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Mike's Random Thoughts From The Road #2
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as promised i present to you now some random thoughts, observations, experiences i've had while on the road. this is the second in a continuing series of emails in which i impart to you all the crap i forgot to put into the updates. why should you look though crap? because you never know when someone may have dropped a diamond ring into your tuna fish sandwich: have a poke around and you many find something good in there.
1. my surfing buddy jamie and i were wandering one night through djemma el-fna, the main square of marrakech, morocco. we were drawn to a big circle of guys cheering loudly and shouting encourangements. turns out they were watching a bout of amateur boxing. in the square all kinds of performances go on all night for whoever cares to watch - the guy running the show expects small change for the viewing and it's often worth it. we paid up and watched a late-teenage kid box a 60+ year old man. they had the gloves strapped on and were swinging pretty fiercely at one another. i couldn't believe it. jamie and i worked our way up to the front and it occured to me that all the boxers were being pulled from the audience. i knew what was probably coming as the MC booted out the old man and was circling the crowd looking for a new boxer, shouting for volunteers in his booming arabic. he stopped right in front of me. he lowered his voice, spoke broken english to me and said "box for me, please. please, do it for me." he looked at me like a puppy dog. seeing a white face in that ring would have tripled the crowd size. these guys were swinging hard; did my travel insurance cover frickin' boxing?!?! i didn't know what to say. i said nothing. he circled around again and eventually returned to me. "please. box for me. you won't get hurt." i had made my decision: i was boxing. i opened my mouth to say yes but he walked away before he heard me. he picked another contestant instead. jamie and i walked away, me kicking myself saying to him "i should've boxed dude. i should've boxed."
2. i am writing this email from obidos, portugal. this town is built on a hill, topped by a castle and surrounded by an imposing stone wall. it's tiny and picture-perfect. so perfect in fact that starting in the 12th century, the kings of portugal would GIVE this town to their queen-to-be as a wedding gift. so for scott gerbosi, jason martino and anyone else getting married i have a suggestion for a wedding present: get your honeydew a town. gary, indiana can't be too expensive, can it?
3. don't wait 'til you're dying to start living.
4. as i ride my bike through portugal, everyone on two wheels shouts "ola!" to me or waves; motorcycles, mopeds, and other bicycles. people will often give me a thumbs up outside car or truck windows, people in buses, especially kids, emphatically wave and smile at me. so two, four, 8, and 18-wheeled folks almost all love me....why do the people on unicycles all want me dead? i am starting a two-wheeled army out here and we are going to attack the town the unicyclists live in....who's in? i don't know what i am saying right now.
5. i should have boxed.
6. speaking of obidos, the queen's gift-town, if you stay overnight here all the crowds are gone and the town is empty. i just walked all around the medieval wall and watched the sun set far in the distance over the ocean and i felt like i had it all to myself. like it was mine. like i was a queen. wait...scratch that last one.
7. if jordan gerber is reading these emails and not trashing them right away he is in his office muttering half out-loud, half to himself: "ok, he's OFFICIALLY lost his mind now."
8. in portugal it's illegal to talk on your cellphone while driving. the punishment must be the death-penalty because as soon as that phone rings the people throw the wheel toward the curb and slam on the brakes whether a cyclist is coming or not. i have been nearly killed about 73 times. the law apparently saves the lives of hundreds of drivers a year but in a revealing stat regarding the country's sentiment for bikers, about 10,000 cyclists have been killed since the law was enacted. i'm sure of it.
9. in fes, morocco as you walk past all the outdoor food stands you notice items a tad different than you or i are used to seeing at our local stores: live-chickens which you pick out and then the proprietor snap the neck of right in front of you, pigeons in a cage that they will ring the neck of as well (PIGEONS!!! they EAT pigeons!!!!) and best of all, fresh goatheads. i use the term "fresh" loosely though because i passed a particular stand everyday for 3 straight days and i recongized the blank stare of the same 4 goats each day. those things aren't moving off the shelves too quickly. moroccans have volcanic stomachs.
10. i have to put the rest in another email, there are so many things to say. a couple more...
11. last night i stayed in a youth hostel in sintra, portugal. one and a half hours after arriving, i was in the backseat of a car driven by an aussie chick with her pakistani friend riding shotgun as i sat in the back with an aussie on one side and a malaysian dude on the other. we ate at an italian/indian restaurant there in portugal. god bless international travel: i love it.
12. riding in a taxi down to rassani, morocco, alf from norway, jamie from australia and i were rattling off movie quotes to one another, an international language in itself. i started doing random quotes from dr. evil's monologue in the 2nd austin powers ("in the summers we wore meat-helmets...") when jamie interrupted and recited the whole thing from beginning to end flawlessly with a perfect dr. evil accent. alf and i sat stunned and high-fived him when he finished. nothing like a perfectly delivered long movie quote to impress a fella. so that being said, i think everyone has one piece of good advice on dating so here's mine for the ladies: memorize a movie quote, a nice long one like the dr. evil one and spring it on a guy in front of his buddies on like date number 5 or 6. i guarantee the guy ends up buying you a town.
13. i should have boxed.
14. i gotta go. i am going to have a drink at the castle...i hope to find a boxing ring on the way.
keep on keepin' on,
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