Monthly Archives: January 2008

Zentraveler considers Hermitary as his profession!

A hermit! A person who has withdrawn from society and lives a solitary existence; a recluse.

The thing about being a complete hermit you don’t have any foot-traffic, demographics, marketing, emails, phones, mailboxes, traffic jams, long commutes, etc. So much in life depends upon you being flexible and acting like Shakespeare— as we are always on stage. The problem with being a perfect hermit is no-body knows. So what if you are an island onto yourself— now you begin to look for compromises. You set up somewhere in the woods behind a Buddhist Monastery and they put you on their apprentice Buddha tour. The new students come by your cave and bring you delicious muffins, and yogurt and you give out some witticisms. So you see you can’t get away from selling your services lest you don’t survive. That’s the double-edged sword. All you have in this world is services. Some pay for the services. Brittany Speers spends $778,000 per month on what people give her for her services. Only God knows what they are!

To choose to be a Hermit you need the same kind of dress as if you were a wall-street analyst. After you have your dress code (a nice burlap with matching sandals plus a grey beard) you need to choose a place that is believable— like in the mountains of Translvannia, in the Himalayas, India, or China. The problem with these remote locations are: they are very cold and don’t lend themselves well with people who have tree allegeries, can’t tolerate damp fungi exposures, don’t breathe well in bat and bird doo doo caves and have insomnia from trying to sleep on rock-bottom hard surfaces and most of all—- no Starbucks.

After you get people coming by your cave you decide to write the Hermit’s Diet, How to make Hermit Tea, Top ten things a Hermit can do!, The Zen of being a Hermit, Learning to be a Hermit for Dummies, and soon you are picked up by the talk shows. Now you need a business card, Zentraveler Professor of Hermitary, a publicist, a literary agent, an accountant, a wrist watch so you can be on time for all of your scheduled book tours, a bank account, w2 forms, a computer so you can crank out even more hermit books. How I became a Hermit and turned that into a million dollars. What do you think a writer is? You guessed it——- a Hermit!

If you still want this lifestyle than like James Michener said: “you become possessed and couldn’t stop writing even if you wanted too. Those characters and story-boards keep coming in your head and you can’t stop the chatter—even if you tried. To gather information for his books, Mr. Michener often moved to the place he wanted to write about, soaking up atmosphere and collecting detailed information. His version of “Hawaii” just kept growing and nearly drove him crazy. Hey I thought you wanted all this hermit business so you could empty your mind and obtain the quick track to enlightenment. Just sit! Zen!

In “Brother Frolick,” the picaresque hero has completed a lifetime of adventures and visits a hermit “who was known to be a pious man” for advice about getting to heaven. The hermit tells him that there are two roads, one broad and pleasant leading to hell, and a second narrow and rough leading to heaven. Brother Frolick thinks to himself, “I should be a fool if I were to take the narrow, rough road.” ——

QUOTE: “Talk doesn’t cook rice.” ~Chinese Proverb

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: What makes a Mexican jumping bean jump? First of all, the jumping bean is not actually a bean; it’s a seed. And it doesn’t actually jump; rather, it rolls and tumbles. The Mexican Jumping bean is really a three-celled bean pod that grows in Chihuahua, Mexico. It is the seed of the yerba de flecha, a Mexican rubber tree plant. The plant’s pod is what the bean moth uses as a home. ——

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Wildlife! By 2025 as many as one fifth of all animal species may be lost, gone forever. In recent times, hundreds of species have become extinct as a result of human activities:

Habitat destruction by logging; ever-encroaching human settlement; pollution of water, soil, and air; unnatural climate changes due to fuel use; unmanaged fishing that exhausts fish stocks; and illegal hunting to supply the demand for skins, hides, traditional medicines, food, and tourist souvenirs all threatens species’ existence.

EXTINCTION IS FOREVER! We must act now. Time is running out.——

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Don’t be a hermit all of your life— try something different.

Follow the Zentraveler blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized, Zen fables

Zentraveler drinks hot chocolate like Montezuma!

If you want to emulate Montezuma you need to start hitting the hot chocolate. It has been reported that Montezuma drank 32 cups of hot chocolate per day from a large gold vessel.
No-wonder he was a great warrior—– his veins were full of hot chocolate.

“Back in the days of the Aztecs, cocoa beans were valuable not only for their culinary importance but also as currency. Cocoa beans were often given as gifts during important ceremonies and festivals. Even so, they also used the roasted beans to make a chocolate drink. Their version is much different from the hot chocolate we know today. The Aztecs actually drank it cold, flavored with wine and chili peppers, and not at all sweet.

Chocolate was discovered and brought to Europe in the early 1500s by the explorer Cortez. After its introduction in Spain, the drink began to be served hot, sweetened and without the chili peppers. The Spanish were very protective of their wonderful new beverage, and it was over a hundred years before news of it began to spread across Europe.

When it hit London (in the 1700s), chocolate houses became popular and very trendy. It was the English who started adding milk to their chocolate and it was enjoyed as an after-dinner beverage. It wasn’t until the middle of the eighteenth century that chocolate began to evolve past its drinkable form. First, cocoa powder was invented in Holland. Cocoa powder blends much easier with milk or water, allowing for more creations to come. Then came chocolate as a candy by mixing cocoa butter with sugar. In 1876, milk chocolate was developed. From then on, chocolate has become more popular as a solid treat rather than as the drink it started from.” —— Sean Paajanen

Harvard researchers discovered the Kuna Indians living on a group of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama have almost no hypertension and have perfect blood pressure which allows them to enjoy much lower death rates from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancer. Research shows It’s because they drink about 5 cups of cocoa each day.

Studies show the flavonols in cocoa stimulate your body’s production of nitric oxide—boosting blood flow to your heart, brain, and other organs. One study found cocoa thins your blood just as well as low-dose aspirin!

Cocoa can also treat blocked arteries, congestive heart failure, stroke, dementia, and even impotence. Could drinking Hot Chocolate on a daily basis be you new personal “wonder drug”? After reading the research I have added hot chocolate to my daily activities and can’t find a downside. It tastes good, is inexpensive and even seems to give you a lift.

So there you have it—- drink at least five cups of cocoa per day, throw away your high-blood pressure pills, and begin to dance like the Kuna Indians. In fact you can probably save enough money from doctor’s bills, hospitals and quack practitioners, to fly to Panama and visit the Kuna Indians in person and enjoy a cup of cocoa. Now that’s what I call a miracle—simply drink more hot chocolate and jump-start your health to a new level.

QUOTE: Laugh Often! Humor prevents hardening of the attitudes!

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Hot chocolate can lower your blood pressure.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Your Life! Drink at least 5 cups of hot chocolate per day.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Drink more hot chocolate it’s good for you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, health, Uncategorized

Zentraveler climbs a mountain!

According to William James (Psychologist and philosopher— William James is often referred to as the father of American psychology) no matter what your station in life ——every seven years you must climb a mountain. I know how it sounds.”Oh I couldn’t possibly take a year off and just climb a mountain.”

I am here to tell you—- Yes You Can! You can either put your affairs in order and just do it or you can climb a virtual mountain, which is another way of taking that seven year itch break. William James left his family, wife and kids, and climbed a mountain. You can too!

I am the first to tell you that I have no interest in climbing a mountain like Mt. Everest. I don’t like cold freezing weather, and don’t want to fall several thousand feet into a frozen crevice or hang on the edge while my feet turn blue and hope for my best friends lifeline, a daring helicopter rescue or even a dog sniffing, brandy carrying canine to lick my face, while I see visions of sugarplums and turn into a frozen popsicle.

I do however love to walk and trek anywhere in the world and had to take my own advice when I decided to climb a mountain in Honduras, Central America. I met a fellow traveler at the airport in Tegucigalpa and we decided to bus to the town of Gracias Adios (thanks to God), Honduras or the local slang translation (Thanks goodbye!)

After securing lodging for the night in the mountain town of Gracias Adios we proceeded up the river valley until we reached the National Park. After the five mile hike with forty five pound back-packs we were both wandering if we should start the trek. Catching our breathe in the park rangers quarters we signed the guest log and noticed most of the visitors were from New Zealand, Australia, China, South America, and all over the globe. Very few Americans!

We were greeted by the ranger who provided us with a mountain map and a cold drink of pure mountain water. Up we went twisting around and straight up— seeing a variety of wild birds and wildlife scurrying through the heavy underbrush. My fellow traveler was from Belgium and he gave me the honors of being first in the mountain climb. Unless someone tells you— the first climber breaks through all of the spider webs, is bait for Mountain Cats and any dangers that present themselves—— like falling trees, rock-slides etc.

At midway they had a shelter where you could bed down for the night. After completing the summit and returning the following day, we were invited by the ranger and his wife to have dinner and beverages at his house—- just a stones throw from the ranger’s outpost. If you were seeking a get-a-way from it all vacation this was the perfect spot. We hadn’t seen any other humans in two days and felt like the explorers of the first world must have felt to discover and explore a new horizon. That’s what it’s all about— just the mindset change that comes with taking the challenge of climbing a mountain— gives you a whole different perspective on life.

We were both exhilarated and appreciative of such an excellent National Park and counted our blessings as we headed down the valley towards Gracias Adios. Looking back we could see the ranger and his wife harvesting golden corn silhouetted against the mountain backdrop. It was totally awesome as the valley girls would say.

Gracias Adios is an example of early spanish layout and architecture. There are wonderful buildings with whitewashed stucco and huge timbers dotted throughout this picturesque mountain town. The town has several stores, more churches than you can count, several small hotels for lodging and a few restaurants. If you want to cross the mountain by automobile I have been told you can make arrangements with the postal delivery man and hitch a ride. You may need to wait a few weeks or longer depending on the condition of the roads and whether he has enough mail going that way.

The valley is green with many rivers and tributaries running strong from the mountains. There is a fort perched on top of the town that still has its original cannons for protection. I never asked, but wouldn’t this be the perfect place to pan for gold. The mountains must be full of rich minerals and history. If only the mountain could talk. Out of nowhere a funnel cloud formed high in the sky and spun down at electric speeds forming a grayish- white sky genie figure who transformed into a bright gold. It continued to spin and touched down somewhere beyond the summit and disappeared. It was a midas moment. I never thought I would be a gold prospector, but with such a strong sign— maybe I hit the mother-lode this time.

The friendly towns-folk bid you adios every time you pass them or greet them. I was told that it is there custom….although a bit strange. It would be like us saying to anyone on a greeting— goodbye! The town won’t have any cruise ships showing up unless we have some serious global warming, and if that is the case, this is the highest point in Honduras. You will be at least safe from drowning for awhile. So if you want to hedge your bet of losing Florida, California, and Manhattan over the next few years— maybe going to Gracias Adios, Honduras isn’t such a bad idea. I could definitely hang my hat there and write the grand novel or novelette.

“Honduras is fast becoming one of the world’s great ecotourism destinations. Sparsely populated, much of Honduras is wilderness, home to fantastic biodiversity.

Honduras has more than 700 species of birds including the Harpy eagle, and populations of rare mammals such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots, giant anteaters, tapir and mantled howler monkeys. Honduras has the region’s most extensive tracts of cloud forest and the largest remaining area of primary forest. Infact the Moskitia region is one of the world’s few remaining undisturbed true wildernesses, and visiting it is an unforgettable experience for even seasoned ecotourists. The government is laying the groundwork for what will certainly become one of Central America’s great national park systems. Parks and reserves already protect all eight major life zones in the country, yet comprise only about half of the total 25,000 square kilometers earmarked for eventual protection. Although the ecotourism business in Honduras has yet to adopt the sophisticated marketing techniques of other countries in the region, notably Costa Rica, many of the countries major tour operators are now offering packages to attract the “green” traveler.”——

So there you have it—– take the time off and climb a mountain at your own speed, do it through books, television, travel shows, and blogs– but do it! You will glad you did and don’t forget to spray yourself with some heavy duty bug spray. They got some big biting mosquitos that could almost make you swear.

QUOTE: Emptiness is infact form when we forget the self. There’s nothing in the universe *other* than ourself. Nothing to compare, name, or identify. When it’s the only thing there is, how can we talk about it?
– Taizan Maezumi ——–

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: More than any other school of Eastern mysticism, Zen is convinced that words can never express the ultimate truth. it must have inherited this conviction from Taoism, which showed the same uncompromising attitude. “If one asks about the Tao and another answers him,” said Chuang Tzu, “neither of them knows it.”‘ ——


ZENTRAVELER SAYS: How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time!

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, travel, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on poems and koans and such!

Zen can be broken down to just two words! Not necessarily so!

“Here’s an English translation of a haiku by the master poet Basho:

Old pond,
a frog.

Another Basho haiku in translation:

The butterfly,
resting upon the temple bell,
asleep. ——– Yosa Buson

As you can see there is plenty to ponder— so lest I be guilty of filling up your minds with trash and such I bid adieu. Zentraveler

QUOTE: One day Chao-chou fell down in the snow, and called out, ”Help me up! Help me up!” A monk came and lay down beside him. Chao-chou got up and went away. Zen koan—–

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: “The word Zen is Japanese. It is their pronunciation of the Chinese word ch’an which in turn comes from the Sanskrit word dhyana, meaning wisdom-meditation.” ——

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Zen poems, koans and such!


Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized, Zen fables

Zentraveler tunes up with Chinese acupuncture!

Acupuncture is a very ancient form of healing which pre-dates recorded history. The philosophy is rooted in the Taoist tradition which goes back over 8000 years. The people of this time period would meditate and observe the flow of energy within and without.They also were keen to observe man’s relations with nature and the universe.There were many sages of this period, but the most legendary was Fu Hsi, who lived in the Yellow River area of China approximately 8000 years ago. By observing nature, he formulated the first two symbols, a broken line and unbroken line. These symbols represented the two major forces in the universe – creation and reception – and how their interaction forms life. This duality was named yin-yang and they represent the backbone of Chinese Medicine theory and application. Fu hsi then discovered that when yin-yang fuse, a creative action occurs, and this gives birth to a third aspect. Fu Hsi then pondered on how this triplicity occurs eight times and this led to the eight trigrams and then 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching (Book of Change). The I-Ching shaped the thinking for years to come and every influential book on Chinese Medicine is based upon its fundamental philosophy.

From the 1970’s to the present, Acupuncture continues to play an important role in China’s medical system. China has taken the lead in researching all aspects of acupuncture’s application and clinical effects. Although acupuncture has become modernized, it will never lose its connection to a philosophy established thousands of years ago.——

Western scientists theorize that acupuncture stimulates the production of immune-system cells and painkilling “feel-good” endorphins, similar to the immune system and neuroendocrine changes seen in vigorous exercise, such as long distance running. Studies also suggest that acupuncture alters the release pattern of brain chemicals such as neurotransmitters and neurohormones. These chemicals, in turn, affect the central nervous system, reducing pain and improving well-being.——autoimmune

So there you have it thousands of years of using acupuncture and now it is finally being recognized in the United States as an important addition to traditional medicine. Hospitals in California have an acupuncturist on their medical staff and it is growing by leaps and bounds across the US gaining acceptance as well as being paid by some insurance companies and VA hospitals. It always pays to ask if your Insurance Company or VA benefit covers Acupuncture treatment.

I took my mother starting at age 93 approximately 29 times and it certainly helped her with her general health. In fact when she was 96 the Chinese Acupuncturist video-taped her touching her toes and probably sent a copy of her good health back to China as a sexy commercial for longevity. She went to the big sky at age 99 in perfect health.

When considering an acupuncture treatment it is best to schedule at least six or seven appointments within a short time span like two or three per week to get maximum benefit. It is basically painless as the acupuncturist inserts a series of needles on meridians on the body. The whole idea is to move chi (energy) through the body and clear-out stagnated blockage which causes a variety of diseases leaving you with all sorts of ailments.

In addition to acupuncture for a specific disease— it is also recommended that you get acupuncture four times a year to correspond with the four seasons. You wouldn’t drive your car for 100,000 miles without an oil change and tune-up. Same with our bodies. The Chinese military used to keep acupuncturists with their troops to keep them healthy and in top condition.

So if you need a tune-up because you are sluggish or have aches and pains and a myriad of diseases that traditional medicines don’t seem to do any good— why not head to your local acupuncturist and let them stick you with some needles. The pleasant music in the background is a nice bonus as your chi starts to move. Without energy we is dead!

Start the New Year right by energizing your entire system with acupuncture! You will be glad you did.

QUOTE: “Today can be a healthy unusual day for you — and for others — if you take time to give someone a smile . . . to express a word of kindness . . . to lend a helping hand to someone in need . . . to write a note of gratitude . . . to give a word of encouragement to someone who is temporarily overcome with problems . . . to share a portion of your material possessions with others.” ——-

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Matcha tea has a long history going back almost 1000 years. Referred to as “emperor’s tea”, matcha has historically been served to Japanese royalty. This connection with royalty has lead to a unique and fascinating tradition regarding the preparation and consumption of matcha tea. We at Zen Organics honour the rituals and traditions associated with matcha as we consider its consumption to have spiritual as well as physical benefits. ——

THINGS YOU WANT TO SAVE: SAVE THE SEALS! Each year thousands of seals are killed in Canada. The seals suffer painful and lingering deaths. The weapon used is a club, the brutal hakapik. Sometimes the seals are skinned alive. Sealers often use sharpened steel hooks to drag the creatures on board their vessels. Seal-clubbing is justified by the Canadian government because its victims are adversely affecting the profits of the Newfoundland fishing industry.——

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Get acupuncture tune-up often for optimun health.


Filed under Blogging, health, Uncategorized

Zentraveler thinks Belize’s Cay Corker is the balm!

If you ever thought of palm trees waving at the turquoise blue waters and wanted to be located near one of the richest reefs in the world—try Cay Corker (pronounced Key Corker) in the country of Belize in Central America. Belize used to be under British rule and they now have there independence, but with watchful eyes from the Queen. The language spoken in Belize— especially around Belize City is mostly English. (the only English speaking country in Central America) with the exception of some of the Indigenous Indians and Caribs living along the Eastern coasts.

When arriving in Belize City most travelers head for San Pedro or Cay Corker islands or keys. Cay Corker is about 45 minutes from Belize City by water taxi, which you can pick up across the swinging bridge. Have your eye teeth cemented down as you fly across the water and cut through the mangroves at break-neck speed. I always say my prayers on a safe landing and was quite glad to be a landlubber for a few days.

Cay Corker has a lobster co-op where all of the fisherman share in the yield. The town is so quaint you can walk it in a few minutes and be pleasantly surprised by the hospitality of the shop owners and fellow travelers. They have a variety of dive shops that are very cost effective to get your Padi Divers Rating, excellent restaurants, fishing trips, lodging, snorkeling trips, sunbathing, swimming, and just a great place to hang out for a while.

From Cay Corker you can take a Catamaran boat to the San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve, which is guarded by the Belize Marine Patrol so you do not damage the living corals. While on the boat trip the captain ran a couple of trolling lines and caught several yellowfin-tuna that ended up as our lunch– it was included in our snorkeling day-trip package. I teased one of the deck hands that they must be very good fisherman, lucky or had divine help. “We have more fish aboard just in case.” the deck hand offered —with a big smile.

You need to purchase a park pass from the tour operator at minimum expense with the money helping to preserve this natural treasure. At the Underwater Archaeological Preserve you snorkel through an underwater labyrinth of sea adventure, experiencing a variety of colorful fishes and beautiful coral. It’s another world down there and the price was certainly worth the experience. The country of Belize is way ahead of the curve by understanding excellent conservation practices and preservation of their natural resources and will certainly bode well as an example for developing tourism for Belize and other emerging countries.

Everyone in Cay Corker is related to everyone else— so if you are heading to the south of Belize simply ask Russell if any of his relatives have a place to eat or stay and you are hooked up for your next leg of travel. You can also arrange to go by sailboat for several weeks or go along the coast. The cost is very reasonable if you agree to provide food and beverages and don’t have a tight schedule. Like they say in Australia: ” No worries mate!”

Every-time I get on a bus for me the adventure really begins to take on its own character. Miles and miles of palm trees and small villages fly buy as you lose yourself in thought and are continually entertained by the local folklore and occurrences en route. I made my way via bus to the small town of Punta Gorda in the southern part of Belize. Approximately 210 miles by road from Belize City, it is the last sizable settlement in Southern Belize. The town has one hospital, a police station, one bank, a post office, a gas station, a civic center, a number of churches and schools, and various grocery stores, hotels, restaurants and bars. Punta Gorda is a gateway to and from Guatemala with immigration and customs office near the town dock.

Punta Gorda is a good base to explore the rest of Southern Belize. Many tour guides work from the town and can help you choose from a wide range of full or half day activities including fishing, kayaking, river touring, and snorkeling. After checking out the shops and picking up a few local CD’s I transferred to a new bus line and headed to Placentia.

As the tropical rains began to pour buckets of water, I finally arrived in Placentia the last town on the Southern border. A native lady from Placentia told me this was the last bus in or out, all the water taxis were in repair, and the small airport was closed. She sent me to an old man that might have been St. Nick himself– as he handed me a key to his almost hidden cabina and just seemed to shake with joy while the rains kept pouring and the winds increased in intensity. As he walked away he said: “you got the last room in the town.”

I felt more than glad to be sheltered from a tropical storm and gave an extra prayer for my good luck. Placentia is a picture postcard tropical village, with sand beaches, first class fishing and the jumping off point for jungle adventure. You can walk everywhere and would be the perfect place to write a novel. If the rains continue I might also write my epitaph. As it was Christmas eve I dodged the rain and went to the local church for the evening service.

At midnight mass someone’s dog came in and became a part of the manager scene. The Priest took him out the side door only to see him crawl back into the manger scene for the third time. The Priest laughed out loud and said: “I guess he stays- everyone is welcome and maybe that should be my message: “There is room for everyone at this inn. Amen!” It was quite exceptional to spend a quiet time on The Caribbean Coast and to appreciate the beautiful mass with it’s singing, rhythm guitar playing, and friendly people. It was almost angelic!

A local Garifuna approached me and aked me if I would like to join him and his mother for dinner—the cost would be five dollars. Off he went to purchase some ingredients and told me to join him as we headed thru the palm trees to his cottage on the edge of the jungle. He picked some breadfruit from a huge tree right next to his house. While we hung out on the front porch his mother had pots of good smelling items in various stages of cooking. The dinner included fresh fish, rice, sweetened fried plantains, breadfruit and some-kind of yummy coconut dish for desert. They used to say that’s to die for! I think I will add that is to live for!

Due to the tropical storm, I was marooned in Placentia for seven days and was beginning to wonder if I would or could get out of here. By a stroke of luck I was offered a ride from a X- British Officer who was heading to Guatemala. En route we traveled up the Monkey River and witnessed, huge red colored Iguanas, hanging on the edge of branches over the water. Our boat captain pointed out this was there mating season and they turn bright red to attract other iguanas for mating. I thought this feature would be good to add to the human race. That way we could leave out quite a bit of the guess work.

You couldn’t visit Southern Belize without feeling the rhythm and seeing the Punta Dance commonly called “Punta Rock”. Punta Rock is a “Garifuna” dance which was created in Belize. In the 1970s, Pen Cayetano, a Garifuna artist, began to compose songs in the Garifuna language. He added the rhythm of the electric guitar to the traditional punta rhythm and created what is now known as “Punta Rock”. The dancing is so sexual and electric some have deemed the dance illegal. So if you want to participate in a fun-loving country and shake your hips until the cows come home— how about purchasing some of the Punta Rock CD’s from the local artists and start shaking. The closer you dance the better. Unless you are an olympic athlete you better have your heart checked before revving up your motor.

So if you like adventure, pristine clear waters, and like to sample native dishes cooked by the fun-loving caribs, dance like a weight-loss belt at high speed, and learn some things about other cultures—– Belize might just be what the doctor ordered.

QUOTE: “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”—— Mark Twain

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: “Yowies”! Like the North American big foot, the Yowie emits a vile odor and screams offensively. Numerous sightings of Yowies have turned out to be escaped mental patients or hermits in jungle attire.” ——


ZENTRAVELER SAYS: I am going to leave you alone— something the Devil won’t do!

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging, travel, Uncategorized

Zentraveler takes on the personna of Chinese Monkey-King!

Chinese legend has it you could gain entry into the heavens and live forever if you found your way through a stone cavern maze. Whilst the other monkeys sat around and chattered one known as “Stone Monkey” said to the other monkeys: “He was going to go through the stone cavern maze”— and off he went.

Upon returning he reported he had eternal life and met with the devil and a group of heavenly angels. The other monkeys learning of his adventures labeled him the “Monkey King”. He spread the word from China through India and was known for his sharp mind, trickery, and playful behavior.

One of the Buddhist monks said: “It’s time to reel this “Monkey King” in because he was becoming too unruly and a possible menace to society because of his antics.” On further research, the Buddhist Monk was reminded that the “Monkey King” had already obtained eternal life— so maybe the best they could do was to learn from each other.

The Monkey King legend is highly stepped in Chinese folklore and is taught to the children at an early age through theatre and visual arts. They also have a traveling Monkey King Opera that shows off his white face and deceitful antics on stage.

QUOTE: “Monkey see Monkey Do! I just wish they would tell me the exact GPS location of the stone cavern. I feel like testing myself thru the maze.”——-Zentraveler

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Honeybees tell each other how far the nectar is from the hive by wagging their bodies, flying in circles and vibrating their wings. Honeybees account for 80% of all insect pollination. ——

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Honey Bees! You don’t want to starve to death do you?

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: We would all be better off if we took some time to Monkey around some!

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Zen fables

Zentraveler adds probiotics to his lifeline!

Scientists predict that PRO-biotics will be as important in this century as ANTI-biotics were in the last. Healthy by Nature believes that they are correct.

What are probiotics? Probiotics (“pro” meaning “for” and “biotic” meaning “life”) are basically beneficial bacteria. Along with a few other benign organisms they are known as “friendly flora”. These good guys not only perform dozens of important functions, but they are actually essential to life. The healthy digestive tract is host to approximately 4 pounds of organisms–there are actually more of them than our own cells–and there are as many as 400 species of bacteria alone. Some probiotics are passed along at birth from mom, we get some from fermented foods, but with the use of antibiotics and modern life it forces us to supplement. Especially during and after taking an anti-biotic it is extremely important to replenish the good guys before the bad guys get to confortable. A healthy balance is 85% good guys and 15% bad guys. If the colonies become imbalanced in favor of the harmful bad guys , the condition is known as Dysbiosis and can lead to illness and even death. Healthy by Nature

The era of antibiotics has come and has run it’s course. These new strains of infections almost laugh at the common doctor’s prescription to handle what ales you. From the movie ‘The Graduate’ with Dustin Hoffman “plastics” my man. The new buzz word in the homeopathic community is “probiotics.”

The simple explanation is your body caries so many bacteria some are friendly and some are enemy. With a good immune system when a new bacteria arrives the friendly bacteria wipe it out instantly and you go about your business. However; after a lifetime of fighting bacteria and using antibiotics to kill the bad bacteria it also kills the good bacteria and soon you are out of balance and can’t fight your way out of a paper bag—yet fight a nasty disease.

To make sure you have enough good bacteria you will need to add some so that you are back in control of your own immune system. Thanks to modern health cures and research they now have probiotic pills which you can take twice daily and get your system count back to the original status.

This is great news for anyone who is suffering with a great amount of colds and flu-like symptoms. It easy and painless with no reported side effects and very cost effective. While you are the bandwagon of adding friendly bacteria it is also a good idea to load up on yogurt enhanced products that also add good bacteria into your system. A lot of backpackers and travelers have learned to use yogurt on their breakfast cereal on a daily basis for just that reason. It is interesting to note that during the CIVIL WAR, when sauerkraut (a food fermented by friendly bacteria) was a part of prisoners’ diets, the death rates from small pox dropped from 90% to 5%.

You could also use this as a great pick-up line. Would you like to come to my house I have a few million extra friendly bacteria’s that I would like to share with you?

So there you you have it– simply go to your health food store of choice or order by phone for a supply of friendly bacteria. We can all use a few more friends so why not at least make your body’s bacteria friendly. In the future they will probably have wrist watches with a bacteria counter so you will always know your bacteria count. More info: www. or call 972-516-0471.

You are urged to seek healthcare advice regarding any illness.

QUOTE: “The trouble with political jokes is that very often they get elected.” —-Will Rogers

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: “Canada” is an Indian word meaning “Big Village”. — from

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Save An Alien! Okay, this sounds weird but I have just saved an alien. So can you. There are 10 million aliens that are going to die when the meteor strikes! There are 186 days left before the meteor strike! You can save one alien, it will be yours forever. Checkout and start saving.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: It’s all in the probiotics! Our friendly bacteria is critical to life, so learn to appreciate the little critters and replenish them often. Get your bacteria count squared away, eat an apple a day and drinks lots of water.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, health, Uncategorized

Zentraveler explores The Solomon Islands in the South Pacific!

It all started when I enquired about a necklace that a very pretty lady was wearing in the mountains of Colorado. She told me she was a teacher and spent her summers traveling in the South Pacific. Now if you have ever been bitten with the wanderlust or the travel bug what more would you need to get your engines revved up then to discuss the South Pacific.

Just thinking the words South Pacific brings up the movie “South Pacific” with it’s fantastic music, beautiful scenery, orange-red sunsets and bright blue lagoons. As we progressed in discussion the necklace she was wearing came from one of the natives in the Solomon Islands and was a deep, red oxblood coral. I asked her if you could purchase more red coral in the Solomon Islands. She wasn’t positive if you could purchase red coral necklaces as hers was a gift, but she knew of one tribe that wore these necklaces during ceremonies. Thoughts turned into research, as I found an expert on red coral from the University of Pennsylvania, who knew the area had red coral, but it might be very difficult to harvest because of the depth. He gave me the name of Ian Gauer who dealt in sea shells and told me to write him a letter to better explore the subject.

The airmail letter arrived with Ian personally inviting me to visit him on the southern portion of the island and yes you guessed it— I was off to the South Pacific Islands. Just another dream I told myself as I flew through Hawaii, crossed the time-zone, lost a day and saw the same movie four times in a row. Who was to know?

The big jet landed in Honiara, the capital of The Solomon Islands. I spent the first night in an idyllic hotel right on the water. I took some pictures of the incredible sunsets through wine glasses stacked up on the patio. I showed my letter to the hotel manager who immediately made arrangements for me to fly in a small jumper plane down island. Upon arriving the jumper plane came in fast and low just missing the tops of the palm trees and skidded all the way to the end of the runway and spun around into the bush — pointing back to the sea with not more than six inches to spare. The bush pilot announced: “this is your jumping off spot!”

As I proceeded on a path through the jungle several small native kids in bare feet came running along and told me to follow them— they knew of my arrival via the short-wave radio. As I rounded the last jungle trail a fellow with a white feather in his head ran up and grabbed my bag and pointed to the beach-house— located directly on the Coral Sea.

As a guest in Ian’s house, I felt I died and went to heaven. A well constructed jungle shack with 5 bedrooms, a large attached outdoor kitchen, and a wrap around porch that looked directly to the ocean. A separate cement block building on the southwestern side of the beach cottage had his shell laboratory where he cleaned, itemized, and stowed for scientific purposes and for the shell trade world-wide. Ian gave me a warm welcome and handed me a mask and a pair of fins and told me I would probably enjoy looking around in his outdoor sea aquarium. He was not kidding! There were more beautiful varieties of tropical fish within the first one hundred yards than I had seen in my lifetime.

I did see some some rather large creatures lurking around underneath rock caverns creating shadows and maybe sizing me up for dinner. Who knows? As I began to make a bee-line for headquarters, I started sucking on my snorkel so bad, I must have looked like an underwater missile going astray. Upon my return Ian, who was originally from Australia, said: “I trust you mustn’t have liked our little sea creature smorgasbord so much– since you returned rather quickly.”

“Oh no I declared! I was a bit tired from the trip and wanted to unpack and get settled before dinner.” Still thinking now that I passed the shark sea test what is next— the jungle pot! Ian showed me around where he had native jungle people sitting underneath the palm trees carving jewelry from mother of pearl shells, black coral, and a host of other beautiful shells which I never had seen before. As he showed me through the laboratory he showed me one shell that was the only shell in the world. Not only extremely rare and sought after by the scientific community, but collectors as well. He laughed– “even though it is the only one in the world,I have found three more just in case, and have them hidden away for a rainy day.”

The sea shells were so abundant I teased Ian as I saw several shells walking right up to his laboratory as if they were either inquisitive or wanted to be sent to a new home. So if you have ever dreamed of finding a shelling place that is loaded with exotic sea shells you might check on the Solomons for the ultmate shelling experience.

We sat down for dinner and was served lobster, fresh fish, fresh pineapple, and a coconut dish that was out of this world. The native with the white feather was his head servant and used sign language to communicate. Ian said he was here when I bought the place several years ago and now he is family. After dinner Ian took me to his Jungle store where the native boat people were bringing in large bags of sea shells in their dugout canoes for Ian to grade and pay the natives. Just like a company store they got chips worth so much in goods. I noticed the company store was a bit sparse as it only had kerosene, white rice by the hundred pound bag, bags of sugar, a few bags of nails, machetes, beans, burlap bags, candles, matches, and bamboo poles.

When you think about it when you are living in paradise and have all the food that the jungle provides plus your own natural aquarium full of delicious fish to eat— do you really need anything more? The servant with the feather always carried his machete on his side even when he served dinner. I guess that would be a good deterrent to keep intruders away. It certainly had me pick up my manners a touch.

After lunch on the second day, Ian asked me if I would like to watch some sharks in action? We boarded his 20 foot panga and went several hundred yards from shore. He shut the engine off and began placing a rope with coconuts threaded through. He grabbed both ends of the rope and banged the coconuts together in the water. Within seconds we were surrounded with six foot sharks. Ian explained the sound of the crashing coconuts drives the sharks crazy— bringing them to the surface.

That next morning the jungle people began bringing bags of coconuts from every direction and loading them on his launch boat— which would eventually go to Honiara. Watching the large smiles of the ocean natives bringing their sea shells in with their dugout canoes, and watching the jungle natives bringing in loads of coconuts— this seemed like the perfect orchestra of nature. Ian explained this is why some call this “The Happy Isles” just look at their big smiles.

After dinner that night Ian said we would be heading to Honiara, where he would sell his coconuts into the copra market, which is used for many things including, food, oil, fire, and mulch. He indicated you can survive in the Jungle on the coconut tree alone. You can build your house from the lumber, use the white meat for eating and chicken feed, use the coconut frowns for roofing, use the coconut oil for cooking and drink pure coconut juice for energy.

As nightfall fell Ian asked me to grab my bag as I was going with him to Honiara. Laying on the bags of coconuts, looking up at the stars and hearing the groan of the engine— I fell asleep and had one of the best night sleeps I have ever had in my life.

The next day in Honiara I explored the area on foot. You could see a multitude of wrecked US planes from the battle of the Coral Sea. On the top of one of the trails camouflaged with native huts you could see a wing sticking out of the jungle with a barely recognizable Japanese symbol. Taking a deep breathe your mind couldn’t help be a bit nostalgic thinking of all of the history that occurred on this island. The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought in the waters southwest of the Solomon Islands and eastward from New Guinea, was the first of the Pacific War’s six fights between opposing aircraft carrier forces. Though the Japanese could rightly claim a tactical victory on “points”, it was an operational and strategic defeat for them, the first major check on the great offensive they had begun five months earlier at Pearl Harbor. The diversion of Japanese resources represented by the Coral Sea battle would also have immense consequences a month later, at the Battle of Midway.

I interviewed several divers and enquired about the red coral of the Solomon’s. The divers had the perfect job. Approximately two or three days a week they dove for tropical fish, put them in plastic bags with water and sent them out by plane. They told me the work was very rewarding and paid very well. They could live well by working less than 12 hours a week and they loved their jobs. To dive for red coral is very dangerous because of the depth and the sharks. A few of the old natives used to dive, but now it’s a lost art. So unless you are with National Geographic or a multi-millionaire— it wouldn’t be worth the effort.

My last bit of research I was able to purchase some shell-money necklaces from a tribe north of Honiara and discovered where 500,000 coca-cola bottles were thrown in the sea for garbage. Let’s see 500,000 vintage 1941-1942 coke bottles at only $2.00 a bottle would pay for a lot of travel. I hope I haven’t misplaced the treasury map. I think my memory could be jogged with a few greenbacks.

Soaring mist enshrouded mountains preside above dense, abundant rainforest, Waterfalls and rivers cascade to an intricate coastline. Here, the villages and sun soaked golden beaches fringed with coconut palms lie scattered around lazy lagoons. This is indeed a diver’s paradise and an eco-tourism destination that’s unspoiled, unhurried and totally unforgettable. Its ideal for the new breed of eco-tourists, for the thoughtful travelers worldly enough to expect the unexpected and at the same time find joy in simple natural environments.

Discover Somewhere Completely Different…..

So if you want off the beaten path— visit The Solomon Islands where you will find some of the friendliest natives in the world— with at the minimum the biggest smiles. A Somerset Maugham location with a bit of world war two nostalgia and a place where you could still buy land that is not out of this world. Why not move there tomorrow I might be your neighbor. You never know I already have my sea-front coconut plantation picked out.

QUOTE: “Externally keep yourself away from all relationships, and internally have no pantings in your heart; when your mind is like unto a straight-standing wall, you may enter into the Path.” Zen Quotes by Bodhidharma (470-543) ——

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Sharks apparently are the only animals that never get sick. As far as is known, they are immune to every known disease including cancer.—–

THINGS YOU WANT TO SAVE: Time! Each person receives a time clock when they are born. The question is what are you doing with your time?

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Life’s a journey!

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, travel, Uncategorized

Zentraveler treatise on the Journey!

We come into this life kicking and screaming and some go out that way. It’s up to you how you steer yourself through the journey and what you want to achieve. The good news is no matter what you have been though or did in the past— you can always start anew simply by following some easy to do guidelines.

If everyone understood that we are all the same and connected throughout this earth and beyond— we probably wouldn’t need any religious doctrines, jails or military. Everyone would simply get along and operate within society. It’s amazing no matter how primitive the tribe– how inclusive they are. From birth you are taught to hunt and fish, harvest vegetables and respect nature. As they progress, they go through adolescent rituals, elaborate tribal rituals and paying respect to their ancestors.. They continue hunting and gathering until they go to the big sky. As it should be, the elders are treated “As Royalty” and everyone contributes his or her part according to their abilities. The big difference is everyone is a part of everyday activities. There are no shrinks, insane asylums or military barracks. They don’t have time! So get busy and start journeying.

People are afraid of looking at the looking glass and therefore seek all types of extra stimulants on the brain, tv, ipods, and the entire electronic industry— just to keep away from looking at yourself inwardly. I don’t like New Year’s resolutions so I won’t go there. So look here!

You can start a spiritual journey today— if that’s what you want to do. To start one you may need to make a few changes, which might include sitting at least one hour a day for your practice. If I told you to just sit for one hour a day— do you think you could do it? OK I give in. Can you sit for one-half hour a day? Just sit for one half an hour in the beginning—you can always add on as you get good at it. In that half hour simply sit in a comfortable chair or use a yoga position on the floor, close your eyes to some new age music or light classical and try and stop your thoughts. Just kidding! You can’t stop your thoughts even if you tried. But you can outsmart the system by letting your thoughts pass thru and either insert words like”change pegs” from an Ancient Buddha Master or insert the the word “thinking.” Soon the mind becomes clearer and quieter and there you are. That’s it!

If you experiment with the spiritual journey on a daily basis you will begin to see some amazing results. A lady Buddha Instructor from India went to the head of the prison system and ask if she could have just three weeks to instruct the prisoners on the journey. The results were amazing. Even hardened killers were crying and thanking her for allowing them to just sit and meditate. They made life changes and took a new journey. The cost to you is to give yourself 30 minutes a day to just sit. You don’t need a gym, a pair of skis, or a golf course to do this. You can do it on a busy street, in a train station, anywhere at all. As the one Zen Buddhist put it so clearly: “By just sitting and meditating life is perfect as it is.”

The journey is what is exciting! Everyone’s is already on a journey so what’s the big deal? The big deal is what journey do you want and what are you willing to do to achieve it? Everyone on this earth is special and has a special talent— just like every snowflake and every grain of sand is different we are also different. So instead of a big NEW Year’s resolution why not create a journey that fits your style and personality and go for it. Like the sneaker commercial says: “Just do it.”

What do you have to lose —yourself? Even that’s not a bad idea.

QUOTE: Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen. ——-Zen Master

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Wavy Gravy once asked a Zen Roshi, “What happens after death?” The Roshi replied, “I don’t know.”Wavy protested, “But you’re a Zen Master!”
“Yes,” the Roshi admitted, “but I’m not a dead Zen Master.”

(From the short blog of dead master Robert Anton Wilson)

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: One life at a time! Wear your seat belt you dummy!

ZENTRAVLER SAYS: It’s all in zee journey!

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized, Zen fables