Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

travel update from Buenos Aires

Hola mis Amigos,
Now here I am and I am here now. This here and now thing is called Buenos Aires. I arrived here on a Wednesday after 6 or 7 weeks in Uruguay. The launcha (ferry boat) was very pleasant indeed. I crossed the Rio Del Plata from Carmelo Uruguay on the Cacciola Ferry and landed in Tigre Argentina.
This part of the river is quite beautiful and the passage was scenic and the waters very tranquil . The boat is a clean fast air conditioned modern Catamaran. This part of the river is about 150 miles inland from the Atlantic.
Upon arrival in Argentina I was given a wonderful and unexpected early "Christmas gift". I did NOT HAVE TO PAY US$131.00 to enter Argentina! I got a 90 day visa stamp for free which is fine with me as it is all I need right now. Right here and right now.
The new policy in Argentina is for Estado Unidenses (USA citizen) to pay this fee because the Government in Washington DC imposes sever tarrifs,taxes, and fees on Argentina citizens who want to visit USA.
Aparently they (Argentina government) are, at this time, only making you (USA citizens) pay if you arrive by airplane in the international airport. The good news is you get the visa and it is valid for 10 years so you can come and go as often as you wish without having to pay each time.
Buenos Aires is a very good climate for December. Right now, right here, it is about 30 to 35 degrees or (86-93 American). Well... maybe it is a little too hot. But in my opinion that is always better than being too cold. I am in a good hostel called Portal del Sur and will stay here until after New Year.
Then I need to go to the Paraguay embassy and buy a visa for Paraguay which will be my next new country. Right now this is what I want to do here.
I have to wait because, they do not like to give the visa "too far in advance". This is what they told me at the Paraguay Embassy in Montevideo. They did not say how far is too far. So I am waiting here until I am ready to leave Buenos Aires. I will take a train to rosario upon obtaining my Paraguay visa. It is a city on the Parana river. I know a good place to stay there and I have never been there before and it is in the general direction of Paraguay.
Humans learn from mimicking or copying others. you know the old cliche "monkey see monkey do"? Well, we are monkeys! Sure we learn the obvious stuff that way like how to hold a fork or tie our shoe, but also more complicated stuff like language skills mathematics and creativity!
Creativity? Well, yes. Thats why all classical music sounds the same. Why all heavy metal music sounds the same. Why so many movies have car chases. Sure if you look or listen closely the car chase or the music is different. but the difference is subtle. We basically copy one another.
Imitation and/or role playing, is how we learn to act how we learn to behave, how we know what to do.
What about desire? (I am glad you asked!)I believe that we learn desire by mimic as well. I don`t think a fellow desires something because that fellow finds it valuable (beautiful) but because others find it valuable (beautiful). We desire what others desire BECAUSE they desire it.
The ten commandments of Moses (Musa) addresses this form of mental slavery, the last of the ten says:
"thou shalt not desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's"
I am pretty free from desires caused by coveting, caused by the wanting of things that other people value/have. I do not want a bigger swimming pool than my neighbor, a newer BMW, or an I-phone.
So we dont desire something because we find it valuable but because OTHER people find it to be valuable/desirable(this is just my opinion here). I believe that this is also a desire to "fit in" to be like everyone else. This is why everyone dresses the same. Why in the last 15 years it has become mainstream to get a tattoo. Most people are in a state of panic if they are not like everyone else. Most of us really, more than anything else, want to be another brick in the wall.
This is why girls ignore nice guys who are compatible with them and go after the captain of the football team. Not because anyone actually likes him, but because we think others value him! We value what is desired by others. We learn what is desireable by watching what others desire.
Things are not intrinsically desireable, or valuable, or beautiful, they are so because others feel they are so. After all what is the intrinsic value in a lump of gold? A rolex watch? A painting by Picasso? What makes Pamela Anderson more beautiful than an anonomous girl in bikini on the beach?
Lately I have been thinking about what I really want. What I really value. Truthfully most of the time I am in the "new Nirvana" the magic kingdom in my head called "Enough".
I bought a new pair of under pants (ropa interior)today. I am the proud owner of two pairs of underpants. I had bought the last ones about two years ago in Tobago. The new pair I bought today was to replace one of the old which had torn. It was only because it was torn that I suddenly had a value for a new pair.
Most of the time, I dont want anything at all. I would say that 90% of the things I purchase are food or beverage items I will be eating within one or two days of purchase. 90% of the things I want I obtain within a few hours of the realization that I want it. 90% of my desires are not things at all but rather places that I want to go to.
This next May or June, I want to travel across Siberia and frankly, I have no idea where i got an idea like that from! But I know that it is my idea and not yours. I know that I am doing what I want. I know that I am dancing to the tune in my own head.
Merry New Year and Happy Christmas to all of you,
Rambling Robert
"If you think you are so enlightened, go and spend a week with your parents" Ram Das
"All things are vibrating energy fields in ceasless motion. What we perceive as physical matter (your body) is energy vibrating at a particular range of frequencies." Eckhart Tolle
"A consistent thinker is a thoughtless person, because he conforms to a pattern; he repeats phrases and thinks in a groove."Jiddu Krishnamurti

Monday, December 13, 2010

last travel update from uruguay

Saludo a todos,
Today I travelled 90 km north from Colonia to Carmelo and from here I will catch a boat across the Rio del Plata and enter Argentina in the port town of Tigre.
I had spent three weeks in the peaceful village of Colonia. I did not do very much there. my usual routine, Walking around, buying groceries and making my meals, swimming in the river. I met a few cool travelers and had some nice walks and talks. Friends who seem so important in the moment and then Poof they are gone. Usually gone forever. The travelers lament.
My last 5 nights there in Colonia I made dinner with an Irish bicycle traveller named Sean. He blogs on a very neat bicycle travel websight (they have a website for everything now a days) it is called www.crazyguyonabike.com
The bus ride here to Carmelo was uneventful. nice flat scenery through typical Uruguay farmlands. I am in a little hotel here called Hotel Oriental. The only good thing I can say about it is it is cheap. I mean it is the cheapest place I have stayed in Uruguay. it is dark and not very clean. The staff is not what you would call ....friendly.
I was thinking at first to be here for 5 nights. After checking in I decided to only stay tonight and tomorrow. The town is quite small and I believe I have already seen it all. I bought a ticket to cross the river to Argentina on Wednesday. It is a much cheaper crossing point here than Montevideo or Colonia. And an unexpeceted bonus is that when I get to Tigre Argentina the company that operates the ferry provides a free minibus to Buenos Aires. I will be going to B.A. Wednesday night, it looks like.
Ahh to be free. To be "on the road" forever. To never have to stay, to never have to go...I never really know how long I will stay in a place. I think being "on the road" does not necessarily mean one must go someplace everyday.
Being "On the road" and being free is not necessarily travelling. It is however in a certain sence being unsettled, being un attached. I suppose I borrow the expression "On the Road" from a travel book written by Jack Kerouak about 50 years ago.
To me being "on the Road" is a feeling of freedom. I know many persons who are living rather sedentary lives but they are travellers none the less.The thing is to have a feeling that one can just pick up and go whenever one feels like it.
Before I began my journeys, I had a buddy who had done a lot of travelling. He advised me that the first rule of a traveller is "If you are not having fun...leave" Well, I suppose that the second rule is "If you are having fun, stay!" I never really know how I will like a place. Shahh I never even really know if I liked it until after I have left!
I know a lot of travellers who arent travelling. I know a lot of hippies with short hair. I know a lot of bikers who drive cars. I know a lot of warriors who are at peace. Just because you aren`t fighting, doesnt mean you arent a warrior. Its about heart. Being on the road is about heart. A path with heart.
AS I travel, as I wander, as I roam I meet alot of backpackers. Backpackers are travellers who stay in cheap budget hostels and guest houses. They are travellers in the most mundane sense of the word, that is, they are on a trip, on a journey.Usually on a relatively long journey by United States of American standards, a long journey would be more than a month.So they stay in these kind of places they call backpacker places.
They are not all travellers. My hobo pal Andy might call them sight-seers or vacationers, or turists. They have clear and obvious attachments usually in the form of commitments in a place called "back home". They know where they are going "back to" and they know more or less when they are going back. Travellers are not going back. Doesn`t mean they are leaving, doesn`t mean they are still living out of a suitcase or a backpack it just means they arent going back!
When I meet backpackers in hostels or on a train or bus or wherever, Once we exchange quick stories of what we are doing, the number one question is always this "How do you finance this" or "How can you afford to travel for so long," or, you know... something like that.
Of course this is precisely the wrong question. The question immediately reveals to me that they may be a backpacker but they are not a traveller.
It isn`t about money. It is about heart. It is about attitude. It is about freedom. Freedom is more a state of mind than a financial statement. Anyone who thinks you can find freedom through finance, has not been in a bank lately!!
There is a lot more to freedom than having enough money to travel and being allowed to vote once every 4 years! Sure this is part of it. If you are born in Myanmar (Burma) and you have no way of earning money and no way of getting a passport, sure you can`t travel. Financial and political freedom is a part of it, but this is the most mundane (I dont mean mundane in a negative way) level of freedom.
The real freedoms are (in my opinion) Freedom from Authority, Freedom from the known, and freedom from Time. So then, really freedom is all about internal freedoms not about external freedom. Certainly not about money.
"So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?" Ayn Rand
Money is not about freedom, it is about slavery! Having money never made anyone free, but it has ensnared millions of people all through history. To be a traveller you have to be free of the "fear of not having money"!

I will write the next update from Argentina.

Peace, love, and freedom to all who read these words.
Rambling Robert

"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this."Albert Einstein
"Hitler and Mussolini were only the primary spokesmen for the attitude of domination and craving for power that are in the heart of almost everyone. Until the source is cleared, there will always be confusion and hate, wars and class antagonisms."Jiddu Krishnamurti
"Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon." Susan Ertz

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

travel update from far away

Saludos a todos,
Well I thought I would write an update for all the "foodies" who always write and ask about the food and wine situation in whatever country I am in, but I decided to write about something else first.
Yes, so here is something else from somewhere else!
As a young person we had certain expressions like "out of this world!" or "far out" or "too much" which all kind of meant that something was very very good. Kind of equivalent to "Radical!" or "Awsome" in todays " Gringo lingo".
Ahh to be far away. To be so far away that you can`t see or hear whatever it was that you left behind. To be really far away. So far away that "they" will never find me here...like hiding but so far away that they can`t see you. Far out enough so you dont really have to hide at all. Like to just disappear.
To be so far out there that you no longer understand what "they" are talking about at all...how far is that? Can you walk? Can you run? Remember the blues song "you know I might take a bus, or I might take a train but if I gotta walk or crawl on my god-damn hands and knees I`m gonna get there just the same. I`m going to Kansas City. Kansas city here I come..."
How far out is far out anyway? Is that a distance one can measure in Kilometers or do we measure it in "nuerons", in brain cells? I have to be careful here, as i am hoping to save a few nuerons for New Years Eve. I want to have a couple of brain cells left to pickle in Mendoza Malbec on the last day of the year. Is it a state of the union or a state of the mind?
So how far out does the kid need to get before he stops feeling the gravity of their mind machine pulling on the strings of his heart? of his mind? Of his carcass? of his temporal body? The mind parasites. The old thought patterns that seem(ed) so unimpeachable that one never stops to ask if they should be challenged. or is it just fear that stopped me from challenging the inner authority, the voice in the head, that just will not stop. the inner judge that always knows better than the true self? The real me? Can you see the real me...me...me...?
How far before you no longer can hear it whispering "its okay, its alright, dont worry everything is fine. Just play by the rules. and you will be free. You will be okay. See the sign? it says work will make you free.Get a grip on yourself and go back to work... Stop asking yourself this stuff. Stop thinking about this nonsense before you go stark raving mad!"
Is Uruguay far enough? Is Fiji far enough? Morroco? Do you have to go all the way to Katmandu or Timbuktu? Can you get there in the quiet of your room with the incense burning and your legs crossed beneath you thinking nothing but "Ohhhm...Ohmmm...Aum mani Padme Humg" or do you have to buy a ticket to Tierra del Fuego? Get on board the "train to the end of the earth". To the end of the earth? Is that far enough? To Ushuia? To Nanu lei lei? Is it a place you have to get to or is it a time or is it...What?
Of course you can never get away from the burning question
" Why go anyway?" You know "you can check out any time you like but you can never really leave", You know you have to come back sooner or later anyway. They will never let you just go...there are always strings attached, chains attached, old responsibility, traditions, attachments, loyalties...and If you leave then you have to start all over again.
I got a letter from a foodie friend. She tells me my old compadre Chef Wilhelm died in his sleep. We were the same age. We went to the same "ecole de cuisine". It made me weep. weeping at the shared computer in the hostel is decidedly not cool. Not far out. no. not far out at all.
Shall I write about the cheese here in Uruguay? The wine? The beer? The empanadas? "What is a chivito"? "How are the pizzas?" "Can you drink the water"? What about the Parillas? Are they truly the best Meat Grillers in the world? What is yerba mate? Dulce de leche? The meaning of life? What is the meaning of life?
Chef Bill and I were the best. We were friends but rivals. but friends first. We were the best. Then, I quit. I admit it. I just up and quit. Just up and left. I got fed up. I had had enough. I wanted something more real than a review from some one who has never even been a chef. Some one who couldn`t thicken a bechemel with a roux if his life depended on it.
I wanted something more than another restaurant. Is there Something more important than clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl? an old Chambertain? and old Lafitte? and old D`yquem?
Will there be a rainbow after this storm? I just dont know. i just dont know anymore. We were friends and rivals but friends first. that boy..that man...well he was a hell of a cook and a damn good man.
I am glad I quit! God damn right i quit. I ran away! God damn right...God damn right. and I`m glad! I just hope all my old mates get out before we all die in our sleep. God damn right.
Enough of this. the cheese is excellent here.
Peace and love to all of you.
rambling robert
"All men die, but not all men truly live!" William Wallace

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Thomas Edison

"The sadness of Life is this - the emptiness that we try to fill with every conceivable trick of the mind. But that emptiness remains. Its sadness is the vain effort to possess. From this attempt comes domination and the assertion of the me, with its empty words and rich memories of things that are gone and never will come back."J.Krishnamurti