Category Archives: Travel

Enlightenment – Summer 2015

Chaz wrapped a bandage around his bleeding wrist.  Or was it bleeding?  He knew that something was bleeding, because of all the blood that was pouring out.  Chaz’s head felt dizzy.  It was like he was inside of a tornado, spinning around and around as the wind whirled around inside of his head.  He saw a rich and red soup of alarming blood pooling around his toes.  It crept nearer and nearer, as if it were a thief, trying to steal his consciousness.  It was red like the color of blood.

Chaz did a quick visual sweep of his surroundings – he needed to find some clues as to how he’d gotten hurt.  He found a bicycle, a snarling tree root that jutted out of the ground, and, most importantly, a worrying lake of bright crimson that was spewing across the bike path.  It was sprayed as if from a can, like a paint red and horrifying.  He had become marked with death, which was the hideous letter of the blood of his injury.

His head became dizzier and dizzier as more and more of his blood gushed out.  It spilled from his veins and mixed into the dirt, creating a thick burgundy mud from the liquid of his blood.  It was like a thick red paste of death.  His vision was bright and tinny, like the sound of listening to music that had the treble set too high.

Chaz continued to lie on the ground as his energy faded.  He spirit became weaker and weaker as time continued to pass.  The minutes ticked away until his spirit was destroyed; his soul had become reborn as a lost and sweaty fool.  His hair was wet with perspiration and regret.  Why was he here?  What was he doing?  Who did  he think he was?  Anyone going by on the path could see he didn’t belong, as he lie splayed across the dirt in a pool of his own blood.  He’d brought all of his best suits, but they would never be worn.

Was it hair gel or sweat?  His delirious eyes held the fear of his lost and confused mind.  His hands trembled as he reached out to the sun, which proceeded to blind him.  His throat was an arid mess, shriveled like a dried cactus that had yellowed in the sun.  He had thought that the heat wasn’t as oppressive at it was, but instead it had beaten down on him like the ovens of Hell.  Chaz felt their glowing coils constricting around his neck, scorching into his skin, roasting his Adam’s apple and cooking his flesh.  The odious char then wafted into his nose, singeing his nostrils and making him delirious.

His hair had gone stringy with sweat, and some strands had become dark, a reflection of the moisture that they held in their threads.  It was a hideous mop of fear and displacement; the sweat was like precum from a disoriented erection, and its orgasm was the fear of the hopeless and uncertain.  Chaz was now leaking two types of blood.  It was physical and existential, and it was never going to stop.

He was wailing in the blinding light of reality.  He didn’t know where he was, he didn’t know how he’d gotten here, and he didn’t know how to escape.  His hair had become matted to his skull, except for a few wild strands that were bent away from his scalp in disdainful aversion.  They, too, were ashamed.  If anyone passed by, it would truly be a pathetic sight to behold.  All they would see was a pitifully lost foreigner, a man who was afraid, not made for this climate, a man who was sweating and crying in the sun.

The tears stung his cheeks as badly as the sweat from his hair, the sweat that was ejaculating from his orgasm of fear.  His face was a worm.  His mind was a worm.  His soul was a worm.  His penis was shriveling to a thimble of pain.  The women he lusted after would never come back.  They would see him lying on the ground, twisted and gnarled like the roots of a tree, and they would see him for the pathetic scoundrel that he was: a foreigner in Taiwan.  Here was a man who had come to devour their women and consume all their money.  There was a reason that Taiwanese people hated foreigners.  It was because all foreigners were as worthless as trash.  They were garbage and they were nothing.

Chaz could finally see the truth.  As he lie crying, he could finally see the horribly monstrous truth of his life.  He had become the outsider.  He was the other.  He was on the outside looking in.  He was finally aware of the struggles of the oppressed, for now he had joined them.  Everything had become reversed; in America, he was the oppressor, the majority, the king; he had the power to do anything to whomever he wanted; the ability to oppress whomever he pleased.  This was a power that he’d held in the palm of his hands.

But now, in this moment, in this time and this place, everything had changed.  It had all become reversed.  Chaz was now the other.  He was now the minority.  He could finally understand what it was like to be oppressed.  He finally felt the pain of racism and the struggle of discrimination.  He finally knew.

He knew.  He bled, he pained, he cried, he struggled, he fell, and he crawled on the dirt.  When he was kicked to the ground, he stayed in his place, like the millions of others who had fallen before him.  He finally understood what it felt like to be nothing, to be nothing more than mere dirt on the ground.

Before, in America, he had stepped over the oppressed; but now, in Taiwan, they stepped over him.  He had finally become nothing just like everyone else.  Chaz suddenly felt the racism that black people, Native Americans, and others had felt.  He finally knew their struggle, for he had become it.  He knew their pain intimately, now, as he lie on the ground in a pool of his own blood.

And now he was hollow… he was the crimson embers of karmic synchronicity.  The tides of the great wheel had overtaken him.  Desolate blasts of sand from the phoenix’s eye had swept him away to the voids of  sorrowing birds.  Limpid droplets wrote the pain of their suffering… the moist meanderings of his dead sexuality were like tears in the eyes of the sorrowing children.

Chaz was the oppressed.  He finally knew how black people felt.  He finally knew their struggle.  He knew their pain.  He knew it because he had finally experienced it.  He had become whole, in a sense; he had experienced both sides of racism, and with that experience he had transcended to a higher level of empathy and understanding.  Now that he had experienced both sides of racism, he had become more enlightened.  The racism that Chaz had experienced in Taiwan had allowed him to ascend to a higher plane of existence.

His life had become altered, and he would never be the same.  The blood on his hands was the blood of his awakening.

A First Adventure – Summer 2013

Chaz was an eagle of the mountains and streams.  He was the unclimbable path of stone that grew along the river’s edge.  He was a glinting arrow of insanity that exploded into the heart of banality.  He was a modern explorer.

Chaz was a mad soul, the kind who infinitely embarked upon raw, untamable adventures that only money couldn’t buy.  He had a wild and pure love for exploration, and desired the most unadulterated, amazingly authentic  experiences of human existence.  With a wry twinkle in his eye, and a genuine, childlike enthusiasm exploding in his voice, he would always suggest the most adventurous things to do with his friends.

Even though his small-town American upbringing held a special place in his heart, he knew it wasn’t progressive enough; it was a traditional behemoth that represented an ignorant, antiquated societal philosophy and morality.  Chaz subtly resented this about his former hometown.  Chaz had evolved far beyond this barbaric way of living and thinking.

Once, upon first arriving in Taipei, he went onto one of his patented adventures into the midnight mystery and wilderness of Taipei, capital of Taiwan, which was where he now lived and worked, teaching English to students of all ages:

A dangerous man approaches.  He wears a striped Oxford shirt, unbuttoned at the chest, slovenly half-tucked with a belt hanging down.  The man smokes a Kool that’s hanging off of his lip, and it doesn’t seem to match with his perfectly-muscled body. 

Chaz feels afraid.  He watches a flock of these nearly-identical men pouring out of the club. With them pour vapors of machismo and ignorance. 

Chaz doesn’t fit in with this scene.  He’s the outsider, the loner standing against the wall, hands in his pockets and fear in his eyes.  Though extremely uncharacteristic, he has dark, intrusive thoughts stemming from his anger towards these people and their ignorance. 

Another man approaches.  This man has a light beard, and the sides of his head are shaved completely bald, in accordance with that season’s hip trendy hairstyle, just like all of the other brainless morons who follow every current trend.  The man fumbles with a cigarette.  He talks loudly about wanting to fight the next guy that he sees, and somehow, the beautiful girl hanging off of his waist is impressed by his violence.  These are the kinds of guys who get all the girls.  The shy ones like Chaz will never be wanted.

Chaz will always be alone.  The beautiful girl eyes her idiot man seductively.  At the same time, her man looks at another girl who is walking by, and he lewdly checks out her sexy hourglass frame, his eyes running up and down her curvy body.  However, the man’s date doesn’t notice her man’s wandering eye.  

Chaz doesn’t understand why women are attracted to men like this.  Chaz is the shy one, the awkward one.  The undesirable one.  His anxiety increases.  He thrusts his fists into his pockets and looks at the ground. 

Walking past Chaz is another idiot Neanderthal with a beautiful girl.  Their booze-ridden stench assaults Chaz’s innocent nostrils.  Their stench also carries silent ridicule and hate.  Chaz watches them saunter into the busy street, where cars are crazily driving.  He secretly imagines them getting hit by a car; however, just as the thought enters his mind, he quickly eschews it away, ashamed at the idea of what he had just imagined.  He looks to the moon and immediately hopes the two of them will make it home safe. 

Chaz decides to walk to a nearby park, so he can be alone and reflect.  He sees a single stone tile raised slightly above the others, and he steps upon it curiously.  He also sees a group of college students laughing loudly and talking.  He wonders why they should be so happy. 

Chaz contemplates the moon and the stars.  He sits alone at a bench and traces his finger over the small cracks in the wood.  A splinter enters his flesh, and Chaz peers at it thoughtfully.  He studies the small wooden spear intently, and thinks of the beauty of the human’s ability to feel pain. 

A man emerges from the trees with a large, human-sized duffel bag hoisted over his shoulder.  Chaz turns away and calmly leaves the park.  The peaceful night is like a quiet metaphor for his tranquility and thoughtfulness.  His relaxed face muscles and curious eyes confidently observe the world around him. 

Even though Chaz may not be the same as the guys in the club, he is peaceful and thoughtful, which is to say he actually has a brain.  He wonders why women don’t appreciate this and notice it about him.  Even so, Chaz forges onward, newly alive and eager for adventure.  He knows that this is just the beginning, and that he’s still finding his footing.  As with the uneven tile, Chaz’s path is still not smooth, and he knows that there will be bumps along the way.  However, there’s only one way to go, and that way is forward!

 This is just one of many adventures that Chaz went on in Taiwan, though by far the most tame (perhaps because it was the first).  There will be plenty more to come!  Stay tuned…

Typhoon – Summer 2014

The gusting winds gaped into Chaz’s window and stirred furiously with contempt.  The signs of restaurants and shops clanged hideously against their mothers,  neon babies held against breasts of concrete like a protective mother cradling her baby.  The metallic shrieks were like beautiful agony, their small bombs erupting like lava explodes from the volcanoes that drown in the rains of the heavens.

The desperate cries of people dramatically clutching their umbrellas lilted through the air like the busted umbrellas that had been wrenched from their hands, now soaking wet because they’d become exposed to the power of the storm.  The chaos was dangerous in its hideous normality, tossing umbrellas and scooters as if they were merely objects in the wind.  The face of this chaotic turmoil shuddered kindly in the direction of the rain, a ghost through the mist that was born of its pounding droplets assaulting the street with staccato bullets of power and relentlessness.

The torrential onslaught hissed pathetically through its teeth, begging for recognition of its hideous behavior.  It was an inquisitor of death, bowing to its scrambling audience as the curtain of stage was lowered oppressively, the folds of its bloody fabric mockingly stained with fear and contempt, a heaping morsel of terror dangling seductively from the lips of the Gods.

Suddenly, a warbling birdsong of nylon strings began gently wafting into Chaz’s eardrums, tickling the crevices of his brain and filling them with oceans of sound.  The subtly-textured acoustic melodies were like a mermaid’s ballad, beckoning a weary shipman with the crook of her seductive finger.  The music being played was a cross between Mac DeMarco and some old-school blues.

“Jonesy, play that bluesy riff,” Birdie cooed.  Her voice was choked with the exhaled smoke of her second-to-last Marlboro Red.  In her hand was a highball glass of straight whiskey, golden and warm, and in her fingers was her lazily burning cigarette, its crinkling embers creeping closer to her fingers, which were in cool disregard to the smoldering flame.

She opened Chaz’s window and laughed in the face of the rain.  The neon lights cast a red glow onto the side of her face, which accentuated the sloping curve of her almond-shaped eyes, highlighted by the liberal application of Cleopatra-styled eye makeup which gave her a sexy cat-like appearance.  She was cool and playful in the shadow of the dangerous typhoon, safe in the neon womb of acoustic guitar, whiskey, and smokes.

Jonesy’s man-bun bobbed with the rhythm of his playing.  DUN-DADUN-DADUN-DADUN-DA, DUN-DADUN-DADUN-DADUN-DA went his guitar, and CLACK, CLACK, CLACK went the ticks of the clock, keeping time with his cool, bluesy beat.

Birdie watched Jonesy out of the corner of her eye, but her gaze was actually fixed upon Chaz, as he nodded his head to the tune of Jonesy’s blues.  “Let’s brave this typhoon and buy some more whiskey and smokes,” Chaz suggested.

“Man, you boys really love typhoons,” Birdie replied slyly out of the corner of her eyes.  She did a French inhale and then laughed loudly and ecstatically.  Jonesy glanced up and smiled to himself while shaking his head with amusement, not to impress anybody, but because he actually was just being himself, wrapped up in his own little world, not a care in the world for anything else but his music and his guitar, a truly real person just existing and exploring in this mad world, finding his way one empty glass and one bluesy note at a time.

“Man, it’s just like, what the fuck?” Birdie said emphatically.  “Why should we be stuck inside here, when all the action’s going on out there?” she asked, looking out Chaz’s open window into the direction of the typhoon.  “Is that all you got, storm!?” she yelled at the storm, full of life and energy and madness and brilliance.  “Show me what you got!” she cried, as the wind and the rain blew onto her crazed and beautiful face.

“Man, what a great night,” Chaz said.  “Good people, cool music, good whiskey, good smokes,” Chaz said.

“Here, here,” Jonesy agreed, his head still down and swaying with his music.  He did a brief, loud, speedily-strummed guitar riff to accentuate his agreement.

“Fuck typhoons!  Let’s go on an adventure,” Birdie exclaimed.

“Right on!  You lead the way, queenie girl,” Chaz said.  “And let’s add the prefix –mis to this adventure,” he added.

“Haha, hell yeah,” she sang melodically.

“Then we shall toast to Dionysus,” Chaz said theatrically.

“Suck shit, typhoon!” Birdie yelled wildly.

“I’m right behind you, compadre,” Jonesy added.  “But if I die, I’ll, like, haunt you assholes until the day you die, or some shit,” he joked.  “I won’t scare you, I’ll just, like, fuck with you, constantly.  I’ll just do dumb shit like hide your shit, just to fuck with you,” he joked.

Birdie and Chaz shared a laugh at Jonesy’s joke, and then suddenly their eyes became locked into a deep, soulful connection.  Chaz knew that secretly Birdie wanted him, and Chaz was just waiting until the right time, until she finally broke up with her long-distance boyfriend who had moved back to the States.  He was a real straight dude, but he was out of the picture.

“Let’s make this a typhoon day to remember,” Birdie purred, as she held sensual eye-contact with Chaz, implying that there was something else she wanted to do with him besides just going on an adventure.

“Viewer discretion is advised…”