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J a v a J i v e :: Paradise is not all that it seems
a boy leaves everything he knows for the tropical island of java, Indonesia - soon to find that paradise is not all that it seems...

July 27, 2003  

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. . . r e v e r s e . . c u l t u r e . . s h o c k . . .

I am still in Cape Town, South Africa - and will be for another two weeks. I haven't written anything cause being in front of a computer is the LAST thing I feel like doing while I'm in such a beautiful place! I've been out hiking, getting lost, eating ostrich, adjusting to driving on the left side of the road, waking up without an alarm, reading, taking photos, and enjoying life away from Indonesia. Unlike December, there's not a whole lot that I miss of Java from being away. I suppose that's a sign that I'm not ready to go back yet... good thing I still have two weeks left!

Even though there's a chill in the air, at least we've had bright sunshine most of the days. Instead of renting a car, a friend let me use his Mercedes - a much nicer option. So, life is great - and I still am drawn to this vibrant city... I'm not sure when, but I'm sure I'll find my way here eventually as a home.

I hope to have some great photos to share upon my return... for now you can check out what it's like here by viewing these pics.

Cheers . . .

posted by Brandon | 8:55 AM

July 10, 2003  

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. . . c a p e t o w n . . .

Well, I'm off to Cape Town tomorrow, so my writing will be limited in the coming weeks. I will be there for about a month! I'm so ready to get out of Indonesia... hopefully I can unwind and enjoy some cooler weather. Thanks to those of you who have written me, it's nice to hear from those who actually read this!

I'll be sure to take some more photos, and will try to post some messages when I find time...

I'm gone . . .

posted by Brandon | 11:18 PM

July 06, 2003  

I have found that money is not nearly important to me as happiness, yet money is needed to allow me to travel - which leads to happiness. That's why I've begun investing in the stock market - but that's another story for another day. So far I'm taking great risks but could also make decent cash.

I read an amazing book called Life of Pi - it's not a book for everyone, but I believe anyone could pull something out of the story. It simply shows that many times we have more than one way to look at things in our lives.

I found another site, which simply offers a humorous approach to the differences in men and women - I was laughing out loud!

posted by Brandon | 3:47 AM

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. . . s k y m i l e s . . .

I have 4 weeks of vacation time beginning this Friday. I narrowed my options down to three choices: America, Cape Town S. Africa, or traveling around Southeast Asia. After considering how damn HOT Indonesia is, I pretty much knocked out the States and Asia of the running. So what if I went to Cape Town in December for a month? I absolutely love it there! However, this time will be much cooler, with a high temperature of around 70 degrees... but still warm enough for the beach. I think the cooler weather is just what I need to regain some vigor. Blue skies, hiking, going to the beach...

What is it about traveling that fascinates most people? Is it the escape from something, the adventure of a new place, or just the attraction of exotic cultures? It's strange that even though I'm living on Java, I still feel the need to explore new places. I'd say my top 5 places right now would have to be:

1. Cape Town, South Africa
2. Sydney, Australia
3. Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia
4. Argentina and S. America
5. Rome

I think I'll be able to see the first three sometime in the next year, but the bottom two will definitely have to wait.

I love boarding the first plane of a series of hops to a new country. I love strolling through Kuala Lumpur at 1am waiting for the next flight. The wonderment of where all the people you pass are coming from, and where their beat red, sunburned faces are going next. I love the nervous excitement of arriving at your destination before you exit the airport. I love hearing the strange languages, and understanding the ones that aren't foreign to my ears.

Traveling has gotten into my blood. I've always loved it, but thought that after a year of this living overseas stuff, that I'd be tired of it, and would wish to return home. It's actually completely opposite - I can't wait to see what else lies out here, and have no desire to return to the States. The rest of the world is fascinating to me, and I feel like a wide-eyed child, absorbing every detail, perspective, and experience presented before me.

posted by Brandon | 3:45 AM

July 04, 2003  

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. . . j u s t . . o n e . . o f . . t h o s e . . d a y s . . .

Let me tell you about my gym. I love to work out. I love the way that an hour or two of grueling weight training or a 3-hour bike ride makes me feel. I would much prefer to do any type of exercise outside, but by living in a city of 12 million people, my options are a bit limited. So I belong to a fitness club - the type they use in movies with 5 star restaurants, day spas, citrus bars, Olympic sized pools, bowling alleys, massage rooms, basketball courts on the roof, etc. It's actually very nice, but at times has its typical Asian eclectic moments.

You see, I've noticed that there are around 500 members, yet no matter what day of the week I go, there are only maybe 5 people in the weight room / aerobic room. It's a beautiful setup with decent free weights, great machines, and plenty of bikes and elliptical machines. I believe many people join this club to say, "they belong" for status. Oh well, more space for me!

At times though, the people that enter the weight room make for a continually interesting workout. Here's a typical day at my gym . . .

I stroll in around 4 pm and head straight for the pristine smith machine (for bench pressing). Oh, oops, someone is using it. Ok, no problem, I can wait. And wait. And wait. AND WAIT. I swear, a 170 pound man will bench press around 30 pounds – and since he’s not tired, decides to do another set, then another. I’m patiently waiting, but watching in awe as he starts talking on his handphone while sitting on the bench for 10 minutes! Just as I’m ready to walk over and ask him if he’s finished, yep, he ends his call and starts another set.

After waiting around 20 minutes for this guy, he gets up, sweating profusely and leaves the machine. Did he lay a towel down to absorb the sweat? Not a chance. Grossed out, I lay my towel down and lay on the squishing sound of the Chinese man’s sweat soaking into my back. After a set, he comes back over to where I am, opens the window next to me (remember it’s 92 degrees here ALL YEAR ROUND) and gabs again on his handphone. At this point I’m getting a bit exasperated, but keep going.

Another guy comes over to the T.V. near me even though it’s 5 meters from his treadmill, and there’s a nice shiny T.V. directly in front of him, he turns mine on. He turns on the single most annoying channel found in Indonesia – MTV India and blares the volume till it’s distorting the cheezy tune beyond acceptance.

So between the Chinese guy blabbing on his handphone with steaming pollution pouring into my lungs, and the Indian MTV drilling my ears, I finally snapped. I got up from my machine, walked over to the window, without even looking at the Chinese man, slammed the window shut. I walked over to the guy on the treadmill, took the remote from his machine, and turned off the T.V. The two of these guys gave each other mutual looks like they had no idea how I could be so rude!

15 minutes later, I decide to get some cardio in, and hop on an elliptical machine. Things are going well, I’m feeling better as I’m 20 minutes into my workout. What happens next? A pudgy teenage Iranian girl gets on the machine to my right. No problem, there’s plenty of room. So 15 more minutes the chunky Iranian girl is just dying from exhaustion at a walking pace.

I start to notice this strange smell. A mix between curry, dirty feet, and a stench of B.O. My stomach is turning from the noxious odor wafting over to my nostrils. I realize the 17-year-old girl is the source of this horrible stench. Just as I start to almost dry heave, the girl gets off the machine and heads out the door. As soon as she leaves, this stunning Korean girl gets on the machine next to me. Alright! Things are looking up! After a moment, I feel eyes on me, and notice the gorgeous Korean girl is looking directly at me! After a second, I decipher her glance – it’s not one of admiration or lust! She believes the stench is coming from me and walks away in dismay and disgust!!

posted by Brandon | 3:30 AM
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