TTT22 #1 Petra, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

A full year of travel allows me to go deep into what specifically it is I look for and love in cities. What’s at the core. What floats my boat and finds my lost remote, so to speak. It’s a process still in flux, and I suspect once arrived upon, this may end up as an entire entry. For now, I acknowledge that few places have given me so much opportunity to think and speculate and ponder as the historic and archaeological city of Petra Jordan. The area now known as Petra has been inhabited from as early as 7000 BC, and the Nabataeans settled in what would become the capital city of their kingdom as early as the 4th century BC. So somewhere between 6,000 and 9,000 years of humans human-ing around these here parts. Yet it’s mostly a mix between a National park and an ancient excavated site. I can sit in a cafe along the main road and I can free climb up above the carved stone structures. Mostly I hike and think and write and drink water. I keep it simple. I’ve got a 3 day pass and I knock out something like 20 miles hiking and climbing in one day alone. 10 miles another. It’s fantastic. I cannot recommend a visit enough. Much of my recorded words revolve around fleeting thoughts and random happenings, though I do manage to get some good sketches done and take a ton of photos.


Pull up looking for parking and I don’t know where to do it. Fuck I hate that I just thought that. I feel like maybe I should go be American as fuck because of it now. A real asshole. I did rent a car in Jordan tho — first time doing that as a solo traveler. Whatevs. I made it and only a day after my birthday. Not gonna ‘Merica out. Keeping the worldview.

At least I’m self guided, ready to say no to a thousand offers with Shukran. I’m not looking to buy. Anything. Nada. It’s easier because it’s Ramadan. People are chill and tired and hungry. Gracias Allah.

I do end up copping some scarves on day 3. The scarf woman’s name is Turquoise. Ask the nice Canadiens, she says. Hahaha. Personality types of all of these salespeople are wild. Loud boisterous men billowing sales pitches through the canyons. The echo is intriguing. My man, it’s like 2 hours to Iftar, you should be exhausted. He must really need the money. I’ve been drinking water but general fasting from food and I’m exhausted.

The best spot in all of this middle eastern wonderland is Ad Deir. The Monastery. Little kids huff and puff. Old folks get on donkeys. It’s a climb. Once up I’m blessed with this 150 feet high and 150 feet wide 1st century structure. This monumental building carved out of rock is as old as Christ — but never left us. Take that Hay Soos. The huge facade, the inner chamber and the other structures next to it or in the wider area around the Deir originally served a complex religious purpose, and then was repurposed as a church in the Byzantine times.

This climb right now though. It’s hard but it’s worth it. I take pictures. A draw pictures. I sit. For hours. My butt makes an appearance. Coming early morning is a good idea, the trail is a bit more popping on my way back down. How many people on their way up will ask me how much further it is – in various accents of English no less. Do I look like a tour guide? I give them my amateur advice, “not too far”.

I trespass to “The Treasury”, Indiana Jones be damned. Petra is part Disneyland and part Desert Solitaire. Populated long before anything we know as civilized, left for dead and then unearthed only to be ruined by the quest for “likes” and the search for social media currency. Ruined by the gram. Or at least the concept of “influencers”. To capitalize on this ridiculous trend, Jordanians have built a cafe at the best viewpoints. I’m not here to buy, like I said. Respect the pilgrimage. There’s no signs keeping me out. I sneak around the purchase point, climb under a rock on my belly, tear my shirts and get the shot every basic Betty dreams of. Well shit if my grandmothers name wasn’t Elizabeth I wouldn’t have this photo. I need to get some free gear from adidas while I’m at it. Instead I get yelled at in Arabic. Fortunately, my giving-a-fuck in on vacation too.

I hike to the “Place of High Sacrifice” Nice trail trail. Rugged. I sacrifice my legs, its like mile 20. There’s a family of goats in the trail. A group of goats is known as a herd. Less common names include tribe, trip, and flock. What a trip!! Old momma goat gets separated.  A female goat is a doe—unless she’s a mother, in which case she’s known as a nanny. This nanny is a rocking a call and response communication with the pack. She’s a veteran rapper. I sit by and admire how nature handles adversity. Usually better than humans. These goats might be better firefighters than some I work with. Firefighters, not goats. There’s no goats at the FD. Not even a dog. Relaxed and yet exhausted, my mind amalgamates into the oneness (or none-ness) of the living universe. My sentences fragment and brain starts to melt into natural world joy. Words fail, and so pictures shall do the remainder of my speaking.

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TTT22 #2 Oaxaca México

Just a few weeks ago, I checked another box off the old bucket list, visiting Oaxaca Mexico for the first time. Oaxaca is actually a “free and sovereign state” in the nation that is formally the United States of Mexico. Look it up. Oaxaca de Juárez would be the formal name of the city and while Travel and Leisure Magazine named it number one city in the world for 2022, it comes up number two on my list, for what might be considered a technicality. That’s called foreshadowing.

Forty something Mexicans are shaking and moving to the beat. Decked out in Santa hats, the salsa-fied Zumba class in the park vibrates the concrete the same way my pounding head does. Five knocks to the head to be specific. Butt (more, yet different foreshadowing). All of that is materially irrelevant.

The mezcal tasting surely is the root cause of the aforementioned pain in mi cabeza. Otherwise, I might be up in this group dance exercise right now. Why not. Shit is good. It’s 8am, 75° and India, Carmen and I are strolling to the US Consular Agency in Oaxaca. Also materially irrelevant, other than ain’t nobody got time for… Zumba. What I do have time for is MOLE. Holy mole. And good. And great. Oaxaca does it big. I should take a cooking class. The flavors are deep and rich and complex. And unique. The region had held on to much of it indigenous culture. Not all. But I’m comparison to elsewhere, it’s considerable. Which is a goddamn miracle considering US historical aggression on its own continent. Nonetheless, I’m digging into some mole right now. Rojo. In the market. Watching the World Cup final with two gorgeous women and a cerveza. Mole is basically sauce. The best food on earth is a sauce. This is why I consider Mexican cuisine number one in the world — at worst it’s tied for first with Vietnam depending on nation I’ve most recently eaten in. My mole has a chicken leg in it. It doesn’t matter what’s in it though, it’s the mole that matters. All of the mole, por favor.

One day we go with ceviche and cocktails. Then street tacos. Then mezcal tastings. Eating and drinking our way through this city. Eventually, I muster up the discipline to get out of the urbanized areas. Petrified waterfalls, small batch 3rd generation maestro mezcalero shit. For real, Jeronimo truly blesses us with the proper experience, I likely will be moving away from anything but sipping mezcal neat. No mix. No salt. No orange. Nada. Solo mezcal.

Hierve el Agua literally is Spanish for “the water boils”. Yet the warm springs are a bit cold and the petrified “waterfall” is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Beautiful landscape. Guided by locals that legitimately transfer stewardship at the border between towns, 7-10 kilometers hike later and its a secret actual spring fed water. Moms nature is in her happy gushy place. Give it to me. So am I. Well worth the walk, this low key spot is serene and tranquil and invigorating and just wonderful in a multitude of ways. Fuck what you heard, I chase waterfalls and its dope.

The sacred yet culturally significant side of this city and its traditions and practices shines through in the art scene. Notably the street art. It’s unbelievably omnipresent. Gawd like.

The manifestation scales to the more indoor, when we are handed a card by a woman on the street and book tickets to an “immersive theatre performance”, dubbed Microenormous. Pictures will do the talking. It was a lot, sort of.

Oaxaca Mexico leaves a lasting impression. It’s ease of access and geographic proximity definitely make it a spot worth a repeat visit or ten, even if it’s number two…

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TTT22 #3 København, Denmark

2022 (Den)marks the third time I’ve actually been to the Danish capitol of Copenhagen. The first time was for a couple days and nights on business for a concert and video shoot and the second was simply in transit to Malmo Sweden. With four days and three nights in this trip, I intended to make the rounds, renting a bike in the number on bicyclist city on this planet.

Watch closely and you might catch 2014 me cheers-ing with a bottle of red wine while directing a music video in the May Day/Worker’s Day/Labor Day Parade.

A nearly-month long, three years coming country hop jumps off (after a one night stopover in Amsterdam) here in this 10th century-established Viking fishing Village. Copenhagen. Shit even sounds cool. I’ve splurged on an apartment in Indre By — the “inner city”. My bike is a modest cruiser. The infrastructure is bonkers. 40% of residents utilize the bicycle to commute to and from work or school. Countless others use it for fun or exercise or off-work transit. Cyclists are everywhere. At every red light we all ignore each other, but we know we’re on the same team. We’re like a moving energy field between the vehicular and pedestrians traffics, both of which have measurable numbers. But like KRS-One, we’re still number one. Like Queen we’re the Champions. Bicyclists that is. In case somehow neither musical analogy landed. In case I’m not be clear.

It’s like riding kilometers and kilometers for days around a Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock joint-comedy show (plus Ali Wong and Donnell Rawlings) isn’t enough, because I am now — like right now, here in the happiest of spaces in a city that hates hipsters and yet likely created them — eyeballing this gorgeous Italian bartender slash DJ slash fetish model slash student slash slash or slaj or something. Let’s call this particularly muse Lucia. It’s down a flight of stairs. This cantina that is, not the PYT working here. Yeah, I’m pretty sure Lucia doesn’t identify as “it”. Anyhoo… I’m in the space between the space and it’s a space that’s happily spacey. For real. I got the smokiest mezcal on the menu. Soundtrack is enacted through an old turntable behind the bar and a crate of 12” vinyl records, curated by the aforementioned hostess with the mostest. She’s in her early twenties and is rocking Pink Floyd. The Police. Silk Sonic comes in out of the static filled needle noise – she flexing on knowing some good contemporary tunes as well. Then she puts on Thriller. The gawd dong girl is mine, Paul McCartney. This year Halloween fell a month early, like Oktoberfest. Or didn’t it? Copenhagen is the truth if one could afford it. I meet all sorts of folks who work here. From Italia. Turkey. Pakistan. And — as it’s given to me from the businesswoman sort of on holiday — “Korea, south”. I try my hardest not to LOL, but the truth is that the agave plus bicicleta concoction has me tuned the fuck in and turned the fuck up like MJ in those 80s contacts lenses breaking it the fuck down. Actual fact. To snack on and chew. I chat with Lucia about tips. Just the tips. Gratuity, ahem. She tells me she’d rather get a good salary rather than rely on tips. And she gets one here. I say “well, why not both!” And tip 20% — enormous in Europe, where a tip is usually 0%. Ultimately, I get my Pharcyde on and pass on by the 20 year old muse and the 30 something couple from Boston and cruise off into the night with my two wheel motion. Bikes and cacti bitch.

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