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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

last travel update from Rosario

Greetings from Rosario,
Rosario Argentina is a city of perhaps one million people. It is a good clean city and I feel very safe here. It feels like North America or Europe. I know there are poverty and crime here but it is well hidden and segregated away from the "normal people" of the city. You would have to go looking for it too find it or have incredibly bad luck to stumble into it. I have been here 2 weeks and I havent found the "bad part of town" yet.
A few streets from my hostel is a very fine micro-brew pub. I went over there for the happy hour deal. You get two pints of brew for the price of one. I tried the Cream Stout and the Imperial Stout. They were both very good.
I am tempted to go back and have a menu degustation, in which you get 6 small servings of the brews of your choice. Hardly anything sensuous is as good the second time. Its just this needy "I want more its never enough" feeling that Makes me want to go back. I have "been there and done that" and had a good time. Why go back? Maybe I will keep the good memory and leave it at that!
I have been drinking a little more here in Rosario than usual. I respect this powerful drug. I dance with the devil but wont let him take me home and have his way with me! Still it is fun to dance some times!
I have also been sampling the national cocktail of Argentina which is Fernet Branca and Coca Cola. About 3 parts coke to one part fernet. Fernet is a black bitter aperatif or digestivo from Milan Italy. It is meant as an aparatif to be taken before meals. It is 45% alcohol, so just a little stronger than whisky.
Here it is a very popular anytime or place drink! Remarkable that although Fernet is Italian, the Argentines out pace the Italians in Fernet sales 7 to 1. In Italy Campari is more popular. The cocktail is served well iced and it tastes like bitter coca cola and gets you drunk! What more can you ask for?
Argentina makes fabulous empanadas. These are like little calzones. Little half circle shaped pizza dough envelopes with various fillings. Chopped Chicken or Beef and Ham and Cheese are most common. There are also plenty of vegetarian versions.
There are many shops called Rotiseria. These shops all have empanadas and tortas. The tortas are like large quiche, or a big round empanada. A bottom and side of pastry and then a savory filling and some are covered with pastry and some not.
Tortas are Mostly meat fillings or chicken with cheeses, but really countless varietys are around. Including Tuna which seems popular but i have not tryed one. My favorite is green stuff and egg. Sometimes the green stuff is spinach, sometimes kale, sometimes acelga, but it is always excellent. The egg is hard cooked egg sliced and added to the filling before it is baked. Never had a bad one. They are sold whole or in Portions.
I have found a couple of art museums. The museum of "Belle Artes", is at the far end of Oroño street and the museum of contemporary art is at the other end. Oroño is the cool street that has a little peatonal in the center of ñthe street dividing the traffic, there is a pathway down the center and in the evening people stroll with joggers and skaters and dog walkers.Both museums cost 4 pesos (one USdollar) to enter and both are air conditioned. It is about 35 degrees here in the daytime (95 American)
I liked the pictures and exhibits better at the fine arts museum. Lots of oil on canvas, some modern stuff and a nice mixture of baroque colonial portraits and landscapes as well as some impressionist stuff and a mix of Argentine and international artists. It is only two stories and not a very big collection but well worth the entrance fee.
The contemporaty museum on the other hand is a really cool place! It is on the parana river and it is an old Grain silo. Really 4 silos connected to one another, and a lift to off load and in load the grain. Now each silo is painted a bright color. Red Orange, blue and yellow. There. I am done. that is the best part of the museum. all the exhibits sucked.
There is also a very nice monument and park in town on the Parana river at the end of Cordoba street. It is a huge and beautiful monument. Interesting sculpture and well worth visiting. It is of course a monument to the fallen soldiers of Argentina and to war.
I think this is Weird, because the army here has taken over the country (conquered Argentina) 9 times and they have killed (murdered) well in excess of 100,000 of Argentinas citizens in the 20th century.
The last military dictators were finally expelled about 10 years ago after wrecking the greatest economy in South America and the "disappearance" of 30,000 citizens and the stealling and selling of thousands of babies. They killed (disappeared) the "dissident or subversive communist" parents of these babies and then the babies disappeard. After the fall of the junta, after amnesty was declared for the murdering kidnappers, Records were uncovered that the children were sold to rich parents in North America and Europe who wanted, but were incapable of conceiving, white babies... The records are of course incomplete and the parents names not revealed.
I have been thinking about Ignorance fear.and conscious labor and intentional suffering.
Ignorance is the most expensive thing you have. There is nothing you will pay a higher price for, over the course of your life than ignorance. There is nothing that costs so much and provides so little in return than ignorance.
Ignorance provides us with false hope, and a false sense of security. We need/want hope and security because of fear. Fear and ignorance are compatible. you can not have one without the other.
The first fear is Fear of being alone. When the baby leaves the womb he first experiences fear. He is alone in a cold world. Psychiatrists talk about "seperation anxiety". when the baby is seperated from the mother. They say It is the most primal fear. He is only comforted by being placed with his mother. He may be distracted, by giving him a shiny red toy or a bottle of milk, but his fear is not abated, it is only forgotten temporaraily. Here is where we learn to forget.
Ignorance, causes the baby to believe that he can be re-connected with his mother, that he can be safe and warm again. When ignorance is overcome, we understand that no matter what we do in our lives, the fact is you were born alone, you wake up each morning alone, and you are going to die alone.
If this bothers you it is because you are a big baby! Grow up and deal with the facts of life that Momma cant protect you. Daddy cant protect you. Big Brother cant protect you If you let others protect and provide for you you will never overcome your fear.You only become more needy more dependent more afraid. Being dependent (the baby is dependent on the mother) is what prolongs fear.
For adults, conformity is the chief thing we use to combat this seperation anxiety. Because we do not want to be alone, we do not want to "stand out from the crowd". No one wants to be the zebra who is standing 20 meters from the herd. We think of being in a group as being safe. Like a herd of zebras. The safest zebra, the zebra least likely to be lion lunch is the one in the middle of the herd, the least outstanding member of the group.
We want to be part of a group,we want to belong to a group, we want to be a member of a group, a club, the cheerleading squad, the marine corps., the church choir, a family, a race, a tribe, a country, a religion.We want to belong.
We want to be in the group of people who have a uiversity degree, that have a swiss watch, a german car, nike athletic shoes, a the new this or that, dread locks, a tatoo. What we do not want is to be alone. to be an outsider. that is seperation anxiety all over again.
But to be a member of a group we have to follow rules. we have to conform. Men do not wear pink shirts. We do not wear polka dot pants. We must fit in. this means we have to give up our freedom. We pay for our membership with our freedom. To belong is to be owned. To belong to the group is to be owned by the group. A slave?
What is a slave? To be a slave means to belong to or a person or a group. We have to do that which is expected of us. We must perform. We must be "up to par". Our safety, and comfort depends upon it.
What a great life experience to travel alone. It is a little scary. To be free one must confront ones fears. To be free one must first of all be free from fear. It is fear which makes us want to cling to authority. fear of being cast out into the wilderness. Fear of being shunned. Inprisoned. Fear of being alone.
A long time ago, I was told one of the cosmic secrets. I will share it with you, dear readers. Now normally when you share a secret it is no longer a secret! Once the secret is diluted and people understand it or know about it, it is not a secret anymore To share a cosmic secret is not to dilute it because it takes great depth of wisdom to understand the magic and to be able to use it.
The secret I learned back in the year 1977 was that "transformation (personal evolution) only takes place through intentional suffering and conscious labor".
What does this mean? Shhhahh well, go figure! I sure dont know It is one thing to know the secret and another to understand it. To know a secret is like to own a secret. Big differnce between owning a pair of ice skates and knowing how to skate!
Only through conscious labor and intentional suffering can we overcome our fears and only the fearless are free.
Peace and love,
Rambling Robert
"There's only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
"What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." Bob Dylan
"I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land." Harriet Tubman

Sunday, January 09, 2011

travel update from Rosario

saludos a todos,
Well first of all a couple of last thoughts on one of my favorite cities in "the new world" The last time I was in Buenos Aires, I wrote in travel update that I thought everyone should visit this city at least once in their lives. I still feel that way. it is truly one of the worlds greatest citys and I think the greatest city south of the USA in the western hemisphere.
So many things to see and do there. Tango, Boca Juniors, Museums, Music. I got to see a little Jazz Trio twice in the time I was there called "Billy Bob & his Acid Peronistas" they are a switched on trio of electric Bass, Guitar and a fine fine drummer who had a tiny kit of one snare, two top hat cymbals and a little two drum bongo set. He only used brushes . Pablo the guitarist was the leader. He could really pluck. The bass player was also right there!! and he sang a little as well. I can not shake their version of "Honey Pie", an old beatles classic.
On my second to last day, a nice Israeli woman traveler called Maya (this is also the name of the mother of Gutama Sidhartha, the Buddha) turned me on to a Buenos Aires classic...UGI´s. The best pizza I have had since Venezia. Hot from the oven, funky and cheap, only mozzarella pizza available no add ons, no toppings, but Better than Ella Fitzgerald!! It is right on Avenida Corientes across from the Obelisk, which is one of the turist sites everyone goes to see in B.A.
I left Buenos Aires on a train from Retiro Station. Arrived 6 hours later in Rosario. I am staying at a little hostel called Posada Juan Ignazio on Tucuman Street, a quiet neighborhood about a 10 or 15 minute walk from anything you would want to do. There is a nice little patio area with a swimming pool and it has agua bien fria ( cold water!) which is great because it is really hot here, and after a walk-about, to get back and jump into a cute little swimming pool for a refreshing dip, well what can I say?
Oh no! its always something..there have been about 25 Israelites all age 22 or 23 and fresh out of the IDF whom I am sharing the place with, Just me and them thats all.! Now anyone of you who has ever been in a similar situation is already got a great big grin on your faces, and for those who have not, well lets just say that a bunch of soldiers on leave from the war for a little hard core R&R would be a mild description.
They are NEVER quiet. You never do not notice them. Always doing stuff that is rude and in the loudest possible way. They have wrecked a few chairs, the bathroom door, and just can not grasp the idea of not putting paper in the toilet. they just cant get this idea. Loud music, jumping down the staircase (not walking) , sreaming when they jump in the pool, Shouting to one another from two rooms away, just talking to each other this way from two rooms away as if there were no one else here.. Slamming doors, turning on lights, singing in hebrew at the top of the voice at 3 in the morning, They swagger, chest stuck out, prancing around in their underpants in the common areas they never do anything quietly, turning the volume of TV to full limit...Just not cool ever. wow Aye! Get the picture?
Being a soldier, a policeman, a prison guard, outlaw biker club member, mafioso or anyone who is required to carry a sword or a gun, turns you into a certain type of person. To take this job willingly, To take orders and shoot people or bomb their home or bulldoze the home is truly to take the ego far too seriously and miss the mark completely.
To take the illusion to the point where one will use this kind of violence to enforce arbitrary rules, self defense concepts and/or ideas is just not holy. Former soldiers need a long time to get back to normal, if they ever were normal to begin with.
Truly if you live by the sword you die by it. you catch a disease of the soul. And if all the citizens are forced to participate the whole society gets the sicknesss. They become haters, and they proclaim that hate and war are inevitable and thus make reality in their image and we have a world that you can look at every night on the 6 oclock news.
There they are. there are the soldiers,cops, and outlaws that are on the news.On the news teaching everyone that Killing people=being heroes...justifying violence. All you have to do to end war is to take the word "hero" out of the vocabulary. I always say everything on TV is bullshit except professional wrestling!
I think anyone who does this wrong livelyhood for a while knows in their soul that it aint holy and they will morph into a certain type of person (Swaggering/hater) unless they make a serious effort not to.
It is at this point that one must fight against the momentum to be unconsious. Being a soldier is the most mechanical, the least conscious job there is. Buddha was born into the warrior class. He was not born a brahmin.
To make the necessary struggle, the Jihad effort, to "awaken" after being in such a caste, like a hypnotised, sleep walking, killing soldier zombie, this friction is truly how to create the energy needed to become enlightened. The friction obtained by this inner struggle between good and evil, is the energy the buddha used to become liberated.
I got a lot of feedback on my last update. About 98% positive. I have a new style to the updates. I write a little travel stuff first and then I deal with my inner feelings and my spiritual growth. I feel good about sharing this stuff. I will try to be a little less political but ...well, hah, you all know how I am!! I will try to remember this quote from an old hero of my youth...
"For me, the lame part of the Sixties was the political part, the social part. The real part was the spiritual part."Jerry Garcia
So I am typing this in Rosario, one of the three largest cities in Argentina. There are a little less than a million people here. I am thinking about the spiritual part. It is a nice clean relaxed city. I got here on January 3 and think I will stay a couple of weeks.
I got my orthodedic inserts for my shoes yesterday and hopefully my feet will be okay now. I have been having a lot of pain due to this flat feet thing that is happeneing to me. These inserts were custom made to the imprints from my feet so they should be just what i need. At least that is the theory, I will see.
Thats all for now. Peace and loe to all of you,
Roberto Mochilero el vagabondo
"You never need an argument against the use of violence, you need an argument for it." Noam Chomsky
"Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free."Jim Morrison
"Those who have not found their true wealth, which is the radiant joy of Being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it, are beggars, even if they have great material wealth." Eckhart Tolle

Sunday, January 02, 2011

travel update new year in Buenos aires

Prospero Año nuevo,
New Year in Buenos Aires. I went with a large group of other travellers to the harbor called Puerto Maduro. There was a massive midnight fireworks display. lots of champagne was drunk. It all seems so strange to me. I do not know why we celebrate. I do not know why we buy christmas presents for people who do not need anything. I am an outsider looking in. I am a confused person.
Well here we are and we are here. 2011. Time is an interesting thing huh? Everyone experiences time differently. Different cultures count the years differently. 2011 is the Christian year that we are in. It has to do with how many new years eves have passed since Jesus of Nasareth came and did his thing and left. Left us alone to fend for ourselves. To take his advice or not, to love our enemies as we love ourselves or to try to destroy them as we try to destroy ourselfs.
He was given a fair trial and found guilty and sentenced to be brutally murdered by the official government in power. Today, anyone who takes up arms against any official government in power is considered a terrorist. Sometimes of course you need not take up arms just speak out and you are a terrorist or a terrorist sympathiser or supporter. He was what the Romans and the Jewish leaders considered a terrorist. A troublemaker. He did not bow to authority if he felt that the authorities were wrong. He felt that killing was wrong, especially in self defence, and refused to defend his self. He regretted that he had only one life to give for humanity. He was powerless to make men change.
I know an old story about some monks playing bridge. "One monk says oh god is so great there is nothing god can not do!" Two of the others exclaim their agreement while the third silently re-shuffles his cards. The first monk asks him "well, brother what is it that god can not do?" The silent monk looks up and says "god can not trump the ace of spades".
God can not force men to obey his commandments.God can not force men to forgive one another or be good andlove each other, to be kind to one another. Men do not respect god. They do what they want to one another and to this beautiful planet the lord has given to us. They disregard the ten suggestions of Moses. Pity.
There is a cosmic law about output and input. It is the law of Karma. It basically states that what you give (output) is what you get (input). If you behave peacefully you are treated peacefully. This is why a hells angel gets in more fights than a Benedictine Monk. Why Switzerland gets in so few wars and USA gets in so many.
Mr Gurdjieff used to say that if you spend money on something you will use it. He never let anyone have access to his teaching without paying. Not because he needed the money or wanted to get rich but because he wanted people who received the teaching to value it and use it.
Can a nation, can a people prepare for war and live in peace? If a man spends $25.00 per week on boxing lessons, is he going to avoid fighting? If a country spends half its budget on their military, will they avoid going to war?
The countries who spend the most on "defense" are always the ones who get into wars. The countries who spend on health care and education, on protecting the environment, on caring for the elderly, these are the countries who live in peace.
The man who spends his money on a pistol or a shotgun for "home defense" is likely to be the man who shoots his neighbor. Surely the man who spends his money on guitars isn´t going to shoot anyone in the middle of the night!
To some of us this seems so obvious but to most of us it is not. Most people feel the best defense is a good offense. To achieve peace, one must prepare for war. The path to peace is through superior armaments. When we try to reason with these folks they threaten us.
Why? Because they have spent so much money on weapons they are just itching to use them. The Israelis are so much more willing to go to the battle field than to the negotiating table. The Americans NEVER turn the other cheek. Of course they always say they are only acting in self defense, and they truly believe it to be so! They do not recognize the law of input and output.
Of course, every war, every fist fight in history has been because someone felt threatened and was only trying to protect himself and his loved ones, his family and his country. These kind of people seem to be saying "If you hit me I will hit you back harder". So then, does it end conflict? Are they living in Peace? Does the guy who spends all his money on those boxing lessons punch more people in his life than the guy who spends money on ball room dancing lessons? What do you think?
So the old chicken and the egg thing...Do we spend money on weapons and martial arts lessons because we value them or do we value them because we spent the money? The point is we value them. We value violence when we prepare for it. To devalue violence we must be preparing for peace. Only when we are prepared for peace will we devalue violence.
The more aircraft carriers a country has the more sea battles it gets into, and the more it fights sea battles (ie sinks boats and drowns sailors from other countries) the more that country is feared and hated.
Now on the other hand, If a country builds lots of hospital ships and has great floating medical facilities to send to the aid of tsunami victims and earth quake victims and volcano victims, or ipoverished Somali fishermen, the more a country will be loved and respected.
So...Where do you live? What kind of country do you live in? What are the aristocrats
in your country doing with the taxes you give them? Are they spending the money on your health care? On your childrens education and well being? Are they making love on their neighbors or war? Are they building bridges over rivers? Solar powered rail roads? Housing for the homeless? Food for the hungry?
Or is it more and newer guns for the police or computers and books for students? Body armor and submachine guns for the SWAT teams or canes and wheel chairs for the elderly? Guided missiles for their navies, or guide dogs for the blind? Are they building prisons or schools? Buying ambulences or tanks? What do they spend the money on where you live?
Ahh and you, yes you...did you spend your money for christmas gifts for the homeless? Did you spend as much money donating to the Darfur war orphans as on your new Iphone? Did you take the kids to give Santa at the strip mall their list of toys they want or to the hospital to give brownies to the other children who are sick? Did you donate a day per month to the free day care center for single moms? Vounteer to drive for meals on wheels? Volunteer to be a coach for the childrens basketball league? Don`t you just hate it when I preach. I apologize if I am preaching again. I wish I could express myself differently What am I trying to say...is...
I am saying that we create the world. The world is how me made it, and will be how we make it. 2010 was last year. That was then, this is now. I am not trying to judge or point fingers or criticize. The past is the past.
Where will we live this year. What can we all do to create the world this year? How will we practice non violence this year? How will we help our brothers and sisters this year? What can we do to help, not only our neighbors and our friends, but also our enemies, the strangers, and the immigrants and refugies among us. To love your enemies means to not have any enemies.When we love strangers we have only friends.
Peace and love and a happy New Year to all of you
Rambling Robert
"It is when we are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that the universe really disintegrates for us, and we lose the ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists." Eckhart Tolle

"The world is a country which nobody ever yet knew by description; one must travel through it one's self to be acquainted with it."Lord Chesterfield

"The intelligent man is capable of overcoming problems and difficulties the wise man would have avoided in the first place" Rabbi Yusef Becher