Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Boots of Spanish Leather (Song of the Week and a Glimpse of Telmar)

Hello Peoples,

   It is Tuesday in Telmar, and that means one thing: Its the Song of the Week!
 I promised Sunday that I would post some video of my journey to church and today I deliver on that promise.  This week's Song of the Week, Bob Dylan's Boots of Spanish Leather, from "The Times They Are A-Changin" comes set to the view from the Ferry going across the Great River.  This has quickly become one of our favorite aspects of living here. Feeling the wind in your hair, reading a book or watching the city, maybe ordering a nice hot cup of tea; nothing beats riding the ferrys.  Even if you can't ride them with us, maybe this will give you a feeling of what it is like to be here.  I hope you enjoy it.
-Mr. Strange

Click here to purchase this song

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Luca Brasi Sleeps With the Fishes

Hello Peoples,
So, one of the beautiful things about the Telmarines is that they eat a lot of fresh food.  I don't want to give away too much about this since I think (spoiler alert) that this is going to be one of Hazel's future topics of choice, so I will discuss one of the freshest foods here; one that Hazel finds a little too fresh for her own good: Fish.  Yes, here you can buy a wonderful fish sandwich, the main ingredient of which is literally, caught, cleaned, thrown ashore, cooked, and then placed into one's own desirous hands. There is even a "No Bones Guarantee" which, aside from the four that I found today, is mostly accurate.  For a glimpse of this you may see the rather shaky video below.  I will explain the shakiness afterwards.

  With all of you in mind today, I took it upon myself to chronicle my Sunday morning commute to church.  This required me to go undercover as a tourist (har har.  As if I don't look like a tourist anyway) with camera slung around my neck.  I kept the camera rolling from the time I got on the bus, across the river on the ferry, and to the time I got off the train and got to church. The result, when sped up from an hour and a half to five minutes is quite the stomach rolling extravaganza.  Call it "Instant Motion Sickness."  The above is but a glimpse of that commute.  I'll put the rest up here sometime after I can sift through and make it somewhat viewable without the result being a less than desirable effect on the viewer.  I think its pretty interesting though and maybe you will too.   Anyway, I warned you in the blog intro that I have trouble staying on topic and this is one of those times.  The video above is shaky for the reasons just mentioned....but back to the fishes.  I don't know if you could tell from the video, but these sandwiches are delicious.  These guys just stand there and grill the fish, then put them on bread with delicious fresh veggies and a squeeze of lemon juice (from a lemon, not a bottle).   Fair warning though, it is not for the weak hearted or stomached. 

Hazel was sick today.  Oh no, poor Hazel.  I suppose that I should take some of the blame for this.  I did get sick first.  Oh, lesson of the week:  Don't take 2 benadryl first thing in the morning before you have to teach all day.  This could also be rephrased as "Read the labels before taking allergy medicine."  Either way, it was not a pretty day for Mr. Strange.  Thanks should go out to Fortescue however, for getting me coffee and printer paper that day.  I'm pretty sure that, had I been required to do these things for myself, I would have toppled to the first floor from my fifth floor classroom at the school which has yet to be named.  Back to Hazel.  She is sick, which resulted in me having to cook my own supper tonight. This isn't something I mind doing, but suffice to say, I'm not as good as Hazel at it.  I decided to put my brave face on and try something new, something almost Telmarinish.  So I began an experiment with yufka.  

Yufka is a type of flatbread dough that looks something like this...
Picture the thinnest dough ever  and make it in the shape of a very large pizza.  Then imagine layering roasted egg plant, sauteed mushrooms, and slices of cheese inside of it, wrapping it up, and then pan frying it. Sound healthy?  I thought not.  Sound good?  I thought so. When the Telmarines do it it is amazing.  My Result:  It tasted like a vegetable funnel cake.  Not a delicious concept.  However, Hazel says her cinnamon and sugar version, also quite healthy (har har), was delectable.  But if you want to hear about that you will have to join with me in saying, "Hurry Hazel.  Post something!"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Thousand Miles From Home (An Introduction)

Hello Peoples,
  Mr. Strange is back!  It has been far too long since my thoughts have hit the old intranet and made sane people run for cover or quickly disconnect their computers, but here I am.  This is a brand new blog and even though it will be run in much the same way as my previous one (with only one or two minor changes) it feels like a fresh start. I hope that it will be as effective of a tool for me to express myself as the old pompeii...blog.
  A couple of things you should know before you go too far with me here.

1) I'm really bad at picking one general line of thought and sticking with it consistently.  I wish I could tell you that this blog will be all travel stories or essays on the wonders of underwater basket weaving, but there is a good chance that if I did that I would be lying to you because I honestly have no idea where it will go.  Don't worry though, I'm sure, in fact positive, that there will be some travel posts here.  Oh, you should know though, that I am really bad about asking questions to which I don't know the answer.  My students will confirm this as it drives them batty on a daily basis.

2) No one is ever called by their typical name here.  I tell you this in case you haven't gathered that from the fact that I call myself "Mr. Strange."  I may post a list of the established names here in the future, but we'll see.

3) Hazel will be co-authoring this blog.   Yea Hazel!  She has a page which can be viewed by clicking on the right hand toolbar on this page. She hasn't posted anything yet, but I feel quite confident that her posts will be far more practical than my own and will probably do more to quench your thirst for knowledge about what is going on with us.

 Recently, Hazel and I have experienced a small relocation.  We are now living halfway around the world in what my friend Fortescue refers to, and what we here will in the future refer to, as the land of Telmar, home of the Telmarines.  It is quite the exotic place and I'm convinced that Darwin would love it here.  Telmar is survival of the fittest at its best.  From Taxi drivers who swerve and bus drivers who talk on their cell phones, to construction workers who leave table saws running in the middle of the sidewalk, you have to be fit to survive here.  Its a wonder I'm still around.  Anyway, if you read this blog further than today you will get the chance to read some of these harrowing adventures in detail. This, however, as the title implies, is an introduction.  The details can come later.

Being across the world has some disadvantages as well.  Its a strange combination that I am experiencing right now: 50% homesickness, and 50% complete contentment.  I have never been happier in my life than I am doing what I am doing now, but a large part of me misses the people and places that I have left behind.  Below is a small 2 minute snapshot of the last 2 years for Hazel and myself and some of what we've left.  Let it show you where we've been. Then you can experience where we're going.

*Please note: No smoking occurred for the making of this video despite appearances.