Obviously, the dive boat did arrive, and it wasn’t long before I found myself flying through the Addu Atoll Canyons inside the entry pass. I adjust my buoyancy to counteract the drafts in the current and settle myself facing forward to maximize the view. Andrew is flying next to me, eyes alight with
I place my hand over my mask and press it securely to my face as I step my right foot forward and fall into the abyss. Like a stone dropped into the sea, instead of bobbing to the surface I fall, slowly at first, then faster as the weight of the depth above me presses down on my back. “Phhhhuuuu
See that liquid in the cup pictured above? That’s actual coffee, made the way I like it. Many people today think that they like coffee, and in fact spend fifty bucks a week or more on what they think of as coffee, but in fact, they hate the stuff. How can I know that? Because they don’t buy the stuff pictured above. The least un-coffee like thing most people buy at Starbucks or similar places is what they call a Latte. Latte, if you didn’t know, is the Italian name for milk. If you order a cup of latte in Italy, that’s what you’ll get. For the privilege of drinking a latte with some coffee in it, they pay four or five bucks for their hot milk. *
Besides paying five bucks for a cup of warm milk, they get to wait while a barrista concocts their order, after, of course, concocting six other orders that take a long time to make. Why so long? Good question. In Italy, when I ordered caffelatte, it took about twenty seconds for me to be served. At an American coffee shop, it takes several minutes for each order at a minimum. Coffee shops in Italy get really busy, too. It’s not the volume of customers that slows the process. Maybe it’s all the variations Starbucks offers, with several kinds of milk, at least two kinds of coffee, five or six sizes of cup (yes, not all are on the menu.) The net effect is that one waits five minutes or more for a cup of warm milk mixed with what is, in the case of Starbucks at least, terrible coffee.
Okay, nice complaint, but what else is there to do?
Well, I’ll tell you.
Pictured just above is a bag of the Good Stuff. 100% pure Kona coffee. From Hawaii. Whoever raised, picked, and processed it was paid at least the minimum wage in Hawaii. The growers are subject to all of the regulations provided by the FDA and other agencies to ensure safe, wholesome product is delivered. It’s about forty bucks a pound.
FORTY BUCKS A POUND?????
Well, all together, that mug of coffee pictured at the top of this page cost me about half a buck to make, maybe a tad less. A bag of that stuff lasts me about a month, at two or three mugs a day. Since I like the taste of coffee, and since Kona is arguably the best tasting coffee available (even I can’t make it taste bitter or otherwise bad,) I drink it black. But, if you don’t like that, you can get it roasted dark and ground into powder with which to make espresso. A small espresso maker can be had for as little as sixty bucks ($60) on Amazon. That’s less than two weeks worth of Starbucks swill.** Of course, if you like standing around waiting for some barrista to mix up an inferior cup, well go right ahead and spend your money foolishly. But, before doing that, maybe you would enjoy trying some pure Kona, which (honest to goodness) is never, ever bitter. You’d be surprised how much better good coffee tastes when compared to whatever that stuff is that Starbucks uses. And you get automatic Fair Trade status, and you’re even buying American. If you just gotta have those “lattes,” drop sixty bucks on an espresso maker. Or try it plain and black. Who knows, you might actually get to like coffee.
*In Italy, these drinks are called “caffelatte”, or coffee with milk. In France it’s Cafe au lait. The proper name in English is “coffee with steamed milk.”
**Based upon $5 drinks, one per day, or seven per week.
In the days after Jen’s birthday, I kept busy laying down roots like a Mangrove System. I thought I had permission. With all the other sailors having borne off to either the Seychelles or Tanzania long ago, we were the remaining few who thought we would wait until something Eastward opens up (i.e.
Hi Everyone! We have reached the land, civilization, Kreole food, baguettes, and internet of Victoria, Seychelles. It’s been six weeks away between our last port in Addu, Maldives and now. We hope everyone has stayed safe and well in the meantime. We can’t wait to tell you all the stories of how
I’ve read some amazingly wrong information on COVID-19. To be expected, I suppose. But, the one that really gets me is the theory claiming that instead of vaccine, we’re all going to be given a tracking chip that will be injected into us instead of serum. Wow. Well, here’s the thing. The government has no need of going to such lengths. After all, those chips are expensive, and there’s no good way to get one through a 28 gauge needle. Most importantly, if you have a smart phone, you’re already being tracked. Yes, they’ll know where you buy your weed, they’ll know where you stop for a drink, they’ll know which grocery store you frequent, and, well, wherever you go, you leave tracks. Luckily, this is a good thing!
Take, for example, our visit to London a few years ago. Sure, we took pictures, but memories fade, pictures or not, and nobody knows at the time if they’re taking the right pictures to properly remember the experience. L’Autre, in Mayfair (since closed) is a good example. It remains the only example I’ve ever seen of a Polish/Mexican restaurant. I forgot all about it, but thanks to Google tracking my every move, now I know just when I was there, and exactly where it was when I was there. (heh heh) On that same trip we ate on a boat on the Thames, named Bateaux London. I’d forgotten all about that, too. Thanks to the invasive, privacy destroying nature of modern technology, I was taken back to a really fun eight days in London. I wouldn’t mind doing it again, in fact.
On another trip, this one to Paris, we ate at Azteca restaurant Mexicain, and learned that, even for Mexican food, the French don’t believe in picante. Not even pico de gallo picante, on what was otherwise excellent Mexican food. Still, we were in Paris, so how wrong could we go? In Saint Malo, we ate at A Saint Malo, which featured good food in the old part of Saint Malo, inside an old fortress. I’d forgotten all about that, although Saint Malo was a very interesting place to visit. It was heavily fortified against the English during the Hundred Years’ War, although, being in Brittany, it was theoretically not subject to any combat. Sure, it wasn’t. Anyway, thanks to Google, I even have pictures of the place, and, I recognize the place! Wow, this lack of privacy is excellent, you know?
Google tracks more than restaurants, of course. On one visit to Paris, we visited, or at least I did, Boutique Orange Bastille, Micromania -Zing, Franprix, Shakespeare & Company, Galerie Des Arcades, um, uh, Starbucks (ahem), and a bunch of other stores. The big box Carrefour, for instance (the name means “intersection.”) I can see every airport I’ve been to, or even stopped over in, since Google started tracking. I can see hotels that I forgot I ever stayed in, some maybe because I wanted to forget them, some quite nice. Did I really stay in Prescott Arizona eight years ago? Seems that, yes, I did. In the culture category, I see that I’ve been to some movies, the Pinball Hall of Fame, Shakespeare and Company, the Musee de la Bande Dessine (a comic book museum in Angouleme, France,) Barnes and Noble, Rockefeller Center, the Neon Museum, the Sherlock Holmes Museum (don’t bother) and many other places that I’d forgotten about. It names all of the cities I’ve been to, and all the countries too. It missed some, but I can forgive that.
My point is that we’re being tracked, and voluntarily, but devices we pay good money for. Why would the government, assuming they even cared, want to spend money or a system that would, in all likelihood, not work as well?
Looking for this on your phone? It’s accessed through Google Maps. Look under “Saved” and then for “Places Visited.” You’ll be amazed.
Well. I have good news, and I have bad news. Which would you like to hear first? The good news?! Okay. The good news is that the Oddgodfreys have been cleared to sail onward from the Maldives. We will be stopping to stage our weather windows in the British Indian Ocean Territory (B.I.O.T.) als
Oh, Crap! I’m gonna have to write my own posts for a while!
We had heard the legend before. Long ago (but not quite a decade) and in a far away land, Steely-Pete turned 40. As fortieth birthdays tend to be, it was milestone year, and Jen being the devoted and loving partner she is, pulled out all the stops. Having bonded over their love of reality-TV, s
I’m an old Anglo, born in the Midwest in the middle of the twentieth century, and I shared that picture on my Facebook timeline. WTF, huh? And that’s just a small sample of the sort of things happening these days, isn’t it? I mean, here we are, sniping at each other for wearing or not wearing a mask in WalMart, hunkering down at home instead of commuting to that job we probably don’t have anymore anyway, learning to cook whether we want to or not, and I could go on listing strange things about this year for quite a while. It’s easy to be pessimistic about things, but, overall, I’m not. In fact, I think that a whole lot of good things are happening right not, while we’re all distracted by COVID-19 and our President’s strange behavior. These good things are what this post is actually about.
The possible actual crumbling of the bogus edifice that is White Supremacy is probably the best thing I’m seeing these days, which is why I used that picture to head this post. It has a lot of components. Those statues of traitors being taken down is an excellent thing. In how many wars have the losers been allowed to glorify their rebellion? Take your time, I’ll wait. <crickets> That’s right! Only that one. I know, some argue for taking down statues of, for example, George Washington, because he owned slaves. You’ll have to take down every one up to and including Lincoln, who successfully defended slave owners in court if you go that route. They were a long way from what we wish they’d been, but they did found the country. And, I believe in this country. It really can be great, although not in the way the MAGA crowd would like. Those days are gone, gone, gone, along with all those statues in Richmond. We should definitely remember that conflict. A National Civil War Museum that told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is a great idea, and those statues can be a part of it, as it appears that the Civil War is only just now coming to an end.
I’ve never liked the “establishment,” consisting as it does primarily of old, pasty white dudes who have always seemed to me to be disconnected from the reality we live in. I’m blessed with ADHD. Among the many benefits of that condition is virtually always knowing when you’re being lied to. I’ve known that the whole idea of “race,” and one “race” being superior to another is bogus since, so far as I can tell, forever. It is only in recent years that I’ve learned the truth. (Recent being maybe twenty or so.) It took a while. Knowing you’re being lied to and knowing the truth are two very different things. The first is upsetting, the second empowering. Being thus empowered, I question old friends when they post irrelevant distractions instead of confronting institutional racism. I do have some family cred, though not ancestral. My Uncle, Louis Wood, was a lifer starting in World War Two. He and Aunt Evie met Ras Ta once, as a part of his duties guarding the US Embassy in Addis Ababa. (They never smoked ganja, however.) After he retired from the army, he bought a pallet making company in Bartow, Florida. I visited when I was nine. At that time Jim Crow was still in full effect, with separate restrooms, drinking fountains, etc. His crew was mixed race, and his foreman was African-American. He said, and this is close to an exact quote, “If somebody doesn’t like it, they’ll just have to work someplace else.” There should be a statue of Uncle Louis somewhere.
About “race” again, you’ll note that I refer to myself as “An Old Anglo.” That is an indisputable fact, with a lot less baggage than “White.”
But wait! That’s not all! What if I told you that a more humane society seems to be in the works? Oh, really? People seeking asylum have their families ripped apart by INS, and that’s more humane? Of course not! But is that a good thing? Almost all Americans say it is not. And health care? Have you seen the job that countries with some form of universal health care have done with COVID-19? Have you seen the job we’ve done with unregulated capitalism? Quite the contrast, isn’t it? And the environment is going to get a lot more benign attention, which you might not think by looking at the current administration’s attitude, but it’s true. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (yes, it still exists) recently ordered a Texas pipeline company to pay a Tribe $165,000,000.00 because the company has trespassed on tribal lands without permission from the tribe. That’s the BIA, an agency famous for screwing over Native Americans, and a blow for the environment at the same time! The Keystone Pipeline is on hold pending a never done Environmental Impact Study, also. And, again, almost all Americans are closer to agreeing with Greta Thunberg than with the current administration on environmental issues.
Roughly every eighty years a crisis emerges that threatens to be “The End of The World as We Know It.” The last one was the depression and World War Two. COVID-19 is ours. I’ll give you a hint, here. Any Millennial reading this will say, “Well, duh.” Those pasty old white dudes, probably not. But, those guys are seeing their world crumble, and the Millennials are about to take over. If you want to help, there’s an election next November that you can vote in. I’m an optimist because I’ve always known the lies, if not the truth, and also because those paying attention to how history unfolds have seen this moment coming for a long time. There will be plenty of mistakes made, but I have hope that the big one that’s been haunting this country since before we were a country is about to be shattered. As I said above, good things are happening. Join in!
Our passage to Male was scheduled to be 36 hours if we sailed at our usual average speed of 5.0 knots. This means, if we leave in the morning, we will arrive exactly at night the next day – a result no one wants. We try not to arrive in an unfamiliar harbor at night, especially one that is laden wit