Sunday Night Thoughts #11 Arequipa, Arequipa, A--

I’m in Arequipa. I survived the 18 hour bus ride, which actually turned out to be 16 hours. And I say “survived” because there were a few times last night where we took some turns and I thought, This bus is going to tip over. This is bus is going to tip over and we’re going to go careening down a 500 foot embankment, and I’m going to be OK because I’ve got my seatbelt on. Because I did have my seatbelt on. I was probably the only one, lying there completely flat, as we careened around these turns, with my seatbelt on.

I slept about eight hours which meant I was only conscious for eight hours of the bus trip. And for the first two hours I was completely absorbed in the novelty of being on one of Peru’s nicest buses, the Cruz del Sur Confort Suites, a bus dedicated entirely to first-class, VIP bus seats. These seats lie down completely flat. You get two meals. And granted, the breakfast this morning was probably the closest I’ll ever come to being in prison, but it was food.

For hours two through five I was absorbed in my dinner, cold chicken and rice, and also the movie Thank You For Your Service. I also watched the movie Paris Can Wait, and tried to extract from it what women really want out of a relationship, and came to the following conclusions: They want impromptu picnics by the river with Frenchmen, dining out, being ushered around the French countryside, and chocolate.

Then this morning about about 10:30am we rolled into Arequipa, and I had a distinct thought: I want to keep going to Chile. But of course I can’t, because I’ve already booked an Airbnb for the week, and I have classes to teach, and the real reason I want to go to Chile is because I feel comfortable there and I keep going back to Chile and I’ll probably always keep going back to Chile until one day I marry a Chilena and we live in the woods. Her name will be Josefina or Penelope and we’ll keep sheep and goats and chickens and tend to the land and make 15 babies and forget about modern society, especially things like Instagram and assault weapons. Why does her name have to be Josefina or Penelope? Well, it doesn’t have to Josefina, but it definitely has to be one of the two.

The Airbnb where I’m staying in Arequipa is far from the center and only rents out one room, which means I’m the only one here, which means I’m chilling in the cavernous living room in the semi-darkness, typing away on my laptop, not thinking about what I’m going to do tomorrow. Not even thinking about what I’m going to do tonight, or what I’m going to do in the next 15 minutes, or 10 minutes, or five minutes. Not thinking about what I’m doing right now. Just breathing and sipping tea.

But mostly thinking a ton.

Sunday Night Thoughts #10 Taking advantage of new subtitle capabilities.

Chilling at home in Guadalajara after four nights in a small town near Ciudad Guzman, next to the Colima Volcano. It’s strange to be back in GDL, which after almost three months sort of feels like home. Emphasis on the “sort of.” There’s only one place that truly feels like home for me. It’s the Northwest corner of United States, and specifically the Northwest corner of the Northwest corner of the United States. I won’t give it away completely, but its name rhymes with “Preattle.”

A week from Tuesday I head to the South American capital of Lima, where my life, at least for the first couple weeks, will probably continue much like it has the last few months in GDL. I’ll do my Instagram job, I’ll teach online, I’ll walk around, I’ll go to cafes. But then after Lima I’m hoping to get off the beaten path a bit. So far the top two destinations in mind are Bolivia and Brazil. Brazil recently made their visa for Americans much cheaper, and much easier to get. Before it cost around $200 USD and you had to get it before leaving the country. Now it costs $44 and you can get it online. So, the Amazon?

I still really want this blog to be successful, and to do that I think I need to start doing more things worth writing about. Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” To be honest, I’ve been a bit frustrated with how slow the progress with this blog is going, and I’m not exactly sure what to do. A writer friend of mine said I should make a decision: Either make it super introspective, first person narrative, basically embracing the journal angle to the fullest, or write things that people might find useful, like travel tips, reviews, etc. So far Ordinary Nomad has been kind of a mix. When it comes to blogging, I don’t really know what I’m doing, despite having done it for a long time. I know what I’m doing when it comes to traveling. I know how to find the cheapest flights, good, cheap lodging, good restaurants and cafes, and I have an ability to get myself into interesting situations, in places most people don’t go. But so far it hasn’t translated to blogging success. And it’s frustrating.

I’m waiting for my pizza to come, which is sausage and black olive. This is my new Sunday tradition. I order a pizza and I sit watching an episode of Black Mirror, or YouTube chess videos. In El Fresnito I played a lot of chess, against the computer, because at night there wasn’t much else to do. And thank God there wasn’t much to do. The best moments this weekend consisted of lying in the grass and looking up at that clouds.

I hope this post finds all of you well, wherever you are in your corners of the world. I like to imagine where you are, you few readers, when you read this. New York? Seattle? Somewhere in the Philippines? This blog, weirdly, gets a small trickle of traffic from the Philippines. I have no idea why.

I awoke this morning full of hope for April and for the future, and that hope continues. It was right around the height of this hope that I took the picture featured on this entry, from a bus window, of the Nevado de Colima. I realize the horizon line is tilted. But I like this photo because it’s ordinary. Even if that’s something I don’t want this blog to be.

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Sunday Night Thoughts #9

calle libertad guadalajara

The witching hour. The time of night when the light becomes crepuscular. When YOU become crepuscular in your thoughts and deeds. When you take a familiar route and suddenly notice that your surroundings are no longer familiar, that you’re lost. When you get home and the lights are off and all is silent. This is the witching hour. And it’s my favorite time of day.

Anyway.

Hello.

It’s Sunday night. And today has been great, but for no particular reason. I watched an episode of Black Mirror with D, a phenomenal show, and then we went to a sort of cafe with seating that was sort of outdoors and sort of indoors, a sort of open air, Caribbean feel, and I commented to her that I felt like I was “back in Cuba,” or “back in the Dominican,” despite the fact that I’ve never been to the Dominican.

When I got home I watched the Dortmund v. Hannover game, in which Christian Pulisic, my favorite player, had some wonderful dribbles. And then I worked my Instagram job, which I STILL somehow haven’t been fired from, and went out to wander a bit, and when I exited my house the light was perfect, the temperature was perfect, and I looked up at the treetops and suddenly my life was perfect, and I thought about how today will never be repeated, how each moment is a wonderful thing, and yes, one day my body will be in the ground, it will decompose, but for right now I’m fighting to add content to my life, to add meaning. I’m fighting to read poetry, to write poetry, to take pictures, to go surfing, to talk with friends, to help people, to learn, to teach, to love, to fight, to cry, and all that stuff. I’m fighting for living.

My first stop was El Expiatorio where I got a tamal rojo. I sat on the steps of the cathedral eating it and looking out over the plaza. Some people I met right when I got to GDL came up to me and said hi, and we talked for way longer than I expected, and the conversation was strangely refreshing. Then I walked to La Teteria, where I had a mocha frappuccino, talked to some friends on WhatsApp, worked a bit, and wrote in my journal. I’ve been keeping a journal religiously lately, thought I don’t know what kind of religion. It’s not catholic. It’s not muslim. It might be buddhist.

The light continued to be perfect at La Teteria. My mocha frappuccino had coffee beans in a it for decoration. After finishing it I walked into the cool, night air, down Libertad and over to Miguel Blanco, where I stopped at Aero Pizza on the way home. Tonight seemed like a perfect night to sit on the couch and eat pizza and watch a movie. I’m going to watch the new Tomb Raider movie with Alicia Vikander, mostly because I used to be obsessed with this video game and also because Alicia Vikander might be one of the most attractive people on the planet.

It’s been a pretty ordinary day, but it’s been a good day. It’s been a pretty ordinary week, but it’s been a good week. I plan for this trend to continue (minus, at times, the ordinary).

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Sunday Night Thoughts #8

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” – Epitectus

There comes a time in every man’s life when he must decide what to make for dinner. Tonight I decided to make rice with mole. Now, I know this seems dangerous. I know this seems foolish. But when I was in the grocery store I was hit by a wave of inspiration, and that inspiration said, “Buy gross amounts of rice. Cook it. Be merry.”

And so I heeded this inspiration. I also bought the following items: A mango, a chocolate bar, and of course, the mole sauce. Pre-prepared. With a little chocolate thrown in (to the mole sauce) for good measure. I need mole in my chocolate sauce. Everyone knows this.

On the way home I thought about a few things, and thought about them in great detail: First I thought about how much longer I’m realistically going to stay in Guadalajara. This thought occupied my brain for approximately two minutes and thirty seconds, until it was interrupted by me having to avoid a speeding bus. Then I thought about the mango, and whether I should tear into right there, like a savage, letting the juice drip all over my hands and beard, but thus enjoying the pleasure that is instant mango consumption. Then I thought about Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens, and Stephen Hawking, and Roberto Bolaño, and whether or not I should get something at the bakery Pan Regio, and about Emma Watson, about Emma Watson’s relationship status, about Christian Pulisic, about soccer in general, about my ability to score goals, about Karl Ove Knausgaard, about whether or not the mole would be good, about if I still “got it” (when it comes to cooking rice), about if I still “got it” (in general). I’ll be brutally honest with you (gently honest): I didn’t think about a lot of these latter things in great detail. The thought about Pan Regio, for example, more or less flitted through my mind. I thought about a chocolate croissant and how much chocolate I would get in my beard, and at that point I had already subconsciously started eating the mango. When I realized I was eating the mango I felt a bit guilty. But by then it was too late.

“If you’re going to say what you want to say, you’re going to hear what you don’t want to hear.” – Roberto Bolaño

When I got home I didn’t do what I expected to do, which was just rip the rice open, douse it in mole sauce, and eat it uncooked. Instead I sat down and watched some YouTube chess videos. If you’re like me, you usually save YouTube chess videos for evening time. I think it’s fairly obvious that this is the best time to watch YouTube chess videos. I watched a fierce battle between Alpha Zero, a computer that supposedly taught itself to play chess in four hours, and a program called Stockfish. Obviously, Alpha Zero crushed Stockfish. And just as I was finishing the video, pumping my fist in the air and cheering, I heard a crackling sound and realized the water was boiling over and I’d broken golden rule of rice cooking: Keep the heat low.

“There have been many opinions voiced over the past few weeks about our failure to reach the World Cup — and I hope people can understand why one of them hasn’t been mine.” – Christian Pulisic

The mole was disappointing. You need chicken when you eat mole, and also tortillas. I also wished it would’ve had a little more spice in it, or just any spice at all, but beggars can’t be choosers. That said, I haven’t begged in a long time, except for when I do it on this blog. And even then it’s not begging, but more crafty suggestion. And now I must go to bed, or at least get ready for bed. I must read The Lost City of the Monkey God on my phone and wonder whether or not I’ll ever be an explorer. I must mentally prepare for my day tomorrow.

I must wash the dishes.

!!!!!!!!!:

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Sunday Night Thoughts #7

cachemira guadalajara

I’ve given Bill a fighting chance. I found some special potting soil for him, what they call “hummus” here, and when I asked the guy if it’d be good for an aloe plant his eyes darted side to side and he said, “Uh…yeah.”

So I assume it’s perfect.

There’s a Czech couple staying at my house. They’re the first people to stay here who consistently use the kitchen and even sit on the couch where I usually sit. For some reason I find this unacceptable. Last night the boyfriend rolled a cigarette on the coffee table in the living room and left bits of tobacco all over the place. I was seething.

This last week was a good week. I had a new student who pays almost triple what my previous in-person English job paid. The woman I’m working for also does something no one has ever done for me in previous teaching experiences: She helps me find material. I say to her, “We’re going to work on the present simple, adverbs of frequency, and possessive adjectives,” and in my inbox she leaves a veritable mountain of relevant ESL activities. It makes my job a lot easier.

Despite all these positive developments I feel like I’m starting to stagnate a bit, which means I must do something to push the envelope. I must push myself to work harder, or write more, or write better, or participate in more activities in which I can meet people. I still have very few friends in GDL. I have no friends in GDL. So instead of going out on a Saturday night and dropping 300 pesos on wine, I should drop those 300 pesos on dance classes so I can become the next Jennifer Lopez. Or Ricky Martin. Or Enrique Iglesias. Or Shakira.

This idea is something I’ve talked about in previous blog posts, but one which I can’t reiterate enough and that occurred to me at various points today and on my walk back from the grocery store just now. I know I said last paragraph that I must do things to push the envelope so I don’t feel stagnant. But a counter argument is this, and this is something that actually is true: Our time on this spinning rock is damn short. You will not be happy once you make that money. You will not be happy once you get that job. You will not be happy once you meet that special someone. If you can’t be happy right now, at this very moment, then you will never be happy in your entire life. I don’t care if you just broke your arm. I don’t care if your boyfriend/girlfriend just left you. If your happiness is dependent upon external factors, you will never be happy.

Anyway, even if do feel stagnant I can’t go anywhere because now I have Bill (my aloe plant) and Bill hates to travel. I told him I’d take him first class to Colombia and he started to wilt. Bill’s idea of a perfect Sunday is to spend 14 hours sitting still, and then twitch slightly when the sun almost hits him. He’s teaching me how to meditate. And I’m teaching him about classical music. Today I played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and he remained impassive throughout. Bill’s health is precarious.

I also bought a book today. Los cuadernos de Don Rigoberto by Mario Vargas Llosa. Apparently it’s an erotic novel. Travesuras de la niña mala is one of my favorite books in Spanish, by the same author, and it’s also erotic in parts, but eroticism certainly isn’t what you’re supposed to take from the novel. The takeaway is that we’re all lonely, some of the time. That we’re all alone, some of the time. That we all talk to aloe plants, some of the time.

[Update: The Czech guy just washed his dishes. They also just gave me a plate of cheese and bread and figs. They are currently my favorite people in the world.]

A special thanks to Bill for his spiritual support.

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Sunday Night Thoughts #6: The Best Things in Life

expiatorio guadalajara

Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench. – Tao Te Ching

A strange thing happened to me just now. I went to pay for a chai frappe in one of my favorite cafes here in Guadalajara, and my card was declined. At first I thought, Something is wrong with their system. There’s no way I don’t have enough money to buy a chilled beverage that costs three dollars. But then I checked my bank account. I logged into Charles Schwab, oh, the trusty Charles Schwab, and saw that in fact my bank account was at $2.67.

Instead of starting to panic, however, I became strangely calm. I became like a man on a sailboat who’s sailing straight into a storm, and he knows there’s nothing he can do about it but take the sail down, tighten the keel (I know nothing about sailing), put a lifejacket on, and hope for the best. Of course, my situation’s a bit different. I’m heading into a financial storm, but I can take direct action to mitigate the strength of that storm. In fact, if I take the correct action, I can even make sure the storm never hits and I simply sail off into the sunset, gnawing on a piece of raw tuna.

I’ve weathered financial straits in the past, and always come out of them better. In fact, those of you who know me will know that these financial straits are self-imposed. In a way, I want to be in exactly the situation I’m in right now, even if it confirms my suspicion from earlier today that my dinner tonight will consist of Cup o’ Noodles (spicy shrimp? spicy chicken? spicy anything) and possibly a tinga empanada and possibly an apple. Interestingly, these apples are imported from Washington State, almost definitely harvested by migrant laborers from the country where I currently am, and always make me a bit nostalgic/homesick. Since when can an apple make you homesick? When I make my millions I’m going to enjoy a steady stream of Red Delicious smothered in pounds of (unsweetened!) peanut butter. I’m going to live in a tiny house on a plot of land somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula, and I’m going to surf everyday. And also probably keep chickens.

The point, though, that I don’t have to make millions to do this. And I don’t want to make millions. Because right now it’s a gorgeous evening here in GDL. I’m thoroughly looking forward to my grocery store walk, which will happen sometime in the next hour. And every time I get low on money I realize that the best things in life really are, proverbially, free. Like a nice walk at sunset. Like a chat with a friend. Like sitting on your couch and writing a blog post. Like drinking a chai fra–

Oh wait, that one actually does cost a few bucks.

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Sunday Night Thoughts #5: Sayulita is a Cesspool

Sayulita has got to be one of my least favorite places in the world. It’s a cesspool. I didn’t realize how much of a cesspool it was until this last trip. And it’s actually literally a cesspool, because the town doesn’t have adequate sewage management so all the waste from the entire town just runs down one street and pools before slowly seeping into the ocean. I’ve smelled few things more foul.

But I don’t want to talk about Sayulita right now. I just got back from there. I’m exhaused. I might have an ear infection. I spent too much money even though my friends paid for pretty much everything. Frankly, the only thing I want to do right now is go to sleep. But my desire to see this blog be successful trounces sleep. For example, did you know I’ve already made $1.50 off the Google ads on this site? No, you did not know this. But now you do.

This is Sunday Night Thoughts, which means I have license to just say whatever pops into my head. Tomorrow at 8am I give a class online, and then another at 10am, and then during the day will try to qualify for a new job from Appen which not only would pay USD but would allow something like five hours a day of work. Which means I could potentially be working six hours a day making US dollars. Which means I need to take the qualification process for this job seriously. And then in the evening I’m hanging out with a friend from Mexico City. When I got back to within 30 minutes of GDL today I stepped out of the car and instantly felt feelings of well-being. The perfect climate. The sun painting the rocks orange. What a perfect place, at least for now. For now it is perfect.

Thank you, subscriber number 11, whoever you are.

It’s time for me to go to bed now.

I don’t remember when I was this tired last.

I love tamales.

Especially tamales de mole rojo.

And today I had one that was pineapple.

 

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Sunday Night Thoughts #4

rooftops guadalajara

I’m sitting in my living room in GDL listening to this song:

And I recommend you do the same while you read this post, because then it will be like we shared something, like we were together, even if it was just for a moment.

Sundays are my boring day. I know what they say: There’s no such thing as boredom, only boring people. Or at least I’m pretty sure they say this. I don’t know who “they” are. I think “they” drive Subarus and do a lot of rock climbing. Because actually the sticker I’ve seen on some Subaru Outbacks (and it’s always Subaru Outbacks) is: If you’re bored, you’re boring.

Well, I can’t help it. I’m boring.

Today I did the following: Went to Starbucks, worked my Instagram job, and also tried to do another job for the same company. But this time it was a speech recording task that required two native speakers of English. And since I don’t know any English speakers here, I tried to do both people myself. If you’ve never tried to have a conversation with yourself in which you pretend to be two completely different people, talking in completely different accents, I highly recommend it. It’s a one-way ticket to the loony bin. At first I was “Ed, from Birmingham,” but my English accent started sounding a bit Kiwi, and besides I have no idea what people from Birmingham sound like. I then pivoted and became me and also “Ed, from just outside Nashville, systems engineer.” The problem is I don’t know what people from Nashville sound like, so I think my accent was Texan. Also, I have no idea what systems engineers do. Not a clue. So I asked “Ed,” (aka myself) “What do systems engineers do anyway?” and “Ed” tried to explain but for the life of him couldn’t.  In the end I gave up on this endeavor. I’ll have to solicit the help of one of my co-workers at the English school where I work, which means I’ll have to split the money. Unless one of you can explain to me what a systems engineer does.

In the afternoon I went to La Teteria and drank a glass of Lapsang Souchong, ate a chocolate brownie and worked on my novel. I asked the waiter where he was from, because I was pretty sure he was French, and he said, “Argentina.” Talk about a curve ball. Talk about a knuckleball. Talk about a split finger fastball. Talk about a spitball. Talk about a Jamie Moyer changeup. We talked for a few minutes and I told him some of the places I’d been in Argentina, what I was doing in GDL, and he told me why he was in GDL. I liked talking to this young Argentinian man, though I’m still not fully convinced he’s Argentinian. I’m now convinced he’s a young Frenchman masquerading as an Argentinian/Mexican.

I’ve moved on from that first song. I’m now listening to this song and suggest you do the same:

Are you listening? Don’t lie to me. Put headphones in if you have to. I’ll give you a second.

OK.

Where was I?

Ah, yes, food. I have to go to Soriana now, the local grocery store, and buy my staple dinner: Cup o’ Noodles, a red delicious apple from Washington State that makes me a bit nostalgic every time I buy one, and an empanada.

I hope you have wonderful Sunday night, and a wonderful week.

Sunday Night Thoughts #3

Writing at night is different. I’m not used to writing at night. I’ve gotten in the habit of waking up every morning, walking to Starbucks, getting my Youthberry tea in a for-here cup, and then writing.

Starbucks, as I’ve mentioned before, is the perfect place for writing because of the anonymity. Everything’s always the same at Starbucks. It’s a controlled environment. I like a controlled environment for writing.

And now I’m back at my house, sitting next to the drone of the refrigerator. The comforting drone. I’m eating spinach, which is a strange bedtime snack, but it’s all I have in the refrigerator. I’m still resisting setting up shop here, because a big part of me is so desperate to get out. My new room is right by the garage/entrance to the neighbor’s house. I hear everything they say. I hear when they have the TV on. I hear their tiny little dog that freaks out, which causes all the neighborhood dogs to freak out, and pretty soon it’s a symphony of frustrated canines. Tonight I’m going to try putting some white noise on. Last night I tried to do it but the electrical socket, because it was wired wrong, blew up very nearly in my face and caused the electricity to go out in the whole house. I think it might’ve even caused the electricity to go out in the neighbor’s house, which was probably a good thing. I’m trying to decide which white noise to put on. Rain sounds? A brook? A waterfall? Wind? A fan? There are 10-hour long YouTube videos of just about every sound you can imagine. The internet is a strange place.

Tomorrow is a holiday here in Mexico, but it’s not a holiday for me. Tomorrow my ear will be kept to the grindstone. I’ll work on the novel, which is starting to take shape. At this point I’ve realized that at some point in every large artistic endeavor there will be a point where you dread working on it, where you have to force yourself. I’m at that point right now. But once I get going on it it’s decently fun. I’m proud of what I have so far.

When I was living in Oaxaca the son of the family who I was living with would always talk on the phone to his girlfriend in Mexico City at night. To combat the sound of his lecherous voice I would put on hours and hours of rain sounds. The rain is the nicest sound to sleep to. That and the ocean. I go to the ocean here in Mexico in less than two weeks. A house in the jungle, near a private beach.

Anyway, I’m tired. White noise or not, it’s time to go to bed. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. And that you have a wonderful Monday.

(…)

….

(Rain sounds).

 

Sunday Night Thoughts #2

Ordinary Nomad has now been in existence for almost a month. The first week it got 14 views, the second week 11, the third week 220, and this week 310. Where’s Wetzler, my old site, no longer exists. Well, that’s actually a bit misleading. It’s backed up somewhere, but it’s not accessible anymore. You can’t go to the page and read old Where’s Wetzler content. You are forced to become a fan of Ordinary Nomad.

I would say my goal for this next week is to eclipse 400 views, but unless I write something that is of New York Times quality and it gets shared in many different outlets, I don’t see that happening. The reason last week got quite a few views was because the Airbnb post did pretty well. I think my sister shared it. My sister probably has about 16 times as many friends as I do on Facebook. I’m not surprised that post did better than the other posts, since worked on it a couple times throughout the weekend and thus didn’t rush it and also did several revisions. That post made me realize that short, quick attacks while writing, and then long periods where you just leave it, followed by another short, quick attack or a revision, can be the best way to write articles. I doubt it’s the way to write novels. Writing a novel is like writing an ultra marathon. If you walked and then sprinted and then walked and then sprinted, the guys and gals keeping a steady pace would overtake you. But when writing a short article, spastic attacks can be the way to go.

Other stats about the site so far:

  • Only one person has commented (two if you count my reply)
  • Two people have donated (including a more than generous $20 donation from Peter Leslie) (two others donated but since I don’t have PayPal Pro I can’t accept recurring donations which means the only place to make a recurring donation is on Patreon, where I currently have one Patron, a woman I don’t even know!)
  • I’m now on my third WordPress theme. First it was Sight, then Hitmag, and now it’s one called Writee. I still think it looks hideous. I have no idea how to customize WordPress themes. I can’t find good information about it online. I can’t even figure out how to change the site title (where it says, “Ordinary Nomad”) font.
  • I had Maruchan spicy chicken Cup o’ Noodles for dinner tonight.
  • My rent is currently 170 pesos (just over $9USD) per night. I hope to get that down to about $5 or $6USD.
  •  I’m up to 12 knee push ups on my once broken wrist.

But enough about all that. The highlight of today, by far, was taking a walk.

Usually when I leave my house I take a left on the street pictured at the beginning of this post. I don’t know what this street’s called. It’s ugly. Or at least I used to think it was ugly. Tonight it looked kind of beautiful. But even more beautiful has been to witness how this street’s meaning for me has changed in the last week. When I first got here it was just an ugly street with dirt sidewalks and trash and pieces of broken glass on the ground. But now it signifies home, now it signifies that in just a few minutes I’ll be in a cool courtyard, sipping a glass of water, aimlessly surfing on my phone, relaxing.

But today I didn’t take a left. I took a right and headed toward the centro. I’ve been reluctant to go to the centro, because my few brushes with it have left me with the impression that it’s chaotic, dirty, and loud. I don’t like the downtown of any city except maybe Bainbridge Island, and even that’s a little too chaotic for me sometimes. But today I had the idea that I needed to “expand my horizons.”

I was quickly rewarded. After only a few minutes of walking I got to the plaza pictured just above. What a wonderful plaza. Pigeons, people sitting on benches, flanked by restaurants with people enjoying Sunday afternoon meals. It was quiet. And then I headed north a bit and go to another park with some kind of cathedral. Downtown Guadalajara is where you really feel the Spanish influence. The further you go west the more you feel like you’re in Los Angeles, but the further you go east the more you feel like you’re in Spain (albeit a slightly dingy neighborhood in Madrid save for a few nice plazas, churches, and pedestrian streets).

I ended my walk back in familiar territory, by the Parque de la revolucion. And I was happy to be home again, happy to walk down the street that I used to think was dingy, but in a week has been transformed into something else altogether.

Sunday Night Thoughts #1

“So, Max goes for the Ruy Lopez, and it’s not very clear if Max Deutsch really knows that this is the Ruy Lopez.” — Agadmator

I’m  testing the waters with this “Sunday Night Thoughts” thing. I figured it’d be a good way to recap the week, reflect on things that went well, things that could’ve gone better. I can also talk about how this blog is coming along as well as my writing career. For example, Ordinary Nomad almost hit 100 views/day the other day, which isn’t a big deal, but considering how new this website is, it kind of is. Of course hopefully soon 100 views will be laughable, to be replaced by 200, and then 500, and then 1,000, and then….

I might have to do a little spam for that.

Another exciting thing that happened this week was I got my first donations, both on PayPal and Patreon. This is one way I plan to monetize this site. I’ve been (weirdly) watching a shit-ton of chess videos lately, mostly by this guy “agadmator” (link to YouTube channel) from Croatia, and I like how he has clear ways to donate and also displays the name of people who’ve donated and amount (“Hello everyone!”). So I’ve added this to the sidebar on my website. The weird thing about watching all these chess videos though is that I have no desire to actually play chess. I just like watching good moves. It’s soothing.

I might have to get drunk tonight.

OK, well maybe not drunk. But I’m staying in this Airbnb in GDL that’s depressing, and I’m also a bit depressed because I just spent a week in a beautiful place surrounded by people (even if I wasn’t constantly interacting with them), and a wonderful dog named Laila and Laila’s best friend, a cat named Campanita.

Now I feel like I’m in prison. There’s an American dude staying in the room across from me. His room has no windows to the outside world. He’s constantly talking on the phone to who knows who. His light isn’t even on. So I guess I should retract my statement about feeling like I’m in prison. THAT guy feels like he’s in prison.

But it’s cheap. And it looks clean. And there’s a courtyard I could actually be chilling in instead of chilling in my cell. And the people that live here, a couple named Rodolfo and (I think) Adriana, are nice. I had one of my usual nomad moments of despair earlier in the park today, but now I know what to do: Quit complaining, think about all the good things in your life, do little things to make your life better (like sit in the courtyard), and quite bitching.

And maybe get drunk.

That’s it for tonight’s Sunday Thoughts. What’d you think? Should it be a regular feature? Should it condemned to digital draft oblivion forever? Why does this place smell like toast?

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