Psycho Salsa


My friend Dave developed this recipe and called it Psycho Salsa because he was crazy about it. He parted with it only grudgingly but I have decided to share it because it is too good to keep to myself. I have altered a couple of ingredients, and so can you, but the basics remain true to Dave’s original.

Here goes:

3 large roma tomatoes

1 medium purple onion (or white)

2-3 jalopeno peppers

4 chile guajillo (nueve Mexico) peppers (these are dark red, dried peppers)

2 chile arbol (red, long, skinny, dried, hot)

4-6 garlic cloves

1 hand full chilantro

1/4 cup balsamic vinigar

 

Blend until smooth then pour into pot and bring to boil

turn heat off and add salsa fresca for texture:

one diced roma tomato

some purple onion and chilantro

chop it all finely together

let cool

 

Now you’re ready to dip or slather it on anything you like:

eggs, pasta, quesadillas, pizza, hamburgers etc.

The Canadian, the German and the Swiss


Canadian:

I think I should and if I would then maybe something will happen.

 

German:

I know there is and when I do it then it is.

 

Swiss:

When I know there is (or not) then I will do it (or not)

 

Canadian:

Excuse me, I hope you don’t mind, please I would like to get by, thank you again.

 

German:

Attention ! Coming though here, please step aside. Thank you.

 

Swiss:

Pardon me, I will need to get by, thank you very much.

 

Canadian:

I’m so sorry, I had no idea, believe me it will never happen again.

 

German:

Excuse me. I will find out what happened and correct it.

 

Swiss:

So sorry but it wasn’t my fault . Good luck next time.

 

Beer Commercial


The following is from a beer commercial I saw in New Zealand:

Work like you don’t need the money.

Love like you’ve never been hurt.

Dance like nobody’s watching.

Sing like nobody’s listening.

Live like it’s Heaven on Earth

Make every moment count

and help somebody

help themselves

Cheers

One of Them


“Where are you going?” Clare asked as I was just about out the door.

“It’s Thursday love and I’m already running late.”

“Oh, how could I forget, its Thirsty Thursday.  Say hi to Camp. Are you going to make it back for dinner or should I even ask?”

“If you want I’ll bring back a Pizza.”

“What’s that in your hand?”

“Oh, I just printed this off. Camp will love it. It’s at least good for a couple of pints.”

“Have fun.” Clare looked at with a mixture of pity and admiration: Pity for my foolishness and admiration for my enthusiasm. “Pizza sounds great.”

When I walked into ‘Grandmas’ Campbell, or Camp as everyone calls him, was already down half a pint.

“Look what I just printed off.” I handed Camp the printout and he scanned it in short order. He was ready with his response by the time my pint arrived. Perfect timing is everything.

He didn’t waste any time and pontificated: “In order to feel any pain one has to get hurt, and to feel any joy, happiness has to be present, but to feel overwhelmed one just has to turn on the computer these days.”

Here is what my printout said:

If we could compress the earth’s population into a global village of precisely 100 people, it would look like this:

57 Asians

21 Europeans

14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south

8 Africans

52 would be female

48 would be male

70 would be non-white

30 would be white

70 would be non-Christian

30 would be Christian

89 would be heterosexual

11 would be homosexual

6 people, all from the USA would possess 59% of the village’s wealth

80 would live in substandard housing

70 would be unable to read

50 would suffer from malnutrition

1 would be near death

1 would be near birth

1 (yes, only 1) would have a university education

1 would own a computer

In a modern and medieval village such as this the need for acceptance, tolerance, understanding and education becomes tantamount for the survival of the less fit and the whole village.

 

And then it goes on.

If you woke up this morning healthy

you are better off than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle

the loneliness of imprisonment

the agony of torture

or the pangs of starvation

you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a meeting

without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death

you are more privileged than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator and clothes on your back,

a roof overhead and a place to sleep

you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

and if you can read this message

you are ahead of over two billion people in the world

that cannot read at all.

“Well what do you think Camp? Pretty awesome, what?”

“And if you can drink several pints of beer in a pub and solve the problems of the world you surely are better off than anybody else,” Camp pointed out, raising his glass in a toast.

“Amen,” I said.

 

 

The Saver


I have no problems

but I hear you do

for a minimal fee

you can talk to me

I will solve your crisis

get you back on you feet

my advice is your solution

all for a small contribution

you can call me day or night

or fax me your heartaches

my service is personal

you secrets are my trust

my compassion is worth it

pay in full you must

Zendom


My mind is my enemy

a million racing thoughts

and my story is not me

despite it being in my head

where I come from

and where I’m going too

does not place me

in the here and now

 

Tomorrow never comes

and today never ends

I feel the need to seperate

from the me that’s in my head

but my mind is telling me

from all the information

that the world is ending

and the future is fucked

 

To be in the ‘zone’

to enbrace the present

is not about winning

and there are no losers

but I cannot dissacotiate

myself from myself

and the voices in my head

are always in control

 

Where do I stand stil

and how do I find peace

is death really the way

or is life all there is

happiness is just a concept

and pain a reality

how can I help myself

if all I am is me

 

 

Margarita Insights


            The sun was just dipping into the pacific ocean in a phantasmagorical display of fiery colours as only seen in southern latitudes.  Like every day since we arrived in Zihuatenejo Clare and I usually celebrate this free display of natures power and arrogance with a couple of margaritas. Today we were joined by Will, who by his own account is “a solar refugee escaping the northern rains and a couple of ex-wives.” He  is also a bit of a local celebrity, a role he gladly lives up to. His walks for miles every day along all the local beaches and can be spotted for a long ways off thanks to his canary yellow shorts, T-shirt and cap with the iconic Corona label emblazoned on everything except his sandals. He claims to be sponsored by the beer company which basically manifests itself in us always paying for his beers. Nevertheless I think it’s a great act, true or imagined. It doesn’t take away from the character he portrays with full conviction. After all everybody plays a part in the charade and parade of life, some are just more colourful than others. With his long grey hair, bushy eyebrows and pointed  Don Quixote beard, clad in bright yellow he makes quite the picture

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The Art of Cooking


“You can’t just put the pot on the stove and then walk away!” Clare unceremoniously admonished me very early on in our relationship. “You can’t cook and write a letter all at once.”

“Why not, the water boils by itself,” I answered, put in my place, feeling like you know what.

“Because you need to stir the noodles otherwise they turn into a clump of glue and you also need to watch the beans which don’t take as long as the pasta. Cooking is not just heating up a bunch of stuff. Cooking is, playing, feeling, tasting, experimenting, spicing and above all: timing !”

“Timing,” I said, feeling confident once again, furtively glancing at my watch. “I’ll set the timer to exactly what it says in the instructions. No need to watch the clock, dear.” Looks of exasperation were my just reward.

“Timing relates to everything being ready together. You cook the potatoes and the meat together, have the salad washed and prepped and make sure it’s all ready together.”

It took a while but I finally figured it out. As I slowly fell in love with cooking Clare gently stepped away from the stove, leaving me in charge of the kitchen. I gathered recopies from my mom, my sister who is to this day a gourmet cook and I also started to invent my own dishes and discovered a latent talent to improvise. I became especially good at leftover cooking, probably as much from necessity as design. I can whip up a salad out of a tomato, a leftover baked potato, some onions, a half dozen olives and some oil and balsamic vinegar. I concoct pasta sauces and pizzas out of garlic, bacon and basil or peppers, tomatoes, salami and cheese. Anything goes in my kitchen now and I dare anybody to call me an idiot while I soak the old bread under the water tap and then re-bake it in the oven. It will be just like fresh from the bakery. Which reminds me of a proverb my dad quoted every time we kids wrinkled our noses about the day old bread.

“Old bread is not hard but no bread is hard!” I guess you had to be in the war to appreciate not just the finer things in life but also the ordinary.

I also discovered that cooking is like lovemaking – both require passion, playfulness and attention to details and both go better with music. A slow stew simmers along to the blues, a sizzling steak cooks fast like rockn’roll and enchiladas turn out better with Latin rhythm. I listen to a lot of Lila Downs while chopping tomatoes, peppers and cilantro. For soups I prefer a little reggae and salads go well with country music.

In cooking, as in religion, there are commandments, meaning there are definite do-not-do’s or cardinal sins. I only adhere to three of these:

# 1: Do not overcook unless it’s a stew

# 2: Do not drown unless it’s a soup

# 3: Do not serve cold unless it’s a salad

There are exceptions. For example: you cannot overcook eggplant and there are occasions like parties where cooked food like salmon or roast can be served cold. And there are cold soups like gazpacho or warm salads like potato salad.

The main thing about cooking is that somebody appreciates the results. That’s why cooking is what brings people together, what builds memories and no celebration is complete without food. Lucky for me Clare is the most appreciative benefactor or my cooking skills. She always compliments me, never complains and always eats what I concoct. Happiness is good food and sharing it with the people you love.

 

 

 

 

Dave and the Knee


I first met Dave in Spanish class in Patzcuaro, Michoacan. Although Dave’s Spanish was much superior to mine we ended up in the same group.   After class we usually strolled down to the main plaza and sat down in one of several cafés under the gothic arches of the colonial palaces surrounding the plaza. We would sip coffees, play cribbage and tell stories.

Dave and I took an instant liking to each other despite or maybe because of our completely different backgrounds. For Dave life was one big practical joke with endless variations. He was a natural story teller and most of his yarns were about his crazy family. Dave’s fantastic family history included a saint of a mom, a knife wielding schizophrenic ex-wife, a lovable, alcoholic twin brother, a golf-pro lesbian sister, three dysfunctional kids and a myriad of other odd ball relatives, all of whom he dearly loved. Dave’s family history was the modern equivalent of 100 years of solitude in Minneapolis.

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As the World Turns


“I’m in love!” – I think I am – I know I am !

None of my former relationships could stand the test of time. Infatuation and lust gave way to personality clashes and quarrels, at the root of which was usually money. I’m an artist; a pretty good one I believe; I work hard at it, but so far commercial success has eluded me.

But my life has changed in the past couple of months. Like I said: I’m in love. Fortune seems to be on my side for once. The object of my love and adoration is a real lady; rich, pretty and head over heels in love with me. There is just one minor obstacle to our final happiness – she is married to this overweight, middle aged businessman. The marriage is one sided. He is so deeply attached to her that any thought of letting her go is ludicrous.

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The Gift


We met Lukas and Germaine at a dinner party and the casual conversation took a turn into the topic of giving and receiving. Giving aid, giving presents at Christmas and even giving gifts without any expectations of receiving anything for it. Lukas and Germaine spent several years in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, he as an English professor at the University of Nairobi and she as a healthcare administrator. They lived affluent lives, well paid foreigners in a society which rewards those in the right social position very well and often their salaries were   topped up with extravagant gifts like cars or even houses.

“I want you to have my car. It’s a brand new Mercedes but I have 2 of them and you need a decent car,” the Deputy Minister of education said to Lukas during an afternoon tea at the University.

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The 5 Cs of Outer Dress


            The wind drove the rain sideways and since I wore neither hat nor a rain coat I got soaked just running from the bus stop to the heavy wooden door that led into a dryness and warmth and music at ‘Grandmas’ pub. Campbell, or Camp as everyone calls him, was already seated at our usual table by the window, which was all that separated us from the nasty weather. The boats in the harbour had all their hatches battened down and were grinding their fenders against the undulating docks.

            “Miserable out there,” Camp said. “You need to get a raincoat.”

            “I was never one for dressing up for any occasion but I think some rain protection might be the prudent thing to do,” I admitted, still dripping.

            I didn’t take long for Camp to latch on to the theme and offer one of his diatribes. One can wear a plaid quilt or a fedora and cape, a turban, scull cap or chador or one of those silly scarves or numbered shirts sports teams sells to their fans. They are all made up of the five C’s of outer wear which define all clothing.”

            “The five C’s of outer wear? What kind of theory is that Camp. Never heard a crazier idea,” I shook my head, spraying the table with drops of water.

            “It’s not as crazy as you think it is. Clothes make people. As the saying goes.”

            “Heinrich Keller wrote that some 200 years age: Clothes make people,” I said.

            “What, who?” Camp said, stopped in his tracks. “Never mind. The five C’s are: Culture, like for turbans, skull caps and head scarves;  Cult for biker jackets, safran robes, hoods or nihabs and then there are the Clubs for sports jerseys, baseball caps and jock ware. Most popular is Casual wear like jeans, T-shirts and sneakers and then of course there is the Conventional dress: suit, tie and loafers and for the ladies, fashion attire.          

            “Ok, I get it but do any of these outer accruements define, unite or divide people?” I asked.

            “ You bet,” Camp said, slapping his hand on the table.  It’s all about appearances. You can tell social status from their clothes; from the quality of the fabric, the fashion of the shoes or the brand of watch people wear. Religion, allegiances and even country of birth can be declared and recognized by the way some people dress. Different coloured sports shirts will fight each other before, after and during a game, turbans do not like chadors and people with scull caps have been discriminated against for millennia. People in suits don’t like to do business with people in jeans.”

            “But when the lights go out nobody can tell the difference,” I pointed out,  “let’s not forget that underneath all those garments we are all naked and when cut we all bleed red. “

            “Another pint?” I asked. It was a rhetorical question. “You’re right about one thing Camp, I might have to stop into Mark’s Workwear and get myself one of those Australian oil slickers.”

            “You know, that always puzzled me. How come the Aussies make all that rainproof outerwear, in a country where it never rains.”

            We both shook our heads. We just touched on another one of life’s mysteries.

 

 

 

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A room full of Baskets


 

Over a few Pints

          Once every week, on Thirsty Thursday, Campbell, or Camp as everyone calls him, and I meet for a pint or two at ‘Grandmas’ the local pub, overlooking the picturesque harbor and Keats Island. Campbell is an Alderman, one of five counselors in our small town. It’s a thankless gig with no pay or perks but he likes it. He is also the owner of ‘Coast Books’, the legendary bookstore on the harbor. “The only bookstore accessible by boat,” he likes to point out.

We discuss anything from sports to the weather and the future of mankind. Sometimes we veer off into dubious territory like politics or religion but since we both hold similar convictions and beliefs, we are each other’s most benevolent audience. Clare calls us beer philosophers. She has a point.

       Camp was late so I ordered only one pint. I stared out the window and got lost in the large fog, which is my mind.

I pride myself of having read countless books, watched a myriad of movies and continue to watch the ‘daily news’ but hardly remember titles of books, names of flicks and never mind specific characters, actors, authors or quotes. As far as the news go, it’s sound bites and repetitive propaganda that sells itself as news and usually is of no use to form an informed opinion. Not only do I not remember what anybody said but according to Clare, my partner and alter ego, apparently it is usually of no consequence. I wish my memory wasn’t just a personal version of Trivial Pursuit but actually a record of knowledge and information that is relevant and solid, able to be recalled at any time on a whim. Not so much.

I read all the fashionable classics of the time in my pre- and post twenties and became a big fan of Jack London but don’t ask me to remember any of the characters or even quotes. It’s the same with movies. I scarcely remember the content or the actors but as soon as a couple of frames flicker across the screen I know for certain if I’ve seen this flick before or not.

Certain people, like my good friends Bill, Toni and David seem to remember historical data, battle lines and players in multiple wars, anecdotes and facts from a legions of books, articles and various forms of media. They can recall names of books, characters and even quote lines from some obscure book they read ten years ago. These guys also seem to remember how to divide and multiply by hand, how to draw roots, where to find the relevant facts and who is responsible for the global mess we’re in. I can barely remember the restaurant we ate in last week, never mind the name of the waiter who served us.

Maybe it’s my cluttered mind that is at fault, maybe I’ve stuffed too much information into my grey cells, like cramming too many clothes in the washing machine that nothing gets properly cleaned. In other words I should stop adding useless bits of info, give away the TV, and empty my mind of all the rubbish it contains. How to do that? In the old days we had several well known gurus and yogis like Shri Aurobindo or Guru Maharaji, who bamboozled us with the recipes for personal fulfillment and happiness until all that navel gazing spirituality came crashing down in Jonestown. Today we have motivational speakers and learned experts (mostly self proclaimed) TED talks on every subject from [not] eating wheat to how to get rich quick and we have lectures and self-help video clips and books on every subject, readily available on our smart gadgets. Or should I just listen to Clare who has no such existential doubts and insecurities and marches through the days with a purpose and focus that makes my wanderings a bewildered stagger through life’s labyrinth.

We are born selfish and self-centered and some of us never grow out of that infantile self-absorption. Altruism has to be learned and acquired and separates adults from teenagers and children. It requires an inclusive view of the world and other people, not just family and friends but humanity. It’s a constant struggle to not let our egos take over for the important decisions. It requires team work and listening to other’s points of view. Benevolence, altruism and compassion didn’t enter my psyche until my early 30ies; these traits were certainly not evident in my teens and early twenties when my mind was preoccupied by physical concerns.  I’ve since come to the conclusion that all our differences, our wars and fights would go away if we would all park our egos in the basement and either throw away the key or give it to our loving and understanding partners for safe keeping.

Here is a good bumper sticker, Clare said to me to other day: “When all else fails, lower your standards.’ Isn’t that just perfect.” I had to admit this was funny but did she tell me this with a hint and a nudge. My own standards couldn’t possible go any lower. I set the bar at eating regularly without bias or prejudice, drinking one or two beers a day, and regular bowel movements. When all that happens without incident then I’m a happy camper. Life is really that simple, and happiness is a full tummy.

While Clare was reading a book about the morals of death and dying I was heavily involved in a thriller by Deon Meyer, my new found author from South Africa. Should I feel bad about indulging in fantasy when I could improve my mind by studying a language or finding out about ocean acidification or the latest theory on nuclear fusion? Life can be so darn complicated. I hardly know where to start and certainly don’t have any idea where to stop. And should I feel guilty if I laze about and do nothing all day but eat, nap, read and watch some mindless TV? Is wasting time a cardinal sin or a luxury? The banality of everyday life continues to baffle and mystify me. Being a non-religious, non-believer in any sort of higher power I tackle every day as a newfound opportunity. If I wake up healthy, refreshed and hungry in my comfy bed with a fridge full of food and beer I have nothing to complain about. The world might be spinning out of control, humanity might be just a blip on the horizon of eternity but I’m feeling fine and it’s a privilege to be alive. I live, eat, drink and travel like a king, even though I’m just an average working stiff. It’s fantastic and I have nothing to complain about. “Keep that in mind,” Clare reminds me regularly.

I used to have ambition. As a boy I wanted to either be a clown because I liked to make others laugh; a priest because they only worked on Sundays or a pilot because he gets to fly around. As a teen I aspired to be a gymnast, then a rock star and then a playboy and even a super hero but all my ambitions were thwarted by the mundane curse of having to go to school. I was taught by mean, short sighted, ex-Nazis and my only motivation was to get out of school as fast as possible.

During those formative years I graduated to class clown and goaded on by my mates I was constantly in the teacher’s crosshairs, vilified as a trouble-maker. In their eyes I was most certainly bound for a life of a petty criminal or an anarchist or a politician, maybe even all three. Despite their dire predictions I evaded jail, dabbled briefly in hippie anarchy and I avoided politics because of my inability to hide emotions. Also the fact that I always babbled on about anything or as my friend Paul would say: “Loose lips sink ships.” I have been known to say the wrong thing at the wrong time like when I was stopped for speeding by a police woman and I called her Sir, mistaking the moustache for masculinity or when I asked Clare’s boss at the Christmas party if he knew the difference between a bottom feeding sucker and a lawyer. “There isn’t any,” I quipped, “except one of them is a fish.” “I’m a lawyer,” he said, looking at Clare with a raised eyebrow.

It occurred to me that maybe life is a chain, a series of events on a time line, events that sometimes repeat themselves and therefore become predictable. In order to understand some of life’s puzzles I decided to group issues, queries and findings in variable sized baskets, not boxes but baskets because you can always add more or take out something from a basket. I’ve labeled these baskets and placed and grouped them in a round space, representing a finite life. There are no corners in a round room, no right angles, nor beginning or end. I think these rooms need to be three dimensional, bubbles or spheres with the baskets floating in a vacuum, sort of like stars and planets in our universe. There are different sizes of bubbles, for each their own. Sometimes two spheres are attached like Siamese twins. Some bubbles are large, other’s tiny, some are empty, others crammed. In some rooms the baskets spill over into each other creating chaos and need to be cleaned up and sorted out, one by one. My own space is reasonably well organized. There is always room for more with plenty of empty space. Many of my baskets are full of common facts, shared experiences and mundane insights. Some of them are filled with odd stories; others with speculative opinions. There are little groups or pods of baskets that are related like love and sex or health and diet or money, investments and debts. There are other baskets like events and anecdotes. By this method I hoped tcome to terms with the ambivalent meaning of life and the elusive nature of humanity: why we fight and love, aspire and despair, hope and prevail and how fools and wise man co-exist in a world full of wonder and mystery.

Just at that moment Campbell walked in. “Sorry, had to listen to somebody bitch about water meters. I told her it’s a good way to discover leaks and actually save water. I see you’re already down a pint. What’s on your mind ?”

“Baskets,” I said and then I told him my theory.

“You really need to get a life,” Camp said.

 

 

 

 

 

Retirement


I can move from my armchair to the hammock

or to the lounge chair on the deck

I can lie down on the couch

stretch out in front of the TV

read all day and roll over

stay in bed until noon

or get up at 3AM to have a drink

I can sleep, snore, snooze and dream

all day and all night long

I can answer the phone

if I feel like it

take out the trash or not

go for a swim whenever I’m hot

drive or walk to town

shop and cook or go out to eat

have a beer for lunch or two

shave or grow a beard

watch other people work

talk about the old times

dream about the future

remember not the blather on

and pretend to be still young

 

 

 

 

 

The Quest


We used to work together, many years ago and we live in the same town bur we hardly ever met socially. By sheer chance we both stood side by side watching the annual Sea Cavalcade parade: the make shift floats full of kids throwing candy, the golden girls in vintage cabriolets followed by a pipe band and then, as every year, the service vehicles: Ambulance, Fire trucks, Police cruiser. We both waited for our wives who were busy. With the parade over we decided to have a pint together at Grandma’s Pub, right on the water, overlooking the government harbour. A mix of working boats and pleasure craft lined the busy docks and we could hear the mast lines dinging in the breeze.  Beyond the harbour sat the long green shape of Keats Island with it’s holiday houses, framed against the coastal mountains and the bright blue sky above. After our beers arrived we reminisced about the good old days in the movie business.

“1998 was a great year, I made lots of money. Come to think of it I make about the same now as I did then?” Carl said and took a swallow of his pint.

“Same here,” I said and added “Some things never change. I work more for less it seems.”

We laughed and clinked glasses. And then we both sat quiet, lost in our thoughts, absorbed by the pristine view.

“You want to hear a strange little story,” Carl asked, stroking his stubbly chin and without waiting for my response continued. “A couple of weeks ago Wendy, my wife, and I were browsing in a a second hand shop, I think it was a Sally Ann, in West Van, killing some time before a doctors appointment. Since I didn’t see anything useful for myself I went outside to wait, knowing full well that she was going to find something.

“Look what I found,” she gushed when she emerged from the store, and proudly held out her hand which cradled a pink heart shaped, shiny soap-dish-like object  with the word ‘Mom’embossed in silver letters across the top.

“What is this, a paperweight?” I asked. It looked and felt like it was made of some kind of polished stone or porcelain. “Let me see that.” There was a silver lid inlaid on the back side of the delicate box with the small stamped words In Memoriamon it..  I shook it and heard nothing, than I pried the lid open with my penknife with Wendy looking on intrigued.  The small vessel was full of white ashes and something that I took to be a tiny bone fragment.

“These are human remains,” I said to Wendy who took a step back. I immediately snapped the lid back in place. We both felt like we had disturbed some kind of order in the universe and I felt a discordant twang in my gut, like I’ve seen a ghost or something. We carefully put the mini porcelain urn – because that’s what it was – back in Wendy’s bag and now we were late for the appointment. We didn’t broach the subject again until we were sitting back on the ferry going home.

“Oh my God, what are we going to do?”

I knew right away what Wendy was referring to. I didn’t know but some kind of action was required.

“What did you do?” I asked, keen to hear the rest of the story.

“We took out an ad in the ‘West Ender’, hoping somebody would come forward. A son, a daughter, maybe grandkids. Momwas obviously somebody’s mother.

We waited a couple of weeks and when no response came our way, I called Martin, the local Anglican minister, for advice. We knew each other from the Legion.          “Do whatever you deem dignified, according to your religion or believe and dispose of it with respect. That’s all you can do,” was his sage advice.

Wendy and I discussed this matter as seriously as if we were somehow related to Momand I felt that indeed we kind of were bound together now. We were of the same global tribe after all and owed each other some basic things like respect, dignity and closure. We decided to take Momfor a trip up the coast in our sailboat. In fact it was the catalyst for our annual summer sail. Mombecame our quest.’

We both concentrated on our beers for a moment and then Carl continuesd.

‘We settled on Princess Louisa Inlet for a fitting resting place for Mom. The sail up the west coast took us past some of the most spectacularly dramatic landscape anywhere, rugged, rocky shores with the odd house poking out of the mantle of green trees which draped over the steep, wild and rocky country, inhospitable, but scenically beautiful. We had all the creature comforts of modern life on board as well as charts and a VHF, cell phones and cameras and we always marvelled about the explorers of old who sailed these waters without comfort and no idea where their wretched journey would lead to or end. Names like Deserted Bayand Desolation Sound, which today is one of the most coveted destinations for boaters were not dispensed with hope but with a keen sense of desperation.

We sailed past Nelson Island and tucked into Jervis inlet, motored up the Royal Reaches until we found the hidden entrance halfway up Queens Reach. We entered Princess Louisa Inlet through the Malibu rapids at high tide and emerged into a body of water about 1 km wide and 5 km long, flanked by mile high perpendicular cliffs with cascading waterfalls tumbling into the dark green water from both sides. At the end of the inlet is chatterbox falls which is a grand curtain of water in one of natures most spectacular theatres backlit by the sun which was about to fall behind the snow capped mountain tops.

We stopped short of the dock at the end of the inlet and in a moment of silence and calm we dropped the pink, heart shaped porcelain urn into the luminous water and followed it with our eyes as it descended into the deep, fading and disappearing to it’s final resting place. I felt a strange elation and peace come over me and I took Wendy’s hand and even though we are not religious, and  have no illusions about god or an after life we touched an inner place that came from the center and it made us feel good and at one with the world.”

Carl fell silent and we both sat there, looking out at the harbour and sun dappled blue water. “Nobody has quests anymore,” Carl said, draining his beer, “and it felt good to have a quest and see it through. For those few days we lived with a purpose and it gave our lives a focus that was beyond money and goals.”

It was time to finish our beers and go back to meet our respective people. I felt like giving Carl a hug but that would have been too awkward for both of us. Instead I shook his hand. I felt like he had given me a gift and I thanked him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Folly Bistro – Chefs, Cons & Patrons


Novel Folly Bistro Cover Image

FOLLY BISTRO is a humorous account of all the turmoils, pitfalls and fights; ambitions and hopes, failures and successes of an iconic French Bistro in the heart of Vancouver over the span of 2 turbulent years. It’s filled with plenty of drama, hilarity and outrageous personalities. FOLLY BISTRO is essential reading for anybody wanting to get into or out of the restaurant business!

Listen to the podcast on iTunes !                                    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/bruno-hubers-podcast/id1185265323

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“An absolutely delightful read…. such an authentic and unique voice. I couldn’t put this one down. A must read for anyone who has a restaurant, considers having a restaurant, has worked in a restaurant, or has ever eaten in a restaurant. I look forward to more books by Bruno Huber…”

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“The now well-edited new edition of Folly Bistro is a great read: real characters and no holds-barred honest expose of the trials and tribulations of becoming a restauranteur, all told with great humour. Compulsory reading for anyone thinking of getting into the business, and fabulous entertainment for those of us who just enjoy eating out and might wonder what is going on behind the scenes.”

Get it on Amazon.ca:

Print Edition

Kindle Edition

Morocco


 

Our Morocco trip was intense because my cousin Bettina who lives on the outskirts of Marrakech had put together a very ambitious program for the 6 of us which led us through a myriad of old casbahs (ancient, fortified clay burgs) off the main roads and to a different town almost every day. For the first 3 days we roomed in a luxurious riad (hotel) within the old town center of Marrakesh. It featured an enclosed court yard, a small swimming pool, spacious rooms decorated with local carpets and weavings and a lofty rooftop terrace overlooking the tiled, cluttered roofs of the old city. Naturally there was a minaret close by equipped with large speakers which blared forth 5 times a day, calling Adhan in zealous live broadcasts by a caller who desperately needed voice lessons.

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Italy


We’ve been In Volterra a week, just chilling out in our small, vaulted apartment within the 3000 year old fortified Etruscan hill town. We wander the narrow cobbled streets between old palaces, castles and towers, soaking up the medieval atmosphere while sipping the house wine in our favorite wine bar just up the alley. Our apartment is about 50 feet inside one of the original city gates.

Italians are social animals and there isn’t a wine bar or coffee shop which isn’t buzzing with loudly patrons. It’ fun and lively and the history on every corner is stimulating and brutal in it’s excesses of subsequent sackings, sieges and carnage at the hands of the Romans, Florentines, Lorenzo de Medici or the black death which wiped out an unprecedented 50% to 80% of the population around here.

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Switzerland


As soon as you arrive at the Zurich Airport you will be directed to a shuttle to the main terminal and during the short ride subjected to typical Swiss sounds like the alphorn, jodeling , cowbells and yes,  the muuhing of a cow. When you exit into the shopping centre like terminal you are immediately greeted by gigantic posters of watches worn by such local celebrities as Federer and Piccard.

The Swiss are known for their punctuality, their cleanliness, their  politeness and yes, they do have humour. If the train is a minute late then it’s due to a nuclear disaster or a major calamity of that order. The train is never late and it leaves exactly on the time posted. Large white clocks on every platform tell the exact time, synchronized with all the wristwatches of the passengers, who can be counted on to check their Omega’s, Rado’s or Tissot’s for possible time shifts the second the train pulls into the station.

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Sunshine Coast BC


Where is the Sunshine Coast ?

A 40 min ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.

Ah yeah. It’s on the island ?

No it’s not. The Sunshine Coast is a 170km stretch of coastline on the Straight of Georgia along the mainland and the ferry goes to Langdale, which is across the Howe Sound. There is no road – as of yet !

And why is it called the Sunshine Coast ?

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