Motu 2 Motu

Nov 30 thru Dec 6th is the time people come to race outrigger canoe in what is known as the race in the most luscious backdrop ever. Canadians Aussies and Kiwis sprinkled with few USA (Hawaii Washington and Los Angeles “Go Makaha”) the world’s most beautiful lagoon according to Conde Nast. I sat outside last night. No phone so that I might absorb all the goodness of Aitutaki island like the Two hermit crabs racing on slightly coarse yet soft sand. Ripple of tides reflecting sun then moon in the sky. And feeling the way you feel after a good day. This race around the islands is 37 Km of warm water mushing. And teams getting ready, you sea a bunch of orange and gray shirts. No shirt no service. Color bands identify you team. And everyone sizing each other up. Pre game huddle reveals a few characteristics. Everyone says they are there to have fun and the minute race starts those same people become very competitive. Chase boats name after children. Exodus and Princess Annie. 3 hours of constant motion and some commotion then its over. I paddled like my life depended on it and we passed up 3 canoes. 12 boats total. We came in 7th which is better than DFL. Yeah I’m competitive too.


The little things

Celebrating My mom’s birthday in Spain. I take account of the nuances of everyday life and compare them to how I live at home. Today it is ice cubes. A fan of crushed ice, I find the giant tubular like cubes kinda interesting. Being Catholic, three cubes in any glass suits me well. “Everything in threes like the Blessed Trinity” as the birthday girl would says. As we venture place to place the cubes are consistent. 3 to a glass. I let my imagination wonder and yes the 3 is intentional. The ice surface area is optimal but crushed ice is quicker. I like the smoothness and visually, Spain’s ice in a glass looks masculine. Bold large rocks marinating in Bourbon. Looking in the freezer of our flat, same type of ice. Refinement in simple things brings me joy and feeling it quickly is bliss. If I was a mathematician the cube ice might tickle my notion that math does indeed rule the world. And a world without ice? I could only imagine.


On Renfe train one way from Madrid is 60 euros…it’s summer. Fast and clean describes the machine. Greeted by hot air with a breeze, Seville is not grid friendly so taxi is one’s best bet. I missed the bulls that run in April and May. The Bull is majestic. Ebony, shiny and angry. Not one to fall into tourist trap I get a 45 Euro carriage horse ride for 40. But guess what, he didn’t take me back to place of origin…lol. Clop clop clop is a favorite sound because it will never change…think about it. The Cathedral can be seen from great distances. Clear and astounding evidence of Spain’s powerful reign. Franco died in 1975 so I asked about now “Socialist”. The Plaza de Espana. Built in 1929 by Anibal Gonzalez Ossorio. Reverence to him and all who created such a magnificent structure. And would He be appalled to know that rollerbladers come here to zoom across it’s courtyard. The Plaza de Espana will stand the test of time and outlive all who cross it. Gracias Seville for your gifts and charm

Mad for Madrid

Coming off another low budget wonder airlines (Norwegian air) and landing in Madrid. I felt the radiant heat and the song 🎵Hot child in the city running wild looking pretty🎵 ran quickly through my mind. So it’s like 104 degrees and I packed lots of pants. Jose the taxi guy, who answered to Miguel, had tribal tattoos on his right arm. Not unusual per se but enough to ask “Maori “. Jose wouldn’t elaborate so maybe he just plain ole likes it. First thing I notice any where I’ve been ” is it clean or dirty” and luckily Madrid is clean. The gaudi architecture is in Barcelona but here it’s mostly colonial type on the exteriors and facade. Got an apartment and pics on line have filters to give an impression of clean lines and contemporary furniture. Greeted by Jimena who gives us a quick tour and leaves. The Gaggenau stove is modern but that’s about it. It’s kitchy and mildly whimsical aka another low budget wonder. I like it and settle in quickly. Sizing up the neighborhood is pending, and I get groceries. Beer eggs toast butter bacon sweets and dates under 20 euros. I like TV especially here.. full frontal nudity both sexes….what? Yep and my mom gasps. My lovely cousins says “there is a place in Barcelona that custom makes espadrilles” I’m looking forward to getting a pair and that is pending too.

Journey but Not the band.

Dizzy after recording, having to drive to Oakland shotgun to pick up some look books and posters. “If they are really bad I’m using them as targets”. Walking the neighborhood and then packing to head home. Visiting family is always good and soul-searching within even better. The part I dig is getting to airport early. The posters never found, may have been tossed with the other rubbish oops I meant to say recyclables. Besides I’m lugging enough already. The bridge is open and strong and weathered plenty. Today I wish to be a bridge.


Visiting my sister I always leave having learned something new about her and something new about myself. When I lament about what it is like being single, my sister tolerance is exercised. I shout out loud “I’m all those things” as we listen to what men and women find attractive in each other. The Seattle radio station was not only playing songs but playing field psychology. Women like funny and self deprecating humor in men. In men’s eyes women don’t have to be so funny. Thats why my sister says there’s not “as many female comedians”. Just because I’m nice, thoughtful and easy to get along with does not mean I’m entitled to meet a handsome charismatic man out the gate. My sister on the other hand says it sounds more like “the stench of desperation” as I explain how indignant I’ve become when it comes to to dating at this stage. I’m standing tall like the Seattle Needle, I am not desperate NO! Indignantly frustrated as hell….yes.


“I can’t believe you got a flight back from Taipei back to Los Angeles”. Fifty-eight dollars for the ticket plus all the other fees, two hundred dollars on Xiamen airlines. 24 hour layover and some hassle, I ended up at nice hotel. They gave a 2 pm checkout.. YES! drank the loose tea instead of Lipton’s and got charged 5 bucks…oh well. Walked around the city and noticed the stares which I understand and realized Xiamen may not have a great number of visitors. Flying in night before I saw animated pictures of cranes and herons superimposed on fancy buildings. I am told this is what Xiamen is known for. What really exciting was seeing the Deputy’s Prime Minister and his entourage from Tonga. They are in a 20 year relationship similar to concept of sister cities. Diplomatic relationships start with noticing the “Ta Ovala” and not mistaking anyone for being Samoan. The last nice hotel I stayed at, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Shariff was also staying there. He was in Hong Kong to finish up the “Beltway intiative”. He’s been in a little trouble since then. Better him than me. Zaijian.


I’ve had layovers in Taiwan but hours versus days. Quick bus tours and quick eats was all I could afford. My dear friend used to live in Taipei so she said we were going to hang out here after Nepal. I don’t know Taiwan history about Japanese colonialism around 1952. What I do know is that Taipei is beautifully humid (skin radiant and plump) sunny and rainy all in a day’s time. Looking into the sky, clouds move quickly. Ah then there’s the food. Taipei is inexpensive. Plenty of nite market treats to satisfy both budget and craving. Railways are efficient and wifi is essentially free. “iTaiwan” . Beitou hot springs is a stop along the MRT and yes, I am told the older naked ladies will comment on your body at the spa. They will switch quickly over to Taiwanese if they think you speak Mandarin.


Never heard of this airlines until now. 200.00 dollars cheaper than the rest. No booze though but that’s not the end of the world for some people. Seats are comfortable but tall individuals will be challenged. At 5’6 knees are touching seat in front of me. Update I am aware of the flight from Bali to Jakarta that plunge into ocean immediately after take off. It is an inherent risk and I am aware.