July 26, 2002

July 2002 (Vol. 1, Issue 2)

Welcome to Truckin' my monthly E-Zine! This month's issue features the thrid and fourth installments of Señor's Asian travel stories which take place in Laos and Myanmar. He's back! Armando Huerta returns with a humorous tale of local hospitality in Greece, during a recent business trip. Jessica E. Lapidus writes about Paris and Pigalle. First time writer, Zobo tells us all about his three days of fun and music at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennesse. And I wrote about an interesting day in Reykjavik, Iceland. Relax, enjoy, and please tell your friends about this site. Thanks for all your support. Salukis! McG

The Worst Subway Ride by Tenzin McGrupp
I Love Greece by Armando Huerta
Réjouissance by Jessica E. Lapidus
Señor, Your Plane Is Waiting For You... by Señor
La Bakeri by Tenzin McGrupp
Bonnaroo by Zobo
Deep Thoughts: Myanmar by Señor

The Worst Subway Ride

by Tenzin McGrupp © 2002

2 July 2002. Hot, hazy, humid, hellish. 4H's of the subway today, as temperatures hit the mid 90s and with that heat index it feels like 100, but they never tell you how hot it will be in the subways and on the subway if your train has NO AIR CONDITIONING. I have already sent a suggestion to the DoD and the Pentagon, concerning the overcrowding of captured terrorists in prison camps in CUBA. Why do they, “the evil doers of violence and terror,” have it so posh? I told Rumsfeld to get a Metrocard and get his ass on a broken down A Train, stuck with NO A/C in the between of Harlem and Spanish Harlem. Three minutes of that agony and then he'll make the quick decision to imprison newly captured Al-Qaeda operatives, on NYC subways. Force them to sit blindfolded, in winter clothing, handcuffed to one of the filthy subway poles, and endure a morning rush hour (more like two hours) of the worst case scenarios: a breakdown with the worst possible group of people imaginable, the subway car from Hades.

It's any New Yorker's worst nightmare: the morning breakdown with no A/C and a full load of angry commuters, pissed off that they are gonna be late for their shitty jobs. Of course, I always get surrounded by the worst of the worst, subway riders of the lowest sort, people who you wish you could evoke the rule: LET ME HIT YOU JUST ONCE, REALLY GOOD. You know the types, the NBA jersey wearin' kid with the jacked-up-super-mega-bass headphones blasting the flavorful sample and breaks of the week, loud enough for the people in the car next door to hear. There's a time and a place for P-Diddy's Hip Hop Hour, but it's not in front of me at 6:18 AM, while I'm trying to write the great American novel. Then there's the smelly guy. I won't launch into a hygienic rant here; I'll let you fill in the blanks. Today there was a few people who could have won international medals for their foul, nipple-squeezing odor emissions. And I forgot to tell you about the guy with the fast food breakfast, eating it while reading EL DIARIO, and trying to feel up the young girl next to him.

Oh, then there's the teenage mother with three kids. Of course, she never has one kid with her, but always all THREE. And one kid decides to chase the other through the crowded, not moving, non-A/C'd car, yelling at the tops of their lungs, nearly loud enough to drown out the heavy thumping bass from the kid's earphones next to me, while the Dunkin' Donut eating, fake Tommy Hilfiger wearing teenage mother ignoes them. She focuses her scorn on the third kid who decides to squat in the middle of the coffee stained subway floor, and she's yelling and cursing at him in a mixture of Spanglish, something to the effect (loosely translated): "If you don't get the fuck up right now, I'm gonna knock your ass out and leave your sorry ass on the train and let some dirty priest pick you up and take you home."

OK the last part I made up. She said "eaten by a homeless person," but I think getting snatched up by a Catholic Priest is far more terrifying. Anyway, she threatens her third kid just before smacking him in his head. I can't sit through this without wanting to say something, but then she gets a complaint from another annoyed passenger and the teenage mom snaps back, "Don't tell me how to raise my kids!"

The scene is already bad. And to make things worse, I have two people sitting next to me who are making me regret I caught this train. To my right a middle-aged black woman, who also happens to be the most agitated person on the subway, twisting and turning and sighing and pouting and looking at her watch every thirty seconds and methodically curses in order:

1. God
2. the NYC MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority)
3. her ex-husband
4. the mom with the three kids.

I can handle these situations, but having to sit next to her made me tense and I lost my concentration and couldn't write, so I turned to my left to see who was sitting there, and this guy looked he walked right out of one of those Al-Qaeda training camps that you see video footage of on CNN --- you know, the guys in blackhoods running through an obstacle course in the middle of the desert with a Chinese made AK-47 and DEATH TO AMERICA written in Arabic on his white headband. Yeah, this guy is a dead ringer for my NUMBER 1 possible terror suspect on the train (In post 9.11 NYC, you can be neither too paranoid, nor too prepared) and I’m stuck between the two worst possible people to be sitting with. I can’t take this any longer and I’ll completely snap if I don’t talk to someone and I need to just start yapping with anyone. I close my eyes, take a deep breath and make a decision. I turn to my left and say, "How's it going, man? Pretty hot, huh? Like Ramallah hot, right?"

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

I Love Greece

by Armando Huerta © 2002

I arrived into Athens, Greece on a Sunday early in the morning after being on a plane for two days enroute from Montevideo. Needless to say I was more exhausted than a truck-stop hooker servicing a Nascar convoy. This was to be my first of many trips to Athens and although tired, I was still as excited as a Catholic school girl having her panties pulled down by the fumbling fingers of a pimply neighborhood boy. The new airport, which rocks, was still being built so we landed in the old one that was built around the time Aristotle Onassis owned Olympic airlines. During that time he was also porking a woman previously married to the Presidential son of an Irish bootlegging scion but that's another story...

The first thing I noticed was that we didn't pull up to a gate but parked right on the tarmac as buses lined up to take us to the terminal. So far nothing was out of the ordinary since lots of airports still do that but my tranquility changed when I saw the dogs. Dogs under the plane, dogs humping behind baggage carts, dogs napping smack dab in the middle of a runway. It seems our little furry four legged beasties find the airport tarmac to be the lounge venue of choice. It was one mangy dog after another, of all various breeds and colors like a Benetton ad, making themselves as comfortable as can be on the hot cement. Course, I'm still not sure if they were indeed dogs or Olympic Airways sterdesses on break. After having a cigarette in baggage claim (I LOVE Greece), grabbing a cab and checking into the hotel I was ready to crash on my bed and recoup my energy. Alas, that was not meant to be.

The Greeks are a very hospitable and social people and insist on taking foreign visitors out on the town as I was soon to find out. I wasn't in my hotel room but five minutes when my client calls to tell me she'll meet me in the main square in twenty minutes. I took a whore's bath in the bathroom sink and charged down the hills in Kolonaki to Syntagma (Constitution) Square. (For those who are wondering how in the hell I knew the way, we drove through the Square on the way up to the hotel, thank you very much.) The second I arrive a Range Rover full of Greeks pulls up and a door swings open. I only recognize one person who's squeezed in the back so either she's brought friends or I'm about to be kidnapped. Since I've always been a fan of Range Rovers, and this was a model previously only sold in Europe and unbeknowdest to me, I figured even if it was the latter was the case the ride would still be worth it and jumped in.

The restaurant they chose was having an opening celebration that day but there was a table in the back reserved for our party of eight. After making our way through throngs of Greeks trying to sing and gyrate to Paradise by the Dashboard Light (which most Americans can't do either incidently) we sat down. Immediately everyone, EVERYONE, pulls out a pack of cigarettes and puts them on the table. All eyes turn to me and then I sheepishly pulled out my pack and laid it down too. Everyone roars and starts slapping me on the back while motioning to the waiter for the menu. I was IN! What followed was a 5 hour meal with more wine bottles than people on the table and at one point I had to prop myself up on the table with my knife and fork to keep from passing out. When the meal was finally over we made our way through the crowded cobblestoned streets back to the car. One restaurant after the other was packed to the brim and in one block we passed by three establishments where things were so rowdy people were dancing on the tables and screaming. This was a Sunday afternoon! Sunday! AFTERNOON! The only thing that gets that exciting on a Sunday in the US besides a football game is a Southern Baptist Revival and let's just say neither are my entertainment of choice.

I turned to one of my new friends and asked her, "This is crazy! Look at all these people partying and carrying on in the middle of the afternoon. Is it a holiday or a celebration of something?"

She replied in that wonderful Greek accent while gesticulating with a flattened hand in motions away from her body, "Ehhhhh..... No. In Greece, on Sundays... we just start a little earlier."

I love Greece.

Armando Huerta is a writer from Boston, MA.


by Jessica E. Lapidus © 2002

There is a french word that I often use to describe the feeling I get from Paris: Réjouissance – exhilaration. To me, Paris is a sexy, beautiful, fickle woman, rich and lush, full of passion. One of the first things I ever did in Paris was stand under the Eiffel Tower, her four legs spread wide in welcome as I strained my neck to get a better look under her dress. I felt like an International Gynecologist, gazing wide-eyed and slack-jawed into her gaping gash of steel.

There are a lot of things to do in Paris, but a favorite of the locals is to drink wine. Parisians like to drink, and they like to get drunk. I loved to stand on a streetcorner, smoke Gauloises, and listen to drunk men speaking in French. Parisian French, in particular, has a lovely, tangy sound, thick and dense. When it is spiked with a bottle or two of good Cabernet, it becomes almost sludgy.

“Eh, minou, petit minou, quelle heure?”

They slur to me, “little kitten, what time is it?”

I tell them, and when they ask me next if I am wearing underwear, I just laugh at them. And then they remind me that even swearing (catin!) sounds beautiful in their language.

The minute the sun sets, the lush, passionate Paris becomes a whore, dark and mysterious, with glistening eyes. The Bateaux Mouches, the “Fly Boats” that move down the Seine, float through wealthy, riverside residential areas. Sitting in the bow of the boat, you can see people eating dinner by candlelight under the high ceilings of their apartments. As the boat comes around to return to port, it passes a graffiti-ridden wall, lined with kids sparking joints filled with high-quality Parisian hashish, and if you’re lucky the cool wind will blow some smoke to you. But the kids are not afraid of you or the gendarmes, because it seems that somehow they feel they are safe in the cloak of the Paris night, under her bridges and resting on her shores.

The last time I visited Paris I was traveling with my mother. She was feeling ill one evening, so I took a bus to Pigalle. Pigalle is an area of Paris akin to the old Times Square. Henry Miller had lived there, and I had always wanted to visit the neighborhood, if only to get a sense of where he had been when he had done some of his best (not to mention raunchiest) writing. Every movie theatre in Pigalle is showing 1970s porn, and standing under every marquee are men hawking “spices” to perhaps make your moviegoing experience a little more enjoyable. Around every corner in Pigalle is a hooker in a red fur coat, and crossing the street toward her is a john, fresh from “Deep Throat” and thoroughly spiced.

When I returned to Boston from my last visit to France, I raved about Pigalle, and a friend asked me to describe it. I told her, “Pigalle looks, sounds, and smells like a whore, high on her own stench, ready to fall in love.”

And then I thought, that’s really what Paris is to me, too. Paris is extravagant, overdone, wearing too much eyeshadow. The Champs Elysées charges too much, the Eiffel Tower has been climbed too many times, and the entire city is drunk. And yet, despite it all, I cannot resist her.

Jessica E. Lapidus is a writer originally from New York City.

July 25, 2002

Señor, Your Plane Is Waiting For You...

A Laos story by Señor © 2002

I admit it, I felt totally let down and I was bumming! After all, I had just left paradise in Cambodia, how could anything compare? It really wasn’t the fault of Laos’ capital city, Vientiane. Like many of my failed relationships in my life, I chalk this up to bad timing. Cambodia was wonderful. I’ve traveled to over 30 countries covering several continents. I’ve had many unbelievable experiences, but I was never more happy than the time I spent in Cambodia. I arrived in Laos with the harsh realization that Laos was no Cambodia! Happily, shortly after this realization, another one came my way: No Laos is no Cambodia, but Laos is Laos. And what a wonderful Laos it turned out to be!

For my first night out, I entered a dance club and was greeted by the host, "Would you like a beer and a lady?"

Hell yeah! I’d like a beer and a lady! Too funny! I never experienced hospitality to a fault, until that night that is. After a few beers and a few ladies, nature called and off to the men’s room I went. The club was a bit of a dive so I was surprised to find a bathroom attendant. "Whatever," I thought as I headed for the urinal to take care of business. The next thing I know the attendant tapped me on my shoulder and hands me a hot towel. A little pre-mature but a nice gesture none-the-less. I brought the towel to my forehead and all of a sudden I feel two hands on my shoulders! The attendant began giving me a massage while I’m taking a piss! Now this was getting a little carried away! Is this guy gay, living his dream job? Or are the Laotian people just this friendly? In broken Laotian I told him no thank you and was able to finish my piss in peace. What do you tip a guy for this service? I gave him a buck and he seemed happy. Later that night, I saw the attendant leave with a beautiful girl on each arm. I was relieved to discover that I was not his "love interest". He was just doing his job!

I quickly learned when it comes to hospitality the Laotians have no equal. A few days later I arrived in a wonderfully picturesque village called Luang Prabang. Again it was bad timing on my part. "Happy New Year Laos" was just a few days away and apparently Luang Prabang is the place to be for New Years celebrations. I was able to find a room for just one night but after that the entire village was fully booked solid for a week! SHIT! I checked into my hotel and headed straight for the Laos Aviation office. I had heard some good things about a small town called La Phang Na, which lies a few miles from where the Laotian border meets the Chinese, Thai and Burmese borders. Seems like a funky place to check out. I asked if they had any flights there leaving the next day. The Laos Aviation worker looked at me with a dead panned expression and said, "Would you like to go there tomorrow?"

I nodded yes and he arranged for a plane to take me there. Wait just a minute... a flight just for me? How much was this gonna set me back? I found the deal of the century: $30, yep thirty bucks! I’ll take it!

The next day I went to the airport. I was waiting for my flight at the bar, when it was announced over the loud speaker that, "Those travelers on Flight 83 to Vientiane should begin to board their aircraft."

Next they announced, "Those passengers travelling on Flight 63 to Chiang Mai, Thailand should begin to board their aircraft."

The next announcement really caught my attention, "Will passenger Señor please walk out to the runway. Señor, your plane is waiting for you."

That was a first for me! When all was said and done Laos was a beautiful country with friendly accommodating people. No it was no Cambodia, yet I was bumming no longer! I still left the country with a big smile on my face.

Laos is Señor's third story in his collection of Southeast Asian stories.

La Bakeri

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2001

"I never ever saw the northern lights..."

14 Jan 2001. 7:02 AM. Our flight from New York arrived at Kelflavik Airport which is located next to the US Air Force Base. Señor and I stood in complete darkness. No ice. No snow. New York was a few degrees colder when we left, and there was alot more snow in the big city. Wow, it's dark. Sunlight won't come up for another four hours or so, I thought to myself as I boarded a Flybus that will take us to our hotel in Reykjavik. The trip would take almost 35 minutes so I grabbed a window seat and tried my best to see what the Icelandic countryside looked like. Unfortunately, the complete darkness hindered any viewing whatsoever. Odd. There I was, in a new country, a new place, and I couldn't see a damn thing.

The ride from the airport to our hotel would turn out to be the lowlight of the trip. (I am happy to say that whatever badness we would encounter, happily ended on that bus.) Full of anticipation of being in a new place, and discouraged because I couldn't see any of it, I became irked because to make things worse, an elderly lady from Long Island, NY who sat behind Señor preceeded to annoy the absolute fuck out of everyone on the Flybus. I cannot and do not condone any acts of violence towards women. I deplore any such notions. However, for the first time in my life, I waned to get up and bitch slap this yenta back to JFK airport in New York. It's tourists like this woman that give Americans and New Yorkers a bad name.

I fought every bone in my body from turning around and saying something to her, in true New York fashion: sarcastic, cold, and condensending. But I held myself back, I'm a stranger, in a strange land. I'm supposed to be on my best behavior. It's bad enough this is someone's first impression of an American, and I did not want to add to the bad taste in their mouths by an random act of violence. Typical Americana. I just sucked it up and took her bullshit. Señor said she was talking about the Rabbi at her synagogue. All I heard her say was every single one of the roadsigns that she could read in the dark.

"Oh, Subway! I know that word! And Coca-cola, I know that one of course!"

"How about shutting the fuck up? Is that in your vast vocabulary?" I muttered in disgust.

Our bus couldn't have arrived at the local terminal sooner. We jumped out and got our bags to switch to a smaller mini-bus that would take us to the center of town and the historic Hotel Borg. As soon as I stepped off the bus, I was immediately hit with the largest gust of wind I'd ever experienced. It was relentless, blowing debris, small rocks, dirt, everything in sight all around. We found our bus driver and loaded our stuff on the mini-bus and took only Señor and myself on a five minute ride to Hotel Borg.

The Hotel Borg is an exquisite building, remodeled in the originally 1930s Art-Deco style. It's off a main square and just a block from the Tjiorn (lake or pond) in the center of town. It was just 8 AM, and our room was not ready. The lovely receptionist, whom Señor instantly had developed a crush, suggested we eat breakfast in the Palm Court restaurant adjacent to the lobby. I read that the Palm Court is Björk's favorite restaurant in Reykjavik, but I didn't expect to find her there eating Cheerios at such a dark hour.

When we sat down, we were very confused. Unlike in America, the service is absolutely horrible. Waitresses rarely come to you unless you tackle them and wrestle them to the ground and say, "Pardonnez-moi, may I see a menu?"

Of course, breakfast was a buffet, and it took us a few minutes to figure that out. There were a couple of tables of random European businessmen engrossed in coffee drinking and conversations. Our receptionist, to Señor's delight, came over and informed us our room was ready, so we paid for breakfast which was 1,000 Krona (KR). Breakfast buffet for Señor, and coffee for myself cost us $9 and $3 receptively. Wow, I couldn't believe how expensive it was, and it was just breakfast! I had not been in Iceland for more than an hour and I've already pumped a few thousand Krona into their economy.

The Hotel Borg is the oldest and most famous hotel in Reykjavik. I could never afford such luxurious accommodations, but thanks to my attorney, who wanted to be in the center of it all, we were. All the cool bars and clubs that were frequented by the hippest Europeans and that every travel magazine wrote, ranted and raved about were just a block away. In the basement of the Hotel Borg is one of the cooler night clubs in all of Iceland. The shopping district sits just three blocks away, and the duck and swan-filled Tjiorn was right around the corner.

I was amazed to read about some of the previous occupants at Hotel Borg. Christian X, the King of Denmark stayed there on numerous ocassions. Actress Marlene Deitrich, Anthony "Hannibal" Hopkins, and one of my favorite authors, William Faulkner all stayed there. Of course in due time, the literature to the Hotel Borg will eventually add the likenesses of Señor and myself to their celebrity list.

Our room was also furnished in an art-deco motif. A couple of well-known Salvidor Dali prints hung up in our black walls and we even had a black bathroom. We had two leather couches, and the best thing ever, a stereo with a CD player! I immediately walked over an jammed a little Grateful Dead for the people and ghosts of Iceland. I opened up the window as Bill Graham announced the band, and they began to play. "Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please welcome, the Grateful Dead..."

After a quick nap, we awoke to the first glimpse of sunshine. It was almost Noon, and we forced ourselves to get up, becasue if we stayed asleep, we'd probably miss the few hours of sunlight -- an average of four hours a day in January, so we motivated ourselves and walked over to the shopping district.

There is a ten block stretch of stores, shops, bars, restaurants and cafes, which is the center of shopping for Reykjavik. The first thing we noticed were the women, of course. Icelandic women are supposed to be the most beautiful in the world. I had heard the rumors, and yes, they are all true. I was amazed at the random beauties walking down the street and that working in the shops. I found myself ogling too much, and smiling even more.

Señor was on a mission to get some sort of jacket. We stopped at a few stores, and were disappointed because only guys seemed to work in men's clothing stores. Señor finally found a jacket he adored, and I preceded to give him constant shit over his new black, sleek, Euro-Trash jacket.

I found a casino, and noticed the few bits of Americana I try to phase out, like McDonalds, Niketown, and a Gap. We wandered into a few record stores, and I was happy to find some Phish, and of course the Grateful Dead. But much like in America, the hottest record sales were artists pushed through the huge media machine of MTV, like Limp BIZKIT, Eminem, and Britney Spears. Icelanders get MTV as well as many other American TV stations, so as one Icelander told me, "Reykjavik is more like America than Europe..."

We walked past a bakery called La Bakeri a couple of times, and I was enamored by the tall, long-haired sunflower-yellow blonde working the front counter. I just had to say hello. I wandered inside and began to gaze at the large counter displays of freshly baked goodies. As I fixated on a chocolate donut, I looked up and saw the girl staring at me, and she was more beautiful than I had seen her in the window. I asked her how she could stay so slim with all those pastries and cookies and chocolates in front of her all the time. She smiled. I melted. I ordered a chocolate covered donut, which cost me 230 KR, or approximately $2.75. She served it to me on a small plate with a tiny fork, and a napkin. Classy and pricey, but after a few bites I began to realize that this was the tastiest donut I've ever eaten!! Homer Simpson would be proud. I quickly jotted down a few words in my notebook as I finished my donut... La Bakeri, where the most beautiful woman I'd ever laid eyes on served me the greatest donut I'd ever devoured.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.


By Zobo © 2002

Was this all just a crazy dream? I never thought that in a matter of three days, I would be able to see ALL of my favorite touring bands and hang out with almost all of my music-freak friends, who live all over the world. Not only did I never think it could happen, I never thought it would happen so smoothly!

Day 0

I arrived at our hotel in Manchester, Tennessee on Thursday and it seemed like it was a ghost town. We heard awful traffic reports coming from the other direction, but it took us just over two hours to get there from Atlanta. Being the first three to arrive, there wasn’t much to do so we anxiously awaited the arrival of the “hotel crew” which was comprised of nine rooms at the Country Inns and Suites. Night fell upon us, and as more and more people were showing up at the hotel, we had a nice small party going on. The one smart cell in my brain told me to make it an early night (2:00 AM) because of all the madness that lied in the days ahead. Good thing I listened to that cell.

Day 1

By friday morning and all of the hotel crew had arrived. It was time to get organized to head over to the festival. Instead of taking the Interstate there, my friend Chris said he knew of a back road that would get us there quicker. Chris was very wrong! A half-mile on the back road, the traffic was horrendous. The group decision was to park at the Food Lion and made the four mile hike in the 90 degree weather to Bonnaroo. This was the only bad part of the entire weekend. We arrived at the festival just in time for Soulive and instantly they made me forget about the awful walk we had just made. The first thing I noticed about the Bonnaroo Festival was how respectful everybody was of each other. This rarely happens when there are 75,000 people in one place, but the vibe remained exactly the same the entire weekend. After Soulive, we checked out Gov’t Mule. I am not the biggest fan of the Mule, but they did impress me with a couple songs.

The Mule set ended and we made our way over to the main stage to see Widespread Panic. Being from the South, I should totally dig these guys like the rest of my friends do, but they don’t really do it for me. After one set of Panic, I was ready for a little break so I headed to my friend’s campground and relaxed with some B’s for a while. This was exactly what I needed after spending the entire day in the sun and heat. After chilling for a while, we decided to get prepared for the Keller Williams Incident which was Keller Williams with String Cheese Incident as his backup band. Being a huge Keller and Cheese freak, I anxiously awaited the start of the Midnight show. We secured a great spot that was instantly packed. Because I 'm a little guy, I decided to move back a bit with this guy Kevin who I had met a couple of times, but never really hung out with. This turned out to be a great decision because Kevin is as big as a goofball as I am and we had an amazing time partying together. Keller and Cheese rocked the house down playing mostly Keller original songs with a few Cheese songs thrown in the mix. This show grooved all the way until 4:30 AM.

Because we parked and had to walk four miles to the festival and we didn’t have a ride back to our hotel, so we figured we would be walking all the way back. Just outside of the gate, we saw a big white van with TRANSPORT written on it's side. This was like some force from above had sent this van to give us a ride back to the hotel because I might have died if I had to walk. We made it safely back to the hotel and called it at night at 7 AM.

Funniest story of the night – in my completely altered state of mind at about 2:30 AM, I go up to use the Port-a-John and I see some guy wearing a hat that says Tennessee Volunteers so I decided that I had to talk to him about college football because I love it so much. The conversation went something like this:

Zobo: Hey man, you guys are going to have a really great football team this year.
Guy in hat: What are you talking about dude?
Zobo: You’re wearing a Tennessee Volunteers hat so I was commenting on your team.
Guy in hat: No, my hat says Volunteer because I am a volunteer at this festival.
Zobo: Don’t mind me or pay attention to anything I say tonight!!!!

Day 2

Awoke around noon and was ready for what Day Two of Bonnaroo was going to bring to us. We drove to the festival this time and there was no traffic at all. We got there in less than fifteen minutes, right in time to see Robert Randolph and the Family Band. If you have never seen these guys before, DO NOT miss them the next time they are around. It was an excellent mixture of funk and gospel. I could have done without the preaching, but the music was just fantastic. We decided to head over to the main stage, and I run into Holly who I had met in Japan and she was with my friend Chris who lives in Atlanta. I told them where we would be camped out at the main stage and they made their way over there with us so it added more people to our fun party crew. We waited an hour until String Cheese Incident started playing again, so while we waited, I just hung out and met the people who are around us. I talk to this one interesting character who calls himself the Mayor. He said he gets all dressed up for moe. shows and people call him the Mayor. Out of nowhere, he pulls out a nametag that says “Ezeriah P Funk – I Met the Mayor” and asks me if I want it. My response: “Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle?”

I wanted the nametag and of course, I will now forever wear it when I am out partying at shows. Eventually, the Cheese come on and put on a great show. They didn’t play too many of their heavy-hitters, but I almost lost it when they played Black Clouds > Kashmir > Black Clouds. Seeing my favorite touring band with about 60 people I know from all over the world while wearing an “Ezeriah P Funk” name tag was the most perfect way to spend a late Saturday afternoon! After String Cheese, it was Widespread Panic’s turn to play. Although, I had low expectations, I was completely blown away by the first set. There are about eight songs by Panic that I really dig and they just so happened to play almost all of those songs! And it was so awesome to be around most of the people who I love to see music with.

Panic ended about 12:30 AM and next on the list of shows to see was moe. Being a pretty big moe. fan, I was fired up for their set. While I walked over there, I saw some Japanese people and I wanted to say hello. I walked up to them and say “Sumimassen” (excuse me) and they immediately turned to me and screamed out, “ZOBO!!!!!!!” It ends up that they were friends of my buddy Yuki Sekiya and I had met them in San Francisco for New Years and String Cheese. I had seen Phish in Japan with McGrupp and Señor a couple of years ago and I always get really excited to see Japanese people at shows in America. I talked with them for a while and they needed to go find their friends so we went on our separate ways.

I met up with all of my friends at moe. and they were rocking until about 5:30 AM. This night was especially fun because our entire crew decided to throw down hard and we were all in very goofy states of mind. Highlights of the moe. show were seeing Happy Hour Hero and Rebubula. Rebubula ranks up there as one of my favorite jamband songs of all time and hearing it at 5:00 AM was perfect. At some point in the night, I saw the Mayor walking around and grabbed his attention to show him my nametag. He just smiled, shook my hand and went on his merry way. I have a feeling that he was feeling as good as I was that night. The show ended and we drove back to the hotel and finally crashed out at 7:45 AM after eating some excellent breakfast at the Country Inn.

Funniest story of the nightmoe. was playing a song called Seat of My Pants and my friend Mike got my attention and told me to look at our friend Jarad. I turned around and Jarad was dancing in his boxers with his shorts wrapped around his ankles. I informed Jarad that his pants had fallen down and he acted all surprised and pulled them up. It wasn’t until the next day that I found out they were playing a joke on me.

Day 3

I awake on Sunday and feel like I have been smoking crack rocks all weekend because my body wants to shut down on me. I know that there is only one more day of this madness so I figure I can survive. I decided my main goal of the day is to spend time with Sabrina and Brian from Sacramento because I hadn’t seen too much of them over the weekend. My friend Chad called me while I'm driving to the festival, and told me that Sabrina and Brian are with our crew so I am so psyched to get there. I was checking out the Phil Lesh & Friends set when I got a call from Raf telling me that the Superjam is about to start and that all of my favorite musicians are up there.

I bee-lined it over there right in time for the start of Superjam and I see Nershi, Kang, Travis, Kyle (all from String Cheese), and Bela Fleck, Stanton Moore, Edgar Meyer, Robert Randolph, and about four other musicians up there ready to throw down. This jam session was one of the musical highlights of the weekend for me because I have always wondered what would happen if all of the people I enjoy listening to shared the stage at the same time. It was everything I thought it could be and more. All of these people are so talented and their jamming was just ridiculous.

After the Superjam, we make the trek over to see Trey Anastasio who was playing with his nine-piece band. I had seen Trey a couple of times with this band. I have never been blown away by them until the first set of this show! Even more beautiful was that I was hanging out with Sabrina and Brian and felt like I had achieved my main goal of the day. Sabrina and Brian are two of my favorite people to see at shows because they are as sarcastic as I am, and we never ever have any serious conversations. And Sabrina is probably the most gullible person I have ever met and I love to screw around with people who will believe anything I say. We spent the entire second set of the show cracking up and I don’t even really know what was said.

After the Trey show ended, I separated from Sabrina and Brian and walked around the campgrounds with some of the Atlanta crew. We found our friend’s campsite and chilled out there until the traffic somewhat died down exiting the venue and we finally got back at the hotel around 7 AM. I ate some breakfast, crashed out around 8:45 AM only to be awoken less than two hours later by a phone call telling me that my ride home was ready to leave. It was rough waking up, but I survived the first Bonnaroo and was going to make it home in one piece.

Mark 'Zobo' Zoblotsky is a funny guy and Japhan from Atlanta, GA.

Deep Thoughts: Myanmar

By Señor © 2002

The following is an excerpt from my travel journal. To set the scene: I was in the small village of Inle Lake, Myanmar, staying at a beautiful hotel which was built on stilts on top of a lake. It was non-tourist season in Myanmar, a country which doesn’t get very many tourists anyway, which explains why there were only six guests in the entire hotel. This wonderful day was a particularly slow and lazy one which gave me ample time to catch up on my writing…

5/5/02 Inle Lake, Myanmar

Paradise is sitting on your balcony immediately overlooking a beautiful lake with majestic mountains in the background, while smoking a cheroot (a Burmese cigar). The only things that could make this better would be some ganja and a beautiful woman, either one that I’m in love with or at least, deeply in lust with! This morning, I’ve found yet another world! I took a three hour cruise of the lake visiting many pagodas, monasteries and villages... all situated on the lake and only accessible by boat. The highlight of my day and any day spent here, was just sitting on my balcony. A close second to that was visiting a souvenir shop, where they didn’t try to sell my anything and they gave me endless amounts of free tea, a cheroot and delicious Burmese crackers with even more delicious toppings. Surprisingly enough the people around here, do not seem to be as friendly as those in Yangon. But the few that are, are wonderful!

After cruising around for a few hours, I returned to my bungalow to write, read, nap and jerk off. Could I be any more relaxed? Later this afternoon maybe I will head off for a journey on canoe. I’ve had boat rides in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and now, many in Myanmar! I plan to travel to Singapore next, but I do have other attractive options... Island hopping in Thailand, or learning to scuba dive. I could go to Bangkok and look for Sotyn. I could go back to Cambodia and visit Chetra, Lin and all the Riverside Café girls. I could go to Vietnam, spend some time exploring Hoi An and spend time with Nguyen or Hang #1 or Hang #2 or even little Myhoa down in Ho Chi Minh City! No guarantees, but all of them seem to be pretty good options.

It might be best to blow off the chicks. What’s the point, really? I’m not gonna stay here, nor will I marry them. If I really wanted to, I could buy a hottie in Bangkok for a few days. Does this mean goodbye to Cambodia forever? A depressing thought, but one I could live with. Here is the deal: everywhere I have been I have been tempted to stay and learn the language. But do I really want to learn a mostly useless language?

Costa Rica is never far from my mind.

There I hope to:

A) be as attracted to the chicks as I am here
B) have as much luck with them and
C) be able to communicate with them in their own language which is a useful skill and widely spoken language.

Now that is a plan! I’ve got a lot of wonderful shit going on. Not even to mention the three or four weeks I have left on this trip.

The dinner crowd has dwindled. Only two tables, totaling 5 people are there. So it goes. Tomorrow I will only be a stat after I leave. My canoe ride was a wonderful and slow tranquil cruise in the perfect weather of the early evening through the friendliest water villages. The children came running out of their houses waving, giving thumbs up, blowing kisses and of all things shouting out joyfully "dado" or "dada" which doesn't means hello, but goodbye! Whatever the meaning, it was adorable and it made my day! I will miss this place, but no spot more than my balcony, where I'll go after my diner is complete. Of course that won’t be for a while... I learned last night that patience isn’t just a virtue around here, but a necessity. I told the hotel staff today, there is never a need to be in a hurry here, and God bless this place for that!

The weather around here is crazy. Yangon is hot and humid. I’m told Mandalay and Bagan are even worse. Here the day is never too hot and the evening cool, which is followed by crazy rain and wind storms which continue intermittently through the night. But during the calm intermittent periods, it’s just perfect!

Finished dinner and it’s a fucking storm out there. I am trapped at the restaurant with nothing to do but write and get shitfaced! I really don’t feel like drinking, besides a day-after drunk stomach is not very appealing considering I have a 6 hour drive to Mandalay tomorrow. I haven’t had even one beer since Wednesday, that’s definitely the longest I’ve gone this whole trip! I’ll have to have a beer tomorrow night in Mandalay whether I want one or not! Although even months before I arrived in Myanmar I imagined my time here to be quiet and sober. Yangon does offer a night-life but Inle Lake is as quiet as it gets! As the rain hurls down upon the roof, once again I wish I had a joint. Oh well. It really isn’t that big a deal. I read something about opium in Mandalay… hmmm, I don’t want to wind up in a Burmese prison, lets see what fate has in store for me.

I made it back to my balcony! Thanks to the roof she is as dry as dry can be! It’s now drizzling around me, but I am comfortable and once again on my balcony, HAPPY! I would like to write about Day Two with Top Cat, the old man tour guide whom I toured the Nguyen Dynasty ruins with Hang plus adventures in Hanoi, but now is not the time. I’ve now come to understand that saying from McGrupp: "What is meant to be written will be..." Indeed, no more no less…

Myanmar is Senor's fourth installment of his Asian stories.

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been...

From the Editor's Laptop:

I couldn't be more pleased with the positive responses and generous feedback from the June Issue!! This is month two and Issue Two and I'm elated with the story content for this month: Greece, Laos, Paris, Myanmar, the NYC subways, Reykjavik,and Bonnaroo. Yes, I'm laughing and loving every second that I get to read about all these special places visited by all my favorite freaky friends. And to publish them goves me even more joy and satisfaction.

Again thanks to all the writers who submitted their blood work to Truckin' and who shared their travel experiences with us, and thanks to you, the reader, for your support! AND special thanks to Jessica Lapidus for her proofreading and editorial skills, without them, this issue would have missed the deadline!

Please spread the word about this site and E-zine and good karma will come your way. My sources tell me that Truckin is being read on four continents as we speak. Thanks for spreading the good word! You are all good kids and good caddies.

Next month, August, will be the best issue to date! Expect another hilarious travel story from Armando and two of Truckin's writers, Zobo and Señor are currently in Asia working on their next assignments. And I'll have one or two surpises for you.

In the meantime read my most recent experiment in group fiction, E-Story 3: The Bloody Hands, which was written by 14 different authors! The next E-Story 4: Merry's Gift was written by nine authors and is almost done and will be out on August 1. And I'm already thinking up ideas for E-5 and E-6!

If you would like to comment or contact any of the authors, please send an E-mail to: CONTACT TRUCKIN'

Again, thanks for your support!

"I ain't afraid to be what I want to be." - Muhamed Ali

Truckin' Staff

Editor: Paul McGuire
Editorial Assistant: Jessica Lapidus
July Staff Writers: Señor, Armando Huerta, Jessica Lapidus, Mark Zoblotsky & Tenzin McGrupp