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Day 397 - June 24th - Land of Two Wheels

I find it absolutely incredible how various people and cultures define what is right and what is wrong and the fervor in which they enforce those opinions once they figure them out. For example; the Japanese were giving out bicycle parking tickets and a pair of street cops would wrap a tag on bikes parked in bad spots, too close to the street or appearing non functional. I could not read the tags but I also saw a giant truck cruising around with a big huge bike pile. Best I could tell that was the follow up crew. Can you say "bye bye poorly parked bike?" The Dutch, on the other hand, have what seems to be a similar strategy and mind set with a few small changes in the details.


Primarily, it appears the Dutch have streamlined the process by eliminating the part about tagging the bikes, got rid of the whole roaming truck thing and instead implemented the "park it anywhere you wish for as long as you want" method of bicycle pollution control. So in the following pics, though you most likely you wont even notice, but in the event you do, I apologize for the occasional stray cycle that has wandered in the shot. So please just pretend they are not there and don't miss the true focus and in depth meaning of each photo.

I call this next picture "Pink Flowers"

"Graffiti" displays the creativity of local street artists

"Ivy Vine"


"The Green Door"

"Canal with Spikey Fence Thing Off to the Side"


"The Blue Bike"

"Mommy Can I have a Bike? Shhhhh! No, not yet, you are way too short!"

"My Other Car is a Bike"

And speaking of peddling and riding, there are a few other interesting aspects of Amsterdam that test the limitations of other culture's vision of right and wrong. I of course am referring the peddling of drugs and taking the local women for hire for a quick ride, of course. What other large international traveling hub of a city offers pot, hash and magic mushrooms as an over the counter option at your local coffee shop.

"May I see a menu please?, Hmmm let's see, wow so many choices, is the Amnesia any good, Oh really! well may I have 3 grams of that please, and an ounce of mushrooms as well, do you mind if I smoke it here? And by the way, do you know where I can buy a girlfriend for an hour?"

I find it fascinating that humans select certain things to viciously attack on the grounds of all that is evil while they themselves do exactly the same thing under a differing guise. How ludicrous is the concept that drugs are really really bad and evil unless they come in a little bottle that was prescribed by some quack doctor and a huge portion of the $ ends up in the greedy corrupt hands of an international drug company while the pill popping hypocrites who sell and buy into this scam somehow sleep at night even though they are poisoning the public for profit.

**** End Angry Venting ****

When a good plan works, packaging it and applying to other similar situations is often a recipe for successful repetitions. So as you can imagine, I was not surprised to see that the Amsterdamians have applied the ingenious "park it anywhere you wish for as long as you want" strategy to the issue of boat pollution as well.

How excited was I to spot this flower, hey wait, does that look a bit like

spokes on a bike wheel? Whoa dude! As a closing thought, open doors so often spark curiosity

Dave Rat

Day 395 - June 22 - Rock Show in Bilbao

The first of the shows on this three week run. The picture below pretty much sums up the way I feel. A big clustery mess of everything traveling in different direction, no where to relax and other than clinging to my passport, I really am not overly concerned about where myself or anything else ends up.

Oh great, here comes the bus to pick us up as I ponder the translation.

I realize that some gigs are better than others and if this whole "doing sound" sound thing does not pan for me, I guess there is always the green pant option of driving a micro-dozer to dream about.

And speaking of green, come take a look at my cubicle office where I will spend the day toiling away.

Uh oh, looks like once again those noisy neighbors are going to have another party. Oh well, since I can't beat 'em, I guess I will join 'em!

And darn it, I forgot to bring my camera for show time but hey, there is always tomorrow and the next day and the next and then a bunch of next's after that and then I will be home again. Sad to see this tour end like I was sad to say bye bye to my two little pals that I dropped off at sleep away camp, four forever days ago.

Off to make some noise, for a change,

Dave Rat

Day 393 - June 20th - Don't Step in Bad Ideas

Speaking of good ideas, as much as I liked the cool blue insulation, adding a bit of drywall is probably not such a bad idea, and this is what I will leave behind, I wonder what it will look like when I get home.

At least things are getting put back together as I promise myself to stop tearing things out, must pack, must leave soon. "Do not think about the crowbar in the garage, or the hammer, or the saws-all with the diamond blade that cuts through anything super easy and takes out house sections in fairly neat clumps." And especially do not start wondering what is inside that ugly boxy thing over the entry to the kitchen.

Ooops! Oh well, shit happens!

Clean up time and the process of leaving ferments over time. What a year ago was anticipation and apprehension now has distilled into a sharp and abrupt disorientation. Swallowing the reluctance behind a smile, I pack away enough of my life to cover the essentials. As the plane flights lumber on, the feeling of displacement is consumed by jet lag as the endless engine whine shoves the metal human filled metal tube I ride through the sky, again. Glazed eyed security grumps remind me of sleeping with sand in my bed, annoying, can't be wished away and if I stop everything and deal with it properly, I can continue on with my day or night as the case may be. Van rides, hotel keys and familiarity sets in, in some far away land I have been before, but right now, hey, how about some beers, hanging with friends and we'll go do some rock shows. In the mean time some images and a recommendation to find Bilbao in your worldly travels.

Fourteen months ago I slept here. In this hotel, in this city, on this tour. I don't even need to take new pictures as our trip here 42 days P.B. (Pre Blog) look exactly the same as they would if new. Welcome to Bilbao, Spain, home of a Guggenheim Museum and a whole bunch of cool artsy stuff and across the street is a tiny little coffee shop/bar that makes amazing espresso's holds about 6 people and has sandwiches under the bar.

**** Ponderings ****

Bad ideas' implemented come plentiful when insecurities manifest themselves as over-achievers who subject those exposed to the ramifications.

Conversely, harmony is the absence of excuses. Clear vision absolute. Finding it seems illusive while the outcome so natural. Smiles in knowing. Decision, warmth in progress.

When people intentionally or otherwise place clumps of dog poo on the sidewalk of life I am walking, I try and avoid stepping in it, even if I have to alter my path a bit, as poo stepping is generally a bad idea, I guess, unless I have poo stepping boots on or if I worked on a farm where I would probably trudge right through it to get the job done, but right now, neither is the case so around the poo I step.

**** End Ponderings ****

Dave Rat