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Welcome to My World

March 11, 2011 – 7:21 pm

I admit it. This picture was taken a few years ago, but I think I still look vaguely like that. Depends on the day (and the time of day). And today, just before I uploaded this picture, an Indonesian English student told me how much she liked my nose. I heard that a lot in Indonesia. Apparently, a large nose like mine is a good …

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North Sumatra Bike Trip 2018
Travel Tips & Hacks

Tips for packing smart, staying safe, living cheap, living large, and staying independent.

Pointless Pondering

Random thoughts that pop into my head.

Gear Reviews

Reviews of the cycling gear, camping gear, and camera gear I use.

All, Pointless Pondering »

Memory Is So Flawed

October 28, 2018 – 9:48 am
Highlands 002

Back in 1998, I went on a bike trip to Ethiopia. I had a film camera, and film was expensive, so I didn’t take very many pictures. (Digital cameras and smartphones hadn’t been invented yet.So strange to think about that.) And people were so inquisitive and so demanding, that it was impossible to write in my journal anywhere. I ended up recording my journal on tape. I thought I would transcribe those tapes later.

Well, it turned out that transcribing tapes is much more time-consuming than you’d think. It takes forever. So I never finished the job. However, I did transcribe a few of the tapes, and yesterday and today, I started reading through one of the transcripts. It covers the day that I rode my bike out of Addis Ababa, and reading it was like reading someone else’s journal. I hardly remember any of it. I remember bits and pieces, but that is about it.

I’ve often reflected lately on how bad memory is, and reading this transcript is more proof. And I wonder what the significance is. For example, I have the urge to do interesting things. But why? Why bother doing anything if you won’t remember it anyway? I did all kinds of interesting things in Ethiopia, but what does it matter? I don’t even remember doing them.

Sansa Clip – Have I Ever Managed to Fix Anything?

October 27, 2018 – 12:38 pm
Gear & Technology - 7516

Have I ever managed to fix anything?
My life seems like an endless series of broken things. I try to fix them, and in the fixing, I destroy them. The latest in this long series is the Sansa Clip.
It was a great little MP3 player until suddenly it wasn’t. It was barely used, practically new, and the headphones started to crackle.

Can’t Trust a Ruler?

October 27, 2018 – 12:34 pm
Gear & Technology - 7515

What do you do when you can’t even trust a ruler?
Don’t judge me, but I often myself in situations where I need to measure things. I’m always needing to see if this or that object will fit inside this or that bag or compartment. I need to know if my smartphone is too wide to fit inside a certain pocket. Or is my laptop too …

26 – KTM Komuter Train to Kuala Lumpur

September 7, 2018 – 2:01 pm
Tuktuk to Banda Aceh - 01 - 7513

Friday, September 7, 2018
4:30 a.m. Room 7, Natalia Guesthouse (formerly Bird Nest)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
(37 ringgit per night/$9 US; small room; single bed; no sheets provided; no towel; no soap; fan only; no window; noisy; hot; shared bathrooms a long way away; but big and friendly lobby, kitchen, and other common areas; informal and relaxed)
I wish I could start this entry in this long email by …

25 – Ferry to Klang, Malaysia

September 6, 2018 – 12:32 pm
Tuktuk to Banda Aceh - 01 - 7512

Thursday, September 6, 2018
4:30 a.m. Room ?, d’Spark Hotel
Klang, Malaysia
(60 RM/$15 US per night; single room; small but well-appointed, modern, clean; boutique style hotel; A/C; TV; WiFi; nice private bathroom; kettle; instant coffee; bottled water; soap, shampoo, towel supplied;)
Much of my fiddling with the trailer and the rain cover. turned out to be unnecessary, at least for this trip. I realized that since I had …

24 – Trapped Among Trucks and a Birdsong Competition

September 2, 2018 – 9:52 am
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Sunday September 2, 2018
5:00 a.m. Room 208, Cahaya Asahan Hotel
Kisaran, Sumatra
(130,000 rupiah/$8.50 US per night; great hotel; great staff; professional; indoor parking with security; nice room; two beds; air conditioning; Wi-Fi; nice, clean bathroom; shopping center with grocery store across the street)
At long last, I have made it to Kisaran. Assuming I don’t ride to the small town of Tanjungbalai, this is the last stop …

23 – Devouring Chicken in Langsa, Pangkalan Brandan, and Medan

August 26, 2018 – 8:32 am
Tuktuk to Banda Aceh - 01 - 7510

Thursday August 26, 2018
5:00 a.m. Room 102, Khalifah Hotel
Idirayeuk, Aceh, Sumatra
The plan is to ride down the road to the town of Langsa today. It’s not terribly far to Langsa, and there appear to be a variety of hotels there, so I wasn’t anticipating a difficult day. However, I’ve woken up to the sound of rain. If it were heavy rain, I might have just …

22 – Fishing Harbour in Idirayeuk

August 22, 2018 – 10:01 pm
Tuktuk to Banda Aceh - 01 - 7509

Wednesday August 22, 2018
5:00 a.m. Room 102, Khalifah Hotel
Idirayeuk, Aceh, Sumatra
(250,00 rupiah/$16.50 US a night – expensive; air conditioning; private bathroom; TV; nice bed; but the room is old and cramped and crowded)
When I left from Lhokseumawe, I had two possible outcomes for the day. One was to ride around sixty kilometers and find a hotel in a random town along the way way. The …

21 – The Road to Lhokseumawe

August 20, 2018 – 6:45 pm
Tuktuk to Banda Aceh - 01 - 7508

Monday, August 20, 2018
7:00 a.m. Room 10, Wisma Pase
Lhokseumawe, Sumatra
(170,000 rupiah/$11 US per night; big room; big bed; furniture; TV; air conditioning; nice bathroom; clean; modern; quiet; fast WiFi and strong cell phone reception)
From the time being seven in the morning, it’s clear that I am staying in Lhokseumawe today. I had a fair amount of trouble cycling the sixty-five kilometers to get here yesterday, …