Thursday, May 31, 2007

Watching TV in the rain.

It is a rainy and cold afternoon in Nowy Sadz, the small town in the South of Poland where cousin Jerzyk lives with his beautiful wife Irena and two children.
All this recent travelling with its crossing of time zones and climate changes has resulted in an inflammation of the bronchitis and therefore it was decided to spend the climatologically catastrophic afternoon on the couch in the spacious living room watching programs on the HD Digital Panasonic widescreen television with surround sound and fresh strawberries as snacks.

Cousin Jerzyk’s home is equipped with satellite television received from the Astra satellite in orbit above Europe.
Many channels are for free but cousin Jerzyk is also subscribed to the major satellite TV programs provider in Europe called Canal+.
In all there are almost 200 different channels to choose from.
Even Al Jazeera and CNN are included.

Remarkable is though that not one of those channels offers fascinating television.
Most channels are impossible to watch because of the overdose of commercials.
For example Polish national television.
All their channels have commercial breaks lasting more than 15 minutes.
And they show most of the time American B-movies.
Silly and stupid films: quickly made with a minimum of talent.
Cousin Jerzyk complains: “First for 20 years in Poland we had to watch Russian movies and now 20 years of American movies”.An aspect of watching movies on Polish television is that they do not dub a film nor subtitle it.
They have the voice of a man who tells in Polish what the actors and actresses are saying.
This with a voice without any emotion.
In the background you hear the music and the voices of the filmstars while above all the voice is heard of the matter of fact talking Polish guy.
This way of translating takes a lot away of the film.
For example, any emotion in the voice of the actress gets lost when the Polish man simply says what she verbally acts.
If she is crying and dramatically making a statement, the voice of the man coolly reports what she is saying.
It’s like sterilizing and pasteurizing a film but the Polish audience is used to it and a little survey revealed they are content with this system.

But there were interesting moments to see on TV nevertheless.
Like the news on Polish television.
They were mentioning that today was worldwide non-smoking day.
Explaining how bad smoking is for the health.
Next item was the news that the Polish Minister of Health, a doctor, was in a hospital undergoing surgery to remove cancer from his lungs due to heavy smoking.

Eventually the TV was locked on a channel called TCM (Turner Classic Movies), the film channel from Ted Turner, the ex-husband of Jane Fonda, showing the classic movie “Mogambo” from 1953 directed by John Ford featuring Clark Gable, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly.
Fervent and loyal blog readers will remember that Ava Gardner, one of the main stars in this film, is not the most beloved actress.
Watching the film together with cousin Jerzyk’s wife Irena, the beauty of Ava Gardner was discussed.
In Irena’s opinion Ava Gardner was a very beautiful woman.

While blog’s writer favourite from that era for beauty, sensuality and being natural is Brigitte Bardot.

While going deeper into the discussion about beauty, Irena was asked what was her idea of the most handsome man.
Arnold Schwarzenegger?

George Clooney?

Brad Pitt?

A man needs not to be beautiful, Irena said, but strong.
Not in a muscular way, but with his personality.
As an example she mentioned Charles Bronson.

Every day a new lesson is learned and it is considered now to grow a Charles Bronson moustache.

Smashing balls.

Cousin Jerzyk says: “Let’s go see the match”.
In the local sports centre of the small town of Nowy Sadz in the South of Poland an international volleyball match will take place.
It is the women team of Muszynianka, a town near the city of Krakow, Poland, and the women team of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA who are going to smash balls at each other.

During the time Poland was under the influence of the USSR and ruled by Communist politicians, the country did not flourish.
There was, among others, stagnation of the development of infrastructure and this can be noticed even today: there are hardly highways in Poland.
But since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and Poland joined the European Union in 2004, rapidly things are changing.
There is an economic boom taking place in Poland.
The European Union is investing billions of Euros in Poland.
The Polish borders are open now for international import and export.
And booming comes from millions of Poles, taking the opportunity to now travel freely to Western Europe and being able to legally work there, returning with pockets full of Euros.

Poland was visited for the first time in 1963 and it was a sad experience seeing the proud Poles suffer in miserable circumstances simply for political reasons.
But now almost a revolution has been taking place.
For example, the Town hall of Nowy Sadz was visited where people go to get a driving license and other civil legalities.
Although in an old building, it is magnificently restored and the interior very modern, efficient and pleasant.

The same for the sports hall where the volleyball match between Muszynianka and the University of Southern California took place.
Arriving there in cousin Jerzyk’s Porsche Cayenne, the match turned out to be in a most modern sports complex.
The local population has a facility available only found in well developed countries.

The international volleyball match made many people come to the sports hall.
All seats filled and even many people sitting on the floor and standing in the aisles.
The sound was deafening.
Big drums beaten to support the teams.
Public shouting and singing and clapping hands.

It was impressing how those young athletes remained cool in this turbulence.
Not only must a volleyball player know well how to play, but as important is not to be intimidated by the situation.
To control the nerves and remain focused and concentrated on handling the ball in a winning way.

The first set was for the Polish team.
But the second set was won by the Americans.
As from then, it seemed an easy ride for the Polish women.
They won the next two sets and the match.

It was interesting to observe the coaching of both teams.
The team of the University of Southern California consisted of Caucasian girls only.
No Hispanic, Asian or African Americans.

The American coach was a bold headed man frequently requesting a time-out and busy writing notes, doing calculations and advising the girls on strategies.
He paced up and down the field arms folded and seemingly relaxed.
The coaching of the Polish team was by three men who hardly requested time-outs and it seemed they simply left the girls on their own.
They just sat there and made no notes nor had many advices to give.
It must have been a deliberate strategy of coaching because this team from Muszynianka is one of the best in Poland.

After the match there was a beautiful thing to see.
Although there was heavy security by men in camouflage battle clothes, the American girls were surrounded by Polish fans who wanted to talk to them and be together in a picture.

In the end, it is not so important who wins.
More essential is to be open and socialize.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Free from fall.

Fervent and loyal blog readers may have noticed a rather drastic change that has been made to the postings.
In the past every posting was having a Google advertisement.
An ad trying to have the fervent and loyal blog reader click on it to be diverted to the website of the company trying to sell a product or even an ideology.

The way this works is that after a blog publisher signs up for this service, called Google Ad, the Google computer scans the blogtext and looks for advertisements of their clients that have somehow to do with the subject or the contents of the blog.
Next, each time a blog reader clicks on the announcement, the advertiser pays an amount that is shared between Google and the blogpublisher.

There are certain aspects to this way of making money with a blog.
And some of those aspects, after the initial test period, are responsible for eliminating the Google Ad on this blog.

One aspect is that the blog publisher has no control what kind of announcements Google decides to put on the blog.
It occurred repeatedly that an announcement was added to a posting that was not in line at all or even opposite to the philosophy and convictions of this blog publisher.

A second aspect is that this system of a Google computer scanning text for keywords to find matching announcements, may tempt the blog publisher to write in a money making way.
To write about subjects who lures many visitors and popular advertisements on which many people will click.

A third aspect is that it has been learned that there are blogs where visitors willingly click on the advertisements while they are not interested in the product of the company at all, simply to have the blog publisher make money.
The blog publisher doesn’t openly suggest this way of helping but does mention it and is not opposing it.

Being involved as a blog publisher and accepting Google Ad easily creates a situation of hypocrisy and insincerity.
Some blog publishers have managed to create a considerable monthly income through Google Ads on their blogs.
In order to safeguard that income nothing controversial will be published ever.
The blog readers and their clicks on the announcements are needed.
That is also the reason that the blog publisher portrays him or herself in a most sympathetic way like an ideal son in law or a best friend.
While in reality the person can be totally different.
On that kind of blogs uncensored comments are not allowed: only comments favourable to the blog publisher are filtered out and published helping to create the illusion.

This blog has different principles.
First of all, it is not important for this blog how many people read it.
And secondly, it is not important if it makes money or not.
This makes it possible to share, exclusively on a basis of honesty and sincerity, postings and comments.
Any subject is presented on this blog.
Any opinion is expressed.
And fervent and loyal blog readers have the opportunity to publish their opinions uncensored as long as it is not anonymously.

We have celebrated the publication of the 200th posting recently.
And with this we also celebrate being honest and not corrupt.
This is why the Google advertisement has been eliminated from the blog.
Our party takes place in a clean home.

Monday, May 28, 2007

An 86-year old young woman.

Catapulted into a new country using one of those many European low fare airlines called Sky Europe.
From Amsterdam, the Netherlands to Cracow, Poland: a 1 hour 25 minutes flight in a comfortable Airbus for 60 Euros (80 Dollars).

Cousin Jerzyk waiting with his Mercedes SUV at Cracow airport and first stop is lunch at cousin Olec’s house in Tarnow, a town in the south of Poland.

There Aunt Anka is met again.
An 86-year-old lady.
Sister of father.
Never married.
Never had children.
Worked all her life as a meteorologist.
A happy woman.

Her passion is playing the piano.
She moves with much pain and needs help.
But once behind the piano she plays like a young and dynamic woman.

The piano she plays has a history.
It was the wedding present of her father for her mother around 1910.
This was in Chodorow, a village about 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the city of Lwow.
Somehow the family has managed to save this piano and this is rather amazing when we remember what a devastation the German and Russian army have been causing in that area during the Second World War.
When the family was forced by the Russians to leave the Lwow area, they took their possessions and settled in Tarnow, a few hundred kilometres to the West and obviously the piano was important to them because it was taken with them.

Aunt Anka plays and plays and at one point she turns around, looks gently into the eyes and says: “This one is for you, Michalek”.
And plays another beautiful tune.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Finally clean socks.

To the office of the lost luggage again at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Holland.
It is seven days now without the suitcase.

This time the office is empty except for two male employees.

Sitting down in front of a computer one of them starts a long search.
A very long search.

This offers an opportunity to reflect on the whole situation.
And soon it is being realized that this whole situation of the missing suitcase has two sides.
Either all the elements of the situation get together and make war with the owner of the suitcase.
Or the owner of the suitcase dominates the whole situation and steers it in the right direction.
It is decided that the elements of the situation should not be in control and an effort will be made to get the upper hand oneself.

The man of the office reports on what he has discovered in the computer.
The only thing he sees is that the suitcase has been flown from Los Angeles to Los Cabos.
That’s it.
Since then, no trace.

The man of the office is quietly informed that two other sources have claimed that the suitcase has been flown by British Airways to London where it has been for several days.

A new long and meticulous search in the computer offering the opportunity to deepen the newly discovered position of being the one in charge of the whole situation.
Like a meditation.
Reaching a deeper level of harmony and stillness.

Again the man of the office finds nothing and inside the owner of the missing suitcase this wave like a tsunami starts to form.
The suitcase has been missing for 7 days now.
The website of British Airways where lost luggage can be traced says each time that no file on this case exist.
The telephone of the office of lost luggage is never answered.
Visits to the office costing half a day of time result in witnessing how the situation becomes more complex and hopeless.
The tsunami consists of emotions of anger and rage and frustration wishing to be expressed.
To shout at the man of the office.
To yell at the computer giving no good answers.
To throw the furniture through the windows.
To burn the whole airport down.

But having come to the realization that it is not the elements in control of the situation but the owner of the suitcase himself, the tsunami of anger comes and the tsunami of anger goes.
Like the tide of the sea rising and going down again.
It flows in and it flows out.

This makes it possible to remain totally relaxed and continue to communicate with the man of the office in a quiet and composed way.
This influences the man of the office positively.
He is totally puzzled about the missing suitcase and cannot understand why he can’t trace it in the system.
But he hears calming words of the owner who is neither upset nor angry.

Next, the man of the office gets an idea.
Why not check in the luggage room?
Where all the suitcases are kept which have arrived?
A positive and interesting idea of the man of the office and it is believed he was able to have that idea because the elements of the situation are not in control anymore but instead the owner of the suitcase.

In the luggage room quickly the missing suitcase was spotted and it made both men happy.
The man of the office because his idea of checking the luggage room resulted in finding the missing suitcase.
And the owner happy because this concept of becoming in control of the situation had worked and finally clean socks were available.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A suitcase 50 minutes away.

British Airways has been asked by American Airways to transport the lost suitcase to Amsterdam and deliver it to the home where staying.
But nothing is being delivered.

Calling the phone number for lost luggage of British Airways in Amsterdam.
The phone is not answered.
During several hours.

Best to go to the airport and ask there.
Ending in a small office where they find out that for 3 days already the suitcase is in London.

Why is the suitcase staying in London and not being send to Amsterdam?
“We don’t know”.

When will the suitcase be send to Amsterdam?
“We don’t know”.

Can you ask British Airways in London to send the suitcase?
“No, we can’t”.

How long do you think it will take before the suitcase arrives here?
“Maybe 3 days or more”.

The suitcase is 50 minutes flying from here.
“Yes, but tomorrow is Saturday and Monday is a public Holiday”.

It is advised to go to a website where the lost suitcase can be tracked.
But when visiting that website and putting in the file reference code, the reply is:
"The system cannot locate a valid file for your entry. Please check your entry and try again, or contact your airline for more information."

Some things are difficult to understand.

Fervent and loyal blog readers can track the lost suitcase themselves!
Go to:
and click on Baggage Tracer Service.
Use file Reference: AMSBA32409 and name: SZULCKRZYZANOWS

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The fastest lane

Living in a madhouse of appointments.
Sleeping only a few hours a night.
Running from this place to that.
Using life’s capacity for 89 %.

While the luggage is still lost.
American Airways had promised to fly it to Amsterdam, Netherlands while it is not one of their international destinations.
Their office in Brussels, Belgium, says: we can’t help you.
It is rather funny that the passenger victim of American Airways loosing the luggage becomes responsible himself for finding where it is.
Where to look?
Who to call?
Launched into Franz Kafka’s world by American Airways.

This journey is very strange.
The cancelled flight by Delta from Los Angeles to La Paz.
The luggage lost on the flight from Los Angeles to Los Cabos.
The bus trip from Los Cabos to La Paz.
The KLM plane hard landing in Mexico City and its delay.
And now the search for a suitcase in an impenetrable mysterious world.

Out of respect for the people being met these days, several pairs of socks have been purchased.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Postings having hiccups.

It was discovered last night that the converter to plug the American Apple MacBook Pro into the European electricity system is in the missing suitcase.
Once the battery of the MacBook Pro has used all its power, life becomes without the option to communicate directly from the own laptop.

Today a hunt will be made in the city of Amsterdam to try to find this converter.
This will happen besides two to three appointments.
Life will be differently structured compared to living in the USA and Mexico.

One of the consequences will be that daily publication of a posting on this blog at a more or less regular time will be temporarily changed in postings appearing as infrequent surprises.

Fervent and loyal blog readers therefore check at least once a day what new adventures and events have been experienced.
Because be on your guard.
Something always happens.

With shocks and no socks in Amsterdam.

How much can a traveller take?

Having to fly to Mexico City from La Paz on Sunday morning 7.00 am is an ordeal by itself.
Especially when the night before there was a fabulous dinner with friends ending long after midnight.

While still dark, racing therefore in a taxi from the hotel to the airport and checking in and boarding in a most relaxed way because of the small scale of La Paz’ aerodrome.

Fellow traveller was Andy who is one of a crew of two manning a large motor yacht anchored near La Paz for months now.
Its owner, a billionaire from Denver, is rarely coming and using the boat but keeps it any way at a cost of over 180.000 Dollars a year.
We may wonder if this man is a PP as well.
A psychopathic personality as described by Kurt Vonnegut.
A person lacking conscience.
Owning expensive things for no good reason while a majority of the world population is lacking the most basic needs.

At the airport of Mexico City the waiting time was 10 hours.
Not that there were flights at more convenient times to avoid having to wait so long but this is how KLM, the Dutch airline, had arranged it.

The incoming KLM Boeing Jumbo from Amsterdam arrived in time.
But the passengers came out pale and trembling.
Later also the stewardesses: in an exciting way they were talking and releasing their emotions.
Next it was announced that the KLM Jumbo had had a hard landing.
Instead of landing smoothly it had more or less crashed on the runway.
It was expected that the plane needed repairs that could take 6 to 8 hours.
The passengers bound for Amsterdam were informed they might have to stay overnight at the airport or would be booked on other flights of other airlines.

It was wondered why all these things were happening.
The day before Delta cancelling a flight.
The luggage getting lost.
And now this.

The passengers were requested to get out of the departure building, go through Immigration and get a voucher in the main hall for dinner.
Befriended was an Iranian clinical parasitologist from Tehran and with him was a light dinner having fascinating conversation.

The chef of the restaurant came to warn that KLM wanted us to return to the gate because they had managed to repair the airplane in a shorter time than expected.
Two hours after scheduled departure time the KLM Jumbo headed for Amsterdam.

Now in Amsterdam.
But the suitcase still missing.
In a shop blue socks were bought.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Flying backwards.

It sounds simple.
A traveller goes to the airport of Los Angeles.
To the building housing the airline Delta.
Checks in for a flight to La Paz, Mexico.
Some time later the plane is boarded and after two hours of flying is the safe arrival.
This is how it should go.

But waiting at gate 36B of Los Angeles International Airport it was announced by Delta that the plane had a delay of 1 hour.
After 1 hour it was announced the plane had a new delay of another hour.
Then it was announced that the flight was cancelled.
A group of about 40 passengers were stunned.
The desk stewardesses were asked many questions but they had hardly any answers.
Airport rage developed in front of the Delta counter.

Eventually it was decided by Delta that the 40 passengers were to travel on an American Airways flight to Los Cabos.
Leaving one hour later.
This implicated running from the second to the first floor to recuperate the luggage.
Sprinting out of the building.
Hurrying among the many passengers to another building, the one of American Airways.
Going to the check in counters where the Delta guide was unable to convince an American Airways employee to check in the 40 stranded and sweating passengers.
Meanwhile, the clock was ticking and it became clear that it would be highly appreciated if La Paz was reached because the next morning the flight was booked La Paz-Mexico City-Amsterdam.
It took awhile but the Delta representative managed to talk to the American Airways supervisor and that resulted in dropping of luggage and getting a boarding pass.
But it was first come first serve.
The ones of the 40 who were too far down in the line would be too late.
American Airways didn’t want to delay their flight for us unfortunates.

In this group of 40 were 4 Europeans.
And all 4 got the SSSS on their boarding pass.
Fervent and loyal blog readers will remember what this means.
The Homeland Security computer had determined that the 4 travellers were a threat to the nation and needed to go through the highest level of security.
The Danish engineer of MAN, the German private doctor of the King of Saudi Arabia and his wife and the international nomad, with 15 minutes to go ran upstairs to the SSSS section to face 500 people waiting to be checked.
To get in line would mean to miss the plane.
And the plane the next day.
In utter desperation a security woman of Pakistani origin was requested to guide us to the front of the lines to give us priority.
Somehow she understood how urgent it was and she was very collaborative.
But the DSA-people had no intention to wave the 4 Europeans through without the regular checking.
There was a body search.
There was X-raying.
The hand luggage needed to be opened.
Everything needed to be taken out of it.
A white cloth was wiped on each section and put in a machine taking time to find out if any bombs were hidden in the suitcase.
It took forever and ever and ever.
Once liberated from the intense scrutiny because the USA believes to be at war, gate 26 was at the very end.
In these circumstances it pays off to be in shape.
To have been running over the last months.
Zigzagging between the thousands of passengers a run was made to gate 26.
To board as one of the last passengers.

The 30 passengers were flown to Los Cabos airport while their destination was La Paz.
Delta solved this problem by having a bus available at Los Cabos to drive the 30 adventurers to La Paz.
A trip of 3 hours.
However, arrived at Los Cabos, the luggage of 7 passengers was missing.
Included the suitcase of this globetrotter.
It took 2 hours for an American Airlines employee to administer these 7 cases.
While in the bus outside the other 23 passengers were getting upset about the bus not leaving.

Eventually the bus left and arrived after 9 o’clock in La Paz.

The most interesting part of the journey was the interaction with the other 39 travellers.
Some stay low key and their presence is hardly noticed all the way.
Some get upset and start shouting and being obnoxious while this serves no purpose nor has any positive effects at all.
Others remain relaxed but alert.
While it was a group of persons who didn’t speak with each other before the trouble started, once it got complicated there was a fraternizing and sisternizing without borders.
People expressed their frustrations and worries to each other.
Helped each other.
Got into conversations about former experiences
Beginnings of friendships developed.

Of course it was more than a hassle how the travel plan changed.
But the experience had a tremendous beauty because of being able to leave the hassle for what it was and focus on the positive opportunities that came out of it.

One aspect of the hassle is the missing suitcase.
Some blogs ago there was a worry about how many socks to take along.
As it turned out, a rather unjustified worry: there are no more socks now and probably they are lost forever and ever.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Airplanes landing in the bed.

That hurts.
Having to leave the Fuso Santek behind.
And the life style it represents.
But it is only for three weeks.
The Fuso Santek remains with Santek Trailers in Riverside, California, and will get improvements.
And it is exciting to go to Europe again to visit family and friends and do bussiness in the Netherlands, Poland, France and Spain.

A shuttle bus from Santek Trailers to a hotel called Tradewinds Airport Hotel on West Century Boulevard near the Los Angeles International Airport.
The driver of the Prime Time shuttle bus told he had been on the road all night and needed directions to a filling station and the highway.
While eventually cruising on the highway in his mirror his face could be seen and how his eyes slowly closed.
Too tired.
He got out of a travel bag a small box with pills and took a tablet bringing us safely to the Tradewinds Airport Hotel.

This hotel was booked as usual through
But almost immediately it was realized it had been a tragic mistake.
A run down place in a bad neighbourhood.
With rude employees, noisy traffic and loud rock and roll music, the telephone and the WIFI in the room not working and low overcoming airplanes landing in the bed.

This Tradewinds Hotel has strange policies.
The address it is suggesting to have is incorrect.
And they advertise the hotel under two different names with different pictures and information while clients end up in the same rathole.
On the website many horror stories of people having stayed in the Tradewinds Hotel can be read.
Like this couple who were settled in their room to discover that the flush of their toilet didn’t work.
They had to fill the waste basket with water to empty in the toilet as a way of flushing.
Obviously, a message will be send to to take off the Tradewind Hotel from their website in case they are concerned about their reputation.

Soon after arrival in the Tradewinds Hotel friend Jochen came by.
To spend the afternoon together visiting places in Santa Monica and the Getty Museum.
While having a fabulous dinner in one of the restaurants of the Getty Museum the conversation turned to the Second World War.
Friend Jochen is German.
His father has been an officer in Hitler’s army.
When the Allies landed in Normandy, France, in june 1944, Jochen’s father was based in the city of Caen.
As coincidence wants it, the father of this blogwriter was a commander of a Polish tank division attacking this very city of Caen.

While being friends and enjoying a beautiful dinner in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles it was discovered that the respective fathers had been face to face and fighting each other.

What is giving hope is that besides being very surprised by the rare coincidence, this fact has no negative impact on the current friendship.


Walking freely

Last night with friends in Temecula, California, USA.
Why was that a most enjoyable evening?
First dinner together.
Delicious vegetarian food, no alcohol and good conversation.
No competition but gently siding opinions and sharing conclusions.
Next, there is the tradition to play a game.
A game that each person takes 16 tokens on which is a number.
The trick is to put on the table a series of numbers and the first person to get rid of all the tokens is the winner.
It is a game that depends partly on luck: what tokens do the player grab out of the bucket?
What numbers do the other players put on the table to combine with?
And partly on being concentrated and making intelligent combinations and decisions.

It was noticed last night that in fact two games were going on.
One to try to be the first to get rid of all the tokens.
A not so interesting part of the game actually.
But the other dimension was the comments each person was making inspired by how the game was going.
That was often pretty hilarious and in fact the best part of the game.
To be with good friends and to laugh.
That is a highlight in life.
Celebrating joy, happiness and total absence of problems and conflicts.
A stairway to heaven.
Republican contender for the Presidency of the USA John McCain has the same kind of talent to inspire a good laugh.
Recently he was visiting the country where a war has been lost and was strolling through a Baghdad marketplace wearing a bullet proof vest, accompanied by more than 100 soldiers in armoured Humvees while attack helicopters flew overhead and next he declared to the international press that his experience proved there are parts of Baghdad where you can walk freely.

Within 150 miles the scene changed.
Travelling from happy Temecula to Riverside.
Back into one of the most heavily polluted areas of the world.
To Santek Trailers who have build the Fuso Santek.
After two months in Mexico the friends of Santek Trailers were met again.
Paul Westphal, the owner and manager of Santek Trailers.
Roberto Millan, the chief engineer, Gail Harris of internal and external contacts and all the Mexican friends working hard on the many trailers being build at Santek.
How good it was to see them again.

It took not much time with Roberto Millan to go over the different issues having come to the surface while testing the Fuso Santek in extreme circumstances in Mexico over the last 2 months.
During the next three weeks, while travelling in Europe, Santek Trailers will work on the expedition vehicle and improve and sophisticate the RV.

This night is again on the premises of Santek Trailers before tomorrow morning a shuttle bus provides transportation to a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport.
A last night therefore in the Fuso Santek.

While again the desperate dogs are barking for their lives in the adjoining animal shelter.
Something impossible to get used to.
More so because of the inability to be a spectator as Osho, Gurdjieff and William Paff have been insisting to be, of the current developments.
Having to leave the Fuso Santek behind for three weeks and going to travel to Mexico again, the Netherlands, Poland, France and Spain.
This is confusing.
How many pair of socks to take along?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Even a truck needs care.

The Fuso Santek must of course stay in good shape.
Maintenance of the truck is therefore essential.
Mitsubishi prescribes to bring in the truck when it has reached 2500 miles (4000 kilometres).
To change the oil of the engine, the two differentials, the transfer gear and the transmission.
To replace the engine oil filter and the fuel filter.
Also the wheel nuts and the U-bolts are retightened.
This 2500 miles maintenance is offered by Mitsubishi for free except for paying for the oils and parts

Kearny Mesa Truck Centre is a relative small company.
And that is nice because the number of people is not so much and everything goes in a relaxed way.
Ron Lucero is the service manager and he has 7 mechanics working.
Customers pay them 106,50 $ (79 Euros) per hour.
Ron loves the Fuso Santek expedition vehicle.
And assigned his best Mitsubishi Fuso mechanic, Saythevanh Bounphamaly, originally from Laos, to work on the RV.

Ron Lucero, the service manager got involved installing mud flaps on the Fuso Santek.

Later, Ron McRoberts came by.
The gentleman in the blue shirt.
He is the sales person of Kearny Mesa Truck Centre.
Ron sold this Fuso truck by e-mail.
He came to see the expedion vehicle which he never saw before and was overwhelmed.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Boogie Woogieying the Border

A relaxed breakfast at Playa Saldamando in Mexico.
About 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of San Diego, USA.

The major event going to take place, crossing the Mexican-USA border in Tijuana/San Ysidro, was contemplated.
It was realized that it was a free choice how to go into that experience.
Beloved Osho is always recommending to be an observer of the events happening.
Psychotherapist William Paff, recently met at the bay of Ensenada Blanca, advocates in his most interesting book what he calls the “Mandala Process”. (See the posting “Life in a cage, part two”)
Having finished drinking the freshly squeezed orange juice and ready to eat the small portion of oat meals mixed with “Svelty” low fat and vitamin enriched powder milk and a thinly sliced almost overripe ecological banana, it was decided that the choice for crossing the border was going to be to sit and watch it like in a 3D movie theatre.
Comfortable in a chair and watching the screen.
Seeing the whole situation as a film.
The Tijuana/San Diego border crossing being the décor.
The officials being the actors.
Personally disconnecting from the event.
Deciding not to become a part or partner or participant of the situation.
It is the choice before an event is going to take place: of being the angel or being the bait.

Fervent and loyal blog readers may want to become interested in the teachings of Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff who also advocated this approach to the events in life.

Again a crazy situation in Tijuana.
A bottleneck.
Thousands of cars wishing to get into the USA.
Relatively few gates open to let them in.
The cars changing lanes quickly and vigorously to reach more quick a border patrol officer in his booth.
Meanwhile Mexican sales people walking in between the cars trying to sell huge turtles, blankets and fresh orange juice.
Cripples begging for money.
Men with large towels wanting to dust off cars for a few Pesos.
A cup of fresh tropical fruit? Five Dollares, Senor. OK, how about four Dollares? You can have it for three Dollares today. Gracias, Senor.

The official manning the booth that was approached by the Fuso Santek had spotted the expedition vehicle many cars before.
He showed that he was thinking: something special is coming to my booth.

When the official was reached, he was offered a warm “Good morning!”.
But he responded by saying: “What is this???”
Looking at the Fuso Santek in amazement and confusion.
He took the passport and from an old push button black telephone on the wall from his booth he called someone.
“Jim, you better come over because I don’t know what this is. It is European. He says it is some sort of motor home”.
Two custom officers came walking over.
Dressed in black uniforms.
One in shorts.
Wearing a gun because you never know.
They looked at the Fuso Santek with surprise but never in the eyes of the owner.
Obviously a new experience was happening in their career.
They had a long deliberation together.
“Yes, it is European. This is not an American motor home”.

They ordered to follow them to the secondary inspection area.
Parked there soon the Fuso Santek was surrounded by 5 custom officers who all wanted to know everything about the expedition vehicle.
How many gallons has the fresh water tank?
In between the chassis, eh?
And it has a Datastorm too?
All powered by solar energy so how many batteries are there?
You designed it yourself?
Did you bring it over from Europe?
Build in the USA, eh?
Final conclusion was: “We have never seen such a thing”
They were deeply impressed.
One by one they went inside and marvelled at the splendid interior.

It was like so frequently is happening since travelling with the Fuso Santek: people want to know more about it because they have never seen such an RV.
They are made curious, are impressed and have many questions.
This was not an inspection by custom officers looking for illegal substances.
This was a sales tour.
In a great atmosphere and the men enjoying very much seeing and visiting the Fuso Santek.

Send over to the office to get the visa, a friendly female officer discovered that the last visa issued, when returning from Japan to the USA last February, was still valid.
Expiring exactly one day after the departure to La Paz by plane this Sunday.
Therefore, a new visa didn’t need to be issued what saved 6 $.

Shortly after, saying goodbye to all the custom officers still surrounding and admiring the Fuso Santek, the wheels were turning on the American 805 highway.

Thanks to Gurdjieff, Osho, William Paff and most of all the Fuso Santek, it has never, ever been such a smooth, nice, friendly and easy border crossing.


To learn more about Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff, click on:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A cross to cross

The faithful Fuso Santek has now arrived not far anymore from the Mexican-USA border.
Another 95 kilometres (60 miles) and the madness of Tijuana border crossing will be experienced once again.
For now though camp is made at Playa Saldamando, just north of Ensenada.

A weird kind of trailer park on a steep mountainside where platforms are bulldozed to serve as campsites.

The Fuso Santek is the only RV making use of this exceptional 18 USD (13,29 Euros) a night trailer park where is no water nor electricity.
A great place close to the Pacific Ocean where the sound of the waves guarantee a relaxed night of sleep.

All the preparations are made to be able to answer the questions of the USA immigration officers tomorrow.
The documents which show who is the owner of the Fuso Santek.
The document that shows that the Fuso Santek is insured.
The registration documents from South Dakota of the Fuso Santek.
The passport from the Netherlands.
American Dollars to pay for the visa they hopefully issue.
The plane ticket showing that on Sunday a flight will be taken leaving the USA.
And tomorrow morning, for a real smooth border crossing, as last preparations will be a fresh shave and a thorough tooth brushing followed by Listerine gurgling.

An appointment has been made with Kearny Mesa Truck Centre in San Diego to service the Fuso Santek.
Mitsubishi requires that after the first 2.500 miles (4.000 kilometres) the Fuso returns to a service centre for change of oil and filters and other activities.
In all a job of 6 to 7 hours, according to Ron Lucero, the adequate service manager of Kearny Mesa Truck Centre.

The Fuso Santek will return to the place where she was built, Santek Trailers in Riverside, California, on Friday and will stay there while the proud owner needs to go to Europe for three weeks.
During that time Roberto and his crew of Santek Trailers will iron out all the issues that have come to the surface on the recent expedition of 50 days to Mexico.

The good news is that the Fuso Santek is a fabulous creation.
A great expedition vehicle to travel with, to live in and to go to far away places few others can come.

Because it is custom build, obviously certain things need to be corrected.
We must be aware that, for example, the first Lazy Daze motor home had issues as well.
Having been mass-produced during years and years, by now it is possible to build and deliver a flawless Lazy Daze.
Therefore there is no surprise nor aggravation and certainly not discontent that Santek Trailers is going to work on the different things experienced on the Mexico test trip.

Certain issues have not much to do with Santek Trailers.
In a posting it has already been explained that the Thetford toilet is useless and dangerous.
The bowl is too undeep, the separate bowl shower is generously leaking and the cheap plastic seating is made for Mickey and Minnie Mouses only.

There are also questions about the current water pump.
The Lazy Daze had a fabulous water pump: it could hardly be heard and it gave a powerful and generous quantity of water.
The Fuso Santek is equipped with a Shurflo 2088-453-444 water pump and this toy is very noisy.
Besides, it works in an erratic way and the water coming out is minimal.
Santek Trailers will be proposed to install another pump: the Shurflo Extreme series with a Smart Sensor.
This Shurflo Extreme series has a pressure capacity of 65 PSI versus 45 PSI and a flow of 5.7 gallons per minute versus 3.5 gallons per minute.
On the website of Shurflo it unfortunately doesn’t say if the Extreme series is less noisy than the conventional models.
The new Shurflo should improve showering and the old pump will be kept as a reserve pump.

There are also several improvements Santek Trailers will be asked to carry out.
This concerns cabinets and storage spaces.
To make living inside the Fuso Santek even more comfortable.

But before all this can happen there is the exciting experience of crossing the Mexican-USA border waiting.
It should be a formality but we live in times that anything can happen.


To learn more about Kearny Mesa Truck Center, click on:,_Mitsubishi_x.html

To learn more about Playa Saldamando, click on:

To learn more about the two waterpumps mentioned, click on:


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dancing together.

ZZ Top is the only rock band together for over 30 years.

Several of their songs we call Boogie Woogie.
Boogie Woogie became popular around 1930 and still, when these days a band plays the baselines of Boogie Woogie not many people remain in their seats.
They start Boogie Woogieying.
It continues to be a popular kind of music.

Whom Boogie Woogie also excited was Piet Mondriaan (1872-1944).

This famous Dutch painter was influenced by Boogie Woogie-music while he was living and working in New York and painted a canvas called “Victory Boogie Woogie”.

His expression of excitement listening to Boogie Woogie.

Boogie Woogie is magical music.
It has a simple bass line.

And when this is heard it refers to something deep inside.

There is nothing magical about music affecting people positively worldwide.
Our earliest form of perception as a baby is hearing.
Focused on the mother’s voice that is the first music and melodious sounds we hear while still unborn.
After birth it is our ability to see things that comes next and this comes as a natural gift like being able to hear.
Later we need to learn to speak and to move around, abilities needing practice contrary to hearing and seeing.

Therefore hearing and seeing are universal human capacities very effective in the common conscience.
The popularity of Boogie Woogie crosses boundaries, ages, cultures and traditions.
Images can do the same: a picture made by Dorothea Lange during the 30’s in the United States of an impoverished woman affects anybody worldwide anytime.

It is this common conscience we share with everybody worldwide which is becoming more and more important.
Because we live in a situation described by the famous musician and philanthropist Yehudi Menuhin as:

“ People are the product of their dreams.
Sadly, these days our ability to dream in the positive sense is threatened
by the predominance of nightmares and a sense of anxiety, hopelessness
and lack of direction.
Everyone tries to make his own life
secure at the expense of everyone else.
Egoism and fanaticism are on the increase, racist and nationalist

violence are spreading destruction.We are witnessing the merciless absorption of the individual into
the collective mass, and an outrageous denial of the fulfillment of the most fundamental needs of body and soul, mind and spirit".

The politicians, priests, mullahs and commercials cannot affect what we share worldwide in our common conscience.
In this common conscience lies the solution and the power to turn the tide.
We all must start boogie woogieying again.


To learn more about the band ZZ-Top, click on:

To learn more about Piet Mondriaan, click on:

To learn more about Yehudi Menuhin, click on:

To learn more about Dorothea Lange, click on:


Monday, May 14, 2007

This journey and yours.

With fine feelings it was goodbye to the German friends Ute and Andreas.
Warm waves to the psychotherapist William Paff and his partner Denise Jones.
With fantastic memories the friends at the dreamlike bay of Ensenada Blanca were left behind.
A bay soon to be turned into an exclusive beach resort and the friends forced to move to a new paradise.

Memory didn’t store who said it but on one of the many journeys a wise person explained that if one leaves a place and feels nostalgia and some sadness, it is in fact a very good sign.
Because it means that the time and the activities and the social interaction have been of top quality, therefore the slightly painful feelings.
Leaving the bay of Ensenada Blanca came with a range of feelings.
It had been a truly wonderful, magical and exceptional time.

New experiences though were waiting.
And old and new friends looking out to meet and share beautiful moments together.
And this time, family as well.

Today nine hours were spend driving north.
First along the east coast of the peninsula Baja California passing the city of Loreto, booming as a holiday resort with thousands of houses being build, the sleepy town of Mulege and the because of mining heavily polluted town of Santa Rosalia.
Next, crossing from the east coast to the west coast, driving through the Vizcaino dessert, until the most awful city in Baja California, called Guerrero Negro, located at the Pacific Ocean, was reached.

It was travelling from one climatic cosmos to the other.
At the east coast it was warm, over 30 degrees Centigrade (86 Fahrenheit), and a pure blue sky and hardly any wind.
At the west coast was a strong wind from the northwest and a low temperature of 22 degrees Centigrade (71 Fahrenheit).
The man at the Pemex gasoline station in Guerrero Negro was wearing a heavy jacket, a woollen cap and gloves.
Complaining how cold it was and that the day before his ears almost froze off his head.

The place to camp was found at Punta Esmeralda.
Not far from El Tomatal that loyal and fervent readers will remember as the location of the two palm tree leaves parasols where once a Princess was reminiscenced.

Punta Esmeralda was chosen because it is at the Pacific Ocean and in a bay with protection from the strong northwestern winds.
Once the faithful Fuso Santek was installed and the Datastorm satellite disk connected to the Internet, the Skype-phone rang.
Somebody calling and each time it remains a miracle of communication.
“Where are you now?”, the caller asked and the laptop computer’s camera was turned towards the window and somewhere else in the world someone saw the view from the faithful Fuso Santek.
The wildly rolling waves landing on the sandy beach with grey and white clouds in a pale blue sky.

Over the last months serious problems have been experienced with the XM satellite radio.
Reception was erratic and eventually it stopped completely.
Highly regretted because the XM radio is one of the most used conveniences of the Fuso Santek.
It is the key to remain informed listening to the news.
It is the key to fall asleep peacefully and in a relaxed way listening to XM Comedy.
And it is the key for a variety of music to listen to.
Everything possible has been tried to figure out why the XM satellite radio was not working.
Changing cradles.
Experimenting with antennas.
Changing settings.
But it only got worse and today the nine hours of driving were not entertained by the XM satellite radio as it had become silent completely.
The screen saying:


Arrived at Punta Esmeralda a flash of higher thinking occurred.
A thought coming from intuition and inspiration.
How about cleaning the contact points of the XM satellite receiver?
Maybe it is just a matter of a bad connection between the receiver and the cradle?
For this a Q-tip was found in the bathroom, the first door on the right in the corridor of the Fuso Santek.
Also found was a small bottle of after-shave bought recently in Tokyo, Japan.
It was suspected that the after-shave might contain alcohol well known for its cleaning capacity.
Gently the contact points of the XM satellite radio were massaged with the wet Q-tip and dried with warm air from the own lungs.
Placed in the cradle, switched on, instead of the so despised message of “NO SIGNAL”, the BBC World Service was heard loud and clear.
Tremendous joy in the Fuso Santek: a problem bothering for weeks and weeks seemed to have been ended.
The dream is now that maybe tomorrow it will be possible to drive with a working XM-satellite radio that will bring tears to the eyes needing to switch on the wipers.

This was a long day of travelling.
And it may seem it was rather uneventful.
But that is a wrong observation.
A fabulous event took place today.
The Fuso Santek arrived safely at today’s last stop.
To travel and arrive safely is something never to underestimate or to take for granted.
It is to celebrate and to be thankful for.
This journey and yours.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Under the water.

On Saturday the bay of Ensenada Blanca changes from Robinson Crusoë’s territory into the public beach of many Mexicans coming from the town of Ciudad Constitucion.
In their cars they drive on the beach like it was a highway and large families camp in the dunes.
Dumping their garbage all over the place and using the bushes as toilets.
Bringing ATV’s and driving with no good reason or any sense up and down the beach just for fun.
Parking their cars so close to the sea that they get stuck and need to be pulled out.
The location littered with empty beer cans and the men in a mood that nothing could bother nor concern them.
What was paradise becomes hell.

In the meantime it has also been learned that the whole beautiful bay of Ensenada Blanca has been bought by a large company planning to build here 4.000 condominiums.

Although this is an official National Park and a very delicate natural habitat, it is squandered for the sake of big money becoming bigger without considering the impact on nature.

Very good that departure is planned for tomorrow morning.

In between this irresponsible madness happening currently on the beach of Ensenada Blanca are friends from Germany and Andreas says:
“Let’s go fishing”.

Andreas has a small rubber boat and a 3.000 USD spear.
To go out of the bay and around the cape to an undisturbed part of the coast where big fish might be swimming.