That little voice in the brain

There is a little voice in my brain that seems to me to be very patient. I am always on a persistent quest to be better, feel better and to find that one feeling that makes my heart dance. This voice said to me today “You’re living in a confined space aren’t you Dr. Radney.” (it calls me what I prefer and I appreciate it)

I and realized that YES! I am living in a confined space! My car, my yard, my house, my job, my mind, my ambitions. My hopes have become confined hopes. I now hope for what it more achievable. I remember as a kid hoping for some pretty wild stuff like being in the NHL or declining the Prime Ministership because I was already busy playing hockey. Now it’s more realistic like I want my daughter to be healthy and maybe the Canucks will reach .500.

Where did it all go? My voice is tiny and I have to peer inward quietly to hear but it is patient, kind and repetitive. It says “Find your life. It’s not just yours anymore. Find that thing and show it to them.”

All I really know right now is that this confinement is for caged birds. 057_57

 

Oahu – It’s Not So Bad

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The 45 minute divide between main street tourist america and the lone stretch of pavement like a belt in front of miles of beach and waves may as well be a stargate. A warp zone of the Luigi variety. Rare is it in life that one can travel such a short distance on land and experience two opposing landscapes and cultural feels.

Oahu is the island that hipsters and hippies brush aside on the way to Kauai or the Big Island. “Oahu is for the fat tourists and popular thingies!” they yell out their VW window. But they don’t actually get the full sentence out that because smoke is choking their lungs making them sound like they are under a pane of glass.

While it is true that Oahu is crowded and home to such popular attractions as Pearl Harbor and the densely hiked Diamond Head crater, it is also surprisingly true that the North Shore and the Windward side are not. The word is quaint. No wait, the word is santally; a made up word yes, but true nonetheless because it now means freely crowded yet available.

Keep the Country Country reads the bumper sticker on the Toyota in front of us as we brake for some surfers crossing the road. Indeed they will. Through will and resistance.

So get your food truck tacos and roadside surfboard. Dine in luxury in a restaurant next to an old narrow bridge. Surf and tan and see and hike.

Oahu, it’s better than you may think, Thad.

Not a bad slogan. If I were to write a slogan for Oahu it would be, “Hey Thad and Chazz, we don’t need your money because all these chubby tourists are here already but you will be pleasantly surprised with what we have to offer to dirty hippies like you.

What I wish I’d Known About Costa Rica

There’s no point sugar coating it in “travel is so fun, look at me being somewhere” sugar jam and pretending it was fun just because it cost money. Costa Rica is overrated. Period. Stop. That’s it.

From what people have told me about the Central American hub of tourism, I expected the greatest place on earth; a barrel of sweet smelling activities to make Hawaii look like the rented step-kid in a step-kid renting scam. I had heard Costa Rica was the eco-tourism capital, surf as far as the eye can see, vegans and hippies, sloths and monkeys, all gathered around a freedom fire of peace and love. Pura Vida right?

Wrongzo. Costa Rica is just like every other place crawling with tourists. From the time I told the hardened Alamo Car Rental agent, “My insurance company just told me that what you’re doing is probably illegal”, I knew I was ankle deep in factory tourism sludge. (Btw, I was charged an extra $400 by Alamo even though I was double insured and had proof. THIEVES!). Also, the first car they gave us had a burnt out clutch and seat covers that I can only guess were participants in a stabby murder. Eventually I convinced them that a clutch isn’t supposed to be as passive as a participant badge and I got a newer car.

I think I’m more upset about feeling suckered than I am with the country itself. I could compare it to the Calgary Flames tickets I spent a pile of money on to sit close but the view was obscured and both teams played like dead rabbits. Similar feeling.

Here’s what I wish I knew:

  • It’s expensive, especially for Canadians because it uses American dollars on already high prices eg. $20 personal pizza.
  • The car rental companies are unscrupulous. Down with Scruples! There was a lot of yelling and not just from my mouth. Down with Alamo!
  • They charge $40 USD per person to exit the country. Surprise!
  • The roads are CRAZY! Rocks, holes, rocks, rocks. They actually try to deter tourists by keeping them horrible. Fact.
  • Skip Tamarindo.
  • The locals don’t seem Pura Vida. They’ll take your money at checkout by charging you for two or jacking it up and acting dumb.
  • Carry a stack of both USD and Colons and pay in the denomination that the price is listed in. No matter how high the guy was at the yoga factory, he still managed to charge an extra $20 through exchange.

Of course there were good things too. If you have a chance, stay at Playa Grande as opposed to Tamarindo. It’s laid back, the beaches are clean and the surf is constant. The views during the drive to Monte Verde are spectacular. Howler monkeys are cool guys. Montezuma is like a hippie comic book. The coffee is fantastic.

But if you want authentic/rustic/off the path you won’t find it in the packed bars on the beach among the Americans crowded around the NFL playoffs in Santa Theresa.

Would I go back? Yeah for free maybe. Definitely want to see the other side of the country as I have heard it’s the schnazz. Also, Nicaragua is a short drive away so maybe that’s the way to go.

It’s mostly the way I felt shovelled like just another barn turd in a Turd Barn as to why I feel the need to write this. All while being told it’s the opposite of a Turd Barn.

“Well since you’re already here, Pura Vida, follow the rules, and that’ll be $500 for the advice. Now get out. That’s another $40. Stay out.”

***I did not write this at the behest of Costa Rica Tourism to try to deter tourists***

 

 

Brown that Nose

The corporation I work for recently implemented a new online system where one employee can thank/congratulate/recognize, another. I think this type of morale boosting is entertaining and beneficial. It’s a vehicle to easily say “You’re great thank you for holding me back from falling into the fire” without actually having to say it to their face or worse, actually hug or touch in some way.

What’s grinding my unlubed and squeaky gear box is that this online peer approval system has also integrated a points system; points to be used as currency at the corporate store. “Cool!” you say.

Wait a tic, there’s more.

Points are only awarded to you if a manager or higher-up recognizes you through this online system. If a peer does, no points for you!

Welcome to Brown-Nose central! Welcome to the hierarchy! Welcome to passive-aggressive, happy-but-it’s-fake, sugar candy land! Welcome to the street! Welcome to Zombieland! Welcome to the Epcot Center! Welcome to the coffee shop!

Even if this points thing doesn’t catch on in any big way, psychologically it has created a barrier between management and non-management. The ones who hold the points power are elevated and the ones who do not are forced to become part of a suck-up and pretend culture they had no intention of joining.

I, for one of a small minority, would not see it as a badge of honour to be gifted oodles of points so I could buy a pretty satchel. It means I have probably done things I wouldn’t tell my mother about. Or I’ve become one of THOSE.

For a self respecting person I find it is getting more and more difficult to succeed solely with hard work and an award winning personality in a pyramid shaped money world. Maybe the only way is to strike out on my own. Then I can pee on the underlings.

Todos Santos

Todos Santos

There is a dust bowl rising out of sight from the resorts in Cabo San Lucas and a couple of palm tree lengths inland on the west coast of the California Baja Peninsula. The dust concentrates above the town of Todos Santos and intermingles with sweat from the dozens of brick-laying workmen below who are working around the clock to gift-wrap the former hidden gem into a paradoxically gleaming, rustic, laid back, haven for yogi’s, surfers and anyone retreating from the noise and fumes of the city.

Why is Todos Santos making the top of the list for more travellers than ever before? One reason is the abundance of beaches in the area. Within 10 minutes driving you have the most accessible surf and (perhaps only) swim beach on the peninsula, Los Cerritos – a surfer’s paradise in La Pastora – a secluded, strip-and-run-naked sanctuary, Las Palmas – and a sea lion-turtle watching beach with a rigorous hike at Puntas Lobos. Swimming beaches are notably rare in the Baja so the life-guarded and immensely refreshing Los Cerritos make it a precious gem.DSC_0898

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The Todos Santos locals, especially the ones who stopped there during an epic flight to freedom from parts North and accidentally stayed, of which there are many, profess their love for the serenity offered in Todos. Yoga and meditation sanctuary’s breathe amidst the dusty village roads like oases. Between a session, a read and a coffee, transplants from the North embrace the desert stillness and ingest with palms raised.

Getting to the still rustic town has never been easier. The new toll road from the airport in Cabo is empty and the drive is less than an hour. Formerly, one would have to drive through the congested city of Los Cabos but the very reasonable 70 peso toll feels like you’ve been shot from a cannon.

Toll Road

Toll Road

Go there before it is filled with resorts! Grab a board for $40 a week and surf your days away.

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Hotel California

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Typical sign, typical road

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Literals the edge of town

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When Cats Go Missing

Last night the orange one didn’t come home.

I said, “Well either he’s dead or eating ham at a neighbours house. Either way I’m tired.”

Ernie is a good dude. He usually streaks into the door when he feels like it, eye pus flying in behind him (His eye has been leaking for a week and it’s gross. Vet time. The goop doesn’t make good cooking oil in case you’re wondering).

That song “The cat came back” didn’t work as a prayer this morning as he did not. So I went for a neighbourhood walk in my pyjamas, holding a coffee and a bag of cat treats.

Suddenly, I heard a familiar cry. High in the thick tree by the forbidden street sat a dribbling eyed orange cat.

“You’re stuck in the tree ya bastard!” I yelled, shaming him.

I ran home to grab a ladder and as I carried it back I wondered what went through the mind of a 7 month old cat stuck in a tree for 12 hours.

“It’s not fair that I’m the one stuck in the tree and that dog gets to lick crotches.”

“Maybe it’s time I care more about Bill and less about treats.”

“I’m only 7 months old but I feel like this is a turning point in my life like when Justin Trudeau’s dad invented oil.”

“I’m never climbing trees again without my phone.”

Inside the warm and cozy home, covered in sap, dripping with shame and eye crust, Ernie finally relaxed. The other cat, Bill, grabbed his tail and bit his ear.

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