Thursday, July 1, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

technology

yesterday i was sitting outside the SFMOMA after being bombarded with overly depressing popart and watched a man walk into a glass window while texting on his cell phone. i thought it to be pretty hilarious and proceeded to give him a highfive and he seemed to be okay but decided to actually run away because he didn't want any of the witnesses to ever see him again.

Reminded me of the time a robin kept ramming the sliding glass doors of the house where i grew up because it saw it's reflection and thought it was another robin that it had to defend its territory from.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My supervisor at the San Francisco Public Library (where i'm doing my practicum) referred to the security guard today as grandpa. I awkwardly asked him if i should call him grandpa too.


potential grandpa:

"When I was your age I used to take all these old darn automobile tires from the junkyard and roll them down to the fisherman's wharf and set em on fire with a whole crap ton of gasoline. Because that’s what my dad did when he became a man and that’s what his dad did when he became a man. And i'll tell you what, it lit up that night sky like it was a giant birthday cake floaten out there on top the ocean or somethin..... so If you want to call me grandpa you better get that sky a glowen and pretend it's your birthday, newbie."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Arizona Dachshund Attack!!!!


(this one was made especially for you mom)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Today on the bus waiting on Granville street, the doors closing. a man that looked like he played football in his earlier glory days charged at the back access doors. the doors clipped him and he jolted back onto the pavement. they opened again letting him think that he had won. he proceeded to step on the bus embarrassed and smiling as if admitting defeat.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Slunk Bunsen & Gother Brown


click image for link

Made this over a week in December with mister matt wood

Starts out with a lazy guitar and a man talking about shampoo or something, which really catches you off guard when the guys go into an all out freak session. Nonsense lyrics with really good slide guitar and minimal drums. Its a border line hootenanny mixed with depressing lyrics from your challenged Aunt Rosie. If you are in the right mood (i.e. Taco Bell drive through, Prom after party druged out, ect.) then you will definately appreciate this. Dusted this one off from a pile in my dads garage. Picture of a dog on the front and only titles of tracks with the year at the bottom giving SB vocals and GB guitar and drums credit. Super fucking weird. Pretty sure he picked this up in the U.P. of Michigan / was friends with one of the guys. Have to ask the Pops if he knows anymore...

Lyrics include one hitters like:
BRING ME THE STICK!!! AAARRRRHHHH
Rudolphs Dead, Merry Christmas
Meet me in front of the soda pop machine I love you
Don't! Not! Swim in the lake


-joel rakowski

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I got to see the band broadcast last night: the projector screen was best explained; if the sound of a dying buffalo could be feed through a refracted lens and pulled apart into a thousand tiny pieces of light only to then be collected to the flat semireflective surface of a white screen..... then transformed into a visual replica of the Hindenburg disaster surrounded by a million overly sized sunflowers (thirty to fifty feet tall!) some with yellow pedals some strangely with blue.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

video

I've been meaning to throw this up for a while. Sort of why Vancouver is awesome.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the things stuck inside the liner of my jacket because i already sewed the hole up in the pocket:

two cloves of garlic
five baby pine cones with stem
approximately eighty five cents Canadian
my landlords phone#
one toe of ginger
one Ray Jackson action figure made out of masking tape (with optional mustache)
seven in the morning the doors are stuck
everyone on the bus
is afraid of the driver.

Monday, October 26, 2009

kitchen sink,
quit your dripping.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grass matted brown
small gray reflections,
umbrellas dance....... drone drone drone.
feeling caught in a draft.

Waiting for those
long warm baths.
These canvas shoes
turn colors with the rain.

I buy two new pencils (black and white)
which can write on most everything.
I want to write a long list.
Things that need to be done.

Often times words misspelled.
Words with too many letters.

On the side walk
or a park bench.

Words........ when they
make a sound seem similar.
Like the spitting sound
the sky makes.

The pencils have plastic erasers
but ironically the lead is water soluble.

The words form into a puddle that wants to resemble a lake.
This lake brakes apart into tiny streams.
Which want to resemble even smaller streams
trying to resemble even smaller ones still

back to the muddy grass.
Yesterday I passed a man on Commercial Drive with a pigeon balanced on top of his head. He was walking my way and gave me the look as if saying "what are you looking at".

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

an abandoned bike
with a "free" sign
taped to its side

a two month old cafe
the owner handing out
free cookies on the side walk

the sun cradling the bay
like a distant echo
from the mountains

i find a dollar thirty five
in the middle of the street
and buy a coffee


Over the last year I’ve been traveling off and on to several different places and while traveling lightly can be an adjustment when on the move I realize that I posses a difficulty to rationalize the organization of the material things I bring into my life. Granted these things certainly have a general use either from my own vantage point or the commercial incentive that goes along with their prescribed use and meaning, yet I am still coming to terms with this overbearing sense of chaos which I openly submit my full and irrational attachment in-exchange merely as being the owner, manipulator and ultimately governor of such material abundance. In contrast the things that I’ve come to own over the extension of my life have become essentially a more permanent fixture and have formed either into material networks of useful tools or dormant civilizations waiting to be sifted through and somehow organized once again. What I am beginning to understand is how I collect and compile and how I become more selective while I continue to endure these possessions as both necessary creative vessels and hopefully somehow relevant to my life at present. While at other times questions I attach to the validity of these objects causes me to disregard any personal possession I own as something reliable or necessary in the context of having a specific and/or meaningful use. This ultimately may be the catalyst for a continually unfolding existential crisis.

When focusing on my patterns of organization it may be of note that I have the underlying lifestyle of an artist but the social outlook as an opportunist and through this mental framework an intrinsic attachment to resource. May it be old or new, broken or fixed, messy or sterile, audible or visual, complicated or simple, gambled or secure, passive or engaged, unique or ill-defined, et cetera. To put it bluntly I like shiny things. Though a continual resource at best it all still fits together in my mind at different times and in different ways. These objects eventually tend to interrelate when I can give them the proper amount of patience and space. May it be to construct paintings, photographs, sculptures, sound pieces or maybe just the simple attachment for the nostalgic. It essentially all equates to a periodical investment. Though when investment seems to waver given uncertainties when trying to understand what exactly an investment may come to mean; is it too much to consider an investment purely with space? I suppose I’m lucky at least for now to invest platonically into the love and generosity of my mother and coincidently with her investment in a house while putting up with my consequential use of space which has been collecting dust and disorder in her basement for sometime now.

I suppose I chose to write about this “basement” of my life especially in light of investing purely in space and the questions for how should or shouldn’t it be used and what it may mean for something to have a use at one moment and become unused at another. These things I own then happen to also become a representation or symbol for my home and when I can collect them with order and intended use my home then becomes a physical metaphor for my internal life. Then what should I say about when they coax their way into resembling the aftermath of a small detonated land mine on an abandoned field of some long lost war zone? (i.e. in some way being utilized) Or better yet when they merely lapse time collecting dust in the bowels of my mother’s home and not my own? Well maybe If I were to emphasis this space as a metaphor for this existential problem in my life it may make sense to consider the latter to be that as a metaphor for death and the former to be that as a metaphor for life and when utilized properly in my own home essentially a much more complicated and personal metaphor of my emotional, psychological and spiritual self.

I bring into perspective this unique extension of my life because recently before moving to Vancouver I decided to organize the boxes yet again granted that the owner of this basement does tend to emphasis her influence and power into the potential lively hood of this space. The initial task was to throw things away that most easily could withstand such defeat. Then donations to The Salvation Army were taken into consideration. Then scraps of paper with little elephants or half written sonnets were put into a fire protected safe. I folded blankets and painters canvas into half tidied piles knowing that someday they would be unfolded once again. I reminisced upon old letters and gifts. I listened to a field recording of lake Michigan and a secretly captured tape recording of my grandmother telling me about her childhood. I stacked vinyl records at an acceptable height from the potentially flooded concrete floor. And so it goes.

These things are nothing new to me. I’ve known that they’ve existed at one time. But I have also been able to consciously forget of their presence when time began to separate me from them. When taking a moment to reorder them, to readdress them into my current emotional and intellectual state, has allowed their meanings to change granted the context of the present and what value and investment I’ve begun to hold differently to the past. This is where an uprising of conflict has become evident. What is useful now and what is no longer. What will be useful in the future and what will I consider to decay in this space quite possibly for the rest of my life and periodically remind me of this decay throughout the future.

So at this point I admit that I have some logic to this system and order. Though it’s nothing complicated or documented in any way. Photographic related items go together in disarray brimming to the top of a freshly tape mended overly sized brown packaging box. Messy art supplies cram together into deeply weathered wooden containers. Stretched paintings huddle closely along the last likely floodable wall space. Music equipment piles amongst amplifiers and an adjustable piano bench. Stuffed animals considerably slumber together atop piles and piles of unused books. Records, CD’s, tapes, hi-fi stereo equipment has no sequential order at all except togetherness. A small fart machine a friend gave me on a boring February Michigan evening has stopped working (Hours upon hours of entertainment I might add). And lets not forget all the random things that really have no logical place accept to be ordered together as random memories, thoughts and emotions. These are the ones that, for a brief moment, make everything a little more viable not only for the intended order but also the gravity for these complicated attachments.

Typically this order is about intuition. Where I feel something should go that is where it should go. This is mostly an aesthetic response and holds just cause to the relationship and functionality that these items had once held and their potential usefulness in the future. Thus I’m constantly redeveloping new order and frameworks for my possessions as long as I evidently give myself a break from their uses and have time to reflect. In conclusion when attempting to exploit the logic behind all of this collecting both in a physical or psychological way I begin to essentially grasp more forward thinking into the impulses and incentives as both a consumer as a well as a creator. I assume then if it wasn’t for this clutter or this organization that my life may be a little more simplified or in contrary immensely more complicated. All in all this system does bring a sense of meaning to my life no matter in what way I choose to perceive it. May it be systematic, chaotic or simply pragmatic.

Monday, September 14, 2009



I went to the country side over this last weekend. it was awesome. for some reason I decided that Bowen Island would be the place. I had to take a city bus from downtown to Horse Shoe Bay.... then a 20 minute ferry to the island.... it is a small island with very little people there! but many ferry boats luckily commute.. i had to wait no time at all in both directions..

i arrived just before dusk and found my way to Killarney lake just a short hike from the port. it took about an hour to convince myself where i was and its subtle quiet impact. the peaceful ambiance compared to the bustling city.... i mean granted its a far different city then Chicago or Detroit.... a little more laid back i suppose... i mean come on.... we have a nude beach on campus! who does that?
but when freshly arriving to a new place and trying to figure out transportation and housing... let alone a new campus and curriculum and student body it can definitely be stressful.... did I mention about the whole lack of organization and living out of a suitcase? its enduring to an extent..... though it has kind of felt like this since last April ( golly has it already been six months?) i odnt know if i ever mentioned the whole living in my painting studio over the summerin Florence? yes that was an adventure!!!! attending community showers on a timed schedule....cooking on a tiny hot plate that would blow the circuit breaker every five minutes.... sleeping on the floor in the stuffy corner (i.e. the sad fort) of an old dusty turpentine soaked facility?..... but the dance party! that must have saved me....oh and yes the eighties music of course! all in all i would probably give up a great deal to be back in Italy for a time being.... living in the studio again and dancing to a ha.

but yes.... i must stay on track ..... back to the amazing sun filled weekend.....after a while of taking in the quietness i became more and more aware of the wild life..... and while enduring the dark peaceful space it became more rambunctious with all sorts of strange animal sounds... i decided to sleep as close to the water as possible. first tying my food to the branch of a tree. i wasnt sure if there were bears on the island or not. i found out later they are much farther away and in the mountains on the mainland.... just little harmless black ones.

in the middle of the night I'm woken to the strangest sound. a large ploping sound in the water. after first i figured it was my food and a raccoon had gotten the best of me.....but after it continues for over ten minutes i realize that im not going crazy and its a large fish catching bugs after projecting itself straight out of the water. i am relieved but find it difficult to sleep with such a loud ruckus. to make a long story short though.... i concentrated on all of the wonderful sounds surrounding me until i drifted into a half lucid dreamish state of relaxation...only to be woken up again to the sound of a giant fish jumping into the night sky for its late night snack..... it felt good to be back in the woods once again (jerry i'm sure you can relate!).

the next morning i made my way to Mount Gardner. i probably wasnt in the best shape at the time but when you resolve to climb a mountain you start to gain new incentives. the sun was spilling through the trees at random angles..... the forest was old and full of birds, moss and deer. small creeks trickled past along the trail. at the top i could see the whole downtown of Vancouver almost twenty miles away. the peninsula where my school is situated. the northern mountains and the other many islands scattering the shore line. its a great feeling to constantly create new reference points in light of a new environment. i suppose the struggle is when you live someplace for such a long period of time it becomes more difficult to keep a growing perspective. the benefits of moving someplace new is that your perspective may easily be constantly changing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

my life is overflowing two suitcases on a kitchen floor.
this may go on for a month..... but the best part about being disorganized is that you dont really need to waist time organizing. this makes it easier to do other things........ like collecting stones at the seaside.

Friday, September 11, 2009

finally found a new place after much searching, questions and deliberations.
I'm going to rent a sunroom....a living room...a bathrooom.... a kitchenette... a bedroom and a three closets... and a garden. i have this problem of finding the best place ever for the most reasonable price...

ilikeithereverymuch

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Capraia.......uhmm....from a long time ago....really beautiful!
this is where we slept... having to climb up to that little
window about twenty feet maybe up up up. oh and just behind
me are cliffs to the ocean. this was sort of like the edge of the
planet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009



Giglio
(from last april (oh and if you got linked to the amazing SACI dance Video Lorenzo linked you can find it bellow....or here www.vimeo.com/4857161 )

we knew nothing about Giglio accept that we referred to it as Gigolo island and that brought the group of us a great deal of humor ....by this time my friend Tonya was in Florence visiting and she came along on one of the man outings....but we couldn't refer to it as this any longer... like we did out loud but in our mental associations with the bonding experience.. (so maybe the gigolo joke was getting old fast….and we all knew it) not.. this time Nanda left early and staked out the island and found us a beach to sleep on and wear all the lazily flying spears may be seen best in the moonlight (see Capri adventure ( to be posted soon) )......he was successful in surviving his first night alone on the island…….and upon our arrival he was already waiting at the port like some long neglected statue that just got renovated and was waiting for us, to be picked up and erected in the town square with a huge ceremony and red ribbons, balloons, tortilla chips and large overly stuffed marsupials similar to those won at a carnival game....instead he gave us all hugs as if he were lost at sea for the last several months....its amazing how one night alone on a desolate island can do for the soul.... for me...at this point... i was incredibly seasick from the boat ride....but after walking a bit………. I managed to shake the lulling back and forth movements of the un-tamed ocean. Nanda led us to our beach...through thickly covered hillsides of blooming lavender, rosemary, and the yellow flowered bushy plants that smelled absolutely amazing. until we found out later if viewed from up-close....like up-close as in touching them as in they grab onto you with their vicious spiny thorns as in never never never…..absolutly never willing to let go....ever.

but we got to the beach and it was getting dark and we collected wood for our fire and scouted out an inhabited million dollar villa with a welcoming terrace with an amazing view for the evening slumber.....I....In my need to always engulf myself within a body of water as long as its accessible.....made my way with no announcement to jump in the ocean. later at around midnight........... around the warm crackling fire.....after our satiating fried zucchini dipped in pesto meal ....I convinced the whole of us.....Joey, Tonya, Mr. Verney, Sam and Nanda to take a late night swim in the nude.....surprisingly everyone was in! we even danced around the fire like lunatics in our underwear (I might have some video footage I can wrastle up.....actually we were considering to put it in the American Boy dance video but it never made the final cut.....for time pressing issues (little help Verney?)) the next morning I had to jump in the sea again…though I could only convince Verney into jumping in with me... I realized then and there me and Jon Verney were on a mission....we were going to get the entire group of us lost.....near the sea...surrounded by walls and walls of thorns.....I would like to take more credit for this insanity but Jon was pretty intent on supporting my navigational skills so I in return supported his......it was fun at first...then we thought we were going to die out there.....just give up and lay down and forget about all the seagulls cackling/laughing at us and absolve back into the earths elemental makeup...

.. it wasn’t as intentional as you would have thought....it was just getting off the vague trail markings when it split into many trails thinking yeah....the light house we are looking for will definitely be near the water....so the coast will be the big......absolute......definitive land marking.......this way of thinking is what got us in trouble......and I base way too much on intuition...especially when we should be using logic after a certain time when traveling in the bush....Nanda was right....he knew we should have stuck to the power lines......it would have been the most logical direction and would have saved us hours of …….well im getting to that...

Soon enough, by each obstacle we confronted...Jon and I got this look of insanity in our eyes as if saying "you wanted adventure? here’s your adventure!..." following with a procession of man grunts and death defying leaps over purely composed thorn bridges.......mind you.... this is after we were walking calmly though the most green, beautiful, momentous of gentle rolling grassy landscapes and Joey has to open his big mouth and yell out "we must get the ring to Mordor" in his best lord of the rings accent that he could muster.......I haven’t mentioned Joey much as of yet....but he’s the kind of guy you get to know and say to yourself...........Man this guy is probably the most amazing person that ill ever meet.....to keep things short Joey is awesome...no way around it.....

so back to the jungle of thorns...the more we gritted our teeth for adventure the more we got lost...the more Verney yelled out positive innuendos for male bonding adventure time.... the more I did....the more Tonya did...and for a little while atleast….. the more everyone did. we thought that it will be ok to get lost because we probably wont get lost.......and then we got lost.......it sort of corresponded with trying to meet back up with the main trail...and we saw in the rolling distance an object that looked like it should be some kind of shelter...but later upon being lost and closer inspection it turned out to be an ancient stone that some idiot (who probably got lost himself.....though maybe a bit more life threatening) some eight hundred years ago carved to look like a hut....just to piss people off who were about to get lost.......I was the one who vowed to make it to this absurd land mark....it was absolutely impossible to make it there....no one else followed...I told them not to....Verney tried to go another way but got stuck.....I gritted my teeth and pretended not feel the thorns collecting around me......at several different moments I continued to reassess the impossibility of the situation.......and then mindlessly kept engulfing myself in the thick of it.....to find...... after my 20 minutes of insanity to be close enough to our "shelter" to see that there was no trail connecting to our newly found non-shelter.....all I could see were seagulls on the rocks looking at me as if I were and idiot....I really hated those seagulls......and how they could just jump up into the sky and lift their stupid hollow bodies into mid-flight and go wherever they felt .....like to another rock probably........at least I had a little more ambition going for me...like pizza! oh by the way we were all starving and out of water.....bad combination for being lost......at this point I abandoned the group...it was against my better judgment but it had to happen....I couldn’t go back the way I came.....mentally to go back a route that was impossible to begin with only to be just as lost as when you started....it's a little draining...they were only about fifty yards from me though...it wasn’t like I was going to France or something....just to the now-realized consensus of all consensuses.... the power lines........ I yelled that they should take the creek and I will go straight up and we will meet inevitably. they nodded as if not agreeing with anything that I had just said...and we set off......I felt a bit uneasy...anxious...even more lost now that I was alone....and I felt I walked most of us into the fiery inferno of the jaws of nature and I myself opened up a huge umbrella and just started floating peacefully into the sky.....well at least I figured that they begrudgingly felt this way of me....so I decided to find them somehow at some place.....when I reached a large rock cropping I surveyed till I spotted them........we yelled in each others general directions then I keep going only to find that 20 minutes later they were just where I was moments before…..and I was on a new collection of rocks...the most surreal point was when Jon kept going and Sam followed shortly after but Tonya, Nanda and Joey stayed put on those collection of momentarily safe islands in the thickets....and when Jon and Sam separated one-another I just stood there thinking that this is not how things get done (but hey….i was the first to split the group up I suppose)......soon Jon was to a new collection of boulders and Sam was going deeper into the "shit" yelling angrily to himself and the thorns perhaps.....I was on my boulder and started yelling to three of them at the first set of boulders to make sure everything was ok and then to Jon and to Sam....this continued oddly for some time………..

.at this point we created this strange triangle of islands on the boulders with unheard words floating into space and serene apprehensive, complicated, absurd glances to one another with a good 80 feet separating each little collection of curious, fragmented, baffled human consciousness. this is when I think Verney snapped.....he was as close as me to the power lines...maybe 50 yards still out of the two hundred when we initially made our decision to find civilization........he looked up to the mountain and yelled to me something like "brad Im going for it man!" not like some kind of jovial tea sipping philosophical light bulb blinking lazily overhead, as if suggesting: lets go for a swim in the lake! its right there! it will be fun! sort of going for it......no no no ......more like this is fucking insane! I don’t know what to do! going for it looks like to be my very last option! I don’t want to die here! that would be stupid! (later I found out from Verney.....(oh and to relieve the suspense we’re all still alive to my knowledge...sorry to ruin the climax) that he was thinking about what he had learned about saint peter and his journey through hundreds of miles of shear, dense, isolated forest......kind of a crazy epic mindset if you ask me.(Jon maybe you could write something more vividly for this part and ill copy it in at a later date?) another thing was Verney's demeanor....he facial features turned menacing......or more psychotically into a sophisticated-muppet-like-creature-whojsutlosthislastounceofcomposuregiventhathejustrealizedhe’llbeamuppethiswholeentirelifewithsomestrangershandcallingtheshots,constructinghiseverymotive,thiseverynuanceofselfdeterminedfreedomdrainingjustbeforehisveryeyes and wobbled his way forward..... into the "shit".....it was amazingly comic given the situation with our lonely triangle of boulders.....and Verney's appearance wasn't merely intimidating but just as well inspiring......half in a fit of passion...half out of mindless exhaustion I yelled out to the rest of the group as if they hadn’t heard him...as if the whole world was listening at that exact given moment and they.....just the four others had forgotten to pay attention................ when the whole episode of our dilemma...the whole ferociousness of our given stance in this new reality of being alive......when I repeated again what Verney had just told me "Verney's fucking going for it!"…..while intentionally adding my own choice of translation….. the rest just looked at me in the same way as we all had looked over the past hour or so.....perpetually confused....

the next thing I know Verney went for it...then I lost sight of his immaculate grimace into the face of "it".....and after a brief struggle he fell over....I could see only his face struggling and the tops of the thorn bushes embracing his struggle. then all I could see were the tops of the thorn bushes moving...and then they stopped and everything was quiet....... later Jon told me he laid there and tried to accept his fate....later he told me he felt like St. Peter and just accepted the notion to fuse back into the grumbling earth from which he came…..as if a small children’s water toy washed upon some abandoned, uninhabited beach.....then he said the seagulls began flying over head and laughing at him.....he couldn’t take this......the seagulls disrespect for a fellow dying animal..... so he got up and dredged on.....still with the glint of insanity raging from behind his eyes......I stayed where I was. waiting for the rest.... and after which seemed like days Verney got to the electrical lines.......he said nothing at first because there was no trail and he felt defeated...not defeated just for his own sense of well being but the pressures that defeat brings as if a whole group were defeated upon your own shoulders..... but then he found the trail and screamed out I found the trail! and then he saw the lighthouse and screamed...I found the lighthouse! I interpreted again for him "Verney found the trail! and he sees rainbows!" whatever that meant.....but the important part was the whole thing dealing with the trail.....I then looked at the three sitting on the boulders still having not moved thinking "who cares"......"well never make it.....that’s like a three days walk from here"......"and were still stuck on these boulders"....and I could hear Sam grunted majestically though the “shit” and I decided to ease this feeling of guilt burrowing its way into my stomach........ I was going back for the others and making loud obnoxious guttural sounds along the way....

I mean now we had something to fight for...hadn’t we? a trail in the distance....I even fell over backpack first into a thick patch of prickers because Tonya couldn’t get through.....I told her to us me as a bridge...it worked and was sort of humorous until I couldn’t get back up...the three of them had to help me to my feet. after another 30 minutes of crazy, beautiful, yellow-flowered thorn battles...(that weren’t too beautiful any longer).....we too found the trail. but no Verney.....and then the lighthouse...but no Verney...only his pillow that he was carrying this whole time.....like a child in some long lost dream world.....maybe The Chronicles of Narnia...or The Never Ending Story...except this main character brought his pillow from home.....can you imagine the psychological implications that were going through my head at a moment like this? I mean....we made it and our fearless conqueror who led the remainder of the way.....the one who went for "it"......had now totally dissolved into the mountains and what was left of him was his tattered blood stained pillow......as if he was the first to wake up from some episodic nightmare to find himself safely into the confines of his own home....in his soft warm quilted bed. with his soft warm freshly washed pillow. and the remainder of us were to endure the newly fallen rain that began to damper our newly found glory.

turns out Verney ran to the light house for moral support and water.....we also meandered in that direction with our newly discovered relic of a once great man......and then there he was...water in hand......dampened hair from the rain.....I swear it was as if really this whole time....... we were trying to find Verney...like he was kidnapped by pirates and locked in some makeshift prison on this remote thorn ridden island and had just escaped by the shear ingenuity as if a man could muster such ingenuity purely based upon his name. Jon Verney........ which would compel such a haphazard group to go risking their own necks for an individual this valuable and/or crazy to be captured by pirates......... we then went back to the light house to ask for more information on which way to go.....to say the least the military personnel weren’t exactly thrilled to see our chaotic facial expressions...they just thought we were dumb tourists who got stuck in the rain....I suppose we were.

we then found the road and walked in the fog for several miles...up the mountain. back to civilization...though we didn’t know when that would be and thought we would probably miss our boat…… and we didn’t care..... because we couldn’t stop thinking about pizza. and then the fog began clearing and Nanda stopped Joey and I and began comparing himself to this bird just before us slowly moving through the sky (maybe it was a metaphor for a journey which we felt relived to have just begun or has been put nearly behind us).....the void of fog then began shifting apart and the bird languished just in front of where the fog initially began to clear....it was a little more complicated then that...the metaphor of the bird and all of this……but maybe Nanda could explain it a little more clearly(?).. but to say the least Joey, I and Nanda had a moment....and watched the bird vanish back into the fog now that it had opened a hole in the void and the fog just kept clearing and clearing until it was magically from sight....... this is when we realized that everything reflected by sunlight makes everything beautiful and the rest of the hike from that point on wasn’t as boring...or rainy or difficult...actually when we saw the gem of the city from around one of those never ending mountain bends....we all lit up and three of us started running (tonya,joey and I) singing a song from the top gun soundtrack.....not the really fast one but I think the one about losing that love and feeling...whoa oh that love and feeling....you lost that love and feeling……. now its gone………. Gone…………….. gone......woah oh oh oh..........................but I don’t quite remember I’ll have to ask Joey....Joey will know.

to make a long story shorter.....right when we got to the city we found a pizza joint and the six of us order 12 pizzas.....really ten and a calzone but whenever we have talked about the episode since we agreed that 12 pizzas sound more amazing then 10 and a calzone....by golly we should have gotten the 12 for purely aesthetic purposes. after that we missed our boat and Tonya and I tried to pass as a couple of newly weds to manage a cheap hotel room that we could all split....but the old couple caught onto or shenanigans when we tried to walk right past them in the middle of the night......not five minutes after booking the room.....and given how baffled they were and how mistrusting mine and Tonya’s conniving deeds had become we still worked out a deal that they couldn’t refuse.....I mean we paid more money....but not as much as we should have.....and now we had all of our own beds. and drank wine safely apart from the labyrinth of thorns we exhaustedly pushed, for the moment, furthest from recollection as possible.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

(sorry if you were looking for the amazing SACI dance video....its a little ways down the page...I've since updated by exploiting my Morocco adventures (or also i threw it up on Vimeo with much better quality so hopefully it wont infringe copyright laws...like YouTube.)
www.vimeo.com/4857161

Morocco Adventures

So from a long unwittingly hiatus I'm back....trying to write about my time in Morocco.....though the ten days evidently moved very quickly for me......it is something I'm hopeful to look back on and remember as vividly as possible.

If you already don’t know about the couchsurfing network....you should (couchsurfing.com). because its much more then saving a few bucks to crash on somebody’s filthy, dilapidated couch.......not that I've slept on such a thing.....I usually prefer the floor.....oh the wonders of Thermarest! its also about getting to know people and a different culture through a tiny glimpse from the eyes of someone that genuinely wants you to see that culture....at least for what its worth to them.
upon my arrival to Marrakesh I was a little apprehensive because my couchsurfing host Amine.....was coming to the airport to pick me up......I mean that’s pretty nice....but shoot...after living around other human beings for so long you begin to catch on to when people do you favors they often tend to ask for something in return. I was happy to find out that this guy was just a nice person.....and went out of his way to meet me, show me around Marrakesh in this amazing canvas topped 1950's French roadster dune buggy sort of dealy (sorry I'm not good with the make and models of automobiles....actually sort of impressed with myself that I sold my old one) and offered me my own flat through the duration of my stay in the city..

The first day I was pretty tired.....given that my flight from Milan was at 6 in the morning...so this meant I had to catch a train from Florence that put into Milan at 11:30 and then take a bus to the airport.....where I would then sleep for three or four hours if lucky... the thing was that I have so many double sided pieces of paper with flight itinerary (for Milan, Marrakesh, Fez, Milan, Sicily, London, Helsinki, Tampere, Milan) that I got a little confused with the whole Milan thing. and went to the wrong airport. this wouldn’t have been such a blunder if there were other buses going to the correct airport that evening but.....the buses stopped until about 4:30 in the morning.....I tell you this though, I was actually lucky getting a bus an hour back to the train station where I would have to wait three hours for the 4:30 bus....on the same bus I came in on...I actually got the guy to wave the additional ten Euros.....sometimes I have a way with words.....even when its half broken, stumbling Italian.

so I slept for almost 1 hour and 47 minutes...I read somewhere that its too consistent to use rounded digits....like the human infatuation with 15 minute increments......so no catch to the un-rounded number....just trying to save myself the time of consistency. it felt a bit like camping and a bit like waiting to get very very far away from a place that was not anything like camping.....thankfully I had my sleeping bag, mat and rain bag.....that is camouflaged...so at least I got the good half of the whole camping deal.
all in all I made it to Morocco and the sun was brighter then any sun I had at one time remembered....Amine became a new best friend and made a good chunk of my stay very satiating as a weary outsider. The first day after zipping around the claustrophobic streets and weaving in and out like an old Atari driving simulation game, he and his girlfriend..... it was something like Angela but with out the n......took me to this refreshing lake about thirty miles from the city overlooking the atlas mountains.......this is when I realized that watermelon was in season. and I truly became totally over taken by the prospect of sitting at a lake in morocco, overlooking the atlas mountains, while after a good cool swimming, biting into a fresh local, juicy red watermelon......(which I may add, they only split one piece even though I offered as much as they wanted.....so I ate mostly the whole thing) needless to say. It was a day I hadn’t expected but thoroughly enjoyed. something that then stuck with me this day, which I was hopeful in pursuing, was the snow capped lingering image of the atlas mountains looming in the distance.



the next day I found an agency for a very reasonable price that arranged tours in a van with other tourists to go through the atlas into Berber country and eventually into the Sahara on camel-back to tents at sunset with the stars and wind and quiet quiet quiet........ok so this was one of the big highlights...a little cliché but if you ask me. its pretty amazing riding a camel in the desert while the sun is setting. sort of makes you feel this sense of vigor that has been lost from most of humanity over the last few thousand years...being nomadic.

so the trip consisted of three days. lots of driving and short pit stops for food, water, pictures, sleeping, tourist traps. the whole shebang.....I even....against my own judgment. bought a camel haired handmade rug at one of those tourist traps.....at least it was an authentic tourist trap...its just there are more of these vans/buses that are somehow pressured into making specific stops at specific villages for specific reasons...people/acquaintances/ family/friends/commissioners.....but I admit the rug is beautiful...and I wanted one for some reason deep down. I don't really know why and where this deep down place exists....maybe I was ahead of myself thinking that a family heirloom is something I better invest in before its too late! but first maybe I should be thinking about starting families rather then heirlooms for families.......or at least think of a better reason for a rug rather then its "pretty" and probably "authentic" and will somehow justify my ten days in Africa with the fear that I may never comeback so at least I have something to show for it rather then some seven hundred photographs of rugs.....well not all of rugs but you get the idea. I bought a rug and its just heavy enough to make my backpack to heavy to be comfortable carrying. I find myself constantly analyzing its presence...why me? I ask...is it something special as of now or something special sometime down the road? is color/texture/fiber something that can make an individual continually happy?
well at least for now...it reminds me of the camel ride. and I really really like camels. they are strange, grunting, slobbery mammals.....someday I want one as a pet. but until then I have a rug. that’s how I think now I am at terms with the situation.

other things happened along the trip.....I took a lot of pictures though in fear that I would forget most of it.....I really have around 800 digital/disposal camera pictures from morocco. I promised myself to edit them down and print actual physical prints of no more then 100. the first night on my trip got sick at our first hotel dinning arrangement.....the man kept saying the gravy was vegetarian. I was very hungry and didn’t believe him....and ate more than others from the group........ the gravy. my body was very angry with me. though right afterward I played drum in the restaurant with some locals and I thought it were to be an epic occasion.....not sleeping because of stomach pains is far from epic.....maybe something you want to filter out of your memory but it tends to linger at the fore front sort of epic.....maybe disastrous for lack of a better word.

but I did manage to get better by the following evening before we rode camels....it took a lot of not eating and drinking water and laying down and pretending to be asleep. oh and yes...ginger root has always been my savior! even after we got to the tents in the desert I realized that exercise is probably my best bet for curing digestion complications.....so I coned my new friend.....tour bus tourist from Vancouver....(which oddly is where I will be moving in a few months to go back to school...so I may one day work in a library again).....into climbing the closest largest sand dune all the way to the top upon our arrival to the tents where we would be sleeping.....I didn’t know that Chris had a bum knee...but we were practically best friends by this point.....while being stuck in a tour bus for hours upon hours and speaking such a similar dialect of English that no other from the tour could even begin to compete...well maybe the Australians....but just a little...they are still curious, eccentric other worldly minds too me that hides precariously behind their strange grammatical choices....
I climbed to the star filled top of the dark never ending, sand blowing all the way up in your face sand dune. I pretended most of the way to be on lake Michigan and when I was done I could just run down and jump into the water. though by the time i was nearing the top I became thoroughly aware of my fictitious imagination and persevered until I was nearly sick.....but I realized from last night getting sick puts a taste in your mouth that you think....at the time you will never, ever ever.....be able to get rid of. so I refrained and expected to have a mystical revelation at the top in all my collapsing and heavy breathing and dehydration/nutritional weakness... but I just laid there wishing I had some water to soothe my recently hacked upon lung.
the next day I wasn’t sick anymore given my full days of exercise in merely the increment of 45 minutes. it worked.

the three day trip all in all was amazing....though I was mildly aware the whole physical exertion part of sightseeing is probably a good element.....especially when trying to enjoy the great outdoors.
so upon my return to the bustling hazy aired chaos of Marrakesh....I soon after made my way to this subtly remote beach town by the name of Essaouira.......though incredibly windy, the town was much more respondent to a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle.....maybe its from being along the Atlantic....maybe its from the amount of hash that is trying to be sold to you.....especially walking around alone at night as a 26 year old man/boy (not sure how I should be referring to myself at this point, person maybe yes.......indifference is probably most valuable) that I would probably make a sure winner. though I was mostly annoyed and said easily enough no thank you and kept my pace.
I found the best hotel room that I could manage... I wanted something up high...so I could get over the claustrophobic sensations of being trapped in congested foreign menagerie of bustle like Marrakesh....what I really wanted was to be able to see the ocean.....just to look out the window of my hotel and see the vague consistency of a blue horizon...I managed to find the highest point to that of the mosques.....it was grand. maybe only one other person was staying in the towering hotel... which made me both happy for the quietness and a little weary of the quality of the facilities....but my room was the highest point of a tower (and i had my own bathroom)....it was actually the only thing on that floor. except for the door to the roof.....which then led to a higher roof which was on top of my room....it was like I had the whole city to myself! and I felt I little selfish for staying up there too long...so I went down to wander.

my essential purpose of wandering was in a bit of a fluster because I wanted to relax but would feel un-relaxed in the hotel if I didn’t explore....so I set out for the beach....like I would then explore my way somewhere to relax...the view of the south beach seemed boring with its lack of jagged outcrops and torrential waves bombarding the delicate sand filled shore.....not to mention the giant apartment complexes lining as a gaudy industrial backdrop......the north beach seemed to be encased within a labyrinth of ancient city...maze after maze of dark alleyways and lost hungry dogs, barefoot poets and old tattered French hats......the entrance to the shore looked abandoned itself...not to mention the whole long winding pristine shoreline masked from the city by an ancient towering wall that looked as though it could run all the way to tangier....(that of course if I didn’t already spoil the image by my little own personal viewing platform in the sky) the entrance actually smelled of urine and the debris was a little overwhelming.....I then had trouble fighting all the protruding questions...why was this beach so neglected? are people not allowed to be on it? are there sea monsters that will battle within minutes after my arrival? or worse yet will they try and eat me out of hunger?
while weary of standing inside the ancient pee filled entryway....I saw a foreigner coming up from the shore with a very large camera and it put my anxieties to a rest....I mean all those tourists can make you a little uneasy after a while..... the whole.....if I have a camera then I'm traveling the correct way.....what is to travel if you cant remember your experiences instantaneously? don’t get me wrong though I'm also guilty of this perverse communication strategy...its just after sometime you come to terms with what the actual purpose of the camera may be....there is really no just answer. but I see people investing way more experience into their camera rather then their memory....yeah you can look at two dimensional images at some point that may trigger a fond episode or story or feeling....but it has to be somehow different then remembering an experience while trying to engage most fully...... smell, touch, hearing et cetera....essentially trying to feel something during the experience....rather then waiting for a moment sometime down the road... in fact yesterday I was on this secluded beautiful beach in Sicily and this couple came down as soon as I was leaving......they were taking photos upon photos...posing for one another...taking turns smiling at their predicament through each others "different" lenses....and after the photo taking they sat down and looked at the amazing view they found themselves in...through the digital screen on the backs of their cameras! we are all probably guilty of this....but it puts it into perspective at moments when you feel the image capturing device can be a bit useless when trying to capture such complex or integrated feeling. like taking something emotional and turning it into a ball of yarn.....or better yet a painting....at least in a painting a passage of time is still compelling some sort of ingenuity (well maybe not always) when trying to capture a memory. I hate to say it though the technology and the mechanics of the camera apparatus is making it easier and easier to push a button....

but the man with the camera! somehow this mans image...with his phallic touristic implement put me on ease and I thought it deemed necessary that I may venture further on my journey because my comrade here has just validated my competence with moving forward. it was strange feeling as though I was the only one on this entire landscape...and just literally seconds away just on the other side of these towering walls was a whole city of tens of thousands of people somehow oblivious of such a peaceful place.
not too long after my arrival I got to exploring again and just when the sun was fading into the horizon a came across some old ruins which looked liked an old gate to the city and to my surprise there was a door.... from the tranquil surrounding where water meets earth and the blustery wind carrying air smashing into ancient rounded stone....there was a door to the inside...the place I came from....and to my curiosity i tried to poke my head back in. the door was locked from my side with a few large rocks and a plank of wood acting like a chair in the handle of a door. I managed to work my way through and to my surprise. there was nothing that interesting....just a slightly more rundown and impoverished side of the city....where wearily I accepted myself at this point as the only man with a camera. so just as I broke through I managed to put the door back together not trying to attract attention.....to the portal I invented into the natural isolation of mother earth.....I was both afraid and excited that I may have opened something unnoticeable something that would follow me out onto the beach and let the whole entire city reform around such a vast beauty that may have brought travelers there hundred of years prior. to my surprise nobody followed. I made my way with quickened pace back to the sand.....though upon my arrival a heard a voice yelling from the distance....from further along the ruins where I hadn’t set foot as of yet....this voice from a figure about one hundred yards off whom began running in my direction with a continuation of loud guttural nonsensical jargon....I mean it was probably either French or Arabic... though for a split second.....conceiving that I was solely adrift upon this desolate shore, the sun was almost about to touch the horizon and a stranger was yelling in my direction while running....I thought should I let him join me on this wonderful beach of solitude? and then I thought maybe it would be best that I also imitate such a phenomenal scene....I began running. away from him. it was both comic and incredibly peaceful. I knew I should have been at least slightly fearful. and I was a little. but I was running too! and my god what a beautiful sunset to be running in......I thought I may have been in Florida for a lazy stroll down the coast....but every time I looked behind me instead of some tranquil fisherman passing the time.....or a neat row of lawn chairs with friendly beachgoers drinking margaritas....there was some vague outline of a Moroccan man still running haphazardly in my direction. maybe he wanted to sell me hash? ask for a light???? give me an indistinguishable high-five saying to himself....yep this beach is pretty amazing huh? but I kept running and each time I looked back I imagined just the split second before seeing him that he was about to grab me and pull me headfirst into the sand only to then pin me down and demand an explanation for being upon this beach...perhaps his beach....and then take everything I owned given the toll for such a misunderstanding. though when I saw him he seemed even farther away....luckily I was in the upper hand....usually when another person is chasing you it is easy to run faster given the more gradual accompaniment of fear.......

I made it back to the entrance just in time to see an elderly man peeing in the shadows...actually facing me as if saying "why the hell would anyone go onto that godforsaken beach! don’t they know there are sea monsters waiting to attack?" I watched the figure still meandering in my direction and the sun just touched the horizon and I felt that if I watched it sink all the way I would forget that whole exciting episode was somehow resolved by the sun setting (whatever that means) so just before it went down I blended back into the busy, jam packed street of the market thinking to myself that I had just torn my self between two completely different walks of life.... with the anxiety pulsing through my chest I felt like I could walk a thousand miles. but I mainly just walked back to my hotel and watched the city lights blink slowly from my very own personal pigeon coop......

the next day I went back to the beach for a swim.....it was earlier in the day...and there were a few more witnesses so I felt more comfortable. I don’t know what I was expecting. maybe to see a similar scenario like I was in? as if this is just some reoccurring game the locals confer to weary tourists?

my time in Essaoura was far too short and I then made my way back to Marrakesh to get ready and climb the mountain. after the long non-physically-exertive van ride into the mountains I decided that to get a good feel of the place I should actually climb one. not just anyone though. the second largest in Africa....mount Toubkal at 13764 feet. the next morning I took a 4 dollar cab one hour and a half to the village of Imlil split with five other locals....yes it was really that cheap! Morocco's economy...as you may have probably already guessed is a great deal different the U.S. and Europe.......the worst part is coming back to Europe and paying five to ten times more for a taxi ride......or five times more for a salad that wouldn’t even begin to compare to the freshness and quality of the Moroccan salad.
but Imlil was a village not to forget.....as the base village before the 17 mile hike into the high atlas.....it was almost cliché on how authentic the way of life had felt......the donkeys with hand made saddles and small curious mountains boys riding side saddle. the incredible structure of an ancient civilization built right into the side of a cliff still passing daily life undeterred by the modern technologies sweeping away larger more predominant cities. for a second i thought i was on a hollywood set.........
with a four dollar back pack that I bought in Essaoura just for this climb and a sewing needle and thread to mend the backpack when needed. I brought my sleeping bag (for my nights stay at the refuge 12 miles in) and a few meager supplies like a long sleeve shirt, headlamp, mint leaf, water, and notebook, shoot I managed to not even bring enough money for my taxi home! excluding the funds I wasn’t prepared to fork over to the refuge...like twenty dollars.....but when your dealing with Moroccan Durham you may think that three hundred of these bills may be more then it really is.

the plan was then to make my way to the refuge by nightfall and climb early on in the morning and make it back to Marrakesh by the following evening to wake up and go to Fez and then fly out of Fez the following day to Sicily..... my plan went well. its funny the anxieties in trying to grasp how all of these distances will spiral together. until eventually it actually worked and you think...it was a long ways from here to there...but maybe only as a mental image.
as you may have suspected the mountain was amazing. the towering whitecap peaks were menacing but conquerable. the donkeys wanted to be petted...the village folks had big curious eyes...the sky was more blue then I had ever imagined. the river was cold and I went swimming in it....several times (with snow surrounding!). the trail was rocky and hot....mountain people sold fresh squeezed orange juice miles inward. there was a huge pack of German tourists. this guy had a genius refrigeration system set up from the river sprinkling bottles of water with freshly melted snow. and so it goes.
the refuge was brick and old timey feeling....set right in the center of the valley where the snow hadn’t melted yet and the river was constantly beginning. I heard a rumor that I would need jagged pieces of metal to tie to my under efficient shoes to make it up the rest of the way. I choose not to believe them though... at the refuge they rented me a pair. I was lucky.....there would have been no way to have made the remainder of the "climb" yes it was definitely a climb....I actually realized what was so useful about all of those avid hikers burdening themselves with carrying useless ski poles....well this is where you would actually want to use them! I didn’t have any and it made all of my weight stay on my legs...but that was ok. I was trying to be more resourceful then the rest....not only because they had huge packs of professional gear (useless weight burdens in my mind) but they also were sticking together.....I don’t like waiting for people......or having to accommodate several different hiking paces given the slowest....or talking to people when I'm physically tiring over my next step....I mean you may think the distraction may be rewarding but for me it just makes everything a little more overbearing.......not to say its bad to trek in groups....its much safer and you have an experience to share with another person.......at least for me...ill admit it was nice to have them there...so I could walk past more quickly and feel that my pace was surpassing the whole of them...but also I admit as a safety net. its not the best thing to travel into a foreign mountain range totally detached from civilization.....armed with a sad broken useless backpack...... but shoot I knew there would be others given the mountains fame...I knew it would be both a challenge and a pleasure to pack to the bare minimum...and I guess that was ultimately satisfying...that I wouldn’t know how to express such freedoms.

the refuge actually had hot water! and came with a mostly nonvegetarian dinner and bread and jam for breakfast....and awkward French/German stares that suggested an incredible fear for loners....luckily for me there was another loner from Cali Forn I A by the name of Alex whom was no more then two months older then I...he even had the same traveling book with him....catcher in the rye..... I thought that to be insanely peculiar......our beards were even the same length.
as you may have expected he became my new best friend and ill probably go hangout with him in San Francisco before too long.....he actually made my whole hike after that point manageable.
I woke up early...like 5:30 and wanted to watch the sun rise while trekking.....though I had the burden of not possessing the knowledge to adhere jagged spikes to the bottom of my feet. I decided to improvise since I'm pretty good at doing this in general. I was outside and my hands were freezing and I was tying haphazard loops resisting to understand the need for a systematic approach for such things. when I finally got one on and said to my self .....va bene...Chris strolled out of the warm indoors and said "no way...take those off...let me help you" I was totally in debt to such a simple but important gesture...he tied those suckers correctly and snuggly around my cracked sad looking walking shoes....even though his hands were probably just as cold as mine......the next two hours would have thoroughly sucked while after twenty minutes my jagged spikes fell off and I was left sitting in the snow on a step ledge divulging myself to the need for a systematic approach while groups of hikers pass me by with impending grins plastered over their faces......sure I bet somebody would have eventually helped me out.....but Alex really made things easy...

needless to say the climb was momentous as my first high altitude and the light reflecting off the snow was beyond words at sunrise.....and I managed to be the third person to the summit and this 16 year old Berber mountain guide gave me dates and peanuts because I was starving and I have this silly picture of me pretending to be on top of the world and there are these little black birds up top that I figured came from the village in less then five minutes.....and I peed off one of the really high cliffs to feel like I’ve defied gravity for the time it took my pee to splash the rocks bellow.....and I did some yoga to breathe in the air and almost fell asleep after i sat back down and pretended to try and not wake up from some wonderful adventurous dream......and then eventually got bored with the view like everyone probably does after enough time....and left when all those Germans made it up there.....or were they Slovakian. yes once all the Slovakians made it up and practically ran down the mountain...and when I got back to the snow the sun warmed it to slush and jagged spikes that I didn’t know how to tie would have been boring so I actually made my bottom like a well insulated sled and got wet in the process but I knew it would dry because going down meant the temperature would dry whatever it must and I made some friends while sledding....one was named Ivan from Slovakia and he gave me pajamas that he didn’t want for my wet bum and I tried to refuse but he refused then it was awkward silence and I accepted...they are sky blue and I still have them like some long lost relic to an adventure that ill take all I can get outside of merely digital photographs to jog my memory.....

the walk down was long and I was confused given the new muscle strain going downward and I finally arrived to Imlil just before dusk (but sure plenty of other things happened.....but i think ive already written too much so.....trying to make this as short as possible) and split a cab after waiting an hour to avoid paying 20 dollars instead of 4......but I ended up paying ten though was happy to make it back to my hotel off the central market of Marrakesh where I was sleeping at this point on the roof for a mere 4 dollars a night.....

then got up and took the 7 hour train to Fez and loved Fez.....because I got to know the people.....they were friendly.....the community was much closer together....and while wandering during the eve....(so I admit I have this sticky sensation that I need to try and get lost at night in the darkest of alleyways in a third world country....because gosh darnit! that’s where the real adventure is) while doing so I saw a whole in the infrastructure of a web of buildings upon buildings....practically I felt indoors while in the old center.....a man saw me peaking around the corner while he was walking behind and offered to show me the treasure hidden down in the ruins....I was a little apprehensive but it turned out to be the fiery fuel of the Hama(the ancient bathing grounds) there was a frail old man with tattered clothing and crumbling knit cap feeding a furnace with scraps of wood for the baths hovering the next story above. my newly found tour guide then offered to show me the baths which I was thoroughly impressed by the authenticity of it all and then when I was offered to be bathed myself...... my mental clock said no way but my adventurous side was like ok and I striped down to my undies and gave my stuff to the coat check and paid my tourist price and was escorted into the walls of steamy moist......tiled half naked morocco by a man who reminded me of Sinbad but a little fatter and a little more bald and a little more guttural when he pointed with command....I felt awkward at first being in my underwear until I realized everyone else was in their underwear...and Sinbad led me to the farthest reaches and apparently the warmest given that it was centered directly over the old man with tired hands heating the whole damn place. my new guide to the Hama was also apparently my massage therapist and proceeded to also bath and scrub me and slap the ground and grunt since I didn’t speak Arabic and he not English.....it was amazing the whole smacking the ground and grunting routine...and pouring hot water over my head and scrubbing my whole body with some calloused sponge and then the massage came.....oh the massage...I admit I have a really strong threshold for pain especially when it comes to deep tissues massage...but this guy literally kicked my ass. while grunting and smacking the ground and doing everything extremely fast and wrapping his legs around me and arching my back over his hipbones and trying to disconnect my legs form my torso and probably trying to get a laugh out or a good scream at some point so he could finish and I would say uncle. but I just took it like a man and this could be taken many different way given the intimacy over our half naked bodies and the absurdity of the over complicated and painful stretching positions....but I assure you I was never abused....people are just a little more invasive of your personal bubble in Morocco.....and probably most countries where kids grow up in the streets instead of plugged into computers and televisions and digital camera simulated touristic adventures......
.all in all it was one of the most disturbing and eye opening and touristic crushing adventures of my 26 years in this funny shape of human.....I felt as though I was part of something that I should have only maybe been given the chance to take a picture of........

right when I thought things were at its pinnacle and I just received the roughest massage in my life from a Moroccan man who strangely resembled Sinbad......I managed my way to half purposefully get lost on my way to the hotel........to find three guys from Prague smoking a shi sha...or hookah on the roof (not of hash but you know....the hookah tobacco) and I was reminded of the time I smoked one with my friend Alonzo in Amsterdam and thought it may be a relaxing conclusion for a rooftop evening in Fez.....though their hookah just finished and I decided to find one of my own and to my enjoyment ran into two locals who were dressed as if they were two old friends from the Midwest and they recalled seeing me earlier and new the city like the back of their hands and offered to help me find the shi sha........they took me to this incredibly modern lounge in the middle of vacant desolate nothingness and they were undeniably the most friendly Michigan like friends that I could have never imagined finding in Morocco......it was seriously like meeting up with old friends who flew to Morocco to come and visit me... it was really strange.....and an absurdly perfect ending to my time in their country.. We talked about music.... and Europe and Morocco and Michigan.......surfboards and politics....libraries and soccer games.......salads and chocolate bars...high-five’s and pigeons......they really got a kick out of my Hama recap and understood my Sinbad analogy and pictured this fragile Michigander being pummeled by some overly aggressive bathhouse bouncer..........it could have gone on much later...they were just as intrigued about where I came from as I was of them....I thought they should have been brothers but by appearance they definitely weren’t.... soon enough the place wanted to close....they walked me most of the way back to my hotel and we said our goodbyes....I then ducked into this music store and talked about music for the next hour with the owner......he had that look on his face when he played something that we both though was awesome like he was going to cry when having to endure the silent space between songs.....I had nothing but sympathy for him.