply, you  attract into your  life whatever you consistently think about.  I always go back to the importance of being Ernest (Hemingway) That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best --make it all up --but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way. 
2010 World Tour Cruises

2009 World Tour Cruises

Hawaii 2007-2008

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I had a liquid Vacation- a Corona and started walking.......
2011 World Cruise Day 96 of 110 @ sea.
A Year ago today I was on the final segment headed for London in West Africa. My college Roommate Gervásio Francisco Das Neves' homeland  of São Tomé and Príncipe  was finally within sight.
Grey Matters-
Who needed Facebook or  wifi ---consciousness was wireless--- I drew a laptop with my index finger in the sand  and began typing....S.O.S. and the Sting's soundtrack to Message in The Bottle started playing in my 3lb universe-my brain

No Man Is An Island, yet after age 40, land is seldom seen and you can count your friends on one hand.I am an expat, yet not every country will do. I don't know why, some countries fill the gaps and others emphasize my expat-ness. In reality those that satisfy me are those who simply allow me to live with my ''idea of them."Life’s a beach in an ocean of ennui is the take away from the Maldives. These Islands are extraordinary within their limits, but their limits are extraordinary. Yet if I do the math, an emotional algebra adds up to 1+1=infinity. It's a pristine place.This is no 9 to 5. You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. It is just a fraction of you. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating.
Curbing My Enthusiasm.My passion gives me moments of wholeness, but when I lack enthusiasm, It appears like an illness- monotony, boredom, and near-death. You see, Cash can buy, but it takes enthusiasm to sell. Drawing a salary as the Production Manager for Crystal Serenity made me soft. A glorified production manager, I wanted the mic again, to be the sage on the stage, and pontificate and make outrgeous claims, like I invented the question mark.

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Art Director Ed Reif with Port And Shopping Guide Mike Thomspon discuss collecting "The Painter of Light" Thomas Kinkade and his art--- moments of divine inspiration. What drove the massive popularity of the late artist?

 These five words (also known as the five P's) just about sum up how we should collect art-Prestige Provenance Process Production and Proportion.

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The menu is the meal. Laziness is the religion of the 21st century vacationers who come here to drink,swim and relax.
And religion is the opiate of the masses and the masses of opiates a tourist can do religiously starts with rum... Let me slip into something more comfortable a coma.
Welcome to  America Lite- where everyone who speaks English understands you. How they interpret you is something else.

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Awesome beaches . Time for a brain dump and This Anti-Aging/Mediterranean Low Information Diet--Ya live longer. Tastes like Chicken. Same Same Only Different here in the Caribbean.

Sea♯Pachelbel's Cannon

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When all you care about is here, this is a good
  place to be

 Traveling is like shaving, If I'm doing it everyday, I start to look like a bum. On the other hand, You can only quit once. Now is not a good time.
“Addicted to traveling”  or for that matter “Addicted to all-non working activities” shouldn’t be  a new reason for self-hatred or a diagnosis, rather a pursuit like the arts and entertainment, that permit self-exploration and satisfy your psycho-social needs. 
Clapton is God and God is Expensive-6 weeks for six week for $31500.You know, addiction isn't the problem - it's the solution!

 You see, in general, if a pastime is not classy, those who love it are labeled with the Dr Phil-Drew-Oprah Psycho Babble rhetoric of “addict.” Opera and Symphony  aficionados, on the other hand  are “passionate” and "driven".

 Loading the cultural dice in favor of “reality” over fantasy, we get the sense of   adventure beaten out of us when we ask ourselves the most irritating of the question words, “Why?”  Why do I have to live in the New York suburbs,where the weather sucks and the people are rude, and there is nothing to do? Then we just tune in turn  on the TV, and  drop out, watching one of the 1000 channels in a shared hallucination called the superstition of materialism, and fall asleep.

Then you get "The Call" and if you  wake up and answer it,  and you begin the Hero's Journey that Joseph Cambell talks about  in The Power Of Myth, with Bill Moyers, that PBS  video series that's a must for all seekers, and you follow your bliss-in most  cases your bliss follows you.

 I started to travel, as a pastime, on a shoe-string budget, labeled as a drifter, a bum, held in contempt by the  uninformed, and over educated who find themselves   sinking into the everydayness of their lives. And I didn’t care. I just did it anyway. The Calvinists say work is prayer, so is permanent traveling.
In the old days, habits of cultural consumption like listening to jazz music all day and night were considered passions, or forever going to the movies or “The Theatre”, allowing   us to create new personalities and use them to fulfill unmet psychological needs. Come to think of it, I think I have an internet addiction too! Awesome.

Seagull Management

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” Anais Nin

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Shopportunity Banana Republic is a popular choice for the fashion forward man .

The future is already here in the port town of Castries. It's just not evenly distributed yet. Time to enforce The Buffet Rule of banana re-distribution.

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Blogging is literature in a hurry-a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. Sometimes it’s pure digital narcissism, other times, juvenile escapism, today it’s just plain old navel gazing geo politics. Madison, Kennedy and Reagan aren’t just popular   stripper names, they are also US President’s.
 The Fascists gun in the west--- 666---(Count the letters) R-o-n-a-l-d W-i-l-s-o-n R-e-a-g-a-n ordered one of the  most absurd invasions of American history,  the tiny island of Grenada, which I happened to visit today.  Ron  would later joke that he had to do it because Grenada was the world's largest producer of nutmeg. "You can't make eggnog without nutmeg” This was known as MY way or  “The Sinatra Doctrine”.

The West against The  Rest

Once you go Communist you never go back is the Brezhnev Doctrine. While   this Caribbean Island has little geopolitical significance. The so called “liberation” of Grenada was a black swan event, because it signaled the end of the Brezhnev Doctrine and set in motion a chain of events that  tore down the Berlin Wall and brought down the Soviet Regime.

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Leave the breif case, take the sun block.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
A passport can be a diploma (for a crash course in cultural relativism), The Inner Nightclub of Everlasting Joy. The sex of travel-First you do it for fun, now I seeing the locals, like me, as usual, doing it for money. My personal gold standard for the most attractive example of chaotic urban vitality is Bangkok.
Once you label me you negate me.
Paris is a business class ticket to cool with complimentary mojo on take off, Santorini, Greece a brain dump, New York, a vodka martini served straight up with a twist. The difference between the “tourist” and the “traveler,” is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile, not much. Some times I leave my ASSumptions at home, sometimes I don’t. When I don’t, I’m just a tourist complaining about the people, the food and water, and slow internet connection, or InterNOt-none at all , “Nothing here is the way it is at Starbucks,” When I am a Traveler, I'm pontificating  “Everything here is the same as it is in Burma — or Thailand or India.”
The Caribbean, Population 1, or “Here comes everybody.”. At Least I am not hearing invoices---everything is black market wheeler deal Cash. the United States of Unconsciousness verses The “Modern Supermarket” which is a glorified duty free shop and liquor store.
They should be handing out pairs of 3-D glasses for the animation --- Apocalypso Now, Hearts of Darkness, Moods, Masochism, and Mc Murder (Think hamburgers) meets the Titanic-- the ridiculous notion of what “paradise” should look like and who belongs there starts out with a twisty blue waterslides, Bucket-o-Bud bar specials and a poolside “artist” applying airbrush tattoos.
Fear For Sale---Maybe this is what Camus meant when he said that “what gives value to travel is fear” —disruption, in other words, (or emancipation) from circumstance, and all the habits behind which we hide. I traditionally buy things at a store, and not on the beach, but this Caribbean guy is trying to sell me steering wheels. These sons of the beach!

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If St Maarten is the Mitt Romney of vacation destinations---self restraint in an age of rage, then Barbados is the Keith Richards of the Caribbean--it's over the hill, showing signs of age but can still belt out the kareoke hits of Paradise it once sang. A sort of life is going on, beating with a reasonable version of a pulse, but that life consists for the most part of travelers like myself. The very unspoiledness you are there to experience still shows up in unexpected ways, like the coconuts and the flowers.
Caribbean Roadkill- What Am I doing Here?
The newly refurbished Fairmont Royal Pavillion is beautiful. Yet I always end up in that part of the Carribean which has been made almost exactly the same as everywhere else in the world for the sake of Cruise Ships who have come all this way to "inhabit" a port for 6 hours.
To be a cruise ship tourist in the Caribbean to escape accountability. Quirks and flaws don't stick to you the way they do back home.
Cruising the open-sea is a Virtue, Shopping the ports of call, a deadly sin.

Coo Coo for Coconuts
You're able to drift across continents and languages, suspending the operation of sound thought. Tourism is the march of stupidity. You're expected to be stupid. The entire mechanism of the host port of call is geared to cruisers acting stupidly. YOU are economically significant but existentially loathsome. You walk around dazed, squinting into fold-out port and shopping guide maps. You don't know how to talk tothe locals, how to get anywhere, what the money means, what time it is, what to eat or how to eat it. Being stupid is the cookie cutter mold, the level and the norm. You can exist on this level for weeks and months without reprimand or dire consequence. Together with a thousand other passangers, you are granted immunities and broad freedoms. You are an army of fools, wearing bright polyesters, riding scooters and 4by4's and Jet Skis, taking pictures of each other, bloated, drunk stiill thirsty. There is nothing to think about or lust after but the next shapeless event. Alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have---sunshine, sand and indifference to the treadmill of consumption and "stuff.

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When you're born into this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show. If you're born in America you get a front row seat. Island life is Project Manana.
I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good Tourist because I like to form my own opinions
Is it Manana yet.
Mañana: 1. Tomorrow 2. An unspecified future time
Christopher Columbus never actually discovered Dominica, it had merely been detected. After he spotted the island on a Sunday (dominica in Latin, domingo in get the idea). It's more like manana-nothing much gets done on time when it happens, it just happens, life goes on, and you can just pee in the ocean. Carpe Diem verses Carpe Mañana.

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You love this town Even if that doesn't ring true You've been all over And it's been all over you
It's a beautiful day Don't let it get away It's a beautiful day
What you don't have you don't need it now What you don't know you can feel it somehow What you don't have you don't need it now Don't need it now It's a beautiful day .

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I am about to go to the zoo, and see all the stuffed animals in their cages. What I mean is the Disneyland effect--bring in tons of white sand, add a backdrop of palm trees and colonial shops, and the copy is better than the orginal- It's beautiful and predicatble, like plastic surgery. The statue's not the saint, but the menu is the meal. Yet, Sint Maarten has a retro Carib-vibe going on in that magical strip of land called Phillipsburg beach, on the Dutch side.
   I wrote about this before , The Merchants of Venice., and can say the same for The Caribbean: It's not just visited by tourists, but inhabited by them. It seems in the gaze of locals that "we" are just one critical mass, and more than that ,"Always here" and "Here comes everybody!".

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Welcome to your life There's no turning back Even while we sleep We will find you Acting on your best behaviour Turn your back on mother nature Everybody wants to cruise the world

It's my own design It's my own remorse Help me to decide Help me make the most Of freedom and of pleasure Nothing ever lasts forever Everybody wants to cruise the world

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Watch "Oasis Crew Rescues 24 Refugees" on YouTube
This cruise ship is a real feat of human ingenuity. So is this dingy that 24 refugees made to hit dry land.

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