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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

RB6: Resurrection

I think I caught Bahamas Ebola. I got back to NYC and spent the next week and a half lying on Carmine's couch, hoping for death. I'm finally back in the land of the living, but I decided to scrap the rest of my trip plans. By the time I drove to North Carolina, I'd be completely wiped out again, so I opted for a closer target; I'm back in Ithaca.

After a few more days here with Dan, Sarah, James, and Jenn, I'll be heading home. It looks like I'll even have a job - a real job, with health insurance, 401K, the whole look-at-me-I'm-a-grown-up bit.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

RB5: Beyond Thunderdome

The Bahamas were great ...aside from the random marching-band covers of pop songs the DJ liked to blast out on the loud speakers on the beach from time to time. It was beautiful, warm, sunny, and Jason and Laura's wedding was a lot of fun. I made a great video-recording of the ceremony (of course, it would have been better if that fly hadn't been sitting on the side of the lens the whole time). After dinner, they busted out the all-you-can-drink Bahama Mamas - which are basically fruit punch with rum added (more rum if things get slow). The Bahama Mamas must have been made well, because we started the dancing on the beach during the bonfire, and continued late into the night. I don't know if I've ever seen that many white people out on the floor shakin' it - even Jason's grandma was out there.

I also found out that the Bahamas are probably the easiest place on earth to get your hands on some "chronic." Anywhere we went - the beach, the market - someone was offering. At one point, Jason's brother, Mike, was looking for a Bob Marley t-shirt and asked a guy at a souvenier shop. I guess we could have seen this one coming, because the guy was sporting the 5-leaf-plant necklace, but his response was, "hey, you want some of the real Bob Marley, mon?" I bought a cool wood-carved ashtray (for my guitar picks - I haven't started smoking), and the lady at the shop asked if it was for my chronic. Must be a lot of American tourists buying down there. I just hope they smoke it before they come back, because the guy with the rubber glove at the airport is thorough.

RB4: With a Vengeance

Couldn't find a computer to post a blog entry in the Bahamas ...ok, who am I kidding? I was in the friggin' Bahamas, you think I had nothing better to do than blog?

Last Wednesday, I drove down to NYC from Ithaca. I drove the car straight into Manhattan, met up with my friend Carmine, and we headed for a local tex-mex place. A couple margaritas later, we grabbed our doumbeks (Turkish drums), and headed for Union Square. We found a random French guy playing guitar and singing, so Carmine asked if we could join him. We played along for a couple of songs, then moved on. As we were getting up, a bunch of kids were walking by - kinda punk-looking kids - the kind you'd figure are up to no good. They asked us about our drums, so we started chatting with them. It turned out they were part of a group called the "underground church," and were out in Union Square to give food to the homeless and help them find places to stay. We jammed nearby for a while as the kids passed out food.

When the kids left, we went to another corner of the square and ran into a guy with glowsticks. Yes, glowsticks; he was twirling them on strings, and he was actually really good. We played while he did his thing, and I took the opportunity to do a little people-watching. It was about midnight, but there were a ton of people out on the square, including a cute girl sitting near us, a bunch of guys break-dancing behind us, and a guy who wanted to organize a symphony of street musicians. We talked to the symphony guy for a while, then I played some more for Zane (the glowstick guy) while Carmine explained to the symphony guy that the randomness and independence that makes street music work for individuals doesn't lend itself well to organization.

After a while, the break-dancing guys called us over to play for them. Carmine started busting out the hip-hop rhythms, while I did my best to keep up. The break-dancers were taking turns in the middle of the ring, doing some cool handstands, spins, etc, and then something weird happened: I looked up, and suddenly, the cute girl I had seen earlier was in the middle of the ring - belly-dancing! Carmine had been mixing some Turkish rhythms in with the hip-hop stuff, and I guess she heard one that worked for her, and she went for it. She was good, too! After an hour or so of playing for the break-dancers, the belly dancer, and Zane (who also took his turn in the break-dancing ring), we finally called it a night. Carmine and I talked with Ariel (the belly dancer) for a little bit (she was looking for advice from Carmine on how to get some performing gigs in the city; it turned out they knew some of the same people; I guess there's a sort of belly dancing sub-culture here), then went home, thoroughly satisfied.

I caught about 2 hours of sleep before getting up to catch my plane to the Bahamas.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

RB3: Road Blog Strikes Back

I spent less than a week in Ithaca, and I've eaten at Mano's diner three times. Dan and I held a sort of video-game marathon for the first couple of days, and each morning (ok, afternoon) when we woke up, we went to Mano's for ridiculous amounts of cheap, greasy, oh-so-satisfying food. James and Maureen drove up from NYC on Friday, so I got to hang out with them (and Jenn, of course) over the weekend. We had a good time, although it got a little... interesting (mental note: don't pick up James&Jenn's copy of the Kama Sutra; you're only asking for trouble).

After the third trip to Mano's today (with James&Jenn this time), I picked up Dan at work, and we joined a pick-up game of ultimate frisbee. The game reminded me that I'm ridiculously out of shape right now, but I managed to catch a few passes. I even scored once, which made up for falling flat on my ass in the mud trying to catch another touchdown pass. It's ok; I was wearing a pair of Dan's shorts, anyway ;-)

Now I'm packing up for the Bahamas; I'm heading down to NYC tomorrow, so I can stay with Carmine overnight and catch my plane out of Newark on Thursday morning.