Friday, July 15, 2016

Re:


Ernst Aebi

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Maybe finally I'll make it to THAT DARIEN GAP

Last Winter I tried to walk through the Darien Gap, from Columbia to Panama, or vice-versa, but couldn't because I had to stay in New York City to take care of my affairs.

I just came back from skiing in Switzerland and from snow-covered Istanbul — and now, I really hope to be going as soon as possible to Columbia to trek from there through the jungle to Panama.

The freedom to do those things are a bonus for getting old. I am 77-years old now and despite the advantages old age grants me, I'd much rather be young.

I read the government and FARK, the Columbian rebel group, many of whom are hiding in the Darien Gap region, have signed a peace accord.

My daughter Tania bought me an "inReach EXPLORER". That is a little battery-powered gadget which, whenever I press a button, it relays via satellite where I am. My kids thought I should have that so they would know where to look if I don't make it back.

Having such a tracking device is new to me.

During all my previous journeys nobody knew, where I was. Sometimes I didn't know either.  So far I have been to 153 countries, most of the time traveling the way locals do, in overloaded busses, on camels, on motorcycles, cars and trucks, horses, boats, on foot, in patched up local planes, on skis and by hitchhiking.

I have memories of places most people have never heard of, others that are known to everyone, some popular and others isolated. If I now look at a world map certain names bring up cool memories. Names of cities, like Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei, Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Saba, Ouagadougou, the capital of Bourkina Fasso, Timbuktu, Luang Prabang, the old capital of Laos, Pontianak, Addis Ababa of Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Monywa, Harbin, Krasnoyarsk, Happaranta, at the North end of the Baltic sea, Araouane, Kathmandu, Mashad, Kayseri, Tokyo, Peking, Saigon, Mandalay, Appenzell. The list goes on and on. All those places have a song for me.

Darien Gap, I am ready.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Who are those people?

Just checked "stats" for the blog about yesterday's visitors. Nobody in Switzerland where I am from has looked into it. Some are in countries where I had only casual acquaintances.  I can't imagine who the visitors might be.
United States
33
Ukraine
16
Germany
11
Turkey
7
France
4
United Kingdom
4
Malaysia
3
Singapore
3
Canada
2
India
2

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

HEAD BASHING CONTINUES

HOME SWEET HOME


Back at the farm, harvesting food.

Beavers in my pond cut down my fruit trees, but chase the Musk Rats away.

Harvest from my farm in Vermont


My beautiful farm.


When I took their honey, the bees got me in the upper part of the face.

Later they took care of the lower part.


I now have honey, pickled vegetables, dehydrated vegetables, frozen vegetables, canned vegetables, dried apples, apple sauce, apple butter, wild grape jelly, beef jerky, beef, lamb and chicken in the freezer and ...

Life is good.

• • •




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

54 FEET IN FAT VIRGIN, March, 2014

54 FEET IN FAT VIRGIN

March 22, 2014

My daughter Jade called from London.

"Would you like to join Nick and Tony for a sailing regatta in the BVIs?" she said.

"Can't," I said, "have to stay in New York until I have a deal with a new store tenant."

"Come on, it is only ten days, and, unlike in your planned Darien Gap folly, you can stay in daily contact with New York by phone and by e-mail.

Ah well. 
A stitched gash on the head, a swollen nose and
shiners under both, the eye and the empty eye-
socket, kept me off the booze because of antibiotics
in the system.
I am now sitting in the Bitter End Crawl Pub of Virgin Gorda, the Fat Virgin in the BVIs, drinking tea, abstaining from booze because of six stitches in a gash on my head, black shiners under my real eye and under my empty eye socket, a grossly swollen nose, and being pumped full of antibiotics, after slamming across the cockpit, resulting in a violent winch-head encounter caused by a flying mainsail sheet during a (controlled) jibe.

Today will be the last day of racing. 

Mellifera, our beautiful 54-foot Swan, the standard of sailboat excellence in normal marinas the world over, would most likely be any marina's crown jewel. Here in the BVIs she looks puny. Hundred-plus-foot sailing and motor mega yachts, are being polished by their uniformed crews to a blinding shine all over the place. Their 0.01 percenter owners in scuffed, frayed, flapping soled boat shoes and threadbare shirts bearing the name of their mega-million dollar boats — mingle with us normal mortals and drink the same rum punch, causing all of us to talk equally stupid. Once more I realize how numb-skulled we sound when we are rum-soaked. I have to stay sober among the boozers, even after daily races, on account of antibiotics in my system.

The doctor suggested I have my head examined when I refused anesthesia for stitching a large gash on my skull. To judge my mental acuity he asked what date we were and I had no idea. Further questions about my birthday, my name, the name of our president, for all of which I had correct answers, made it clear I didn't know the date of the day simply because I was on holiday.


Glorious us. Of the four legs in the race. one time we came in second, two times third and the last one,
the one that really counted, that went all the way around the FAT VIRGIN, we managed last place.
Okay, the others had racing sails and we had but cruising stuff, not ideal in light downwind sailing.




I am glad I went. It was fun. My head wound is healing well, the shiners under my eye sockets are waning, New York still has its magic for me. A stack of mail was waiting for me. I am ready to talk to new prospective tenants. On Friday the stitches will come out of my head wound.

Now, already April 6, the rainy season has started in the Darien Gap. With no particular desire to slog through muddy jungle at a time when the mosquitoes really swarm, and not in the mood for swimming across swollen, debris-carrying rivers I resigned myself to put off that jungle bash for the time being. 

At my age, just had the 76th birthday, it would be prudent not to make plans too far into the future ... you never know when a ton of bricks will fall on your head. That assault on the head has already started with last year's motorcycle summersault in Zanzibar and now during the violent head-winch encounter in the regatta. In earnest it came yesterday when I had a stent placed into one of my coronary arteries that now makes me feel like shit. 

Sic transit gloriam mundi.




Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DOORS OPEN, DOORS CLOSE, January 2014

New York, January 15, 2014

DOORS OPEN, DOORS CLOSE

If my world was perfect I'd now be somewhere in southeastern Panama, scouting for a way to get around National Police patrols to walk through the Darien Gap to Colombia.

Oooops!

In late Fall, while still on my Vermont farm, I got notice that the financial source which makes possible my forays into the wilds of our planet is drying up. The tenant of a store I own in Manhattan that, every month, had promptly paid me a lot of rent,  announced he'd have to move out (they had done well in my space and now moved to a much larger one).

I rushed to Manhattan, contacted friends who might have connections, and real estate brokers. In no time did I have two potential new tenants.

On interviewing them I found one to be the kind of person where, after shaking hands with him, I'd be tempted to count my fingers to check if they are all still there, and the other was a small Chinese art porcelain maker who'd sent his cousin over from nearby Chinatown to check out the space. Neither of the two instilled enough confidence for me to let them take over the space.

Now I have to stay in Manhattan, to check out new prospective tenants, to negotiate with them and deal with brokers. Lawyers get involved. Instead of sweating while bashing through Central American jungle, I have business lunches, and boring office meetings, while my mind conjures up cool adventures.

I am chomping at the bit to get there, just as I have announced in this blog since quite some time.  I have already gotten e-mail from blog readers that ask: What about that Darien Gap?

My present situation reminds me of a passage in a Strubelpeter story by Wilhelm Busch an Austrian writer who, about two-hundred-years ago, coined the moniker: Erstens kommt es anders, und, zweitens als man denkt, which loosely translated says in a facetious way: No matter what you think, things turn out different than what you think.

I googled for dates of the rainy seasons in the Darien Gap. I don't want to risk having to swim across rivers. So far I am still fine with time. Just check the blog from time to time. One of these days I'll be there.

Google also told me that the Panamanian National Police won't let anyone into the Darien Gap anymore because it creates bad publicity for the Panamanian tourist industry when, ever once in a while some foreigner disappears in its territory.

My kids, in a clearly facetious way, root for me to get caught and then spend time in a Panamanian jail for ignoring the interdiction. They say I'd lose the pot belly I have recently acquired.