Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Vancouver, BC, Canada

In the words of the great, glorious and freedom fighting president of the United States, Mr. George Walker Bush:

Mission Accomplished!

Posted by devon @ 08:32 AM CST [Link]

Friday, July 22, 2005

San Jose, Costa Rica

This country SUCKS!

Posted by devon @ 06:09 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Martinique, French West Indies

Somewhere in the Caribbean, a young man sits in a cafe and watches a harrowing, violent scene of armed robbery occur before his gaping eyes.

So much to say, so little time.

The crossing was incredible. I had forgotten how much I love being at sea. At intervals perhaps. I hereby declare my unconditional love for her, and make a commitment to spend more time together.

Looking away from the ship, and seeing impossible nothingness contrast the chaotic and majestic waves brings up feelings of awe, regardless of how long you watch. Indeed its quite hard to pull yourself away from it. I spent 9 months travelling on the ocean a couple years ago, and while I did get very, very tired of the life, I never tired of watching the sea.

I would also sit out at night and try to remember all the constellations.

We arrived at Guadaloupe on the 12th, and three cadets who were doing work experience on the ship rented a car and took me galavanting. Being with them, and it being there first time in the tropics, I had a mix of lost memories and feelings come back to me from my time on tropical islands.

The initial memory was why I hate tropical islands. They are all the fucking same. Tropical islands I think epitomise for many people relaxation, a release from wordly complexities and stress free living. Personally, relaxing makes me feel terribly guilty, and I feel much better when I'm stimulated by things that islands tend to unanimously lack, culture, information and complexity.

I'm generalising.

On the other hand, I've started to remember all those lost months in the pacific. All the maladies, laughs, catastrophe's and experiences that slipped out of my head once I arrived in asia. 9 months is a long time and I have remembered for the first time since leaving the pacific dozens of hilarious things that happened on those islands.

This is something that people don't really understand about my trip. I think its a tragedy that 9 months of my life simply get pushed out of my head with the constant overload of information and experience.

Too long, simply too long.

Its so strange to have a lost memory brought to life by something as simple as breaking open a coconut.

I leave in a few hours to cartagena, Colombia. Its a long, embarrasing story, but mommy got worried about me traversing the venezuelan/colombian border (which does happen to be riddled with marxist rebels intent on kidnapping anyone worth it) and found me a boat heading directly to Cartagena, saving me a week in the process.

Its good luck.

I got jacked for a cup of coca cola last night. Crud. I know Canadians read this site, so I wont say anything too politically incorrect in case someone has a heart attack, but the people on these islands generally suck. The first night I arrived on Guadaloupe, we saw a french man get slashed by a local trying to steal his motorbike. We've been shouted at a few times, I've been called whitey and like i said, this homeless motherfucker came up to me last night, got down on his knees, pleaded with me to give him some money, got up, threatened me, stole my cup of coke, then ran away.

It was rediculous. This is the first time I've been robbed. I mean, I've been to afghanistan for fucks sake and 3 days in the caribbean and I've already been robbed.

I've been thinking long and hard since I got here about the causes and factors, and verily, it does come back to our lovable colonial forefathers.

But I can still be selfishly pissed off.

Motherfucker stole my coke!

I'm not really angry, I laughed as soon as I saw him running. Did yell at the next guy who asked me for money though. Felt bad, he was a miserable looking french guy, skinny as a beanpole.

Anyway, I'm out of range for a couple days, will try to get on the horn in Colombia. Should be home in a little over a week.


Posted by devon @ 07:34 AM CST [Link]

Friday, July 1, 2005

Le Harve, France

In a decrepit enclave of a french port where the very fabric of the buildings seem to be disintegrating before our very eyes, two helmeted youths perched on a motorbike look with curiousity at a malnurished, parasite ridden mutt barking with malice at an equally shabby looking Canadian, who is shuffling towards a busstop, where he will meet a familiar looking west african man.

I hate competition. When I read other travelers or photographers websites, it makes me feel small. Even if they suck.

I am actually leaving tomorrow, en route a rouen, from where I will actually leave directly for Martinique. I will save a description of the conditions on board untill I arrive, but know at the very least that the boat I am travelling on is far from the expected banana boat. Its a giant fucking container ship. I can hardly (contain?) myself.

The transport planners here must have some cruel, ironic sense of humour. The busstop mentioned above, which I have visited three times now and exists far from the nearest concept of a decent part of town, has the most contradictory and insulting name I could possibly imagine. Above of the childish futility of creativly naming your busstops in the first place, the bastards in charge chose "Chateaubriand" for this one. For those of you unitnitiated in the world of culinary nomenclature, "chateaubriand" is a long tubular portion of meat cut from the rear of a cow, and is considered the finest cut of beef that can be consumed. Those who know me even at a distance will be acquainted with my severe intolerance of failure and idiocy of any variety when it comes to decision making. I have to say, after spending a few minutes reflecting on the poverty of my near surrounds, and feeling the increasing sympathy that wells up in any kind of caring human being upon doing so, to look up and see the name "Chateaubriand" plastered on top of the sign pole, all but sneering at the likely poorly fed local populous put a queer frown on my face.

All you can do is laugh.

Irony of this sort can really displace that sense of familiarity and order that creeps up on you when ones life is existing under a routine.

The most poigniant instance that I can remember is the "welcome to india" scene that occured in Daravi, bombay. It still makes me laugh out loud whenever I think about it.

I dont have time to describe it, but you can read about the whole experience here

Shit its a long post, but hey, I'm going to be out of touch for a while. Its around halfway down if your impatient.

So, even if I get an opportunity to post from Rouen, I won't. Not even to tell you what the even more ironic monument to the burning of Frances most controversial and famous martyr, Jean D'arc, looks like.

I've had enough of this disjointed beginning of the ending of my trip. It deserves a slap in the face, with a white glove.

that is all I have to say.


Posted by devon @ 08:45 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Le Havre, France

Somewhere in an anonymous office, a mousy haired youth with poor posture listens to a rushed conversation being spoken in a language that he strives to understand.

I try not to be arrogent about things I've done or am about to do, but the email I just recieved from my best friend in Canada, who is Columbianm sums everything up far to perfectly for me not to share.

" i just read your site and got a better comprehension of your trip...

again man, bad idea...

We used to live near turbo... turbo is the poorest region of colombia... it's like harlem, all impoverished people... aserradero covadonga, "sawmill covadonga" but it might have closed down already... we used to go to capurgana when i lived back there... beautiful place...

anyways, why im saying to be careful is because in the colombia venezuela border there is a lot of guerrilla activity... pretty much anywhere east of santa marta in colombia is full of guerrilla rebels.. they routinely make busses and trains go through checkpoints, and if they see anyone worth it (ie. worth more than a couple of thousand bucks) you're kidnapped... the atlantic coast (barranquilla, cartagena) is a bit safer, but once you go into uraba (Turbo) it's packed with guerrilla activity... i don't know what else to tell you man... there's a chance that nothing happens, but it's still a huge gamble... if you are still gonna go through with it, i dunno what to tell you.. i can give you some contacts in barranquilla and cartagena...

and play it smart, contact the canadian and british embassies, im sure they'll have better advice.. let me know what your gonna be up to asap... if there is any way you could go from venezuela to central america, and then head west to panama, i'd suggest you do that in a heartbeat...

i don't mean to bash my country like that, i mean i love colombia, but it can also be a really fucked up place .. anyways let me know whats goin on.. give me a call if u can... later bro "

Boasting is so guilt free when they are not your words!

But seriously folks, I've done all the research I can, and will honestly not be hanging around anywhere long enough to be noticed.

I am here for another day. Before heading off. One forgets the everpresent delays that surround all things maritime. The sea is such a beautifully unpredictable thing.


Posted by devon @ 10:49 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Le Havre, France

Somewhere in a northern french port, an unshaven foreign young man walks aimlessly through the forgotten empty spaces between a confusing jumble of transport routes.

Its strange to remember the way people look at you when your walking down the side of a road that clearly isnt meant to be walked on.

I've had a very interesting first day. Everything is coming back to me. I couldn't help chuckling to myself as I waved back at a woman looking worryingly at me through a ground floor office window. She worked in the port authority reception and had arranged for a taxi to take me to the shipping office that I had asked after. I remembered as I got into the vehicle that something about my face and my demeanor seemingly gives women an undeniable desire to mother me, a suspicion that has worked to my benefit countless times over the past few years.

The most vivid recollection is how much of all of my travelling success relies completely and wholley on the kindness of others.

I was planning on a detailed description of how my day has panned out thus far, but considering that I am ready to turn this god-forsaken french keyboard into an electronic casserole through means of extreme violence, I think not. They have been less rude than expected, but I still find the insatiable desire to develop completely different systems for common things a distinctly infuriating characteristic of the french nation. Ironic that as the brits celebrate the 200th anneversary of the battle of the trafalger, I am forced to lament a failed attempt to rule the world. Old ideas and historical hang-ups are so boring and counterproductive.

On the other hand, thank fuck for the metric system.

On another page, it turns out I speak french! This is odd considering i dont remember learning it at school (was permanently kicked out of the entire french program for humiliating my teacher on a daily basis) and only really spent a few weeks in french speaking places on my trip.

strange, but helpful.

strange, but wonderful.

For the sake of my own sanity, here is my day in list format:

patchy, fitfull sleep aboard a p&o ferry across the english channel, broken up with pisstake amongst the crew members.

announce my presence at the port authority, and establish at least the 500th mother on my trip.

Get driven by a taxi driver to security, who sends me somewhere else. I give everybody a hard time (body language can be devastating) due to the taxi meter continuing to run.

Finally get past security and dropped off by the now crestfallen taxi driver. he pouts and takes 50 cents off my fare. a small victory.

I meet my man, mr. Boyanvalle, with a chest like a bear and a face like a hawk he jokingly pretends not to speak english.

He lets me leave my bag at the office and tells me to phone him at 22 00. its time to go to town.

Wander like a true vegabond through the byways of the industrial trading purgatory that is Le Harve port before ending up at bustop with an intimidatingly large, costumed west african man.

I observe the strangely located rundown shanties that appear to be a small oasis of humanity amongst a sea of lifeless industrialisation. The broken windows, prams, and multiple children on single bicycles prove this to be true, and i begin to be nervous.

The bus arrives, and carries me half dozing to the center of town, where I wander to a park and fall asleep under a tree reading a short story by Marquez.

I end up eating, then going to an internet cafe, where I have just realised that i have been completely and utterly theiving of another mans writing style.

Worse crimes have been committed.

For instance this fucking keyboard.

I've had enough.

I'll (hopefully) be jumping on this banana boat this evening, arriving in martinique in around 11 days. To entertain myself, I will read, exercise, kid around with the crew, play my guitar, listen to music, and reflect on what a rediculous thing I am doing to the ever soothing ambience of the ocean waves washing up against the hull of my ship.

We'll catch up in the Caribbean.


Posted by devon @ 07:27 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

London, England

In a revibrant enclave of north london called shoreditch, a travel weary young man sits in an internet cafe nestled amongst graffitti'd shutter doors, off license mini markets and a constant trickle of edgily clad artists.

or so a more kitsch post may begin.

I'm vauguely remembering how joyless this process of expunging the raw details of my mobile existance can be when i'm tired and its fucking hot outside.

For those of you just tuning in, I left home a couple years ago to go travelling, and took a break while I did a little bit of reading and a lot of celebrating (for what occasions? the days of the week of course. Monday night at club whynot? standard.)

I'm now on the road again, leaving this funny little island in the same fashion that I arrived, with 5 days of brain trauma, severe inebriation and more live music than the sun. In a word, Glastonbury. Glastonbury is more or less the respected leader in the world of music festivals, and I was lucky enough to roll out of bed one sunday and get tickets on my first attempt.

This time I've traded in my mum and my little brothers motley band of friends for a group that may or may not resemble a peer group.

I leave on a cargo ship from a french port a couple days after the festival.

To be honest, I dont know what to think of everything. Its hard to make sense of your life when you've been around so many different people and environments over three very impressionable years. I know that I really care about people, and that sometimes when I think about things that happened during my trip, like people fighting through crouds of people just to shake my hand, it makes me want to break down. There is so much sensless madness out there, nothing seems to fit quite right at the moment.

Mostly I feel guilty.

I wasn't even raised catholic.

To shamelessly quote myself, I'm now leaving "europe, the bosom of my happiness" and I couldn't be more pleased. I'm returning to the grotty world of devo-travel for a short time, after which I will go and see my family and close this fucking unintelligible chapter of my life.

Posted by devon @ 03:24 PM CST [Link]

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