Saturday, December 10, 2005

whatit´slike

it´s like eating lunch and watching two people watch you and they sit down next to you and give you a fizzy fruit drink which you don´t like but you drink and they strike up a conversation that led somehow to the fact that you are a vegetarian and how you love to eat fruits and yogurt and how that you were looking for such things and how they didn´t know where you could find such things and it was good to talk to them even though sometmes, like everyone, you prefer not to talk to people and then you see them exchange a glance and soon they looked at their watches and the consensus for them was that it was time to leave and with adioses they did just that and soon after you followed suit because there were kilometers to be ridden and that´s what you´re doing and you ride and you ride and you ride and hours later this same couple who happened to be jehovah´s witnesses passes you in a bus and the man sticks his head out the window and stares at you and waves and you wave back and then you ride some more because that´s what you do you ride your bike and you keep doing that and then you get near this town and you are racing down a hill because that´s what you do and you are halted by two young men in ties and after this halt it was explained that they were friends of the couple you had met earlier and they give you something to read about how to guarantee your arrival in heaven which sounded great and really nice and all but you´re under the belief that nothing like that can or should be guaranteed but you thank them nonetheless and then they say wait and they go to their car and return with a bag of fresh yogurt, a cantelope, apples, and bananas and say they are a gift, and that, in your eyes, was the biggest testament to their witness and you thank them and later that night once you found somewhere to camp you ate the wonderful dinner and having hollowed out half of the cantelope, you used it as a bowl for the yogurt.


if you don´t speak spanish, the translation is: prepare for progress, goodbye green.


it´s like walking with this girl once near the ocean and we were having a very nice conversation and it was interesting because we were asking each other questions and answering them but the rule was that when you asked your question you had to have your answer in mind and you couldn´t change it based on the other person´s answer because that would defeat the purporse and so with such a groundwork laid we continued the q&a and it was my turn so i asked what the worst feeling in the world was and her answer was sand in her bikini and mine was the feeling of betrayal and i thought that was pretty interesting.

i have a new trailer. i like it, do you? it is a bit heavy, but it won´t kill me, it´ll only make me stronger.
it´s like eating in el salvador and seeing this guy eyeing me curiously and when i stood up to go get more food he told me he´d like to buy me an ice cream and i told him it wan´t necessary and he said he understood this but that he wanted to so i accepted his gift and he sat down with me and we talked and then he told me he was going to teach me some ¨tricks of the spanish language¨which i was open and welcome to and so he began and soon he said that it was time to teach me the naughty words and i told him that i didn´t think i wanted to learn them and he said that i must because maybe somebody would be calling me these words and i would need to know and my stance was that if i didn´t know that it was all the better but he was insistent and he´d bought me an ice cream and all so i sat back and took in the lesson and it was quite funny because he´d write the spanish (if you zoom in on this pic, then this blog is rated r) and then he´d look at me, and, ever so sincerely, he´d say to me, in the most correct english you´ve ever heard, ¨eat s---¨and then he´d write a couple more spanish words and say, ¨you are a son of a b----¨and this went on and on until he received a text message on his cellular phone, stood up, and said he had to leave.

this is me and someone staring at me in el salvador.

it´s like being in a town and seeing a tv and what appeared to be news so i went over to give it a glance because i like to know what the media allows me to know and i saw a picture of a huge line of people in what appeared to be the middle of a cold night and my curiosity got the better of me so i watched some more and then i saw a wal-mart and realized it was scenes from america at 5am on 25 november (buy nothing day, nonetheless) and here were hundreds of people at one of the millions of wal-marts waiting to get in the store and spend their money on things and the news reporter said that i wouldn´t believe what i saw next but i did believe it as i watched people trample, yes, literally trample each other to get in the store and then i saw two men punching each other over who was going to get the last whatever and i watched the people around me who were watching the tv with me and they were laughing at this and it was at that moment that i stood up and started singing, ¨and i´m proud to be an american....¨but then i forgot the rest of the words so i just kind of non-triumphantly took my seat.

some people say that because i wear pink, i must be a little fruity.

it´s like feeling the girl of your dreams slip through your fingers and watching her, for some ungodly reason, trying to hold on, and having the power to help her do so because that is, after all, what you want to do, but, for some ungodly reason, you do nothing but watch until her fingers can no longer hold on to yours and that expression on her face that makes you inhale with a stutter and what you wanted never to end is over and despite regrets regression is impossible and all you have is your distorted image in a broken mirror surrounded by shards with hints of knuckleprints.

there is always shade, you just have to know where to find it, even if it is under a 20 wheeler truck that is missing 3 of its tires.


it´s like when you´re six and you finally hit that stationary t-ball and the bases mean nothing because when you turned around you saw your mom and dad and they were cheering for you and that was all that mattered.

and yes, ladies and gentlemen, it´s contest time as promised and i require your input as to what the caption for the following photo should be and you can leave your proposals in the comments section at the end of this blog at the lower right and if you´re a girl that wants to propose to and marry me you can leave that as a comment too and i do need your help, something original and inspirational, two things i have been lacking of late, and, yes, i was disappointed at how unreceptive this clown was to my supple lips.


it´s like climbing steeply for dozens of kilometers and still not being at the top and looking down and seeing that your back tire is flat and having that ever so brief moment where you know you can either get angry and curse and be mad at nothing or you can accept and pull over and sit on a rock and change the tire while kids congregate and look at you like you´re an alien.

the little boy in the middle is real. he is standing between two gods of the road, which may be real, that the little boy´s mother swore would now protect me for as long as i ride.

it´s like being in the mountains surrounded by trees and looking for a place to camp before you drop down into the populated valley and discovering that break in the barbed wire that you´d almost given up on and finding the sweetest of spots underneath a giant tree and watching the stars appear, filtered by the leaves, and wondering about things that you know you can´t answer and for once, that doesn´t bother you.

thanks for the flag mister, and thanks for the guacomole that followed, and also for letting me use your toilet. it´s like stopping on the side of the road and ordering plate after plate of food and relaxing in the shade from the 96 degree heat and then asking how much it is and being told $1.10 and then while packing up getting ready to leave having the nice lady apologize for overcharging $0.30 while returning your money that you obviously refuse.

now this is recycling. do you see the beginnings of a bottle cap mosaic floor?


it´s like hearing thousands of mosquitoes while comfortably lounging within the protective netting of your tent.

it´s like walking for a couple thousand miles in the trees and hills and mountains and then getting to a wooden sign that says you have reached the end and not knowing what to do or what that really means and at that point deciding to devote your life to having nothing end.

sometimes, though, days have to end as this one did.

it´s like meeting people and running out of spanish vocabulary and thinking, yes, despite the stigmas, i should have learned to tap dance.

sometimes gIrgIb is a silly goose and likes to play hide and seek but i always find her. can you find my foot?


it´s like riding your bike in el salvador and ahead seeing cars and trucks violently swerve to miss something and then you realize that that something is a guy who has been walking from pennsylvania towards brazil and he has been doing this for three years and he is a hare krishna and he has three horses pulling a cart pulling statues representing gods that he hopes to take via his feet all the way back to india where they are from and you stop and now the traffic is even more backed up but it just doesn´t matter and you talk and talk like old friends and you share some bananas and then he gives you insence and you bid farewell and then you´re both on your ways.


it´s like being five and you´re surrounded by the infinte possibilities of the woods behind your backyard and you have two paper cups and you poke out the bottoms and tape them together and with these magical binoculars and your best friend next door, you can see gorillas and lions and elephants despite what anyone says to the contrary, and how those woods are now gone, having been exchanged for progress.

as you can see, even i am sometimes delayed in my endeavors and i fume at the congestion and beat on my handlebars and curse everyone around me and feel my blood pressure rise and my anger surge because, i mean, i have places to go, you know.



it´s like asking someone how sure they are and wondering why no one ever answers 63%.

it´s like hearing that certain places are ¨difficult¨to travel in but knowing that since oxygen is everywhere, it´ll be just fine.

do you think this horse feels silly?


it´s like getting to a new pueblo and not knowing where you can buy fruits and stopping and asking and a teenager who tries to explain but i just don´t get it so he offers to come with me and then once we´re there he says he´ll watch over my bike and i´m appreciative and am thinking of maybe buying him some tangerines because i figure, you know, everyone likes tangerines, and then while i´m waiting in a line i notice a beautiful girl staring at me and when our eyes meet she is a bit uncomfortable but only looks away temporarily before returning my glance and i want to tell her it´s okay to stare at me since i´m the sexiest man alive but i can´t remember how to say sexiest in spanish so i don´t say anything and then she comes up to me and i am trying to remember where i put my pen because maybe she wants me to autograph her arm or something but instead she tells me that something of mine has been stolen and at first i think she means gIrgIb and then i realize she means my camera and she says the kid who was watching my bike stole it and i can´t believe it but the funny thing is i don´t panic or dash out the door to try to save it, i just continue to wait in line thinking how, yes, this is not good, but that life will go on, and so i walk out and the kid is still there and i can´t believe it and so i´m thinking the girl was lying but i can´t come up with a motivation for such and so i check my handlebar bag and sure enough, no camera, and then i look at the kid and i see a bulge in his pocket and i´m thinking maybe, and so then i think he knows that i know and he is feeling the heat and fearing the beard and i´m ready to tell him i want to take his photo to see what he will do when he gets a look on his face that is impossible to describe buy i´m sure you´ve all seen such a look before and he takes the camera out of his pocket and tries to tell me he was protecting it and then i ask how he knew i had a camera and he admits going through my bag and then i saw the girl again and i thanked her which i immediately regretted because that confirmed her as the narc which could mean trouble for her and then i left, and the kid who could have been sucking on a tangerine was not.

this guy´s beard was money and you want to talk about style? but he´s just a statue or very rude because he didn´t do anything when i tried to talk to him.

it´s like realizing that the more places i go, the more places i haven´t been and how when i choose a certain path to take, i am therefore eliminating other paths and sometimes being overwhelmed by this.

it´s like dreaming while pondering a world map and only being able to come up with this: why not?


it´s like entering nicaragua after a ferocious climb and racing downhill and having the mud-guard on your trailer somehow come loose and lock the tire up and seeing the trailer swing and slamming on your breaks as the trailer skids all around and coming to a halt and you fix it and thank your lucky stars and then you can´t find a place to sleep and it´s getting dark and you stop to ask a guy who is whacking away at something with a 2 foot machete in his hand and he says sure no problem and you say you will just pitch your tent but he and his family insist that you must stay in a room and you try to politely decline but it´s useless and then you begin to eat your food and they give you more and you say you have enough and don´t want to impose but it´s useless and there you are eating while 13 people are staring at you and asking all sorts of questions and then someone wheels in a huge cart of corn, because corn is life here, and the family is so happy and they keep picking up handfuls and they slowly let the corn slip through their fingers and then you go into your room and there are two parrots that stand guard over your bike and that night it just absolutely dumps down rain and there you are in your room and you and the parrots are so happy to be dry and then you wake up the next morning and they have a radio on and you hear john lennon singing imagine. it´s like entering a very long tunnel that doesn´t look so dark from the outside but by the time you reach the middle you begin to whimper.

anything you could ever dream of is available at this market but i just wanted bananas.



it´s like eating corn tortillas that have just come off a fire, a slice of avocado, tomato, a little salt, under a tree.

it´s like seeing fireflies and warp zoning back to younger years running around with your mother´s mason jar and catching them and putting them next to your bed and, the poked holes notwithstanding, the next morning they´re all dead and you realize you caused it.

it´s like riding behind an ox drawn cart with wooden wheels, dodecagons really, and following it to its home of pieces of metal tacked together with a floor of mud, and seeing a big screen tv that not only works but gets cable and noticing that the children all have cell phones and trying to make sense of it all but not worrying about it because acceptance is easier and requires much less effort and sometimes it´s okay for things to be easy.


and now for a little yule time cheer from me, from granada, nicaragua, where i´m practicing for my career move the day the beard is white and i´ve added some pounds. merry christmas to all and to all a buenos noches.

21 Comments:

Anonymous Jackie Garbarino Girotti said...

Hey Robert,
I have enjoyed following your "on the road" chronicles. You have taken that touch of Garbarino wunderlust and blown it way out of proportion for me, but in proper proportion for you. I am working on a caption for Mr. Meat turning a cold cheek to Mr. Vegetarian. Alessio and I continue to enjoy our little island, but we are beginning to attract cruise ships. That probably spells the beginning of the end for this quiet bit of the planet. They wander our streets wondering why they are here...there is nothing to do but enjoy the sea, nothing to buy and no food chains to hang onto, but hurricanes have messed up the usual spots and our government has allowed them to begin building a pier and tourist village at the southern end. Well at least that will keep them off the streets and out of sight. Have a wonderful time during the holiday season...you have a long way to go before you can play Santa! Love, Jackie and Alessio

Saturday, December 10, 2005  
Anonymous Gayle Cummins said...

Hi Robert...
So sorry I haven't written a message in your blog or an email. Been kind of busy but I have been keeping up with reading them and with your Dad. He's given me was cool places to go and photograph. Sounds like the trip is so interesting. I feel like I'm right there with you pedaling along. Of course you know me, I'd have my camera out all the time. I can't wait for the next installment. Take care!!!

g

Saturday, December 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Judas McKiss"

Memo to cousin Jackie: The Carribs Probably feel the day you invaded thier native islands was an equally dark day.

Unca Joe

Saturday, December 10, 2005  
Anonymous Ginger Carnahan said...

Rob, I'm going to pause where I am in your blog to post b/c I think it's an important point. The rest of the words to the song you forgot:

"And I'm proud to be an American...
Where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died to give that right to me. And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land. God bless the USA."

I don't suppose you ever asked to be free. I guess it would be fine with you to be a slave for the Egyptian people. Or maybe you would be a prince. Or maybe it would have been fine if we just let Hitler take over everything. Because it would be wrong to fight...

Look, you know I care about you, and I don't want to be contentious or biting. But despite all the things you hate about America, I still think that using that particular song to make a mockery of America is inappropriate. Guess what? Reality stinks. Mankind is depraved. There are and have been very powerful men who don't oppose to treating an entire race like animals. In fact, there still are. Maybe it's wrong of us to impose our sense of right and wrong on them though.

I just want to say that I am grateful for the freedoms (personal, religious, financial) I experience as an American. And sometimes I think that you take for granted the privileges you experience as an American. Your family is alive and well. Your friends are alive and well. When you finish this ride you will fly, ride, walk back to someone to visit before your next adventure. No, Americans aren't perfect. Yes, as a community we make asses out of ourselves over stupid things quite often. But being poor doesn't make other societies perfect. You find the best in every other society out there except your own.

I don't mean it as an attack, but I do want you to know that I feel strongly about this.

Saturday, December 10, 2005  
Blogger Shane said...

Rob,

Glad to hear all is well (and colorful, judging from the pictures).

Vote for caption "Fruit/tart" (Fruit should be pink and tart yellow, but my html isn't up to that right now). It'll give you something to think about.

Espero que duermas bien y que los lobos no coman gIrgIb

Saturday, December 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey hIrsch, glad to hear that you made it to El Salvador. I hear the food´s good, maybe I´ll get there after my third year in Vanuatu. Good to hear your bike hasn´t broke down and that you´re spending quality time with Mr. McDonald. You could use the caption ´I thought you were a geisha´for it. I stap lo yu. Later.

Taylor

Sunday, December 11, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love the post. reminisceint of "its all about." nice to see. i dont like getting sand in my bikini either.

two caption entries for the contest:

"McNecking"

"I finally realized that our differences could be reconciled after this kiss when he offered me a peek at his big mac and mcnuggets meal - supersized!"

glad to see you finally getting your MAC on.

love
adam and kate

Sunday, December 11, 2005  
Blogger Andrew said...

Caption = "Ahh, Ronald, that Beef Tallow Cologne makes me so hot..."

Sunday, December 11, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now that it is over, where are those McNuggets that you promised me?"

Dewey

ps. you are da man! It looks like it is a heck of a lot of fun. I am envious. I am proud to be American but would travel with a Canadian flag on my bike.

Monday, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and it rocks so well.
You have captured the art of travel and goodwill so perfectly in your blog.
I love the part where the kid gives you back your camera, it is such a forgiven world sometimes.

Ali

Monday, December 12, 2005  
Blogger powstash said...

A caption:

"Are you making a pass at me with that hand on my knee? I mean, a kiss is one thing..."

I enjoy reading your blog. Keep pedalling. Oh yea, if you need a new tee shirt (if that lovely pink one wears out) drop me a line and I will gladly have one shipped off to you. That is if you sit still for more than a day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's my beef???

Tuesday, December 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaron says - good captions already for mr macdonalds so i wont give any though i would like to comment on the god bless america post though i wont because i have better judgement than that. anyway. hirsch you are handsome.

Thursday, December 15, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a note to ginger about god bless america. i do feel safer knowing that you will be out there with your rifle protecting myself and hirsch and al sharpton against the evil darkness that is marching toward us.

yes we are blessed, thank you ginger, you are our blessing, go get em soldier, i am goimg to go out back and play my guitar, maybe read some 19th century german poetry and think how change is a bologne concept.
enjoy your comfortable bed, i know i do.
aaron

Friday, December 16, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hirsch...its like reading something where the author doesn't ever use a period so you read and you read and you read and then your head hurts and then the red color makes your eyes want to pop out and you want to understand what the person is saying but your head hurts so much and your eyes start to burn and you wish that you would come to the end of a sentance but yet the author just keeps going and going and going...you know what thats like?

As for the video footage of the run on Wal-Mart...simple human nature. We are the spectacle because we are a nation of plenty. If you take those same dirt poor people and put them in the financial position of the typical suburban family, you'd see the same traits. It hard to me materalistic when you don't have any money, nor the ability to get money. You can spurn the convient life you were born into and live a life of poverty, that a choice you can make, but don't think these people you are meeting relish the life they were born into. Given the chance they'd be here chasing the corrupt American dream that you decry. That's why thousands of illegals are streaming across our southern border daily. These people want the freedom, convience and prosperity that you take so much pride in spurning.

Keep that little nugget in mind as you ride along admiring the simple life and simple characters you see daily. You're there because you want to be and you can afford to be, they're there because they have no other option.

Good to hear that your hanging out with more women...on the beach with a chick in a bikini, nice...all the times in the past where you've avoided prolonged contact with the fairer sex...I was about to suggest you turn in your man card and start shopping at Structure.

Toth

Friday, December 16, 2005  
Anonymous Ted said...

Another super blog with great stories and photos. Feliz Navidad!

Saturday, December 17, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is the post thanksgiving rush any different than the rush you see in villages and towns when "relief" and "aid" workers arrive with food, medicine and clothing? i would postulate it is even more extreme from my experience.

human norm is to take any advantage or any deal you can. the vast majority of people live and act the same; there are just different metrics they live by.


please respond

Monday, December 19, 2005  
Blogger ohrana said...

Its obvious: "Hirschi Kisses"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't use Hirschi Kisses, because it sounds too much like Hershey Corporation, an evil corporation that is traded on the NYSE. He can't support that cause

Saturday, December 24, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The World is full of selfish people and in turn selfish corporations as they are a reflection of humanity. After reading through all the posts, you see bipolar and selective. the world is full of grey and very few things are black and white. Reality Bites. I wonder how many of these people that know you really support you or just guffaw at your selfish, idiosyncratic life.

Friday, January 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good caption in reference to the photo should be. "Am I frightening you yet?"

Monday, October 02, 2006  

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