Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A black lady found

Loreto is a town in Baja California, Mexico, that is booming.
It has become the centre of tourist development with its own international airport, golf course, hotels and condominiums.

West of Loreto is a mountain range called the “Sierra de la Giganta”.
The backbone of the southern part of the peninsula.
Near Loreto a road leads into those mountains with peaks of 5512 feet (1.700 metres).

It is a spectacular road to drive.


Very steep and winding up and up offering incredible vistas of the Sea of Cortez.
Once on top of the mountain range, the road reaches a more levelled area.
To enter a canyon made by the San Javier river that brings water all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
At about 25 miles (40 kilometres) from Loreto, at an elevation of 1440 feet (440 metres), is the village of San Javier.
Where is a beautiful church built by the Spanish in the 1700’s.




Originally the Guaycura Indians lived in this area.
Until the Spanish colonists arrived.
Ambitious, inventive, unscrupulous and religious.
On May 11, 1699 the Spanish founded the Mission de San Francisco Javier Viggé Biaundó.
To turn the area into Christian territory.
With the religion came the most modern developments from Europe concerning agriculture, techniques and management.

In 1744 Father Miguel del Barco started the project of building the church of San Javier and this took him 14 years.
An incredible undertaking.


The man was from Spain and somehow he managed to design, plan, fund and actually construct the beautiful building.
He had for example special stones come from the mainland of Mexico.
Transported by ship and then by mule.
At the time communications were slow and travel times long: to go to Loreto by foot and mule must have taken at least one day.

Another impressive aspect is the fact that this Miguel del Barco must have had an enormous driving power and total conviction to start and finish this project.
He was far away from home.
From his family and his society.
It was religion that motivated him and when seeing this church, his efforts shine gloriously.

This church is considered the most beautiful one in Baja California and fortunately this is respected.
A large esplanade has been made in front of the church and it is all kept clean.
Even someone is guarding the church and its treasures.



Inside the church beautiful religious paintings can be admired and contrary to the church in San Jose de Comondu, in the church of San Javier a lady in black is exhibited.







.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Drunks and devastation

One immediate conclusion after travelling two days in the mountains is that even these areas are infested by zillions of insects also.
Including the so much feared “noseeums”.

Last night, somewhere between La Purisima and Loreto, as soon as it was dark and the light put on, they all came.


Within a short time there was a similar situation as had been fled at the lagoon “Estero del Tomate”.
The ceiling of the Fuso Szulc black of millions of “noseeums”.
And worse, there were vicious mosquitoes as well.
Attacking and biting where they could.
Making the body a moon landscape of bites.

Inside the Fuso Szulc meanwhile, the temperature was 32º C (90º F).
And no wind.
Horrible circumstances.
What to do?
Where to go?

Earlier that day a Mexican family was met that lived on a rancho in the mountains.
They complained as well about the insects.
Their way of dealing with it was to hide, as soon as it was dark, in their beds that are surrounded by a boxlike cover of sheets.

This idea was used last night.
The whole body covered by a large sheet and the small ventilator blowing fresh air on the head to have some air.
But this was far from a comfortable situation as the temperature was still above 30º C (86ºF).
Sweating like in a sauna.
Itching all over the body.
Feeling miserable and helpless.

These are therefore not very happy days.
One conclusion is that “Estero del Tomate” was left hoping to find a better place in the mountains.
Cooler and with not as many insects.
But the insects are everywhere and even at altitudes of over 900 meters (3000 feet) it is even warmer compared to a location next to the ocean.
Another conclusion is that next summer the advice of most fervent and loyal blog reader Bob will be followed to go to Parque Nacional San Pedro Martir.
This is in the very north of Baja California, east of Ensenada and at very high altitude.
Now it is too late in the year to travel to that place.
Where it snows in winter…

A third conclusion is that to find a location in the mountains to stay for a while is hardly possible.
Either a place is found in a valley with a river to have water.
But these locations rarely are found in Baja California and where a valley and a river happen to be, usually people live.
Besides, in a valley means to be locked in between mountains.
No view, no sky.
Or a place is found high up in the mountains.
Like on top of the world.
This is hard to find as well because there are no roads going to a platform like space from where to enjoy a magisterial view.
Besides the fact that there will be no water there needed for the daily shower.

The other revealing experience was the visit yesterday and day before to the villages of San Jose de Comondu and San Miguel de Comondu.
Only 3 kilometers between them, high in the mountains.
In a large valley with water, palm trees, fruit trees and cattle.

San Jose de Comondu has been a Spanish colonial settlement in the 1700 and 1800’s.
Somehow these Spanish managed to have a successful existence.
Maybe by exploiting the local population, but they built an irrigation system, made fields and had prosperity.
That prosperity has vanished.
A village like San Jose de Comondu today is a demonstration of disinterest.
Of a lack of focus on making things beautiful.
One reason for this is alcohol.
Numerous the men in the village that were met who were drunk.
At one point a man was near the Fuso Szulc, at 8.30 am, beer can in the hand, rather drunk.
A young boy approached on a bike and the two of them had a long chat.
Remarkable situation.
The boy obviously is used to adult men being drunk.
For the boy this is nothing to be surprised about: it is completely integrated in the Mexican social fabric.
Hence, it can be predicted that when the boy is older, he probably will use alcohol excessively as well.

When the man finished another beer, he threw the can away.
While at 50 meters (160 feet) an old oil drum was available for garbage.
But drinking too much beer results in getting the feeling it all doesn’t matter that much anymore.
Who cares?

And that is what is often seen in Mexico.
Villages and towns that have a rather run down look.
Including La Purisima.
Who cares?
Let’s have another beer.

In the next village, San Miguel de Comondu, was a big fiesta and of course it was a consideration to witness and possibly participate in the festivities.
But it was easy to see that many men and also women were drunk or at least tipsy.
And this was at 10.00 am
For a permanent pilgrim this is not a good situation.
When people are under the influence of alcohol they become unrestraint and unpredictable.
When a drunk in his village notices a stranger, he possibly chooses the visitor as the target to release frustration and aggression.
Like many women know suffering when the husband comes home drunk.
And the police as well who were present in San Miguel de Comondu sporting large rifles.

Driving out of San Miguel de Comondu, the road was rained by empty beer cans of the Mexicans who had come by car to celebrate.

Another thing came up in the conversation with the Mexican family living on a rancho somewhere between La Purisima and Loreto.
One of the women, out of the blue, suddenly asked if she could come along in the Fuso Szulc.
And she gave immediately the reason for her request.
Her husband loved beer too much.
It was a surprising remark of the woman because the conversation had not been about that subject at all.
They didn’t even know of the recent experiences in San Miguel de Comondu.

Insects and drunks.
It looks the final conclusion of the current escapade is to return to “Estero del Tomate”.
There are insects bothering.
Like everywhere this time of year.
But at least there are no drunks.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about the
Parque Nacional San Pedro Martir, click on:

http://www.bajaquest.com/sidetrips/sidetrip06.pdf




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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Blow up the church !

The first day of the quest for a good location in the mountains ended in the village of Mision de San Jose de Comondu.



After getting off road and driving 3 hours on a dirt track.
Going up in the mountains.

Deep in a valley with a river and palm trees, Mision de San Jose de Comondu is a bunch of houses mostly of families who moved away to the big city some time ago.
One sees abandoned and decaying structures in the old Spanish colonial style.
But also modern bungalows.

Spanish adventurers and priests established here a settlement, built houses and a church in 1708.
Developed the region, christened and colonized it to achieve a regional prosperity never matched again.

But around 1910 local people used dynamite to blow up the church, the biggest in Baja California, and the buildings of the Spanish to have the stones to build their own homes.
An amazing demonstration of selfishness.
At the time the Church and the Spanish buildings were over 300 years old.
The stones for these buildings had been transported on mule backs from far away.
The Church and the Spanish buildings demonstrated culture, civilisation and art.
Were the only heritage.
But to get stones quickly for new construction, everything was simply blowned up.

Nowadays in Mision de San Jose de Comondu, there is a church, but it has little to do with the colonial days.


It has been built less than a 100 years ago and is just a simple, rudimentary oblong stone building.
Even without a church tower.
However, inside the church of Mision de San Jose de Comondu are two remarkable things to see.
A child under a plastic cover.
And a white lady.





The Fuso Szulc is parked next to this church because it was too late to continue the journey.
Local people were met resulting in an invitation to go with them tonight to the next village, called San Miguel, that has annual celebrations.
This because tomorrow is the name day of Saint Michel.

Even here in the mountains, at 900 meters (3.000 ft), it is warm and ferocious flies bother.
But there are no noseeums.

Obviously this village is not the place to stay more than one night.
Tomorrow the return trip will be made to the asphalt road and then La Purisima will be the next destination.

Once, many years ago, the dirt road was driven from Loreto to La Purisima.
At one point, high in the mountains, there was a lake.
This image is in mind as a possible destination to spend more time.






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Saturday, September 27, 2008

A swimming pool in the trumpet

Mmmm, going to the mountains, eh?
And why then still next to the “Pool of Death” in Ciudad Constitucion?
Why not near La Purisima, the mountain village, next to a small river and having a gorgeous view?

The explanation is that the Datastorm Satellite System broke down.
Access to the internet had become impossible.
No more connection could be made to the SatMex 5 satellite.

In the past, this kind of situation with the Datastorm Satellite System has been leading to panic.
But because it has been happening so often, erratic as the System is, a rather unemotional step by step recovery process was performed.

Step one was to go and pick up the laundry.

Step two to go to a local coffee shop in Ciudad Constitucion known for its good coffee, delicious cakes and free Internet service.
There the posting of today was published and urgent e-mails handled.

Next, with the help of SKYPE, Paul Angerami of the company Satellite Advantage in Quartzsite, USA was called.
The situation was explained to him and he immediately knew what was the matter.
The frequency of the SatMex 5 satellite had been changed.
They do this without informing anybody.
Next, all people connecting to the SatMex 5 have a problem.
Because the settings of their modems do not correspond anymore with the newly required frequency number.

The other thing was that the Receiver and Transmitter polarizations had to be changed from horizontal to vertical.

How can an average user of a Datastorm Satellite System know these things?
By receiving an e-mail some time before the changes with exact information and what to do from customer service of Datastorm.
But somewhere somehow someone doesn’t give a damn and the next thing that happens is that suddenly a Datastorm-customer is cut off and distributors like Satellite Advantage get phone calls and need to spend time to get everybody back on track.

All in all, it took over 3 hours to fix the thing.
Talking to Paul Angerami in the Internet Café, trying it out in the Fuso Szulc and getting back to him with the results to evaluate and masterplan the next step.

It is working now.
More or less.
But bravo Paul!

One of the things that has been learned from the Fuso Szulc is that it is essential to get service after buying.
Some are good in this.
Some not.
Satellite Advantage is top.
You can call him, this Paul Angerami.
He is there and rescues you.

Same for Heliotrope and their solar energy controllers.
Kearny Mesa Mitsubishi trucks in San Diego: same league.
FantasticFan.
Fantastic in giving service as well.

Are there companies failing in giving service the customer deserves?
Unfortunately there are.
The company National Seating.
That supplied the seats for the Fuso Szulc.
Expensive, bad quality and worst customer service.
The solar fan from Valterra to have your RV-fridge work more efficiently.
Produced by a Taiwanese company and breaking down within 3 months.
You spend over $ 50 and you are better off donating this money to the Red Cross.

Once back on the Internet, a “Matamosca” had to be found in Ciudad Constitucion.
This is to kill flies.
In an ecological friendly way.
This is by hand.
Swinging a specially designed fly killer.



The one available in the Fuso Szulc is broken and its success rate has become minimal.
True, vigor played a role there.

First a young Mexican lady was asked where this fly killer could be found.


This initiated a search, resulting in visiting about 5 shops who all were only selling spray cans to kill flies.
It seems that nowadays people spray their rooms with a vaporized chemical to get rid of flies.
The idea to spray chemicals to kill flies inside the Fuso Szulc is the most total impossibility imaginable.
Never ever.

Once the troubles with the Datastorm were solved and the inquiry about a fly killer finished, it was late in the afternoon.
Too late to head for the mountains that are many hours away.
Nothing to do but to return to “El Campestre” with its peaceful nights and its large swimming pool.

Where a trumpet was found blowing in the water.


+++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about Paul Angerami and his company called Satellite Advantage, go to
http://www.satelliteadvantage.net/

To learn more about the company that supplied the Fuso Szulc truck seats, click on:
http://nationalseating.com/

To learn more about the fridge fan, click on:
http://www.rvpartscenter.com/ProductDetail.asp?ProductID=31051&StoreID=11&DepartmentID=13&CategoryID




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Friday, September 26, 2008

Soothing sorrow

What is beauty?

In the city of Ciudad Constitucion, Mexico, a Laundromat was needed to take care of the dirty clothes, towels and sheets.

There was a memory from several years ago of having used a Laundromat in Ciudad Constitucion.
But where again was it?

Since the last visit to this place journeys have been made to numerous countries like China, Japan, Iran, Spain and the USA.
In all those countries hotels, shops and restaurants were found and the locations stored in the memory like if it was the hard disk of Google Earth.

Because there is so much information in the memory, the exact location doesn’t appear on the mind’s TomTomscreen.
The way to operate then is to go by instinct.
Not to connect to the memory through the channel of rationality.
Not to try to remember where exactly the Laundromat is.
But to go where it feels to go.

This is how the Laundromat in Ciudad Constitucion found the Fuso Szulc.
Suddenly it was there.
By not looking but by just letting it go and have it come.

Now, that is beauty.

Next step was to find a car wash.
A place that could clean the Fuso Szulc of the mud and the salt.

Two men were loading a pick-up truck with metal pipes.
“Good morning, Caballeros!”
“Good morning, Señor”
“Where is a car wash to clean my truck?”
“Just around the corner, amigo”.

And indeed, around the corner was the car wash called “El Palmito” where four guys did a great job making the Fuso Szulc a tip top expedition vehicle again.
For 400 Mexican Pesos. (25 Euros/37 Dollars)

Now, that is beauty.

Alfredo of the car wash was asked if he had an idea how to lock the refrigerator and the freezer in a way the content would not spill out anymore.
As has been happening repeatedly when off-roading.
Due to the standard Dometic refrigerator locks that are only good for decent highway use.

Alfredo had a brilliant idea for which hardware was needed from a Mexican version of Home Depot.

“Where to find a hard-ware shop, Alfredo?”
“Just one block from here!”

Where they had the specific locks that are now installed and never the contents of the refrigerator and the freezer can spill anymore.

Now, isn’t that beauty, fervent and loyal blog readers?

A question may come up at this point in the posting by every alert reader.
Is Ciudad Constitucion some kind of Shangri La place or what?
With all these beautiful things happening?

Hell no.

Barking dogs were heard at balneario “El Campestre” where the Fuso Szulc is hiding.
The kind of barking was heard when dogs are very upset.
Checking it out three dogs were observed surrounding a small cat.
Attacking it.
Biting it.
The cat desperately defending herself.
A run at Beijing Olympic Games speed was made to the situation.
By then the cat, out of desperation, had climbed one of the palm trees and was holding herself with her claws around the tree trunk.
The dogs were simply waiting at the bottom of the tree for the cat to get tired and fall down.

As many fervent and loyal blog readers know, their faithfull servant loves dogs.
But to hate them happens sometimes as well.
A stick, while running towards the dramatic situation, was found and the dogs understood it would land violently on their backs if they would not run away and this immediately.
In this way they were chased away to forget forever about ever catching and murdering the innocent cat who was still holding on by embracing the tree for her sheer life.
Next step in the rescue operation was to gain the trust of the cat to let go and come down the palm tree.

When living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, besides the wonderful Japanese wife, there were three cats sharing our beautiful lives.
They were called Bambi, Zorro and Battery.
When dinner was served, those three cats would never jump on the table to try to get their share.
Because from the beginning of their cat lives, they had been spoken to in case they did something not in tune with living with humans.
Never they were physically punished.

“Bambi, you are now on the table served with our beautiful food while you have your delicious cat food on a plate in the kitchen so is this a good idea you have now?
Are you supposed to be on our table, Bambi?
You may consider to jump down and stop your nonsense!”
And Bambi, who was of course a redhaired cat, would stop trying to eat the food on the table, look pensively at the speaker, understand and jump off the table.
To never return there again.

The cat on the palm tree hanging on to life was spoken to in the same way.
Her mouth was open and her tongue hanging out, breathing heavily.
Completely exhausted after the fight with the three dogs.

“You may want to come down, brave cat.
How well you did.
You are a heroine.
Now it is safe.
The dogs are chased away.
You may come down now”

And she did.
Soothed by the reassuring words and the intonation of the kind words.

She was not in a good shape though.
Her fur wet from the saliva of the dogs.
Blood from the dog bites.
Totally exhausted.

She was put in a safe place where the dogs would be unable to exercise again their nonsense hobby.
She was served with fresh water to drink.

Is that beauty?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

But what is definitely no beauty is the fact that the Datastorm Satellite system was unable to get online.
For over four hours the sky was searched and each time connection to the SatMex satellite was impossible.
The HN 7000s receiver in the Fuso Szulc is not recognizing anymore the signal of her SatMex satellite.

The sun goes down.
The only thing to do now is to go into the “Pool of death”.

Nobody is there.
A license to have the water touch a naked, lean and shaved body.
Open anywhere to give and receive beauty to sooth our sorrow.

Tomorrow is the birthday of the Mexican Señorita.
Missed now to share servicing beauty.
In the warm pool.
Here, there and everywhere.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

There is a serious problem with the Datastorm Satellite System.
It doesn't recognize the Mexsat Satellite anymore.
This posting comes from an Internetcafé in Ciudad Constitucion.
The day of departure into the mountains.
Maybe without being able to be in touch anymore.














Thursday, September 25, 2008

Like an elephant.

It is not simply a matter of packing things up on one location, travel to the next and unpack.

To pack everything at “Estero del Tomate” took three hours.
To get back to the highway another three hours.
To drive to the town of Ciudad Constitucion three hours more.

For the moment cover has been found at the most favourite trailer park called “El Campestre” in Ciudad Constitucion.
Many fervent and loyal blog readers will remember a recent posting about “El Campestre” and its “Pool of death”.

Last night again this fabulous swimming pool was visited and floating on the back the palm trees were seen standing next to the pool.
Through the leaves of the palm trees some stars were shining.
And they slowly and gently moved.
Because of the floating in the water of course but it gave this sensational feeling of being one with the stars and why not with the whole universe?


A few hours north of Ciudad Constitucion is a small village called La Purisima.
This is in the mountains.
The first target on the quest to find a new location away from the ocean.

Today though will be spent in Ciudad Constitucion to have the Fuso Szulc washed and cleaned.
The expedition vehicle is full of dried up mud and sand.
Besides the layers of salt.
Better get her into the mountains as a nice and clean mobile home.

But the decision to stay one day in Ciudad Constitucion for preparations considered necessary are also fed by feelings of insecurity to go into the mountains to stay there for awhile.

Mountains are unfamiliar territory.
The country born was the Netherlands.
Where are no mountains.
It is flat like the chest of a tomboy.
And still today, buxomness is found unattractive.

First real mountains were seen on a visit to Poland at the age of 13.

The family had the tradition to spend the summers at the seaside in the Netherlands.
Other people would go to Switzerland or Austria because for Dutch people mountains were extraordinary.
But as of the age of five months, each summer was at the beach.
For over 17 years.

This must explain why later in life so often time has been spent on the beach.
It is familiar territory.

To decide now to go to the mountains for spiritual growth, peace and harmony and creative explosions, as was always happening on the beach, is like a revolution.

It is entering unknown territory.
Landing on another planet.
Being a tiger among lions.

Hence, there is excitement and fear.
Curiosity about how it will be.
What will be found.
And fear to fail or to become disappointed.

But there is no way back.
Yesterday there was new rainfall at “Estero del Tomate”.
Creating new and fresh breeding grounds for the insects.
And especially the “Noseeums” are feared.
Those tiny black flies ferociously biting to suck the blood.
They are not stopped by repellent or bug-screens and it has been learned they even carry diseases.

So, tomorrow there is nothing to do but to go into the mountains.
And it has been decided to go as an elephant.
As an elephant?
Yes, as an elephant.

Because elephants are very intelligent animals who move gently.
They are big and strong.
And they have no enemies.
Except themselves.




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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Victorious flies


They are called Ceratopogonidae.
Or biting midges.
Better known as “No-see-ums”.

Until now near the laguna “Estero del Tomate” they have been around, but in a tolerable way.
This, for an experienced and focused traveller.

However, last night the wind changed to the east.
A whispering breeze coming from the land.
And within a short time the whole area was infested with billions of “No-see-ums”.
Most particularly inside the Fuso Szulc where the light was on.

The ceiling black of flies.
The large table covered completely with the “No-see-ums”.
Around the light billions dancing.





They also got on the body as they like the salt.
Thousands crawling on the arms, shoulders and legs.
In Egypt once upon a time they had seven plagues.
An eight one could have been an attack like at “Estero del Tomate” of “No-see-ums”.

What to do?
An insectant repellent was applied but to no avail.
Eventually it was decided to go to bed and hide under the sheet.
But with no wind it got bloody hot there.
And the “No-see-ums” got in there anyway crawling, biting and irritating.

Then this bright idea came up to use the portable ventilator.
“No-see-ums” are not good fliers and are pushed away by air streams.
The ventilator was placed at the foot-end of the bed and this worked.
At least some hours of sleep became available.

This morning inside the Fuso Szulc it is total disaster.
Dead “No-see-ums” by the thousands everywhere.
And still no wind, a high humidity of 82 % and at 8 am already 25 º C (77º F.)

Several loyal, fervent and concerned blog readers have been advising to get out of the area.
And after last night the wisdom of the advice is clearly understood.

Soon the camp will be broken down.
Everything stored.
The Fuso Szulc prepared to hit the roads again.
To become open for a brand new adventure.

The mountains.
The mountains.
The mountains.
The mountains.
The mountains.


To look for a magical place to stay and grow in the mountains…

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about "no-see-ums", click on:


http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/aquatic/biting_midges.htm

http://pelotes.jea.com/AnimalFact/Arthropod/NOSEEUM.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratopogonidae


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A good eagle

One of the birds that has always been observed along the coasts of Baja California, is the sea eagle.

A most shy animal that will fly away when a human is even still far away.
Mostly alone, sometimes there is company and they make strong shrieking sounds.

Sea eagles make large nests of branches and for example near Guerrero Negro these nests can be seen on top of telephone poles.

Most spectacular of sea eagles is the way they catch their food.
They eat fish.
To catch one they fly against the wind along the shoreline looking down.
When they see fish they make themselves fall down like a Stuka airplane.
They fall on the water surface with their feet and claws spread out.
They grip with their feet the fish and get airborne again.
Most funny is to see them shake themselves in midair to get the water off their feathers.
With the fish in their claws they fly to the hinterland to land on top of a cactus.
Where they eat the fish ripping the animal apart with the large and sharp beak the sea eagle has.

The sea eagle is a very individual animal.
Not like sea gulls who live in large groups for protection and company.

Sea eagles like to sit on driftwood on the beach to look around and wait for fish to come close to shore.

In a gesture of friendliness to the sea eagle, dead trees washed ashore have been erected to offer a comfortable place for them to watch and wait.

And this worked.
As of several days, a sea eagle uses the offered service.
The bird sits on the tree for hours until it is time to care for dinner.






Nature is now very hard on the person who insists staying at “Estero del Tomate”.
Strong winds driving crazy, bitten to death by billions of insects and bothered permanently by trillion of flies.
But in all this misery there is the sea eagle that is in permanent view and feels like a friendly companion in this situation.
Harmony here, at least with one animal.







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Monday, September 22, 2008

Ferocious flies and whirling winds

Recently in the USA a Persian cat was observed.

The beautiful animal liked to lay down close when the morning meditation was performed on the sunny terrace with the wide view of the Ramona valley.

One day it was noticed that a fly landed on the cat.
The cat was stretched out and had his eyes closed.
Hence, he could not see a fly had landed on his fur.
Nevertheless, the cat felt the fly and was irritated by it.
Woke up and chased away the fly.

The fly was not on the skin of the cat but on his long hairs.
It explained how sensitive a cat is.
Even a little annoyance on some of the hairs is experienced as irritating.

The Persian cat is remembered many times a day now.
Because at “Estero del Tomate” are many flies now.
It must be because there has been so much rain here and of it being the season for these insects.

Besides the ordinary flies, well known worldwide, there are most tiny flies that hardly can be seen.
These tiny flies bite to suck blood.
The landing of these flies on the skin cannot be felt.
But when they bite a pain alarms the ferociousness of the insect.
And next, at the spot of the bite, intense itching occurs for hours.

Staying these days at “Estero del Tomate” therefore is far from a pleasure.
Constantly the small flies are successful in biting.
And by now the whole body is covered by insect bites and itching is all over.

Sitting outside reading the biography of Harry Houdini is made a torture by the flies.
Impossible to concentrate as permanently new bites are felt and time must be spend to kill a few.

Even doing the yoga exercises result in feeling the flies bite everywhere all the time.

Another characteristic of the west coast of Baja California is that late in the year a daily strong northwestern wind will blow.
Usually starting in December but sometimes as late as February.
This year the northwestern wind has already started.
Topping 26 kilometres per hour. (15 mph)
Never before has it been experienced that this wind was already blowing in September.
And it does.
Bringing salt air eating all metal of the Fuso Szulc and having sand enter everywhere.
Making the stay at “Estero del Tomate” tough and unpleasant.
To be in constant wind drives a sane man to the asylum.

This treatment by nature of biting flies and strong winds wear a visitor out.
It eventually makes a sensible person come to the conclusion that it is better to get out of there.
Not to suffer these negative influences ruining the mental and physical health.
And this follows the philosophy of living in an expedition vehicle.
When circumstances are not enjoyable, the caravan moves on.

But this is only day 5 of the period at “Estero del Tomate”.
It is known that these flies are seasonal.
Maybe they disappear in a short while.
Maybe this northwestern wind is temporary as well.
Calming down to return in January.

Meanwhile the idea is spinning in the head to drastically change a pattern around for years.
Always winters were spent next to the ocean and the sea.
But how will it be to find a peaceful and beautiful location up in the mountains?



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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Paramagnetic paranoia

Last night a cow, a horse or possibly a donkey has stumbled in the dark near to the Fuso Szulc and knocked over the pole with the wind indicator of the Wireless Weather Station.

That is all very well and possible.
The damage will be repaired later today.
But what is scaring is that nothing was heard of the event.
It must have made major noise but how can it be that sleep was uninterrupted?

A person with a dose of paranoia in the brains may think that this time it was a horse.
Who could cause major damage unnoticed.

But what if it had been a bandito who had come to steal things?
Or an assassino with a large knife to cut the throat after getting the info where is the money?
Or an older man accompanied by two lovely Señoritas who come for some hot raping?
Meanwhile the occupant of the Fuso Szulc peacefully sleeping and noticing nothing.

Well, sleeping like being unconscious and all these horses, banditos and Señoritas doing their terrible things: should the Fuso Szulc then not be equipped with some kind of alarm system?
Or surround it with barbed wire, watchtowers and searchlights with movement detectors?
Hire some former Nazi concentration camp specialists and Abu Grabi guards to keep order around the Fuso Szulc?

Paranoia is a disease that immobilizes people.
It makes them so afraid that they have no more initiatives.
While the paranoia is in the head only and of the own imagination.
Fed by the information one wants to get and focus on.

There are plenty of Norte Americanos who have decided not to travel to Mexico anymore.
Because what they have learned from their news sources.
Coming to the conclusion that going to Mexico is equal to facing a certain death.

It is true that the USA-news media rarely publish anything about Mexico that is good news.
Most of the time the news published is negative distorting completely the situation in Mexico as it really is.

Most recently was the news of an incident that happened on Mexican Independence day September 16.
In every Mexican town people gather that evening on the town square to hear “El Grito”.
The local Governor will speak out the speech of Independence and the crowd replies with “Viva Mexico, viva Mexico”.

In the town of Morelos this went badly wrong.
Some crazy person threw a hand grenade into the crowd.
Several death and many wounded.

At the very same time the Independence Day celebration was shared with good friends and a huge crowd in La Paz, Baja California.
It was all very colourful and peaceful.
Like in most Mexican towns.
But that is not news.

However, there was a scary moment in La Paz.
The celebration ended with fireworks.
But the rockets were launched just next to the crowd exploding right above our heads.
It was like being under fire.
Big bangs right above, hurting the ears.
It was like war.
The crowd came close to panicking when still burning parts of the fireworks started to rain down.
Right on top of the people who had nowhere to go.
One could only hope not to get burned and parents were protecting their kids by covering them with their bodies.

It was bad planning of the organizers but fortunately, as far as could be observed, nobody got hurt.

Those things happen.
Donkeys knocking down weather station installations, burning paper raining on crowds and old ladies stealing Nivea cream in “Soriana” supermarket.

Are those reasons to not go and stay in Mexico and to remain in the USA?
Will it be safer there?




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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shopping and stealing

Before to go into retreat at “Estero del Tomate”, Baja California Mexico with the Fuso Szulc, supplies need to be purchased.

The large water tank and propane tank need to be filled.
Vegetables and fruit must be bought.
As well as all those many other little items a human being needs when on the own for a period of over 3 weeks.

Most fruits like mangoes and oranges are bought from a fruit stall.
This because so many of them are needed that a shopping cart loaded with mangoes and oranges and everything else needed would be too full too quickly.
Also, the friendly fruit stall vendor brings the 25 kilos (55 pounds) of oranges to the Fuso Szulc to put them gently inside.

All the other products are bought from a supermarket called “Soriana”.
A large grocery and department store belonging to a chain with 204 supermarkets all over Mexico.

“Soriana” is supposed to be a cheap supermarket.
To check here follow some prices paid for products this week.

One kilo of Avocados 28,90 Pesos
2,2 Pounds - 1,87 Euro - 2,71 Dollar

One kilo of fresh garlic 48,90 Pesos
2,2 Pounds - 3,17 Euro - 4,58 Dollar

A cauliflower 18,90 Pesos
1,22 Euro - 1,29 Dollar

Carton containing 2 litres of apple juice
19,90 Pesos - 1,77 Euro - 1,86 Dollar

One kilo of red apples 19,90 Pesos
2,2 Pounds - 1,77 Euros - 1,86 Dollar

One kilo of bananas 12,90 Pesos
2,2 Pounds - 0,83 Euro - 1,21 Dollar

One kilo of tomatoes 14,90 Pesos
2,2 Pounds - 0,96 Euro - 1,39 Dollar

One kilo of grapefruits 8,90 Pesos
2,2 Pounds - 0,57 Euro - 0,83 Dollar

One kilo of carrots 12,90 Pesos
2,2 Pounds - 0,83 Euro - 1,21 Dollar

Notice that most prices of the products in Soriana end in 90…

Shopping in Soriana is neither a catastrophe nor a pleasure.
It is simply getting supplies.
A rational and unemotional event and the way the interior of the shop looks helps a person to feel that way.

For one thing a shopper must be careful when getting supplies in Soriana.
The cashier girls are friendly and efficient.
Like Grecia Del Rosario Rese a few days ago.
There are also people in Soriana uniforms who have as a job to put the groceries in plastic bags and in the shopping cart.
After the groceries have been scanned by the cashier girl.
These persons handling the groceries are the elderly.
Very old men and women.
Often looking so frail and weak that one gets embarrassed to see them to have to work at their age and in their physical condition.
But every customer never forgets to give a generous tip to the old man or woman.

But unfortunately it has happened twice now that later it turned out that a purchased item was missing.
Because the cashier girl works more swiftly than the old person can put the things in plastic bags, an accumulation arises at the end.
All the purchased products in one big heap and the old person slowly taking care of them.
And meanwhile the stuff of the next customer comes from the scanner.
In this confusion and jam it is impossible to control if all the purchased items actually do land in a plastic bag and in the shopping cart.

This time a bottle of Nivea body cream was bought.
48,42 Pesos - 3,13 Euro - 4,54 Dollar

But after the location “Estero del Tomate” was reached and the supplies taken out of the many plastic bags, there was no bottle of Nivea Body cream.
It is on the receipt and on some wrinkled skin.








Friday, September 19, 2008

Mud madness

Returned to “Estero del Tomate”.
A most adventurous undertaking because the tracks in many places are deep and changed into long mud pools.
After the two tropical storms that have battered Baja California with heavy rains during the last weeks.

One could see that no car has been passing on these roads during the last two weeks.
They have become simply too bad.

The technique to negotiate them is to switch on the four-wheel drive system and enter the muddy part of the road at the highest speed possible.
Not too fast though to avoid losing control of direction to pirouette and possibly tumble over.

Another important trick is to stay as close to the side of the road as possible.
There it is less deep and probably more dried so that the wheels find more traction.

Some parts of the road had changed into mud for long stretches.
The Fuso Szulc bravely entering it would lose more and more speed while the wheels were spinning wildly and the mud would fly five feet high all around.
Those are moments that destiny is decided by luck only.
That the vehicle will not get stuck because the stretch had the perfect distance and deepness.
One thing clearly realized was that the Fuso Szulc has a very capable 4x4 system and is light and volatile enough to deal with these impossible circumstances.

Mud is the worst enemy when offroading.
Loose sand can be a problem as well.
But if one gets stuck in loose sand, there are methods to get out somehow.
Not in mud though.
To get stuck in mud is reaching the end of the road.

This was found out by Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler.
They both invaded with their armies Russia and initially all went well.
Napoleon Bonaparte even managed to reach and occupy Moscow.
Adolf Hitler reached the outskirts of the Russian capital.

But they lost the wars because their armies got stuck in the Russian mud.
Supplies, arms and ammunition could not be transported to the far advanced troops once the snow had melted.
The land turned into one big muddy pool separating the Siegfrieds from the Fatherland forever.

The German Army had plenty of 4x4 trucks and half-tracks.


Mud is a match impossible to beat.
But then, at the time, there were no Mitsubishis Fuso FG 4x4.






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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bloody dog.

Many fervent and loyal blog readers will remember the Mexican dog Gorba.
Who lived at the rancho of the Gonzales family at Punta Boca del Salado in Baja California.

A dog that developed the nasty habit of attacking goats and killing them.

Who was then kept tied with a rope to a tree.

In this miserable situation he lived for more than a year.
Efforts were made to convince the Gonzales family that this was not a good situation for Gorba.
Another rancho was found without goats and eventually permission was required to move Gorba to a new home where he could be free again.

The new rancho belongs to the Ojeda family and yesterday was a meeting with Erick Ojeda.

It was a nice chat about the many things going on in our lives when at one point he said with a big smile on his face:
“Oh, Miguel, by the way, Gorba is dead.”

The story is that Gorba and another dog went by themselves for adventures into the mountains.
The wild land behind the rancho.
The other dog returned eventually to the rancho.
But heavily wounded and they could see it was because of an attack by a wild pig.



They went to look for Gorba and found him massacred by the wild pig.

Erick told that Gorba had a good life at their rancho.
He had gained weight eating dog food with milk everyday.
And had been free to dance and play.
Assisting when cows needed to be round up.



So this is it.
He is dead now.
Bloody dog.











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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Grapple with Apple 2

Because of a Mexican storm, this long time user of Apple products happened to come into the possession of two of their computers.
A MacBook and a MacBook Pro.

The first Apple computer was obtained in 1986.
This was the result of being one of the photographers participating in the project “A Day in the Life of America”.
The organizers had no money to pay the photographers but Apple was a sponsor.
Every photographer got a free Apple computer and an Apple printer.
This was the first computer Apple marketed.



Some months after working for the project “A Day in the Life of America”, a delivery company came in 1986 to the house in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to bring two large boxes containing the Apple computer and printer.
The idea at the time was that a photographer, working with cameras, had no use of a computer.
And that the best was to sell the thing to use the cash for new photography.
In those days, this first Apple computer was in Europe very expensive.
About $ 7.000
And for this money, nobody could be found to buy the thing.
Eventually, more out of curiosity and frustration the boxes were opened.
The computer was fired up and as of then, there is an avid Apple user.

But now is the situation of having two Apple laptops and one of the things that a normal person would like to do is to synchronize these two machines.
If a person uses one computer some time, the agenda, the address book, the e-mails and documents have been accumulating.
If one next wishes to work on the other computer it needs to be updated with the information the other one has.

Apple has realized that this is a common thing.
That not only one person can have two computers.
But that there are also several people with every one of them their own computer who wishes to synchronize among each other.

Apple has commercialised this possibility of synchronizing their computers.
By first making it impossible to do it yourself.
There is no way you can synchronize two Apple computers.
The only way is to subscribe to a service of Apple called MobileMe.
$ 90 annually.
Once this money is paid it becomes possible to synchronize the address book and the agenda.
But one must realize that all the data are on a hard disk owned by Apple and there is no way of knowing how well protected the privacy is.
What if the CIA or the FBI comes to Apple and asks to see your Address Book stored there?

The other thing is that you cannot synchronize the existing e-mail with MobileMe.
One has to take a new e-mail address and this can be synchronized.
This is an enormous disadvantage.
Because the existing e-mails in the computer, written and sent, cannot be entered on MobileMe to synchronize.

To synchronize ordinary files between Apple computers is possible though.
But one needs to buy special software and next each file needs to be transferred from one computer to the next.

It might be possible to imagine that a common Apple user feels pissed off.
It must be a piece of cake to prepare Apple computers in a way that synchronizing them is easy and friendly.
But the urge of Apple to want to make money stops customers to have an ideal product.







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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A flirt with death

The objective was to travel from Los Angeles, USA to La Paz, Baja California, USA.
And this pronto because someone was waiting in La Paz.

When La Paz was only 260 kilometres away, it was late afternoon already.
Not too far anymore but too late to go another 3 hours.

Forced, the refuge of “El Campestre” was found.
One of the favourite camping places.
It is outside the town of Ciudad Constitucion and in an oasis.
Not only is it far away from traffic noise but from the humble and rumble of the town as well.
The major attraction though is a very large swimming pool.
Locals come there to spend the day but have to leave at 18.00 hours.
After that the immense pool is for anyone camping in the trailer park.

Before to go to “El Campestre” some food to cook was bought and a bottle of L.A. Cerro Cabernet Sauvignon from 2006.
While working on the computer outside the Fuso Szulc making use of its WiFi system, a glass of the fermented grape juice was consumed.
And strangely enough, some time later, it turned out the bottle was empty.
Somehow the first glass had been followed by the next to create a chain leading to ultimate happiness.

Then it turned out that besides the empty bottle, the large swimming pool was also empty because all people had gone home.

The sun still shining the plan was made to go for a swim.
Nobody around, the Speedo could be used and soon the warm water and the palm trees surrounded the very well tempered swimmer.

Floating in the pool feeling to be close to heaven a memory came to mind from Cadaques.
Cadaques near Barcelona, Spain.
A village next to the Mediterranean Sea and famous for the fact that the surrealistic painter Salvador Dali used to live there.
And this photographer.

There was a large community of foreigners living in Cadaques.
Most of them artists.
Fascinating people and one couple was especially befriended.
For privacy reasons let’s call them Henry and Mary.
He was a fabulous sculptor and she an out of touch script writer.
Henry was a fascinating and also most attractive man and at one point he started an affair with another woman living near them.
Soon many in the village knew about this.
But not his wife Mary.
When she got suspicious, she asked Henry if he had an affair.
And he would flatly deny it.
But she knew.
For a while she lived with it.
But that nags.
She turned to drinking.
Her life became unhappy and complicated.
Until one night Henry came home from one of his escapades and couldn’t find his wife Mary.
She was missing.
The next morning he went looking and eventually found her.
In the large communal swimming pool not far from their house.
She was dead.
Drowned in the pool.

We never came to know if it was an accident or a suicide.
We could determine though that she had been drinking before to get into the pool.

These memories came back while bathing in the large swimming pool of “El Campestre” in Ciudad Constitucion, Mexico.
The finished bottle of wine made to feel what it was like to be Mary.
What she had experienced before to die in her pool with her wine.

It is about reality.
When sober, one knows there are two situations:
  1. one is to be with the head above the water,
  2. the second is to be with the head under the water.

This is rather important to keep in the awareness when in a swimming pool.
It is OK to go under the water, but this only by realizing it should be as long as the lungs can take.
However, under the influence of a substance like alcohol, this strict separation between above and under the water evaporates.
Under the water becomes equal like being above the water and this is not a very correct assessment.

Alcohol helps to let things go.
But there is no control mechanism when and where and how much this letting go happens.

It is simply not a good idea to get into a swimming pool when lightly drunk.
Let alone when one is heavily sedated.
Things start to mix that should be kept in their own place.

The dip in the pool was a flirt with death.
Very exciting and revealing.


Henry eventually married the woman he was cheating his wife with.
And Mary can be found on the cemetery of Cadaques, Spain.






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Monday, September 15, 2008

Grapple with apple 1

Maybe most fervent and loyal blog readers do remember clearly how an emergency situation arose concerning the MacBook Pro computer a few weeks ago.

The situation room was located at the Rancho Punta Boca del Salado of the Gonzales family where the always-busy photographer and his beautiful Mexican Señorita had been travelling to in order to offer the photo books made of the different family members over a period of 28 years.

Exactly at that time the tropical depression Juan hit Baja California and Punta Boca del Salado as well.
High winds and intense rainfalls were the local result.
The Mexican Señorita and her driver managed to get out before roads were washed away although at one point they hit a situation where no car could pass anymore.
A swollen river.
But the Fuso Szulc was put in the 4x4 mode and the crew in a mode of ultimate determination.
To the astonishment of people in ordinary cars that needed to wait for days for the water to recede, the Fuso Szulc crossed the river like Genghis Khan conquered his empire.

But the tropical depression Juan had put heavy rainfall inside the Fuso Szulc before the inhabitants were back from the ceremony with the Gonzales family.
Through the open roof vents and the large windows rain had come in.
And this rain had touched the Apple MacBook Pro.
The beloved lap top computer faltered to function after the storm.
When switched on, a matrix of pink square blocks appeared on the screen and nothing else would happen.

Not to have a computer and not to have access to the Internet makes a modern photographer a fatal farce.
It is like not existing anymore.
No more e-mails to receive and send.
No more Skype communications to make.
No more Internet banking available.
No more instant news accessible.

Hence, immediately a new Apple laptop was purchased after it became clear that the MacBook Pro could not be fixed in Mexico.

The new darling is a MacBook.
Smaller and slower than the MacBook Pro but with an excellent screen and able to do all the tricks an Apple laptop does twice its price.

Meanwhile the trip to the USA has been made and one of the destinations was a visit to an Apple store where they could repair the failing MacBook Pro.
Fervent and loyal blog readers in possession of an Apple computer, do not have illusions.
If it breaks down, because of a Mexican tropical depression or anyhow, repairing it through an Apple store takes weeks.
You are going to be without her for a long time…

But a magical thing happened.
An Apple store was entered and a sales-person was met in a wheel chair.
He was explained that the computer didn’t work anymore because of a Mexican storm.
Well, fire her up, he instructed.
The MacBook Po was switched on and to uttermost amazement, and partly shame, the bloody machine started and showed no problems whatsoever.

This was exactly as the Mexican Señorita had predicted.
She once had a mobile phone that fell into the water.
She had it in the warm sunshine for some time.
And next, it worked like it never saw moisture.
Inside it had dried up.

It seems the same thing happened to the MacBook Pro.
It works as if never a storm dumped water on her.

So far the news is fantastic.

But lets get deeper into the situation of having two Apple computers.

For several weeks the slower MacBook was used.
Because the faster MacBook Pro is the best, a switch back to using that mean machine was planned.

Before to make the switch however, the MacBook Pro needs to be synchronized with the MacBook.
Because the slower one has been receiving e-mails, sending e-mails, getting new entries in the agenda and new entries in the address book.

In one of the next postings, it will be explained what happens when someone wants to synchronize two Apple computers.




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Sunday, September 14, 2008

A dead man and a wounded bird

This is the story of Hector E. Gastelum.

He was a truck driver transporting loads between La Paz and Tijuana on the Baja California peninsular.
One of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Because it is narrow.
Full of sharp turns and twists.
Going up and down steeply.
Driven by cars, buses and trucks in a hurry to make the 1500 kilometres as quick as possible.

A skilled truck or bus driver does it in 23 hours.

But not Hector E. Gastelum.
He had his truck go out of control going down on a sharp descent between Cataviña and San Ignacio.
He crashed on a hillside and lost his life.
Like many did on this ferocious road.

When one is driving from Tijuana to La Paz, along this Peninsular Highway, frequently crosses and small monuments will be noticed of drivers who lost their lives and didn’t make it.
In total hundreds of crosses can be noticed and they are increasing.
New accidents occur every day.
Family and friends commemorate the death by erecting the statues.

Hector E. Gastelum is a man who is loved until today.
He had his accident in the year 2000, but still the location where he died is kept as a demonstration of love, grief and affection.

Probably Hector left behind a wife, a mother, a father?
They made at the crash site one of the most impressive monuments for everybody to remember him.
In white painted stones his name is put on the hillside that killed.
Remains of the wreckage of his truck are put on a cement floor.
And a copy of his truck cabin has been erected.
In which is, among several things, a picture of him.








Hector E. Gastelum lost his life eight years ago.
And many times his crash site and the monument have been passed.
Each time it was impressive to see how his family was keeping his memory alive.

And although in a hurry, because the Mexican Señorita is waiting for pronto arrival of the Fuso Szulc and her driver in La Paz, this time a stop was made at Hector’s mortal crash site.

Pictures were made of the monument and the strong involvement of his family was experienced.

Walking back to the Fuso Szulc a remarkable thing happened.
Proving once more the cluster theory so often experienced.

In the gutter of the road, near Hector’s fatal crash site, a bird was found.
Still alive.
But obviously hit by a car and knocked out.
Having lost the essential ability to fly.

The bird was on its back.
Still moving.
Carefully it was lifted up.
Its beak was open and breathing heavily from exhaustion and of having been in the hot sun too long.



Of course it was tragic what had happened to Hector E. Gastelum.
But it didn’t bring one tear to the eyes.
Driving truck comes with risks and if fatal, so be it.
But a bird unable to fly anymore because of hitting a car, that makes a man sentimental.
Pretending to have instantly a cold to explain the welling of four tears.

What to do with this unfortunate bird?
Hector E. Gastelum is dead and his family keeps his memory very alive.
But this bird?

He was put in a safe place.
Far from the road in a natural context.
Leaving it up to the bird’s kharma.

The Fuso Szulc was fired up and just before hitting the road again the decision, coming from impulses, instinct and emotions was made to stop again.
The engine was switched off.
Back to the fucking bird.
Putting him in a better place of cool shadow.
Supplying him with drinking water.

Hector is an anomaly.






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Saturday, September 13, 2008

A firm FM


Daniel R. and Nancy W. are the proud owners of a Mitsubishi Fuso FM truck.
Darrin Fink of Douglas, Wyoming has transformed this truck into an expedition vehicle.

That has been quite a project because in its original state the Mitsubishi Fuso FM does not have four-wheel drive.
Hence, the truck has received a specially designed and made front axle with a differential and a new transmission box.
Now it is 4x4.

The camper box is made from polyester and is glued together.
Very light and strong.

This custom-made expedition vehicle is of ultimate high quality.
Very well build and technically close to perfect.

Nevertheless, some remarks can be made.

This Fuso FM Fink is equipped with a huge generator and a large air conditioner on the roof of the camper box.
Consequently the windows are relatively small and there is only one roof vent: above the bed.
The concept is to be out in the boondocks and when it is warm one must run the generator and operate the air conditioner to keep the inside of the camper box cool.
Locked up inside.
The Fuso Szulc has no generator and no air conditioner.
But two very large roof vents and four very large windows.
Great views and the wind can cool the inside.

Strangely enough, the Fuso FM Fink has no screen door.
Any bug and bee, but also rodents and mice can come in for a visit when the door is open.

The windows are opened by tilting them to the outside.
However, when the door is open, one of the bedroom windows cannot open.
The door obstructs this.
And takes away the view from that window.
If the window is open and the door is opened without thinking, it crushes the plastic window.

The propane tank is right in front the rear wheels on the driver’s side.
It is unprotected.
This is very dangerous.
Any stone or other flying object by the driving on dirt roads can hit and damage the tank.
Also, any vandal or badly intentioned person can fool around with the controls of the propane tank and do serious damage.
This propane tank should be in a box with a lock pronto.

More aspects of the Fuso FM Fink are made without vandalism in mind.
Several compartments that are reached by doors from the outside have no lock.
Anybody can open them.
For example, the compartment where is the water pump and the heater.

A last little thing before the list becomes too long.
The water tank has of course an air vent.
So air can escape when the water tank is filled and air can come in when using water.
This air vent is made too low.
When driving, the water in the tank starts to move and finds a way out through the air vent.
On his last trip, this Fuso FM Fink lost in this way 40 % of its water supply…











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To learn more about Darrin Fink, click on:
http://www.ruf-inc.com/about.htm






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Friday, September 12, 2008

No trespassing

A last night in the USA.
On Padre Dam’s Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve.

These are a chain of water reservoirs around which camp places are created.
With electricity, water and sewage hook ups.

But they also have something they have in countries like Iran and China.
The price to stay one night includes WiFi.
One can connect to the Internet using Padre Dam’s Santee Lakes Wireless Internet System.
For this one needs to access a website, fill in a username and a password.
Next, the page of the company that handles the WiFi service appears and one can surf and mail.
However, it is with restrictions.
Like in China and Iran, certain websites are not allowed to visit.
A message appears that the connection is interrupted.
The websites that are not allowed to visit show pornography.
The scaring thing is that somehow the censor knows those websites.
Even if they are in France or other countries.

The Fuso Szulc had another visit to Kearny Mesa Truck Centre in San Diego yesterday.
To tighten the bolts and to eliminate a certain noise coming from underneath.
Like something loose and banging.
This Kearny Mesa Truck Centre in San Diego is a good place as they give excellent service and have a high quality of workmanship.
Service manager Ron Lucero wants customers to be happy and satisfied.
Mechanic John Neff is highly experienced with Mitsubishi Fusos.

Yesterday new rubber mats were placed between the camper box and the chassis.
And the swing mechanism of the cabin was oiled.

After all the service at Kearny Mesa Truck Centre in San Diego, the Fuso Szulc drives better than ever with her four Bilstein shocks, two Timbren shock absorbers, extra spring leaves and new rubber mats for the moving camper box.

Today is the crossing of the border into Mexico and the first of five days driving south.






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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Return.

After more than a week enjoying hospitality of friends and staying in their houses and sleeping in the guestrooms, it is almost sensational to be back in the Fuso Szulc.
Now equipped with four Bilstein shocks, two Timbren rubber shock absorbers, extra leaves on the left front spring and fresh oil and new filters.

The time in the USA is coming to an end and soon the border will be crossed into Mexico.
To drive for about five days.
Straight back into the arms of the Mexican Señorita.
To return to “Estero del Tomate” to continue the work on the new conceptual photography.


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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

speeding sequences

A long time friend is Reeves Callaway who many fervent and loyal blog readers may know for his racing cars.
And the special version he makes of the Chevrolet Corvette.

Reeves lives in this amazing house in Laguna Beach, California, USA and quality time was spent there with him.

Besides reminiscing the past, now covering 29 years and many beloved ones, there were fascinating exchanges of opinions about different subjects.
About art and creativity.
And about the future.

For example, how will cars look like in 20 to 50 years from now.
Reeves Callaway, an expert in this matter, believes that eventually cars will be electrical.
And will have four engines.
Each wheel will have its own electrical motor.
Steering will change too.
The wheels will be in a fixed position: there is no steering mechanism as we have now.
Going to the left or the right is controlled by a computer that directs the wheels.
Turning left makes the wheels on the left turn backwards and the wheels on the right turn forwards.
This in total synchronisation with speed.

Another prediction is based on the surprising fact that only 20 % of the roads is actually occupied by cars.
80 % is free and open.
These amazing results are based on the space in between cars.
Even in a traffic jam, the space between cars is unused and totalling to an impressive percentage.

Reeves Callaway sees in the future cars equipped with radars that detect how close other cars and objects are.
And based on those observations control the distance to another car or object.
The driver will have nothing to do with this.
No decisions need to be made when to brake and how close one drives behind another car.
Through this system the roads can be used in a more optimal way.

These thoughts and ideas are progressive and visionary.
No wonder.
In his office, Reeves Callaway has sequences on the wall.

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To learn more about Reeves Callaway, click on:

http://www.vetteweb.com/features/vemp_0702_reeves_callaway_interview/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callaway_Cars





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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hot springs and hands

In the southeast of California, USA is a place called Warner Springs.
It is an oasis in the desert with palm trees and several springs.
This used to be a holy and sacred place of the Pala Indians.
But they were chased away by the white men and the Pala Indians live now on a reservation near Temecula.
However, before the Pala Indians left their beloved holy and sacred place, they spoke out a curse.
They promised the white men that whatever they did with their springs, it would never prosper.

The white men changed Warner Springs into an exclusive club.
One could become member by becoming co-owner.
Buying oneself into the club.
And next by paying a monthly fee of currently over $ 200 a month.

Warner Springs Ranch is a luxurious place now.
It has two enormous swimming pools.
Tennis courts, sauna, horse riding, a golf court, a fitness centre, a restaurant, a Cantina, a clubhouse and many lodges to spend the night.

But the Warner Springs Ranch is losing money and has serious financial problems.
Meanwhile, the Pala Indians near Temecula, with the help of experts from Las Vegas, have opened a casino on their reservation near Temecula.
The Pechanga Casino.
The Pala Indians have made so much money with their Pechanga Casino that they offered the board of Warner Springs Ranch to sell them their holy and sacred grounds.

For the moment though, the board is negotiating with a time-share company to get them financially involved to secure the future.

Yesterday the Warner Springs Ranch was visited.
A beautiful friend is a member and was so kind to invite the pilgrim.

One of the springs has very warm sulphurous water and this goes into one of the two immense pools.
As many fervent and loyal blog readers know, sulphurous water has a smell.
Hence, when relaxing next to the pool, one gets the impression that nearby a giant is farting all the time.
But after a few hours this odour is not noticed so much anymore and the relaxation sets in.

The decision was made to have a massage after the swimming and relaxing.
This was in a separate and beautiful building were we got a warm and loving welcome.
But before to get the massage a questionnaire had to be filled in.
Name, address, phone number, e-mail, age, birth date and possible diseases.
Kindly it was asked why all this information was needed when someone just came to have a massage.
The friendly manager told that they were obliged to give the data of the client to the local Sheriff.
This was surprising information that taking a massage results in getting personal data end up with the police.

For us two masseuses were available.
A one-hour massage costing $ 90 plus tip.

One masseuse was an attractive and charismatic young woman.
The other a young woman with a gigantic belly almost 8 months pregnant.
First we had a chat and asked the pregnant woman if she felt dynamic and able enough to do a 60 minutes intensive massage.
She said she felt great and more than able.

For the first time in the life therefore, a massage was received given by a highly pregnant woman.
She was very good.
Of course sometimes heavy breathing could be heard, but the intensity and power was something her baby can be looking forwards to.




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Monday, September 8, 2008

India in San Diego.

San Diego in California, USA is a big city right at the Pacific Ocean.
It has a beautiful area called Balbao Park and over there several museums are at walking distance of each other between old trees, lucid lawns and fabulous fountains.

One of the museums at Balbao Park is called “The Museum of Photographic arts”.
A puzzling name, because there is art and there are art-forms.
Like for example painting, sculpting and designing.
This is why museums are called: museum of art.
Like the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
If the San Diego museum had in mind to show different kinds of photography with a high artistic value, the name should have been:
The Museum of Photographic Art Forms”.

But what the heck.
It is a beautiful museum in San Diego with three large exhibition spaces, an enormous entrance hall and a shop.

Yesterday one smaller exhibition was about the landscape showing images from the collection of “The Museum of Photographic arts”.
From their own collection and it is always a marvel to see prints from the old masters like Ansel Adams.
Those were the days that a photographer was not only able to make an impressive picture but was also able to make a beautiful print.

The second exhibition was by a fellow called Gary Schneider who has the body as a theme.
A show without any interest because who wants to see 50 very similar images of his body looking like X-rays?
But most peculiar was that he also had 5 pictures of people nude.
Posing in a simple way without expressing emotion, sensuality or any other provocation.
These images could only be seen by entering a special room and after reading a text warning one was to see nudity.
Honest nudity seems to some in the American society too shocking.

The third exhibition was of a man called Frederic Roberts.
A big show with many large pictures and two photo books.
The subject was India.
But not India as it is.
India from its colourful side.
Like one sees on postcards: many greetings from India with a picture of a woman smiling in a colourful dress.
The real India was completely avoided, banned and eliminated.
Nothing of the rich people one sees in India.
Nothing of the poverty one sees in India.
Nothing of the chaos.
Nothing of the architecture.
And most of all, nothing of the joy and bliss one can see meeting Indian people.
The exhibition shows only passive and emotionless people in colourful clothes, staring into the lens condemned to be the subject of Frederic Roberts.
And this way of documenting people in India has been done in a most embarrassing way.
The images are simply all of a very low quality.
Often the image is out of focus.
Badly printed.
The picture not made at the right moment.
Clumsy of composition.
Everything one learns in a good school for photography was missed by Frederic Roberts.

But he has not hesitated to sign each print prominently with his name.
Like a real artist.
Sometimes putting an edition number as if these images had collector’s value.
Trying to sell his prints for prices up to $ 7.500 and of course the Indian person in the image gets nothing.

The man is not even a professional photographer.
He is an amateur.
He has been an investment banker in New York for 30 years.
Retired in 2000.
And still he is a businessman running two companies.
One of them Tween Brands: a specialty retailer of apparel, lifestyle and personal care products for fashion-aware young girls ages seven to fourteen years.
Obviously Frederic Roberts went in his spare time with his camera to India to make o so pretty but nonsense pictures.

Frederic Roberts is not really to blame for the embarrassing show in the “The Museum of Photographic arts” in San Diego.
Everybody is free to do what one wants.
But he has been selected and chosen to have this show.

For this a woman is responsible.
Her name is Deborah Willis.
She curated this exhibition in “The Museum of Photographic arts” in San Diego.
And shame on her.
A curator working for a museum for photography, and therefore for the audience, must be informed.
Must know the history of photography.
Must be aware of the photography that has been made in the past.
To have a reference when deciding to show new images of contemporary photographers.

Many photographers have been working in India.
Many in the style copied by Frederic Roberts.
Accentuating the beauty and colourfulness of India.
There are unforgettable pictures made by photographers like Werner Bishoff and Edouard Boubat.
When one sees the images of Frederic Roberts compared to these masters, one understands immediately what a tragic mistake it was to have this show in “The Museum of Photographic arts” in San Diego.

Must we come to the conclusion that the curator Deborah Willis is incompetent?
No doubt.
She is.
There is no artistic nor technical criteria applicable justifying this show unless one is uneducated, ignorant and inexperienced.

This is no surprise.
Deborah Willis is working at the Department of African American Studies of the Harvard University.
She claims that she is an art photographer herself and a historian of African American photography and curator of African American culture.
Not exactly convincing qualifications to curate a photography exhibition on India.

It is a mystery why the management of the “The Museum of Photographic arts” has accepted to show the Frederic Roberts images curated by Deborah Willis.
The reason cannot be found in the quality.
Have there maybe other powers been working to present this horrible show?


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To learn more about Frederic Roberts, click on:
www.fredericroberts.com

To learn more about Deborah Willis, click on:
www.photo.tisch.nyu.edu/WillisD.html

To learn more about the Museum of Photographic Arts, click on:
www.mopa.org







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