Saturday, June 30, 2007

Busy as a bee.

It is a rather strange life now.
Many hours are spend inside the Fuso Santek in front of the MacBook Pro computer.
The reason is that the self-made selection of images that were made in Japan last February has all been accepted by the Stock Photo Agency in Europe.
They see for the over 140 images opportunities for successful marketing.
The consequence is that each image needs to be re-sized, format changed and made look more sophisticated with the tools of the software program Photoshop C3.
But most importantly, each image needs to get captions in two languages.
That is the key to selling the image.
In detail each image needs to be described including time and place.
A very time consuming but essential job.

In the meantime, through the gallery in Paris representing this photographer, Galerie Baudoin Lebon, an opening has been made to perform the project “The most beautiful people in the world” in Beijing, China.
One step has been made that the Chinese version of the magazine Marie Claire wants to publish the project on 8 pages.
But to actually perform the project in China needs the involvement and commitment of more people and this is now in a stage of intense communication.

The same is going on for India.
A contact in New Delhi working for the electronic giant Philips seems to become instrumental to document the most beautiful people over there.

Besides these activities some more are going on with the photography and this makes it all a very busy time.

It is remarkable this is all going on in the Fuso Santek temporarily located on a beautiful beach in Mexico.
And near the rancho of the Gonzales family.
Where life goes on in its own rhythm.
With small events.
In beautiful surroundings.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Out of a coma.

In the past we have been discussing on this blog the issue of painting the Fuso Santek.
The original idea was to paint the whole camper box in the same colour as the Mitsubishi truck cabin: Jupiter green.
Several of the fervent, loyal and concerned blog readers advised against this intention.
Explaining it would have a very negative effect on inside temperatures.

Nevertheless the intention to paint the camper box green was stubbornly pursued and it was a matter of waiting until friend Gumaro Gonzales had arranged the project with his friend who has a body paint shop in San Jose del Cabo.

However, yesterday there was a visitor.
Long time friend Fred came by.

Fred is an extraordinary person.
Many years ago we had a friend who became a victim of a serious car accident.
Juan Carlos got into a coma but nevertheless we would go and visit him.
Refusing to believe that the coma was going to be a permanent one.
Fred would sit next to Juan Carlos, touch him and talk.
Talk like he could hear us but was temporarily unable to respond.
While Juan Carlos’ beautiful sister Veronica was feeding and nursing him, Fred would simply touch and talk and pull.
It was an amazing spectacle to see a man totally convinced and exercising powers few people have.
Eventually, after weeks, the magical thing happened: Juan Carlos came back.
Came out of his coma.
And the beautiful thing was that Fred was not trumpeting at all about his decisive involvement.

Juan Carlos is still visited of course and has made an almost full recovery.
Each time he shows the pictures which were made while he was in coma and Fred pulling him out and Juan Carlos explains how important this all is for him.
A hole in his memory filled with images.

Fred was very impressed with the Fuso Santek.
But when he heard about the plan to paint the camper box green, he got very excited.
“Miguel, how can you do that?
It would be a BIG mistake!”
He explained in detail what a stupid idea this was.
And the same reasons were heard as many fervent and loyal blog readers had been so kind to present.
And had been explained as well by good friend John in Temecula, California.

Fred suggested another approach.
Once he had a fifth wheeler which was completely white and on special request to the manufacturer, without any decorations.
A red truck pulled this white trailer.
Fred felt the same later that his trailer was simply too white.
He went to a body shop in the USA and had striping ordered in the same colour as his truck.
On the sides of his trailer he had this striping glued artistically breaking the white and making the whole thing pretty and attractive.

It was like coming out of a coma.
Suddenly it was realized that Fred was right.
That this was the best to do.
And it was remembered how exactly the same suggestion was made, including examples, by a fervent and loyal blog reader several months ago.

The friend of Gumaro with the body shop in San Jose del Cabo has been cancelled.
And more than 1.000 $ saved.
Soon the trip will start to return to the USA.
And in the Temecula area a body shop must be found that can do this job.
Including some lettering on the back of the Fuso Santek.
In Jupiter green.

This Saturday night is dinner with Fred in a restaurant in Cabo Pulmo.
Obviously he will be invited.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cherry blossom

While in Japan last February hundreds of pictures were made for an international stock agency working out of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

A stock agency is like a library.
They basically have a very large computer stocked with thousands of images.
Clients from all over the world are newspapers, magazines, publicity companies, book publishers and anyone needing images.
They access through Internet the image library of the stock agency, make their choice and download the image to their own computer.
Next, they publish the image and are automatically billed for this by the stock agency.
It is an electronic and automated process that works very well.

It is a limited group of photographers who supply a stock agency with images.
A stock agency employs editors who have a look at images before they are entered into the database.
Only images that are really stunning, strong and convincing are allowed.

As a photographer, stock photography is a very exciting thing.
It is exercising the basics of photography.
How to tell in one image an event in a totally convincing and appealing way?
A good stock photo must be timeless.
Must tell a story that can be understood by most people worldwide.
Must be aesthetically attractive.
Must be technically perfect.
Must have an adequate caption.

This is the only way to have a chance that an image is selected, published and making money.

An example of stock photography is an image showing the cherry blossom in Japan.
This is a good subject.
Many people worldwide have heard of the cherry blossom in Japan.
The chance that worldwide a magazine, a newspaper or any other publication needs an image of cherry blossom is high.
It is a subject that is relevant at least every spring.

Now, the question is how to show cherry blossom in one image.
In a totally convincing way.
So that immediately it is understood it is about cherry blossom.
That it is about Japan.
About spring.
About cherry blossom being special.

While in Tokyo the cherry trees were blossoming.
In a park a blossoming tree was found.
Many hours were spend photographing people together with the flowers of the tree.
Looking for the ideal image.

Many images were simply not good enough.
It was too hard to see the flowers.
Or the persons attracted more attention than the flowers.
Or the background was disturbing.
Many reasons for not having the best image possible.
These are some images that are good, but not the best.

Insisting and trying is the motto.
Eventually this image was made:

It really shows the flowers at the tree.
It shows it is spring: still cold demonstrated by how the two ladies are dressed.
It shows how special cherry blossom is: by the two hands reaching to almost touch the flowers.
This image is about people and their amazement about a phenomenon in nature.

Stock images are great to make.
Because it is about how to share our existence.
To come together.
Not to be alone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Homage to Ivan Petrovich Pavlov

Returned to Punta Boca del Salado.
On the Southeast coast of the peninsula Baja California, Mexico.
Where the Gonzales family have their rancho raising cattle, making cheese and selling the water from their well to the Gringo’s living in the area.

Returning means first sitting down in the open kitchen of Ketcha Gonzales and telling each other the events of the last months.
If everything is well with the family, the friends and the work.
In this order.

Next stop is the dog very well known with fervent and loyal blog readers called Gorba.

The dog who got it in his head that it is fun to attack charming ladies and bite them in the legs and to go after the goats to kill one or two like a vampire.
For these frivolities Gorba is attached to a tree with a chain to prevent him from being too excessive in existence.

Sometimes the fantasy comes up that this is all a scam.
That in fact Gorba lives a life like in a five stars hotel.
With twice a day gourmet organic dog food and the purest water from Greenland to drink.
With a low couch to rest on during the day and a climate controlled doghouse with the softest cushions made to spend the nights.
And once a week a visit of a dog in heat.
Some hours before the arrival of the Fuso Santek he is quickly taken out of his royal environment and attached with a chain to the tree.

This fantasy is similar to a repeating fantasy in childhood.
When extraordinary things happened, it was often believed that in fact it was all organised by the parents.

Gorba is in excellent shape.
Well muscled, no flees, well fed and no wounds.

Alfredo, his official owner, has now made a long metal wire attached at both ends to the ground.
A chain is between this long metal wire and Gorba giving him some distance to move.

Although about 35 degrees Centigrade (95 Fahrenheit), Mr. Gorba had neither food nor water available.
While Alfredo was peacefully watching a soap opera at his nearby brother’s Gumaro’s rancho.

Of course this was quickly taken care of and Gorba drank like he crossed waterless a desert but ignored the beautiful food specially brought from La Paz.

Now there is the daily routine again.
In the morning he is served a bowl of dog food and gets fresh water.
After siesta he is liberated from the chain and taken on a 2 hours long walk along the sea.
Remarkable is that after the walk he voluntarily returns to his spot under the tree and waits to be chained again.
Gorba’s homage to the theory of classical conditioning of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov.


To learn more about Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, click on:

Where is Punta Boca del Salado? Click on:


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lao Tse in Raul.

Today we meet Raul.
He is a man who lives in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico.
Raul works at a gasoline station.
Filling cars and trucks, wiping windows, checking oil.
This he does 6 days a week.

Wages in Mexico are different from the USA and Europe.
Raul is making 100 Mexican Pesos per day.
That is 9,24 $.
Or 6,87 €.
Including tips he makes more or less 2.400 Mexican Pesos per month.
That is 222 $.
Or 165 €.

Raul is married.
He has 4 children.

They live on a low budget.
Many nights they eat rice with frijoles only.
Frijoles are cooked beans.
Only a few times a week can they eat meat.

Raul has something about him.
A particular lightness in being.

He says he is a happy man.
Not making much money, but content in life nevertheless.
Why ?
Because of my wife and my children, he says.

"He who knows much about others may be learned, but he who understands himself is more intelligent. He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still."
Lao Tse.


To learn more about Lao Tse, click on:


Monday, June 25, 2007

It's the hormones.

Travelling from Ciudad Constitucion to the capital of the peninsula Baja California Sur in Mexico called La Paz.

A larger town where it is always a pleasure to stay.
For the first time it is not possible to spend the nights at the Aquamarina trailer park.
It is closed forever and the owners, Richard and Maria Luisa Adcock, can finally enjoy a life free of all the obligations running a trailer park.
Aquamarina RV Park was a beautiful campground.
Richard and Maria Luisa very warm, polite and hospitable people.
They are applauded and warmly thanked for all the years of offering beautiful shelter.

In La Paz a day of meetings with friends.
And each meeting had something remarkable.

Walking with German friend Claudia in La Paz looking for a street called Guillermo Prieto.
The signs on the corners telling the names of the streets had disappeared and we got lost.
We didn’t know anymore which street we were in and where was the street we were looking for.
We told each other we needed to meet a person who could give us adequate directions.
But there was nobody else in the streets at this hour of day in the plus 35 degrees Centigrade (95 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures.
Two minutes later we reached a street corner and in a façade a rather dark door was noticed on which was written: “Restaurant Bismarck”.
Claudia, being German, was surprised to see a restaurant in La Paz, Mexico, called after a German statesman of the past.
We wondered if they served Sauerkraut mit Bratwurst.

We went on slightly dazed and confused and definitely lost when a woman came out of the restaurant.
She wore a shirt of the Restaurant Bismarck and called after us.
“Can I help you maybe?”, she said.
Yes she could.
Give directions to the street called Guillermo Prieto.
And informing that no, they did not serve German food.

Later that day a cup of tea with Swiss friend Esther.
The conversation became rather philosophical.
And the tea changed for wine.
What about those people they claim they are happy?
Is being happy a constant state of being?
According to friend Esther it is not.
Happiness is not a permanent emotion.
It comes and goes.
Decided by the chemistry in your body.
One can wake up in the morning and feel happy.
Or one can wake up and not feel happy.
It’s the hormones, according to Esther.
Whatever is the explanation, having our conversation brought some happy moments.

Later that evening a meeting with friend Don Rafaël and his son Erik.
Very nice and warm people of an old Mexican ranchero family.
Don Rafaël, now in his 70’s, has been a heavy smoker all his life.
Until last year when he was diagnosed to have cancer in his oesophagus.
He stopped smoking immediately, had radio and chemotherapy and also made an important decision.
He told himself, his family and his friends: “I am not sick”.
This was rather peculiar because the therapies made him look pale and skinny and he lost all his hair.
But he insisted he was not sick and didn’t want to be approached and dealt with as a sick man.
Everybody accepted his attitude and now, more than a year later, he finished his therapies, has his hair back and is free of the cancer.
Don Rafaël is a man who inspires.

Three meetings in La Paz.
Three beautiful and wonderful events.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I love you.

When an expedition vehicle is designed and build by a company, it is a dream come true.

Because we live in a time of intense communication the project of the Fuso Santek became an event shared by many people.
This is actually one of the great aspects of the Fuso Santek project.

This sharing becomes really important when situations arise which can be called challenges or complications.
The experience is shared and this makes it more attractive, richer and better.
It is also the way to overcome disappointments quickly.
And to obtain expert advise.

After the latest problem with the Fuso Santek was published, numerous people got involved.
Many comments were published and e-mail messages received.
All these people made themselves in solidarity and support with the unfortunate situation.
That is beautiful.
And something to be thankful for.

Last night was the graduation party of long time friend Iwan.
A friend of his mother Alma had promised three years ago to make a big pot of soup if he would successfully finish his college studies.

Iwan is a serious young man who understands that to study is an important thing.
Although he sees himself not making a career.
In the near future he prefers to have a wife and children and live quietly.

There were about 20 people to celebrate Iwan’s success.
All eating this soup.
Very relaxed.
Very peaceful.

There was also Iwan’s niece Juryen.
A beautiful four-year-old girl.
Very intelligent and reasonable.
This is because Juryen grows up among many adults who all have time and educational attention for her.
A child who likes to learn and who is happy is the most precious gift to the world.

Much time was spent with Juryen.
Having interesting experiences together.
Like travelling yesterday in a taxi.
Although four years old, during the ride she was given the money to pay the driver later.
Tightly she held the 40 Pesos preparing herself for the big moment.
She was aware she was having a responsibility and loved that.
Graciously she paid the driver and felt oh so proud.
And so did we.

Later an abandoned puppy was found opposite the house.
In the supermarket she was involved buying puppy dog food.
At home she was asked to look for two bowls and crossing the street, first looking right, secondly looking left assuring no cars were coming, she presented the scared and vulnerable puppy dog with some nice food and fresh water.
Proudly she told her beautiful mother Tonatzin later what she had done.
Seriously planning to offer more food to the doggy the next morning.

In the afternoon four year old Juryen did a surprising thing.
Suddenly she put herself in front with this sign:

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Healing Fuso Santek.

Did you ever walk in deep mud?
Fearing to slip and fall any moment?
Making you insecure and uncomfortable?

Driving the Fuso Santek from Guerrero Negro to Ciudad Constitucion gave exactly that feeling.

José, better known as Pépé, the mechanic in Guerrero Negro, had replaced the three bolts but it is sure they will break off also.
Too much weight on too weak of support.
Every bump in the road making the Fuso Santek shake, shook also the emotions of fear that the side of the camper box would come down once more needing to look again for a mechanic spending time, energy and releasing awful aggravation.

Arrived in Ciudad Constitucion the carpenter was found who did some cabinetwork on a former truck camper over 10 years ago.
But the man had died since 7 years.
Now the shop was run by his son who by coincidence is having the same name as the mechanic in Guerrero Negro: José, for his friends Pépé.

José, who we can call Pépé having known his father, got the job to construct a wooden support for the inadequately mounted square steel bracket.

This sounded like a simple task but in the end it took quite some time and effort.

A large piece of wood was tightly squeezed in between the chassis and a support beam of the camper box.
A wooden panel was bolted to the chassis using holes already there.

This wooden panel was then glued and screwed to the large piece of wood to hold it in place.

Now the camper box is attached on the driver’s side by the Santek Trailers 3 bolts of 8 millimetres and the wooden support.

This is like coming out of the mud and finding solid ground under the feet again.

Now there are two invoices of two mechanics that worked on the broken bolts saga.
The question is who is responsible for this financial aspect of the adventure?

It cannot be denied that the recent event of the broken bolts has badly influenced the normally happy mood.
There has been tremendous enthusiasm about the Fuso Santek.
Many people wherever the Fuso Santek went would come up and ask questions and proudly it would be explained what a fabulous vehicle it is.
But the enthusiasm has plummeted considerably.
It is simply not interesting to have to spend time and energy on things because someone simply didn’t do an adequate job.
A vehicle can be a prototype and issues will come up but they never should be the result from not doing an adequate job as we saw with the broken bolts.
And it can be revealed that this story of the broken bolts is not the only experience in that league.
Several issues have come up, not yet reported on this blog, costing time and energy resulting from inadequate work.

During the many hours of waiting yesterday for José, Pépé the carpenter, to do the job, suddenly inside the Fuso Santek a big tarantula was spotted.

First there was surprise.
How did this tarantula get into the Fuso Santek ?
All windows and roof vents have screens.
And it cannot be imagined the large spider simply walked in through the door.
Which is mostly closed off by a screen door to begin with.

Something had to be done about the tarantula.
As big as the hand of a grown up man.

It couldn’t be adopted as a pet because it could come visit at night while sleeping.
This imagination, peacefully sleeping while a large spider walks over the body is worse than walking in the mud.

In Pépé’s open-air workshop on this Friday night, having received their weekly salary, three guys were getting drunk.
Drinking one litre ( 0,26 gallon ) bottles of Tecate beer getting red eyes and uncoordinated with body and mind.
They had tried already to become drinking buddies, offering one of their big bottles wrapped in last week’s newspaper, but this generous offer was politely denied.

Now they were called in to have a new delirium seeing a true tarantula.
One guy ran outside ordering the others to keep a close look on the giant spider.
He returned with a Mexican broom and an old towel.
Obviously to attack the tarantula it was imagined.
On second thought, he threw the broom outside, took the towel in one hand, looked away and grabbed the spider.
This the innocent animal survived.
He was thrown on the cement floor of Pépé’s workshop and started running for cover offered by bushes nearby.
But one drunken guy ran after the fast moving spider and planted his Nike firmly on top of the unfortunate creature.
Next, they all started to study the liquid that came out of the tarantula realising it can make a man sick.

This was not the only exciting recent event.
Fervent and loyal blog readers may remember that on June 12 a conversation by telephone took place from the airport of Schiphol, Amsterdam, Holland, with Mayumi.
She is the woman who was once the wife until she was divorced 6 years ago.
It had been a good, emotional, intense and positive conversation.
The first one in many years.
And it was followed up by a short e-mail.
But now the information has been received that she wants to limit the communication to only once a year.

That is exactly in line with the advice dear friend John from Temecula, California, USA, gave recently.
Knowing Mayumi and life very well, John said:
“When you drive your car, what is more easy: driving forwards or driving backwards?”

Life makes it very easy.
Now that the Fuso Santek is back in shape the only way to go is straight ahead.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Failing Fuso Santek 2

Guerrero Negro, halfway the peninsula of Baja California in Mexico, is a most miserable town.
There is only one major street with asphalt and some dusty, unpaved side streets.
Always a fierce wind blows from the Northwest bringing moisture from the Pacific Ocean, often as fog and sand from the desert.
There are salt works nearby and this makes it all even more desolate.
A town nobody wants to stay in for pleasure or glory.

It was very well organised of life therefore to have the Fuso Santek break down in this awful town.
Without a problem a place was found where they could repair the Fuso Santek.
Autoservicio Futema: they do anything imaginable to a car .

Quickly owner Lorenzo understood what was the problem.
The Fuso Santek’s camper box needed to be lifted up, the old bolts removed and new ones put in.

Within half an hour mechanic José, his friends call him Pépé, was under the Fuso Santek lifting it up with a fat jack.

First challenge was that the old bolts were stuck in the holes.
Lifting up the camper box made the chassis go up as well.
With a hammer the old bolts had to be knocked out like the teeth of an old man.

It was then discovered that the bolts were only 8 millimetre (0,31 inch) in diameter.
It was also discovered that Santek Trailers had drilled 5 holes for bolts.
But 2 of them were not aligned.
Therefore only 3 bolts had been put in the square steel bracket to carry the weight of the camper box.
It had been only a matter of time before those bolts were to break.

In all it took Pépé more than two hours to do the job.

For which his boss Lorenzo charged 280 Pesos (19,34 Euros / 25,91 $) including the new bolts.

At noon the Fuso Santek was on its way South again crossing the Vizcaino desert.

But there was a nagging feeling about the Fuso Santek now.
It was not reliable anymore.
Any moment the three bolts could break again.
Making damage and havoc.
And having to spend time finding a mechanic and having to wait during repairing.
While the purpose these days is to be on location to make new conceptual photography for the upcoming exhibition and book publication.

While driving the idea was born to put wooden support between the camper box and the chassis.
As an extra to assist the bolts.
This has been done but in Ciudad Constitucion a carpenter will be asked to make a wooden support that cannot move out of place in any circumstance.

Was this faulty bolts story an interesting experience?
No, it was not.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Failing Fuso Santek.

Always the fact has been published that the Fuso Santek is a custom-made expedition vehicle.
Explaining why there have been issues like overflowing water tanks, short circuit in wiring, failing heating in truck cabin, lacking correct city water connection, missing sewer hose and other things.

All those issues have been corrected.

However, a new issue has come up today which is rather serious.
For a while it had been noticed that the Santek camper box on the Mitsubishi chassis was not really horizontal.
It was clearly off to the driver’s side.
This was mentioned to the chief engineer of Santek Trailers last Saturday.
He explained this was normal and that most trailers were not exactly horizontal.
The 6 heavy batteries are located on the side where the camper box was lower.
Therefore the conclusion was made that the explanation for being lower on one side was that one side of the Fuso Santek was simply heavier.

Today everything was well with the Fuso Santek.
A lunch stop was made in Catavina at noon and everything was fine with the Fuso Santek.
At 13.30 hours a stop was made for a nap and still everything was OK.
At 16.15 hours the town of Guerrero Negro was reached and before going to a trailer park, the local gasoline station was visited for fuel.
It was then noticed that the camper box was completely off.
Hanging sharply to one side.

An inspection was made.
The camper box is attached to the chassis on three points.
Two in the front and the pivotal one in the back.
The two attachments in the front are engineered by Santek Trailers.
To the chassis of the truck two square steel tubes are vertically bolted.
On top of these square steel tubes the camper box is welded.

The two square steel tubes are bolted to the chassis with four bolts each.
Each bolt secured by two nuts.
Tomorrow the exact diameter of the bolts will be measured but they look like 1 cm (0,39 inch) bolts.
It must be imagined that the weight of the camper box rests on those vertical square tubes and consequently on the 4 bolts.
Driving makes the weight invariable: the up and down movement goes also into the 4 bolts of each square steel tube.
For a while the process must have been going on that the bolts couldn’t hold the weight and were being bended to eventually break.
This explains why before the camper box looked like sagging.
If a close inspection were made at the time, the weakness of the bolts would have become clear.
It would have been seen that the bolts were bending being unable to hold the weight.
And this problem would have been avoided by replacing the small bolts by much larger ones.

Now the situation is that one side of the camper box is completely off.
Being totally unsupported.
Unclear is yet what damage this has caused.
It can be seen that the water pump is pushed on the battery bank of the truck.
And oil lines are pushed away by the square steel tube.

The holes where the bolts were are bend open wider.
In some holes parts of bolts are stuck.
Broken off and twisted.

For the moment the camper box is lifted up by a jack to be able to spend the night in the Fuso Santek.
Tomorrow a mechanic must be found in Guerrero Negro who can fix this problem.
This will take time and needs patience.

What is fortunate is that this happens in Mexico.
If this problem would have happened somewhere in the USA it would have been a very costly repair.
Because the Fuso Santek is lame: it can’t drive anymore.
It would have been unable to return to Santek Trailers for repairs.
A local truck repair centre in the USA would have needed to do the job at 85 $ (63 Euros) per hour.

It is clear now that on both sides larger bolts must be installed.
If it happened on one side, it can happen on the other side as well.
To install larger bolts, the holes must be drilled bigger.
How that can be done while the camper box is on the chassis is a question to be answered by Santek Trailers.

Is there now frustration maybe?
Anger perhaps?

A range of emotions is waiting to be expressed but for the moment they are waiting for a more expert technical diagnosis.
Tomorrow on this blog there will be a report of the exact size of the bolts and expert fervent and loyal blog readers will be requested to give their opinion in how far we can speak here of an engineering error.


Datastorm storm over.

There is sometimes no synchronization between the imagination and prediction of the near future and what reality turns out to be.
Knowing this, it should make a sane person distrustful of any thought about how events in the future could happen.

Because the diagnosis was that the Datastorm Satellite System was broken down seriously, the decision had to be made to return to San Diego, USA from San Quintin, Mexico.
A trip taking over 5 hours.
Having to find a Datastorm installer willing to fix the system.
Available at short notice.
To solve a complicated puzzle.

Friends Ute and Andreas were wishing well taking off and feelings were badly mixed about this whole project of having to return to the USA because of a technical failure.

The journey started bad or comically, depending how one sees it.
Before even to reach the town of San Quintin, the narrow road was completely blocked because a large trailer loaded with tons of tomatoes had turned over.
Many Mexicans were busy to salvage as many tomatoes as possible and the fact that traffic would be blocked for a long time because of this activity was not taken into consideration.
The tomatoes had more value than the time of the drivers in their vehicles.
The Fuso Santek has four-wheel drive that was switched on and all the waiting cars and trucks were passed by through the deep sand on the right hand side of the road.
At least those tomatoes on the road were not going to alter the plans for the expedition as the Datastorm Satellite System managed to do.

Having reached San Quintin, first objective was to find an Internet café to take care of some cyberspace business including posting a message on the blog about the current situation to inform all the loyal and fervent readers.

A nice place was found, at 10 Pesos an hour, (0,93 $, 0,69 Euros) including electricity and young Mexican students in short skirts testing their seduction tools.
With the help of Google and some phone calls through Skype, a Datastorm installer in San Diego was found and an arrangement made.
The news was that if he was not available tomorrow, then certainly in the days after or next week.
A stay of at least a week in the USA was anticipated to have the Datastorm Satellite System diagnosed and cured.

Being in the Mexican Internet café and using the MacBook Pro because there was WIFI, an exciting thought shook the brains.
If the Internet café had WIFI, they had a router.
Mike Apache, the Datastorm installer, had diagnosed by phone it was the router failing on the Fuso Santek.

The lady of the Internet café was asked how she got her router and she directed to a computer shop.
This shop was found and Carlos Fragozo met.
He happened to have in his shop three brand new routers and exactly like the one in the Fuso Santek.
It was decided to replace the router to see if that would bring the Datastorm Satellite System back to life.
Unfortunately this didn’t work.
The problem persisted.
This glimmer of hope that a replacement of the router would avoid a long and costly trip back to the USA dampened and evaporated.
The conclusion was made that it was the HN 7000S modem.
If a new router was unsuccessful as well, it had to be the modem.
Because the Datastorm Satellite System was bought in March 2007 it was still under guarantee.
Carlos Fragozo of the computer shop in San Quintin, by now a friend, suggested to call the installer, Mike Apache, to ask him if the broken modem could be send by FedEx for him to return a new one.
A great plan: it would take some days, but it would be not much difference in time compared to travelling up and down and a lot cheaper.
Mike Apache was called again but Mike first wanted to know more about the problem.
He claimed it was impossible it was the modem.
In his expert opinion it had to be the router.

So again Carlos Fragozo went with a new router into the Fuso Santek and made a vital discovery.
The configuration of the old router, which was entered into the new router, was corrupt.
This made the new router function like the old one stopping the Datastorm Satellite System working properly.
It took a lot of fiddling but eventually it worked.
The Fuso Santek was again in communication with the world.
In total it had taken over 4 hours but the result was fabulous.
No return trip to the USA.
No waiting for an installer.

The failed router is under guarantee but this could not be honoured by Carlos Fragozo.
In total 140 $ (104 Euros) was paid including labour, phone calls to the USA and tax.

Some celebration shoppings were made and quickly returned to trailer park “El Pabellon” to party with friends Ute and Andreas.

To be amazed and thankful about how things go in life.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Datastorm storm.

The first day in Mexico the town of San Quintin was reached.
It was arranged to meet friends Andreas and Ute at trailer park "El Pabellon" not far South from the town.

It was great to see oneother again and many stories were told while enjoying a beautiful dinner.

But meanwhile efforts were made to get on the Internet.
Which were all in vain.

Last Sunday trouble was experienced already but the expert advice of Mike Apache, the Datastorm installer, seemed to have solved the technical complications.
Therefore it was decided it was safe to travel into Mexico believing by re-booting the router the problems were solved.

But not so.
Last night and the whole mornign everything was tried to get on the Internet but with no success.
And it is impossible to determin what exactly is the matter.

The decision had to be made to return to the USA.
To look for someone in San Diego who is an expert of Datastorm and who is able to fix it.

After leaving "El Pabellon" a stop was made in the town of San Quintin to visit an Internet café to make the daily posting.

But soon it is hoped things are back to normal and peacefully the journey into Mexico can be re-started.
For this though a long and winding road needs to be followed all the way back to San Diego.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Storms with Datastorm.

A weird situation.
Yesterday a long conversation with good friend Jochen and he was asking how the Datastorm Satellite System is working on the Fuso Santek.
Good friend Jochen is considering purchasing the same system to put on his fifth wheeler and is in a stage of collecting as much information as possible.

The experiences with the Datastorm Satellite System are good.
Usually the satellite disk finds the SatMex 5 very quickly and in no time the Internet can be accessed.
Transmission speeds are high which is convenient when downloading or sending large files.
This is often the case when sending photographs to clients.
Even Skype, the VOIP telephone service, can be used because of the new and fast HN 7000S modem.
Frequently telephone calls are made from the Fuso Santek to anywhere in the world and often for free when it is from Skype-user to Skype-user.
All this was reported to Jochen.
That here was a satisfied Datastorm customer !

But today, paradoxically, there were and are serious problems with the Datastorm system.
The whole morning it was impossible to get on the Internet.
As if it had been playing with fire telling yesterday good friend Jochen the Datastorm was working so well, today it broke down.
Impossible to access the Internet…

It seems it has to do with the router.
Expert advice from the installer reached by phone instructed to re-boot the router.
This worked.
Internet could be accessed again.
But later the whole system malfunctioned again.

Now the situation is precarious.
While this posting is being typed, the satellite disk is locked to the Satmex 5 satellite but for over an hour now the TX status is: “Transmitter requesting a transmit pointing test (Txcode 18)”.
A phenomenon experienced before and the strategy is to simply wait.

What is the matter with the system is unknown.
It worked well and suddenly it stopped working well.
At a moment when tomorrow the journey into Mexico is supposed to start.

When things do not work properly, it is unavoidable to feel annoyed.
Resulting in using the F-word, the S-word and the H-word.
Besides the aggravation, these kinds of technical problems are very uninteresting.
They take a lot of time and often it is not simple to fix them.
One can take it as a challenge but in the meantime this attitude of seeing every complication as a challenge is boring in itself.
An artificial construction in the mind.

Of course a serious complication for which one is not responsible is never a challenge.
It is better to decide oneself to make an action as a challenge.
And not to be confronted by useless and annoying technical problems making life miserable and stressful by powers outside oneself.

The important thing though is to stay calm and cool.
After having gone through a period of reciting the F-, S- and H-words with the loudest voice possible.
Maybe even accompanied by kicking some innocent large stones, hurting the foot in the process.
Or smashing a bottle, possibly filled with gasoline, causing a fire spreading around the entire neighbourhood resulting in a mass evacuation of the population of Los Angeles.
After this very understandable release of aggravation the next step is reached and this is one of confidence that it is going to be all right.
Calmed down intelligent approaches to tackle the problem can be cooked up and possibly solutions found.


We are now the morning after.
Until late last night efforts were made to re-start the Datastorm Satellite System on the Fuso Santek.
While aware that at the very same time two Russian engineers, cosmonauts in the International Space Station circling the Earth, were also trying to re-start vital but malfunctioning computers in their spaceship.

Having calmed down after a cold night of good sleep with sweet dreams, this splendid idea was received to look in the documentation files stored in the Fuso Santek for the manual for the Linksys Router, the machine suspected of causing all the misery.

The good news was that the section about troubleshooting had only nine subjects.
Mike Apache, the installer of the Datastorm Satellite System on the Fuso Santek, had explained yesterday on Father’s Day, that he suspected that the Linksys Router was off and that re-booting it would do the trick.
That worked only once.
But if electronic equipment can work once, it can work twice.

Eventually, when drinking a nice cup of Assam tea, the manual explained that when re-booting, this has to be done in a sequence.
First the modem, next the router and last the Apple MacBook Pro computer.
If this sequence is not followed, it simply doesn’t work.

Carefully the sequence was executed and the publication of this posting proofs it was 100 % successful.
Resulting in loud use of the H-word, the B-word and the F-word.
Accompanied by fanfare music, fireworks in the sky and a serious medal awarded to the brave and successful trouble-shooter.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Flimsy films

Last night in Temecula, California, with dear friends John and Beverly, the film “The Queen” was seen.
Well, it cannot be claimed actually the film was seen as sleep overtook.
It was not because of being tired but it was because the film was boring.
The film has been a success and scored well at the latest Oscar Awards but the problem was that it was impossible to believe in the characters and in the story.

Two problems.

An actress playing the Queen not very much looking like the real Queen.
An actor playing Prime Minister Tony Blair who didn’t look like Tony Blair at all.
This was for all the characters in the film.
Not looking like the persons they are in real life.

Second problem was that the story of the film shows how behind the scenes things went during historical events, like the death of Princess Diana.
Not many people know for example what happened in the living room of the Queen of England when the royal family discussed the death of Princess Diana, therefore the film viewer is presented with 100 % speculation.
And this goes for all events in the film.

The film is re-enacting history and it is of course vital that the result makes an interesting story for a film.
Whether then the result matches what truly happened, becomes of secondary importance.

That makes the film a film and not a documentary.
To watch history being twisted in cinematographic entertainment is not of particular interest to this blogwriter.

In the afternoon another film was seen with dear friends John and Beverly in Temecula, California.
A film called “Because I said so” with Dianne Keaton.
A typical Hollywood film with a simple and unrealistic story.
It is the story of a mother trying to find a partner for her single daughter by interviewing men responding to a message on the Internet.
We don’t even want to know how the story develops because it is all so predictable and clichématic.
Including the happy ending which is of course that not only the daughter finds the guy of her life but the mother as well.

Contrary to the film “The Queen” no tendency to nap occurred during the film “Because I said so”.
A silly film offering many opportunities to be ironic and dismiss it as another nonsense Hollywood product and have a peaceful nap.
But somehow the film affected.
The film wants to make the audience feel good and in this it is successful.
In spite of all the silliness and superficiality, it makes one’s emotions flare up.
In particular romantic feelings.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Touch the tireman.

Last night a long conversation with friend Claudia Spinhoff and one of the conclusions was that paternalism and maternalism is not liked by us.

There are people, maybe even not realizing it themselves, who are paternalistic and they are a pain.

However, in a relationship one must be able to say things concerning the other without being maternalistic or paternalistic.
In the conversation with Claudia Spinhoff it was decided that she sometimes would be like an older brother for this blogwriter and the same blogwriter would be for her like an older sister.
This is a rather strange arrangement.
Claudia Spinhoff, very much a woman, is supposed to be an older brother.
While the blogwriter, very much a man, is supposed to be an older sister.

It must have been this confusion still raging this morning when returning to Kearny Mesa Truck Centre in San Diego where the Fuso Santek’s wheels were going to be aligned and its steering wheel put in the proper position.

This job was done by a third party arranged by Kearny Mesa Truck Centre in San Diego.
This third party consisted of two young men with a pick up truck and a trailer in which all equipment imaginable.

It was the two young men that immediately attracted the attention.
Maybe because of the conversation with Claudia Spinhoff the night before, but the two young men impressed as being rather beautiful.
Not only beautiful but handsome as well.
Not only handsome but attractive too.
Not only attractive but sexy and erotic also.

The more innocent one of the two did the alignment on the Fuso Santek.
A pretty face with clear blue eyes.
With sagging pants and a t-shirt too short often revealing his naked belly or his slender back.

While waiting and seeing this Adonis work a fantasy presented itself how he and his colleague would stop working and go in the trailer to take off their clothes to get involved in sexual escapades of tremendous beauty and sky high excitement.
Of course they knew they were being watched by the blogwriter and the clear blue eyes would sometimes detach from the partner and look at the onlooker with tears and regret and desire.

The job to align the wheels of the Fuso Santek took at least an hour which was enough time to have the fantasies go in all directions.

But it was realised that if the attractive young man would propose to disappear together behind a big truck for some erotic exercises, a loud scream of embarrassment would have been heard in San Diego.
Fantasies can go any direction but the reality is very heterosexual.

Shortly after this amazing experience, money had to be paid to a woman working in the office of Kearny Mesa Truck Centre.
She told she frequents a nudist camp and is climbing rocks there naked with friends who later appreciate her artfully painted nails.

It was mentioned to her that she probably would not just tell anybody she was a nudist going to Eden Paradise Resort Camp.
“No”, she said, “but I saw you are cool”.

It was not so cool later this day in Joshua Tree National Park.
Around 35 degrees Centigrade. (95 F)

The sun went down in Joshua Tree National Park as beautiful as the many experiences of today.


Fuso fixing.

The thing with a custom-made expedition vehicle is that it is a step-by-step process.
It is not a creation that is ready and perfect immediately after its birth.

The spasms can be divided into two groups.
After using it for some time improvements are needed and installed equipment changed.

Here are some of the changes and improvements made to the Fuso Santek this time.

A storage box has been build and mounted in between the two seats of the truck cabin.

The toilet bowl has been replaced for a Sealand of Dometic.
Replacing the Thetford.
Reason was that the Thetford had a bowl design for male midgets, a poor seat of plastic and the external shower was leaking.
Which was good of the Thetford was the flushing: like in an airplane.
Now the Fuso Santek offers a Sealand of Dometic with a deep bowl safe for the big boys among us, a wooden seat and a flush pedal on the left that can be lifted up for extra water.

Because part of the desk was damaged, a whole new desktop was put into the Fuso Santek.

In one corner of the desk a vertical console was made for extra storage and to have the Wireless Weather Station in an excellent position for reading its information.

Another console was made for the large digital clock, short wave radio and the XM radio.
Sitting in the chair at the desk it was impossible to read the information on the three monitors.
LCD displays need to be seen as straight as possible to be able to read the information.
The angle of this console was calculated from sitting in the office chair.

The water pump was removed.
And replaced by a high output one in another location.
Now the water pump is outside the camper box and having the “Silencing kit”.

The monitor of the back up camera system was replaced for a larger one.

Several other issues have been taken care of as well.
And not everything is resolved yet.
More fine-tuning needs to happen before the new journey into Mexico can start.