Photographic Memory Mondays #2 8-11-14 (Used to be called Remembory Mondays, but I think this is better)

I know it is tuesday again. What can I say? My spirit animals are an owl and a spider. Both dark-liking things. And I know, I was disappointed a bit when I found out. I thought I saw a Mountain Gorilla in a yoga nidra recently and I have always considered myself monkey like. More an animals later, if I get to it. (disclaimer- the owl and spider are very powerful spirits etc. I read about them in depth and can definitely see why).

And now back to the photographic memories.

 

 

 

 

LA1D66~2
Nice and Refreshing jump into the very cold waters of Lake Titicaca after the long walk from one side of Tequile Island to the other. A few hours later I got a bit of an irritation on my lower right leg. Not the cleanest of waters on the inside of the rock dock.
LA317C~1
The moon over the Island of Amantani. After the hike to see the inevitably elusive sunset. The Sun went behind the clouds about ten minutes before it set and stayed there, still beautiful though. If you have ever been upwards of ten-thousand feet, you may have experienced the rapid shift in temperature that greets the passage of day to night. Beginning to freeze we ran down the mountain stopped at a local shop where we were surprised with Hot Cocoa and then emerged under the bright moonlight. It was so bright that we could see better without the flashlights. And the moon shining on the water was sublime. Senses get sharper as elevation increases and this was no exception.
IMG_6273
Road Tripping with my brother turned out to be a grand adventure. When I decided to move, I knew I did not want to make the 1,700 mile drive alone. So my brother flew standby and shared the ride with me. We got to see sunrise and a great morning at Crater Lake. Then we spent time navigating half flooded roads during the flooding in Boulder last September. It was an experience.
IMG_6276
Monkeying around on the rocks.
IMG_5830
Vegan meals. The Four month Vegan Adventure last year, allowed me to explore a multitude of new flavors and revisit old favorites. The Portabello was a constant companion and brussel sprouts, squash, and kale were constant companions.
IMG_5787
Lentil Vegetable soup in a bowl of Acorn Sqaush. Spaghetti squash works better for this. The Acorn Squash is rather tough. Still delicious though.
IMG_5792
White and Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups.
IMG_5727
The Original Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cup. These are Vegan, and phenonmenal. If you haven’t tried it I suggest you do. Comment below for the recipe, they are as easy as layered brownies or other treats, just a few extra steps. Comment Below if you would like the recipe.
IMG_5603
Black Bean and Lime Soup with a Portabello piled high with Veggies on lightly toasted Dave’s Killer Bread. And Nice scene of the patio and yard of my old place. The Vibrant Green still stands in stark contrast to the dryness of my new locale. Even with the rain we have been having this summer, it takes a lot to turn a dessert into a rainforest.
IMG_5638
Beet Juice. One of my most surprising discoveries of the Vegan Adventure was how much I loved Beets. Roasted, Steamed, Blacnhed and drenched in Balsamic. Beets chopped and raw with Apple Cider vinegar and Kale. And of course Beet Juice. so sweet and tasty with a little apple kale and celery. A phenomenal drink and a ridiculous cleanse. This reminds me that I need to secure a juicer.
Mustached up and ready for Bolivia and the death road
Mustached up and ready for Bolivia and the death road. A Travel mate and I ready for Movember in Bolivia. It only lasted a week though. Honestly they look friggin ridiculous. We did get straight razor shaves in Cusco, which was really cool. It is an art down there.
IMG_4886
Draining the last of the beer foam destroyer pitcher at the end of shift. The tap at the bar of the Adventure Brew hostal dispensed the best beer I had in South America. There was one other, “Xingu” a black bean beer I had in the NW of Argentina and brewed in Brazil. It is based off of tribal beers brewed in the Amazon and is phenomenal. Back to the bar tending. The Adventure Brew Hostal in La Paz Bolivia brews its own beer. This was a rarity for me in SA, I was used to drinking Cuzquena most of the time and it was nice to have a nice microbrew quality beer to enjoy. The tap was kind of wonky though. It overfoamed a lot. So We often had to pour out the beer into pitchers and spoon the foam off. This would be absolutely unacceptable at any bar I have ever worked or drunk at, but it was okay there. La Paz man, all the expats and Hostal residers were just happy to have a decent beer. They give you a free one for every night you stay. They say pint but its a 12 oz. glass with handle. And you can trade your stay for work in the bar. This was a godsend for me. My bank account was running super low. More on that in another session. The bar work was fun, the day shift was easy, allowing me to watch proper futbol, and hang out with new travel buds while working and it had a great view which is still my screensaver. It was one of those unplanned adventures that happen so often while traveling.
IMG_4876
Hibiscus/Ginger Tea. Both beer and the Tea was better in Bolivia. The food though was better in Cusco. This was a great way to recharge after a hard night partying after a bar shift. This was during my earlier stages of tea enjoyment. I remember thinking for a few months after word that Hibiscus Ginger was a type of Ginger. It isn’t, but it may as well be, a phenomenal combo of plant healing power.
goofy birds
These Birds are heavier than you think and the noises they make are ridiculous. The Jungle Refuge in Bolivia was our last stop on our day of riding the Death Road. The Birds were hilarious. I had a video of their ridiculous sounds. I will have to post that on a later date. The mustache is difficult to see and short lived. My Sweet Movember only lasted about a week.
12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 273
Water Bottle falling from the sky. That is what it often feels like when traveling. since the water isn’t potable you end up using a lifetimes worth of plastic bottles. A huge waste and incredibly detrimental to the environment. Filter if you can, plastic sucks!! The scene is the bottom of the Death road, from Tundra to Jungle in less than 3 hours on two wheels. Highly Recommended, but do shop around outside the hostal to save a few hundred bolivianos and inspect the bikes!
Machu Picchu and passport finding party rum!! 11-11-12 223
That thumbs up from inca trail pal Enrico quickly turned into throbbing knees and two thumbs waaaayyy down as we descneded the stairs. Fourth day on the trail? Take the bus to Aguas Calientes. You will get to relax and hang out with your group much more. If you rode the train from Ollantaytambo, the stairs might be okay, going up to get you in the mood or going down to get out of the crowds. Also go to Machu Picchu on a weekday and not on a Peruvian Holiday. And if it rains stick around for it to pass, the people clear out and the magic infuses your spirit with the solidarity of the ancient Incas. Depending on how metaphorical you like to get. Either way fewer people is always better when in nature.
Walking down to Aguas Calientes, it is better to take the bus.
Walking down to Aguas Calientes, it is better to take the bus. I don’t know what we were thinking. Maybe we just wanted it to last longer, either way, take the bus if you did the trek, the walk down to Aguas is surprisingly long. Note on packing. Bring decent layers but pack light, it is a long trail. Waterproof footwear and make sure your poncho covers your pack, before it rains, I know I said it before, but it is worthy info. If you have trekking poles bring them, the descents can be agony. The pink topped stick saved me, thanks again nadia!
Machu Picchu and passport finding party rum!! 11-11-12 153
Third day, tenth Llama or Alapaca. I am not sure from the photo. I think its a llama because it is bigger. You can get pretty close, but they spit, and watch out for there droppings which are plentiful.

A Note on the Format. I am working on it. I am more of a writer than a design man and more of a talker than a writer, thus ramblestiltskin.

There are so many memories that I have not shared from my travels. Each of them feels like a lifetime and seems it would take a lifetime to catalog. This is my way of focusing the ADD brain into something constructive. A picture is worth a thousand words, but each of those thousand is different based on whose perspective is shared. Hence, The Photo and snippet style. It also breaks up the 1600+ words into bitable chunks. My copy is often overwhelming in volume. Mainly, this is because I do not edit. If I edited these, I would never post them. I will save that for any future guest posts or books, crosses fingers.

And if you have made it this far, I applaud your tenacity. As a voice/audience finding exercise comment below telling me your favorite memory. The memory with the most votes will get a full 1600+ post delving deeper. Maybe I will be on a limb, out to sea, up a creek etc. but I will post on any of them with the most votes no matter how silly or mundane. I will consider it a writing test of agility.

The Cutting Edge – The long path to an authentic straight razor shave

It is the common practice for many avid travel bloggers to focus on and highlight the amazing, unique and adventurous experiences they seek out while abroad. This is understandable, they make for great stories. The unique and fantastic adventures like diving with whale sharks, watching the sunrise from one of the peaks in the Cordillera Blanca, or hiking to Mach Picchu on the Camino Inca.

These are certainly moving and awe-inspiring tales. They deserve to be told. These are the moments that inspire others to get a pack, stuff it way too full, buy a ticket and take the plunge. However, these hallowed and magical moments are rare. Wait, check that, not really rare, for any traveller will experience many of them. However, when you look at the daily life of a traveller, they are few and far between. There are so many other notable moments. While Machu Picchu may be the reason you go to Peru, the laid back lifestyle and the ridiculously fresh fruit may be the reason you stay.

It is the little things that both cause the most discomfort (carrying around your own toilet paper) and bring the most joy (sipping freshly bended juice while walking the streets of Cusco.)

On to my ordinary adventure

I have been looking for the chance to get a straight razor shave since before I could sustain a beard. Perhaps the inception of this desire was caused by my viewing of “Gangs of New York” when I was in high school. The scene when “Priest” Vallon, played by Liam Neeson shaves before the opening battle scene. He then hands the blade to his son who begins to wipe the blade clean, but stops his hand saying, “the blood stays on the blade.” For some reason the gravity of this scene inspired a desire to experience a straight razor shave. And luckily for me, none of my blood ever touched the blade.

The desire to find this experience came about a year after I saw that article in Blue Magazine which inspired the dream of visiting Machu Picchu, you can read more about that here…

https://curlyadventurer.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/inca-trail-to-machu-picchu-part-1-of-4-2/

…it is a 4 part post with lots of photos for your viewing pleasure.

Since both of these dreams were inspired around the same time, and so long ago, it is fitting that I would fulfill them both on the same trip.

My first international haircut was in Salta Argentina by a guy who was so fast I could have sworn he had scissors in both hands. he didn’t even use clippers, just scissors for a cut that was pretty short. An artist indeed, he even had trophies on his walls, Barber trophies. I asked for a shave, but didn’t know enough spanish at the time, so i couldn’t get the straight razor shave here. So my face would have to wait for that immaculate feeling, I had only dreamt about.

A little more than a year later, on the later stages of my trip to Peru and what would turn out to be Bolivia, another opportunity arose. A friend of mine had the idea to get mustaches for the upcoming trip to Bolivia and the last few days of Movember. We found a place a few streets from Avenida del Sol and had it done.

My beard was getting long and itchy anyways, and though I have never been a mustache man, I figured I might as well get one where I knew very few people. It would be less embarrassing that way.

Hand in the face, they call this the "barbers brace." not really.
Hand in the face, they call this the “barbers brace.” not really.
Getting rid of the beard.
Getting rid of the beard.
so happy
so happy

The feeling was amazing. I have never had a shave that was so close and smooth. The blade feels like a massage and the shaving cream is incredibly soothing. I had expected it be mildly painful, but it was more of a soft caress. At the end the Peruvian barber rubbed my face with a moisturizing bar of…something and there was also a hot towel involved.

Mustached up and ready for Bolivia and the death road
Mustached up and ready for Bolivia and the death road

A week later I got the chance again in La Paz, Bolivia. There is a much smaller tourist to local ratio in La Paz and I was able to find a nice off the path Peluqueria for a 10 boliviano mustache ridding shave. After a week, I couldn’t stand looking at myself without cringing and I also wanted an excuse to get another straight razor shave before my trip was over. There are some differences between the one I found in La Paz and the one in Bolivia. Mainly it was how the skin was handled after the shave. In La Paz, the peluquero rubbed my face with alcohol afterwards to sanitize it. There was no hot towel, but he did rub my face with lotion which was an interesting experience.

trying to snap a discreet midshave photo
trying to snap a discreet midshave photo
Smooth face and a handshake.
Smooth face and a handshake.

It was a fine shave, and while the loss of mustache may have saddened a few patrons at the Adventure Brew Hostal, where I was bar tending, its absence made it a lot easier to look in the mirror.

It is this kind of daily difference that makes life exciting while abroad. Each locale will offer its own unique eccentricities and variations on the common experience. Like the San Pedro Market in Cusco, with everything including the butchers under one giant tent, to the markets in La Paz in the middle of the street, there is always a new way to experience daily life.

Note on Straight Razor Shaves

Unfortunately, for the majority of the last ten years, most places in the United States that I searched had lost the art of the straight razor shave at the barber. It is risky and can be dangerous. Recently, I discovered that there is a surge, a renaissance of sorts, for this time honored tradition. I discovered quite a few places in Portland that are bringing it back.

Portland

The Modern Man Barbershop – themodernmanpdx.com

Y-Chrome y-chromebarbering.com

Hair M hairmgrooming.com    -includes a face massage

And check out this post from “The Art of Manliness,” blog that waxes philosophical and photographic on the experience.

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/03/26/photo-essay-the-straight-razor-shave/

A few Questions for the readers.

What random everyday things were you excited and amazed by while you were or are abroad?

What things are you freaked out by?

Have there been any daily activities that surprised you with there eccentricity lately?

Any Specific info on straight razor shaves in the U.S.A., Europe, South America or anywhere?

Any exciting adventures on the horizon?

Viva Aventura,

C.A.

La Paz and Death Road Photoblog

Some experiences can be illustrated with the aide of Photos. So here is a Photoblog about my time bartending in La Paz and the Death Road Experience.

Espero que tu ojos disfrutanlo. Rough intermediate translastion. I hope your eyes enjoy it.

On The Border
On The Border
Cool Statue
Cool Statue
Another look as the 12 hour bus drove by
Another look as the 12 hour bus drove by
First view of La Paz from the bus.
First view of La Paz from the bus.
Another view
Another view
Big Church with my dutch friends conveniently placed in front of it.
Big Church with my dutch friends conveniently placed in front of it.
The Market is in the middle of the street!
The Market is in the middle of the street!
Freezing at 4,700 meters, start of the death road
Freezing at 4,700 meters, start of the death road
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Excitement to begin is evident

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 202OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 22212-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 223

Part of the death road expanding into the distance
Part of the death road expanding into the distance

12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 240

Lunch time!!
Lunch time!!
Death Road Wreckage
Death Road Wreckage
Wreckage from an old crash
Wreckage from an old crash

12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 254

A much greener 1,100 meters
A much greener 1,100 meters

12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 27312-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 276

3 hours on a bike and a beer is very refreshing.
3 hours on a bike and a beer is very refreshing.

12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 279

goofy birds
goofy birds

12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 294

Turtle
Turtle12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 304

12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 30912-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 305

Monkeys have an affinity for Job
Monkeys have an affinity for Job
Tired of the mustache
Tired of the mustache
That is much better
That is much better
Great Barber/Peluquero. He rubbed alcohol on to disinfect after the straight razor shave and then rubbed lotion into my face. Now that is fancy.
Great Barber/Peluquero.
He rubbed alcohol on to disinfect after the straight razor shave and then rubbed lotion into my face. Now that is fancy.
Best meal I had in La Paz, to be honest, the food isn't that good there.
Best meal I had in La Paz, besides the honguitos. To be honest, the food isn’t that good there.
IMG_4879
All this found at Pepe’s Cafe in La Paz. Real Hibiscus Ginger tea. Best tea I had in South America, other than Muna.

IMG_4874IMG_4876

Sam, One of the regulars during my seek tending bar.
Sam, One of the regulars during my seek tending bar.
No Drinks left behind at the end of shift.
No Drinks left behind at the end of shift.
Fellow bartenders and one of the brewers.
Fellow bartenders and one of the brewers.
Best Drunk food I have ever had. 4 am in La Paz
Best Drunk food I have ever had. 4 am in La Paz
MMMMMMMMM...
MMMMMMMMM…

IMG_4899

This bow points staright to Christmas
This bow points staright to Christmas
Christmas in La Paz
Christmas in La Paz

And after all of this, it was back to the hostal, wake up early and scarf pancakes and down some coca tea and get on the bus for Copacabana and Isla del Sol.

Viva Aventura!

C.A.