Thursday, May 18, 2006


are your children safe?

these are some conversations that, over the past 18 months or thereabouts, i have heard, had, or wanted to have. it’s all getting mixed up lately. the colors signify different speakers. the stage directions are in red. actually, i forget who is who and what i said and what was said to me and what i just happened to hear. in fact, i may have made all of this up. but i’m pretty sure, well fairly certain if nothing else, that i didn’t.

thE firSt oF mAny
in vanuatu:
where are you going?
i’m riding my bike around this island.
where did you start?
in the capital city, port vila.
where will you finish?
in the same place, port vila.
so why are you doing this if you are just going to end up where you began?
that’s a very good question.

this was with a lady in ecuador. she had been to the states.
so, what do you think of the united states?
i think it is a very interesting place.
what do you mean by very interesting?
i think it is a place that, now, is very rich, but i believe your country is soon to fall.
what do you mean by “fall?”
your country does not value the family like we do here in ecuador. without the proper emphasis placed on the family, your country will soon lose its prominent status.
how so?
the family unit is fundamental to any culture. there, people are always leaving their families. it starts as children. kids go away to places like summer camp. then it’s four years of holiday visits during the college years. and so on. here, the family stays together. we work together on our farms. we prepare meals together. everybody has a role to fill. the family structure is vital to our culture. to you, it almost seems secondary, if that.
but families do hold roles of importance in the states too.
how? the children, as adults, usually live maybe five hundred or more miles from their parents. they go to where they can make money, because money is so very important to people in your country. maybe they’ll all be together on christmas, maybe not. phone calls are rare, maybe weekly. and when the parents get old, they aren’t cared for by the children, they are placed in nursing homes with people they don’t even know. maybe the children send flowers or a token card, but even this gets more and more occasional. i understand this isn’t how all families in the states are, but wouldn’t you say most are like this...?
...well maybe, unfortunately, i guess i would, i guess i’m not sure what to--
also, i think your current president is doing horrible things for the reputation of your country not only here but all around the world.

...iS everYthing.
this conversation was had with an american who had been teaching english in ecuador for about four months.
so have you enjoyed ecuador?
yes and no, i mean it’s a beautiful country, the landscape is unbeatable, but the people have kind of got me down.
what do you mean?
i mean, they’re always telling me what they think is wrong with the states. like they say we don’t value the family and all that. and at first, i was like, yeah man, they’re totally right. we don’t value the family as much as they do here. but that’s just a first impression. you know, when you’re taken in by it all being in a new place and experiencing a new culture.
yeah, i understand what you mean.
yeah, so at first i was like, they’re right, because i mean on the surface, it seems like the family is very important here, much more important than in the states because they’re always together and doing things as a group and all that.
yeah, but the deal is i think they’re only together all the time because they don’t have anywhere else to go really, and even if they do, it’s too expensive for them to get there and then if they get there, they don’t have the money for a place to stay and food to eat and all that. so it’s like they’re always together, not really by choice, but by default. and these same people who are telling me people in the states don’t value the family, well, i hear them at night, these very same people, beating their children man. and they call their oldest daughter names that have a worse connotation than “whore.” and they always seem to be yelling at each other or demanding something of someone else. i never see them just sitting down and having a normal conversation. so i mean, yeah, the family in the states is certainly screwed up, but so is the family here...just in a different way.

was this sign telling me to go home? i didn´t.

i’Ll neVer gEt iT...
i’d like some beans and rice and avocado please.
sorry, we don’t have that.
but your sign says you do.
(pointing) right here.
oh, yes.
but you don’t have these things?
so why don’t you take down the sign?

thE profanIty oF prOfit
a guy and i were walking down a street in peru...
gringo! give me money, gringo! gringo! give me money...
we walked past biding him a good afternoon, but not giving him any money.
so why didn’t we give money to that guy?
why should we?
because he needs it and we have it.
aw, but he’d just use it to get drunk or high.
sure, that’s a possibility, and probably a strong one, but he may use it to get his kid some food. or to pay school fees. or something.
but if you give it to them, then they’re going to expect it. and if they expect it, and the next time they don’t get it, then they get angry. and if they get angry repetitively like this, they’re likely to do something about it. enter stage left: crime.
so by not giving him money, we’re preventing crime?
something like that. have you ever been to india man? poverty is big business there. it may as well be wal-mart. here’s what happens. families have girls. in india, baby girls are useless and unwanted. so families want to get rid of them, because it’s only an extra mouth to feed in addition to the ones they already can’t feed. so they sell the girls. as infants. for cheap man, disgustingly cheap. and the person they sell the girls to, he disfigures them in some sick way. and i mean sick man. and in a way that any passerby can see. and now the girl has a job. she sits on a street corner, the same one, every day from dawn until dark. begging for money. pleading on the sympathies of tourists and rich locals. she’ll get maybe 10% of what is given to her. the rest goes to her disfigurer. it’s like he’s her pimp man. and that’s her life. the less money she brings in, the more disfigured she will get. until the profit is suitable. it’s a sick balance. and by giving money to her, you are making such disfigurements more likely. nothing is easy man. but you gotta think about what you do. you can’t just act on emotions.

in new caledonia:
it was all in french so i had no clue what was being said to me. but my answers were the same regardless because i kept repeating:
i don’t know. i don’t understand.

dinner in my tent.

tHe waR Of whAt?
it’s all about oil, the americans’ war in iraq. it’s so obvious. yet supposedly over half of your people, and god knows your president, support it. why is that?
not everyone supports it.
yeah but those who don’t don’t do anything about it. they just hold up signs when the tv cameras are rolling and send out emails telling you to email a congressperson some message she’s never going to read anyhow. but it seems the auto-reply satisfies.
ok, but why do you think it’s about oil. some people think it’s about removing saddam from power.
removing saddam from power?! ha! do you know who put saddam into power in the first place? your country! but that’s just brushed over. and of course it’s brushed over so it’s not so blatantly obvious that you guys are actually trying to undo what you did. it’s ludicrous! and wake up buddy, it’s definitely about oil. it’s not about removing dictators. if it were about removing dictators, why has the usa done nothing about mugabwe in zimbabwe? that devil has done recognizable and provable travesties ten times over that of saddam. we’re not talking mythical weapons of mass destruction here. and yet he’s still in power without a worry in the world. why? because how much oil does zimbabwe have? nada! so who cares? and what about the “reelection” of museveni in uganda? but you guys don’t do a thing in africa. why? because it’s not worth it to you! after all, it’s just those crazy africans anyway. let them sort things out for themselves, right? the usa can’t, after all, save the whole world. but you guys can save the parts of the world that guarantee all of your suv’s will start in the morning with the twist of a key. and you all sit around patting yourselves on the back thinking that you’ve done this great thing by spreading democracy when the reality of it is, all you’ve done is spread the fuel for an imminent and horrible iraqi civil war. and your eventual exodus from the country you “saved” will be the strike of the match.

it´s not a dot. it´s me.

defiNitions Of a hEist
hey you! we’ve been watching you on our cameras! you’ve been shoplifting!
what? i’ve never shoplifted in my life.
you’ve been eating food out of the bulk food bins without paying pal. and that’s shoplifting.
i’m sorry, but that’s not true.
we have you on tape.
then let’s see the tape.
(we saw the tape.)
see! see! right there, you’re eating those chocolate covered almonds! and you didn’t pay for them! that’s shoplifting. now you can either pay for that food right now, or we can call the police.
wait just a moment...look where i got the chocolate almonds. out of the tray beneath the bulk food bins. not from the bulk food bins. and those almonds i ate were already there.
but you didn’t pay for them!
yes, that is true. but what would you have done with these chocolate almonds that had already fallen from their bulk containers?
one of our employees would have cleaned them out of the tray underneath.
and then?
well, then he would take them away.
to where?
the garbage.
so i ate what would have been garbage?
uh, well, but...yes.
and how is that a crime?
look, kid, just get out of here and don’t let us catch you doing it again...
as you wish.

i was thinking this might be heaven. i hope there´s a heaven. i´m pretty sure there is. and i hope i get to go. but that´s something that isNotuPtoMe. but maybe it is.

bLack golD, thAt iS
it’s incredible. people in the states don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that they make up maybe 3% of the world population yet use over 25% of the world’s oil. people read this or hear this, but they just don’t care. it’s just another fact to be forgotten. and then they hop in their humungous vans saying things like, “but i need the space!” the thing is, they don’t.

in new zealand:
bloody hell mate, why do you want to ride that bike all over the place?
well, the reason see, it’s really simple...uh, actually i don’t know.

off i go to where i will go which is always a place i do not know.

tHe cellUlar saVior
yeah, so it’s so great to have you home again. i can’t believe you´re back.
yeah, me neither. i’m starting to feel like a stranger here...
well, listen, i want to hear about everything! don’t leave a thing out, ok? promise?
you really want to hear everything?
of course i do! why wouldn’t i?
well, maybe this will be good for me. i don’t really talk about this, but maybe i should. this is kind of hard for me. actually, it’s the most important thing in the world to me....but here’s the thing. some years ago, i---
a song started to play. it was a pop song, it was playing loud. she dove into her purse. for her cell phone.
oh god, it’s my husband!
no worries.
the thing was, i could obviously hear my friend talking, but the way the volume on the phone was, i could also hear him talking. i mean, i tried not to listen, but, well, i couldn’t help it.
hi honey!
where are you?
i’m at the grocery store getting the things we need off the list. it says here pantene shampoo and conditioner, but---
of course it does, honey. that’s what i need.
she covered the receiver and said, it’s my husband, the big dolt, and smiled at me sideways.
but honey, it’s over $7 a bottle. there’s another kind that says it’s just like pantene for $1 a bottle. do you mind giving that a try?
honey, i just told you the pantene is what i need. i’ve used it for years. now i don’t want to go changing everything just so you can save a measly $6.
she covered the receiver again and, swiveling her head horizontally, said to me, he’s such a cheapskate! then she continued, honey, now don’t you always say how you love my hair?
yes, but...
no buts! if you love my hair, then that means that you love pantene too! can’t you see that? so if you don’t want to get me my pantene, i guess that means you don’t love me...
once more covering the receiver and addressing me, i took philosophy in college so i know all about logic!
now baby, listen, i never said that, i was just saying---
well, if you love me, i will be seeing my new pantene in the shower when i get home, now won’t i?
yes...of course...hesitant pause...i also had another question.
an overly dramatic sigh. yes honey, what is it now?
well, there’s this new brand of all-natural yogurt they’re selling. i just had a sample and it’s delicious! i was thinking that i could get some of it instead of the normal yogurt we always get. is that ok?
now honey, what’s all this nonsense about this new yogurt? you know we love the yogurt we always get.
yes, but baby, this is better. and healthier too. it doesn’t have all those preservatives. i mean who knows what that stuff is actually doing to our bodies. and also, for example, the all-natural strawberry yogurt is actually white yogurt with real strawberries in it. it doesn’t have that artificial flavoring and it’s not dyed with red color either. i really think you’ll like it! let’s give it a try.
now honey, really, what has gotten into you? everyone knows strawberry yogurt is supposed to be red. you know that. it’s always been red. and it’s always had that strawberry taste that we love. now do you really want me eating strawberry yogurt that isn’t red? it sounds absolutely dreadful.
she looked at me again. i don’t know what’s gotten into him! i’m so sorry about this. he gets on these little kicks where he wants to change everything.
ok baby, i’ll get the normal yogurt. one last thing...
uuggghh, what could it possibly be?
i ran into kevin langston and he and his wife have invited us over on wednesday night for dinner and cards. can i tell them we’ll come?
wednesday night?
honey, don’t you know what wednesday night is?
honey, it’s only our favorite show, desperate housewives! we love that show. and you know we can’t miss it!
but baby, it’s just one episode. and i think it would be really fun to hang out with the langstons. it would be, you know, different. in fact, we could record desperate housewives and watch it on thursday night instead. how about that?
now honey, really. you know that everyone will be talking about it when i go into work on thursday morning. and if i haven’t watched it on wednesday night, like we always do, i won’t be able to participate in that conversation. now do you want that for me? to alienate me like that? and besides, i’ll hear about the entire episode that morning, so there’d be no point in even watching it thursday night, when, as you know, we have our other shows to watch anyway. and honey, the langstons? you know we don’t really like them anyway. kevin’s always talking about something philosophical or some current world event that doesn’t even really matter to us. and his wife, god his wife! she’s always talking about recycling everything and saving all these species that she doesn’t even seem to realize we have plenty of in the zoos! they never talk about the things that we like to talk about.
but honey, it’s just one night. i mean look at us. we’re always doing the same things over and over. we’re becoming that routinized married couple we swore we would never be when we first got married!
honey, now you’re being just ridiculous! now i’ve just about had enough. besides, i’m sitting here with hIrSch whom i haven’t seen in over a year and we were having this great conversation until you called and ruined it. now if i haven’t made myself clear, you will be getting the pantene that you said yourself you love, the normal yogurt that we both have always eaten and loved, and on wednesday night, we will be watching our favorite tv show. isn’t that right honey?
of course baby, of course...
now bye!
oh god! i’m so sorry. that’s my husband for you. i don’t know how we ever got married. i guess it’s like they say, you never really know someone until you marry them, and by then, it’s too late! anyhow, what were you saying? something about something?
oh, yeah, well, nevermind, it’s not important anyway. so when you say you don’t know how you and your husband got married....i mean, do you really mean that? do you love your husband?
do i love my husband? now what kind of silly question is that?
it’s just a question. i don’t really think it’s silly.
well, you should know the answer. isn’t it obvious? i mean, he is my husband after all!
so you do love him?
well, i don’t know why we’re still talking about thi—
a song played. it was a clip from a famous symphony composed by someone now dead. she look relieved. the cell phone saves the day.
i’m so sorry. it’s my grilfriend. this’ll just take a minute....

this is all i want, just a little place to call home.

in lima, peru
starbucks is the absolute greatest! i love it. i’m so glad we finally got one here! i mean, god, it was about time.
when did you get one?
like a year ago. i mean, hello! they already had one in baghdad or in one of those places like that!
why do you like it so much?
because their coffee is the best. there’s this one with vanilla and cinnamon. it’s unreal.
how much does a cup cost?
like about $3.
don’t you think that’s a bit expensive?
not really.
but you can get a complete meal at a restaurant here for only $1. or a pretty nice hotel room for maybe $4. doesn’t that seem strange?
no, why should it?
well, in america, a cup of starbucks coffee is roughly the same price. however, a complete meal is about $7, and a pretty nice hotel room is about $40. to me, though i think the cost of starbucks coffee is absurd, that seems a little more relative.
yeah, but have you tasted this one they make with chocolate? it’s to die for!
um, ok, yeah, maybe i’ll try that one day...

tHe impossiBility Of balAnce
yeah, sure, having money is nice, but it’s not everything man. the more you have, the more you spend, the more you need. it’s funny really. i think about how much money i actually make and how little, relatively, i actually save...
why is that?
it’s because now, i outsource.
what? what do you mean?
well, like, for example, i used to mowe my own lawn. in fact, i even enjoyed doing it. but now, i hire someone to do it for me. pay him like $150 a week too. can you believe that? $150! but i don’t have the time now. i have to work so much. i kept thinking i would have to work less and less, but that hasn’t been the case. i can tell that if things continue to go as well as they have, i indeed won’t have to work quite so much, but that’s a long way off. everytime i think i’m almost there, something comes up and i’m slaving away at 3pm on a sunday. anyhow, the time i used to have to mowe, when i wasn’t working so much and making so much more money, i now use to spend with my family. and so i can’t mowe. i outsource.
that’s interesting...
yeah, and also, once you start making money, there are definite social pressures. i mean, they’re silly...don’t tell my wife i think they’re silly!...but they are silly. when we have people over, it’s expected that inside our house will be nice stuff. you know, nice furniture, nice dishes, a big tv, etc. and not just that, i mean, it’s “important” for whatever reason, that everything “goes.” like the carpet needs to be in sync with the curtains that need to be in sync with the upholstery on the couch. i mean, when i was in college, what was important about a couch was if it were comfortable. that’s it. but now, we have to think about things like fabric texture and dupont stain guard and all that stuff man. it’s all noticed. and for whatever reason, it’s things like this that have become valued in our society. so yeah, we spend quite a big chunk of money on stuff like that. and my wife really likes to eat out. and we can’t go to the cool little cheap places anymore because she has quite a picky pallette. so i’m easily dropping $50 a meal for just two of us. plus a movie or something. plus babysitter costs. it adds up man. from all sides.
yeah man, i can easily see that happening. me, i gotta find a girl who will be happy on the saddle of a bike, dirtbagging it in a tent most nights wherever the ground is flat, someone who can eat wherever we can find a dish that doesn’t include animal parts or flesh or fat, a girl who will duck under whatever we can find during the rain and we can sit it out together, reading a book to each other, or bouncing ideas off of each other. a girl who can deal with all my idiosyncrocies. i want to find that girl man. i gotta find that girl man. my life is pending on that discovery.
best of luck to you friend. look, i gotta get back to work.
yeah man, it’s cool. i gotta get back to my bike.

cubicle or this?

in canada:
why are you doing this trip, eh?
i’m not really sure of the why’s. i just want to ride my bike.
but what’s the trip abooot?
it’s not really about anything. just pedaling.

i doN’t seE hOw i cAn be wronG heRe...
how much will a plate of rice and a bowl of beans cost?
eighty cents.
perfect. that’s what i’d like please.
(i finish eating.)
here’s the eighty cents for the meal. thanks. it was delicious.
you’re welcome. but you still owe twnety cents.
but we already agreed on eighty cents and that’s exactly what i gave you.
sorry, it’s actually one dollar.
but why did you tell me eighty cents before?
you owe twenty cents.
you’re not answering my questions.
i need twenty more cents please.
but this doesn’t make sense!
could you please give me twenty cents?
(begrudginly) ok, here...
{sure, yes, yes, it’s only twenty cents. but you see, that’s not the point. it could be twenty million dollars. the fact is that a price was agreed upon that was satisfactory to and agreed on by both parties. then this price arbitrarily changed. it’s things like this that i don’t understand, and that pretty much drive me crazy. especially if other people are like, “dude, it’s only twenty cents.” because i’m like, “but that’s not the point.” but, as always, no one really listens or understands. also, people will sometimes say that i’m being “unreasonable.” but they won’t qualify how. or if they do, they will say something like, “but these people are poor.” but if they say this, they too are missing the point. it doesn´t matter who is the poorest, the richest, or the mediumest. that doesn’t matter. if i am in any way wrong here, please, and do so eloquently, let me know exactly how, utilizing logic (if such a thing even exists)}.

the middle of nowhere is always somewhere. and that´s where she lives.

leT uS
can i get that salad without lettuce please?
uh, i guess.
what’s the deal man? why don’t you want lettuce?
it’s like this. i can eat a tomato and say, yeah, that was juicy and had a nice taste. or a carrot. or an olive. or something like that. but you can’t do that with lettuce. it’s just kind of there. as a filler. it’s not that it tastes bad. it’s just that it doesn’t really taste good. i’m convinced no one really likes lettuce. it just seems to be one of those things that is assumed to have to be a part of a salad. and that we just stuff it into our mouths because that’s what we’re supposed to do. do you understand?
uh, whatever man...

in usa:
what’s up dude?
not much man.
so where you heading man? looks like you’re doing quite a trip.
yeah dude, i started riding my bike in vanuatu, and aft.....
vanu-what? where is that?
it’s a country in the southwest pacific between australia and fiji.
cool man. so you were saying?
yeah, i kind of started there with sort of this dream that i would ride my bike and see as much of this planet as i can. but i’ll just have to see how it goes. i may quit tomorrow, i may never quit.
awesome man, awesome. catch you later dude.
yeah, later man.

mom, dad, world: i got a job. please, don´t call me the ice cream man, but rather, if you will, the ice dream man. because if you´ve ever dreamed, yes even you johnny...

...of living in a sand castle, then i´m going to tell you how to fulfill that dream. just get on a bike and get yourself down here to peru, and it will be true.

tHere’s goLd iN thEm thAr hillS
how are you?
oh, you speak english.
yes, some of it.
where did you learn it?
i live once in new york city.
and what did you do there?
i work!
of course. so what are you doing here?
i am waiting.
what are you waiting for?
for a shipment.
of what?
of mining supplies.
you’re a miner?
yes, i am find gold in the mountains.
great. when is your shipment supposed to arrive?
i don’t know.
so you’re just waiting?
yes. my shipment is come by sea.
how long have you been waiting?
a couple months.
a couple months?!
that’s the way here. you just don’t know.
well, how much longer do you expect to wait?
i don’t know.
well, good luck.

sticKy subsTances oR juSt giVe iT aWay?
mister! mister! mister gringo! buy this!
no thanks, i don’t need it.
but you have the money to buy it.
yes, i guess that is true.
so buy it and help me.
but, really, i don’t need superglue.
but i need money.

this is a nativity scene made of bread. i can only imagine the arguments come christmas. ¨no, you ate baby jesus last year, i get to this year!¨

in mexico:
i hadn’t learned spanish, so it was all garble. but when i first entered the country, i asked a guy who also spoke english how to say i don’t know, i’m not sure, and i don’t understand in spanish. repetition of this triumvirate served me well because these always seem to be my answers regardless of the questions or language utilized to ask them.

tHe deliCate hanDling oF huMus
a lady in a new zealand market was removing all the humus from the humus section. i wanted humus.
excuse me, what are you doing?
i’m taking away all this humus.
can i please have one of them, i’d like some.
no. these aren’t for sale.
why not?
because they are soon to expire.
i checked. they were to expire the next day.
but they’re still good now.
but my boss has told me to remove them.
ok, well, where are you taking them?
the dumpster.
well, then if you won’t let me have one, is it allright if i just take a couple out of the dumpster?
but you can’t.
why not?
because the dumpster is behind a locked gate.
miss, i totally understand that you are doing your job. but does what you are doing make sense to you? i mean all this food just going to waste...
i have my orders.
i understand that, but that’s not my question.
look, come back here in an hour and there will be a new fresh shipment of humus on this same shelf that you can buy.
but that’s not the point. it kills me that you’re wasting this food that hasn’t even expired...
i’m sorry.
yeah, me too.

hey from the hay.

buT i’M riGht...rigHt?
so do you ever feel like you’re missing anything by riding your bike all the time and not having some sort of permanent life?
i do have a permanent life. a permanent life of movement.
you know what i mean.
yeah, yeah, i know. the answer is, i don’t know. i don’t know that life, so i don’t know what i’m missing. maybe it’s better. maybe it’s infinitesimally better. maybe it’s worse. i have yet to sample it. but one day i will.
well, i’ve lived the life you’re living now man. and now i’m living this life. the other side, ha! and let me tell you, it’s better. sure there are tradeoffs. i’ll be the first to admit i don’t have near the freedom i once did. i won’t try and pretend i do. but the life i have now, in my opinion, is of a higher quality than the life i was leading. that previous life was one of movement, as you call it. i was never anywhere for more than a week, tops. in and out. and what i began to realize was that i was losing the ability to make and have relationships with people. my relationships were two-second hellos to people on the street and little mini-conversations with the waitress at wherever i was eating and a couple of sentence exchanges with the owners of hostels. that’s it. otherwise, i just kept to myself...or my book...or my journal...
but wait, i...
no, let me finish man. because the other thing i used to do was always interrupt people who called me out on this. i used to try to get my two-cents justification in. to rationalize what i was doing. to try to convince the person who was telling me that he or she was wrong. but the thing that i eventually realized was that i was trying to convince myself that i wasn’t wrong. and each time i did this, i realized more and more how wrong i was.

almost 15,000 feet on a bike. i´ll be higher soon.

grEasy palMs
i had this conversation with a girl i was this close to falling in love with (until i realized she was pretty high maintenance).
so what is your opinion of the states?
i think your president is a horrible man.
because he sends your american oil companies here to my country. they go to our mountains, cut down all our trees, suck out all our oil, and leave with almost all of the profit.
really? why does your country allow such a thing?
we have no choice.
certainly you have some sort of choice.
ok, yes, we do. but let’s say we refuse what your country asks of us. then what? well, your country will impose some sort of new trade rule on us that will hurt our economy. so yes, we have a choice, but as you can see, we really don’t.
so you’re saying my country is basically blackmailing ecuador into doing these things?
of course. but they never call it blackmailing. it’s just an understood pressure for our country to pretty much do whatever your country wants us to.
well, at least now you know.

yes, kids, it´s a water bottle. run along now.

in guatemala, el salvador, honduras, nicaragua, costa rica, panama, colombia, ecuador, and peru:
where are you from?
the united states.
we hate george bush.
ok. i’ll let him know.
where are you going?
to the place where i will stop.
when did you start?
the day that i began.
when will you finish?
i don’t know. i just don’t know.
may god be with you!
i think god has much more important things to be concerned with.
nevermind, thanks.

shaDes oF terroRism
i had this conversation with a lawyer who worked for an international bank. he had lived in the states for several years when he was younger.
did you like the states?
yes, of course.
your country is very rich and everything is much easier to get done.
so you think the states is a good place?
when i lived there? yes. now? no.
because of your president. i think he is a very, very bad man.
why is that?
he thinks he rules the world and doesn’t realize that the states is only one country. what he is doing is creating a horrible reputation for your country all around the world.
are you referring to iraq?
sure, there’s iraq, that’s the easy one. but it’s more than that. it’s how people are treated that want to visit your country. for example, what did you have to do to enter ecuador?
i waited in a line, got my passport stamped, and pedaled in on my bike.
so it was easy?
well, for an ecuadorian to enter the states, it is very complicated. we have to fill out many forms. forms that often take months just to even get. we have to prove we have certain amounts of money. we have to say where exactly we plan to go and for how long and where we will be staying. we also have to have a letter of invitation from someone in your country. all of these things. it takes many months to arrange all this. and much more often than not, we are refused entry based on some minor detail or petty mistake on the application. and then, if we still would like to see your country, we must start the whole process again. and even if we are allowed in your country, we are questioned about terrorist activity, we have to be fingerprinted, we must have our picture taken. the people are very unfriendly who do this. it’s anything but a welcome to enter your country.
yes, our country is very worried about terrorism.
terrorism? aahh. here is the question then, friend. who killed more people: the terrorists on september 11th...or...your military, while supposedly promoting peace, in afghanistan and iraq and who knows where else? answer that and then you will know who the terrorist is.

i saw this in a city on a wall. the translation is: assasin.

tO beliEve To nOt tO belieVe iS betTer
i grew up in apartheid south africa. i grew up knowing that the right thing to do was never talk to blacks, never associate with blacks, and most importantly, to hate blacks.
so how did you change that?
when i moved to switzerland and began to hear and see and know that there was another side to the story. when you’re eight years old and you’re only exposed to one thing, it’s all you know, so you believe. you’re not mature enough to understand what it means to question a belief that you don’t even realize you’ve been forced to have. when everyone around you, your family, your friends, your teachers, when they all believe the identical thing, you just fall in with it. it’s a passive acceptance. and it becomes so ingrained such that many fear even a healthy questioning of it. they don’t realize that fully examining something and subjecting it to intense scrutiny is actually the most important and worthy thing one should do with his beliefs. apartheid became a religion. and when you are a member of a family who is a member of a religion and you begin having doubts...well, it’s often easier to keep quiet, pretend to believe, and not “rock the boat” as you americans say.
but you rocked the boat.
yes, i did, because more information, information that was banned in south africa, was made available to me. and when you have that kind of exposure, exposure to things that had previously been hidden, you realize that rocking the boat is the only way to stay afloat.

gIrgIb! gIrgIb! get up! we still have thousands of miles to go!


Blogger Corrinek said...

Your conversation about the 80 cents really resonated with me. In my apartment complex there is a handicapped spot close to the building where my apartment is. Lately there has been a car parking there which doesn't have handicap placards. So I placed a note on this car telling them that we have a handicap gentleman (Mike) in the complex who uses this spot (this is true, a van comes to pick him up) and I will have them towed if they continue to use it. WELL, this person (Erin) writes a note on MY note and tapes it to the handicap sign at the front of the spot. She says she works for Mike and if I have a problem, talk to him. Now, I don't see how just working for someone who is disabled makes you eligible for a good parking spot. I mean, her car is small and I know she isn't taking this guy (who is in a wheelchair) anywhere in her vehicle. My friends say to forget it, but I don't agree. It's not the point that there may not be anyone else needing that spot. You don't park there unless you are disabled and have the placards! Thanks for letting me speak my peace, Hirsch!

Thursday, May 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toth here...I fail to see why everyone is bothered by the premise that the war in Iraq may have a basis in protecting the supply of oil. It is the life blood of the American economy. Wihtout it, stuff doesn't ship, people don't go on vacations and put money into the economy, people like me can live in the sticks and work int he city (thus providing a tax base for the rural community). Wars have been fought since the dawn of time to protect and claim natural resources, this wasn't the first and certainly won't be the last.

Good to hear that your all well. Send me a forwarding address, I'll be sure to see that you get a BUSH '04 T-shirt and bumper sticker to wear on your exploits in S. America.


Friday, May 19, 2006  
Anonymous Andy Hill Card said...

on a bumper sticker on the right side of the car I recently saw:


On the left side of the card:
At least Gore invented the Net.

In the middle: I (heart) USA! The betterman won.

Friday, May 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe 80 cents is what the food cost, but then you have to add in taxes/tip/serivce. In the US if you ask how much a burger costs at Mickie D's and the person says $1, that person really means $1 plus tax. If you are at a restaurant and the menu says $10, it really means $10 plays tax and tip. Otherwise, you are taking advantage of the wait staff as they are working on your generosity. The restaurant could include the cost of service in the cost, but then there is less incentive for the wait staff to work harder. It is like an executive performance plan for a big company.

Friday, May 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the US may use a seemingly disproportionate amount of oil, you have to remember that it also produces a disproportionte amount of the world's output. Also, a little known fact is that many countries have agreements with developed countries (mainly the US) that if the world switches to other resources, they will up their aid. For example, in Saudi Arabia, the oil companies are the only entities that pay taxes. No other individuals or companies pay tax. Is that fair, effecient or effective? Or does it create greater problems in other areas?

What about countries like Bolivia that are nationalizing natural resources with the hope and intent of increasing their profits? History shows that in the vast majority of instances, they end up with less money, education, and technical know-how and are worse off than they were before. That's not to say that some agreements were poorly made and there is room for improvement or that more can be done to improve the country (environment, schooling, etc) as a quasi-tax.

as for the conversation with the guy that implies the US are greater terrorists as more people have died in Iraq and elsewhere from US involvement, one has to remember that supposedly Hussein, for example, is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people. Also, there is something to be said for human rights, especially for women and childen. Should a country/religion be able to say women are of little worth compared to men or should the developed world do something about that?

Friday, May 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hirsch, your posts are amazing! You write very well. You also have great pictures. I hope you continue having an awesome trip!!

Friday, May 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey hirsch!! this is Zach, The moped guy who you met in peru.. Doesnt that deserve a PICTURE on your blog?? hahahaha..... thanks man, for checkin my blog. i've been followin you too. Didn'tgo the way i though you would and i left a something for you along the road.. did you get it or no? anywho, brother. Keep fucking cycling!!!!!

zach and graham

Saturday, May 20, 2006  
Anonymous Ted said...

Thanks for another great addition to your awesome cronicle. Thanks for the window to your world. Keep on having a wonderful experience and relating it to us!

Saturday, May 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

quit the u.s.-bashing already! you've been away from your family for a lot more than the 4 college years. so are you saying that YOU are responsible for the demise of america? glad you figured that one out!!

have you begun to hate your friends? again, you make us sound like idiots. i was trying to recognize parts of your "conversations" from ones we've had. but i would never use pantene shampoo, so i think i'm in the clear. does anyone besides ryan work on sundays?

you have become way too philosophical. why do you have to question every statement a person makes?

by the way, w/ 3 babies' car seats, i DO need the space. i welcome you to try to fit them all on bigrig the next time you are home.

Sunday, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way, the next time someone says to you that our country has a terrible reputation throughout the world, that we're so unwelcoming to visitors, that our president is horrible and that we are the cause of civil wars, ask him why, then, are thousands of his friends and family members trying to sneak across our borders illegally and STAY in our country? it seems that they, too, are willing to go "hundreds of miles away" and be separated from family for a better job. -jaime

Sunday, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey hirsch it's Taylor,

Interesting to hear about other people's inner lives and how they view America, especially being out here in Vanuatu where everyone loves America and "long taem bifo."

And honestly, who really "needs" Pantene anyway? Shampoos and conditioners all rely on the same base ingredients, the extra money is just for marketing and flas commercials. Keep on riding!

Sunday, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hirsch, I continue to greatly enjoy your blogs and look forward to the next.

I ask myself what you ever had in common with all these friends that you left back home who keep bashing you and what you write. You're gonna have some really bad reverse culture shock if you ever go back "home" man.

You'll be interested to know that I have seen that exact same type of bush grafiti here in Mexico in several different places.

Why do Mexicans travel thousands of miles to the US for better jobs? I keep asking myself that too, but I can think of at least one good reason. When your feilds go dry because free-trade makes it impossible for you to grow crops for a profit and the only good job in town is at the local sweat shop where the working conditions are only slighly better than slavery or indentured labour, what choice do you have?

Keep on riding and keep thinking and asking the questions.

It's interesting that people get som defensive here in their comments and even actually attack you considering that you're not even offering your own opinion.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The $0.20, it is only $0.20, but your logic is sound. That previous commentor has obviously never been to South America. Tax and tip are included. Know your facts, anonymous.

The oil thing.....USA sucks in that regard. They could easily use less but don´t. They should easily use less. Bolivia is nationalizing because it´s all they can do. Unless they just want to be a pawn.

And Basil has it right on why people go north to the USA.

Mate, it´s funny how people call you a USA basher at all. Assuming you are the blue text, I can see no USA bashing. It´s the people you´re talking too. That was obvious to me, but not to that anonymous above! That person laid into you!

Hirsch, you´re a weird catch, and some of what you say I agree very little with, but you present it in a way that does, dang it, make me think.

So, keep it up!


Tuesday, May 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Drew here. You know I am of the mind to keep the dream alive and travel till I know a fraction of what I want to know. I feel honored and more free knowing that you are carrying on that dream for yourself. I try in my current life to keep that dream. I spend my money on my education and the necessities of living in a city. I work at a desk, I travel lots, I look forward to home at night. But I still strive for that mysticism, that life education and that clarity I thought I should gain from my travels. I think I’ve found a fraction. It is found in a village in the Andes and it is found in USAtown and the Springfield’s of every state here. I get it. You are doing your thing in your way and sharing it with whoever wants to click and scroll. We all have to find our "bicycle". Suerte Brata.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in response to some other readers' comments:

i am the anonymous who "laid into" rob, in ben's words. i disagree that rob is not u.s.-bashing in his blog. sure, he may be the blue text, but he is sharing others' statements for some purpose, i assume. if i had a blog and reported that 10 different persons had terrible things to say about rob, but i remained neutral in what i personally said about him, wouldn't you think i was being unfair to rob by posting all of those things? and that i was trying to get the message out that a lot of people dislike him? i find it interesting that rob always talks about how negative the media is and only reports "bad" events, and that it is skewing our perception on the state of the world.

rob's been one of my best friends for many years now, and we still have a great time when we do get together. to basil: rob & i really DON'T have a lot in common anymore. it's a bit of a joke (and, at other times, a major annoyance) between us that we're both very stubborn and will never be able to persuade the other to see our own point of view. so we do have a lot more history of opposing viewpoints than is posted here on this blog and in my comments. i admit i get very offended when it seems like he doesn't agree with my lifestyle, b/c i hope that i don't ever give him the impression that i don't agree with what he's doing. his lifestyle is definitely not for me, but i'm certainly not going to try to persuade him to do what i'm doing! and, a lot of times, in past blogs rob has given the impression that he thinks a lot of persons are "stuck" in their current status and don't do what they really want to do...

and, to taylor, all shampoos & conditioners do NOT share the same base ingredients. the most common 2nd ingredient in most shampoos is "sodium laureth sulfate," which is what makes shampoo lather but is not really good for your hair. so you can find more expensive shampoos that don't have sls in it. but, if you're a guy with short hair, you would definitely not see the justification in expensive shampoo. my husband buys cheap brands at the supermarket, too.

thanks, jaime

Wednesday, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Peter said...

benny boy - i don't think we are bashing rob - we are merely presenting other viewpoints of his third party comments, which as one person stated still can show bias while he is "reporting" them independently.

also, the US is in one of those damned if they do and damned if they don't situations as the world's bad ass country. It is the worlds best (place to live, economy, opportunity, etc) but also the worst. It is all a matter of perspective.

When should the US step in and fight and for what? Is Iraq really about oil, WMD, minority rights, democracy, equality, or freedom? there are truths to all and none. Same as the argument about why aren't we in country x that has just as bad abuses and human rights travesties. The US can't be everything to everyone.

Economics man. No one is dependent on oil; it is mearly the cheapest commodity. when it becomes more cost effective to use an alternative source, the world will switch to that. That's not to say that there aren't negative side effects to the environment but in a well functioning system, all costs are included. That is the problem in the US. Taxpayers heavily subsidize roads/gas/etc and if the taxes on gas/transportation/cars/etc was equal to the total cost, oil would not be a problem but the US believes in the American Dream where anyone can do anything and that the poor should have access like the rich.

also, if we all were identical to hirsch, this blog would not be nearly so interesting. he chooses an alternative lifestyle (as compared to the Leave it to Beaver American Family) where a highly conservative man is obscured by seeminly liberal words and ideology. although he may give the impression of being a whatever, wherever, whenever, he is still a very calculating and goal oriented person although not necessarily in the traditional sense of the words.

he has two very different sets up people in his life - those he grew up and went to school with (generally highly educated and conservative) and those he has met through his hiking and travels (generally more free spirited and liberal). neither group is better or worse than the other - only different. it is the interaction of these groups in the message board that give added life to this blog.

while i know toth and jaimie through their messages as the purveyors of American life, and may not agree with their lifestyles, i respect them in their decisions. Ahh, to be able to afford and use Pantene vs. the generic stuff and old hotel botels...i can only aspire... most people go with the flow - whether that be 9-5 or travelling around and it is difficult to switch back and forth or understand the other unless you have lived it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i spent this weekend in the best of both worlds--from touring the biltmore estate and wine tasting to camping and swimming in ice-cold creeks. i want to argue that george vanderbilt was ridiculous and frivilous, could have done so much more for society and the poor rather than squander his riches on a french chateau. but have you seen the architecture and the gardens? (side note: his land was the beginning of forestry in the u.s. i think he donated the land where angel falls falls.) have you wandered the muse d'orsay in paris? have you ever felt like an artist or artisan creating something beautiful? is there worth in that, too?

are you a hypocrite for traveling the world with no worries then complaining about home? are we all selling our souls to capitalism? is hirschy a frivilous vanderbilt biking his life and intellect away or an artistic patron floating across the world and painting its beauties (or contradictions) for the rest of us? at least he doesn't charge $40 admission.

i go to work everyday and teach 85 8th graders who make me crazy and make me cry because they have so completely bought into a consumer and media culture. their families are a wreck, some can hardly read, and few think for themselves. i don't know, robert. you spent 3 years teaching kids in the middle of no where, but what are you doing now or next to make the world better? i see what you and the voices from along the way say about america. how do we fix it? how do i create stable families in which parents really care about and know their kids? how do i convince my students that having a mom my age doesn't mean it's a good idea for them to become mom's at 16, too. how do we create an education system that teaches kids to think and be healthy and be parents, to be good citizens and be honest and be environmentally sound. oh, and read and write and do math. how do we reprogram the thousands of hours of tv and advertising?

i admire you for wanting to bike down the continent and doing it. i admire you for having ideals and following them. i enjoy keeping up with your adventures and am still waiting for you to publish a book. i really hope that all those qualities in you lead you to save the world and not give up on it.

little c from tn

Monday, May 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Jamie commentor above,

I bet Hirsch would present a pro-USA dialogue...

...if he were to have one. But them is hard to come by these days!

Thanks Hirsch, for letting us share in what you are learning.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006  
Blogger h I r S c h said...

i love getting comments.

but i have been rightly accused. not as a usa basher, because i am not a usa basher, and as i have written on this very blog in the past, i love my country (though very little that it does these days) and consider myself a patriot.

the conversations about the usa, the negativity ***from the conversationees*** that i reported, were real (maybe a touch embellished, to make them more readable and gripping...).

but i did leave a positive one out, and will now include it so that i can be considered to be more well-rounded. and here you go:

so how was riding your bike through the states?

it was beautiful. great roads. incredible, but quite expensive, national parks. however, i almost got killed several times by those dang rv´ers who don´t retract their stairs!

yeah, you gotta watch out for those mammoths. but what about the people?

oh, the people were nice, yeah, i guess they were pretty nice. one guy stopped once. and he invited me into his humungous rv. and we shared a coke and a few stories. that was pretty cool. also, once, one guy stopped and asked if i needed any help.

so there you go. i didn´t include it, not because it was a positive reflection on the usa (something i am always quite difficultly searching for (and am quite pleased when i find)), but, i mean, i have to edit some stuff, and i just didn´t find the above all that interesting.

but, bound as i am now to thoroughness, i must also include this. a balancer, if you will:

yeah man, i´d love to cycle in brazil, but they charge us americans $100 just to enter the country.

yeah, i know, and i think that´s great! because that´s what you guys charge brazilians to come to your country. that, and a retinal eye scan, digital fingerprints, intrusive interrogations, etc. do you know that, now, as a swiss citizen, to enter your country, i have to get an entirely new passport with quadruple the amount of information as previously was included? it´s ridiculous. and even when i was just transiting through your country -- i had a five hour layover in washington dc -- i was questioned and detained for three solid hours before i could even go to my boarding gate for my onward flight! it was like they made me feel sorry for even wanting to set foot in the states.

so there you go folks, the good, the bad, and the boring.


Thursday, June 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are very fortunate in that you are able to live off the hard work of others...not that you are taking direct handouts but indirectly through taxes that pay for the roads, parks, infastructure that you depend on everyday. the national parks are incredibly cheap for what they provide. it's always nice to be able to take advantage of the working man.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a somewhat objective lurker, who did my time wandering on bicycle, foot, bus, etc. around the world I am enjoying Hirsch's observations. Bashing him because he "takes advantage of the working man" is total BS. Road damage depends on the the cube power of vehicle weight, so bikes do essentially no damage. In contrast, cars are subsidized by property tax, income tax, etc. so the car driver "takes advantage of the working man". The heavier the vehicle, the more advantage is taken.
Hirsch, sometimes you take an extreme either/or position, maybe just for entertainment value, but you can enjoy the free, nomadic life as long as you like and choose when/where to submerge yourself back in the produce/consume cycle.
Even after I left the nomadic life behind to do the family thing, I have still kept the attitude that consumption is a trap that can mostly be avoided. And even in the family life, the bicycle is a major tool for freedom. By transporting ourselves by bike, my family has rescued years of labor that might have been devoted to fueling, driving, and depreciating cars. I do my 7-10,000 miles a year over the same roads, a little like a hamster in a cage, but my cage is still a lot bigger than the MotorizedPeople's cage.
Thought you might like this chunk of a poem from Gary Snyder (20th not so different from 21th),
"The Trade

I found myself inside a massive concrete shell
lit by glass tubes, with air pumped in,
with levels joined by moving stairs.

It was full of the things that were bought and made
in the twentieth century. Layed out in trays
or shelves

The throngs of people of that century, in their style,
clinging garb made on machines,

Were trading all their precious time
for things.

Friday, June 09, 2006  
Anonymous Marc said...

The 80 cents. Now I know this conversation doesn't reference me, cause I've never suggested that anyone should pay more that the agreed amount for anything. I'm with you man, 100%.

But you know, I could imagine a situation where cultural differences between the parties might cause some miscommunication, and maybe they don't quite understand each other, maybe they were never quite in agreement at all.

I mean, imagine that a Ghanaian comes to the states for the first time and goes to a Whole Foods Market. He might ask the guy in bulk foods how much a pound of peanuts costs, and the guy would say one dollar. So the Ghanaian would load up a pound of peanuts in a plastic bag, throw in an extra handful, and then go to the cash register. He will surely be shocked and insulted when he is charged $1.10!

You see, in Ghana, it is the custom, observed without fail, for the vendor to add a "dash". That's a little bit extra above the stated amount. This custom promotes goodwill between vendor and buyer, not really costing the vendor much, and ensuring that the buyer will not feel cheated. We don't have this custom in the States, and so we assume that when someone says "a pound", he means 1.00 lbs. But when a Ghanaian says "a pound", what he means is 1.00 lbs plus a little goodwill dash. If both parties were unaware of this miscommunication, then both would end up feeling wronged and insulted.

You might imagine it the other way around too. I mean, an American guy could walk into a restaurant in Peru and ask the cook how much it costs for a plate of rice and beans, some salad and a piece of bread. The Peruvian lady might say 80 cents. So there's the agreement: 80 cents.

But then maybe the American asks to have his salad without lettuce, with extra tomatoes and avocado instead. And maybe he asks for ketchup and mustard and salsa for his rice, and uses quite a bit of all three. And maybe he asks for some margarine for his bread.

Well, of course in the States customizations and condiments are usually included. That's our custom, and we assume this when we agree on a price. But maybe in Peru this isn't the case, and the Peruvian was not expecting these requests, or at least not quite that many. Maybe she's running a pretty tight margin, and since a packet of ketchup costs 50 cents, and a tub of margarine costs a couple bucks, these extras that she wasn't expecting kind of add up and cut into her profit, or maybe even take all of it. She doesn't want to be rude and refuse the requests, so instead she brings the extras and assumes that the guy won't mind paying for them.

Maybe she shouldn't have assumed that, and maybe the misunderstanding is never quite this obvious, but, I don't know, I can just imagine these kind of things coming up here and there where you would never expect them. It doesn't really seem unreasonable to me to be flexible now and then, since I don't have to depend on the 10 cent profit margin from an 80 cent meal for my survival, and the Peruvian cook does.

So anyway, all that to say, I'm with you man. When a clear agreement has been reached, this issue is cut and dried. 80 cents it is.

But if there's a little uncertainty in the agreement, a little uncertainty in the communication, maybe both parties could try to be a little flexible to make up for it.

I don't usually comment on your blog, but you kind of begged for feedback on this one, so there it is, my 20 cents.


Saturday, June 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i agree with your comment about the 80cents communication. on my first trip to london (also my first time overseas), i was staying at a hostel. while hanging out with some people, we convinced one of the workers to cook blueberry pancakes in the morning for us but he didn't have any blueberries so he asked me to go down the street and get a pound. so i went down and bought a pound. it wasn't until i got back and he was looking at me funny that i realized he was referring to monetary measurement and not weight when he said a pound.


Monday, June 19, 2006  
Anonymous Peter said...

You missed the entire point of the post gary snyder which was the Rob is able to take advantage of the work of other's which is more difficult in the US for educated people than is most other countries.

as for this comment "By transporting ourselves by bike, my family has rescued years of labor that might have been devoted to fueling, driving, and depreciating cars." either you are working for free or driving an ultra luxury vehicle as the cost of transportation is nominal for a reasonable man. you seem to be confusing time, money and opportunity costs. for many people, biking is not an optimal mode of transportation. that's great it works for you and i hope you are able to continue to take advantage of that.

Actually, the "working man" doesn't pay for the roads either. if he did, public transportation would be in much better shape than it is now. the rich cover the cost of that as a significant amount of money comes from income tax, not they tiny amount of property and fuel taxes the government collects. that's not bashing, it's admiration. also, life is about consumption - whether it is $$$ items or enjoying the environment, family, religion, etc so i'm calling bs on gs.

Monday, June 19, 2006  
Anonymous row said...


Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

You say black I say white
You say bark I say bite
You say shark I say hey man
Jaws was never my scene
And I don't like Star Wars
You say Rolls I say Royce
You say God give me a choice
You say Lord I say Christ
I don't believe in Peter Pan
Frankenstein or Superman
All I wanna do is

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my
Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah
Fat bottomed girls they'll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah
On your marks get set go
Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race
All I want to do is
Bicycle bicycle bicycle I want to ride my bicycle
Bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle
Bicycle race

You say coke I say caine
You say John I say Wayne
Hot dog you say cool it man
I don't wanna be the President of America
You say smile I say cheese
Cartier I say please
Income tax I say Jesus
I don't wanna be a candidate for
Vietnam or Watergate
Cause all I wanna do is

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

Wednesday, June 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don´t really think Hirsch is taking advantage of the working man by riding his bike. And in terms of working hard, I know Hirsch now and I knew him when he was in school and doing Peace me, the dude works HARD! An incredibly driven guy.

The eighty cents thing. If eighty cents was previously set and apparently agreed on, the price should be eighty cents. If there were going to be additional charges added based on things like no lettuce or mustard AFTER the agreed on price, then when those things are requested, regardless of culture, they should be delivered with the caveat of an extra charge.

Thursday, June 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"either you are working for free or driving an ultra luxury vehicle as the cost of transportation is nominal for a reasonable man."
From "American households spend more on transportation than on food and health care combined. The proportion of household expenditures devoted to transportation, now 19.3 percent, has grown as American car dependence has grown. Transportation costs accounted for less than 10 percent of household expenditures in 1935 and about 14 percent in 1960.The poorest 20 percent of American households spend 40.2 percent of their take home pay on transportation and nearly 95 percent of these funds are devoted to private vehicle expenses."
20% is not nominal,if you can save 20% of income each year you can free yourself from the rat race.
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D) of New York once said: “We are each entitled to our own opinion, but no one is entitled to his own facts.
Go to and you can see the estimate that the average cyclist overpays for roads because their property/sales tax subsidizes motorvehicle road damage. Go to and you can see that lower-income people actually subsidize driving costs for higher income people, because "most current transportation taxes are regressive".
Anyway, I hope Hirsch is having fun and I hope life is about more than consumption. Some things cannot be consumed but only shared, somethings instead of being consumed grow if used (like muscles and hearts).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006  

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