Iquique, Day #457

Yep, that's a porcupine. It's the pet of a guy who was staying at our hostel. He's travelling around the place carrying it in a cardboard box. He also smokes a lotta weed.

IT’S groundhog day here again in the Chilean desert. I woke up had a good surf and now I’m chilling on the balcony eating and watching the waves. I’ve been here more than two weeks now and I’ve been surfing myself silly, reading a lot and just generally chilling out with crew at the hostel. Today in the water there were seven of us – an Australian, American, Uruguyan, Chilean, Argentinian, Brazilian, and a Frenchman. I thought that was pretty cool. Basically it’s been super fun and relaxing but for writing blog posts it’s not so good. There’s damn near nothing to update you about. So today I thought I’d just lay out a few of the things that piqued my interest in cyberspace this week. If you get something out of these sites then I’m happy. I’ll have something interesting to report on my own travels soon I promise.

This is from one of the bigger days so far, me a little too Johnny Deep and about to get clubbed.

I’m not a huge fan of explosive diorrhea, which is why I’m often buying a ton of bottled water when abroad instead of slamming it down from the tap. Lonely Planet guidebook author and journalist Connor Gorry this week penned a sweet article about the alternatives to buying bottled water all the time on the road. It makes a lot of sense environmentally and economically too. Think I might buy a purifier eventually, I reckon it’ll save me some coin in the long run plus going green makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Gorry also writes a blog Here is Havana, which is worth a read for some cool insight into living in Cuba.

Braedon Wheeler. Photo: DowntoFilm.

This is just a good video. Not that new but I rediscovered it this week and thought you should watch it. The skater is 13-year-old Braedon Wheeler and the song (which rules) is Take It to the Top by pro snowboarder and music guy Trouble Andrew. I used to catch the same bus as Braedon on the way to work when I lived in Whistler and he had so much steez (hoodies down to his knees etc.) for such a young kid I thought he must be either a massive douche or be really really good at something. Turned out it was the latter – he rips on a skateboard, skis and snowboard, so his swagger is well-earned.

Benny Lewis is an Irish dude who writes a super-interesting blog about learning languages. It’s called Fluent in 3 Months. If you haven’t heard about him, check it out. The guy travels around the world, settling in a place for – you guessed it – three months and has a go at mastering the language there in order to become fluent (he now speaks 8 languages fluently he reckons). He wrote a real helpful article this week about completely immersing yourself in conversation in order to improve, rather than pussing out and telling yourself you’re not ready for that because you don’t yet know every little word and verb conjugation under the sun in that language. I’m often guilty of holding back a bit with my Spanish so his site is a good kick up the bum.

This is another really cool video I just discovered on a mate’s Facebook wall about a skateboarding school for young kids in Kabul, Afghanistan (it’s probably heaps old, I’m usually six months to a year behind everyone else when finding cool stuff on the web). In the words of one guy that commented on the vid “Wow, really incredible. I can’t tell if this is a reason for hope or just one more example of the sad state of affairs in Afghanistan. Maybe it’s both.” Pretty moving stuff.

Not one of Ryan's pics but one I snapped in Tofino, Canada last year. You can't really see it, but way back behind my ride, in the distance are fun 2-3ft waves. Who would've thought?

New York has waves? Good waves? If you follow the pro surfing circuit you may have heard that there’s a world tour competition going down in The Big Apple this September. It’ll be the first-ever ASP world tour stop on the US east coast, and will offer an unprecedented $1 million prize purse for the competitors. New Jersey surf photographer Ryan Struck has just uploaded some pics of NY absolutely firing on to his blog. Hopefully a taste of things to come for the comp. Next surf trip?

Another cool photo site is Wandering the World, by this guy John who’s taken sick photos in a ridiculous amount of cool countries. He’s taken heaps of photos of young kids (in a good way), like this one, which he posted this week. So happy and innocent and all that stuff.

Salva the Uruguyan on a bomb. He's about 6 foot 5 inches tall and his arms are outstretched.

Aaaand last but not least, check out my mate’s blog Ham on the Highway. I met Ham, his mate Jim (both from Brisbane) and his Argentinian missus Catalina in Pichilemu last month, partied with them at Lollapalooza in Santiago, then caught up for a wave in Iquique. His blog is a  good read and last I checked he was back at Cata’s pad in Buenos Aires recording hip hop tracks with her musician brother.

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