Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chicago Update

Its been a interesting week, I ended up going to Iowa for a couple days last week with the photographer that I have a internship with. Steve just happens to be the official photographer of these septuplets that were born 12 years ago. The reason we were there was to document their 12th birthday. Of course, Steve took pics and I took some video but we really just played with these kids for two days. And here is where the story gets interesting..We left to drive back to Chicago at 8PM (its about a 6 hour drive). Halfway between Des Moines and Cedar rapids, all of a sudden, the engine blows on the highway. So we pull over, and wait for a tow truck, that takes about 1.5 hours and then get taken to a gas station. We ended up making reservations at a Hertz rental place at Cedar Rapids airport, the problem is how to get there and can we get there before it closes? We hire a taxi to cedar rapids (its about 70 miles) and rush to get to the car rental place. Well, we are in the taxi on the backroads of Iowa and all of a sudden the Taxi hits a deer, we didnt crash or anything, but it just messed up the guys car. We ended up getting to the Hertz 40 mins past closing, but the lady was nice enough to stay until we got there. Then we got a rental car and drove home..I ended up getting home at 5:30AM, pretty tired as one can imagine!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

getting cold here

Its November now! Its just a matter of time before the snow starts falling.....

Things have been good here though, I went to a awesome Halloween party the other day. Pretty much all my friends were there. Had too much fun. Other than that, I have been busy. Either doing photo stuff or music. I finished my room as well, I have my guitars on the wall, so that creates some extra space in my tiny room. Photo assignments are slowly picking up, the coolest I have shot was a Murder Mystery Promo shot. We shot it at a mansion in the burbs. Here are some of the pics...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slow train coming....

So I think I have been here for about 3 weeks already..Time is flying here. Too bad I am going into winter and what that brings...Everything is slowly coming together. I think I have everything that I want for my room. I bought a couple cabinets, a lamp and a rug. I probably spent about 40 bucks on everything. There are lots of good thirft stores here, so finding stuff for the room isnt too bad. The problem is bringing it back. I walked about 2 miles with a rug over my shoulder cause I didnt want to pay 15 bucks for a cab, which is more than I paid for the rug! Even with no job right now, time is flying by! I try to make a effort to play music (guitar and piano) everyday, study spanish, do something with photography. Speaking of that, nothing has really paid off, but I have to rememeber that I have only been looking for about 2 weeks now. I try to at least write one photo email a day or something...

Other than that, I have been spending lots of time with friends. We have been cooking dinners, playing music, going to the bar, playing poker, watching movies and everything thing in between!

In other news, I am going to NYC to visit some of my Chile friends! I am super pumped for that...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New apartment and new place

So I have finally settled in a new place...and I am very happy about that...Its nothing special, but I chose the place for a couple of reasons..A, its cheap and B, the roomies are really cool people and all musicans which is great for me...But, there are always new suprises I keep finding out about the there is no heating vent in the room (I saw some space heaters in the basement, so I will have to grab that) and this morning I noticed there wasnt a microwave...hmmm, that might be a problem, I might have to go and buy a cheap one...

So once I have settled into my apartment, I can finally start planning out my life here and start working towards the whole photo bit....I got my new camera and it is fantastic, the High Def video is incredible, I uploaded a video of my room to youtube, here is a link to it....

I am also very happy about the move back to Chicago...Its great to be back in a place that I know and know people, its strange, I really forget that I actually went away for a 1.5 years! But this time in Chicago, for me has a different purpose, trying to make money off something I like to do..I know it will be difficult, probably for a couple years, but by cutting expenses and since I am only supporting myself, the transition, probably wont be too bad (I think), its crazy though, I am actually paying 700 dollars less a month for rent alone! Thats 8400 dollars a year that I dont need to make to surive! Crazyness..

Monday, September 14, 2009

Update from Durham, England

Well, I have entered my last week of travel...Right now, I am staying at my friend Wills place, who works in the area...I arrived from Dublin on Saturday morning, after spending the night in the airport cause I had a 6:25AM flight...Lets just say that I didnt get much sleep....Ireland was amazing though. I spent about 4 days there....After exploring Dublin for a day (I also did a tour of the Jamerson whiskey factory), I embarked on a 3 day tour..It was a great tour, it is kinda for young people who are active so thats good...We also had a really good tour guide who was really funny and gave us lots of insights in the culture...I also learned a great deal about the troubles that they have had (the whole religion thing which pretty much seperates 2 countries)...It was a 3 day tour, we started in Dublin, headed towards the west coast and then spent a night in Galway...The next day we headed towards the Cliffs of Mor (spelled wrong probably) and then spent the last night in Kilarney...I was glad that I did the tour because of the time limit that I had, so I had to make sure I got everything done!

I had a great time with Will this weekend as well. We did some hiking about 2 hours from his house in the South of England...The next day, he introduced me to Snooker, a popular billards game which I have never seen before...It is played on a huge billards table, it is 12 feet long and 6 feet wide...It is huge!!!! Its pretty interesting, cause you play for points as well....

Today, I head for Scotland at 3PM. I am talking a bus and that will probably take about 2 hours and then I am going to spend a couple days there exploring...On Thursday I then will head towards London (The bus ride will probably take about 10 hours) and then with a flight back to Grand Rapids on Saturday...

Even when I get home I still will be on the go...I probably will spend 4 days there and then move back to Chicago for at least a couple months!!! Crazyness!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Update from Wales

So my journey has taken me to Wales now. Its been about 4 days since leaving Prague with Erik. Its different traveling by yourself than with someone. But its not bad, just a little different. So after Prague, I went back to London for a few days and explored London some more. I met a cool guy and we hung out a bit. This time in London, I had a little more time to explore. I did a walking tour and saw all the important sites (big ben, London bridge, Tower of London, Abbey Road) and I still will have a couple more days when I return on the 17th. I still want to do the Tower of London tour and see the British Museum. After London, I took a train to Salisbury. The main draw for this place is Stonehenge which is about 8 miles away. Stonehenge was very neat, but I only had about 45 minutes there. Its funny though, a lot of people think that by the pics of the place, its in the middle of nowhere. But there is actually a big highway not too far away!

The English countryside is really nice and green. I would love to see it more but I am a little restricted by not having a car or having all the supplies to go camping. I have been planning this trip pretty much day by day for the most part. I did have one small hitch though. I was planning on taking a ferry from Swansea (in Wales) to Ireland to see some friends that I met in Vienna. The problem is that I found out that the ferry doesnt run anymore! So I decided to change my plans and fly to Dubin on Monday. That way, I have time for a little 3 day guided backpacking tour across the south of Ireland before heading to Liverpool and hopefully meet up with a friend from Chile...So I will explore Wales tomorrow and the next day and then its time to fly!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Update from Europe

So now Erik and I are in Prague for the next two days. Its a great city, but for some reason full of mystery..Maybe its the crazy style of buildings that dont exist in the US....We arrived via train from Vienna two days ago. We took a overnight train. The train was really nice. Erik and I had our own little suite, complete with beds and a bathroom. I even took a shower on the train! But even with the bed, I only slept like a hour or so cause the ride was full of bumps and sounds. We arrived to Prague at 6 in the morning on Sunday. So everything was closed. We arrived to the hostel but they said that we coulnt check in until 1PM! So we pretty much had to wonder the city for 5 hours and see the sights on little sleep! That night we met my old roomie from Chile (he is from Prague) and he showed us around for the night. The next day we took a train to his place in the burbs and then he drove us around the countryside (we saw a couple neat castles)...

Our brief time in Vienna was cool as well. We only stayed one night though. Very quick trip. But one of the reasons that we booked the hostel was because they had musical instruments! They had a piano and a couple guitars. So of course we played! It was was great, we met a lot of talented people and soon had a jam session going on. I even busted out the harmonica for a jam on Roadhouse Blues with some people from Ireland! We had about 20 people watching us play. Great times....

Well, two more nights here and then Erik and I spit ways. He goes home and I go to the UK for about 2 more weeks.....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update from Austria

So for the last couple of days, we have been in Austria. Its been great, amazing views of the alps and good food. Right now, we are staying in the town of St Joann, the reason why we are staying here is that Eriks rents have a timeshare thing and they let us use it. Its a pretty sweet place, except it kinda caters towards a older crowd....Anyway, its cool to have a free place. So during the day we have been relxing by the pool, playing ping pong or playing cards. We also did a sweet day hike in the Alps! It was really cool but really hard....The hike took about 9 hours to get up and down...We still have a couple more days here and then we leave for Vienna (another city in Austria) after that, its off to Prauge where Erik leaves and then I fly back to London for a few more weeks.....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Update from Germany

So it is really hard to type on German keyboards cause some of the letters are in different spots! Grr.....Oh well....Things are good here. We arrived to Germany last night after a 6 hour train ride. The trains were really nice, Erik and I had a suite to ourselves. We pretty much played cards for about the whole time. We are staying at Eriks cousins house, which is great cause it saves us some money, the only bad part it is really outside of the city and it takes us about a hour to get back home. But its nice to see the neighborhoods as well. We have been a little sluggish today cause we were pretty much up all night. Tonight and tomorrow we will probably just see some of the sights in the city. Last night was really random as well. One of the bars we went to last night, actually had a fav band of mine from Chile (Chillo Truijillo)! It was so cool! I mean what are the chances of that happening!

Off to the city...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Currently in Amsterdam

So now I am in Holland and it is very different from the Holland, MI that I grew up in...Sure they both have tulips and windmills but the culture is way laid back and accepting unlike the one in Michigan. Its funny to see drugs being sold on the street and it being legal, people going to coffee shops and seeing the "menu", folks walking down the red light district (that is legal here) see girls in the window and ordering.....Its funny...Other than that, its a neat city and pretty much interlocked with canals..

Before Holland, we spent two days in Brussels (Belgium). It also is a neat city with old style buildings. We had lots of good beer and good food (had a waffle and good chocolate) One thing that I have learned on this Europe trip is that the cities are pretty much built on top of each other and so the maps are really confusing. Its not like a newer city where it is built on the grid system and is very easy to get around...

Well, we are going to rent some bikes today and then tomorrow we take a train to Germany...Hasta

Saturday, August 15, 2009

In Paris

So, its been a long time since I have updated this thing..Sorry! But, I have been all over the place it seems like. So after a week road trip outwest to family, I decided to join my friend on a European adventure for 6 weeks! So I arrived last week. After a long flight, I arrived to London last Tuesday. My bud Erik, met me at the airport and we went from there. We did a little sightseeing those days, but it was rushed because we had to take the high speed train from London to Paris the next day. But, I plan on returning to London after Erik leaves and I will do all the other London highlights. So until now, we have just been exploring France. We saw all the famous sights, the Eiffle Tower, the Arc, the Louvve (prob spelled wrong), Notre Dame. We still have two days here before we leave for Holland. Paris is a really neat city, lots of cafes, bars and such. But the low side is that it is very expensive. I mean a latte at a nice place costs about 13 dollars! Crazy huh? Weather has been good too, its been pretty hot, but Sunny on most days. For the last two days, we have been staying at the Paris Hilton (jaja), which is great since we have access to the Exec lounge and pretty much eat all our meals there....I decided to use points cause even the hostels are 70 bucks per person...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Last day in Chile

Ok, now I really dont know what is on the horizon. This time, it will probably be sometime before I return to Chile. I have decided to bring all my stuff back and not leave anything at my friends house. Even though its a pain to bring my guitar back and stuff, I dont have to return to Chile at some point and get it....Still its strange to leave this place, since I know the culture, the country and everything...

Back to warm weather!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Photos from the North of Chile!!!

Old Saltpepper mine

In the town of Humberstone....

One of the old mines....

Trust me those tires are way taller than me!

Looking into the mine

A Church from the 1500s...

Downtown San Pedro de Altacama

The old town where the miners used to live

Salt Flat

Eating Lama

Driving back at Sunset


Valley of the Moon

Valley of the moon

Valley of Death...

Trying to climb a sanddune..This dude was sooo steep I had a hard time walking out for the pic!

Photos from Easter Island!!

You probably have seen this pic before.....

We ran into some traffic....

Atop of the crater at Sunset

It was great, we had the whole place to ourselves

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Back from the Desert

So the other half of a sweet vacation has come to a close.....Me and my friends started the journey by flying to Calama (a city in the north of Chile), and renting a car to explore the area. The thing is that, its the desert and temp difference between the day and the night is huge! And of course there is no heat in the hotels or hostels! It was usually below freezing at night and then about 60 or 70 during the day. It made for some very cold mornings, I am glad that I brought my sleeping bag. So the first day, we drove to San Pedro de Altacama, a huge desert area in the north with several attractions, including valley of the moon, valley of death, and huge salt flats. We also took a tour that left at 4AM to explore some of the gysers in the area (it was a 2 hour bumpy car ride). The town was neat, but a bit touristy. After seeing some great scenery and sunrises and sunsets, we drove to the beach town of Iuique, which is about 5 hours due west. Stopping along the way to explore what we wanted. One of the first cool stops was to take a tour of the worlds largest open pit mine which is still in production. So, I got to look into a mine pit that is a 1 KM deep. And to see huge trucks with tires as big as my head. This place was a huge operation, almost 20,000 people work there. It was quite neat......

After that, we drove up the coast to our hotel, which we couldnt find and it took us about a hour to find it at night, once we had gotten into the city. We really didnt do much in Iquique, it was pretty much just a launching point. On the forth day, we drove back into the desert to explore the ghost towns and ghost factories of Humberstone (A huge production in nitrate and saltpepper in the early 20s). Now it is just a huge pile of rusted tools and buildings in the middle of the desert. It was really neat and unlike the US, there are no fences or signs really, so it really feels like you stumbled onto the place by yourself.

The 4th day we drove back into the desert and saw a few more roadsign attractions. One involved seeing a rock display made about a 1000 years ago. After seeing the display, we wanted to drive and see these distant sand dunes in the distance. Well, everything was going fine until our truck got stuck in the sand.....I mean there was nothing for miles! Luckily, after a couple pushes and using the mats as traction, we got the truck moving again and were able to continue on our path. I didnt think it was too scary because the main road was about a couple miles away and we could of flagged a car down or something.....

The last day, we drove back to Calama and stopped at more roadside things. We discovered a bunch of old mines, which are totally left open. We didnt go too far as we didnt want to become a headline story....Today, we arrived back in Santiago for one more night of fun before my friends have to leave...but a couple of cool stats:

I saw or experienced:
The worlds most remote place (Easter Island)
The worlds dryest place (San Pedro de Altacama)
The worlds deepest open pit mine (CHUQUICAMATA)
The worlds biggest goyciphical structure (I know that is spelled wrong)

Not bad for 2 weeks!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I know its been a while.....

So I am back in Chile....Well now, I have been back for about 2 weeks now. I arrived on July 26, exactly a year from when I arrived the previous year. It was strange to be back at first, Chile has a smell to it and I remember that same smell when I arrived the first time in the winter.....Its interesting to be back in a city where I had so much fun, many friends and many experiences. Now, I look in my phone book and about 80 percent of the numbers dont exist. So I am glad that I decided to quit my job there and find another country to live in. Chile just wouldnt be the same and I dont want to start all over from the beginning again....

But on a different note, my friends arrived the day after I arrived and we started our adventure. We went to Easter Island last week and it was amazing.....To see the maui (the big head statues) is really impressive and to think that I am only one of 55,000 people to make it there every year is a cool stat. I am lucky as well to have the money and the time to go there. It was a long flight, almost 5 hours. We arrived on the first day and decided to rent a jeep as that is the best way to explore the island on your own. We spent the next couple of days, exploring the island, the maui, and caves by ourself. As this is the winter season, the island was empty and so we had the ruins pretty much to ourselves. That in itself was a neat feeling. Not suprisingly, the island is really expensive and a regular place, meals run about 30 bucks, so we actually ended up cooking food in the hostel a couple of nights. So then we returned to Santiago the other day and I lead my friends around the city for a couple of days, seeing the sights. Now tonight, we are headed to the north of Chile to explore the salt flats and the desert areas. Another aventure to be had!!!

But after my friends leave on July 12, I have no idea what I am going to do. I havent heard from anything about my job application, in which I was planning on returning to the states for that. But I cant just wait around for that. But I dont want to stay in Santiago as it dreary, cold, and I only know a handful of people. So I think that I will go to Peru for a bit and explore. I have some other plans of traveling with friends, but we will see if those pan out.

Pics later of Easter Island.

Off to the airport!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Update from the US

So I am kinda upset that I traveled 5000 miles, only to have worse weather in Chicago! It has pretty much been cold and rainy for a lot of my time here. But, it still has been amazing to be back. I have been back for about 2 weeks now, so I just been catching up with people, having lots of cookouts, going to the bar. This trip home is a lot different than my Xmas trip, as I had to visit 3 states in 11 days, so that was rushed.

I also visited my old job for a couple hours, it was strange to be back, almost like I didnt leave. But, reflecting on my previous year, I am very glad to have left NFA, otherwise nothing would have changed really in my life.

Had a great weekend too, me and 3 friends went to Milwaukee for a long weekend. It was fun to revisit there because the last time I was there it was in the dead of winter, so we really didnt have a lot of time to spend exploring the city. At night, we checked out the night scene and on Sunday we saw a Brewers game. A good experience, but it was rather cold at the game.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Endings and new beginnings

Today marks my last day living in Chile. Its amazing that this special year has passed already. My flight is tonight and so I am not looking forward to that process of nearly 24 hours of travel...A lot of my friends have started to leave or have left recently. Its sad, but everybody knew it would come to this. I look forward to crazy reunions in the states. This week went really fast, I nearly did something everynight, which meant little sleep for me....Attached below are some of the pics from the paintball event that I did for my buds birthday..

Learning the rules

Me and my bud Giorgio

Me (I can tell because of my hair and because I got shot in the face)

The battleground

I look forward to some diner coffee!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Let this be a lesson for ya

This is what happens when a pair of cheap sunglasses go in the washer......

Monday, May 4, 2009

There is going to be some changes around here......

Another great weekend has passed. I have a friend who is a bit of a singer/songwriter and was invited to play at a bar a couple hours away from Santiago and he invited a bunch of us to come along. Also, me and another friend of mine kinda opened up for him each night. It was fun, we had been practicing a couple songs to play, so it all worked out. So we got there on Friday afternoon, relaxed, and started playing at about 9PM. Well, before you know it, it was 6AM and we were trying to find our way back to the cabin where we were staying at (we got kinda lost because it was down this long and dark, dirt road)......

As one can predict, we werent that productive on Saturday and started moving around 3PM. Well, Saturday night was more of the same, started playing at 9PM and got home about 6AM again....and went back to Santiago on Sunday afternoon.

Here are a couple of videos of my buddy Vic and I playing:

Things goin on by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Next time you see me by Grateful Dead

So that was a fun thing to do before we left Chile. On a sad note, it will be the last weekend trip that I will take certainly with my friends in Chile. But everybody notes its not a long term thing.

In other BIG news, I am coming home earlier than I thought. I have been applying for jobs (dont worry, these jobs arent for the next year or so) and I have to come home and take a test for one of the jobs I applied to. So that means, I will be in Chicago and Michigan for about 5 weeks. So I am pretty pumped, I arrive on May 18 and I will leave on June 23 to return to Chile because I have friends coming. After that, I dont really know what is on my plate, probably some more travelling and then????

Sunday, April 26, 2009

mover over Susan Boyle

Want to see Kyle making a fool of himself? Click on the link, its my first real song that I have tabbed by ear:

Kyle Video

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a couple random things

First: So i have a friend who put out a bowl of water for a hurt dog. She goes back to her patio to see if the dog returns. In this moment, a guy riding his bike stops, dumps the water out and takes the bowl. Funny, but very sad as well.

Second: I love it when people on the street hand me flyers and ask me I want to improve my English....I guess I dont look that gringo after all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Something entertaining

So there are a lot of things are translated into English down here (like ads, menus, etc), but for some reason, all of them always have grammar or spelling errors..Here is one of the funny ones:

Some of the funny errors:
-Swimins pool
-Interactive nights (What is this?)
-horse BACKriding

I still laugh about this..............

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back from another weekend adventure

So I am back from a Easter Weekend camping trip. It was a good time, we left Thursday night for a overnight bus ride to La Serena, a town about 6 hours away by bus. Once we arrived, we took another local bus to the village of Pisco Elqui, a tiny town where most of the Pisco (the stuff I brought home over Xmas) is made.

The Elqui valley has the special title of having the clearest skies in the world! So that is kinda coo to go to a place like that.

So once we got there, we found a place to camp and then went into town. The day was relaxed, we just walked around and did a tour of a Pisco factory and tried a lot of different types of Pisco. So were good and some were bad. At night, we just went back to the campsite, made some dinner and had some drinks (there were 10 of us). Saturday was more of the same, made breakfast over the fire, walked to town and explored some more.

But Sunday was a long day because of traffic, I left the campsite at 9:45Am and didnt get back to my place until 10PM! A big reason for that is traffic was backed up very far because of everybody trying to get back into town...

Here are some pics:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Back from Weekend adventure

So this weekend I ended up going on a sweet hiking trip with some of my friends and some other people that I didnt know (8 of us in total). I knew that it would be a difficult hike, and man was I right! We took a city bus to the base of the mountain just outside the city, walked a bit and then started at the trail head. It was 3PM, and we knew that we would be pushing the limit for daylight (it gets dark around 7PM here). So we started the long uphill battle to reach our destination. Well, of course, it got dark and we had to hike around 2 hours in the dark, it wasnt completely dark (the lights of the city helped a bit), but we still needed to use our headlamps to find our way around. This isnt the kind of trail where you are just walking through the woods or anything, you are climbing rocks and bolders, so there really isnt a well marked trail or anything, just a painted rock every so often, so when you are hiking, just make sure that you see a marker every once and a while. We got to our camp (looks like a place on Antartica or something), made some dinner and went to bed very quick.

(The view of the city)

The thing is that we were at about 9,500 feet now, so the temp drops and the winds pick up, so there isnt much to do, except to stay warm and go to bed....

(Our "hotel")

The next day we started hiking around 10AM, and headed for our next stop, about a 6 hour hike a little father up the mountain. There were some tricky parts and a long way down, if you lost your footing.

(Second day hike)

(Second day hike)

(Second day hike)

We arrived at our spot at 4PM, which gave us some time to relax and hang out before it got dark. So we decided to leave our packs and trek up to the summit about 45 min away, where you could have great views of the city and surrounding area..

(Our Refugio for the second night)

(Hanging out inside)

(At the summit)

(At the summit)

(At the summit)

(At the summit)

Pretty much a chill evening, the party is pretty much over at night because of the lack of light. The last day we had to hike back down which was really hard and difficult, it involved about 7 hours of decent, which is really hard on the knees...

(Cooking inside)

(Last day hiking down)

(Lots of wild hourses)

(Entire group)

Overall a amazing weekend.