Friday, July 31, 2009

Been Drivin' All Night My Hands Wet On The Wheel

This photo was taken by Abby as we were driving into Mexico City. I look pretty calm and collected because we are miles outside the city. It took several hours and many near misses with VW bugs held together with bondo and duct tape to make it to the airport to drop off our rental car.
For a rental this car performed like a hero, other than its quirky ignition.
We ratbagged this Chevy Neon down the Pacific Coast, across the mountains from Peurto Escondido to Oaxaca, from San Cristobal De Las Casa up a narrow mountain road to the Operations Base of the EZLN, up the Caribbean Coast and back to Mexico City.
If you notice I am wearing Can-Pat Army pants which made me an object of interest for the Mexican State Police and Army. At every road block conversation was polite, and then as soon as my pants were noticed I was asked to step out of the car. It is to the Mexican State Police and Army that I owe my relatively firm grasp on Latin American Spanish.
Latin cops and border guards have an odd fascination with chickens. Leaving more than one town we were asked if we were transporting chickens. Crossing the border from Honduras to Guatemala there is a huge sign in English that informs travelers that it is illegal to transport eggs from Honduras to Guatemala. The sign is very specific about eggs, there is no mention of actual chickens.

More Buddhist Monks

Another Buddhist monk photo.
I think this was taken at Wat Doi Suthep just north of Chiang Mai, but am not totally sure. The sign on the collection box says "watpharthatdoisuther" which I think translates to Wat Pra Doi Suthep.

Look Both Ways Before You Cross The Street

Crossing the street in Hanoi is an act of faith and test of nerve. If you try to wait for a break or for traffic to stop you'll never make it off the block. The only way to cross the street is to step off the curb and stride confidently towards the other side, allowing the traffic to flow around you like water in a river.

Call To Prayer

Arriving to a devoutly Islamic city in the late afternoon is a magical experience. Watching the sun set behind domed mosques while The Call To Prayer echos all around you is as beautiful as it is haunting.
As an atheist I must say that the dawn Call To Prayer is not nearly as pleasurable.

This video is taken in Medan, Indonesia, the administrative capital of Sumatra. While Indonesia is the world's most populace Islamic nation, it is pretty moderate, Medan is a little different. The island of Sumatra is largely Christian, so a conscious decision was taken in Jakarta to relocate Muslims to Medan, making the capital an Islamic haven.

An East Coaster Institution, kinda

Mary Brown's Chicken is an East Coast institution.
I once worked on a film with this Newf, and we were shooting 2 hours outside the city. He somehow knew there was a Mary Brown's two towns over, and he made pick him up a couple of Big Marys'
I spotted this fried chicken restaurant in KL. I only noticed today that Marrybrown had 2 "r"s.

What Exactly Goes Here?

This sign was on a door under a stairway in a Bangkok MRT Subway station. Hualumphong Station I think.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Asia...A Land of Racial Insensitivity

We might be living in a post-racial society here in North America, but in Asia racism is alive and well.
This would never fly here

Or take these key rings

Non Medicinal Snakes

No medicinal claims here. These snakes were stuffed into bottles for the sheer joy of stuffing snakes into empty Laos whiskey bottles.

For You, The Consumer

Everybody know America sets the bar for quality conspicuous consumption.
This sign was on the back of a toilet. I am pretty sure it was in our hotel room in Saigon, but it could have been on a train. Either way it was is Viet Nam.

Are Your Limbs Sweaty?

Try this traditional Viet Namese Snake Wine. It will also clear up lumbago and rehumatism.

Yes. That is a real snake.

If There Is One Thing Swedes Are Famous For...

It is certainly their pizza.

This place was closed when we went by, which is too bad. I really wanted to try pickled herring pizza. If you are ever in Laos and come across this place let me know how it was.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The First 5 hours of my day

and my days for the next 2 years.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Special Commitment To Douche Baggery

I took this photo using my Pentax point & shoot in a parking lot at Dundas and Runnymede. It looks like a total douche's ride.
A few weeks later this car drove by me on Queen St in Parkdale. Behind the wheel was a Chris Sheppard look-alike with a leather cowboy hat and dreads down to his ass. Riding shotgun was a meth addict looking bikini model with cornrows.
I guess you can judge a book by the cover.
As an aside I really hate white guys with dreads. Odds are 100:1 that a white guy with shoulder length dreads is an unbearable douchebag, ass length dreads takes a special commitment, gold medal olympic douchebagery.
White guys with dreads exude a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that makes me want to commit random acts of violence. I have only ever wanted to deck 2 people on sight. The first was an Isreali I saw somewhere in Guatemala who sported the dread-mullet. Palestinian murder in the front, hypocritical dope smoking racist in the back.
The second guy I ran into a few days ago. This crown & anchor had dreads down to his ass covered by some northern Thai tribal two-cornered hat, a leather vest and canvas ruck sack. I didn't see him till I almost walked into him. Our eyes met and I let out a loud laugh. I wanted to get a shot of him but I couldn't cover with "Cool hat" after I laughed in his face. I doubled back to catch him but he vanished into the crowd, or into the nearby Jamacian roti shop.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thai Monks

I have had an odd obsession with photographing Thai monks since my first trip to South East Asia.
On my first trip to Thailand I ended up well off the beaten path in the middle of the night with nowhere to stay and no money. I ended up sleeping on the bench of a train station. When I woke up a monk was seated in front of me watching me sleep. Before I could really make sense of what was happening the Monk told me to stay where I was, and he slipped off into the crowd.
20 minutes later the Monk returned with several staffs of bamboo stuffed with sticky rice, sausages, and sweets of every description. He ate a few bites then insisted that I load the remainders into my pack. After chatting for a few minutes he invited me to his monastery, unlimited room and board for help with the morning chores.
I had to fly home only a few days later, but I always remember the compassion that "T" the friendly monk showed me that day. Since then I have tried to get as many candid photos of monks.

Anak Krakatoa

This video is taken on the approach to Anak Krakatoa (the Child of Krakatoa).
I actually have very few photos of this crossing, as 3 cameras broke this day. This particular day still accounts for my record number of brushes with death in a single day.
We were promised a 20ft dual engine boat for 1 million rupiah (or 113.00 cdn/$), what we got was a 14 ft fiberglass boat with a single 20 horse outboard. I personally know fishermen who have gotten into trouble in just such a boat on small Canadian lakes, let alone one of the most unpredictably dangerous and changeable bodies of water in the world.

The motor cut out 4 times, leaving us at the mercy of the 8 - 10 ft waves. Trying to land the boat I was almost crushed against the shore line, twice.
After the aborted attempt at climbing the volcano our guides took us to a secluded beach where 2 monitor lizards co-ordinated their ambush attack on us. Between sobs at the potential "dragon" attack our guide told us it was safe to swim off the beach.
I expressed my concerns that we were about to swim in prime tiger shark hunting grounds. (Tiger Sharks are native to the area and use the currents of the strait to their advantage hunting.) In shallow waters the tiger prefers to use the cover of murky water to come up on their prey from below. Again the guide, while crying at the prospect of a monitor lizard attack, assured us we were crazy to fear sharks when swimming.

Do's and Don'ts

Watching some poor kid in a green boiler suit scrubbing graffiti off the Vice Toronto office is a little like finding out the truth about Michael Moore.
You kind of suspected as much, but a small part of you still dies.

Red Salon is Going Out of Business

How much would you pay for a used salon quality hair brush?
$30?, $50?
Don't answer now, cuz we'll also throw in a free half bottle of shampoo!
WTF!? Used hair brushes? Okay I know they don't use a new brush for every customer, but there is just something unpleasant about the thought of buying a used brush.

Reaching A Tipping Point

Climatologist warn that climate change will not happen slowly, but rather we will reach a "tipping point" where changes will be sudden and drastic.

Dyb-dyb-dyb-dob-dob-dob...always be be prepared.
That's what I learned in Cub Scouts.

Sure a Personal Floatation Device will save your life in case of a flash flood, but what of your worldly goods?
Why not consider a bright yellow 25L dry bag?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Toronto Garbage Strike Day 20

It takes a douche to leave their microwave on a busy street corner going in to the 4th week of a garbage strike.
It takes a special kind of douche to rip the case off of said microwave and to stuff it full of garbage.
Please Note: The cooking chamber of this discarded microwave is empty. Some how it was easier to rip the case off rather than hitting the "OPEN" button.
On a politcal note this why liberatarianism and anarchism are bullshit. Left to our own devices it is "nasty, brutish and short" all the way.

Crap Economy

The economy is so crap it is even impacting the infinite and everlasting.