Archive for December, 2009

The Village Life, Part Six, The Friendliest Neighbor!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The above picture is Peter, my immediate neighbor across the street. He is one of the nicest neighbors I have experienced.

Referring to my culture there is not many exemplary neighbors that surface except for a mature gay couple that I lived next to in Aptos in the Santa Cruz area. A couple of thirty dedicated years that were the kindness most friendly neighbors.
Experiencing the cultural interactions among neighbors in different countries, I am convinced that Americans never ascertained how to properly associate with their neighbors. Of course this is not an absolute generality. Considering the circumstances it is best to not even get involved with a neighbor in America because of alienated emotional baggage.

Here in Bulgaria the neighbors within the street of the village become very familiar. The immediate neighbors across the street, and the next door, become the most familiar. Mostly, everyone else within my street is hapless individuals that stare at me with a wonder of jealousy, except for the family that had me over after butchering the cow and pig, and the family kids who live like gypsies. There are some people in the village that will continually act estranged.

Even though the negative dwells among the positive, my neighbor across the street is one of the nicest guys. All summer he brought me tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onions, fresh produce from their garden. The above picture is his son who is finishing the homemade wine; they send it to Varna where they sell it through their daughter. They bestowed me a nice bottle of their red stock at the time of harvest. Lately, Peter is bringing over pickled cabbage, and bean soup. His wife is a wonderful cook. His grandson installed the tile in the shower room this last summer. The pickled cabbage is becoming a delight to my chemistry. The pomegranates this fall is been absorbing, and I will miss them until next fall. Throughout traveling, pickled vegetables have become palatable; in America I cannot not recall anyone that would pickle cabbage and other items in the fall, only the older generation. Cabbage is easily processed with vinegar and spices, in addition to adding some carrot maybe red peppers.

The above picture is Uncle George who is related the owners of the house. He comes over and snoops around once in awhile. He is nice person who loves his rakia. He is an interesting guy; he definitely has a respectable reputation in the village.

Experiencing amiable neighbors is a positive aspect to living the village life here in Bulgaria despite the negative transmutable undercurrent that oppresses the village.

My Wishlist predictions for 2010

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Neptune by Massimo

Neptune by Massimo

I wish you all of YOU…
12 Month of Happiness,
52 Weeks of Fun,
365 Days Success,
8760 Hours Good Health,
52600 Minutes Good Luck,
3153600 Seconds of Joy…

and to make things happen to change even a small thing in our World

You know, Epsilon, is part of the process of great things!

The Village Life, Part Five—The Crazy Syndrome.

Monday, December 28th, 2009
From the countries that I have traveled, from Egypt to Turkey, the Levant, Greece and Bulgaria, one common phrase that is predominant among different cultures is "crazy". Several occasions while visiting a local individual would refer to someone else that they are "crazy". I never knew the english term "crazy" is an utmost popular phrase within the different cultures of the world.

Most travel writers avoid writing about the depths of the culture. To understand the culture demands time, honesty, and a truthful examination of human behavior. Many aspects of the cultures around the world are negative, hence, most travel writers or bloggers steer clear from the subject.

This two kids hang out at the library, one day I was in my car outside talking on Skype, and, of course these two kids have noting better to do than to be in awe to someone who is talking through the computer. In someways the mentality goes back to the nineteenth century.

Here in the village the English term "crazy is used, I do not know the Bulgarian term. The reputation in the small town/village atmosphere a principle concern. Even among small town America the labeling and classifying an individual or group dominates the emotional disposition.

This village in Bulgaria is crazy in itself, they just are not aware of the disposition. The boredom and negativity that exists is at an peculiar level. Because of this the collective and individual ego strives for its secret payoff of specialness. Thus, everyone is gazing outward, critically, and with a pessimistic stance within their delusion.

Everyone in the village will point out one lady in the neighborhood. the lady in the above picture is the crazy lady. She is seventy-nine, I thought she was ninety-five. She is a sweet lady, during the summer she would stop in for a visit if my gate was open. She would talk up a storm in Bulgarian and I would give the Bulgarian head shake defining as agreeable. This type of ridicule creates a protection of oneself exists—free expression is absent. The dire effect from the cause of suppression leads to despondency. Possibly, this is the reason that everyone says she is crazy, she is very expressive.

The prophets taught that enslavement is the result of having a concern what other people think. To turn the table on the mind-set of the villagers, a least the kids—the perception of being slightly crazy is abundant. When the subject arises of being crazy, my answer is yes, a little—isn't everyone?

Link Transfer—Corporate Domination.

Saturday, December 26th, 2009
I am mostly at the end of organizing this template except for new gadgets on the side bar and possibly in the footer. I am going to go with this new arrangement for the next year with the new domain and the template, at that time I will decided to stay with Blogger or move to self-hosted Wordpress.

All of the links are now on its own page. I went through all the site links I had, and, that proved to be an experience. Most blogs are powered on Blogger and a few from, the free service. The blogs that stand out are powered through Wordpress—self-hosted.

Several blogs had no contact information. I enjoyed looking at all these different blogs, there is a large variety of designs among the blogging realm.

All the links that are on the link page are bloggers I exchange links with. The blogs that I did not find my link listed didn't make it on the list. If I contacted you to change my link address and I missed your link please contact me, I will correct the mistake.

I am currently working on my new and final blog. I bought the best Wordpress theme that is on the market and much easier to change than others, and is excellent with SEO. Plus, I can use this theme on as many sites I like. I can also just create a site without it being a blog. I will only have three blogs, which I know I will be able to maintain.

One concept that is clearly manifested is that the corporations always get their fingers in each popular interest. Even with blogging, there are really only two worthy platforms—Blogger and Wordpress. Typepad does exist, but I view less than one percent of blogs that are on Typepad. All other blog platforms like Mobile Me and others are set up for family and friends—SEO is extremely shallow. Blogger is owned from Google and the platform is very user friendly, and a few people are geniuses in creating hacks. However, Google created a no-index on the labels, and other important links, so for SEO it is not the best platform. Hosting on Wordpress for free is limited and some people have lost their blogs from what they have posted or from creating a money making blog. The bottom line is that a self-hosted Wordpress blog is the best for SEO, and since your hosting the blog yourself you can do what you want with it, unless a person gets de-indexed from Google. Because, Google has cornered the search engine market, there are several search engines available, but if a person has an Internet business and Google de-indexes them, there business will be severely affected.

I find this whole concept of corporate domination very interesting. Corporate domination involves only two or three different services available. It's like Microsoft, Apple and Unix, only three operating systems exist. In each country I have traveled there are only two or three different mobile phone companies and they are always owned from a parent company in the West.

I will be posting on the Village life soon.

A Whirled of Christmas

Thursday, December 24th, 2009
 A Whirled of Christmas

Growing up I have had the privilege to spend Christmas in a “whirled” of places.  The contrast could not be much more drastic from Hutchinson, Kansas to Tandala, Democratic Republic of Congo, or from Albertville, France, to Bangkok, Thailand.

Hawkers1 3 02 A Whirled of Christmas

Fruit Vendor in Nairobi

1.  Albertville, France- 1991

By far my whitest Christmas was spent in Albertville, situated at the base of the Alps in France.  I vaguely remember the white cap of flakes on our medium sized hill outdoors and sledding or sliding down it in any possible manner.  The Christmas was my families first away from the United States and I believe my Mother searched out the ingredients for some sort of Chinese feast for our family and a select few guests to enjoy.  Along with the Chinese food we also partook of French availabilities like cheese and the most delicious baked goods and maybe even something similar to the Laos style insanewich!

2.  Tandala, Democratic Republic of Congo- 1992-1995

The hype of materialism and the world of advertising was non existent in Tandala, Congo.  Where we lived in the heart of the jungle no one had the opulence of disposable income and to trump that, there were actually no stores to purchase anything.  Within my immediate family we gave non monetary gifts of items such as hand me downs, crafts, and my most momentous; an “I.O.U.” for a toy truck.  Living in the tropics, close to the center of the globe, in conjunction with the humid jungle, the weather precisely on the 25th of December was by all means the hottest day of the year, and very noticeably so.  Amidst our steaming perspiration our indulgences included freshly butchered pig roasted in a “state of the art” barrel grill.  Other jungle greens and  fruits such as breadfruit, rose apples, varieties of bananas, feky feky (random green vegetable), and whatever seemed to be available would compliment the mighty pig.

3.  Honolulu, Hawaii, USA- 2004, 2006

As many of my relatives reside in Honolulu, and as the Asian culture dictates, Christmas time is an omnipresent buffet.  All things that are esculent around this time are indeed compulsory to be consumed (no resisting).  This includes a brilliant amalgamation of appetizing flavors.  Combination’s of things like honey cured ham, Chinese roasted duck, prime rib, rack of lamb (with mint sauce), homemade crab cakes, rice, walnut and cranberry salads, kilos of poke (marinated raw fish), and my Grandmother’s famous 7 layer Hawaiian jello.  The rites of passage on what should be eaten together is shattered in Hawaii.  Gastronomic medleys people can barely fantasize about are transformed into reality on Christmas day.

4.  Nairobi, Kenya- 1996-2004

Nairobi holds a large portion of my heart as I probably spent the most Christmas’s in this particular city in East Africa.  One year we ventured into the Karura National Forest, eager to illegally (didn’t know at the time) chop down our own Christmas tree!  We came home with a 13 footer that resembled the Tower of Pisa after a hurricane.  Though it was of evergreen decent, this weed had about 13 branches or 1 per foot.  On Christmas day in downtown Nairobi my family was able to assist in a program to give street kids haircuts, nail cuts, teeth brushes, brief medical check ups, and a Christmas meal to close.  Favorites to eat always included the famed Kenyan roasted goat or nyama choma!

StreetKids10 12 02 A Whirled of Christmas

Getting Haircuts in Downtown Nairobi

5.  Bangkok, Thailand- 2009

Inspired by a sticky rice (a variety of rice that is super sticky) shrine I inspected in Luang Prabang, Laos, I felt it mandatory to construct a sticky rice Christmas tree of my own on the 25th of December, 2009.  Since I live in Bangkok for the time being and I eat the best meal of my life consistently every night, I thought it might be appropriate on Christmas Day to also eat the best meal of my life…and that would be Thai food.

IMG 9554 A Whirled of Christmas

Christmas in Bangkok

Of all the memories I have retained from celebrating this day every year in varying “whirled” environments, I have not forgotten my belief that the real reason behind the festivities is the birth of Jesus.  Everyone have a phenomenol Christmas in whatever city or location you may be in!

-Migration Mark

A New Template Today.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
Today I loaded my new template that I decided with. All the links that are on the footer for now, will be on a link page with its own subheading. I will be going through of the links, and any blogs that have been abandon will be in its own category, next to active blogs.

I will working on the template, and tweaking the features, colors, and working on updating the navagation bar links.

I am going to go with this for the next year with my own domain name. Once I have this completed I am going to work on a wordpress blog relating to a healthy lifestyle with a twist of the inner health. This project will help my decision to move my travel blog over to Wordpress or stay at Blogger, although since I am not trying to make money or become popular within the travel blogging niche, using blogspot is just fine.

However, this template allows many different advertising opitions, and I have added an advertising link in the navagation bar.

New Address and Template Searching.

Saturday, December 19th, 2009
Lately I have been busy searching for a new template for my travel blog. A few changes will be occurring. I bought a new domain name which is effective today, this blog will have the new address of, will be forwarded in a day or so, and will be forwarded, too. I have a couple of templates that I am closely looking at.

In addition, I have reorganized with an excellent new template. Nexus 5 from Amanda at Blogger Busters created a one column customizable template with excellent goodies added. My site of will stay intact, but the blog link will be, this blog will become very active again. Interesting enough without even posting much, over at Blog Catalog, is fluctuating between number one and two in the directory—have no idea how that happened.

The mobile Internet I am using at home is working out to get this template work accomplished, although what a dramatic difference than fast DSL, patience is required, I don't know how we ever managed with dial up. Not knowing the difference is always helpful.

There is also one other subject I have a motivation to write about, and that is living a healthy lifestyle, although with a focus to the inner health. A person can be a raw food consumer or a vegan, but if they are an extremist and living within fear of their health, the main purpose is defeated

I will only have three blogs, and yes, I am staying with Blogger with my orginal two blogs. By comparing Wordpress and Blogger, both have their strengths and weaknesses. Whenever I post on blogger, the post gets in the search engines instantly, most blogger blogs have the same page ranks than the Wordpress blogs I browse. Blogger does struggle with SEO. My new blog will have to be with Wordpress and it will take awhile to get set up.

I will be posting more stories about the Village life soon.

3 Days in Hong Kong

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
 3 Days in Hong Kong

A three day break from teaching English in Thailand was clearly a justifying claim for a brief excursion to Hong Kong from Bangkok.  I arrived mid afternoon to the very friendly and high tech airport.  The airport link train located literally inside of the airport was an easy ride to Hong Kong train station.

Hong Kong View from Window

Hong Kong View from Window

Through the green forested mountains we traveled.  For a jiffy I thought I might come face to face with an Orangutan, when abruptly the green dissolved and transformed into monstrous fabricated structures of engineering impossibility.

That evening we indulged in a variety of fried delights accompanying a Chinese style massive portion of steamed rice (I’ve become so accustomed to rather small Thai portions).  Neck deep in awe of this urban dwellers wonderland, I was introduced to the uber materialism of the SOHO region where glittered shops caught everyone’s attention from infinite directions.  From there we hiked to the ferry terminal in order to catch a vessel across Hong Kong Bay to the Kowloon side, ecstatic to inspect the outrageous blaze of illumination like some kind of crazy aurora.

Hong Kong Skyline

Hong Kong Skyline

“How did Hong Kong ever happen?” I gawked, dazzling at the cliff faces of the man made edifices.  The display of electricity in visible form had me wondering if I was actually hallucinating.  At around 12 am we began our trip back to Hong Kong Island where I would be faced with the most ambrosial dumplings I have ever ingested.

I could actually smell the dim sum from across the bay.  At a small local joint, next door to our apartment of rest, lay a fine dim sum eatery that begins it’s nightly vending of artistic dumplings at 1 am.  Curious upon entrance, it took merely minutes to begin involuntarily seizing bamboo steamers and gobbling ferociously.

Hong Kong Style Dim Sum

Hong Kong Style Dim Sum

The next day began with a trip to Mongkok where fanatic shoppers and eating erudites can both reside in harmony.  Humans seemed to be going bazurk on greasy treats like tube steak surprises and everything off a stick.   Shop stalls of all things spread through slot canyons of concrete buildings.

When I didn’t know if my simple mind could handle another flashing light or billboard, we arrived in the Causway Bay area where people stampeded around like wildebeests migrating from one street to the next.

We hung around Causway Bay before relocating to Wan Chai where we caught a live band covering popular English songs.  In the A.M’s we headed home, making the ever vital dim sum stop.  Don’t hesitate to jump to a conclusion about a pattern forming.

On day three I was able to dive into one of my favorite activities, aimless wondering, which eventually lead to the Hong Kong viewpoint at Victoria’s Peak.  The touristic clusters and the overall haze of the air distracted from the otherwise unbelievable view of the Hong Kong metropolis.

For our last night in Hong Kong we thought it might be appropriate to observe jockeys as they battled each other at the famed Hong Kong Jockey ClubRobust horses sprinted by, carrying puny, wide stanced jockeys, under an enlightening starry night backdrop of illuminated cubicles and shrieks of unlucky betters. I must say, my debut horse race was quite enjoyable.

Hong Kong Jockey Club

Hong Kong Jockey Club

Again we hung out in Wan Chai to the benefit of wonderful conversation with awesome friends.  We went home, but obviously not without gobbling my favorite divine delight also known as dim sum.

The next day was dedicated to a return to the airport and a flight away from the concrete canyons of Hong Kong.

The trip was wonderful.  We did not have the time or money to partake of all touristy norms, but what we did, saw, and experienced, was clearly a taste (literally) of what Hong Kong is and the flavors it has to offer.  Though I would find it hard to dwell in such a geometrical manufactured society, I consider a visit to Hong Kong an opportunity to put “city” into an empirical reality.

Scenes from Hong Kong

Scenes from Hong Kong

-Migration Mark


The First Snow—Bulgaria.

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Today is the first snow here in Bulgaria. In the Bulgarian language snow is pronounced "Sa'nack, kind of like "snack" but with the emphasis in the "nack". When I first heard the word I though they were taking about having a snack. I love the snow, I think it provides a beautiful atmosphere, but not in a city where they use salt.

This next month I will be working and changing the template on this blog. It is ready for a new design and I want a navigation bar; place the links on a separate page. I have also been trying out a few other gadgets. So a few changes will be taking place within the next month. Also, I have been trying different options for the "Read More" concept, I will leave the full post active for the first post; I try to find a template that allows the full post and the jump text link. Feel free to leave a comment concerning the subject.

I decided to breakdown and purchase the mobile internet from Globul. I held out long enough, and it is time to have the Internet at home because of the template work and the way I want to be set up by the time I leave this spring. I discontinued going to the local library here in the village because of the negativity that is embedded within these people of the village, also, when kids are visiting they are obnoxiously loud due to their utter boredom. The lady that works at the local library obsessively smokes and plays video games all day long, and does not know how to start the wood stove; she fills the stove and lights it from the top and allows the whole room to fill with smoke.

The library in Pravormay is much nicer and the workers always smile.

The mobile internet using a USB stick on the G2 network will suffice for the next four months, and the guy said I can cancel the contract when I leave this spring. However, G3 is suppose to begin after the new year. I purchased the limited 12GB, which is the largest package, and will be plenty of bandwidth. I monitor my usage of bandwidth though Net Barrier, a program that was included with the MacUpdate bundle last spring. I bought the last two MacUpdate bundles, although this year I will pass, the programs that are offered are nothing spectacular. The bundles are a great deal, you receive over ten applications for $49, the regular price is close to $500. Last year Notebook from Circus Ponies was included in the bundle and it is the application I use the most.

The Village Life, Part Four—Bulgaria.

Thursday, December 10th, 2009
This is a common site around many small villages and especially in the mountains in Bulgaria. I captured this picture while I was sitting in my car at the library on Skype. This Gypsy lady made a couple of trips down the street hauling large bags on her back.

There are some Bulgarians of the older generation that are completely hunch over at the waist. This lady could stand upright; however, from her demeanor, clothes, and overall look it is clearly noticeable that continual strenuous work and poverty are impacted upon the human psyche.

The hunchback syndrome is from continual bending over in the garden. The size of gardens here in Bulgaria are much larger than in the west. The gardens are like small farms—most homes owns some cows, hens, and maybe a pig.

A subject of interest is that many people here in the village in November just started cutting and chopping their wood. I would think they would want to accomplish chopping the wood in late September or early October so it will dry properly. Also, some poor people are going around gathering wood this late in the season. To survive, hard work must be accomplished, when needed, you must gather, chop, and process the wood even if it is cold. Because of the rigorous work, most people work when they have too, I am experiencing this circumstance myself. 

Many homes in the villages and towns in Bulgaria still farm as a business, though small, the company lifestyle provides food on the table. The son of my neighbor is continually busy bringing in the harvest of cabbage, lettuce, peppers, and just finished the wine making; they sell all their produce in Varna on the Black Sea where their granddaughter lives. 

I visited Mitko's house, my friend in Parvomay who lived in England for three years. His parents are very nice who grows vegetables nine months of the year; the work is all done by hand using five large greenhouses plus outside fields. Currently they are harvesting leeks, and growing lettuce.

They also own some pigs and the mother pig gave birth to nine babies. They will sell most of the piglets; the mother became overweight that she cannot even stand up.

The small businesses of farming and raising pigs, hens, chickens, cows, and making Rakia, and Vino is extremely common among the villages of Bulgaria. Most older people and even some of the younger generation want the socialized system to return. As the capitalistic nature of the west forces its greed into Bulgaria, many home gardeners/farmers will struggle to keep a float.