Thursday, April 16, 2009

Success in Medewi. Reportage delayed.

Firstly, apologies for the late posting. There is no internet in Medewi, Indonesia, and I had to wait until my return to Kuta to post.

Although you wouldn't tell from the half-foot wave breaking in the background, the surf was pretty amazing at 0732 WITA on the appointed day. As a result, the hardest part of completing this challenge was resisting the temptation to pick up my board and head out for a session. The second hardest part was explaining to the Indonesian cow farmer the reasoning behind my wanting him to wait until a certain moment before taking my picture. Luckily for everyone, the language barriers were somewhat overcome and by taking the picture, the farmer unknowingly became part of the catalyst for economic recovery in the world (actually, he was an immediate beneficiary when I pressed some rupiah into his hand as thanks).

The cow seemed to sense that history was in the making and turned to face me as the photo was taken. It was wearing a handsome blue handmade bell.

The item I am holding is a deck of Indonesian playing cards (I'll post a detailed view later) which I purchased the previous day for 15,000 rupiah - about A$1.90/US$1.40 from the little bamboo shop owned by the family of Putu, the local surfboard repairer. The cards are a low-to-mid range quality cardboard with a decent slip and feature a traditional looking design versa. There are 3 jokers in the deck. Later in the night they were used by myself, my 2 Australian travelling companions, 3 Israelis, 1 Belgian and 2 Indonesian Muslims to play a card game - proving that not only did the challenge help the economic recovery, but also (as an unexpected side effect) aided in improving Jewish/Muslim relations.

There was no pre-meditation involved in my having worn the same hat and sunglasses as in last month's challenge.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Report From Oaxaca

Well, it wasn't easy, but as you can see from the photo above I was successful in completing my half of the mission. The souvenir I procured is right up there with some of the worst I've seen. I've included a close-up to give you some idea of just how horrendous it truly is. It's a pen featuring a stereotypical Mexican figure sucking down a shot glass of Mezcal. Notice the distended belly and pumpkin head of the figure and the crude carving of the word Oaxaca that reads from bottom to top. I paid 20 pesos for it, which comes out to about $1.50 US or $2.10 Australian dollars.

The photo was taken at exactly 6:32pm CDT outside of the Santo Domingo cathedral in Oaxaca City. Being Good Friday, we were among the throngs of people gathered to witness the big processional. With about 10 minutes until the appointed time, I began scanning the crowd for animals of any kind. Things were looking grim until I walked around the church and saw a couple relaxing on a curb with their dog. Would they stay long enough? My photographer/wife framed the shot and we waited for an anxious five minutes. Literally seconds after the shot was taken, they stood up and walked away. Whew! Disaster averted!

Immediately after the picture was taken I noticed that many people were purchasing things. I assume that this is a direct result of the effect of GvsG on the global economy. Those that witnessed my strange one-legged pose may have thought it silly… if only they'd known how important it actually was.