Saturday, August 23, 2008

Moral Choices

Found an interesting blog as I'm wasting time on the internet waiting for my train. One of the gems from this site, dealing with moral choices is below.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Grand Theft Bicycle

So I'm in Paris now, and covered the distance between Brussels and Paris in around 3 hours. The same trip on the bicycle would have probably taken me around 3-6 days so you could say I made pretty good time. As you may have figured out, I've stopped travelling via bicycle. The reason for this is pretty simple really: While in Brussels some bugger stole my bike.

Now I have to admit as well, I wasn't really heartbroken by the theft of the bike. I had gotten pretty sick of cycling everywhere and needing to figure out the way between every single destination, so a better word to describe my emotional state after finding the bike gone would probably be 'ecstatic' (I think I may have even done a little dance). It didn't help as well that my bike's tire became punctured 20kms out of Brussels which left me the task of finding a bike repair shop somewhere in Brussels and replacing both inner and outer tires. Much, much too much work in my opinion.

This also adds an item to the list of things I've had stolen from me during my travels, most of which were taken because I left the items out in the open in the hope that people wouldn't take them (I find distrust to be too time consuming and energy wasting most of the time, and with most of my belongings to take the steps which are apparently necessary to protect them from other people).

The list includes:
- 1 x Camera stolen from the front bag of my bike in Amsterdam
- 1 x The front bag of my bike stolen from my bike on a separate occasion in Amsterdam
- 2 x Shoes (Or you could say a pair) stolen off the back of my bike outside the Bibliotheek in Rotterdam (I hope a homeless person or like took the shoes and will be able to make good use of them, or at least sell them for drug money)
- The bike itself stolen from outside the front of a youth hostel in Brussels where I had locked it and hidden it behind a cargo container

As you can see, all the items were stolen because I left them lying around in plain (Or not so plain view) on the street. You'd think I would have learnt after the first time.

As I now am not limited to travelling in a linear fashion by the bicycle, this gives me more options as far as destinations are concerned and a lot more flexibility. Cycling was a great experience, but I've got to say I prefer not being limited by that particular rule I had made for myself.

Now that cycling is out of the picture it looks like the name of the game might be hitchhiking. I successfully hitchhiked from Brussels to to Paris and only had to wait around 20 minutes before I was picked up by a German painter named Herbert who was happy to take me the whole 300 odd kilometers to Paris. Being German as well he didn't seem to understand that highways outside of Germany have speed limits, thus we made very good time. Thanks also to which told me which street to wait on with my cardboard sign for best effect as well as the Brussels Use-It ( for providing the cardboard and permanent marker.

I'm currently staying with a couch-surfer ( here in Paris, which means I'm not paying the outrageous rates that the hostels here are asking. The person I've been staying with has been pretty cool as well, which is good. At this stage I think I'll probably be leaving Paris tomorrow though to where and via what form of transport I haven't yet decided. I plan to make in the direction of St Jean Pied de Port though, so that I can finally start on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella.

Apart from that, not much else to say. I'm still healthy, Paris is expensive and I've got to get rid of some of the books I seem to be accumulating (Not so much a problem when riding, more of a problem when walking).

Anyway, seeya.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Smile for the camera? I don't think so.

I think we've all been there. The point where you're asked to smile, say "Cheese" or whatever the hell the person holding the camera decides on as the cue to act really, really happy. Now this would be all well and good, except that most cameras, and especially these new digital cameras that everyone seems to be using these days, takes a number of seconds before they actually get around to taking the photo.

Now why is this a problem you ask? It's quite simple. While the smile you put on when they first ask may at least be partly genuine, by the time the camera actually gets around to taking the picture your mouth is the only part of you that is still smiling while you're eyes have reverted to the "Have they taken the picture, is their flash off or something, what are you waiting for" expression. The resulting photo leaves me looking like a cross between some sort of serial killer and politician (Or maybe just a politician).

My solution. Don't smile. If whoever is taking a photograph when I happen to be happy, laughing or similar, good for them. If not, they get whatever expression happens to be making it's way across my face at the time. This resolves my issue with appearing like a serial killer as well as taking care of any reservations I have of putting on emotions that I'm not having at the time, or inducing that emotional reaction, which in both cases I don't see as genuine behavior or something to aim for.

As for my trip, I am now in Antwerp (Belgium) and depending on what happens I may stay for a few days or a longer time. Belgium is a pretty small country so I should break into France in no time at all (After visiting Brussels), and from there the next major city I'll reach will probably be Paris.

As for my future plans, I'm thinking of selling my bike either in Paris or deeper into France and walking the Santiago de Compostella. Considering the amount of time it would take to walk the entire route, I think I'll cycle a bit closer to Spain first before I get rid of the bicycle.

Anyway, that's all from me for now. Until next time.

Update scheduled at some point in the future

I will be updating this at some point.

Maybe in the next few days.

Just so you know...